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Dienstag, 13. September 2011 - Straßburg Überprüfte Ausgabe

17. Fragestunde mit Anfragen an die Kommission
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  President. − The next item is Question Time with the Commission. This is our new style of Question Time. I would like to welcome Commissioner Reding, as well as Commissioner Tajani and Commissioner Andor, who should also be joining us; I see they are making their way round. Let me just outline the way in which this new style of Question Time, which is a trial for six months, will operate.

The specific topic of Question Time today is entitled ‘New forms of working’. The topic can be interpreted quite widely and I am prepared to do that, but I should also warn you that if your question is completely off topic – if you ask something about agricultural policy or foreign affairs – do not expect me to allow the question.

I should also remind you exactly how the ground rules will work. It works on a catch-the-eye basis. I am pleased to see that you are already indicating; we are taking a list. Each Member will have a minute to put his or her question, then the Commission will respond and the Member will have 30 seconds to put a supplementary question. The important thing for the Commissioners to note is that they will be limited in their replies to two minutes; that is two minutes for a reply from one Commissioner. If more than one Commissioner wishes to respond to the same question I will give them a minute apiece.

This is an experiment. It is the first time. Let us see how it goes.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). - Madam President, thank you for your very clear explanation. Could you inform the House how the topic was chosen – and why this particular topic? In my view, it is so vague that it will perhaps make it difficult for us to get a direction on it unless we have very clear answers.

 
  
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  President. − There was an agreement with the Commission as to the subject and it was endorsed by the Conference of Presidents. I should make clear that in future the political groups will be fully involved in the process through each of your groups to select the topic, again in conjunction with the Commission, so there should be no difficulty over that.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE). - Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Signori Commissari, poco meno di un anno fa questo Parlamento ha approvato la nuova direttiva contro i ritardi nei pagamenti. Si è trattato di una rifusione fondamentale che, imponendo termini certi per i pagamenti da parte delle pubbliche amministrazioni, soddisfa le istanze delle imprese e dei cittadini ed è una formidabile misura anticiclica, anche contro la disoccupazione che sta flagellando i nostri paesi.

Ricordo a tale proposito che nell'Unione europea un'impresa su quattro fallisce a causa dei ritardi di pagamento delle pubbliche amministrazioni, con perdita di molti posti di lavoro. Gli Stati Uniti dovranno percepire le nuove disposizioni legislative entro il 16 marzo 2013. A tale riguardo vorrei chiedere al Commissario Tajani quali misure la commissione sta intraprendendo per assicurare una corretta trasposizione della direttiva nei rispettivi ordinamenti giuridici e agevolare un'entrata in vigore anticipata della stessa così come era stato promesso da alcuni Stati membri?

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vicepresidente della Commissione. − Signora Presidente, onorevoli deputati, la Commissione europea sta lavorando attivamente affinché tutti gli Stati membri recepiscano in tempi il più rapidi possibile la direttiva approvata dal Parlamento e dal Consiglio, perché più rapidamente viene recepita, più denaro verrà messo in circolazione. Noi contiamo che saranno circa 180 miliardi di euro quelli che verranno messi in circolo dopo l'entrata in vigore in tutti e 27 gli Stati membri dell'Unione di questa direttiva.

Ho dato già mandato al direttore generale aggiunto, Mr PMI, il signor Daniel Calleja, di sollecitare domani in occasione della riunione degli ambasciatori delle piccole e medie imprese nominati da tutti gli Stati membri rispondendo alla richiesta della Commissione europea perché insistano presso i loro parlamenti in affinché la direttiva venga recepita nel più breve tempo possibile, quindi prima del termine ultimo.

Devo dire che alcune regioni, alcune autorità locali hanno deciso di anticipare per loro conto – è il caso della regione Lombardia in Italia – la direttiva sul ritardo dei pagamenti in modo da poter mettere in circolo il denaro e permettere alle piccole e medie imprese di non venire soffocate dai ritardi nei pagamenti che in alcuni paesi membri sono veramente ritardi biblici. È mio impegno continuare a insistere in ogni occasione, in ogni riunione che tengo nei differenti Stati membri sul tema delle piccole e medie imprese, sul recepimento della direttiva sul ritardo dei pagamenti. Mi auguro che i parlamenti e gli Stati membri siano solerti nel recepire il messaggio della Commissione europea.

 
  
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  Alejandro Cercas (S&D). - Señora Presidenta, señores Comisarios, cuando se habla de nueva forma de trabajo, millones de europeos se preguntan si esas nuevas formas de trabajo van a ser con derechos o con peores derechos que las viejas formas de trabajo.

Algunos estamos preocupados al leer su Comunicación «Nuevas cualificaciones para nuevos empleos» (New skills for new jobs) y observar que hace eco a debates en nuestros Estados miembros sobre nuevas formas de contrato que, en lugar de buscar la igualdad en la protección, buscan la igualdad en la precariedad.

Señores Comisarios, ¿no creen que ha llegado el momento de adoptar una posición fuerte por parte de la Comisión, una posición clara ante los ciudadanos europeos diciendo que el futuro va a ser igualmente responsable de la flexibilidad necesaria para las empresas y de la seguridad que piden también los trabajadores y las empresas, que tiene que haber un equilibrio entre esas dos variables y que no puede haber en el futuro peores condiciones que el pasado?

Señor Comisario, ¿para cuándo una directiva marco, para cuándo un compromiso de la Comisión de que las nuevas formas serán también formas con derechos?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The Commission is studying very thoroughly the consequences of the recent financial and economic crisis for the labour market and how the European labour market transformed compared with the previous decade.

It is absolutely true that even before the crisis, not simply as a consequence

of it, the rise of precarious forms of employment were a major concern. Some countries, especially Mr Cercas’s home country of Spain, developed in a very unfortunate way, producing a large number of unprotected jobs especially in certain industries like construction. This is especially the case for young people and workers with a migrant background. These groups, especially where they overlap, find themselves in a very difficult situation. We are paying attention to this and this is also why in the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs we are putting forward a number of initiatives to address the situation.

One such initiative, on which we had a tremendous debate in this House also, was the question of the single open-ended contract. This is because we want to bridge the gap; we want to abolish the segmentation of the labour market. We are not offering this as a kind of uniform solution because the reality of the labour market in various countries is quite diverse. There are actually some economies that are performing well, where the protection remained quite solid, and this type of segmentation, which is mainly a characteristic of the Mediterranean countries, was not apparent.

In some of the forthcoming conferences, including the 16 November conference on flexi-security, we intend to continue a thorough analysis of these developments and we will come back to this next year in various initiatives.

 
  
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  Alejandro Cercas (S&D). - Señora Presidenta, debo darle la razón al señor Comisario, porque en mi país, en España, tenemos la experiencia de que el 80 % de los nuevos contratos, sobre todo de jóvenes, han sido temporales; contratos enormemente flexibles, pero enormemente fuera de la realidad de nuestra sociedad.

No queremos que, en nombre de la ausencia de la dualización del mercado de trabajo, se den ahora a todos las malas condiciones que se han dado a algunos. Evitar la dualización, sí, pero no bajando la protección para todos hasta el nivel de los que en este momento están más desprotegidos. Hay que dar oportunidades a nuestros jóvenes con contratos que les permitan mejorar su capacidad y su integración en las empresas, y no destruir las seguridades que ya existen en nuestras relaciones industriales.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The intention is very clear. It is not about lowering the level of protection but ensuring that young people, after they enter the labour market, will build up a certain level of protection faster than in the previous period. There are many reasons why we would like to achieve this, such as competitiveness, because they need to integrate into the labour market and develop skills. But there are also, for example, demographic consequences that result from the young generation experiencing such a huge amount of uncertainty in their lives.

 
  
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  Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Madam President, I welcome this new experiment. I hope it is going to work. I will try to make my contribution.

The EU, and I address this mainly to Commissioner Reding, has legislated in many areas of conditions at work, including equal rights and non-discrimination, so that female, gay, disabled or ethnic minority workers are treated fairly. But, if they move across borders under the free movement directive or posted workers directive, they do not have the assurance of a level playing field of equal treatment outside work. For instance in housing, education, supply of services and so on, due to the failure of the Council to agree over the last three or four years a new anti-discrimination directive.

Alongside and very much related to that, there is no guarantee of recognition of same sex marriages and civil partnerships, including in tax, property and parental rights, supposedly because Member States have prerogatives in family law.

Does it not make a mockery of EU promises of free movement and working mobility that there are no comprehensive EU guarantees for equality across the board?

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the Commission. − The honourable Member is absolutely right: the proposal for the equal treatment directive is being blocked in the Council. The Commission has constantly tried to make a breakthrough. Parliament has been constantly asking Council to stop blocking it. I can tell you that the Polish Presidency is continuing the discussion on this directive and is focusing on the issue of age, for instance, or favourable conditions for older people, the treatment of minors and age in financial services. They have concentrated on this in order to at least find a way out where Member States could discuss these issues. But I am very sorry to say so far – because you need unanimity in Council for this directive – the Council is continuing to block it and we cannot stop this.

 
  
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  Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - We all know Mrs Reding’s commitment to this area and appreciate it, but I wonder whether it is possible to get the whole of the Commission – including your colleagues there – on board for what an anomaly it is. We are passing directives on working time, agency workers, temporary workers and so on, but a big area of EU competence – and you did not reply on same-sex marriages and partnerships recognition – is just cut through by the fact that the Commission itself needs to really push on this comprehensively.

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the Commission. − If I am well-informed, there is no discrimination in the workplace on the basis of your agenda.

One could discuss for a long time the position of women in the workplace, and there would be a lot to say on this question definitely, but I think that Article 19 considers other things like housing or non-discrimination in general social affairs but not in the workplace.

 
  
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  Κωνσταντίνος Πουπάκης (PPE). - Κυρία Πρόεδρε, μελέτες δείχνουν ότι επεκτείνεται το φαινόμενο των φτωχών εργαζομένων εξ αιτίας της άναρχης εξάπλωσης νέων άτυπων μορφών απασχόλησης, όπως εκ περιτροπής και μερική απασχόληση, συμβάσεις ορισμένου χρόνου, ψευδοαπασχολούμενοι, υπεργολαβίες, υπονομεύοντας έτσι τον στόχο της ευρωπαϊκής στρατηγικής «Ευρώπη 2020» για την καταπολέμηση της φτώχειας.

Με ποιο τρόπο αλλά και με ποιες προϋποθέσεις πιστεύετε ότι μπορούν να συνδυαστούν οι νέες ευέλικτες μορφές απασχόλησης με την καταπολέμηση της φτώχειας, ώστε να διασφαλιστούν στην πράξη τόσο η αύξηση της ανταγωνιστικότητας όσο και ένα κοινωνικά θετικό συνολικό αποτέλεσμα;

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The issue of the working poor is indeed a major and increasing problem. In the aftermath of the economic crisis – the great recession – we observe with great concern the increasing number of working poor. It is obvious that structural unemployment has been a key factor in increasing poverty. That is why we concentrated on fighting structural unemployment.

I think there is an overlap here and the content of our agenda is key to this issue: investment in skills and focusing on how this could be reinforced by vocational training through lifelong learning in order to maintain the competitiveness of the labour force. In fact, the Dublin Foundation, Eurofound, recently proved in a quantitative study that there is a so-called hollowing-out phenomenon in the labour market, which means that the second and the third quintiles have shrunk in terms of earnings, while the number of jobs in the lowest and the highest two have increased. It is the second and third which are in the greatest difficulties. We therefore observe a major problem in terms of the integrity of the labour market. This is also connected with the problem of segmentation, which we tried to address in the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs.

The answer is clearly partly legislative: to ensure that contracts offering earlier protection become more widespread; that young people get into permanent jobs more quickly after leaving school; and that in all Member States there are more opportunities to invest in skills at all levels and thereby help employees preserve their competitiveness in the intensely competitive environment.

 
  
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  Κωνσταντίνος Πουπάκης (PPE). - Κυρία Πρόεδρε, στην στρατηγική για την υγεία και την ασφάλεια στην εργασία, όπως φαίνεται από την ενδιάμεση αξιολόγησή της, η ραγδαία επέκταση των μη τυπικών μορφών απασχόλησης συσχετίζεται με την αύξηση των επαγγελματικών κινδύνων. Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, πώς κρίνει η Επιτροπή ότι στην Ελλάδα, για παράδειγμα, ενώ η κυβερνητική πολιτική οδηγεί σε άναρχη αύξηση των μη τυπικών μορφών απασχόλησης, ταυτόχρονα δεν έχει υπάρξει καμία πρόβλεψη ενίσχυσης του πλαισίου πρόληψης επαγγελματικού κινδύνου και της εφαρμογής του;

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − We will study the connection between the spread of atypical forms of work and health and safety statistics. In fact, in recent years, there have been improvements on various fronts thanks to the Commission’s policy on health and safety. It is also true that, because of the crisis – also in reference to Mr Cercas’s point – a huge number of atypical forms, especially fixed jobs, were simply abolished or disappeared.

It is probably true that because there is less integration into a particular job and a particular culture, there is probably less training and introduction into safety and health, and employees develop the understanding of their own particular working environment more slowly and on a lower level.

So we will have to study this, especially in this period, because next year we are planning to develop a new long-term safety and health strategy, which has to be evidence-based. I look forward to studying the evidence on the ground in various Member States and also to continue with this, the dialogue with the European Parliament.

 
  
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  Jutta Steinruck (S&D). - Frau Präsidentin! Meine Frage richtet sich an Kommissar Andor: Herr Andor, ich war vor einigen Wochen auf einer Großbaustelle in Frankreich, wo ich mir vor Ort mit anderen Kollegen meiner Fraktion den Umgang mit mobilen europäischen Arbeitnehmern ansehen konnte. Hier wurden besonders von Leiharbeitsunternehmen entsandte Arbeitnehmer, z. B. aus Polen, auf skandalöse Weise ausgebeutet. Es herrschten schlimme Arbeitsbedingungen; allein in diesem Jahr sind bis zu unserem Besuch auf der Baustelle drei Menschen bei Arbeitsunfällen ums Leben gekommen. Die Wohnsituation war unmöglich. Die Arbeitnehmer hatten Steuern und Sozialabgaben vom Lohn abgezogen bekommen, hatten aber keinen Anspruch auf Krankenversicherung. Es war unklar, wohin die Steuern abgeführt wurden. Das ist eines von vielen Beispielen, wie die legalen, aber auch die illegalen Möglichkeiten ausgenutzt werden.

Meine Fragen: Welche Maßnahmen gedenkt die Kommission zu ergreifen, um die ordnungsgemäße Umsetzung der Entsenderichtlinie in den Mitgliedstaaten zu garantieren? Welche Vorschläge macht die Kommission, um Arbeitnehmer, die über längere Subunternehmerketten rekrutiert werden, vor Ausbeutung zu schützen?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Ms Steinruck, first of all let me thank you for your earlier intervention, in the summer, on this topic, as a result of which I raised this issue at my recent meeting with Minister Bertrand in France and received information that the French authorities were also looking at this case very seriously. This is exactly the type of situation which justifies the Commission’s efforts to deliver a new enforcement directive on the posting of workers. I believe it is necessary, because in previous years there have been a huge number of cases – some of them very well-known following court rulings, but there are many that are less well-known – where workers, but also entrepreneurs, found themselves in very difficult situations because of the lack of clarity, and the lack of clear interpretation and implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive.

We are delivering an enforcement directive later this year. It is a strategic initiative in the Commission’s work programme for this year, and this will also be accompanied by a so-called ‘Monti II’ regulation. I think this will form a good and balanced package.

I have been discussing this also with the Polish Presidency which has a strong interest in this, also because in some cases, like the one you referred to, there are Polish workers involved, though it is true that Germany is also a country which receives and sends a huge number of posted workers, so I also count on German stakeholders to participate in this debate.

 
  
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  Elizabeth Lynne (ALDE). - My question is also to you, Commissioner Andor, on a couple of issues. One is the Working Time Directive, to find out where we are at the moment on this, and whether you believe that there will be any movement in terms of retaining the voluntary opt out so that we have that flexibility, and whether you believe that the Council is moving on that.

Incidentally, thank you very much for visiting Bridgenorth Aluminium in my constituency to hear for yourself from employers and employees alike of the need for flexibility regarding the Working Time Directive.

Following on to the question you responded to just now on the Posting of Workers Directive, could I have a little clarification as regards the enforcement directive?

I assume that you are not saying that we should have an additional directive on top of the current Posting of Workers Directive, but should make sure that we implement the current directive correctly – which obviously is not being done at the moment, as was referred to by my colleague.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − There are three questions in one, the first being about the Working Time Directive. As you know, we had two consultations between the social partners. The second one ended in March; it was actually extended after a request from the social partners. We also had further reasons to wait for a while for confirmation by the social partners at European level on whether they wanted to negotiate on a new directive or not.

I have been in close dialogue with both sides and I am still waiting for a final answer which I hope will arrive soon. If it is positive on both sides it will be the prerogative of the social partners, BUSINESSEUROPE and the ETUC, to negotiate. They would have nine months for that and I believe this would be a very good way because they are the key stakeholders. It is in their interests, as it is in the interests of many firms and workers in Europe, to obtain a functioning Working Time Directive as a result. Further than that I would not like to comment on any aspect of the Working Time Directive because at this phase it is for the social partners to decide what they would like to do.

I am glad you appreciate my visit to Bridgnorth. Indeed it was a great experience to study how various directives, including safety and health, work in British industry, in the remaining British industry. We do pay attention to the discussions on employment legislation in Britain in this very lively conference period.

Concerning the Enforcement Directive, the intention was clearly not to open up the original Posting of Workers Directive because I believe personally – and I think I enjoy the support of the Commission – that the original intention of this, to facilitate cross-border services and to avoid social dumping, is still valid. We have to do both and I believe this Enforcement Directive, for example, will facilitate better cooperation between authorities in various Member States and also clarify the roles of who is supposed to do what in certain conditions. Thus we would have better functioning with much less in the way of misunderstandings and conflicts.

 
  
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  Elizabeth Lynne (ALDE). - I am sorry, I asked too many questions. That is why you spoke for over the allotted two minutes. It is my fault.

I am very pleased that you are not opening up the Posting of Workers Directive again and adding further directives to it. I do appreciate that if the social partners are talking about the Working Time Directive at the moment, it is difficult for you to express an opinion on it.

But I was just wondering if you could indicate whether you felt there would be an agreement in the health sector separately from the other sectors, or whether they were discussing the Working Time Directive as a whole?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I believe a functioning Working Time Directive will only emerge if it pays sufficient attention to the diversity of Europe and also to particular sectoral specificities, but this is just stating the obvious. The health sector is clearly one of those sectors, together with the fire services and the police, for example, where there is a need for continuous service, and sometimes that raises difficulties. But I am sure the social partners know this very well, and when they come to a conclusion – as is their right – they will take these aspects into account.

 
  
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  President. − Before we move to the next question can I just say I am sure that Commissioner Andor is enjoying being the focus of attention, but we have Vice-President Reding here and Commissioner Tajani, and I would hope that we could share the questions a little more equally and take advantage of everybody’s presence. With that in mind, Mr Tarand.

 
  
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  Indrek Tarand (Verts/ALE). - I am actually addressing Commissioner Reding, as requested. We are discussing new ways of working, but my question relates to the bad old ways of working, and surprisingly inside the Commission itself. I am referring to the process for the recent appointment to the post of Head of the Commission Representation in Tallinn in Estonia.

I must admit that I have a strong suspicion that the process was disturbed by hidden lobbying on the part of the Estonian Government and also by the Commissioner for Transport. Moreover, I have reasons to describe the final decision as influenced far more by male chauvinism than the requirements of gender balance.

The only way to erase my doubts would be to publish these documents, which unfortunately DG Communication has, under various pretexts, refused to do for the time being. I ask for your assistance in getting the documents released.

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, I do not really understand what this has to do with the topic, but would nevertheless like to say that all the nominations which are made for Heads of Representation are made by the President in agreement with the Commissioner speaking to you now after a thorough passing-through of all the rules and procedures for nominating Heads of Representation. This was done, very thoroughly, also in the case of Tallinn.

 
  
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  President. − We will leave it at that because that question was really on the edge.

 
  
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  Pablo Zalba Bidegain (PPE). - Señora Presidenta, es una cuestión para el Vicepresidente Tajani.

Todos reconocemos la importancia de la movilidad profesional para desarrollar una fuerza laboral versátil y competitiva. De hecho, dos de los pilares de la Estrategia Europa 2020 son la innovación y el emprendimiento.

Señor Vicepresidente, como sabe, actualmente tenemos Erasmus para universitarios, el programa Marie Curie para investigadores y el Erasmus para emprendedores. Creo que sería necesario también diseñar un programa que diese una oportunidad a jóvenes innovadores de manera transversal, para que puedan materializar sus proyectos tanto en universidades como en empresas, start-ups, laboratorios o agencias gubernamentales.

Los miembros del intergrupo de juventud del Parlamento Europeo hemos hecho una propuesta para desarrollar un proyecto piloto denominado «Young Innovators Mobility» que va precisamente en esa dirección.

Señor Vicepresidente, me gustaría saber si contamos para esta iniciativa con el apoyo de la Comisión.

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vicepresidente de la Comisión. − Gracias, señor Zalba, me gusta mucho su propuesta. Es muy interesante y creo que pueden trabajar juntos por este objetivo el Parlamento y la Comisión. Estoy a favor y mis servicios pueden trabajar conjuntamente con la delegación de los jóvenes diputados del Parlamento Europeo.

Me gusta el proyecto piloto en favor de los jóvenes innovadores. Es muy importante no hacer lo mismo que con los jóvenes emprendedores. Es muy importante trabajar por dos cosas diferentes. En mi opinión, se puede hacer bien. La Comisión va a trabajar con los diputados europeos en este proyecto.

 
  
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  Συλβάνα Ράπτη (S&D). - Κυρία Πρόεδρε, όταν ακούω να γίνεται λόγος για νέες μορφές εργασίας σε καιρό κρίσης, αρχίζω και φοβάμαι. Γιατί ξέρω πάρα πολύ καλά ότι νέες μορφές εργασίας σημαίνει ευέλικτες μορφές εργασίας, σημαίνει εποχικές μορφές εργασίας, σημαίνει συμβάσεις ορισμένου χρόνου, σημαίνει υποαπασχόληση, σημαίνει τηλεργασία. Και όλα αυτά μεταφράζονται σε αβεβαιότητα για το μέλλον, μεταφράζονται σε περιορισμό των κοινωνικών δικαιωμάτων, μεταφράζονται σε περιορισμό των συνταξιοδοτικών δικαιωμάτων, μεταφράζονται σε πολύ μεγάλη ευκολία απολύσεων χωρίς δικαιολογία.

Υπάρχει η λέξη «jobber»: δηλώνει τους νέους ανθρώπους, οι οποίοι μη μπορώντας να δεχτούν ότι το μέλλον τους είναι σε αυτές τις αβέβαιες συνθήκες εργασίας, επιλέγουν να κάνουν την υποαπασχόληση τρόπο ζωής. Αυτές τις σχέσεις εργασίας έχετε για το μέλλον; Οι συλλογικές συμβάσεις εργασίας θα αποτελούν ιστορία για τους σημερινούς νέους;

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − This is a very timely question. In fact on Thursday I will host a conference in Brussels about wages and wage-setting, which will also discuss collective agreements and the role of the social dialogue in wage-setting in Europe. I think this is a very important topic right now because of the developments not only in the labour market, but also in terms of economic governance in the European Union, and the two are obviously interlinked. But I would like to express a doubt about simply looking at the new developments in a negative light. In fact many of these are also bringing new opportunities or just represent a necessary response to the challenges of the global economy. I think it has been proven in recent years that, for example, without flexibility there is just no competitive economy, which we also want to maintain and even further develop, but we have to find the right forms of flexibility. Very often, as we learned in time of crisis, internal flexibility was the answer. The social partners also cooperated in terms of finding the best form of flexibility within a particular firm or within a particular industry.

I think we have to maintain social rights as much as possible. We have to maintain the European social model and I think we have to look together for the necessary ways of adjusting this European social model, which will certainly have to be maintained.

 
  
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  Συλβάνα Ράπτη (S&D). - Κυρία Πρόεδρε, καταλαβαίνω την απάντηση του κυρίου Andor, καταλαβαίνω ότι πρέπει να έχουμε ένα πιο θετικό πνεύμα. Πρέπει όμως και εσείς να καταλάβετε ότι, σε καιρό οικονομικής κρίσης, το άλλο νόμισμα δεν είναι η απασχόληση, η άλλη όψη του νομίσματος είναι η ανεργία. Για αυτό θέτω με πίεση το ερώτημα σε σχέση με τις νέες γενιές, οι οποίες μορφώνονται περισσότερο, αποκτούν περισσότερες δεξιότητες, αλλά δεν βρίσκουν δουλειά ή βρίσκουν επισφαλείς θέσεις εργασίας, χωρίς καθόλου δικαιώματα. Έχουν ανάγκη την προστασία μας.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The Commission is aware of the impact the crisis has on employment and especially on youth unemployment. We looked at this very seriously and rolled out a number of initiatives to improve the situation on both national and European levels.

But there is another dimension, and that is to rebuild a European economy that would be more sustainable. To that end, Commissioner Tajani’s initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy plays a strong role, which is about industrial policy and assuring that the European economy would be more sustainable while also improving competitiveness.

So we are very strong allies in this and I am a great supporter of the Tajani initiative.

 
  
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  Филиз Хакъева Хюсменова (ALDE). - Съгласна съм, че увеличаването на работните места с нови форми на труд е особено удачно в условията на криза. В същото време новите форми на труд биха могли да създадат предпоставки за скрита дискриминация, намаляване на социалната осигуреност и икономическата стабилност на работниците, несигурност и непредвидими въздействия върху здравето и безопасността на труда.

Въпреки че упражняването на всеки труд трябва да става съобразно основните стандарти на Международната организация по труда, споделяте ли мнението, че тези форми на труд се контролират по-трудно и би ли могла Комисията да се ангажира с издаването на нарочен документ по тази проблематика?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I fully agree with the importance of health and safety legislation, and of the role of the ILO.

We work very closely with the ILO on such issues inside the European Union, and also outside the European Union, because it is very important that such standards are developed and maintained both in the immediate neighbourhood of the EU and more widely. It is of huge importance that tomorrow the Secretary-General of the ILO will come to this Chamber and discuss related issues with us.

On the question of the social rights, we have been working together with the ILO and have observed with great concern that in many cases there has been a step back, and a questioning of these.

Where we have already engaged with some authorities is when there is a challenge to the rights of mobile workers when, in a country which is different from the country of origin of a certain worker, his or her rights are questioned.

In such cases, sometimes very publicly, we engage with the national authorities. The Commission will do its utmost to protect the existing rights of mobile workers.

 
  
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  Damien Abad (PPE). - Plusieurs de mes collègues ont parlé de la segmentation du marché du travail et du nombre d'emplois précaires qui risquent de se développer. Je voudrais poser une question sur cette segmentation, notamment concernant les jeunes et, en particulier, les stages.

La Commission européenne entend-elle prendre des initiatives sur ce sujet? Nous savons très bien que les stages sont utiles, surtout quand ils se déroulent en fin de cursus et lorsqu'ils permettent aux jeunes d'avoir une vraie expérience concrète débouchant sur un emploi. Nous savons aussi que, dans des périodes de crise, ce domaine est parfois sujet à des pratiques abusives.

La Commission envisage-t-elle de prendre un certain nombre d'initiatives, à la fois pour conforter les stagiaires en tant que tels, pour démontrer qu'ils sont utiles et, en même temps, pour leur garantir des conditions de stage tout à fait équilibrées, notamment dans ce contexte-là?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Youth on the Move is the flagship initiative in the Europe 2020 Strategy that particularly addresses this question, especially as regards improving education policy, employment policy and the connection between the two. As part of Youth on the Move, I intend to present a Quality Framework for Traineeship in 2012.

This can be a stepping stone for young people’s careers and bridge the gap between the theoretical knowledge gained in education and the skills and competences needed at the workplace. However, I believe we need to avoid situations where traineeships could be misused to replace regular jobs or probation periods, and we need to support better access and participation in high-quality traineeships. We are working on this in the preparation of our initiatives for next year.

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, vice-président de la Commission. − Monsieur Abad, je voudrais ajouter quelque chose pour ce qui concerne la politique que je mène, en tant que commissaire de l'industrie, en faveur des jeunes.

Je pense que le programme Erasmus pour les jeunes entrepreneurs constitue en soi une forme de stage pour les jeunes qui commencent à travailler. Je pense qu'il s'agit d'un lien très important entre l'école – l'université – et les entreprises, afin de former des jeunes capables de commencer à travailler après l'université, après l'école.

C'est dans cet objectif que j'organiserai avant la fin de l'année, à Rome, un sommet avec les entreprises, la Commission, avec la commissaire Vassiliou, sur le thème de l'éducation et de la formation des jeunes.

Il y a une pénurie d'ingénieurs en Europe, il n'y a pas assez de jeunes qui étudient dans les écoles techniques. Il faut donc essayer, notamment par des stages, de renforcer ce secteur, qui est très important pour le développement de l'industrie européenne.

C'est pourquoi la Commission, et en particulier ma direction générale, a l'intention de développer le programme Erasmus pour les jeunes entrepreneurs. Nous allons donc étudier la façon de renforcer ces liens pour la formation des jeunes après l'université et l'école.

 
  
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  Damien Abad (PPE). - Je suis de ceux qui défendent effectivement ce programme Erasmus pour les jeunes entrepreneurs, et notamment l'idée qu'il faut aller plus loin encore dans l'emploi industriel.

À ce propos, au-delà de cette politique de mobilité pour les jeunes entrepreneurs et pour les entreprises, je voudrais aussi poser une question au commissaire Tajani: comment envisage-t-il de mieux intégrer les jeunes dans l'emploi industriel en tant que tel, et notamment tout ce qui concerne l'apprentissage et les formations en alternance, qui restent grandement nécessaires dans nos pays européens, et qui sont parfois encore déconsidérées, y compris dans les mentalités, dans un certain nombre de nos pays?

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, vice-président de la Commission. − Je pense qu'une façon très intéressante de développer ce sujet est de travailler avec les clusters. Nous comptons à peu près 2 000 clusters en Europe. C'est un système plus moderne pour intégrer l'entreprise, l'industrie et l'université. Nous pouvons ainsi faire appel à nos jeunes en tant que chercheurs et étudiants, mais également en tant que jeunes qui commencent à travailler dans une entreprise.

Dans le cluster, nous avons un projet ainsi qu'un but, dans le cadre duquel nous pouvons faire appel aux jeunes les plus compétents issus de l'université, qui commenceront à travailler dans la recherche, plus précisément la recherche appliquée. Nous enverrons un message de confiance à ces jeunes qui débutent dans l'entreprise. Je suis fortement engagé sur ce sujet.

Nous sommes aussi en train d'organiser – nous en avons déjà parlé avec le gouvernement maltais –, avant la communication sur les clusters que nous présenterons au début de l'année prochaine, un symposium à Malte sur les clusters, la formation et les jeunes, en vue de donner également un premier emploi aux jeunes dans les entreprises.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE). - Întrebarea mea se adresează tot domnului comisar Andor.

Noua economie este caracterizată de numeroase e-activităţi, cum ar fi e-educaţia, e-medicina, e-comerţul şi aşa mai departe. Este bine că le acordăm atenţie, dar e-activităţile nu pot suplini toate activităţile dintr-o societate. Mineritul, agricultura, siderurgia, de exemplu, se vor moderniza mult în noua economie, chiar dacă vor fi lipsite de litera „e”. Noua economie va fi o provocare pentru aceste sectoare.

Doresc să îl întreb pe domnul comisar ce planuri are Comisia pentru a stimula modernizarea modului de lucru din aceste activităţi, de exemplu în domeniul agriculturii, pentru a evita o rămânere în urmă a acestor sectoare, despre care ştim că sunt deosebit de vulnerabile.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Agricultural policy remains a very strong pillar of the European Union. In the Multiannual Financial Framework, which we published at the end of June, I believe we ensured that the CAP will remain strong, although it also needs to respond to the new challenges of the next decade. For example, the move towards sustainability requires a kind of greening of this policy as well. We also may need to think about facilitating change, either by facilitating transition in the agricultural sector – whether towards tourism or towards other types of activities – or just by facilitating modernisation through the purchase of new equipment.

Rural life is being transformed for the same reasons. We thought about covering the agricultural sector more by another financial instrument, the Globalisation Adjustment Fund. The specificities of the agricultural sector will be taken into account in the new regulation. We will think about the consequences of changing international trade patterns for this sector and try to ensure sustainability, but also provide for the necessary transition and transformations in this sector.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE). - Îi mulţumesc mult domnului comisar pentru răspunsul pe care mi l-a oferit. Eu mă refeream mai degrabă la activităţile umane din aceste sectoare care, fără a reprezenta noi forme de muncă, sunt atât de importante pentru societăţile noastre. În mod deosebit, aş vrea să ştiu câteva dintre gândurile domnului comisar despre educaţia în domeniul agriculturii şi altor meserii tradiţionale.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The EGF, which I mentioned, together with the Social Fund, is mainly about human activities. It supports training, retraining, the gaining of new knowledge, and also development of lifelong learning. It is always a type of support that helps develop human capital. This has also been applied in rural areas, but now it will be made more explicit that, for example, the EGF also applies to training support and other capacities in the agriculture sector. When developing the content of such activities we will very closely cooperate with Commissioner Cioloş.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D). - Does the Commissioner consider the decision of TalkTalk in Waterford to close at one month’s notice, with the loss of 575 call centre jobs, to be in breach of any EU directives, and in particular Directive 98/59/EC? The workers heard about their job losses through social media and the radio.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I have been informed about this case by Irish MEPs. I will see Mr Kelly tomorrow and I saw Mr De Rossa today. I consider this to be a very important issue and potentially a very serious case but, before rushing to any kind of judgement, I will have to look at the evidence on the ground. I should be grateful for any further information.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D). - I just wonder whether you are aware of any other EU directive under which sanctions can be taken against companies which behave in this fashion towards their employees?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − There is certainly a directive on information and consultation. Restructuring has also been considered as an important area to develop new legislation. We have to see clearly, before speaking about potential conflict with EU law, what actually happened or is happening, and this is still before us. We also have to consider what this might represent as regards cases. We are continuing our work on restructuring and this will be a major issue on my agenda, in cooperation with colleagues in the Commission, and will potentially bear fruit next year.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE). - Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, volevo rivolgere una domanda al Commissario Tajani, anche perché in commissione industria, prima della pausa estiva è stato presentato il rapporto conclusivo del lavoro svolto dal gruppo di alto livello sulle tecnologie abilitanti fondamentali KETs che diventeranno secondo materia prima dell'innovazione. Credo che pensando al tema del lavoro noi non possiamo non pensare a un lavoro rivolto ai giovani e un lavoro innovativo.

Credo che in quel in quel rapporto estremamente interessante si parla di come da qui al 2015 il mercato delle nanotecnologie crescerà del 16%, quello della nanoelettronica del 13%, delle biotecnologie del 6%, della fotonica dell'8%: sono nuovi posti di lavoro, nuovi tipi e nuove forme di lavoro che vedranno una industria innovativa in settori legati ai prodotti di alta tecnologia e alle energie rinnovabili.

Chiedo al Commissario che cosa intende fare la Commissione per favorire tutto questo che sarà il nostro futuro?

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vicepresidente della Commissione. − Signora Presidente, onorevoli deputati, vedo che i deputati del Mediterraneo hanno raccolto l'appello del Presidente e fanno riposare un po' il Commissario Andor. Ringrazio l'onorevole Sartori per la sua domanda.

Il gruppo di alto livello, che era presieduto da me e da Jean Therme, ha prodotto dei risultati molto positivi e ha dimostrato che il potenziale di crescita e quindi di creazione di posti di lavoro in questo settore è impressionante, dal 5% al 16% a seconda della tecnologia considerata, da oggi al 2015 con un giro di affari che dovrebbe passare da 832 miliardi di dollari di oggi a circa 1 300 miliardi di dollari nei prossimi cinque anni. Mi chiedo quali altri settori possono creare sviluppo e crescita in maniera simile.

È un settore strategico, che riguarda molti prodotti, dai computer a tutti quelli ad alta tecnologia sino alle rinnovabili, quindi è anche importante per la nostra azione contro il cambiamento climatico, a favore di quella green economy di cui parlava prima il commissario Andor e per la quale la Commissione è fortemente impegnata, anche perché produce posti di lavoro e produce benessere e in questo momento credo che sia molto importante che tutti quanti noi ci impegniamo per la crescita puntando anche su questi settori altamente innovativi.

Noi dobbiamo però passare dalla fase della ricerca al finanziamento di grandi progetti che dimostrino la bontà di questa azione e passare, come ha sottolineato anche il documento finale a cui faceva riferimento l'onorevole Sartori sulle KETs, che è importante lavorare certo sulla ricerca in questi settori, ma è ancor più importante lavorare sulla ricerca applicata in questi settori, perché l'Europa, a differenza dei nostri competitor a livello mondiale, lavora molto sulla ricerca e non sufficientemente sulla ricerca applicata, e su questo obiettivo la Commissione cercherà di concentrare molti sforzi.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE). - Signor Commissario, proprio su questo tema, quello della ricerca applicata, so che è molto impegnato, ci fa ancora qualche esempio?

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vicepresidente della Commissione. − Signora Presidente, onorevoli deputati, la nostra strategia, onorevole Sartori, cercheremo di lavorare molto soprattutto per esempio per l'auto elettrica, settore molto importante dove l'Europa è all'avanguardia, ma dove si può fare di più anche per la lotta contro il cambiamento climatico. Lavoreremo anche molto con la innovation partnership per quanto riguarda ad esempio le materie prime dove si lavorerà sul riciclaggio e sulla sostituzione, quindi, ricerca applicata all'attività industriale anche in una strategia forte di impegno contro il cambiamento climatico.

 
  
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  Monika Smolková (S&D) - Ďakujem pekne, budem mať tiež otázku na pána komisára Andora. Globálna ekonomická kríza veľmi výrazne ovplyvňuje aj nezamestnanosť. Určite budete so mnou súhlasiť, že dobrá legislatíva a zákonníky práce by mali byť nástrojom pre naštartovanie záujmu zamestnávateľov na obsadzovaní a vytváraní nových pracovných miest. Zákonník práce na Slovensku, ktorý schválila pravicová vláda, má asi európsky primát. Keď priemerný pracovný čas zamestnanca vrátane práce nadčas môže prekročiť 48 hodín a zamestnanci môžu v kalendárnom roku vykonať prácu nadčas 400, respektíve vedúci zamestnanci až 550 hodín. Moja otázka teda znie: prečo Slovensko dostalo výnimku z únijného práva, keď Slovensko má dlhodobo 13 % nezamestnanosť?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − You must be aware that a high number of countries have been using the opt-out from the Working Time Directive, sectorally or completely.

From my perspective, obviously this is not a good way to proceed and far from an optimal situation, but that is why we have launched the procedure through consultation for a new Working Time Directive which would be widely applicable in the EU.

We follow the evolution of labour legislation in various Member States. Sometimes, there is concern because it is true that sometimes a sufficient balance between flexibility and security is not provided. There are also cases where the social partners are not sufficiently consulted. I believe it is very important to consult the social partners and potentially other stakeholders before delivering labour legislation, and it is very important to revise it if there has perhaps been a long time – decades – since the last act and the economy has changed massively in the period in-between.

Slovakia, mentioned in the question, is one of the countries where we have been looking at cases to see whether there is evidence of non-compliance with EU law, which we will obviously take very seriously.

 
  
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  Monika Smolková (S&D) - Možno ani nie otázku, ale vyjadrím súhlas s pánom komisárom, ktorý povedal, že nie je to dobré riešenie. Ja určite súhlasím s niektorými profesiami, ako sú lekári, že je nutné, aby mali nadčasy, pretože nie je lekárov, alebo iné funkcie. Ale uzákoniť do zákonníka práce „vedúci pracovník“, pod ktorým sa spojí čokoľvek, tak myslím si, že toto nie je na mieste a mala by Komisia namietať.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I heard it was not a question but a comment, so I refer to my earlier remarks concerning the Working Time Directive.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - This question is to Commissioner Andor, and is not so much on new forms of work as on the whole issue of job creation.

Many people believe that technology is displacing jobs. Take, for example, the new super iPhone that will be released at the end of the month, which will displace cameras, portable televisions, laptops, video recorders and landlines. The fact is that these new iPhones will be manufactured using technology with minimum labour input, and most of them will be sold on the internet. More and more students, for example, are using the new iPad with consequent impacts on printers and publishers, etc.

The comment I am making is that, while we are always being told we are moving up the value chain at European level, is technology not displacing more and more jobs? I would like your view on that.

My second question follows on from what Mr Niculescu said. There are sectors where technology cannot displace humans or people, and one of those is the care sector. Given that people are living longer there will be more and more demand for care services. While I know this is a Member State competence, I just wonder if the Commission intends to take any action on this at European level, because I think that would be useful.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I agree with Mrs Harkin that in many cases technology is probably displacing jobs and human labour in industry, but not necessarily across the whole economy. There are sectors identified where we can anticipate an increase in the number of jobs. During our dialogues, Business Europe suggested that more jobs will be created in industry. However, job creation is expected to be more dynamic in services, particularly in a number of sectors such as education – broadly speaking – and health and care.

This was one of the conclusions of our Spring conference with the Nobel Prize winner Professor Pissarides – one of the great experts on this issue. Together, we looked at the transformation of the European labour market.

We have to prepare proactively for new opportunities in sectors where there is room and necessity for new jobs. We would also like to focus our efforts – within the European Social Fund – on helping to retrain the labour force and preparing to fill new job opportunities. The efforts to develop new initiatives on green jobs, for example, are also targeting a sector where employment should grow in the future.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - I thank the Commissioner for his answer, which certainly gives us some idea of where the Commission is going. However, Commissioner, I believe that technological changes are such that the old rules and remedies certainly no longer apply and job creation is now a real difficulty for Member States.

I am just wondering whether we should not look at the way we organise ourselves, and at creating more jobs from less work, and perhaps at finding other ways of distributing wealth, because that is a crucial issue as far as jobs are concerned. I do not think we have had a real debate and discussion that has changed the work and the job landscape for ever. I do hear what you are saying, but I would like to see more action at European level to indicate that we are recognising the new world we live in and that the Commission is responding to it.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Mrs Harkin, if you would allow me, I would express some disagreement with this latest point. In the first decade of this century, technology was developing but we managed to increase the number of jobs in Europe.

The employment rate increased until the crisis. It was the crisis that destroyed a huge number of jobs, and not technology. Technology of course continues to develop and new technologies will be introduced in the future. In many cases it will provide new opportunities because it will change the nature and profile of many jobs, but I really doubt that this is a big threat to our employment level. I believe we have to look at all possible consequences, and we should not portray technology as a big danger to our employment patterns.

 
  
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  Νικόλαος Χουντής (GUE/NGL). - Κύριοι Επίτροποι, ωραία αυτά που μας είπατε! Την ίδια ώρα στην Ελλάδα οι εκπρόσωποι της Τρόικας, μεταξύ αυτών και ο εκπρόσωπος της Επιτροπής, πιέζουν, απαιτούν την κατάργηση των συλλογικών συμβάσεων για μεγαλύτερη ευελιξία στην αγορά. Αυτό θα είναι καταστροφικό, λόγω και της διάρθρωσης της ελληνικής οικονομίας. Τα ευρωπαϊκά συνδικάτα σας κατηγορούν ότι παρεμβαίνετε σε βάρος των εργαζομένων. Σε ερώτηση που έκανα στον κύριο Andor είχε απαντήσει ότι οι συλλογικές συμβάσεις είναι θέμα εθνικού δικαίου.

Θέλω λοιπόν να ρωτήσω: επιμένει ο Επίτροπος σε αυτή τη δήλωσή του ότι οι συλλογικές συμβάσεις είναι εθνικού δικαίου; Και δεύτερο, αν είναι έτσι τα πράγματα, ο εκπρόσωπος της Επιτροπής στην Τρόικα που πιέζει για την κατάργηση των συλλογικών συμβάσεων ως τι λειτουργεί, ως εκπρόσωπος της Επιτροπής ή ως εκπρόσωπος των δανειστών της Ελλάδας;

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I would like to insist that Greece is a special case, especially now in this period. We should not look at the Greek case as something that would be a template for others. We are much luckier than that and the Greek situation requires very specific treatment. I was in Greece twice earlier this year and also spoke with the trade unions – there was a European trade union conference in Athens.

I spoke last week with the head of the new task force which was established in July, and urged Mr Reichenbach to speak to the social partners as early as possible. I also believe it is right to maintain the role of the social partners. However, the role of the social dialogue and collective bargaining in an emergency situation cannot be the same as in normal situations. The emergency is an emergency and there are specificities in that. I think it is very important that Greece receives sufficient support from other European countries and other sources, like the IMF for example, but it is also important that Greece delivers in terms of reforms and transformation because otherwise we will never arrive at a sustainable situation.

It is in the interests of all parties involved to work for a more sustainable, stronger structure with Greece involved.

 
  
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  Νικόλαος Χουντής (GUE/NGL). - Κυρία Πρόεδρε, ομολογώ ότι η απάντηση του Επίτροπου μου δημιουργεί πάρα πολλά ερωτήματα. Αν ήμασταν ένα χρόνο πριν, πράγματι, η Ελλάδα ήταν το πρόβλημα. Τώρα, έχουμε την Πορτογαλία, την Ιρλανδία, και ενδεχομένως, την Ισπανία, την Ιταλία και τη Γαλλία. Επομένως, δεν απαντάμε στο πρόβλημα της κατάργησης εργασιακών δικαιωμάτων λέγοντας ότι είναι κάτι το ιδιαίτερο. Και επιτέλους, κύριοι Επίτροποι, εσείς ως Επιτροπή, τι κάνετε σε σχέση με τα θεμελιώδη δικαιώματα των εργαζομένων, επειδή ακριβώς είναι ιδιαίτερη η κατάσταση;

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − We are working on the further development of the social dialogue in the EU.

I have also been to Ireland and Portugal, the difficult cases mentioned by the honourable Member, and the discussion was very far from undermining or abolishing the social dialogue. In certain countries there is probably a need to reform the social dialogue in its existing forms, but you are unlikely to have ever seen the Commission supporting, advocating or demanding any diminishing of the social dialogue. On the contrary. In the Europe 2020 flagship initiative ‘Agenda for new skills and jobs’, we introduced a new element in the social dialogue at EU level, the Tripartite Social Forum, in addition to the existing Tripartite Social Summit. It has a wider format which involves more sectoral representatives, and contributes to the dialogue at European level.

The social dialogue will probably not be the same after the crisis as before, but I am sure it will be stronger at European level and I believe there will be many other cases where new elements will emerge.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). - First of all, compliments to everybody for the new format and particularly to the Commissioners for their accurate and brief responses. This is far more stimulating and enjoyable than the previous system we had.

A propos the topic, the downside of a recession is obviously unemployment. My colleague referred to TalkTalk closing within 30 days, with the loss of 575 jobs. The construction industry has suffered hugely. There is 14.5% unemployment in Ireland and 9.5% across the EU.

In relation to those with specific skill sets, has the Commission any plans or proposals in mind whereby those skill sets could be transferred so that they could get new forms of work?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Well, Mr Kelly, I have already spoken about the TalkTalk case earlier; I can just add that the existing forms of EU support using the European Social Fund and the Globalisation Adjustment Fund might also be relevant if the Irish authorities request this. I believe these are possible ways. Ireland has been using the EGF quite well. This door is open and I would like to ensure that the crisis delegations continue after this year until the end of this period. In the next financial framework too the EGF will preserve the capacity to support workers in such difficult cases.

There is another element which I should perhaps mention in the context of restructuring: the role of social dialogue and the social partners in cases. I also think it is important not just to speak with the European social partners but perhaps the non-European ones as well – AmCham for example – or rather foreign investors to ensure that there is sufficient understanding of what it means in the EU to follow certain norms, certain standards and certain legislation, and to develop this business culture and social model together.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). - I would like to thank Commissioner Andor for his ready and willing response to the TalkTalk situation.

A supplementary question in relation to the forthcoming amendments to the Working Time Directive: Will the Commission consider introducing some measures by which employers are encouraged to take on additional staff, rather than increase the working hours of the staff they have already and decrease their wages accordingly?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − In answer to the question on the Working Time Directive, I would like to stress that in the period where the social partners have not yet indicated their readiness to negotiate, the Commission refrains from making substantial comments on the Working Time Directive, or what a new Working Time Directive could bring as regards certain elements. Therefore, I would like to ask for your patience, at least for a couple of days, until we learn from both sides of the European social partners what their decision will be.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE). - Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, vorrei rivolgere una domanda al Commissario Tajani: secondo i dati a nostra disposizione il settore del turismo, pur avendo registrato un calo generale a seguito della crisi, è uno dei settori che meglio hanno risposto alla crisi stessa. Inoltre, è il settore economico che sta dando i segnali di ripresa più incoraggianti e consistenti.

L'Unione europea è la prima destinazione turistica mondiale per arrivi internazionali e ha un grande potenziale di attrazione. Massimizzare l'effetto trainante del turismo per la crescita e l'occupazione risulta quindi una priorità in linea con gli obiettivi di Europa 2020. Occorre in particolare rafforzare i legami con i paesi emergenti, i paesi BRIC, che rappresentano diversi milioni di potenziali turisti per l'Europa, ma anche promuovere figure professionali orientate a questi nuovi flussi di turisti. Che cosa sta facendo la Commissione europea a questo proposito?

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vicepresidente della Commissione. − Signora Presidente, onorevoli deputati, onorevole Fidanza, come Lei sa, stiamo lavorando molto per cercare di mantenere l'Europa come prima destinazione turistica con accordi anche a livello internazionale, in modo che l'Europa possa essere sempre più attraente; abbiamo sottoscritto accordi con la Cina perché c'è una classe media con milioni e milioni di cinesi interessati a trascorrere le vacanze al di fuori del loro paese, il lavoro è intenso con la Cina, come è intenso con i paesi del Sudamerica.

Abbiamo sottoscritto l'accordo per un progetto pilota con il Sudamerica per sviluppare presenze turistiche durante la bassa stagione. Abbiamo riscosso grande successo in Cile e con il Brasile firmeremo nei prossimi giorni in occasione del vertice Unione europea-Brasile, e poi lo firmerò con l'Argentina. A questo progetto hanno aderito le più importanti compagnie aeree europee, hanno aderito tutte le organizzazioni dei tour operator. Stiamo altresì lavorando con la Federazione russa perché siamo convinti che anche in Russia ci siano, e già ne abbiamo testimonianza in Europa, ci siano milioni di turisti potenziali, anche benestanti che possono spendere.

Naturalmente come è noto il turismo dà occupazione a molti giovani, è importante poter incrementare le presenze turistiche durante la bassa stagione, ecco perché il progetto pilota con l'America latina, settore del mondo con il quale l'Europa dovrebbe e potrebbe fare molto di più. Stiamo lavorando intensamente anche per trasformare i grandi eventi europei, penso alle Olimpiadi di Londra e penso anche all'expo di Milano 2015 come grandi occasioni per anche attirare turisti.

Ogni azione a favore dello sviluppo del turismo, delle piccole e medie imprese e delle grandi imprese del settore turistico significa poter attrarre nuovi giovani, perché sappiamo che è un settore che crea posti di lavoro per i giovani. Naturalmente serve qualificare molto di più il lavoro nelle imprese turistiche puntando sulla cibernetica e sull'informatizzazione, per renderle più competitive nel momento in cui ci sono altre realtà nel mondo che guardano con attenzione alle economie emergenti da dove partono sempre più turisti.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE). - Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, per realizzare questi obiettivi sono necessarie anche non solo delle doti di coordinamento che la Commissione sta mettendo in campo, ma anche inevitabilmente delle risorse.

Il Parlamento ha più volte espresso sostegno nei confronti della Commissione nel negoziato rispetto alle prospettive finanziarie 2014-2020, ci può dare qualche segnale di fiducia in questo senso?

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vicepresidente della Commissione. − Signora Presidente, onorevoli deputati, certo, nella proposta della Commissione, oltre ad aver creato e proposto questo grande pacchetto di 80 miliardi per l'innovazione, innovazione quindi che riguarda tutti i settori imprenditoriali, è anche previsto un intervento attorno ai 3 miliardi di euro per la competitività aldilà dell'innovazione delle nostre imprese. In questo settore sono assolutamente convinto che si possano ritagliare fondi per lo sviluppo della competitività e anche dell'internazionalizzazione delle nostre imprese turistiche europee.

 
  
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  Richard Howitt (S&D). - In terms of new forms of working, I am sure the Commissioners would agree that workers see themselves not just as employees of the company with employment rights but also, increasingly, as stakeholders with an interest in the company’s impact on the locality in which they live, on their environment and on their human rights.

I am actually very pleased, in this innovative session, that Commissioner Andor is together with Commissioner Tajani, because of course they are jointly involved in preparing the new Commission Communication on Corporate Social Responsibility. This different concept of workers’ interests is very much central to that. I thank them for involving me in the consultations on it.

Can I ask them whether this concept of workers themselves being interested in the responsibility of the business will be part of the new Communication? Could they confirm that the multi-stakeholder approach, with trade unions and workers’ organisations fully involved in implementation, will be part of the follow-up to the Communication? Commissioner Andor has already talked about ILO standards. Can he confirm that these – and other – minimum applicable international global standards will be at the heart of the Commission’s approach to the future of corporate social responsibility on our continent?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I will start, and the Vice-President might like to continue.

All the points Mr Howitt referred to are important parts of the forthcoming initiative which is scheduled for October. This is the very important product of a trio: together with Vice-President Tajani and Commissioner Barnier I have been working on two important proposals. One of them is on the CSR which you referred to and the other one is on the social enterprise.

Indeed, we would like to ensure, especially in a period when Europe is emerging from an economic crisis, that CSR is seen as an important instrument to help the European economy and society emerge from the crisis with a lot more responsibility.

That responsibility will be a key concept vis-à-vis the employees of the firm and vis-à-vis the social and natural environment of an enterprise.

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vicepresidente della Commissione. − Signora Presidente, onorevoli parlamentari, mi associo alle parole del Commissario Andor anche per quanto riguarda lo sviluppo di una politica che si riconosca nell'economia sociale di mercato, come è scritto nel trattato e che dà a noi questo obiettivo.

Credo che la comunicazione sulla responsabilità sociale delle imprese possa dare un contributo importante, anche per la crescita dell'occupazione, quindi con messaggi positivi, anche perché un approccio che comprende anche la creazione di better ways of working potrà contribuire alla competitività stessa delle imprese.

Un sondaggio della Commissione dice che oltre il 60% delle imprese che hanno avuto delle politiche a favore dell'uguaglianza delle possibilità, dice che tali politiche hanno contribuito a una maggiore capacità di innovazione, di creazione di posti di lavoro; quindi direi che questa scelta, che noi stiamo approvando, che è in corso il confronto al'interno delle direzioni generali – ma anche ogni indicazione da parte del Parlamento sarà bene accetta, se vorrà farmi pervenire la sue indicazioni o le sue idee sarò ben lieto di prenderle in considerazione – finché non sarà approvato definitivamente dal collegio il testo è sempre emendabile e ogni proposta che verrà dal Parlamento sarà sempre bene accetta per quanto mi riguarda.

 
  
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  Richard Howitt (S&D). - I welcome what both commissioners have said. In particular, Commissioner Tajani, you talk about the important business case for corporate social responsibility from the company’s point of view.

But in addition to that, you both talk about its importance for European competitiveness and you will recall that past work on corporate social responsibility by the Commission identified the responsible competitiveness index: the idea that the more responsible businesses you have in an economy the more successful and prosperous the whole economy is as well.

Again, I hope that that approach will be reflected in the new communication. I am sure myself and others in this Parliament will want to contribute constructively in the work in the way that you suggest.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Schroedter (Verts/ALE). - Meine Frage richtet sich an Herrn Kommissar Andor: Es ist ein enormer Anstieg von geringverdienenden Selbständigen zu verzeichnen, mit der Konsequenz, dass für diese Gruppe ein großes Risiko besteht, in die Altersarmut abzudriften, wenn sie aufgrund des geringen Einkommens gar nicht in die Rentenkasse einzahlen kann oder gar nicht von den Rentensystemen in den Mitgliedstaaten erfasst wird. Es gab eine Studie des Europäischen Parlaments zusammen mit der Kommission, die so genannte Perulli-Studie, die auch deutlich gemacht hat, dass diese geringverdienenden Selbständigen vor allen Dingen Scheinselbständige sind und dass es eigentlich einen Auftrag an die Kommission gab, hier eine klare Definition und eine klare Abgrenzung und klare Prinzipien zu entwickeln, damit Scheinselbständigkeit und die Gefahr der Altersarmut in der Europäischen Union verhindert werden. Was sagen Sie dazu?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I agree. Bogus self-employment is a serious issue, although not in every Member State in the same way, but it is true that such practices have developed in the recent period by using loopholes or abusing certain opportunities and this needs to be looked at, based on the evidence.

There are particular professions where this is more widespread, for example journalism, where there was also a kind of stimulus to take this route and transform individuals into being self-employed instead of being employed in a company.

While there might be perceived short-term advantages for the employee and potentially for other actors involved, I am also convinced that the long-term impact is negative. Pensions are clearly an example where we see the lack of sufficient contributions.

I think it is important to close the loopholes and to see how the incentives which generated these patterns could be abolished or cut back so that we would face such practices less often. But, as long as such patterns exist, we also have to see how general norms of economic activity and social norms apply to individuals in such forms of employment.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Schroedter (Verts/ALE). - Frau Präsidentin! Ich möchte noch einen speziellen Fall ansprechen, und zwar die Entsenderichtlinie. Wir haben ja durch die Gerichtsurteile Laval, Viking und andere inzwischen eine Situation, in der die Möglichkeit besteht, Scheinselbständigkeit zu verbreiten und vor allem nicht informierte ArbeitnehmerInnen, die aus anderen Mitgliedstaaten kommen, als Scheinselbständige zu geringsten Entgelten anzustellen.

Was tut die Kommission, damit die Umsetzung der Entsenderichtlinie verbessert wird? Und was ist notwendig, um die Entsenderichtlinie zu verbessern, damit diesen Phänomenen ein Riegel vorgeschoben wird?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The cases of bogus self-employment and posting of workers are two separate phenomena. Posting is a very important ingredient of the cross-border integrated European economy. What we are preparing now is an Enforcement Directive that will clarify the interpretation and implementation of the existing Posting Directive.

In fact one of the problems here, which is comparable to bogus self-employment, is the case of the so-called letter-box companies, which is connected to the right of establishment. We have to look at such phenomena to see why they emerged and eliminate the opportunities for such abuse of the existing legislation.

 
  
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  Csaba Őry (PPE). - Jó tíz évvel ezelőtt, egy akkoriban idős munkaügyi kutatóval beszélgetve, azzal a megállapítással lepett meg, hogy azt mondta, hogy a munkahelyek, illetve a munka, ami most megszűnik, soha többé nem tér vissza. Tehát azt akarom ezzel mondani, hogy változik a munka, változnak a munkavégzési formák, és azok a jogi keretek, amelyek a jóléti kapitalizmus során kialakultak, sokszor nem fedik le, nem érintik, nem szabályozzák. Éppen Tajani biztos úrral ütköztünk a kényszervállalkozások kapcsán egy olyan problémába, hogy egy szakmai törvényben nem tudtunk megállapodni, mert például a kényszervállalkozásoknak se egységes definíciója, se jogi meghatározása nem létezett.

Tehát nem egyszerűen csak a nagyvállalatokból lettek kis munkahelyek, mikromunkahelyek, nemcsak kiküldés, részmunkaidő, otthoni munka váltotta fel, hanem nagyon sok új és új kreatív forma van, amire nincsenek szabályok. Kíván-e tehát a nem szokványos, atipikus, újfajta munkák szabályozásával kapcsolatban valamilyen útmutatást, iránymutatást készíteni a Bizottság? Ez lenne a kérdésem.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The world of labour has indeed gone through a massive transformation due to technology, globalisation and various other factors. We have to study this very thoroughly because some of the atypical forms of work – like fixed-term contracts or self-employment – might be generated by these transformations. To the extent that they bring positive change, new opportunities, more efficiency, and better coordination of private life with work, we have to welcome these changes, but there is also some risk attached. That is what the Commission is looking at.

With regard to how it affects employment policies, I think in the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs we highlighted the need to respond to the challenges of the new times and reflect this transformation. A conference on flexicurity on 16 November, which was mentioned at the beginning of this discussion, also intends to explore the consequences of changing patterns and point to certain directions where the Commission would need to act or bring out new initiatives.

 
  
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  Csaba Őry (PPE). - Én nem vagyok ellene a flexibilitásnak. Azt gondolom, hogy a nagyon gyors technológiai váltások, a globálissá váló gazdaság igényli azt, hogy megváltoztassuk a mentalitásunkat is, és a jogszabályok is változzanak. Én éppen azt hiányolom, hogy nem próbálunk reagálni ezekre a dolgokra, csak nagyon nehezen. Ha már nagyon muszáj, próbálunk valamilyen, többnyire nem kielégítő válaszokat adni. Tehát a kényszermunkánál sem egyszerűen csak a társadalombiztosítás… Itt a felelősségi kérdésektől kezdve, a munkavédelmi szabályokon át számos olyan helyzet van, ahol valaki valójában munkavállalóként dolgozik, de ugyanakkor minden terhet, amit egy normális munkaviszonyban meg kell osztani a munkáltatóval, saját magának kell viselnie, minden kockázattal együtt. Itt tehát azt gondolom, hogy jogi lépésekre is szükség lenne, és aktívabb, konkrétabb munkát várnánk el a Bizottságtól.

 
  
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  László Andor, a Bizottság tagja. − Én pedig magyarul válaszolnék Őry Csabának. Tehát, azt gondolom, hogy a Bizottságnak figyelemmel kell kísérnie mindezeket a változásokat és figyelemmel is kíséri. És amikor egy-egy olyan jogszabály-alkotási ponthoz érkezünk, amikor tekintetbe kell venni, akár például az előbb említett kiküldött munkavállalók, vagy a munkaidő direktíva esetében, akkor az új tényezőket vagy az új viszonyokat mindig figyelembe vesszük. De nagyon sokszor nem feltétlenül az Európai Bizottság maga az, akinek a cselekvést magára kell vállalnia.

Például a szociális partnerek. Azt gondolom, hogy amikor szorgalmazzuk, hogy a szociális partnerek működjenek együtt szorosabban a készségek és a szaktudás változásának az előrejelzésében, és alakítsanak ki újfajta együttműködést, akkor éppen hogy egy szélesebb alapra helyezzük a modernizációt, aminek át kell hatnia a munkaerőpiacot is és a munkavállalás különböző formáit, és ez erősebb, versenyképesebb európai gazdaságot fog majd eredményezni.

 
  
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  President. − Thank you very much, Commissioner. I have to say that we have already gone over time, but the positive side is that we have tonight got through 22 questions, which is far more than we would ever normally have done under the old style of Question Time. My regret is for the 15 or so Members whom I have not been able to call, but I hope, because of the targeted nature of the questions, that you will have got some response from those asked by other colleagues.

 
  
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  Hubert Pirker (PPE). - Frau Präsidentin! Erlauben Sie mir eine Anmerkung. Andere Kollegen haben dieses Modell der Fragestellung gelobt, ich tue das – mit Verlaub – nicht! Ich gestehe Ihnen schon zu, dass Sie versucht haben, hier Ordnung in ein System zu bringen, das ist aber so nicht funktionstüchtig.

Dieses Modell ist – mit Verlaub – nicht zufriedenstellend, und zwar aus zwei Gründen: Erstens fehlt mir die Transparenz. Ich würde gerne wissen, ob bzw. wann ich in etwa drankomme, daher würde ich vorschlagen, dass man eine Rednerliste publiziert, damit man es sich einrichten kann. Zum Zweiten ist es für mich nicht zufriedenstellend, zweieinhalb Stunden hier zu sitzen, um dann überhaupt nicht dranzukommen. Das kann nicht die Lösung sein.

Wenn Sie vorher Transparenz ermöglichen, dann kann man sich darauf einstellen, dass man warten wird oder nicht. Aber in diesen zweieinhalb Stunden – es waren sehr interessante Fragen, vor allem sehr interessante Antworten – hätte ich auch ganz etwas anderes machen können als hier zu sitzen und zu warten, um dann letzten Endes wie viele andere Kollegen doch nicht dranzukommen.

Ich bitte, dieses Format wieder zu ändern.

 
  
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  President. − Mr Pirker, thank you for your comments. I made it clear at the beginning that we are in an experimental phase and I would like again to thank the Commission for its cooperation and all of you who have had the chance to ask questions. You yourself, Mr Pirker, said that it had been interesting. That is what we are trying to get to. I can only again express my regret that it has not been possible to call everybody, but I hope that you will have taken something from this evening’s exchanges.

That concludes Question Time.

(The sitting was suspended at 20.15 and resumed at 21.00)

 
  
  

PRÉSIDENCE DE MME ISABELLE DURANT
Vice-présidente

 
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