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Procedure : 2011/2115(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document :

Texts tabled :

A7-0365/2011

Debates :

PV 12/12/2011 - 19
CRE 12/12/2011 - 19

Votes :

PV 13/12/2011 - 6.19
CRE 13/12/2011 - 6.19
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0565

Debates
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

7. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Reimer Böge (A7-0433/2011)

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE).(IT) Madam President, following the earthquake that struck the Murcia region of Spain last May and the floods that hit the Veneto region in late October and early November 2010, the countries affected have applied to access the EU’s Solidarity Fund.

In the case in question, in Veneto – a region in my country, Italy – the Commission recognised EUR 676 357 000 of direct damage as eligible, proposing assistance from the Solidarity Fund totalling EUR 17 million. Added to the EUR 21 million proposed for Spain, this makes a total budget transfer amounting to EUR 37.9 million.

I welcome this show of solidarity from the EU, which has once again taken action to aid a Member State (my country, in this case) and a region (Veneto, to which I personally am particularly attached) that had applied for and will now benefit from the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund, as decided by the Commission.

In addition to this financial commitment, there has also been the greatest support from the entire Italian delegation for the citizens of Veneto, to whom we reiterate our message of solidarity and sympathy for what has happened.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). – Madam President, I want to express my disappointment at additional money being forwarded in the 2013 budget process yet again to the very expensive ITER project. We are in a situation where this project will only start producing its first power in 2026 – 15 years from now – and yet we continue to spend money while failing to deal with the financial crisis that Europe and the eurozone are now experiencing.

 
  
  

Report: Birgit Sippel (A7-0408/2011)

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted for this proposal for a directive with great conviction. I think the sequence of events that led up to today’s decision needs explaining.

The Commission, Parliament and the Council have been working on this document ever since 2004. Over the following years, there were times when it was stop and go because of the resistance of several Member States, which were afraid of external interference and having their powers taken away in such a highly sensitive area as the law of criminal procedure.

I think we have taken a step forward today with the adoption of this directive. It may not be as bold a step as that proposed by the Commission in 2004, but it is a significant, admirable and desirable one for the future development of the road map, which was also made part of the Stockholm programme adopted in 2009.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Madam President, it gives me great pleasure to support this report on the right to information in criminal proceedings. I think it is vitally important to ensure that common minimum standards in criminal proceedings are in place. It is essential to grant EU citizens fundamental rights and help overcome the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the principle of mutual recognition. This is one of the key elements, founding principles and cornerstones of the European Union law. This report will certainly help increase trust between judicial authorities and it is very welcome indeed.

What I have to say is that we must work collectively so that we have common minimum standards as regards the right to information in criminal proceedings right throughout the European Union. Again, it gives me great pleasure to support this particular report. Well done to the rapporteur!

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I wholeheartedly support the initiative to strengthen the area of defence rights in criminal proceedings within the European Union. My country collaborated actively in the Council to ensure that the instrument would be adopted quickly.

The aim of the directive is to establish rules on the right of suspected and accused persons to be informed of their rights and the charges against them in criminal proceedings. The provisions of the directive should apply to anyone who is brought to the attention of the relevant authorities in a Member State as being suspected or accused, until the proceedings are concluded. The general right of all suspected and accused persons in criminal proceedings is to be informed, either orally or in writing, of their relevant procedural rights as soon as possible after the proceedings begin.

After a difficult, heated clash in the trialogue with the Council and the Commission, agreement was reached on the compromise text, which should ensure that the directive is adopted quickly.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, I have voted in favour of the report on the right to information in criminal proceedings as I support the need to guarantee a consistency in basic rights for those who are arrested across the EU.

This is particularly important with the increased element of cross-border cooperation under the European arrest warrant. It is vitally important that the accused is made aware of having committed a criminal offence by official notification, and they should be fully aware of the relevant procedural rights as soon as possible, which has not always been the case for some British citizens who have been arrested under the European arrest warrant of late.

It is also crucial for the arrested person to keep the letter of rights throughout their time of detention and this information should be presented in simple and accessible language. I would therefore welcome the proposed directive’s intention to raise the standards in some Member States to a common basic standard which is already operational, if not exceeded, in the majority of Member States, including my own.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). – (SK) Madam President, anyone who is suspected or accused of a criminal offence must be informed of their rights, and these rights must be respected. That is the only way equality before the law and the administration of justice can be guaranteed. Along with the right to a fair trial, this equality is already guaranteed throughout the EU. The series of measures of which this directive is a part constitutes the minimum level to which persons involved in criminal proceedings must be informed. The aim is to make it easier to assert these rights. This is necessary because today, we have freedom of movement, freedom of establishment and freedom to work in any Member State, yet legal systems vary from one country to another. Fundamental rights must also be secured where there is freedom of movement, which is why I supported the proposal.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Carmen Romero López (A7-0435/2011)

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted in favour of this directive, which implements measures needed to protect the lives and freedoms of the victims of crime.

To give an example: according to some estimates, there are about 100 000 women in Europe who benefit from protection orders. Such measures, however, are currently limited in their effect to the territory where they were adopted or in which the victims live. As a result, there is a legislative gap that this directive fills through the mutual recognition of protection orders in the context of judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

The instrument to be introduced shortly will, in fact, ensure that a protection order issued in one country will automatically be recognised in any Member State that the victim visits. This is an extremely important result, which, in practical terms, helps to create a European Union area of freedom, security and justice, as provided for in the Treaty.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted for this proposal for a directive.

This text, drafted by Ms Jiménez-Becerril Barrio and Ms Romero López, is certainly welcome, as Mr Baldassarre has said. The proposal for a directive introduces an instrument to ensure that everyone’s safety is protected across Europe.

This instrument will be particularly valuable for women, who are very often threatened with violence and are protected by instruments made available by the individual Member States. From today, protection will no longer be contained geographically within a Member State’s borders, but these people – women, in particular – can feel safe and be safe throughout the European Union.

The act we have adopted unanimously today represents a significant step forward in judicial cooperation, although I am convinced that even more can be done in future.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Madam President, I supported and was actively engaged in adopting the European Protection Order because it is truly a breakthrough; a concrete legislative measure to support and to protect victims of domestic violence. Today, we are sending a reassuring message to thousands of women who fear for their lives and flee for their lives across borders. They will enjoy an area of safety in 12 Member States at least, and I do hope that we will move forward to 27 Member States.

I think this is also a very significant step forward in ensuring what the Stockholm programme was calling for: a true area of freedom and security for our citizens where they can move freely without fearing for their lives.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, I was very happy to vote in favour of this directive because it is an important step in the right direction. Overall, it provides legal certainty, in particular, for victims who sometimes leave their home countries in order to take refuge elsewhere. They must quite simply be protected by the same regulations as those which apply in their country of origin.

I also think it is interesting that this proposal is the result of a joint initiative taken by 12 Member States. This is the first initiative by the Member States under the ordinary legislative procedure and it is based on the Treaty of Lisbon. This also demonstrates that the instrument is working. Finally, I would like to see this legal harmonisation continuing, so that we can ultimately extend this directive throughout the European Union as a whole to cover all the 27 Member States.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Madam President, I – like the other Members who have spoken – welcome the European Protection Order. I think it is an excellent initiative which will ensure that measures for victims’ protection will extend from one Member State to another, because the problem is that at present, protection orders stop at our borders, leaving the victim defenceless.

The EPO marks a huge step forward in victims’ rights as a strong instrument which will provide a safer haven for victims of violence across Member States’ borders, particularly women. Over 100 000 women in the EU are covered by protective measures at present. However, the EPO is not nearly as effective as it might have been.

In December 2010, I raised my objection to the Council’s blocking minority argument against the inclusion of civil law measures in the EPO. I had previously outlined that both the Council and the Parliament’s Legal Service found that the legal basis was adequate, a position which was unanimously supported by the Committee on Legal Affairs. I sincerely regret that today’s compromise excludes all civil measures. I hope that Ireland will soon be able to adopt the measure that we have adopted here today.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE).(IT) Madam President, Italy is a co-sponsor of the proposal and always worked with the Presidency to ensure that this instrument was adopted quickly at the time of the Spanish Presidency.

Concerns at that time focused on the issue of the legal basis and scope of the directive, since, according to a restrictive interpretation by the Commission, the scope ought to be limited just to judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

The final compromise proposal clearly redefines the boundaries between criminal and civil matters so as to circumscribe the scope of the directive to include only measures issued in respect of criminal proceedings. In my opinion, therefore, it is even better than previous compromise solutions, not least in view of the fact that, alongside this focus on criminal matters, work is already progressing on the corresponding proposal for a regulation on protection measures in civil matters.

That is why I voted wholeheartedly in favour of the directive this morning.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President, any British people still wondering whether we should be in the European Union could do worse than watch the proceedings of this morning. The sheer wave of antagonism – it was like being on the receiving end of the Minute’s Hate in Orwell’s 1984, only this time the target is not the agents of Goldsteinism, but the British people as a whole. Mr Schulz spoke darkly of taking reprisals against us, Mr Daul talked about taking away our rebate, Mr Verhofstadt wanted us dismembered and eaten! Mr Cohn-Bendit, unusually for him, did not make a speech but, rather typically for him, yowled and shrieked throughout like a stricken beast.

And what is it we have done? What is the terrible crime we have committed? We did not cause the debt crisis. We did not cause the design flaws in the euro. We are resented for having been proved right about this. Why do we submit to government by people who ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  President. – Mr Hannan, I must point out that you have gone off the topic. Do you wish to speak, Ms Corazza Bildt?

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Madam President, Mr Hannan’s comments have nothing to do with the subject we are currently discussing. We are talking about protecting victims of crime in Europe and that should be respected.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). – (SK) Madam President, we have already become used to the idea of a borderless Europe and no longer give it much thought. The right to travel and settle in another Member State, to find work and set up a family there must also be guaranteed for the victims of crimes and anyone threatened with violence. Borders are no longer a barrier to criminals, and so we should not stand in the way of protecting the victims. No one could have imagined that adopting this directive would take so long. Two years of legislative procedures is really not a short period of time. It will take three more years for Member States to incorporate it into their legislation. Furthermore, this concerns a fundamental freedom which, in contrast to financial and fiscal policy, is key to the existence of a unified Europe. Despite this, I believe that this method is preferable, if more time-consuming. It respects the opinions of the Member States, their laws and their values.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, the European Protection Order report proposes the creation of an EU-wide protection system which will protect all potential victims and actual victims of violent and physical crimes including rape, domestic abuse and other forms of intimidation. This protection order will therefore ensure fear-free movement of these victims as they continue to live their lives in the EU. I have therefore voted in favour of this report, as it clearly recognises the need to protect these vulnerable individuals who have been subject to these horrendous crimes. Moreover, it sensibly acknowledges the difference between criminal offences and those of a civil nature, such as stalking and harassment. It ensures that civil crimes will continue to be treated under a civil law instrument, rather than under the European Protection Order. With these safeguards, I am happy to support this directive.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Véronique Mathieu (A7-0434/2011)

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted for Ms Mathieu’s report since I strongly believe that immigration in Europe is a great opportunity, but that it must be managed intelligently and fairly. Without effective intervention, the labour market would be divided and a host of low-cost workers would threaten to undermine the achievements of the European social model.

I therefore think this provision will help to prevent and control such a threat by creating a level playing field for the citizens of our countries and for third-country nationals; I am referring, for example, to access to the various kinds of advisory services that the host country makes available. Similarly, I am pleased with the compromises reached on access to education and training and on the portability and transferability of pensions and acquired pension rights, which will no longer depend on whether or not there are bilateral agreements between countries.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Madam President, I also wholeheartedly supported the single application for residence and work as it is an important step forward to a common European migration policy that is very much needed, and that I hope we will achieve within 2012 as scheduled.

The single permit will facilitate the legal migration that is needed to sustain long-term European growth and our living standards. It also represents a strengthening of our tool to combat irregular migration. I think the three main achievements are a simplified procedure, procedure guarantees and clarity of the rights of migrants. I welcome, in particular, the possibility to have access to education and training and the possibility to export pensions.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, I abstained from the vote. The introduction of detailed obligations for the Member States relating to the administrative proceedings concerning applications for residence and work permits may, in fact, prove extremely costly. Taking into account our drive to savings, the imposition of new obligations leading to the creation of additional offices does not seem appropriate. In my view, there is no need to harmonise procedures for these types of applications throughout the Community, especially as the markets of the Member States are not subject to harmonisation. The regulations in force in the countries of the Union perfectly respond to the needs in these matters. Further to the above, I do not think it is necessary to create a common set of rights for workers from outside the Union either. Such issues are already provided for in European law in considerable detail. Any social privileges should be introduced at the level of individual countries’ legislation, taking their particular interests into account.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Madam President,

‘They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,

Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.

They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;

They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies’.

‘And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,

Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs’.

‘We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,

Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street’.

‘Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget’.

For ‘we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet’.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, I understand that there are some benefits within the single application procedure for residence and work initiatives, which proposes a common set of rights for all third-country workers who lawfully reside in a particular Member State but who are not yet entitled to long-term residence status. Pension portability and education across the EU are some of those benefits, but this report suggests introducing a single application procedure and a single residence or work permit for across the EU.

I fail to see the benefits of harmonising the internal administrative procedures with respect to permanent applications. Since labour markets of Member States are not harmonised, there is no clear EU added value to harmonise these procedures. What is more, the proposed directive will be costly for Member States to administer as it creates a right to legally challenge a rejection of an application and also requires Member States to designate a competent authority to process applications. Minimum rights of third-country workers are already guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and therefore are not necessary within this report. It is for these reasons I have voted against this initiative.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, it is very interesting when we look at this idea of a single application procedure for residents and work. Surely one of the things we should ensure is that, where we have existing rules and existing laws, we actually abide by them.

But I have received a number of e-mails and letters from constituents who now live in Italy and lecture at Italian universities. They are discriminated against in contravention of EU law. Italian law allows Italian universities to pay Italian lecturers more than British and other non-Italian lecturers. So, when the ECJ rules on this, what do the Italians do? They simply ignore the rules! But are they alone? Of course they are not alone. The French and Germans and other governments ignored the Stability and Growth Pact, so how can we expect anyone to abide by the rules when we have that example to follow?

For goodness sake, if you are going to pass laws in this place, please at least accept the laws and please make sure you abide by the rules before you start implementing and passing even more onerous laws that affect all our citizens.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). (SK) Madam President, I am in favour of cutting red tape in the processing of legal immigrants for the jobs market. We should not, however, throw the principle of subsidiarity to the winds. I should also like to point out that legal migration is not an effective solution to Europe’s demographic crisis. The jobs deficit will increase from year to year. The number of migrants will grow in comparison with the number of people in work. I wonder how many legal migrants we will need in 20 years if we do not succeed in changing this trend? Legalising migration is just buying time. The only effective solution to the demographic problem is family mainstreaming, a policy which takes the interests of the family into account at all times. As long as the Commission and the governments of the Member States do not realise this, we will never have enough legal migrants in Europe.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Crescenzio Rivellini (A7-0392/2011)

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Madam President, even if this seems to be a marginal problem at first sight, it represents another step in the right direction. What is it all about? The fishing industry must be environmentally friendly and sustainable. We can achieve this by a number of different means, including quotas, bans on catching certain species and technical measures. One technical measure involves avoiding unnecessary by-catches. The agreement on a standardised net size is also a move in the right direction, which must be followed by others. I continue to hope that we will succeed in finding a worldwide solution for the fishing industry, so that subsequent generations can not only benefit from the fishing industry, but also enjoy eating fish.

 
  
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  Robert Dušek (S&D). (CS) Madam President, I voted in favour of adopting the recommendation on a future regulation for fishing within the framework of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean agreement.

The Mediterranean is the most threatened aquatic ecosystem in Europe. Many species of fish, coral and other animals have been harvested here on such a massive scale that it has led to an irreplaceable loss of certain species. Many others are seriously at risk. The problem is that, within species, individuals with a similar DNA make-up survive, which puts the entire local ecosystem more at risk. A change to the food chain, to pollution or to the climate that is small in itself may lead to the extinction of further species. The activity of this Commission is therefore essential to the protection of biodiversity, reducing the number of possible catches and increasing the number of reservations where fishing is prohibited.

Humanity has, through its approach, made fishing one of the activities most under threat, and humanity must now help to regenerate it. Fishermen may have less work today, but they must also have work in the future. All-out catches would mean the definitive loss of fishing as a sector. It is our duty to preserve species biodiversity and fishing for future generations.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE). – Madam President, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Agreement Area is extremely welcome. The GFCM’s objectives are clear: they are to promote the development, the conservation, the rational management and the best utilisation of living marine resources as well as the sustainable development of aquaculture in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and connecting seas and waters.

I very much welcome today’s vote which will allow for the sustainable exploitation of fishery sources in the Mediterranean area. As Mr Jahr has said, and as the previous speaker has said, all policies and initiatives, given our depleted fish stocks, must, and I emphasise must, be based on sustainable exploitation.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall (ECR). – Madam President, I have to say that, like many people in this House, I have some concerns about the general direction of our fishing agreements. I think that quite often, we have to make sure that the agreements are being made in a transparent way, and we have to think about the welfare of the local fishermen who might lose out from unfair deals.

I know that in this particular case, there were some concerns about the Western Sahara people and whether their fishing rights were being sold without their being consulted properly, but in general, when we look at the fishing rights with a number of countries, from developing countries, when those fishing rights are given away without the say-so or consultation of local fishermen, what we find is that local fishermen are no longer able to compete with the industrial-sized fishing fleets that come from Europe. These people are no longer able to make a living for themselves, and when they are unable to make a living for themselves, what do they seek to do? They seek to emigrate to a better life, often to European shores. And then what do we do here in Europe? We complain. We complain about the migration from poorer countries.

So let us make sure that we think these agreements through properly and let us make sure that we are not impoverishing the people of Africa and other countries, who will seek a better life in our countries.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Klaus-Heiner Lehne (A7-0393/2011)

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I am delighted at the adoption of Mr Lehne’s report, which at last provides for the exemption of micro-enterprises from pointless and often incomprehensible accounting obligations. That will enable each and every one of them to save an average of EUR 1 000 a year and cut their overheads by 25%. It is, in fact, superfluous and disproportionate to subject micro-enterprises that trade only locally or, at most, regionally to the same financial reporting requirements as large companies.

Unfortunately, because of a blocking minority comprising a few Member States, the Council wants another two years to approve this measure. I sincerely hope that the Council will stop taking this attitude and we will not always need a crisis to occur for good proposals to be put into effect, when it comes to making life easier for small enterprises, which are a major engine for growth in Europe.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE).(GA) Madam President, I voted for this report as it seems to me that the small and medium enterprise sector is very important for the economy of the European Union. I am certain that this report is a good start to ensuring the future of small and medium enterprises.

This project has a central role in creating jobs locally, and in helping with economic growth. In Ireland, for example, small and medium enterprises are worth more than 10% of our gross national product. More than 40% of the workforce are employed by these companies.

There is a need for an integrated approach to this in the European Union, and the European Union is not doing enough about the problem of excessive bureaucracy – red tape – but this report is a good start and I welcome it.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0405/2011)

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE). – Madam President, I voted for and backed the De Castro report on cofinancing rates for Member States using financial stability mechanisms. I welcome the agreement between Parliament and the Council to increase the EU cofinancing rates for rural development programmes in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia and Romania. I sincerely hope that this extra assistance will help these countries, which are experiencing severe budgetary constraints following the financial and economic crisis, to access EU rural development funds.

The funding should provide much-needed investment in creating jobs and growth, both of which are vital for economic recovery. However, these special measures cannot be a blank cheque: they must deliver genuine results and outcomes. That is why the cofinancing measures must only be a temporary facility which can be renewed after one year if they prove to be successful in helping these countries to access the funds. I hope the funding will succeed in creating new jobs, new opportunities and much-needed growth in these countries, and that we will be in a position to renew these measures next year.

 
  
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  Antonello Antinoro (PPE).(IT) Madam President, I voted in favour of this legislative proposal because, in the now notorious financial crisis that has led to social and economic tensions around the world, several Member States are facing budget constraints that might prevent them from meeting their commitments in cofinanced financial programmes.

The report therefore recommends temporarily increasing the maximum Union cofinancing rate for programmes now running. That would enable Member States receiving support under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism to continue to receive aid without additional commitment appropriations. These States, including Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia and Romania, could at last benefit from a measure that would speed up their recovery from the crisis, at least in certain key sectors for their economies.

 
  
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  David Campbell Bannerman (ECR). – Madam President, I voted against this report. Whilst I salute what David Cameron did for defending vital national interests over the rules at the recent summit, actually the purpose of it was to put in place a financial plan to save the euro and it failed to do that.

In my view, what is much more scary than the full or partial collapse of the euro – damaging as that would be – is the notion of the European Central Bank printing EUR 2 trillion or more with nothing to back the paper they are printing. I think Angela Merkel is right, but she has been isolated on this because she wants to avoid the nightmare scenario, quite rightly, of a return to the Weimar Republic. In my view, it is better for an orderly end to the euro, or parts of the euro, than wheelbarrows full of worthless notes.

 
  
  

Report: Robert Sturdy (A7-0365/2011)

 
  
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  Gianluca Susta (S&D).(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of this report because, in these difficult times, a free and fair trading system based on principles of reciprocity and harmonisation within an enhanced multilateral framework is a fundamental prerequisite for development.

We need to bring down customs duties, non-tariff barriers and protectionism, which is still too widespread, and not only in emerging countries. These are the most serious obstacles to creating an effective international trading system. Europe should be more aware of its role and should use its democratic, social, open model of political union to achieve stronger multilateral cooperation and bilateral agreements that are balanced, sustainable and respectful of civil and social rights. Europe, ladies and gentlemen, should play its role with authority, so as to eliminate distortions of competition by the main global players, and it should maintain the Generalised System of Preferences only to help lift the least-developed countries out of poverty.

Such an approach will benefit our producers, workers and entrepreneurs, as well as those who look to Europe as a model for greater freedom and social justice in the world.

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D).(IT) Madam President, open, free and fair trade is essential for ensuring and maintaining a level playing field for European businesses. Nonetheless, both companies and trade analysts, as well as the European Commission, have identified non-tariff barriers as the main hindrance to free access to partner countries’ markets.

Since trade restrictions of this kind are highly technical in nature, they are perhaps being misused and it is extremely difficult to remove them. That is why a good starting point for overcoming these obstacles may be to work closely with the WTO and other trade organisations.

The European Union needs to address this issue vigorously by seeking to remove barriers so as to complete the single market and by prioritising this issue in the new trade policy within the Europe 2020 strategy. Businesses need this, and so does development.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Madam President, bridging various kinds of obstacles to international trade will promote the development of the European economy. The reduction of reciprocal non-tariff barriers is in the interest of EU entrepreneurs, especially where relations with key partners are concerned. I agree therefore that this should be a priority for trade policy in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy. At the same time, regulations regarding public health, such as the health regulations related to agriculture, or those concerning GMOs, must also be complied with.

I welcome the call on the Commission to take active steps in order to reduce constraints resulting from non-tariff barriers and to facilitate European companies’ access to foreign markets. In this context, the Commission’s activities in the framework of international fora for cooperation such as the OECD and the WTO should also be exploited. In order to enhance the efficiency of international trade, it also appears necessary to conduct regular information campaigns directed at EU entrepreneurs regarding the elimination of barriers and changing trade restrictions. I therefore support the report.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Reimer Böge (A7-0433/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report since I agree that a further EUR 1.3 billion is needed for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) programme for 2012 and 2013, and that this sum should be made available in a timely fashion. I note that allocating these funds will not jeopardise other research programmes. It will, however, be important for the European Parliament to remain vigilant, so as to ensure that, if the ITER project does not receive the funding, it will be allocated to other programmes that have a more direct impact on the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) ITER is a nuclear fusion research programme conducted jointly by the European Union, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. Construction of the ITER site, located in Cadarache, is due to be completed in 2018. This project, half of the cost of which is met by the European Union, needs more funds. Since I believe that a revision of the multiannual financial framework is necessary, I voted in favour of the Böge report. This support for the ITER project will help not only to achieve the research and innovation objectives of the EU 2020 strategy, but also to reduce Europe’s energy dependence in the long term. These funds will be released as a result of savings made in other areas.

 
  
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  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of revising the multiannual financial framework to address additional financing needs of the ITER project. The figure stands at EUR 1.3 billion. My first words will be to commend the huge effort made by Alain Lamassoure, Chair of the Committee on Budgets, to gather everyone’s views while emphasising the European interest and that of the European people. Like the generations before us, we know that we will overcome the challenges we face by drawing on mankind’s scientific expertise. This is the case where energy is concerned. Furthermore, there was an urgent need to send a message to our international partners on this remarkable project telling them that we can deliver on our commitments.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The ITER project, implementation of which began in 1988, is aimed at proving that fusion energy in the EU could become a very useful source of energy, the use of which would ensure security of energy supply and energy diversification in the long term. Given global energy demand and the economic, political and environmental risks of dependence on fossil fuel sources, within a few decades, fusion energy has the potential to make a major contribution to a diverse, sustainable and secure energy supply system. The construction and operation of ITER in Europe will, in addition, have substantial direct industrial and economic benefits that will raise European competitiveness and strengthen industry. I welcomed the allocation of the EUR 1.3 billion in commitment appropriations from the EU budget required to finance the implementation of the ITER project in 2012-2013.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) How and to what extent should we finance ITER? The subject regularly appears on the agenda of the European Parliament. It was only at the last part-session that an additional 100 million was granted for 2012. Today, a completely different amount has been voted for: an additional EUR 1.3 billion will be devoted to the project in 2012 and 2013. As I have already had occasion to say, nuclear research is fine, but a monopoly is not! Research must be diversified, especially given that ITER’s budget has been steadily increasing since its launch in 2006. In these straitened times, ITER should make do, from now on, with the resources at its disposal. I deeply regret this increase in appropriations and the financial tinkering planned, not to mention the 360 million that will have to be redeployed in 2013 – the source of which funding has not been made clear. I therefore voted against this agreement: ITER must make do with the resources it has.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I voted against this report in which the International Nuclear Fusion Research project ITER will get EUR 1.3 billion for 2012 and 2013.

This joint research project with the EU, the US, China, the Russian Federation, India, Japan and South Korea, aims to show that fusion energy is scientifically and technologically feasible. Whilst I agree that research in this area is important, I cannot see why the EU is trying to act as a funder while eurozone economies are failing. Instead, the EU is aiming to give EUR 100 million in the 2012 budget, and EUR 840 million which will be deducted from administration and agriculture and added to research and development (a practice known as ‘offsetting’). A further EUR 360 million is apparently needed in 2013. I am pleased that six Member States saw fit to block the agreement on the source of the EUR 360 million in 2013 (DE, FR, AT, UK, NL, SE) especially as the EU is providing 45.5% of cost, while the other partners are contributing only 9.1%.

The EU contribution is an estimated EUR 6.6 billion. Bearing in mind that the UK was just asked to give up the rebate again, I can presume that is where the Commission is hoping the money will come from!

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is the biggest international cooperation project led by Europe, involving research centres and universities; it is of the utmost importance for the development of scientific research. I welcome the agreement that has been reached on the ITER programme’s funding needs. However, I would highlight the concerns expressed by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy as regards the source of the funding; in other words, how to fund the ITER without jeopardising the funding allocated to the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Furthermore, I should like to draw your attention to several management mistakes that have been made in the past. There is a need to ensure careful and responsible management in the future. I therefore call for the implementation of an efficient system of governance, that ensures compliance with all the requirements necessary for implementing the project.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE) , in writing.(FR) The ITER project today requires additional funds to achieve its objectives. With this in mind, the decision has been taken to mobilise an additional EUR 1.3 billion for 2012 and 2013. The European Union is thus showing that it is not backing out of the ITER project when it could have significant benefits in the medium and long terms. Not only does this ambitious programme facilitate research, innovation and employment; it also meets Europe’s objective of diversifying its energy sources by focusing on the discovery of a safer, cleaner form of energy.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this revision of the multiannual financial framework, which will enable the ITER programme to continue for the next two years. The European Union must provide political and financial support to the flagship programmes that give it real added value and credibility in its dealings with our partners. This solution will be a shot in the arm not only for the European scientific community, but also for the economy of our regions and the Cadarache region. Similarly, the Union must increase its commitment to the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, a true source of pride for Europe.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on revising the multiannual financial framework, so as to respond to the additional financing needs of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, since it acknowledges the importance of this project for the European Union and provides for additional commitment appropriations from the EU budget for the ITER project in 2012 and 2013.

 
  
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  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson, Marita Ulvskog and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats have today voted in favour of the report on an amendment of the long-term budget for the financing of ITER. We believe that it is essential to find a solution to the additional financing needs that have arisen for the project and we welcome the fact that the majority of the costs are now being taken from unused margins in the areas of both agriculture and administration.

However, we would like to emphasise that additional financing for ITER must not be provided at the expense of other existing research in the area of renewable energy sources. Thus, we also believe it is important in the current situation to keep all financing options open for providing a solution to the provision of the remaining funds that are needed for the project. We therefore welcome the fact that the report leaves this question to the annual budget process, and if the project is to continue on the current scale, we should not rule out either redistribution from other EU programmes or the use of any unused appropriations.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project is to develop fusion energy. Its global importance means that, in addition to the European Union, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States are also part of the project, and it is to be hoped that other partners will join as it develops.

The three European institutions have acknowledged the need to increase the European contribution for the period 2012-2013, and it is incumbent on Parliament now to give its assent to this increase. The search for more abundant, cheaper and cleaner energy sources should be among the political priorities of the Union and the Member States, and the Union should not distance itself from the projects in pursuit of that goal in which it is involved.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, by Mr Böge, concerns the proposal for a decision of Parliament and of the Council amending the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management in relation to the multiannual financial framework, so as to respond to the increased financial requirements of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. The ITER project is the most ambitious initiative in the history of nuclear energy, in both scientific and financial terms, involving thousands of scientists across the world. In recent years, the European Union has been contributing decisively to advances in nuclear research, specifically through support for several programmes, particularly this project. Over 50% of the funding for this project is provided by the EU, and the remainder by the following countries: Russia, the United States, China, Japan, India and South Korea. Given that the needs for increasing funding for this project were agreed in the trialogue meeting on 1 December 2011 between Parliament, the Council and the Commission, and that the EU should remain at the forefront of research in this area, I am voting for this proposed amendment to Annex I to the aforementioned interinstitutional agreement.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report amends the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006, in particular, the multiannual financial framework (MFF), injecting a sum of EUR 1.3 billion in commitment appropriations into the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project for the period 2012-2013.

This breaks down as follows: EUR 100 million already included in the 2012 budget on the ITER budget lines; EUR 360 million in commitment appropriations in the 2013 budgetary procedure, pursuant to the MFF; and EUR 840 million under heading 1a (Competitiveness for Growth and Employment), divided into EUR 650 million for 2012 and EUR 190 million for 2013. The increase relating to heading 1a is accompanied by a reduction in the ceilings for heading 2 (Preservation and Management of Natural Resources: EUR 450 million for 2011) and heading 5 (Administration: 243 million in 2011, and EUR 147 million in 2012).

Despite the controversy surrounding this project, in general terms, we believe it is important that research in the field of energy be able to continue, so as to overcome the risks and limitations of the forms of energy currently available. This research should consider multiple options and prioritise renewable sources.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The adoption of this report has amended the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006, in particular, the multiannual financial framework (MFF), injecting a sum of EUR 1.3 billion in commitment appropriations into the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project for the period 2012-2013. This breaks down as follows: EUR 100 million already included in the 2012 budget under the ITER budget headings; EUR 360 million in commitment appropriations in the 2013 budgetary procedure, pursuant to the MFF; and EUR 840 million under heading 1a (Competitiveness for Growth and Employment), divided into EUR 650 million for 2012 and EUR 190 million for 2013. The increase relating to heading 1a is accompanied by a reduction in the ceilings for heading 2 (Preservation and Management of Natural Resources: EUR 450 million for 2011) and heading 5 (Administration: 243 million in 2011, and EUR 147 million in 2012). Despite the controversy surrounding this project, in general terms, we believe it is important that research in the field of energy be able to continue, so as to overcome the risks and limitations of the forms of energy currently available. This research should consider multiple options and prioritise renewable sources.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on the modalities for providing additional funding for the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project. With respect to this funding, the multiannual financial framework for 2007-2013 must be revised in accordance with points 21, 22 and 23 of the interinstitutional agreement in order to increase the ceilings for commitment appropriations under heading 1a for 2012 by EUR 650 million and for 2013 by EUR 190 million in current prices. Increasing the ceilings for commitment appropriations under heading 1a will be fully offset by the corresponding decrease of the ceilings for commitment appropriations under headings 2 and 5 for 2011. In order to keep an appropriate relationship between commitments and payments, the annual ceilings for payment appropriations will be adjusted. The adjustment will be neutral in terms of payment requirements over the period 2007-2013. It is therefore appropriate and desirable to amend Annex I to the interinstitutional agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management accordingly.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I voted against the Böge report on revising the multiannual financial framework to address additional financing needs of the ITER project. Although the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance has succeeded, in financial terms, in limiting the cuts in the budgets of other European projects to benefit ITER, almost EUR 840 million of the EUR 1.3 billion required will be financed by new contributions from the Member States. Nevertheless, this does not change the fact that nuclear energy is being developed.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the decision on the financing of ITER, which will enable the European Union to honour its international commitments and show that the two branches of its budgetary authority are able to reach a balanced agreement that preserves the rights of the European Parliament. Above all, support for this innovative project could guarantee Europe’s long-term energy independence. Financing the additional costs of the nuclear fusion research programme was a key issue in the budgetary negotiations. The result is that an additional sum of EUR 1.2 billion in commitment appropriations will be allocated to ITER over the next two years. This figure is in addition to the EUR 100 million that had already been included in the EU’s 2012 budget. The agreement reached will ensure a balanced distribution of expenditure, the resources for which will come from the following areas: EUR 100 million will be covered by redeployments for the year 2012 and EUR 850 million by 2011 budgetary surpluses. The remaining additional costs will be met by the 2013 budget.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because an additional EUR 1.3 billion in commitment appropriations from the Union budget are required for the ITER project in 2012-2013. The European Parliament and the Council have taken note of the proposal made by the Commission to amend the interinstitutional agreement as regards the multiannual financial framework in order to provide the EUR 1.3 billion in commitment appropriations from the EU budget required for the implementation of the ITER project in 2012-2013. The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed to cover the EUR 1.3 billion additional cost of the implementation of the ITER project in 2012-2013.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted to amend the interinstitutional agreement as regards the multiannual financial framework in order to provide the additional EUR 1 300 million in commitment appropriations from the EU budget required for the ITER project in 2012-2013.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The importance of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, the aim of which is to develop fusion energy, means there is a fully justified need to increase the funds necessary for the project to be sustained and developed, and for it to produce the intended results. Given the importance of this project, it is well known that, in addition to the European Union, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States are also involved, while there are other countries interested in taking part. The constant demand for alternatives to the energy sources currently being used is leading to the search for more abundant, cheaper and cleaner energy sources, so the Union should not distance itself from the projects in pursuit of that goal in which it is involved.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) While in conventional nuclear power stations, energy is generated by nuclear fission, ITER aims to generate energy from nuclear fusion. This is the crucial difference between ITER and the existing form of nuclear power. Nuclear fission gives rise to long-lasting, highly toxic, radioactive substances that represent a permanent danger to people and the environment. In contrast, the residual products of nuclear fusion are far less radioactive. Therefore, the route which ITER is taking at least represents a better solution than the existing nuclear fission methods and an improvement in the current situation, in particular, for countries like Austria which, for good reasons, are fundamentally opposed to nuclear technology.

As this is an international research project which involves compliance with the terms of Treaties under international law, I am essentially in favour of it being provided with adequate funding. It will become clear at a later date whether ITER will pave the way for the development of a new energy source. However, we urgently need greater transparency and better cost estimates. Exceeding the original budget by more than 300% is not acceptable. For that reason, I have abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) While in conventional nuclear power stations, energy is generated by nuclear fission, ITER aims to generate energy from nuclear fusion. This is the crucial difference between ITER and the existing form of nuclear power. Nuclear fission gives rise to long-lasting, highly toxic, radioactive substances that represent a permanent danger to people and the environment. In contrast, the residual products of nuclear fusion are far less radioactive. ITER could therefore pave the way for a sustainable source of energy, even if its use for power generation is still a long way off. For this reason, ITER should be given adequate funding. Europe must remain committed to promoting forward-looking research. However, we need greater transparency and better cost estimates. Exceeding the original budget by more than 300% is not acceptable. Moreover, continual increases in funding must not become the norm. Therefore, I have abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that it is advisable and necessary to allocate additional funding from the EU budget for the implementation of the ITER thermonuclear fusion project in 2012-2013 because the results of this project are enormously important not just from an EU but also an international perspective. It should be noted that building and operating ITER is a huge challenge for science, engineering and technology. Only thanks to this project will it be possible for fusion energy to become a very useful source of energy, the use of which would ensure security of energy supply and energy diversification in the long term.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the proposal for a decision of Parliament and of the Council amending the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management in relation to the multiannual financial framework, so as to respond to the increased financial requirements of the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER) project. The aim of this project is to cover, in stages, the additional cost of a sum of EUR 1.3 billion for the ITER project for the period 2012-2013. The Council, the Commission and Parliament have agreed the details of this matter in a joint meeting.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Given the importance of the ITER project to the European Union, a suitable financing programme is needed to include possible additional financing. I believe it is essential to amend the interinstitutional agreement as regards the multiannual financial framework in order to provide the additional appropriations required for the ITER project in 2012-2013. I am therefore voting for this resolution.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) I voted for the revision of the multiannual financial framework, which will enable the continuation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project over the next two years, in such a way that this does not end up being done at the expense of the projects and programmes to take place under the umbrella of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research. On the one hand, we acknowledge the relevance of projects in pursuit of new renewable and alternative energy sources that are socially and environmentally sustainable, and that speed up the process of abandonment of nuclear fission. On the other, it is of crucial importance to ensure that the ITER’s need for additional funding does not prevent or compromise the funding of research projects and programmes in other areas, specifically by ensuring that all the provisions of the 2006 interinstitutional agreement remain applicable.

 
  
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  Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. (FR) It was a hard-fought battle that we have just won. Following months of negotiations, we have just breathed new life into the ITER programme, by equipping it with an additional EUR 1.3 billion for 2012 and 2013. I note that we were able to count on the support of the majority of the French socialist MEPs. The Fukushima accident reawakened people’s fears about nuclear energy, particularly in France. Such concerns are only natural. The ITER programme was specifically launched to improve our understanding of, and expertise in, nuclear energy. It strengthens research cooperation through its European partnership. Does anyone need reminding that there is no such thing as zero risk? Safety, however, has always been, and still is, the sine qua non of the development of nuclear energy. The latter guarantees our independence and our access to cheaper energy. I voted in favour of this text because we have to protect our national and European expertise in the management of this energy source. At this time of crisis and general despondency, it is essential that we preserve our economic assets and ensure that hundreds of thousands of jobs and highly qualified workers remain on our territory.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Having established the need to amend the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management in relation to the multiannual financial framework, so as to meet the increased financial requirements of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, which requires an additional EUR 1.3 billion, the three institutions began discussions in an attempt to find a solution. As an agreement was reached on 1 December 2011, which was adopted by the Committee on Budgets, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Parliament has today rubberstamped something that is a bad deal for EU taxpayers. Nuclear fusion is a technology that will not be commercially viable before 2050, if at all. Instead of wasting more public funds on the runaway ITER budget, the EU should pull the plug and focus on funding safe and sustainable energy technologies that can deliver a return in the short-term, like energy efficiency and renewables. Under this deal, ITER will remain a ticking budgetary time bomb, with a decision on how the EUR 360 million should be funded in the 2013 budget having been postponed. There is a real risk that the Council will again push for this funding to be included in the EU’s research budget, which would come at the expense of green technologies like renewables and energy efficiency. The Greens believe that no more public funding should be wasted on this project.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The multiannual financial framework was set out in the interinstitutional agreement concluded between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on 17 May 2006, with the objective of improving budgetary discipline and sound financial management. A number of amendments are being made to the budgetary framework throughout the implementation period, in order to meet the needs of the European Union. I agree that an additional sum of EUR 1.3 billion should be allocated to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project for the period 2012-2013, and that EUR 100 million should already be included in the 2012 budget on the ITER budget lines. Around EUR 360 million in commitment appropriations will be made available in the 2013 budget procedure, in line with the ceilings for commitment appropriations for the multiannual financial framework.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution amending the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management as regards the multiannual financial framework in order to address the additional financing needs of the ITER project. The draft budget initially envisaged for nuclear research as part of the multiannual financial framework for the 2007-2013 period is inadequate due to the hefty increase in the ITER project’s costs. In the conclusions it made on 12 July 2010, the Council confirmed the project’s increased financial requirements and agreed to limit the European contribution to EUR 6.6 billion (2008 value) for the ITER construction phase up to 2020, which includes EUR 1.4 billion for the 2012-2013 period.

The Council’s agreement of November 2010 concerning the redistribution within the multiannual financial framework and the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research to cover the ITER project’s additional financing requirements amounting to EUR 1.3 billion does not conflict with and invalidate the Council’s commitment concerning an overall EU contribution to ITER construction costs of EUR 6.6 billion. Given the importance of the ITER project to the future of the EU’s energy sector, we support the provision of the additional commitment appropriations required for the 2012-2013 period.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted against this increase in the financing of the ITER project. The European budget meets EUR 2.7 billion of the cost of nuclear research under the Euratom sub-programme, and provides EUR 4 billion specifically for the ITER project. With this additional EUR 1.3 billion, the European Union will be devoting EUR 8 billion to nuclear research, compared with the EUR 2.4 billion allocated to other types of energy research, of which only EUR 1.6 billion is spent on renewables. With the issue of nuclear safety being more topical than ever, restoring the balance – even a tiny bit – between research programmes should be made a requirement. The nature of these additional costs should also be questioned. Not only that: at a time when drastic cuts are being imposed on the people, the Union should think about how it can use such huge amounts more appropriately. This stubbornness with regard to nuclear energy is harmful to the public debate that should take place on the issue of energy and the place given to nuclear power. The Union should help to open this debate.

 
  
  

Report: Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska (A7-0436/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, essentially because it suggests the European Union Solidarity Fund should be mobilised more quickly, so as to provide timely aid for regions affected by disasters. To this end, I believe there is a need for greater coordination between national and regional authorities, and European ones, with a view to evaluating needs more quickly.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Under the EU’s budgetary procedure, the Commission may propose amendments to the current year’s budget, in order to deal with unanticipated financial needs. The Commission has therefore proposed various ‘Draft amending budgets’ for the 2011 budget. In keeping with its budgetary powers, the European Parliament discusses the Commission’s proposals, and votes on the draft amendments. The draft amendment on the agenda of this part-session concerned the EU Solidarity Fund. Created in 2002 to address the needs of Member States hit by a natural disaster, the EU Solidarity Fund provides emergency financial assistance. In the wake of the floods in Veneto and of the earthquake in Lorca, Italy and Spain have submitted an application for EU assistance, which I have endorsed. In situations such as these, the Member States must show solidarity.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution, in which Parliament approved, without amendment, the Council position on Draft amending budget No 7/2011. This Draft amending budget aims to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for an amount of EUR 38 million in order to mitigate the effects of the earthquake that hit Murcia, Spain (EUR 21 million allocated from the EUSF), and of the flooding in the Veneto region of Italy (EUR 17 million allocated). Based on calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, the Commission has estimated the direct damage in the Murcia region at EUR 842.8 million. In the case of the Veneto region, direct damage has been estimated at EUR 3 717 million. I agree that we urgently need to guarantee a quick delivery of assistance to the above regions, which have suffered large-scale natural disasters, by mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of Draft amending budget No 7/2011 is to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for an amount of EUR 38 million in commitment appropriations, so as to mitigate the effects of the earthquake that devastated Spain’s Murcia region, and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region. The objective of the funds mobilised through the EUSF is to contribute to the repair of infrastructure; it is not to be used as a refinancing tool, or to compensate damage to private property. This report approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 7/2011, formally incorporating this budgetary amendment into the 2011 budget. In view of the need for the EUSF to be mobilised rapidly, and of the fact that, in the case of the Veneto region, it has only been mobilised 13 months after the torrential rain, this report calls on stakeholders in the Member States, at local and regional level, and on the national authorities to improve assessment of needs and coordination for potential future applications to the EUSF, with a view to accelerating the mobilisation of the EUSF. I voted for this report for the above reasons.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The adoption of this report is necessary from a procedural point of view in order to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for the people in my region, Veneto, who were affected by floods a year ago. Since an amending budget is needed, this report is, in respect of the Union phase of the operation, preparatory to the procedure for mobilising the fund. I therefore voted in favour of the Jędrzejewska report.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this amending budget so as to enable the quick release of financial aid through the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Italy and Spain. These countries were both affected by natural disasters in 2010 and 2011, respectively. This report encourages all stakeholders in the Member States and national authorities to improve assessment of needs and coordination for potential future applications to the EUSF. The intention is to speed up, as much as possible, the mobilisation of the EUSF, since, in the case of Italy, its mobilisation will only be effective 13 months after the floods in the Veneto region.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) It seems clear to me that we should adopt this Draft amending budget, the aim of which is to mobilise approximately EUR 38 million in commitment appropriations from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), so as to mitigate the effects of the earthquake that devastated Spain’s Murcia region, along with the floods in Italy’s Veneto region. I would once again reemphasise the need for this type of procedure to be quick, and I will not stop doing so, particularly in cases where the opposite is clearly happening. As the rapporteur stresses, it seems to me absolutely unjustifiable that the EUSF is only being mobilised now, for events that took place in October last year. There is a need to act on the causes of these delays, which occur mainly during the initial stages of applications. I therefore join the rapporteur in calling on national, regional and local authorities in the Member States to improve assessment of needs and coordination for future applications.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this amending budget, which will enable EU assistance to be provided to these two areas devastated by major natural disasters. The allocation of these funds highlights, once again, the need for European solidarity when our populations are met with unprecedented difficulties that threaten to disrupt the local socio-economic balance.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on Draft amending budget No 7/2011on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund for Spain and Italy, which will assist these countries in recovering from the damage caused by the natural disasters that occurred there. However, I believe there is a need to revise the regulation on the Solidarity Fund, so as to make it faster and more flexible.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is to assist regions that have been hit by natural disasters. Both the earthquake in Spain’s Murcia region and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region have led to a request from these two countries for the mobilisation of EUR 38 million in commitment and payment appropriations from the EUSF, so as to mitigate the consequences of both disasters. I believe that the EU should continue to support these two countries, so I am voting for this Draft amending budget.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report under consideration, drafted by Ms Jędrzejewska, concerns Draft amending budget No 7/2011 – tabled by the Commission pursuant to Article 37(1) of the Financial Regulation – on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund for Spain and Italy. The aim of this mobilisation is to contribute to the repair of infrastructure destroyed by natural disasters; that is, the earthquake that took place on 11 May 2011 in Lorca, in Spain’s Murcia region, and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region. In addition to claiming nine lives and leaving 130 injured, the earthquake in Spain left 10 000 people homeless and caused damage estimated at over EUR 840 million. The floods in Italy’s Veneto region caused seven deaths and left hundreds homeless, and caused direct damage estimated at EUR 3.7 billion. As such, and given that this Draft amending budget was adopted by the Conciliation Committee on 19 November 2011 by means of reallocation from rural development programmes, I am voting for this proposal to allocate EUR 21 070 950 to Spain’s Murcia region and EUR 16 908 925 to Italy’s Veneto region.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund was in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Regulation, which stipulates that the Commission may table draft amending budgets in the event of unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances, and that the maximum amount that may be mobilised is EUR 1 billion. Its aim is to contribute to the repair of infrastructure. The direct damage to Spain’s Murcia region has been estimated by the Commission, on the basis of calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, at a total of EUR 842.8 million. In the case of Italy’s Veneto region, direct damage has been estimated at EUR 3.7 billion. The total amount of aid proposed in Draft amending budget No 7/2011 is EUR 37 979 875 – EUR 21 070 950 for Spain and EUR 16 908 925 for Italy – a small proportion, therefore, of the total estimated damage.

We voted for this aid. However, we are bound to highlight at this point the need to once and for all set out a comprehensive and effective EU framework for disaster prevention, as proposed in the report on this issue, for which I was rapporteur. As is pointed out there, investment in prevention represents a considerable saving on the material and human damage resulting from disasters.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund was in accordance with the provisions of Article 37(1) of the Financial Regulation, which stipulates that the Commission may table draft amending budgets in the event of unavoidable, exceptional or unforeseen circumstances, and that the maximum amount that may be mobilised is EUR 1 billion. Its aim is to contribute to the repair of infrastructure, but it cannot be used as a refinancing tool or for compensating damage to private property. The direct damage to Spain’s Murcia region has been estimated by the Commission, on the basis of calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, at a total of EUR 842.8 million. In the case of Italy’s Veneto region, direct damage has been estimated at EUR 3.7 billion. The total amount of aid proposed in Draft amending budget No 7/2011 is EUR 37 979 875. The Commission proposes funding the needs identified by reallocating payment appropriations from rural development programmes, and by increasing commitment appropriations. We voted for this aid.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Draft amending budget No 7/2011 to the general budget for 2011 aims to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to the tune of EUR 38 million in commitment and payment appropriations in order to mitigate the effects of the earthquake affecting Murcia, Spain, and of the flooding in the Veneto region of Italy. The purpose of the Draft amending budget is to formally enter this budgetary adjustment into the 2011 budget. The quick release of financial assistance through the EUSF for those affected by natural catastrophes is of great importance, and it is therefore of great concern that in the case of the flooding in the Veneto region, the mobilisation of the EUSF will only be effective 13 months after the torrential rainfall that occurred at the end of October 2010. It is necessary that all parties in the Member States, both at local and regional level, as well as national authorities, improve the assessment of needs and coordination for future potential applications to the EUSF with a view to accelerating, as much as possible, the mobilisation of the EUSF. With regard to the specific cases of Spain and Italy, the two branches of the budgetary authority are taking their respective positions with the utmost urgency in order to guarantee a quick delivery of assistance to the affected regions.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because Draft amending budget No 7/2011 to the general budget 2011 aims to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 38 million in commitment and payment appropriations in order to mitigate the effects of the earthquake that hit Murcia, Spain, and of the flooding in the Veneto region of Italy. The purpose of Draft amending budget No 7/2011 is to formally enter this budgetary adjustment into the 2011 budget.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the Commission proposal for mobilisation of the EUSF based on point 26 of the IIA of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management, which allows such a mobilisation within an annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. The eligibility conditions for the fund are detailed in Council Regulation No 2012/2002 establishing the EUSF, and it must be recalled that the objective of the fund is to repair infrastructure, that it is a refinancing tool and cannot compensate private damages. The direct damages in Murcia, Spain, have been estimated by the Commission, based on calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, at a total of EUR 842.8 million. In the case of Veneto, Italy, the direct damages have been estimated at EUR 3 717 million. The total amount for aid proposed in DAB 7/2011 is EUR 37 979 875

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report. I fully agree with the rapporteur with regard to the urgency with which assistance needs to be provided to the populations affected by recent natural disasters. Let us lose no time in approving the allocation of the solidarity fund also because 13 months have to pass from the day on which the events occurred.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is used to provide aid for regions hit by natural disasters. Recently, the earthquake in Spain’s Murcia region and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region have led to a request from these two Member States for the mobilisation of EUR 38 million in commitment and payment appropriations from the EUSF, so as to mitigate the consequences of both disasters. As such, I am voting for this amending budget, since I believe that such aid should not be denied to these Member States, given the extent of the damage caused as a result of these disasters.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Spain’s Murcia region and Italy’s Veneto region. The eligibility conditions for support from the EUSF are laid down in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 establishing the EUSF. One of its aims is to contribute to the repair of infrastructure, but it cannot be used as a refinancing tool or for compensating damage to private property. That is what is happening with the direct damage to Spain’s Murcia region, which is estimated by the Commission, on the basis of calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, at a total of EUR 842.8 million, and with the direct damage to Italy’s Veneto region, which is estimated at EUR 3.7 billion.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Since the purpose of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is to repair infrastructure and since, as a refinancing tool, it cannot be used to compensate for private damage, now that the direct damage incurred in the regions of Murcia (Spain) and Veneto (Italy) has been estimated, I agree with the proposal to finance the identified needs by redeploying funds from rural development programmes and therefore announce that I am voting in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) I voted for this amending budget, which will make it possible to mitigate the consequences of the earthquake that has devastated Spain’s Murcia region and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region. Nevertheless, I am bound to reiterate that mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) should be streamlined, so as to provide timely aid for regions affected by disasters. If the EUSF were provided from its own budget appropriation, it would be possible to avoid situations where its mobilisation is delayed by more than a year, as is the case with the floods in Italy. If situations other than natural disasters were covered by the scope of the EUSF, the consequences of the disaster of the toxic sludge in Hungary could have been mitigated.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the context of implementing the 2011 budget, Draft amending budget No 7/2011 has been tabled with a view to mobilising the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF). The EUSF has recently been used to attempt to alleviate the consequences of the earthquake that erupted in Spain’s Murcia region and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region. I voted in favour because I consider this intervention a priority.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The Commission proposal for mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is based on point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement (IIA) of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management, which allows such a mobilisation within an annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. The conditions of eligibility to the fund are detailed in Council Regulation No 2012/2002 establishing the EUSF, and it has to be recalled that the objective of the fund is to repair infrastructure and that it is a tool of refinancing, and must not compensate private damages. The direct damages in Murcia, Spain, have been estimated by the Commission, based on calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, at a total of EUR 842.8 million. In the case of Veneto, Italy, the direct damages have been estimated at EUR 3 717 million. The total amount for aid proposed in DAB 7/2011 is EUR 37 979 875.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Following the earthquake that struck Spain’s Murcia region last May and the floods that hit the Veneto region between late October and early November 2010, the countries in question have requested access to the EU’s Solidarity Fund.

In the case of the Veneto region, the Commission recognised EUR 676 375 of direct damage as eligible, proposing assistance from the Solidarity Fund totalling EUR 17 million. This is on top of the EUR 21 million proposed for Spain, resulting in the need for an amending budget totalling EUR 37.9 million.

I welcome this show of solidarity from the EU, which has once again taken action to aid a Member State – in this case my country – which made the request and will now benefit from the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund, as decided by the Commission. The entire Italian delegation gives its full support.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of Draft amending budget No 7/2011 is to mobilise EUR 38 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund to tackle the effects of the earthquake in Spain’s Murcia region and the effects of the floods that have devastated Italy’s Veneto region. The European Parliament document, for which I voted, stresses the need for these funds to be made available quickly, and calls for the involvement of local, regional and national authorities, in order that efforts might be made to allocate financial assistance quickly and effectively.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on Draft amending budget No 7/2011 of the European Union for the financial year 2011, Section III – Commission, because its purpose is to mobilise EUR 38 million in commitment and payment appropriations from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), with the aim of mitigating the impact of the earthquake which struck the Murcia region in Spain and the effects of the flooding in the Veneto region in Italy. We support financial aid being provided quickly via the EUSF to the people affected by the earthquake in the Murcia region in Spain and by the flooding in the Veneto region in Italy.

I feel it is important that all the stakeholders from the Member States affected by such natural disasters, at local and regional level, as well as national authorities, assess as soon as possible the damage caused and the financing requirements, and that they improve the coordination of future potential applications for mobilising the EUSF in order to speed up the mobilisation of this fund as quickly as possible. We regret that the EUSF will only be mobilised for the flooding in the Veneto region 13 months after the end of October 2010, the period when the torrential rain mentioned occurred.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The aim of Draft amending budget No 7 is to allow for the mobilisation of EUR 38 million from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to cover the effects of the earthquake in the Spanish region of Murcia and flooding in the Veneto region of Italy. The funding will be raised by redeploying appropriations from rural development programmes.

 
  
  

Report: Reimer Böge (A7-0437/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because the applications meet the criteria laid down by the regulation on the Solidarity Fund. Also taking account of the situation of the national economies of the euro area, which are going through a period of economic turmoil, I believe the European Union should demonstrate solidarity and make every effort to help mitigate the tragic consequences of the natural disasters that have, in this case, affected two Member States. This will also help these two countries to concentrate their efforts on consolidating their public accounts.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution in which Parliament consented to the Commission’s proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Spain and Italy. Under this decision, for the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2011, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) will be mobilised to provide the sum of EUR 38 million in commitment and payment appropriations in order to mitigate the effects of the earthquake that hit Murcia, Spain (EUR 21 million allocated from the EUSF), and the flooding in the Veneto region of Italy (EUR 17 million allocated). Based on calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, the Commission has estimated the direct damage in the Murcia region at EUR 842.8 million. In the case of the Veneto region, direct damage has been estimated at EUR 3 717 million. I agree that we urgently need to guarantee a quick delivery of assistance to the above regions, which have suffered large-scale natural disasters, by mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union created the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to demonstrate its solidarity with the populations of regions affected by disasters. The EUSF mainly intervenes in major natural disasters with serious repercussions on people’s living conditions, on the environment or on the economy of one or more regions of a Member State or of a European Union candidate country. Under exceptional circumstances, the EUSF can also be mobilised for disasters considered ‘regional’: when a region is affected by a disaster that causes damage affecting the majority of its population, and that has serious and prolonged repercussions on people’s living conditions and economic stability. Spain and Italy have submitted a request for the mobilisation of the EUSF: Spain because of the damage caused by the earthquake that devastated the Murcia region, and Italy because of the floods in the Veneto region. Both applications meet the eligibility criteria laid down in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, so I voted for this report on the mobilisation of EUR 21 070 950 for Spain and EUR 16 908 925 for Italy.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this report because it offers the highest level of aid that is legally possible: EUR 21 million for Lorca and almost EUR 17 million for the Veneto region. I think it is especially interesting that these resources are being mobilised with such energy and determination in the midst of the recession and crisis we are currently experiencing, which have led to all kinds of cuts in the public budgets of many of the Member States. I hope this money will continue to help the inhabitants of the Veneto region and Lorca to rebuild their businesses and their normal way of life, to ensure that, in a few months, these tragedies will be nothing more than a sad memory.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I voted against the attribution of EUR 38 million to the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund. I have the deepest sympathy for those who have suffered as a result of damage caused by the earthquake in Lorca in May this year and the severe flooding in the Veneto region this autumn. As a British taxpayer, I would wholly support the UK Government offering aid to these regions, but as someone who does not believe the EU should have such competences, I regretfully cannot support this vote.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing.(IT) I am pleased that Parliament has shown that it, like me, approves of the report on the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund in favour of the Veneto region. The flooding that struck not only my home region, but also other areas in Italy between late October and early November 2010, was particularly disastrous for their people and various business activities, which suffered serious damage.

The figure put forward by the Commission, equal to EUR 16 908 000, will make it possible to cover at least a small part of the expected costs of the reconstruction of the affected areas and their economic and industrial recovery. I would like to express my satisfaction over this positive outcome, which sends an important message from the Commission and from Parliament in terms of requests from areas hit by disasters, especially at a time of deep economic and financial crisis.

In the future, I would like to see greater speed in the assessment and resulting mobilisation of funds for areas in difficulty. Moving forward, it must be possible to grant the funds in less time.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the acceptance of the Commission proposal for the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Italy and Spain. The aim of the EUSF is to contribute to the repair of infrastructure. As such, the aim of financial assistance to these countries is to mitigate the consequences caused by natural disasters in the affected regions of the respective countries. Spain’s Murcia region was affected by an earthquake in 2011, while Italy’s Veneto region suffered flooding in 2010.

 
  
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  Marielle De Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The earthquake in Lorca (Spain) last May and the floods in Veneto (Italy) at the end of 2010 call for the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund, which is designed to provide assistance to European regions affected by natural disasters. A total of EUR 38 million will thus be allocated to the reconstruction of these two regions (EUR 21.1 million for Spain and EUR 16.9 million for Veneto). This fund, which is the very embodiment of European solidarity, is doing its bit to rationalise EU expenditure by reallocating funds that were initially intended for rural development programmes but were not used.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of using the Solidarity Fund to provide EU assistance to these two regions, which have been devastated by major natural disasters. The allocation of these funds highlights, once again, the need for European solidarity when our populations are met with unprecedented difficulties that threaten to disrupt the local socio-economic balance.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because the earthquake which hit the Murcia region in Spain this May and the flooding in the Veneto region in Italy, which occurred in 2010, have had a catastrophic impact on both the population and the infrastructure in the relevant areas. The direct damage in Murcia has been estimated by the Commission, based on the calculations provided by the Spanish authorities, at a total of EUR 842.8 million. In the case of the Veneto region, the direct damage has been estimated at EUR 3 717 million. This is why I regard it of paramount importance for financial aid to be provided quickly through the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to those affected by natural disasters. I also share the rapporteur’s concern that, in the case of the flooding in the Veneto region, the fund’s resources will only be mobilised 13 months after the torrential rainfall which occurred at the end of October 2010.

I think that all the stakeholders in the Member States, at both local and regional level, as well as national authorities, should improve how needs are assessed and how future potential applications to the EUSF are coordinated, with a view to mobilising this fund more quickly.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on Draft amending budget No 7/2011 on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund for Spain and Italy, which will assist these countries in recovering from the damage caused by the natural disasters that occurred there. However, I believe there is a need to revise the regulation on the Solidarity Fund, so as to make it faster and more flexible.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The severe earthquake that erupted in Spain on 11 May 2011 and the torrential rain that hit Italy from 31 October 2010 to 2 November 2010 caused major material and human damage which are deeply regrettable. The first is considered an ‘extraordinary regional disaster’ and the second, more serious in its impact and scale, a ‘major natural disaster’, under the terms of Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, regulating the existence and mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF).

I am voting for the proposal tabled by the Commission to mobilise the EUSF, and I hope the sums transferred to the affected regions will enable their recovery and help mitigate any damage caused. This practical demonstration of solidarity is yet another affirmation of the credibility of many of the ideas of the European project.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report under consideration, drafted by Mr Böge, concerns the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Spain and Italy, in accordance with point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management. The aim of this mobilisation is to contribute to the repair of infrastructure destroyed by natural disasters: that is, the earthquake that took place on 11 May 2011 in Lorca, in Spain’s Murcia region, and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region. In addition to claiming nine lives and leaving 130 injured, the earthquake in Spain left 10 000 people homeless and caused damage estimated at over EUR 840 million. The floods in Italy’s Veneto region caused seven deaths and left hundreds homeless, and caused direct damage estimated at EUR 3.7 billion. In view of this, and taking account of the need to support the regions of Spain and Italy following the aforementioned natural disasters, and of the legal framework for mobilising the EUSF, I am voting for this report.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report provides for the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Spain and Italy. Spain has requested aid from the EUSF for the damage caused by the earthquake in the region of Murcia in May 2011. The town of Lorca was hit by two consecutive earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2, killing nine people and injuring some 300. A further 10 000 people were evacuated and there was also a significant amount of material damage caused. Italy requested support from the EUSF following the torrential rain that took place in October and November 2010 in the Veneto region in North-East Italy. The effects of the heavy rainfalls were exacerbated by the warm Sirocco wind characteristic of the Mediterranean, which melted the snow on the nearby mountains. The disaster caused significant damage to road networks, to infrastructure, to the agricultural sector, to businesses and to private residences.

Naturally, we are voting for the mobilisation of the EUSF, which is fully justified given the extent of the aforementioned damage. We are bound to reiterate, once again, the importance of setting out an appropriate disaster prevention framework, and we can only regret the European Commission’s delay in implementing the recommendations of the report adopted by Parliament in September 2010 on this same issue, for which I was rapporteur.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We voted for the Draft amending budget required by the proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Spain and Italy. Spain has requested assistance from the EUSF for the damage caused by the earthquake in the region of Murcia in May 2011. The town of Lorca was hit by two consecutive earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2, killing nine people and injuring some 300. More than 10 000 people were evacuated and around 30 000 people had to spend the first night in the street; there was also a significant amount of material damage caused.

Italy requested support from the EUSF following the torrential rain that fell between 31 October and 2 November 2010 in the Veneto region of North-East Italy. The effects of the heavy rainfalls were exacerbated by the warm Sirocco wind characteristic of the Mediterranean, which melted the snow on the nearby mountains. The disaster caused significant damage to road networks, to infrastructure, to the agricultural sector, to businesses and to private residences. The Commission has proposed the mobilisation of EUR 21 070 950 for Spain and EUR 16 908 925 for Italy from the EUSF, which equates to a total of EUR 37 979 875. This has been accepted and adopted by Parliament.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Commission is proposing a mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund for Spain and Italy on the basis of point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management. Spain has requested assistance from the Solidarity Fund as a result of the damage following the earthquake which, on 11 May 2011, affected the autonomous region of Murcia, and, in particular, the town of Lorca. Nine people died, 300 were injured, 10 000 were evacuated and approximately 30 000 people spent the first night on the streets. The catastrophe caused widespread damage to homes, businesses, public buildings, cultural heritage sites, the road network and basic infrastructure. The total direct damage is estimated at EUR 843 million. Italy applied for assistance from the Solidarity Fund following torrential rainfall from 31 October to 2 November 2010 in the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy. The effects of the heavy rainfall were aggravated by a warm Mediterranean wind that melted snow in the nearby mountains. The disaster caused significant damage to road and infrastructure networks, agriculture, businesses and homes estimated at EUR 3.717 billion. After verifying that all applications submitted comply with the eligibility criteria of Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the Commission proposed to mobilise the Solidarity Fund for an amount of EUR 21 070 950 for Spain and EUR 16 908 925 for Italy.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Today, we voted on economic support for the people affected by the tragic flooding in the Veneto region in November 2010. Parliament’s approval, by a large majority, of EUR 16.9 million in aid for flooded parts of this region has shown that European solidarity does not only exist in words but also in deeds. Obviously, in spite of the amount allowable under the fund’s regulations, we are still a very long way from covering the actual costs of rebuilding infrastructure, and providing accommodation and aid. Indeed, for the purposes of properly restoring the affected areas, the Italian State has estimated that the amount of direct damage comes to EUR 3 717 million. I do not want to linger on the figures, but I should like to highlight that in Padua alone – which is my province – we have seen the following: 3 500 people displaced, 12 municipalities seriously damaged, eight cases of river flooding and six burst banks, meaning that a total area of 72 km2 was left flooded. To conclude, I would like to express my hope that the paths of solidarity and cooperation can converge more effectively in future so as to guarantee the requisite financial support that Europe must ensure to all Member States in the event of disasters.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) The Commission has proposed mobilising the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Spain and Italy. Spain applied for assistance from the Solidarity Fund for damage caused by the earthquake in Murcia on 11 May 2011. The town of Lorca was hit by two consecutive earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2, which killed nine people and injured around 300. The disaster caused widespread damage to residential homes, businesses, public buildings, cultural heritage sites, the road network and basic infrastructure. Under the terms of Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the disaster therefore qualifies as an extraordinary regional disaster and falls within the main field of application of the Solidarity Fund ‘under exceptional circumstances’. Italy, meanwhile, applied for assistance from the Solidarity Fund following torrential rainfall from 31 October to 2 November 2010 in the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy. The effects of the heavy rainfall were aggravated by a warm Mediterranean Sirocco wind that melted the snow in the nearby mountains. The disaster caused significant damage to road and infrastructure networks, agriculture, businesses and residential homes. As laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the disaster qualifies for aid under the criteria for major natural disasters. After verifying that all applications comply with the eligibility criteria of Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the Commission proposed mobilising the Solidarity Fund in favour of Spain and Italy, and I welcome this proposal.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I have nothing but praise for Parliament’s decision to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for the regions affected by natural disasters. The flooding that struck the Veneto region between 31 October and 2 November 2010 caused enormous damage for the population and for the entire social and economic fabric of the region. A great deal of infrastructure was seriously damaged, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the main driving force behind the economy of north-eastern Italy. The EUR 17 million that the EU is putting forward to help Veneto is a real lifeline for local citizens who are struggling – including psychologically – to overcome the memory of those dreadful days. Together with the aid being put forward for Lorca, the area of Spain hit by two violent earthquakes, the European Union is showing that it really does care about people affected by natural disasters.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund to help Spain and Italy. Spain applied for assistance from the Solidarity Fund for damage caused by the earthquake in Murcia on 11 May 2011. The town of Lorca was hit by two consecutives earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.2, killing 9 people and injuring some 300 more. A further 10 000 people were evacuated and around 30 000 people had to spend the first night on the streets. Furthermore, the disaster caused widespread damage to residential homes, businesses, public buildings, cultural heritage sites, to the road network and to basic infrastructure. Italy applied for assistance from the Solidarity Fund following torrential rainfall from 31 October to 2 November 2010 in the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy. The effects of the heavy rainfall were aggravated by a warm Mediterranean ‘Sirocco’ wind that melted the snow in the nearby mountains. The disaster caused significant damage to road and infrastructure networks, agriculture, businesses and residential homes.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) There is no time to waste, in my opinion, so I hope that the report by Mr Böge will be adopted immediately and without amendments. The amount of funding being mobilised will not entirely cover the damage caused by the recent disasters in Italy and Spain, but it is a vital mechanism for enabling people to get back to their work and get on with their lives.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is used to provide assistance for regions hit by natural disasters. The recent earthquake in Spain’s Murcia region and the floods in Italy’s Veneto region qualify as natural disasters for which aid must be provided under the terms of Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, regulating the existence and mobilisation of the EUSF. As such, I am in favour of mobilising the funds necessary for tackling this type of serious incident, and I hope the funding made available will serve to alleviate the material and human damage caused by these natural disasters.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing.(IT) I am pleased that today’s vote has finally given the green light to the mobilisation of approximately EUR 17 million for the damage caused by the flooding in the Veneto region in autumn 2010. There is no doubt that the EU Solidarity Fund can play a useful role in contributing to the full recovery of these badly affected areas. I also hope that Tuscany and Liguria, which likewise were struck by disastrous flooding last month, can gain quick access to this important source of European funding.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome the decision to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund in favour of Spain, with regard to a disaster caused by an earthquake, and Italy, with regard to a disaster caused by flooding. It should be noted that, as a result of these disasters, many people lost their homes, and widespread damage was caused to basic infrastructure and roads, industry and agriculture. Given the scale of these natural disasters and the huge damage caused, it is therefore necessary to show solidarity at EU level with the populations of the disaster stricken regions and allocate them a certain amount of financial assistance from the Solidarity Fund, not exceeding the annual threshold of EUR 1 billion.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Italy and Spain have asked the EU to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund for the natural disasters caused, respectively, by heavy rain and flooding in the Veneto region, and by the earthquake that struck the Murcia region last May. Considering the severity of these events and the need to take fast action, it is almost a given that I – and Parliament – will be voting in favour. However, in view of the mere EUR 38 million granted by the Commission (EUR 21 million for Spain and EUR 17 million for Italy), I think more could have been done to help these people and to rebuild the affected areas.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for Spain and Italy to repair the damage caused by the earthquake that took place in Murcia on 11 May 2011 and the torrential rain that fell from 31 October 2010 to 2 November 2010 in the Veneto region of North-East Italy, respectively. In fact, having verified that all the applications meet the eligibility criteria in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, the European Commission services have proposed the mobilisation of EUR 21 070 950 for Spain and EUR 16 908 925 for Italy from the EUSF, which equates to a total of EUR 37 979 875.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Since the purpose of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is to restore infrastructure, and in light of the damage caused by the 11 May 2011 earthquake in the Murcia region and the torrential rains that hit the north-eastern part of the Veneto region between 31 October and 2 November 2010, I am voting in favour of the mobilisation of the EUSF for the two countries in question.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) I voted for the proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for these two regions of Europe that were struck by two natural disasters. Nevertheless, I am bound to reiterate the need, firstly, to equip the EUSF with its own appropriations, which would ensure that aid reached the affected populations in good time rather than 13 months later, as has happened with the flooding in Italy’s Veneto region. Secondly, its scope should be extended beyond natural disasters, so that situations like that in Hungary’s Kolontár and Devecser regions – specifically, the case of the toxic sludge – do not go unresolved.

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera (EFD), in writing.(IT) I strongly support this proposal. The torrential rains of last winter caused almost EUR 4 billion worth of damage to the region of Veneto. Even though it is not included in the 2011 budget, Parliament is right to approve funding for this region. Thanks to the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund, the affected citizens will receive almost EUR 17 million as a contribution towards reconstruction.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) provided for in Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, which was established to provide assistance to the Member States in the event of a natural disaster, enables the mobilisation of an annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion, in light of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006. Given that Spain has requested the mobilisation of the EUSF because of the earthquakes that hit the town of Lorca, and Italy because of the torrential rain that hit the Veneto region, and that all the application requirements have been met, I voted for the decision to mobilise the EUSF, in the hope that, in this way, the needs of the local populations will be met as quickly as possible.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The Commission proposes to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund in favour of Spain and Italy on the basis of point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement (IIA) of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management. The IIA allows the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund within the annual ceiling of EUR 1 billion. In parallel to the proposal to mobilise the Solidarity Fund in favour of Spain and Italy, the Commission has presented a Draft amending budget (DAB No 7/2011 of 21 November 2011) in order to enter in the 2011 budget the corresponding commitment and payment appropriations as foreseen in point 26 of the IIA.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this process because it will mean that EUR 38 million of EU aid from the European Solidarity Fund can be freed up to help Spain and Italy repair the damage caused by last year’s natural disasters. In my country in particular, the heavy rain in late October and early November 2010 caused serious flooding, especially in the Veneto region. The effects of the rainfall were then aggravated by a warm Mediterranean Sirocco wind that melted the snow in the nearby mountains, causing significant damage to road and infrastructure networks, agriculture, businesses and residential homes.

These funds were obtained through a budget amendment thanks to a joint effort that made it possible to use funds that had not been spent on rural development.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) Following the natural disasters that struck the Veneto region of Italy, which was brought to its knees by a flood in autumn 2010, and Murcia in Spain, which was hit by an earthquake last May, these States applied for access to the EU Solidarity Fund. Following an assessment by the Commission, the request was granted in order to make a contribution against the costs incurred by the affected State in taking emergency actions. EUSF aid to the tune of EUR 16.9 million was proposed for the Veneto region, which is my home region, on top of the EUR 21 million proposed for Spain, making a total of EUR 37.9 million. I am cheered by this show of solidarity from the EU, which has once again shown that it is capable of taking real action to help its citizens. The support and unity of the Italian delegation was essential in dealing with such a difficult situation.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) The flood that hit northern Italy in 2010 – and especially the region of Veneto – caused more than EUR 600 million of damage. More than economic losses, though, the disaster has caused suffering, unease and fear among the population. Indeed, the disaster affected people, families, businesses and infrastructure: we saw damage to private property, vital infrastructure (such as the A4 motorway), businesses, agriculture and the cultural heritage concentrated in the Bacchiglione river basin.

Some 40 000 businesses, which provide work for around 250 000 people, were at risk of closing down following the flood. Today’s vote mobilises the Solidarity Fund and sees Parliament send a clear and meaningful message to the Veneto region. The EUR 17 million of aid will be used to try and improve the living conditions of the people affected by this horrific natural event.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In November 2011, the European Commission tabled a proposal on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in response to the requests for assistance submitted by Spain and Italy. I am fully behind this report, since I believe the EUSF should be made available to Member States whenever natural disasters have occurred resulting in high levels of damage for the regions affected. I am voting for the mobilisation of EUR 21 million for Spain following the earthquake that took place in the Murcia region, specifically in the town of Lorca, and of EUR 17 million for Italy following the flooding that took place in the Veneto region. I would also take this opportunity to express my complete solidarity with the affected regions and to mention that the European Union should commit to supporting the populations of Lorca and Veneto.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), in accordance with point 26 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management.

Unfortunately, Europe is facing with ever-increasing frequency extreme phenomena such as drought, flooding, forest fires and earthquakes. The EU and Member States must show solidarity with those citizens living in the regions affected by natural disasters. The main instrument available to the EU for tackling these disasters is the EUSF, which supplements the budgets allocated by Member States for emergency measures such as the immediate restoration to working order of infrastructure and equipment in the energy, drinking water, waste water, transport, telecommunications, health and education sectors.

Spain submitted an application for funding in the aftermath of an earthquake recorded in the Murcia region, with the damage amounting to EUR 842 838 000. Italy submitted an application for funding in the wake of the flooding in the Veneto region, with the damage amounting to EUR 676 357 000. I support the mobilisation of the EUSF for a total of EUR 37 979 875: EUR 21 070 950 for Spain and EUR 16 908 925 for Italy in commitment and payment appropriations.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Union established the Solidarity Fund to provide assistance for people affected by disasters. The Commission estimated that EUR 21 070 950 should be paid from the fund to the region of Murcia in south-eastern Spain, which was hit by two severe earthquakes in May, in which more than 150 people were injured and several people even lost their lives. A total of EUR 16 908 925 is to be paid to cover part of the costs incurred by the Italian authorities for urgent measures taken after the floods in Veneto. These included providing emergency accommodation, rescue services and safety equipment. The money will also be used to repair infrastructure and clean up the affected areas.

 
  
  

Report: Barbara Matera (A7-0438/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because the application meets the requirements for accessing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The ultimate aim of the measures provided for by the EGF is to help workers made redundant to find and keep a new job, and it is clear that these workers require assistance in this respect. I would point out that the EGF now also provides assistance for workers who have lost their job as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. That appears to be the case, since there has been a significant decline in private investment in the construction sector in recent months. As such, the EU should provide help for those affected by the crisis, and by the consequent economic and social disruptions.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for the workers in the ‘Construction of buildings’ sector in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. No sector has escaped the repercussions of the financial crisis, but some categories of workers have suffered its effects more than others. In particular, the construction sector accounts for 15% of the GDP of the Trentino-Alto Adige region, providing work for around 8% of workers in the autonomous province of Trento and around 8.6% of workers in the autonomous province of Bolzano. Between 2009 and 2010, unemployment increased by 43% in Bolzano and by 117% in Trento. The EGF is an important European policy tool created to provide supplementary support to workers made redundant due to the substantial structural changes in the organisation of global trade. At this time of crisis, the EU must not shirk its duties and must transmit confidence to its citizens and Member States through these support mechanisms. Accordingly, I hope that an agreement can be reached in order to retain the fund until 2020.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund was created to support European workers who have lost their jobs. It enables them to get back into work. As an exceptional measure, the financial and economic crisis has been deemed sufficient grounds for a Member State to submit an application for assistance. The crisis-hit construction sector in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, in northern Italy, has seen one wave of redundancies after another. In an effort to show solidarity with Italy, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution, which I endorsed, allocating EUR 3.9 million in aid.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in favour of Italy to provide the sum of EUR 3 918 850 in commitment and payment appropriations. The EGF provides support for workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation and the direct impact of the global financial and economic crisis and assists them with their reintegration into the labour market. In February 2011, Italy submitted an application to mobilise the EGF in respect of redundancies in 323 enterprises involved in the construction of buildings in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. Italy argues that its construction sector has been severely affected by the global financial crisis. Loans to the construction sector or to individuals have been drastically reduced and demand for new houses has decreased due to declining consumer confidence and the lack of cash. According to the Commission’s assessment, the application fulfils the eligibility criteria set out in the EGF Regulation. I agree that the EGF should be mobilised in order to provide a financial contribution in response to the application submitted by Italy and to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant due to the global financial and economic crisis.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was set up in 2006 in order to provide additional assistance for workers affected by the consequences of significant changes in the structure of international trade and to assist in their reintegration into the labour market. Since 1 May 2009, the scope of the EGF has included support for workers made redundant as a direct consequence of the economic, financial and social crisis. At this time of severe financial, economic and social crisis, one of the principal consequences of which has been an increase in unemployment, the EU needs to use all the means at its disposal to respond, particularly as regards providing support for those who have lost their job. That is why I voted for this report concerning the mobilisation of EUR 3 918 850 from the EGF for Italy, with the aim of supporting the workers made redundant by 323 enterprises operating in Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The application in question requests the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for more than 600 redundancies, 528 of which are eligible for assistance, in 323 enterprises in the building construction sector. The relevant Commission services have approved the request to mobilise the Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which is a European instrument for assisting people who are considered to have lost their jobs as a result of the competition created by the distorting effects of globalisation. The criteria to be met in order to mobilise the fund have been verified and approved by the Commission. My vote is therefore in favour.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I regret that in Italy, 528 workers were made redundant by 323 construction firms in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region. It is always awful when, during such testing times, people lose employment. However, this is happening across the continent and should be the priorities of the nations in which those people live or the prerogative of allied nations to help where possible countries most deeply affected by major structural changes in world trade patterns and the financial crisis. I thus, unfortunately, cannot agree to give Italy an extra EUR 3.9 million as I do not believe this Adjustment Fund should even exist as an EU competence.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the proposal for a decision on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Italy. The EGF was created to provide additional support for workers affected by the consequences of significant structural changes in the patterns of world trade. As such, the purpose of this mobilisation of the EGF is to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Given the various repercussions that Italy has suffered because of its vulnerability to the financial crisis and structural changes in the patterns of world trade, I believed it was important to vote for this report, which will provide vital temporary and punctual assistance to workers who have been made redundant. Furthermore, I believe in the purpose for which a total of EUR 3 918 850 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund will be mobilised for Italy. This support for the reintegration into Italy’s labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis is vital in order to safeguard 528 redundancies at 323 enterprises operating in Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’).

Of the package of measures proposed by the Commission, I should like to highlight two that are imperative: one-to-one counselling and guidance, so as to provide workers with personal support services as part of the reintegration process, and one-to-one vocational training, with the aim of retraining the skills of redundant workers by holding training and development sessions, thereby improving job search techniques that are essential in an increasingly globalised world.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This is the 23rd application to be examined under the 2011 budget and concerns the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 3.9 million from the EGF for Italy. I would stress that this application was submitted by Italy on 7 February 2011 – supported by additional information up to 6 July – and relates to redundancies from 323 enterprises in Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’). I would therefore say that this application has been examined within a fairly reasonable timeframe, given how complex it is to analyse and verify its compliance with the EGF rules on such applications. I have noticed the same efficiency in previous decision-making procedures, so, although I regret the events that led to this procedure, the speed with which it has been conducted is laudable. As a final comment, I should like to see this efficiency and effectiveness in Union action applied to other matters, particularly those that could jeopardise the future of the EU as we currently know it.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report on mobilising the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund to support workers who have been made redundant in the construction industry due to the decrease in private investment in the residential sector. By releasing these funds, the EU is showing solidarity with workers who have been affected by the crisis and offering them help to retrain.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because the European Union has set up legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional individual support to workers affected by the major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their long-term reintegration into the labour market. As a direct consequence of the global financial and economic crisis, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was extended to applications submitted from 1 May 2009 to include support for workers made redundant due to the financial crisis.

Italy stated that the construction sector has been severely affected by the crisis, and the demand for new houses has decreased sharply due to the lack of funding. Data available at EU level confirms the significant downturn in this sector during seven consecutive quarters. This is why I support the mobilisation of the EGF to allocate EUR 3 918 850 to workers made redundant in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region. I also support the fact that the relevant institutions should make the necessary efforts in future to improve the budgetary and procedural mechanisms with the aim of mobilising the EGF more quickly.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I support the mobilisation of EUR 3 918 850 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Italy, with a view to supporting the 643 workers made redundant from 323 enterprises in the Trentino region. I believe that this application is relevant, since the companies in question went out of business because of the impact of the current crisis on the Italian building and construction sector.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Significant use has been made of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to reduce the impact of globalisation and the consequences of the current financial crisis for the European economy, helping workers who have been made redundant and who are seeking to obtain their reintegration into the labour market.

The number of cases submitted to the European Parliament for approval, their geographic diversity and the range of industries affected constitute sufficient proof of the worrying times the European Union is experiencing. The relocation of their industries to regions of the world where labour costs are significantly lower has led to the closure of many units of production and, consequently, to the unemployment of many thousands of workers who are currently having difficulty returning to work. This is as a result of a retraction in the market and the cautiousness exercised by surviving employers in taking on staff. In the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, 528 workers from 323 enterprises in the construction sector have experienced this same fate, which I am bound to regret.

I hope the EGF will contribute to enabling them to return to work, and that the European economy will be able to react energetically and creatively to these difficult times.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report under consideration, drafted by Ms Matera, concerns the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), pursuant to point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management: application EGF/2011/002 IT/Trentino – Alto Adige/Südtirol – Construction of buildings, Italy. On 31 October 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on mobilisation of the EGF for Italy, in order to support the reintegration of workers made redundant because of the global financial and economic crisis, following the aforementioned application, which was submitted on 7 February 2011. This is the 23rd application submitted under the 2011 EU budget, mobilising EUR 3 918 850, with the aim of mitigating the social impact of the redundancy of 643 workers from 323 enterprises in the building and construction sector in the region of Trentino. Given that the purpose of the EGF, set up in 2006, is to support workers who have lost their jobs because of structural changes in world trade patterns caused by globalisation, I am voting for this proposal for a decision.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is in response to the 23rd application for mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) examined under the 2011 budget. It concerns mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 3 918 850 from the EGF for Italy. It results from 643 redundancies, 528 of which are eligible for assistance, from 323 enterprises in the building construction sector. Italy’s building construction sector has been hit hard by the crisis. According to the Italian Government, loans to the building construction sector and to private individuals have been drastically reduced and demand for new residential housing has fallen, owing to declining consumer confidence and the lack of liquidity. The economic situation of both provinces under consideration here – Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol – deteriorated in 2009, and their growth was negative. Italy predicts the redundancies will have a significant impact at local level.

We voted for mobilisation of the EGF so as to support the redundant workers. However, at the same time, we would reiterate here our criticism of both the unfair way in which the EGF is regulated and the fact that nothing is being done to avoid its repeated mobilisation. On the contrary, the policies implemented by the EU are merely sowing the seeds of other crises, meaning further redundancies and requests for mobilisation of the EGF can be envisaged.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is the 23rd application examined by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs under the 2011 budget. It concerns mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 3 918 850 from the EGF for Italy. It results from 643 redundancies, 528 of which are targeted for assistance, from 323 enterprises in the building construction sector.

The application is based on the intervention criteria laid down in Article 2(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, which requires at least 500 redundancies over a nine-month period, in enterprises operating in the same NACE Revision 2 division in one region or two contiguous regions at NUTS II level in a Member State.

Italy claims its building construction sector has been hit hard by the crisis. Loans to the building construction sector and to private individuals have been drastically reduced and demand for new residential housing has fallen, owing to declining consumer confidence and the lack of liquidity. This is the case in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The economic situation of both provinces deteriorated in 2009 and their growth was negative. Italy predicts the redundancies will have a significant impact at local level.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission allows the release of funds from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) using the flexibility instrument within the annual ceiling of EUR 500 million under the relevant headings of the financial framework. In February this year, Italy submitted request No EGF/2011/002 IT/Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol for a financial contribution from the EGF on account of 643 redundancies in 323 enterprises operating in NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the NUTS II region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (ITD1 and ITD2) in Italy. According to statements by the relevant authorities, the financial and economic crisis has resulted in a sudden collapse of the global economy and has had a major impact on many industries, including redundancies in the construction sector which could not be foreseen and which could not be easily avoided. After considering the request thoroughly, in accordance with Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, the Commission has come to the conclusion that they meet the conditions for a financial contribution under the regulation. I also believe that providing immediate financial compensation to Italy is justified.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) On 7 February 2011, Italy submitted an application to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in respect of redundancies in 323 enterprises involved in the construction of buildings in the Trentino-Alto Adige (Südtirol) region and supplemented it by submitting additional information up to 6 July 2011. I voted in favour because this application complies with the requirements for determining financial contributions, as laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, and because the Commission has proposed the mobilisation of the EGF.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Matera because I think that mobilising the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) offers a fast and necessary response to the now increasingly urgent problem of unemployment and the reintegration into the workforce of citizens who lose their jobs. The economic crisis, which has unfortunately been a feature of the world and European economy for three years now, has affected the highly productive and skilled area that is Trentino-Alto Adige. In particular, Italy’s request in relation to 643 redundancies, 528 of which are eligible for assistance from the fund, has fulfilled the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation. I retain my conviction that managing the EGF with a view not only to providing assistance, but also to training and reintegration into the workforce, is the best way to tackle the effects of this major and ongoing crisis.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal. This is the twenty-third application to be examined under the 2011 budget and refers to the mobilisation of a total amount of EUR 3 918 850 from the EGF for Italy.

It concerns 643 redundancies, of which 528 targeted for assistance, in 323 enterprises operating in the NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the NUTS II region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (ITD1 and ITD2) during the nine-month reference period from 1 March 2010 to 1 December 2010.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report and welcome the support provided by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in the sum of EUR 3 918 850 to the Italian construction industry. These funds will provide much-needed assistance to those made redundant in this sector as a result of the global economic crisis.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU is an area of solidarity and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is a part of that. This support is essential for helping the unemployed and those who have been made redundant as a result of company relocations that occur in the context of globalisation. An increasing number of companies are relocating, taking advantage of reduced labour costs in a number of countries, particularly China and India, with a damaging effect on countries that respect workers’ rights. The EGF aims to help workers who are victims of the relocation of companies, and it is essential for facilitating access to new employment. The EGF has been used by other EU countries in the past, so now it is appropriate to grant this aid to Italy, which has applied for assistance in relation to 643 redundancies – 528 of which are eligible for assistance – from 323 enterprises in NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the NUTS II region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (ITD1 and ITD2) in Italy.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) receives annual funding of EUR 500 million with the aim of providing financial support to workers affected by major structural changes in world trade patterns. On 31 October 2011, the Commission accepted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF on behalf of Italy to assist with the reintegration into the labour market of workers who have been made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis. This report concerns an application for EUR 3 918 850 from the EGF for a company in Südtirol. I voted in favour of the report in order to show solidarity with the redundant workers and to reduce the negative impact. However, this does not alter the fact that there is a fundamental need for a change in the EU’s world trade policy. We must put a stop to dumped imports from emerging economies which are ruining our domestic industry.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Despite this period of economic crisis, I think the EU needs to carry on funding those sectors and businesses that require assistance and that fall within the parameters for receiving funding. At long last, the time has come for the Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help small Italian businesses in Trentino-Alto Adige. I hope that my vote will go towards ensuring that the fund of nearly EUR 4 million will be assigned. This funding would be used to save the jobs of more than 500 workers and, therefore, as many families. That is why I think everyone ought to vote in favour.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was set up to provide additional support for workers affected by the consequences of structural changes in the patterns of world trade. On 31 October 2011, the Commission adopted a new proposal for a decision on the mobilisation of the EGF for Italy, with the aim of supporting the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. This is the 23rd application to be examined within the framework of the 2011 budget, and relates to the mobilisation of a total sum of EUR 3 918 850 from the EGF for Italy, based on 643 redundancies, 528 of which are targeted for assistance, at 323 enterprises operating in NACE Revision 2 Division 41 (‘Construction of buildings’) in the NUTS II region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol (ITD1 and ITD2) during the reference period 1 March 2010 to 1 December 2010. Given that the application fulfils all the necessary requirements for mobilising this financial aid mechanism, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Considering that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) was created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns, and having assessed the importance of mobilising the EFG in Italy’s favour in order to support the reintegration into the labour market of workers made redundant as a result of the global financial and economic crisis, I am voting in favour of this proposal for a decision.

 
  
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  Miguel Portas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of mobilising the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to support building construction workers in Italy’s Trentino region made redundant following a significant drop in private investment in the housing sector, resulting from the current social, economic and financial crisis. Enabling the mobilisation of the EGF guarantees a series of programmes supporting the retraining of more than 528 workers from the 323 enterprises directly affected in this region.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The 23rd application for assistance from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) under the 2011 budget has been submitted. The aim of the EGF is to support workers in extremely vulnerable situations because of company relocations that occur as a result of global competition. In this case, in which Italy has requested EGF intervention, there have been a total of 643 redundancies from 323 enterprises in the region of Trentino (Alto Adige/Südtirol), over a nine-month reference period. As all the requirements for intervention by the EGF – which enables the mobilisation of up to EUR 500 million per year – have been met, I voted in favour, in the hope that the difficulties of those profoundly affected by the phenomenon of globalisation can be minimised.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund has been created in order to provide additional assistance to workers suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns. According to the provisions of point 28 of the interinstitutional agreement of 17 May 2006 on budgetary discipline and sound financial management and of Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006, the fund may not exceed a maximum amount of EUR 500 million, drawn from the margin under the global expenditure ceiling from the previous year, and/or from the cancelled commitment appropriations from the previous two years, excluding those related to heading 1b. The appropriate amounts are entered into the budget as a provision as soon as the sufficient margins and/or cancelled commitments have been identified.

As concerns the procedure, in order to activate the fund, the Commission, in case of a positive assessment of an application, presents to the budgetary authority a proposal for mobilisation of the fund and, at the same time, a corresponding request for transfer. In parallel, a trialogue could be organised in order to find an agreement on the use of the fund and the amounts required. The trialogue can take a simplified form.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) This vote will result in Italy receiving EUR 3.9 million of EU aid for construction workers made redundant as a result of the international crisis. These funds will now be used to facilitate the search for new jobs for the 528 workers made redundant from 323 businesses in the construction sector in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) The Globalisation Adjustment Fund is often deployed to address dismissals, redundancies and tough working conditions. Indeed, we must support the reintegration into the labour market of individual workers who have been made redundant. The economic crisis has not even spared one of the most prosperous areas of Italy, namely Trentino-Alto Adige.

Furthermore, in Italy, as in many other EU Member States, it has been the construction sector that has suffered the most serious consequences. During the course of 2011, this sector has gone through its worst period since the Italian economic boom of the 1960s. I voted in favour of this parliamentary initiative in order to support the reintegration of the workers and revive the construction sector.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 of Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 established the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) with the aim of supporting workers who have lost their jobs because of structural changes in the context of the global economy. Italy has submitted a request for mobilisation of the EGF for 528 workers made redundant from 342 enterprises in the building construction sector in the region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. I am voting for the mobilisation of EUR 3 918 850, so as to support the workers’ reintegration into the labour market, specifically through counselling sessions, training and retraining, coaching and skills assessments. It is also important to stress that the EGF should not be a substitute for the legal and financial responsibilities of Italian firms, but rather an additional support granted by the EU in order to mitigate the social difficulties that these workers will face.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on the mobilisation of a total of EUR 3 918 850 from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) for Italy, with regard to 643 redundancies (of which 528 are targeted for assistance) from 323 enterprises carrying out activities in the building construction sector in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Sudtirol region, during the nine-month reference period between 1 March 2010 and 1 December 2010.

In recent years, the construction sector has been hit hard by the economic and financial crisis. Between 2008 and 2011, the new housing market in Italy contracted by 35.5% and the public works sector by 28.7%. Since the start of the crisis, 230 000 jobs have been lost in the construction sector in Italy.

The economic and financial crisis has led to a sharp drop in loans granted to the construction sector and to a fall in demand for new houses due to the decline in consumer confidence and the lack of funds. The available data confirms that the construction sector recorded a decline in the EU-27 for seven consecutive quarters (Q1/2009 to Q3/2010) compared with the same period in previous years, mainly due to the decrease in private investment in the residential sector.

I support the mobilisation of the EGF, but I call for data to be provided on the reintegration of the beneficiaries into the labour market.

 
  
  

Report: Birgit Sippel (A7-0408/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because I believe the introduction of minimum standards is a step towards fundamental rights. It is important that suspects and accused persons be informed of their rights, since if this does not happen, we are jeopardising one of the fundamental principles of the rule of law, which establishes that suspected and accused persons should be considered innocent until proven guilty in court. Therefore, in order for this procedure to take place uniformly throughout the European Union, there should be common standards and increased cooperation between national and European institutions, so that all citizens of the European Union can enjoy the same rights.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right to information in criminal proceedings. The European Union has set itself the objective of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice. According to the conclusions of the Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999, the principle of mutual recognition should become the cornerstone of judicial cooperation in both civil and criminal matters within the Union, because enhanced mutual recognition of judicial decisions and judgments and the necessary approximation of legislation would facilitate cooperation between authorities and the judicial protection of individual rights. The extent of the mutual recognition exercise is very much dependent on a number of parameters, including mechanisms for safeguarding the rights of suspected or accused persons and common minimum standards necessary to facilitate the application of the principle of mutual recognition. This is at the heart of the rule of law, and I therefore agree with the rapporteur that this directive should apply to suspected and accused persons regardless of their legal status, citizenship or nationality. The specific conditions and rules for informing one other person about the arrest or detention are to be determined by the Member States in their national law, it being understood that the exercise of this right should not prejudice the due course of the criminal proceedings.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Union is a composite, multilingual and multicultural society built around the four fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of movement guaranteed to EU citizens. Bearing that in mind, it is important that anyone suspected or accused of a crime within the European Union is informed immediately of their rights and of any allegations against them in a language that they can understand. European citizens are not currently guaranteed full information. I have therefore voted in favour of the directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings because I think it is essential to assure this right to anyone accused or suspected of a crime, throughout the proceedings, the investigations and any appeals.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE), in writing.(IT) The reluctance of Member States to take steps to harmonise some aspects of their respective systems of procedural law does no good for the States themselves or, above all, for European citizens. The ‘by stages’ approach adopted by the Commission is proving to be a winning strategy. However, I think Parliament ought to make itself heard before the Council in order to try and speed up the process for adopting the other directives in this area. Having to talk, in 2011, about rules on the entitlement of suspected and accused persons to be informed of their rights and of the charge against them in criminal proceedings within EU Member States seems, to say the least, like something of an anachronism.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Criminal proceedings differ within the Union. An individual suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence is not automatically informed of his or her rights in a clear and precise manner in every Member State. That is why I voted in favour of new European rules to guarantee the right to a fair trial. As well as being informed of his or her basic procedural rights (the right of access to a lawyer, the right to remain silent, the right to be assisted by an interpreter, and so on), the accused will receive a written Letter of Rights (the right to urgent medical care, the right to know how long he or she will be detained before being brought before a judicial authority, and so on).

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) I welcome what has been done to provide help in case of difficulties in relation to differences between different judicial authorities. People involved in criminal cases must have access to clear information on the criminal proceedings.

The Letter of Rights, which is provided for in the report, means that the suspect in the case has the right to receive clear and comprehensible information on his/her rights. It also mentions the right to remain silent, to receive emergency medical treatment and to contact his/her family. This Letter of Rights must be implemented without delay in all Member States in order to protect the fundamental rights of the people of the EU.

Some Irish households have contacted me about relations of theirs who are suspects in cases in other countries of the Union, and despite it being vitally important to adhere to the law and justice, it is also true that every person has the right to receive clear and accurate information about their case, no matter what differences exist between the EU’s different legal systems.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) This proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council aims to set common minimum standards as regards the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union. The proposal seeks to improve the rights of suspected or accused persons. Having common minimum standards in relation to these rights should facilitate the application of the principle of mutual recognition, thereby improving judicial cooperation between Member States. On 30 November 2009, the Council adopted the road map for strengthening procedural rights of suspected and accused persons in criminal proceedings, which calls for the approval of measures regarding the right to translation and interpretation, the right to information on rights and information about the accusation, the right to legal advice and legal aid, the right to communication with relatives, employers and consular authorities, and regarding special safeguards for suspected or accused persons who are vulnerable. I welcomed this document, which is the second measure from the above road map (the first measure concerned safeguarding the right to interpretation and to translation), which will help strengthen the rights of suspected or accused persons throughout the EU and will help enhance judicial cooperation.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right to information in criminal proceedings tabled by the Commission in July 2010 is to establish a series of common minimum standards relating to the right to information in criminal proceedings applicable throughout the European Union. That is, it aims to affirm the rights of suspects and accused persons to be informed of their rights. This information must be communicated in a simple and accessible language, orally or in writing, and in a language that they understand. This report amends the Commission proposal in order to ensure that the directive covers all cases of limitation of personal freedom, irrespective of how Member States qualify the proceedings according to which the suspect has been deprived of their liberty. I voted for this report for the above reasons.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because suspects and accused persons must know their procedural rights and these must be respected because only then will it be possible to safeguard fairness and due process. Both suspects and accused persons must be given all the necessary information on the accusation and the nature and cause of the accusation. All Member States should therefore cooperate in the most effective way to ensure common standards as regards the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union. The provisions of this directive set minimum rules. Member States may extend the rights set out in this directive in order to provide a higher level of protection in situations not explicitly dealt with in this directive. Above all, this directive therefore seeks to promote the right to liberty, the right to a fair trial and the right of defence. If correctly implemented, the provisions of this directive will make the rights of suspects and accused persons much more effective by ensuring that they receive information about their rights.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Ms Sippel’s report, which aims to set common minimum rules on the right to information in criminal proceedings in the EU. Suspected and accused persons are entitled to be informed of their rights and this information must always be explained in accessible, simple terms and in a language that the suspected or accused person understands. Moreover, specific information will have to be provided in writing in the event of deprivation of liberties by the competent authorities of Member States during criminal proceedings.

Lastly, I agree with two specific rights that have been added to the report, alongside the general right to be informed about procedural rights: the right to information about the charge and the right to access the case file when this does not lead to serious risk to the life of another person or will not seriously harm the internal security of the Member State. This directive will improve the rights of suspected and accused persons, ensuring that they receive timely information about their rights.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) I voted for the adoption of the directive, which deals with EU citizens and their rights when they become participants in criminal proceedings. If this happens, whether in somebody’s home country or in another Member State, a fair judicial procedure in line with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights must be ensured. This implies compliance with basic procedural rights, such as the right to consult a lawyer or to have interpretation and translation of documents if needed. I consider it beneficial that this report amends the Commission proposal in order to ensure that the directive covers all cases of limitation of personal freedom, irrespective of how Member States qualify the proceedings according to which a suspect has been deprived of his/her liberty. Nobody knows in advance how long a suspect will be kept in police custody or for how long the person will be deprived of his/her liberty. While the various rights mentioned in the Letter of Rights might not always apply, the suspected or accused person is nonetheless entitled to be provided immediately with information in writing on his/her procedural rights.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the proposal, whose aim is to affirm the right of suspects and accused persons to be informed of their rights, since it is suggested that information provided be written simply and accessibly, so that it can be understood by all. Ensuring that common minimum standards in criminal proceedings are in place would help to guarantee fundamental rights for EU citizens and to overcome the difficulties encountered in the recognition of judgments in criminal matters because of a lack of trust among judicial authorities.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) In order to overcome the deadlock in the Council since 2004, it was decided at the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 30 November 2009 to initiate a step-by-step approach, in which procedural rights in the context of criminal proceedings should be dealt with in stages, and a road map was agreed setting out six measures as the basis for future action.

The first measure, approved last year, consists of the right to translation and interpretation. This initiative is the second of these measures and consists of the right to information in criminal proceedings, setting out minimum standards to be applied regarding the information to be provided to those suspected or accused of having committed a criminal offence – irrespective of legal status, citizenship or nationality – on their rights and the charges brought against them. The information must be provided in simple and accessible language, and in a language that the individual in question understands. Knowledge of their rights is a first step towards ensuring that these will be respected, since failure to observe them does not just jeopardise equality in criminal proceedings, but could also lead to judicial errors.

I therefore voted for the compromise reached, and I hope that the Member States will implement it quickly, particularly by drafting the Letter of Rights.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I am delighted to give my backing to this report on the right to information in criminal proceedings. If we set ourselves the goal of ensuring common minimum standards in current criminal proceedings – and therefore equality before the law and all European courts – then I think that this is an act of foremost importance. Lastly, this report sets out a minimum standard of information in criminal proceedings. This new principle means we can aim to guarantee the protection of all EU citizens’ fundamental rights, which form the basis of our laws. I completely agree with the rapporteur on the importance of continuing close collaboration in order to harmonise the basic aspects of our legal proceedings. I would like to offer my compliments on the excellent work that has been done.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right to information in criminal proceedings. Introducing common minimum standards in criminal proceedings would help ensure respect for EU citizens’ fundamental rights and help overcome the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters, due to a lack of trust between the judicial authorities. The main purpose of the proposal is to affirm that suspects or defendants are entitled to be informed of their rights.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this resolution because I think that mutual recognition should form the basis for judicial cooperation in both civil and criminal matters in the European Union so as to ensure the optimum protection for individual rights. Mutual recognition is based on trust in the criminal and civil justice systems of other Member States. This trust must be strengthened by creating comprehensive rules for protecting European citizens’ rights.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which enables us to guarantee legal protection for all our fellow citizens across the Member States of the EU and increases confidence in the EU’s single justice area. This measure will enable citizens to make their voices heard more easily in the event of a dispute, in a language they understand, no matter where they are in the European Union.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report because, under the new legislation, any person suspected of having committed a criminal offence must, from now on, be informed of his or her rights in a language he or she understands. This measure will ensure that the Member States of the Union will provide any person who has been arrested (or presented with a European arrest warrant) with a Letter of Rights listing their fundamental rights throughout the criminal proceedings. This proposal is part of a comprehensive package of legislation to be presented over the next few years and which will aim to establish a minimum set of procedural rights in criminal proceedings in the Union and to increase confidence in the single European justice area … quite a task! That said, there are currently still some obstacles, especially taking into account different legal systems, and, in particular, the differences between civil law countries and common law countries, such as Ireland and the United Kingdom.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report as I think that the right to information in criminal proceedings must be guaranteed in all Member States. European citizens currently have the right to move around and live anywhere in the European Union. On the other hand, they must be subject to the rules of 27 judicial systems which are very often extremely different. In this situation, harmonising the legislation on providing information to defendants in criminal proceedings is vital and guarantees that the rights of European citizens are protected in any Member State of the European Union.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because it sets out common minimum standards for the whole EU on the right to information in criminal proceedings. This new directive ensures that any person under arrest or accused of a crime will have access to a Letter of Rights informing them of their procedural rights, written in simple language and in a language that they understand. These measures are crucial for strengthening confidence in the European area of justice, since European citizens are increasingly travelling within the EU.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) We all know that for criminal justice to operate effectively, it must specifically lay down the rights of suspects and/or accused persons, so as to guarantee them an adequate possibility of defence through the appropriate legal and jurisdictional means.

In this context, it is essential to guarantee suspects and/or accused persons the right to be informed in a language they understand about their rights and duties, and about the content of the charges brought against them, the right of access to the case file, as well as everything else essential to the case in which they are involved. That is the only way to ensure an effective defence; the cornerstone of the rule of law and of modern criminal proceedings.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union, as an area in which people and goods move freely, should convey an image of security and of a community of values such as freedom, democracy and respect for the rule of law; of the framework that characterises the EU, in fact. This report, by Ms Sippel, concerns the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on European citizens’ right to information when involved in criminal proceedings in a Member State other than their own. Often, accused persons – for example, tourists – do not know the language or the law of that country, and experience very complicated and distressing situations. With this directive, they will now have the right to information about their rights prior to the start of proceedings, in particular, their right to an interpreter and a lawyer, as well as access to the grounds for the charge. As such, I am voting for this proposal for a directive, which has the unanimous backing of all the political groups, and I hope that the Member States will transpose it into national legislation as quickly as possible, since it is a measure that will increase feelings of security and confidence among all European citizens.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report contains aspects on the right to information in criminal proceedings, which we value, especially as regards the right to interpretation and translation, the right to be informed of the charge and the right to access the case file. We would highlight the fact that these provisions are enshrined in the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), so they should be upheld and complied with by the Member States, which are parties to the ECHR.

As that does not, regrettably, happen, the aim of this report is to attempt to strengthen mutual trust. This attempt is part of a broader process focusing, in this case, on so-called harmonisation of legal and criminal procedures. We know that many of these recurrent attempts at harmonisation by the EU often end up not protecting and safeguarding the rights and interests of the public, and even ignore the best practices and good examples of some of the Member States. In view of this, we shall see how this process evolves.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report contains aspects on the right to information in criminal proceedings, which we believe are important, especially as regards the right to interpretation and translation, the right to be informed of the charge and the right to access the case file. These items, while positive, not just because they are enshrined in the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), but because they are fundamental human rights, should be upheld and complied with by the Member States, which are parties to the ECHR.

As that does not happen, the aim of this report is to attempt to strengthen mutual trust that is part of a broader process focusing, in this case, on so-called harmonisation of legal and criminal procedures.

The majority of the time, these recurrent attempts at harmonisation by the EU are not made to defend the rights of the public, and often even ignore the best practices and good examples of some of the Member States. In view of this, we shall see how this process evolves.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Article 6 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights enshrine the right to a fair trial. Article 48 of the Charter guarantees respect for the rights of the defence. The European Union has set itself the objective of maintaining and developing the area of freedom, security and justice. It is necessary for the principle of mutual recognition to become the cornerstone of judicial cooperation in both civil and criminal matters within the European Union, since enhanced mutual recognition of judicial decisions and judgments and the necessary approximation of legislation would facilitate cooperation between individual authorities and the judicial protection of individual rights. The extent of the mutual recognition exercise is very much dependent on a number of parameters, which include mechanisms for safeguarding the rights of suspects and common minimum standards necessary to facilitate the application of the principle of mutual recognition. I am convinced that mutual recognition can only function effectively in an atmosphere of trust, whereby not only judicial authorities, but all actors in criminal processes, see decisions of the judicial authorities of other Member States as equivalent to their own, implying trust not only in the adequacy of one’s partner’s rules, but also the confidence that those rules are applied correctly.

 
  
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  Kinga Gál (PPE), in writing. (HU) It is welcome that legislators and other parties involved in law making place increasingly strong emphasis on taking children’s rights into account when drafting laws in the field of justice and, in particular, when laying down the minimum norms applicable in criminal proceedings. As Commissioner Reding herself pointed out, children in criminal trials, whether involved as the accused or as the victim, have special needs that must be given high priority in order to preserve their physical and psychological integrity. Child victims are exposed to a much higher degree of suffering than adults. I therefore welcome the fact that the legislation on the right to information was enacted by taking all these aspects into account, and I hope that this approach will prevail during the drafting of the directive on the right of access to lawyers as well. I would specifically like to highlight Hungary’s efforts and dedication in respect of the broad application and reinforcement of children’s rights, which also extend to the field of justice. Concrete steps in this regard include the creation of an Internet portal entitled ‘Child-Friendly Justice,’ and the declaration of 2012 as the year of child-friendly justice.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of this draft directive, which completes the arsenal of legal provisions we are currently developing at European level with regard to procedural guarantees. Indeed, in December 2009, the Council adopted the Stockholm programme, which defines the priorities for establishing a true European area of freedom, security and justice. This is an ambitious programme, especially as regards procedural guarantees, and one that involves the establishment of a minimum set of procedural rights for individuals facing criminal proceedings. It is essential to strengthen the rights of these individuals, and a balance must be restored between the considerable progress made with regard to cooperation on the accusation side, and the growing backwardness regarding the right of defence. The text adopted today is the second measure adopted in this area. Another directive on the right of access to a lawyer is currently being discussed within the European institutions, and a directive on legal aid is anticipated for 2012. The adoption of this directive represents real progress, but there is still some way to go to achieve true guarantees with regard to the right of defence within the European Union.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) Following the adoption of a first text on the right to interpretation and translation, this timely vote will help ensure the consistency of a system which guarantees adequate protection of the fundamental rights of suspects and accused persons throughout Europe.

That is why I have voted in favour of the text negotiated by my colleague, Birgit Sippel, on the Letter of Rights. We must, in fact, ensure that any person who is arrested, then detained, receives, in writing, and in a language he or she understands, not only all of the rights he or she may claim, such as the right to translation or interpretation, the right to know what charges are being brought against him or her, or the right to the assistance of a lawyer, but also the right to remain silent, the right to urgent medical care and the right to contact family.

The next step will be for us to defend the right of access to a lawyer from the moment the suspect is questioned, no matter what the Council says in its unilateral statement. Although the statement indicates that the Council accepts the major principle of suspects receiving information, this does not mean that it agrees with all of the proposals put forward by the European Commission.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document because it provides an indicative model Letter of Rights for persons arrested on the basis of a European arrest warrant. The sole purpose of this model is to present an illustration of a Letter of Rights with a view to helping the national authorities when preparing such a letter at national level. Member States are not bound to use this model. When preparing their letter, they may amend this model to align it with the rules applicable nationally and add further useful information. I agree that a suspected or accused person should be informed promptly by the competent authorities of those rights, as they apply under national law, which are essential for safeguarding the fairness of the proceedings, be it orally or in writing as provided for by this directive. In order to allow a practical and effective exercise of these rights of the suspected or accused person, the information should be provided promptly in the course of the proceedings and at the latest prior to the first official interview of the suspected or the accused person by the police or another competent authority.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) It is natural to inform anyone suspected or accused of committing an offence anywhere in the European Union of their procedural rights in a language that is easy to understand.

I am pleased that we have successfully introduced in this proposal the fact that suspects must be informed promptly about the following procedural rights at least: the right of access to a lawyer; any entitlement to legal advice free of charge and the conditions for obtaining it; the right to be informed of the charge made; the right to interpretation and translation.

Citizens can only fully exercise their rights if they are also aware of them. The adoption of this report within our institution highlights once again that the European Union’s aim is to strengthen its citizens’ fundamental rights.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this directive so that those accused of committing an offence are informed of their rights in a language that they understand. The directive is applied regardless of the defendants’ legal status in the EU.

Anyone taken into custody (including on the basis of a European arrest warrant) will be informed of the reasons for their arrest and will be given a letter stating their rights, which include: the right not to make a statement, the right to have a lawyer, including a duty lawyer, the right to inform the consular authorities or another person, such as a family member, the right to know how long they will be detained for until brought before a judge, the right to urgent medical treatment and the right of access to the evidence in the file (by no later than the completion of the criminal investigation, with certain exceptions justified by national security, the rights of another person or significant public interest).

The letter must also indicate how the lawfulness of the arrest can be challenged, what the appeal procedure is against the decision to detain someone, or how to request provisional release. The directive features in a package of measures intended to safeguard across the EU, as an area of freedom, security and justice, certain procedural rights for those accused of committing an offence.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal which aims to create a Letter of Rights for individuals arrested in any one of the 27 Member States. The proposal for a directive on the right to information in criminal matters presented by the European Commission in July 2010 is the second step of the list of measures contained in the road map on procedural rights. It aims at setting common minimum standards as regards the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union. The first step, on the right to interpretation and translation, is a directive adopted on 8 October 2010.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The implementation of the principle of mutual recognition of decisions on criminal matters presupposes that the Member States have mutual confidence in each other’s criminal justice systems. For this to be guaranteed, accused persons must be thoroughly informed about the proceedings concerning them. I agree with the report, especially where it emphasises the importance of ensuring that, when providing information in accordance with this directive, the suspected or accused person should be provided, where necessary, with translation and interpretation in a language they understand, in accordance with the standards set out in Directive 2010/64/EU.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The difficulty experienced in implementing the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters essentially results from the lack of common minimum standards in criminal proceedings, which would guarantee and ensure that fundamental rights are actually upheld. I therefore welcome the establishment of a series of common minimum standards as regards the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union, especially the rights of suspects and accused persons to be informed of their procedural rights. As criminal procedural law is the barometer for existing fundamental and constitutional standards, it is crucial that it be reinforced as the basic principle of the rule of law.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because this directive will ensure that in criminal proceedings, all suspected or accused persons are able to exercise their right to a fair trial in all EU Member States, regardless of their legal status, citizenship or nationality. It should be noted that the right to information in criminal proceedings is one of many measures for ensuring a fair trial aimed at increasing confidence in the single EU area of justice. I therefore believe that it is advisable to at least set minimum standards which would facilitate the application of the principle of mutual recognition, thereby improving judicial cooperation between Member States.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) My vote in favour of this report is due to the prompt amendment of one condition that could have been a restricting factor for accused and suspected persons who find themselves in other EU countries. The existence of shared rules that make citizens’ rights in criminal matters easier to understand cannot but help and make it more likely that accused persons will have greater guarantees on being informed and being able to exercise the right to defend themselves.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The present proposal for a directive, which I supported, contains two important points.

The first is that it standardises the procedural rules on information for defendants and suspects in criminal proceedings. Comprehensive information for defendants is one of the most basic elements of a civilised legal system in democratic states operating under the rule of law. To date, the Union has concentrated on standardising civil and commercial legislation. The efforts being made in the penal law sector prove that there is a great deal of confidence in the ability of the European nations to cooperate and illustrate that the integration procedure is progressing apace even in these difficult times.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour because I believe that ensuring common minimum standards are in place in criminal proceedings would help to guarantee fundamental rights for EU citizens and to overcome the difficulties encountered in the recognition of judgments in criminal matters because of a lack of trust among judicial authorities.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) The requirement to set common minimum standards on the right to information in criminal proceedings across the European Union would ensure greater recognition of fundamental rights for EU citizens and contribute to overcoming the problems of implementing the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters, due to the lack of trust between the authorities. This proposal aims for greater collaboration and legislative harmonisation through a gradual approach set out in the road map adopted on 30 November 2009. I am voting in favour of this proposal for a directive in order to ensure that the right to information is granted in an effective way.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The high level of economic integration within Europe has not been accompanied to the same degree by legal matters more closely linked to the idea of national sovereignty. Notably, consideration is being given to criminal law, in its broad sense, or criminal procedural law, more specifically. However, it is certain that the area of freedom, which enables the free movement of people, has also broken with the isolationist paradigm of various legal and criminal systems. The reality is that crime is, in some areas at least, European, and does not recognise the constraints offered by geographic borders. As such, there is justification for taking the first steps towards bringing the legislation of the various Member States closer together. That is the aim of this proposal for a directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings. In light of the issues covered, it is a case of including in the acquis communautaire certain key elements that are in the DNA of the concept of due process: the accused person’s right to be informed of their rights, the right to be informed of the charge and the right of access to the case file. As such, I voted in favour, and would stress that the accusatorial procedural model used in Portugal already recognises these guarantees.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) In today’s part-session, Ms Sippel’s report on the right to information in criminal proceedings was put to the vote. The numerous ramifications of the right to information play an essential role in effectively protecting the rights of citizens who are directly or potentially affected.

In this vein, the EU will make every effort to achieve more detailed and standardised procedural regulations on the subject. The purpose of the right to information in criminal proceedings is to guarantee that suspected or accused persons are aware of the charges or investigations against them, and have the right to interpretation and the right to contact family members. It also provides for the introduction of robust guarantees on the implementation of safety and preventive measures so that the right to defence through a legal representative can be carried out as well as possible in view of the principle of culpability.

It has emerged just as clearly that the regulation on the European arrest warrant ought to be examined with regard to the rights of the persons involved and the limits on the actions of judicial authorities. Parliament believes that international and interinstitutional cooperation is required so that the provisions on the right to information in criminal proceedings can be extended and clarified where there are shortcomings or contradictions, in order to better protect the suspect.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The success of the internal market depends on the creation of a single justice area operating on the basis of common rules and ensuring that citizens’ rights are uniformly guaranteed. Thus, any European citizen suspected of a crime within the Union must have his or her fundamental rights respected in every Member State. I therefore welcome the adoption of Birgit Sippel’s report. By establishing common minimum standards, this text ensures a right to information within the Union that applies from the moment the person is told that he or she is a suspect. This immediacy of information is essential in my view. I also welcome the fact that the range of rights associated with this right to information has been extended. Thus, it is now thoroughly satisfactory, as it covers translation, interpretation, the assistance of a lawyer, information about the accusation, access to evidence and the right to remain silent, as well as the provision of a Letter of Rights including information on the legal conditions of arrest and detention. Although this text is just one stage in the road map on procedural rights, the provisions it includes are essential. I hope they will be covered in the future comprehensive legislative package soon to be presented by the Commission.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Ensuring that common minimum standards in criminal proceedings are in place would better protect EU citizens’ fundamental rights and also help overcome the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters, because there may be a lack of trust between judicial authorities. Following the failure of the adoption of a horizontal legal instrument on procedural rights in criminal proceedings (2004 Commission Proposal for a Framework Decision), the Council opted for a step by step approach and, on 30 November 2009, adopted a road map on procedural rights, inviting the Commission to table a series of legislative proposals corresponding to the measures listed in the road map. The proposal for a directive on the right to information in criminal matters presented by the European Commission in July 2010 is the second step of the list of measures contained in the road map on procedural rights. It aims to set common minimum standards as regards the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union. The first step, on the right to interpretation and translation, is a directive adopted on 8 October 2010.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) These new rules mean those suspected of a criminal offence will have to be informed of their rights in a language they understand. This measure will enable the Member States of the European Union to ensure that all those who are in custody or are the subject of a European arrest warrant will be given a Letter of Rights comprising their fundamental rights during criminal proceedings. I voted for this initiative, which I consider crucial in order to strengthen the area of security and justice in the European Union.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Common minimum standards in criminal proceedings would significantly simplify the implementation of the system of mutual recognition in criminal matters that has been agreed on and the cooperation between the judicial authorities in the Member States. This directive will also cover the use of the European arrest warrant. With regard to the information in criminal proceedings, the Commission proposal states that this must be in understandable language. It also gives the right to information about the accusation and the restricted right to access the case file. Parliament’s report adds the right to translation and the right to be informed about the conditions for obtaining access to a lawyer free of charge. I have voted in favour.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Ms Sippel’s report on the right to information in criminal proceedings. I think it is quite right that, under the new legislation, those suspected of crimes within the European Union must be informed of their rights in a language they can understand. This measure is designed to ensure that all EU countries will inform anyone who is arrested or subject to a European arrest warrant of their basic rights during criminal proceedings.

Establishing common minimum standards on criminal proceedings guarantees better recognition of the fundamental rights of European citizens and also helps towards overcoming the limitations and problems that can arise between different judicial authorities in implementing the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters.

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE), in writing. – I have voted in favour of resolution A7-0408/2011 on the right to information in criminal proceedings. This vital piece of legislation has taken two readings to come to the proper formula for European citizens. The resolution provides a common minimum standard with regard to the right to information in criminal proceedings throughout the European Union. If correctly implemented, it will improve the rights of suspects and accused persons by ensuring that they receive information about their rights in their own language. We have developed this legislation to prevent citizens who are travelling in other Member States from being unaware of what they are being accused of and thus allowing them a better opportunity to properly defend themselves. All citizens of the Union are granted fundamental rights regardless of what Member State they are in and should always have access to the proper information in their own language through all legal proceedings.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0417/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I believe that Karel Pinxten’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the duties for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Karel Pinxten as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s favourable stance towards the appointment of Karel Pinxten as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I believe, from an objective perspective, that the Belgian, Karel Pinxten, is an excellent choice for carrying out the duties of the Court of Auditors. He has submitted a CV that is impressive as an academic, politician and adviser; a background that has been, and I am sure will continue to be, of benefit to the Court of Auditors; I am saying this of my own free will, since Mr Pinxten is not even a member of my political group. However, although he is a member of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, his objectives for the forthcoming term of office are laudable: not least, focusing on quality mentioned in the document appended to the report, and promoting good relations with the European Parliament. As such, and as I have already done in other explanations of vote, I wish him an excellent term of office as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) The issue at stake here is the re-election of eight Members of the European Court of Auditors. Under the procedure, the candidates have a preliminary hearing before the Committee on Budgetary Control so that it may deliver a favourable opinion on each of them. Following the interviews and subsequent votes, the result for Mr K Pinxten was as follows: 23 votes to 1. I have therefore followed my group’s position and voted in favour of K. Pinxten’s candidature.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) The candidate has been a Member of the European Court of Auditors since 2006, and has always displayed great expertise while performing his duties in Luxembourg, which makes him a suitable candidate for re-election as an auditor. Since April 2011, he has been Dean of Chamber III and a member of the Administrative Committee. Previously, he had worked as an auditor at the Belgian Court of Auditors, as a mayor, then as a Member of the European Parliament and as adviser to the Finance Minister, and finally as Minister for Defence and Minister for Agriculture and SMUs. Fulfilling these functions has led him to obtain unmatched professional expertise. During his work at the Court of Auditors, he has so far drafted five reports, and is currently responsible for the 2011 Statement of Assurance. In his statement, he stressed that all European taxpayers have the right to know how the European Union utilises its budget. An important aspect is that the candidate considers efficient cooperation with the European Parliament one of his key goals. The extension of the mandate of the Belgian candidate deserves support.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) As Karel Pinxten fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament approves the Council’s proposal to nominate him as a member of the Court of Auditors, and instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States. As a member of the Belgian Federal Parliament from 1999 to 2005, Karel Pinxten was a member of the Finance and Foreign Affairs Committee. In 2004, he was elected Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. From 22 March 2006 to 18 April 2007, he was an alternate member of the Court’s Administrative Committee. After 1 June 2010, following the reorganisation of the Court, he became a member of Chamber III ‘External Actions’ and, in January 2011, he became an alternate member of the Administrative Committee. Since April 2011, he has been the Dean of Chamber III ‘External Actions’ and a member of the Administrative Committee.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the nomination of Karel Pinxten as a member of the Court of Auditors because none of the eight candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors on whom we voted were women.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Karel Pinxten as a member of the European Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is an institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the nomination of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by capability and independence criteria. As such, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries have been put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their CVs, responded to a written questionnaire and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted for the nomination of Karel Pinxten.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the nomination of Karel Pinxten as a member of the Court of Auditors. All the information submitted, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union have been met, specifically, the guarantees of independence, so I welcome the nomination of Mr Pinxten as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The role of the Court of Auditors, raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to the status of EU institution, as per Article 13(1) TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In view of this, the right time to monitor the aptitude of members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is at the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Karel Pinxten, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal to appoint him, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of EU political work.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are auditing the EU’s accounts and improving its financial management. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are submitted in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States submit a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Justice following consultation with Parliament. I am voting for the nomination of Karel Pinxten, since he fulfils all of the conditions set out in Article 286(1) of the TFEU.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0416/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I believe that Henrik Otbo’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the duties for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. – (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Henrik Otbo as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s favourable stance towards the appointment of Henrik Otbo as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) I should like to make two observations about the proposed appointment of Henrik Otbo, who has been Auditor-General of Denmark since 1995, as a member of the Court of Auditors. Firstly, I believe that Mr Otbo qualifies for this appointment because of his professional experience to date. Secondly, I would stress the direct and committed tone of his responses to the questionnaire on his appointment and the duties he will carry out, as well as his level of preparation for the post. As such, and as I have already done in other explanations of vote, I wish him an excellent term of office as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report is aimed at the re-election of eight Members of the European Court of Auditors. In line with the procedure, these eight candidates had a preliminary hearing before the Committee on Budgetary Control so that it could deliver a favourable opinion on each one. Following the interviews and subsequent votes, Mr Otbo (Denmark) was elected by 22 votes to 1, with 1 abstention.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) The Danish candidate has been working as an auditor at the Danish National Audit Office for more than thirty years, and has been Director and Head of Section at that organisation for over twenty years. Since 2004, he has also been holding the position of Chair of the INTOSAI Professional Standards Committee. In light of his professional experience and work so far, his application merits support. In addition to possessing a thorough understanding of methods for the auditing of public funds, he has always performed his work in the spirit of transparency and accountability. The candidate’s impartiality is guaranteed based on his career so far, and he also fully meets the criteria related to conflicts of interest. The candidate names the Committee on Budgetary Control as the first and foremost partner of the European Court of Auditors, and therefore considers continuous and effective dialogue between these two bodies to be crucial. At the Committee interview, the candidate explained that his goal in respect of efficiency and effectiveness is to establish relevant performance indicators and to create adequate internal audit systems. In the course of his work, he intends to place substantial emphasis on follow-up activities. The candidate is suitable for the position of European Auditor and I therefore support his application.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) As Henrik Otbo fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament approves the Council’s proposal to nominate him as a member of the Court of Auditors, and instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States. Henrik Otbo holds a Master’s Degree in economics, and has been the Auditor-General of Denmark since 1995. Since 2004, he has been Chair of the Professional Standards Committee INTOSAI, the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions. This is responsible for developing professional audit standards for use by the supreme audit institutions.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the nomination of Henrik Otbo as a member of the Court of Auditors because none of the eight candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors on whom we voted were women.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Henrik Otbo as a member of the European Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is an institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the nomination of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by capability and independence criteria. As such, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries have been put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their CVs, responded to a written questionnaire and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted for the nomination of Henrik Otbo.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the nomination of Henrik Otbo as a member of the Court of Auditors. All the information submitted, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union have been met, specifically, the guarantees of independence, so I welcome the nomination of Mr Otbo as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Since Henrik Otbo fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, in light of a careful consideration of his dedicated work as a member of the Court, I would like to express my approval of the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors, since I think he is one of the people best qualified to take on this role.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The role of the Court of Auditors, raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to the status of EU institution, as per Article 13(1) TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In view of this, the right time to monitor the aptitude of members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is at the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Henrik Otbo, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal to appoint him, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of EU political work.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are auditing the EU’s accounts and improving its financial management. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are submitted in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States submit a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Justice following consultation with Parliament. I am voting for the nomination of Henrik Otbo, since he fulfils all of the conditions set out in Article 286(1) of the TFEU.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0422/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I believe that Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the duties for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) The Spanish candidate was nominated as a Member of the European Court of Auditors by the previous Spanish Government. The elections held in Spain since the nomination have led to the formation of a new government, and the Group of the European People’s Party therefore requested that the vote on the candidate be postponed to give the new Spanish Government taking office sufficient time to confirm the nomination if deemed appropriate. In order to hold a position of leadership at a highly prestigious institution such as the European Court of Auditors, it is important for the Spanish candidate to have proper legitimacy, as full legitimacy is a requirement for all Members of the Court.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) As Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament approves the Council’s proposal to nominate him as a member of the Court of Auditors, and instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States. Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón holds a degree in economics and business studies and a doctorate in economics and business studies. He has been teaching and carrying out research activities since 1982 in 50 universities in Spain and 22 in other countries, including Harvard, the Sorbonne, Heidelberg, Kiel, Berlin Technical University, Brussels Free University, Cologne, Rome and Lumière University, Lyon. The author of 42 books and over 300 publications which have appeared in the most prestigious technical and professional publications, he has acted as an advisor to many national and international corporations.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR), in writing.(ES) Eight members of the Court of Auditors of the European Union are due to be replaced in March, including the British and the Spanish ones. The respective governments will appoint them after receiving Parliament’s report, drafted by Spain’s socialist rapporteur. Following the elections in Spain, in which the votes cast gave an absolute majority to the People’s Party, it makes no sense for Parliament to consider a candidate put forward by the socialist government of Mr Rodriguez Zapatero, which is still at the helm, without listening to the proposal that Mariano Rajoy’s government has a right to make. The new government will take power on 21 December and the Council must make the appointments by March. The Spanish Government’s socialist candidate, who was put forward for this post of such political importance just the day before the elections, should be withdrawn out of respect for the majority will of the Spanish people.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón as a member of the Court of Auditors

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is an institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the nomination of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by capability and independence criteria. As such, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries have been put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their CVs, responded to a written questionnaire and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted for the nomination of Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the nomination of Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón as a member of the Court of Auditors. All the information submitted, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union have been met, specifically, the guarantees of independence, so I welcome the nomination of Mr Corona Ramón as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Even though Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in order to check his qualifications to be a member of the Court, I would like to postpone the vote on the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The role of the Court of Auditors, raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to the status of EU institution, as per Article 13(1) TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In view of this, the right time to monitor the aptitude of members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is at the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal to appoint him, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of EU political work.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are auditing the EU’s accounts and improving its financial management. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are submitted in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States submit a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Justice following consultation with Parliament. Since he was nominated by the Spanish Government after the start of the selection process and, for the first time, there is no political consensus between the groups regarding the appointment of its representative to the Court of Auditors, I have decided to vote against the nomination of Juan-Francisco Corona Ramón.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0418/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I believe that Ville Itälä’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the duties for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Ville Itälä as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s favourable stance towards the appointment of Ville Itälä as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) It was with great personal and political satisfaction that I voted for the report on the nomination to the Court of Auditors of Ville Itälä, a Finnish friend and colleague of mine in the European Parliament, who preceded me as Vice-President of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and who has been leader of his party, Kansallinen Kokoomus, which has led to him occupying some of the highest positions of state in his country. As in all the other roles he has undertaken, I know that Mr Itälä will undertake these roles with determination, commitment and great wisdom, so I wish him the greatest success.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Ville Itälä has extensive experience in the field of public administration, as evidenced by his activities as Finnish Minister for the Interior and his work at the Bank of Finland and the fund set up in honour of the 50th anniversary of Finnish independence. Areas in which he has obtained exceptional experience so far are funds management, reporting, accounting and administrative auditing. As a Minister, he had a key part in the implementation of the strict budgetary policy that contributed to the recovery of the Finnish economy. It was during his ministerial term that the new budgeting system and the new, restructured funding model of Finland’s police administration were introduced. His career so far and his work in the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets and Committee on Budgetary Control have provided him with a suitable professional background to fill the position of European Auditor. His answers to the Committee’s questions reveal that he intends to perform his work in line with the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. According to his statement to the Committee, he supports the Committee on Budgetary Control in reinforcing its role and significance in budgetary control. He also shares the Committee’s opinion that Parliament should be granted access to all documents necessary to perform control.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) As Ville Itälä fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament approves the Council’s proposal to nominate him as a member of the Court of Auditors, and instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States. Currently a Member of the European Parliament, he is a qualified judge and lawyer. From 2004 to 2006, as an MEP, he acted as vice-chair of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), sitting on numerous committees of the Finnish national parliament, and held various posts on the committees and boards of a number of different organisations.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the nomination of Ville Itälä as a member of the Court of Auditors because none of the eight candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors on whom we voted were women.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Ville Itälä as a member of the European Court of Auditors

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is an institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the nomination of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by capability and independence criteria. As such, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries have been put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their CVs, responded to a written questionnaire and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted for the nomination of Ville Itälä.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the nomination of Ville Itälä as a member of the Court of Auditors. All the information submitted, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union have been met, specifically, the guarantees of independence, so I welcome the nomination of Mr Itälä as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Since Ville Itälä fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, in light of a careful consideration of his dedicated work as a member of the Court, I would like to express my approval of the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors, since I think he is one of the people best qualified to take on this role.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The role of the Court of Auditors, raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to the status of EU institution, as per Article 13(1) TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In view of this, the right time to monitor the aptitude of members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is at the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Ville Itälä, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal to appoint him, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of EU political work.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are auditing the EU’s accounts and improving its financial management. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are submitted in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States submit a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Justice following consultation with Parliament. I am voting for the nomination of Ville Itälä, since he fulfils all of the conditions set out in Article 286(1) of the TFEU.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0419/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that Kevin Cardiff’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the functions for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Kevin Cardiff as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s favourable position on the appointment of Kevin Cardiff as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of Kevin Cardiff’s appointment to the European Court of Auditors on account of his qualifications, experience and integrity. All MEPs have an obligation to assess nominations to the Court of Auditors solely in accordance with the criteria set down in the Treaties and the European Parliament’s rules. Domestic political considerations do not come into it. I would also draw attention to the fact that the rapporteur, Ms Ayala Sender in this case, emphasised Mr Cardiff’s qualifications for this post, that he had vast experience, and had responded openly and comprehensively to all the questions put to him, both before and during his hearing, and that she had no hesitation in backing him.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) The candidate can be described as having decades of experience in the field of financial auditing. He has worked as a civil servant for 27 years, including as Assistant Secretary and later as Secretary General of the Irish Department of Finance. His work at the Department of Finance afforded him an overview of budgetary planning and implementation, and also involved his participation in the management of budgetary control. Apart from his career in Ireland, his positions as Alternate Director and Director of the European Investment Bank have provided him with the experience necessary to fill the position of auditor. He has also gained extensive knowledge in the fields of tax and pensions policy, having participated in the consolidation process following the Irish banking crisis. Additionally, he was involved in the establishment and implementation of the EU/IMF programme of support for Ireland. He considers guaranteeing the independence of the Court of Auditors and its staff to be one of his most important goals, and in his statement he asserts that in the course of his work, he will be able to ensure complete independence. In his answers, he assured the Committee that there could be no conflict of interest in relation to his person. His further goals include the incorporation of risk management and risk mitigation strategies into EU financial management practices. During his work, he intends to place stronger emphasis on close cooperation with the European Parliament and the Committee on Budgetary Control. His professional background and attitude make him a suitable candidate for the position.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament, having regard to Article 286(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in accordance with which the Commission submitted its nomination, and in view of the fact that the Committee on Budgetary Control heard the Council’s nominee for membership of the Court of Auditors at its meeting of 23 November 2011, has delivered a negative opinion and rejects the nomination of Kevin Cardiff as a member of the Court of Auditors. This decision was made despite the fact that the candidate has experience in managing budgetary and organisational controls, through the sanction and control functions of the Department of Finance at various levels. The EP instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the nomination of Kevin Cardiff as a member of the Court of Auditors because none of the eight candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors on whom we voted were women.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Kevin Cardiff as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is a supervisory institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the appointment of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by criteria of capability and independence. Thus, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries were put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their curricula vitae, responded to a written questionnaire, and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted for the appointment of Kevin Cardiff.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the appointment of Kevin Cardiff to the post of member of the Court of Auditors. All of the information presented, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, specifically, the guarantees of independence, were met, and so I welcome the appointment of Mr Cardiff to the post of member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The function of the Court of Auditors, which has been raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to an EU institution, as per Article 13(1) of the TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation, and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In this sense, the right time to monitor the aptitude of the Members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is at the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Kevin Cardiff, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal for his appointment, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of European political work.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are to audit accounts and improve the financial management of the EU. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are presented in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States present a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Justice following consultation with Parliament. I am voting for the appointment of Kevin Cardiff as he fulfils all of the conditions set out in Article 286(1) of the TFEU.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0420/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that Pietro Russo’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the functions for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Pietro Russo as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s favourable position on the appointment of Pietro Russo as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposed appointment concerns a man who is outstanding in the field of Law and who has distinguished himself with his exceptional professional and academic career. With his extraordinary curriculum vitae and brilliant answers to the questionnaire, Pietro Russo, from Italy, meets the conditions set out in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Mr Russo is well versed in the functioning of the Court of Auditors, and I know that he will continue to perform his duties with renewed interest and dedication.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) The candidate has decades of experience in Italian public administration. It is important to note that during his earlier work as head of the private office of the Italian Member of the European Court of Auditors, he obtained outstanding experience in the following fields: monitoring of the European Regional Development Fund, the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, Community own resources and aid to third countries. He has done a great deal of work in connection with performance auditing in the aforesaid fields, and with the combating of fraud during the auditing of payments. The candidate is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Monitoring Centre for Organised Crime. Previously, he was a member and chair of the Board of Auditors of the European Defence Agency. His command of languages also makes him a suitable candidate for the position of auditor, as he speaks four additional European languages besides his native tongue at advanced level. In his answers to the Committee, Pietro Russo explained that he wishes to perform his work in the spirit of impartiality, transparency, integrity and independence, and intends to place strong emphasis on the identification and analysis of financial risks and the clarity of internal and external communication, and that the implementation of more effective internal control and audit is also among his goals. In the course of his work, he also intends to address the issue of how to make uniform the audit work on EU funds done both by national audit institutions and the European Court of Auditors. His background makes him suitable for the position and he should be supported as a candidate.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) As Pietro Russo fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament approves the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors. It also instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States. From 1993 to 2003, Pietro Russo served as head of the private office of the Italian Member of the European Court of Auditors; in that capacity, he monitored the European Regional Development Fund, the Agricultural Guarantee Fund, Community own resources and aid to third countries, particularly with regard to performance auditing. He was then employed at the Central Section of the Court of Auditors. In August 2009, he was posted to represent Italy on the NATO Board of Auditors based in Brussels (as a non-permanent member).

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the nomination of Pietro Russo as a member of the Court of Auditors because none of the eight candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors on whom we voted were women.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Pietro Russo as a member of the European Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is a supervisory institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the appointment of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by criteria of capability and independence. Thus, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries were put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their curricula vitae, responded to a written questionnaire and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted for the appointment of Pietro Russo.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour of the report relating to the appointment of Pietro Russo to the post of member of the Court of Auditors. All of the information presented, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, specifically, the guarantees of independence, were met, and so I welcome the appointment of Mr Russo to the post of member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Since Pietro Russo fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, in light of a careful consideration of his dedicated work as a member of the Court, I would like to express my approval of the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors, since I think he is one of the best qualified and most distinguished people to take on this role.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors, which has been raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to an EU institution, as per Article 13(1) of the TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation, and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In this sense, the right time to monitor the aptitude of the members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is at the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Pietro Russo, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal for his appointment, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of European political work.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) The favourable opinion on the new Italian member of the EU Court of Auditors was today approved by a large majority. I am therefore happy to welcome Pietro Russo, whom I have been able to meet on a number of occasions. As a former director of Italy’s Court of Auditors and with considerable international experience behind him, I am sure that Mr Russo will be an excellent member of the European Court of Auditors, especially in light of his experience in monitoring expenditure on regional development funds.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank his predecessor, Massimo Vari, who, because of his professional abilities, has been appointed to the difficult role of Undersecretary of State for Economic Development. I would like to acknowledge Mr Vari’s work over recent years at the European Court of Auditors, which I was able to appreciate first hand in my capacity as rapporteur for the Committee on Budgetary Control. Furthermore, I would like to publicly send my personal and heartfelt best wishes on this new ‘adventure’.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) We are delighted to have voted to appoint Pietro Russo as a member of the European Court of Auditors. It is something of a homecoming, seeing as he has already worked for the Union.

Indeed, this new member has a highly commendable CV: in 1991, he was appointed as a national expert to the European Court of Auditors; in 1993, he became the head of the private office of the Italian member of the Court of Auditors, working as an auditor for the European Regional Development Fund; between 2003 and 2006, he returned to the Italian Court of Auditors Central Section, monitoring the management of government departments; and in 2009, he was appointed by NATO’s North Atlantic Council to be a member of NATO’s International Board of Auditors.

He therefore has an international profile and absolutely first rate abilities, which is why I supported his candidacy in Parliament today.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are to audit accounts and improve the financial management of the EU. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are presented in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States present a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Justice following consultation with Parliament. I am voting in favour of the appointment of Pietro Russo as he fulfils all of the conditions set out in Article 286(1) of the TFEU.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0423/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that Vitor Caldeira’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the functions for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s favourable position on the appointment of Vitor Caldeira as President of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) I would like to congratulate our compatriot Vitor Caldeira on his new appointment as a member of the Court of Auditors, for which I naturally voted. Mr Caldeira has already shown that he is worthy of this recognition, due to the duties that he has performed as President of the Court of Auditors, where important projects aimed at improving the decision-making process of the Court of Auditors were developed under his responsibility. I applaud the objectives that he has presented for his new mandate, in particular, promoting the effectiveness of public accountability and public auditing in the EU by working with Parliament and other EU and national institutions, including the supreme audit institutions. I would like to finish by wishing him every success in continuing to perform his duties.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira has been a member of the European Court of Auditors since 2000. In the beginning, he was responsible for auditing the European Union’s banking activities and European agencies. In 2002, he was appointed Member of the Court in charge of the DAS, responsible for the auditing of the EU’s annual accounts and the Statement of Assurance. In 2008, he was elected President of the European Court of Auditors, and was re-elected in 2011 for a further three years. He obtained his extraordinary professional experience in the top financial positions previously filled by him. Additionally, as the President, he is responsible for supervising the performance of the institution’s work, for relations with the EU institutions and international auditing organisations, and for the organisation’s internal audit. As regards his ideas for the future, the candidate stated that he intends to steer the development of the strategy of the European Court of Auditors for the period after 2013. His goal is to enable the organisation to better take advantage of its new internal rules and to promote effective public accountability. His expertise and ideas make him suitable to fill the position and I therefore support his application.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. ?(SK) As Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament approves the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors and also instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States. Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira studied law and has a postgraduate degree in European studies. He held the post of lecturer at the Faculty of Law of Lisbon University, and later at the Higher Institute of the New Professions. He was elected President of the European Court of Auditors on 16 January 2008 for a term of three years. His mandate was renewed on 12 January 2011 for a second three-year term. As President, he is responsible for the supervision of the Court’s work, relations with the institutions of the European Union, relations with Supreme Audit Institutions and international auditing organisations, legal matters and internal auditing. Since 1 June 2010, following the reorganisation of the Court, he has been President of the Administrative Committee of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the nomination of Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira as a member of the Court of Auditors because none of the eight candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors on whom we voted were women.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira as a member of the European Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is a supervisory institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the appointment of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by criteria of capability and independence. Thus, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries were put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their curricula vitae, responded to a written questionnaire and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted in favour of the appointment of Vitor Caldeira.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the favourable opinion on the reappointment of Vitor Caldeira to the post of President of the Court of Auditors. All of the information presented, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, specifically, the guarantees of independence, were met, and so I welcome the reappointment of Mr Caldeira to the post of President of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Since Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, in light of a careful consideration of his dedicated work as a member of the Court, I would like to express my approval of the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors, since I think he is one of the people best qualified to take on this role.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors, which has been raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to an EU institution, as per Article 13(1) of the TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation, and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In this sense, the right time to monitor the aptitude of the members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Vitor Caldeira, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal for his appointment, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of European political work.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are to audit accounts and improve the financial management of the EU. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are presented in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States present a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Justice following consultation with Parliament. In view of this, I am very pleased to vote for the reappointment of Vitor Caldeira as President of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0415/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that Hans Gustaf Wessberg’s experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his professional experience enable him to perform the functions for which he has been appointed.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Council’s nomination of Hans Gustaf Wessberg as a member of the Court of Auditors. I believe that the curriculum vitae and summary of experience he has provided fulfil the conditions laid down in the Treaty on European Union for candidate members of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome Parliament’s favourable position on the appointment of Hans Gustaf Wessberg as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) I believe that the appointment of Hans Gustaf Wessberg, from Sweden, as a member of the Court of Auditors is a wise decision. The curriculum vitae that he has presented and his previous professional experience as a politician and manager, as well as the summary of his experience as a member of the Court of Auditors and his objectives for a future mandate, will certainly ensure that he carries out his duties in an exemplary manner. I wish to convey to him my warmest congratulations. I therefore voted for the report on his appointment.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) The candidate for the Court of Auditors has been a Member of the organisation since 2011, and has obtained sufficient experience over the course of his career, having filled the position of State Secretary in multiple ministries. During his work at the Court of Auditors, he was reporting Member for the chapter ‘External aid, Development and Enlargement’ of the Court’s Annual Report. Additionally, he is the member of the Court responsible for food security and external assistance to ‘fragile states’. In the course of his work, he intends to actively contribute to auditing tasks related to external assistance, which have also been among the priorities of the Committee on Budgetary Control as of late. His primary goal is to ensure that the Court’s next strategy places stronger emphasis on performance and the enhancement of the organisation’s efficiency, with accountability and transparency also being given priority. In his statement, he explained that conclusions and recommendations included in the Court’s reports should be far clearer and more pertinent. His goals, ideas and professional background are suitable for the European Parliament to grant its consent to the extension of his mandate at the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) As Hans Gustaf Wessberg fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament approves the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors and also instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information purposes, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States. Since his appointment as a member of the Court of Auditors on 10 June 2011, Hans Gustaf Wessberg has been working in Audit Chamber III, which is responsible for auditing External Actions. He also took on responsibility for the performance audit on the effectiveness of EU development aid for food security in sub-Saharan Africa. He also took up the task of carrying out a performance audit on the Commission’s management of external assistance to ‘fragile states’, where state structures lack the political capacity to provide the basic functions necessary for poverty reduction, development and safeguarding the security and human rights of populations.

 
  
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  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on the nomination of Hans Gustaf Wessberg as a member of the Court of Auditors because none of the eight candidates for membership of the Court of Auditors on whom we voted were women.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for the nomination of Hans Gustaf Wessberg as a member of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors is a supervisory institution that inspects the European Union’s income and outgoings in order to verify their legality, as well as verifying good financial management. It operates in complete independence. In this spirit, the appointment of the individuals of which it is composed must be governed by capability and independence criteria. Thus, on the Council’s initiative, several individuals from various EU countries were put forward for the Court of Auditors. They all submitted their curricula vitae, responded to a written questionnaire and had hearings before the Committee on Budgetary Control. The majority of them argued their cases well enough to justify their appointment to the Court of Auditors, where they will carry out their duties in a competent and independent manner. I therefore voted for the appointment of Hans Gustaf Wessberg.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the favourable opinion on the reappointment of Hans Gustaf Wessberg to the post of President of the Court of Auditors. All of the information presented, on which my decision was based, indicates that the criteria laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, specifically, the guarantees of independence, were met, and so I welcome the reappointment of Hans Gustaf Wessberg to the post of President of the Court of Auditors.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Since Hans Gustaf Wessberg fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, in light of a careful consideration of his dedicated work as a member of the Court, I would like to express my approval of the Council’s proposal to appoint him as a member of the Court of Auditors, since I think he is one of the people best qualified to take on this role.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Auditors, which has been raised by the Treaty on European Union (TEU) to an EU institution, as per Article 13(1) of the TEU, is to monitor the application of European public funds. As such, like similar institutions existing at national level, there is a need, on the one hand, to ensure a high level of technical preparation, and, on the other, to ensure the independence of the members of the institution, as per Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In this sense, the right time to monitor the aptitude of the members of the Court of Auditors to carry out their roles is at the time of their appointment. In the light of the evidence that has been gathered, Hans Gustaf Wessberg, nominated by the Council, fulfils all the necessary requirements to be appointed as a member. I therefore voted for the proposal for his appointment, as I am aware that the activity of this institution is central to ensuring the quality of European political work.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Section 7 of Chapter 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishes the Court of Auditors as one of the EU institutions. Created in 1975, its objectives are to audit accounts and improve the financial management of the EU. The Court of Auditors may carry out audits of any person or organisation responsible for managing EU funds, and their conclusions are presented in writing in the form of reports, which are sent to the Commission and the governments of the EU Member States. The Member States present a proposal to the Council, which approves the list of members of the Court of Auditors following consultation with Parliament. I am voting for the appointment of Hans Gustaf Wessberg as he fulfils all of the conditions set out in Article 286(1) of the TFEU.

 
  
  

Report: Inés Ayala Sender (A7-0417/2011), (A7-0416/2011), (A7-0422/2011), (A7-0418/2011), (A7-0419/2011), (A7-0420/2011), (A7-0423/2011), (A7-0415/2011)

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI), in writing. – Today, Parliament voted on candidates to the Court of Auditors (CoA). If this body is to be an independent scrutiniser, we should not be casting such votes. Independence from the political process is key.

However, the reality is very different. The EU budget has not been signed off by the CoA for 17 years, yet the institutions’ budgetary processes carry on as normal. What is the point of the CoA if they are ignored? This week, the CoA lambasted the fishing industry. The problem with these reports is that they apply to all 27 EU Member States. Therefore, those doing a good job get swamped by those not.

Where the Northern Ireland/UL fleet is concerned: Unlike the Republic of Ireland and other countries, it is more than 20 years since EU funds were used to finance new fishing vessels. In NI, the whitefish fleet, which comprised over 40 trawlers in 1999, is now numbered at four. At the end of the 1990s, the NI over 10m fleet was comprised of 240 vessels, today, 140 are in the same size category. Even the EC’s own figures confirm that the total fishing effort in the Irish Sea dropped by 50% between 2004 and 2009.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the reports on the nomination of seven new Members of the European Court of Auditors. Indeed, the term of office of the eight Belgian, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Finnish, Irish and Italian Members ends on 29 February 2012.

Although the Irish Member’s candidature has been called into question, the additional responses he has given Parliament show that his candidature meets the requirements of the Treaty with regard to auditing experience and moral conduct.

I voted in favour of postponing the vote on the nomination of the Spanish candidate, who was nominated by the government that recently lost the elections in Spain. It would be better if the new government could choose the candidate it wishes to see nominated as a Member of the European Court of Auditors.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Carmen Romero López (A7-0435/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report. The main change in comparison with Parliament’s position at first reading concerns the application of the instrument which enables a European protection and criminal conduct order to be issued. I must stress the benefits of this amendment, as it helps to strengthen the rights of victims in the EU, and will lead to the Council’s recognition of important protection measures in civil matters. This revision of the agreement at first reading is essential in order for us to improve the legal framework of the European Union, and it helps to strengthen European democracy.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the European Protection Order (EPO) which is a new legal instrument that will provide continuous protection of victims of violence when they move from one Member State to another. I support the position of the rapporteur that the new legal instrument will significantly help those who suffer from violence and wish to lead a normal life. The EPO was first conceived to be a tool to protect victims of gender violence, but it will also cover victims of any crime, such as victims of human trafficking, genital mutilation, organised crime and terrorism, as long as they have an identified perpetrator. An EPO may also be requested to safeguard relatives of a beneficiary of a protection order. An EPO would only apply to protection measures taken on criminal matters, but it will be complemented by separate legislation on the mutual recognition of protection afforded by civil law. I agree that this instrument has to be further developed but it is a very important first step to show that the EU stands strongly against gender violence or any other type of violence, and will continue to do so in the future.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE), in writing.(IT) The legislative vacuum in the EU on protecting victims of crime from further attacks once the victims have left their Member State of origin was a serious and unacceptable flaw in a united Europe. The European Union is not merely about the single market and economic interests; this report is one demonstration of that fact.

The solutions in the proposal will, at long last, allow victims of violence to benefit from a guaranteed level of protection that is the same as in the Member State that granted the measures. I completely agree with the report by Ms Barrio and Ms López and therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Zoltán Bagó (PPE), in writing. (HU) Hungary was one of the countries that initiated the creation of the European Protection Order. In agreement with the vast majority of my fellow Members, I already voted for the European Parliament’s legislative resolution on this subject on 14 December 2010. As a lawyer, I find it extremely important that we have adopted a directive that will specify measures allowing the executing state to continue the protection of a person against a criminal act by another person which may endanger his life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity. I agree with the amendment made by the Council since the first reading, which concerns the scope of application of the instrument and establishes a tighter link between the possibility to issue a European Protection Order and a criminal act. With my vote, I support the Council position on the European Protection Order adopted at first reading.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document. The draft directive on the European Protection Order is based on an initiative of 12 EU Member States. Once adopted, the directive will specify measures that allow the executing state to continue the protection of a person against a criminal act by another person which may endanger his life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity. The ultimate goal is to avoid new criminal acts and to reduce the consequences of previous criminal acts and enhance victims’ protection. This directive is focused on protection measures taken in criminal matters and, given the different legal traditions in the Member States in this field, this instrument will therefore have to be complemented in future by a similar mechanism for mutual recognition of protection measures taken in civil matters. The Council has also committed itself to ensuring that this instrument will complement the provisions of the directive on the European Protection Order and that the combined scope of application of the two instruments will enable cooperation among Member States, irrespective of the nature of their national systems, in order to provide the victims with as many protection measures as possible.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) All the Member States have measures in place to protect the victims of crimes. However, those measures cease to have effect when an individual crosses a country’s borders. Following the adoption of this report, for which I voted, the victim of a crime who benefits from a protection order in an EU Member State will continue to be protected should they decide to move to another EU Member State. The new European Protection Order will, for example, apply to victims of domestic violence, harassment, abduction, persecution or attempted murder. As well as protection for the victim, a European Protection Order can also be sought for the families of the victims, should they benefit from protection measures at national level.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because with it, we in the European Parliament have taken a major step towards the creation of a single system for the protection of the victims of crime throughout the European Union. The European Protection Order is a document obliging law enforcement authorities throughout the European Union Member States to cooperate in future in protecting victims or potential victims of crime. This means that once the law enforcement authorities have adopted the decision that victims or potential victims of crime need special protection to enable actual or impending danger to be averted in future, such a decision should apply throughout the European Union. Thus, for instance, once the law enforcement authorities in Lithuania have decided that there is a real threat to a person’s life, physical, psychological or sexual integrity, and have consequently afforded that person protection, their decision would also apply in another EU Member State. When a person is travelling or moving to another EU Member State due to a threat, the foreign law enforcement authorities should therefore take over the protection of that person in their own country.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this directive, as it represents a significant step towards the construction of a fair Europe. The adopted text allows the application of a European Protection Order, which extends to other EU Member States the protection given to a citizen of one Member State under national criminal law. The Member State of origin remains responsible for issuing the order and transmitting it to another Member State. This directive only applies to protection measures taken in criminal matters. However, in view of the differences between the legal systems in the different Member States, the country to which the citizen moves can apply another type of measure, whether criminal, administrative or civil, with the aim of promoting the same level of protection as that which they previously received. A European Protection Order may also be sought to safeguard the family of the subject of a European Protection Order.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Based on a joint initiative by 12 Member States, this European Protection Order is undoubtedly an important instrument for facilitating and strengthening the protection given to victims or potential victims of criminal acts in the EU. It is vital to ensure that in the European area of freedom, security and justice, where EU citizens have the right to move and live freely within the Member States, the exercising of this right does not eventually lead to a loss of security. The initiative focuses on crimes that may endanger the victim’s life, their physical, psychological or sexual wellbeing, or personal freedom, whereby the protection measures offered by a Member State should be maintained and continued in any other Member State to which the person moves. I am pleased that a political agreement has been reached and that this second reading can thus be concluded.

I also support the only amendment proposed, which seeks to clarify the scope of application, as it is necessary to take into account that this directive focuses on protection measures that have been adopted for criminal matters, and that there are different legal traditions in the Member States in this field, as well as to bear in mind the new context that has been created with the presentation of the legislative package on the rights of victims in the EU.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of adopting the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Protection Order. This directive will specify the measures which continue to afford a person protection against a criminal act or another person who may endanger their life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal freedom or sexual integrity. The ultimate goal is to avoid new criminal acts, mitigate the consequences of previous criminal acts and enhance victim protection.

 
  
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  Proinsias De Rossa (S&D), in writing. – I welcome the creation of a European Protection Order for the victims of domestic violence, harassment and stalking, etc. in the EU. This new EPO will ensure that criminal law barring and protection orders issued in participating Member States will be recognised and enforced in other participating Member States, upon application. I regret that Ireland has not opted-in to this legislation. I appreciate the legal difficulties at stake – barring orders are nearly always a matter of civil law in Ireland and this directive only covers criminal law orders – but I do hope that these can be overcome before the late 2013 deadline for transposition. I welcome the Irish Government’s announcement of its general intention to take part in the draft regulation on civil law European Protection Orders, as proposed by the Commission last May. Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime. Both of these measures will allow the victims and potential victims of violence to move more easily around the EU, whilst hampering the movement of their aggressors. The sooner these measures are in force in Ireland, the better.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this initiative for harmonising the protection of victims within the EU, as it will enable us to protect our fellow citizens and, in particular, women, from psychological or sexual threats made against them anywhere in Europe. Improving mobility for our citizens within the EU should also go hand in hand with harmonising the protection and rights of each individual.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) If there is one report I am particularly happy to see adopted in this plenary session, it is this one. From now on, victims of crime who are protected in one Member State of the Union will enjoy similar protection when they go to another European country, thanks to new rules on the European Protection Order.

Of course, protection measures for victims of reprehensible acts were already in place in the Member States but they did not apply when the victim went to another country. They will do from now on.

This protection will cover, for example, victims of sexual violence, harassment, kidnapping, stalking or attempted murder, as the directive will protect ‘against a criminal act by another person which may endanger his life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity’.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this recommendation as it argues that the victim of a crime who is benefiting from a protection order in an EU Member State should continue to be protected if they decide to move to another EU Member State. These rules, which have been adopted by Parliament, are very important, particularly in cases where protection is guaranteed for victims of domestic violence, harassment, abduction, persecution or attempted murder.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) As I stated in the vote on this proposal at first reading, legal protection for the victims of crime is fundamental to the construction of an area of liberty, security and justice. I am therefore voting for the agreement that is being voted on at present, which seeks to improve the existing legal framework in the following respects: (i) improving the arrangements for revoking a European Protection Order; (ii) continuity of legal protection; (iii) limiting the reasons for refusal to recognise, or rejection of, a European Protection Order; (iv) laying down deadlines for execution of an order; and (v) clarifying the position as regards victims moving from one Member State to another.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is a first step towards ensuring that the victim of a crime who benefits from a protection order in an EU Member State will continue to be protected should they decide to move to another EU Member State. This European Protection Order will include victims of domestic violence, harassment, abduction, persecution or attempted murder. Although most of the protection measures are intended for women who are victims of domestic violence, the new rules will apply to all victims, regardless of gender, taking into account the specificities of each type of crime concerned.

The directive will apply to measures aimed at protecting a victim or potential victim ‘against a criminal act by another person which may endanger his life, physical, or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity. The ultimate goal is to avoid new criminal acts and to reduce the consequences of previous criminal acts’. Although we believe all this to be fair and necessary, within the framework described, we would point out that as yet, it still lacks the necessary regulations to be put into practice.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) A first step has been taken towards ensuring that the victim of a crime who benefits from a protection order in an EU Member State will continue to be protected should they decide to move to another EU Member State. The new European Protection Order will, for example, apply to victims of domestic violence, harassment, abduction, persecution or attempted murder. This protection order aims to ensure that the protection offered to an individual in one Member State will be maintained and continued in any other Member State to which the person relocates or has been relocated. Although most of the protection measures are intended for women who are victims of domestic violence, the new rules will apply to all victims, regardless of gender, taking into account the specificities of each type of crime concerned.

The directive will apply to measures aimed at protecting a victim or potential victim ‘against a criminal act by another person which may endanger his life, physical, or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity. The ultimate goal is to avoid new criminal acts and to reduce the consequences of previous criminal acts’. However, this still lacks the necessary regulations to be put into practice.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Union has set itself the objective of maintaining and developing an area of ​​freedom, security and justice. In a common area of justice without internal borders, it is necessary to ensure that the protection provided to a person in one Member State is maintained and continued in any other Member State to which the person moves or has moved. I believe it is necessary to focus on the adoption of protective measures which aim at safeguarding a person against a criminal act by another person if this act could in any way endanger his life or his physical, psychological and sexual integrity (for example, by preventing any form of harassment), as well as his dignity or personal liberty (for example, by preventing abductions, stalking and other forms of indirect coercion). These measures could also strive to prevent new criminal acts or to reduce the consequences of previous criminal acts. These personal rights of the protected person correspond to fundamental values recognised and upheld in all Member States. I think that it is important to stress that this directive applies to protective measures which aim at protecting all victims, and not only the victims of gender-based violence, taking into account the specifics of each type of criminal offence.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I supported the adoption of this directive, as it will help to change the daily lives of many people – particularly women – and will protect them from their aggressors.

The European Protection Order is key to helping victims benefit from decisions taken by national authorities, which are valid in every EU country, including prohibiting the aggressor from coming within a certain distance of the victim if a court order exists to that effect, from making contact with the victim (by telephone, fax, letter, Internet, and so on), and from going to certain specific locations, such as the victim’s home or places he or she frequents.

Finally, I welcome the adoption of a provision allowing for the victim’s host Member State to impose penalties against the aggressor, criminal or otherwise, if he or she infringes this Order: this guarantee is essential in order to give peace of mind back to the victims of unacceptable violence.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the document because this directive will specify measures that allow the executing state to continue protecting a person against a criminal act by another person which may endanger his life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity. The most important goal is to avoid new criminal acts and to reduce the consequences of previous criminal acts and enhance victims’ protection. Our most important objective is to strengthen the rights of victims in the EU.

 
  
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  Timothy Kirkhope and Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – The ECR Group strongly defends the rights of victims who have been subject to physical violence and intimidation, and we recognise that vulnerable groups such as women, for example, if they have been subjected to a physically violent crime, need protecting at the highest possible level. We recognise that asking anyone who has been violently assaulted or violated to give evidence a second or third time can be a harrowing experience and to those ends we fully support the aims and objectives of the European Protection Order. So that EU citizens can move in freedom, safety and security throughout the European Union, this EU-wide protection order will guarantee that all victims or potential victims can move in safety.

This protection order will in no way seek to undermine Member States’ own criminal, legal or justice systems and it will only be applied once a court of law has found the perpetrator guilty. The perpetrator will have rights of redress. The ECR Group backs these proposals and, in doing so, hopes to help vulnerable victims and potential victims throughout the EU.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) When people move from one EU Member State to another, they should continue to be safe and to have protection. This directive is intended to improve the welfare of the victims or potential victims of crimes which could put their lives or their physical, psychological or sexual integrity at risk. This includes not only physical protection, but also respecting the dignity of the victim. For this reason, I have voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing.(FR) Today, I voted in favour of the report introducing the directive on a European Protection Order. This new instrument will enable persons protected by criminal law in one EU Member State to enjoy similar protection when they go to another Member State, should they request it.

This new instrument will do much to help victims of violence lead a normal life in another Member State of the European Union. Originally intended to protect victims of sexual violence across the European Union, this tool has seen its scope broadened to include the protection of victims of all forms of violence (harassment, kidnapping, stalking or attempted murder), with men and women alike benefiting from this new protection. This is another step towards the creation of a European justice area.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal which means that crime victims who are granted protection from their aggressors in one EU Member State will be able to get similar protection if they move to another. The European Protection Order aims to protect victims of, for instance, gender violence, harassment, abduction, stalking or attempted murder. Member States will have three years to transpose this directive into national law.

Measures to protect crime victims from aggressors already exist in all EU Member States but, at present, they cease to apply if the victim moves to another country. The European Protection Order (EPO) directive, already agreed with national governments, will enable anyone protected under criminal law in one EU state to apply for similar protection if they move to another.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour because, through the European Protection Order, we are setting about filling a significant legislative vacuum on the protection of victims who decide to move from their Member State of origin to another Member State. All Member States currently have legal mechanisms in place to protect people’s lives and their physical, psychological and sexual integrity, and to protect victims of various forms of abuse.

Moreover, I think that this important directive can look to achieve three goals within the wider context of the Stockholm programme: firstly, to prevent additional crimes being committed against the victim in the Member State where the victim intends to settle; secondly, to establish a level of protection in the destination Member State that is equal or better than in the Member State that granted such measures; and thirdly, to prevent the victim from suffering any form of discrimination that could further exacerbate their already vulnerable state.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am voting in favour of the European Protection Order. The rapporteurs have demonstrated promptly and thoroughly what changes need to be made to Parliament’s position at first reading. It was essential to take heed of the new context created after the presentation by the Commission on 18 May 2011 of a legislative package on strengthening the rights of victims in the EU and which contains a proposal for a regulation on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The adoption of the directive of Parliament and of the Council on the European Protection Order is an important step towards a freer, fairer and more secure Europe, as is stated in the principle of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. From now on, the victim of a crime who benefits from a protection order in an EU Member State will also continue to be protected should they decide to reside or stay in another EU Member State. When there is a risk that a crime will be committed against a person, putting their life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity in danger, the Member State must take protection measures, under criminal law, which guarantee the protection of that person in the country in question.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Alongside preventing crime, providing more protection for victims is one of the main aims of this draft directive. Since the first reading, the scope of the act has, in part, been redefined by creating a closer link between the possibility of issuing a European Protection Order and criminal conduct. The intention of this is to create a more precise connection between the act and the legal basis. The directive also includes a proposal for a regulation on the mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters. Although these changes may bring about an improvement in the situation, the entire legal system continues to focus heavily on criminals and their rights. Therefore, further measures are needed. I have taken this into consideration when voting.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Criminal law is fundamentally a matter of Member State competence. However, by implementing a single area of justice, it is unavoidable that we have to harmonise certain measures, particularly concerning the safeguarding of people’s rights. The European Protection Order will guarantee adequate protection for victims not just in the country where proceedings are taking place, but also in other EU Member States. I welcome the agreement between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the document and trust that it will be implemented as quickly as possible.

 
  
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  Mariya Nedelcheva (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the Council’s position on the European Protection Order. This project is ambitious. It is precisely because it is ambitious that it has taken so long to come to fruition. Today, we have reached a satisfactory compromise, which will finally enable us to ensure broad geographical protection for European citizens who are the victims of crime. The main disagreement relating to the legal basis has been resolved. Judgments relating to criminal matters will be the only ones covered by a European Protection Order. Parliament has agreed to devote another text to civil cases. However, Parliament will see to it that this text respects the spirit and the letter of what it demands. We will not allow the directive on the use of the European Protection Order in civil cases to be weaker than the one we have on the table today regarding criminal cases. Finally, there is one thing we can be pleased about: we have made sure that the word ‘dignity’ is included in the text. It is a difficult word to define, and I can understand certain people’s reluctance to include it in the text, but it is a necessary evil, for the hardest thing for victims of crime is regaining their stolen dignity.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. – Let me first point out the importance of this act: the mutual recognition of the legal orders issued by one Member State is another step towards the creation of a European rule of law area. We consider the creation of a European Protection Order procedure as a further instrument to fight effectively against criminal acts endangering human dignity. Promotion of the integrity of human beings is the cornerstone of the EU Fundamental Rights Charter and it is also a valuable way of offering effective protection against the types of criminal behaviour that are most difficult to detect, such as harassment and stalking, that nowadays represent an important share of the crimes affecting some specific sections of the population especially, namely, women and children. With this act, we are also ensuring for people the right to mobility without the fear of losing protection from perpetrators of such crimes. Let me also praise the Spanish and Polish Presidencies of the EU for having pushed for an effective agreement which sends a strong message to citizens that the right to freedom of movement and to protection is an overarching principle to be defended throughout the whole continent.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Victims of violence often move to a different area in order to distance themselves from the traumatic events that have taken place. Therefore, we cannot allow perpetrators of violence to exploit the differences in various legal systems in order to pursue their victims to another Member State and to continue to harass them there. Victim protection must be the central concern, regardless of whether we are talking about sexual assaults, stalking or child abuse. In addition, the different aspects of both criminal and civil law must be considered. However, legal harmonisation would contradict the principle of subsidiarity and, in view of the different legal traditions in this sensitive area, it is not acceptable. Instead, protective measures need to be adopted under each country’s national legislation, in order to provide victims with protection across national borders. Therefore, I have abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because, owing to the international nature of some cases, their scale or potential impact, Member States on their own are unable to adequately protect people who are in danger. However, in the single area of justice without internal borders, victims must be protected against new criminal acts, and the impact of previous criminal acts on victims must be reduced. Thus, in order to protect a victim’s life, physical and psychological integrity, dignity, personal freedom and other rights, legal rules must be established that would ensure that an EU Protection Order is issued and executed in all Member States. Above all, the level of protection afforded to a person in one Member State must be maintained and provided appropriately in another Member State to which that person moves. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to lay down stringent common measures applicable at EU level setting out the obligations and prohibitions as regards persons who are in danger.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I support this directive on the European Protection Order since I maintain a steadfast belief in our Union and hence, also in the real assistance that we must give to our citizens. The proposal demonstrates that cooperation is in place to avoid the recurrence of the unfortunate situations that have characterised the past and put in jeopardy the dignity, the psychological and physical health, the personal liberty and the sexual integrity of many citizens. It will be our goal to prevent these situations from happening.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a directive on the European Protection Order is based on an initiative by 12 Member States. This directive is aimed at setting out the measures that allow a Member State to continue to protect an individual against a crime being committed against them by another person which could endanger their life, their physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity. The ultimate goal is to avoid new criminal acts, to reduce the consequences of previous criminal acts and to enhance victims’ protection. The main change in comparison with Parliament’s position at first reading concerns the scope of application of the instrument, which has been partially redefined, by providing a closer link between the possibility of issuing a European Protection Order and criminal conduct. I voted in favour for these reasons.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Since this directive focuses on the protection measures in place for criminal matters and can therefore strengthen the rights of victims in the European Union, I am voting in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. (RO) The purpose of the European Protection Order is to protect victims of gender-based violence against harassment, kidnapping or attempted murder. Victims of criminal acts who enjoy protection in one Member States must enjoy the same protection from now on if they move to another Member State. Member States will have three years available to transpose this directive into national legislation. These rules must also cover all victims of offences and crime, not only victims of gender-based violence. Most protection measures are granted to women who become victims of gender-based violence. However, the European Protection Order can cover victims of either gender, as well as of other types of crime. At the same time, the European Protection Order can also be requested for the relatives of the beneficiary of this order.

These regulations which have been adopted will be applied to victims or potential victims in need of protection against a criminal act committed by another person, which could in any way endanger the victim’s life, physical, psychological or sexual integrity, as well as their freedom or dignity. Such acts could include harassment, kidnapping, stalking and ‘other forms of coercion’.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) For a long time, criminal proceedings, at least in countries that had an Inquisition, have focused on the relationship between the authorities and the criminal, with the prevailing view that the legal problem that is raised mainly – or solely – concerns the violation of assets that are vital to the community. In other words, this was seen as a matter of public law. Moreover, the reference to the application of the penalty as the counterfactual stabilisation of the expectations of the community in respect of the validity of the rule that has been violated is well known. However, despite being able to provide an array of criminal policy guidance, this approach neglects the role of the victim. Damage to public assets is often accompanied by crimes against personal goods and the violation of private interests. The legislative process aimed at adopting a European Protection Order for victims of crimes comes within this context and seeks to provide the systems of the different Member States with instruments that allow them to protect victims from having further crimes perpetrated against them, as well as meeting the public aims of prosecution. Having reviewed this approach, I voted for Parliament’s position, with the minor amendments that have been made.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Great strides have been made this afternoon towards the establishment of a true European justice area. The European Parliament has adopted a series of measures establishing greater European protection for victims of crime, who will be protected in the same way throughout the European Union. The main beneficiaries of these measures will be victims of gender-based violence, harassment, kidnapping, stalking or attempted murder. While victim protection measures are already in place in every EU country, they are insufficient since they do not cover victims who have moved elsewhere and are therefore often left defenceless. Consequently, this is a real development for victims and their families, whose dignity and integrity are protected within the European Union through judicial and police cooperation between Member States. This is not about wanting Europe to act as a shield; it is about creating a European protection area for particularly fragile and vulnerable people. In practice, this inevitably means simplifying access to justice for all and prioritising the defence of victims’ rights over that of their aggressors.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) I would like to congratulate Ms Jiménez-Becerril Barrio and Ms Romero López on their excellent work. According to the rules adopted today, protected crime victims who reside in one Member State can also benefit from the same protection in the other EU Member States.

The directive on the European Protection Order (EPO), which has already been agreed with national governments, will allow protected persons in one Member State to obtain the same protection if they move to another EU Member State. In short, we will be making it easier for victims to move around and hindering the movements of their attackers. Protection now has no limits: thousands of victims will now be free to live in peace.

I would note that the EPO for criminal proceedings will be supplemented with separate legislation on civil matters. In this vein, last May, the Commission proposed a regulation to be adopted by Parliament and the Council on the mutual recognition of the protection afforded by civil legislation. The combination of these two instruments ought to cover the widest possible range of victim protection measures issued in the different Member States.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing.(FR) I voted for the report on the European Protection Order, which will enable us to take a major step forward: that of establishing genuine cross-border protection for the victims of violence. The text will apply to victims who enjoy protection in a given Member State, in accordance with their national criminal law, because of a known act or behaviour which is likely to endanger their life or their physical, psychological or sexual integrity. In many cases, the victim’s Member State then forbids the aggressor from coming near the residence of the person covered by this protection measure or to places that person frequents, or forbids him or her from contacting or approaching the victim. From now on, these victims will be able to apply for a European Protection Order to extend this protection to other Member States they wish to travel to (or already live in). Thanks to Parliament’s action, this order may also be extended to the families of those being protected. Defending victims is very important to me, and I believe this text is a step forward, one which will soon be supplemented by our work on civil cases.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The draft directive on the European Protection Order is based on an initiative of twelve EU Member States. The Parliament received this initiative on 22 January 2010. Once adopted, the directive will specify measures that allow the executing state to continue the protection of a person against a criminal act by another person which may endanger his life, physical or psychological integrity, dignity, personal liberty or sexual integrity. The ultimate goal is to avoid new criminal acts and to reduce the consequences of previous criminal acts and enhance victims’ protection.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) Under the rules adopted today, protected crime victims who reside in one Member State can also benefit from the same special treatment in the other EU Member States. This decision is much more significant for European women, since the measures aim, above all, to protect the victims of crimes such as assault, harassment, rape, stalking and attempted murder.

The Member States will now have three years to transpose this directive into their national legal systems and finally give their citizens full and comprehensive protection.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR), in writing. – I voted with the ECR Group on the European Protection Order, endorsing a second reading of this order to adopt the Council’s position. The coming into force of an EU-wide protection order would serve to protect female victims of violent and physical crimes that are classed as criminal offences in the country concerned throughout Europe, even if they cross international borders. Increasingly, there are international marriages which sadly break up, resulting in spouses changing national residence and, consequently, injunctions against violent spouses lapsing. This small measure seeks to address this problem.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The victim of a crime who benefits from a protection order in an EU Member State will continue to be protected should they decide to move to another EU Member State, in line with the new rules adopted by Parliament. This protection will, for example, apply to victims of domestic violence, harassment, abduction, persecution or attempted murder. Protection measures exist in all EU Member States, but they cease to have effect when an individual crosses a country’s borders. This European Protection Order aims to ensure that the protection offered to an individual in one Member State will be maintained and continued in any other Member State to which the person relocates or has been relocated.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – This report lays out crucial safeguards for victims of crime wishing to live in another Member State. In the past, there has been no recognition of protection orders from one Member State by another, but the European Protection Order offers victims of crimes such as domestic violence, stalking and abduction equal protection in whichever country in the EU they reside. The EPO does this by enabling victims to move country whilst hampering the efforts of their aggressors to make advances towards their victims once they have moved. In an EU with the free movement of people at its heart, this is a crucial tool in combating both violent and psychological crimes by using the broadest possible range of protection measures issued by Member States.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which is intended to harmonise protection across the Member States for victims of various crimes: sexual violence, harassment, kidnapping, persecution or attempted murder. In theory, the aim is as much to prevent these crimes as to reduce their impact on victims. The aim is more specifically to protect individuals affected in terms of their physical and/or sexual integrity. Those individuals are mainly women. It is also to align the Member States’ legislation and legal systems. However, achieving these advances has not been without its difficulties. It took almost a year for the Council to take a position on the first draft voted through by the European Parliament. It is clearly much more difficult to harmonise criminal legislation in the interest of vulnerable people than to amend the Treaties in order to impose budgetary restraint. Understand that one if you can.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour because I think that the European Protection Order is an essential step along the way towards a European area of justice. Under the text adopted today, victims of crimes who have obtained legal protection from a Member State can request the same protection in another Member State as well.

These laws, which have already been approved by the national governments, are geared towards protecting victims of gender-based violence, harassment, kidnapping, stalking and attempted murder. Measures to protect crime victims already exist in all Member States, but they cease to be effective if the victim moves to another country. The European Protection Order will therefore allow anyone who is protected in one Member State to obtain protection in all Member States.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Véronique Mathieu (A7-0434/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that it is vital that this single procedure becomes a reality as soon as possible, as it strengthens the public’s right to participate in the European Common Market, as well as strengthening the principle of the freedom of movement of people within the EU area. In view of the increase in movement between Member States of people who work and live in a Member State that is not their country of origin, there is a growing need to cut the red tape surrounding processes, in order to allow for the unhindered freedom provided for in the EU Treaties, and enabling citizens to fully enjoy their rights more easily.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) This proposal forms part of the EU’s efforts to develop a comprehensive immigration policy. The Tampere European Council of 15 and 16 October 1999 stressed that the European Union should ensure uniform treatment of third-country nationals residing legally in the territory of the Member States and that they are granted rights and obligations comparable to those of citizens of the EU. Given the demographic challenges in the EU, legal migration and well-managed migration policies should assist Member States in meeting existing and future labour needs and contribute to economic development and the sustainable development of EU Member States. In order to achieve these objectives, this proposal aims to ensure equal rights for all third-country workers residing legally in a Member State, but who do not yet have the right to obtain long-term resident status, and to introduce a single application procedure when issuing a single permit for residence and work. A single permit will enable Member States to better manage and control the presence of third-country nationals in their territories for the purposes of work.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU must ensure the fair treatment of the nationals of third countries who legally reside in the territory of the Member States. Their policy on integration should be aimed at ensuring that citizens have rights and obligations that are comparable to those of the EU. With regard to legal migration, the EU should develop migration policies that fully respect the powers of the Member States, with the aim of helping them respond to the current and future needs of the labour force, and contributing to the sustainable development of all countries. It thus aims to introduce a procedure to give a single residence and work permit to legal immigrants, and to grant them a common set of rights throughout the EU. The aim of this is to simplify the procedures so that the national authorities can issue a single residence and work permit to legal migrants, as well as granting them a set of rights that are equivalent to those of the workers of the Member States in which they are living, for instance, in relation to working conditions, including pay and dismissal, freedom of association and affiliation with trade unions, recognition of qualifications, social security and access to public services. I voted for this report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The single permit was a commendable initiative at first. Today’s vote is a step forward, but the directive is still far from the idea we had of a framework directive. The single permit should, in fact, have been the framework directive for an immigration package, establishing the same conditions for all according to the principle of equal treatment, without excluding categories of workers. Yet the risk here is that we will have a fragmented labour market: equal treatment comes with many exceptions, and certain categories of workers are excluded from the scope. The outcome is therefore mixed, but the current negotiations on sector-based directives following on from the single permit are ongoing, and give us the opportunity to do better. We in the European Parliament are today advocating a progressive vision of the right to free movement and social rights for a particularly vulnerable category: that of seasonal workers. This immigration package will not represent progress unless it includes improved living and working conditions for third-country workers.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because a directive on a single residence and work permit is one of the first important steps forward in European Union migration policy. We have attempted to reach the best possible solution that would be acceptable for all third-country workers legally residing and working in European Union Member States and, consequently, there have been rather lengthy discussions and negotiations with the Council. Unfortunately, we have failed to find a solution in the European Parliament itself regarding the inclusion of individual categories of workers in the scope of this directive, i.e. the inclusion of seasonal workers, workers transferred within a company and asylum seekers. As a result, this directive will not be the framework directive that was supposed to facilitate administrative procedures and regulate the arrival of third-country workers and their employment in EU Member States. This directive therefore does not entirely strengthen the principle of legal equivalence for third-country workers. Although agreement could not be reached on all issues, provision was made in the final agreement on this directive for the portability of pensions and the right of third-country workers to vocational training.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) With the adoption of the single permit, we have just taken a further step towards the equal treatment of workers, but also towards the creation of a consistent immigration policy, by reducing the inequality of rights that exists between citizens of the Union and third-country nationals legally employed in a Member State. The Single Permit Directive therefore supplements other measures regarding legal immigration, such as the Blue Card, and should also facilitate immigration insofar as it responds to the needs of the European labour market. The ‘single permit’ will significantly reduce the amount of red tape, enabling workers to obtain a work and residence permit through a single application procedure. Holders of a single permit will be able to enjoy a set of basic rights comparable to those of EU workers, such as essential decent working conditions, recognition of qualifications, the right to become a member of a trade union, and the right to have access to pensions and social security. The aim is to establish equivalent minimum conditions throughout the Union and to recognise that third-country nationals contribute to the Union’s economy through their work and the taxes they pay.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) With this vote, I would like to express my appreciation for this report on the procedure for granting a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State. It also proposes a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Ms Mathieu, on her excellent work, which has at last allowed an agreement to be reached, at second reading, on this matter, which is of the utmost importance, as it represents a major step towards a European policy on economic migration, and is also the first report on legal migration to be adopted under the codecision procedure.

The adoption of this single application procedure leading to one combined title encompassing both residence and work permit should help to simplify and harmonise the existing rules in the Member States. It will help to improve the speed of applications, as the decision will be adopted within four months from the date on which the application was submitted, as well as improve their efficiency in comparison with current procedures. This will bring clear benefits for applicants who wish to immigrate to the Member States, but also for the employers themselves. This reflects the need to make the current policy on immigration more flexible, in order to contribute to the development and economic performance of the EU, while it also allows closer monitoring of the legality of the residence and employment of those migrants. It also guarantees rights and obligations, including access to education and training, social benefits and working conditions, which are similar to those of EU citizens.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I, too, have decided to lend my support to this report advocating a single application procedure for residence and work permits. I did so because I think it makes a useful contribution to the pursuit of a common immigration policy, which is expected to come in next year. There is no doubt that this will make it easier to roll out in legal immigration, but much effort is still required in order to achieve a sustainable and lasting level of growth, through simplified procedures, transparent rights for immigrants, fighting illegal immigration and guaranteeing bureaucratic procedures. I very much appreciated the point on access to education and training for the world of work. Following the agreements that have been reached, the new document now provides for workers from third countries to be registered in an appropriate way so that they can find their place in the workforce.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) In the coming years, Europe will increasingly need to receive new economic migrants, which will enable it to tackle the demographic changes. This makes it a beneficial proposal for the European Union to devise its immigration policy as an instrument for regulating the labour requirements of the EU market, with the focus on introducing active policies which will provide access to highly-qualified workers, on the one hand, and to the least qualified, on the other.

However, I do not think it is beneficial to the European Union to retain restrictions for those citizens outside the EU wishing to carry out independent economic activities or at micro-enterprise and small enterprise level, including professional border activities, given that they cover, in most cases, activities in the services sector.

Europe is considering a number of actions to enable it to exit the crisis. This is why I think that we must give a chance to citizens from third countries who will and can make their own contribution to implementing these objectives.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) The adoption of this report will enable third-country migrants working legally in the European Union to enjoy rights comparable to those of EU citizens, in terms of working conditions, social security and access to public services, under a new ‘single permit’ decided upon today. Furthermore, red tape will be reduced through a single application procedure for obtaining a work and residence permit. As well as simplifying procedures for work and residence permits, the single permit will therefore make it possible to grant third-country workers and workers from the Union a common set of rights. The equal treatment of workers is at the heart of this directive, and I am pleased that it has been adopted.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this recommendation as I believe that third-country workers legally residing in a Member State should enjoy the same rights as national workers in relation to working conditions, social security and access to public services. The new directive will simplify the processes so that the national authorities can grant a single residence and work permit to legal immigrants, and will also help to combat any attempt at social dumping in the labour markets of the different Member States.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) After many difficulties, today we approved the Council’s position in relation to the introduction of a one-stage procedure to grant both employment and residency authorisation and the definition of a common set of rights to all nationals of non-EU countries who legally reside and work in the EU. This presupposes the existence of rules common to all Member States, which aim to put an end to the current differences between the systems in the different Member States and make the process of giving legal status to workers quicker, more uniform and more transparent throughout the Union.

While the legal migration of labour and, above all, qualified labour, helps to combat clandestine working and can improve the competitiveness of the economy and help to overcome existing shortages, we cannot forget that, during a period of economic crisis and vulnerability in which unemployment is growing, labour migration policy must be flexible, but must also be sustainable and reasonable.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation for second reading, drafted by Ms Mathieu, is aimed at the adoption of the directive of Parliament and of the Council on a single application procedure for a residence and work permit, and on a common set of rights for third-country citizens who are legally resident in a Member State. The ageing of the European population, with the exception of Eastern Europe, has led to a shortage of skilled workers in some sectors, especially in the primary sector. This situation has been mitigated thanks to immigration from the east and from North Africa. In some Member States, their productivity accounts for 2% of GDP. It is therefore only fair to assist their lives through a single residence and work permit, as well as granting them rights that are equivalent to those of national workers in terms of working conditions, social security and access to public services. I welcome the adoption of this directive, for which I voted, as it means fairer treatment between workers in the EU, and thus recognises the contribution that they make to the economic growth of the Member State where they carry out their activity.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) I believe it is necessary to apply a uniform procedure when dealing with work permits and residence permits. We also need to try to create a single set of rights for third-country nationals legally residing and working in a Member State of the European Union. The demand for foreign labour is constantly changing, and legal immigration could play a positive role in economic development and competitiveness. If third-country nationals show an interest in working in a European Union Member State, a uniform procedure for the handling of applications for residence and access to the labour market would significantly simplify the often complex administrative steps relating to the admission of economic migrants. Member States will thus also, among other things, be allowed to respond more flexibly to the demand for labour and manpower and, at the same time, an opportunity will be provided to fight against exploitation and discrimination, which workers often face. A certain level of legal certainty and transparency is, however, undoubtedly necessary when adopting the decisions of the competent national authorities in matters regarding the handling of these applications, as they have a significant impact on the lives of the applicants. For this reason, it is important that they are considered as objectively as possible. Similarly, unemployed third-country nationals in Member States should be given access to vocational training and preparation for future jobs or careers.

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – I am in favour of this, because under the new law, third-country nationals will be able to obtain both residence and work permits in a Member State through a single permit application procedure. Single-permit holders will enjoy a common set of rights (similar to those of EU nationals). However, the new law does allow a degree of discretion to Member State – EU countries will be able to apply some specific restrictions to these rights and ultimately still retain the power to decide whether or not to admit non-EU workers. The directive aims to strike a balance between plugging the gaps of the EU labour market with the skills and knowledge of non-EU nationals while, at the same time, ensuring that Member States are not strained financially and that the public and social services capacity of any given Member State is not overstepped because of an influx of third-country nationals which the Member State in question is unable to shoulder.

Ultimately, the introduction of this law will at least partly ease long-term demographic pressures Europe currently faces due to migration. Actively facilitating migration where it meets the objectives of the EU labour market is a step in the right direction to achieving a coherent migration policy for Europe.

 
  
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  Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE), in writing. (FR) After many trialogues and a failed first reading, our Parliament has voted in favour of the draft directive on the creation of a single work and residence permit for third-country nationals. Last year, during the vote at first reading, I voted against this draft directive, as it allowed States to issue additional documents alongside the single permit, completely ruining the very notion of a single permit. The revised text removes this reference, and calls on Member States to draw up ‘correlation tables’ to enable the Commission to verify that the directive has been transposed. That is why I voted for this new text, which establishes a simpler, faster single application procedure for those wishing to come and work on the territory of a State, and guarantees a common set of rights for workers. Of course, this text is not perfect. I would have liked it to have been much more comprehensive and not to have excluded certain categories of workers such as posted or seasonal workers. I would have also liked it to have guaranteed more rights. However, I believe that many advances have been made during the negotiations, particularly in terms of working conditions, access to vocational training, pension rights, and so on.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) I abstained from the vote on this single permit, which has nothing single about it apart from its name. Indeed, because of opposition from the parliamentary right and the Council, it has not been possible to broaden the scope of the directive to cover all migrants. This therefore creates a ‘two-tier right’ depending on the workers’ country of origin.

However, even if the result is not what the socialists were hoping for, we can take several positive elements from it: firstly, workers from the third countries covered by this directive will, from now on, be able to have their pension rights transferred under the same conditions as nationals of the Member State in which they have worked, and secondly, the principle of equal treatment prevails for vocational training, access to advice from employment services, access to housing and the right of association and membership of a trade union.

With a right-leaning majority in the Council and the European Parliament, it seemed difficult to go any further, even if the overall result remains unsatisfactory.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because we should introduce a single application procedure for third-country nationals who wish to reside in a Member State for the purpose of work, along with a single (residence and work) permit in order to cut red tape and provide for a common set of rights for all third-country workers legally residing in a Member State. The common set of rights for third-country workers would be ensured by defining a list of areas in which these workers would receive the same treatment as nationals.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) I supported this new directive because I think that it is better for us to have legal migration. The new legislation will allow foreign workers to obtain work and residence permits in the EU, granting them similar rights to those enjoyed by EU nationals in respect of working conditions, social security and access to public services.

I am pleased that the European Parliament’s amendments have gone through, which means that non-EU citizens and those registered as unemployed will be eligible for vocational training and education.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I agree with the motion for a resolution and the position expressed by the Council at first reading is acceptable. I also agree with the rapporteur when she points out that one of the main challenges of our time lies in the scarcity of labour due to population decline. This directive is required in order to respond to precisely this need for immigrant workers, though obviously without undermining the cardinal rules on controlling legal immigration.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Council proposal that is intended for third-country nationals who wish to be admitted to the territory of a Member State in order to reside and work there, as well as those who are already resident there and who have obtained the right to work there, has been adopted, giving them a set of rights. In each Member State, an authority is made responsible for receiving applications and granting single permits, so contributing to the creation of minimum standards in the different Member States, simplifying procedures and making it easier to monitor the legality of their residence and employment.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) This report is yet another document which claims to simplify the administrative procedures for legal migrants who are resident in the EU. However, if you look closely at the text, you realise that in reality, it is all about the central authorities in Brussels increasing the rights of third-country nationals. These people are generally poorly educated and, according to the EU establishment, are now supposed to compensate for the shortage of skilled workers in the EU. That is simply ridiculous. The consequence of this policy is that it will become even more difficult for EU citizens who are less well qualified to find a job. Therefore, I have voted against this report in the interest of our citizens.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing.(IT) I decided to vote against this recommendation because the resolution that has been adopted does not seem to take account of a number of absolute necessities.

The single procedure, which implies a single residence and work permit for third-country nationals within the European Union, is at risk of failing to provide the right guarantees and protections for Member States. This would make it easier to elude entry controls and thus risks a massive and indiscriminate influx of people to Europe, without them all having – and, above all, retaining – a job and sufficient means of support.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) When letting third-country workers, particularly qualified specialists, into the European Union, we must enable them to obtain a permit and to find employment. Reduced red tape throughout the process and its simplification therefore represent a positive step. I am pleased that this has also been approved by the Council.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Unfortunately, the Commission believes that its plans will help to meet future labour requirements. In a generous move, single permits will be issued for residence and work. However, it would be better if residence were to be linked to specific job opportunities on the labour market. Wholesale migration is unlikely to provide the answer. In addition, a common set of rights is being introduced which will put migrants on an equal footing with nationals, in other words, by providing the same tax relief, trade union rights and social security benefits. The question also arises as to who should pay for all of this. The heavily indebted euro area countries will undoubtedly not be able to. Furthermore, migrants are much more likely to become unemployed and are less well qualified. Under this system, it is mainly migrants who would benefit from claiming social security, because they belong to a group with a particularly low employment rate and are more likely to suffer from poverty. As a result, migrants would be over-represented in the social security systems, which will certainly not help our labour markets. For this reason, I have voted against this report.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that it is the duty of every Member State to guarantee its citizens’ prosperity and stability. Every citizen must be provided with accessible and high-quality education, social and health services. Every citizen must feel a fully-fledged resident of the country. We must stop poverty and deprivation and reduce the scale of unemployment in EU Member States. Only by properly looking after their own citizens will all Member States also be able to ensure suitable conditions for third-country nationals to live and work in their territory.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am voting in favour of the adoption of this directive because I support the possibility for a European permit to be issued that would allow third-country nationals to reside and work in the Union. The compromise that the Presidency set out in order to overcome the impasse on the identity of the ‘recipients’, tabled in April 2009, did not go through because it did not receive unanimous backing. Hence, the text was re-examined and the changes made brought in improvements on the initial version. The codecision procedure saw some agreements being found on what were a series of knotty issues, especially for some delegations.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This process is based on a recommendation for second reading of the process relating to a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State, and a common set of rights for third-country workers who are legally resident in a Member State. In terms of the vote on report A7-0265/2010, on the same subject, I noted that one of the best ways of combating illegal immigration and clandestine working is to develop balanced channels for legal migration that meet the needs of our labour markets, along with the social requirements of successful integration into the host society. As I still hold this opinion, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) In order to gradually establish an area of freedom, security and justice, this directive provides for measures to be adopted in the fields of asylum, immigration and the protection of the rights of third-country nationals. The goal is to achieve harmonisation in national legislations on the entrance and residence conditions for third-country nationals. I am voting in favour, since I think it is necessary to guarantee equal treatment for third-country nationals residing legally within Member States, as well as a more effective integration policy designed to ensure that they have the same rights and obligations as EU citizens.

 
  
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  Rovana Plumb (S&D), in writing. (RO) The new legislation on the single work permit will allow foreign workers to obtain work and residence permits via a single procedure.

I voted in favour of migrants from non-EU countries working legally in the EU enjoying similar rights to those enjoyed by EU nationals in respect of working conditions, social security and access to public services.

Member States will have two years available to adapt their national legislation to the new regulations. Generally speaking, non-EU workers will enjoy the same access to social protection as EU citizens. However, Member States could apply restrictions to those with employment contracts lasting less than six months. Member States will also have the opportunity to restrict access to public services, such as public housing, for foreign workers who have jobs. EU countries could apply their own specific restrictions for these rights.

I voted for non-EU workers to receive their pensions in their countries of origin, under the same conditions and at the same rates as citizens of Member States. At the same time, non-EU citizens and those registered as unemployed must be eligible for vocational training and education.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The proposal for a directive on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State is part of the EU’s concern to ensure an area of free movement for people, namely, by consolidating a true single area. Given that this proposal is the result of the coming together of the positions of the different EU institutions, as per the recitals of the motion for a resolution by Parliament, I voted for the adoption of the Council position at first reading.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The European Parliament approved the Council position at first reading, having regard to the following: Council position at first reading; the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 9 July 2008; the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 18 June 2008; Parliament’s position at first reading on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council; Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; the common deliberation of the committee responsible, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, and the associated committee, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, on 5 December 2011; Rule 72 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure; and the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing.(IT) As a result of this vote, workers from third countries who work legally in the EU will have similar rights to those enjoyed by Europeans in terms of working conditions, pensions, social security and access to public services. Indeed, this directive will allow third-country workers to obtain their work and residence permits through a single procedure. Now that a new part of the path to legal immigration has been put in place, we need to move on towards regulating the flows of immigrants according to the needs of the European labour market.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) I have voted in favour of the proposal for a directive on the single application procedure for a single residence permit because I think it is essential to think of immigration as a resource that must be protected and regulated. I approve of this report and believe it can be a useful tool for avoiding and fighting the many risks connected to this issue. I was interested in the measures put forward on access to advisory services, which will be protected as a right held by third-country nationals in absolute equality with national residents. I also support the measures on access to education and training and the solutions that have been adopted on pensions. I think that adopting this proposal is an important step towards the development of a single European immigration policy, which our Europe needs so badly and which I hope will be achieved, as planned, in 2012.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Third-country nationals who want to come to Europe with the dream of a stable job capable of ensuring their own wellbeing and that of their family are a resource for the European Union. Indeed, anyone meeting these requirements and who is contractually employed has the right to a residence permit.

European citizens are, in fact, reluctant to take on some jobs that are deemed to be menial and badly paid. In view of this, the arrival of workers from third countries is an opportunity both for the new arrivals and for the social fabric of their host societies.

Today’s vote is the first step towards a single application procedure for a residence and work permit which will help harmonise national laws and regulations.

 
  
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  Csanád Szegedi (NI), in writing. (HU) I cannot give my vote to this report because adopting it would facilitate immigration from the Third World. The Jobbik Movement for a Better Hungary proposes that we do not seek to solve the demographic and employment problems of Europe by increasing immigration, but through a reform of the family support system and the appreciation of European employees. Immigration to the EU from the Third World should be halted at once and Europe should draw strength from national traditions.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The proposal for a directive on the single residence and work permit was launched by the Commission in 2007, and was presented to Parliament in March 2011, following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This proposal, which is at second reading, seeks to facilitate and simplify protection of the rights of immigrant workers. Third-country workers legally residing in a Member State should enjoy similar rights to those of national workers in relation to social security, access to public services, health care, education and the same working conditions. I am voting for this proposal, as third-country workers are making an equal contribution to the economy of the EU Member States. They should therefore have the same rights and guarantees as EU citizens. The EU should minimise discrimination against immigrants by adopting programmes and measures that drive the migration of third-country nationals to the EU area.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – The EU approach is generally unhelpful in these matters. A standardised, EU-wide application procedure for work and residence permits would make it more difficult for the British Government to control our borders and could lead to an increase in the number of illegal immigrants who enter the UK via our European neighbours. This report would also grant non-Europeans access to UK benefits, such as pensions, education and vocational training, and some of our social services.

It will also make it more complicated for non-Europeans to apply for a UK work permit, which will, in due course, make it more difficult for the UK to recruit the highly skilled, non-Europeans it may need in critical parts of the economy.

I have always said that immigration policy must remain a UK Government competency, and I strongly oppose any move towards a one-size-fits-all EU immigration policy. Our national security, prosperity and cohesion are my prime concerns. I voted against the report.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I am against this legislation, which combines work and residence permit applications by migrants in a single procedure: it drives a new wedge between equality among all employees and the rights of some workers. There will no longer be workers, but European and non-European employees, not to mention illegal immigrant workers. Even worse, this text establishes a link between residence permits and work permits and bases the first, above all, on the duration of the second. The European Union, which prides itself on defending human rights and social rights, has now decided to consider migrants as a mere labour force adjustment variable, meaning that they are not entitled to the same rights as other employees. What is presented as progress is, in reality, simply a bid to formalise the growing inequality between all those who live in the Union. Considering that the European Parliament rejected this text at first reading a year ago, it is hard to understand some MEPs’ change of heart, since the text submitted to us today is almost identical to the one presented at first reading.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Crescenzio Rivellini (A7-0392/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it mainly seeks to transpose several recommendations that have been adopted into a single legislative act. This is an important EU initiative aimed at simplification, which has contributed to more harmonised regulations for fisheries in the Mediterranean.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this directive, as I believe that, due to the Council’s position at first reading, a second reading is necessary for the report on certain provisions for fishing in the General Fisheries for the Mediterranean Agreement area and amending the regulation concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in the Mediterranean Sea.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing.(FR) The regulation put to the vote today, and which I endorsed, lays down the rules for the application by the European Union of the conservation, management, exploitation, monitoring, marketing and enforcement measures for fishery and aquaculture products as established by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). The regulation applies to all commercial fishing and aquaculture activities carried out by EU fishing vessels and Member State nationals in the zone covered by the GFCM Agreement.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Agreement (GFCM) area as it includes the necessary measures to enable the different recommendations that have been adopted by the GFCM, and which are already in force, to be transposed into a single legislative act.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The regulation proposed by the Commission implements the recommendations of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean in the areas of conservation, management, exploitation, monitoring, marketing and control measures for fisheries and aquaculture, and aims to cover all commercial fisheries and aquaculture activity, without applying to scientific research. Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, which is already in force, concerns measures for the sustainable exploitation of the fisheries resources of the Mediterranean Sea, and should be amended accordingly.

As stated by the Commission, the measures in question are already in force and are binding for the EU and its Member States. It is important that they are transposed because this makes them applicable to natural and legal persons, ensuring their legal certainty.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The potential of the Mare Nostrum, as the Mediterranean Sea was known in Roman times, is well known. It is a commercial and tourist route and a trove of fisheries resources that have fed the peoples of Europe, Africa and Asia. The recommendation under consideration looks to the adoption of the directive of Parliament and of the Council on certain provisions for fishing in the General Fisheries Commission Agreement Area, and also incorporating the amendment to Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 on the implementation of measures that enable the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in the Mediterranean Sea. In our capacity as colegislators, we have a major responsibility in this matter, as we are facing extremely fragile ecosystems; less than 5% of their original area remains intact, and they contain 32 animal species that are in danger of extinction. We cannot adopt measures that further exacerbate this situation. I welcome the adoption of this recommendation, which seeks to enhance fish species on the basis of scientific studies, so that we do not exacerbate the environmental situation of one of the most important marine areas in the world, and in order to safeguard fisheries resources for future generations.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The objectives of the common fisheries policy, notably to ensure that the exploitation of living aquatic resources is sustainable in economic, environmental and social terms while applying the precautionary principle and an ecosystem approach, also extend to waters beyond territorial and EU waters. The European Union, as well as Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Spain, are contracting parties to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) which may, on the basis of scientific advice, adopt recommendations and resolutions designed to promote the development, conservation, rational management and best utilisation of stocks of living aquatic resources in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea at levels that are considered sustainable. The recommendations adopted by the GFCM are binding on its contracting parties. The EU is a contracting party; the recommendations are binding on the EU and should therefore be transposed, where their content is not already covered by EU legislation, into EU law. The basis of the advice is the scientific use of relevant data on fleet capacity and activity, on the biological status of exploited resources, and on the social and economic situation of the fishing industry. These data need to be collected and submitted in time to allow the subsidiary bodies of the GFCM to prepare their advice and, in time, for this advice to be acted upon properly.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the aim of this proposal is to transpose into EU law recommendations adopted in the framework of the Agreement for the establishment of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and to amend Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006. These international conservation and management measures are already in force and binding on the EU and the Member States. Transposition is nevertheless necessary in order to make these international measures applicable to natural or legal persons at EU level and to ensure legal certainty to that effect.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I think it is quite right that Parliament adopt the Council’s position at first reading. In his report, Mr Rivellini rightly highlights the Mediterranean’s significance in the world, with its considerable fish stocks. I am sure that this regulation will be a very important way to protect biodiversity, given the enormous number of ships that sail the waters of the Mediterranean.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) This regulation contains the recommendations of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean in relation to the conservation, management, exploitation, monitoring, marketing and control measures for fisheries and aquaculture, and aims to cover all commercial fisheries and aquaculture activity. Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, which is already in force, concerns measures for the sustainable exploitation of the fisheries resources of the Mediterranean Sea and should be amended accordingly.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In theory, the objectives of the common fisheries policy, which involve guaranteeing that living aquatic resources are exploited under economically, environmentally and socially sustainable conditions, by applying the precautionary principle and by taking an ecosystem approach, also apply to the areas outside the territorial waters of the Member States and European Union waters. A closer inspection of the expensive fisheries agreement with Morocco, which is questionable both in terms of the environment and international law, shows that these objectives are not always being consistently implemented. It is definitely a good idea for small fishermen to band together in order to be able to stand up to the large fisheries corporations. However, fisheries organisations established by the EU have proved in the past to have a rapid tendency to focus heavily on the large companies. For this reason, I have voted against the report.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this resolution because it is necessary to implement measures to safeguard the long-term sustainable management, conservation and improvement of fishery resources throughout the world. It should be borne in mind that the EU is one of the key actors in this area and it therefore has a great responsibility to contribute more effectively to ensuring the conservation and sustainable management of fishery resources throughout the world. International measures for the conservation and management of fishery resources must therefore be applicable to both natural and legal persons at EU level in order to ensure legal certainty.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the new measures amending the regulation on fishing in the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Agreement area because they aim to ensure that the provisions of the GFCM are transposed into European law. The agreements between the components of the GFCM – 23 countries plus the EU – on the sustainable exploitation of fish, fishery resources and everything else related to fish, can be transposed directly by the Member States, who will then be able to come into line on a case-by-case basis with new recommendations. Even though we will need to keep an eye on the actions of the GFCM, I think this text is another step forward towards legislative simplification.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The aim of this proposal for a regulation is simply to transpose certain recommendations adopted by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) which are already in operation in its Member Countries. It has thus sought to create a single EU legislative act, to which future recommendations may be added through the introduction of new changes. This is an important step towards the simplification of procedures for the good management of the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and other areas of water in the region. It therefore merits my vote in favour.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) Let us first of all remember that the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is a regional fish management organisation, which was established in accordance with Article 14 of the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s constitution and sets out the procedures for applying measures on the conservation, management, enhancement and monitoring of fish and aquaculture. We should also consider that the content and the obligations set out in the recommendations adopted by the GFCM are often incompatible with EU legislation on the fish and aquaculture sector. I am voting in favour of the report in order to make the GFCM a more independent organisation with a degree of decision-making power.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The fishing sector is one of the areas in which regulation is most delicate. That is why there are problematic issues concerning both food and the environment in this same area and, ultimately, given the extreme mobility of fish stocks, abusive conduct by one party in a given area can harm the fish stocks of other Member States. This therefore justifies a comprehensive agreement on regulation, which has already been introduced, and, above all, giving the Commission the power to adopt delegated acts in order to introduce future amendments to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Agreement into European law, as well as adopting implementing acts in line with Regulation No 182/2011 of Parliament and of the Council. Technical rules on catching fish stocks are also being introduced. Following the vote in favour by the Committee on Fisheries, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) The proposal for a regulation adopted today, and on which I was the designated rapporteur, aims to transpose some of the recommendations adopted by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) into a single piece of EU legislation.

The implementation of these recommendations is essential in order to safeguard biodiversity in the Mediterranean and the sustainable management of fishery stocks, not to mention preventing the Mediterranean from being turned into a dead sea. Allow me to give a brief summary of the main recommendations that were adopted today: a number of restrictions are to be placed on fishing in the Gulf of Lions; new rules will be brought in on what fishing nets and equipment may be used; and there will be new rules on granting fishing permits, which will be practical and geared towards protecting natural habitats.

The Mediterranean is a very small part of our planet, representing roughly 1% of its seas, but it is extremely rich. Half of all European fishing ships operate in the Mediterranean, while 60% of all work and employment in the fishing sector is based there. Therefore, a healthy ecology in this important sea basin and the promotion of its sustainable development requires a range of measures on conserving and managing marine biological resources.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Having regard to the Council position at first reading (12607/2/2011 – C7-0370/2011); having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 17 March 2010; having regard to its position at first reading on the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2009) 0477); having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; having regard to Rule 72 of its Rules of Procedure; having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Fisheries (A7-0392/2011), the European Parliament approves the Council position at first reading.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Italy has always attached great significance to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), as shown by the fact that Italy provides its First Vice-Chair. Italy also recently filled the role of Chair of the Scientific Committee. The regulation addressed in the report aims to transpose the measures put forward by the GFCM into binding – though not self-executing – EU law.

The proposal is structured so as to transpose the recommendations in question through a single piece of legislation, to which future recommendations can be added by amendment. The content and the obligations set out in the recommendations adopted by the GFCM are often already addressed in EU legislation and hence, only the missing parts have to be transposed along with any applicable reporting requirements.

Since technical measures on fishing have a major influence on the economic and social reality of important (though localised) areas and on the incomes of thousands of families, I think it would be a good idea to ring-fence a parliamentary check on the activities of the GFCM, even merely after the fact and in extreme situations.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a recommendation seeks to transpose the decisions taken under the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Agreement into EU law, in order to modify Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006. The measures relating to conservation, management, exploitation, monitoring and marketing, as well as measures for implementation in the area of fisheries and aquaculture, are already in force and are binding for the EU and its Member States, but transposition is necessary in order to make them applicable to natural or legal persons. This proposal also establishes the adoption of delegated and implementing acts. The adoption of this regulation for the Mediterranean area is important as it ensures its legal certainty and applies to all fishing vessels and aquaculture activities.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Klaus-Heiner Lehne (A7-0393/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as I believe that it is essential to simplify corporate bureaucracy, particularly in small, medium and micro-sized enterprises. Through these requirements for the provision of financial information and the reduction of the administrative burden, we are objectively helping competitiveness and improving the organisation of businesses themselves. The internal market can only grow if there is a gradual simplification of procedures and by giving particular support to small and micro-sized enterprises, which employ the majority of people in many Member States. I would also point out that more straightforward accounts procedures will make an EU decision easier, should they require help in situations of financial difficulty.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this legislative resolution and welcomed the European Parliament’s position at second reading. Micro-entities are currently subject to the same rules as larger companies. It has been found that the extensive reporting rules applied to them are not in proportion to their specific accounting needs and create a cost burden which can hinder the appropriate use of capital for productive purposes. The objective of the Commission’s proposal for a directive is to simplify the business environment and particularly the financial reporting requirements for micro-entities in order to enhance their competitiveness and release their development potential. The amendments to the directive should reduce the administrative burden while safeguarding adequate protection and information for stakeholders and enable the alignment of micro-entities’ reporting requirements with the real needs of users and producers. I welcome Parliament’s position that the Commission should present a report on the situation of micro-entities no later than five years after the entry into force of the directive.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report as I think that the amount of red tape involved in administering businesses’ normal activities needs to be reduced. In this respect, I welcome the initiative to create the micro-entities subcategory with the aim of devising a legal framework suited to their needs. In many cases, they provide the conditions for economic growth at local level, especially through development clusters. Bringing together micro-entities with a similar scope of activity plays a key role in revitalising deprived areas.

I think that establishing a clear, simplified set of rules for producing annual accounts will be conducive to the development of this category of businesses. The definition provided for the exemption of the publication requirement is a necessary guideline for transposing the directive properly. I also welcome the relevant European system being adapted to the specific national and local economic circumstances.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report, by means of which the European Parliament approves the Council’s position on amendments to the Fourth Company Law Directive. The amended directive sets out provisions on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities. The European Commission submitted a proposal for amendments to this directive in 2009. The position adopted today by the European Parliament proposes making more explicit provision for Member States to be permitted to exempt micro-entities from a general publication requirement, provided that balance sheet information is duly filed, in accordance with national law, with at least one designated competent authority and that the information is transmitted to the business register. The European Parliament has also adopted the compromise agreement it reached with the Council, which establishes new, higher criteria thresholds according to which companies are categorised as small and medium-sized enterprises or micro-businesses. Under the directive, companies whose balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 350 000 a year and whose net turnover is EUR 700 000 a year can thus be subject to the exemption regarding the publication of balance sheet information provided for in it.

 
  
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  Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE), in writing. (RO) I think that this agreement at second reading between Parliament and the Council is balanced and marks progress in terms of simplifying the obligations imposed on micro-entities with regard to their annual accounts. Although extremely important, accounting requirements can sometimes give rise to needless complications for micro-entities which do not have a very high turnover. Consequently, some overly stringent requirements pose a disproportionate administrative burden in relation to their objective, proving to be counterproductive.

I am pleased that Parliament has successfully persuaded the Council of Ministers to raise the threshold for applying exemptions to EUR 700 000 instead of EUR 500 000 for net turnover, as previously desired, and from EUR 250 000 to EUR 350 000 for the balance sheet total.

Therefore, a larger number of micro-entities will be eligible for these exemptions which will ease their burden and allow them to focus on their core activities, giving positive impetus to their competitiveness.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the second reading of the report in question due to the Council’s position at first reading, aimed at adopting a directive of Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this report because I have agreed with its spirit from the very start. While, on the one hand, it is true that businesses – irrespective of their size – need to draw up accounts for tax and statistical purposes, to assess various aspects of their operations and to make it easier to deal with banks, it is also true that the complexity of some accounting rules is a cost, in terms of time and money, that has a greater effect on micro-entities than big businesses. I understand that some Member States wanted to change the thresholds for this exemption and I congratulate the rapporteur for having succeeded in mediating without losing sight of the initial goal: reducing bureaucratic burdens and leaving small and very small business owners free to do their work, to innovate, and get back to generating wealth and wellbeing.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I believe that it supports a more balanced review of Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies, in particular, as regards micro-entities. The aim is thus to avoid compliance with the directive becoming particularly burdensome for micro-entities, without harming compliance with Directive 83/349/EEC.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following several months of obstacles, today, at second reading, we voted on the proposal on the accounting obligations of micro-entities. I would stress what I said in the voting at first reading, in March 2010: ‘Enterprises that are completely different cannot be dealt with in the same way. Small and large enterprises cannot be dealt with in the same way’. This proposal aims to protect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), proposing simpler measures and fewer costs, which will naturally lead to the possibility of more jobs and growth. These are key measures for combating the crisis and supporting SMEs.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr Lehne, in particular, as shadow rapporteur of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, where I argued in favour of a reasonable approach to accounting measures for SMEs.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation for second reading, by Mr Lehne, is aimed at the adoption of the directive of Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities, that is, a subgroup of micro-enterprises, the majority of which operate their business at a local level. It concerns a definition that is not included in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, which defines micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, but which sets them out for accounting reasons. Like other companies, micro-entities are obliged to publish their accounts annually, which represents a significant burden in view of their turnover. However, Member States may exempt micro-entities from having to publish their accounts under certain conditions. The aim of this directive is therefore to facilitate business activity for micro-entities by reducing the administrative burden. Given the importance of these companies for the local economy and their contribution to national GDP, I welcome the proposals to amend the amounts up to which they can be granted exemption, namely, changing the balance sheet total from EUR 250 000 to EUR 350 000, and the net turnover from EUR 500 000 to EUR 700 000, and I am voting for this recommendation.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The preparation and publication of annual accounts can be a heavy burden for some micro-entities. This report recognises this fact, and therefore advocates that micro-entities be exempt from the general publication requirement. It is intended that the Member States should be authorised to exempt micro-entities from the general publication requirement, provided that balance sheet information is duly filed, in accordance with national law, with at least one designated competent authority, and that the information is transmitted to the business register.

As such, the Member States will be able to grant exemption from some of the obligations set out in the current directive to companies which, on their balance sheet dates, do not exceed the limits of two of the following three criteria: balance sheet total, EUR 350 000; net turnover, EUR 700 000; average number of employees during the financial year, 10.

While we recognise the importance of alleviating some of the constraints, which are manifold and ever greater, that are weighing on micro and small enterprises, particularly in this time of recession and severe crisis, this proposal departs from the Commission’s initial proposal in some respects, so we have some reservations.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The aim of this report on the annual accounts as regards micro-entities is to permit Member States to exempt micro-entities from the general publication requirement, provided that balance sheet information is duly filed, in accordance with national law, with at least one designated competent authority, and that the information is transmitted to the business register.

In accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3, the Member States may provide exemptions from certain obligations set out in the current directive to companies which, on their balance sheet dates, do not exceed the limits of two of the following three criteria for micro-entities, including a balance sheet total of EUR 350 000.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Council of 8-9 March 2007 stressed in its conclusions that reducing administrative burdens is important for boosting the European economy and that a strong joint effort to reduce administrative burdens within the EU is necessary. Accounting has been identified as one of the key areas for reducing administrative burdens for companies within the EU. The High-Level Group of Independent Stakeholders on Administrative Burdens, in its opinion of 10 July 2008, called for rapid enactment of an option for Member States to exempt micro-entities from the obligation to draw up annual accounts in accordance with Directive 78/660/EEC. Subsequently, in its resolution of 18 December 2008 on accounting requirements as regards small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly micro-entities, the European Parliament called on the Commission to present a legislative proposal that would allow Member States to exempt micro-entities from the scope of this directive. The objective of this directive, namely, to reduce administrative burdens on micro-entities, cannot be achieved to a sufficient degree by the Member States, and therefore, because of its effects, can be better achieved at EU level. For this reason, too, it would be appropriate to amend Directive 78/660/EEC accordingly.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing.(IT) I am voting in favour of the amendment of the directive under scrutiny since it aims to resolve one of the unfortunate problems that beset businesses, even in the EU: the administrative and bureaucratic costs that slow down and add pointless complications to doing business. I therefore welcome this proposal, which aims to reduce such burdens for business and to simplify the rules in question.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing. (PL) I am pleased to see that the report just presented introduces enhancements to European legislation, a process I have been personally involved in for many years. In 2007, the European Commission identified 42 regulations in 13 priority areas representing something between EUR 115 and EUR 130 billion in administrative costs. It was on this basis that the action plan to reduce the administrative burdens for European enterprises by 25% by 2012 was approved in March 2007.

Moreover, the European Economic Recovery Plan called on Member States and the EU to take immediate steps to reduce the administrative burdens for SMEs and micro-entities. On 29 February 2009, the European Commission prepared the proposed amendments to Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies. This was only the beginning of improvements.

Today, we need more solutions, and those proposed by the rapporteur, which introduce exemptions for micro-entities, in accordance with the principle of ‘Think Small First’, are very appropriate. The justification for them should be the fact that 93% of Europe’s micro-entities do not engage in cross-border activity, and thus there is no need for harmonisation of accounting at their level. The remaining 7% may draw up such reports if their partners so require.

I support the compromise amendment to Article 1 tabled by the rapporteur, which excludes micro-entities acquiring more than 10% of their overall profit from cross-border activities from the exemption. I agree with the changes proposed in the report. They are good news for approximately 5.2 million micro-enterprises across the EU, and a good step towards the creation of better and citizen-friendly EU law.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the publication of annual accounts can be burdensome for micro-entities. At the same time, Member States need to ensure compliance with the obligations laid down by this directive. Accordingly, Member States should be permitted to exempt micro-entities from a general publication requirement, provided that balance sheet information is duly filed, in accordance with national law, with at least one designated competent authority and that the information is transmitted to the business register, from which a copy of the document can be obtained on request. In this case, the obligation laid down in Article 47 of Directive 78/660/EEC to publish all accounting documents in accordance with Article 3(5) of Directive 2009/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on coordination of safeguards which, for the protection of the interests of members and third parties, are required by Member States of companies within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 48 of the Treaty, with a view to making such safeguards equivalent, would not apply. Member States may provide for exemptions from certain obligations under this directive in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3 in respect of companies which, on their balance sheet dates, do not exceed the limits of two of the three following criteria (micro-entities): balance sheet total: EUR 350 000; net turnover: EUR 700 000; annual number of employees during the financial year: 10. In my opinion, we need to ease the administrative burden faced by micro-entities in the area of accounting because in some EU Member States, these entities are overburdened.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE), in writing. (DE) I am very pleased that we have succeeded in reducing the burden of unnecessary red tape on our small and medium-sized companies. In future, small tradesmen and butchers, for example, will only have to submit an abbreviated balance sheet which no longer has to be published. This will save these companies not only valuable time, but also a lot of money, which can be reinvested in the business. Reducing bureaucracy must and will continue to be a central concern of the European Parliament. We should only be imposing regulations and controls where they are absolutely necessary. All other regulations that are unnecessary and superfluous should be removed. This is in the interests of our citizens, our economy and also of the authorities in the Member States.

 
  
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  Krišjānis Kariņš (PPE), in writing. (LV) I voted for the recommendation for second reading of the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities. These amendments provide for the exemption of certain entities from mandatory filing of annual accounts, if they meet certain criteria. I have always been in favour of reducing the administrative burden on enterprises. The amendments prepared to the directive (Council Directive 78/660/EEC) will repeal the mandatory requirement for companies to file annual accounts provided that their number of employees does not exceed 10, and that their turnover and balance-sheet total does not exceed a certain amount. Since, in Latvia, small businesses have the opportunity to opt to pay micro-enterprise tax, this additional exemption will only make the existing tax regime more favourable.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I agree with the text proposed by Mr Lehne. The amendment asking the Commission to put together a report on the situation of micro-entities is of the utmost importance. This exchange of information and monitoring will allow us to have a more complete overview of the number of businesses covered by the size criteria and on the problems that need to be solved in this regard.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The possibility for Member States to implement certain regimes for some micro-entities is an extremely important issue, which will simplify and improve the regulatory framework in force, in order to limit the obligations for micro-entities in the EU to provide information due to the accounting requirements. At this time of crisis, it is important to create more flexible mechanisms that can reduce administrative costs. In view of this, I am voting for this second reading.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) This proposal aims to simplify the business environment and reduce administrative work, in particular, with regard to the accounting regulations for micro-entities. The intention is to increase competitiveness and to make better use of the growth potential of these companies. In order to stimulate the economy in particular during a financial crisis, it is very important to adapt the accounting requirements for small companies to meet the real needs of the people who create and use the accounts. For this reason, I have voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that it is appropriate to give Member States the right to exempt micro-entities from a general publication requirement, provided that balance sheet information is duly filed in accordance with national law, and that these companies do not exceed the limits of certain criteria. The application of such an exemption will reduce the administrative burden on SMEs and will simplify the business environment. Furthermore, given the needs of SMEs, the relaxation of financial reporting requirements will enhance micro-entities’ competitiveness and enable them to realise their growth potential more effectively.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The report by Mr Lehne on the annual accounts of companies classified as micro-entities outlines the characteristics of these smaller, and hence more numerous, businesses in order to exempt them from annual accounting obligations. The exemption carries an enormous net saving and, above all, makes the burden of providing financial information proportional. Until now, all companies – big or small – were subject to the same accounting rules, which I do not think is right given all the waste and the effort that smaller-scale business owners have had to endure in proportional terms. My vote in favour is therefore a vote in favour of saving money and of fair and proportional treatment.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report on the directive of Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities is aimed at alleviating and, in some cases, exempting small enterprises from unnecessary tax and administrative obligations, which are often incomprehensible and harmful to the smooth functioning of these entities. For these reasons, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) It is obvious that reducing administrative burdens would stimulate the European economy and that is why we need a major common effort to reduce red tape in the European Union. One of the priority sectors in which to reduce administrative burdens on companies in the EU is micro-entities, which are often subject to the same reporting obligations as larger companies. Bearing in mind that these rules impose a burden on them that is disproportional to their size, it ought to be possible to exempt micro-entities from the obligation to produce annual accounts. I am therefore voting in favour.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) In addressing corporate law, EU legislature should assume that the world of commercial companies is utterly heterogeneous. If we look at the Portuguese situation, it is easy to see that in general, the accountability requirements are not the same for a limited liability company – GmbH in Germany, SARL in France – and a corporation. Indeed, each type of company aims to respond to different economic needs, so the type of corporate system is not identical. It is therefore worth welcoming the introduction of a special regime for the publication of annual accounts by micro-entities, for which legislation is currently being drafted. In view of this, I voted for the small amendments made by Parliament, at second reading, to the Council’s proposal.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) In today’s part-session, Mr Lehne’s report was put to the vote. Micro-entities are, even to this day, subject to the same rules that apply to larger companies. The complex rules on financial reporting to which they are subject are not proportional to their specific accounting needs and carry pointless financial burdens.

Therefore, in 2009, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to try and exempt this type of business from accounting obligations. According to the assessments made by the Commission, the potential savings brought by the proposal are an estimated EUR 6.3 billion. After difficult and lengthy negotiations in the Council, a compromise was reached which – though retaining some accounting obligations – allows businesses that meet the following criteria to be exempt from financial reporting obligations: a) balance-sheet total of no more than EUR 350 000; b) net turnover of no more than EUR 700 000; c) no more than 10 employees.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Having regard to the Council position at first reading (10765/1/2011 – C7-0323/2011); having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 15 July 2009; having regard to its position at first reading on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2009) 0083); having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; having regard to Rule 66 of its Rules of Procedure; having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0393/2011), the European Parliament adopts its position at second reading and instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) I supported Mr Lehne’s report on annual accounts for micro-entities since I have always believed that small and medium-sized enterprises are a fundamental sector within the European Union and contribute to economic growth each and every day. I am convinced that an integrated European-level approach is very much required on this issue and that it would also be good to combat excessive bureaucratic demands on small businesses. I voted in favour of this report because I think that micro-enterprises should not have the same financial reporting obligations as big companies, as their accounting costs would be senseless and out of proportion with the local characteristics of their business. After more than two years of negotiations, we have ended up with this proposal, which would allow each business to save an average of EUR 1 000 per year, amounting to EUR 6.3 billion in total.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In February 2009, the Commission presented a proposal for a directive of Parliament and of the Council on the annual accounts of certain types of companies, especially micro-entities. The objective of this directive is to ‘simplify the business environment and particularly the financial reporting requirements for micro-entities in order to enhance their competitiveness and release their growth potential’. I agree with this report as I believe that the directive helps to reduce the administrative burden, ensure a greater level of information for the companies concerned, and bring the requirements of micro-entities into line with the real needs of those who use and prepare the accounts. I would like to emphasise the initiative to prepare a report examining the situation of micro-entities, taking account of the number of companies covered under the size criteria. I also consider the new provisions for exemption from some of the obligations set out in the current directive to be positive, whereby micro-entities are not able to exceed the limits of two of the three listed criteria.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament legislative resolution on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 78/660/EEC on the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities because I consider it important to reduce micro-entities’ administrative burdens by simplifying the financial reporting rules that apply to them.

According to the Commission’s estimates, every business has to pay an average cost of EUR 1 558 to fulfil the current reporting obligations under the accounting directives. It is estimated that businesses would still pay roughly 25% of the relevant sum, even if there was no legal reporting obligation, to meet the needs of providing information to directors and third parties. This is why the Commission estimates that the remaining 75%, amounting to EUR 1 169, is roughly the sum of the accounting burden a business has. I advocate that it is important for Member States to be able to exempt from the obligations stipulated in the Annual Accounts Directive certain types of commercial companies which, on their balance sheet date, do not exceed two of the following three criteria: balance sheet total: EUR 500 000; net turnover: EUR 1 million; average number of employees during the financial year: 10.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) By amending Directive 78/660/EEC, the Member States will be able to introduce simpler general publication requirements for micro-entities. The new regulation only requires the balance sheet to be filed with at least one designated authority and to be sent to the register of companies. In addition, the statutory regulation ensures that sufficient accounting data is used. I have voted in favour.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the text presented by Mr Lehne, which aims to reduce the financial obligations on micro-entities. Indeed, micro-entities are subject to the same rules that apply to large companies, a fact that results in obvious and disproportionate financial burdens. After lengthy negotiations, a compromise has been reached which provides an exemption from accounting obligations for businesses with a balance-sheet total of less than EUR 350 000, a net turnover of less than EUR 700 000 and fewer than 10 employees.

 
  
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  Tadeusz Zwiefka (PPE), in writing. (PL) I would like to express my full support for the recommendation for second reading voted on today, concerning the annual accounts of certain types of companies as regards micro-entities. At the same time, I would like to thank the rapporteur and the Polish Presidency for their hard work and congratulate them on achieving a compromise, which is undeniably a step towards building a friendly legal environment for the activities of the smallest businesses in the EU’s internal market.

Thanks to raising the criteria of annual net turnover and balance sheet total, the number of companies that can benefit from exemption from certain duties relating to accounting records will increase significantly. This will lead directly to a reduction in administrative burdens on these entities, which, in turn, will certainly have an impact on increased employment opportunities and facilitate greater focus on investments and the development of the micro-enterprises. Such actions by the Parliament and the Council deserve full endorsement, especially in times of economic crisis.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0405/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as it is an opportune moment to seek to increase the maximum EU rate of cofinancing for programmes running in Member States, thus reducing the percentage of funding from national funds required for 2011 and 2012. I would point out the importance of this measure as, at a time when the majority of the Member States are undergoing financial turmoil and the banks are not capable of helping investors, the EU funds can be a lever for growth, allowing money to be injected into national economies, in order to carry out projects that offer added value and contribute to job creation and the recovery of national economies that are facing major difficulties.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on certain provisions relating to financial management for certain Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability. As a consequence of the financial and budgetary crisis, some Member States are facing budgetary constraints which might prevent them from fulfilling their commitments in cofinanced Community programmes (the structural and cohesion funds, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Fisheries Fund). These Member States run the risk of losing Community support provided through the EAFRD unless they provide proof that they allocate matching national funding. I therefore welcomed the Commission’s proposal to temporarily increase the Union’s maximum cofinancing rate for programmes running in Member States which receive support under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (currently Greece, Ireland and Portugal) and the balance of payments facility for non-euro area Member States (currently Latvia and Romania). This temporary increase in Community cofinancing, provided on the basis of an application submitted by the Member State concerned, would help to reduce the amount of matching national funding required in the 2011 and 2012 budget years. I am convinced that this funding model would help allocate available funds to the rural economy and would contribute to the general economic recovery of these Member States and throughout the EU itself.

 
  
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  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The regulation on the reduction of the national contribution to the EU budget for farmers advertised, like the regulation on the NSRF, by the EU, the PASOK government and now the black-front PASOK, New Democracy and LAOS government as a ‘national success’, and proof of the solidarity of the EU, is yet another attempt to dupe the people.

What the political representatives of capital are hiding is this: that the euro-unifying budget – in reality, the workers’ money – is not going to increase and will remain at the same level, meaning that there will be fewer investments in projects financed from the euro-unifying funds. The most important thing, however, is that, based on the eligibility criteria for projects financed by the EU, these projects will be projects that serve the needs of the monopoly groups and their competitiveness and profitability, not projects and infrastructures for the benefit of poor, medium-sized farms that will satisfy grassroots requirements. This proves, yet again, that not only is the EU not a ‘union of solidarity’; it is an imperialist union of the monopolies set up to serve their interests, an iron bar to be wielded against the people and the working/grassroots movement.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) During this period of economic and financial crisis, European solidarity is more relevant than ever. This European solidarity is at the heart of the Union’s rural development policy, which grants aid to regions experiencing slow economic growth through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). At the moment, certain Member States are no longer in a position to cofinance some development projects, due to a lack of funds. As I am in favour of a strong rural development policy, I voted in favour of a European Parliament resolution aimed at temporarily increasing the cofinancing rate for certain projects (which may be increased to 95% in some very specific cases). These projects are aimed at, and should play a part in, the economic recovery of Greece and Portugal in particular.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this legislative resolution and welcomed the European Parliament’s position at first reading. The Commission’s proposal for a regulation proposes temporarily increasing the Union’s maximum cofinancing rate (up to 95%) for programmes running in Member States which receive support under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (Greece, Ireland and Portugal) and the balance of payments facility for non-euro area Member States (Latvia, Hungary and Romania). Due to budgetary constraints, some Member States that receive assistance under aid programmes risk failing to fulfil their commitments and losing Community support (unless they provide proof that they are allocating matching national funding no later than two years after the year initially set for the payment). The instrument proposed by the Commission will enable these Member States to reduce their contribution when cofinancing projects with the European Union. Possibilities will thus arise to release funds already allocated from the EU Cohesion Fund and Rural Development or Fisheries Funds earlier and to begin implementing programmes postponed due to a lack of national funding.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) As a result of the current economic, financial and social crisis that is affecting Europe, some Member States are facing budgetary restraints, which may prevent them from fulfilling their commitments to cofinanced EU programmes. These Member States thus risk losing EU support from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. This report adopts the increased rates of cofinancing for EU rural development funds intended for Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Romania and Latvia, and the EU’s contribution can cover 95% of the total costs of projects in this area. These measures will remain in force until the end of 2013. The aim is therefore to help the economic recovery of these countries, allowing programmes to be launched that would not have been implemented until then due to a lack of national funding. I voted for this report for those reasons.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) With the adoption of Paolo De Castro’s report, the EU finally seems capable of proving that it is both useful and unified. In order to respond to the context of the crisis, Europe has decided to take transitional measures until the end of 2013. It will grant Member States in financial difficulty, such as Greece, Romania and Portugal, very favourable cofinancing rates of up to 95% so that they can finance rural development projects and hence encourage economic recovery. I supported the increase in EAFRD cofinancing rates in order to ensure that those EU countries with poor growth prospects and weakened public finances do not see the implementation of their projects stopped on the ground. However, this positive policy of supporting countries in financial difficulty with regard to rural development should be accompanied by a similar policy for their regional development projects. By creating synergy between the projects financed by the various European funds, we can make an effective and sustainable contribution to the economic development and growth of those States.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I abstained because this measure addresses a sensitive issue where the effects of our actions are not entirely clear, despite what the report says.

Increasing the percentage of cofinancing for projects in some countries is sure to result in a reduction in the overall number of projects that can be funded under the European Rural Development Fund. I abstained because we do not know what effects a measure like this will have on the management of the fund in the countries concerned and on the quality of the results that the projects will bring.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because with it, the European Parliament is approving the Commission’s proposal to temporarily increase the Union’s cofinancing rate when providing support from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development to Member States which are facing budgetary constraints as a consequence of the financial and budgetary crisis that might prevent them from fulfilling their commitments in cofinanced Community programmes. Without these temporary measures, Member States such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia and Romania and their economies would risk losing competitiveness in the long term. The European Parliament has therefore approved the Commission’s proposal to temporarily increase the Union’s cofinancing rate until 2013 to maintain the required level of investment in these countries and thus ensure their continued economic development. Such temporary measures will not have an impact on funds allocated to rural development as a whole.

 
  
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  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report. As a consequence of the financial and budgetary crisis, some Member States have to face budgetary constraints which might prevent them from fulfilling their commitments in cofinanced Community programmes (structural and cohesion funds, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Fisheries Fund).

With reference to the EAFRD in particular, many Member States could lose their support unless they provide proof of spending matching national funds. I agree with the Commission’s proposal to temporarily increase the Union’s maximum cofinancing rate for programmes running in Member States that are subject to support of the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM), such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal, and the balance of payments facility for non-euro area Member States, such as Latvia and Romania. This temporary increase in cofinancing, provided on application of the Member State concerned, would reduce the amount of matching national funds needed in 2011 and 2012 and would contribute to economic recovery in these Member States.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. (CS) As a consequence of the financial and budgetary crisis, some Member States are facing budgetary constraints which might prevent them from fulfilling their commitments in Community programmes that are cofinanced, especially from the Structural Funds. I understand, therefore, that the Commission, on the basis of these factors, is proposing temporarily to increase the maximum share of Union cofinancing for programmes under way in Member States that are drawing support from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (currently Greece, Ireland and Portugal) and from the balance of payments facility for non-euro area Member States (currently Latvia and Romania). This temporary increase in community cofinancing, provided on application of the Member State concerned, would reduce the amount of matching national funds needed in the budget years 2011 and 2012. It would thus contribute to an overall economic recovery in these Member States. I consider it important that the Commission proposal foresees no additional commitment appropriations. The additional payment appropriations needed to finance the increased EU support shall be transferred from the 2013 budget year to the 2011 and 2012 budget years. There will thus be no transfer of financial allocations between Member States, and I am therefore able to support this proposal.

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – I voted against this legislation as it simply throws more money at the EU’s failing economies. It is unacceptable that UK taxpayers’ money will be used to pay up to 95% of the costs of rural development projects in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia and Romania to help spur economic recovery when the UK deficit is only controllable due to the fact that we chose not to join the single currency. Our wisdom more than a decade ago to not join the euro must not be used against us now as the euro fails to fund the resultant problems occurring in single currency Member States and other nations in the EU. These higher cofinancing rates for states in financial difficulty would be applied on a temporary basis only, until the end of 2013, but what kind of guarantee would the UK have that this legislation would not be continued or that the recipient nations would spend the funding wisely? In most cases, such EU projects are cynically established to restore the image and perception of the European Union in countries that may either be disillusioned with membership or new to the Union.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Chountis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The economic crisis is getting worse in the Member States, such as Greece, that are applying unacceptable austerity programmes that have caused massive, adverse social and economic consequences on farmers in these countries, who already face huge financial problems. We urgently need full take-up of rural development programmes cofinanced by the EAFRD if we are to prevent the rural sector from collapsing in these countries. The increase in the rate of the EAFRD contribution applied to the rural development programmes in these Member States will release national funds for full take-up of rural development programmes which risk being lost. The amendments made by Paolo De Castro and incorporated into the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 will help at institutional level to safeguard more effective application of the measure to increase the rate of cofinancing of rural development programmes by the EAFRD. We urgently need to apply the regulation as soon as it has been published. It is for all these reasons that I voted in favour of the report by Paolo De Castro with these specific amendments.

 
  
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  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted for this report because I think it is essential to support the Commission’s proposal to increase the maximum rate of cofinancing at this time of serious crisis. Moreover, I admire my colleagues’ commitment to gaining wide consensus between Member States in order to act together to combat the financial and budgetary crisis which has afflicted our economy. A crisis of this kind might prevent certain countries from fulfilling their commitments in cofinanced Community programmes. The increase proposed by the Commission aims to support the rural economy and bring about overall economic recovery. I therefore hope that a joint effort is seen in all Member States to support this proposal in favour of an improvement in the global economic situation.

 
  
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  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) This is a technical document about the mechanisms and conditionality which are part of granting financial support to Member States experiencing difficulties, against the backdrop of the economic and sovereign debt crisis. It contains some of the first adjustments brought about by the implementation of the support measures for countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Romania. The most important provision, which is my justification for voting to adopt this document, relates to the possibility of facilitating the management of the funding granted by the EU. In order to support increasing the pace of investment in Member States as well as in the affected regions, and to enhance the impact of the funding on the economy, the rate of the EAFRD contribution must be permitted to be increased to 95% of eligible public expenditure in the areas eligible under the convergence objective, or to 85% of eligible public expenditure in other regions facing severe difficulties in terms of their financial stability.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) I think that, during this financial crisis, some Member States are faced with budgetary constraints which could prevent them from meeting the commitments they have assumed as part of the cofinanced EU programmes. In light of this, I believe that supporting the Commission’s proposal and speeding up the legislative procedure so that it can be implemented before the end of this year is in the interest of the rural economies of the Member States affected and in the broader economic interest of the European Union as a whole.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The economic and financial constraints that some EU Member States are facing raise various questions as to the commitments that they have made as part of the cofinancing of EU programmes under the structural and cohesion funds, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Fisheries Fund. In the specific case of the EAFRD, the risk of losing this EU support increases if the Member States do not provide clear proof of a real national contribution. In view of this, the Commission has proposed a temporary increase for 2011-2012 of this cofinancing for Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Latvia and Romania, currently, and it is supported by Parliament, whose rapporteur has only introduced six amendments, with a view to making the procedures quicker. For the reasons that I have stated, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which enables us to provide temporary support to those European States in the greatest difficulty by relieving them of part of the financing for national social policy and rural development. This is a good example of the best way of allocating European funds in order to respond to the needs of our regions, which are going through a difficult period, without increasing the contributions made by our States.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) The enormous budgetary consolidation efforts and constraints on liquidity which various EU Member States are undergoing jeopardise the execution of a significant body of state and EU investment, which is hugely important from an economic and social point of view. The difficulty of accessing EU funds due to lack of liquidity would make the economic recovery of these regions even more difficult. As such, I voted for the report, because I believe that in the current situation, strengthening EU cofinancing will facilitate the achievement of the public investment programmes that have been agreed upon.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) At a time when there is a need for positive signs from the European institutions as regards halting the financial crisis, it is important to adopt the draft amendment to Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2006, so as to provide additional resources for EU Member States facing serious financial difficulties. This amendment enables increased rates of cofinancing for EU funds intended for Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Romania and Latvia, and that contribution can cover 95% of the total costs of projects in the rural economy sector, which will prevent EU funds from being lost due to the country’s own lack of funds.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 as regards certain rules relating to financial management for certain Member States threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability, as is the case with Portugal, Greece and Ireland. The budgetary constraints that these countries are experiencing may prevent them from investing the amounts allocated to them under the cofinanced EU programmes, namely, the structural and cohesion funds, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Fisheries Fund, as they do not have the matching national funds. This situation would force the Member States concerned to return those amounts to the EU, thus exacerbating the weakness of their economies even more. This proposal is aimed at temporarily increasing the maximum EU cofinancing rate for programmes running in the Member States that are subject to support from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism. I welcome this proposal, for which I voted, and I am pleased with the adopted measures, as they discriminate in favour of the Member States that have been most affected by the economic and financial crisis and that are making great social sacrifices in order to ensure their economic recovery.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a regulation recognises the negative effects of the severe crisis affecting certain Member States, such as Portugal, by using funds from cofinanced Community programmes such as the structural and cohesion funds and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Prior to this, restrictions on public investment, imposed under the pretext of the irrational Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), had the same effect.

We have long advocated the increase in the Union’s cofinancing rate for these Member States, which have difficulty in using EU funds at a time when they are most needed, due to the amounts of cofinancing required. After a regrettable delay, an increase in the Community contribution has now been proposed. In particular, for regions eligible under the convergence objective and the outermost regions, Community cofinancing is increased to 95%, while for other regions it will be 85%, until the end of 2013.

However, this proposal by the Commission does not include – as it should – the budget at the disposal of each of the countries that are in difficulty, so the practical result, owing to the reduction in national contributions, will be a reduction in the overall sum intended for investing. There is therefore a need for the Commission to consider actually increasing the Union funding available to these countries, as well as abolishing the irrational criteria of the SGP, thus freeing up the necessary public investment.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) It is vital to finally adopt this proposal for a regulation, which recognises the negative effects of the severe crisis affecting certain Member States, such as Portugal, by using the funds from cofinanced Community programmes such as the structural and cohesion funds and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Prior to this, restrictions on public investment, imposed under the pretext of the irrational Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), had the same effect. We have long advocated the increase in the Union’s cofinancing rate for these Member States, which have difficulty using EU funds at a time when they are most needed, due to the amounts of cofinancing required. In other words, this represents an increase in the Community contribution to 95% of EU cofinancing, particularly for regions eligible under the convergence objective and the outermost regions, while for the other regions, there will be an increase to 85% until the end of 2013.

However, this proposal by the Commission does not include – as it should – the budget at the disposal of each of the countries that are in difficulty, so the practical result, owing to the reduction in national contributions, will be a reduction in the overall sum intended for investing. There is therefore a need for the Commission to consider actually increasing the Union funding available to these countries, as well as abolishing the irrational criteria of the SGP, thus freeing up the necessary public investment.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The ongoing global financial crisis and economic downturn have seriously damaged economic growth and financial stability and provoked a strong deterioration in the financial and economic conditions of the Member States. Several Member States are facing serious difficulties or are threatened with such difficulties, notably, problems in their economic growth and financial stability and with a deterioration in their deficit and debt position, as a result, among other things, of the international economic and financial situation. Despite the fact that important actions to counterbalance the negative effects of the crisis have already been taken, including amendments to the legislative framework, the impact of the financial crisis on the real economy, the labour market and the citizens is widely felt and visible. The pressure on national financial resources is increasing and further steps should be taken to alleviate that pressure through the maximum and optimal use of the funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). In order to facilitate the management of Union funding, to help accelerate the investments in Member States and regions concerned, and to increase the impact of the funding on the economy, I believe it is necessary to allow an increase in the EAFRD contribution rate up to a maximum of 95% of eligible public expenditure in the regions eligible under the convergence objective and 85% of eligible public expenditure in other regions which are facing serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability.

 
  
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  Estelle Grelier (S&D), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report because the European Union must increase aid for its regions, particularly rural ones, in order to encourage economic recovery. We must therefore support the Commission’s proposal to temporarily increase the Union’s maximum cofinancing rate for EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) programmes in struggling States that receive support from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (euro area) or the balance of payments facility for non-euro area Member States. The Commission’s proposal is nonetheless paradoxical since, at the same time, it claims to be in favour of the Franco-German proposal to suspend the payment of regional funds to struggling States in order to force them to put their public accounts in order. Penalising those States by suspending cohesion policy funds, while offering increased support for EAFRD programmes, amounts to arbitrary discrimination against non-agricultural areas. If it is to recover from the economic crisis, the European Union must lend its support to all of those regions that are struggling.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. (SV) Extreme austerity measures are a reality in several Member States. This proposal reduces the strength of some of these austerity measures, which is a good thing. However, the extreme budgetary constraints have been ordered by the European Commission and International Monetary Fund (IMF). This policy is causing deep and long-lasting damage to the economies of several Member States. Since I am opposed to this policy, I am choosing to abstain in this vote.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The euro area and Europe as a whole have been plunged into the worst crisis since 1945, amid unprecedented financial turmoil. This crisis has hit a number of States particularly hard and is threatening the stability of Europe as a whole. That is why the agreement reached by the Heads of State or Government on Friday 9 December must be accompanied by concrete measures to enable those States worst hit by the crisis to pursue their projects and investment programmes for the future. For Europe is also about solidarity. When funds exist, and programmes and projects have got under way but cannot be completed due to a shortage of funds in States in the grip of financial difficulties, it is up to the EU to act quickly by putting in place appropriate financial assistance on an exceptional basis and with the guarantee that there will be no long-term budgetary effects. The decision to support six States by temporarily raising EAFRD contribution rates and consequently lowering national contributions is a logical solution and is consistent with the decision taken at the end of November to raise the cofinancing rate for the Structural Funds.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) As a consequence of the financial and budgetary crisis, some Member States are facing budgetary constraints which might prevent them from fulfilling their commitments in cofinanced Community programmes (the structural and cohesion funds, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Fisheries Fund). These Member States run the risk of losing Community support provided through the EAFRD unless they provide proof that they allocate matching national funding, as defined in Article 70 of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, no later than two years after the year initially set for the payment (n+2 rule). Against this backdrop, the Commission proposes temporarily increasing the Union’s maximum cofinancing rate for programmes running in Member States which receive support under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (currently Greece, Ireland and Portugal) and the balance of payments facility for non-euro area Member States (currently Latvia and Romania). This temporary increase in Community cofinancing, provided on the basis of an application submitted by the Member State concerned, would help to reduce the amount of matching national funding required in the 2011 and 2011 budget years. I welcomed this document because it would help allocate available funds to the rural economy and would contribute to general economic recovery in these Member States.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. – The risk of losing European payments in the budget years 2011 and 2012 due to missing national funds is serious, and should be taken into consideration. The EU Commission proposed to top up the cofinancing of rural development projects in countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia and Romania. This will help to accelerate investments and consequently boost their economies. These cofinancing rates will not increase the total amount, but will be applied only until the end of 2013. The year 2012 is very important from this point of view. We should see immediate results. I endorse the present report because it points out one of the problems that structural funds have and I believe it is of major importance. There is, of course, a risk of an overall reduction in the total amount that was programmed.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE), in writing. (DE) As a result of the difficult budgetary situation in some European countries, they are no longer able to pay their national share to the EU funds for the development of rural areas. In order to ensure that these countries do not lose out altogether on European support for rural areas, the cofinancing rates of the European Union are to be increased. I very much welcome this move, because it will make additional funding available for rural areas and will give them a new impetus. In addition, for me, this is an expression of European solidarity, as we are helping the countries to release the funding which is available to them.

 
  
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  Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing. (LV) I voted for this ordinary legislative procedure because I believe that balanced regional development is a core value of the European Union, which, in the long term, will contribute to overall economic growth. Due to the economic crisis and poor governance, several of the Member States have, in the last three years, been obliged to request financial assistance in order to cover budgetary expenditure and stabilise the financial situation. Under these circumstances in particular, people in the countryside, whose economic situation depends on regional spending on EU-funded projects, risk unemployment and poverty. During the economic downturn, it is much more difficult for businesses to provide the 25% cofinancing for project implementation, but this makes the overall situation of the regions worse. That is exactly why today, we have adopted a decision that the European Union will have to finance up to 95% of the cost of rural development projects. This is a temporary support to the Member States which will be in force for two years and will facilitate project implementation. Finally, I should like to thank the Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the rapporteur of the ordinary legislative procedure, Mr De Castro, for his work, so that we could accept these amendments.

 
  
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  Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D), in writing. (PL) I voted for this report because I believe that financial aid for Member States where the take-up of EU funds is threatened because of a lack of national resources caused by the financial crisis in Europe calls for intervention and assistance by the Community. The use of European funds is an important task for the countries of the Union. However, the lack of internal resources in Member States may endanger the implementation of programmes related to the structural and cohesion funds, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Fisheries Fund. The actions envisaged will help states with financial problems in the implementation of these programmes.

I believe that in this situation, increasing the cofinancing rate by the European Union will impact positively on the implementation of projects and will consequently help promote economic recovery in these countries.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I support this proposal. As a consequence of the financial and budgetary crisis, some Member States are facing budgetary constraints which might prevent them from fulfilling their commitments in cofinanced Community programmes (structural and cohesion funds, EAFRD and European Fisheries Fund). These Member States are at the risk of losing the Community support through EAFRD unless they provide proof of spending matching national funds, as defined in Article 70 of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, at the latest 2 years after the year initially foreseen for the payment (n+2 rule). Against this background, the Commission proposes to temporarily increase the maximum Union cofinancing rate for programmes running in Member States that are subject to support of the EFSM (Council Regulation (EU) No 407/2010) – currently Greece, Ireland and Portugal – and the balance of payments facility for non-eurozone Member States (Council Regulation (EC) No 332/2002), currently Latvia and Romania. This temporary increase in community cofinancing, provided on application by the Member State concerned, would reduce the amount of matching national funds needed in budget years 2011 and 2012. It would thus help to make programmed funds available for the rural economy and contribute to an overall economic recovery in these Member States.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Mr De Castro’s report. In order to handle the current economic crisis, we need to act with a good deal of realism, as well as severity. Certain countries are experiencing this current phase of recession particularly intensely. The measures in this document are currently vital, particularly for these countries. I refer especially to the increase in the maximum rate of cofinancing for programmes which are running.

 
  
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  Kyriakos Mavronikolas (S&D), in writing. (EL) The EU will finance up to 95% of the cost of projects that contribute towards rural development in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia and Romania, in order to support their economic recovery, by speeding up investments and improving competitiveness. This increase in cofinancing rates via the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is needed in order to ensure that countries facing liquidity problems due to the present, unprecedented, fiscal crisis, which is undermining their prospects for growth and limiting public financing, can continue to implement their projects in practice.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – In the context of the current economic crisis, some Member States are facing budgetary constraints which might prevent them from fulfilling their commitments in cofinanced Community programmes such as EAFRD. I welcome this proposal by the Commission to temporarily increase the maximum European Union cofinancing rate for such programmes running in Member States that are subject to support of the EFSM (currently Greece, Ireland and Portugal) and the balance of payments facility for non-eurozone Member States (Latvia and Romania). This temporary increase would reduce the amount of matching national funds needed in budget years 2011 and 2012 and would thus help to make programmed funds available for the rural economy and contribute to an overall economic recovery in these Member States.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. (PT) The adoption of this report will result in a temporary increase in the maximum EU cofinancing rate for programmes running in Member States that are subject to support from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism and the balance of payments facility for non-euro area Member States. Given that some Member States are facing budgetary constraints as a result of the financial and budgetary crisis that may prevent them from fulfilling their commitments to cofinanced Community programmes, and that they thus risk losing Community support through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, this proposal will allow the Member States that request such an increase to reduce the amount of the respective national funds necessary for the budget years 2011 and 2012. This will therefore enable programmed funds to be made available for the rural economy and contribute to an overall economic recovery in these Member States.