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Proċedura : 2010/2137(INI)
Ċiklu ta' ħajja waqt sessjoni
Ċiklu relatat mad-dokument : A7-0374/2010

Testi mressqa :

A7-0374/2010

Dibattiti :

PV 20/01/2011 - 3
CRE 20/01/2011 - 3

Votazzjonijiet :

PV 20/01/2011 - 7.4
CRE 20/01/2011 - 7.4
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Spjegazzjoni tal-votazzjoni

Testi adottati :

P7_TA(2011)0023

Dibattiti
Il-Ħamis, 20 ta' Jannar 2011 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

3. Rapport dwar il-Politika tal-Kompetizzjoni 2009 (dibattitu)
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
PV
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  El Presidente. − El primer punto del orden del día es el informe de Derk Jan Eppink, en nombre de la Comisión de Asuntos Económicos y Monetarios, sobre el Informe sobre la política de competencia 2009 (2010/2137(INI)) (A7-0374/2010).

 
  
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  Derk Jan Eppink, rapporteur. − Mr President, these days competition is often regarded as a concept that makes life difficult. Some people prefer cosy arrangements and the hot tub of backstage agreements as protection against the harsh world of global competition. But, Commissioner, competition is not the spoiler but the lifesaver of the European economy. Europe is at a crossroads. Will it create a transfer economy, with low growth and high structural unemployment, or will it have a wealth-creating economy that stands the test of global competition?

A football team, Commissioner, that is not competitive loses game after game. An economy that is not competitive loses investment, jobs and finally the basis of its social arrangements. Since European competition policy is the exclusive competence of the European Commission, you, Commissioner – or rather Commissioner Almunia, for whom you are standing in – play a decisive role.

This week the United Nations published figures on foreign direct investment in 2010. The United States attracted 43% more foreign investment than in 2009. Foreign direct investment in Latin America rose by 21% and in Asia by 10%. In the European Union it dropped by 20% – and why is that? The money goes to where the action is. Apparently investors regard Europe as the continent of inaction, only generating poor growth figures. It demonstrates the European Union facing a competitiveness deficit.

Commissioner, you have to assure a level playing field for entrepreneurial activity in Europe to make our continent fit for global competition. We all know China.

I would like to draw your attention to several aspects of competition policy in 2009, of which many features are visible today. The main issue now is the consequences of massive state aid to the financial sector: states allocated taxpayers’ money to prevent the collapse of the financial sector. Had we allowed a meltdown of the financial sector, the savings and pensions of millions of European citizens would have been buried too. But it goes without saying that state aid on this scale created distortions of competition. That is why it has to end as soon as possible and the money has to be paid back to taxpayers in Europe.

Commissioner, my first question therefore is: how temporary is the temporary framework, and how will it be phased out? I hope you will clarify this issue on behalf of Commissioner Almunia.

Another aspect is liquidity support of the European Central Bank to certain banks in order to keep them alive. I admit there is an interface between monetary and competition policy – but did its impact distort competition? That is my question.

Another issue is the set of rules for divestment. Work criteria for downsizing companies are sufficiently clear and fair. Now we should look at the future: what is going to happen, Commissioner? Member States have gone very far to recapitalise the financial sector by partly and/or entirely nationalising institutions with taxpayers’ money. This will have to be unravelled. But once Member States start withdrawing from financial institutions to restore their private status, there is a danger that they will leave behind a dowry, a sort of wedding gift. Dowries may be used to prop up the position of financial institutions in the private market.

This is a feature we have often seen in the process of privatisation. I remember it too well in the postal sector. Governments propped up their postal provider just before entering the private market. In a letter I reminded Commissioner Almunia of the long-lasting investigation into the German postal provider. The Commission is currently opening investigations into the British, French and Belgian postal providers as well, since these postal markets will be liberalised this year.

So, Commissioner, I ask you to be attentive to the phenomenon of dowry in the financial sector. Preventing a problem is better than going the long way of legal redress.

I thank you, Commissioner – and also Commissioner Almunia – for your cooperation, and I also thank the service of DG Competition which, as I know, is one of the best in the Commission.

 
  
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  Štefan Füle, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, on behalf of Vice-President Almunia, who is unable to be here this morning, I would firstly like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Eppink, for his work on the report on Competition Policy 2009. I would also like to thank the rapporteurs in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and the Committee on Transport, Ms Koch-Mehrin, Mr Buşoi and Mr Cramer.

The Commission welcomes the positive tone of the report and the support expressed for our actions in the field of competition policy in 2009, in particular in the context of the economic and financial crisis. We share your view that competition is essential to ensure a level playing field in the single market and to promote a sustainable exit from the crisis. This is why the Commission remains committed to enforcing its firm stance on anti-competitive behaviour and mergers.

The Commission takes note of the many requests for specific reports or studies – more than 10 of them. It is not feasible for the Commission to produce all these reports, due to our priorities and limited resources. However, as Vice-President Almunia announced to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in November, the Commission will analyse the effects on competition of the temporary state aid measures taken in the context of the crisis. This work will be difficult, but the crisis is a learning opportunity we simply cannot miss.

Secondly, I would like to restate here that these measures are indeed temporary. The Commission prolonged the crisis framework for state aid until the end of 2011 because the economic conditions are still uncertain. However, the gradual phasing-out of these measures has already started. Some measures have been terminated and others have been maintained under stricter conditions.

Thirdly, as regards private enforcement of competition rules, the Commission takes note of Parliament’s support for the creation of a European form of collective redress, and of its request for specific EU legislation to ensure compensation for victims of infringements of EU antitrust law. The Commission will launch a public consultation at the beginning of 2011 on a European approach to collective redress. It then plans to adopt a communication based on the results of this.

Finally, I would like to refer to the concerns expressed about competition in specific sectors, such as energy, transport, the food supply chain and emerging digital industries. The Commission shares your concerns, and we will maintain our strong enforcement activities in these fields in close cooperation with the national competition authorities.

 
  
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  Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Verfasserin der Stellungnahme des mitberatenden Ausschusses für Industrie, Forschung und Energie. − Herr Präsident! Die Wettbewerbspolitik ist eine der wichtigsten und zentralen Politikbereiche der EU. Gute Wettbewerbspolitik ermöglicht funktionierende Märkte. Gute Wettbewerbspolitik ermöglicht auch für die Verbraucher vernünftige und bezahlbare Preise und Produktvielfalt. Gute Wettbewerbspolitik trägt auch dazu bei, wieder Wachstum in Europa zu schaffen. Deshalb ist es wesentlich, alle Bereiche – wie Sie es erwähnt haben, Herr Kommissar – in die Wettbewerbspolitik mit einzubeziehen. Und es ist wichtig, kleine und mittlere Unternehmen zu stärken, die der Motor des Wachstums in Europa sind. Dafür müssten Marktbarrieren abgeschafft werden, und dazu gehört auch, überzogene Kosten, die es immer noch da gibt, wo Wettbewerb eben nicht funktioniert, abzuschaffen, zum Beispiel beim Roaming, wo es noch keinen Wettbewerb gibt, was geändert werden muss.

Zum Schluss meinen herzlichen Dank an den Berichterstatter Derk Jan Eppink für die exzellente Arbeit und an die Kommission! Bitte seien Sie ehrgeizig!

(Beifall)

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. − Mr President, I would like to start by congratulating the Commission on its flexibility in applying the competition rules during the current financial and economic crisis. It is very important that the crisis is not used as a pretext to eliminate competition, and the Commission has already shown a very firm attitude against cartels, which is a good thing. We need to make sure that there are exit mechanisms and that we come back to normal market conditions as soon as possible.

There are some areas – and you spoke about that, Commissioner – where competition can be enhanced. These include the energy market, where regulated energy prices still distort competition; the completion of the single railway market can also bring important benefits to European travellers. The Commission should also be particularly careful concerning competition on the medicines market, especially with regard to those practices of originator producers which restrict the entry of generic medicines.

Furthermore, I call on the Commission to be firm in securing competition between public and private hospitals by means of bold action against cross-subsidies which favour public hospitals. The Commission needs to communicate the benefits of competition policy to consumers more effectively.

 
  
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  Michael Cramer, Verfasser der Stellungnahme des mitberatenden Ausschusses für Verkehr und Fremdenverkehr. − Herr Präsident! Zuerst einmal Dank an den Berichterstatter für die gute Zusammenarbeit, die wir gehabt haben.

Der Verkehr ist entscheidend – auch im Wettbewerb. Denn der Verkehr ist für 30 Prozent der CO2-Emissionen verantwortlich, und ich bin dankbar, dass aufgenommen wurde, dass der Verkehr auch in die zentralen Forderungen der Strategie Europa 2020 integriert wird.

Wir haben aber einen unfairen Wettbewerb, und da muss die Kommission aktiv werden. Wir haben zum Beispiel im Luftverkehr – dem Klimakiller par excellence – eine Mehrwertsteuerbefreiung und eine Kerosinsteuerbefreiung. Das heißt, der europäische Steuerzahler zahlt jedes Jahr 30 Milliarden Euro für den Luftverkehr, damit die anbieten können, von einer Metropole in die andere zum Taxipreis zu fliegen. Die Bahn muss das alles bezahlen. Wir haben eine verpflichtende Schienenmaut für jede Lokomotive auf jedem Streckenkilometer. Die muss erhoben werden, sie ist in der Höhe unbegrenzt. Auf der Straße ist es eine freiwillige Sache der Mitgliedstaaten, ob sie eine Maut erheben. Meist gilt sie nur auf Autobahnen für Lkw ab 12 Tonnen. Wir haben also Mitgliedstaaten, die eine hohe Schienenmaut und gar keine Straßenmaut haben. Das kann nicht sein, weil wir dann die Ziele verfehlen. Denn ohne eine Änderung der Mobilität werden wir den Klimawandel nicht stoppen können. Das müssen wir aber! Deshalb müssen Sie fairen Wettbewerb auch im Verkehrssektor erreichen!

 
  
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  Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, PPE grupas vārdā. – Godājamais priekšsēdētāj, komisāra kungs! Mēs visi esam slinki. Ja mēs tik varam atļauties kaut ko nedarīt, vairums cilvēku to arī nedarīs. Uzņēmējdarbība nav nekāds izņēmums šajā ziņā. Vairums uzņēmēju, es esmu pārliecināts, sapņo par iespēju, ka viņi varētu būt monopolisti, kur viņi diktētu noteikumus, nevis patērētāji tos noteikumus viņiem diktētu. Konkurence ir tieši tas, kas nodrošina patērētājam ne tikai zemas cenas, bet arī maksimāli labu kvalitāti. Diemžēl Eiropas Savienībā mums joprojām ir vairākas jomas, kur konkurences īsti nav. Pirmā no šīm ir enerģētika. Pastāv joprojām vairākās vietās Eiropā izolēti tirgi, kur tiesiski tehnisku iemeslu dēļ vispār nav konkurences. Kas ir rezultāts? Mākslīgi dārgas cenas patērētājiem. Konkrēts piemērs: Baltijas valstis un gāzes tirgus. Kā komisārs Otingers pats ir atzinis, šodien Vācijas patērētāji maksā par trīsdesmit procentiem zemāku cenu par dabasgāzi nekā Baltijas valstu patērētāji. Kāpēc konkurence vienā pusē ir, bet Baltijas valstīs nav? Šis ir jāmaina. Ir otra joma, kur mums konkurences reāli nav, un tas ir lauksaimniecības sektors. Nemaz nerunājot par to, ko subsīdijas kā tādas dara lauksaimniecības tirgū, Eiropas iekšienē mums ir ļoti nevienlīdzīgi lauksaimniecības maksājumi vai subsīdijas vienā dalībvalstī iepretī otrai. Ko tas nozīmē? Ka Eiropas patērētāji daudzviet maksā mākslīgi dārgas cenas un, protams, cieš arī lauksaimnieki. Kolēģi, es aicinu atbalstīt šo ziņojumu, kurš uzrunā Komisijas darbību „Pretī konkurencei” 2009. gadam. Bet es atgādinu, ka tas darbs ar to nebeidzas, un mums ir jāturpina paplašināt tās jomas, kur konkurencei arī ir jāatrodas. Paldies par uzmanību!

 
  
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  Antolín Sánchez Presedo, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señor Presidente, el informe sobre la política de competencia 2009 es, probablemente, uno de los más extensos y ricos elaborados por el Parlamento ―la Comisión de Asuntos Económicos y Monetarios ha podido incorporar la opinión de otras tres comisiones parlamentarias― y se produce después de un lustro de la entrada en vigor de dos reglamentos importantes, el Reglamento de modernización y el Reglamento de concentraciones, que han jugado un papel positivo en la política de la competencia pero cuya ejecución puede todavía mejorar si se alinean mejor las prioridades, se refuerza la cooperación, se simplifican las cargas administrativas y se produce la convergencia de las normas nacionales con las comunitarias.

El informe recoge la importancia de los servicios de interés general para atender las necesidades básicas de los ciudadanos, y consideramos necesario insistir en esta línea en el nuevo marco establecido en el Tratado de Lisboa. Por ello, y teniendo en cuenta la importancia de la sociedad de la información, se respaldan las ayudas destinadas a proporcionar una cobertura adecuada y universal de banda ancha, a precios asequibles, a nuestros ciudadanos y se pide que en los sucesivos informes se dé cuenta de la evolución de los precios del roaming en las telecomunicaciones.

La política de competencia es clave en los servicios financieros. Las ayudas han contribuido a estabilizar y mitigar los efectos de la crisis. El informe recuerda su provisionalidad y que su extensión debe realizarse en condiciones más estrictas, así como que, en el proceso de salida, debe restablecerse un terreno de juego equilibrado, evitando el riesgo moral y, sobre todo, que aquellas instituciones financieras que no han recurrido a ayudas de Estado vean restaurada su posición competitiva.

En el ámbito financiero se insiste también en tres puntos: la transparencia en la información financiera, la necesidad de que el sistema europeo de pagos sea accesible y transparente y funcione de forma no discriminatoria y eficiente y, además, la necesidad de combatir los precios inusualmente altos en las operaciones transfronterizas con tarjetas de pago. Se preocupa asimismo de las PYME y de la energía, acoge las recomendaciones del Grupo de Alto Nivel del sector lácteo —que considera que el reforzamiento del poder de negociación de los productores y las nuevas relaciones contractuales deben ser compatibles con la política de competencia— y demanda a la Comisión una iniciativa legislativa para facilitar el ejercicio de reclamaciones individuales o colectivas destinadas a obtener compensaciones efectivas por daños ocasionados por infracciones del Derecho de la competencia, evitando los excesos del sistema estadounidense.

Por eso, lo valoro positivamente y felicito al ponente, el señor Eppink, por su trabajo.

 
  
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  Sophia in 't Veld, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, first of all I would like to congratulate the rapporteur. We have worked in tandem (me being last year’s rapporteur), and that brings me to my first point.

It strikes me about these annual debates on competition policy that there is a very friendly and polite exchange of views, and then the Commission just carries on with business as usual because the Commission has the exclusive powers in this area. I think, at a time where we are discussing economic governance for the European Union, that should change. The European Parliament should have a much bigger role in shaping competition policies, and I therefore urge the Commission to follow, in particular, recommendations 3 and 4 and really seriously report back to the European Parliament about its recommendations.

Secondly, in my view a report should be more than a mere summary of actions taken. It should be an analysis of the impact of the competition policies, and that is currently lacking. You say that you will do one on the temporary state aid framework because that is your priority, but we have been calling for such analyses for years: on green recovery, on state aid to innovation, on state aid to public services. That is long overdue, so I would ask the Commission to do more in-depth analysis.

Finally I would urgently reiterate the calls we have been making – for years now – for a sector inquiry into online advertising and search engines. This is really long overdue, and I would like to hear from the Commission when they intend to conduct such an inquiry.

 
  
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  Philippe Lamberts, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, tout d'abord je voudrais remercier le Commissaire Almunia, qui n'est pas ici aujourd'hui, mais qui, malgré le fait que ce ne soit pas une compétence du Parlement européen, passe un temps significatif avec nous en commission économique et monétaire et donc consacre et investit du temps dans le dialogue avec le Parlement sur ces matières.

Je voudrais ensuite remercier le rapporteur. Nous faisons souvent cela de manière formelle mais, Derk Jan, nos partis sont souvent en désaccord sur beaucoup de choses mais je dois dire que, dans l'établissement de ce rapport, il n'y a eu aucun tabou dans la discussion. Tous les points ont vraiment pu être abordés, dans un esprit extrêmement constructif, cela doit être souligné.

Je voudrais maintenant en arriver à trois points sur lesquels, selon moi, la Commission doit avancer. L'un d'eux, cela a été souligné, est l'importance du secteur financier, importance trop importante en réalité, dans l'économie.

Nous savons que la crise financière a eu pour conséquence que les groupes financiers qui en sont sortis en sont sortis plus gros et plus forts. Il y a donc vraiment un problème de distorsion de marché dans ce domaine-là, et il ne s'agit pas seulement des régimes d'aide spéciale établis par les États pour aider leur secteur financier, mais aussi, et nous le soulignons dans le rapport, des diverses formes d'aides directes de la Banque centrale européenne qui sont – je suis désolé de le dire – très peu transparentes.

Ainsi, nous demandons à la Commission de s'intéresser à la manière dont la Banque centrale a aidé les banques, parce qu'il est clair que les banques qui sont allées à la Banque centrale pour demander de l'aide ont joui d'une forme d'aide que celles qui ont été mieux gérées n'ont pas eu à demander. Les banques qui ont été correctement gérées ont donc, quelque part, été victimes d'une distorsion de marché.

Le deuxième secteur est celui des matières premières, et en particulier des matières premières alimentaires. Nous savons que les grands groupes agroalimentaires et les grands groupes de distribution jouissent d'une position de marché qui leur permet réellement d'influer sur la formation des prix de manière exagérée. Une enquête de marché à ce sujet est absolument importante.

Un autre point – et pas le moindre – est la concurrence fiscale. Vous savez que la plupart des États membres, dont le mien mais beaucoup d'autres, pratiquent des formes de concurrence fiscale qui sont réellement dommageables à l'intérêt général européen. Ce sont des formes de concurrence auxquelles il faut mettre un terme. Je sais que l'on commence à s'y intéresser à nouveau au sein de la Commission mais j'encourage fortement le commissaire Almunia et le commissaire Šemeta à s'attaquer à ce problème.

En ce qui concerne le dernier point, nous soulignons avec plaisir le fait que le commissaire ait déjà imposé des amendes dans divers secteurs depuis le début de son mandat, notamment dans le secteur du fret aérien. Nous saluons aussi l'ouverture de l'enquête sur Google qui, je crois, réponds partiellement à ce que Sophie in 't Veld mentionnait il y a un instant.

(L'orateur accepte de répondre à une question "carton bleu" (article 149, paragraphe 8, du règlement))

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Señor Lamberts, el señor Hans-Peter Martin ha señalado con su tarjeta azul que quiere hacerle a usted una pregunta. ¿Está usted en disposición de escucharle? Muchas gracias.

Señor Martin, tiene usted treinta segundos para interpelar al señor Lamberts.

 
  
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  Hans-Peter Martin (NI). - Herr Präsident! Herr Kollege Lamberts, Sie haben von besonderen Hilfen für Banken gesprochen, die sie von der Zentralbank erhalten haben. Könnten Sie ein bisschen genauer ausführen, was damit gemeint ist, wie das funktioniert hat? Sie haben auch davon gesprochen, dass das abzustellen ist. Was wären Ihre Vorschläge dazu, wie man das tatsächlich in den Griff bekommen könnte, dass da nicht die Falschen die Gewinne machen?

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Es mucha pregunta para contestarle en treinta segundos pero, seguro que el señor Lamberts acierta en su capacidad de síntesis.

 
  
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  Philippe Lamberts, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, répondre à une question pareille en trente secondes, c'est évidemment un exploit à peu près impossible.

De quoi s'agit-il? La Banque centrale européenne accepte de fournir des liquidités aux banques qui le lui demandent, de manière illimitée, en acceptant comme garantie de ces liquidités des actifs de toutes sortes. Mais on ne connaît pas très bien la nature de ces actifs. Et on suspecte fortement que beaucoup de ces actifs sont des actifs, comme on dit, vérolés ou toxiques dont la valeur réelle de marché est très difficile à établir et il se pourrait que certains de ces actifs aient une valeur nulle.

Dans ces conditions, cela constitue donc une forme directe d'aide. Clairement, si la Banque centrale ne fournissait pas ces liquidités contre ces garanties, qui sont en réalité assez évanescentes, eh bien, il est possible que certains de ces établissements financiers devraient mettre la clé sous le paillasson.

Trouver une réponse à cela, ce n'est pas simple, mais en tout cas, la première étape, c'est d'avoir de la transparence sur ces actions-là.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Gracias, señor Lamberts, por una respuesta tan precisa en un tema complicado.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, firstly I would like to congratulate my colleague Derk Jan Eppink on his comprehensive and well negotiated report, covering so many topics. Fundamentally, competition policy should be at the heart of the European single market and solid principles of competition should be built into all EU legislation. Competition should create a stronger marketplace for EU citizens and allow the EU to be more competitive on a global basis.

In the latest wave of financial services legislation, there is a danger that this principle is being lost. We must use every opportunity to create more competition in markets dominated by large market participants and create a more vibrant marketplace. In the derivatives legislation currently being negotiated, we can ensure that we do not create or reinforce monopolies by supporting open access to CCPs and the like, and by ensuring the availability of important data streams to all players.

In the upcoming review of MiFID, we must remember its original purpose of opening up Europe’s equity markets to competition and, after its expansion to include new asset classes, we must ensure that the competitive principles are upheld, since a combination of these has actually significantly driven down trading fees for investors in the equities over the last three years.

When we consider reforms for auditors, credit rating agencies and other financial services providers, we can consider where the barriers to market entry lie, and work to break them down. I believe that standing up for competition in key industries is the way that we will generate the true growth potential of the EU and reinvigorate our economies in this ever-changing world.

 
  
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  Thomas Händel, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Der Kommission wird in diesem Bericht eine erfolgreiche Wettbewerbspolitik bescheinigt. Es darf allerdings nicht vergessen werden, dass unregulierter Wettbewerb auch dazu beitragen kann, dass die Arbeitslosigkeit steigt und die Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich wächst.

Der ungehinderte Wettbewerb rangiert in der Europäischen Union immer noch vor den sozialen Bedürfnissen der Menschen. Das Credo für freie Märkte kann nicht übertünchen, dass diese nicht nur immer wieder versagen, sondern unfähig sind, soziale Gerechtigkeit dauerhaft herzustellen. Ein paar Verfahren wegen Wettbewerbsverzerrungen und Preisabsprachen lösen dieses Problem eben nicht. Ein fairer und gleichzeitig sozialer Binnenmarkt funktioniert nur mit einer starken und gerechten Regulierung. Dazu ist mehr dringend nötig. Es ist z.B. nicht akzeptabel, immer mehr Einrichtungen der öffentlichen Daseinsvorsorge dem privatwirtschaftlichen Wettbewerb zu unterwerfen.

Der Bericht formuliert Hinweise für die künftige Wettbewerbspolitik der Kommission. Viel stärkerer Verbraucherschutz, die Herausnahme der öffentlichen Daseinsvorsorge aus den Wettbewerbsregeln und die Kontrolle von Kartellen – das alles ist dringend nötig. Darüber hinaus wäre nötig eine Vertragsklausel für einen gesicherten sozialen Fortschritt, der mindestens auf gleicher Augenhöhe mit den Wettbewerbsregeln in Europa steht.

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Mr President, it is not often that I have any good words to say about Gordon Brown, but he did act swiftly, decisively and effectively to deal with the banking crisis in the UK, even though I must point out that it was largely made worse by his disastrous tenure as Minister of Finance/Chancellor of the Exchequer for ten years.

However, the bank rescue in the UK was less swift than it might have been because of the consequences of EU competition policy. My distinguished colleague, Professor Tim Congdon, has written a pamphlet on this. The fact is that these matters should be handled at the national level and not at the level of the Commission. The Commission simply does not know what it is doing and should stay well clear.

In the last 15 seconds I have, I must address the singularly depressing speech made by Mr Lamberts when he talked about tax competition. Tax competition is why we have lower taxes. What he was advocating was an EU-wide fiscal policy, which would result in EU-wide higher taxes. That is what it is, and I would ask Mr Lamberts and his colleagues to please call it that next time.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − En realidad no se trata tanto de una intervención con arreglo al procedimiento de «tarjeta azul» como de una intervención por alusiones personales. Señor Lamberts, le ruego capacidad de síntesis, a ver si puede usted intervenir treinta segundos para aclarar al colega su punto de vista.

 
  
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  Philippe Lamberts (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, Lord Dartmouth paints the Greens as advocates of high taxes for the sake of high taxes. I just want to ask you, Lord Dartmouth, one very simple question. If services like education, health and security have value, I guess that you have to find ways to finance them. Am I correct?

 
  
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  El Presidente. − No, no vamos a entrar en un diálogo.

Señor Dartmouth, puede usted contestar luego, en el pasillo, al señor Lamberts, pero en el Reglamento lo que está previsto no es que se conteste con una pregunta a las preguntas.

Tiene usted quince segundos.

 
  
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  William (The Earl of) Dartmouth (EFD). - (opening words inaudible as microphone switched off) ...the person who asked the question has the right to respond. You have invented new rules – your own rules – as a chairman. You are completely incorrect, sir.

 
  
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  President. − Yes, I do invent rules. We are inventing rules all the time and we are contributing to the progress of the democratic functioning of the Chamber. Thank you for recognising that.

 
  
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  Hans-Peter Martin (NI). - Herr Präsident! Zunächst einmal möchte ich Sie ausdrücklich loben, dass Sie solche Dialoge zulassen. Es ist ein kleines Unglück, dass Herr Earl of Dartmouth jetzt nicht verstanden hat, dass Sie ihm auch diese Zeit eingeräumt hätten. Ich finde das sehr positiv, und es ist auch schön, wenn jemand mit so konkreten Vorschlägen kommt wie Herr Lamberts, aber dass dies zur Widerrede führt und dass wir genau in die Richtung kommen, die wir in diesem Plenum gerne haben wollen, einen direkteren Dialog. Vielleicht geben Sie ihm nachher noch einmal kurz die Chance, dass er darauf eingehen kann.

Ich würde in der Tat gerne da fortfahren, wo Herr Lamberts aufgehört hat. Jawohl, wir brauchen die Transparenz bei den Banken. Es ist der Öffentlichkeit noch überhaupt nicht bewusst, dass wir mit diesen Subventionen im Zuge dieser Finanzkrise nach EU-Standards eigentlich etwas Unvorstellbares getan haben. Da sieht man, dass Wettbewerb per se nicht immer ohne Subventionen auskommen kann, wenn es um größere Ziele geht. Die große Bitterkeit bei der ganzen Angelegenheit besteht aber darin, dass genau die Banken, die da jetzt unterstützt worden sind, schon wieder neue Gewinne machen und teilweise wieder gegen gemeinsame europäische Interessen verstoßen. Das zum Thema Finanzmarkt.

Als zweiten Punkt hätte ich noch gerne die Frage der Arzneimittel angesprochen – mein altes Thema. Es ist sehr bedauerlich, dass wir da noch immer nicht die Fortschritte haben, die eigentlich seit Jahrzehnten möglich und notwendig wären. Es wäre in der Tat ein großer europäischer Mehrwert, wenn Bürger in meinem Heimatland Österreich, in Deutschland und in anderen Staaten auch nur so viel für Arzneimittel bezahlen müssten wie in anderen EU-Staaten. Da sind Kartelle am Werk, da sind Großkonzerne am Werk. Ich denke, die Kommission hat die Möglichkeit und auch die Verpflichtung, da endlich tätig zu werden.

Der zweite Aspekt ist der der Arzneimittelzulassungen. Da finden immer noch unnötige Versuche statt, sowohl Tierversuche sowie Versuche an Menschen. Da gibt es viele Doppelgleisigkeiten. In einem europäischen Binnenmarkt ist das eigentlich eine Angelegenheit des vorigen Jahrhunderts. Ich ersuche Sie nochmals, da intensiv tätig zu werden.

 
  
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  Gunnar Hökmark (PPE). - Mr President, our eyes are currently on the summit between China and the US, because those two economies are seen as being the world’s two biggest economies. We are discussing when China will become the biggest economy, but that is based on a false assumption, because we forget that the European Union is the biggest economy, but that China and the US have the bigger markets. This is because of the lack of competition in the European Union across borders and within different areas.

It is a lack of competition that makes us look upon them, instead of us, as having the self-confidence of being in the lead. That is why it is important, in the future, that the report on competition should also focus on the lack of implementation of the legislation which is already in place, and also on the lack of competition in the European economy. We need to do that in a number of areas. Also, to be the leading economy, we need to ensure that we are the most competitive economy.

Let me tell you a secret: we will never be the most competitive if we do not have competition. State subsidies and regulations hindering new entrants are preventing the European economy from being in the lead. That is why we must ensure that state subsidies are always there only in exceptional cases, where nothing else can be done, or when we can channel them in a way that supports the common good without distorting competition.

What we need to ensure is that we can allow for new entrants in as many areas of the European economy as possible. Competition is not about out-competing others. It is about allowing big companies to merge and grow bigger and bigger on the global scene, and about allowing new companies to open up to new innovations. We do have a lack here and it is the responsibility of the Commission to demonstrate that, and to take action so we can proceed together so that in the future we will be looked upon as the leading economy.

 
  
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  Edit Herczog (S&D). - Mr President, competition policy is a cornerstone of European legislation. We agree that innovation, creativity and being better necessarily mean market advantage, but we do not accept that, just because someone is bigger and stronger with better connections to information and, in particular, special connections to government, these kinds of advantage should apply on the market, and we are very happy that the Commission is on guard here to ensure that they should not.

I would like to mention once again a new phenomenon: it is not market players but rather governments which seem, from time to time, to be playing by giving special advantages, in terms of competition policy, to some of their favourite companies. This is a very bad phenomenon and it goes back to party treasuries.

I would ask the Commission to move in this direction: let us have innovation, creativity and small and medium-sized enterprises, but do not allow any kind of misuse of information or power, either economic or political, on those territories.

 
  
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  Sylvie Goulard (ALDE). - Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, le rapport de notre collègue Eppink est tout à fait remarquable mais j'ai un peu peur – ça n'a rien à voir avec le rapporteur – que nous soyons ici en train de répéter et de répéter les mêmes choses. Nous rendons une sorte de culte à un objet mort. Sans doute, je suis d'accord avec Sophie et Philippe pour dire que nous avons besoin d'un bon contrôle de la concurrence, de réfléchir à ce qu'il se passe dans le domaine agricole, avec très peu d'acheteurs et énormément de producteurs, ce qui n'a jamais troublé la Commission, alors que dans le domaine industriel elle se serait immédiatement jetée sur le cartel des acheteurs. On a aussi besoin de règles nouvelles pour le domaine d'internet.

Mais nos rapports avec la Commission sont prodigieusement ennuyeux. Vous nous envoyez un rapport qui dissimule les trois quarts des sujets. Nous répondons poliment que c'est intéressant et qu'il faudrait ajouter autre chose, puis tout le monde le met dans un tiroir.

J'avais juste envie de dire cela aujourd'hui et de rebondir sur ce qu'a dit notre collègue Hökmark, c'est que le monde change. C'est bien gentil de dire que les aides d'État, ce n'est pas bien, mais il n'empêche que les Chinois, les Coréens, les Américains et les autres donnent des aides d'État. Je n'y suis pas favorable. Je ne suis pas la Française protectionniste de base, je dis simplement: ouvrons tout de même un peu les yeux et réveillons-nous!

 
  
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  Reinhard Bütikofer (Verts/ALE). - Herr Präsident! In der Empfehlung Nr. 4 wird von der Kommission erwartet, dass sie in Zukunft über die Behandlung der Empfehlungen Bericht erstattet und Abweichungen davon erläutert. Ich halte das für einen sehr sinnvollen Vorschlag und möchte das konkretisieren. Dieses Parlament hat im letzten Jahr bei der entsprechenden Diskussion beschlossen, dass wir gerne ein Schwerpunktkapitel hätten über faire und diskriminierungsfreie Wettbewerbsbedingungen für kleine und mittlere Unternehmen. Die Kommission hat nicht reagiert. Diese Empfehlung wird in der vorliegenden Beschlussempfehlung des Kollegen Eppink wiederholt.

Ich möchte gerne von der Kommission wissen, ob sie nun die Absicht hat, wenn wir das heute zum zweiten Mal beschließen, das auch umzusetzen oder uns wenigstens zu sagen, was sie daran hindert, in dieser Art und Weise die Anliegen der kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen in besonderer Weise und konzentriert ins Auge zu fassen.

Meine zweite Bemerkung betrifft den Rohstoffsektor. Ich finde es sehr gut, dass dieser Bericht die Frage der fehlenden Transparenz im Rohstoffsektor thematisiert. Und ich finde es sehr gut, dass er das Thema der Spekulation mit Rohstoffen anspricht. Ich bedauere es allerdings, dass die Empfehlung des Ausschusses für Industrie, Forschung und Energie nicht insgesamt aufgenommen wurde, der vorgesehen hatte, dass wir nicht nur – wie es jetzt die französische Präsidentschaft betreibt – die Frage der Spekulation mit landwirtschaftlichen Rohstoffen thematisieren, sondern dass wir da auch die Spekulation mit Metallen einschließen. Das ist meines Erachtens mindestens so wichtig.

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR). - Mr President, I would like to thank my colleague Derk Jan Eppink for his excellent report, but particularly to make a comment about the energy market, which the Commission is going to look at this year.

As other Members have pointed out, energy supply and pricing can vary greatly between different Member States. In the region I represent, nearly a quarter of households have no access to mainstream gas, and the vast majority of those are reliant on domestic heating oil. In the one month between November and December, pricing in that market rose by over 50%. Consumers are concerned (and very cold) – they are concerned about cartel pricing, and there are allegations of this.

It is right that this should be looked at by the domestic regulators first, but I am hearing similar concerns from other EU Member States. So I would like to ask the Commissioner: when you are looking at the energy markets this year, please do not forget those who live in very rurally isolated areas.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE). - Tisztelt elnök úr, képviselőtársaim! Mint tegnap bemutattuk, a magyar elnökség prioritásai közé tartozik a belső piac megerősítése és a munkahelyteremtés támogatása. Mivel a valamennyi ágazatban érvényesülő egyenlő versenyfeltételekre épülő uniós versenypolitika az említett prioritásoknak az előfeltétele, ezért nagy örömömre szolgál ennek a jelentésnek az elkészítése. Azonban képviselőtársaim, ez a régmúlt. Az idő közben megváltozott. Ennek ellenére fontosnak tartom a jelentés tanulságainak a levonását, illetve azt a tényt, hogy az Európai Parlament – mi képviselők – a jövőben a versenypolitika formálásában aktívabb szerepet vállalhatunk. Ehhez azonban kérem a Bizottság közreműködését.

Először is kérem azt, és szükségesnek tartom, hogy a Parlament rendszeres tájékoztatást kapjon az ezen a területen indított valamennyi kezdeményezésről. Másodszor, kérem a Bizottságtól, hogy mint egyetlen EU szerte illetékes versenyhatóság, évente tegyen jelentést a Parlamentnek az általa adott ajánlásoknak a hasznosulásáról, illetve az azoktól történő eltérésekről.

Fontosnak tartom – és csatlakozom a képviselőtársaimhoz –, hogy a versenypolitikát nem lehet vertikálisan kezelni. Összehangolásra van szükség minden funkcionális és minden szabályozási területen is. Ez azonban a Bizottságnak a feladata. Éppen ezért az uniós politikák, valamint a növekedést és foglalkoztatást támogató EU 2020 stratégiában meghatározott prioritások összehangolása elengedhetetlen.

Végül, szeretném megemlíteni én is a kis- és középvállalkozásokat, amelyeknek a szerepvállalása elengedhetetlen és megkerülhetetlen az egész európai gazdaság – melyben természetesen a foglalkoztatás – növelése szempontjából. Azonban a versenyfeltételeknek egyenlőnek kell lenni. Ezt a versenypolitikának kell biztosítani. Arra kérem a Bizottságot, hogy fordítson kiemelt figyelmet a kkv-kra, és biztosítson számukra méltányos és megkülönböztetésmentes versenyfeltételeket.

 
  
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  Peter Skinner (S&D). - Mr President, first let me congratulate Mr Eppink on the detailed work he has done on this report. Hopefully he will continue to play a progressive role in this area.

I welcome this report on the state of play of competition policy for 2009. However, there are still elements of competition in the EU that need to be strengthened and clarified. I would encourage more cooperation between the Commission and the European Parliament in this field. That is the only way we will be able to maintain public confidence in the decisions that have been taken. Furthermore, it is imperative that the European Parliament be kept up to date on the action that is taken by the Commission, with a particular focus on SME policy.

I look forward to the reports and the investigations that have been highlighted in this report – at the last count, 11 reports, six investigations into different fields and the re-establishment of DG Competition’s fiscal state aid unit. In particular, I strongly welcome the reiterated request for the incorporation of the basis for calculating fines, which we have already discussed. I think this is absolutely vital.

By the way, it was very interesting to hear earlier from the Earl of Dartmouth, speaking as he was as an aristocrat, about competition policy. As everybody knows, aristocrats in the United Kingdom have a huge focus on land concentration. Perhaps we ought to ask the competition authorities to look into that and see just how the aristocrats have been looking after their land across the European Union for all this time.

 
  
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  Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Z przyjemnością wysłuchuję tej debaty. Chciałbym podziękować panu Eppinkowi za sprawozdanie. Znając jego podejście, z podziwem patrzę na to i cieszę się, że to on akurat przygotowywał to sprawozdanie. Z przyjemnością też słucham głosów kolegów, ale muszę się podzielić taką uwagą. Skupiamy się tutaj na działaniach Komisji Europejskiej, zarzucając jej brak silnej pozycji, polityki czy walki z protekcjonizmem, ale tak naprawdę naszym przeciwnikiem czy największą bolączką – tego, o czym mówił pan Hökmark, że gospodarka europejska nie jest konkurencyjna – są kraje członkowskie, a Komisji Europejskiej bardzo często pozostaje tylko i wyłącznie – działając pod presją krajów członkowskich – starać się chronić w maksymalny sposób wolną konkurencję.

Na tej sali, kilka tygodni temu, rozmawialiśmy, między innymi, o szczególnych przepisach dla rynku węglowego i nie było słychać takich głosów posłów, którzy mówili o wolnej konkurencji, a słychać było głosy ludzi, którzy domagali się protekcjonistycznych zasad, możliwości dopłacania do likwidowanych na przykład kopalń – tak to się nazywało – a tak naprawdę chodziło o pomoc kopalniom, które wcale likwidowane nie będą. Musimy więc być w tych swoich działaniach konsekwentni i tej konsekwencji często na tej sali nam brakuje.

Mówimy o pomocy dla sektora bankowego. Obawiam się, że Komisja Europejska, działając pod tą presją krajów członkowskich, tylko sankcjonowała tę pomoc. I dzisiaj, kiedy mówimy o sprawozdaniu już za rok 2009 – tu zgadzam się z krytyką – wydaje mi się, że brak jest elementów oceny tego, jakie ta pomoc osiągnęła efekty i czy rzeczywiście w sposób stabilny zrestrukturyzowała tę branżę. Oczekuję, Panie Komisarzu, że takie elementy oceny wielkiej polityki powinny się w tym sprawozdaniu znaleźć.

Mówicie Państwo też w tym sprawozdaniu o tym, że walczycie z protekcjonizmem, między innymi kiedy mówimy o rynku motoryzacyjnym, ale są przykłady – ja pochodzę z Polski – kiedy zlikwidowano najlepszy zakład w ramach grupy Fiata – może nie zlikwidowano, ale ograniczono produkcję – i produkcję przeniesiono do Włoch. To jest ewidentny protekcjonizm i Komisja Europejska powinna z tym walczyć.

Mamy kolejny przykład: w roku 2009 zlikwidowano polskie stocznie. Ja pochodzę z miasta stoczniowego w Polsce, ale problem jest szerszy niż dwie polskie stocznie. Problem polega na tym, że europejska polityka konkurencji zmusza przemysł stoczniowy do walki na rynku światowym przede wszystkim z mocno subsydiowanymi stoczniami bliskowschodnimi. I my dzisiaj zlikwidowaliśmy de facto polityką konkurencji przemysł stoczniowy w Europie, bo każemy im konkurować z przemysłami subsydiowanymi. Nam powinno zależeć na tym, żeby przemysł stoczniowy w Europie istniał. Bardzo dziękuję i przepraszam za przekroczony czas.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ritengo che elaborare un'efficace politica di concorrenza ed eseguirla in modo metodologicamente corretto sia un compito estremamente delicato e complesso, soprattutto in un periodo di crisi.

Delicato, perché un'applicazione troppo rigida rischia veramente di colpire le conseguenze e di essere molto forte nell'ambito sociale e del ciclo economico. Complesso, perché i parametri che vengono adottati non è detto che valgano in una fase così delicata in modo trasversale per tutti i settori. Il lavoro svolto dalla Commissione in questo senso va dunque elogiato, perché al rigore del metodo è stata sicuramente abbinata una flessibilità necessaria in relazione a questa congiuntura, anzi, prevedere una valutazione degli strumenti ad hoc adottati a livello nazionale per uscire quindi dalla crisi è un segno di sensibilità, prima ancora che di elevata professionalità.

La legislazione europea sulla concorrenza dimostra una visione molto ampia e un'elevata specializzazione e pone sicuramente l'Unione europea ancora una volta nella posizione di faro guida per i paesi limitrofi, soprattutto quelli meno sviluppati, in modo tale che non ci sia una divergenza e una separazione tra paesi che sono il motore e paesi invece più arretrati. A maggior ragione, dunque, è necessario che questa immagine non sia offuscata in alcun modo. Un'attenzione particolare andrà posta a mio avviso sulla valutazione delle diverse situazioni nello scenario post-crisi che già nel 2011 si dovrebbe iniziare a delineare.

È molto verosimile la ripresa dei termini delle modifiche strutturali delle quali è necessario tener conto e valutare lo scenario nei diversi settori e sottosettori e una buona dose di prudenza è sicuramente indispensabile quando abbiamo una situazione di tale incertezza.

Chiedo veramente alla Commissione di porre attenzione sia alle piccole e medie imprese, sia a un problema di occupazione giovanile che rende anche in questo caso la competizione un problema anche di ambito europeo.

 
  
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  Sari Essayah (PPE). - Mr President, I would like to commend the report for including a very positive mention about SEPA, the Single Euro Payments Area. Time and again this Parliament has demanded a rapid SEPA migration, and the reasons are simple. The Commission’s impact assessment quotes a study that SEPA would save EUR 300 billion in the EU economy in six years’ time. These savings are due to increased competition via common standards and processes. This will also save time and stress for all Europeans who need to carry out payments in other countries.

I also strongly agree with the report when it states that the public economic support to banks and other companies in the economic crisis has distorted competition. Like many of my colleagues here this morning I urge the Commission to provide an analysis of these distortions.

Let me add one more thought on the need for common standards and processes. A lot of inventions in the future will be based on information and communication technologies. We need more competition in the ICT business, and this could be encouraged by increased use of open-source code in Europe. I expect that Europe will in this way become more competitive in this crucial field in relation to the US and other major economic areas, as Mr Hökmark said previously.

 
  
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  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Autorzy omawianej rezolucji słusznie zauważają, iż kryzys gospodarczy był niezwykłym wyzwaniem dla unijnej polityki konkurencji. Interesy narodowe i polityczne niejednokrotnie zwyciężały nie tylko nad regułami wolnego rynku, ale również nad zdrowym rozsądkiem. Wielki kryzys gospodarczy, którego skutki jeszcze do dnia dzisiejszego są odczuwane w krajach europejskich w znacznym stopniu zdeterminował politykę konkurencji w 2009 roku. Był to okres stosowania mechanizmów i instrumentów, których głównym celem była pomoc zagrożonym instytucjom finansowym czy niektórym dużym przedsiębiorstwom, a nie zachowanie reguł gospodarki rynkowej. To zachowanie najdotkliwsze było dla małych i średnich przedsiębiorstw.

Czy podjęte zadania będą skuteczne w długookresowej perspektywie? Dopiero o tym się przekonamy. Dlatego należy wezwać Komisję do sporządzenia wiarygodnych analiz pokazujących wpływ środków pomocowych na gospodarkę. Pozwoli to nie tylko ocenić podjęte działania, ale również umożliwi szybką i skuteczną reakcję na podobne zagrożenia w przyszłości.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D). - Politica în domeniul concurenţei este un element esenţial pentru asigurarea competitivităţii economiei europene, iar parte integrantă a acesteia este controlul ajutorului de stat.

Totodată, în contextul de criză, Comisia Europeană s-a văzut nevoită să aprobe acordarea ajutoarelor de stat, în special pentru sectorul bancar, dar şi pentru alte sectoare care s-au aflat în dificultate. Statele membre au acordat, astfel, sume consistente sub forma schemelor de garanţii, a schemelor de recapitalizare şi a altor forme de finanţare a lichidităţilor instituţiilor bancare, cu scopul de a le furniza o sursă de finanţare şi o garanţie împotriva riscurilor.

Comisia Europeană trebuie, însă, să supravegheze îndeaproape sectorul şi să prezinte planuri de restructurare şi de reglementare a instituţiilor financiare, pentru a garanta că acestea nu continuă să adopte un comportament de tip riscant, care pune în pericol stabilitatea financiară a Uniunii Europene. În caz contrar, ajutorul de stat nu face decât să contribuie la perpetuarea dificultăţilor financiare în Uniunea Europeană.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). - Predložená správa potvrdzuje skutočnosť, že v oblasti korektnej hospodárskej súťaže máme v Európskej únii ešte značné rezervy.

Exemplárnou ukážkou toho je poľnohospodárska výroba, kde tak Európska únia, ako aj jednotlivé štáty, vstupujú rozličnými subvenciami a podporami do tohto prostredia a výrazne tým deformujú konkurenčné prostredie. Najmä poľnohospodárske podniky z nových členských krajín veľmi trpia v dôsledku nekorektnej dotačnej politiky Európskej únie. Ďalšou oblasťou, kde bude potrebné zásadným spôsobom upraviť a zlepšiť konkurenčné prostredie, je doprava. Preto považujem za veľmi dôležité akceptovať návrhy Výboru pre dopravu a cestovný ruch, ktoré pregnantne poukazujú na deformácie v súťaži, aj medzi jednotlivými druhmi dopravy.

V každom prípade, správa je podnetná a dobrá, a bude dôležité, aby bola aj efektívne využitá na zlepšenie prostredia hospodárskej súťaži v Európskej únii.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE). - A Bizottság jelentésének hangulatát meghatározza a gazdasági és pénzügyi válság okozta helyzet. Ennek ellenére a jelentés jó, ezt mondja parlamenti állásfoglalásunk. Vannak ugyanakkor olyan pontok, ahol javítani lehet a munkát a közeljövőben. Elsősorban a megelőzés, illetve a megfelelő tájékoztatás terén. Együttműködés nélkül nem tudunk kilábalni a válság okozta helyzetből, ezért nagyon fontos, hogy folytonos tájékoztatásáról biztosítson minket a Bizottság a már elért eredményekről. Az uniós versenypolitikai szabály betartása és betartatása az egyik kulcsa az egységes piac sikerének. Például az energetika terén is vannak még olyan nyersanyagpiacok, amelyek átláthatóságát növelni kell. Hasonlóképpen a verseny sem teljesen biztosított az energiaszektor minden szegmensében. Ezért sürgető a második belsőpiaci csomag és a harmadik energiacsomag végrehajtása. Egy másik ágazatban, az agráriparban folyó verseny alaposabb vizsgálatának kérése nagyon is időszerű. Meg kell ismernünk tanulmány segítségével, hogy a piaci versenyt mely nagy beszállítók és forgalmazók torzítják.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE). - Ceea ce aş dori să subliniez este importanţa redactării unor norme de concurenţă clare, favorabile şi utile IMM-urilor. Ele sunt deosebit de importante pentru întreaga economie europeană şi au, în plus, un potenţial imens în ceea ce priveşte inovarea. În acest sens, consider că ar fi indicată includerea unui capitol dedicat întreprinderilor de talie mică, cu accent asupra concurenţei loiale. Politica în domeniul concurenţei ar trebui să contribuie la promovarea şi respectarea standardelor deschise şi a interoperabilităţii. Astfel, s-ar preveni un blocaj tehnologic exercitat de către actorii de pe piaţă.

Aş dori să închei prin a preciza că aplicarea unei politici de succes în domeniul concurenţei şi funcţionarea nerestricţionată a pieţei interne sunt condiţii esenţiale pentru o creştere economică durabilă în Uniunea Europeană.

un blocaj tehnologic exercitat

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). - Mr President, let me concentrate on paragraph 90 of this report, which states that competition in agricultural production is a precondition for lower prices for consumers in EU countries. A bit of it is true but I am afraid it misses the point completely. We are having a debate among ourselves, and in particular groups in this Parliament, about what is happening to the agricultural markets and why there is not fair transmission of the final price that we, as consumers, pay for food to those who produce the food.

It is a very serious problem at a time when we are reforming agricultural policy, threatening to cut the budget for agriculture and not looking at the imperfections in this marketplace. So the report should say much more about that. The Commission is urged to look at competition in the agro-industrial sector: yes, please, and look at it too in the retail sector but then stop looking and do something about it! We are great at talking in this House but we are not so good at action.

I have one other point in relation to competition. I make some complaints to the Commission on behalf of constituents. The small person gets no hearing against the state, and I would like the Commission to take this back: that there are some complaints which I, as a Member, have not ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Gracias, señora McGuinness. Quizá sea pertinente que, en ulteriores debates de esta naturaleza, también se escuche la opinión de la Comisión de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Rynek wewnętrzny powinien być wolny, skuteczny, dynamiczny i innowacyjny. Odpowiednia polityka konkurencji jest właściwym narzędziem dla osiągnięcia tego celu. Posiadając prawidłowo funkcjonującą konkurencję na rynku towarów i usług możemy zagwarantować lepszą ich jakość, niższe ceny oraz większy wybór dla konsumenta. Dobrze, że dokonujemy corocznych ocen polityki konkurencji. Takie spojrzenie z perspektywy czasu jest bardzo pouczające. Skuteczne wykorzystanie instrumentu polityki konkurencji pozwoliło na poprawę stabilizacji gospodarczej oraz złagodzenie skutków kryzysu gospodarczego dla firm i konsumentów. Należy poprawić konkurencję na rynku leków i energii. Pamiętajmy, że monopol, tak prywatny, jak i państwowy ogranicza konkurencję. Warto podkreślić, że zmiany we wspólnej polityce rolnej wpłynęły na to, że dopłaty i wsparcie zewnętrzne nie ogranicza już konkurencyjności.

 
  
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  Štefan Füle, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, the Commission notes Parliament’s call for more transparency, dialogue and information on competition policy. We will continue to inform you about important policy decisions relating to competition and will endeavour to address your requests in our response to your resolution, either in the next Report on Competition Policy or on an ad hoc basis, as requested by Mr Bütikofer and other Members.

I note your call for sector inquiries in a number of markets. Past experience shows that fair and firm enforcement itself produces positive effects on competition across a sector. Sector inquiries are not always the best way to enforce our rules in a given sector. They are very expensive in terms of resources and should be used only when the Commission’s policy objectives make an inquiry necessary.

I can confirm again that the temporary crisis-related state aid measures are indeed temporary. I would like to pick up on a few of your questions in a really telegraphic way in the limited time available.

Firstly, on the investment and financial sector, consultation is ongoing on rescue and restructuring guidelines.

Secondly, on transport, the Commission is preparing a white paper on the future of transport, which is due to be adopted in March 2011. This will outline several proposals for speeding up completion of the internal market for transport.

Thirdly, on services of general economic interest, the Commission will report on this in the first quarter of this year.

Fourthly, on the digital agenda, the Commission fully agrees with the importance of promoting a truly integrated digital internal market.

Fifthly, on SMEs, a level playing field for all companies, big and small, is essential for them to flourish. The Commission’s enforcement of the competition rules is essential to enable this. We also have targeted state aid rules for SMEs, innovation, research and development and green technologies.

Next June, Vice-President Almunia will present to you the Report on Competition Policy 2010. In the meantime, he will keep you informed on the issues you have raised and, in relation to paragraph 4 of Parliament’s report, the services of DG COMP will be instructed to respond to you in more detail.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Terminaremos con la intervención del ponente, señor Eppink, a quien, por cierto, felicitamos porque la mayoría de sus colegas han alabado mucho su gestión como redactor de este informe.

 
  
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  Derk Jan Eppink, rapporteur. − Mr President, I would like to thank the Commissioner, who is standing in for his colleague, for being here. I welcome the initiative of the Commission with regard to collective redress, which is a long-overdue initiative. It is also mentioned in the report, and I think it is in the interests of the consumers – provided it is well defined and well legislated. I think it is good. We will start with the Green Paper to see what the different opinions are. I welcome this.


In the banking sector we have a very strange situation: state aid is on different levels in different countries, in different stages. In some countries, such as Spain, in the banking sector the regional banks (cajas) in particular are in difficulty, and here life-support from the European Central Bank is needed – although the ECB, as Mr Lamberts pointed out in 30 seconds, risks having many bad assets. This turns the ECB into a sort of bad bank – something we should not have.

In other countries, the states are trying to disengage from the banking sector, and here there is the danger of a dowry. I expect that you cannot reply to this issue of a dowry – it is something for the Commissioner – but it would be very unfair to other banks that did not get state aid if some that have been recovered or needed resuscitation suddenly got one. So here we have to look at the issue of the level playing field.

Finally I come to the follow-up, because there were a few remarks by Mrs in ’t Veld, Mrs Gáll and Mr Bütikofer which were spot-on. We had a report last year, we have a report this year and we will probably have a similar report next year. It all stays the same. It looks a bit like a Vatican-based ritual where we have the same things over and over again. I think that we have to look into the follow-up to the questions we have asked, and I propose that the rapporteur and the previous rapporteur get in touch with the Commissioner and with the Director-General of DG COMP to see what happens with the request we made.

We need to have a report that is properly implemented in terms of information provision. This is why I propose that we have a proper follow-up, in which Mrs in ’t Veld will certainly support me, to see what the Commission is doing.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Gracias, señor Eppink. Ya ve usted cómo reaccionan sus colegas, así que, probablemente, su propuesta tendrá el apoyo necesario.

Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar hoy jueves.

 
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