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Procedure : 2010/2842(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document :

Texts tabled :

RC-B7-0493/2010

Debates :

PV 07/09/2010 - 11
CRE 07/09/2010 - 11

Votes :

PV 09/09/2010 - 5.2
CRE 09/09/2010 - 5.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0312

Verbatim report of proceedings
Thursday, 9 September 2010 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
Minutes
  

Report Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (A7-0215/2010)

 
  
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  Giommaria Uggias (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, (…) a step towards greater understanding, on the part of EU citizens, of the texts that we adopt. There is still much that needs to be done, but it is important that we take these steps on an ongoing basis.

Clearly we must find a way to balance the two different legal systems: the Anglo-Saxon system and the continental system based on Roman law.

The passage regarding impact assessments is, however, also important. It is a vital passage which must be reflected in national laws too. In this regard I must point out that they have significant shortcomings. It will be important to come back to this matter, and I believe we shall do so soon.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, simple, clear legislation that people can understand is extremely important for people’s acceptance of the European Union. However, sound legislation is also key to the functioning of the European Union. Simplification of the European lawmaking process should therefore be one of the fundamental concerns of the European institutions. One very important aspect of this is the reduction of the administrative burden on our enterprises. This will release a new impetus for economic development and innovation. However, Europe is not always to be found where it is heralded to be, at least that is the experience I have had in my country. The Commission must take great care to ensure that the Member States enact regulations that do not go beyond European requirements.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, there are moments in this Chamber when the order paper is beyond parody. The report on ‘better lawmaking’ comes from the same institutions that have turned this part of the world into the most over-regulated and least competitive bloc on the planet, that have brought us the bureaucratic nightmare of the common agricultural policy, the ecological calamity of the common fisheries policy.

But let me try and be constructive. Here is an idea for better lawmaking: let us try not to be declamatory when we make legislation. Let us try not to use the statutes of this House as a way of showing that we are nice people, that we care about unemployment, that we care about the Roma or longer working hours or whatever it is. Heavy-handed intervention by the state is not usually the best way to solve problems. We are far better off allowing decisions to be taken as closely as possible to the people that they affect.

So my modest proposal for better lawmaking is that we close down this Parliament for the next six months on an experimental basis, we do not pass any legislation at all, and we see whether our constituents complain about it.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution (B7-0492/2010) - Joint motion for a resolution (RC-B7-0493/2010)

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D). (SK) In Slovakia today we are marking a commemoration day for the victims of the holocaust. Under the Slovak state more than 100 000 Jews, Roma, homosexuals and physically-disabled people were deported from Slovakia to concentration camps. Precisely for that reason I have today supported this motion for a resolution - of which, coincidently, I was also the translator - because I consider it extremely important for the European Parliament to signal that we want no such thing in Europe today, in the present, or in the future. We have lived through two great wars in Europe and it is now high time, particularly after France has begun large-scale deportations of Romanian Roma back to their country, to show that such things are simply not acceptable to us, and the vote on this motion for a resolution will help to convey that message. Mr President, I would like to thank all Members who have supported our resolution.

 
  
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  Joe Higgins (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, I supported the resolution, which included the European United Left Group as a signatory.

In singling out the Roma community in France for victimisation and expulsion, French President Sarkozy and his government have displayed the most disgusting cynicism. The crude use of a minority community of oppressed people to divert attention from the disastrous economic and social policies is what this is all about.

Mr Sarkozy’s policies have resulted in mass unemployment in France and marginalisation of many working class communities. Mr Sarkozy’s government is now systematically attacking the living standards of French workers and is attacking the pension rights of the French people. Mr Sarkozy and his government are the agents of the French bourgeoisie and international big business and are desperately trying to use a vulnerable community as a scapegoat to divert attention from their huge unpopularity.

I salute the tens of thousands of French people who demonstrated against this policy last Saturday, and appeal to French workers to exercise their tremendous tradition of solidarity – with all minority communities and working people standing together in defence of human and civil rights and a better future – and not to be conned by this cynical exercise.

 
  
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  Cristian Dan Preda (PPE).(RO) I voted first and foremost for my own political group’s resolution because it proposed solutions and not stigmatisation of a political option. Unfortunately, this motion for a resolution did not get through.

As regards the motion for a resolution proposed by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and those sympathetic to their policies, I voted for some points in this text which I found constructive, mainly the oral amendment supporting the lack of any link between the Roma’s situation in Europe and Romania’s integration into the Schengen area.

I also voted for the second part of paragraph 10, which called for strong horizontal coordination for responding to such situations in the future, and for the second part of paragraph 16, which encourages both the Commission and Member States to respect Roma’s rights and their implementation.

I also voted for recital L, which indicates the need for better Roma representation in governmental structures and public administration in Member States. However, I could not vote for the whole motion for a resolution because I find it demagogic.

 
  
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  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE). (SK) External migration is a key problem for Europe. Every year 900 000 new immigrants arrive in Europe. The Roma issue is an internal problem for Europe, since the migration of Roma between the Member States can be counted not in hundreds of thousands but in thousands. However, that does not mean that it is not a serious problem.

I support the motion for a resolution of the European Parliament on the situation of the Roma population in Europe. I regard it as positive that it defines this problem as a Europe-wide problem. The problem of the Roma population cannot be solved effectively in isolation. It is necessary to involve European resources and European know-how in the solution, especially in countries with a significant Roma population.

The migration and repatriation of the Roma should not become a political issue. Minority rights should not be infringed. However, rights and obligations must apply not only to Member States but also to the actual minorities.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE). - Mr President, I voted for the EPP resolution because the text of this resolution offered a constructive and comprehensive European solution to the problem of better social inclusion of Roma.

Instead of using their serious social and economic situation as an instrument for politically motivated attacks against certain law-abiding governments like those of France and Italy, the EPP proposes a European Roma strategy.

Shifting the problem from one Member State to another does not help us to find necessary resources. We can only do it together in the spirit of a constructive approach.

 
  
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  Jens Rohde (ALDE). - (DA) Mr President, we in the Danish Liberal Party chose to vote in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the Roma, not because we do not think that the language in large parts of the resolution is rather too emotionally charged and its attacks unsubstantiated, rather it is because we believe that there is reason to question the manner in which France has suddenly chosen to expel the Roma. In this regard, we do not think there is anything to be investigated in relation to Denmark’s or Germany’s deportations. Denmark acted by the book, and if Germany cannot send home refugees from a war that is over, the concept of refugee status will be lost and we will then have a completely new legal status in the world. I have to say that the Danish Liberal Party’s fight against the unjustified criticism of Denmark and Germany has been an uncomfortably lonely one. Neither the Social Democrats nor the Socialist People’s Party supported us. No, they would rather have their country and neighbouring country tarnished by controversy for which there is no documentable justification. I honestly think that it is embarrassing. I would like to finish by emphasising that the last explicit vestige of so-called criticism of Denmark and Germany was definitively removed during the vote today.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten (EFD). - Mr President, I did not vote in favour of any of these resolutions because, as a matter of principle, I do not recognise the democratic legitimacy of the European Union, and I never will.

However, it should, of course, be the right of sovereign nations to decide who can and cannot enter their territories, and on what basis. EU states have abdicated that right by recognising the supremacy of EU law, and in particular by adopting Directive 2004/38/EC on the free movement of people.

The French cannot have it both ways. They cannot be full members of the European Union and then discriminate against Romanian gypsies.

If the French do not like it, then I suggest that they adopt the policy of the UK Independence Party, which is to leave the European Union and regain their sovereignty.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). – (SK) Through the adoption of the motion for a resolution on the Roma, the European Parliament and the European Commission have, in my opinion, correctly acknowledged responsibility for the situation of the Roma in the European Union. Based on the experience I have had in my own country, however, I would like to point out that, when looking for effective solutions to the integration of the Roma, it is not enough just to provide financial assistance or material goods in an effort to improve their material situation. It is far more important to teach the Roma that maintaining a standard of living requires putting much more effort into getting the best possible education and holding down a permanent job. It is only through education and social integration that the Roma will free themselves of the burden of an ignominious standing in our society. It will be a demanding task, and I hope we can pull it off.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of all members of the European Union having equal rights. That also includes the Roma.

I understand that some, for example in the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), believe that this motion for a resolution is too much of a tool of political action against France. It is quite true that we must see things in such a way that we do not implement policy as a tool, but, because the European Union is a community of values, that we show that we are really committed to the notion that we should take responsibility for our most vulnerable population groups.

We know that at present there are poor levels of social participation among the Roma population in many European countries, and that is why resolving this problem is a challenge that Europeans, the citizens of the European Union, share. We will not be credible while outside Europe we explain how human rights should be tackled, if we do not deal with the Roma situation properly ourselves within the European Union.

I hope that this will be viewed as concrete action in the European Parliament. Parliament has, of course, organised various small­scale pilot projects attempting to promote the integration of the Roma into society, through education and so on. Sometimes, however, it seems that this House will not provide cash for projects of this sort out of its budget either, but would rather give it to Greece or some other country, or even countries outside Europe.

We must now sort out the Roma issue inside the European Union once and for all. That will mean we will have to demonstrate credibility and the basic values on behalf of which the European Union works.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI).(FR) Mr President, I listened carefully to what Mr Takkula said, but in fact some very large appropriations amounting to several tens of billions of euros have been opened, only EUR 9 million of which has been spent to date.

With this motion for a resolution, I believe Mr Sarkozy and Mr Hortefeux, the French Minister for Home Affairs – who, nevertheless, were once Members of this Parliament – are today reaping what they have sown. They supported the opening of our borders; they concluded those treaties; they sometimes even wrote or promoted them; and they must certainly realise today that the fragile barriers that were erected – the temporary solutions that only allowed the Roma to come and settle in France after 2013 – well, they have all gone by the board.

In conclusion, what I find most disagreeable in our fellow Members’ attitudes is that, on the pretext of fighting discrimination, there is in fact systematic discrimination – or stigmatisation, to use their expression – of the indigenous majority populations. It is all very well to defend minorities, but do you not believe that sometimes problems may arise – cultural, behavioural or other kinds of problems – in the conduct of these minorities that in fact prevent their integration? Would it not be doing these minorities a service to be honest and put these problems on the table as well? Just the once would not hurt.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys (NI).(NL) Mr President, I am astounded at the frivolity with which the left in this House is juggling with terms such as ‘collective expulsions’, when we are talking about dossiers in France that are evaluated on an individual, case-by-case basis and about people who have received aid for voluntary return to their country of origin. A Member State does indeed have the right and the obligation to enforce the rules of a State governed by the rule of law and to take action against illegal immigration and the attendant nuisance. In any case, an important key to solving the problems lies with the Roma communities themselves. I should like to mention a memorandum from former Dutch Minister for Housing, Communities and Integration Van der Laan, a socialist, which states among other things that, among Roma, crime is disproportionately high, school absenteeism is sky-high, and children are being abused for begging and criminal activities. With that position, according to socialist Van der Laan, the Roma are excluding themselves from Dutch society. There is work to be done, therefore. Mr President, I know it is not popular to say this here in Parliament, but Roma, like all other people, have not only rights but also obligations.

 
  
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  Mario Borghezio (EFD).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we did not vote for the motion for a resolution by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), which is certainly more balanced, because of one key point to which we wish to draw your attention: the call for the European Commission, for Europe, to speed up the process to integrate Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area.

We feel – and we already sounded this alarm at the time of enlargement – that these countries have not yet adopted strict control policies for the issue of identity cards and recognition of nationality.

Are the Commission and Parliament aware that in these countries certificates can be obtained with great ease from non-European countries enabling, thanks to the freedom of movement, illegal entry into the Schengen area? We must pay close attention to this matter, and it is completely irresponsible not to have done so, and to be pressing for the enlargement of the Schengen area, contrary to common sense.

Lastly, I would like to voice my hope that, when we next meet, at least one of the do-gooder MEPs who are so supportive of the Roma will report that he or she has taken in – they can afford this on an MEP’s salary – a nice Roma family, and are feeding a few extra mouths. It is not hard to show with actions, instead of just with words, that you are a do-gooder.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). (SK) I did not support the approved motion for a resolution, because I do not think that it will contribute to a solution to the Roma question in Europe, and at the same time it will sour the political atmosphere between individual European Union states. Our inability to solve the problems of the Roma community can be summed up in one sentence: We know what we do not want but we do not know what we want. We do not want anyone to be punished for the offences of another only because they both belong to the same ethnic group. However, we also do not want some people to think that the law does not apply to them. We do not want to force anybody to give up their culture, but we also do not want to tolerate violations of the fundamental principles of coexistence in the name of ethnic identity. The French Government knows what it does not want. As long as it has not broken the law, there are no grounds for reproach. If it has broken the law, the courts must decide on the matter. One brief comment on the meeting this week in Paris: I would be delighted if the countries that are expected to provide a positive solution to the Roma issue were among the first to be invited to such meetings.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D).(PL) Mr President, the motion for a resolution which gained the majority of votes in Parliament also received my vote. The resolution concerns an essential feature of the law, which makes it very clear that no sanction can be linked to nationality. Responsibility must always be of an individual nature, and that is a foundational principle of the law. Roma people should be treated in the same way as other citizens of the Union. This means, too, that they are subject to the law, and if they break it they must bear responsibility on the same basis as others. We cannot allow a situation in which nationality is invoked as a reason for exemption from bearing responsibility for breaking the law. The point is that nationality should never be the basis for deciding what sanctions are taken, because sanctions should always be decided on an individual basis.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution (B7-0491/2010)

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I just want to say that I fully support the motion on long-term care for older people.

Given the current demographics, the issue of long-term care for older people is certainly a European issue, and while it is largely the responsibility of the Member States, nonetheless, because of the nature and the magnitude of the situation, it is a European issue and has indeed been recognised as such.

One of the issues highlighted in the resolution which I fully support is the need to take account of the needs of informal carers. They provide a significant proportion of the care that older people require. Member States must take practical steps to support and safeguard this invaluable resource, and they must do that by way of training, respite care and other measures that will help to reconcile work and family life.

One other point on the resolution that I want to highlight is that it asks that guarantees be put in place in Member States to protect the fundamental rights of persons receiving long-term care, and not just that the guarantees be put in place, but that Member States ensure that enforcement and compliance with quality criteria for service provision is ensured.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE).(PL) Mr President, in relation to the motion for a resolution on long-term care for older people, I would like to express full support for the attention being given to this matter. In view of the unfavourable demographic changes which are troubling Europe, immediate action in this area seems essential. As well as helping elderly people to be active and guaranteeing them appropriate care, we must not forget the people who provide that care. Often they are people who have no other help, because besides caring for an older person, they also have to hold down a job. It is not easy to reconcile these two roles. I am thinking, here, of families in rural areas, who most often take it upon themselves to care for infirm family members. The legal situation of these people should be regulated. This will encourage others to take care of older people, who want to grow old with dignity. I think we would all want that.

 
  
  

Joint motion for a resolution (RC-B7-0484/2010)

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). - (FI) Mr President, unfortunately this motion for a resolution was one­sided, in my opinion. When we consider the situation in the Middle East, we should remember that there is one democratic state there with which we in Europe share the same values: Israel. Democracy, human rights and freedom of opinion are important values there.

Because of that, it is important that, when we look at the situation in that region, we should also look at the overall situation, and not be intent, in one way or another, on trying to hurt the only democracy there.

Regrettably, such an image was conjured up when the situation regarding the Jordan River was being discussed. We all know that water resources in the region are limited. We also know that, by establishing irrigation and water collection systems, Israel has made massive efforts to ensure that people have access to water both in Israel and in the so­called Palestinian territories, and that farming is possible there.

I hope that our attitude will be a constructive one. Let us hope that we make progress on the peace front as a result of the peace negotiations now under way. Our attitude towards this region must be constructive and supportive, and not one that puts the blame on Israel.

 
  
 

Written explanation

 
  
  

Report Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (A7-0215/2010)

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) How can one fail to vote for a report with a title such as this? How can one fail to emphasise the need to draw up legislation that is simple, transparent and comprehensible to European citizens? To be more precise, I clearly fully support this own-initiative report by Parliament, firstly because we should be constantly striving to produce better legislation, and, secondly, because it highlights a number of crucial issues. One such issue is the European Commission’s impact assessments, the independence and reliability of which must be guaranteed.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) Better lawmaking has become a prerequisite for the effective functioning of the European Union and can play an important role in ending the economic crisis and achieving economic growth. It is necessary for institutions’ activities to meet the expectations of citizens, companies operating in the internal market and national and local government, and to ensure that decisions are taken as closely as possible to citizens. I support the provisions set out in the resolution, stating that we must support the process of better regulation aimed at increasing the transparency, effectiveness and coherence of European Union legislation. As the institution with the power of legislative initiative, the Commission has a key role in this process, in drafting high-quality legislative proposals, in reducing administrative burdens and the costs for businesses and cooperating with the Member States in order to ensure the proper implementation of EU legislation.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) This initiative seeks to analyse application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, ensuring that these principles are respected in European Union proposals. Subsidiarity is a dynamic and evolving concept that allows actions of the European Union to be extended, if necessary, and limits actions when they cease to be justified.

Proportionality is a guiding principle for the exercise of European Union powers, whether exclusive or shared, which should not exceed what is necessary in order to attain objectives. Two major innovations in this area stand out: the creation of the Impact Assessment Board, and the fact of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, which confers an important role on national parliamentarians in judging the manner in which these two principles are applied – ex ante political control, which may lead to a revision or possible removal of the proposal, or ex post judicial control, with recourse to the Court of Justice if it is believed these principles were violated. This assessment system allows the Union to legislate better, analysing and justifying its proposals, and it allows the Union to improve quality, accuracy and transparency. I welcome the fact that the impact assessment system is working correctly, and I support reinforcement of the process of analysis.

 
  
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  Robert Dušek (S&D), in writing. – (CS) -The report of Mrs Geringer de Oedenberg is mainly concerned with the evaluation of the 15th and 16th Report of the EC on the improvement of the regulations encompassing the years 2007 and 2008, the third strategic study on the improvement of regulation of January 2009 and the Action Programme on Administrative Burden Reduction of October 2009. The rapporteur seeks stronger enforcement of subsidiarity and proportionality as the fundamental requirements of European law in order to allow Member States to exercise their own legislative powers and seek to ensure that the expectations of their citizens are fulfilled. However, as regards the question of judging the impact of legislation and the reduction of administrative burdens, further efforts are needed. The report draws attention to the fact that 32% of the administrative burdens in the EU are caused by the overly rigorous application of European law by Member States, which exceeds the requirements of European legislation.

In the new Member States, we encounter these ills quite often. I welcome the fact that reference was made to new opportunities for the European Citizens' Initiative. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the citizens of the European Union have, for the first time, been given the opportunity to participate actively in the creation of European legislation. The report as a whole is a contribution to our legislative activity and I am in favour of its approval.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the report on better lawmaking because I advocate the need to create legislation for Europeans that is simple, transparent and understandable. However, it is important to make sure that administrative burdens are reduced and that economic, social and environmental impacts of all of the Commission’s new proposals are assessed, with proper scrutiny by an independent body that must be accountable to Parliament.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I fully support the ongoing effort to develop legislation for Europeans that is simple, transparent and understandable. Despite well-intentioned declarations, rigorous studies and clear reports from numerous institutions, the truth is that European legislation continues to suffer from the ills that are frequently pointed out: excessive volume, unsuitable complexity, unintelligibility, and a string of remissions.

This fact not only distances Europeans from decisions made at European level, it also feeds the debate – not always very reasonable or rigorous – regarding European intrusion into matters on which it would not pass judgment or legislate if there were more careful compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. Thus, this resolution is on the right path.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This resolution tackles the subject of ‘better lawmaking’, which covers the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality that are indispensible to the proper functioning of the European Union, and includes, for example, the need for impact assessments of the lawmaking process, for the simplification and codifying of existing legislation, and reducing administrative costs arising from European law by 25% by 2012.

The most important aspects of this area are the European citizens’ initiative introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which will enable citizens to actively participate in the process of creating European law, the fact that the European Parliament is now on an equal footing with the Council in the ordinary legislative procedure, and the inclusion of the national parliaments in overseeing the application of the principle of subsidiarity. In this context, under the terms of Article 225 of the Treaty of Lisbon, and because I believe that it is an example of ‘better lawmaking’, I proposed, in an own-initiative report, the drawing up of a specific directive for bio-waste that was adopted by a majority in this Chamber in July: I hope that the Commission will respond to it soon.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) I recognise the importance of clear legislation, a reduced administrative burden for businesses, the quality of impact studies, the fact that they should be taken into account (which does not always appear to be the case, far from it), and above all strict compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, to which every legislative act coming out of Brussels must be subject. On the other hand, I find it regrettable that, while the report repeatedly points the finger at what it calls ‘gold-plating’ of legislation by the Member States, it does not mention a highly interesting piece of information that appears in the explanatory statement. Of the thousands of legislative acts in force, 72 alone have imposed 486 information obligations, resulting in over 10 000 implementing acts in the Member States. It seems to me that this information reveals the opposite: that the roots of this evil lie in the Commission’s hyper-regulation. More fundamentally, I wonder whether there is anything other than formal respect for the principle of subsidiarity, in that the Treaties provide for areas in which the European Union has exclusive competence and which cannot be called into question at all, while in all other areas it seems that certain national parliaments are still unable to fully exercise their rights on the subject.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. − (FI) The philosopher Schopenhauer said that we should use ordinary words and say extraordinary things. Many people, politicians and legislators in particular, do just the opposite, probably without realising it. It is for this very reason that the continued examination of legislative practice and its improvement will always be crucial to the work of the European Union. I voted in favour of Mrs Geringer de Oedenberg’s report on better lawmaking because it raises important points on how legislation might be improved. Firstly, Parliament needs to remember its own responsibility: all too often, attention-seeking on the part of EU legislators has led to a situation where a viable directive has got bogged down by detailed amendments during the parliamentary debate. According to Schopenhauer’s precept, simple, transparent legislation does not mean that it is inferior in terms of its content: complexity and casuistry are often a way to hide a lack of ideas. Secondly, I wish to raise the matter of the impact assessments of legislation. A few important legislative initiatives, such as the history of the Emissions Trading Directive, showed that there were serious flaws in the impact assessments. People have to be precise, especially in the drafting of environmental legislation: a problem solved in one place can create a new problem somewhere else. As the resolution states, the Commission must consult interested parties regularly and comprehensively to make an objective evaluation. I think that the SME test launched by the Commission in its internal guidelines is a welcome development. Thirdly, we need to realise that national authorities are often vitally important for lightening administrative burdens. I come from a country where the official machinery is so meticulous in the application of statutes that it frequently results in additional burdens. The responsibility of the Member States cannot be ignored regarding this.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) The only merit of this text is to call for an extension to the period of consultation for the social partners on the Commission’s legislative proposals. The rest is appalling: it welcomes the work of the group chaired by Edmund Stoiber, a club of businessmen advocating deregulation on the pretext of reducing administrative burdens; it proposes restricting the right to the Citizens’ Initiative, a paltry instrument left to the sovereign peoples by the Treaty of Lisbon; and it confirms the eight-week period for receiving the national parliaments’ opinions on Commission proposals.

In addition, while the text insists on the need to have understandable European legislation, nowhere does it show any concern that most of the papers by the Commission and working parties are only available in English. What else can one expect of an assembly in which most members do not demand the right to be a true parliament?

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The great complexity of the subjects handled by the EU means that, the majority of the time, the legislation adopted is overly elaborate and not intelligible enough to the great majority of the European public. That is why there is a need for legislation to be prepared that is simple, transparent and comprehensible to Europeans from all Member States. At the same time, in the face of the crisis that we are experiencing, mechanisms need to be found that significantly reduce the high costs of the EU’s legislative process, so that we can be the first to set a good example in terms of use of the EU budget.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) This report claims that the role of the national parliaments is strengthened by the Treaty of Lisbon, but in actual fact the Member States have had to relinquish even more competences to Brussels. There are also de facto situations in everyday life which demonstrate that there are still problems in the legal sphere across borders.

For example, in the case of divorces where the couples are citizens of two different Member States, where some of the EU Member States were at least able to agree on the regulation of the powers given to the law courts, or in the area of the European environmental impact assessment, where Member States have delayed implementation in order to circumvent this requirement for large-scale projects such as the extension of the Temelin nuclear power station. Now, it may well seem sensible to draw up an impact assessment, and the goal of reducing administrative costs and simplifying the law is also to be welcomed, but the EU has already been doing this for years and very few results have been seen by the citizens and the undertakings. This report is not very likely to change this situation and for that reason I have abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. − (LT) I voted for the report on better lawmaking, because I believe that better lawmaking is a prerequisite for the effective functioning of the European Union and is one of our citizens’ rights which cannot be achieved without clear laws that the general public can understand. Better regulation in the European Union covers a range of matters, such as carrying out impact assessments, reducing administrative burdens and simplifying and codifying existing legislation. In particular, I agree with the Commission’s programme aimed at reducing the administrative burdens arising from European Union legislation which has been in place since 2005 and which seeks to reduce those burdens by 25% by 2012. It is very important to reduce the costs for businesses operating in the European Union, in order to enable them to function effectively in difficult economic conditions and compete globally and to streamline public administrative procedures. We must focus on the unnecessary requirements to provide information and apply the ‘only once’ principle set out in the Small Business Act. Electronic communication constitutes an excellent tool for reducing administrative burdens. The EU institutions must actively cooperate with the Member States in order to avoid discrepancies in interpretation and the ‘gold-plating’ of legislation. According to the Commission, 32% of EU administrative burdens are the result of decisions by certain Member States, exceeding the requirements of EU legislation and of the ineffectiveness of their administrative procedures. Also, we must not forget that consultations with all the interested parties, social partners in particular, are of fundamental importance in preparing draft legislation.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. I have strongly supported this report, which stresses the vital importance of making simple, clear laws that EU citizens can understand and emphasises that European institutions must respect the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality when formulating proposals. The report emphasises the Commission’s key role, as the institution with the power of legislative initiative, in drafting high-quality legislative proposals.

Parliament undertakes to make every effort to examine such proposals promptly, in accordance with the appropriate legislative procedure. It also emphasises the importance of cooperating with Member States to ensure that legislation is correctly implemented.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) We strongly support the Commission’s report on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality since it provides for impact assessments of directives which are issued.

These assessments, which must be carried out using serious, independent studies on costs and benefits, are vital in order to avoid making choices which place an excessive burden on citizens and on businesses. In particular, we must prevent new EU legislation giving rise to new administrative burdens.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Better lawmaking has become an essential condition for the European Union to function well and to correctly apply European law based on greater transparency, efficiency and consistent decisions. Correctly applying the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, now redefined after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, must contribute to simpler and more consistent legislation for the European public, and so that decisions at European level can be made in the best interest of Europeans. The Treaty of Lisbon states that the European Parliament must act in partnership with the Council and encourage closer participation of national parliaments in monitoring the application of the principle of subsidiarity.

In addition, the regulatory environment of the European Union must continue to support impact assessments and reduce administrative burdens. As stated in the report for which I voted, only by significantly reducing administrative burdens and efficiently applying European laws to internal legal planning, as well as efficient impact assessments considering the economic, social and environmental domains, will legislation be truly improved.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mrs Geringer de Oedenberg’s report since it highlights the need to make simple, clear laws that EU citizens can understand more easily.

Respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, the importance of appropriate impact assessments on legislative proposals, the reduction of administrative burdens and the simplification and codification of legislation are therefore key objectives of the ‘better lawmaking’ report. We should also note that simpler, easily understandable laws are central to progress in defining future EU economic and social policy.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution (B7-0492/2010) - Joint motion for a resolution (RC-B7-0493/2010)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the resolution of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament on the status of the Roma population in Europe because I am deeply concerned about the steps taken by France against this community, and I am obviously in favour of the immediate suspension of this process. France began collective expulsions of European citizens belonging to this minority last August. The Roma community is the largest ethnic minority in the European Union, with populations established in several Member States in the Union.

The right of all European Union citizens to travel and live freely anywhere in Europe is a pillar of European citizenship, as defined by the Treaties. I do not understand, therefore, the deafening silence of the European Commission. The Commission should have reacted by explaining that for expulsion by a Member State of European citizens to be legal, it must be based on reasons of public order, it must be analysed individually, and it must be proportional to the respective threat to the public order and never result in a collective penalty against an ethnic minority. We may also ask ourselves about whether the use of funds to justify ‘voluntary departures’ is not a manipulation of the freedom of citizens and an illegal way of avoiding being defined as expulsions.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) With regard to the debate on the Roma people, the message that I would like to send out is clear: we must put a stop to irrelevant controversies that concern only France, and speak instead as Europeans about a European issue requiring a European response. The current debate illustrates the difficulty we still have today in tackling European issues as Europeans and not as nationals of one or other Member State. European integration means first and foremost sharing certain values, which give rise to certain freedoms, including the freedom of movement, and of certain duties, including that of respecting the conditions that come with exercising one’s right of residence. Today, we must respond to the suffering of a population in need of integration. Suffering which is being exploited by a number of Mafia-like networks and which offers no means of subsistence other than begging, theft and prostitution. That is the main issue to be solved today.

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The absolute hypocrisy of the political powers which support the European one-way street is expressed in the motions for resolutions tabled in the European Parliament, which shed crocodile tears about the situation and persecution of the Roma. The European Commission has decided, in the face of general reaction, to set up a special working group to study the problem. They think that this will appease the general outcry about the policy of discrimination and will limit the decisions by the French and Italian governments to deport the Roma. The political spokesmen of capital who alternate in the governance of the Member States and jointly make decisions in the EU believe that condemning these government decisions will absolve them and the EU of responsibility for the constant and systematic discrimination against the Roma.

However, the policy of discrimination is in the very nature of the imperialist, transnational union of capital. The more vulnerable the social group and the greater the profit to capital, the more acute the discrimination. The Roma are increasingly coming up against the EU, its bodies and the powers that support it. Only a joint fight with the workers to overturn the society of exploitation and to fight against the EU and its supporters will bring about respect for their rights and satisfaction of their contemporary needs.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The joint motion for a resolution tabled by the Left seeks to interpret Directive 2004/38/EC in a way that I consider to be completely wrong in political terms, and unlawful.

The text of the directive is clear: there are limits to the freedom of movement in the Member States, and should it consider it appropriate, a government may repatriate EU citizens too. Furthermore, the resolution completely disregards a fundamental fact: Europe has already spent hundreds of millions of euro in recent years on social integration programmes for the Roma but with no positive outcome, given that the central problem is the extremely poor ability of Roma populations to integrate into the local social fabric.

A resolution that disregards the security needs which our Member States’ citizens are asking us to meet, and which, on the contrary, paves the way to an extremely broad interpretation of the principle of free movement of persons, marks a further step towards building a Europe out of touch with people’s sentiments and requirements. I therefore voted against the joint motion for a resolution.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The recent wave of expulsions of ethnic gypsies from France, neatly presented as voluntary repatriation, reignites the debate in Europe on an unresolved problem. Expelling these people to their countries of origin is obviously not going to resolve anything. They will return as soon as they can and no one can stop them because every one of them is a European citizen, free to go where they want as long as the provisions of Directive 38/2004 are respected. My vote firstly expresses the slight reservation I have about the motion for a resolution from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)/European Conservatives and Reformists due to the tacit acceptance that expulsion is not excluded as a possible solution. However, I totally disagree with the joint motion for a resolution proposed by the other political groups which, influenced by the political backlash towards the Sarkozy government, attempts to make the gypsy minority a victim of a majority and not to blame for the situation which they have been happy with for centuries.

The events occurring in France and Italy must remind Europe of the presence of a minority of 10-12 million people, which is already pan-European, with major integration problems. However, hiding them behind national borders is the wrong solution. The only viable solution capable of producing long-term results is one requiring a joint European effort to integrate this minority.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) - The return of over 8 thousand Roma from France to their country of origin – especially Romania and Bulgaria – is certainly a issue which is worthy of the attention of the European Parliament. I am not a supporter of rash judgments and threats but prefer the path of a thorough examination of the situation and its subsequent evaluation. Let us take the path of dialogue with the French side. Let us give the French side a chance to explain everything and only then let us draw conclusions as to whether it is a case of a violation of human rights or whether the approach to the Roma is being carried out within the confines of European law. I expect an active approach from the European Commission in the spirit of its mission as guardian of the Treaties.

It would be a mistake if for reasons of convenience a strategy of obfuscation and attempts to let the problem bubble away were to be adopted. I would also like to add that I believe the only way to move forward on the Roma issue is the acceptance of a unified European strategy covering all the states concerned and having a direct connection to the European Social Fund as well as other financial resources of the EU budget. First and foremost, though, we have to recognise that the Roma problem is a European problem.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted for the motion for a resolution by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) on the situation of the Roma people in Europe. I believe freedom of movement is a fundamental right of European citizens, in accordance with Directive 2004/38/EC. This directive also sets out conditions to this freedom, which apply throughout the European Union: persons staying in a Member State for more than three months must be able to show evidence that they have a job or sufficient means to meet their needs or follow a course of study.

It is therefore important to see the social and economic integration of the Roma as a European issue and to find a European solution to it. I therefore call on the Member States and the European Commission to address this issue so that they can provide a European political response to it.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am in favour of a constructive approach based on dialogue about cultural diversity and what that represents in terms of human wealth. Education is key to the integration process. By offering education and training we are combating exclusion, unemployment and discrimination. We are also guaranteeing a society that is more just, more creative and more dynamic. It is important to integrate ethnic minorities, not just into the labour market but also into all areas of society. Protecting fundamental rights and creating a common area of freedom, security and justice are objectives of European integration. I applaud all those who promote integration at local level, including politicians, teachers and associations. This is because it is often these people who are responsible for access to housing, healthcare, education, culture and improved quality of life.

 
  
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  Carlo Casini (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted for Mrs Weber’s motion for a resolution on the Roma in Europe because of its balanced, constructive content.

It is not enough to shout against discrimination, perhaps exploiting real and extremely serious problems for the purposes of party-political wrangling. Naturally, we need to firmly reassert the principles of non-discrimination, of free movement and the resulting rights and obligations – as does the resolution by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) – but more important still is to undertake practical reforms to solve the problems, in order to implement fundamental human rights. Immigration is a European issue and the time has come, as called for by Mrs Weber’s resolution, to tackle it at European level.

The Roma issue only partly overlaps with the issue of integration, and in any case it has specific features which must also be addressed at European level. The structure of the EU was designed on the premise of the territorial stability of the member peoples. A nomadic lifestyle may be a characteristic of a people, which must also be respected, but inclusion must come about in a spirit of solidarity, in accordance with European rules, without the individual Member States playing it by ear. This is the resolution’s proposal which won our support.

 
  
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  Françoise Castex (S&D), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of this joint motion for a resolution on the situation of the Roma people in Europe. In view of the Commission’s inertia and the silence of its President, José Manuel Barroso, the European Parliament has taken a stand against the policy implemented by the government of the French President towards the Roma community.

I must point out that Mr Sarkozy’s policy is contrary to the principle of the free movement of persons guaranteed by the European Union. Romania is a Member State and the European Union forbids any discrimination among its citizens based on ethnic origin or nationality. Moreover, the Charter of Fundamental Rights has been legally binding since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009. The resolution demands a European policy to respond to their situation.

This resolution was needed because Mr Sarkozy’s actions, like those of Mr Berlusconi in Italy, are representative of the right wing in Europe. They want a Europe that suits the banks and multinationals. They agree to the free movement of capital, but when it is a matter of the poor and persecuted they close their borders and throw them out.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE) , in writing. (PT) In contrast to my colleagues, I do not question the legality of expulsion decisions taken by the French authorities. All Member States may do this by invoking legitimate grounds for internal safety and maintaining the public order. What I do find regrettable is the associated discourse that seems to aim to accuse an entire ethnic group and awaken unacceptable xenophobic reactions. If a European commits a crime, we cannot conclude that all Europeans are criminals. If a Roma robs, we cannot conclude that all Roma are criminals.

It is important to strengthen the support mechanisms for inclusion of the Roma people and to fight any type of discrimination, stimulating the schooling of their children and protecting their fundamental rights. No one is above the law, neither nomadic people nor governments, and everyone must responsibly contribute to solving problems and not magnify drama or increase tension.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. I support this resolution which expresses deep concern at the measures taken by the French authorities and by other Member States’ authorities targeting Roma and Travellers and providing for their expulsion and urges those authorities immediately to suspend all expulsions of Roma. It further emphasises that mass expulsions are prohibited by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and that such measures are in violation of the EU Treaties and EU law, since they amount to discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity and a breach of the Directive on the free movement of citizens and of their families in the EU. I welcome Commissioner Reding’s belated but strong response that she is convinced that the Commission will have no choice but to initiate infringement proceedings against France for breaches of the Free Movement Directive. Roma are the single most discriminated-against community in Europe. They continue to suffer serious systematic discrimination in education, housing, employment and equal access to healthcare and other public services. However, as EU citizens Roma have the perfect and equal right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) This resolution had two objectives: the first is to point out the difficult situation faced by the Roma people, who are discriminated against throughout Europe in all areas of social and economic life, and the second is to denounce the growing stigmatisation of these people in several host countries which, for legal reasons that have little or no basis in European law, are denying them the right to move freely within the EU. The time has come for all of us to shoulder our responsibilities, both by refraining from any populist, discriminatory rhetoric and by conducting effective and proactive policies to facilitate the integration of the Roma people. This applies, in the first instance, to Member States of origin, which must make better use of the funds provided by the European Union, but also to host and transit countries. Thus, in order to tackle this common problem, the resolution calls for a comprehensive plan on Roma integration to be implemented at EU level.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The debate held by Parliament on the Roma issue has turned into a highly left-right political debate. None of the motions for resolutions put to the vote answered the pressing question of how best to meet the needs of the Roma people. It is quite clear that the Roma community is socially and economically discriminated against in the vast majority of Member States, which have not necessarily made use of the integration methods that the Union has made available. If the Roma community has rights, which are clearly being ignored, it also goes without saying that it has duties, like all other European citizens.

The same applies to the Member States, which have a duty to provide these European citizens with somewhere to live and a chance to make a living. With regard to the events for which France has been criticised, and while we are still waiting for the Commission’s decision on the illegality of the operations carried out, I condemn any mass expulsion not based on respect for European law. However, I refuse to fall into the questionable amalgamations contained in the joint motion for a resolution, comparing the events of this summer with deportations. The reference to the Nazi period is totally unacceptable.

 
  
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  Harlem Désir (S&D), in writing. (FR) The motion for a resolution on the situation of the Roma people is a major snub for Mr Sarkozy and a scathing call to order from the European Parliament. The stigmatisation of the Roma by the President during a speech on insecurity, the statements by his Minister for Home Affairs against the Romanians and the blatant expulsion of several hundred of them in breach of the law are an insult not only to the values of the French Republic but also to the fundamental values of the Union. Throughout history the Roma have been systematically marginalised, discriminated against and used as scapegoats. Regardless of whether they are French, Romanian or Bulgarian, today they are European citizens. The indignity of the treatment they have received should not be tolerated in a community founded on the principles of law, freedom, equality and non-discrimination, which lie at the heart of the EU Treaty and its Charter of Fundamental Rights. The resolution is therefore a firm and unambiguous condemnation of the French Government’s actions and of the discriminatory rhetoric that accompanied them. It condemns expulsions in breach of the law. It demands that the governments of Europe and the Commission coordinate their actions to integrate the Roma, using the funds allocated by Parliament.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I welcome the approval of the motion for a resolution on the situation of the Roma people in Europe and violation of the law on freedom of movement. I think that the European Parliament’s position is extremely beneficial in Europe’s social and economic climate. Measures like those taken by the French Government must be replaced by a responsible, common European position, which will take into account both the characteristics of this minority and the right of free movement which they enjoy as European citizens. I hope that this position adopted by the European Parliament will strengthen and create a precedent for applying the framework decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia on the basis of criminal law, and the action plan for implementing the Stockholm Programme. The Commission must take urgent action in line with recommendations approved in the resolution and condemn the discriminatory actions taken against the Roma ethnic group. The Commission must also take seriously its role as coordinator for Member States in implementing the European Roma integration strategies and plans in the EU.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted on the motion for a resolution on the situation of Roma and on freedom of movement in the European Union because I condemn the steps taken by the French authorities and by the authorities of other Member States regarding the Roma people and their expulsion. I hope that these authorities will suspend expulsions of the Roma people, which are barred by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and by the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. I remind you that these steps are contrary to the Treaties and to EU legislation.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This motion for a resolution arises at a time of contradictory statements regarding the expulsion of members of the Roma ethnic group from French territory. I believe that this matter is too serious to be debated in a way that is more emotional than rational and deserves a different political climate allowing a debate than avoids clichés. I am therefore of the opinion that the House should not have decided on this ill-timed scheduling.

That said, I repudiate, as I will always repudiate any political, military or police reaction against members of any ethnic group simply because they belong to it. The history of the 20th century was unfortunately too full of situations in which people were condemned not for what they had done, but for who they were. The brutal legacy of Nazism and communism proved this beyond doubt. I believe that the Union’s Member States have an incomparable record concerning their treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) The freedom of movement is a noble concept, but it is in danger of remaining an abstract concept unless it is accompanied by rigour and legality. Whoever denies these principles in the name of hypocritical do-goodery is responsible for fostering hostile sentiments against the Roma.

The freedom of movement can never imply freedom to settle illegally, forcing women, children and minors, who live in disgraceful sanitary conditions, to steal, to become prostitutes, to beg, with paths towards integration into schools and employment often being refused. The EU has equipped itself with detailed rules on the free movement of European citizens, laying down guarantees, requirements and sanctions. However, in practice, these rules have proved to be outdated following the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the EU and the exodus of tens of thousands of Roma to the West.

Therefore we urgently need to tighten up Directive 2004/38/EC, currently in force, which stipulates that EU citizens who, after a period of three months in another Member State are unable to maintain themselves lawfully, may be expelled. Expulsion, today inapplicable unless economic incentives are provided and it occurs on a voluntary basis, should be replaced by the concept of compulsory expulsion and repatriation, in the same way as for non-EU citizens. Furthermore, mandatory mechanisms should be laid down to keep citizens expelled from another Member State, in violation of Directive 2004/38/EC, in their country of origin.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The expulsion of the Roma by the French Government and other European Union governments is a reprehensible act. Unfortunately, this racist and xenophobic act, which seeks to distract us from the serious social crisis we are experiencing and find scapegoats, has not received immediate repudiation from the European Commission and the Council. We harbour no illusions about the hypocritical role played by EU institutions in this entire process, especially if we remember that they are so diligent in their criticism and interference in third countries.

In this case, however, dealing with citizens of EU Member States, they have folded their arms or made merely circumstantial statements. Where, when it comes to it, is the European Union that claims to be one of the world’s greatest defenders of human rights? No posture other than condemnation would be acceptable here. Experience shows us that when it comes to dealing with France, one of the leaders of the EU, discretion is always used.

What is needed here is a break with the neoliberal policies that conservatives and social democrats continue to practice. New policies are urgently needed to promote employment with rights, welfare and social progress for all. This is the way to prevent governments such as the French from turning racism and xenophobia into state policies, and the transformation of the EU into a police force for Member States as some would have it, taking advantage of the reprehensible acts of certain governments.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. – (IT) The joint motion for a resolution tabled by the Members on the left is marked by repeated appeals to the idea of equality, but contradicts itself in several places.

I have to put it on record that I am opposed to the document tabled in view of the fact that it postulates equality of rights between Roma communities and citizens of the host countries without, however, substantively asserting any equality of duties between the two sides. I must also dissent because it does not establish a legal position but confines itself to criticising the policies implemented by the governments of Italy and France.

Furthermore, the document completely ignores the confirmed problems of law and order, which some Member States are trying to control with the means that the law places at their disposal.

 
  
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  Charles Goerens (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Although I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution, I would still like to make the following remark. My support for this resolution is in no way intended as an endorsement of certain extreme comments made during Tuesday afternoon’s debate. Given all the sensitivity that treatment of the issue in question deserves, attempting to compare the returns of Roma with Second World War concentration and extermination camps amounts to trivialising the Holocaust. That is the surest way to stifle the debate. What is needed in this instance is a calm, collected, responsible debate. This comparison smacks either of bad faith or of immaturity. Either way, it does no service to the Roma cause.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Appalled as I was by the measures taken by France to expel the Roma people (measures that had already previously been taken by other States), I immediately co-signed Parliament’s resolution, and I welcome its adoption. The events currently taking place in France are unacceptable. France is conducting, in full knowledge of the facts, a discriminatory policy that runs counter to the founding and fundamental values and principles of the European Union. In first place, the principles of European citizenship and of free movement within the European Union: the Roma people are European citizens in their own right. In second place, the principles of non-discrimination and of respect for minorities: under no circumstances should such measures be taken solely on the grounds that a person belongs to a minority. Today it is the Roma, tomorrow it will be the Arabs, and the day after the Jews, and why not women and then the poor? All of these principles underpin our Union and are binding on all of us, and in particular on the individual Member States. Furthermore, it is high time that we had a European strategy on Roma inclusion. The European Union needs stronger political will: social integration, housing, education and the fight against discrimination are all areas in which the European Union must act.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted for the resolution on the situation of the Roma people in Europe as the text explicitly condemns the measures taken by the French authorities. The resolution reminds us of the right of all European citizens to move and reside freely throughout the European Union, and of the basic principle of equal treatment of citizens and of non-discrimination. Nicolas Sarkozy and the government are mistaken if they think they can flout the values of the Union, European law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights with total impunity: the European Parliament has vigorously called them to order, and it would do the same to any Member State tempted by such practices. The resolution also makes the European Commission face up to its responsibilities, calling on it to stop dithering and finally to implement a clear and determined strategy for the inclusion of Roma communities, in all areas – access to housing, employment, education and health – in order to put a stop to their unacceptable exclusion.

 
  
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  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing. (FR) I have supported this joint motion for a resolution because I am convinced that we urgently need to condemn the policy of the French Government, which has deliberately stigmatised an ethnic group by associating it directly with criminality, for the sole purpose of diverting attention away from the difficulties with its home affairs policy. This exploitation of the Roma issue is unacceptable in my view, and Parliament ought to react. Progressive Members, including the Social Democrats, have therefore demanded an end to this discriminatory rhetoric and to the collective expulsions, whereas the European right wing has largely supported the French Government in its drift to the right. We urgently need to implement a global strategy to tackle this subject, which affects 10-12 million EU citizens. This resolution deplores the lack of any reaction from the Commission, which is, however, supposed to be the guardian of the Treaties and as such should have condemned the French Government’s actions. The collective expulsions effectively make a mockery of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

 
  
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  Lívia Járóka (PPE), in writing. – (HU) The motion for a resolution tabled by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the Group of the Greens, as well as the Confederal Group of the European United Left also contains several unfounded and even unacceptable statements. As I already indicated in the debate on Tuesday regarding the questions addressed to the European Council and Commission, political opinions and legal assessments are two different things, and while we may find the expulsions deplorable or excessive, only the European Commission has the competence to assess the legality of the steps taken by France. In my opinion, to accuse a country of a serious infringement based on unsubstantiated information, prior to the Commission’s pending assessment and not knowing its results diminishes Parliament’s authority. However, as rapporteur for Parliament’s European Roma strategy, I felt that in the current situation it is imperative for the European Parliament to formulate the progressive recommendations made in the motion in an official resolution.

It is therefore important to state that the EU and its Member States share the responsibility for Roma integration, which requires a comprehensive EU-level strategy. This should be created with the inclusion of Roma communities from grassroots levels to international NGOs, including all aspects of planning, implementation and control. We must also state that a complex development programme must be created, which targets simultaneously all related policy areas and facilitates immediate intervention in ghetto areas struggling with serious structural disadvantages.

 
  
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  Sandra Kalniete (PPE) , in writing. – (LV) I voted for the motion for a resolution moved by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) because I consider that we must adopt and implement a common European strategy on the Roma issue, which would overcome the social and economic exclusion of the Roma people. The problems of minorities in Europe are complicated and sensitive, and they are often exploited for narrow political ends. Political manipulation that essentially fails to tackle problems at their root but complicates the integration of minorities I find unacceptable. Proper EU financing and the cooperation of Member States in order to implement it are essential to encourage the social integration of Roma people. Several instruments that could be used to eradicate Roma exclusion, including the possibility of using the European Social Fund, are already at the EU’s disposal. They will be supplemented by the opportunity to use up to 2% of the common European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) finance for housing expenditure for socially excluded communities. That is why it is important to ensure practical action is taken for the integration of the Roma people, beginning in those Member States whose nationals they are. At the same time, of course, we must guarantee freedom of movement within the Union, and when expelling EU citizens from a Member State, every case must be considered on its merits, and the decision for expulsion must be based on the appropriate decision of a court.

 
  
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  Timothy Kirkhope (ECR), in writing. − I and my ECR Group colleagues agree with much of this resolution and we remain wholeheartedly committed to providing equal rights, opportunities and the freedoms laid out within EU law for all people, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

However, whilst we fully support the integration of the Roma people within the European Union, we believe that the European Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, should complete a thorough legal investigation into the matter before this Parliament makes its final judgement. For these reasons we have abstained on this resolution.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) It is essential to impose a little order on this debate, in which a scandalous confusion reigns. Some of the remarks made in this House and included in this motion for a resolution are unacceptable. This Chamber should stop being a forum for political point-scoring about Member States’ national policies. France has been strict in applying Community law and the Commission has confirmed that. Moreover, I appeal to the Commission to deal with this dossier as quickly as possible and to propose concrete measures to help integrate the Roma in the European Union.

The time for statements of good intentions is over; we must now implement a truly European strategy for the integration of the Roma in Europe. What has happened to the EUR 20 billion approved by the Members of this House and allocated by the Member States under cohesion policy? This money does not benefit those for whom it is intended. We must put an end to this situation and take greater control of the good management of European funds.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) The European Union needs to take strong action against the discriminatory and brutal policy of which the Roma are victims in France. Freedom of movement is not the prerogative of capital. The Eurocrats may not like it, but it is a right shared by all European citizens. It is the duty of all Europeans to defend the rights of Roma citizens, who have been made scapegoats by the current French Government. The EU must set an example and condemn these xenophobic government policies. Not to do so would encourage the excesses of governments that are already seriously at fault.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) For several decades, France has been an exemplary country in terms of integrating citizens originating from all over the world that had chosen the country as their destination. It should be remembered that Romanian citizens will only enjoy full freedom of movement in 10 countries of the EU, including France, from January 2014. Moreover, all EU citizens can be obliged to provide proof of their means of support after staying longer than three months in a country that is not their own. If they prove to be too great a burden on the social security system of the host country, measures can be decided on, under paragraphs 9 and 10 of Directive 2004/38/EC. While the mass expulsion of Romanian citizens of Roma ethnicity can be questioned, people who protest violently against it should also be concerning themselves with a great deal more, and with the same intensity. They should be concerning themselves with the children whose families generally prevent them from attending school; with children and women who are used in begging; with begging adopted as a life choice; and with the rejection of work and recourse in its stead to the social security systems of third countries. That is why I voted as I did.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted against this joint motion for a resolution tabled by the left, the centre-left and the liberals in the House because President Sarkozy’s French Government must be asked to immediately halt the expulsion of the gipsy population. We ask the Commission and the Council to also act along the same lines. We condemn not only the deportations in France, but also those in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Belgium and Italy. We need a European strategy for combating the poverty and discrimination that the Roma people suffer in Europe. The Roma people have been part of the European Union since the enlargements in 2004 and 2007. For this reason they have a right, like any European citizen, to free movement and residence throughout the EU.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In the current Roma debate, I ultimately voted in favour of the motion for a resolution tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats). It demonstrates the problem in an objective manner and also proposes sensible solutions. The motion tabled by the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, on the other hand, demonstrates how out of touch with the real world the approach of these politicians is. They talk about ‘serious systematic discrimination’ and of a general anti-Gypsyism, and in so doing completely disregard the fact that the Roma are also required to comply with the law just like any other European citizen.

That is quite clearly a thorn in the side of the Left when they complain about the taking of the fingerprints of expelled Roma. This, in their opinion, is unfair discrimination. However, the same people have no problem with requiring all other citizens to provide fingerprints when a passport is issued. That is the logic of the Left. Even if the Sarkozy government acted out of opportunism, this reaction is nevertheless sensible and necessary in order to protect France’s own citizens. I therefore voted against the motion for a resolution tabled by the Left.

 
  
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  Jan Mulder (ALDE), in writing. − (NL) The Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) delegation voted in favour of motion for a resolution B7-0504/2010 on the expulsions of the Roma people. However, this does not change the fact that, in accordance with the Directives, people can always be forcibly repatriated to their countries of origin in individual cases if the provisions of these European Directives warrant this.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the motion for a resolution initiated by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) as it proposes consistent, long-term measures aimed at resolving the Roma problem in the European Union. The PPE Group’s motion for a resolution also featured explicitly and directly the request for Romania’s accession to the Schengen area not to be linked to the Roma issue. Following the rejection of this motion, I voted for the joint motion for a resolution from the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and others, which, although less extensive, offers a largely fair point of view.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group on the situation of the Roma people in Europe for the following reasons: 1) it focuses on the actions (European strategy: action plan, take-up of resources, cooperation between Member States and others, involvement of the Roma and so forth) which need to be taken in order to reverse the exclusion experienced by the Roma community in various European countries; 2) it does not confine itself to apportioning blame, 3) it does not take the attention of public opinion away from the essence of the problem: the failure to date of policies to integrate the Roma, 4) it does not contribute to sterile political confrontation.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. – (RO) It is the duty of Member States and the European institutions to develop and support the implementation of the measures required to create a political and social environment which is conducive to implementing measures for Roma integration in the areas of education, health, social protection and labour market inclusion. At the same time, the situation of Roma women provides another interesting aspect as they are victims of double discrimination: on account of their gender and belonging to a minority group.

I call on the European Commission to devise an inclusive European strategy which will address the specific issues of the cross-border, minority Roma community. EU institutions should show a minimum level of institutional interest in monitoring the fight against discrimination and supporting Roma integration.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – (ES) The Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance welcomes the vote by Parliament, which has fully carried out its role as the guarantor of fundamental values in the EU. It has refused to keep silent about the situation in France, and has also not forgotten to criticise the late and limited response by the Commission. Indeed, these expulsions are crucial evidence for Europe in terms of its capacity to comply with its own rules laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It is the responsibility of the Commission to take the appropriate measures, starting with completing its analysis report as soon as possible pointing clearly to the governments that are responsible.

Today’s vote opens up a crucial phase for the credibility of our institution. However, the battle for respect for the rights of minorities is not completely over. Now more than ever there is a need to acknowledge all the rights of minorities in the EU and ensure that those rights are put into practice.

 
  
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  Catherine Soullie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I deeply regret the fact that Parliament has adopted the motion for a resolution tabled by the Socialists, Liberals, Greens and Communists regarding the situation of the Roma people in Europe.

I feel it is unacceptable to criticise France in that way, since it is not the only Member State to return Roma to their own country. The establishment of certain Roma camps is clearly prejudicial to public order and sometimes even a violation of the right to private property, and the burden it places on our social security system entitles the French Government to take such measures in accordance with the provisions of the European Treaties. The returns to Romania and Bulgaria were carried out in accordance with French and European law and in strict compliance with human rights.

I welcome the decision by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) to set up a working group on Roma integration in order to find a European solution to the issue of nomadism. We need to take a constructive approach to this subject.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) We abstained from the vote on the motion for a resolution tabled by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, as we cannot agree with the point seeking to promote the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area, since these countries are not capable of guaranteeing equal social, economic and security conditions. Our position is consistent with the clear ‘no’ to their accession to the EU that we voiced in the past.

On the other hand, we voted firmly against the resolution tabled by the Left because it undermines the autonomy and discretionary power of countries such as France and Italy which have decided to take a hard line against people who do not respect the law. A statistic which should give us food for thought is that since the recent arrival in France of a large number of Roma from Eastern European countries, burglaries have risen by over 200%.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing concerning motion for a resolution B7-0492/2010. (PT) The Roma ethnic group is a minority, the majority of whose members are citizens of a Union Member State. European citizens have the right to move freely and settle in any EU Member State, as long as they comply with the provisions of Directive 2004/38/CE. The restriction of this freedom is, however, possible for reasons of public order, security or public health. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that a measure such as the expulsion of EU citizens must be applied on a case-by-case basis and not attributed to groups or communities.

The solution to the problem lies in the implementation of a strategy favourable to the Roma, allowing cooperation between states, institutions and other parties and the involvement of Roma communities in its planning and execution, as well as the setting up of a programme for intervention in marginalised areas with structural disadvantages. I am in mind of the opportunity offered by the European Regional Development Fund legislation concerning the eligibility of housing interventions in favour of marginalised communities and the need for better action by the European Platform for Roma Inclusion. Equally important is the development of a constructive dialogue between states and Roma community members. For the reasons mentioned above, I am voting in favour of the motion for a resolution.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing on joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0493/2010. (PT) The Roma ethnic group is a minority, the majority of whose members are citizens of a European Union Member State. All European citizens have the rights and duties set out in Directive 2004/38/CE concerning the right to freedom of movement in the European Union, according to the conditions stipulated therein. Member States do, however, have the right to restrict freedom of movement and the immigration of citizens of the European Union into their territory, regardless of nationality, for reasons of public order, security or public health.

Member States are not obliged to inform the European Commission before applying this public order clause, which remains their sovereign right. Although I share the conviction that the European Union and its Member States share responsibility for encouraging the inclusion of the Roma community, through an integrated strategy, and through cooperation between the Member States, the European Commission, the other European institutions and other interested parties in compliance with the principle of non discrimination, I am unable to vote in favour of condemning the late and limited reaction of the Commission to the situation of the Roma in Europe and verifying compliance with human rights, as this is a responsibility shared by all. For these reasons, I am abstaining from voting on this motion for a resolution.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the joint motion for a resolution on the situation of Roma and on freedom of movement in the European Union as I believe that the situation of roughly 10-12 million Roma requires a European integration strategy for them. Free movement of persons is one of the EU’s fundamental principles. European citizens of Roma origin, regardless of their nationality, also have the right to move around the EU freely. They, like any European citizen, have both rights and obligations. If a person, regardless of their ethnic origin and nationality, commits offences, they will face the full force of the law. However, there is no nationality or ethnic group associated with criminality. I believe that a whole ethnic group or population of a country cannot and must not be stigmatised by actions committed by some of their members. The Treaty of Lisbon gives binding legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Article 2 of this document clearly states that the EU is based on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, as well as respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. I believe that the EU and Member States have a shared responsibility to promote Roma integration via an EU Roma strategy.

 
  
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  Traian Ungureanu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted against the joint motion for a resolution proposed by the Left because this document puts the issue of the Roma minority in Europe on the wrong track. The resolution adopted during plenary is an ideological text rather than a concrete action plan. The resolution tabled by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament is basically a show of hypocrisy covered up by ‘progressive’ political discourse. This resolution is attempting to make us believe that now we are all racists.

That is except for left-wing politicians, of course. The resolution was drafted and voted on without any proper knowledge of the Roma’s situation, either in Eastern or Western Europe. The Roma issue is not a national problem and cannot be described either in terms of racial policy. The Roma issue goes back a long way in Europe’s history and still remains unresolved. The use of clichés and the political agenda, mainly in the form of the socialists’ clash with the right-wing administration in France, will not resolve anything, apart from the left wing’s electoral objectives. I voted for the resolution from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) precisely because this document suggests measures and calls for coordination at European level. The Roma issue is not a question of racism, but of realism. If the Roma issue is dealt with according to the terms stipulated by the left, it will quickly resurface and will trigger new crises in one Member State or another. The outcome of today’s vote is regrettable and unproductive.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution (B7-0491/2010)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on long-term care for older people, as I consider it to be of the greatest importance to guarantee conditions for active ageing, with greater assistance to ensure a better quality of life for all older people in the EU. This motion for a resolution aims to reduce inequalities in health and protect older people in the European Union and, in terms of healthcare provision, fight against the inadequate treatment to which older people are often subjected, adopting more efficient human-resources strategies to reduce staff shortages, contributing to spreading information and communications technology, and encouraging care in the family and autonomy for old people.

I hope that with this proposal the European Commission will collect data on long-term care best practices that could be an added value for the European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity (2012), with the goal of reducing any kind of discrimination, improving long-term care and the impact of poverty among older people. I also recommend the creation of an active ageing observatory to promote best practices.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Even though some countries such as Italy and Germany are more likely to be affected than others, all the Member States of the European Union are having to deal with ageing populations. We must take this challenge on board. However, we still too often act in the short term and forget to make provision for the change that is taking place in our societies. This is an excellent resolution as it provides a brief and fairly comprehensive overview of the ways in which we shall have to adapt (infrastructure, health systems, interpersonal relationships, and so on). It is vital that we continue to take action on this matter. We must avoid today the potential difficulties of tomorrow.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I support this report. According to the employment policy guidelines, Member States must make every effort to achieve the most important objective – to ensure sustainable growth and strengthen job creation. We must also resolve Member States’ long-term problems: demographic change, globalisation and the creation of new technologies. To achieve this we must invest in sustainable growth that would promote the preservation of existing jobs and the emergence of new jobs, with particular attention paid to small and medium-sized enterprises, which create most jobs in Europe. We must also pursue the following social objectives of employment: promoting quality education and lifelong learning among existing and future workers; combating unemployment, paying particular attention to promoting the employment of young people, the elderly, the disabled and women, and viewing non-standard work contracts more favourably.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) With the demographic changes taking place in the European Union, the number of older people is growing rapidly and we must address major challenges: meet the higher demand for healthcare, adapt health systems to the needs of an ageing population while keeping them sustainable in societies with a smaller workforce. At present, poverty is very widespread among elderly people, because in many EU Member States pensions and other social benefits are being reduced dramatically, so it is important to devise sustainable financing systems for long-term care provision to finance eldercare provision. We must also set minimum standards for all care sectors, including minimum wages.

I would like to point out that we must reduce health inequalities and safeguard older people in the community and in care settings. We must also fight against the social exclusion of older people and any type of discrimination based on age. We must safeguard the conditions for active ageing and ensure a dignified and fulfilling life for older people.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Quality education and training are a must in terms of personal fulfilment of the individual, equality, fighting social exclusion and poverty, active citizenship and social cohesion. I call on the Member States to regulate the qualification requirements for welfare workers caring for older people and to devise and implement advanced training systems to help raise the educational level of those working in the eldercare system and hence improve the quality of the services offered. It is essential for investment in the provision of specialist geriatric medicine to be increased in order to increase the quality of the care provided for older people.

 
  
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  Ole Christensen, Dan Jørgensen, Christel Schaldemose and Britta Thomsen (S&D), in writing. (DA) The Danish Social Democrats do not believe that minimum wages, as specified in paragraph 12 of the resolution, should be introduced. That being said, the Danish Social Democrats have chosen to vote in favour of the resolution, because, apart from this call to introduce minimum wages, it contains a number of views and initiatives that we support.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) The European Parliament’s decision to adopt a motion for a resolution on long-term care for older people is beneficial because these people, as European citizens, need to continue to exercise their rights and freedom, preserve their place in society and keep in touch with the other generations. I believe that the EU and Member States need to take into consideration population ageing in order to establish cooperation aimed at setting up a sustainable system for funding the provision of care for the elderly, as well as for providing suitable professional training to staff who work in the sector, offering them an appropriate level of salary, which will help improve the quality of the services provided. Furthermore, urban and spatial development services need to adopt measures facilitating access for the elderly and persons with reduced mobility where they need it: social services tailored to their needs, social and cultural activities. The relevant authorities need to regularly inform elderly people about their entitlements and about changes to legislation which affect them.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing (PT) I voted in favour of this motion for a resolution because I advocate access to quality health services and proper care for older people. In the light of the demographic changes of recent years, in particular the ageing of the population, older people must be supported so that they can live with dignity and independence in their own homes.

 
  
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  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson and Marita Ulvskog (S&D), in writing. (SV) We must maintain a high standard of care for older people, and this care must be a prioritised part of the welfare system that is developed in line with demographic change. We fully understand the setting of requirements for minimum social standards for all contracts in the care sector, but we think it is unfortunate that minimum wages are specified, something that we do not always have in Sweden, as it is the responsibility of the social partners to set wage levels. The setting of wage levels does not fall within the competence of the EU, either. We do not believe that this situation should change in any way, but have, nevertheless, chosen to vote in favour of the motion for a resolution, as we believe that the main issue is a very important one.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) With increased average life expectancy and the growing vulnerability in the situation of older people due to their dependence on social services that are often inadequate and cause fragmentation in family relationships, we are facing a situation in which many people, at this most difficult stage of their lives, find themselves alone and without the financial means to support themselves and, in many cases, in situations of tragic poverty, therefore making it necessary for national governments to assume the provision of basic care.

In Europe, as in Portugal, the issue of continued care is very important to the CDS-PP (the Democratic and Social Centre People’s Party), and for several years we have clearly supported the creation of suitable networks to provide this kind of care and support for families including older people, and for private care providers. It is with satisfaction that I see that the motion for a resolution here proposes that national governments should support informal continued care providers, often family members, and that these carers, who are taking on the role which under other circumstances would be the state’s, be given the conditions necessary to care for their older relatives without being penalised, for example professionally.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In recent years, a demographic change towards an older population has been recorded in the EU. This phenomenon has created serious budgetary pressures and led to large amounts of extra healthcare infrastructure and social services being sought. Policies are therefore necessary for the inclusion of older people and for combating all forms of age-based discrimination. I am surprised that, in many Member States, funding and provision of specialist geriatric medicine has been reduced over the years. The provision of care to the older population should be of high quality.

Therefore, the Member States should have policies for improving specialist training. I would also remind you of the enormous contribution of voluntary bodies, religious organisations and charities in this area. The Member States should be particularly vigilant with regard to guaranteeing the protection of the fundamental rights of people receiving care over a long period. The Member States should provide support, as a matter of priority, for the establishment of home palliative care units, and devise and implement advanced training systems to help raise the educational level of those working in the eldercare system. The Commission should prepare a study which will give a clearer picture of the increasing requirements for the care of older people and an estimate of the anticipated specialist provision for the period until 2020.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Scientific and technological progress and the positive evolution of civilisations have enabled people’s life expectancies to be prolonged. Now, however, with neoliberal propositions and capitalism’s permanent goal of ever greater profits, governments are tending to give less value to the role of older people and considering an ageing population to be a burden; this is unacceptable.

In this motion for a resolution, even though it does not address the root of the problem, namely the reasons for the devaluing of social support, there is a call to fight against older people’s social exclusion and against all forms of age discrimination.

It also condemns the reduction in specialist geriatric medicine, the lack of commitment to training those specialised in caring for older people, and the lack of community and home care infrastructure, as well as of care for older people in conditions accessible to all.

We therefore endorse this call, but will continue to fight against the causes of this situation and for a real change in policies to favour older people.

 
  
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  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), in writing. (FR) On reading the motion for a resolution from the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, on which we have voted, I am reminded of the painful and shameful episode of the 2003 heatwave in which over 15 000 elderly people died in France. The staff shortage in retirement homes and an unhealthy trend in our societies, especially in my country, that leaves many of our older people alone and destitute are at the root of that tragedy. Nor can I forget, however, the huge responsibility borne by the European Union for the disintegration of our social security systems, through the economic and trade policies that it applies, the budgetary Malthusianism that it tries to impose, and its purely actuarial vision of social security, which it shares with our political leaders. I hold it jointly responsible with the governments that support it for the low levels of wages, purchasing power and pensions. Nor can I forget the death culture that a large number of texts debated in this Chamber convey. Frankly, therefore, I do not feel it is ever relevant to give Brussels any power whatsoever over policies regarding older people, not even the power to draw up statistics.

 
  
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  Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. − (SV) Explanation of vote: we have today voted in favour of the motion for a resolution (B7-0491/2010) on long-term care for older people. However, we would like to point out that we do not agree with everything in the resolution. Our main concern is the call to introduce minimum wages. In this regard, we would uphold the principle of subsidiarity. Gunnar Hökmark, Christofer Fjellner, Anna Ibrisagic, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This is an issue to which we in my party have been giving great prominence and which we consider of great importance, in order for the latter part of the lives of older people with serious health problems to be lived in the best possible conditions. It is therefore necessary, despite the crisis, to channel the most possible resources into achieving the best possible support for all those receiving long-term care, in order for older people to have a good quality of life. That is what my party has been advocating in Portugal, and we have tabled several proposals to the Portuguese Parliament on this issue.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) Demographic change in recent years, especially the ageing of the population, has resulted in an increase in budgetary pressure and a high demand for better health and social care infrastructures. I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on long-term care for older people, which encourages the Member States to combat the social exclusion of these people and all types of discrimination on the grounds of age, because the Member States need to guarantee access to adequate health and social care as a fundamental principle of the European solidarity model.

It is important to acknowledge the importance of quality and continuity of care and therefore the Member States must introduce programmes providing assistance and care at home for older people or continue them in those countries where they already exist, under the administration of municipal and local authorities in their respective areas of competence. Guarantees must be established in all the Member States to protect the fundamental rights of people receiving long-term care.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – (LV) I fully support this motion for a resolution. I hope that further action will follow the European Parliament’s declaration. It is essential to react sharply and effectively to any and every instance of discrimination against the elderly. It is essential to draw up a directive legally binding on national governments which will provide for legal action against acts intended to reduce pensions and non-compliance with other obligations incumbent on the state with regard to the elderly. In 2009, in my country, Latvia, in order to ‘plug a hole’ in the budget, the government reduced pensions, thereby destroying people’s hopes for social stability and fairness. I voted for this resolution in the hope that similar infringements and the malicious exercise of power will not happen again.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) We have already been seeing for many years that it is no longer feasible to finance short- or long-term care. Nevertheless, all measures in this regard have been put on the back burner and those affected and their relatives have been left out in the cold. Just as in the case of bringing up children, the services of caring relatives and voluntary workers in the community are far too undervalued and social networks are destroyed in the name of capitalism. Instead, people have been persuaded that unbridled mass immigration is necessary in order to guarantee that the social systems are maintained and therefore also the care of the elderly.

The opposite is true, in fact. This has only speeded up the impending financial collapse. The debate about the financial viability and financial burden of care is coming far too late. If we now want to give priority to developing palliative care and medical care at home, it will not really be possible to change our minds and do a U-turn on this. The desire to tackle the abuse of elderly people in care is, in any case, to be welcomed. The list of demands is years overdue. I have, nevertheless, voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. I am very happy with the adoption of this resolution, which basically: calls on Member States to consider the demographic developments of recent years – and especially the ageing of population – leading to increased budgetary pressures and high demand for better health and social care infrastructure; encourages Member States to fight against the social exclusion of elderly people and any type of discrimination based on age; and reminds Member States that ensuring access to adequate health and care services is a fundamental principle of the European model of solidarity.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The adoption of this motion for a resolution once again demonstrates that the European Parliament and its Members are particularly committed to the issue of healthcare for older people. In an ageing society, protecting and enhancing our ‘silver years’ is becoming increasingly important.

Continuing training for people working in this field, a call for all Member States to launch information campaigns aimed at older people on dietary choices and prevention of the risks of dehydration, the development of so-called ‘e-Health’ in order to tackle inefficiency and waste are just some of the measures proposed by this resolution.

No Member State may evade the essential obligation to improve the conditions of these men and women who are often left to fend for themselves. I therefore hope that, with the aim of truly creating a ‘society for all’, the adoption of this resolution can provide fresh impetus to the Member States so that people of different ages have the opportunity to participate actively in community life, without the community leaving them to their fate.

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE) , in writing. (SV) I have today voted in favour of resolution B7-0491/2010 on long-term care for older people. However, there is one paragraph in the resolution that I do not support. In paragraph 12, the resolution calls for minimum standards for all contracts in the care sector, including minimum wages. This is something to which the Swedish Christian Democrats are opposed. It is also alien to the Swedish model of collective agreements. Our Swedish model has proven to be in the interests of both workers and employers. I firmly believe that wages are a matter that should be decided by means of an agreement between the social partners and not something in which politicians should be trying to outbid each other.

 
  
  

Joint motion for a resolution (RC-B7-0484/2010)

 
  
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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 situation of the Jordan River with special regard to the Lower Jordan River area as I believe it essential to call attention to the destruction of this river, especially of its lower reaches. The proposal requests the governments of Israel and Jordan, as well as the Palestinian Authority, and the support of the European Union, to create a Jordan River Basin Commission, which would be open to other riparian countries.

I feel a management plan is needed capable of repairing the devastation caused to the Jordan River, along with the concession of financial and technical support for its rehabilitation, in particular of its lower reaches. The question of water resource management, with an equitable sharing of water that respects the needs of all people living in the region, is of utmost importance to establishing lasting peace and stability in the Middle East. I therefore feel efforts should be intensified in terms of supplementary financial and technical support to water management projects, encouraging its equitable use and the transfer of the necessary technology to countries in the region.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. I support the resolution on the situation of the Jordan River, because it calls for concrete action on an issue that has a direct effect on the economic, social and cultural well-being of the peoples of the region. The severe degradation of the Jordan River impacts on all aspects of the livelihood of the communities dependent on the water resources of the River. In calling for jointly planned, cross-border solutions to the issues of pollution and over-exploitation of water resources, the resolution underlines the confidence and peace-building outcomes that can follow on from Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian cooperation in facing the problem of the River Jordan’s degradation.

The resolution rightly stresses the need to include plans and proposals for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River in the Union’s relations with the riparian countries. Similarly, given the pressing nature of the problem, the EU should prioritise rehabilitation of the Jordan River in its development projects in the region.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. − (PT) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the situation of the Jordan River because its value in environmental, natural beauty, cultural, historical, agricultural and economic terms must be preserved. Proper management of the water resources that respects the needs of all people in the region is also of great importance to the stability of the Middle East.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The problems of the Jordan River go well beyond normal concern over environmental degradation of water courses. As recognised by the resolution we have adopted, the Jordan is not just a river. Its significance goes well beyond the condition of the river, affecting the political, symbolic and religious spheres of states, nations and peoples of various latitudes.

The particular importance conferred on it by humanity’s history justifies the concern of Europe and, in particular, of this Chamber, over its fate. I hope and wish that the states bordering the Jordan will be able to put their traditional differences and mistrust aside and join together in avoiding further degradation of this river.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Jordan River, and the Lower Jordan River area in particular, is a cultural landscape of universal significance, with great historical, religious and environmental importance. Unfortunately, it has been devastated by overexploitation, pollution, and mismanagement of its flow, leading to a 50% loss in biodiversity. The rehabilitation of the Jordan River, and the Lower Jordan River area in particular, is of the greatest importance for the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian local communities facing similar water challenges.

It also offers tremendous economic and mutual trust-building benefits. The existence of active cooperation between governments, civil society organisations and local communities concerned can make a major contribution to regional peace-building efforts. Therefore, we call on the authorities of the affected countries to cooperate and rehabilitate the Jordan River by drawing up and implementing policies which focus on achieving tangible results in the areas of domestic and agricultural water-demand management, and water- and natural-resource conservation. We also call on the Council, the Commission and EU Member States to encourage and support a comprehensive plan to rectify the devastation of the Jordan River.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As already stated in the motion for a resolution, the Jordan River basin, especially its lower reaches, constitutes a cultural landscape of universal significance and of great historical, symbolic, religious, environmental, agricultural and economic importance both in the Middle East and further afield. The river’s current state of ecological degradation and the resulting levels of pollution give serious cause for concern.

The desirable and needed restoration of the Jordan River – an environmental, social and cultural imperative – is, of course, inseparable from the region’s geopolitical context. It must be recognised that the Palestinian population of the West Bank is already facing a serious water shortage due to a large part of this being used by Israel and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and also to the continued occupation by Israel of part of the Golan Heights, where many important springs are located. An equitable division of the water resources, respecting equally the needs of all the region’s peoples, is of prime importance to establishing lasting peace and stability in the Middle East and this, in turn, is inseparable from the required rehabilitation of the lower reaches of the Jordan.

 
  
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  Jaromír Kohlíček (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (CS) The situation in the Near East has been complicated for many years, both politically, as well as economically and ecologically. Rivers have never been many here, their flow is very unstable, even in ancient times forests gave way to farmland and pastures every year destroy shrubs, trees and other greenery. The water flow in the Jordan River is already low and the water is polluted and the Dead Sea is gradually drying up. Assuring a sufficient flow of water in the river is a major technical problem, which can only be solved in a peaceful political climate. The European Union has long been active in a series of projects the chief aim of which is to support the peaceful development of the whole area.

It is therefore also desirable that we support the key programme, namely the renewal of a rational water regime in the middle and lower flow of the Jordan. Because local governments face similar problems in a number of places in the Sahel and Asia, it is not only the response of the Commission that will provide a valuable inspiration for the solution of similar problems in a number of other places, but the adoption of concrete corrective measures. I support the adoption of the joint draft resolution.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) Access to drinking water is a fundamental human right. In July, in fact, the United Nations adopted the resolution emanating from the Cochabamba Peoples’ Summit demanding that it be recognised. The River Jordan has been devastated and the Palestinian people deprived of access to drinking water by the diversion of virtually the entire flow of the river by Israel, Jordan and Syria. Cooperation agreements between states to regenerate the river and improve the way water resources in the region are shared out must be supported by the European Union without fail.

This exclusive interest in the River Jordan when so many other rivers are being destroyed is shocking, nonetheless. That is what this resolution advocates. I am voting in favour in the hope that there will be comparable concern for the other watercourses around the world.

 
  
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  Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution on the situation of the Jordan River because all the countries along the river need to be encouraged to restore it. The Lower Jordan River area is entirely spoilt: poor management has resulted in serious pollution, resulting in a 50% loss of biodiversity.

In the Peace Treaty, signed in 1994, Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan agreed to cooperate in the ecological recovery of the River Jordan along the shared borders and to protect its water resources. However, the Palestinians have been excluded from the Israeli security zone established in the West Bank throughout the Lower Jordan River area, which is illegally occupied by Israeli settlers who irrigate the land with water that belongs to the Palestinians.

This means that the Palestinian population in the West Bank is facing serious water shortages, therefore we demand that Israel puts an end to the settlements policy, including in the Lower Jordan River area. The countries along the river must, with the support of the EU, create a Jordan River commission to restore the river in order to guarantee that there is a sufficient volume of water to supply the population that lives along the river.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – (LV) I voted for this motion for a resolution. The resolutions states that today the Jordan River is in a catastrophic state. The level of the Dead Sea falls by 30 cm every year. The coastal countries, especially Syria and Jordan, exploit the river’s resources while making no investment in the development of sewage purification equipment and drinking water preparation equipment. If the EU does not very soon increase its pressure on all water resource users, an ecological disaster is inevitable. In this respect, the resolution is a very timely signal to the governments of Syria, Jordan and Israel. It is essential to make all Middle East governments understand that the EU is not a fire engine that can solve their problems. We must force the Syrian, Jordanian and Israeli governments to think of the future. We must help them to plan for action to this end, but in no circumstances must be hand out funds to those who exploit natural resources thoughtlessly so that they may obtain their selfish aims.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. I welcome the important vote, today, on a resolution that draws attention to and expresses its concern at the devastation of the River Jordan, and the Lower Jordan in particular. It calls on the authorities of all the riparian countries to cooperate and rehabilitate the River Jordan by drawing up and implementing policies which focus on achieving tangible results in the areas of domestic and agricultural water-demand management, water conservation and the management of sewage and agricultural and industrial effluents, and on ensuring that an adequate quantity of fresh water flows into the Lower Jordan. It welcomes the cooperation among Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian local communities facing similar water challenges in the Lower Jordan area and calls on Israel and Jordan fully to honour commitments made in their peace treaty concerning the rehabilitation of the Jordan River.

 
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