Index 
Debates
PDF 3798k
Thursday, 19 January 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition
1. Opening of the sitting
 2. Documents received: see Minutes
 3. Farm input supply chain - Imbalances in the food supply chain (debate)
 4. Space strategy for the European Union (short presentation)
 5. Avoiding food wastage (short presentation)
 6. Other business
 7. Approval of the minutes of the previous sitting: see Minutes
 8. Combating algal blooms (written declaration)
 9. Establishment of the Pact of Islands as an official European initiative (written declaration)
 10. Voting time
  10.1. Community Code on Visas (A7-0441/2011 - Louis Michel) (vote)
  10.2. EU-Georgia agreement on protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs (A7-0450/2011 - Vital Moreira) (vote)
  10.3. EU accession to Regulation No 29 of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (A7-0005/2012 - Vital Moreira) (vote)
  10.4. Pedestrian safety and light emitting diodes (A7-0004/2012 - Vital Moreira) (vote)
  10.5. EU-Indonesia agreement on certain aspects of air services (A7-0448/2011 - Brian Simpson) (vote)
  10.6. Memorandum of Cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (A7-0391/2011 - Brian Simpson) (vote)
  10.7. Appointments to committees (vote)
  10.8. Waste electrical and electronic equipment (A7-0334/2011 - Karl-Heinz Florenz) (vote)
  10.9. Placing on the market and use of biocidal products (A7-0336/2011 - Christa Klass) (vote)
  10.10. Farm input supply chain (A7-0421/2011 - José Bové) (vote)
  10.11. Imbalances in the food supply chain (B7-0006/2012) (vote)
  10.12. Space strategy for the European Union (A7-0431/2011 - Aldo Patriciello) (vote)
  10.13. Avoiding food wastage (A7-0430/2011 - Salvatore Caronna) (vote)
 11. Explanations of vote
 12. Corrections to votes and voting intentions: see Minutes
 13. Council positions at first reading: see Minutes
 14. Composition of committees and delegations: see Minutes
 15. Decisions concerning certain documents: see Minutes
 16. Written declarations included in the register (Rule 123): see Minutes
 17. Forwarding of texts adopted during the sitting: see Minutes
 18. Dates of forthcoming sittings: see Minutes
 19. Adjournment of the session


  

IN THE CHAIR: ISABELLE DURANT
Vice-President

 
1. Opening of the sitting
 

(The sitting opened at 09.00)

 

2. Documents received: see Minutes

3. Farm input supply chain - Imbalances in the food supply chain (debate)
Video of the speeches
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  President. – The next item is the joint debate on:

- the report by José Bové, on behalf of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, on the farm input supply chain: structure and implications (A7-0421/2011),

- the oral question to the Commission on imbalances in the food chain, by Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos and James Nicholson, on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (O-000239/2011 - B7-0675/2011), and

- the oral question to the Commission on transparency and fairness in the food supply chain, by Bairbre de Brún, on behalf of the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (O-000302/2011 - B7-0676/2011).

 
  
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  José Bové, rapporteur. (FR) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, in September 2010, Parliament adopted the report by the Committee on Agriculture aimed at ensuring fair revenues for farmers. In doing so, it sent a clear message to the European Commission that it should restore the balance of power between farmers, on the one hand, and the processing and distribution industries, on the other.

The report that I am presenting to you today finalises the work that we have done by analysing the upstream farming sector. Farmers sell their products but they also buy or use numerous inputs, notably fertiliser, seeds and fuel. These inputs are generally sold to them by large multinationals that operate in an extremely concentrated environment that is lacking both transparency and competition. Farmers also need land and water to work.

On the one hand, the bills that farmers have to pay are rocketing while, at the same time, the prices at which they are selling their products are stagnating or even falling in certain cases. They are caught between a rock and a hard place.

The report that I am presenting to you today proposes concrete solutions to improve the economic situation of agricultural holdings and farmers’ incomes. Farmers must be supported through new agricultural development structures that will enable them to cope with future challenges, be they environmental, such as global warming, or economic, such as market booms, caused largely by speculation.

The measures envisaged by the CAP reform, proposed by the Commission and currently under discussion in Parliament, may, if applied effectively by the Member States, improve soil conservation, maintain agricultural biodiversity, and reduce soil and groundwater pollution. This agronomic development will reduce the quantities of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides used. At the same time, farmers will be able to retain a greater share of the added value generated by their work. This will have several consequences. It will help to consolidate farmers’ revenues, contribute to Europe’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the pollution of our water resources.

European agriculture uses more energy than it produces. Without oil, we would be unable to feed ourselves. What a paradox! Between 2000 and 2010, the price of fossil fuels rose by more than 60%, yet farmers are unable to reflect that increase in the prices of their products.

We would like to see considerable investment by the European Union in energy-saving projects. They should be based on several proposals: improving farming practices, by making them more autonomous, reducing transport between producers and consumers, by promoting the establishment of short marketing channels and the consumption of seasonal, local produce, strengthening autonomous energy production on farms, and restoring the balance between animal and plant production for coherent production areas, by encouraging agronomic practices such as crop rotation and grass-fed production.

In addition, the cost of fertiliser doubled in the same 10-year period, while the prices paid to farmers only rose by 25%. There are some efficient agronomic practices, however, notably crop rotation, which significantly reduce usage of these products and, in turn, result in a considerable reduction in both leaching, which pollutes groundwater, and nitrous oxide emissions.

Better crop techniques also lead to a decrease in the use of pesticides and herbicides by reducing the pressure from parasites and weeds. Wastewater and collected water are also a potential source of fertiliser, as long as adequate measures are taken to ensure the effective removal of potentially dangerous substances.

However, the dependence of the European Union and farmers is not limited to oil and phosphates. Every year, we import 50 million tonnes of animal feed. These purchases on the global markets amount to USD 20 billion and this has a serious impact on our trade balance. We need to reduce our dependence by 70% by launching a far-reaching European programme for the production of plant protein: soya, lupins, broad beans, etc.

The 30% average increase in seed prices since 2000 also affects farmers’ incomes. This increase is due to the rising cost of certified seeds, which are sold by an ever-smaller number of large multinationals. However, it is also linked to the measures taken by a number of Member States to restrict the use of farm-saved seeds, which cost 40% less and which are produced and used by the farmers themselves.

Farmers are also affected by the cost of buying land and the cost of leasing land, which have soared in recent years. These phenomena are primarily due to urban sprawl, the monopolising of land for the production of biofuels and the race to expand, linked to the changes in the CAP.

The report calls for the introduction of a system to monitor land prices and appropriate measures to facilitate access to land for young people and those who wish to farm.

Finally, irrigation is essential in many parts of the European Union where the effects of global warming are already being felt. Concrete measures must be put in place as soon as possible to save and preserve this resource.

This report is thus very clearly part of the Europe 2020 strategy drawn up at the start of the parliamentary term and aims to offer a positive perspective for the European project in the light of the crises we are facing.

Farming is the EU’s largest integrated policy. We must not let the farmers fall by the wayside now. There can be no Europe without farmers!

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves, author. (PT) Madam President, Commissioner Tajani, whom I particularly welcome, ladies and gentlemen, firstly, those of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), whom I thank for the support and cooperation they have provided from the very outset for my initiative of an oral question with a resolution on the imbalances in the food supply chain. I would also thank all the political groups that have supported this oral question and worked determinedly on drafting the final text of this resolution.

This resolution is in response to the expectations of farmers, which have been put off for a long time, of reversing the growing imbalances in the food supply chain, in terms of both negotiating power between the parties and of income distribution. This has been provoked by the high concentration of Europe’s largest retailers and threatens the survival of farmers and suppliers in general, severely damaging the agricultural economy and rural societies.

The means proposed to this end are unequivocal identification of the bad practices in the food supply chain, support for its self-regulation through joint action by all stakeholders, demand for adequate legislation by the European Commission, not forgetting the commitment needed from Member States in this area, supervision and penalties. The Union legislation needed should take into account previous decisions of the European Parliament, both those that were implemented and those that have not been realised, to which will be added the responses considered here to be suited to the present situation as regards contractual relationships between producers, suppliers and retailers.

This resolution is not being set up against any of the partners in the food supply chain, but to give them closer relations and implement dialogue, so everyone’s contribution is required. This resolution is being set up against the unfair and abusive practices that have started to become established and is intended to introduce appropriate EU and national legislation, where necessary, without distorting the smooth running of the markets. As such, it is hoped it will encourage producers to have greater capacity for organising amongst themselves, and retailers to abandon dominating practices, such as the unilateral imposition of contractual conditions or practices relating to discounts, without increasing the price to the consumer but rather contributing to their having a real choice that is wider and of higher quality.

We are now awaiting the required initiative from the European Commission.

 
  
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  Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, author.(PT) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, we all know it is increasingly hard to be a farmer in Europe. The figures speak for themselves. According to Eurostat, production costs have gone up 40% over the last decade, whilst prices have not increased by more than 25%.

However, it is not just upstream that farmers are being completely squeezed. Farmers downstream are also obliged to accept unimaginable prices, payment times and other contractual conditions, because of the disproportionate correlation of forces existing in the marketing chain.

I shall give the example of my own country, where the cooperative sector has little importance. Around 65% of sales of food products are concentrated in the hands of the five largest companies, with the figures much higher for some sectors, such as milk. Just last week, in my country, the authorities learned that 400 000 litres of milk on the marketing chain were being sold at below cost price.

As political decision makers, we need to ensure that agriculture remains a viable activity in Europe, producing good-quality foodstuffs and raw materials at fair prices that provide a living for farmers. To this end, there is a need for a sound common agricultural policy, but also for fair competition, as mentioned in the Treaty.

I therefore call on the Commission and the Council to follow up urgently the recommendations and suggestions formulated in the resolutions we are discussing here today, and for concrete proposals to be tabled as soon as possible.

 
  
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  James Nicholson, author. – Madam President, can I congratulate Mr Bové on his report on the farm input supply chain. It raises some very topical issues. We are all well aware that the rising cost of inputs – most notably for feed, fuel and fertiliser – is putting major pressure on farmers and continues to squeeze their margins in an economic climate that is already difficult, especially for the intensive sectors.

Specifically, the cost of feed has to be addressed; rising costs will force us to rethink our attitude, I believe, about soya imports from third countries and the problems associated with the protein deficit in the EU. I do not believe that domestic protein production can satisfy demand, especially if we wish to increase food production for reasons of food security. Moreover, rising food costs do not seem to result in higher farm gate prices and this has to be looked at for the benefit of both the consumer and the farmer. Large retailers must be prepared to cooperate with producers in order to ensure that the distribution of profits along the chain is equal and fair.

The EU imposes the strictest standards on animal welfare, environmental practices and food safety. I support the fact that the EU is the world leader in this regard, but I also think we have to find a balance between maintaining the highest standards and risking over-legislating our farmers out of business.

I fear the proposals from the Commission regarding the reform of the CAP go in that direction, especially in relation to greening and direct payments and the ridiculous set-aside proposal. With regard to the issue of imbalances in the food chain, it is clear that the power of retailers has grown to what some consider to be an unacceptable level. While there are some measures the EU can take, especially as regards transparency and profits in the chain, I think that farmers need to look at how they can organise themselves better and increase their bargaining power, whether through producer organisations or cooperatives.

 
  
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  João Ferreira, author. (PT) Madam President, I should like to use all the time available to me for this debate now, if possible; all four minutes, since I have a further two minutes later.

I have a further two minutes and I should like to use them all together now, if possible. I would therefore ask you to set the clock to zero.

Madam President, Commissioner, the problem of farmers’ incomes is getting more serious, particularly in the case of small and medium-sized farmers and family farms, of which there are significant numbers in many Member States. Consumer prices do not reflect the prices paid to farmers for their products. The unsustainable increase in the costs of factors of production – fuel, feed, fertilisers, plant-health products, etc. – is happening at the same time as a persistent decline in the prices of products.

The consequences are the abandonment of agriculture, the unstoppable closure of farms, the desertification of the countryside, the concentration of production in the hands of large producers, and production that is increasingly intensive and geared towards exports. Imbalances between the Member States are growing; the food deficits and food dependence of countries with weaker production systems are growing; the threats to food security and sovereignty are growing.

None of this is new. All this is well known, and the causes of this profoundly negative development are also well known: the lack of instruments for regulating agricultural production, of regulation of the markets; the immeasurably increasing power of the major retailers and their abuses; the deregulation and liberalisation of international trade; the application of World Trade Organisation rules to agriculture; and the entry of speculators into the foodstuffs market. In short, the agricultural and trade policies in force: the common agricultural policy, the common commercial policy, and the patterns on which the single market has been established and is being deepened in the European Union.

Resolution of all these problems will not, therefore, be possible without profoundly changing these policies. There is a need for mechanisms regulating the food supply chain that defend producers – particularly small and medium-sized farmers, who promote employment in the countryside and bring it to life – and for reductions in food imports.

It is crucial to halt and reverse the present concentration of power in the hands of the major retailers and industry. There is a need for a decentralisation of the food supply chains, for support for and promotion of local production and consumption, for shorter food supply chains, and for local markets, including using innovative media like the Internet.

There is a need for measures intended to put a stop to dumping between Member States, as is happening in the milk sector, for example. There is a need for fair distribution of value added throughout the food supply chain.

We believe consideration should be given to the establishment of ceilings for companies’ profit margins using the price paid to producers as a benchmark, particularly for large supermarkets and retailers, and to putting a permanent stop to self-regulation, which is nothing short of a myth. There is a need to create and operate national systems for monitoring and shaping prices and price changes in retailers and large supermarkets, whilst steadfastly combating the current practices of cartelisation and price manipulation.

There is a need for a system of production quotas: a quota system adapted to the needs of each country and to its development in terms of production equipment, so as to enable the development of the Member States with higher deficits.

For reasons of environmental, economic and social sustainability, there is also a need to organise international trade in such a way that producers, products and countries complement each other, rather than competing, as currently happens. The vitality of the economic and social fabric in the primary sector is dependent on this, not just in Europe, but in other countries too, especially in developing countries.

These, amongst many others, were some of the proposals included in the resolution tabled by our group. Unfortunately, we cannot find many of them in the report or in the other resolutions. We therefore hope that some of these proposals may be adopted here today.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas , author. (LT) Madam President, if we are talking about the European Union as a union of equal states, then it is precisely this policy of equality that we should pursue consistently. Direct payments to farmers producing agricultural products in European Union Member States must not vary, with some being paid two, three or even four times as much as others, because it is precisely these differences that orchestrate the problems which will prevent us from ever achieving balance in the food supply chain. Food production and supply chain costs are increasing for various reasons, such as increasing plant health, animal welfare, environmental protection, hygiene and food safety requirements, which are all the same for all Member States. However, the different levels of payments in European Union Member States are marginalising food producers so much that fair competition is completely out of reach.

Attention must also be drawn to another important issue – large distribution companies currently dominate food markets, and prices paid to farmers in the food supply chain are constantly being cut. At the same time, production costs continue to rise. Farmers are not receiving sufficient income for their products, while big commercial monopolies are making huge profits at the farmers’ expense. Due to the significant variation between the price paid to farmers and the final price paid by consumers, as well as the lack of transparency, the difference in competitive conditions and, in some cases, abuse in the food supply chain, farming is becoming no longer viable and farmers’ survival is under threat. I believe that the primary task of the Commission and the Member States today is to guarantee that competition rules, which operate on principles of equality, are upheld throughout the upstream and downstream food market chain.

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the Commission. (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, also on behalf of Mr Cioloş, I would like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Bové, and the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) for the report, and I would like to thank those who submitted oral questions about imbalances in the food supply chain.

The prices of the means of agricultural production, of input costs, have reached record levels in recent years, although they have not been matched by a corresponding rise in the output prices of agricultural products. Despite the fact that the real prices of inputs rose by almost 18% between 2005 and 2011, agricultural prices have risen more slowly. Farm revenues also fell by more than 10% in 2009 as a result of the economic crisis, and only returned to pre-crisis levels in 2011.

Volatility in basic agricultural commodity prices is also increasingly reflected in farm revenues, and has accentuated farmers’ loss of negotiating power in the food supply chain. Farmers therefore have to deal with a growing number of difficulties relating to the rise in input costs, as well as to improving their environmental and agronomic efficiency.

What is AGRI doing to help farmers deal with these difficulties? Our work has concentrated on these problems, which are dealt with, on the one hand, within the framework of the proposals for reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) presented in October, and, on the other, in the High-Level Forum for a better functioning of the food supply chain that we launched a year ago with Mr Cioloş, Mr Dalli and Mr Barnier.

The recent proposal for the CAP reform after 2013 introduces innovations aiming to increase cooperation between farmers and to clarify the scope of competition rules. The proposals also aim to facilitate the creation of producers’ organisations and associations, as well as of inter-professional organisations.

The mandatory recognition of producer organisations is a key element of the European Union. The Commission’s proposals also include cofinancing for their creation in all Member States, regardless of the type of farming, through the second pillar of rural development.

In addition, economies of scale will help sales by increasing the number of distribution channels and reducing risks and this, in turn, will also foster a better division of added value within the supply chain. Furthermore, our proposal with regard to contractual relations in the dairy industry aims to strengthen the position of dairy producers.

The issue of crop diversity, which was raised in the report, is also dealt with in the proposal for reform of the CAP as part of the commitment to help the environment. The European Innovation Partnership for agricultural productivity and sustainability and awards for innovative local cooperation in rural areas will help to promote innovative measures throughout the food supply chain. The partnership could include projects for rationalising the use of resources, precision agriculture and so on.

The CAP reform will also involve boosting the agricultural consultancy system, which will bring about better exchange of good practices and information campaigns targeting farmers and consumers. Another important topic is seeds, and an action plan is currently being developed as a follow-up to the legislation assessment carried out in 2010-2011 on the sale of seeds and reproduction materials. Adoption of a Commission proposal is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

The report also refers to land prices and land rent as raised by Mr Bové in his speech. The writers of a study in 2010 attempted to identify the ratio between land prices and direct payments. The Commission is ready to carry out other studies that will give a better idea of the impact of farm rents and leases on agriculture input costs.

The last point I would like to discuss, also in response to the point raised by Mr Bové in his speech, before moving on to the other issues more closely linked to imbalances in the food supply chain, concerns energy and water. Improving the way enterprises use water is a win-win situation for all those involved. As well as allowing farmers to reduce their costs, it has a positive impact on the environment.

The second pillar of the CAP includes mechanisms for promoting the production of renewable energies inside and outside farms located in rural areas, the transformation of agricultural and forest biomass, and investments in rationalising the use of resources also as a means of saving energy. The measures provided for in this second pillar also offer many possibilities for optimising the management of water resources.

Honourable Members, the imbalances and abuses in the food supply chain are currently further aggravated by price volatility, a problem raised by the three oral questions which are subjects the Commission is focusing on in particular. Unfair commercial practices between companies can take place at all levels of the food supply chain. They are a threat to farmers, to small and medium-sized enterprises and their employees, and often also to consumers.

Therefore, what measures should we adopt? Until today, at European level, unfair commercial practices have mainly been tackled in the context of the relations between companies and consumers. As far as relations between companies are concerned, the EU has adopted measures against contractual terms and conditions and commercial practices that are clearly unfair due to delays in payments. The directive should become effective before the end of March 2013, but I recently wrote to all the ministers involved to invite them to anticipate the entry into force of this law, which is a practical application of the ‘Small Business Act’. We estimate, in fact, that this directive will help to inject around EUR 180 billion into the market.

There is also a directive on misleading and comparative advertising, which aims to guarantee proper practices and sets rules for the authorisation of comparative advertising. Along with the communication ‘Towards a Single Market Act’, the report on monitoring distribution, and following on from this Parliament’s own-initiative report adopted last July on a more efficient, fairer retail market – the Corazza Bildt report – the Commission has also scheduled the adoption of a communication on unfair commercial practices this year.

This text should clearly define the scope and breadth of the problem in retail sales and underline the fragmentary nature of national rules and their application. Madam President, I am sorry if my speech has been longer than expected, but there have been so many questions and they have been so complex; I will be much briefer in my response.

The Commission also consulted the interested parties to find out what their perception is in the ‘European Business Test Panel’, and is currently analysing the responses it received. Once we have evaluated the data we have collected, we will look at possible spheres of action for remedying the various problems we found.

Furthermore, this year, we plan to adopt a communication on the directive on misleading and comparative advertising. On a national level, some Member States have already adopted important tools to foster the management of commercial relations between companies, commercial law, policies for small and medium-sized enterprises, and laws and codes of conduct against unfair practices. The Commission has given the High-Level Forum for a better functioning of the food supply chain a mandate to work, among other things, on contractual relations between companies and on price transparency.

The representatives of the agricultural sector, industry, commerce and distribution recently came to an agreement about a document on vertical relations within the food supply chain and the principles of good practice, which proposes a common definition of fairness in relations between companies. The document also proposes guidelines for commercial relations between companies, accompanied by concrete examples of unfair and fair practices.

However, the measures for applying these principles have not yet been evaluated, and therefore there is still an additional, delicate task to carry out. Based on the progress over the next few months, the Commission will make a decision as to whether to continue to encourage this consensual approach or, in the absence of a satisfactory agreement between the parties, it reserves the right to weigh up possible legislative action. At the moment, the Commission does not have a preferred option, and considers all alternatives valid, including the one suggested in the report by Mr Bové.

Finally, as already announced in the communication ‘A Better Functioning Food Supply Chain in Europe’, the Commission has put forward legislative proposals to improve the transparency of the raw materials derivative markets, including agricultural commodities. These proposals specifically concern over-the-counter derivatives, financial instruments markets and market abuse.

As you are well aware, the proposals are currently being debated by Parliament and the Council. Thank you for your attention, and I apologise once more to the President if my speech has been longer than planned.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, oh to be a Commissioner and be able to have so much time to speak! It was good to hear your fulsome response, Commissioner. I have less time but I will be quite blunt. I would like you to take the comments in this debate as armour and weapons into your struggles on this matter. This House is united about one issue, which is that there is a problem at both ends – and, indeed, in the centre – of the food supply chain. The Bové report, which was an initiative of mine in the EPP Group – and I thank Mr Bové for his work on it – deals with the farm input problem. It is serious, and you have acknowledged that. At the other end, we have had the excellent work of my colleague, Mrs Patrão Neves, on the imbalance of power and the need to look at this.

I am particularly pleased by your words, and I quote you here, that you will ‘reserve the right to legislate’. I think the stakeholders should listen with concern and be prepared to face legislation if there is no cooperation and effective change on this issue.

Commissioner, you mentioned the financial services sector. I think you were right to do that. There is a huge parallel between what has happened in financial services – to the discredit of the European Union – and what is happening in the food supply chain. My interest in this House is in the food supply chain. Food security is fundamental. Are you, as Commissioner, prepared to watch over the destruction of this if we do not take action now?

Let me warn you that, though we have been up early for this debate, there are others in the food chain who have been up much earlier and are taking from the pockets of producers, both their pockets, to cushion their own profits. Some of the practices that are going on you do not even know and we do not fully understand. There is something rotten in this system, and unless politicians have the bottle to call it rotten, there will be no change. Take this debate to the Commission and take action.

 
  
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  Spyros Danellis, on behalf of the S&D Group.(EL) Madam President, allow me to make three comments which relate mainly to the farm input supply chain, but which also affect the food production chain. Firstly, I should like to emphasise that the smooth operation of the food market is inextricably bound up with the smooth operation of the farm input supply market and vice versa. Therefore, regulations are needed that will safeguard transparency in input pricing and the application of, and compliance with, competition rules both by the input supply chain and in the agri-food chain.

Secondly, I should like to point out that the quality of traditional crop seeds should be linked to the cultural heritage of the Member States, in the same way as the agricultural product quality policy. I therefore think that it is important to create a European bank for seeds to store and maintain the genetic variety of traditional plants and combat the current loss of biodiversity in traditional varieties.

Thirdly, I should like to point out that rational use of inputs and resources requires far more than the application of rules. It requires a change of attitude, knowledge and skills on the part of farmers, so that they can adopt the most productive, viable and innovative cultivation systems under the circumstances. As we all understand, that depends on both innovative and institutional improvements and a high standard of training. I trust that the new common agricultural policy will take all this into account.

 
  
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  Marit Paulsen, on behalf of the ALDE Group.(SV) Madam President, Commissioner, I would like to praise Mr Bové for the work he has done. Now, I would like to talk in very simplified terms, that is to say, my message is perhaps not directed at my fellow Members, but at those who are currently buying their own food.

The big problem for the EU’s farmers, and perhaps their only economic problem, is that they are shamelessly poorly paid for their work. The input chain is extremely large and, I would like to point out, extremely profitable. The food industry is reasonably profitable, and in the trading chain, it is, in fact, quite easy these days to become a prosperous small business.

In the midst of this gigantic chain is the individual farmer, and even if we regard him or her as a large farmer, he or she is an almost invisible link in the large food supply chain, despite the fact that it is the farmer who is the really important converter of inputs into raw materials for the next link in the chain.

I would like to ask you to imagine for a moment that if farmers were sufficiently well paid for what they sold on the market, then the EU’s income subsidies could, in fact, be converted into investment capital for rural development, the environment, climate change, animal care and infrastructure. Think what resources we would have available to us the day that farmers were paid a reasonable amount for the work they do!

 
  
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  Alyn Smith, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, I will be no exception in congratulating my colleague, José Bové, for this very timely and very powerful report. It pulls together a number of the interlocking and mutually reinforcing factors which are impacting on our food supply chain and making the lives of European and global farmers more difficult. Indeed, there are times when the economics of farming are not so much a science as more of a voodoo cult. It is amazing that anybody is actually in farming at all and that we have any food to eat.

The fact is that the increased concentration of market power downstream of farming, in processing industries, trade companies and supermarkets, and upstream of farming, in terms of increasing costs for fertilisers, energy, feed, seed, water, loans and land rent, is undermining the proper functioning of the food supply chain in Europe. Farmers are facing a squeeze between rising costs for input and low farm gate prices.

For those colleagues – usually those not present in these debates – who have suggested that the free market is working, I have some statistics from the Scottish Agricultural College report on power in agriculture – actual statistics on market concentration – showing that four companies worldwide account for 75-90%, by some measures, of global grain trade, seven companies control all fertiliser supply, five companies share 68% of the global agrochemical market, and three companies control almost 50% of the proprietary seeds market. If you add to that the supermarkets’ and processors’ power, it really is surprising that our farmers are in business at all. So to those who would say that the free market in agriculture is working – well, prima facie, no it is not.

We saw what happened – as other colleagues have mentioned – with the breakdown of the interbank lending market earlier in this economic crisis. It is the poorest who are hit hardest, and our citizens are very much in the frame for this. So I was delighted, Commissioner, to hear your fulsome presentation this morning, and I hope you will gather from this debate that this House is looking for more action from the Commission, not less. We are your ally in this and, if anything, we want to see more urgent activity from the Commission on the many issues raised in this report.

We want to see further action because this is not going to go away or get better. Quite the reverse – the market is concentrating further day by day in a world where we are increasingly seeing instability in energy prices, global instability and its political knock-on effects, and climate change making parts of the world wetter, parts of the world drier, and all of the world more climatically unstable. We are not going to see our food supply chain getting calmer.

We need to act on this urgently. CAP reform has never been more urgent and this report deserves to be absolutely fundamental in all our minds as we take forward the CAP reform project with you, Commissioner. We look forward to that effort.

 
  
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  Janusz Wojciechowski, on behalf of the ECR Group.(PL) Madam President, during the course of the previous term, we managed, in this House, to adopt a resolution calling for opposition to the abuse by major retail chains of their dominant position in respect to their consumers and, most importantly, in respect to farmers. I was one of the co-authors of this document and I remember that while organising a press conference after its adoption, some of the agricultural organisations that had supported the collection of signatures for the declaration even asked not to be mentioned publicly, fearing potential reprisal from major retail chains. This illustrates the scale of the problem. Both in EU law as well as in the law of the Member States, legal instruments exist which allow us to deal with the situation effectively, and these legal instruments should be applied.

I would like to draw attention to distortions in competition which result from the unequal rights of our farmers. This manifests itself both in external competition, in the area of unequal standards and the higher requirements that our farmers face in comparison to importers, as well as in internal competition, in the area of unequal subsidies. This is a very serious problem, which also distorts the agricultural market of the European Union.

 
  
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  Alfreds Rubiks, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group.(LV) Madam President, I should also like to commend Mr Bové on his report. One can sense that it has been drawn up by a real farmer, who feels the pain of farmers. For my own part, I should like to say that a situation has arisen throughout the world where agricultural products are now used both in food and in energy production. Grain is used for bioethanol, rape for biodiesel, maize for biogas, and so on. As a result, financial resources that used to circulate on the fossil fuel market are now also flowing into the food production sector and are causing excessive price fluctuations. In my view, the European Commission should, as a matter of urgency, pay more attention to these issues, and should, as swiftly as possible, develop a mechanism to prevent financial speculation on the food market based on this factor. Too little thought is being devoted to questions of increasing soil fertility. I think that the European Commission should draw up and adopt a package of administrative measures to increase farmers’ economic autonomy and use of the required resources. Honest, fair and economically justified direct payments are one of the possibilities for farmers to reduce the negative effect of fluctuations in the supply of resources on stability in agricultural production. The utmost attention must therefore be paid to these matters, and we must demand accountability. Thank you.

 
  
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  John Stuart Agnew, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Madam President, during my farming lifetime, I have seen wheat yields triple, and during my farming lifetime, I have seen sugar beet yields triple. In addition to that, those sugar beet have gone from being randomly monogerm to consistently monogerm, and all that is down to the efforts of plant breeders. They have to be rewarded for the work that they do. They are in great competition with other plant breeders and the farmer, I can assure you, is the most brutal customer of the lot. If he does not like a variety, he will drop it like a stone. The price of failure for a plant breeder is very high indeed: it is 10 years’ work straight down the drain.

Somebody was talking about maintaining seed banks. I can assure you that the seed breeders themselves do that. Actually, seed is one of the farm inputs that farmers have a huge degree of control over, and in the UK, a farmer has three choices. He can either maintain an old variety on which no royalty is payable, or he can multiply up a new variety. He will then have to declare that he has done so and pay a modest acreage royalty. He can expect to be inspected, or he can simply buy a bag of seed where the royalty is part of the price. All of these things he can do. This works well in the UK. I do not see the necessity to call on the Commission to interfere in this in any way at all.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), Blue-card question. – Madam President, I am grateful to the Member for giving way. You will be well aware that Burns Night is coming up, so I will be wearing a kilt in Brussels for three nights next week as we celebrate our national poet, but that is not actually the reason I am rising to speak.

I pay tribute, Mr Agnew, to your personal interest and activity in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, where you are an active and engaged Member, but I hope you agree with us that, surely, the way to deal with the problems you have raised, the problems that are raised in this report, and the problems that colleagues have raised, is by all of us working together within our family of nations and our single market to make sure that we maximise the benefits for our consumers of the single market, to the benefit of our producers.

I would be curious to hear your response to that, given your party’s position of isolationism within the world market.

 
  
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  John Stuart Agnew (EFD), Blue-card answer. – For a start, we are not isolationist; we are just the opposite. We want to trade with the whole world and not just be bogged down with the EU. I did not raise any problems; I said that this is something working satisfactorily so do not interfere with it.

I will give you an example of the market. I am an egg producer – free-range eggs. They were in surplus in 2011 – no subsidy on that. I accepted the discipline of my packer and I reduced my production to squeeze out the surplus. Because I did that and made the sacrifice, it worked and the packer then gave me cash compensation. That is the free market working, but farmers must accept discipline. It is no good running to the taxpayer the whole time.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). – Madam President, firstly, may I thank the rapporteur for his work on this issue and the focus that he brings to a wide variety of problems that farmers are facing today. Whilst the rapporteur highlights generally the problems in terms of cost of production versus farm gate prices, in Northern Ireland – despite these difficulties – agriculture continues to contribute to the economy. We have heard colleagues say today that this really is quite a miracle, given the problems that farmers face.

However, the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland has grown significantly, accounts for 20% of sales from the manufacturing industry and now, in a very small region, provides 50 000 direct jobs. We should recognise the absolute importance of this industry to our economy. It is an industry which has proved resilient in difficult economic conditions and should provide further private-sector growth if given the proper support and freedom from oppressive legislation. There is no doubt that many of the issues raised by the report are valuable, but I believe that the greatest contribution that we can make to a sustainable and competitive sector is in producing a common agricultural policy that sees food production and European food security as its aim and objective.

Over recent weeks, I have been talking to farmers in my own constituency and they see the proposals from the Commission as complex, overbearing in terms of environmental objectives and favouring landowners over active food-producing farmers. In our discussions on CAP reform, if we miss the opportunity to provide an environment for increased productivity and one which provides food and supply security, we will only continue to increase price volatility for farmers and consumers.

Also, Commissioner, I was interested in your brief run-down on some of the common agricultural policy proposals. You mentioned specifically crop rotation, as has been envisaged in the Pillar One proposal. In Northern Ireland, this is seen as much too prescriptive and almost certainly will put small mixed farms out of work. It is simply not workable.

In my own country, can I urge the UK Government to get on with its plans for the supermarket ombudsman and to give that ombudsman a range of powers which will actually tackle the issue.

 
  
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  Albert Deß (PPE).(DE) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank Mr Bové for his report and Ms Patrão Neves for the initiative for this motion for a resolution today. There are two developments that are worrying me. The first of these, Commissioner, is the growing gap between input and farm gate prices. The second is the situation right throughout the supply chain.

Commissioner, I have just looked this up. On 27 July 1961, aged 14, I got my licence to drive a tractor, and my first job was to take grain to the brewery. At that time, 100 kg cost the equivalent of EUR 25. On my way home, I bought a newspaper, which cost me the equivalent of EUR 0.05. Today, cereal costs not EUR 25, but EUR 20, while the newspaper costs EUR 0.70 instead of EUR 0.05. If grain prices had followed the same trajectory as newspaper prices, consumers would now have to pay EUR 350 for 100 kg.

You can see from these figures what Europe’s farmers are providing and what contribution they have made to giving our consumers cheap prices for food.

What annoys me, and I am personally the chair of a farming cooperative, is the issue of terms of payment. Given the time constraints, I will limit myself to that. It has become a bad habit for the supermarket chains to saddle these farming cooperatives with ever longer payment terms. Once upon a time, it was 24 days. Now, even in Germany, it is often 60. In other words, if we deliver fresh milk, we make 30 deliveries before we get payment for the first one. Commissioner, there is an urgent need for action in this regard. We need to tackle these payment terms in the same way as we tackled roaming charges. That is the only way this situation will be rectified. I beg you to take action.

 
  
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  Paolo De Castro (S&D).(IT) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, with the report by Mr Bové, whom I thank for his work, Europe is focusing decisively on establishing a legislative framework to ensure fairness and greater transparency in relations within the agri-food industry.

In this field, the ideas and requests approved in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development are very much to be welcomed. Higher levels of transparency in prices, the reduction of the costs of production inputs and more effective management of energy and natural resources within the industry are just a few of the most important points.

Madam President, on these grounds, and taking advantage of the presence of Vice-President Tajani, I think it appropriate to recall the central point of the joint resolution on the imbalances in the food supply chain, to which my fellow Members have also referred: a European system to harmonise the length of time taken for payments in commercial transactions between agri-food producers and the distribution system.

Mr Tajani, we can no longer allow distortions of competition between European producers; it is no longer acceptable to have different national legal systems that regulate deadlines for payment, contractual agreements and discounting practices differently. There is a lack of territorial homogeneity exacerbating this phase of extreme market volatility where sharp price rises are not translating into higher margins for farmers; they, on the contrary, see their incomes dropping lower and lower.

Mr Tajani, we in Parliament are ready to support a legislative proposal that goes in this direction and I know of the work that you are doing with the high-level group. I therefore sincerely hope that we may soon see a legislative proposal on harmonisation of the distribution systems in Europe.

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE). – Madam President, this is a very timely debate, and I would add my congratulations to José Bové for a well balanced report that highlights the real problems that farmers face because, as other speakers have pointed out, on the one hand, farmers are selling their produce to a handful of very powerful multinational retailers, and, on the other hand, they are purchasing their inputs from a handful of very powerful agrochemical or agro-industry multinational suppliers. The result, of course, is that farmers are squeezed from both sides by these huge and powerful companies.

This highlights the urgent need for action in the CAP reform and in other areas where the Commission is taking action to try and help this matter. We need to strengthen the hand of farmers when it comes to negotiating (a) with the retailers, and (b) with their input suppliers. If we can achieve that, what will then happen is a better return for farmers, a better margin, and less reliance on the need for taxpayers’ support in the future.

There is one particular area that I think needs immediate action from the Commission, and that is in regard to the fertiliser market. If I could give you the example, Commissioner, of the UK fertiliser market, there is a monopoly manufacturer for nitrogen fertiliser called GrowHow. It is 50% owned by its largest competitor Yara, which is the largest fertiliser manufacturer in the world. The other half of GrowHow is owned by CF Industries, which is the largest manufacturer of nitrogen-based fertilisers in North America. Surely this level of consolidation means there is little real competition in the UK marketplace. I suspect this is replicated throughout the rest of Europe. The only competition they face is from the blenders, but they, unfortunately, have to buy their nitrogen from that same supplier.

So between 2003 and 2009, output prices for agricultural products increased by 35%, their inputs increased by 42%, but fertiliser increased by 173%. That is evidence that the market is failing. Commissioner, could you give me a guarantee that you will investigate this matter and ask the Competition Commissioner to look closely at how the fertiliser market is operating in the EU?

 
  
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  Bart Staes (Verts/ALE). (NL) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, as early as 2010, we adopted a report by José Bové which focused on the market players to whom farmers sell their produce: the processing and distribution industries. Now we are turning our attention further up the supply chain, with rising commodity prices on the one hand and, on the other, farmers’ increasing dependence on a highly concentrated supply sector. Mr Lyon spoke about this just now.

The latest Bové report extends a helping hand to active farmers and it sets out a strategy for an agricultural policy that is more socially responsible and that ensures a decent income for farmers. It is also a policy that is greener. A policy with an even greater concern for sustainable agricultural practices. A policy that also makes a concrete contribution to the fight against climate change. A policy that is also directed against the ruthless monopolies of seed and food giants.

This report forges a close alliance between this Parliament and active farmers, and defends the autonomy of farmers and consumers and, as such, it deserves our full support. Congratulations, José Bové!

 
  
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  Hynek Fajmon (ECR).(CS) Madam President, European agriculture is going through a difficult period because, among other things, the entire EU has expanded dramatically over the past decade through the accession of new Member States. Competition on the agricultural market has grown considerably, and all farmers in Europe are now feeling the competitive pressure. Many of them are coping well with this, but some are unable to face the pressure and are gradually leaving the sector. This is natural and proper, however, and any effort to prevent it would, in my view, be doomed to fail. We must, on the contrary, assist the agricultural sector by removing the unnecessary regulations and quotas which hinder agricultural development. Ending the quotas and ceilings on wine, milk, sugar and other items will also provide an opportunity for growth in the agricultural sector. It is these quotas that are a barrier to the growth of European agriculture, and it is also necessary to facilitate the operation of alternative distribution channels, such as farm sales or the farmers’ markets that have seen successfully rising sales in the Czech Republic and elsewhere.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), Blue-card question. (FR) Madam President, Mr Fajmon, you just said that it was absolutely essential to do away with quotas in order to allow the agricultural sector to develop. Do you realise that the milk sector, for example, a sector where quotas had allowed us to maintain a system without any major crises for 25 years, experienced its most serious crisis in autumn 2009, when the price plummeted from EUR 0.45 to EUR 0.19, and that this was just after the announcement that quotas would be abolished by 2015, though this is scheduled to take place well before that date? Is that what you want to impose on all other types of production, supposedly to protect the agricultural sector?

 
  
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  Hynek Fajmon (ECR), Blue-card answer. (CS) Madam President, I firmly believe that quotas cannot, and should not, continue in the long-term, that we have a large, single European market, and that there is no longer a need for quotas in respect of these commodities.

They were necessary after the Second World War, when there was a need to stabilise European agriculture, but they are no longer necessary today, in my view, and we must start to eliminate them gradually, and I also believe, on the contrary, that this will lead to a better allocation of capital and the better functioning of the market.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). (SK) Madam President, in an effort to keep the prices of agricultural produce stable, we are looking for a variety of measures that could eliminate the adverse impact of rising input prices on agricultural production.

In view of the fact that we cannot realistically maintain prices in respect of energy, machinery, compound feed, fertilisers, pesticides, seeds or water at a stable level in the long term, I am under no illusions that our efforts would be successful. In an open market environment, it is always justified that higher input prices and production costs are reflected in the cost price of the product. I therefore think that, in our efforts to solve the problems of the food chain, we should focus more on addressing the imbalances and inequalities in the relationship between agricultural primary production and the processing sector or retail chains, because it is in this area in particular that the most significant price distortions occur, to the detriment of primary production.

I do not claim that all is well in the area of inputs for agricultural enterprises, such as the supply of seeds. In my opinion, however, the most significant price distortions are in the chain between primary production and processors or trade.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI).(DE) Madam President, I find it very positive that we are now looking into the problems upstream of farm production in a new own-initiative report. In so doing, I believe that we should pay particular attention to the reduction of input costs. It is a well-known fact that, over recent years, these have risen disproportionately in relation to agricultural earnings. Thus, for example, energy costs in agriculture rose by around 60% between 2000 and 2010, while farm gate prices only rose by 25%. The rapporteur’s suggestion of setting up a price monitoring agency is certainly the right way to go. We have to succeed in increasing competition in the input sector, thus bringing about more attractive prices for farmers.

It is well known that farmers, for their part, are already attempting to work together more closely in a number of areas and thus exploit their potential when it comes to efficiency savings. In the medium and the long term, however, it will be necessary to provide farmers – especially those who farm organically – with a better price environment for their products so that we can ensure their long-term survival, especially in outlying alpine regions.

 
  
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  Esther Herranz García (PPE).(ES) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, firstly, I should like to thank my colleague, Ms Patrão Neves, because, during the last few months, she has defended against all opposition this resolution which we are debating today and which we will vote on later. Ms Patrão Neves, with the support of the Group of the European People’s Party, has had to face many obstacles and I should like to congratulate her on the work which has brought us to this point.

Ladies and gentlemen, 50 years ago, farmers received 50% of the final price paid by consumers; but today, in many cases, they receive less than 10%. At the same time, in 20 years, the market share for distribution chains has risen from 21.7% to 70%. Something is going on, and it is quite obvious.

Measures must be adopted to ensure that food supply chains are more equitable, more equal and fairer.

Firstly, the security networks provided by the common agricultural policy to ensure fair prices must be improved. We need an EU framework to guarantee fair relationships and avoid abuse. We must define and prohibit abusive practices within these margins. We must make production more concentrated, encouraging producers’, farmers’ and livestock breeders’ organisations. We must also ensure fair competition conditions for all producers with equal opportunities and equal responsibilities. I am referring to those producers outside of the European Union who do not meet the same standards in terms of quality, food security, animal welfare and all these issues which are so essential that we require our producers to meet such standards.

Where do we do all of this? Well, in the next CAP reform, of course. We must improve contractual relations in this CAP reform. The aim will be to improve the position of the primary sector within the chain, improve distribution trade policy, avoid the constant increase in food speculation, take into account and improve those margins which are causing a rise in non-agricultural costs, and, finally, assure producers that all products on the EU market meet the same quality standards.

 
  
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  Iratxe García Pérez (S&D).(ES) Madam President, Commissioner, this is not the first time we have debated inequality within food supply chains and, whether we are talking about farm input or the final product, primary producers are always the weak link.

We are currently in the middle of a debate on CAP reform, and the greatest worry for the sector is the serious problem in terms of prices. Production costs are rising higher and higher and producers are unable to pass them on in their prices.

For this reason, it is necessary, at Community level, to strengthen existing legislation on agricultural contracts, inter-branch organisations and producers’ organisations, as well as promoting instruments such as price observatories, which analyse the price formation process through an analysis of costs, processes and margins, and, of course, to find a balance between the regulation of the agri-food sector and competition rules.

In this connection, I want to highlight how essential it is that the Commission adapts the scope and application of these rules with regard to agriculture so that producers or their inter-branch organisations can effectively improve their negotiating position.

 
  
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  Britta Reimers (ALDE).(DE) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, we need functioning markets with scope for competition in Europe. We will only achieve this, however, when everyone has equal rights. The role of farmers in the market is that of relatively small sole traders. Upstream and downstream of them, by contrast, we often see quite large business structures. I therefore welcome the fact that the Commission is, for once, looking into the market not only from the consumer point of view, but also from that of producers. If we have imbalances, we need to find ways to tackle them without giving rise to excessive bureaucracy and without creating new imbalances elsewhere. We all know how sensitively markets react. In these times of the debt crisis, in particular, that is something we see day in, day out. It is therefore important to test the waters carefully if we intervene.

Markets need sensible frameworks in order to facilitate a minimum level of balance. However, they also need enough freedom to act and to be able to do so. Agriculture cannot be excepted from this principle. Only a balance of freedom and responsibility will enable all market participants to make the most of their advantages and thus help bring about long-term growth and prosperity.

 
  
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  Richard Ashworth (ECR). – Madam President, Commissioner, our farmers are being squeezed between ever-rising input prices, on the one hand, and very tough competitive market conditions for agricultural commodities, on the other. Faced with this problem, the Commission has two options. They should be reluctant to regulate markets – that is usually heavy-handed and rarely effective – but they should offer encouragement and support to the industry by indicating best practice on all sides.

There are three things you can do here, Commissioner. Firstly, you should encourage farmers to cooperate with one another: by working together, they can exploit their strengths to buy inputs better, process production better and thereby add value. You can empower farmers by ensuring that there is transparent market information always available; and you can enable farmers by amending competition law, promoting codes of conduct, illustrating best practice and simplifying the common agricultural policy.

I am disappointed that the Commissioner’s proposals for CAP reform fail to recognise adequately the strategic importance of a viable, competitive agricultural sector. How fortunate the Commissioner is that he has José Bové here today to offer him sound practical advice. It is a good report, José. Thank you.

 
  
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  Bastiaan Belder (EFD). (NL) Madam President, first of all, congratulations on your re-election as Vice-President.

The distribution of value in the food supply chain is far from fair. Mr Bové’s report and the oral questions have touched on a sore spot. The primary producer is caught in the middle between highly concentrated suppliers of raw materials and powerful buyers. The primary producer cannot translate higher input costs into higher output prices. Primary producers remain a highly vulnerable group when it comes to distribution in the value chain and that is exactly why they need to forge a strong alliance, as Mr Ashworth said just now.

Can the Commission clarify how much scope the legislation currently provides specifically for arrangements to recoup the cost of sustainability initiatives? How much scope is there for self-regulation? What measures does the Commission have in place for addressing the issue of buyers wielding an undesirable level of dominance?

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE).(FR) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would first of all like to thank Maria Patrão Neves for her excellent work. We welcome the general consensus reached on this text. The topic warranted it.

For years, farmers’ share of revenue has been falling. As the statistics show, this decrease is not caused by one single entity, but by the producers’ lack of structural weight in the food chain.

Many of us have repeated this time and time again, but I do not know if that is good or bad. It has been said time and time again: we must give producers their deserved role in the food chain, one that is, above all, proportionate to their importance. The rules of competition should be applied in the same way to everyone and should not lead to this serious imbalance that we have highlighted. However, the reality is clearly very different. This unfair treatment is largely due to the diverse way in which the national competition authorities apply the European rules.

As Members of the European Parliament, we see what is happening on the ground, we act as intermediaries and we can vouch for the difficulties encountered by many of our farmers or producers’ organisations when they want to unite in order to deal with processors, distributors and even their own competitors. As regards concentration, in particular, the definition of the relevant market varies from one country to another.

When producers want to come together and combine their weight, some national competition authorities prevent them from doing so. They believe that the national market could not cope with that concentration and the significant weight of that new organisation. On the contrary, in other Member States, the opposite happens. Such groupings are authorised because the market taken into consideration, the supposedly relevant market, is the European market. Their weight is thus proportionally smaller and their position is not considered to be dominant. This situation is clearly untenable.

The Commission and the Court of Justice, as guardians of the Community’s legislation and its uniform application, must ensure that the national authorities do not keep producer organisations in an inferior position that puts a strain on their negotiating capacity.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D).(FR) Madam President, Commissioner, I would like to begin by congratulating José Bové on his excellent work, which clearly demonstrates the importance of keeping producers at the heart of the matter, for although we are well aware of the three stakeholders involved, namely, the producers, the large processing companies or small-scale processors, and the distributors, only the producers are suffering today. The two other large sectors are concentrated, highly concentrated in fact. That is the case for the distribution sector. Producers, however, are relatively deprived and very dispersed.

We therefore have to try to organise them as we have just done with the report on milk by Mr Nicholson. We tried to give them more power. I do not think that that is enough. In my view, there will be two important aspects. The first is that they will have to be organised but monitored by the public authority because – as one of my colleagues just said – we will need a body to monitor prices and margins as the public authority alone can ensure a balance between the various stakeholders. The second, in my opinion, is that we will have to stop treating competition as sacrosanct. What is important, above all, is the welfare of each of the stakeholders in the food chain, which ensures the welfare of all. That takes priority over the rules of competition.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward (ALDE). – Madam President, it is one of the great misconceptions of agriculture that higher food prices automatically translate into higher farm incomes. However, it is the experience of farmers in my own Member State, Ireland, that they are not getting fair play or a fair return in the food supply chain.

In 2010, average farm incomes in Ireland were EUR 17 700, or just over 50% of the average industrial wage. Since 2000, the cost of on-farm production has increased by over 37%, despite major efficiencies at farm level. At the same time, the price paid to farmers has increased by only 14%. I have no doubt that this imbalance is replicated for farmers right across the EU.

It is clear that primary producers are being squeezed from both sides of the food supply chain. On the one side, they receive low-grade farm gate prices due to the strong position of processors and retailers, and, on the other side, they pay high input prices due to increased concentration of input companies. Total input costs for EU farmers rose by almost 40% between 2000 and 2010 and costs continue to increase for farmers year on year. The upper pressure on these prices will rise further as a result of resource scarcity and a growing demand for food. On the other side of the chain, retailers have used their powers over farmers to implement a number of methods such as ‘hello money’, ‘pay to play money’, payment delays, shelf space pricing and carrying the costs of discount campaigns, which cut away at the returns of farmers and buy their produce in unfair and unbalanced conditions.

This is about fair return for fair work, making a viable living from work that brings added value to the environment, delivers food security and puts food on the table of the European citizens. The retailers, processors, food suppliers and consumers are key stakeholders in the food supply chain, but so is the farmer. I think we should remember that.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Madam President, the rising cost of food is of great concern, particularly at this time of economic hardship.

From an economic and monetary affairs perspective, we will deal in detail with the issue of commodity derivatives, and agricultural markets in general, in the regulation on markets in financial instruments and the Market Abuse Regulation over the course of this year. We need, however, to ensure that our financial services legislation is joined up with our wider agricultural policies. The key will be transparency. Ultimately, we do not know what role financial market participants are playing in the world’s commodity markets because there is a lack of transparency in the trading process.

This report makes clear just how many factors influence the price of food, yet it is easy for politicians directly to blame banks and hedge funds for price volatility. This is not a two-dimensional discussion, and the Commission needs to look for more sophisticated tools to remove the opacity in commodity markets and give financial regulators a full toolbox. They really need to clamp down on any abusive behaviour as and when it may occur.

Nevertheless, we need to proceed with caution, as food producers need to be able to continue to use agricultural commodity derivatives to hedge their business exposures. Financial participants should, however, reduce – not cause – volatility in our prices.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE).(PL) Madam President, the extremely difficult situation facing agricultural producers puts the survival of many agricultural holdings at risk. Protecting the interests of farmers is therefore a matter which should be prioritised. We should focus, in particular, on small-scale family agricultural holdings as well as on holdings situated in Less Favoured Areas (LFA), especially mountainous or remote areas, where – due to the higher costs of production and energy used for transport or field work – the situation is particularly severe.

As we know, the current situation is influenced by an increase in the price of raw materials, energy, fertilisers and other means of production. We also need to consider, however, the exceptionally powerful monopolistic activities prevalent in the market for means of production, the processing market and in trade. Therefore, I share the opinion that this issue should be dealt with by European and national competition bodies. I also support the initiatives aimed at increasing the transparency of farm input prices, as well as the European Food Prices Monitoring Tool set up by Eurostat. What we need is a strong legal system that monitors and regulates similar practices.

The agricultural market requires a degree of intervention. Given the specific character of agricultural production, which depends on weather conditions and biology, full self-regulation of the agricultural market is not feasible. All the more so, since the agricultural market has been the subject of increased speculation, the results of which we have felt very strongly. We should also develop local markets, food fairs and other forms of trade, which will shorten the chain from food producers to food consumers. This will not only positively influence the quality of agricultural produce, but also contribute to reduced prices and increased benefits for consumers as well as for agricultural producers.

 
  
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  Wojciech Michał Olejniczak (S&D).(PL) Madam President, for many years, I have been taking part in debates devoted to the difficult situation facing European Union farmers. Unfortunately, it is with regret that I have to say that many of the European Commission’s announcements heard in the last few years, also in this House, have not been put into effect to this day. Farmers were promised a long time ago that they would have special agreements, which would guarantee continuous collection of produce on the one hand, and suitable prices on the other. Equally, relations with suppliers are deteriorating continuously. The plight of farmers is truly tragic. Their attempts to achieve specialisation and higher productivity resulted in their becoming dependent on suppliers in recent years, with the latter dictating prices as well as payment and delivery deadlines. We have to change this situation. We hear words to this effect time and time again. I would like to put the following question to the European Commission: when exactly can we expect proper regulation with regard to agreements and contracts, on the one hand, and with regard to relations between farmers and suppliers, on the other?

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson (ECR). – Madam President, I want to focus on the energy aspects of Mr Bové’s excellent report because improving energy efficiency on our farms is an absolute imperative. I would caution, however, against the race for erecting massive wind turbines on farms. In Scotland right now, the modern equivalent of snake oil salesmen are knocking on doors throughout the countryside trying to persuade hard-pressed farmers to part with vast sums of cash in exchange for having one of these industrial monsters erected on their land with the promise of pots of gold.

However, as the recent storms have demonstrated, these turbines are often subject to catastrophic failure, and even when they are working, they only produce a trickle of electricity. As a result, many farmers in Scotland have found that they have rusting hulks on their land which are earning nothing and costing them a fortune. Instead of having signs on farm gates that say ‘Beware of the bull’, farmers should have signs on their gates which say ‘Beware of the bullshit’!

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: MIGUEL ÁNGEL MARTÍNEZ MARTÍNEZ
Vice-President

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE). (DE) Mr President, the cost pressure to which our agricultural producers are exposed is enormous. Agricultural inputs – meaning seeds, fertilisers and animal feed, but also machinery – are getting ever more expensive. One of the biggest factors behind the rising costs, however, is energy costs. There is an urgent need for an action plan in the energy sector, not only in order to get to grips with the costs, but also to reduce dependence, and this urgent need is a call to action for all areas of politics. There is a major potential in renewable energy sources such as wind, hydropower and biomass from sustainable raw materials. This renewable energy mix can fill the energy gap on a permanent basis.

We need to mobilise all available resources, while at the same time increasing efficiency. Improved resource management in respect of humus and water, energy and nutrients cannot remain just an empty slogan.

Another uncertainty factor for operators is the massive price fluctuations. Those running businesses need to be equipped to plan for the long term. A monitoring system for input prices could be helpful in that respect.

Excessive speculation on food commodities is an unacceptable factor. We cannot allow speculators to gamble on higher food prices. This problem is well enough known and it will not go away by itself. The effect of this can be felt by both agricultural producers, through low revenues, and consumers, through higher prices on the shop shelves. Higher food prices are not reflected in farming incomes. Instead, the beneficiaries are to be found at the end of the supply chain, which is to say, the processing industry and retailers. There needs to be a fair division of profits right along the production chain.

Another cause of high costs that needs to be combated is Europe’s enormous dependence on supplies of raw materials and input products imported from third countries. We can only master the economic and environmental challenges and the extreme cost pressure in agriculture through long-term investment in raw material production, farm development, research and innovation.

These approaches must also be reflected in the reform of the common agricultural policy. The new common agricultural policy must enable farmers to achieve the full potential of their businesses.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR) , Blue-card question. – Ms Köstinger, I wonder whether or not you accept that, without financial participants in the agricultural markets, farmers and producers would be unable to hedge their costs and therefore plan their production and their outcomes better. Do you accept that they do have a role and that they are not all pure speculators?

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), Blue-card answer.(DE) Ms Swinburne, I do not think I have really understood your question.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR) , Blue-card question. – Mr President, the speaker mentions speculation and the role that this is playing in a negative sense. I would put the opposite argument: that without financial participants, there would be no ability to hedge risks and inputs in the agricultural markets. So they do play an important role – and I wonder whether the speaker accepts that.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), Blue-card answer.(DE) I think your question is quite easy to answer. We are not talking about putting obstacles in the way of free trade or a free market or of restricting these. What we are talking about is curtailing the absolutely unethical trade in derivatives – in other words, in products that do not actually exist and that are traded all over the world, sometimes in high volumes. That is it, quite simply.

 
  
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  Ulrike Rodust (S&D).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to see this topic addressed in plenary and I would like to offer my thanks to Mr Bové. It really is a very important issue that we are debating today, be it for producers, processors, for trade or for consumers.

Production costs for farmers have risen sharply over recent years. Farmers can primarily feel the increasing overheads when it comes to energy bills and agricultural inputs. The heavy concentration of food retailing, above all, makes it more difficult for producers to obtain good prices for their products.

Although the mark-up between the primary and the end product is sometimes considerable, not much of that reaches producers, as some of the margin is lost to each of the various processing steps. Politicians can intervene in competition policy, but we must be careful when doing so, and, in certain areas, we have to trust to market forces.

I consider it important to let consumers know that buying regional products from their producers or makers supports both the farmers and the local economy. That is where I see our role. We should intervene in this connection, be it with money or with political instruments. I believe strengthening regionalism provides a tool to do this. In the reform of the common agricultural policy, we need to make other tools available.

For me as a Social Democrat, it is important that access to wholesome food at reasonable prices should be guaranteed for all, while, at the same time, farmers must be able to receive a fair and reasonable income for their work. This demand requires us not to shirk our responsibility, and indeed to live up to it.

Every time we act, we need to ask ourselves if we are living up to these demands. If not, the result will be social unrest in the long run. Farmers and consumers are in the same boat. Let us ensure that that boat never sinks.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the economic crisis and the fall in consumption have dealt yet another blow to farms and producers.

The problem of farmers’ incomes is becoming ever more severe and is affecting small and medium-sized enterprises, the family-run businesses which do not have the strength to fight the arrogance of large retailers. Today, with this resolution, we are clearly saying that Europe must take action to correct these distortions.

We must ensure transparent contractual relations between producers and distributors in order to guarantee a decent, adequate income for those who work the soil. We must also prevent price fluctuations creating advantages for just a few, because currently, when prices rise, it is large retailers that profit, and when they fall, it is the farm workers that grow poorer. In order to achieve this, we must ensure that the industry becomes smaller and that there is fair competition within it.

It is not possible, as happens to me every Saturday, when I go shopping, to find extra virgin olive oil sold in the supermarket for EUR 2 per litre bottle when the price paid to producers by wholesale traders is EUR 2.35. Furthermore, we need transparency for consumers and clear information to guarantee quality against counterfeit products. Staying on the subject of extra virgin olive oil, we have asked, in a question that has received broad backing, for the level of alkyl esters and methyl esters to be reduced in order to prevent mixes of other oils, refined and deodorised, being added to oil sold as extra virgin. Placing these on the market contributes to driving down the price of high-quality oil.

Commissioner, I hope that in relation to these points and this request for an amendment to Regulation No 61/2011 to reduce the levels of alkyl esters and methyl esters, you will make a clear and precise commitment on behalf of the Commission to reduce the presence of these counterfeit oils in extra virgin oil on the market.

In addition, we must ensure that production costs are driven down. I welcome your openness, but I call for the idea to be endorsed in the next CAP of ensuring that renewable energy generation facilities be installed in every farm. These would be intended to provide for the energy requirements of the farm itself, reducing costs and CO2 emissions, and providing support to producers and small farms. What could be greener than a provision like this?

Commissioner, we must act quickly and take appropriate measures, because rural abandonment and soil desertification are no longer risks that need to be averted, but actual facts that need to be combated.

 
  
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  Karin Kadenbach (S&D). (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, if the proposals of the Bové report are implemented at the same speed as that at which Mr Silvestris made his speech, the future is bright.

I will start by discussing food prices. Over recent days, we have talked and talked about how a third of food in Europe finds its way, unused, into the rubbish. We have been discussing our failure to achieve the biodiversity targets. We have been talking about how we find ourselves in an energy crisis. We have been talking about the fact that many Europeans cannot afford food at the moment. We have also been talking – and quite rightly so – about how those who produce food can no longer make a living by doing so and how we can talk of a large-scale abandonment of farming in Europe.

What we have in its place is a concentration in production, in production facilities and, above all, in retail. If I take Austria as an example, we can see that 77% of the retail trade is in the hands of just three companies. What we do not want to see, on the other hand, is a concentration of this kind in agriculture. We want to retain the biodiversity here, too, in terms of types of business. We need these opportunities to produce healthy, safe, hygienically sound food.

There are suggestions in the Bové report, and the reform of the common agricultural policy provides further opportunities. Let us effect implementation at the same speed that Mr Silvestris spoke to the House today!

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I must mention the draft resolution being debated. In my view, the key elements in this draft are those which concern improving the farmers’ position in a better internal organisation. Providing support to producer organisations is the soundest way to enable producers to sell their produce under decent terms. At the same time, I do not believe that we need to be wary about legislating on the food supply chain relationship as long as future legislation is based on objective factors. It is not reasonable for us to continue to rely on self-regulation of this relationship between farmers and retailers, at least at the moment, as borne out by the experiences so far. Farmers need specific measures and cannot afford to idly wait to go bankrupt.

This is why I am advocating the adoption of paragraph 4 of the motion for a resolution in its entirety, which is extremely reasonable and even envisages that future legislative measures have to be adopted only if they are absolutely necessary, and that these measures must not distort the smooth operation of the markets.

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D).(PT) Mr President, it was a year ago in September that Parliament adopted the Bové report, following an in-depth debate in which I, as the individual in charge of this matter for the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, was heavily involved, promoting meetings and debates with European-, national- and regional-level retail, industrial and farming organisations. The report included an exhaustive series of recommendations to the European Commission with a view to a fair income for farmers and a better-functioning food supply chain.

In fact, since 2008, the Commission and Parliament have been producing communications, reports and recommendations, and establishing high-level forums and groups to solve this serious problem, without anything having changed in practice beyond increased awareness. We have returned to the subject and it needs to be said without hesitation that a significant proportion of the problems that farmers are experiencing result from the highly punitive behaviour imposed, above all, by modern retailers.

The problems have been more than identified. What has been lacking in the Commission and the Member States is a genuine political will to implement solutions. Until we have that, farmers and consumers will continue to suffer harm.

 
  
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  Esther de Lange (PPE). (NL) Mr President, this is not the first time we have discussed the highly lop-sided distribution of power and margins in the food production chain. If we are honest, the European Commission has been insulting this Parliament for many years by ignoring our demands. Yes, there is a high-level group, yes, there have been reports, but there have been no concrete initiatives. I am therefore happy with the Commissioner’s minor undertaking.

However, who is it that is suffering because of that lack of action? It is the primary producer. On that score, it is rather telling that we have the Commissioner for Industry here with us. I have heard him speak about industry, about processing and about the competition between companies. However, where does the greatest unfairness in the production chain lie? Right there, in the relationship between the farmer, the primary producer, and the rest of the chain. He has not said anything about that.

And to Mr Agnew, who finds this debate so important that he has already left the room, and all his colleagues from the British Conservative Party, who put the interests of the City of London, with its warped financial products, above the producers of their daily bread, I will tell you how the market really works. When a Dutch tomato producer, during the EHEC crisis, is confronted with a price drop of more than 50% – not through any fault of his own, but just as the result of silly remarks made by a German Minister – he is happy that at least he has a contract with a supermarket for a fixed and agreed price. What happens in reality, however, is that this supermarket – which by the way is German – then returns his tomatoes because it knows that in this crisis, it can force the producer to agree to a lower price.

This, Commissioner, is the way the market works at the moment, and if you had done your job, this would not be possible in a European internal market. This House talks about fair trade with third world countries, but fair trade starts at home, with a fair price for European producers. That is your job, Commissioner.

 
  
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  Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D).(RO) Mr President, we have been talking about the imbalances in the food chain for a long time. However, the situation has remained unchanged. Farmers continue to be the victims of illegal contracts and unfair competition. In my country, food producers need to pay a duty to be able to sell their products in supermarkets, not to mention an additional shelf charge to ensure their products a high profile in stores. In addition, farmers only receive a tiny percentage of the profits which the large stores make after selling this farm produce. In the overwhelming majority of cases, good-quality products from small and medium-sized farms find it very difficult to gain access to consumers as these producers cannot cope with the competition or the conditions imposed by supermarkets. In Romania, farmers are forced to throw away a good proportion of the fruit or vegetables they produce as they cannot gain any benefit from them under current market conditions.

I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Commission and Member States to provide farmers with a stronger negotiating position in the food chain, ensure that the competition rules in agriculture are observed, and encourage local markets.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Mr President, I share the commitment to a more balanced and fairer relationship in the food supply chain. I am grateful that Commissioner Tajani has laid down so well the policy adopted by this House with the retail market report, and that it is being implemented.

Progress is being made. Stakeholders who did not talk to each other before have agreed on the principle of good conduct. As we speak, they are sitting down and talking about implementing measures. That is not enough. We want more and we are putting pressure on them. However, just as the Commission is telling us that the process framed in the High-Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain would not work, they are ready to present legislation.

What is the point of this House voting today to ask to propose robust legislation? We are just running the risk of derailing our own process and undermining our own credibility. We are running the risk that the stakeholders whom we are asking to trust each other will say that, since the Parliament does not trust them, how can they be credible? Parliament has decided that the retail round table is the forum where progress will be assessed, based on data and facts. This will happen at the end of this year. Let us not undermine trust.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, Mr Tajani, ladies and gentlemen, this own-initiative report highlights how crucial the issue of the supply of inputs is for the competitiveness of European agriculture.

Over the last decade, European farmers have seen an intolerable increase in production costs, which is not adequately reflected in sales prices. European agricultural production still depends, to a large extent, on oil. Over the last decade, the price of oil has risen by 60%.

In order to address this challenge, the new CAP must increase the use of renewable energy by implementing self-sufficient energy production in farms, using agricultural waste and so forth to feed biomass and biogas plant. This will give us sustainable agriculture and a reduction in costs.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE). (SK) Mr President, the state should only intervene in market relationships when self-regulation fails. This also applies in the food sector. The supply of food to the European market has serious deficiencies that affect not only farmers, but also consumers. We also see, however, that the food sector is reacting to it. The affected parties, from farms to traders, are in a dialogue with the objective of defining unfair business practices. All participants assert that it is wrong and unfair to demand instruments such as standard contracts, payment and supply conditions and even payments for listing a product. They become unfair when they are used to abuse their market position. The self-regulation process is a dialogue between all stakeholders. For it to produce a result, we need a certain amount of time. And when you say that we have been patient for long enough, I reply that restraint in the resolution ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D). – Mr President, unless we take action to curb the increases in farm input prices, we run the risk of making it too expensive for our farmers – especially our smaller farmers – to operate. We cannot afford to price our farmers out of the market. Any such reduction in agricultural holdings would simply increase our dependency on external markets. This would be negative for Europe both in terms of the value of agriculture to the EU and in terms of the quality and safety of the food available to consumers.

The agri-food industry and distribution represent 7% of total employment within the EU, and are worth EUR 1 200 billion per year – more than any other manufacturing sector in the EU. There is the further problem that food produced in third countries may not be of the same quality, and may not adhere to the same standards and rigorous health and safety provisions, as food which is produced within the EU. Given the importance of the agri-food industry to Europe, it is therefore vital that we protect farmers and thoroughly examine the issue of increasing farm output prices.

 
  
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  Riikka Manner (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, Commissioner, this is something that has actually been discussed on many an occasion during this parliamentary term. If we now look at the results, what has happened? Of course, it is good that the matter is discussed, but I do hope that we will now really be able to get to grips with this problem, perhaps in connection with the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP).

It is clear that in many countries of the European Union, trade is very centralised and that has contributed to the disparities in farmers’ income formation and also put them in a bad light in these price negotiations. We must strengthen the position of farmers in talks, but also ensure that they enjoy a more stable income arrangement as a result.

Mr Bové’s report was also excellent. It is also evident that inputs have risen dramatically, and it should be possible for this to be reflected in prices. I hope that we will be able to address this issue in the context of the CAP reform.

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). – Mr President, if European farmers are to be competitive, even in their home markets, they must cut the cost of their inputs. Mr Bové was quite right to encourage farmers to cultivate their own seeds rather than relying on seed monopolies, and also to recycle phosphates and nitrogen rather than relying on ever more expensive purchases, and, of course, to return to the production of traditional products. He has also shown himself to be aware of the burden of the cost of complying with legislation – much of it, of course, EU legislation. He might have mentioned the costs of the new enriched poultry cages that have to be borne by countries complying with this very welcome legislation but not, of course, by those countries that have studiously ignored it.

The gap between farm gate prices and the prices paid by consumers has been mentioned by other speakers. The power of oligopsonist supermarkets must be broken. They treat farmers as though they were medieval serfs put on earth to serve big business retailers.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, I think everything that needs to be said has been said and said well by colleagues from across the floor here this morning. The stark reality is that inputs have risen by at least 40% and farm gate prices by probably, at the very most, 25%. This is not sustainable and it needs urgent action. Hopefully, it will come.

Certainly, the monopolies have to be tackled. Mr Smith and others have outlined instances of extraordinary monopolies that definitely must be tackled. Secondly, there are opportunities with energy efficiency and other measures whereby farmers can help themselves, but as Mr Stevenson pointed out, they have to be practical and not by people who are selling products that will not make much difference in the long term.

Finally, there are the multiples: these really have to be tackled at the earliest possible opportunity.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE). (DE) Mr President, my colleague was right: we need fair conditions between the market participants. It is precisely those fair conditions that we do not have. On the other hand, we do have a social market economy. In other words, politicians are obliged, where there is a will so to do, to intervene and regulate.

To do so, however, we would need a form of language that the market would understand. Poor prices for farmers must mean, quite simply, that we offer less in return. Then we have the problem of imbalance. Agriculture is made up of small actors – many operators – while the processing industry consists of medium-sized enterprises and the retail sector is highly concentrated. Put simply, things cannot work like that.

What we definitely need, in my view, is strong interest groups and trade associations for agriculture that could regulate the market. In addition, farmers need interest groups and market information. They must also be allowed to reach price agreements. Anti-trust law thus also needs to be amended in favour of our agricultural industry.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE).(RO) Mr President, agriculture is, and will remain, a strategic sector in the European Union’s economy. In order to tackle future challenges and ensure a degree of consistency with interventions carried out in a particular region, we must first of all establish close links between agricultural policy, rural development policy and regional policy. With regard to the uneven response by food prices to the fluctuations in commodity prices, I think that this is mainly linked to the number of intermediaries operating throughout the supply chain.

I am therefore in favour of adopting instruments which will be used to promote and support short supply chains and markets where farmers can sell their own produce directly. This will help establish a direct link between consumers and farmers in a particular region, enabling the latter to obtain a greater share of the value of the final price, while the general public will benefit from lower prices.

 
  
 

End of the catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the Commission.(ES) Mr President, following my first very long speech and this very long debate, and since we have not yet heard from Mr Bové, my closing speech will be quite short.

After this tribute to the President, I will speak in my language, Italian.

(IT) Mr President, honourable Members, I would like to make a few points concerning the issue of prices.

Regarding unfair commercial practices, the Commission is seeking to promote a consensual approach between the parties, and let me say again that this approach corresponds to the principle of good legislation that we have already welcomed thanks to this Parliament’s work on the Corazza Bildt report. I believe that we achieved good concrete results in this area in 2011.

The Commission and the high-level forum on the agri-food industry, as I have said, will need to analyse the possible instruments for applying the guidelines contained in the document that you will receive. The sector’s representatives have committed to participating in a further phase of dialogue to draw up a proposal by mid-2012. As I have said, the Commission will have to decide whether to continue with efforts to find a solution based on dialogue or to take action through legislation.

Of course, the dialogue needs to be completed swiftly, and cannot be postponed indefinitely. That is why, if there is no reasonableness or a genuine wish to conclude the dialogue, we will be forced to take action. There will be no option, even though I always prefer an agreement rather than to take action through legislation.

Late payment is another essential measure. I have said how strong my commitment is to ensuring that the directive on late payments be adopted swiftly, before the deadline set, which is the end of March 2013. I would like to say again that I have written to all the EU ministers of industry. Let me remind you that the directive sets deadlines not only between public authorities and enterprises, but also between large enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises, unless there are agreements between the parties, provided that these agreements are not harmful to the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises. I believe that this directive, which forms an important part of the ‘Small Business Act’, can truly provide a response to the problems of small entrepreneurs in the agri-food industry.

Next, to respond to your question on the need to move forward with an appropriate analysis of food prices in the EU, with a view to monitoring compliance with transparency, I would like to remind you of the important work done by Eurostat, the Commission’s statistical service, on the European food prices monitoring tool. This tool is based on the vital cooperation between Eurostat and the national statistical institutes within a specific working group in the high-level forum on the agri-food industry.

The Commission is also working together with the other international organisations working on similar issues, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. However, because of the diversity of Europe’s food markets and the complexity of the factors influencing the prices paid by consumers, a detailed Europe-wide analysis of prices and margins is not realistic.

This needs to be accomplished at national level, as is already happening in some Member States. That is why, through the forum that I have set up, we are trying to develop synergies between national price monitoring bodies, exchanging ideas and proposals, for instance, on the methodologies used.

With regard to the issue of competition, which was at the heart of several speeches during the debate, the Commission has put forward legislative proposals to improve the transparency of markets based on raw materials, including agricultural commodities. Specifically, these proposals concern over-the-counter derivatives, markets in financial instruments and market abuse, as I have said, and as you well know, these proposals are at the heart of the debate in Parliament.

There is one thing that I would like to ask Parliament. The proposals on derivatives, markets in financial instruments and market abuse are currently at the codecision stage. I believe that this House could give a positive response and could play a role of great importance.

I was speaking about competition. The Directorate-General is working closely with the national authorities within the European competition network. These authorities are able to examine and impose penalties on anti-competitive activities in their national markets and, during recent years, many national authorities have carried out thorough investigations in the agriculture and food sector.

That has made it possible to adopt significant penalty measures, many of which have related to abuse affecting farmers. The Commission will, however, soon publish a report on this subject and the European Parliament will, of course, be informed of it.

 
  
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  José Bové, rapporteur. (FR) Mr President, Commissioner, I think that Mr Tajani will have noticed that when it comes to agriculture, the European Parliament speaks with one voice. I believe that that is very important.

The fact that today, alongside my report on inputs, my colleagues wanted to raise once again, in a resolution, the issue of the food chain and the fact that farmers are not taken into account and still suffer at the hands of the processing and distribution industries, at a time when we are discussing inputs, shows that since September 2010, when we adopted the report on the food chain, things have not progressed quickly enough. This is indeed a fundamental issue that we are examining today, and that fundamental issue is that farmers are being strangled – as I said earlier – between the upstream and downstream parts of the chain.

Today, farmers have less and less autonomy when making choices – production choices, choices concerning their farming model – because they are completely stuck. What we now want to see is farmers being returned to the heart of the European agricultural policy, through the CAP, but also through very clear rules regarding the economic aspects, protection for farmers in relation to the distribution sector and their capacity to negotiate with the processing industry. I believe that such an agreement is crucial.

Today, you will have seen that we have spoken with a single voice, regardless of our political group. Today, as far as we are concerned, agriculture is a priority. It is the EU’s largest integrated policy, as I said before. It is essential to ensure that, when resolving the crises, support for farmers is at the forefront of our mind, because when we talk about agriculture, we are talking about how to feed 500 million Europeans. If we cannot feed our fellow citizens, Europe will cease to make sense.

 
  
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  President. – I have received six motions for resolutions(1)tabled in accordance with Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place today at 12.00.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Robert Dušek (S&D), in writing. – (CS) Agriculture is facing an ever more complex situation. While the purchase costs of agricultural inputs such as energy, machinery, feed mixtures, fertilisers, pesticides, seed or water are rising sharply, farmers’ profits are stagnating. Agricultural activities consume large amounts of energy. Farmers are trying to maximise energy savings by insulating agricultural buildings, using alternative energy sources and so on. In view of the strategic position of agriculture for Europe, producing safe food and providing independent sustenance for the European population, I would like to ask the Commission and the Council to consider the options for setting maximum energy prices for primary agricultural production. The second financially burdensome input factor is the cost of fertilisers and soil improvers. There is room for improvement here on the part of farmers. Farmers have become accustomed to using large quantities of fertilisers. Restricting the massive use of chemicals will benefit soil ecosystems and help natural renewal. I would therefore like to urge greater use of natural fertilisers and the natural products that already exist in agriculture as by-products. I would also like to emphasise support for organic farming. The third fundamental problem for farmers is the rapidly rising cost of seed and planting stock. This worrying situation is caused by the massive purchasing of certified seed and the modest use of farm-saved seed. At the same time, farm-saved seed is economically advantageous and benefits the environment. I would like to call for the revision of all regulations restricting farmers in the use of their own seed.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – The widening gap between input and production costs and farm gate prices is not economically viable; for the younger generation, farming is not a viable option. Only 7% of Irish farmers are under 35 years old. We now have a world population of 7 billion; by 2027, it is projected that the world population will reach 8 billion and by 2046, 9 billion! This means that a decreasing number of farmers will have to double food production, while also battling climate change and maintaining food standards. The total input costs for EU farmers climbed by 40% between 2000 and 2010, while farm gate prices have increased by only 25%. Farmers are living on their overdrafts or savings and that cannot continue. We need to ensure that farming is a real career choice for our young people.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Ever increasing production and agricultural input costs in conjunction with only marginally increasing farm gate prices have resulted in a drop in income for farmers. Statistics explicitly point to the increase in the prices of animal feed, seeds, fertilisers and plant protection products. At this point, I would like to emphasise the significance of energy. According to Eurostat, the price of energy, including electricity, gas and fuel, has increased by approximately 60% over the last 10 years. The construction of biogas plants and infrastructure that use wind, solar and geothermal energy undoubtedly involves significant expense. However, in the long term, this expense is certainly beneficial, as it increases income and has a positive impact on environmental protection.

Practices aimed at saving energy and increasing energy efficiency must be encouraged and implemented in all holdings at local levels, either individually or through cooperation between neighbouring farmers. Moreover, engaging in cooperation aimed at better resource management and good farming practices will increase the bargaining power and market stability of farmers, which will, in turn, translate directly into higher incomes. Collaboration with research centres, reduction in protein deficit, systems for monitoring land prices and access to land are, of course, the remaining challenges, which must be tackled by the future common agricultural policy.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) Since the end of the 1990s, the price of foodstuffs has risen by an average of 3.3% per year, yet the price actually received by farmers has only risen by 2.1%. Add to this the increase in operating costs for farms, which average 3.6% per year. The imbalance is aggravated further by the speculation on agricultural commodities. This situation, which affects both farmers and consumers, cannot continue. We must protect both producers and consumers by ensuring that the large-scale distribution sector does not take the lion’s share. I voted in favour of this resolution because it is our duty to bring stability to the European food chain and, with that in mind, to ensure a balanced distribution of profits as soon as possible.

 
  

(1) See Minutes


4. Space strategy for the European Union (short presentation)
Video of the speeches
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  President. – The next item is the report by Aldo Patriciello, on behalf of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, on a space strategy for the European Union that benefits its citizens (2011/2148(INI)) (A7-0431/2011).

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello, rapporteur.(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, space has now become a pressing topic. This is demonstrated by the acute media interest in the launch of the first two Galileo satellites, which were launched on 21 October 2011 from the European base of Kourou, representing the first step in achieving European Union independence in satellite navigation.

The achievement of this ambitious goal is, in large part, due to the impetus provided by Article 189 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which clearly and unequivocally gives the European Union responsibility for coordinating and consolidating national space policies and programmes through a joint approach in order to promote scientific and technical progress and industrial competitiveness.

This aim, laid down by the Treaty, recognises the importance of space and the services it generates for EU citizens in social, economic and strategic spheres, considering it essential to enable the European Union to compete on the world stage with its competitors. The treaty therefore provides an authoritative basis designed to achieve ambitious goals. The European institutions must allocate suitable resources and legislative instruments to do so.

On this point, I have had the honour of working over recent months within the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy on drawing up the draft report on a space strategy for the European Union that benefits its citizens. I hope that the final version of the text will accurately reflect the ambitious proposals that we have tried to include in the report.

I refer, above all, to the different way in which the two strategic programmes in European space policy, Galileo and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), have been treated. While firmly endorsing the emphasis that the Commission has thus far placed on Galileo, one of the pillars of European space policy, I believe that, in light of the investments made so far, amounting to as much as EUR 3.5 billion, and the strategic importance of the programme, GMES deserves equal treatment in both economic and strategic terms.

I am convinced that only by developing both programmes in synergy will it be possible to ensure that our continent achieves technological and political independence, providing huge economic and social benefits to European citizens. That is why, in the report approved by the Committee on Industry, which we are to vote on shortly, I expressed my deep regret about the Commission’s decision not to include funding for GMES in the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020, in the knowledge that the lack of a financing plan providing economic support could mean that the significant investment made to date has been fruitless.

Another important aspect to clarify is the strategy that the Commission decides to adopt on the management aspects of the Galileo and GMES programmes with a view to streamlining the organisational structure and having a precise framework for maintenance costs.

We have also attempted to highlight, in the report, the need for Europe to ensure that it is independent with regard to access to space, and for commercial agreements concluded with third countries to be based on completely reciprocal relations, avoiding dependence on suppliers outside Europe in relation to certain key technologies such as launchers. The latter, together with the creation of a European space situational awareness system and the strengthening of research, are key elements in an ambitious text which we hope will give the answers that European citizens are waiting for.

In order to be far-sighted, European space policy cannot ignore support for industry. At a time like the present, when there is a deep economic crisis, it seems more vital than ever for the EU to provide economic support to the space industry with a view to maintaining our continent’s competitiveness within an increasingly competitive global system.

Only if we provide European industry with real, tangible prospects will we be able to demand that industry invest in human resources and complex long-term technologies. Only if European industry maintains its leadership in space know-how will our continent be able to remain a leader in this crucial sector.

As rapporteur on European space policy, this is direction that I have attempted to take. I hope that a convincing vote by Parliament will give force to a text which, in line with Article 189 of the new Treaty, provides for scientific and technological development in a sector whose sustainable growth is essential for the EU.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Artur Zasada (PPE).(PL) Mr President, very often, we do not realise that space activity as well as space services and products are key to the economic growth and development of our societies. In my opinion, the aviation sector will be the biggest beneficiary of space technology. The Galileo and EGNOS programmes play a fundamental role in the creation of a Single European Sky, as well as in the further development of safe air traffic management in Europe.

I am also convinced that space technology will contribute to an increase in the safety of road and sea transport, first and foremost in the context of road traffic management, road-use fee collection systems, eCall and real time tracking systems.

Finally, I would like to make a short comment. The seven Space Councils to date have made only one reference to transport issues. Consequently, I would like to appeal to its members to display greater interest in this matter during …

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D).(RO) Mr President, the European Union needs to invest to ensure guaranteed European access to space and orbital infrastructures. I should emphasise the importance of stepping up industrial cooperation with third countries in the field of space policy, especially with the United States, Japan, Russia, China, India, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, as well as with the countries of Africa and the Middle East. I should stress the importance of a research and innovation strategy for space policy, ensuring technological progress, industrial development and the EU’s competitiveness, and creating jobs across the EU. We call on the Commission to support small and medium-sized enterprises in obtaining easier access to European funding earmarked for innovation in the area of GNSS applications and services, particularly based on the Framework Programmes of Research. The EGNOS system should cover the whole of the EU, with a view to consolidating the common market. I should emphasise the need to expand this system in southern, eastern and south-eastern Europe.

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). (SK) Mr President, the activities of the European Union relating to the exploitation of space focus primarily on the Galileo projects and the European Earth monitoring programme.

In the near future, we can expect that the Galileo programme, in particular, will start to provide its first, initial services to the European public. As of 2014, for example, testing of the Safety-of-Life Service of this system should be launched. Given that the system is being built to be interoperable with both operating systems, GPS and Lonas, it will also be possible for it to participate in international cooperation relating to global navigation system programmes. In view of the fact that services in the area of space are growing rapidly and that the Galileo system provides certain advantages compared to competing systems, it may be expected that it will bring corresponding social and economic benefits in the near future. The Commission, however, must still answer the question of the further operation and financing of the European Earth monitoring programme after 2014, which has yet to be resolved. I therefore expect that our ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). – Mr President, political states that want to demonstrate that they have come of age plan achievements that are both monumental and symbolic. Spain achieved unity under Christian rulers in 1492, and within a year sent Christopher Columbus on a historic quest to discover a western route to the East and, of course, discovered the New World, the existence of which Donald Rumsfeld – had he been around – might have said we did not know that we did not know about.

The Commission is quite right to point out that great enterprises bring in their wake consequential benefits: new products, new knowledge, riches and inspiration for innovation, as well as a few detriments, of course. However, the real motivation is to confer authority and legitimacy on a political entity that might otherwise falter.

In the words of the Commission, ‘space serves to cement the EU’s position as a major player on the international stage and contributes to the Union’s economic and political independence’. For the EU’s independence, read our slavery.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE).(RO) Mr President, within the Subcommittee on Security and Defence, we have very intense discussions about space strategy, especially in relation to security and defence policy.

The European Union should be at the forefront of the space industry, playing a global strategic role.

In order to achieve this, I feel that the following points are absolutely crucial:

- firstly, stepping up industrial cooperation with third countries too in the field of space policy. We need the United States, as well as Japan, China, India and other countries which are strong and play a particularly important role in this area;

- we then need to attract a larger amount of private sector capital for GMES, the European Earth monitoring programme. This is a measure that has failed so far;

- last but not least, we need to continue the investments in completing the Galileo system. We would be making a mistake to abandon right now this system which we have started and which promises to be a great success.

 
  
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  Vittorio Prodi (S&D).(IT) Mr President, Mr Tajani, ladies and gentlemen, these are truly European items of infrastructure that are vital for implementing European policies.

Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) is specifically for security, the environment and the management of mitigation policies, of global warming and the review of extreme meteorological events. It must be included in the European Union’s multiannual budget. If that is not possible, this may be the time to make use of project bonds, which also have an anti-recession function. I am convinced that this is an investment in our future and that it will pay dividends in a very few years’ time. Commissioner, let us go forward along this path.

 
  
 

End of the catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the Commission. (IT) Mr President, honourable Members, I believe that space policy is a priority in my mandate as a Commissioner, both as regards the services that can be provided and which are already beginning to be provided to the EU’s citizens, and because I believe that the sector of industry and enterprises – since there are thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises operating in this sector – is at the heart of what we call the third industrial revolution. What I mean by that is industrial policy of a kind that can enable Europe to focus its growth and development on the internal market and, therefore, the real economy.

Concrete results have been obtained. I thank Mr Patriciello for the work that he has done together with his fellow Members and I thank Parliament as a whole, as well as Mr Prodi, for his strong support for the Commission’s policy. We are in perfect harmony when we call for a truly competitive space policy for the European Union.

As I was saying, significant results have been achieved in recent months. The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is beginning to be operational. In October, we launched Galileo’s first two operational satellites from Kourou in French Guiana. On the day of the launch itself, I started the procedure for the purchase of eight new satellites and, on 1 February, I will announce the results of the procurement procedure for the purchase of further Galileo satellites. So, this timescale and adherence to the forecasts have made it possible to save approximately EUR 500 million as compared with the forecasts made at the beginning of 2011 to the interinstitutional group and to this Parliament in the document on space policy that we presented.

Galileo is progressing, and it is my intention to make Galileo’s services operational by the end of 2014 and to have the full system with 30 satellites, seeking to save as much money as possible and adhering to the deadline of the end of 2020.

Mr President, honourable Members, we provide for investments of approximately EUR 7 billion for the implementation of Galileo in the proposed financial forecasts that we have presented to Parliament and the Council. That is for implementation; approximately EUR 1 billion or so is for the launch of all the satellites and the rest is for maintenance and the full implementation of services, bearing in mind that the saving, once Galileo becomes operational, will be approximately EUR 90 billion.

I have also received Mr Patriciello’s message concerning Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). The Commission has adopted a communication, has made a proposal, and we believe that GMES should go forward. However, we have proposed setting up an ad hoc financing fund outside the EU budget, but within the EU. This would be a special agreement between the 27 Member States.

I also addressed this issue at the most recent Space Council, and I have spoken about it to the Competitiveness Council. Why have we made this proposal? It is because we know the situation of the budget. The European Commission and Parliament wished to see more ambitious choices by the Member States concerning the budget but, unfortunately, the response was not what we were expecting or hoping for.

The outcome reached unfortunately means that we cannot include all the actions that we want to implement between 2014 and 2020 within the EU’s budget. That is why, in addition to being convinced of the importance of GMES as part of a European space policy, GMES, let me remind you, also enables us to strengthen our international connections.

I have been through the signing of some agreements with countries in Latin America regarding space policy. During the Belgian Presidency, we did a lot of work with the African Union and we are continuing to do so on space policy, on GMES, and on observation of the earth.

However, as things stand, there are problems linked to the budget. That is the starting point for the Commission’s choice. I must say that we believe so much in European space policy that in the financial framework, we have decided, from the large package of EUR 80 billion earmarked for research and innovation, to invest a significant amount in research and development in the space sector. This is therefore an added value that we wish to give to space policy as a whole.

We need your support for this strategy and it seems to me that the speeches which followed Mr Patriciello’s report are indeed all supportive. I believe that cooperation between the European Parliament and the Commission on space policy in the weeks, months and years ahead will continue to be strong and I believe that we will all be able to focus on the same objectives.

 
  
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  President. – That concludes this item.

The vote will take place today at 12.00.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing.(PT) The purpose of European space policy is to improve the daily lives of the European public, foster potential for innovation, support scientific progress and create qualified jobs. That is why it plays an important role in the Europe 2020 strategy. It is currently facing challenges: implementing the flagship policies, cooperating and competing internationally, and boosting the present economic importance of services provided in the field of radionavigation. To this end, it is important to make full use of the potential of EU territory and of investments already made.

As such, I should like to stress the usefulness of the satellite station on Santa Maria Island in the Azores, whose activities relate to monitoring the oceans and space missions, like Galileo. The EU should be aware of the Azores’ location in the middle of the Atlantic and how this can be best exploited, in particular, by giving them new importance. I would also highlight the usefulness of creating space clusters. These not only contribute to the EU objectives that I have mentioned, but also to promotion of the local economy through the recruitment of highly qualified personnel, or through the necessary partnerships with local business, as has been happening in the Azores. This is another opportunity for stimulating indicators of convergence with the EU, particularly in the outermost regions.

 
  
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  Jiří Havel (S&D), in writing.(CS) The European Space Programme, with the Galileo satellite navigation project at its head, has achieved some remarkable successes in the past year. The same applies to the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme, which monitors climate change and security threats. Among the most significant successes are, above all, sending two satellites into space as part of the Galileo programme. At the same time, it is far from being just an expensive scientific whim. Both projects are of practical use in a range of areas, such as agriculture, transport, environmental protection and, of course, national security. What is more, the services linked to these programmes have enormous economic potential and create new jobs. The European space industry alone had a turnover of EUR 5.4 billion last year, employing 31 000 workers. The space programme, however, just like other research programmes, is threatened with budget cuts. In restricting these projects, the EU would surrender many opportunities for economic growth, particularly in the future, and I would therefore like to support adequate funding of the space programme in the multiannual financial framework.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) The European space strategy must serve both the economy and basic research. That is why it is crucially important that, in addition to the grand implementation of flagship projects such as Galileo, we invest adequately in basic research as, beyond dispute, it is a major investment in the future.

From the point of view of Europe’s values and prestige, it is not appropriate to become a freeloader with regard to science. Space research is the privilege to discover the universe that mankind inhabits, and one that might even be regarded as his responsibility and, here, Europe must set an example. Obviously, however, the money invested in research must correlate with the added value that research brings to science. This being the case, the cost-effectiveness of projects should be borne in mind, in addition to which there needs to be agreement with other noteworthy agencies and actors on international collaboration and division of labour.

The importance, in terms of security policy, of an independent navigation satellite system cannot be exaggerated. It is vitally important for the border guard, the military, crisis management troops and disaster relief personnel to be in possession of the details of their position, regardless of the global policy situation. However, GPS cooperation with NATO and, in particular, the United States must continue in a positive spirit, with the options for a partial coordination of systems being kept open. Europe is excellently qualified for space research, having educated people, a launching site close to the equator, and a strong values base. It only lacks, as in many other respects, the courage and drive to hold the position it deserves in the global context.

 

5. Avoiding food wastage (short presentation)
Video of the speeches
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  President. – The next item is the report by Salvatore Caronna, on behalf of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, on how to avoid food wastage: strategies for a more efficient food chain in the EU (2011/2175(INI)) (A7-0430/2011).

I should like to tell you, Mr Caronna, that this morning, the television news, in my country at least, was reporting extensively on the item that we are going to discuss today and I am sure that that was the case in other European countries as well. We are therefore dealing with a subject which has generated interest amongst the public, something that our debates rarely achieve.

 
  
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  Salvatore Caronna , rapporteur.(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, first, I would like to thank the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for their cooperation during the drafting of this report.

This fruitful collaboration meant that we were able, swiftly and almost unanimously, to approve a text on an issue, that of the waste of food, which has, for too long, been underestimated by the institutions and by policy. We can no longer permit ourselves to underestimate it.

All the most authoritative specialist sources now say that one of the main problems in the immediate future will be to tackle the new and extremely high demand for food and that therefore, the issue of food security has become one of the most difficult problems to tackle because, in the future, the demand for food will tend to exceed supply. If this is true, we can no longer allow ourselves to remain passive in the face of food waste. When we talk of food, we are talking of food that is still perfectly edible, and so this issue has become a large-scale problem which is no longer sustainable.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that a third of food produced every year in the world that is intended for human consumption is wasted, and in Europe, the figure is already 50%, with every citizen on average wasting 105 kilograms per year. We have reached such a level, in fact, that we have to say that we are faced not only with an ethical problem, but with a real economic and social issue, with enormous implications for the environment.

That is why, through this report, we want combating food waste to become a priority on the European Union’s policy agenda. We are therefore asking for the Commission to lead the 27 Member States in adopting a common strategy that can foster a real step change to reduce food waste significantly by 2025.

We therefore ask that all the associations, volunteer groups and initiative-taking centres that have produced specific projects in this area in various countries should be turned to good account. These experiences have generated a virtuous system which has guaranteed significant recovery of products to be sent to those sections of the population that are experiencing financial difficulties.

I would like to remind you that in Europe, wealthy Europe, nearly 70 million citizens live under the poverty threshold and suffer from malnutrition. We are therefore asking for precise directives from the Commission.

Specifically, it would be important to amend the regulations on public procurement for catering services in canteens and hospitals so that, when they are being considered, priority is given, other terms being equal, to those enterprises that have a management model established on combating food waste. On this aspect, I would like to point out that the important fact is that the first to set an example should be the European institutions, starting with this Parliament.

Finally, we are calling for all stakeholders in the agri-food industry to take responsibility. A real awareness-raising campaign needs to be conducted, targeted firstly at the large farmers’ organisations, the world of industry, schools and universities, which can produce a civil and scientific culture oriented towards a more restrained and environmentally sustainable model of consumption.

With this report, the European Parliament has done its part. Now we hope that the Commission will address this work by putting an effective strategy in train. Above all, we hope that swift action will be taken to declare 2014 the European Year against Food Waste; this would be a tangible sign of the institution’s true, strong and immediate commitment in this area.

This would give an immediate signal to all citizens that the European Union is able to be at the forefront in establishing a fairer and balanced development model.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we cannot allow food waste to increase any more, and we must combat it with special instruments, as well as through a culture designed to illustrate its economic, environmental and social effects.

In the last 30 years, food waste has grown by 50%, with consequences that are not only ethical but also economic, environmental, social, nutritional and health-related. It does not seem ethically sustainable that, in the face of the 70 million people, approximately, living in Europe under the poverty threshold, tonnes of food which is still edible are being thrown into the rubbish bin, or that the materials used for the production and packaging of this food are not being sorted as much as possible.

This waste, therefore, entails high economic and social costs. The proposals by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development cover spheres which, from packaging to more detailed information on the expiry date, are aimed at helping citizens to avoid waste and to reuse products.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D).(RO) Mr President, annual food waste generation in the 27 Member States is estimated at roughly 179 kilograms per capita. However, 79 million people in the European Union live below the poverty line, and 16 million of them have received food aid from charitable institutions.

Food security is a basic human right that is achieved through the availability, accessibility and temporal stability of healthy, sufficient, adequate and nutritious food. The issue of food waste should be addressed from the standpoint of resource efficiency. We call on the Commission to launch specific initiatives targeting food waste under the Resource-Efficient Europe initiative in order to ensure that the same attention is focused on this and that awareness is also raised about energy efficiency, since both are equally important for the environment and …

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Janusz Wojciechowski (ECR).(PL) Mr President, food wastage is a very important problem and it is a good thing that the European Parliament is dealing with this issue, especially in the context of dramatic forecasts relating to food availability in the coming decades, and the enormous increase in demand for food. The wastage problem is closely related to what we have been discussing about an hour ago, namely, the trade concentration; the fact that the greater part of the food product trade is being taken over by large retail chains. This obviously results in increased food wastage, if only for the fact that, as a rule, more food is purchased in a supermarket than in a small local shop. Therefore, this matter is particularly important. While considering food wastage, we should not forget about land wastage. The food crisis also stems from the fact that ever increasing amounts of land are being excluded from agricultural production. This is a very dangerous process.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). (SK) Mr President, I consider the 90%, up to 115 kg, of food wasted per capita per year to be a sufficiently compelling reason for food waste to become a political priority. Continuing the present rate of waste in the agricultural food chain is not only unsustainable in the long term and irresponsible towards the poorest sections of the population, but also has negative effects on the environment and causes large losses for business and the economy. The rationalisation of production, storage, processing and subsequent distribution and consumption, in which the EU annually loses up to 50% of healthy, usable and edible food, therefore requires a comprehensive European strategy to be drawn up. Surely the 70 million Europeans who live below the poverty line ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). – Mr President, I compliment the rapporteur for his work on this report. It seems to me that it would be an excellent idea to focus our attention on this issue and the year dedicated to it – we proposed 2014. This would be quite sensible. It is also an election year and it is a very practical issue that we can talk about with our citizens. This is not simply about the food we throw out at home: there is huge waste in this institution, I dare say, in hospitals, in public places and right through the food chain.

The debate in this Chamber this morning feeds into, if I can use that phrase, our earlier debate about the entire food supply chain. If we can reduce food waste, we will have a more efficient and more sustainable supply chain, which is vital.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D). – Mr President, the world population reached seven billion last year and it is expected to reach more than nine billion by 2050. Because of this, it is vital that we consider the issue of food security and of ensuring that we can produce enough food to feed our growing populations. In focusing on producing enough food for people, we must also look at how we use the food we produce and, to that end, we must also focus on food waste.

Food waste happens at all points of the food chain – at the level of production, at the point of sale and at the point of consumption. However, the points at which food waste typically occurs differ depending on the country. In industrialised countries, most waste is concentrated at the final stages, in distribution and consumption.

In Ireland, it is estimated that up to a third of the food we buy ends up in the bin, potentially costing families more than EUR 1 000 per year. The website stopfoodwaste.ie was set up under the National Waste Prevention Programme to educate people about the issue and to promote awareness of measures to prevent food waste.

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, saving food also means saving water, energy and labour costs. Last but not least, it is a good solution to the problem of the lack of land, which has been much discussed of late.

We should not forget that Europe is much more dependent on land beyond its borders for its food than any other region in the world, using 640 million hectares every year, which is equivalent to one and a half times the area of its own land. Almost 60% of the land used to meet Europe’s needs is actually located in other parts of the world, with an area 10 times bigger than Germany’s, for instance. This again raises the question about what we should do: do we use more land, look for more land elsewhere or use the available resources as efficiently as possible?

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in addition to thanking Mr Caronna for presenting this issue not only in terms of the implications of the social scandal, but also in terms of the potential opportunities linked to combating waste, I would like to address Mr Tajani in his role as Vice-President of the Commission to stress what is the fundamental point for us, in strategic terms.

How can the Commission contribute to combating waste? It can do so by precisely defining where the expenditure headings for this strategy are allocated. The issue of whether this should be focused within the organisation of social expenditure or should go back to the management and use of the Agriculture Directorate-General’s sector has remained unresolved. This remains a key point because the Directorate-General that has the tradition and the skills to allow the agri-food industry and citizens’ associations and other stakeholders ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE).(SK) Mr President, at a time of crisis and economising, the fact cannot be ignored that up to half of the food produced becomes waste before it reaches the consumer. I would like to thank the rapporteur for opening this topic on the floor of Parliament. Some of the blame for the current situation must be borne by legislation. The obligation of producers to state a best before date and expiry date results in 18% of food ending up as waste simply because people do not consider it to be safe. In some countries, the law does not permit the prices of products to be reduced below cost price, even on their expiry date. This must change. It is a pity that the report does not mention food banks. These non-profit organisations try to replace the wastage of food with its distribution to those who need it the most. We throw food into the bin while the European Union pays for food aid. Let us support the food banks instead.

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE).(SV) Mr President, we currently throw away a quarter of the food that we take home in our shopping bags in Sweden. That is morally unacceptable and it is also unacceptable from the point of view of the environment and the economy. All of us can do something about this in our kitchens, our homes and when we buy food.

Our role is to highlight the debate, raise awareness and disseminate accurate information. The Commission must provide clarification with regard to date labelling. The ‘best before’ date relates to quality, not safety. More labelling would instead confuse consumers. Lower temperatures in the supply chain for refrigerated foods would also increase durability. I have also been a driving force when it comes to getting the industry to take its share of the responsibility to a greater extent. They meet millions of people every day.

We need to return to the farming culture that entails us using our common sense, being careful with our food and reusing leftovers. Instead, we currently live in a plastic culture. I hope that together, we will be able to change that. That is a challenge.

 
  
 

End of the catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the Commission. (FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I see Mr Swoboda sitting in his seat. I want to wish him the very best in his new role. Of course, I also want to thank the rapporteur, Mr Caronna, and the members of the Committee on Agriculture, the Committee on the Environment and the Committee on the Internal Market for this report. I thank them, too, on behalf of Mr Cioloş, the Commissioner responsible for agricultural policy, who is in Dublin to present the common agricultural policy in Ireland.

Given its negative effects, especially for the environment and food safety, the issue of food waste is clearly receiving more and more attention. In this context, I must also mention the conference held in the European Parliament on 28 October 2010. What can we do at EU level? The Commission, which has already adopted a number of proposals, is currently drawing up additional proposals that will help to tackle the problem of food waste at various levels.

I have already mentioned the CAP reform, which focuses mainly on the production and processing stages of the food supply chain. The existing measures aimed at improving the sustainability of the agricultural sector, such as the agri-environmental measures, will be maintained. Additional measures will be introduced to respond to other recommendations in the report, such as the possibility of including in the rural development programmes thematic sub-programmes to support small holdings and promote the creation of short supply chains. The issue here is food miles.

The Commission is also in the process of developing a European Innovation Partnership on agricultural productivity and sustainability, which aims to promote sustainable agriculture that obtains better results with fewer resources. The high-level fora looking at ways of improving the functioning of the food supply chain, which we discussed this morning, are also examining ways of optimising food packaging and minimising food waste as far as possible.

The Commission uses platforms such as the EU Retail Forum for Sustainability, the European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production Round Table and an informal network of Member States to examine the issue of environmental sustainability.

Moreover, on 20 September, the Commission published a Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe, which aims to transform the European economy into a sustainable system by 2050. It states that food is one of the key sectors that could help us to achieve our goals in terms of efficient resource use. The road map thus lays down the ambitious target of halving edible food waste in the European Union by 2020 and reducing by 20% the food chain’s resource inputs by the same date. This issue appears in the report’s recommendations. The road map also calls for the preparation in 2013 of a communication on sustainable food in order to move this complex issue forward in a coherent and concrete manner. It recommends, too, that a methodology based on sustainability criteria be developed for key food commodities by 2014.

In paragraph 35 of your report, you ask the Commission and the Council to designate 2013 the ‘European Year against Food Waste’. My colleague, Commissioner Dalli, has examined this idea with your rapporteur because everyone is generally in agreement that we have to do something to combat food waste throughout the food chain. However, 2013 is too soon, firstly because in August, the Commission proposed designating 2013 the ‘European Year of Citizens’, and secondly because we need roughly two years to prepare fully all aspects of a European Year.

If we focus on 2014, which is what I took from this debate, it might be possible. I will forward your request to Mr Cioloş and Mr Dalli because I think that we could work together towards that goal.

I would like to thank all of you and the President for this debate, which is of great interest and great importance to us all.

 
  
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  President. – That concludes this item.

The vote will take place today at 12.00.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Louis Grech (S&D), in writing. – This report identifies the negative impact that food wastage has on the general population and, in particular, on people living near or below the poverty line. Food wastage occurs at each of the different stages of the food chain – most notably at the final stages of distribution and consumption. A change in practice, management and conduct at the various stages could both make industry more responsible and citizens more aware of this significant problem. We need a long-term action plan which will improve the entire supply chain and will focus on the ethical, economic, environmental, social, nutritional and health implications of food wastage in Europe and worldwide. Action needs to be taken at both national and European level to develop policies which will reduce waste while also improving food production practices in developing countries. The EU needs to address this salient issue in a spirit of cooperation, coordination and through the exchange of policy expertise to enable Europe to use food sustainably – from the moment of production to that of consumption.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE), in writing. (FI) It seems incredible that as much as 50% of the food in Europe goes to waste. At the same time, more than a billion people are starving in the world. Consumers must be able to purchase food in small packages. We also need to support locally sourced food, so that food does not spoil on its way to the shop. Locally sourced food benefits both the consumer and the producer. It is fresh, safe and produced in the consumer’s own country. It also boosts the viability of the local region. Locally sourced food is to be recommended.

 
  
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  Jaromír Kohlíček (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (CS) Food wastage, the poor health of the population and unused intellectual potential are only some of the manifestations of the current crisis. As far as food is concerned, humanity is now capable of producing enough food by non-traditional methods, from hydroponics to methods which do not resemble traditional animal and plant production at all. On the other hand, there are several billion people worldwide who make a living in the same way that countless past generations of their ancestors did, through primitive agriculture, with many of them routinely living on the brink of starvation. The world is full of irrational approaches, including the predominance of neoliberal economic schemes promoted by the most powerful countries in the world, but, at the same time, the world has a major problem with maintaining and improving the state of rural areas. The liquidation of food surpluses on the one hand, the effort towards at least slightly socially desirable steps, such as the programmes on consumption of fruit and milk products in schools, and, on the other hand, the possibility of making use – albeit not very rational use – of some types of plants for producing energy inputs shows that even a society as advanced as the EU has no recipe for solving these serious issues at present. Perhaps only a radical systemic change to the economic system across a major part of the world would bring a real solution. As this is not a realistic demand, we will at least support the declaration of 2013 as the European Year against Food Waste.

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), in writing. (SK) The world population is growing, resources are limited, and the poorest groups have inadequate access to food. On the other hand, perfectly usable food is being discarded all over the world: from losses during harvesting or storage, via transportation under conditions that are not particularly safe and errors during packaging, to the bad habits of consumers in the purchase and use of food products.

In the last 40 years, global food waste has increased by 50%.

The production of food that we do not eat results in high costs from energy and natural resources, especially water, and greenhouse gas emissions. The approximately 89 million tonnes of food thrown away in Europe produces 170 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Apart from the environmental damage caused by food production, the costs of processing and disposing of the waste should be taken into account.

Combating food waste must become a priority on Europe’s policy agenda. The Commission, Council and Member States must adopt specific measures aimed at halving the wastage of food by 2025.

We must inform citizens not only of the causes and effects of waste, but also about ways of reducing it.

 
  
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  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing.(IT) A study commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reveals that 1.3 billion tonnes of food for human consumption are wasted every year.

The study also shows that industrialised countries and developing countries waste approximately the same amount of food, 670 and 630 million tonnes respectively. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes). Fruits and vegetables have the highest wastage rates.

The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010). Education in schools and political initiatives are possible starting points for changing this behaviour, and could go so far as to also promote, together with other policies, the fight against metabolic diseases based on food.

What is needed is a collective realisation that reduces the commercial value of the appearance and quantity of food, bringing it closer to the real needs of each consumer. This is a difficult challenge, but the European Union can manage it, as it has succeeded in the past with policies with a very strong social impact, such as the ban on smoking in public places.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE), in writing. (FI) I am delighted that we in the EU are at last focusing more attention on a crucial area of food policy, which is to say, food wastage. The report before us summarises well the main problems relating to the issue. This is not just an ethical challenge: food wastage has obvious links to reforms in the agricultural sector, social justice and the issue of hunger. It goes without saying that it is a totally absurd situation where 30-50% of food, depending on the estimate, ends up as waste. Moreover, more and more often, it is waste that is not used in any way.

The proposal in the report now before us that we should halve food waste by 2025 is extremely important, and I give it my full support. However, while we are pondering ways to reduce both waste at different stages of production and consumer waste, we must bear in mind the bigger picture. Agricultural policy is food policy. When this report is adopted, I hope that together we can start to think about how we will judge overall what sort of food policy we are promoting, and what sort of follow-up mechanisms to employ. Cutting food waste will be central to this task. The report’s proposal that 2013 should be declared the European Year against Food Waste would provide us with an excellent opportunity to engage with a more sustainable food policy.

 
  
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  Pavel Poc (S&D), in writing. (CS) According to the Stockholm International Water Institute, almost half of the global harvest is lost ‘between the field and the fork’. The setting of concrete targets and the mandatory collection of food waste in households and catering outlets is, in my opinion, key to ending this waste. This requires the collection of sufficient data on the amount of waste produced in individual Member States, so that an effective statistical comparison can then be drawn. The Commission must not delay with new legislative proposals and must start collecting the necessary data as quickly as possible. Up to 50% of edible and safe food is thrown out in European households, supermarkets and restaurants every year, while 79 million EU citizens live below the poverty line and 16 million are dependent on food aid from charities. According to studies published by the Commission, food waste will increase by 40% by 2020, unless effective steps are taken. The fact that we fail to consume more than one third of the food we cultivate is a problem not just from an ethical perspective, but also from an environmental perspective. Every tonne of food waste represents the equivalent of 4.5 tonnes of CO2, the unnecessary consumption of water and energy, and the unnecessary use of agricultural land. If we planted trees everywhere where the crops that are never consumed are now cultivated, we would theoretically remove 100% of greenhouse emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

 
  
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  Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D), in writing.(RO) I would like to welcome Mr Caronna’s report against a background of increasingly heated debate about food security and sustainable agriculture. On a global scale, enough food is produced to meet food requirements. However, the problem lies in its unequal distribution and wastage. While people are dying of hunger in Africa, according to an FAO study in Europe, Europeans and North Americans waste between 95 and 115 kg of food per capita every year. I wish to take this opportunity to call on the Commission to promote public awareness campaigns about food wastage, and I urge both farmers and economic operators to take measures to prevent the wastage of agricultural produce in both the field and food chain.

 
  
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  Valdemar Tomaševski (ECR), in writing.(PL) Food wastage has reached such high levels that it may soon be recognised as a worldwide problem. Since the 1970s, it has increased by over 50% globally. Food is being wasted everywhere: from harvest time in the fields, throughout the processing industry and, finally and most significantly, in consumers’ homes. Europe and North America are the undisputed front-runners in this shameful competition. Annually, the inhabitants of these two continents waste up to 115 kilograms of food per capita. Within the European Union itself, this indicator is even higher. According to the European Commission’s statistical data, Europeans throw out 179 kilograms of food per capita, which annually amounts to approximately 89 million tonnes of permanently wasted food.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not overproduction that is the main cause of food wastage and – in the longer term – of hunger, but inadequate stock management and inappropriate marketing strategies aimed exclusively at maximising profit. It would appear however, that the factor that contributes most to the increase in waste is the placement of only one expiry date on labels, namely, the ‘best before’ date. Producers should be encouraged to place two pieces of information on labels. In other words, they should add a ‘use by’ date. The term ‘best before’ refers to the quality of the product, while the term ‘use by’ refers to its safety. This will help consumers make informed choices and, most importantly, prevent them from discarding food which is still edible.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing.(FR) Food waste is getting worse every year, while raw materials are becoming scarcer and malnutrition is spreading throughout Europe. Some 89 million tonnes of food are disposed of each year (179 kg/year/person), yet most of it is safe and edible. I think we need to examine the causes of waste in order to reduce this phenomenon. We need to raise public awareness though European and national campaigns and, more specifically, teach children about this issue in schools. A double expiry date, with separate ‘sell by’ and ‘use by’ dates, would, for example, prevent food from being wasted. Use of this double label must, however, be accompanied by information for the customers, who must understand what it means. In my opinion, the European Union should promote a spirit of solidarity in the catering and large-scale distribution sectors to encourage them to redistribute free of charge to food banks or disadvantaged persons any unsold food that is still edible. If we do not react urgently to this situation, the people of Europe will not understand!

 
  
  

(The sitting was suspended at 11.55 and resumed at 12.00)

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: GIANNI PITTELLA
Vice-President

 

6. Other business
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  President. – Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Mr Rübig has asked to take the floor for a point of order. Please proceed, Mr Rübig.

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE).(DE) Mr President, as chair of the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, I would like to congratulate Mr Steve Tolan – programme director for the Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust in Zambia – on being awarded the Sustainable Energy Prize by Parliament’s STOA Panel. He is here, seated in the gallery, and I would like to ask for a round of applause in his honour.

 
  
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  President. – Thank you, Mr Rübig. Of course, we join with you; the Presidency joins with the applause given by the Chamber as a whole. I will now give the floor to Mr Morganti.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD).(IT) Mr President, I would like to ask for a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the accident involving the Concordia cruise ship near the island of Giglio in Tuscany. To date, 11 victims of various nationalities have been confirmed, but the problem is that there are still 29 people missing and therefore, the final tally could be even more serious.

 
  
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  President. – Mr Morganti, the Presidency and the Chamber as a whole joins with your sentiments of extreme sadness and also incredulity at what has happened. I propose that we observe a minute’s silence.

(The House rose and observed a minute’s silence)

 
  
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  Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE). – Mr President, I tried to draw the attention of the President on Monday, and your attention now, to sending a vote of sympathy to the Irish Fishermen’s Organisation who lost five fishermen when their boat Tit Bonhomme foundered off the coast of Cork last weekend. Miraculously, there was one survivor, but unfortunately five perished, so perhaps you, and the Members, would associate a vote of sympathy on this with the previous one.

 
  
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  President. – Mr Gallagher, you were certainly right to stress this point, and we endorse it.

 

7. Approval of the minutes of the previous sitting: see Minutes
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8. Combating algal blooms (written declaration)
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  President. – Written declaration No 0041/2011 tabled by Alain Cadec and others on combating algal blooms has been signed by more than the majority of Parliament’s component Members. In accordance with Rule 123, it will be forwarded to its addressees and published in the Texts Adopted of the current sitting together with the names of the signatories.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE).(FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I have no doubt that the Commission will take into account this written declaration and thus ensure that this serious problem affecting our European coast is given consideration at Community level. We must draw up a European action plan to combat the proliferation of algal blooms, based on cooperation among the Member States.

I would like to thank all of the signatories who supported me and those who, in each case, put up with my persistence in the Chamber over four part-sessions, here in Strasbourg, where we are so content, ladies and gentlemen. I would particularly like to thank my colleagues who supported me in this cause: Mr Olejniczak, on behalf of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Mr Tremopoulos, on behalf of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, and Mr Zanoni, on behalf of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Thank you all, ladies and gentlemen.

(Applause)

 

9. Establishment of the Pact of Islands as an official European initiative (written declaration)
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  President. – Written declaration No 0037/2011 tabled by Spyros Danellis and others on the establishment of the Pact of Islands as an official European initiative has been signed by more than the majority of Parliament’s component Members. In accordance with Rule 123, it will be forwarded to its addressees and published in the Texts Adopted of the current sitting together with the names of the signatories.

 
  
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  Spyros Danellis (S&D) . – (EL) Mr President, it is optimistic of us to express our common will to strengthen cohesion, practical support for islands and the promotion of environmentally, socially and economically sustainable growth. My warmest thanks to my dear colleagues, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Giommaria Uggias, Kyriakos Mavronikolas and Alyn Smith, to all of you who signed our declaration, and to Inge and Alessandro for their help.

 
  
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  President. – Thanks to you, too. We will now move on to the vote.

 

10. Voting time
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  President. – The next item is the vote.

(For the results and other details on the vote: see Minutes)

 

10.1. Community Code on Visas (A7-0441/2011 - Louis Michel) (vote)

10.2. EU-Georgia agreement on protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs (A7-0450/2011 - Vital Moreira) (vote)

10.3. EU accession to Regulation No 29 of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (A7-0005/2012 - Vital Moreira) (vote)

10.4. Pedestrian safety and light emitting diodes (A7-0004/2012 - Vital Moreira) (vote)

10.5. EU-Indonesia agreement on certain aspects of air services (A7-0448/2011 - Brian Simpson) (vote)

10.6. Memorandum of Cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (A7-0391/2011 - Brian Simpson) (vote)

10.7. Appointments to committees (vote)

10.8. Waste electrical and electronic equipment (A7-0334/2011 - Karl-Heinz Florenz) (vote)

10.9. Placing on the market and use of biocidal products (A7-0336/2011 - Christa Klass) (vote)

10.10. Farm input supply chain (A7-0421/2011 - José Bové) (vote)
 

- After the vote:

 
  
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  José Bové, rapporteur. (FR) Mr President, now that this text has been adopted, I think that it is important to point out that a collective effort was made on the part of the entire Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and that, thanks to this collective effort, we shall be able to step up the pressure on the Commission and the Council to ensure that, finally, farmers in Europe are taken into consideration, both in terms of their costs and their income.

I should therefore like to thank this Assembly for that and to thank my fellow Members who helped me draw up this report, in particular, Mr Lorensen.

 

10.11. Imbalances in the food supply chain (B7-0006/2012) (vote)
 

- After the vote:

 
  
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  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Mr President, with regard to this joint resolution on imbalances in the food supply chain, I would like to invite our colleagues from the AGRI Committee to work better in the future with others in this House, in particular, with the members of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, because we share the same concerns. Rather than working in bureaucratic ways, we would like to join forces: it would help us to be more credible in the eyes of the outside world and to have more impact.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

 

10.12. Space strategy for the European Union (A7-0431/2011 - Aldo Patriciello) (vote)

10.13. Avoiding food wastage (A7-0430/2011 - Salvatore Caronna) (vote)
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  President. – The next item is the explanations of vote on the conclusions of the European Council.

 

11. Explanations of vote
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Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0003/2012

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, I have often felt that this Chamber is out of touch with reality, but observing its reaction to the recent downgrades, I began to feel that lack of touch was toppling into clinical neurosis.

We have seen the downgrading not only of our sovereign countries that make up the eurozone, but of the fund that is supposed to pay for all the bail-outs – and the reaction in this Chamber, as in the palaces and chanceries of Europe, is to try to turn off the volume, to stick fingers in ears, and to pretend that if the ratings agencies do not report what is happening, then there is not really a problem. We had Mr Brok claiming, in an interview in Die Welt, that it was all a wicked Anglo-Saxon plot against the euro, that the ratings agencies are not interested in making money, and that they are trying to drive the euro to destruction.

My friends, there is no alternative to tackling the underlying problem. You cannot improve the weather by turning down the weather forecast. As my countryman Louis MacNeice put it, ‘The glass is falling hour by hour, the glass will fall for ever,/ But if you break the bloody glass, you can’t hold up the weather’.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR). – Mr President, in relation to the conclusions of the Council last month, I just wish to make the point that we in this Chamber delude ourselves if we think that we are the only democratic voice in Europe. We talk a great deal about the Community method but, in fact, we have to understand that this intergovernmental treaty is signed by 26 democratic governments accountable to their peoples. My government chose not to participate. We do not think it is good for Britain, nor for the eurozone, but we wish the eurozone well as it tries to sort out its problems.

I have to say that the inclusion in our resolution of a reference to the financial transaction tax was entirely inappropriate. This is displacement activity. We should be talking about making Europe more competitive, not about adopting more taxes which actually harm growth within the European Union.

 
  
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  Lena Kolarska-Bobińska (PPE).(PL) Mr President, to explain the reasons for my vote, I would like to say that for many years in the not so distant past, we were discussing the Treaty of Lisbon. It also took us a long time to adopt it by means of various referendums, whereas now, instead of implementing the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, thanks to decisions taken by certain governments, mainly the governments of France and Germany, we are beginning to pull out of many provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. At a time of crisis therefore, the Union is now moving back by a few years and a few kilometres. This is very wrong; since instead of strengthening the policies and institutions of the Union, instead of cooperating, we are slowly beginning to dismantle the post-Lisbon order. We have to oppose this decisively.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, in voting against the resolution concerning the intergovernmental agreement, I am not voting against its content. I am voting against this Parliament taking a position on the agreement at all. This is not an EU Treaty and should therefore not be treated as one in this House.

The crisis in the eurozone is continuing and it seems that most of the solutions that have been put forward so far via complicated regulations and ever more complex financial structures have not calmed the markets. An intergovernmental agreement could be faster to agree and simpler for the markets to understand if it were necessary, but as the most important aspects of this treaty are already included in a ‘six-pack’ on economic governance, I do not see any value in Parliament wasting its time on this rehashed agreement.

If it takes an intergovernmental treaty for Member States to live up to these commitments already in secondary EU legislation, then why are we wasting time legislating in this House? If Member States do not trust each other to deliver on agreed legislation, how can investors begin to trust them?

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I fear the worst, and that once again, the EU is creating rules which no one has even any intention of obeying. This is the same sort of rule as when it was decided that Europe was the world’s most competitive area in 2010. I do not believe that the Member States will achieve a 0.5% deficit target. In my view, the most important thing at this stage would have been to establish a programme for achieving this, and, furthermore, there ought to have been more focus on growth and maintaining employment. The EU has not given any attention to how the tax havens can be abolished. How should taxes be collected in the Member States? Now we need real measures such as these.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). (FI) Mr President, I think that this position adopted by Parliament is highly important because it is among the European Parliament’s key principles that legislation is formulated, drafted and implemented in the context of the normal Community method, which guarantees transparency and the democratic process. If, for political reasons, we have arrived at a situation where the Member States are out of step with one another in principle, it is extremely important that we achieve implementation in the context of normal Community legislation. After all, we have legislation on the ‘six-pack’ and on the deficits now being discussed here in Parliament. In this way, we can implement what Member States want in the context of an entirely normal legislative procedure.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE).(SK) Mr President, I could not vote in favour of the joint resolution on the conclusion of the last session of the European Council. I do not agree to this Parliament denying Member States the right to agree among themselves, as equal partners, in addressing urgent economic issues. If Europe is to overcome the crisis successfully, the Member States must regain the trust of the financial markets. The only real way of regaining trust is to take responsibility. Seeking other means, such as borrowing money for ineffective national and European projects, is the type of thinking that led us into the crisis. It is a road to new public debts, a road to hell. I cannot therefore support a resolution that promotes the establishment of project bonds, the introduction of a financial transaction tax, and stabilisation bonds.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Karl-Heinz Florenz (A7-0334/2011)

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, I have been struck by the tone of a lot of the remarks in this Chamber since the recent summit to the effect that Britain is now disengaged from Europe, that we should simply go our own way, return to the sea and so on. They are often delivered in a rather disparaging tone, but I take them as a constructive basis for negotiation.

It seems that if we are not going to be part of this new Treaty on Fiscal Union, this new FU Treaty, then it is logical that this should become the main forum for further integration. It should be, for example, the forum in which any tax harmonisation happens. It should indeed be not only the unit of economic governance, but of wider political amalgamation.

This would leave Britain in, if you like, an outward shell of the EU which would have been drained of its substance, as the weasel was said to suck the contents out of an egg while leaving the shell untouched. It would still be called the European Union, but it would, in practice, have subsided into a free trade area bolstered by a little bit of intergovernmental cooperation. Would that not keep all sides happy? It would certainly please my constituents, and I put it to you, colleagues, that you would lose a bad and grudging tenant, but gain a good and friendly neighbour.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Florenz report. The past twenty years or so has seen an increasingly widespread ownership and proliferation of personal household and electrical equipment by our citizens, and technology continues to develop at a rapid rate to satisfy increasing demands for cutting-edge products. As a result, electrical hardware often becomes obsolete after a comparatively short shelf-life and needs discarding.

This report makes out that only a third of such hardware is disposed of in the prescribed manner and recycled. This disposal figure needs to increase and Parliament must continue to support the Commission’s 2020 target of 65%, with an interim target of 45%. I particularly welcome the proposal for retailers to provide collection points for redundant small portable equipment – objects such as our mobile phones. The effect of the poisonous pollutants emanating from the avoidable, incorrect disposal of electronic goods does not respect national boundaries. We owe it to our citizens to have a clean environment throughout the whole of the European Union.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). (FI) Mr President, I enthusiastically support this legislation, which is a practical solution for achieving the targets that the Commission and the whole of the European Union are aiming at with their Resource Efficiency Road map and raw materials strategy. At the same time, we have a glaring shortage of vital raw materials, especially precious metals and global resources generally. We need practical tools, such as the recycling of electronic waste, to make these strategies work in practice.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report because I feel that the amendment to the directive will bring about timely changes. I am thinking, in particular, about the clarifications concerning the collection method and the categories of electrical and electronic equipment. Another positive aspect is the emphasis on retrieving strategic raw materials, in addition to the recovery, recycling and reuse activities.

I would like to emphasise the importance of the measures for raising the awareness of and informing the public. This will ensure the success of the waste management schemes. At the same time, I encourage the Commission to promote the exchange of good practices in this area. For example, the Romanian authorities have created a website offering complete information about collecting and recycling electrical and electronic equipment. Another measure was the launch of the national ‘Marea debarasare’ (Big Disposal) campaign in 2007. As a result of this annual event, several thousand tonnes of waste have been collected.

 
  
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  Alajos Mészáros (PPE).(HU) Mr President, waste electrical equipment is one of the fastest growing waste products in the European Union. We must do everything in our power to ensure that it is recycled professionally in order to be able to mitigate our loss of resources. In the interest of preventing environmental and health damage, we must seek to ensure appropriate collection. Impact assessments reveal that although 85% of these waste products are now collected in EU Member States, only 33% of them undergo appropriate processing. By preserving existing and tested systems, all actors involved in collection and treatment must engage in conduct that complies with the directive.

Experience so far has unfortunately shown that Member States differ in their interpretations of the present directive. We must strive to ensure that the new Member States, too, are able to catch up and follow the provisions of the directive. This also includes selective waste collection. Selective collection could also serve to reduce the extensive illegal transport of waste outside the EU. I believe that costs incurred during collection and treatment should be incorporated into product prices so as to serve as an incentive to reduce costs. I, too, voted in favour of this proposal.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, this report on waste electrical and electronic equipment seems to strike the right balance in terms of what should be decided at EU level and what should be left to Member States. For Wales, a key element will be the way in which the collection target will be calculated – the current method being kept until the end of 2013, after which there will be an interim target and then an ambitious target of 65% of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed on the market from 2020.

Member States such as my own will now have the choice of opting for a more ambitious 85% target should they wish to do so. Conversely, I welcome the proposal that the Commission will assist those Member States who are struggling to meet the targets, with transitional adjustments. While it is important to increase the amount of EEE being recycled and to reduce the waste, it is equally important that the approach should not be too prescriptive but should give Member States the flexibility to choose the most appropriate and achievable target for them. Delivering a positive result will now be up to the Member States: it will be up to them to demonstrate commitment turned into reality.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, firstly, I would like to congratulate my colleague, Karl-Heinz Florenz, for the good work he has done, not only on this report, but on a lot of other reports. Truly, it has been a great achievement on his part.

Mr Florenz, who has now departed – thankfully not this life but the Chamber – has done good work and it has been recognised by all the speakers in the House.

This is certainly a huge area for us. As more and more electrical and electronic equipment comes onto the market, it is important that it be disposed of properly and also recycled, and particularly important to end some terrible practices such as exporting waste electrical and electronic equipment to third countries. By abiding by the proposals here, we can help to improve the environment, we can secure secondary raw materials and we can help to improve the health of our citizens. This is another instance of ‘win-win’ for all Europe’s citizens.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Christa Klass (A7-0336/2011)

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Klass report concerning the placing on the market and the use of biocidal products. I believe that the package will be a balanced one, and it will see the Biocidal Products Directive repealed, hopefully, and replaced with a better alternative, while still keeping at the forefront its two main aims. In addition, with the retention of the two-step Biocidal Products Directive, the procedure particularly of assessing chemical active ingredients and the approval system that differentiates between the so-called ‘normal’ and ‘problematic’ substances will still remain in force. This is essential for the legislation to be effective.

I believe the labelling requirements introduced by the compromise package for those materials treated with biocides and the simplification of data protection rules to be positive steps. The mandatory data sharing mechanism is also important and has been put forward in the report. This would mean the avoidance of duplication of vertebrate animal studies and the use of more vivisection which, generally speaking, I reject. I feel that the report will make the rules surrounding the products a lot easier to understand and also to enforce throughout the European Union.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because biocidal products have a wide range of uses, including in the food, cosmetics and textile industries. As a result of this, their use needs to be closely regulated. Simpler authorisation procedures are required. A high level of health protection also needs to be maintained.

I think that the centralised authorisation system will have a beneficial impact at European level. In addition, the measures on the comprehensive labelling of products treated with biocides are timely. They will enable consumers to be better informed and protected.

I welcome the attention being focused on the cumulative effects. At the moment, there is no single accepted definition or analysis criteria. In this regard, including the assessment method in the technical guidance notes presented by the Commission marks a step forward.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, the European Parliament and the Member States today agreed a recasting of the EU Regulation on biocidal products. I very much welcome the fact that there will be EU-wide authorisation for biocidal products, and that non-European producers will also have to seek European authorisations. The result of that is that foreign manufacturers, too, will have to meet high European standards if they want to sell their products in Europe. From the point of view of the agricultural sector, however, it is important that biocides continue to be available for use by our farmers.

A good compromise has been achieved here, and it is one that facilitates the sustainable use of biocides and further reduces potential risks when they are used. The result is that, on this issue too, the process is under way. Clearly, this will not be the last time that we deal with this issue in this House.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, maintaining the use of existing biocidal products in the absence of viable alternatives is vital for industry, households and our communities at large. This report balances usage requirements whilst upholding a high level of protection for human and animal health and the environment. It is important that the process of assessing the active ingredient and the subsequent authorisation of a biocidal product will be maintained at current standards to ensure the highest level of protection.

Coming from a background of biochemistry, I welcome that there will be a regular review of biocides, with the initial approval or subsequent renewals having a limit of 10 years. However, despite the report initially proposing a ban on all carcinogens, it is important that they will still be permitted to be used in a controlled manner particularly with regard to rodent control pesticides, which are widely used by the farming community in my region in Wales. Safe, regulated use is far preferable to an outright ban. I also support the rules for mutual recognition which will, of course, provide for a single market in biocides across the whole of the EU.

 
  
  

Report: José Bové (A7-0421/2011)

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Bové report on the farm input supply chain. Given that farming is such a labour- and machinery-intensive, costly industry, and with ever-growing demand for food, it can sometimes be difficult for farmers to always make a profit and this report recognises this as fact.

The report is particularly good in that it also acknowledges that legislation imposed by the EU can and often does decrease the global competitiveness of the farms it is actually trying to help. One of the key elements of the report is the proposition that greening measures in pillar one should be made optional. These measures, which are part of the Commission’s draft legislation on the common agricultural policy post-2013, could pose difficulties to many of our farmers and place an extra unnecessary burden on the farming industry at a time when we should all be striving to implement measures that have exactly the opposite effect.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). (FI) Mr President, the issue of waste in connection with resource efficiency and the recycling of electronic waste also relates to how more than half of the food produced is being wasted both globally and in the European Union. I enthusiastically support this excellent report, which is based on the premise that we need measures at every step in the output chain, based on what is produced and how. Where does production take place? What are the transport arrangements? What sort of agricultural system is being supported? How, moreover, do the food production chain, restaurants and public procurement ensure that we use the valuable calorific and healthy nutritional resources occurring throughout Europe in the fairest possible way, while at the same time supporting targets for biodiversity and, furthermore, reducing the impact of food production on climate?

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for Mr Bové’s report because I think that the pricing mechanism on agricultural markets must ensure a fair distribution of profits. Nowadays, a lack of transparency and communication are the main features of the supply chain, not to mention the concentration of large chain stores, rising utility prices and the fall in the public’s purchasing power.

Unfortunately, farmers living in remote, mountain or isolated regions are hardest hit. Due to the difficult natural conditions, they need to invest more in transport and preserving products, while keeping their prices competitive.

I would like to ask the Commission what kind of compensation measures it can offer these farmers. They also need to be informed about the package for remote and the outermost regions offered by the Structural Funds.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, today’s own-initiative report from the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development draws attention to an important problem in agriculture. This is that, in recent years, input and production costs have risen much more quickly than farm gate prices.

We need fair conditions between all market participants. That is, of course, why we have a social market economy. A social market economy means that politicians need to get involved when these fair market conditions are not in place.

One problem that we have in the agricultural sector is that we have a large number of farms and a processing industry made up mainly of medium-sized companies, whereas the retail sector at the end of the chain is highly concentrated into the hands of a small number of operators. The result of this, of course, is that it is the farmers, as the least organised of these sectors, who most often draw the short straw. As a result, we need a great increase in the number of interest groups to obtain market information and to be able to come to agreements about prices. Current anti-trust rules do not do justice to these needs and need to be amended accordingly.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, once again, I was very pleased to vote for this report, and to listen and take part in the debate we had on it this morning. The debate was excellent indeed.

At the end of the day, we are tackling this huge problem, that of major buyers – especially multinationals – who are making extraordinary profits and farmers who are making little or no profit. This must be corrected. Bad practices must end, especially practices such as hello money, as it is called. If we succeed in correcting this, our farmers will get a fair deal. It is high time for us to do that, as, until now, the major buyers have had a clear run and that is not fair to anyone.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0006/2012

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, this is very similar to the previous topic and the same issues apply. I just want to emphasise again that we really need to tackle it at producer level and, particularly, at the level of the multinationals. If we do that and establish parity for everybody along the food chain, then we will be doing a good job. It is a big task but we must keep at it until it is complete.

 
  
  

Report: Aldo Patriciello (A7-0431/2011)

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, space has always exerted a pull on the imagination of a certain kind of European integrationist. Space exploration is seen almost in Cold War terms, as a kind of virility symbol, a way of asserting Europe’s place in the world.

One thinks of President Chirac’s description of the Galileo project as a way of breaking the technological imperialism of the United States; one thinks of the obsession of successive French Presidents with putting a Frenchman sur la lune – which, of course, we would all support, although I think there would need to be intergovernmental negotiations on whether to bring him back again, depending on which Frenchman it was.

My friends, space has become an almost perfect symbol of the European Union. In order to publicise the most recent European election in the UK, we had the image of a ballot box in orbit – and there, writ large, is what the European Union has become: disconnected, unworldly, looking down on the rest of us, cut off, remote.

Even as your feet sink into the mire, you, my federalist friends, are still gazing fixedly at the stars.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the Patriciello report; there are clear merits for the European Union to coordinate its efforts for a better EU space strategy. The combined technical expertise of all our scientists and engineers would serve to improve space technology that aids both the EU economy and improves the quality of life of our citizens. For example, the GPS satellites that millions of motorists rely on across Europe could be enhanced to give further accuracy and innovation for traffic management and secure the passage of merchant shipping, which delivers the bulk of imported goods to our European economy.

I would also support the EU’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, which aims to create a capacity for earth observation and the environmental benefits we would hope that it would eventually bestow. However, I support the report’s call for the GMES to be funded through the multiannual financial framework, which is preferable to the Commission’s wish that it be funded outside of the European Union budget, placing an added financial burden on Member States during these times of increased austerity.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, the report on space strategy for the European Union makes sound and sensible proposals in an area where shared Member State resources can be made to go further.

Having an EU space strategy facilitates the pooling of resources and intelligence so that we can make real, innovative progress that will benefit the entire EU and beyond. This is particularly important given the increasingly competitive world we are operating in and the spin-offs that space research often delivers for everyday products for our constituents.

An EU space strategy will ensure independent access to space, which is likely to become increasingly important over time. It will also allow further development of Galileo – our satellite navigation system project – and will assist us in developing our own high-precision positioning system in Europe.

This is an area of EU added value.

 
  
  

Report: Salvatore Caronna (A7-0430/2011)

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, Lukashenko’s dictatorship in Belarus is sometimes described as the last surviving piece of Soviet apparatus in Europe, but I think that overlooks the common agricultural policy, with its central plans, with its state support of prices, with its regulation. We have rehearsed many times the case against the CAP, the terrible damage it does to developing countries, particularly in Africa, the way in which it falls disproportionately on the poorest, the inflationary effect it has on our economies through higher food prices, the distortion of incentives in the countryside, the way in which it particularly penalises countries such as mine which are net food importers.

One thing which I think deserves more study is the way in which it funnels money to a particular kind of people in all the Member States – and they are not farmers, or at least not necessarily. The payments have become disconnected from the land. A lot of public sector institutions, NGOs and generally wealthy individuals are now receiving subsidy cheques from the European Union, and that, in a sense, is the point: we have purchased – or the EU has purchased – the loyalty of a powerful and articulate caste of people in every Member State.

I would say this is the best mechanism in Europe for redistributing money from the poor to the rich, but, of course, that honour must now go to our policy of bank bail-outs.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted along with my group, the ECR, in favour of the changes suggested by the Caronna report. In the current economic crisis, with the global population increasing at its current rate and with widespread famine in Africa a major problem, the need to reduce food wastage has never been greater. Therefore, exchanging methods of best practice is important, as is better coordination between Member States.

One of the most important matters highlighted by the report is the fact that the rules concerning below-cost selling in our supermarkets are not the same throughout the European Union. It is important to allow retailers to sell food at discounted prices as it nears its ‘sell by’ date: this practice reduces food wastage significantly in countries such as the United Kingdom, where it is permitted. In some of our Member States, believe it or not, there is a ban on below-cost selling – absurdly making this sensible practice illegal. I hope that, with better coordination between Member States, this situation will change.

Lastly, I agree with my colleague, Dan Hannan, that a radical reform of the CAP is essential for the future.

 
  
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  Markus Pieper (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I was very happy to vote in favour of this report. Ninety million tonnes of usable food is thrown away in the European Union every year. It is unforgivable that almost half of all food is disposed of as waste during production and supply. We quite simply have to think of a better way in this regard.

I call on the Commission to produce a more detailed analysis of the causes and we also need to analyse the differences by Member State in much greater detail. If it turns out that we, the consumers, bear the primary responsibility for all this waste, we will simply have to think of something when it comes to policy.

One potential area to tackle is the best before dates on foodstuffs. These are often excessively cautious, which, of course, leads to food wastage. In Poland, instead of a best before date, packaging is printed with ‘best consumed before ...’, while in Austria, a recommended end date for consumption is printed. We should learn from those who make the most sustainable use of their foodstuffs.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for the report drafted by Mr Caronna, given the warnings from the FAO about the global imbalances in food production. I think that good-quality agriculture needs to be promoted, backed up by sensible consumption and avoiding wastage. This can help achieve a healthy, nutritional supply. This provides the basis for food security, a new fundamental right for European citizens and others.

While 180 kilograms of food for each European ends up in the rubbish bin every year, Somalia has been ravaged by famine for six months. At the moment, the UN considers that this state has the highest rate of malnutrition in the world, especially among children. I also support designating 2013 as the European Year against Food Waste, thereby raising awareness among the general public.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, this week, the European Parliament has been dealing with a key issue in industrialised nations – food wastage. I was very pleased that that has been the case, as, after all, we are talking here about around half of the food produced in the Member States of the European Union, which does not get to where it should, namely, to consumers to be consumed, but is instead thrown away.

I must stress to Mr Pieper once again that we really do just need to come up with more in this area. This report represents a step in the right direction, but we also need truly tangible and acceptable action to be taken.

There is one more point that I would like to highlight, and it is something that repeatedly annoys me, as a farmer. It is that we also need to close existing material cycles. In future, as in the past, we will continue to have foodstuffs that are no longer suitable for human consumption. At present, however, such foods must be destroyed, and cannot be used as animal feed. At this point, once again, I call on the Commission to take steps to ensure that food that is no longer fit for human consumption can at least still be used as animal feed.

 
  
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  Kay Swinburne (ECR). – Mr President, given the pressures that are already being put on our farmers to produce more food with fewer resources, the report on how to avoid food waste seems to strike the right tone.

With the UN estimating that the global population will reach nine billion by 2050, it is only sensible that we reduce food wastage as part of our food supply strategy. I support a coordinated strategy across the EU, with a network being established to facilitate the exchange of intelligence and best practice on how to achieve this reduction. The network should also seek to further coordinate research and development into improved technologies for the treatment of waste products, particularly in energy generation.

The report acknowledges that there is a need for industry to play its part in reducing food wastage, especially in terms of packaging, though I would also like to see more innovative approaches to the actual use of close-to-date food.

We need to ensure that a competitive market delivers our food in an economic and efficient form. However, we need to be careful not to replace market solutions with overly burdensome legislation.

 
  
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  Eduard Kukan (PPE). – Mr President, the question of food wastage is a growing European problem that is reflected right along the food supply chain.

In this context, I would like to welcome the Commission proposal on food wastage reduction by 2020. I hope that the report we have voted on today, which I supported, will contribute to this objective.

I agree with Commissioner Potočnik that in the recent situation, where many countries of the world have been suffering from food shortages, the food waste produced in Europe is morally, economically and environmentally irresponsible.

Above all, I think that people should be better informed, not only on the causes and effects of waste, but also on ways of reducing it. I support Parliament’s request to declare 2013 the European Year against Food Waste, which would serve as a key information and awareness-raising tool on this important issue.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, when I researched this matter, I was appalled by the figures. A lot of households throw out up to EUR 1 000 worth of food each year. That is a lot of money, and something must be done about it.

This report is very important. It points out some startling statistics – for instance, that 60% of the food that is thrown out need not be thrown out, and 20% is thrown out due to confusion over dates and product labelling. So that is the first thing we need to get right, and then we need to make consumers aware of it.

We also need to take into account the greenhouse gas emissions entailed in producing food that is not going to be used, and then to look at the other side of this question: at proper biowaste management for food that will not be required. We have a lot of work to do, but this is a basis.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) (The speaker began without a microphone) ... your being elected first Vice-President. I have just voted in favour of the report on the avoidance of food wastage. While almost 80 million EU citizens are living below the poverty line, struggling each day to make a living, and while more than 900 million people around the world are dangerously undernourished, at the same time, food waste here in Europe every year amounts to almost 180 kilograms per person. I weigh 120 kilograms.

It is a completely intolerable situation – ecologically, economically and also ethically – where perfectly edible food is ending up in the waste bin. If edible food is being thrown away, the environmental impact of its raw materials and food processing will also have been entirely in vain, nor does it make any financial sense not to make use of edible food. It is the same as throwing money straight into the rubbish bin.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Louis Michel (A7-0441/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since it is a simple and necessary technical modification of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009, adopted last year. Specifically, it clarifies the rules on transit through the international zones of airports, increasing legal certainty and transparency, in my view. In short, the amendments are justified because there is, in fact, no need to check a person already holding a visa or residency permit again.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the proposal to modify the regulation on the Community Code on Visas, since it consists only of several technical changes that will not modify the way Member States implement these provisions. This amendment of the Visa Code will ensure greater legal certainty and the harmonised application of rules. Furthermore, the measures are of practical importance for individual travellers and airlines, which will be able to avoid repeating checks on people who have already been checked and been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Until now, exemption from the airport transit visa (ATV) requirement was unclear and that is why I voted in favour of this amendment to the 2009 regulation. The amendment is only a technical adjustment but it will reduce the administrative burden on the Member States, and simplify the lives of individuals, European airports and airlines. It will principally be of use to third-country nationals, who will henceforth be exempted from the ATV requirement if they hold a visa from a Member State of the European Union, even from a country which is not part of the Schengen zone. As our rapporteur Louis Michel has explained, ‘this change is logical: it is pointless to insist that persons who already hold a visa or residence permit should undergo a further identity check, given that they have already been checked’ and ‘on that basis, have been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration’.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The free movement of people is a fundamental right of citizens of the European Union. However, abolition of internal borders requires increased management of the Union’s external borders, as well as regulation of the entry and residence of third-country nationals. These amendments will enable third-country nationals holding a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State where all the provisions of Schengen have not yet been applied to be exempt from the need to have an airport transit visa. As such, I voted for this report amending the Community Code on Visas with the intention of clarifying the text, ensuring the harmonised implementation of the rules, and reducing the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it makes technical adjustments to the provisions dealing with the air transport visa (ATV). As indicated in the report, this adjustment will not alter the way Member States implement those provisions. This European Parliament report therefore only proposes technical amendments because the amended regulation provides that third-country nationals who hold a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State which does not (yet) apply the Schengen acquis in full (United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania) are to be covered by the ATV exemption. The European Parliament regards this change as logical because it is pointless to insist that persons who already hold a visa or residence permit should undergo a further identity check, given that they have already been checked and, on that basis, have been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration. Furthermore, the proposal should also reduce the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted in favour, since I believe the purpose of this report is to clarify, in practical terms, for both passengers and airlines, the rules governing transit through the international zones of airports, thereby contributing to increased transparency and legal certainty. The intention is for third-country nationals holding a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State where all the provisions of Schengen have not yet been applied to enjoy exemption from the need for an airport transit visa.

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. – While I supported the S&D Group in voting for this motion, Ireland remains outside the Schengen area, and so will not be affected by this vote.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) It is essential that there be a common visa policy facilitating legitimate travel by third-country nationals and preventing the implementation of measures aimed at facilitating the process of lodging and processing visa applications: simplified issue procedure, reduced costs, use of visas for multiple entries, provision for more adequate periods of validity, etc. The Community Code on Visas, created in 2009, was the decisive factor in making the common visa policy more consistent, enabling the inclusion in a single Code of all provisions governing the issue of visas and decisions relating to refusal, extension, cancellation, revocation and shortening of visas issued. I am voting for this report, which introduces an amendment that is merely technical but is enormously important in practical terms for both passengers and airlines, intended to clarify the rules governing transit through the international zones of airports, so contributing to increased transparency and legal certainty.

It makes provision for third-country nationals holding a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State where all the provisions of Schengen have not yet been applied to enjoy exemption from the need for an airport transit visa.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because the amendments made to the Visa Code provide legal certainty for those persons with a visa or residence permits for those EU Member States which are outside the Schengen area. It also clarifies the regulations that apply in airports throughout the European Union and removes the possibility of different standards being applied by the security authorities in Schengen and non-Schengen Member States.

Apart from the technical amendments proposed, this also sends a symbolic message stating that Member States must be treated in an equal, non-discriminatory manner, regardless of whether they belong to the Schengen area or not. I believe that this is also a lesson that can be applied to Romania and Bulgaria joining the Schengen area or in the broader framework of reforming the governance of the Schengen area.

After adopting this report, the Commission must take the necessary measures to amend accordingly the Handbook on processing visa applications, which needs to take the new provisions into account.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I advocate the implementation of a Community Visa Code clarifying the rules regarding the movement of passengers transiting in the international zones of airports. This technical clarification brings an end to European passengers’ obligation to hold an airport transit visa. These measures contribute to increased legal certainty and to reducing unnecessary bureaucracy.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal is limited to a technical amendment involving clarification of the existing text to make explicit that third-country nationals holding a valid visa or residency permit issued by a Member State that does not apply common visa policy in full will be covered by an airport transit visa exemption, and that this will also apply to those holding a valid visa when they travel to the third country that issued the visa, or to any other third country and when, having used the visa, they return from the third country that issued it. The result of the vote in parliamentary committee confirms the consensual nature of this subject, thereby strengthening my non-opposition to this amendment.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Mr Michel, concerns a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009, of 13 July, establishing a Community Code on Visas, commonly known as the ‘Visa Code’. It has been Parliament’s concern to reduce the bureaucratic burden on the European public, specifically by facilitating the mobility of individuals and abolishing the duplication of checks when this does not jeopardise the security of people or goods. I voted for this report, since this proposal is limited to a technical amendment intended to clarify that ‘third-country nationals holding a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State which does not [...] apply the Schengen acquis in full’ – United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania – are exempt from presentation of an airport transit visa, and does not change the practices adopted by the Member States.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report proposes a technical adjustment of practical importance for a certain type of passenger, whom it will exempt from a second security check that is unnecessary, given the check they have already undergone to entitle them to a visa. We voted in favour, since this is a correction that does not change the practices used by the Member States, but is intended simply to make passengers’ lives easier and reduce the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the proposal because it consists of a correction that will not alter the way these provisions are implemented in Member States. Instead, it will serve to exempt citizens of Member States that do not yet apply the Schengen acquis in full (United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria) from airport transit visa requirements. I regard this change as logical because it is pointless to insist that persons who already hold a visa or residence permit should undergo a further identity check given that they have already been checked and been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration. The proposal should also reduce the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing.(SK) In order to ensure legal certainty and transparency, rules must be established for transits via the international transit areas of airports. Third-country nationals who are required to hold a visa under Article 3(1) and (2) of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 and who hold a valid visa issued by a Member State, Canada, Japan or the United States of America, or who hold a valid residence permit issued by a Member State, Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the United States of America, are exempt from the requirement to hold an airport transit visa. The proposal only consists of technical amendments to provisions concerning airport visas. The amended regulation provides that third-country nationals who hold a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State that does not apply or does not yet apply the Schengen acquis in full (the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania) are to be covered by the airport transit visa exemption. It is pointless that persons who already hold a visa or residence permit should undergo a further identity check, given that they have already been checked and, on that basis, have been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration. What is more, the proposal should reduce the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The aim of this report is to partially amend the Visa Code by making a technical adjustment to the airport transit visa requirements. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing. (FR) The aim of this report, which I voted in favour of, is to clarify the wording of part of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas. This regulation of 13 December 2009 simplifies the airport transit of third-country nationals who hold a valid residence permit or a visa issued by a Member State. This is a purely technical amendment which will allow a simpler procedure for exemption from the airport transit visa requirement.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) With the aim of ensuring legal certainty and greater transparency, the regulation establishing a Community Code on Visas needs to be amended to clarify all the rules governing transit through the international zone of airports. The new component introduced to this regulation concerns the exemption from the air transit visa requirement of third-country nationals holding a valid residence permit or a visa issued by one of the Member States which does not apply the Schengen acquis in full.

The relevant states are the United Kingdom and Ireland, which have decided not to apply the Schengen acquis, and Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, which are in the process of joining the Schengen area. I think that this is a natural amendment, given that the relevant persons have already been checked by an EU authority. It is also a proposal which will reduce Member States’ bureaucratic obligations.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal which makes technical adjustments to the provisions dealing with the ATV. This adjustment will not alter the way Member States implement those provisions. The amended regulation provides that third-country nationals who hold a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State which does not (yet) apply the Schengen acquis in full (United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania) are to be covered by the ATV exemption. I regard this change as logical: it is pointless to insist that persons who already hold a visa or residence permit should undergo a further identity check, given that they have already been checked and, on that basis, have been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration. What is more, the proposal should reduce the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing.(IT) We think it is necessary to establish a Community Code on Visas with a view to clarifying the rules governing transit through the international zone of airports and hence guarantee legal certainty and transparency.

It is essential to make a few technical amendments so as to be able to guarantee legal certainty and the harmonised application of the rules. Clarification of this kind is of practical importance for individual travellers and for airlines.

This is a technical adjustment to the provisions dealing with the airport transit visa (ATV). The adjustment will not alter the way Member States implement those provisions. The amended regulation provides that third-country nationals who hold a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State which does not (yet) apply the Schengen acquis in full (United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania) are to be covered by the ATV exemption.

We think it is pointless to insist that persons who already hold a visa or residence permit should undergo a further identity check, given that they have already been checked and, on that basis, have been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration. This should also reduce the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Michel. I agree with the amendments put forward on this regulation. We need to eliminate all possible misunderstandings about the rules governing transit through the international zone of airports and hence guarantee legal certainty and transparency.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I disapprove of the excessively restrictive conditions for the granting of short-stay visas and the existence of airport transits. The former imply disproportionate discrimination on the basis of money, the latter discrimination on the basis of country of origin. This is unacceptable. Nonetheless, given that this report technically promotes an increase in the number of exemptions from airport transit visas under European law, I am voting in favour.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) It is a technical adjustment to the airport transit visa (ATV) requirements. This adjustment will not change how Member States operate. The amendment to the regulation provides that third-country nationals holding a visa or residence permit issued by a Member State that does not (yet) apply the Schengen acquis in full (United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania) are to be covered by the ATV exemption. This new provision will allow, for example, someone of Iraqi nationality, holding a visa issued by Bulgaria, to travel without an airport transit visa. This seems to be a logical amendment: it is pointless to insist that persons who already hold a visa or residence permit should undergo a further identity check (who has therefore already been checked and who, on that basis, has already been deemed not to present a risk of illegal immigration). Furthermore, this proposal should also reduce the administrative burden on the Member States. I wholly support this proposal.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The Community Code on Visas has been in force since 10 April 2010. During the process of preparing the Handbook, it became clear to me that the wording of the articles concerning exemption from the airport transit visa (ATV) requirement was unclear. According to the Visa Code, third-country nationals who hold a valid ATV issued by a Member State, Canada, Japan or the United States of America, or who hold a valid residence permit issued by a Member State, Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the United States of America, are exempted from the ATV requirement. I support the modifications proposed by the Commission, particularly in order to avoid people who already hold a visa or residence permit covered by the ATV exemption being subjected to further ID checks, when it is clear that they do not present a risk for irregular entry.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The abolition of the visa obligation was already alarming back in 2009 when it applied to countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. This amendment aims to also include Northern Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria on that list. Northern Cyprus meets the preconditions, both politically and economically, and its inclusion would be something that I would welcome. Romania and Bulgaria, however, are not even close to establishing a functional, corruption-free State apparatus which would reduce crime rates. We will have to fear a massive rise in crime, human trafficking and immigration from these countries. I voted ‘no’ for the reasons I have just set out.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the Community Code on Visas because it clarifies some key technical aspects of the visa regime. Following the adoption of this report, third-country nationals who already hold a visa issued by a Member State are also entitled to exemption from the airport transit visa (ATV) requirement by those Member States which do not apply the Schengen acquis. This is a logical step because once such a third-country national has passed all the required identification steps for securing the said visa, he/she should not require a second set of identification checks in order to obtain an ATV.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. I believe that it is inappropriate and pointless to subject third-country citizens who already hold a visa or residence permit to repeated identity checks because, at the time of the initial check, it was already confirmed that they do not present a risk of illegal immigration. Moreover, in order to ensure legal certainty and transparency, as well as the application of effective provisions on the airport transit visa (ATV), exemptions from the ATV requirement must be set out in a clear and unambiguous manner and applied in accordance with strict requirements. It is also very important to stress that the new provisions of this regulation will bring benefits not just to individual travellers and airlines, but also to the Member States, as they will reduce the administrative burden.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing.(IT) The text adopted on the amendment of the regulation on the Community Code on the airport transit visa (ATV) consists only of an adjustment to the code that has been in force since April 2010. The amendment refers to third-country nationals who, if they hold a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State which does not yet apply the Schengen acquis in full (United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania), are to be covered by the ATV exemption because they have already been checked by the European bureaucratic apparatus. This changes nothing for Member States and reduces the burdens on the citizens in question, allowing them to travel more easily.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the proposal. The purpose of amending the regulation establishing a Community Code on Visas is to clarify the rules governing transit through the international zone of airports and so guarantee legal certainty and transparency. Although this clarification is technical and does not alter the practice applied in the Member States, it makes provision for third-country nationals holding a valid visa issued by a Member State or a valid residence permit issued by a Member State which does not apply (or does not yet apply) the Schengen acquis in full (United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania) to be exempt from the need to obtain an airport transit visa and it is therefore of practical value to passengers. This proposal forms part of the more general debate on the review of the operation of the Schengen Code. The European Parliament is due shortly to take an overall stand on the amendment and updating of the Schengen Code.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, whose purpose is to amend Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) with a view to clarifying the rules governing transit through the international zones of airports, so guaranteeing legal certainty and transparency.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) The aim of the proposal is to clarify the rules governing transit through the international zone of airports and hence guarantee legal certainty and transparency. I agree with the need to amend the Visa Code in relation to air transport visa (ATV) exemptions so as to guarantee legal certainty and the harmonised application of the rules, thereby also helping to reduce the administrative burden on Member States. Accordingly, I am voting in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 810/2009, of 13 July 2009, which established the Community Code on Visas, sought to introduce uniform regulation of passenger transit through airports’ international zones. During the process of preparing the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas, however, it was noted that the wording of Article 3(5)(b) and (c)was unclear. The purpose of this amendment is to clarify this rule, thereby increasing legal certainty, on the one hand, and enshrining in law the practice that was being followed, on the other. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The aim of the proposal is to amend Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) with a view to clarifying the rules governing transit through the international zone of airports and so guaranteeing legal certainty and transparency. Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 has been in force since 5 April 2010. In accordance with the Visa Code, instructions on the practical application of the provisions of the regulation have been drawn up by means of the Commission decision establishing the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas, which was adopted on 19 March 2010. During the process of preparing the Handbook, it was noted that the wording of Article 3(5)(b) and (c), concerning exemption from the airport transit visa (ATV) requirement, was unclear. As the Handbook cannot impose legally binding obligations on Member States, the Visa Code must be amended to guarantee legal certainty and the harmonised application of the rules. Clarification of this kind is of practical importance for individual travellers and for airlines.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Michel on the amendment to Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 because, although the corrections to the provisions of the regulation do not change the practice already being applied by the Member States, they reduce the bureaucratic burden on them and facilitate the movement of individual third-country passengers holding a valid visa or residence permit issued by an EU Member State. They also facilitate the procedures applied by airlines.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) The goal of today’s vote is to clarify the rules governing transit through the international zone of airports and hence guarantee legal certainty and transparency.

Indeed, there are a few gaps in the current regulation. For example, the point on exemptions from the airport transit visa (ATV) is not very clear. Since the Handbook cannot bring in legally binding obligations for Member States, it is necessary to amend the Visa Code to ensure legal certainty and the harmonised application of rules. This clarification is of practical importance for individual travellers and for airlines.

Now, after this vote, third-country nationals who hold a valid visa issued by a Member State which does not apply the common visa policy are to be covered by the ATV exemption.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report is purely technical in nature, since the practice of most Member States is already in line with this amendment, which reduces the administrative burden on the affected Member States. This regulation provides for the Community Code on Visas, for legal clarity on the rules regarding transit through the international zone of airports. This amendment to Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 concerns third-country nationals who hold a valid visa or residence permit issued by a Member State where the Schengen acquis has not been fully implemented, specifically, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania. The amendment means nationals of these countries are exempt from the requirement of an airport transit visa.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I voted for this report which slightly amends current EU legislation on visas. This is an extension of visa exemptions, particularly in the case of airport transit visas (ATV), as they often duplicate a single visa requirement. This technical amendment, which removes an administrative burden, has the virtue of facilitating the only freedom of movement that the European Union is struggling to implement: that of people. At a time when there is Fortress Europe, where capital alone is free to circulate without controls, I sincerely hope that this measure will resolve the situation of several thousand people.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) It is not necessary to re-check third-country citizens in possession of a valid visa from a Member State of the European Union by means of a transit visa, since the possible risk of illegal immigration has to be evaluated in advance as part of the visa-issuing process. An amendment of the regulation is therefore urgently needed, not least in order to cut the administrative expenditure of the authorities in the Member States.

 
  
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  Inês Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report proposes a technical adjustment of practical importance for a certain type of passenger, whom it will exempt from a second security check that is unnecessary, given the check they have already undergone to entitle them to a visa. We voted in favour, since this is a correction that does not change the practices employed by the Member States, but is intended simply to streamline the visa procedures which are compulsory for passengers and to reduce the administrative burden on the Member States.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Vital Moreira (A7-0450/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since its purpose is to give the European Parliament’s consent to a regulation that is important for both producers and for consumers: an agreement between the European Union and Georgia on protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs. I am sure that it will lead to greater protection for the authenticity and quality of European and Georgian products, as well as to the legislation on this issue of other neighbouring countries becoming more similar to that of the EU, since it is the first agreement of this type concluded with a European Neighbourhood Policy partner.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Since its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2000, Georgia has consistently taken steps towards the European Union. This agreement, aimed at mutually protecting geographical indications, is further proof of Georgia’s desire to extend its trade ties with us. Georgia has already been a party to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Therefore, it recognises the notion of GIs as place names used to identify the origin and quality, reputation or other characteristics of products. This agreement concerns agricultural products and foodstuffs originating in the territories of both Georgia and the EU, and endorses the protection of the characteristics of quality and origin of products coming from both partners. I can only support this initiative, which diversifies the European Union’s trade relations while protecting our producers.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document. The European Union (EU) and Georgia have concluded an agreement aiming at mutually protecting the geographical indications (GIs) covering a wide range of agricultural products such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers. Under this agreement, both parties fulfilled a commitment provided for in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which entered into force on 1 July 1999, and its implementation was made possible by Georgia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2000. This agreement will be mutually beneficial. On the EU side, it should help ensure that around 820 food GIs, 1 930 wines and 320 spirits (from 23 Member States) registered by the EU will be protected in Georgia, which is very reassuring for EU agricultural production. The only Georgian GIs concern wines (18 GIs), because wine making is one of the oldest areas of specialisation in Georgia and has a major impact on the country’s entire economy.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The agreement negotiated by the European Commission with Georgia for the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of agricultural products and foodstuffs is the first bilateral agreement for the protection for GIs concluded between the EU and a partner from the European Neighbourhood. The agreement will enable a great many European products to be protected in Georgia, in exchange for the protection of a few Georgian products in the Member States. Accordingly, I cannot but approve of the text that has been negotiated, even though Georgia is not actually a problematic area in terms of the recognition of GIs in the agricultural and food sector. The areas that pose legislative and political obstacles to the progress of bilateral negotiations for the mutual protection and recognition of GIs are other ones entirely. This agreement ought therefore to be welcomed, but the hope is that this is only the first of a number of similar agreements to be negotiated, as soon as possible, with subjects that compete unfairly with European products on a serious and very substantial scale. My vote is in favour of Mr Moreira’s report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this recommendation because the European Union (EU) and Georgia have concluded an agreement aiming at mutually protecting the geographical indications (GIs) covering a wide range of agricultural products such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers. This agreement is comprehensive and compatible with commitments made under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement. As indicated in the European Parliament recommendation, the parties agree on the criteria and procedures applied to the registration of a GI on their territory, because new GIs can be added if neither party objects, and a Joint Committee consisting of representatives of both parties will be set up to monitor the agreement’s implementation and improve the terms of bilateral cooperation in the field of GIs. Given that Georgian agriculture is a typical subsistence sector, on which half the Georgian population depends for their livelihood, this agreement is particularly important for Georgia.

 
  
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  Jan Březina (PPE), in writing. – (CS) I voted in favour of the agreement on protection of geographical indications (GIs) because it has specific advantages for both the EU and Georgia. On the EU side, this bilateral agreement should ensure that around 820 food GIs, 1 930 wines and 320 spirits from 23 Member States, registered by the EU, will be protected in Georgia, which is very reassuring for EU agricultural production, as its characteristics and quality are thus respected. The agreement can also be seen as a positive step for wider EU-Georgia trade relations. Indeed, the EU started negotiations with Georgia in July 2010 over a bilateral association agreement which should have a trade component, that is to say, a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). Before entering into negotiations on a DCFTA, the European Commission expects a set of key recommendations established as part of the Eastern Partnership and endorsed by the Council to be fulfilled by Georgia in order to ensure that this Eastern partner has the legal and institutional capacity to implement a DCFTA. The agreement on GIs therefore establishes the capacity of Georgia to negotiate and conclude with the EU substantial agreements on key, trade-related issues, including technical commitments.

 
  
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  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing.(IT) The growing number of countries with which the EU has reached an agreement on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) must be welcomed. The results of this go well beyond economic figures and reflect on the prestige and good name of the outstanding products of European agriculture and foodstuff production.

All too often, instances of vacatio legis enable the international distribution of brands that fraudulently imitate the packaging of GI products, even though they do not match their characteristics. This is misleading for consumers and hurts both the profits and the image of businesses that strive every day to keep up the quality standards of protected goods. Recently, a striking case involved the exportation to the United States of fake San Marziano tomatoes.

Even faced with the evidence of this abuse, the Commission admitted it could not step in because there is no bilateral agreement in place with the US for the protection of registered trademarks; for the right to protection to be granted, we would have had to appeal under the relevant US regulations. This is a paradoxical situation, which needs to be sorted out in short order.

By voting in favour of this recommendation, we want to take the opportunity to ask that the time required to manage these agreements be cut down.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR), in writing.(PL) This is a very important document and it is good that Parliament decided to conclude this agreement. It is also important from the point of promoting closer relations with Georgia, which is an important strategic partner of ours. The agreement is not only important in terms of its substance, but also because Georgia is an important partner of the European Union. This agreement constitutes yet another bridge between Georgia and the EU, as well as between the EU and Georgia.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership, and of Georgia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, I am very satisfied to see, once again, the Georgian Parliament moving closer to European standards, in this case as regards the protection of geographical indicators (GIs).

Although the 18 GIs relating to Georgian wine making fall well short of Europe’s around 3 100 GIs, with 1 930 relating to wine alone, I hope that, by protecting its GIs, this agreement will work as a stimulus to greater promotion and perception of the quality of Georgian products in foreign markets, particularly those to which it does not traditionally export. I particularly hope this will be the case for agricultural products, which play a decisive role in the subsistence economy of its villages, and exports of which to the EU have increased in the last 10 years.

I also hope that, in the context of the ENP, this agreement will inspire greater legislative integration with other countries neighbouring our Union, and not just in the area of GIs, on which this is the first agreement to be concluded.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this agreement which will allow us to protect our local products by recognising their characteristics and preserving their individual features.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the ‘Agreement between the European Union and Georgia on protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs’, which will ensure reciprocal protection for both parties’ geographical indicators, and will contribute to bringing EU legislation further in line with neighbouring countries.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This agreement is an important step in EU-Georgia relations and consists of mutual recognition of the geographical indicators of several agricultural products, such as dairy products, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals and drinks. This will mean that the geographical indicators of 820 foodstuffs, 1 930 wines and 320 spirits from 23 Member States will be protected in Georgia, with the necessary gains in safety and quality. It also enables the geographical indicators of countless Georgian products, particularly wines, to be recognised in the EU.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) In this report, Mr Moreira analyses the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and Georgia on protection of geographical indications (GIs) of agricultural products and foodstuffs. Although Georgia only joined the World Trade Organisation in 2000, there has been a partnership and cooperation agreement between it and the EU since 1 July 1999. Following time-honoured traditions, the purpose of GIs is to identify the origin, quality and characteristics of given products, linking them to the region where they are produced, so as to guarantee their reputation. I voted for this draft recommendation because I believe that both Georgia and the EU, particularly their farmers, will benefit greatly, since they will see the characteristics of their products – cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers – recognised and protected. I also welcome closer EU-Georgia trade relations.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Geographical indications (GIs) constitute an instrument intended to protect certain names that identify products with a special link to their region of origin. GIs are indications that identify a product as originating in a given territory, in which a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product can essentially be attributed to its geographic origin. In the current international context, marked by deregulation and liberalisation of world trade, by standardisation of production methods, by intensification and homogenisation of production, by the consequent loss of modes of production and traditional products, and by reductions in all types of biodiversity, GIs constitute an instrument that can help preserve and respect the characteristics and quality of certain local and regional products. We support the establishment of GIs for various agricultural products, such as cheeses, fruit, vegetables, cereals, meats, fish and seafood, bread and pastry, and wines and spirits originating in 23 EU countries and in Georgia. However, it should be remembered that this instrument is not a panacea for tackling the damage caused by trade deregulation. What is necessary, then, is calling into question the dogma of free trade. Regrettably, the rapporteur calls – in the same report – for the door to be opened to this.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Union and Georgia have concluded an agreement aimed at mutually protecting the geographical indications covering a wide range of agricultural products such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers. This agreement is a step taken by both partners as foreseen in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and is the first of this kind with a partner from the European Neighbourhood. It can also be seen as a positive step towards wider trade relations between the EU and Georgia, since it establishes the capacity of Georgia to negotiate and conclude a substantial agreement with the EU on key trade-related issues, including technical commitments. Furthermore, Georgian agriculture is a typical subsistence sector, on which the livelihood of half of the Georgian population depends. Every step to enhance the export prospects of agricultural products is therefore welcome. This agreement should further reinforce this trend. Since it offers both partners special benefits, I take the view that it is right for Parliament to approve the conclusion of the agreement.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) We should not only agree to sign the agreement with Georgia but we should also support it. The role of the more developed countries of the Union is to promote appropriate solutions among the countries which are only starting to grow their economies. Georgia’s case is a special one due to the county’s turbulent history – including the period when it constituted part of the Soviet Union – and ongoing ethnic conflicts. Georgia is a country of rich tradition, especially in terms of its cuisine and wine. The abundance of crops, local dishes and wines is beyond compare. As honest trade partners, we should therefore help Georgians to protect their unique produce, while at the same time promoting its high quality. Georgia’s wines are worthy of particular note. During the years of Georgia’s membership of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), wine was produced on a mass scale, with an adverse effect on quality. Now is the time to support the revival of Georgian wine, so as to encourage better development of this sector of the economy.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this agreement between the European Union and Georgia which enables us to make substantial progress towards protecting the geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs. The agreement contains an extensive list of mutually recognised indications. In this way, this agreement provides greater protection of the great variety and quality of our local products which are part of our identity and richness.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome the fact that the European Union (EU) and Georgia have concluded an agreement aiming at mutually protecting the geographical indications (GIs) and covering a wide range of agricultural products such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers. This agreement is a step taken by both partners as foreseen in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which entered into force on 1 July 1999. It has been made possible by the accession of Georgia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2000. It has been described as a bilateral agreement for the protection of GIs which is the first of this kind with a partner from the European Neighbourhood.

 
  
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  Jiří Maštálka (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (CS) The conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and Georgia on protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs should clearly be viewed positively, both in terms of commercial relations between the two parties to the agreement and in terms of improving the protection of rights to indications generally. The agreement is unique, as it is the first bilateral agreement of this kind concluded between the EU and a partner within the framework of the European Neighbourhood. Its benefits to both parties are undisputed: for the EU, it means that 820 food geographical indications (GIs), 1 930 wines and 320 spirits registered by the EU will be protected in Georgia, and for Georgia it means that protection of the GIs of agricultural products and foodstuffs will provisionally apply to ‘only’ 18 indications relating exclusively to wine. It should be remembered, however, that viticulture has an extraordinary tradition and economic impact in Georgia, and the protection of GIs as regards Georgian products in the EU will undoubtedly help to strengthen this.

 
  
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  Clemente Mastella (PPE), in writing.(IT) We welcome the conclusion of an agreement between the European Union and Georgia on the mutual protection of geographical indications (GIs) covering a wide range of agricultural products such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers.

It has been described as a bilateral agreement for the protection of GIs – the first of this kind with a partner from the European Neighbourhood. The agreement has specific benefits for both parties. On the EU side, this bilateral agreement should ensure that around 820 food GIs (from 23 Member States) registered by the EU will be protected in Georgia, which is highly reassuring for EU agricultural production since it will ensure that the characteristics and the quality that make it stand out will be respected.

This agreement can also be seen as a positive step for wider EU-Georgia trade relations. Indeed, in July 2010, the EU started negotiating with Georgia for a bilateral association agreement which should have a trade component, namely, a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. – The EU-Georgia agreement on protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs is an important step in bolstering trade between these two regions. Upon the entry into force of the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, Georgia acceded to the World Trade Organisation in 2000 and has since then been party to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The purpose of this EU-Georgia agreement is to safeguard the geographical indications, or place names used to identify origin and quality, reputation and other characteristics of agricultural products and foodstuffs. Exports of Georgia’s products to the EU in the last ten years have not only diversified, they have increased fourfold. While the agreement aims to streamline trade between the EU and Georgia, it also allows Georgia to strengthen its export economy to regions outside its traditional trade route. In the case of my home country Romania, a tool such as this agreement can be quite instrumental for often overlooked countries to gain visibility and recognition in markets abroad.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) An agreement between Georgia and the European Union on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of agricultural products and foodstuffs would bring innumerable advantages. The figures cited by Mr Moreira are heartening: this bilateral agreement should ensure that around 820 food GIs, 1 930 wines and 320 spirits (from 23 Member States) registered by the EU will be protected in Georgia, which is highly reassuring for EU agricultural production since it will ensure that the characteristics and the quality that make it stand out will be respected. My vote is in favour.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) I am voting for the protection of geographical indications for our products and products in general. My vote does not count towards the approval of the free trade agreement between the European Union and Georgia.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Though the agreement will enable the reciprocal protection of the geographical indications of the respective parties and will contribute to the approximation of legislation among the EU’s neighbouring countries, I voted against, since I do not consider cooperation with Saakashvili’s regime possible.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Over the past 10 years, Georgia has become an increasingly important export partner for the EU. Wine, in particular, which traditionally was exported mainly to Russia, is being produced more and more by European companies and distributed throughout the continent. In order to ensure the mutual protection of the geographical designations of most agricultural products – first amongst these, naturally, being wine – Georgia and the European Union signed an agreement back in 1999 that now forms the basis for other agreements with Georgia. As a result of that agreement, this member of our Eastern Partnership has shown that it has the legal and institutional capacity to establish a free trade area. There would be benefits to both sides of the Union entering into further trade relations with Georgia. I have abstained, as the report fails to clarify what benefits would accrue to the Member States of the European Union as this process progressed.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing.(IT) The recognition of geographical indications (GIs) covering agricultural products and foodstuffs must undoubtedly be seen as helpful for quickly ascertaining the origin, quality, reputation and characteristics of particular products. A satisfying agreement has been reached with Georgia, which will allow 820 food products, 1 930 types of wine and 32 spirits – all outstanding European products – to be recognised as assured products with particular qualities, which will no doubt help in marketing them in Georgia. In return, the EU has undertaken to recognise 18 types of quality Georgian wine, which might well give a genuine boost to an important sector of the area’s economy. The European Union should strive to reach agreements like this with other countries as well, since they bring a range of benefits: on the one hand, we are protecting our best businesses from the dangers of counterfeiting and abuse, while on the other, we are helping the growth and development of neighbouring countries so that their citizens might have better living conditions and work opportunities, meaning they would not have to emigrate elsewhere.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I support this agreement between the European Union and Georgia on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of agricultural products and foodstuffs. This agreement will be mutually beneficial. Eight hundred and twenty food GIs, 1 930 wines and 320 spirits (from 23 Member States) registered by the EU will be protected in Georgia. Although Georgia does not yet have GIs relating to foodstuffs and the 18 registered indications only regard wines, it should be noted that in the long term, it will be possible to supplement the list of mutually recognised GIs. I believe that the agreement will help Georgia to increase diversification of export markets. At present, Georgia mostly exports to markets in Russia and other CIS countries, but the export of mineral water, wine and foodstuffs to EU markets is gradually increasing. The agreement should strengthen this upward trend, and will also help Georgia to fully integrate in the global system for the protection of intellectual property in the area of trade. The conclusion of the agreement on protection of geographical indications is a step towards the conclusion of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Georgia. I hope that negotiations on a DCFTA will begin soon. A further rapprochement in EU-Georgian trade relations is one of the main objectives of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

 
  
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  Norica Nicolai (ALDE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report because, as the ALDE shadow rapporteur for Georgia in the AFET Committee, I understand the significance of moving forward in pursuing closer trade relations with Georgia. This is a positive step in EU-Georgia relations because it will serve to enhance Georgia’s access to a wider share of the EU market, which can only have positive effects on its economy. This agreement on protection of geographical indications ensures Georgia’s capacity to assume key technical commitments and to implement them within a wider Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The EU has an agreement with Georgia governing the mutual protection of geographical designations for numerous agricultural products such as cheese, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wine, spirits and beer. With Georgia’s admission to the WTO, the country also became a contracting party to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). As a result, Georgia is obliged to recognise place names as geographical designations where they provide information about the origin and quality of a product. An agreement was concluded on this basis, in order to promote mutual trade in agricultural products and foodstuffs, in particular, Georgian wine. European companies have been increasingly investing in Georgian production of wines and spirits. The protection of geographical designations for agricultural products is of key importance for high-value products from the EU. This agreement, however, mainly supports Georgian wine production, whereas the benefits for European producers are harder to discern. I therefore abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution because it is particularly important for both countries to conclude an agreement, which will ensure adequate protection of the geographical indications (GIs) of agricultural products and foodstuffs. It should be noted that the provisions of this agreement will help to ensure that GIs registered by the EU are properly protected in Georgia, and that the specific characteristics and quality of agricultural production are also properly evaluated. It is also very important to note that adequate protection will also be afforded to Georgian GIs regarding wine. I believe that the Georgian wine GIs recognised will undoubtedly have a positive impact on this sector and the agricultural economy, and will also boost progress in the export of agricultural products. I believe that this agreement is a major step towards broader EU-Georgia trade relations. In addition, this is an excellent opportunity for Georgia to negotiate and conclude with the EU a substantial agreement on a key trade-related issue, including technical commitments.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing.(IT) The European Neighbourhood Policy offers major business opportunities for EU citizens and especially citizens of neighbouring countries. Concluding partnership and cooperation agreements is important in view of future trade relations. The text in question on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) covering agricultural products and foodstuffs aims precisely to straighten out the internal markets of both the EU and Georgia in order to try and keep the quality, origin and name of foodstuffs on the market perfectly clear. This will bring considerable benefits for both parties, namely, transparent relations with consumers and competitive products.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the agreement concluded between the European Union and Georgia, whose purpose is protecting the geographical indications of various agricultural products, such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers. The geographical indicators of European foodstuffs should be protected at all costs, using both bilateral and multilateral agreements, since there is no sense in maintaining trade relations with third countries if European geographical indicators are not properly safeguarded; specifically, using anti-counterfeiting policies, which should be implemented by third countries wishing to open or maintain trade relations with the EU.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) The bilateral agreement reached by the EU and Georgia on geographical indications (GIs) represents a common understanding to foster trade in agricultural products and foodstuffs from Georgia and the EU, while respecting the quality and origins of products coming from both partners. I have decided to vote in favour of this agreement, since I agree that recognising Georgian GIs can be seen as a positive step for wider EU-Georgia trade relations and also because of the significant increase in exports of Georgian agricultural products to the EU, rising from 10% in 1997 to 40% in 2007.

 
  
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  Fiorello Provera (EFD), in writing.(IT) The agreement signed with Georgia is an important step for the recognition of the quality of our products abroad. It is tangible proof of the fact that partnership agreements can be the driving force behind the protection of geographical indications.

For these reasons, I share in the Committee on International Trade’s unanimous approval of Mr Moreira’s report. If the Commission could manage to strike more agreements like this one – perhaps with countries whose brand culture is not yet like our own – that would be of huge benefit to foreign consumers and European producers.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since both parties are members of the World Trade Organisation and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, they recognise geographical indicators, both as an instrument for identifying the characteristics of products and as having intrinsic market value. As such, the EU-Georgia agreement – the first of this type concluded with a European Neighbourhood Policy partner – represents a natural step in the context of deepening relations with that country. From the EU perspective, the agreement will protect the geographical indications of around 820 foodstuffs, 1 930 wines and 320 spirits; from the Georgian side, it will protect the geographical indicators of around 18 wines. However, it should be noted that the wine market accounts for a significant proportion of Georgia’s economy. The proportion of the country’s agricultural exports going to the EU increased from 10% in 1997 to 40% in 2007. I voted in favour, in the hope that the agreement will create closer ties between the EU and Georgia.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The European Union (EU) and Georgia have concluded an agreement aiming at mutually protecting the geographical indications (GIs) and covering a wide range of agricultural products such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers. This agreement is a step taken by both partners as foreseen in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which entered into force on 1 July 1999. It has been made possible by the accession of Georgia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2000. It has been described as a bilateral agreement for the protection of GIs which is the first of this kind with a partner from the European Neighbourhood.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Union is the main trading partner of this country (almost 30% of its trade). I voted in favour of this agreement because, given this proportion, it is important to guarantee effective protection for geographical indications in this country. The provisions of this agreement will guarantee this. Indeed, they include a list of geographical indications recognised by both parties, guaranteeing the legal certainties of participants, specific provisions for agricultural geographical indications and an objection procedure open to participants (producers, companies). Furthermore, this is the first time that an agreement of this nature has been concluded with one of the countries within the European Neighbourhood Policy. I supported this initiative in order to send a signal to the European Commission: it must organise and pursue negotiations on this type of agreement with other neighbouring countries.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union and Georgia have concluded an agreement whose purpose is to protect the geographical indications of various agricultural products, such as cheeses, oils and fats, bread and pastry, fruit, vegetables, cereals, fresh meats and meat products, fresh fish and seafood, wines, spirits and beers. The agreement, which is the first of its kind concluded with a European Neighbourhood Policy partner, has specific benefits for both parties. In particular, it should ensure that the geographical indications of around 820 foodstuffs, 1 930 wines and 320 spirits from 23 Member States registered by the EU will be protected in Georgia, and it also represents an important step towards expanding EU-Georgia trade relations. I voted for the document for these reasons.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) In light of the planned free trade agreement between the EU and Georgia, there is an urgent need to improve trade relations. The agreement for mutual protection of geographical indications and products is a first step towards that goal. The agreement ensures that both parties heed marks of quality and origin and makes sure that geographical indications that are protected within the EU are also recognised in Georgia. I voted ‘yes’.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – When British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, attended the Yalta conference in 1945, he was offered a glass of Georgian brandy. The great man was so impressed by the taste that he mistook the Georgian spirit for a French cognac. I voted for this report because it means that geographical indications such as cognac and Scotch whisky will be protected. Georgian brandies will no longer be able to call themselves cognacs. This will make it easier for consumers to make the right choice. Now the only way consumers can be misled is if – like Mr Churchill – they are deceived by the taste of the product.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Vital Moreira (A7-0005/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for the adoption of the draft Council decision for the simple reason that adoption of this harmonised legislation will lead to reduced bureaucracy, particularly for European industry, in this case as regards uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The World Forum of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) aims to bring together the main motor vehicle producing countries in order to harmonise regulations on their construction, the types of parts used, etc. In this instance, the particular issue concerned is the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. Together with fellow Members of the Group of the European People’s Party (PPE), I voted in favour of this UNECE regulation which will ‘allow for the application of the same standards in many countries by taking away red tape’. Consequently, we authorised the European Commission, the European Union’s representative at the UNECE, to vote in favour of this regulation which will increase the influence of our industry in the global market.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission proposes a series of purely technical measures for producers that operate on an international scale. As was the case with the 100-plus similar regulations of the past, the aim of these agreements is to bring in rules for the approval of a particular category of products across the global market, thereby cutting the bureaucratic burdens faced by the industry. I agree on the goal set out at the United Nations Economic Commission meeting in Geneva and hence my vote on the draft Council decision is in favour.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the adoption of this draft decision on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. This regulation will enable the application of the same standards in many countries, so cutting red tape and contributing to the ability of European industry to compete more widely and easily. These technical requirements will be applied in many countries, not just in the EU, but also in third countries in eastern, western and south-eastern Europe, in the Commonwealth of Independent States, in Japan and in North America, which are contracting parties to the 1958 UNECE Agreement. Type-approval that is directly based on internationally agreed standards improves market access and enhances EU industry’s competitiveness.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) So as not to run the risk of repeating myself, I would refer to my explanation of vote relating to the regulation on light emitting diode light sources with respect to scale, to the importance of approving technical regulations at global level, and to praising the work of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. In this explanation of vote on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle, I should only like to highlight the importance of parliamentary unanimity on certain issues, such as this. I agree with the idea that unanimity is worrying in certain circumstances: for example, in oppressive regimes and/or when the election of individuals is at stake. In these matters relating to technical regulations, Parliament’s togetherness indicates that practically all the citizens of our Member States support the economies of scale/safety gains provided by these regulations. As such, why not take on as a priority for our Union the creation of European, initially, and global, preferably, standards for industrial products? Is a single market not one of the primary objectives of our EU? Why not start approaching it now at global level as part of its technical regulations?

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome all legal instruments intended to protect human beings and increase their safety. This is exactly that sort of instrument, ensuring the recognition and reliability of vehicle type-approvals. I hope that the European Union will seek to ensure that its citizens enjoy the highest standards of reliability and security for the vehicles in operation in its territory, thereby contributing to cutting road accident rates, and that it will be able to establish reliable partnerships in this area that ensure the quality of vehicles provided from outside.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The report under consideration, drafted by Mr Moreira, concerns a recommendation on the draft Council decision on the accession of the Union to Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. The UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations is a standing working group that operates within the United Nations and concerns itself with the regulations applicable to motor vehicles. The safety of all passengers in motor vehicles, both private and commercial, has always been a concern of the EU. To date, the UNECE has adopted 126 regulations and the EU has acceded to 106. It should also be mentioned that Directive 2007/46/EC provides for the possibility of the mandatory application of UNECE regulations on EU vehicle type-approvals. As such, I voted for this proposal for a recommendation, since I am aware that application of the standards mentioned in this regulation to the Member States will not only substantially reduce bureaucracy, but it will also make European industry more competitive.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) There is provision in the 1958 Agreement of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for any contracting party to declare, at the time of accession, that they are not bound by certain UNECE regulations. This report proposes that the European Parliament give its assent to the Union’s accession to Regulation No 29 of the UNECE on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. The technical requirements of UNECE regulations are not only applied to the EU, but also to third countries in eastern, western and south-eastern Europe, Japan and North America, inter alia, which are contracting parties to the 1958 UNECE Agreement. The intention is for type-approvals issued under the UNECE regulations to be considered EU type-approvals, thus avoiding duplication not only in technical requirements but also in certification and administrative procedures; this will cut red tape, to the benefit of both industry and national authorities.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (working party established under Article 29) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) offers a unique framework for globally harmonised regulations on vehicles with participants coming from all over the world, especially the main motor vehicle producing countries. The benefits of such harmonised regulations are tangible in road safety, environmental protection and trade. The working party established under Article 29 is a permanent working party in the institutional framework of the United Nations that works as a global forum allowing open discussions on motor vehicle regulations. Currently, 126 regulations have been agreed within the UNECE framework. The European Union has acceded to 106 regulations to date. So far, however, it has not acceded to UNECE Regulation No 29 on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. I therefore think it is right for Parliament to approve the draft decision on UNECE Regulation No 29 on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle, because this UNECE regulation will allow for the application of the same standards in many countries, taking away red tape and allowing European industry to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I welcome this resolution which should be the first step towards improving the safety of vehicles with regard to the safety and protection of the occupants of the cab of commercial vehicles.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The regulation relating to the European Union’s accession to Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle is a very good report. I therefore decided to support it.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I support Parliament giving its consent to the draft Council decision on the accession of the Union to Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle, because this UNECE regulation will allow for the application of the same standards in many countries, taking away red tape and allowing European industry to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – Since this procedure is aimed at giving the EP’s consent to the accession of the EU to Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle, I supported the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Harmonised vehicle regulations can benefit road safety, environmental protection and trade. Type-approvals under UNECE regulations, which is to say, EC type-approvals and those based on internationally agreed standards, make it possible for the same standards to be used in many countries and obviate the duplication of work, reduce administrative expenditure and could increase the competitiveness of European industry. While measures intended to cut red tape and simplify administration are to be welcomed in principle, in many areas, the EU does take on a pioneering role when it comes to safety, and that ability must not be done away with. For that reason, I abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I believe that it is appropriate and very important to accede to the Regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe establishing uniform standards related to motor vehicles which are applicable worldwide. This will ensure an adequate level of protection in the areas of road safety, environmental protection and trade. It is also very important to note that the inclusion of this regulation in the EU type-approval system for motor vehicles and its effective application will eliminate significant red tape and will create favourable competitive opportunities for European industry.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Mr Moreira’s recommendation on the accession of the Union to Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) relates to granting the European Commission the authority to negotiate and vote on behalf of the EU at the UNECE, a global forum allowing open discussions on motor vehicle regulations which the EU has acceded to, deciding to make the application of 62 of the 106 existing regulations mandatory. So far, the EU has not acceded to UNECE Regulation No 29 on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. I voted in favour of adopting the text because it will make it possible for the same rules to be applied in many Member States, thereby cutting bureaucracy and enhancing and improving European industry.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations is a permanent working party in the institutional framework of the UN which promotes open discussions on motor vehicle regulations. Any member country of the UN and any regional economic integration organisation set up by country members of the UN members may participate fully in the activities of this World Forum and may become a contracting party to the agreements administered by the forum. For its part, Europe has an interest, in addition to other agreements which it has ratified, in ratifying Regulation No 29 of the UN Economic Commission for Europe on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. These regulations will allow the same specifications to be applied in all countries, thereby reducing administrative costs, and will therefore help European industry somewhat in competing more broadly and more effectively at a time which is vital to its economy. That is why I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of this report is to adopt the draft Council decision on the accession of the Union to ‘Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’ on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. I voted in favour because harmonisation of these regulations has tangible benefits for road safety, for environmental protection, and for trade.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is a global forum on motor vehicle regulations. Its aim is to promote uniform technical prescriptions that cut development costs, prevent duplication of administrative procedures for industry and thereby contribute to greater efficiency and lower costs for consumers and society. I agree that this UNECE regulation will enable the same rules to be applied in many countries and that the benefits of such harmonised regulations are tangible in road safety, environmental protection and trade. Therefore, I am voting in favour of the draft Council decision on the EU’s accession to Regulation No 29 of the Economic Commission for Europe on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the context of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations seeks to establish uniform regulations that take account of road safety, environmental protection and trade between various countries. To date, the EU has acceded to 106 of the 126 regulations agreed in the UNECE, 62 of which are applied within the Union. It is a regulatory framework also applied in European countries that are not part of the EU, in the Commonwealth of Independent States, in Japan and in North America. As such, and in view of Europe’s robust automotive industry, there is justification for the Union’s accession to ‘Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’ on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle, whose implementation was already provided for in Regulation (EC) No 661/2009. Therefore, and in light of the Committee on International Trade’s recommendation, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) offers a unique framework for globally harmonised regulations on vehicles with participants coming from all over the world, especially the main motor vehicle producing countries. The benefits of such harmonised regulations are tangible in road safety, environmental protection and trade. WP.29 is a permanent working party in the institutional framework of the United Nations with a specific mandate and rules of procedure. It works as a global forum allowing open discussions on motor vehicle regulations. Any member country of the United Nations and any regional economic integration organisation, set up by country members of the United Nations, may participate fully in the activities of the World Forum and may become a contracting party to the agreements on vehicles administered by the World Forum.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) The recommendation that we voted on this morning in this House offers a good example of the work that the European Union does, namely, the global harmonisation of different systems – in this case regarding road safety, environmental protection and trade – in order to achieve regulatory simplification.

The approvals issued under United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) regulations will, henceforth, be considered EU approvals, thereby avoiding duplication not only of technical prescriptions but also of certifications and administrative procedures. This will benefit industry and national authorities, given the advantages resulting from our adoption of the draft Council decision on the Union’s accession to UNECE’s regulation on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is a single framework for the comprehensive harmonisation of these regulations, and has participants from all over the world, in particular, the main countries that produce motor vehicles. Harmonisation of these regulations has tangible benefits for road safety, for environmental protection and for trade. The rapporteur is proposing that Parliament adopt the draft Council decision on the accession of the Union to Regulation No 29 of the UNECE on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle, since it will enable the application of the same standards in many countries, so cutting red tape and contributing to the ability of European industry to compete more widely and easily. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the Council decision on the accession of the Union to Regulation No 29 of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle. The EU’s accession to this UNECE regulation will allow for the application of the same standards in many countries, thereby removing red tape, improving road safety, environmental protection and trade, and helping maintain European industry’s global competitiveness. Type-approvals issued under the UNECE regulations will be considered as EC type-approvals, thereby avoiding duplication not only in technical requirements but also in certification and administrative procedures, to the benefit of industry and national authorities. These technical requirements will apply in many countries located notably in the EU, non-EU Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Japan and North America, which are contracting parties to the UNECE 1958 Agreement. Type-approval directly based on internationally agreed standards and applied in so many countries will also be adopted by other third countries, which will further improve market access and enhance EU industry’s competitiveness.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – Fair international trade and thus distributed access to welfare as well as a strong European automotive industry form part of the focus of this report on which I fully agree. Therefore, I voted in favour of it. Its adoption will improve market access and enhance the European Union’s automotive industry competitiveness.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Vital Moreira (A7-0004/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour. This is yet another report whose purpose is the application of the same standards in various countries, bringing together the EU Member States, in this case in relation to pedestrian safety and light emitting diode light sources. This harmonisation and cutting of red tape will enable European industry to be more competitive on a wider scale.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the Council’s decision on the Union’s position in the negotiations with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the two new draft regulations concerning pedestrian safety and light emitting diode (LED) light sources. I think that the application of the measures set out in the texts will bring further improvements to road safety rules, an area in which much can still be done to reduce the high number of road accident victims. Unfortunately, despite the Member States’ efforts, many people fall victim to these terrible accidents even today. Indeed, in 2009 alone, some 35 000 people were killed and 1.5 million injured, with the latest estimates saying that this includes 16 000 children. For these reasons, the Union – which currently accedes to some 126 UNECE regulations – needs to adapt the provisions currently in force to the more recent measures set out in the UNECE regulations.

 
  
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  John Attard-Montalto (S&D), in writing. – As a new member of the Committee on International Trade, it is fitting that my first speech in the second half of this legislature should be related to a report by this Committee. The Moreira report deals with pedestrian safety and light emitting diodes (LEDs). The introduction of LEDs for pedestrian safety is definitely a subject everyone is in agreement with. Indeed many third-world countries have introduced LEDs into their traffic control systems. It is strange that most European countries have not done the same. The only argument being put forward is that, during a time of austerity, this is not the right time for capital expenditure. I do not agree for three reasons. In the long term, this is cost effective. Firstly, LEDs are energy savers reducing the cost of energy. Secondly, if they help to reduce pedestrian injuries, they reduce the very high costs of hospitalisation and rehabilitation. Thirdly, if they help to prevent death, then the investment in that particular human (i.e. education) will not be lost. But the most important reason is that all human life is sacred and must be protected at all costs.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I also voted in favour of the draft regulation from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on pedestrian safety and the draft regulation on light emitting diodes (LEDs). Here again, the regulation essentially aims at taking away red tape and will allow European industry to be in a position to operate on global markets. Consequently, we authorised the European Commission, the European Union’s representative at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, to vote in favour of this regulation. Finally, in light of its advances in road safety and trade, we can see that this legislation also has an environmental impact.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) offers a unique framework for globally harmonised regulations on vehicles with participants from all over the world, particularly the main motor vehicle producing countries. The benefits of such harmonised regulations are tangible in road safety, environmental protection and trade. Currently, 126 regulations have been agreed within the UNECE framework. The European Union has currently acceded to 106 UNECE regulations, of which it has decided to compulsorily apply 62 in the EU. Two new draft regulations have been drawn up at UNECE level and are ready to be put to the vote: the first concerns pedestrian safety and the second concerns light emitting diode (LED) light sources. I welcome the position of the European Union (the Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU at UNECE level) because these UNECE regulations will allow for the application of the same standards in many countries, reducing red tape and enabling European industry to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission proposes a series of purely technical measures for producers that operate on an international scale. As was the case with the 100-plus similar regulations of the past, the aim of these agreements is to bring in rules for the approval of a particular category of products across the global market, thereby cutting the bureaucratic burdens faced by the industry. In this case, the text produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) contains rules that identify common production standards for the approval of vehicles, which were also decided in consultation with manufacturers in the sector. I agree on the goal set out at the United Nations Economic Commission meeting in Geneva and hence my vote on the draft Council decision is in favour.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the adoption of this draft decision on pedestrian safety and the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe concerning light emitting diode light sources. This will enable the application of the same standards in many countries, so cutting red tape and contributing to European industry’s ability to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. – Given a series of recent road deaths in Ireland, it is crucial to highlight pedestrian safety, and so I call on the Commission and Parliament to redouble their efforts in the wake of this vote.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR), in writing.(PL) I voted for this recommendation since every year, hundreds of pedestrians are killed in my country, and thousands across the whole of the EU. This is an serious problem, since the number of increasingly faster vehicles as well as inexperienced drivers is growing all the time. We need to do our utmost to use all possible technical resources and limit the number of fatalities.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) There are bodies little known by the general public that do work important to our daily lives and should, therefore, be pointed out and exulted. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is one of these. Initially established as a regional organisation of the UN, it is now open to all countries of the world, as well as to professional organisations, NGOs and regional organisations, and today includes more than 70. The UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) debates and approves the global harmonisation of these regulations, particularly for countries that produce motor vehicles. It seems clear to me that there is an economy of scale for our EU in considering these regulations/type-approvals at global level, taking into account not just the interests of producers, but also the safety of users and the general public. This is mainly because, for example, UNECE approvals are considered EU approvals, meaning that it cuts red tape, but it is also because, objectively, it raises the bar in terms of the requirements relating to the quality, safety, environmental protection, reliability, etc. of all products manufactured. As such, I applaud the work of the UNECE in general, particularly the work of the WP.29 and, specifically, this draft regulation relating to light emitting diode light sources.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this recommendation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe because I believe the harmonisation of vehicle regulations contributes to improving road safety and environmental protection in signatory countries.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has produced two regulations that should be voted on soon: one regarding pedestrian safety and another concerning light emitting diode light sources. The Commission requires Parliament’s consent in order to be able to vote for both reports on the Union’s behalf in the UNECE. For my part, I see no problem with authorising the Commission to do so, in order to encourage the removal of bureaucratic obstacles and provide European industry with better competition possibilities.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations is a standing working group that meets three times a year and operates within the United Nations. To date, the UNECE has adopted 126 regulations and the European Union has acceded to 106. It should also be mentioned that Directive 2007/46/EC provides for the possibility of the mandatory application of UNECE regulations on EU type-approvals. It is the Commission that negotiates and votes on behalf of the EU, which necessitates an authorising decision from the Council. However, the Council can only authorise this vote with the consent of the European Parliament. The UNECE has drafted two regulations that are ready to be voted on: one regarding pedestrian safety and the other concerning light emitting diode (LED) light sources. I am voting for this report, drafted by Mr Moreira, concerning the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the position for the Commission to adopt on the EU’s behalf regarding the draft UNECE regulations on pedestrian safety and LED light sources.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has negotiated two new regulations with the European Commission. The first relates to the prescriptions for the type-approval of vehicles as regards pedestrian safety. The second relates to the prescriptions for the type-approval of vehicles as regards light emitting diode light sources. The European Parliament’s consent is needed in order for the Commission to be able to vote on and accede to the regulations. Following accession to the regulation, the EU can decide to make them obligatory when approving vehicles. Similarly to what has already happened with the approval of vehicles with regard to the protection of the occupants of the cab of a commercial vehicle, correction of these UNECE regulations will enable the standards to become uniform across many countries, so reducing bureaucracy. Type-approvals issued under the UNECE regulations will be considered EU type-approvals, thus avoiding duplication not only in technical requirements, but also in certification and administrative procedures. This will cut red tape, to the benefit of both industry and national authorities.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (working group established under Article 29) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) offers a unique framework for globally harmonised regulations on vehicles. The benefits of such harmonised regulations are tangible in road safety, environmental protection and trade. Currently, 126 regulations have been agreed within the UNECE framework, and the European Union has acceded to 106 UNECE regulations to date. Two new draft regulations have been drawn up, which are ready to be voted on: the first concerns the safety of pedestrians, and the second, light emitting diode (LED) light sources. I think it is right for Parliament to approve the draft Council decision on the opinion of the EU regarding the draft UNECE regulation concerning the safety of pedestrians and also the draft concerning LED light sources because these UNECE regulations will allow for the application of the same standards in many countries, taking away red tape and allowing European industry to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I commend this recommendation, which should streamline the technical specifications for pedestrian safety and light emitting diode (LED) light sources, not just in the EU, but in many car producing countries.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for Parliament to give its consent to the draft Council decision on the position of the European Union in relation to the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe concerning pedestrian safety and to the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe concerning light emitting diode (LED) light sources, together with its corrigenda, because these UNECE regulations will allow for the application of the same standards in many countries, taking away red tape and allowing European industry to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) I also voted in favour of the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on pedestrian safety and its draft regulation on light emitting diode (LED) light sources. My reasons are as before: greater efficiency and less bureaucracy, as well as more competition.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The resolution on pedestrian safety and light emitting diodes will promote the harmonisation of standards in various countries. Consequently, it will open access to new markets and will allow many companies to enjoy new trade exchanges. It will help stimulate competitiveness within the European Union. In addition to this advantage in terms of trading operations, this resolution offers pedestrian safety and shows a concern for environmental protection insofar as light emitting diodes have a long life.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – This proposal is very timely for provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to light emitting diode (LED) light sources. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Harmonised vehicle regulations can benefit road safety, environmental protection and trade. A number of directives relating to the type-approval of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units are to be replaced by references to the corresponding UNECE regulations. While measures intended to cut red tape and simplify administration are to be welcomed in principle, in many areas, the EU does take on a pioneering role when it comes to safety, and that ability must not be sacrificed. I therefore abstained from voting.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because in order to ensure a high level of pedestrian protection, it is essential to apply uniform regulations not just within the EU, but internationally. Following the entry into force of these regulations, light emitting diodes will be fitted to wheeled vehicles in a uniform manner. It is also very important to note that standardised requirements will eliminate technical obstacles and will ensure a high level of vehicle safety and protection.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) Mr Moreira’s text on the EU’s position on the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) looks at granting the Commission the power to negotiate and vote on behalf of the EU at the UNECE, a United Nations global forum allowing open discussions on motor vehicle regulations, which the EU has acceded to, making it mandatory to apply 62 out of 106 existing regulations. Each year, the Commission sends a document on the activities of the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations to the Council and to Parliament. The topics in this instance were pedestrian safety and light emitting diode (LED) light sources.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the European Union position on the draft regulations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) regarding: 1) pedestrian safety and; 2) light emitting diode light sources. In addition to adoption at EU level contributing in both cases to road safety and environmental protection, it is important to underline that these UNECE regulations will enable the application of the same standards in many countries, so cutting red tape and contributing to European industry’s ability to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) The World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is a global forum on motor vehicle regulations. Its aim is to promote uniform technical prescriptions that cut development costs, prevent duplication of administrative procedures for industry and thereby contribute to greater efficiency and lower costs for consumers and society. Since I agree that this UNECE regulation will enable the same rules to be applied in many countries and that the benefits of such harmonised regulations are tangible in road safety, environmental protection and trade, I am voting in favour of the Council’s draft decision on the UNECE’s position on pedestrian safety and light emitting diode (LED) light sources.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) In the context of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations seeks to establish uniform regulations that take account of road safety, environmental protection and trade between various countries. To date, the EU has acceded to 106 of the 126 regulations agreed in the UNECE, 62 of which are applied within the Union. It is a regulatory framework also applied in European countries that are not part of the EU, in the Commonwealth of Independent States, in Japan and in North America. As such, and in view of Europe’s robust automotive industry, accession to the two new regulations that have been tabled relating to pedestrian safety and light emitting diode light sources is justified. In light of the Committee on International Trade’s recommendation, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Moreira because I consider that the proposals of UN WP.29 will make a positive contribution to road safety, the environment and trade, to which every country is committed. Also, the UNECE regulations will facilitate the application of the same specifications in numerous countries, thereby limiting administrative costs and helping to make European industry more competitive.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) In recent years, the EU has done much to improve road safety and, in particular, pedestrian safety, while also widening the issue to other world organisations.

The foremost contributor to this process has been the World Forum for the Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations, which has involved the main producer countries of motor vehicles from Europe, as well as from Asia and America. In fact, the sessions of the World Forum saw the ongoing participation of more than 120 representatives.

I hope that today’s positive vote will lead to the two new draft regulations – the first on pedestrian safety and the second on light emitting diode (LED) light sources – having even greater success in terms of safety than the existing results.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In this document, the rapporteur is proposing that the European Parliament adopt the draft Council decision on the position of the European Union in relation to the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on pedestrian safety and to the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) concerning light emitting diode (LED) light sources, together with its corrigenda. I voted in favour because I believe these UNECE regulations will enable the application of the same standards in many countries, so cutting red tape and contributing to European industry’s ability to compete more widely and easily.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament legislative resolution on the draft Council decision on the position of the European Union in relation to the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on pedestrian safety and to the draft UNECE regulation concerning light emitting diode (LED) light sources. The European Commission, as the EU’s representative, thinks that both draft regulations relating to pedestrian safety and LED light sources should be included in the European Union vehicle type-approval system. This means that both draft UNECE regulations become part of the European vehicle type-approval system. The aim of the standardised requirements of the draft UNECE regulation on the vehicle approval provisions regarding pedestrian safety and the vehicle approval provisions regarding LED light sources is to remove the current technical barriers in the car trade between the contracting parties to the revised 1958 Agreement (on the technical requirements for wheeled vehicles) and to ensure that these vehicles provide a high level of safety and protection.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – Pedestrian safety, especially with ever increasing traffic, is of high importance to the European Union and its citizens and therefore this report has to be supported, which I did by my vote in favour. Any technical means like LEDs which support pedestrian safety have to be utilised.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – I voted for this report because I approve of measures which are designed to prevent injuries to pedestrians. The proposals will ensure that cars’ bumpers are designed so as to limit the impact on pedestrians if a collision occurs. The standardisation of LED lights fitted to cars, caravans or trailers will make it easier to see stop lights, indicators and hazard lights, thereby increasing safety on our roads.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing.(PL) I supported the recommendation on the draft Council decision on the position of the European Union in relation to the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on pedestrian safety and to the draft regulation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe concerning light emitting diode (LED) light sources. The regulation discussed provides for the application of the UNECE regulations for the purpose of the EC vehicle type-approval on a compulsory basis. This would mean that the type-approval of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, as well as technical components, would be applied without the necessity for further, additional type-approval. This would make it easier for European producers, for authorities in individual states, and for consumers, by avoiding the duplication of technical requirements and certification procedures. The same standards would be used in many countries, which would radically reduce bureaucratic requirements.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Brian Simpson (A7-0448/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour, since this is an agreement whose purpose is to harmonise the 19 already existing agreements between the EU and the Republic of Indonesia, as well as to amend some of their provisions that, according to the EU Court of Justice, infringe EU law. I would stress the importance of preventing discrimination between EU air carriers, and of banning anti-competitive practices; these concerns are rightly expressed in this report.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I am always committed when it comes to ensuring that an agreement is in accordance with European Union legislation. I voted in favour of this agreement between the European Union and Indonesia because it means that we can rectify the national designation clauses in the bilateral agreements which, after a decision by the Court of Justice in 2002, no longer complied with European Union law. Therefore, to avoid any discrimination between European Union carriers, we shall replace the national designation clauses by an EU designation clause. As our rapporteur, Brian Simpson, has pointed out, ‘the objective is to give all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member States concerned and Indonesia’. Furthermore, while traditional bilateral agreements tend to exempt international flights from fuel taxation, this type of taxation is authorised for operations within the European Union. The aim of the agreement is therefore to expand that right of Member States of the European Union to Indonesian airlines wishing to operate intra-Union flights.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document. International aviation relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements. In 2002, the EU Court of Justice ruled that national designation clauses in the bilateral agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. This has been found to constitute discrimination against EU carriers established in the territory of a Member State but owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States. The Commission has negotiated the agreement that replaces certain provisions in the existing 19 bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia. This agreement aims to ensure that all EU air carriers have non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member States concerned and Indonesia, and prohibits anti-competitive practices.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) International relations in the area of aviation between Member States and third countries have been regulated through bilateral air services agreements. The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that national designation clauses in the bilateral agreements infringe EU law, as they constitute discrimination against EU carriers established in the territory of one Member State but owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States. This recommendation, for which I voted, proposes that the Committee on Transport and Tourism should issue a favourable opinion on the conclusion of the report. With this agreement, national designation clauses will be replaced with an EU designation clause, applicable to all EU carriers. The purpose is to give all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member State in question and Indonesia.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) The Commission has signed an agreement with the Indonesian Government to replace some provisions in the existing EU-Indonesia bilateral agreements. The provisions that the EU intends to replace relate to the air transport sector, where the aim is to end discriminatory practices against EU air carriers, made possible until now precisely by the nature of the preceding bilateral agreements. As well as being economically damaging for EU airlines, under EU law, these discriminations were a violation of the provisions of the European Treaties on the entitlement to equal treatment of citizens resident in a country other than their country of origin. The Commission’s work is therefore geared towards protecting European airlines and European commercial interests. Accordingly, I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this recommendation because the agreement between the European Union and the government of the Republic of Indonesia on certain aspects of air services aims to ensure aviation safety, avoid discrimination between EU air carriers and ensure compatibility with competition rules. Firstly, to avoid discrimination between EU air carriers, national designation clauses, referring to air carriers of the Member State that are party to the bilateral agreement, are replaced by an EU designation clause, referring to all EU carriers. This clause aims to ensure that all EU air carriers have non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member States concerned and Indonesia. As for safety assurance, according to the agreement, safety provisions in bilateral agreements are applicable to situations when regulatory control over an air carrier is exercised by a Member State other than the Member State that designated that air carrier. Thirdly, under this agreement, anti-competitive practices are prohibited. The aim of this agreement is therefore to apply the same rights to Indonesian airlines wishing to operate flights within the European Union as Member States have.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the adoption of this agreement, whose purpose is to correct situations of discrimination against EU carriers established in a Member State but owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States. International relations in the area of aviation between Member States and third countries have traditionally been regulated through bilateral air services agreements. The purpose of this agreement is to replace certain provisions of the 19 existing bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia, so ensuring compliance with EU competition law.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) This agreement, entirely in line with other agreements between the European Union and third countries, will benefit our airlines by prohibiting any type of discrimination in access to the Indonesian market.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this recommendation, since I support the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and the government of the Republic of Indonesia on certain aspects of air services. With this agreement, all EU air carriers will have non-discriminatory access to routes between the Member State in question and Indonesia. It safeguards, inter alia, free competition between European airlines.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The agreement that we are adopting today is an important step in strengthening relations between the EU and Indonesia in the aviation sector. This agreement enables significant gains in terms of mutual recognition of airlines and does not permit discrimination between European companies in terms of safety rules and procedures, or in relation to competition, since any anti-competitive practices between the parties are banned.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation, drafted by Mr Simpson, concerns a draft decision of the Council regarding the conclusion of the agreement between the Union and the government of the Republic of Indonesia on certain aspects of air services. The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, substantially changed the powers of several European institutions, particularly Parliament, which, in the new set-up, is called on to rule on matters which were not previously under its jurisdiction, as in this case of an international agreement between the EU and the Republic of Indonesia on air services. It is noteworthy that this agreement, negotiated by the Commission, replaces certain provisions of the 19 existing bilateral air services agreements in force, concluded between EU Member States and the Republic of Indonesia. I welcome the establishment of another agreement whose purpose is to give all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes with Indonesia as their destination, which represents an important step in strengthening relations between the EU and the Republic of Indonesia in the aviation sector; it also covers safety and taxation of aviation fuel.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This draft agreement follows on from several identical agreements already concluded between the EU and other countries. As we mentioned in relation to these other agreements, in the specific context in which civil aviation currently operates, this draft agreement raises serious concerns about its scope and possible consequences. Moves to ‘avoid discrimination between EU air carriers’ with the supposed creation of a level playing field for the various European companies could contribute to facilitating monopolistic concentration within the sector, which is already under way. The reference to the primacy of free competition in Article 4 comes under this heading, seeking to reduce the Member States’ ability to defend their flag carriers, in a sector that is strategic in terms of safeguarding national interests for a number of reasons. However, it should be stressed that, in this case, the possible implications for Portugal will be comparatively less than those of previous agreements already concluded, such as those with Brazil, the United States and Canada.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) International air transport relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements. The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that national designation clauses in the bilateral agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. This has been found to constitute discrimination against EU carriers established in the territory of a Member State but owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States. Thus, the Commission has negotiated the agreement that replaces certain provisions in the existing 19 bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia. It was signed on 29 June 2011 and the two parties have agreed to act in accordance with the agreement from the time of signature until it enters into force. The conclusion of the agreement, however, requires the consent of the European Parliament. I firmly believe that it is right for the Committee on Transport and Tourism to give its approval for the conclusion of the agreement.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I welcome this agreement, which replaces provisions in the existing 19 bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia, and thus streamlines the legal arrangement.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) It is what is called a ‘classic’ agreement negotiated by the Commission under its ‘horizontal mandate’. The main aim of this agreement is to give all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between the Member States of the European Union concerned and Indonesia. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing. (FR) Traditionally, international relations in the field of aviation with third countries were governed by bilateral agreements, that is, from one State to another. However, in 2002, the European Court of Justice censured the presence of national designation clauses in agreements of this kind because that could lead to discrimination between European Union (EU) carriers. The agreement for which I voted plans to replace national designation clauses by a single EU designation clause. From now on, EU carriers will be able to access the Indonesian market without any risk of discrimination.

 
  
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  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour of the report since, in my opinion, the ensuing new agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Indonesia will ensure protection for EU air carriers against discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member States concerned and Indonesia. Moreover, it secures a number of regulations which guarantee the prohibition of anti-competitive practices.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal. International aviation relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements. The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that national designation clauses in the bilateral agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. This has been found to constitute discrimination against EU carriers established in the territory of a Member State but owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States. This is contrary to Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which guarantees nationals of Member States who have exercised their freedom of establishment the same treatment in the host Member State as that accorded to nationals of that Member State. There are also further issues, such as competition, where compliance with EU law should be ensured. Thus, the Commission has negotiated the agreement that replaces certain provisions in the existing 19 bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) I am voting in favour of the report by Mr Simpson. It was necessary to conclude an agreement between the EU and Indonesia, particularly in order to allow all EU air carriers to have non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member States concerned and Indonesia.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) This new agreement between the European Union and Indonesia on certain aspects of airline services will stimulate economic growth, which has become a crucial issue. Indeed, this policy encourages the exploitation of spatial systems including financial and legislative mechanisms. It will allow us to give impetus to a spirit of initiative and innovation which will drive European competitiveness. This policy will also provide greater coherence within Europe by harmonising and strengthening national spatial programmes. Finally, the replacement of certain provisions in the bilateral agreements will remove discrimination between EU carriers.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The main goal, as we know, is to bring the existing 19 bilateral agreements concluded between Member States and Indonesia in line with EU law. Thus, the agreement amends the bilateral agreements in the areas falling under EU competence. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Commission has negotiated an agreement in which certain clauses in the 19 bilateral air services agreements between EU Member States and Indonesia are replaced. The main aims are to ensure non-discriminatory access to the routes for all EU air carriers, for the safety provisions to be applicable not only by the Member State in which the air carrier is domiciled, to apply aviation fuel tax to Indonesian air carriers within the EU and to ban practices that are not compatible with provisions on competition. I did not vote in favour of the report because, in my opinion, the clauses that are to be replaced represent too much interference by the EU in the bilateral agreements of the individual Member States.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this recommendation, which aims to align the provisions of the agreement between the European Union and the government of the Republic of Indonesia on certain aspects of air services with EU law and eliminate existing contradictions. The new provisions will ensure more favourable conditions for EU carriers and will give the right to non-discriminatory access to routes between the EU Member States concerned and Indonesia. I also welcome the proposal giving Member States the right to also make Indonesian airlines, wishing to operate flights within the European Union, subject to fuel tax.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Mr Simpson’s report on the conclusion of a bilateral agreement between the EU and the Republic of Indonesia on air services because it aims to reach the goal of giving all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes to Indonesia. In general terms, all relations between EU Member States and third countries on air transport are governed by bilateral agreements, and in this instance, the text is nothing more than a supplement to the 19 existing agreements. Greater transport possibilities improve relations between countries and make life easier for citizens, hence I think that in future, we will see an increase in, and constant renewal of, bilateral agreements.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the conclusion of an agreement between the European Union and the government of the Republic of Indonesia on certain aspects of air services. In 2002, the EU Court of Justice ruled that certain clauses included in bilateral air services agreements between EU Member States and third countries violate EU law. Consequently, the Commission has negotiated an agreement which replaces certain provisions of the 19 existing bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia, which is now being adopted.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing.(IT) The bilateral agreements between Member States and third countries in the international air transport sector can cause discrimination against EU carriers established in the territory of a Member State, but which are owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States. I agree with the goal of guaranteeing nationals of Member States who have exercised their freedom of establishment the same treatment in the host Member State as that accorded to nationals of that Member State. I also agree with ensuring compliance with EU law by amending or complementing existing provisions in bilateral air services agreements between Member States and third countries. Accordingly, I voted in favour of finalising the agreement.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) There are currently 19 bilateral agreements on air services in force between EU Member States and Indonesia. However, there are clauses in some of these agreements which, according to EU Court of Justice case-law, violate EU law. That is the case with what are known as designation clauses, which authorise a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. The purpose of this agreement is simply to ensure the harmonisation of these aspects with EU law. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. International aviation relations between Member States and third countries have traditionally been governed by bilateral air services agreements. The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that national designation clauses in the bilateral agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals. This has been found to constitute discrimination against EU carriers established in the territory of a Member State but owned and controlled by nationals of other Member States. This is contrary to Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which guarantees nationals of Member States who have exercised their freedom of establishment the same treatment in the host Member State as that accorded to nationals of that Member State. There are also further issues, such as competition, where compliance with EU law should be ensured through amending or complementing existing provisions in bilateral air services agreements between Member States and third countries.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Simpson because I consider that non-discrimination between EU air carriers and guaranteeing them equal access to routes to Indonesia are important matters. Also, a vote in favour of the report will help to ensure that competition rules comply with EU legislation and to ensure that aviation fuels are taxed for international flights.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) Today’s vote will correct the divergences and anomalies in the 19 existing bilateral air services agreements concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia.

In fact, relations between Member States and third countries in the area of international air transport are traditionally governed by bilateral air services agreements. The EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that national designation clauses in the bilateral agreements infringe EU law. They allow a third country to reject, withdraw or suspend the permissions or authorisations of an air carrier that has been designated by a Member State but that is not substantially owned and effectively controlled by that Member State or its nationals.

Our vote will resolve this discriminatory situation.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) There are 19 bilateral agreements on air services in force between Member States and Indonesia. The purpose of concluding this agreement is to bring an end to these bilateral agreements and establish a single one governing relations on certain aspects of air services with Indonesia. The Union has been signing a number of agreements of this type, because the EU Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that the traditional national designation clauses included in bilateral air services agreements infringed EU law. As such, to prevent clauses that discriminate against EU airlines and the violation of Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union on freedom of establishment, this agreement establishes the principle of the EU designation for all carriers from the EU. Furthermore, the agreement standardises regulatory control over safety, the competition principle and fuel taxation. Adoption of this agreement will reduce geographical distances, and enable closer political and economic relations.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the draft Council decision on the conclusion of an agreement between the European Union and the government of the Republic of Indonesia on certain aspects of air services. The agreement signed on 29 June 2011 replaces certain provisions included in the existing 19 bilateral agreements on air services concluded between EU Member States and Indonesia. Certain provisions in the bilateral agreements on air services between EU Member States and Indonesia contained sections which infringe European Union legislation and must be made to comply with it in order to establish a solid legal basis for air services between the European Union and Indonesia, as well as to maintain the continuity of the relevant air services. The purpose of the agreement is to grant all EU carriers the right of non-discriminatory access to the routes between the relevant Member States and Indonesia. The aim through this agreement is not for the EU to increase the total volume of air traffic between the EU and Indonesia, to upset the balance between European Union and Indonesian air carriers, or to negotiate the changes made to the provisions on traffic rights in the existing bilateral agreements on air services. The agreement contains provisions on safety, taxation of aviation fuel and banning anti-competitive practices.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Replacing the national designation clauses with an EU designation clause will ensure all EU air carriers non-discriminatory access to routes between the Member States and Indonesia, and thus guarantee freedom of establishment. In addition, the agreement improves the safety provisions.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – Indonesia is one of the largest emerging markets in the world and yet there is no direct flight between Jakarta and my home constituency of London. Direct flights have been shown to help improve trade; firms do more business and invest more in markets which are the most convenient to reach. I hope that the EU-Indonesia Air Services Agreement will help to increase EU-Indonesia trade and that soon we will have a daily flight from Jakarta to Heathrow allowing British firms to tap into an economy which has an annual growth rate of 6.5%.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Brian Simpson (A7-0391/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for the report as it proposes the establishment of a framework for enhanced cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Any partnership with the ICAO is beneficial, as it is a specialised UN agency, and already has 190 Member States working together in the areas of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection. It is vital that the EU make the best decisions in these areas, so this cooperation is welcome and merits close involvement from Parliament.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In the light of previous disagreements with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) because of the confrontation between the European Union and airlines opposed to the inclusion of air transport in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) from 1 January 2012, I think it is necessary for the EU to collaborate with the international community. An international agreement enabling the greenhouse gas emissions of air transport to be taken into account is crucial. I therefore voted for this Memorandum of Cooperation, so that the European Union can use its expertise and resources generally for the benefit of the ICAO. It is essential that the European Union exerts influence on negotiations with the international community on civil aviation and, in particular, on issues of sustainable development.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) is aimed at formalising and enhancing relations and cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It was signed on 28 April 2011 in Montreal and on 4 May 2011 in Brussels and has been provisionally applied since then. The ICAO was founded by the Chicago Convention of 1944 as a UN Specialised Agency. Its 190 current Member States work together in the fields of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection. Most ICAO standards and requirements are addressed in EU law or even substantially transposed into European law (e.g. environmental standards for aircraft). Consequently, the EU takes a strong interest in contributing to the ICAO policy-making process, not least for the competitiveness of its own civil aviation industry. I welcomed the conclusion of the MOC, which will ensure greater harmonisation of standards, improved coordination of appropriate action and better use of limited resources.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this resolution because cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) needs to be enhanced. This memorandum supports the basic objectives of Europe’s external aviation policy. It is particularly important that the EU contributes to the decision-making process within the ICAO, given that 190 states are currently members of the organisation. Cooperation should be expanded in such areas as aviation safety, air security, air traffic management and environmental protection. Introducing common mechanisms will help improve coordination in planning programmes and technical assistance. New systems and technologies must be promoted globally. This will increase the competitiveness of Europe’s civil aviation sector. I welcome the mutual commitment to achieving the highest aviation safety levels in the world.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) was established as a specialised UN agency by the 1944 Chicago Convention. The signatory states work together in the areas of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection This Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) is intended to formalise and enhance relations between the EU and the ICAO, in order to ensure greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of their respective activities. The aim of the MOC is better use of available resources and preventing duplication of efforts, while simultaneously preserving the integrity of both parties. The parties are agreeing close cooperation, with a view to the coordination of their safety activities. This cooperation includes provisions making EU expertise and resources available to the ICAO, and enabling EU observers to participate in the ICAO’s audit missions in EU Member States, with their consent and under the strictest respect for the confidentiality of the audit missions. I voted for this recommendation for these reasons.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), pursuant to its rules of procedure, only allows states to join it as members. However, some years ago, the Commission sought to launch negotiations for the accession of the EU, hoping for an amendment to the ICAO’s rules. Such an amendment did not take place, and the EU is still excluded from full participation. Through the memorandum now proposed by the Council, the EU is trying to get around the obstacles posed by international law, in order to join the ICAO informally and to exert its own influence within it, although it does not legally have the right to do so. In essence, this agreement seems to be a Trojan horse that will allow the Commission to get around international law, and, what is more, at the expense of the EU Member States which, by contrast, are legal and fully-fledged members of the ICAO. Despite this, they could gradually lose their ability to exercise their rights within the ICAO if this memorandum were to enter into force. There would, of course, be specific advantages that would derive from the EU’s greater involvement in the ICAO, but these advantages would be achieved by bypassing the provisions of international law, and passing over the rights legally guaranteed to the Member States. I therefore voted against.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome its primary objective – the strengthening of aviation security, particularly that of civil aviation. The specific aim of this report is to consent to the conclusion of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This MOC is aimed at greater harmonisation of standards and improved coordination of appropriate action. In addition, while preserving the integrity of both parties, the MOC aims to achieve better use of limited resources and avoid duplication of efforts. This MOC has been applied provisionally since 4 May 2011. The ICAO was established in 1994 and today, its 190 Member States work together in the fields of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection. Most ICAO standards and requirements are addressed in EU law or even substantially transposed into European law. Therefore, the EU takes a strong interest in contributing to the ICAO policy-making process. This would also help increase the competitiveness of the European Union’s civil aviation industry.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the adoption of this Memorandum of Cooperation, the overall objective of which is to ensure greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of related activities, as well as achieving better use of available resources and avoiding duplication of activities, while also preserving the integrity of both parties. It is vital that there be close cooperation on and coordination of safety activities. This approach is based on mutual commitment to achieving the highest levels of aviation safety worldwide, and the harmonisation of safety standards and recommended practices.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which has been in operation since 1944, currently has approximately 190 Member States. It is crucial that the EU achieve closer relations with the ICAO by concluding this Memorandum of Cooperation, with a view to enabling closer coordination of its activities in the area of aviation security, as well as of air traffic management and environmental protection. It will thus enable the EU to contribute to the ICAO policy-making process, which is important not only for the competitiveness of its own civil aviation industry, but also in order to achieve a higher level of aviation safety worldwide, as well as harmonising the standards and recommended practices.

I am therefore voting for a strengthened EU position within the ICAO, as well as for the establishment of this framework for enhanced cooperation, which currently only sets out arrangements relating to aviation safety, such as the identification of unsafe air carriers. I hope that, in the short term, it will be possible to extend this cooperation to other arrangements in the field of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection, which should be appended to this Memorandum of Cooperation.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) This Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC), for which we have just voted, is aimed at formalising and enhancing relations between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and has been provisionally applied since 4 May 2011, when it was signed in Brussels. The main aim of this memorandum is to ensure greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of related activities. The MOC is also intended to create synergies in order to avoid duplication of efforts, and it does not seek to replace existing forms of cooperation, such as the safety oversight audit, and security audits/inspections, which are the subject of separate memoranda of cooperation. The scope and areas of cooperation that have just been agreed are well explained in the memorandum, and summed up in the Parliament’s recommendation. In future, other arrangements in the areas of security, environmental protection and air traffic management can be appended to this MOC. Unfortunately, the UN General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council are discredited. Happily, however, UN agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Children’s Fund and the ICAO do excellent work.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this Memorandum of Cooperation because European law currently takes account of most of the standards and requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in international aviation. It is, therefore in the European Union’s interest to contribute to the ICAO policy-making process if it wants to protect the competitiveness of its own civil aircraft industry, which is a key sector of economic activity and development in the Midi-Pyrénées region.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The report which I voted for relates to a classical agreement, which requires a simple process of approval by the European Parliament, and which is already being applied provisionally. This agreement is designed to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), notably, through the exchange of experts and the implementation of programmes allowing for the upward harmonisation of aviation safety and security standards.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this recommendation as it enhances the EU’s position in terms of its relations with the International Civil Aviation Organisation. This memorandum, which sets out a framework for enhanced cooperation, ensures greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of related activities, as well as enabling more efficient use of the limited resources available.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Our vote today seeks to formalise the application of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation, signed on 28 April 2011 in Montreal and on 4 May 2011 in Brussels, and provisionally applied since then.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation, drafted by Mr Simpson, concerns the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), establishing a framework of enhanced cooperation, and laying down procedural arrangements related thereto. The ICAO, which was established by the Chicago 1944 Convention, is a specialised UN agency and has 190 Member States, which work together in the following areas: aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection. Although the costs associated with this MOC amount to EUR 500 000 over three years, I agree with the rapporteur’s view that Parliament should contribute to a strengthened EU position within the ICAO. I voted for this recommendation because I believe that the issue at stake is greater harmonisation of procedural standards in aviation and closer coordination of respective activities, and that this will undoubtedly make the EU’s civil aviation industry more competitive.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The purpose of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) is to formalise and strengthen relations between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The overall goals of the MOC include strengthening relations and the framework for cooperation between the EU and the ICAO, and establishing the terms, conditions and mechanisms for implementing this cooperation, with a view to greater harmonisation of standards and better coordination of related activities. The MOC neither replaces nor negatively affects other forms of cooperation between the parties involved, and establishes closer cooperation in the areas of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection. While it is not applicable to decisions relating to harmonisation and regulation, it does, however, establish regulatory cooperation in the preparatory stages of these activities, the coordination of audit and inspection programmes, and technical assistance. In the specific context in which aviation activity takes place, the role and pressures on the EU in terms of liberalisation – which, among other issues, always exacerbates security-related issues – are well known, so we have some reservations about these agreements. Moreover, there are some concerns about possible additions to the concept of aviation security, which could affect respect for the rights, freedoms and guarantees of passengers and workers in this sector.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) Undoubtedly, formalising and enhancing current relations between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will lead to a strengthening and consolidation of these relations. My fellow Members and I have, to that end, unanimously approved the Memorandum of Cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The ICAO was established as a specialised agency of the UN and its Member States work together on aviation safety, air traffic management and environmental protection matters. It is therefore not surprising that the EU is interested in contributing to the development of the ICAO’s policies. This Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) aims to achieve greater harmonisation and closer coordination of the relevant activities, and not least to ensure better use of the limited resources available, for instance, by avoiding duplication of effort. Certainly, increased cooperation, such as the possibility of mutual access to databases, will lead to an improvement and a simplification of the system as a whole.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) aims to formalise and enhance relations and cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It was signed on 28 April in Montreal and on 4 May 2011 in Brussels and has been provisionally applied since then. The ICAO was founded by the Chicago Convention of 1944 as a UN Specialised Agency. Its 190 current Member States work together in the fields of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management, and environmental protection. The overall goal of the MOC is to ensure greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of respective activities. Thus far, provisions have only been laid down in relation to aviation safety. The parties agree to cooperate closely and to coordinate their safety activities. The approach is based on the mutual commitment to achieve the highest levels of aviation safety worldwide and a global harmonisation of safety standards and recommended practices (SARPs). The identification of unsafe areas and carriers is a common fundamental interest and an important part of shared activities. I believe that Parliament should contribute to strengthening the EU’s position within the ICAO, and it is therefore right that the Committee on Transport and Tourism has given its consent to the conclusion of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which would provide a framework for enhanced cooperation.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I welcome this new mutual commitment to achieving the highest levels of aviation safety worldwide and a global harmonisation of safety standards and recommended practices (SARPs). To identify unsafe areas and carriers is of common fundamental interest to all parties to this agreement.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) This agreement is designed to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), notably through the exchange of experts and the implementation of programmes. The idea is to eventually achieve upward harmonisation of aviation safety and security standards. This report does not raise any difficulties. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE), in writing. (FR) In accordance with Rule 81 of its Rules of Procedure, the European Parliament is entitled to give its consent to the conclusion of a Memorandum of Cooperation of the European Union (EU). I voted in favour of the memorandum, which is aimed at enhancing relations and cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It is essential that the European Union participates in the decision-making process within the ICAO in order to protect the competitiveness of its own industry.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The purpose of this Memorandum of Cooperation is to regulate and enhance relations and cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). I think that the European Union needs to attach greater importance to this cooperation as the majority of issues targeted by the Chicago Convention come under the EU’s remit. The ICAO regulates policies on safety, security, the environment and air traffic management. In addition, ICAO standards and requirements provide the basis for EU legislation. In conclusion, I think that it is of paramount importance for the EU to get involved in this activity and in the process of defining ICAO policies, with the aim of helping devise suitable policies for the civil aviation sector. Furthermore, the Memorandum envisages that the parties will share electronic information, data and official publications, and provide mutual access to databases, which will help strengthen relations between the two organisations.

 
  
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  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), in writing.(PL) I voted in favour of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation since, in my opinion, it will ensure closer cooperation, especially in the field of passenger safety, which should be guaranteed to the highest degree. The memorandum’s objective is to achieve the highest level of aviation safety worldwide, with the simultaneous harmonisation of the relevant safety standards.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal, which should contribute to a strengthened EU position within ICAO.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The development of an enhanced cooperation framework would rightly allow the European Union to increase its weight within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The memorandum would also be important in ensuring greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of the relevant activities. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The Memorandum of Cooperation is meant to ensure greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of the parties’ respective activities, as well as a better use of resources by avoiding duplication of effort. Cooperation will also include the sharing of confidential data and the participation of EU observers in initial civil aviation organisation audit missions. Relevant provisions for actions in the field of aviation safety and security, traffic management and environmental protection are an integral part of the Memorandum of Cooperation. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The International Civil Aviation Organisation is a specialised agency of NATO. The aim of this cooperation is to facilitate the exchange of personal data. The EU is making funding available to allow this to take place. There were already concerns that data protection was being trampled underfoot under the guise of combating terrorism. This memorandum is a further step towards mass surveillance. Not only must the EU now hand over the data; it must also pay for the structural framework conditions. I am voting against the memorandum because I want to stand up for the protection of our citizens’ data.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) This Memorandum of Cooperation is intended to formalise and deepen relations and cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialised agency of NATO. The aim is to facilitate the exchange of personal data. To allow this to take place, the EU is to make available annual financial support to the tune of EUR 500 000. In addition, the Member States and the European Aviation Safety Agency are required to top up this amount. I see no reason why the EU should continue to pass on data on innocent citizens to the US under the guise of combating terrorism. Moreover, there is absolutely no reason why the EU should foot the bill for transferring such data. I voted against this report in the interests of citizens’ rights and data protection.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. – (LT) I welcome this resolution on the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC). I believe that the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) need to work particularly closely together to fully harmonise standards and improve the coordination of certain actions in the area of safety. It is also very important to note that the EU has been given an excellent opportunity to exercise the ICAO’s competence and strengthen its position in this international organisation. This MOC will also facilitate the use of limited resources, will help to eliminate duplication of efforts, and will ensure the highest level of aviation safety worldwide.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the proposal to conclude a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), establishing a framework of enhanced cooperation, and laying down procedural arrangements related thereto, since the overall objective of the MOC is to ensure greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of related activities. Moreover, the purpose of the MOC is to make better use of the limited resources available and avoid duplication of efforts, while preserving the integrity of both parties.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) designed to formalise and enhance relations and cooperation aims to strengthen cooperation in the areas of aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection. In view of the strong interest that the EU has in contributing to reinforcing the ICAO’s policies and in view of the many ICAO standards and requirements that are already part of European Union law, I voted in favour of the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a memorandum providing a framework for enhanced cooperation, and laying down procedural arrangements related thereto.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The purpose of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), part of the United Nations system, is cooperation on aviation safety, aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection. Since most of the provisions adopted in this organisation already form part of Union statute law, cost savings justify a leading role for the EU within the ICAO in seeking to collaborate on the adoption of technical solutions and setting out objectives to be achieved, within the framework of the legislative process. A Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the two organisations is therefore a natural step towards, firstly, strengthening the role of the EU within the ICAO and, secondly, contributing to global air safety through joint efforts. I therefore voted for the conclusion of this MOC.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) I should like to offer my congratulations on the excellent work carried out by Mr Simpson.

By approving this recommendation, Parliament, in view of the proposal for a Council decision, is undertaking to contribute to the reinforcement of the EU’s position within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

It is necessary, as proposed by the Council, for a Memorandum of Cooperation to be concluded between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation and it is necessary, for the purposes of its operation, for the roles that are to be assigned within the joint committee to be actively carried out by the Commission, the Council and the Member States. The committee will become vital for the application of the Memorandum of Cooperation and for the adoption of provisions on collaboration in specific areas.

It will also be necessary to lay down further rules in the spheres of aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection, so as to achieve the highest level of aviation safety in the world.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. The Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) aims to formalise and enhance relations and cooperation between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It was signed on 28 April 2011 in Montreal and on 4 May 2011 in Brussels and has been applied provisionally since then. By letter of 16 June, the Council submitted to Parliament its draft decision to conclude the MOC. Parliament is entitled to give its consent to the conclusion by means of a single vote, in accordance with Rule 81 of the Rules of Procedure. No amendments to the agreement itself may be tabled.

 
  
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  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing. (FR) As guarantor of the mobility, safety and security of its citizens, it is essential for the European Union to become more involved in the international standard-setting process relating to civil aviation. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which is a specialised agency of the United Nations, is a privileged place of decision making and influence. To sit there as a European entity and not as a group of Member States will accompany our efforts and accelerate our Single European Sky project. That is why I voted in favour of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the EU and the ICAO. As these decisions have a direct impact on our Community legislation, we must ensure that they are in line with our strategic orientations and our ethical considerations, first and foremost, our vision of the sustainable development of civil aviation.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report by Mr Simpson because most standards (such as environmental protection standards) and ICAO requirements are compatible with European legislation. Matters such as in-flight safety, air traffic control and environmental protection are very important and must be regulated as a matter of priority. Also, approval of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the EU and the ICAO is a decision which will serve the interests of the EU, by strengthening its position within the ICAO and safeguarding competitiveness in its civil aviation sector.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Voting for the approval of the Memorandum of Cooperation will improve relations between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The overall objective of the Memorandum of Cooperation is to ensure greater harmonisation of standards and closer coordination of the relevant activities. In addition, while maintaining the integrity of both parties, the memorandum is intended to achieve better use of limited resources and to avoid duplication of effort.

The Memorandum of Cooperation will provide financial support of EUR 500 000 per year for an initial period of three years based on a contribution-specific agreement in the framework of the financial and administrative framework agreement between the EU and the UN. This budget may be complemented by financial support from Member States or the European Aviation Safety Agency.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This Memorandum of Cooperation, signed in May of last year, establishes the enhancement of relations between the EU and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a UN agency specialising in the areas of air safety, air security, air traffic management and environmental protection. The aim of this agreement is to harmonise standards in its area of competence and avoid the duplication of efforts by the parties involved. EU law already incorporates most of the ICAO’s standards and requirements. The EU is also seeking a voice in setting out ICAO measures, in view of the importance of the aviation sector for its Member States. I am voting for this agreement, but I regret that Parliament is not more involved in the decisions adopted by the Joint Committee, which comprises the Council, the Commission and the respective Member State representatives.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament resolution on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) providing a framework for enhanced cooperation and laying down procedural arrangements related thereto. The overall goal of the memorandum is to harmonise standards, achieve closer coordination of civil aviation activities, use resources efficiently and avoid duplication of effort. According to its decision, and in line with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Council determines the EU position to be taken within the Joint Committee, as far as the adoption and amendment of the provisions are concerned. The EU is represented in the Joint Committee by the Commission, assisted by representatives of the Member States. The Commission determines the EU position on cooperation regarding working conditions, financial and resources-related issues, consultation and exchange of information, the interoperability of new technologies, and the coordination of audit and inspection programmes. In accordance with ICAO confidentiality rules, the parties share electronic information, data and official publications and provide mutual access to databases. The memorandum provides for financial support of EUR 500 000 per year for an initial period of three years. In future, provisions on aviation security, air traffic management and environmental protection which are adopted beforehand by the Council will be added as annexes to the memorandum.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The ICAO has an important role in the coordination of air traffic, thus serving aviation and passenger security, air traffic management, environmental protection and efficiency to the benefit of air passengers and airlines. I voted in favour of this opinion because it is obvious that the European Union should support ICAO fully.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing.(PL) I support the recommendation on the cooperation between the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation. It is worth remembering that this organisation has been operating since 1944, and currently comprises 190 Member States. Global cooperation rather than just European cooperation in the field of aviation safety is particularly important. Worldwide harmonisation of safety standards and practices is of great significance. We should cooperate on identifying countries, areas, airports and air carriers where safety levels are insufficient. It is clearly in the interest of passengers residing in the EU Member States.

 
  
  

Appointments to committees

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, as it is in line with the decision taken by the Conference of Presidents and is a balanced proposal, on the basis of experience to date.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament oversees virtually all activities of the European Union. The process of appointment to individual positions allows it to exercise a controlling function not only in relation to the European institutions, but also in relation to its other constituents. In recent days, during the current opening plenary session held in 2012, the seats in the various parliamentary committees have been redistributed. Disregarding for a moment their actual composition in terms of the representation of members of various political factions, in my opinion, it is necessary, in particular, to take into consideration expertise or previous experience under all circumstances when addressing issues of responsibility. Finally, it is important to ensure compliance with gender equality, since there are still many issues in various areas of life (social, cultural, political and economic) where women do not enjoy the same conditions as men, despite numerous successes in enhancing the status of women.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In view of the proposal of the Conference of Presidents, the decision of 15 July 2009 and the decision of 14 December 2010, I voted for the change to the numerical strength of parliamentary committees, as stated in the document, and for the proposal that the committee bureaux may include a maximum of four vice-chairs until the end of the current session.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Karl-Heinz Florenz (A7-0334/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) In order to combat climate change, prevent environmental damage and remain in control of valuable resources for electronic equipment, we need higher rates of collection, high rates of recycling and appropriate recycling standards, as well as robust legislation against illegal exports, greater producer responsibility, better designed equipment and a fair sharing of responsibilities and costs between producers, consumers and public authorities. This report largely reflects these concerns, so I voted for it.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The European Parliament is paving the way for the recasting of the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which will enable consumers to return their small appliances to retailers free of charge with no obligation to purchase a new product. Through my vote, I argued in favour of improving the collection and recycling of WEEE. I support this agreement, which is based on ambitious yet achievable objectives. This directive strengthens the objectives of selective collection, broadens the scope and imposes new return and treatment obligations on producers and retailers. It is a significant step forward for the environment and for the consumer. The annual collection target per Member State of 4 kg per inhabitant has been transformed into a collection rate of 45% of the WEEE placed on the market in the three preceding years by 2016, then a collection rate of 65% in 2019. Finally, the directive, while reducing administrative formalities for producers, who are responsible for financing waste management, changes the definition of producer, which now covers any ‘entity placing equipment on the market’.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this important directive. Its purpose is to contribute to sustainable production and consumption, above all, through the prevention of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and, in addition, the re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery of such waste, so as to reduce the disposal of waste, and contribute to the efficient use of resources and the retrieval of critical raw materials. This directive also seeks to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of electrical and electronic equipment, such as producers, distributors and consumers, particularly those operators directly involved in the collection and treatment of WEEE. Different national applications of the producer responsibility principle lead to substantial disparities in the financial burden on economic operators, and having different national policies on the management of WEEE hampers the effectiveness of recycling policies. I agree that the essential criteria should be laid down at Union level, and European standards for the collection and treatment of WEEE should be developed.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Today, we can see all the limits of our ‘short-termist’ societies (which are, by the way, on their last legs), where hyper-consumerism and a throwaway culture reign supreme. The issues of the treatment and recycling of waste and of the obsolescence of everyday consumer products are at the heart of the problems we have to manage within our societies. The directive we are adopting today relates to waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Each European citizen is responsible for producing between 17 and 20 kg of electronic waste on average a year. The target is commensurate with the situation: the directive provides for each Member State to increase its collection of WEEE, regardless of whether or not the annual target of 4 kg per person has already been met. This directive is positive for European consumers, who will, from now on, be able to return their small appliances to retailers and businesses with no obligation to purchase a new product. This directive is a further step forward for the recycling and treatment of WEEE in Europe. I very much welcome the stricter checks on the illegal shipping of WEEE to third countries, so as to prevent the treatment of WEEE from endangering workers.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) After tough negotiations with the Council, the European Parliament can be satisfied with the ambitious targets it has just imposed throughout the European Union regarding the collection of electronic waste. From 2016, the majority of the Member States will have to collect 45 tonnes of electronic waste for every 100 tonnes of electronic products placed on the market in the three preceding years. The adoption of this agreement is especially important given that it is part of a necessary and urgent European strategy for the procurement of raw materials and rare earth metals. Only by investing in recycling techniques and improving the collection of electronic waste will the European Union be able to reduce its dependence on China, which produces 95% of the necessary raw materials for new technologies.

 
  
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  Zuzana Brzobohatá (S&D), in writing. – (CS) On 19 January 2012, the plenary of the European Parliament adopted a recommendation for second reading regarding the adoption of a directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment. The agreement between the Council and Parliament sets very ambitious targets for Member States and, at the same time, changes the European approach to the issue of recycling. The main benefit of the draft directive is the fact that the obligation to recycle will be extended to the entire spectrum of electrical and electronic equipment, including solar panels. The directive improves the categorisation of individual pieces of equipment for collecting raw materials, in particular, introducing a new category for small IT equipment and telephone apparatus, which will lead to raw materials collected in this way being used in the production of smart mobile devices and similar equipment. The recycling of a natural resource will then be far more effective.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I welcome the new rules for collection and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment adopted today by Parliament. These new rules will improve the collection and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment and prevent their illegal transfer to other countries. As such, the EU Member States will have to improve the collection and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

 
  
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  Nessa Childers (S&D), in writing. – This issue only increases in importance as environmental waste and the subsequent environmental damage increase. I was pleased to support this vote.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am pleased that Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has undergone an extensive revision to correct the inconsistent and contradictory elements that it contained. I consider the objectives identified by the rapporteur relevant and essential in order for the directive to perform better. The revision therefore aims to eliminate the excessive and unnecessary bureaucratic burden, entailing technical, legal and administrative problems, which leads to costs for market participants and the Member States, to ongoing environmental harm, to less innovation in waste collection and treatment, to the absence of a level playing field, and even to the distortion of competition. I should like to highlight the most important of the objectives listed in the report: specifically, that of reducing costs by eliminating all unnecessary red tape, without affecting environmental safety; that of additional efforts towards making the WEEE Directive more effective and applicable by increasing the rate of compliance and reducing free-loading; and, finally, that of reducing the impact of the collection, treatment and recovery of WEEE products on the environment, in order to maximise their net benefit for society.

 
  
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  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) The exponential growth in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) means that hard-hitting changes to the legislation governing its recycling and production cannot be put off.

The growth in the sector is directly proportional to the effect on the Europe 2020 objectives for a resource-efficient economy: to achieve this, national legislation is no longer sufficient; what is needed is systematic European legislation. In line with these objectives, in addition to avoiding further damage to the environment and in order to hold on to precious resources, what we need are high collection rates, appropriate recycling standards, targeted action against illegal exports and a fairer distribution of responsibilities and costs between producers, consumers and public authorities.

Parliament’s amended text seems to be in line with these requirements and, in addition, puts forward two particularly sensitive aspects that deserve attention and support. Firstly, it includes eco-design, not only with regard to energy consumption standards, but also with regard to a simplification of the procedures for dismantling or recovery of raw materials.

Equally important is the requirement for the costs incurred in the recovery and treatment of raw materials to become an integral part of the product’s price, so as to form an incentive for the purchase of products with lower impacts. I voted for this recommendation for these reasons.

 
  
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  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) The directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has been extensively revised at second reading, following four rounds of trialogues, where Parliament was represented by the rapporteur Mr Florenz, whom I would now like to congratulate on his excellent work. This revision has been carried out for two main reasons, which are well explained in the report. Firstly, it has been revised owing to the experience gained from implementing the directive since it came into force, when some weaknesses were found in its architecture and implementation. Secondly, it has been revised because it faces a number of new challenges, since WEEE is the type of waste that has seen the most growth in the EU. The amendments agreed today will make the directive more effective, enhance its applicability and protect the environment, so I obviously voted in favour.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which sets more ambitious quantitative targets for the reprocessing of waste electrical and electronic equipment. This waste, some components of which may become toxic, needs special treatment to ensure that it is completely safe. This text will also enable our fellow citizens to dispose of their end-of-life equipment more easily without having to incur additional costs.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the ‘making available on the market and use of biocidal products’, as I believe that the compromise reached includes measures intended to protect human and animal health, and to ensure the safe and sustainable use of these products, including requirements relating to environmental and health issues, research and innovation, and the internal market.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Waste electrical and electronic equipment has increased exponentially throughout the EU and its processing and recycling today constitutes a particularly significant problem in Europe. Apart from the environmental and public health issues, which are worrying in themselves, failure to reuse raw materials results in inefficiency and additional cost for the production system, which could be resolved by making better use of the materials employed to make the equipment in question. I would like the EU to make increasingly efficient use of electronic and electrical mechanisms and equipment, and to reuse them in an environmentally safe and socially responsible manner.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The market for electrical and electronic equipment has grown exponentially over recent decades, particularly for mobile phones, computers and televisions, owing to technological innovation and very aggressive advertising campaigns. This has led to an increase in the tonnes of waste from these products, which are left in open-air dumps or illegally exported. Apart from the environmental problems that this causes, putting human health at risk, this situation constitutes an enormous waste of materials, including precious metals such as gold, platinum and silver, which could help global economic recovery and reduce the extraction of natural resources. This recommendation for second reading, drafted by Mr Florenz, concerns the Council position at first reading on the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on this waste. It is imperative to proceed towards the implementation of measures that encourage selective collection, recycling and/or recovery of these materials, so I voted for this report. I hope that the new directive will be applied as swiftly as possible, and that it will thereby contribute to improving public health and preventing the illegal export of waste electrical and electronic equipment to countries that do not have environmental controls.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This is the final stage in the adoption of a directive establishing measures to protect the environment and human health, preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of the production and management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The reality is that waste flows have been growing within the EU, and that it is therefore necessary to take measures aimed at the collection and treatment of waste, with a view to increasing recycling and reuse, especially in relation to secondary raw materials. The scope of the directive extends to all electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), unless explicitly excluded. New definitions have been added to enhance legal certainty and consistency with other EU legislation.

In terms of its targets, within four years, the Member States should achieve a collection rate of 45% of WEEE, taking account of the EEE that has been placed on the market in the last three years. The goals for recovery and combined recycling/reuse will be increased by 5% over the next three years.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) was adopted on 27 January 2003 and entered into force on 13 February 2003. Member States were required to transpose the requirements of the directive by 13 August 2004. Neither the drivers nor the rationale for collecting and recycling WEEE have changed since the adoption of the directive. Experience with the first years of implementation of the WEEE Directive has indicated technical, legal and administrative problems that result in unintentionally costly efforts from market actors and administrations, continuing environmental harm, low levels of innovation in waste collection and treatment, a lack of a level playing field or even distortion of competition, as well as unnecessary administrative burdens. The Commission is committed to developing a better regulatory environment, one that is simple, understandable, effective and enforceable. The specific objectives of the review of the WEEE Directive are therefore the following areas: reduced administrative costs without lowering the level of environmental protection; implementation of the directive through increased compliance and reduced free-riding; reduced impacts on the environment from the collection, treatment and recovery of WEEE at the levels where the greatest net benefit to society results. If the necessary measures had not been adopted, the problems and disparities in this area would continue. This was one of the reasons that the directive in question was amended accordingly.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing. (FR) Each year, 8.7 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment are thrown away in the European Union, but only 25% of this waste is collected and treated. Yet components are often found in this type of waste which are particularly dangerous to health and the environment. Current practices in our Member States need to change. It is in this context that I voted for the compromise obtained after many years of negotiations, which sets a waste recovery target of 85% in 2019. As a result, despite opposition from some companies, which complain that a heavy burden is being placed on them, it is expected that the major distributors will have to set up collection points for used telephones and small appliances to encourage consumers to recycle. A new obligation will also be established to prevent European companies from sending potentially dangerous goods outside the EU. Finally, the recycling of precious metals, such as gold, silver and rare earth metals contained in these used products, which will reduce our dependence on external sources for these materials, is another advantage.

 
  
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  Jim Higgins (PPE), in writing. – I welcome the revision of the WEEE Directive. At present, there is a real lack of clarity regarding the products covered by the WEEE Directive and their categorisation, with different interpretations by different Member States and stakeholders. This is an area in desperate need of clarification. The lack of enforcement requirements has resulted in the directive being widely ignored; one cannot help but question the effectiveness of the current WEEE Directive. I support the WEEE Report and voted in favour of this recast but, as always, we must ensure that we do not place overly burdensome regulations on already struggling SMEs and retailers.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of the report on waste electrical and electronic equipment, which seals the agreement obtained with the Council of the European Union at second reading. The principal objective of this revision is to improve the operation of the waste collection and treatment sector. Through this directive and the efforts made by the Member States, annual waste collection will have to amount to 45% of the average weight of the equipment sold within the territory of the Member States. These efforts will have to rise to 65% within four years of the entry into force of the text. This directive will also have an impact on the daily lives of the citizens, since it provides for the obligatory setting up of waste collection points for small appliances in shops selling electrical and electronic equipment. However, this measure safeguards craft businesses, which will not be obliged to have a collection point on their premises on condition that there is a similar system in the immediate vicinity.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) Bringing together new and tougher targets, flexibility, encouragement to re-use equipment and the obligation to set up collection points for small appliances, the report by Karl-Heinz Florenz is balanced. I therefore chose to support the agreement reached at second reading.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE), in writing. (FI) I voted in favour of updating the legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) because I still remember when we were working on the legislation during the last electoral term. My colleague, Mr Florenz, was rapporteur at the time, and I would like to congratulate him for the successful way in which he has continued to deal with this important issue. The report was one of Parliament’s most important achievements in that electoral term, and it is good that it is now being brought up-to-date.

Thanks to legal reform, more and more electronic equipment is being repaired and recycled, something which, in the past, could not even be realised in practice. As I said during the previous WEEE debate, this is exactly how we can ensure that product design is environmentally friendly, and thus guarantee the feasibility of the whole directive. When producers know that they will eventually have to pay for the final phases of the equipment, costs are minimised beforehand, and they will ensure that as little waste as possible is generated and that this small amount is as recyclable as possible. In this way, the entire chain of producers, importers, traders, consumers, waste management operatives and recycling centres, as well as the authorities, are all accountable, just as they should be.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The resolution on the position of the Council at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste electrical and electronic equipment was approved today in the Chamber by a large majority. This is a good result, when we think about the long process and difficult negotiations underlying the compromise that has been reached. As is well known, the directive requires the Member States to carry out separated collections of electrical and electronic equipment and sets recovery and recycling targets. The updated version that has been voted on today, and which must be formally adopted by the Council before being published in the Official Journal, lays down ambitious objectives, particularly with regard to the increase in the quota for collection of waste electronic products. On that point, I believe that the decision to grant an extension to those countries which, like Italy, are currently not equipped with adequate infrastructure, is appropriate, and will allow them more time to properly implement the new European legislation.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing.(PL) The development of European standards for the collection and treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is important for recycling that is effective and, more importantly, environmentally friendly. I would like to point out that municipalities and operators of recovery facilities should play a leading role in the implementation of the directive, as they have the most contact with citizens. The new regulations are aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the WEEE management system, and this is one of a number of reasons why I voted in favour of adopting the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste electrical and electronic equipment presented by Karl-Heinz Florenz.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal and particularly support Amendment 10. Collection and treatment costs should be incorporated into the product price so that there is an incentive to reduce those costs. Flat rates reflect neither the actual costs of a product at the end of its service life nor its environmental impact. In the final analysis, consumers receive no information on recyclability and actual treatment costs.

 
  
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  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report is intended to prevent the illegal export of waste electrical and electronic equipment. This has been the fastest growing type of waste in the EU over recent decades, and it is often deposited illegally in open-air dumps in developing countries. This situation worsens the EU’s development at the expense of the consumption of natural resources and of the health and environment of the poorest countries. This version, at second reading, improves the proposed legislation, which has improved scope, more ambitious objectives for collection and recycling, and more stringent regulation of exports. Consumers will be able to dispose of very small electrical and electronic waste, such as mobile phones, in various retail stores, without any obligation to buy a new product. I voted for the report for these reasons. However, I believe that nanomaterials should not be subject to the same treatment as other compounds, as they are extremely hazardous to health and the environment, and can be just as dangerous even during the recycling process.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the text, amended as proposed by the European Parliament. In many cases, the request means going back to the European Parliament’s position at first reading. The clarifications to the directive requested by our institution are very significant. For example, it is crucial for the definition of the concepts to be clarified definitively in the directive itself; it should not lead to a fragmentation of the internal market through diverse national applications and practices.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) accounts for approximately 9-10 million tonnes of waste in the EU per annum, projected to increase to 12-13 million tonnes by 2020.

I welcome this substantial improvement on the existing directive, outlining broader scope and increased collection and recycling targets. Ireland is a leader in Europe in the field of electrical and electronic equipment collection, already collecting around 9 kg per inhabitant per year – an amount equivalent to 35% of the EEE placed on the market. The target of 45% of EEE placed on the market by 2016 is welcome and should be achievable. In the context of resource efficiency, it is imperative that further efforts are made to increase WEEE recycling and reuse rates.

The final outcome is more ambitious than originally hoped for, and I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This report proposes to set a target for the collection of separated waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) of 85% for 2016. It insists that eco-design requirements be established no later than the end of 2013. It also calls on the Commission to explore the possibility of applying selective treatment for WEEE containing nanomaterials. On account of all these advances, I support this report, although I regret its obsession with compliance with the sacrosanct principle of free competition.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The society of excessive consumption in which we live requires us to rethink how we recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment. The revision of the relevant directive was necessary both from the economic and the environmental and social aspects. While it is unacceptable to waste raw materials such as gold, silver and palladium, it is also unacceptable to bury toxic products such as arsenic, cyanide, mercury, and so on, or to export them to developing countries, thereby contributing to the growth of illicit dumping grounds. By acting in this way, we are complicit in the export of disguised toxic waste, allowing men, women and children in developing countries to expose themselves, without protection, to the toxic vapours emitted by heavy metals and dioxins during the burning of waste. It is our duty to ensure harmonious, balanced development, which is respectful of our planet, by changing our modern-day practices, so as not to bequeath a plundered and ravaged planet to future generations.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – To tackle climate change, to avoid environmental damage and to keep hold of the valuable resources in electric/electronic equipment, we need high collection rates, high recycling rates and appropriate recycling standards, strong legislation against illegal export, an enhanced producer’s responsibility, better designed equipment and a fair distribution of responsibilities and costs between producers, consumers and public authorities. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The illegal trade in electrical waste is thriving. Time and time again, waste from Europe ends up in developing countries, where it poisons people and the environment. Around 700 000 tonnes of electrical waste was generated in 2010 in Germany alone; 155 000 tonnes of this is illegally shipped to countries such as Ghana every year. Either disposal companies that have already been paid by the device manufacturers to recycle the waste flog it off to dealers, or citizens are enticed to buy the equipment for a couple of euro from the gates of municipal recycling facilities. The new directive on electrical waste is intended to provide the authorities with a legally binding basis that allows them to define quite clearly what is waste and what is a used product. When fridges or mobile phones are taken out of use, expensive raw materials such as gold, copper or silver should be reused in Europe. Moreover, proper reuse would reduce the amount of electrical waste that poisons people and the environment. The directive has noble aims, but it remains to be seen what impact it has in practice. If dealers are no longer allowed to take back old equipment, then it is to be feared that a lot of electrical waste will be dumped illegally. For this reason, I voted against the report.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) Unless properly handled, electronic waste entails risks both for the environment and human health. On the other hand, the rare elements it contains means that it is also a relatively accessible substitute for expensive resources imported to the European Union. The fact that negotiations on this document lasted so long demonstrates that this issue is indeed relevant – it is important to consumers that producers should be responsible for collection. The directive ultimately adopted today will both set out a clear management system for such waste and, even more importantly, will encourage certain Member States to take the existing disorder and lack of transparency in the electronic waste management sector more seriously.

 
  
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  Katarína Neveďalová (S&D), in writing. (SK) I warmly welcome the proposed revision; the agreement between the Council and Parliament enabled a very important signal to be sent. Europe cares about environmental protection on the European continent and elsewhere. Electronic waste in industrialised countries is growing three times faster than conventional waste as a result of the rapid pace of technological innovation as well as of the short service life of many electronic products. Effective management of electrical and electronic waste is a tremendous opportunity to increase the amount of waste collected. The entire life cycle of these products, from manufacture through distribution to discarding, is a problem that this directive should alleviate. The new objectives really are ambitious, and I therefore consider a further important task to be ensuring that the costs of returning waste do not bring other costs for customers. Controls carried out by the Member States will be of fundamental importance in this area.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. I believe that we must do everything possible to stop the spread of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), thus contributing to sustainable production and consumption. It is very important to also encourage consumers to actively contribute to the collection of such waste by returning WEEE. Distributors, municipalities and operators of recovery facilities all have an important role to play. The development of common European standards for the collection and treatment of WEEE is also very important for effective, environmentally-friendly recycling. It should be noted that WEEE may have a negative impact on the environment if it is not handled properly, particularly if it is landfilled or incinerated. Consequently, implementing the provisions of this directive will guarantee an adequate level of human health and environmental protection.

 
  
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  Alfredo Pallone (PPE), in writing. (IT) The recasting of the WEEE Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment requires Member States to develop new techniques for the separate collection and recycling of these materials. I believe that the goal that we are trying to reach is certainly a fine one, given that with a joint scope with the RoHS Directive on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, and with a mandatory separate collection rate for electrical products set at 65%, a 5% recycling level should be reached by 2016.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the recommendation for second reading regarding adoption of the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste electrical and electronic equipment. I did so because I agree with the amendments tabled by Parliament, which are all properly justified and thus promote a more balanced directive.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Directive 2002/96/EC, which has been in force since 13 February 2003, concerns waste electrical and electronic equipment, and is currently being revised. The aim of this is to address some difficulties that have arisen in applying the directive, for example, by setting out the scope of the directive more clearly, as well as seeking a balance between the attempt to ensure a uniform application of the directive and the need to conserve areas of flexibility, which enable the specific needs of each Member State to be addressed. Parliament’s position is part of this effort to find balanced and appropriate solutions in order to meet these objectives. I therefore voted in favour, in view of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety’s recommendation for second reading.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) Belgium is European champion in the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), a title not to be taken lightly with almost 10 kg of domestic appliances collected per inhabitant thanks to the efficiency of the Recupel system, which has existed since 2001. This figure is encouraging for the protection of the environment and much higher than the minimum annual collection target of 4 kg per inhabitant established in 2003 by the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment. Of course, Belgium and Europe can always do better and build on the new and very ambitious collection targets established on the basis of the agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council, which was finalised this afternoon with the adoption of the report by Karl-Heinz Florenz: a collection target of 65% for 2019 established on the basis of the volume of WEEE placed on the market in the three preceding years, a new scope extended to photovoltaic panels in six years, and the encouragement of Member States to separate waste so that it can be re-used. For the picture to be complete, the European Union must also set an example beyond its borders by combating the illegal export of hazardous electronic waste to third countries, which is a genuine health and environmental scourge, notably on the African continent.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing. (IT) During today’s plenary session, we voted on the report by Mr Florenz on waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Today, new environmental targets were approved in agreement with the Council. Updating the 2003 directive on the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) also makes it possible for consumers to return small volume WEEE to retailers, thus cutting red tape for businesses.

The Member States must gradually increase the collection of WEEE: by 2016, they will have to collect 45 tonnes of WEEE for every 100 tonnes of e-goods placed on the market in the preceding three years. By 2019, the figure will have to rise to 65% or, alternatively, it should be possible to collect 85% of WEEE generated.

Ten countries that have to improve their infrastructure, not including Italy, will have an interim target of 40% and will be able to request a postponement until 2021 to achieve the final target. Once the Council has formally approved the new rules, and these are published in the Official Journal, the Member States will have 18 months to transpose the provisions into their national legislation.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I voted in favour. We (Greens) supported all the points adopted in plenary. We pushed particularly for the collection targets to be based on actual waste quantities arising; for retailer take-back (i.e. for big distributors to take back WEEE without any purchase obligations for the consumer); and for more effective checking of used EEE to ensure that all used EEE earmarked for sending to non-OECD countries is fully functional – so as to end illegal exports of WEEE to non-OECD countries – while allowing shipments to independent third parties for shipment within the EU (our compromise proposal having been adopted in committee at second reading).

We were the only ones to make proposals on nanomaterials: we failed to get information requirements for producers on nanomaterials in EEE, but we managed to have the Commission assess whether selective treatment is necessary for nanomaterials in EEE.

 
  
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  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the document in question because the 2003 directive on the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment will thus finally be updated and, from now on, it will be easier to collect and recycle refrigerators, telephones and computer gadgets. I believe it is particularly useful that from today, consumers will be able to return small e-waste items directly to retailers, cutting red tape for businesses and optimising specific collection procedures. Better processing of this waste will also make it possible to recover more efficiently valuable raw materials, such as gold used for electronic circuits, ultimately preventing harmful substances going to landfill.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) In Europe, 9.3 million electrical and electronic items are sold every year. These products include refrigerators, ovens, washing machines, irons, televisions, computers, telephones and compact fluorescent lamps, all of which constitute a large amount of waste that will have to be recycled one day. It is estimated that more than eight million tonnes of electronic waste was produced in Europe in 2005, that is, 20 kg per inhabitant. That total is expected to reach 12.3 million tonnes by 2020. The EU had a duty to fill the regulatory gaps that were preventing this waste from being properly managed, as regards collection, recovery, recycling and combating its illegal export. The collection rate for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in EU Member States should reach 45% of volumes placed on the market in the next four years and 65% in the next seven years. In addition, this directive makes provision for strengthening producers’ maximised responsibility, increasing the collection targets of household and professional WEEE, increasing recycling targets and reducing administrative burdens for businesses. I am therefore in favour of this latest step that is being taken towards an environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient economy.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) I fully agree with Mr Florenz’s report on waste electrical and electronic equipment, an issue that is a growing cause for concern, as this kind of waste continues to increase. I voted in favour of this report since I believe it is necessary to do everything possible to guarantee the recycling and recovery of raw materials, avoiding, in any case, harm to health. Awareness and information campaigns for the European public are vital to provide impetus to separate collection, with a significant effect also on prices. The next step will be to bring Member States closer together in terms of implementation of the directive, since for now, different percentages are laid down for recycling targets. I believe, however, that this report strikes a fair balance between the European Union’s duties and what falls to the Member States to regulate.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In my view, the compromise agreement reached at the informal trialogue on 20 December is a good result in terms of safeguarding the recycling of small household appliances and the resulting protection of the environment.

The WEEE Directive currently in force already requires the Member States to carry out separated collections of electrical and electronic equipment and sets recovery and recycling targets. The old text applies the producer responsibility principle and obliges the Member States to collect an average of at least four kilograms of electrical and electronic waste per inhabitant per year.

The recast we voted on this morning, however, adds important details, such as setting a collection rate of 65% to be achieved by 2016, laying down reuse targets, raising recycling targets by 5%, with a specific target for medical equipment, and reducing administrative costs for producers arising from registration and reporting procedures.

One point that I consider particularly encouraging is the obligation on retailers to collect small items even without the purchase of equivalent new items, limited though only to sales outlets with a surface area greater than 400 m2 with a collection point that can be set up in the immediate vicinity of the shop.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This directive is aimed at contributing to the reuse, recycling and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in order to achieve the sustainable production and consumption of such goods. I am voting for this report, as I agree with the development of European standards in the collection and treatment of WEEE, the establishment of eco-design requirements which facilitate the reuse, dismantling and recovery of WEEE, and progress towards the treatment of goods in an environmentally sound way. Finally, I believe that convenient facilities should be set up for the return of WEEE, including public collection points, where private households will be able to make a positive contribution by delivering their waste. It should be stressed that the costs of this should be reflected in the prices of the products, rather than being the responsibility of the European taxpayer.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of Parliament’s position on the directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) because the directive supports the efficient use of resources and recovery of valuable secondary raw materials. Member States encourage cooperation between producers and recyclers and the adoption of measures to promote the design and production of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), particularly with a view to facilitating reuse, dismantling and recovery of WEEE, its components and materials. In the case of WEEE from private households, Member States are creating systems allowing this waste to be returned free of charge. Some Member States, including Romania, may, due to the lack of required infrastructure and the low level of EEE consumption, decide to achieve, within four years of the directive’s entry into force, a collection rate of between 40 and 45% of the average weight of EEE placed on the market in the three preceding years, and postpone the achievement of the final collection rate mentioned in Article 7(1) until a future date which must not be later than nine years after the directive’s entry into force. The Commission calls on the European standardisation organisations to develop European standards for the treatment, recovery, recycling and preparation for reuse of WEEE.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this important piece of legislation because it is vital to increase the recovery of electronic waste. Dumping electronic and electrical waste in landfill sites causes harmful toxins to be leaked into the environment. This revision of the 2003 WEEE Directive is a positive step in reducing the pollution that this causes by ensuring that large companies and manufacturers play an active role in recycling waste.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text, which recasts a 2008 directive in order to set more ambitious targets for recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). This directive, although in itself insufficient, is a step in the right direction as regards the aim of bringing about an environmental transformation in our society. It is based on three decisions: producing sustainable equipment, fully reusing materials from end-of-life products, and involving local actors in this recycling process. It is also necessary for this directive to be properly implemented on the basis of specific criteria, such as the ‘creation of convenient facilities, including public collection points, where private households should be able to return their waste at least free of charge’; the implementation by Member States of an 85% minimum collection rate for WEEE; the free provision of information by producers about preparation for re-use and treatment of each type of new EEE placed on the market within one year of the equipment being placed on the market. The environmental transition process also requires this type of policy decision.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. (DE) Our ever increasing global population and the growing prosperity of places such as China and Latin America are resulting in ever greater consumption of electrical and electronic equipment. In the case of computers and mobile phones, we are aware of the serious issue of ‘rare earth elements’. For this reason, we should make every endeavour to avoid any squandering of valuable raw materials, and to support recycling and reuse. I therefore voted in favour of Mr Florenz’s report.

 
  
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  Hermann Winkler (PPE), in writing. (DE) A spectre is haunting industry: the shortage of rare metals without which high-tech products from electric cars to solar panels would not be possible. For many of our enterprises – and this is particularly true in my home region of Saxony, one of Europe’s leading centres of research and high technology – these raw materials are therefore indispensable. The extraction of metals from electrical and electronic waste has therefore become an important topic again. Considerable potential exists in electrical equipment such as computers and mobile phones. In Germany, we are already very good at recycling compared with many other Member States, but even here, many important raw materials are lost in electrical waste – whether legally or illegally. That is not just ecologically and socially questionable; it is also increasingly an economic problem. To me, therefore, extracting and retrieving raw materials as effectively as possible while ensuring an end to the illegal shipping of electrical waste to developing countries, where it poisons people, is one of the most important achievements of this directive. In future, then, it is the contractor and not the customs authorities that must prove in controls that the equipment is serviceable and is not electrical waste, so that we can stem the tide of illegal exports. I am therefore pleased that the environment ministers and Parliament have been able to reach agreement on this.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR), in writing. – Electronic waste includes TVs, telephones, computers, white goods, and everyday household electrical items from toasters to toys. These are common items across all EU countries and it is important that they are disposed of properly. Last year, the South London Waste Partnership managed some of the highest performing Reuse and Recycle Centres in the EU, with up to 75% of the electrical waste brought to these sites being reused or recycled. I believe that the existing systems in the UK effectively manage our waste and therefore would normally shy away from any interference from the EU. However, the report has no separate target for reuse and Member States keep significant control over how they deal with WEEE, so I decided to vote in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) I supported the draft of the submitted directive, although sometimes, I feel that we are going about it in the wrong way. We are spending most of our time and energy dealing with the consequences. We see a huge amount of electrical and electronic waste that is, in many cases, highly toxic; we also see that further raw materials are needed for the manufacture of new electronic appliances. We think it fair that the costs of collection and treatment of electrical and electronic waste should be borne by the manufacturer and, ultimately, the purchaser of the product. The submitted draft draws on these considerations. The real problem, however, is the service life of electrical and electronic equipment. Introducing a mandatory minimum warranty period of two years looks like a significant step towards higher quality, until we realise that most manufacturers understand the word ‘minimum’ to mean the threshold beyond which it does not pay to continue because costs would increase. I therefore think that until manufacturers, and consequently consumers, start to see recycling as an item that is comparable in terms of cost with a substantial lengthening of the service life of products, our efforts to bring about the use of electrical and electronic waste will have only limited results.

 
  
  

Recommendation for second reading: Christa Klass (A7-0336/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it contributes to protecting human and animal health and the environment through the sustainable use of biocidal products. The fact that the EU is going to have a list of active substances that do not present any risk seems to me to be particularly positive. I also welcome the recommendation that under certain conditions, for instance, in cases of more vulnerable or protected ecosystems, the Member States may have the autonomy to refuse to use a particular biocide. The Azores archipelago strives to protect its ecosystems, and will certainly take this into consideration.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the draft resolution concerning the making available on the market of biocidal products, which makes provision for strengthening controls in order to guarantee that products do not pose a threat to humans, animals or the environment. In the context of my involvement as a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), I supported the work of my colleague, Ms Klass. In my view, it is vital to regulate the marketing of dangerous substances, and even ban those that are carcinogenic, affect the genes or hormones, or are toxic for reproduction. In accordance with the precautionary principle, authorisation procedures will be simplified, allowing consumers to have safer and more effective plant protection products. This is a significant improvement to current legislation, because it provides the industry with a more effective and reliable authorisation system, both with regard to requirements and procedures, resulting in uniform safety assessments. Finally, additional objectives are the harmonisation of standards, and measures that aim to facilitate mutual recognition with regard to approval between Member States.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I welcomed this document. Biocidal products are necessary for the control of organisms that are harmful to human or animal health and for the control of organisms that cause damage to natural or manufactured products. Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market (hereinafter ‘the directive’) establishes a harmonised regulatory framework for the authorisation and the placing on the market of biocidal products and the establishment of a positive list of active substances that may be used in biocidal products. The directive’s provisions require the Commission to draw up a report seven years after its entry into force and to submit the report to the Council. The review of the implementation of the directive has indicated that for the evaluation of active substances, the simplified procedures provided for in the directive, notably for low risk products, have no real effect, and that in addition, the data requirements and data waiving provisions may be unclear or inconsistently applied or lead to a disproportionate burden in some circumstances. The new regulation is seeking to improve the existing regulatory framework, without reducing the high level of protection for the environment and human and animal health, to increase the free movement of biocidal products within the Union, and to reduce the administrative burden for companies and public authorities.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. (PT) Directive 98/8/EC of 16 February 1998 establishes the harmonised regulatory framework for authorising and making biocidal products available on the market. This regulation aims to eliminate the shortcomings of the directive in question in terms of authorisation, of improving the authorisation procedure and of streamlining decision making, while developing a high level of protection. The introduction of an EU authorisation system represents a significant step towards a harmonised European market for biocidal products. This regulation will contribute to greater legal certainty and transparency in the use of active substances, will ensure a high level of protection for both human and animal health and the environment, and will improve the functioning of the internal market by harmonising rules on the making available on the market and the use of biocidal products. This regulation will also contribute towards improving protection of European consumers. I voted for this recommendation for these reasons.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Biocides, which are used everywhere in our daily lives, are intended to eliminate harmful organisms such as bacteria or germs. These substances may well be effective, but they are nonetheless dangerous for human health and the environment. On Wednesday, we overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that harmonises the European market for biocidal products and establishes new deadlines for assessing applications in order to better protect human health and the environment. It is unprecedented in its inclusion of specific, comprehensive measures on nanomaterials. There was an urgent need to fill this gap in EU legislation. Those objects sold on the market and treated with biocides will therefore be required to mention on their label all the products used. With regard to substances considered carcinogenic or toxic for genes, reproduction or hormones, these will be strictly prohibited with the aim of protecting citizens and encouraging manufacturers to innovate by developing new, safer products. A word of caution, however. We should remain alert to new authorisations and the granting of renewals for exceptions. Member States will be able to make an exception only when absolutely necessary. Even so, this regulation is another step towards a more sustainable, consumer friendly society.