Index 
Debates
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Wednesday, 4 July 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition
1. Opening of the sitting
 2. Implementing measures (Rule 88): see Minutes
 3. Programme of activities of the Cyprus Presidency (debate)
 4. Preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2013 (debate)
 5. General budget for 2013 (deadline for tabling amendments): see Minutes
 6. Statement by the President
 7. Voting time
  7.1. Common rules for direct support schemes for farmers (A7-0158/2011 - Paolo De Castro) (vote)
  7.2. Support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (A7-0161/2011 - Paolo De Castro) (vote)
  7.3. Common organisation of agricultural markets and specific provisions for certain agricultural products (A7-0322/2011 - Paolo De Castro) (vote)
  7.4. Financing of the common agricultural policy (A7-0209/2011 - Giovanni La Via) (vote)
  7.5. Organic production and labelling of organic products (A7-0215/2011 - Martin Häusling) (vote)
  7.6. System of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (A7-0204/2011 - Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos) (vote)
  7.7. EU-Russia Agreement on the preservation of commitments on trade in services (A7-0176/2012 - Gianluca Susta) (vote)
  7.8. EU-Russia agreement on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles (A7-0175/2012 - Paweł Zalewski) (vote)
  7.9. EU-Russia Agreement on the introduction or increase by the Russian Federation of export duties on raw materials (A7-0178/2012 - Inese Vaidere) (vote)
  7.10. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the EU and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the USA (A7-0204/2012 - David Martin) (vote)
  7.11. Direct payments to farmers (A7-0163/2012 - Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos) (vote)
  7.12. 2013 budget - mandate for trilogue (A7-0215/2012 - Giovanni La Via) (vote)
  7.13. Strategy for the protection and welfare of animals (A7-0216/2012 - Marit Paulsen) (vote)
  7.14. Establishment of an EU legal framework for the protection of pets and stray animals (B7-0341/2012) (vote)
  7.15. Conclusions of the European Council meeting (28-29 June 2012) (B7-0407/2012, B7-0408/2012, B7-0409/2012, B7-0410/2012) (vote)
  7.16. Access to basic banking services (A7-0197/2012 - Jürgen Klute) (vote)
  7.17. Preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2013 (B7-0345/2012) (vote)
 8. Explanations of vote
 9. Corrections to votes and voting intentions: see Minutes
 10. Approval of the minutes of the previous sitting : see Minutes
 11. Financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks (debate)
 12. Breaches of Schengen rules (debate)
 13. Temporary judges of the European Union civil service tribunal - Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union (debate)
 14. Situation in Georgia (debate)
 15. Situation in Syria (debate)
 16. Composition of committees and delegations : see Minutes
 17. Situation in Egypt (debate)
 18. Agenda of the next sitting : see Minutes
 19. Closure of the sitting


  

IN THE CHAIR: MARTIN SCHULZ
President

 
1. Opening of the sitting
Video of the speeches
 

(The sitting opened at 9.00)

 

2. Implementing measures (Rule 88): see Minutes

3. Programme of activities of the Cyprus Presidency (debate)
Video of the speeches
MPphoto
 

  President. – The first item is the Council and Commission statements on the programme of activities of the Cyprus Presidency.

I should like to welcome most warmly the President-in-Office of the Council, Mr Demetris Christofias, to the European Parliament. A very warm welcome to you, Mr President.

 
  
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  Demetris Christofias, President-in-Office of the Council. − (EL) Mr President of the European Parliament, President of the European Commission, honourable chairs of the political groups in the European Parliament, honourable members of the European Parliament, honourable members of the European Commission, ladies and gentlemen and friends, it is a real honour for me to stand here today before you, before plenary of the European Parliament, the bastion of European democracy, in order to share with you our vision for the Union and present the main priorities of the first Cypriot Presidency of the Council.

May I express my profound respect and congratulations to the European Parliament on the role which it plays in defending and promoting the fundamental principles on which the European Union is founded. Allow me to underline my personal satisfaction with the fact that the Treaty of Lisbon allows the European Parliament to legislate jointly, with the Council, on most matters. There can be no doubt that this positive development enhances and broadens democracy in the European Union.

This is Cyprus’s first six-month Presidency of the Council since it acceded to the European Union and it coincides with very difficult conditions for our Union. The global economic crisis is affecting numerous Member States, with the euro area still bearing the brunt of the pressure.

Without doubt, the challenges faced by our Union require an innovative European response. Perhaps the time has come for us to turn for guidance to the starting point of European unification when, in the aftermath of war, nothing was taken for granted. The time has come for us to draw lessons from the courage and foresight of the fathers of the European vision: a vision of peace, democracy, pluralism and social justice. In times of crisis such as this, there is an even more urgent need for us to achieve a more solidarity-based and effective Union, a better Europe. We owe it to the visionaries of European unification and, more importantly, we owe it to our children and grandchildren.

The attainment of a better Europe is a universal demand of the citizens of the Union. We have an obligation to listen to our citizens and to do all we can to achieve a Union that means more to our citizens: a Europe of social cohesion, prosperity, security and growth. We shall work tirelessly within the Council during the current semester, within the scope of our competences, to push forward every legislative initiative that will help to achieve the objective of a social solidarity-based and effective Union: a Europe with more visible benefits in terms of the prosperity of European citizens. This is our general political objective for the six-month Cypriot Presidency and we truly hope that we shall have the support and assistance of all the institutions, especially the European Parliament, in this endeavour.

It is true that the European construct has experienced numerous crises since its foundation. However, it would appear that the on-going social and economic crisis, which stems in large part from the global economic crisis, is, comparatively speaking, the biggest challenge that the European Union has had to face since its foundation. That is because prosperity and social cohesion in the Union have come under serious threat. At the same time, cracks have appeared in the institutional unity of the Union, due in part to the different approaches adopted in terms of the measures that should have been taken, as an immediate priority, in order to stabilise the situation.

I firmly believe that we need to support cohesion and unity between the Member States. Together we can certainly do more.

I am convinced that the European Union will successfully overcome the difficulties it faces. The European Union has no option but to emerge stronger from the current crisis; a crisis which, unfortunately, has seriously shaken the confidence of European citizens in our institutional edifice. However, we shall be able to defeat the challenges if we collectively demonstrate the necessary trust in the common European institutions, in the institutions of the Union. The Community method has proven over the years to be an effective weapon in defending our common interests and must be protected at all costs. Action to deepen the European unification policy based on solidarity and social cohesion is, in my view, the best way of effectively addressing the current social and economic crisis.

I consider that, in order to decide on an effective remedy for the damage caused by the crisis, we must, at the same time, make a correct diagnosis of the causes of it. We must jointly make a bold and in-depth analysis of the essence and scope of the social and economic crisis. In my view, we need to have the courage to engage in self-criticism at national and European level, in order to identify possible political inertia or weaknesses in the policies applied in Europe, especially over the last two decades. It is hard to contest the fact that the policies implemented in previous years, which promoted a model of absolute and dogmatic attachment to the freedom of the market with no social or state control, have failed because, quite simply, a free social market economy is one thing and unaccountable markets, without state supervision or similar safety values for the benefit of society as a whole, is another.

Under no circumstances should we leave our societies at the mercy of the markets and the selfish interests that manipulate them. Events have proven that any measures taken in recent years were ineffective due to the analysis of the crisis, which was based on the standard response that wants us to hold speculators alone and, occasionally, the markets responsible.

The strict austerity policies being applied in order to address the crisis are not only turning out to be unable to resolve the problems; they are exacerbating them. Austerity policies are simply unravelling the social state and immobilising growth. The economy and sustainable growth must serve society. The wealth produced must be distributed more fairly. The approach cannot be to ‘nationalise the losses and privatise the profits’. We cannot use our policies to put the burden of the current crisis on the shoulders of those who are having trouble making ends meet. The man in the street in the Member States of the Union is the last person responsible for the inherent weaknesses which, as we have seen, are hampering the creation of economic and monetary union.

In any event, we have a moral and political responsibility to distribute the burden of the crisis more fairly and we must certainly protect the economically and socially vulnerable sections of society.

Allow me at this point to express the deep concern that I feel every time our television viewers see images of misfortune, with citizens queuing at soup kitchens in order to get food rations, basically survival rations. It is, at the very least, difficult for all of us to accept such a situation in Europe. We cannot remain unmoved when we see poverty resulting in the social exclusion and impoverishment of large sections of society in Europe. I invite my friend the President of the European Commission, from this official tribune, to work together with us, to find ways of using agricultural intervention products to extend and strengthen the Food Distribution Programme for our deprived fellow citizens. I will truly be the happiest of Europeans if, by the end of the Cypriot Presidency, we have managed to bring about tangible results under this programme or by adopting similar actions of equivalent result, based on legislative initiatives by the Commission, thereby further minimising this important social problem which, of course, this alone will not solve.

The major issue, therefore, in my opinion, is the need for fairer redistribution of income produced and a consistent and more citizen-oriented social policy which, in conjunction with support for small and medium-sized enterprises, which form the backbone of the European economy, will result in more employment and the social cohesion sorely needed within our Union.

Without doubt, actions have been promoted, especially over the last year, with the help of all sides, especially the European Commission, to accelerate structural reform and create better conditions of competitiveness and growth in the European economy, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. We expect these actions to increase employment, primarily among young people, in a greener economy. All this is in addition to the priority measures taken to address the debt crisis.

The objective therefore, is to reconcile the approach to budgetary discipline, on the one hand, because it is important to limit wastage and manage our public finances carefully, and the approach in terms of implementing a strong growth and job creation strategy in Europe, on the other.

The Presidency of the Council looks forward to collaborating closely with the Members of the European Parliament, so that, in cooperation with the European Commission, we can promote targeted actions to reduce the social pressure that has arisen in most of the Member States of our Union and which, unfortunately, has mostly affected the young generation, our children, the future of our Europe. More social Europe is what we need, especially under the current difficult economic conditions. That is the only way we can help European citizens regain their belief in the vision of European unification. That is the only way we can reduce the gap dividing European citizens from the faceless and often distant decision-making centres in Brussels.

It is precisely within this framework of efforts to achieve a better Europe that the Cypriot Presidency has set four main priorities:

First priority: Europe, more effective and sustainable.

The Cypriot Presidency will focus on the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, in the ultimate aim of finalising negotiations and creating a fair and effective Union budget that will generate growth and employment. The Presidency will seek to achieve progress in negotiations on the legislative framework for common policies in this programming period, such as the common agricultural and fisheries policies, cohesion policy and research and innovation policies. Energy policy, the Connecting Europe Facility and the trans-European networks on transport, telecommunications and energy are high on the agenda and will be vital in boosting the competitiveness and further integration of the European Union. Sustainable development will be an important issue during the Cypriot Presidency, based on the need for an integrated approach to transport, climate change, environmental and energy policies. Particular emphasis will be placed on re-energising the EU integrated maritime policy. A special summit will be held in Limassol, which Commission President José Manuel Barroso will attend, to decide on and approve an announcement.

Second priority: Europe, with a better performing and growth-based economy.

The economic crisis has highlighted the need for more effective Union policies. The Presidency will focus in particular on monitoring the implementation of the EU 2020 strategy. Furthermore, strengthening economic growth and promoting employment opportunities are of major importance to the Cypriot Presidency. Financial services are also an important item in our agenda, as they will help to protect consumers and investors and improve market transparency.

During the Presidency and on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the single market, we shall also give impetus to the deepening of the internal market, in the aim of stimulating the European economy and making social progress and supporting the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises and consumers. Without doubt, the single market provides a stable basis for European integration. We need to improve the single market, especially in times of economic crisis, by focussing on the need to strengthen European competitiveness.

Third priority: Europe, more relevant to its citizens, with solidarity and social cohesion.

One of the most important priorities of the Cypriot Presidency is to increase the involvement of the social partners, local authorities and non-governmental organisations in implementing the EU 2020 strategy, especially in respect of targets for employment and combating poverty and social exclusion. We intend to utilise best practices at both national and European level in order to try and map the involvement of civil society in the European Semester process.

Social cohesion is an important aspect of the EU 2020 strategy and an essential objective of efforts to find an effective way out of the crisis, especially for sections of society at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

As part of the Cypriot Presidency priority to improve social cohesion, we shall focus on carrying on work to combat child poverty and promote children’s well-being.

The Cypriot Presidency intends to use the European Year of Active Ageing to highlight the message that active ageing is not confined to employment; it includes participation by elderly persons in social, economic, cultural and political life.

As far as equality is concerned, the Cypriot Presidency will promote work to compile indicators on violence against women and will focus on victim support services. The Presidency will also encourage debate on the problem of the pay gap between the two sexes, by facilitating an exchange of best practices between the Member States.

One of the Presidency’s main objectives will be to create a common European asylum system by the end of 2012, by building up cooperation between Member States in protecting the rights of those in need of international protection.

In the education and culture sector, negotiations on the next generation ‘Erasmus for all’ programme will be high on the agenda, as will the promotion of literacy.

Fourth priority: Europe in the world, closer to its neighbours. The Cypriot Presidency will work closely with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European External Action Service. Within that framework and in light of the important political changes taking place on the south shores of the Mediterranean, we consider that particular attention should be paid to the southern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy, by enhancing relations between the Union and Mediterranean countries.

For me personally, it goes without saying that the Arab nations neighbouring us to the south, who have rebelled and are demanding democracy and the rule of law, must choose their own regimes, via a free and participatory procedure. It is a strategic mistake, in my opinion, for Europe to try and impose its democratic model on those nations. However, what Europe can and should do is to support the vision of the young people who express the Arab vision, in order to create a pluralistic society of which one fundamental element is respect for human rights.

Furthermore, the Cypriot Presidency will promote the necessary processes relating to the enlargement procedure, which is indeed one of the most successful Union policies.

I would like to close my presentation with a very brief reference to ancient Greek philosophy, which is admittedly a very important pillar of our common European cultural heritage: in Plato’s Republic, Socrates, that important philosopher of ancient times, is asked: ‘What is the meaning of life?’, to which Socrates immediately answers: ‘To be a good Athenian’.

Plato then asks, ‘And what, Socrates, is a good Athenian?’

The answer was simple, but full of timeless meaning and purpose: ‘A good Athenian is a person who leaves Athens a better place than he found it’. Very simple, very proper and very beautiful.

The Athens of Socrates and Plato is, of course, our common achievement today, the European Union. We leaders of Europe have a duty to work tirelessly to make our Europe a better place for all European citizens, especially future generations. With innovations and innovative policies that centre on man and are predicated on reasonable demands, we can achieve sustainable economic growth and social cohesion.

As you have heard from the priorities I just listed, the Cypriot Presidency has prepared what is admittedly an ambitious programme. However, we are aware that these are very difficult times and of the challenges we face at European level. As you well know, my country faces an additional challenge, due to the problem of the anachronistic partition caused by the continuing Turkish occupation of the northern part of the island. However, I should like to categorically assure you that we shall spare no effort and shall not allow any problems that the occupying force may try to create to derail us in our exercise of an entirely European Presidency.

Mr President, honourable Members of the European Parliament, the Cypriot Presidency will do its very best, within its powers, to bring about a better Europe for the benefit of its citizens. In the six months to come, with the help and support of all of you, of the institutions, of civil society and, of course, of the Members of the European Parliament, we shall be able to make an important contribution towards attaining our common objective.

My warmest thanks to you.

 
  
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  José Manuel Barroso, Member of the Commission. Mr President, let me start by expressing to President Christofias and the Cyprus Government my and the Commission’s full support for this Council Presidency. We will work with you in the spirit of full loyalty and we wish you every possible success. This will be in the interest of your country, and in the interest of the EU as a whole.

Holding the Presidency of the Council is always a challenge, for bigger and smaller countries, for older and less old Member States. And it is only natural that this challenge is redoubled when it is for the first time, and taking place in the current economic context.

This being said, I have a lot of confidence in the readiness of Cyprus to take on this great responsibility. Not only was I reassured by President Christofias’s presentation today, by his statements regarding his commitment to the European project and the Community method, I can also tell you that the Cyprus authorities started preparations almost three years ago. In the intervening period the Cyprus authorities and the Commission at political and technical levels have enjoyed a close, fruitful cooperation. Tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, the College of Commissioners will meet the Presidency team in Nicosia, where I will have the opportunity to express my appreciation for their very competent work of preparation.

Immediately after this moment of inauguration, we need to continue our work. I very much appreciate that the Cyprus Presidency correctly grasps the right challenges to tackle and the priorities to work on. The Commission shares the objectives of the Presidency aimed at a stronger, more competitive Europe, based on sustainable growth, solidarity and social inclusion, a Europe which is a major international partner on the global stage as well as in its neighbourhood.

These objectives call for actions, actions which are enshrined in the logic of the three-part approach which the Commission has championed for a long time and which we have to work on for the European Union as a whole – sound public finances, deep structural reforms and targeted investment.

Focusing on these areas and maximising their impact will go a long way towards a successful Cyprus Presidency of the Council. For a successful Presidency it will be very important to focus on those key legislative proposals where tangible results can be achieved by the end of 2012.

First and foremost, we have the multiannual financial framework, one of our primary instruments for value-adding investments at European level and for growth and jobs in Europe.

Let us do our utmost to reach agreement on the MFF by the end of this year. I know it is extremely challenging but it is possible. This would send a clear signal that, when it comes to growth, we are committed to action, not limited to rhetoric. Reaching a deal by the end of the year – not any deal, I mean a good or even a very good deal – would do a great service to the European Union as a whole and it would be a success for the Cyprus Presidency.

In the coming days the Commission will present updated financial figures for our MFF proposal which will include the impact of the accession of Croatia in 2013 and will take account of the latest national and regional statistical data. Whilst these changes will be extremely marginal in overall amounts, they need to be done for the sake of accuracy and transparency and equal treatment. On this basis the Presidency will then be able to prepare serious discussions on figures as from the autumn too.

I can only reiterate what I said earlier. The figures which we proposed last year remain fully valid. They are balanced, appropriate and realistic. They clearly deploy a sense of realism under current circumstances whilst showing the right level of ambition. I therefore urge both Parliament and Member States to recognise that what we have proposed already provides a very good basis for compromise.

Of course the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework are a package. In parallel to the overall framework, negotiations must be brought to an end on the sectoral proposals on the main European common policies. These policies lie at the heart of our efforts to support growth and employment. For this reason we need in parallel to make substantial progress on the next generation of Structural Funds, the reform of the CAP, the common fisheries policy, Horizon 2020 for results and innovation, the Connecting Europe Facility and the relevant trans-European networks. Nor must we neglect our external financial instruments as an important element in our external policy.

With the overall MFF and almost 70 sectoral programmes we have a formidable list of work to accomplish. It will require a great effort on the part of the Council Presidency, an effort which we in the Commission will support to the full.

The multiannual financial framework is just one of our levers for growth and jobs. There are other critically important areas where we must speed up our efforts. I therefore welcome the fact that President Christofias shares my understanding that we must work closer together among all the institutions, including of course the European Parliament, in the coming months. This is the only way to achieve results, to results that are stable and binding and are not hostages to fortune after decisions are announced.

Continuing our work for growth also means pushing ahead in the coming months on the fast-track legislative proposals of the single market, what we have called Single Market Act 1. In addition, the Commission intends putting forward proposals under what we call the new Single Market Act 2, and we hope the Cyprus Presidency will start work on these without delay. Once again thank you for your very strong commitment regarding the need to deepen the single market, President Christofias.

As I said yesterday in front of this House, intensive work will continue towards ensuring stability of the euro area and establishing a genuine economic and monetary union. The Commission will thus swiftly put forward new proposals concerning the first steps to establish what we have been terming a ‘banking union’, namely to create a single financial supervisory mechanism in the euro area, built around the ECB, based on Article 127 of the Treaty. At the same time, we will strive to preserve the overall architecture of the EU 27, soon 28, in particular the architecture of the single market, so as to guarantee the integrity of our Union and naturally the full Treaty rights of the European Parliament.

At the same time there is much to be done to build on the proposals the Commission has already made on deposit guarantee schemes, bank recovery and resolution, stricter rules on credit rating agencies and on capital requirements, on markets in financial instruments and on market abuse. Thus the banking union is very much enriched. We can do it very soon if we fully stand behind it and work hard for it.

There will be a further effort needed to adopt the two-pack initiatives and to make headway on a financial transaction tax through enhanced cooperation. Although formally both files are separate, both are essential. We can only call for greater solidarity if in parallel we are prepared to accept greater responsibility.

I have only mentioned some of the most important areas on which we need to focus in the coming six months. Naturally, I know, the programme of the Presidency is much wider, but I think we should focus on what we can deliver in a relatively short period. I should also mention the Schengen and patent packages. I hope that on both we will eventually come to find better solutions than those which are on the table of the Council today.

I believe for a Council Presidency to have success it needs determination and focus. Six months pass extremely quickly. Yesterday at a meeting with President Christofias and President Schulz, I mentioned that this will be the 17th Council Presidency I have been following closely, and I can tell you the successful presidencies were the ones which were able to focus. Let us use this period in the most productive and effective way. The Commission will help you achieve as much as possible in this endeavour and I am sure the European Parliament will do so also.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Joseph Daul, on behalf of the PPE Group.(FR) Mr President, President Christofias, ladies and gentlemen, the Republic of Cyprus is taking over the Council presidency at a decisive moment for Europe. I said here, only yesterday in fact, that the European Council has held 30 meetings on the economic crisis and it is not over yet. Thirty meetings and only last week did we see the start of an action plan.

That is why I am calling this morning on the new Presidency to show courage and determination. I hope that this Presidency will convince its 26 partners to opt for an integrated Europe, a political Europe and, at last, a united and therefore sovereign Europe.

The economic crisis is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge relates to the competitiveness of our economy and to unemployment, which is breaking records with an average rate of 11%. The opportunity is to do what the countries in the euro area should have done at the outset, in other words implement a common economic policy, a policy of balanced budgets and, above all, a long-term investment policy.

President Christofias, although you and I are from radically opposed political parties, my group supports the priorities of your Presidency. In particular, I heard you use an expression that is very important to me: the Community method. In that respect, I know that I can count on you.

Like you, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) wants the European Union to be more effective, more relevant and more efficient and to experience renewed growth. On that basis, we need to act. We need to take advantage of the 20th anniversary of the single market in the autumn to complete, at last, the work that began under Jacques Delors and implement the Single Market Act as quickly as possible. We need to apply the Services Directive in full. We need to create a genuine digital single market. We also need to reduce the burden on our small and medium-sized enterprises. All of these measures will create growth and will thus create jobs. These are the measures that I am asking you, Mr President, to take along with this Parliament and in close cooperation with the Commission.

There is another key aspect of your Presidency: the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework. My group truly hopes that progress is made in this regard during the next six months, in the knowledge that the European budget is an investment budget, a growth budget and an employment budget. We need investment in all 27 Member States in infrastructure, investment in all 27 Member States in energy networks and in education, research and innovation, cohesion policies and food security; you spoke about food aid for the most deprived, I believe, and you also have my support in that regard. That is a credible and tangible response to the crisis, too.

The Cypriot Presidency will find in the European Parliament an active and committed participant when it comes to the financial perspective, as long as the proposed budget is large enough and tailored to our needs. We will be keeping an eye on that, but we will help you to reach the end of the year with a Christmas package for this budget for the multiannual financial framework.

Now, Mr President, President Christofias, ladies and gentlemen – do not laugh, Mr Barroso, the package will be good, you will see – I would like to talk about another issue before you here this morning and that is the worrying political situation that has prevailed for a number of days in one of our Member States, Romania. Yesterday the Vice-President of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, expressed grave concern. I quote: ‘I am seriously concerned about recent attacks on the independence of the Constitutional Court of Romania. For me, a well-functioning, independent judicial system is a precondition for mutual trust in the European area of justice’.

My group shares the Commission’s concerns and last week I, myself, expressed my concerns about the current state of democracy in Romania. This morning, I ask the Commission very sincerely to continue to monitor this issue as it has monitored others, in spite of the summer break.

It is important for us to make progress over the next six months on various issues that are on the table and, President Christofias, we are counting on you. There are a lot of good things that you can do.

 
  
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  Hannes Swoboda, on behalf of the S&D Group. – (DE) Mr President, I just have one brief comment to make to Mr Daul. I would be happy if you were half as critical of Hungary as you are of Romania. However, as far as breaches of European law are concerned, we support European law and European values, regardless of the country in question.

Mr President, I would like to welcome you very warmly, together with your Minister for Europe who will definitely do a very good job, because he shows the right level of commitment. We cannot promise you that this will be an easy presidency. We can promise you our help in resolving the problems, but nevertheless this will not be an easy presidency. The economic crisis and the banking crisis will still be with us.

I am very grateful to Mr Barroso for making it clear that Parliament will be fully involved in the establishment of the new banking supervisory mechanism, which is something that we have been calling for over a long period. Of course, we need to have specific rules for the euro area. However, we must not forget, and Cyprus is one example of this, that even if a country is not in the euro area, and this is clear in Greece and Romania, massive damage can still be caused. The incidents at Barclays Bank show that there are still many bankers who are speculating with other people’s money and who believe that they can manipulate the market without it being noticed. This must stop. We need an efficient banking supervisory mechanism in Europe, together with greater transparency in all banks, and these things must be put in place over the next few months.

In this context, Mr President, I would, of course, like to mention the financial transaction tax. We have recently adopted Ms Podimata’s report here in Parliament with a large majority. I know that people in your country are sceptical about this, but it is essential for us to introduce a financial transaction tax. Of course, it will not solve all our problems. However, Mr President, you have spoken about the fact that economic and social burdens must be distributed more fairly. The financial transaction tax will make a small but not insignificant contribution to the fairer distribution of the economic burdens and will help to ensure that the financial sector plays its part in overcoming the crisis. I believe that this is essential.

That brings me to the budget. Mr Daul said that there would be a Christmas present. I hope he is right. I hope that it is a present and that we will not be celebrating Christmas with a poor compromise. There are supporters of better spending and supporters of cohesion. If the supporters of better spending think that what is needed is less spending and drastic budget cuts, then they will not have us on their side. This is what Mr Cameron believes and this is being put into practice with great success in the United Kingdom. It clearly has the approval of the population.

If the supporters of cohesion think that they simply need to spend more money and the job will be done, then they will not have us on their side. We in the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, and I believe that is the majority in this House, want a budget which is effective, does the job, contributes to growth – that is essential – and, of course, promotes productivity and competitiveness. However, you cannot make cuts and, at the same time, say that we must do more for growth, while reducing funding, except for the funding that is actually needed. If Mr Cameron needs a major institution in his constituency or in the neighbouring constituency, he will, of course, want funding for it. However, when it comes to stimulating growth in the cohesion regions, where we really have work to do and where help is needed, regardless of whether they are in Poland, as the President mentioned in his speech, or in Lithuania or in other countries, then suddenly we want to make big cuts. That is where we have to say ‘No’, because this is inappropriate. We cannot say that we need more investment, more growth, more employment and then focus on reducing spending.

I am very pleased that France is moving away from this simplistic method of making cuts. I am very pleased that Ms Merkel in Germany has recognised, following talks with the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), that the budget needs to be of a certain size in order to stimulate growth and development. Against this background, I am also hoping for a Christmas present, like Mr Daul, not for us, not for Parliament, the Council or the Commission, but for the people of Europe, who urgently need one.

The Cyprus Presidency brings us close to a region which is undergoing a major crisis and that is the Middle East. We will never come as close to it as we do in Cyprus. I know that the Cyprus Presidency has very good relationships with the countries of the Middle East and will make good use of them.

My last comment concerns Turkey. As a friend of Turkey, I very much regret Turkey’s behaviour towards the Cyprus Presidency. This is the presidency of the European Union.

(Applause)

When Turkey boycotts the Cyprus Presidency, then it is boycotting the European Union. We hold on to the vision of a shared Cyprus where Turkish and Greek Cypriots can live together in peace, because all of them are citizens of Europe. This vision will help us to move forwards.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Graham Watson, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, I would say this to President Christofias: your country cannot lead the European Union by size or strength, so you must lead by example.

Lead by example on economic growth: use the EU’s influence to help reunify Cyprus’s people – economists say it would add EUR 12 000 to the prosperity of every family on your island. Lead by example in Europe’s fight against crime – intervene against the intricate intrigue of corrupt Cypriot lawyers and property developers who rob holiday-home buyers of their retirement savings. Lead by example in other areas too, not by letting a fossil fuel find fool you into forgetting your island’s natural wealth of sun and wind. Not by being mortgaged to Moscow, nor by evading engagement with Ankara.

You will take forward the budget talks and the EU’s Road Map 2050: marry them together by investing in renewable energy EU-wide and cutting our dependence on Russian gas. You will oversee EU talks on bank supervision and sovereign debt: use the ECB and the EIB to nurse our weaker nations back to solvency.

You spoke of a better Europe for our children and our grandchildren. You must talk to Turkey, not overlook the plight of our fellow citizens behind the barbed wire. Along with my constituents in Gibraltar they face the fate of being forgotten people, failed by the designated guardians of the EU Treaties who are too timid to take on the tough talkers.

Forty years ago another Mediterranean islander, the songwriter/poet, Georges Moustaki, wrote of ‘les îles barbelés, les murs qui emprisonnent…en Méditerranée’ (the barbed-wire islands, the imprisoning walls… in the Mediterranean). We will not carp if you cannot bring peace or freedom to Syria and the countries of your sea’s southern shore, much as you should try, but you can rid your island of its barbed wire and its prison walls and restore what that poet called ‘un bel été, qui ne craint pas l’automne’ (a fair summer that has no fear of autumn).

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

 
  
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  Ioannis Kasoulides (PPE), blue-card question. Sir Graham, do you not think that by addressing this criticism to a Presidency that has not even started is not objective and fair? Do you not think this to be the case, particularly when the criticism is coming from you, who represents a country that has been a colonial power that bears part of the responsibility of the division of this island, with a policy of divide and rule?

 
  
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  Graham Watson (ALDE), blue-card answer. Mr Kasoulides, I am not one who defends everything that was done under colonialism by my country but I do not believe my country can be accused of causing the problems on the island of Cyprus. I am not criticising Cyprus. I am asking the Presidency to use the EU’s influence to sort out some of the serious problems you still face on your island and I hope it will. I think there is a lot to be done and I wish President Christofias every success in this regard.

 
  
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  Rebecca Harms, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Mr President, as part of our visit to Cyprus with the Conference of Presidents to prepare for the presidency, I spent a day of my own time in Nicosia with the aim of looking around this city which I did not know. On the one hand, I visited the archaeological museum and was struck by the beauty of the island’s cultural heritage. On the other hand, I returned to reality and crossed the border in the old quarter of Nicosia at several of the crossing points and was really shocked by this confrontation and the form it takes in Cyprus today.

I am not as presumptuous as Mr Watson and I will not try to tell you what you should do in the next six months. However, I would like to repeat the wish expressed by many fellow Members in the meetings in Nicosia. The presidency will mean that the eyes of Europe are on Cyprus. We must all work together to help overcome this undignified confrontation which is actually a thing of the past. This is in the interest of all the people of Cyprus, both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

However, I do, of course, know that the presidency is starting out in a very difficult position. The debate or dispute about the outcome of the summit is still going on and I do not remember a summit during this crisis whose results have had such a short half-life on the market as the most recent one. Interest rates are rising and the burden of interest payments for the crisis countries is higher than it was before the summit. We need to look closely at this.

You are taking over the presidency at a time when the representatives of the Council obviously forget as soon as they return to their own countries that the European Union can only function as a community of responsibility. Many Heads of State or Government and many people who are more like party politicians than Europeans when they are at home are evidently not really aware of this responsibility. I know that you are faced with the major challenge of bringing this back together.

I believe that the disagreements within the Council must be resolved by the time the troika presents its latest report on Greece, which is also an existential moment for Cyprus, for your country, in this crisis. I am very concerned about the influence of this new report and the decisions which will have to be made on the basis of what was decided on thin ice, so to speak, at the last summit. The European Parliament resolution that we will vote on today gives a good indication of what urgently needs to be done during the course of the summer.

I would like to make one last point, Mr Christofias, because I understand that for you, both as a politician and as a person, fairness is a major concern. I believe that in Cyprus, although I am very familiar with the structural problems relating to the large banking and finance sector, work needs to be done in the areas of fair taxation, tax havens, tax evasion and tax avoidance. You will only be able to make good progress in your presidency if you deal with these areas, despite your own problems.

 
  
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  Martin Callanan, on behalf of the ECR Group. Mr President, let me first of all thank President Christofias for his speech today and for the welcome that he gave to my group when we recently visited Cyprus. We greatly appreciated the constructive meetings that we had with him and his government. It is clear that we are not going to have much in common politically, but nevertheless we did appreciate his courtesy and his hospitality. We also agree with the implication in the Presidency’s priorities that the EU is not seen as relevant by many of its citizens, and that it needs to become more effective and more efficient. The position of my group is clear: we do not want to see the EU fail, but if it continues to pursue the agenda of the past then it most surely will.

Let me say a word to President Barroso. I was particularly surprised by his outburst yesterday here in this Chamber. To suggest that somehow we take great delight in the problems facing the euro is, frankly, absurd. Do you honestly believe that we are pleased to see so many people suffer as a result of your political project? I have merely many times set out the options for the eurozone as I see them: either an effective fiscal union or a reduction in the size of the eurozone. At the moment you are trying to move towards a political union without the fiscal union that is really required, and I think that it is entirely reasonable that we should raise the alarm about what this will mean for national democracy in many Member States.

Whether or not the euro survives, what is important for me is that those countries that had the good sense to stay out of it are not hampered by the decision of 17 to go ahead with more integration, if indeed that is what they choose to do. But of course, the one tool that must always remain the equal property of the 27 countries is the single market. It is the one thing that we all support, and I was therefore delighted see that the Cyprus Presidency has said that one of its ambitions is the deepening of that internal market. You will have our full support in that aim.

The Presidency will also conclude negotiations on the Capital Requirements Directive. Yesterday, as part of his criticisms, President Barroso pointed out – correctly – the UK’s significant bank bailout commitments made under our previous, Socialist, government. I agree with him that we should ensure that banks are sufficiently capitalised to present this from ever happening again. So why, then, is the Commission still trying to water down the commitments the EU made in Basel to implement the Capital Requirements Directive? Mr Barroso, my group, and indeed the UK Government, is in favour of more stringent bank regulation than your Commission. We want to make sure that taxpayers never again have to bail out the banks.

Turning very briefly to the multiannual financial framework, it still continues to baffle me how the Commission can enforce austerity on Member States and simultaneously demand more money from them for the EU budget. It seems that everyone has to cut spending, apart from the European Commission. The idea that throwing money at economic problems and hoping it will make them go away is surely a doctrine that was discredited in the 1970s. If the Presidency can truly deliver a budget that genuinely focuses on quality and added value, and on better spending rather than on more spending, you will indeed have our full support.

 
  
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  Gabriele Zimmer, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group.(DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Mr Christofias, for me and my group, welcoming you here in your role as the President-in-Office of the Council of the European Union represents a very special moment. We are very pleased that for the first time in the history of the European Union a member of our political family is leading the EU. You are taking over the presidency at a time when the European Union is faced with huge challenges. We need to determine whether the European Union will actually have a future or whether it will turn out to be footnote in history, which I would regard as a historic defeat.

After the meetings which we had with you, with the representatives of your government and with the leaders of the groups and parties in your country, I know that you have made very thorough preparations for the presidency and that you are aware of the scope of the task. However, you have made it clear today that you specifically want to focus the attention of those in power on the living conditions of the people. I can tell you after everything I have heard in recent years that this is the first time that a President-in-Office of the European Union has said that he will do precisely that. I have not heard this sort of tone in official speeches before. I have not heard anyone say that this is all about the people, about the ones who are not responsible for the crisis, but have the heaviest burdens to bear.

It will be difficult to put this into practice. However, I believe that you will have achieved a great deal, and I am certain that you will do this, if you can use your presidency to give encouragement to the people, to support their rights and to help to ensure that the Council and the European institutions are aware of what you are doing.

We are constantly talking about the euro and its stability, about how important the euro is for the functioning of the European Union and for the euro area. However, it is an instrument. It is based on political conditions that have been clearly defined. It can never be the objective of the European Union to accept that people in the EU will go hungry, that health care systems will collapse or that local authorities will stop working in order for the euro to continue functioning. Something has gone wrong here. That is not what we see as the objective of the European Union. I very much support your call for social cohesion and solidarity between the individual Member States, but also between all the very different groups of people. The European Union cannot allow itself to be used as an instrument or a speaker for a particular small section of the population or present itself in that way.

I would like to make one final point to emphasise, of course, that all of the priorities you have mentioned are very important to us and that we will support the points which take us in the direction you have just defined. Please help to ensure that people are no longer afraid. Fear is the worst guide for democracies. I think that many of the decisions made in recent weeks and months, in particular during the elections in Greece and the referendum in Ireland, were characterised by fear. If those in power in the European Union are contributing to the fact that people are afraid to make free decisions, this does not bode well for the future of the European Union. I wish you every success in what you have to do.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Niki Tzavela, on behalf of the EFD Group.(EL) Mr President, may I welcome Mr Christofias to the Presidency and wish him every success. The Cyprus Presidency has started in the midst of huge political changes in the European Union. Following the decisions adopted by the Council in June, the economic, banking and political unification of Europe will need to be promoted during the Cyprus Presidency.

What you may not know, ladies and gentlemen, is that, although it is a small country, Cyprus is a race of rational, disciplined and courageous people. Having seen its neighbour Israel achieve energy independence by finding natural gas, Cyprus has entered into a bold and rational operational alliance with Israel, without disrupting its relations with the Arab world, with a view to making the island energy independent. This is a shining example for all of us, to see how the energy sector can be changed and used as a vehicle for peace and stability. As I stressed earlier, we should exploit the good relations which the Republic of Cyprus entertains with numerous countries in the third world, especially the Arab world.

Good luck, Mr President-in-Office.

 
  
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  Nicole Sinclaire (NI). - Mr President, I should like to begin by saying kalimera, President Christofias. It was a delight to meet you when I came to Nicosia in 2009.

Can I pay tribute to your efforts to solve the Cyprus problem; a problem which is way overdue. The ongoing insult given to you by the Turkish Government of not recognising you as the President of Cyprus is something which should be highlighted in this Chamber. I would call on you and the EU to remove the candidate status of Turkey, because they have shown themselves not able to communicate with the European Community.

You talk about this as being a bastion of democracy. However, you were educated in Russia and you would have seen how the Duma was no more a bastion of democracy than this place is in relation to the Politburo, which is probably likened to the Commission led by Mr Barroso, who uses this place as a veil of democracy for its actions.

You are right to highlight that the problem of your Presidency is the plight of workers. In Athens you will find graffiti that says: let us refuse to live as slaves. Your background and your ideology as a Communist will make this very difficult for you. How are you going to protect the workers or stand up for the workers with the austerity that Angela Merkel and the rest of the European Union is pushing forward?

Surely you would agree with me that EU 2020 lacks 20/20 vision? I have no doubt it will be as successful as the Lisbon Strategy, which was meant to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010.

You said in an interview on television last night not to expect a mountain from Cyprus. Well, the EU is the Everest of all …

(The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Ioannis Kasoulides (PPE) . – (EL) Mr President, Cyprus has taken over the Presidency with determination and humility, ready to respond to the challenges of that institution. Mr President of the Republic of Cyprus, you have laid down the priorities for your Presidency: the multiannual financial framework, the common asylum system, agricultural policy, the single maritime policy, energy and so on. The planned summit between Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Union and the Arab League bears witness to the massive interest in the ‘Arab Spring’ countries. Your Presidency will also certainly deal with the question of enlargement, including Turkey, which I am sure you will handle fairly and impartially.

We regret Turkey’s attitude to the Presidency. It does not respect the institutions. The Presidency is a Union institution and for six months it is not the country with which Turkey may have any bilateral differences. Traditionally each Presidency leaves aside its national problems and devotes itself to Union problems and you have stated that you will do precisely that, even if Turkey, with its threats against the exclusive economic zone, wants to divert attention from the Presidency objectives.

Cyprus will need to prove, through its Presidency, that it is a serious and reliable partner. At the same time, however, its success will respond to statements made by Mr Erdogan and Mr Bayis that we barely add up to a State, that we are half a State, that we are barely even a race and that we are taking over the Presidency of a pitiful Europe. Their words, not mine.

Unfortunately, the start of the Presidency coincides with the deadline for the recapitalisation of banks throughout Europe. This will take us into a support mechanism. However, the Cypriot economy was destroyed in 1974 by the Turkish invasion and the hard-working Cypriot people created a new economic miracle. They will do so again in coming years.

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

 
  
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  Nicole Sinclaire (NI), blue-card question to Ioannis Kasoulides. Mr President, I wish to ask the gentleman why he thought the attack on the United Kingdom was warranted. Let me remind him that my country has backed up EUR 10 billion in IMF guarantees to his country. Our forces are stationed on Cyprus, at costs of tens of millions of pounds every year, to safeguard Cyprus. If it was not for British forces I think that Turkey would have gone a long way further in 1974.

But has this place moved on? I thought this place was about the future. What about the Austro-Hungarian Empire? What about Italian colonialism? What about French colonialism? What about Portuguese colonialism? What about German expansion? Are you moving on or do you want to be part of the past?

 
  
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  Ioannis Kasoulides (PPE), blue-card answer to Nicole Sinclaire. Because of the presence of British bases in Cyprus, relations between the UK and Cyprus should be, and they are, the best relations. Comments coming from representatives of the British people should leave the things of the past in the past and not be reminiscing about the policy of divide and rule for the division of Cyprus for which they bear part of the responsibility.

 
  
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  Kyriakos Mavronikolas (S&D). (EL) Mr President, I too should like to take my turn in welcoming the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Parliament. May I say that the stand taken by Mr Christofias on the programme that Cyprus intends to implement during its six-month Presidency is a progressive stand which highlights the important problems facing the Union, especially the serious economic crisis, to which it is taking a progressive and democratic approach.

This means, in short, that it does not accept that a policy of strict austerity is the only way out of the economic crisis; it also talks of combatting unemployment, in order to use growth to create a new fabric within the Union, which does indeed bode well for economic recovery and an end to the recession.

Secondly, it demonstrates respect for the Union principles of equality, democracy, solidarity and social cohesion, the very principles that have brought the President of the Republic of Cyprus here today as the President-in-Office of the entire European Union. Thus we are all fighting to establish a family of our own. We are all fighting for more Europe. That is the thrust of the policy expounded by the President of the Republic of Cyprus.

The President quite rightly did not mention the island’s specific problem, the Cyprus problem. However, it is a fact that dozens, if not hundreds, of visits by MEPs to the Republic of Cyprus see the reality today, see the divided capital, Nicosia, the only divided capital in the world. They see the strong presence of the Turkish occupying forces. The 45 000 strong Turkish occupying army there to ‘protect’ in inverted commas, a Turkish-Cypriot community of 100 000 people.

We more than anyone are fighting for the Turkish-Cypriot community, because we believe that it is through that community that we can resolve the Cyprus problem. By contrast, Turkey is not fighting for the Republic of Cyprus; it does not recognise, as we speak, the Presidency of the European Union itself. The only thing that concerns it to gradually colonise the island and change the demographic of the island. There are currently 700 000 colonists in the occupied areas. It would be a paradox and it is a paradox to have members of parliament and/or chairs of political groups, such as Mr Watson, approaching the Cyprus problem as if the Cypriots had caused it.

I shall close with an academic question: will Turkey’s path to accession remain unobstructed during the Cypriot Presidency?

(Applause)

 
  
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  Cecilia Wikström (ALDE).(SV) Mr President, Cyprus now has an intelligent and well-balanced programme for its Presidency, and I really wish you well with its implementation. I would like to remind everyone that the EU institutions have promised citizens that the common European asylum system will be in place before the end of this year.

Cyprus now has a huge responsibility, and the entire development of this lies in its hands. I have an enormous amount of faith in the ability of the Cyprus Presidency to succeed in this, but it will require us to step up our cooperation immediately. I am rapporteur for the Dublin II Regulation, and we are very close to an agreement, but I would ask that we continue our intensive cooperation negotiations now so that we can actually implement what we have promised our citizens.

With regard to other important matters where we are close to historic agreements, I would also like to mention the European patent. After almost four decades of negotiations, we are a hair’s breadth away from being able to offer Europe’s innovators and inventors a lower-cost EU patent that can be defended in a single court. There are just a few issues that remain to be resolved, and I believe that this will require imagination, resolve and flexibility from all parties.

If, during its Presidency, Cyprus now succeeds in putting in place cornerstones that are important for Europe, we will in future think of Cyprus as a small, but important, country that was very important for Europe during a critical and important period.

 
  
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  Philippe Lamberts (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, I should like to say welcome to President Christofias. President Christofias, I will address you as one of the 27, the 27 members of the European Council. When I listened to you and to Mr van Rompuy yesterday, and then when I looked at the day-to-day actions of the Council, I had the impression that we have a case of split personality here at best, and at worst, a case of duplicity.

For instance, when the Council says: ‘we want a budget union’, it then fights tooth and nail against a serious budget with own resources for its own Commission. When the Council says: ‘we want a fiscal union’, I then see the Council every day fighting tooth and nail against every form of tax harmonisation. The dogma of tax competition is still very much there, and at the same time the Council still pays lip service to the fight against tax havens.

Last week I witnessed the Council stubbornly refusing any serious restrictions on venture capital funds being domiciled or investing in tax havens – and that was last week. Probably the fact that a number of Member States are tax havens or harbour tax havens must have something to do with that. The situation is similar when the Council stresses the need for more democracy and democratic accountability. Look at Mr von Rompuy’s paper of last week, saying that we need to bridge the democratic gap in Europe. Yes, good – and you are all full of praise for Parliament. But when I see your actions, every single action tries to circumvent the European Parliament.

When you set up a rescue fund, it is intergovernmental – Parliament has nothing to do with that. When we work on economic governance, you produce a fiscal compact that circumvents the European Parliament. When you want to set up a banking union, it is again done in a way that circumvents the powers of the European Parliament. So my question to you is: which face of the Council are we going to see in the next six months – Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?

 
  
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  Jan Zahradil (ECR). – (CS) Mr President, President Christofias, our countries joined the EU at the same time, and I am therefore delighted that we have another new Member State presiding over the EU, and, moreover, a country that is in many ways highly specific and geographically different.

We recently had the opportunity to visit Cyprus, and to meet with you and your Finance Minister, Foreign Minister and Interior Minister. We gained a very good impression from this, from their professional preparedness and their enthusiasm for the issue, and I would like to thank you additionally once again for the visit and for all of the care we received.

We certainly do not always agree. You spoke of political union, but we are very sceptical about political union, and we do not believe it is the answer. We believe it is a mistake, and I do not agree either with Mr Barroso or with the majority in this Parliament, who unfortunately still believe that it is the answer and that it would bring some good.

You also spoke about the principle of solidarity. Here we must take care that this principle is not perverted into a reshaping of the EU into a transfer Union, a redistributive Union, which would only make the one dependent on the other, thereby also exacerbating the tension between nations. I think this must also become apparent in preparing the multiannual financial framework, which is another task that you face.

On the other hand, although you are, of course, well to the left politically, you are also a realist and a pragmatist, which was clear, for example, from your views on tax competition or on the problems of the financial sector. You can count on our support here - we do not need an ideological solution and we do not need any tax on international financial transactions. There is no need to eliminate tax competition in the EU - we need to preserve it so that the European economy remains functional. I would therefore like to wish you much success, and I hope that your Presidency will be crowned with success.

 
  
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  Takis Hatzigeorgiou (GUE/NGL).(EL) Mr President, I too should like to start by welcoming the President of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Parliament.

Cyprus is a small EU Member State, several dozen times smaller than almost any other EU Member State, with a population equivalent to one-quarter of the population of Berlin and one-tenth – if I am not mistaken – of the population of London. At the same time, it is a state of which one-third of its territory is occupied by a country seeking accession to the European Union.

However, only if such a state is unanimously supported by the other 26 Member States and by every Member of the House can we prove that the Union sees itself as a league of neighbours of equality- and solidarity-based states and nations. Cyprus, a small country under semi-occupation, needs the defence of the European Parliament’s shield.

We call on the European Union to respond in a clear and official manner to Turkey, which never tires of repeating that it will have nothing to do with the Cypriot Presidency. The only response is that the Commission and the Council should have nothing to do with Turkey until such time as it recognises the Presidency of the Union.

We are currently in the grip of a crisis which is literally bleeding households dry. The so-called markets are operating with impunity and the complete lack of supervision in the financial sector is causing sovereign debt to rise and pushing the workers into poverty and humiliation.

We call on the European Parliament and the Union to support the priorities of the Cypriot Presidency and its social message of eliminating poverty, especially child poverty, promoting peace in the Mediterranean and completing the common asylum policy.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I would first of all like to wish the incoming Cypriot Presidency all the very best; the circumstances are not easy, neither from a financial nor from a political point of view. I can guarantee it will have the full support of me and my party in staving off any Turkish pressure, as has been the case in the recent past.

Europe – perhaps out of wretched self-interest – is pretending not to see what is still happening in Cyprus. I visited you several months ago and was able to see first hand the historical, cultural and religious destruction wrought by the Turkish invaders in the north of the island. Cyprus has requested financial support to overcome this crisis.

Meanwhile, between 2007 and 2013 the EU gave some EUR 5 billion to Turkey, a country with strong economic growth to which the European Investment Bank last year also granted loans in excess of EUR 2 billion. Perhaps Europe – the European Union – should first think about its own Member States, rather than help those that actually threaten them.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI). - Mr President, kalimera to President Christofias and may I congratulate him and his team on an excellent preparation for Cyprus’s first presidency.

President Christofias, in your history it is certainly another milestone. One of the smallest and one of the youngest EU Member States is taking up such a big challenge in these extremely difficult economic times in the European Union. Two parts of your programme are of the utmost importance: the focus on citizens and the multiannual financial framework. In these difficult and really tight times we need to put EU citizens first in order to have a strong Union able to compete in the world.

Regarding the Turkish threats to your Presidency, the EU has to stay united and speak with one voice on the issue. We have to make it very clear that all UN resolutions have to be fulfilled and EU laws and values have to be respected. It should be condemned by all of us that a candidate country is knocking on Europe’s doors with weapons. Please let us all work together and support our Presidency.

 
  
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  Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, President-in-Office of the Council, the next six months are of paramount importance to the future of Europe. You have a difficult task and a great responsibility. At the same time, you may end up with an extremely positive assessment at the end of 2012.

In terms of legislation, the most important projects are the MFF and horizontal European policies. You have not inherited a wealthy legacy from the Danish Presidency. There is no idea about the total size of the budget. The European Council has discussed growth and jobs, but has not said anything definite about the budget, even though this is the main factor affecting exactly what we want: economic growth and jobs. On the other hand, the Danish Presidency was concerned about the important aspects of the horizontal policies which come under the codecision procedure. The Cypriot Presidency has a duty to return to the basic treaty and initiate the discussions with Parliament if we are to have any hope of a budget this year.

It is the Cypriot Presidency’s task to mediate in the dispute between Parliament and the Council over the Schengen regulation. The existing situation must not be tolerated. Member States which obviously have weak points in their external borders are refusing to follow a coordinated approach on evaluating Schengen, while also blocking access to the Schengen area for other Member States which have invested in and have an extremely high level of security at their external borders. You have the difficult task of resolving both disputes.

I do not understand why Mr Swoboda is mentioning Hungary when Romania is being discussed. He is the leader of a democratic group in Parliament and should be very well aware of the significance of democratic values and how they need to be defended. In Romania and in Hungary, and in Austria.

Mr President, there is no political struggle going on in Romania. What has happened in recent weeks and will continue to happen is an attack on democracy. Non-compliance with the judgments of the Constitutional Court and the High Court of Cassation and Justice, changing the heads of institutions while flouting the regulations or in order to influence the justice system, and the attack on judges are actions which blatantly run counter to democracy. Please analyse the situation very clearly and take action in defence of European Union values.

 
  
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  Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, you have a very tough semester ahead of you, Mr Christofias, but one which has a clear priority: growth. Financial stability is helpful and important, but by itself it is not an adequate answer for millions of European citizens who live in precarious conditions and might well see their situation worsen.

Growth, meanwhile, can only be achieved through robust, targeted investment in sectors that can generate work and jobs while also stimulating development. As such, while it will be important to give the Union a multiannual financial framework, it will also be especially important to find additional resources for it.

Forget your concerns over the Tobin tax or Eurobonds, Mr Christofias; in order to achieve the things you have suggested are your priorities for the semester, we need resources that are currently not there. We have all got to work together to find them. If we really want to make the changes you suggested to energy and transport networks, then the funding currently available will help get the process started but they are not enough to achieve it in the timescale the EU has set. Alongside growth, therefore, we also need to develop ideas on resources to boost the EU’s ordinary budget.

I should like to say one more thing: do not worry or think about what can objectively be achieved in six months. Of course, any final judgment will be based on what you have managed to get done, but it is also important – and is an act of generosity and political foresight – to get the ball rolling on processes that can be finished later on, thereby helping those that come after you. We need to really press on with institutional and political integration. I implore you to tackle this issue with the courage and daring that can sometimes come more easily to a small country than to a big one.

 
  
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  Olle Schmidt (ALDE).(SV) Mr President, President Christofias, these are difficult times to be taking over the Presidency. Our European community is in a state of flux. Our economic cooperation has been called into question, and nationalism and protectionism are growing strong. President Christofias, you have a lot of important matters to deal with by Christmas, in particular in the area of finance. The EU’s citizens must regain their trust in the banks and the financial sector in general, but we need a balanced view, Mr President. Your one-sided condemnation of the market economy is not something I share. Instead, you ought to direct your bulls of excommunication at irresponsible politicians around Europe – there may perhaps even be some here.

The key danger in the Europe that is currently in the process of being formed is that we will have an A team and a B team: those who have the common currency and those who do not have the euro. Europe was fragmented for decades by an iron curtain.

Mr President, let us not now create a divided Europe again. We know what this can lead to, as Mr Barroso reminded us yesterday. History has hopefully taught us something. President Christofias, in closing I would like to say that I think it is unfortunate that half of Cyprus is not represented here today. The EU wants to see a united Cyprus, and in this regard, Mr President, you have a great deal of responsibility.

 
  
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  François Alfonsi (Verts/ALE).(FR) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, as a Corsican MEP I very much welcome your Presidency, which will have both an island and a Mediterranean dimension.

At this time of crisis, it is important that the expectations of that crucial area for Europe’s future be heard. The crisis has hit the European side of the Mediterranean hard and all of us, in Cyprus, in Greece, in Italy, in Spain and in southern France, are linked by a community of destiny. We are also linked by a duty: to meet the expectations of all of the citizens of the countries surrounding the European Union who in spring 2011 expressed their hope for a better life and their desire for genuine democracy and fruitful relations with Europe through ties that, for as long as we can remember, have bound together all of the people of the Mediterranean.

Yesterday the European Parliament adopted by a majority of more than 90% a report that I presented, recommending the establishment of macro-regional strategies in the Mediterranean. This new form of European territorial cooperation has been proven in the Baltic region to improve the effectiveness of the EU’s various development policies. It is therefore important to provide a structure for it in the Mediterranean, too, from the start of the new 2014-2020 programming, so that it can be effective and operational.

It is time to send the suffering Mediterranean region a positive sign and to take responsibility for its future with pro-active initiatives. Along with more than 50 other MEPs who voted for the report yesterday, I hope that Cyprus takes advantage of its six-month Presidency to consolidate the first initiatives to establish the future macro-regional strategies in the Mediterranean.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). (SK) Mr President, the Presidency of the European Union is passing to Cyprus at a time when the social economic situation in Europe is quite difficult.

The six months during which the Cyprus Government, in addition to its national duties, will coordinate the operation of several European institutions will therefore certainly be difficult for the Cypriot administration. The ambitious programme of the Cyprus Presidency, which President Christofias presented to us today, indicates that Cyprus has prepared for its new obligations towards the European Union in a responsible manner, and that it is determined to play its part in the consolidation of economic and social life in the EU.

However, the unique location of the country in a dynamically changing region of the Middle East and the Mediterranean could also prove to be a bonus for forthcoming European policy. I firmly believe that – with a good knowledge of the local situation and the appropriate sensitivity in communications with the surrounding countries – Cyprus, as the representative of the European Union, will contribute significantly to strengthening the position of Cyprus and of the whole EU in this area.

I wish you, President Christofias, every success in the next six months.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys (NI).(NL) Mr President, I welcome the Cypriot Presidency of the Council, particularly in light of the specific geographical and historical significance of the island.

This deserves its turn at being emphasised here. Cyprus is the only Member State of the European Union whose territory is partially militarily occupied by a candidate State, namely Turkey. Turkey refuses even to recognise the Republic of Cyprus and to honour the obligations it is required to fulfil within the framework of the customs union with the EU.

Ships and aircraft from Cyprus are still turned away at Turkish ports and airports, in spite of the provisions of the Ankara Protocol. This is a major scandal, not only on Turkey’s part, but also on the part of the European Union itself, which has always led its citizens to believe that it would shelve the negotiations on Turkey’s accession if it became apparent that Turkey was manifestly failing to live up to its obligations.

Really, what more has to happen before action is taken? The Turkish Prime Minister has already let it be known that he will not recognise the Cypriot Presidency of the EU, and that he will himself put the accession negotiations on ice. If the EU does not now take the initiative itself to put a stop to Turkey’s impudence, all that will do is prove that the EU, in its present form, no longer has any credibility at all, nor does it earn any respect among its citizens.

 
  
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  Jan Olbrycht (PPE). - (PL) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, I would like to draw the attention of the President-in-Office to the fact that, although Cyprus acceded to the European Union at the same time as Poland, the term ‘new Member State’ is never used with regard to Cyprus. New Member States seem to be the ones from behind the Berlin Wall. You are part of the same group, but you are never treated as being new, and this offers an opportunity to create a kind of bridge between old members and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe. This is a very important political issue and we are looking to you for some degree of sensitivity in dealing with it.

With regard to your statements concerning the issue of European cohesion, I would like, as the author of a report on one of the funds, for these declarations to be translated into negotiation concerning the multiannual financial framework. We are counting on the Cypriot Presidency preventing Member States from dividing into those who are friends of cohesion and those who are friends of better spending. Those who are friends of cohesion are at the same time friends of better spending. There is no contradiction here; this is just an artificial division that is best avoided. In fact we should all be friends of better spending. This means, inter alia, greater interdependence and mutual support, complementarity of European policies to avoid duplication, not creating additional administration and not repeating certain ideas. This is better spending. In this context I am counting on the Cypriot Presidency to be a friend to cohesion and, by so doing, be a friend of better spending.

 
  
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  Maria Eleni Koppa (S&D).(EL) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office, every Council Presidency faces one big challenge. Your Presidency, during this critical half of 2012, is crucial, mainly due to the important decisions which the Union needs to adopt in order to get out of the crisis.

I wish to raise four points. Firstly, the economic crisis itself. You have repeatedly stressed the need for us to prove to the citizens of Europe that we can and want to get out of the crisis and to restore the hopes of thousands of young people who see a bleak future for themselves inside the Union. Growth and action to combat unemployment and create jobs are the points we all need to focus on and I am certain that you will do so with an acute sense of responsibility.

Secondly, relations with our neighbours. Your geostrategic position and close relations with the Arab world give you an important role, Mr President. With the unstable situation in Europe’s southern neighbourhood, the bloodshed in Syria and the tensions in the Middle East, you will need to act as an honest broker, a channel for communication and a better understanding of the needs of those countries.

Thirdly, the new budgetary framework. No one in Europe today should disregard the need to bring negotiations on the new budgetary framework, that will determine the future of the European Union, to a successful conclusion.

Fourthly, Schengen. You face a complication created in Schengen by the Danish Presidency and we all need to work to safeguard one of the greatest achievements and acquis in our history. Your role of mediator on the question of ‘where we are going’ will be crucial.

Finally, before wishing you every success, I too wish to take my turn in underlining the unacceptable stand taken by a candidate country, namely Turkey, towards the Cypriot Presidency in its statements and circulars about freezing relations between Turkey and this Presidency. Turkey needs to accept the reality of Europe and understand that, whether it likes it or not, it cannot bypass the Cypriot Presidency if it honestly wants to join the European family. The ball is in its court.

Again, I wish you every success.

 
  
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  Anne E. Jensen (ALDE).(DA) Mr President, the Cyprus Presidency will endeavour to get the framework for the EU budget for 2013-2020 adopted during the next six months, and I wish the Cyprus Presidency the best of luck with that task. You will need it. It will be no easy task. There is a group of countries that wants a smaller budget, there is a group of countries that wants more money, and each country has a right of veto, so there will indeed be a need for diplomatic abilities on the part of whoever is sitting at the head of the table.

The framework for the EU’s agricultural policy and the framework for aid for poor regions are to be established. Together these make up 80 % of the budget. The Commission has presented a reasonable proposal, which both restrains expenditure and enables us to focus in a more proactive way on joint research, investment in transport and energy networks and in education. In short, it is a budget that supports the common strategy for economic growth, improved competitiveness and reduced dependency on fossil fuels.

It is without doubt traditional for negotiations on the EU’s financial framework to end in a dog fight or an oriental bazaar with everyone fighting against everyone else, as everyone wants to come out the winner. But why does it have to be like that? Now, however, we need to stand together. Parliament, with its new powers, needs to endeavour to ensure that we have a dignified and open process and a good result for everyone, and I would like to thank the Cyprus Presidency for indicating that it will involve Parliament in accordance with the rules.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD).(EL) Mr President, Mr President of unified Cyprus, your small country will need to manage a particularly demanding Presidency of the European Union, given the current economic recession and the serious priorities to which you referred in your speech.

Growth and employment must be basic priorities in a strong, more competitive Europe.

At the same time, geopolitical developments are taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East in general, on which there is a great deal of strain, that may change the situation in that area and in the European Union: developments in Iran and Syria, escalating conflicts and its relations with Turkey may spill over into the Mediterranean.

At the same time, the Cypriot Presidency will need to address the insulting and undermining attitude of Turkey, which I roundly condemn and call on the European Union to do likewise. I also disapprove of the fact that part of Cyprus, an EU Member State, is occupied by a third state, by Turkish troops.

The Republic of Cyprus is no stranger to adversity and we all wish it every success.

 
  
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  Gunnar Hökmark (PPE). - Mr President, the values of personal freedom – open societies and open markets – are the grounds for prosperity but also for the stability and growth we need. I think that wherever this has been neglected we have seen failures or disasters. This must be the common point of departure for the work of the Presidency of Cyprus.

I think it is important to state that, where we have had a market economy, we have seen an increase in prosperity all over the world and in Europe. You can certainly say one thing about the crisis economies in Europe: increased spending and deficits have not helped. If that had been the solution, we would have no problems. That is one thing. The other is that they are certainly not suffering from too much market economy – it is bureaucracy, regulations, monopolies and licences that are hindering growth. I think it is one of our most important tasks and duties to ensure that we can now achieve a fully-organised internal market opening up to entrepreneurship, investments and new jobs. That is the political course that can make Europe stronger again, and that must be the task for your Presidency.

This means that we need to push forward the reform of the internal market, which we have not achieved as we should have done. The European Union is the world’s biggest economy but still not the world’s biggest market. We need to proceed with the clarity and stability of banks, and with enlargement. That is the main task for this Presidency. I look forward to seeing the results.

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

 
  
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  Pervenche Berès (S&D), blue-card question.(FR) Mr President, Mr Hökmark, have you read the Treaty on European Union? It does not talk about a market economy, but about a social market economy. Of all the Union’s values, you only mentioned values and democracy. However, the latter must be enshrined in its social dimension, in social protection, in social dialogue and in collective bargaining, which you clearly seem to be completely ignoring.

When you talk about monopolies, are you also thinking about the private monopolies that can bring countries to their knees, such as Goldman Sachs in Greece?

When you talk about the internal market, do you have an overall vision of the internal market, a vision of the internal market that we need, that is to say, an internal market that also comprises fiscal and social harmonisation?

 
  
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  Gunnar Hökmark (PPE), blue-card answer. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to develop my message. First of all, monopolies of any kind are bad and harmful to the economy – I hope you agree with me on that – all monopolies, public monopolies as well as private monopolies. One of the main aims of a good and well functioning market economy is to get rid of that and open up opportunities for everyone, to offer new alternatives.

My second important point is that the market economy is social, because everywhere you get investments, new growth, new jobs, you will see social security. That is exactly what Ludwig Erhard once said and that is the way we should proceed.

 
  
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  Göran Färm (S&D).(SV) Mr President, President Christofias, welcome to the European Parliament. We are very much looking forward to the Cyprus Presidency. As leader of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament in the Committee on Budgets, I am, like Ms Jensen, primarily interested in the Presidency’s plans for the negotiations on the EU’s forthcoming long-term budget, the multiannual financial framework.

It is becoming increasingly evident that certain strong net contributors have formed a pact in order to reduce the EU budget in the future. Their ideas on economic policy appear to be based on austerity as the only way out of the crisis. They believe that wealthier Member States should not support poorer countries with problems via the EU budget, as it is believed that they are mismanaging their economies.

On the other hand, there are also a number of Member States with a perspective that is closer to my own. They realise that the EU budget cannot be compared with national budgets that are dominated by public consumption, such as social transfers and the salaries of public sector workers, etc.

The EU budget is a budget for solidarity and investments, a necessary strategic part of a common European road to [...] a strategically crucial role for linking Europe together and completing the single market in areas such as research, innovation and infrastructure.

My question to you, Mr President, is therefore: what is your strategy for getting these Member States, with such different perspectives, to agree on a proactive approach to the EU for the future and to thereby create a basis for an agreement with the European Parliament?

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: OTHMAR KARAS
Vice-President

 
  
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  Chris Davies (ALDE). - Mr President, I would like to raise just one specific point with the President of the Council. Essential to proposals to reform the common fisheries policy is the establishment of long-term management plans, giving every fishery clear objectives for the recovery of fish stocks.

Three of these have already been approved by Parliament but they are frozen by the Council. The Council has refused to take them further. The Council and Parliament disagree over the interpretation of the Treaty, and there are fair arguments on both sides. These can only be resolved through negotiations, but negotiations are not taking place and the current impasse puts at risk all that we are trying to achieve through the reform of the common fisheries policy.

I know that our President, Martin Schulz, has already raised this. I ask you now, Mr President of the Council, to take this opportunity to give us an undertaking to lift the freeze and to start the negotiations between the Council and Parliament. I do not ask the Cyprus Presidency to find a solution to the problem. I just ask you to start the negotiations which can achieve that solution.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, Mr Christofias, ladies and gentlemen, the press in my country has asked me: ‘Will you support Cyprus, even though the president is a Communist?’ I replied that we will support Cyprus precisely because the president is a Communist, who has been democratically elected by his people, since democracy is the core value of a Europe that is proud of its democratically elected presidents.

You took a big step, Mr Christofias, in asking the European Union not to export its model of democracy. I totally agree with you. We do not intend to export democracy, rather we want to promote democracy and I think we are doing that by reminding Turkey that the military occupation of northern Cyprus is an injustice and that it must be up to the Cypriot people to find the best way forward for themselves.

We promote democracy when we remind those now taking power in the southern Mediterranean – such as in Egypt – that it would be an injustice to enforce Sharia law on 10 million Coptic Christians, and that it would be an injustice to return to female genital mutilation with a law that has no grounding in reality.

Mr Christofias, these are the reasons why I think you are facing six months of serious and strange contradictions; as a Communist you will want to help workers, and to do so you will find yourself having to support banks, which have no doubt also had a negative impact in some phases of our crisis. I think that by the end of these six months, we will all be a little more Cypriot and you might be a little less Communist.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D).(RO) Mr President, I want to begin by thanking you because you have made a public commitment to support Romania and Bulgaria in their attempt to join the Schengen area.

Secondly, Europe is going through an extremely tough period and we need more Europe. What we really need is solidarity, a financial transaction tax, Eurobonds and a multiannual financial framework advocating economic growth, cutting youth unemployment and creating jobs. However, during this difficult time for Europe, we also need more democracy and greater attention to be focused on respecting European values and respecting democracy in Europe.

There has been an air of general hysteria in Parliament for about two days to do with democracy in Romania. You have also seen the interventions during today’s plenary. However, I have been present when the discussion was about Berlusconi, about press freedom in Italy and in Hungary, and about the deviations from democracy committed by Orbán, Borissov and so on. The same colleagues from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) supported then the measures taken by Berlusconi, Borissov and Orbán. I say that it is also your duty and you also have the tools you need to check and monitor that democracy is being respected in Europe. I firmly believe that you will discover very important measures that have been taken by the Ponta government, including on press freedom. As of two weeks ago, the press has stopped posing a threat to national security in Romania, which is extremely important for Romania and Europe.

 
  
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  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). - Mr President, let me wish the President-in-Office, Mr Cristofias, insight in fulfilling the priorities of the Cyprus Presidency, which include enhancing relations with the neighbours of the European Union. I hope that the close ties between Cyprus and Russia will not become an obstacle to addressing the deterioration of human rights and the rule of law just across the border from the European Union.

As a rapporteur on the proposal for a recommendation to the Council on establishing common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case, I would like to call on the Cyprus Presidency to take our recommendation aboard and engage in combating corruption and impunity in Russia. Good neighbourly relations should not be based on discreet and submissive silence when witnessing such serious breaches of domestic and international law.

You have the opportunity of engaging in frank and constructive dialogue with the Kremlin and emphasise the paramount importance of human rights and the rule of law in relations with the European Union.

 
  
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  András Gyürk (PPE).(HU) Mr President, Prime Minister, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the speeches made in the past few minutes indicate that the most difficult debates of the Cyprus Presidency will be about the long-term budget for the period 2014–2020. We can expect tough debates, because we are still far from an agreement. We need only think of the budgetary plans for cohesion policy.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me be perfectly clear. A significant reduction of Cohesion Fund support is unacceptable. It is unacceptable because cohesion policy is one of the most important pillars of European cooperation. And the criteria based on which it was created are now more valid than ever before. We must not allow developmental disparities to undermine European cooperation. We must not support a solution where short-term considerations of accountancy overrule long-term solidarity. We must not support it because today, when the EU is going through one of the most serious crises of its history, it is vital to maintain solidarity between Member States.

Ladies and gentlemen, the current plans related to Cohesion Fund resources still contain serious imbalances, and it is therefore unacceptable that it is countries such as Hungary – which will probably not reach 75% of the EU development level even by the end of the next cycle – whose support is being cut significantly. At the same time there are other considerations that speak against the withdrawal of Cohesion Fund support. As mentioned countless times in this House, crisis management requires tools that do not cause an increase in debt but contribute to job creation. Cohesion policy meets both of these criteria. Managing to protect it would therefore represent the clear success of the Cyprus Presidency. I therefore ask the Prime Minister, but also the Commission and my fellow Members, to stand up for cohesion policy and stand up for the principle of solidarity.

 
  
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  Ismail Ertug (S&D).(DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, I would like to congratulate you on taking over the presidency and wish you every success in the job you have to do in these difficult times.

You will need to be fully committed, Mr Christofias, when it comes to stimulating growth and creating jobs in the European Union. We are very interested in the specific solutions that you propose for combating youth unemployment You will have the support of Parliament if you take on this problem.

The negotiations on the multiannual financial framework naturally have a high priority. You have rightly recognised, and I congratulate you on this, that the financing of the Trans-European Networks will bring significant added value to Europe. I would like to call on you to make a strong commitment to push through in the Council the approach to financing called for by the Commission. Your country will benefit from this, Mr Christofias. For example, the port of Limassol is part of the core transport network, as is Larnaka airport and the road project linking Limassol and Nicosia, which could receive European funding.

When we talk about Cyprus, we are, of course, also referring to an unresolved problem which has already been mentioned several times today. Mr Christofias, what sort of scenario should the European Union expect if there is no solution for Cyprus, which after 38 years of unsuccessful negotiations seems more likely than ever?

 
  
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  Wim van de Camp (PPE).(NL) Mr President, as a Dutch Christian Democrat, I would like to wish the President of Cyprus a great deal of success in this difficult task. You come from a small country. I, too, come from a small country, and it is always a major challenge to provide leadership between the big beasts of the European Union, Chancellor Merkel, and Presidents Hollande and Schulz.

I very much agree with President Barroso that you should focus on the most important issues. Your period in office is very short and an extraordinary large number of things need to be done. I also note the absence of the word subsidiarity in Parliament today. There are many things that should be done in the Member States themselves, while the European Union should restrict itself to the main issues. Obviously, there is the management of the crisis, and we have discussed that. There is the deepening of the internal market, and we have discussed that. There is the multiannual financial framework, and we have discussed that. However, as you said in your introductory remarks, the cuts also affect Europe’s ordinary citizens, and that means this House has a major responsibility to act carefully in respect of major increases in the budget.

My fellow Members from the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe said it already, but you hope to bring a positive conclusion to the asylum policy over the next six months.

Mr President, I also ask for consideration for Parliament’s position. We have, of course, had a couple of serious clashes with the Council in relation to Schengen and the European patent, and I hope that you, as President-in-Office of the Council, will respect and even extend the position of the European Parliament.

Mr President, much has already been said this morning about Turkey. The situation is complex, including in connection with the relationship between Cyprus and Turkey. In this dossier, too, I wish you all the best, courage and, to channel Socrates, leave the Union better than you found it.

 
  
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  Kristian Vigenin (S&D). - Mr President, I would like to congratulate Mr Christofias on the clear and ambitious agenda and bold statement regarding the need for growth, and solidarity with the poorest citizens of our Union. We can assure you that the European Socialists will back all your efforts to achieve these goals. I also thank you for your support for membership of the Schengen area for Bulgaria and Romania, something which is very important to us.

I see a certain symbolism in the Cyprus Presidency. At the centre of EU policy will be a country which in geographical terms is possibly the furthest away, at the periphery of the European Union. A second issue is that one of the smallest Member States will lead the Union of 500 million. I think this shows the unique nature of our Union, and it should be used in the next six months to show our citizens what we achieved with one of the last enlargements of the European Union.

I think there is another issue. Your proximity to the southern Mediterranean will once again underline the need for support for the countries in that region – support for the development of their democracies, their economies and their social development, which is key to the success of our approach towards them.

There is one more issue. A divided country should unite the EU Member States behind the multiannual budget, which has to pave the way to the future: no small ambition. Finally, Mr Christofias, let us do our best to achieve a successful enlargement in the next multiannual framework, and I hope constructive negotiations will be held on the instrument for pre-accession.

 
  
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  Eduard Kukan (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, I would also like to welcome President Christofias and thank him for his presentation. The Cyprus Presidency presented its fourth priority, entitled Europe in the world, closer to its neighbours. It will thus focus on the countries of the southern partnership and strive to strengthen relations with partners in the Mediterranean area. This focus logically follows the geographic location of Cyprus.

However, I would like to call on the Cyprus Presidency also to build on the results of the Danish Presidency in the EU enlargement process and to ensure continuity in this area. It is important that the countries of the Western Balkans make smooth progress in the further stages of the accession process.

In this regard, Cyprus should also focus on issues related to the reform processes, in particular the fight against corruption and organised crime. The Western Balkan countries still have many shortcomings in these areas, and their elimination would also help to ensure a better Europe, which is another of the priorities of the Cyprus Presidency.

I would just like to mention, because we do not always realise it, that the reform processes in the Western Balkans have a direct impact on the security of the European Union.

It is worth noting that the opening of accession negotiations with Montenegro, the granting of candidate status to Serbia, Commissioner Füle’s negotiations in Brussels with the political leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina and, not least, the rapid progress made by Iceland in the accession negotiations are all good foundations on which to continue building and moving forward in the enlargement process. It will therefore certainly be worthwhile for the Cyprus Presidency to invest in this process, because its suspension could have negative, irreversible consequences.

To conclude, I would also like to wish the Cyprus Presidency every success in achieving its ambitious plans.

 
  
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  Antigoni Papadopoulou (S&D).(EL) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Cyprus has known numerous conquerors during the course of its long history. However, it withstood subjugation and acquired independence in 1960. In 2004, it became a member of the biggest European family on its own merits and, in 2008, it joined the euro area. Today, Cyprus has the Presidency of the Council. Although small in size and divided by the Turkish invaders, Cyprus is ready and prepared for anything that may happen on the European stage. It is ready to address numerous adversities, the economic crisis, the debt crisis and the crisis in values. We have no doubt that Cyprus will succeed in doing so, because it has fighting-fit human resources, because it works hard and because it has a vision of a Europe of nations and values, a Europe of growth, employment and solidarity.

Cyprus is more than ready to promote the European agenda unpretentiously, decisively and honestly. We also expect more solidarity from the European Union in Cyprus. We expect it to recognise the geostrategic role of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. We expect it to exert greater pressure on occupying Turkey to end the occupation and its appropriation of property and illegal colonisation. If Turkey does not do so, then its accession prospects should end. We Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are entitled to live in a unified homeland.

 
  
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  Eleni Theocharous (PPE).(EL) Mr President, I am very proud that my country has taken over the Presidency of the European Council. My congratulations to the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, on his inspired speech, which clearly set out the objectives of the Cypriot Presidency, from the most grandiose – that of the multiannual financial framework – to the most human – that of food aid for the hungry.

Cyprus may be divided, but it is not half a state, as Mr Bayis would have us believe; even though it is divided, the barbed wire on the island was put up by the colonising force, Great Britain, which, unfortunately, maintains a presence on our island in the form of the anachronistic British military bases. Most of the hardships which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are currently suffering are the responsibility of the Turkish occupying army, which has followed up its colonisation by keeping the island divided.

May I express my gratitude to Mr Schulz for raising the matter of the provocative Turkish stand and of the insults and abuse directed at the Republic of Cyprus from Ankara in a decisive, consistent and fair manner, for reminding Turkey of its responsibilities, not only in terms of its attitude towards the Cypriot Presidency, but also towards Cyprus as a whole, towards the Republic of Cyprus, over the years.

That is why I too would remind the European Parliament of its responsibilities; we too must adopt a decision to immediately suspend accession talks with Turkey if it fails to comply.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Alejandro Cercas (S&D).(ES) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, I wish you great success in your Presidency and in your aims to work for a more integrated and fairer Europe. I agree with the points of view you expressed in your speech because we do indeed need a healthier economy, but also a healthy society. There will be no healthy economies if we have societies that are sick; sick due to injustice, lack of social integration and lack of solidarity. In this sense, therefore, we are facing an historic moment in Europe, in that this Presidency of a small country could be a great Presidency, which is what I wish for you, Mr Christofias.

I would like to remind you that you have some very important matters on the table: emigration, the transfer of workers from some countries to others, the Posted Workers Directive, transfers of staff within groups, the Temporary and Agency Workers Directive and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. There are thousands of workers in Europe who cannot be left to deal alone with globalisation and structural change. These issues are with the Council and I hope that you will launch them with all the energy and commitment that you have expressed to us today.

Thank you very much and I wish you every success.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE). - Mr President, for me Cyprus is the embodiment of a historic and cultural miracle. Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Phoenicians, Turks and British have dominated the island, yet Cypriots have survived and retained not only their identity but also openness, friendliness and creativity.

At the start of this historic Presidency it is good to remember President Barroso’s words: we can only succeed together; not blaming each other but concnetrating on our common tasks.

One of the first tasks of the Cyprus Presidency should be rebuilding the trust between the European Parliament and the Council. Just recently Parliament has been excluded from the decision-making on Schengen. Last week the Council sought to unilaterally change vital aspects of the European patents system. How can we credibly speak about the need for ‘more Europe’ if one of the institutions seeks to rock the institutional balance?

Your second task is to complete the European single market. It will become 20 years old soon; old enough not to need any more custodians and limitations by nation-state godfathers and godmothers.

I call on the Cyprus Presidency not just to continue with the deepening of the single market but to come forward with a concrete programme for completing the single market with a binding calendar to remove all the remaining obstacles.

We must also not only promote the digital single market but use it as a key to unlock Europe’s growth and employment potential.

Lastly I would remind us all that it is an abnormal situation to have troops of a candidate country on the territory of a Presidency country. Our common task and common responsibility must be to end this situation.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D). – (SK) Mr President, I would like to join my other colleagues in welcoming you to the European Parliament. I wish your country a pleasant presidency, and I am using this opportunity since I believe that open discussion is a good path to good relations.

I would like to ask you, Mr President—since a large part of your programme focuses on combating the crisis and the effects of the crisis—how does your country view the two important instruments in the fight against the economic and financial crisis, which are in particular the abolition of tax-advantaged countries, and tax consolidation?

I ask this question also because your country is expecting financial assistance from the EMS, and our Member States will have to give their consent. Since I come from a country where the average wage of the population is less than EUR 800, I will have to explain to our citizens why it is important for us to support such assistance, and whether your country will be willing to inform us about the Slovak entrepreneurs who use the enterprise system in Cyprus.

 
  
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  Reimer Böge (PPE). (DE) Mr President, President Christofias, I wish the Cyprus Presidency a successful term in the interests of the European Union and of Cyprus itself. Smaller countries are often more honest brokers in this European business than large ones and are also more favourably disposed towards Parliament. In this regard, I would like to add that the first talks with Mr Mavroyiannis and his staff in relation to the multiannual financial framework were very promising. I expressly welcome the document issued by the Cyprus Presidency on Monday, which refers precisely to this close cooperation with Parliament in the development of a financial framework – also with strict respect for Parliament’s privileges as granted in the Treaty of Lisbon. We very much welcome this.

I would also like to add that the report by the special committee still constitutes the basis for us in this debate. We need appropriate funding in conjunction with better use of the funding and efficiency as set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. We need own resources that are worthy of the name so that we can at last meet the requirements of the Treaty of Lisbon in this regard. We insist on the unity of the budget, and we are prepared to enter into truly intensive negotiations before we obtain a proposal for a multiannual financial framework, as we want a result that we can agree on; we do not want something put on the table that we might have to say ‘no’ to at the end of the year. For that reason, I am counting on close cooperation based on trust.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D).(PT) Mr President, Mr Christofias, I wish you the greatest success for the Cypriot Presidency; we all need you to have it. I am rapporteur for the revision of the Maternity Leave Directive, which the European Parliament adopted in October 2010. To date, despite the flexibility demonstrated by Parliament, the Council has not responded to our proposals or expressed interest in even opening an informal dialogue so as to reach a balanced solution that benefits European families.

The crisis has been serving as an excuse for those who consider maternity an issue of lesser importance and do not want to reach decisions. There is money for the banks, but there is no money for people. However, the demographic crisis is as serious as the financial crisis. Europe has an old population, which jeopardises social security systems and also economic growth itself. We hope the Cypriot Presidency will be able to break the deadlock on this issue and lead the Council to respond to Parliament.

 
  
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  Salvador Garriga Polledo (PPE).(ES) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, a former colleague, who has now passed away, from your own political group – the MEP Miguel Portas – and I, as the budgetary spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) did not agree on many things, but on one thing we did agree: that the Structural Funds and the European Social Fund are the driving force behind growth in Europe.

The Council now agrees and has released EUR 55 billion from the Structural Funds that can be reallocated and has included these funds in what is called the ‘growth package’. However, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, there are no Structural Funds and there is not going to be a growth fund without sufficient payment appropriations, and currently there are not enough payment appropriations in the EU budget in order to move forward with this reallocation of resources from the Structural Funds. This is because, in November 2011, we failed in the budgetary conciliation process between the Council and Parliament in this area.

For the 2013 budget, things are even worse, given that the Commission is asking for a 6.8% increase and you are offering 2.9%.

Mr President-in-Office of the Council, we think that small is beautiful, but we would like to know how you hope, under your Presidency, to reconcile two subjects that are so disparate as the request from the Commission and Parliament and the resistance of the Member States to increasing payment appropriations.

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

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE), blue-card question.(DE) I would like to thank Mr Garriga Polledo, because the question of what happens with the EU budget from now on is of crucial importance to us. Mr Garriga Polledo, with regard to the budget, which, as we know, increases in the Member States every year and in a few it is reduced, do you believe that the average increase could actually be a target for the European Union? What is your opinion on that?

 
  
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  Salvador Garriga Polledo, blue-card question.(ES) Mr Rübig, you know as well as I do that the position of the Council regarding the 2013 budget and that of Parliament are currently very different.

Like me, you know that, without sufficient payment appropriations, it is going to be impossible even to fulfil the commitments that the Council adopted as part of the growth package. We therefore feel that the Cyprus Presidency has a fundamental role to play, not only with regard to the financial perspectives, as Mr Böge said, but also in terms of the 2013 budget. Unless that budget is released, there will be no growth package.

That is why the Presidency has such a great responsibility.

 
  
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  President. − Ladies and gentlemen, we now come to the catch-the-eye procedure. I have to tell you that there are currently more than ten people who have asked for the floor. Unfortunately, I am not able to accommodate all of these due to time constraints, because we still have one more agenda item to get through before the vote. I would ask for your understanding on this.

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Georgios Koumoutsakos (PPE).(EL) Mr President, Mr President of the Republic of Cyprus, the assumption of the European Council is historically, politically and symbolically a crowning moment for the Republic of Cyprus.

It will be a real challenge for the Presidency to exercise what are bound to be demanding duties over the course of this semester, given the deep recession and widespread crisis. Europe needs to unite on a basis of solidarity in order to set its pace, touch base with its values and restore confidence among European citizens.

The Cyprus Presidency will need to make a decisive contribution towards the attainment of this ambitious objective, without being distracted by the usual, unacceptable challenges to the European institutional order and fundamental European principles by a candidate country.

Do not allow yourself to be drawn in, Mr President. Leave that country in the European solitude that it has chosen for itself.

 
  
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  Csaba Sándor Tabajdi (S&D).(HU) Mr President, I am very confident in the Cyprus Presidency, although it will be facing an extremely difficult task with the multiannual budget. I would like to draw attention to a major problem that is extremely important for the new Member States, namely the reduction of cohesion policy sums spent on allowing these countries to catch up with the rest of the EU. There is a particular problem that especially affects my home country: Hungary is at the risk of losing 20%, or maybe even 30% of its cohesion policy funding. It would therefore be very important for the Cyprus Presidency to establish a minimum level in addition to the GDP-related maximum. The Danish Presidency made progress in setting up a safety net, but that progress was not enough. I therefore ask the Cyprus Presidency to do what the Danish Presidency did not do, namely to record in a presidential communication that Hungary finds a 20–30% cut in cohesion policy funding unacceptable. An equitable solution should be found for my home country. Thank you for your assistance and cooperation.

 
  
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  Ivo Vajgl (ALDE). - (SL) Mr President, thank you for your address and for your words of wisdom, including your comment that we should not be exporting our understanding of the crisis or our recipes for its solution.

Of course, we expect a lot from Cyprus when it comes to the Middle East crisis region. You are situated close to it and you understand it better than we do. Cyprus has excellent diplomacy. For a while, it was led by Mr Kasoulides, a distinguished colleague from my own group, Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, who responded a little too harshly and unfairly, I would say, to the speech of the group leader, Mr Graham Watson.

Mr President, I assure you that we do not approve of Turkey’s actions or position with regard to the Cyprus Presidency but Turkey, too, would probably hold more rational views if we were more open to it.

Finally, I would just like to ask you the following: as a small country, do something during your presidential term for a European future for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

 
  
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  Peter van Dalen (ECR).(NL) Mr President, Cyprus keeps the tradition of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas alive, and that is reason enough for us to be sympathetic towards you. Moreover, the bullying Turkish occupation of a considerable part of your island makes us inclined to support you.

However, Cyprus must not wander off towards Russia. The fact, President Christofias, that you studied in Moscow must not result in too great a dependence on Mr Putin. You must be well aware that if you give him an inch he will take a mile.

Let Cyprus turn to Europe, above all for financial assistance, and, of course, let it get its own house in order first of all. The pressing question, after all, is what supervision did Cyprus perform on the banks operating there? How was it possible for various banks in Cyprus to get in so much trouble? That cannot simply be explained by the deep ties with Greece.

In closing, I would like to wish you good luck and hope that you enjoyed a blessed Presidency.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Cyprus is the thorn in the side of Europe – a Europe that, purely for its own commercial interests, has not only not forced Turkey to relinquish northern Cyprus, which it invaded in 1974, but even lends it money. The people of northern Cyprus have seen their homes, jobs and religious freedom taken away.

Your primate was even prevented from celebrating Christmas in the occupied area, because he is Christian, and more than 500 religious buildings have been destroyed and left to ruin. I hope the semester of the Cypriot Presidency will lead the European Union to take some strong stances against the invaders and finally act in the interests of its citizens and not of a few economic powers with commercial ties to Turkey. Mr Christofias, I wholeheartedly hope that you can succeed in doing something for your land and your people, who deserve once again to be masters in their own house.

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). - Mr President, talking about growth and employment will not be enough to secure them. The single greatest cause of unemployment in southern Europe is the euro. It is overvalued for them and, rather than being helped to stay in it, they need to be rescued from it.

Globalism and trade agreements with emergent economies are destroying our manufacturing basis and throwing European workers out of their jobs. The new Presidency refers to demographic change in the form of ageing populations and mentions the necessary responses to that phenomenon. I wonder what those might be. Well, you have got it: a forward-looking and comprehensive immigration policy and better integration of third country nationals of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

So the third world young will be replacement Europeans for unborn European babies, except that they will not. They will bring the third world with them and transform parts of Europe into the third world. Distinctive peoples are not the product of distinctive cultures. Distinctive cultures are the product of distinctive peoples.

 
  
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  Jan Kozłowski (PPE). - (PL) Mr President, Cyprus is taking over the presidency at a time when many discussions that are vital for Europe are entering a decisive stage. The most serious challenge is to bring negotiations concerning the new multiannual financial framework to a successful conclusion. I fully agree with the Presidency’s view that the aim of these negotiations should be the adoption of a fair and effective budget that will support growth and employment, especially youth employment. What is needed to achieve this is appropriate funding for policies that will stimulate economic growth and competitiveness, particularly cohesion policy and policies to encourage research and innovation. As a representative of a coastal region, it is very encouraging to hear of the Presidency’s ambitious plans to develop an integrated maritime policy. Finally, I would like to express my hope that the Cypriot Presidency experiences an unbroken series of successes.

 
  
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  Mirosław Piotrowski (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, ‘towards a better Europe’ is the motto of the Cypriot Presidency, which will last six months. Every EU citizen is hoping for a better Europe. However, citizens are concerned about the severe financial crisis, whose worse stages, according to the President of the Council, should be behind us. Unfortunately the reality seems to dispute this and I am afraid that, as in the case of previous presidencies, most of the priorities put forward by Cyprus will be overshadowed by the need to save countries that are going bankrupt. We want to believe the assurances of the spokesman for the Cyprus Presidency that the problems of Cypriot banks will not influence the presidency. This turbulence could, however, make it more difficult to reach agreement on the EU’s multiannual budget for 2014-2020.

I think that the Cypriot authorities were right to weave their national priority of development of a maritime policy and safety at sea into the agenda. We understand this clearly, since there are now 27 countries floating on the EU raft; these countries are united by a common destiny and, if the raft should overturn, everyone will get wet and some will drown. For this reason, we all have an interest in the stability of the Cypriot Presidency.

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE). - Mr President, Mr Barroso told us yesterday that the bank recapitalisation in the United Kingdom was EUR 82.9 billion or 4.9% of GDP, that the asset relief programme in the UK was EUR 40.4 billion, and that EUR 158 billion in guarantees to the banks have been given since 2008. What that indicates is that the kettle should not be calling the pot black.

We are in this together, not just the eurozone and the United Kingdom but the whole of the European Union, and we need to help each other and to support each other and I hope that the Cyprus Presidency – because between now and the end of this Parliament there will not be any large Member State in the Presidency – will work with the upcoming presidencies to work against intergovermentalism and also to try and remind ourselves that in the first half of the last century 60 million Europeans killed each other.

The Berlin Wall has come down; those ten Member States that came in have changed Europe. If we can get through this crisis we can add those three things together and say it was a golden era. Do not lose sight of that fight against intergovernmentalism.

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

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR), blue-card question. I am sure you agree with me that it is extremely important that the Commission gives clear statements to this House. So just on the comments that President Barroso made yesterday about the GBP 64 billion of British taxpayers’ money paid by the Socialist government at the time into British banks, may I remind you that GBP 30 billion of that – i.e. nearly half of it – went on bailing out Irish and Dutch banks – money from the British taxpayer – and that the UK actually intends to implement the global agreements on bank reform, but the Commission’s proposals dumb those down, especially for French and German banks. Furthermore, the UK plans even stronger protection for taxpayers, splitting retail and investment banks, but the Commission’s proposals would make that almost impossible. Does he agree with me that we need to make strong bank reform a priority of the upcoming Presidency?

 
  
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  Gay Mitchell (PPE), blue-card answer. Mr President, I certainly do agree that that is necessary, and I am sure that the speaker will also recall that the United Kingdom exports more to the small country of the Republic of Ireland than it does to Latin America and Japan added together. All of which indicates that we need each other and that the kettle should not be calling the pot black.

 
  
 

(End of the catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, this debate clearly demonstrated that the programme presented by the President-in-office, Mr Christofias, is very ambitious and very welcome, and also that your Presidency, Mr Christofias, would also face several challenges on the economic and political front.

From this debate it was quite clear that the top priorities will be multiannual financial framework (MFF) negotiations, work on anti-crisis measures, including measures for boosting growth and jobs, deepening of the economic and monetary union, advancing the work on a banking union and, of course, harvesting the potential of the single market.

I would just like to make a couple of remarks on the top priorities. With regard to the discussion on the multiannual financial framework, I think that, after listening to this debate, we have to remind everybody that this is not a budget for Brussels or Strasbourg, but one which brings clear European added value to European citizens, regions and European communities.

The smart spending principle is clearly reflected in the fact that more than 94% of the MFF and of each annual EU budget goes back to the Member States, regions and EU citizens with clear added value from the European Union. This is not always achievable in the national budgeting processes. So we can see that it is the best investment tool the EU has in order to boost smart growth and sustainable jobs.

As regards smart spending, we cannot pass budgets which do not allow the European Union and the Commission to meet their legal obligation and to pay for successfully completed cohesion projects, especially during the current harsh economic crisis.

As regards the importance of the EU 27 – very soon the EU 28 – approach, we cannot advance proposals which would favour decisions or policies at the expense of cohesion, which is so important for all new – and many old – Member States going through economic difficulties.

I think that the current crisis has clearly shown that we need more Europe, we need deeper economic and monetary union and we need to charter the way towards political union.

The Commission wants to proceed first with the banking union because it is the most pressing, it is achievable in a short period of time and we do not require a treaty change. It is also crucial for restoring confidence in the euro and the EU economy. We need this despite the fact that the EU has done the most in comparison with other G20 members as regards capital requirements for the banks – which have been discussed so much today – and the new banking regulations.

As regards the single market, we have a lot to do. Removing the barriers will bring thousands of jobs and billions of euros to our GDP. We need to act fast and with determination.

We have high hopes that the Cyprus Presidency will achieve agreement by the end of this year on proposals concerning public procurement, professional qualifications and the other growth-enhancing measures that were identified in the annual growth survey for this year.

I would like to highlight that in your overall approach, as regards the MFF negotiations, the single market legislative work and the deepening of the EMU, it will be the Community method and respect for the communitarian principle which will guide the way for your Presidency. This is really appreciated from our side. After listening to honourable Members Mr Mitchell and Mr Callanan, this is how we can clearly demonstrate that we want to succeed and succeed together.

Many speakers have already shown their appreciation of your thorough preparation for the Presidency and your declared determination to succeed. The Commission will do its utmost to help you to achieve your goals because this would be the best news for European citizens. Therefore I would like to wish you lots of luck and success with your Presidency.

 
  
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  Demetris Christofias, President-in-Office of the Council. – (EL) Mr President, firstly may I warmly thank the chairs of the political groups for their kind words about the Cypriot Presidency and our country’s preparations to assume the duties of Presidency of the Council.

Please be assured that, for us, this is very important and encouraging, because we represent a small country which aims to serve the Union impartially, without any national interest, without wanting to promote its interests, for the simple reason that it is a small country and a new member of the Union and, as various speakers said, the Cypriots are decent and humane and want to honour both their country and the Union.

Serious problems exist. I noted, of course, some complaints. That is no coincidence. The complaints stem from the serious problems we face, primarily the economic and social problems, as a Union and as individual countries.

How can we address them? We need to take a unified approach. The Union institutions need to cooperate very closely. What I said in my introduction were not figures of speech. Without agreement and daily contact between the institutions, we shall achieve nothing whatsoever. We shall continue to hold debates and apportion blame; some will blame the Council, some will blame the Commission, some will say that the European Parliament is not being straight and, as I am sure realise, we shall have zero results.

The European Union is a Union of compromises, whether we like it or not, because we represent different countries, sometimes with different interests. We, as an honest and objective mediator, will try to intervene in order to reconcile positions, views and policies. We shall try something new: to ‘marry’ budgetary discipline with growth and social cohesion. I would like to believe that this is something new. Let us try, because the methods we have tried so far have taken us deeper into recession. That does the Union no honour.

The people expect a lot from the European Union. When we unanimously decided that our country should join the European Union, the Cypriot people celebrated and breathed a sigh of relief at the thought of joining this large family. They saw a better future ahead. At present, no one, neither the man in the street nor nations as a whole, sees a better future ahead and this should concern us.

We do not advocate communist policies. I make a point of that, because various things have been said, such as ‘the communist president’ and so forth. I am who I am and I am very proud of what I am. I lead a party that has served the Cypriot nation and democracy for 90 years, a party that took part en masse in the war against fascism and numbered many victims, that defended democracy following the coup d’état and used peaceful means to obtain independence from its colonial rulers. My party is at the vanguard here. That is why, regardless of what happened in the Soviet Union or in any other country, I can talk about the Progressive Party for the Working People (AKEL), I can talk about Cyprus and about myself as fighters for democracy. I think that the five years during which we have governed the country are proof positive of that.

Have Mr Kasoulides or Mr Mavronikolas or Ms Theocharous ever felt that the democratic rights of the Cypriot people were being cut or abused during my presidency? Did my friends feel, during the seven years that Christofias presided over the House of Representatives, that their rights were being cut and did they see any abuse of their rights on the benches? On the contrary, democracy is alive and well in Cyprus and we are all proud of that.

Therefore, please do not worry that the communist will harm Europe. The communist will strive for a better Europe, with more social justice. This is my manifesto and I shall fight for it within the framework of the institutions of the European Union. I shall not be leading a revolution, do not fear.

As far as Cyprus and the Cyprus problem are concerned, may I say to Mr Watson, with whom we have discussed the Cyprus problem for years, because I am a member of the Turkish-Cypriot contact group, that he should not be coming to me with calls to talk to Turkey. You should be calling on Turkey, Mr Watson, and telling them to ‘talk to Christofias’, because they refuse to talk to Christofias. Here too, Turkey is to blame for reasons of principle.

I have said to Mr Erdogan: ‘Prime Minister, please agree to talks, because I have a vision that I want to explain to you that concerns both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and which, at the end of the day, is also in Turkey’s interests’. I do not entertain any feelings of hostility towards the Turkish people. On the contrary, I am ready to fight side by side with the Turkish man in the street fighting for his democratic rights even now, in a Turkey of change and modernisation, because there are serious problems of abuse of the human rights of Turks, Kurds and various other communities in Turkey.

Turkey is an occupying force and I wish to emphasise that. As a body and for reasons of principle, the European Union should, in my opinion, condemn any action by Turkey which undermines the role of the Republic of Cyprus as a state, not simply as a Member State of the Union, but also as a member of all the international organisations, starting with the United Nations. We cannot allow Turkey to act in this way.

I am fully prepared. My five years in the president’s office have been years of continuous, unremitting, tireless effort to instigate dialogue and resolve the Cyprus problem. At the end of the day, when I decided to fight my friend Giannakis for the president’s office, I made a clear statement that the first or even the sole reason I was seeking election as president of the Republic of Cyprus was to work hard, on the basis of my good relations with numerous Turkish Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriot political parties, to work hard and tirelessly to unify my homeland.

I am absolutely in favour of peaceful coexistence and brotherly cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Cyprus belongs to the Cypriots, be they Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots or Maronites or Armenians or Roman Catholics. You see, we are a multicultural country and because I am also a little internationalist – as communists tend to be – I want us all to work together for the good of our country, as the bosses of our homeland. The British have no place in Cyprus, the Turks have no place in Cyprus and our brothers the Greeks, in the bad sense, have no place in Cyprus.

We need to be left free and you can be sure that then we shall have privileged relations both with Turkey and with Britain and, of course, with Greece. Privileged and very close and very good relations.

That is my promise to the Cypriot people, which I confirm before the European Parliament, this wonderful chamber of the European Union.

I have given my very best. There has been no response from Turkey, because Turkey has expansionist policies towards Cyprus and expansionist plans. I am sorry to have to say so, but those are the facts.

I shall persist until the end of my term of office. I know that, once my term of office ends, I shall not seek re-election as president of the Republic; however, until my term of office ends, up to the very last moment, I shall continue to fight tirelessly to restore my homeland and, of course, for a Union which is a Union for its citizens, for the nations of Europe.

We have a hot potato in our hands: the multiannual financial framework. We shall do our very best to find compromise solutions, but we shall insist on growth and social cohesion.

Freedom of the markets is one thing; unaccountability of the markets is another. I am opposed to the unaccountability of the markets and I say so frankly. The governments elected by the people to govern them need to intervene. We cannot be governed by the markets. The governments democratically elected by the people must govern.

I give my word that all the matters raised have been noted. Of course, I do not want to comment on everything; very important suggestions and proposals have been made and will be taken into serious consideration; in cooperation with President Schulz, with the European Parliament and with President Barroso, we shall try to find solutions which will best serve a collective approach to the Union’s problems.

Thank you so much for listening and thank you so much, once again, for your opinions and comments, which will be taken into serious consideration.

(Applause)

 
  
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  President. − Mr President, we thank you and wish you the best of luck with your responsibility in Europe, and we look forward to successful cooperation.

The debate is closed.

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing.(RO) I think that the priorities which have been set out highlight the serious commitment undertaken by the Presidency to help achieve the European Union’s objectives of durable growth, social cohesion and creating jobs. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Cypriot Presidency every success in fulfilling the ambitious programme which has been outlined.

From this point, I would like to mention the environmental aspect of the action programme. On the subject of biodiversity policy, I urge the Cypriot Presidency, as part of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity or during the meetings on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, to encourage parties to make serious commitments and implement the most practical measures possible. I also think that the Presidency should support the integration of the funding for the biodiversity policy into all future financing lines of the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020.

Turning now to water policy, it is my view that the Presidency needs to demonstrate ambition in conducting the negotiations on the review of the Directive on priority substances in the field of water policy, and also to ensure that it will be possible to achieve the objective of investing in sustainable water management via the future EU budget.

 
  
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  Richard Falbr (S&D), in writing. (CS) Cyprus assumed the Presidency of the European Union on 1 July. The circumstances of the start to this Presidency are more than intriguing. A Member State facing bankruptcy, the largest tax haven, which steals from other Member States by inviting to its shores businesses who pay virtually no tax after arriving in this island state. I simply cannot understand how it is possible that 47 countries have concluded agreements prohibiting double taxation with Cyprus. I would be interested to know how many European firms have moved to Cyprus in order to avoid paying anything to state treasuries. This paragon of iniquity is now trying to get money from the other Member States in order to plug the holes in the ‘Turkish style’ Cypriot banks. I would not give them one euro until Cyprus stops acting like an immoral tax haven. Few people know, perhaps, that tax havens do not exist only in the Antilles. It is high time that Member State citizens understood that Cyprus, the country holding the Presidency, carries on in such a shameful manner.

 
  
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  Lívia Járóka (PPE), in writing. I welcome that Cyprus specifies the promotion of the European Union's social agenda as a key point of its agenda and the protection of children as one of its priorities. Poverty is becoming a more pressing issue in the EU and most countries, extreme poverty and deprivation are concentrated in marginalized communities, such as the Roma, and children represent a large share of these populations, who are particularly vulnerable to deprivation. Targeted and complex policy measures are needed to safeguard the institution of family in Europe, to address the socio-demographic changes affecting family structures, to combat child poverty, and to change the employment patterns. Eliminating child poverty however, is inseparable from the efforts to improve the situation of the families and we need immediate action to stop families falling behind, and rebuild our social and territorial cohesion, because it would be an unforgivable sin to loose further generations. It must be ensured that consolidation measures will not have further negative impacts on people at risk of social exclusion. Marginalized communities demand a special focus, since they constitute a huge reserve of idle workforce and are disproportionately overrepresented among those living in poverty.

 
  
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  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE), in writing. (PL) It must be obvious to everyone that Cyprus is taking over the EU presidency at a particularly difficult time. It is doubly difficult – both for the EU and also for Cyprus. Nicosia recently requested financial assistance to save the banking system in Cyprus. It is yet another euro area country in economic difficulties. Despite the fact that a mechanism was created at the last European Council summit to stabilise the currency union, the threat of bankruptcy in yet more countries is still very real. This is particularly significant, as Cypriot politicians now have the role of mediators in negotiations concerning future multiannual financial frameworks. Even though Nicosia has joined the so-called friends of cohesion group, there may be some concern whether, due to the aid given, it will not be more susceptible to the arguments of net contributor countries. For this reason, I would like to call on Cypriot politicians to play a truly neutral mediation role despite their own internal problems. The future of the European Union will depend on the nature of the 2014-2020 budget. If we allow national interests to dominate our thinking in the European Union, then we will not survive this crisis. It is only by acting together and by investing common funds wisely that we will be able to maintain our present position in the global economy. This responsibility now rests in the hands of politicians from a small Mediterranean island and for this reason we should all wish them luck.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D), in writing. (FI) I would like to welcome Cyprus as a country holding the EU Presidency for the first time. The Cyprus Presidency promises to be a difficult and challenging one. It will encounter challenges, not least in connection with the recession and financial crisis that are shaking Europe. Cyprus has demonstrated ambition in setting itself the goal during its Presidency of returning the EU economy to a path of growth and making the work of the European Union more effective for the benefit of its citizens.

Unfortunately, the Cyprus Presidency will probably hit a sandbank right at the start of its journey. As a country that requires economic support, Cyprus is in an awkward situation when the debate turns to the subjects of the direction Europe that should take and support for the countries in crisis. It must be legally disqualified, though at the same time, it must represent the interests of its own country.

During the Cyprus Presidency, the EU countries must learn to strike a balance between public sector belt-tightening and the requirements for growth. The European Union is at a historic crossroads, where it will either find cooperation and promote it, or break up and fail. At the same time, we must not forget the general public, who must have the ultimate say in what direction Europe takes. They must be kept informed, openly and honestly.

I am sincerely optimistic about the latter part of 2012, and I wish Cyprus luck during its EU Presidency.

 
  
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  Joanna Senyszyn (S&D), in writing. – (PL) ‘Towards a better Europe’ is the excellent motto of the Cyprus Presidency. It fits perfectly into the EU agenda and creates a foundation for the European Year of Citizens 2013. The European Union’s continued development depends on its acceptance by its citizens. The European Union is a union of Europe’s citizens, a fact that, unfortunately, is sometimes forgotten. In this context the implementation of that part of the Europe 2020 strategy that relates to social issues and dealing with social challenges will be of key importance for achieving socially-inclusive development. In this context, the preparation and implementation of measures relating to youth employment as well as measures that have a direct impact on the everyday life of citizens is very important.

Over half of all EU citizens are women. Equality of the sexes is one of the basic principles of the European Union. Unfortunately, progress in achieving gender equality has been exceptionally slow. There are still significant differences between the incomes and employment opportunities of men and women. On the labour market, women are second-class citizens. Women are more affected by poverty. I hope that the Cypriot Presidency will focus on these problems. One of the priorities of the Polish, Danish and Cypriot presidencies is violence against women. I hope that the Cyprus Presidency will make up for the lack of attention this has received so far and will help to draw up an EU-wide strategy for combating violence against women, as well as supporting the European Parliament in its efforts to make 2015 the European Year of Combating Violence Against Women.

 
  
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  Jutta Steinruck (S&D), in writing.(DE) As rapporteur for the Programme for Social Change and Innovation, which integrates the three programmes EURES, Progress and the European Progress Microfinance Facility, I would like to draw attention to two specific matters. The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs rejected the Commission proposal to finance the cross-border partnerships through the European Social Fund (ESF) from 2014 onwards. If the financing of these partnerships were only to be possible within the framework of the ESF, each participating Member State would have to include this in its operational programme for the ESF. In view of the many priority areas for subsidies that is unlikely to happen. Cross-border partnerships for mobility-related advice must also be financed via the EURES axis. This call is supported across the groups and across the Member States, and I am hoping for the support of the Council. It is a question of facilitating mobility and of providing the associated advice. With a broad consensus and the support of all of the groups, we have introduced a fourth axis for a Youth Initiative. This is about financing specific projects for combating youth unemployment. The Youth Initiative will only be integrated into the programme if additional financing is secured via the multiannual financial framework. The Commission and the Council are always saying that something has to be done to combat youth unemployment, but there is a lack of projects. If combating youth unemployment really is a priority for the Council then this is the opportunity to prove it.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) Cyprus is assuming the Presidency of the Council at a time of great importance for the European Union over the next few years. It comes at the time when the financial perspective for the next programming period is being prepared and at the time that interinstitutional negotiations on future cohesion policy are taking place. As the Presidency’s programme of activities mentions, the major focus will be on the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, with a view to concluding negotiations by the end of this year, and reaching agreement on a budget that can truly and effectively contribute to growth and job creation in the European Union. Cohesion policy should not, however, be given less emphasis, since it is the EU’s main development policy, offering significant financial instruments to reduce differences between regions, and to promote economic, social and territorial cohesion by means of solidarity. We need effective dialogue between the Council and the European Parliament, which is a co-legislator on this issue for the first time.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) The Cypriot Presidency of the Council has committed itself through its work programme to promote social cohesion, social and economic development and job creation, especially for young people. I would like to wish the Cypriot Presidency every success and I welcome its commitment to extend the Schengen area to include Romania and Bulgaria. I welcome the Cypriot Presidency’s transport programme and, as Parliament rapporteur on the digital tachograph regulation, I would like to assure the Presidency of the Council of Parliament’s readiness to make progress in this dossier in the period ahead. Parliament adopted its position at first reading on Tuesday, 3 July, and the first meeting between Parliament’s team of rapporteurs and the Presidency of the Council has already been arranged for 9-12 July. Furthermore, given the importance of the trans-European infrastructure for transport, energy and communication, I welcome the priority given by the Cypriot Presidency to adopting the Connecting Europe Facility. Last but not least, as rapporteur for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy for the ‘Erasmus for All’ and ‘Creative Europe’ programmes, I call on the Cypriot Presidency to support the introduction in the ‘Erasmus for All’ programme of the EU’s industrial policy and of the mobility of young entrepreneurs for educational purposes.

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE), in writing. (PL) On 1 July, Cyprus took over the Presidency of the Council and, in doing so, completed the Poland – Denmark – Cyprus trio. ‘Towards a better Europe’ is the aspiration of this presidency. This means, as Cyprus President Demetris Chistofias explained, moving to a European Union that will be more important for its citizens and for the world. We have to be aware that this will be a difficult period for this small country, in view of the challenges it faces.

The most important priorities for this presidency include the multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020, the cohesion policy, the common agricultural policy, economic management in this time of crisis, a common European asylum system, the single market and the EU enlargement package. There will no doubt be numerous disputes during the current presidency between, for example, net contributors and recipients or concerning the cohesion direction of EU expenditure. Finalising an agreement on the EU budget for the next seven years would certainly be a success for the Cypriot Presidency.

While on this subject, we cannot forget about the difficult relations between Cyprus and Turkey, which is applying for European Union membership. Relations between these two countries have been very difficult since Turkey took over the northern part of Cyprus by force and oversaw the declaration of independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. I wish Cyprus all success and would like to repeat the words of Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister of Poland, who has said that Cyprus can count on assistance from Poland and from the Polish experts who coordinated the Polish Presidency in the second half of 2011.

 

4. Preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2013 (debate)
Video of the speeches
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  President. − The next item is the statement by the Commission on the preparation of the Commission work programme 2013.

I must remind all Members that there is no catch-the-eye procedure for this agenda item, only speakers on behalf of the groups.

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, honourable Members, I welcome today’s debate because it is taking place at a very important juncture. We have to remind ourselves that only two years remain of this legislature. We know that the coming years will continue to be a critical time for Europeans, for their jobs and for their communities. But it will also be a crucial moment for pursuing reforms to renew and secure the resilience of our economic and social model.

In the past few years, the European Union has proven to be an indispensible player in the struggle to tackle the crisis. Together, we have provided targeted solutions to immediate urgencies, and we have kept the focus on Europe’s long-term challenges. We have also put in place a new economic governance, reshaped our whole system of financial regulation and supervision, and kept jobs at the core of our work.

The close partnership between our institutions has already delivered results. Now we have to drive ahead, with the right balance between sound public finances, structural reforms and targeted investment. In this context, your efforts to secure an ambitious agreement on the multiannual financial framework are crucial in order to leverage the strategic investment in growth and jobs at European level.

These elements form a solid foundation as we set out to define the EU’s political priorities for the coming years. We have results to build on. The individual motions for resolutions put forward by the groups underline the existence of a broad-based consensus across the political spectrum and across institutions as to how the EU dimension can make a real difference at a time of great economic pressure. It is also an important indication of our converging priorities that a considerable number of initiatives upon which Parliament and its committees have been reflecting are being actively worked on by the Commission, and their adoption by the Commission is already anticipated for later this year.

In the State of the Union debate, which is scheduled for 12 September, President Barroso will set out the main directions for the coming year. Our focus will clearly remain on fostering a job-rich and sustainable economic recovery based on the Europe 2020 strategy. During the European semesters, we have seen more and more mainstreaming of EU 2020 strategy principles and headline goals in the country-specific recommendations and in the national reform programmes.

As you know very well, we have just concluded the second European semester, and the country-specific recommendations provide clear guidance to Member States in pursuing national reforms to generate jobs and growth in the short, medium and long term. Action at European level in the coming years should aim to enhance and complement these efforts, where the case for the Union added value is strong. Following the European Council last week, the EU can now move forward with determination towards an ambitious new phase in economic and monetary union. This is clearly the right choice for the EU, and an encouraging step in the face of today’s unprecedented challenges. Needless to say, for this work to be successful, it should rest first and foremost on laws passed under the Community method with the full involvement of this Parliament.

At the same time, we should maintain momentum in the continuous process of deepening the single market by creating conditions for thriving network industries and services; completing the digital agenda; ensuring sustainability and resource efficiency; delivering a modern industrial policy; empowering people through skills and education; protecting citizens’ rights; and promoting a strong Europe that makes its positive mark on the world. As always, it is through concrete results that Europe is built.

As we have agreed in our framework agreement, the State of the Union debate will launch an intensive phase in our ongoing structured dialogue on the future political priorities. The Commission looks forward to these discussions and to the clear convergence of views that they can foster. The meeting between the Conference of Committee Chairs and the College, planned for 2 October, will be an important opportunity to take stock of the dialogue ahead of the adoption of the work programme.

Ultimately, the success of our political agenda relies on constructive cooperation between Parliament, the Council and the Commission; on swift progress in political deliberations; and on consistent implementation of legislation on the ground in the Member States. Only when we act jointly and with determination can Europe deliver the solutions that our citizens, our companies and our businesses need. Today’s debate is an important step in this direction.

 
  
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  József Szájer, on behalf of the PPE Group. Mr President, I am glad to see Vice-President Šefčovič in the Chamber.

The message of the EPP in discussing the 2013 work programme is loud and clear: what we want to leave for the next generation of Europeans is not debt, but job opportunities and the chance to go forward. As has been said, Europe has been living on debts for too long. It is the easiest way to spend the money and resources of future generations. I think that we should stop doing this in Europe. In order to provide prosperity for future generations Europe should again be based not on debt but on work and the possibility of work.

In that framework, job opportunities and the chance for the next generation to enter the labour market are among the most important measures in the Commission’s work programme. But I would like to stress clearly, on behalf of the EPP, that this should be the number one priority. We have to fight against youth unemployment. Imagine people who are starting out in life with no prospect or possibility of working. This cannot go on.

In order to provide opportunities and work for young people, we have to use all the instruments the European Union has at hand, namely support for small and medium-sized enterprises, and micro-enterprises. We have to put in place – and we expect this from the Commission’s legislative programme – clear targets and timetables in the areas of youth mobility, language skills and youth entrepreneurship.

We have to use the full potential of the European Union. We know that this is mostly the job of the Member States, but the European Union with its legislation has to help. We often congratulate ourselves on the freedom of movement of goods, services, persons and capital, but very often we overlook the very many obstacles which still prevent the chance to have this kind of freedom, especially in the area of services.

The EPP also calls for the completion of the digital single market. We have to create and enhance trust between consumers and businesses. In that area there are also many new possibilities. Another of our major jobs is to reduce red tape. We should set a good example to Member States but also do it at European level. We have to remove the administrative burden from citizens and businesses, as has been seen in the work programme, and our proposal is for a figure of 25% by 2015.

Year after year we discuss the Commission’s work programme. Sometimes we feel – and I come back to this every year – that it is a vain enterprise and exercise because, according to studies, normally fewer than 50% of the goals which have been set in the Commission work programme appear in the next year’s Commission proposals.

I would propose that the Committee on Constitutional Affairs draw up an own-initiative report on how we can enhance this figure. I am not against flexibility. Especially at a time of crisis we should react quickly, but a plan is only worth anything if it is fulfilled. If it is not fulfilled, or less than half fulfilled, it is not an optimal result. In that sense I think that we have to work together in order to improve this figure.

I trust in the Commission being a force for stability in the institutional structures of the European Union. We expect that from the Commission. Very often the European institutions are accused of not acting until after the event. The Commission has the potential and the capacity, the administrative resources and all the instruments to lead this process and, even in times of crisis, not just to point to the future but also to be a clear point of reference and stability.

On behalf of the EPP, my party, and on behalf of the European Parliament, I think we should support this kind of activity and enhance cooperation between these two institutions. We are not jealous if relations with other institutions like the Council are also better. Yesterday Rebecca Harms criticised the Commission, and seemed to be jealous about that, but we are happy if relations between the Council and the Commission are good as well.

 
  
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  Enrique Guerrero Salom, on behalf of the S&D Group.(ES) Mr President, Commissioner, in the sitting yesterday, we had an experience that is unusual in this House. There was intense, prolonged and widespread applause for the President of the Commission. It was intense because it was not in any way formal or conventional, prolonged because it lasted for a long time, and widespread because almost the whole House applauded the President of the Commission based on two considerations: firstly, his attitude of defending the general interests of the Union in the Council meeting last week in response to the defence of the individual interests of some or many Heads of State or Government.

This attitude was acknowledged by the President of Parliament, Mr Schulz, and is appreciated by Parliament, which not in vain represents the vast majority: all Europeans. However, there was also applause for a common concern of the Commission and Parliament for the deterioration of the situation of the European Union, caused by the economic crisis, which is damaging the lives of Europeans and their conditions, and is creating poverty in the Union. It is a concern for the growth of euro-scepticism and of extremist options in various countries of the Union, and also a common concern regarding the deterioration of institutional relations within the Union.

The Commission and Parliament are seeing part of our competences being taken away by growing intergovernmentalism and the lack of Community method in many of the important decisions that are being taken. There was therefore an awareness in Parliament that we needed to work together, in order to defend these interests of Europeans.

I think that we also need to work in Parliament towards a joint resolution expressing a position that is broadly shared of making requirements of the Commission and also supporting the Commission when it does what Parliament asks of it.

My group wants an ambitious Commission work programme that stimulates growth, employment and quality of life, that re-establishes confidence among Europeans, and that seeks greater economic governance, a good multiannual financial framework, the creation of a European amortisation fund, a route map for stability bonds, improved anti-fraud measures, the strengthening of the European semester, the development of bonds and the right level of payment appropriations for 2013.

I would like to point out to the President that the majority of groups have decided to postpone voting until September, in order to allow more time to reach a joint resolution that finally speaks with one voice from Parliament on making requirements of and supporting the Commission.

 
  
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  Andrew Duff, on behalf of the ALDE Group. Mr President, this is a rich programme for 2013 and it is suitable for the last full year of this legislative mandate. The Commission has reached cruising speed, and we even have passion. The applause for Mr Barroso yesterday was clearly genuine and appropriate, and it confounds the critics who consistently accuse the Commission of being non-elected technocrats.

Liberals believe that a strong Commission is always a political Commission. Of course there can be improvements, across the board, in its functions. There are several functions and sometimes some are disguised too much.

First the Commission is the public face of Europe. Secondly it is the administration, which must be tight and efficient and rigorous in putting into effect Union law. Thirdly it ought to be the intellectual powerhouse, the think tank for the Union.

It should also search out and articulate the common interest of the states and citizens, thereby exploiting to the full its right of legislative and political initiative, especially now as a counterparty to the European Council.

The Commission is at its weakest when it becomes defensive, when it becomes complicit in closeted deals between one, two or three prime ministers. It is strongest when it sticks to the general interest, so we welcome the unprecedented paper of the four Presidents that proposes the blueprint and road map to banking, fiscal and political union.

 
  
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  Emilie Turunen, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DA) Mr President, it is absolutely clear to the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament that the crisis policies and the road out of the crisis must remain our priorities in 2013, because if we do not succeed in implementing the necessary reforms, at best we will be paralysed and at worst the Union will be on the verge of falling apart. Therefore it is not only the short-term economic and financial reforms that we consider to have top priority; the more long-term institutional reforms have high priority too.

At the same time, it is clear to us that the relationship between the crisis and the Commission’s work programme must be dynamic in nature, because the crisis means that there is not only a need to propose policies and make adjustments on an annual basis, but also on a monthly and a weekly basis. For example, we cannot wait until 2013 to get moving on Mr Van Rompuy’s four building blocks. We must make a start on these immediately.

The fact that we are focusing strongly on the crisis policies does not mean that they are the only things that we should concern ourselves with. For us Greens it is also important for the social and environmental aspects of our social development to be given high priority. In fact, we believe that a more holistic approach to the crisis is the only sustainable way out of it. In specific terms, we would like to see the Commission be particularly active in relation to a debt redemption fund and a road map for Eurobonds, a banking union, including more straightforward requirements for banks receiving public aid, more balanced access to consolidation, the progressive implementation of the scoreboard for macroeconomic imbalances, addressing both surplus and deficit countries, and a comprehensive and concrete plan for tax evasion and tax havens. We would like to see the Commission taking an active role in relation to the continuing work on a financial transaction tax, and we would like a more socially balanced approach to be taken in the Annual Growth Survey and in the national reform programmes, so that all of the 2020 objectives are taken into account. We would like to see the implementation of the European youth guarantee and constant pressure being put on the Member States to provide a future for Europe’s young people.

We have many more priorities. They are stated in our specific motion for a resolution, submitted on behalf of our group. I would like to say to the Commission that we want to see an active 2012 and an even more active 2013, and perhaps also a courageous one, because this is make or break for the European Union.

 
  
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  Malcolm Harbour, on behalf of the ECR Group. Mr President, I think it is indispensable that this work programme is seen as the Commission giving leadership in the whole area of growth policies. That is what we put out in our resolution. I am delighted to hear what József Szájer said because I think he is very much in support of that. Indeed I am disappointed, because I think we were close to getting agreement on a resolution that focused on the growth policies. But I agree with József Szájer that part of the problem with the way that the work programme is presented – and I say this to the Commissioner – is that it does not actually give us a clear focus on the growth policies and on the targets.

The Commission has been highly responsive to what my committee in the European Parliament has asked for in giving priority to the completion of the single market. The Single Market Act is actually the growth programme for next year – I notice it was not mentioned in your speech, but we have the targets there, we have the holistic policies that Ms Turunen was asking for, and so what we want from you, Commissioner, is a much clearer lead on the growth policies.

If you look at the Council statement – because clearly the single market will not be delivered simply by the Commission’s policies but by implementation in the Member States – what we need to see in the 2013 programme is a framework where Member States can sign up and show clear commitments to delivering on their single market commitments. It is now in the Council statement that the Commission will monitor performance, and we will have an annual report in the framework of the semester.

That is a new initiative that has to come forward as a result of the work programme, but the other thing I also want to emphasise – and again I am in agreement with what Mr Szájer said – is that the Commission is on the hook for a reduction in the regulatory burden, and Member States are as well. It is a shared agenda. It says here that you are going to present us with a communication at the end of this year about further steps in smart regulation, but what we want to see is some delivery of those in 2013.

Moreover we need to have a complete look at the way that we are pushing policy through, to have more pre-legislative work done in this Parliament, more analysis, better impact assessments – those are the things we expect to see in your growth agenda.

In conclusion, the lead issue we want to see emerging from this is delivery of jobs and growth by completing what we have on the table. As József Szájer said, the growth is going to come from small enterprises in the service sector. We have the Services Directive. You, we and the Member States, working together, as our Socialist colleague said, have to deliver those jobs and that growth.

 
  
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  Martina Anderson, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. Mr President, Liam Mellows said of another treaty that it had passed not because of the will of the people, but because of the fear of the people. Engendering fear seems to be the response of the EU’s institutions to the ever-growing resistance – expressed in votes and in protests – to the failed policies of austerity. The Commission’s work programme therefore needs to come up with a radically new approach, putting people’s needs before profits and recognising that austerity measures are particularly detrimental to women and children.

The programme needs to foster public investment in growth and jobs. It needs to support SMEs and adapt to the particular needs of each Member State, and this must be the basis of any credible crisis resolution strategy. Time restricts what I am able to propose, but let me say that we need a well funded, flexible CAP; we need a new Peace IV programme; we need to reject the microeconomic conditionality for access to cohesion policy and regional development funds; we need a binding youth guarantee for decent jobs and training; an EU road map on equality for LGBT persons; a comprehensive EU strategy on violence against women; and the implementation of the Barcelona targets on childcare provision.

 
  
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  Frank Vanhecke, on behalf of the EFD Group. – (NL) Mr President, clearly this is a very idealistic wish, but in its work programme for 2013, the Commission should, first and foremost, have shown a great degree of modesty and here and there even thrown in a mea culpa. This is because the financial and economic crisis that is very specifically hitting our continent – harder than other continents – is a reality that consigns to the wastepaper bin all the fairy tales and self-congratulation about – and I quote – ‘organising the best performing economy in the world’, or the land of milk and honey, that the euro was supposed to create.

The fact that, in these circumstances, the Commission has let it be known that there will have to be a discernible increase in the EU budget in 2013 is unacceptable, in reality. All of us here know dozens or hundreds of examples of the total waste of taxpayers’ money by the European institutions themselves, quite apart from the fact that European money is, by definition, always less well spent. Examples include completely useless advisory bodies and agencies, policy areas where Europe actually offers no added value, a subsidy policy that is full of abuse, massive sums, crazy Europhile propaganda and, not to forget, the enormous amount of waste in European development aid policy.

Let the Commission at long last bring forward a work programme where we move towards the essence of things and where ballast is jettisoned, where we simply focus on creating circumstances that make possible economic growth and real competitiveness on the part of our European businesses.

 
  
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  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). - Mr President, I quote: ‘Overall the European Union is in mild recession’. This must count as the most outrageous and misleading understatement since the minor cleric in the cartoon remarked to his bishop that parts of his decidedly rotten egg were good.

In Spain and Greece youth unemployment is around 50%. They have already exported their jobs. Now they are exporting their skilled workers too. The eurozone prevents these countries from competing effectively by allowing their currency values to fall. They can compete only by austerity programmes that drive down their wage rates. And they expect countries with reduced incomes to get out of debt!

Freedom of movement of workers between countries with greatly differing wage levels has left semi- and unskilled workers in the West in permanent unemployment and underemployment. In the UK they are forced to sign up to slave labour, wageless work schemes for the benefit of corporate balance sheets. Meanwhile, countries in the East have been deprived of their most able and motivated workers.

The greatest threat to any drive for growth and employment is globalism and trade agreements with emergent economies with which we cannot compete. The EU talks about achieving a single European market. Its real goal is the single world market in which emergent economy wage levels will be imposed on all workers.

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, I would like to thank all the speakers who spoke on behalf of the political groups. I think the debate very clearly highlighted a very strong convergence between the Commission’s work programme plans for 2013 and the priorities of this House and of the political groups. I think that we would all agree with what Mr Szájer said, and we should not leave our next generation with debts, but with sustainable jobs. This is exactly what we are proposing, and the measures we are putting in place should deliver those results. Therefore, the Commission would always advocate smart consolidation where we realise we have to liberate our Member States from an excessive debt burden and we have to do it in a way which would not harm pro-growth policies, policies which create jobs and growth. I think that it was very much reflected in the discussions we had with the Member States under the new umbrella of economic governance and in our country-specific recommendations.

Another priority which was clearly highlighted by all speakers was unemployment, and especially youth unemployment, where unfortunately we have crossed the threshold of 7.5 million so-called NEETs, which means young people who are not in employment, education or training. Therefore, we started the pilot project with eight Member States, and this project has already given concrete results. We managed to reallocate more than EUR 7 billion of EU funds precisely for the purpose of creating new jobs, and we believe that this reallocation will help us to create 460 000 new jobs for young unemployed people in Europe.

We want to learn from this experience and probably expand this programme to other Member States which might be facing similar problems. On top of this, by the end of this year we will be coming to you with a proposal for a common framework on a youth guarantee to help young people to find their first employment.

I very much agree with all of the speakers who have been pleading for the acceleration of work on the digital single market. It is very clear that this is an instrument for job creation and for increasing the GDP of the European Union. Our modest expectation is that, if we manage to fulfil all our goals in this area, we will increase the EU budget by 4% of GDP by as early as 2020.

Speaking of red tape, I think that we have to work on this together. We are greatly encouraged by the very positive developments in our negotiations on the financial regulations. As you know very well, we delivered on our promise to reduce the administrative burden by more than 30% this year, and we now have to work very closely with the Member States in order that they implement this new approach and actually get rid of gold-plating and proceed with a simplification as well.

I agree with Andrew and Enrique, who said that the European citizens must see that the European institutions are here for them, that we are here to defend European citizens, and that we do so by respecting the Community method and by progressing with our political plans for the establishment of a clear banking, fiscal and political union. We will do it as was suggested by our colleague from the Green Party: by a holistic approach aimed at sustainable development.


Concerning the financial transaction tax: I think it was clearly established at the last Ecofin meeting that we will not get unanimity for the proposal. Therefore, the Commission will proceed and make a proposal to introduce the FTT through the enhanced cooperation mechanism. I think that I have to thank Mr Harbour for highlighting the importance of Single Market Act I and of our plans for Single Market Act II, because it is quite obvious that the single market is the best instrument that we have for creating new job opportunities and new economic growth.

As you know both of our institutions – the Commission and the European Parliament – wanted to proceed with better planning on how to achieve the Single Market Act faster through interinstitutional agreements, which would help us to work better on our timetables and which would guarantee the fast adoption of the good proposals. Now we know that this proposal was not welcomed with the same enthusiasm on the Council’s side, but we will continue the discussion with them on how we can deliver on this Single Market Act much faster than before.

I think that, concerning the last two points mentioned, we have already discussed the importance of a good multiannual financial framework and of the importance of the EU budget, both of which are our very important investment tools. Concerning the trade policies, I believe that Europe is a very good trading partner. We are a major trading block. We did not yield to other trading partners, for example the United States and Japan, and I think that we have to look to the emerging economies for additional growth and to increase our trade volume, and this must, of course, be based on fair and mutually acceptable principles.

 
  
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  President. − To wind up the debate, six motions for resolutions(1) have been tabled under Rule 110(2). We must then vote on the postponement of the vote until September, as announced.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Wednesday at 12.30.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: ALEJO VIDAL-QUADRAS
Vice-President

 
  

(1) See Minutes


5. General budget for 2013 (deadline for tabling amendments): see Minutes
Video of the speeches

6. Statement by the President
Video of the speeches
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  President. –I would also like to make a statement on behalf of the President.

As you know, ladies and gentlemen, in the Autonomous Community of Valencia in Spain, since last week there has been one of the worst forest fires in the last 20 years.

More than 48 000 hectares of forest have been reduced to ashes in the areas of Andilla and Cortes de Pallás.

These fires have unfortunately cost the life of a helicopter pilot who was taking part in the work to put out the fires.

On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to express our most sincere condolences to the pilot’s family and our recognition of the self-sacrificial work of all those fighting the fire.

 
  
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  Hannes Swoboda (S&D). - Mr President, of course we are very sorry about what has happened in Spain, but if I may, I would like to draw your attention to a declaration which seems has been made by the Prime Minister of Britain. I would ask my colleagues from Britain perhaps to look into that. Many of us saw reports that the Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, had said that, if Greece were to leave the eurozone, he would introduce particular border controls against Greek people. I am sorry to hear some applause for that.

Maybe this declaration is not true. But if it is true, I would like – because I know there are many responsible Conservative colleagues here – to ask the Prime Minister to refrain from such declarations. We do not need this kind of declaration or this kind of action against certain citizens of the European Union. Therefore, this is my request to colleagues.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Martin Callanan (ECR). - Mr President, I do not want to provoke a big row about this, but David Cameron did not say that. He said, when asked at a parliamentary committee, that there are lots of contingency plans to deal with all sorts of eventualities, and this may be one of them in the event of a particular event happening. I think that if Hannes reads the detailed press coverage and the comments about it, he will find that the reports that he has read are not true.

 

7. Voting time
Video of the speeches
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  President. – The next item is the vote.

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

– Before the vote:

 
  
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  Paolo De Castro, rapporteur.(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to direct your attention to the six legislative reports on alignment with the Treaty of Lisbon that we are about to vote on. They do not just address agricultural issues, but affect all of Parliament. Indeed, we risk losing the new powers that the Treaty of Lisbon has given us.

The Council systematically opposes delegated acts, replacing them with implementing acts that exclude Parliament from the decision-making process. We must press on to defend Parliament’s powers. Hence, I would ask you to lend your vigorous support to the decision already reached by a huge majority in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

 

7.1. Common rules for direct support schemes for farmers (A7-0158/2011 - Paolo De Castro) (vote)

7.2. Support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (A7-0161/2011 - Paolo De Castro) (vote)

7.3. Common organisation of agricultural markets and specific provisions for certain agricultural products (A7-0322/2011 - Paolo De Castro) (vote)

7.4. Financing of the common agricultural policy (A7-0209/2011 - Giovanni La Via) (vote)

7.5. Organic production and labelling of organic products (A7-0215/2011 - Martin Häusling) (vote)

7.6. System of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (A7-0204/2011 - Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos) (vote)

7.7. EU-Russia Agreement on the preservation of commitments on trade in services (A7-0176/2012 - Gianluca Susta) (vote)

7.8. EU-Russia agreement on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles (A7-0175/2012 - Paweł Zalewski) (vote)

7.9. EU-Russia Agreement on the introduction or increase by the Russian Federation of export duties on raw materials (A7-0178/2012 - Inese Vaidere) (vote)
 

– Before the vote:

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere, rapporteur. Mr President, this bilateral agreement is very necessary although not perfect.

By joining the WTO, Russia has committed to gradually reducing or eliminating its existing export duties on a list of raw materials. However, not all the essential goods are covered. For that reason, the EU has negotiated this agreement. A key achievement is Russia’s commitment not to impose new or additional export duties. In the event it would like to do so, Russia should consult the European Commission at least two months in advance.

There are also a few shortcomings. Firstly, the wording in the agreement does not make it binding enough. Secondly, no bilateral dispute settlement mechanism is foreseen. There are not too many tools for the EU to enforce this agreement if Russia does not fulfil its commitments. Therefore, this agreement should be seen as a temporary solution until it is replaced by a legally binding agreement included in the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Let me conclude by saying that the agreement is an important step towards stabilising the trade relationship between the EU and Russia. It does not eliminate unpredictable behaviour from Russia, but nevertheless will improve trade relations. I call on you, dear colleagues, to support the agreement by voting in favour of it.

 

7.10. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the EU and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the USA (A7-0204/2012 - David Martin) (vote)
 

– Before the vote:

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner (PPE). - Mr President, under Rule 175(2) of the Rules of Procedure I would like, on behalf of the EPP Group, to refer this back to the Committee on International Trade.

The reason is quite obvious and should be considered by anybody who wants to treat this agreement seriously. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which gives us international cooperation to fight piracy, counterfeit and other IPR infringements is currently being evaluated by the Court of Justice of the European Union. As much of the criticism against this agreement relates to fundamental rights – exactly what the Court has been asked by the Commission to look into and assess – we would not like to take the final vote in plenary before we have had their view on this important topic.

Therefore the EPP Group would like to refer this back to the Committee on International Trade.

 
  
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  Klaus-Heiner Lehne (PPE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I am now speaking here on behalf of my group, and I would like to express support for the motion put forward by Mr Fjellner. Ladies and gentlemen, we do not have a lot of raw materials in Europe. The raw materials that we have here are our brains and our creativity. That means that we need to deal carefully with the subject of intellectual property rights. The Commission has sent the proposal that has been put to us to the Court of Justice of the European Union with a request for its opinion in order to clarify some outstanding questions. We simply need to show respect for the supreme court of the European Union and wait for this decision. There is absolutely no objective reason why we should make this decision today. No one will be prevented from voting against it once the court has submitted its decision and its opinion. When we then make our decision, however, we will be making it with a different awareness and a different insight than would be the case today. Those travelling in the wrong direction on the Internet motorway should not be the ones to decide our policies. I therefore ask you to support this motion.

(Applause)

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D). - Mr President, ACTA has now been rejected by five parliamentary committees. It has been killed so many times that in fact it now only exists thanks to the EPP life support machine.

(Applause)

No emergency surgery, no transplant, no long period of recuperation is going to save ACTA. It is time to give it its last rites. It is time to allow its friends to mourn and for the rest of us to get on with our lives.

(Applause)

 
  
 

(Parliament rejected the proposal by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats))

– After the vote:

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, after this vote I would just like to refer once again to what has already been said in the plenary by my colleague, Commissioner De Gucht.

He underlined the importance of ACTA for creativity, innovation and economic potential in the European Union and how important this Agreement is for the external competitiveness of the EU’s economy.

I would like to inform honourable Members that the Commission will maintain its request to the Court of Justice of the European Union for an opinion on whether ACTA is compatible with the treaties and, in particular, with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. After that we will study the Court’s opinion closely and the Commission will discuss this matter with the other signatories of ACTA and with the European Parliament. It will then consider what further steps to take.

 

7.11. Direct payments to farmers (A7-0163/2012 - Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos) (vote)

7.12. 2013 budget - mandate for trilogue (A7-0215/2012 - Giovanni La Via) (vote)
 

– Before the vote:

 
  
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  Bernd Posselt (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I have just one question for our Legal Service. I would ask the Legal Service to get someone to check whether it is possible to table an amendment that is meaningless, because Amendment 20 calls for Parliament to have a single seat. Please read the Treaty: there has been a single seat for a long time, and that seat is Strasbourg. We can concentrate the work here without the Council – that has been in the Treaty for a long time. On that basis, the amendment is unlawful.

 
  
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  President. – Mr Posselt, the services have examined this amendment and the result is reflected in the order of voting that we are going to follow.

– Before the vote on paragraph 88:

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via, rapporteur. Mr President, I want to add an oral amendment to paragraph 88. The text of the oral amendment is: ‘a sufficient level of payments to allow for the 2012 June European Council commitment to mobilise EU budget funds for fast-acting growth measures to be implemented without any delay and within the current MFF’.

 
  
 

(Parliament accepted the oral amendment)

 

7.13. Strategy for the protection and welfare of animals (A7-0216/2012 - Marit Paulsen) (vote)

7.14. Establishment of an EU legal framework for the protection of pets and stray animals (B7-0341/2012) (vote)

7.15. Conclusions of the European Council meeting (28-29 June 2012) (B7-0407/2012, B7-0408/2012, B7-0409/2012, B7-0410/2012) (vote)

7.16. Access to basic banking services (A7-0197/2012 - Jürgen Klute) (vote)

7.17. Preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2013 (B7-0345/2012) (vote)
 

– Before the vote:

 
  
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  Enrique Guerrero Salom (S&D).(ES) Mr President, this morning we had the debate on the resolution on the Commission work programme, but several political groups that represent a very large majority in this House have decided to ask for the vote on the resolution to be postponed until September, in order to take into account the agreements reached in the Council meeting and the resolution that we have just adopted on that meeting, and also in order to take more time to perfect a joint resolution that expresses Parliament’s view regarding the work of the Commission in the last period of its mandate.

 
  
 

(Parliament decided to postpone the vote until September)

 
  
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  President. – That concludes the vote.

 

8. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (A7-0190/2012)

 
  
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  Vicky Ford (ECR). - Mr President, I opposed the report on the attractiveness of investing in Europe. Investment is key to our economic growth. To be competitive we need investment, but unless we are competitive we lose it. To help our small businesses become competitive, I have campaigned urgently for them to be excluded from large bits of EU legislation, but that is not in this text.

I am also concerned that larger long-term investors like pension funds and insurance companies face unintended burdens from some of Europe’s legislation on the financial sector. The Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy agreed with me, but this did not make it into the text.

Instead, this text calls for further coordination of employment and social policies. We know that when we coordinate at EU level our policies become even more restrictive and not less. The only investor that will be left in Europe is the state, and the state has run out of money.

 
  
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  Patrizia Toia (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I just wanted to add my voice to the plaudits this report has garnered from the House in relation to the need to strengthen the European Union’s standing as a place where it is possible to invest, produce, and produce in line with our conception of an economy that is inclusive as well as socially and environmentally sustainable.

I think a number of parts of this measure are really helpful, while others could be added. I do think it is important to grasp this opportunity and work even harder to enhance our attractiveness through regional marketing policies and openness, which represent the region’s proposition for a productive, industrial, manufacturing and services economy that, as it originates in the region, is respectful of the environment. This regional approach together with EU policies along the same lines are what we need to attract investment and growth.

 
  
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  Francesco De Angelis (S&D) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, attracting investment in Europe requires concrete measures and courageous reforms. We need to ensure free and fair competition between enterprises. In a globalised and crisis-hit economy as we have at present the main thing we need to do is make businesses more competitive and increase their capacity for growth and job creation; jobs are the most important thing of all. Europe must once again become an attractive place in which to invest and work. The current crisis is a global one, and Europe must play its part to make business stronger, more competitive and above all more attractive.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the European Union must address its weaknesses and accentuate its strengths in order to attract local and international investment, driving growth and cohesion.

The European Union is the largest trading area in the world and receives significant foreign investment, although less than before, due above all to investors becoming discouraged not only by problems related to the crisis, but also by the many issues affecting the EU market.

I therefore share Ms Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou’s call for a Commission communication on promoting the attractiveness of investing in Europe. The objectives are: to improve the functioning of the single market; to use the Structural Funds; to maximise the advantages of cohesion policy; to ensure stability; to improve access to financing; to promote project bonds; and to bring about greater research into innovation.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, we need to take advantage of the single market in order to attract more investment in the EU. All too often the only kind of investment which the EU wants is to promote public investment.

EU funds do not necessarily increase our global competitiveness. The EU already has a high-quality human capital and a predictable business environment. As a former businesswoman I know that is not enough to attract new ventures. We need to give businesses what they want, namely less red tape and lower taxes. This report recognises that high taxation is damaging the EU’s competitiveness but, if we are serious about attracting foreign direct investment, then what we must really do is liberate the economy from excessive bureaucracy.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, as we strive for economic recovery in Northern Ireland, we face the challenge of attempting to rebalance our local economy by moving away from a reliance on the public sector for employment. It is, therefore, vital that Northern Ireland PLC can offer incentives to foreign companies to attract them to set up in the province and to bring with them investment and job creation in the private sector.

It is, therefore, deeply concerning that the Commission is proposing quite radical changes to the rules surrounding these incentives, as part of the post-2013 regional aid guidelines. Of particular concern is the size of FDI companies eligible for regional aid funding. This situation is compounded in Northern Ireland by the fact that my constituency is the only part of the United Kingdom to share a land border with a euro zone country, and one which has a corporation tax rate of 50% less than the UK one. In recent times in Northern Ireland, we have seen companies like the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup come to Belfast. Under the post-2013 rules, these companies could not have come.

 
  
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  Mario Pirillo (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, in order to attract investment, the European Union must set up a political and legal framework based on objectives for sustainable growth, as per the Europe 2020 strategy. High-quality products and a strong propensity for research and innovation are the strong points of our economy; if they are to play a more important role then they need a true internal market, where businesses can compete openly.

The Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs 2014-2020 must provide a real opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises. We need to create a new energy model that is not conditioned by the rising price of oil and can offer European businesses affordable energy access. The creation, as set out in paragraph 16, of a European observatory capable of monitoring the reduction of tax and bureaucratic barriers, and the implementation of cohesion policies, is an interesting idea.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). - Mr President, I think the key word here is attractiveness and from my discussions with companies and business outside the European Union they are finding it less and less attractive to come into the European Union because of over-regulation and lack of consistency across the states in applying regulation.

Having said that, they said the first way to deal with a problem is to recognise it. At least we are addressing that today and there are some very good proposals in this document especially as regards utilising our banks – the EIB and ECB – as well as macro-regions and the potential for more research and development and innovation.

(GA) But, enough said. I have serious doubts about one proposal, the CCCTB (common consolidated corporate tax base). My country can not be satisfied with that, because it will further disadvantage us as we remain in trouble.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, it is very obvious why people are not investing in Europe: our costs are too high, our labour market is too rigid, our taxes are too high. We are witnessing an epochal shift in power and wealth. We still look at these old maps which have Europe at the middle, we do not realise the extent to which the centre of gravity has shifted to the Pacific.

And the reason it has happened is very easily identified. For 500 years the secret of Europe’s success was our diversity, our variety, our pluralism, the fact that instead of becoming a single empire we remained a plurality of competing states, each trialling new ideas, each striving to outdo its competitors.

The tragedy of our generation is that, just as the great civilisations of Asia have learnt the secret of decentralisation, we in Europe are going in the opposite direction. We are following the Ming, Mogul, Ottoman path towards more uniformity, more bureaucracy, more taxation and more harmonisation. There is nothing inevitable about this. We are the authors of our own poverty. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.’

 
  
  

Report: Miloslav Ransdorf (A7-0183/2012)

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, enlargement of the free trade area by means of association agreements is a priority for European Union policy. The growing importance of Eastern Partnership countries makes it particularly important for us to focus attention on this area, even more so when, in the light of events in Northern Africa, we have been placing greater emphasis recently on relations with the South.

For these countries, free trade is the principal tool for integration with Europe and it also provides a stimulus to undertake economic reforms that are often difficult. In supporting this resolution, I declare my support for increasing EU activity in its relations with our eastern neighbours. Trade integration requires enormous efforts both from ourselves and from the associated countries but, over the long term, this will bring measurable benefits to everyone. Another important factor is the influence that this will have on the growth of civil society and on raising the standard of living in this part of Europe. An issue whose importance for security cannot be overstated is the accession of Ukraine and Moldova to the Energy Community Treaty.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted in favour of this report. It is vitally important that the Eastern Neighbourhood Partnership (ENP) remains effective for these five countries in our eastern neighbourhood.

It is clear to me that the EU must continue to advertise its free market liberal economic model to the east, lest more retrograde economic forces prevail there. DCFTAs will not only encourage trade flows between the EU and Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but will also force a necessary liberalisation of their internal economies and, hopefully, more democracy.

I specifically welcome the report’s conclusions that the Arab Spring has diverted our attention from eastern partner countries whose exact economic and geopolitical situation continues to change in ways in which we must be aware of now, such as the growing influence of China in that region and also the competition posed by the Eurasian Economic Community with Central Asia.

It is especially important to keep Ukraine on board as the general political drift in that country is not favourable to western interests. Ukraine’s record on human rights and democracy, already sullied by the Tymoshenko incarceration case, is set to deteriorate further if the proposed ban on discussing LGBT issues takes place.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, I believe the EU is primarily a commercial block and we should be trading as effectively as possible with our global partners, which is why I supported this report. However, it groups together a number of different countries at various stages of economic and political development and I have yet to be convinced of the added value of the Eastern Partnership.

Since their liberation from Communist oppression the former Soviet states have embraced democracy and the free market with differing degrees of success. We cannot possibly compare Georgia, which has one of the most progressive and liberal economies in the world, with Belarus which is lumbered with a Soviet-style command economy. Even countries like Ukraine, once considered a promising partner for the EU, has political problems and is undermining economic growth.

I support more trade with the countries of the Eastern Partnership. However, we must be cautious that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for six extremely different countries.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, it is a truth rarely admitted in this Chamber that the European Union can be a remarkably uncomfortable trading neighbour. The countries of the former Soviet Union now find themselves in the position in which a number of ex-Warsaw Pact states found themselves in the 1990s, where they are squeezed between two large dirigiste trading blocks.

When you talk about partnership agreements with countries in the Caucasus, or in the Balkans, we are remarkably reluctant to open our markets to the things that they do best: coal, steel, textiles and above all agriculture. Instead of offering them a straightforward free trade deal, we try to draw them into the euro-nexus of subsidies and support and regulation. This is the last thing they need; these are countries with educated and industrious work forces, with a relatively low cost of living and with the opportunity to export their way into the market through cheaper exports. All they need is the ability to sell freely and without hindrance.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0158/2011)

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted for and have supported this measure, because I think it is in line with the overall strategy to develop a sector that is still really struggling and is affected by huge market volatility, environmental challenges and the need to ensure environmental safety.

I would say that the limit on aid to individual farmers is right, that the incentives for greening to help these new processes develop and inject competitiveness into the sector are good, and that so is the support for young people. This is an important, meaningful programme that also affects small entrepreneurs. What we really need is development.

Simplified, leaner procedures that ensure direct payment are vital, to ensure that a sector that finds itself in great difficulty has a chance for real development. That is why I voted in favour and why I have supported an intervention that also allows for direct payments to young farmers to give them a chance and an opportunity to take the initiative and develop their business, which could bring significant results in terms of employment that the European Union cannot ignore.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of the report, because it is important for Parliament to adapt the common agricultural policy to the terms of the Treaty of Lisbon. I hope that, when the administrative burden on the Member States is lightened as a result of the reforms proposed in this report, more attention will be given to the real issues.

One of the critical questions in agriculture is the age crisis that the sector is facing. Agricultural entrepreneurs under the age of 35 account for just 6% of the total in Europe, and one in three is over 65. The ageing population of agricultural producers is a threat, not only to food production in Europe, but also to the sector’s profile as a profession for those of all ages. It is not just about the production of food: it is also a matter of policy on land use and employment.

We need to show support for agricultural entrepreneurs, especially those who are young and just starting out, for, without them, European agriculture has no future. We need to do more to ensure that measures are taken in all Member States to support young farmers. They should not have unequal status simply because of where they live.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR). - Mr President, the economic picture across Europe is very bleak. Most Member States, including the United Kingdom, are increasing taxes and cutting expenditure. They are doing this to reduce debt.

In Britain the coalition government inherited an annual deficit of GBP 160 billion when we came to office in 2010. In the last two years we have cut this by a quarter. My constituents do not enjoy the harsh medicine, but they understand it is necessary after 13 years of Labour taxing, spending and borrowing too much.

The European Union must act responsibly when we set our budget for next year. Our spending should be subject to the same discipline that we expect from the Member States. Taxpayers will not understand the demand from the Commission that the EU increase its expenditure by 7% at a time when expenditure is being cut at home. Calls by this Parliament for Europe to have more money whilst we face austerity at home will reduce further the reputation of the EU in my constituency.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). - Mr President, the common agricultural policy is the European Union in microcosm.

We have created a system where any market mechanism was deliberately suppressed; a system based on subvention, on state support, on guaranteed prices; a system which penalises us all as taxpayers – we are forced to pay for the production of food for which there is no market – and penalises us all over again as consumers by driving up food prices; a system that makes harder the settlement of a general global free trade deal, but that fails to deliver for farmers. The slowest growing part of the European economy, and that is saying something these days, is agriculture, because enterprise has been overtaken by a system which encourages people to look to the state for every rise in life.

But of course it has succeeded in one objective: it has created a corpus of people who see themselves as dependent on Brussels, and that is why I say it is the European Union in microcosm. The system has become a racket. It has become a way of redistributing money from everybody else to the people who, one way or another, are earning their livelihood from it.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0161/2011)

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, speaking as a representative of a key region for the Polish agricultural sector, I support any measure to stimulate development in rural areas. This report will provide the basis for next year’s negotiations concerning reforms to the common agricultural policy. A coherent approach by Parliament will also help to ensure that delegated acts in the area of agriculture will be used in all possible instances.

The Regulation gives the Commission executive powers for the presentation and approval of rural area development programmes. It also introduces some significant simplifications that will reduce administrative burdens, for example reducing the number of annual reports on the progress of work as well as joint reports relating to rural area development. Proposals have also been made to simplify mutual compliance controls, and rules for using advisory services have been modified. In addition, I fully agree with the rapporteur’s negative opinion of the attempt by the Commission to remove support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetable sector.

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this measure also falls within a wider context of a joint strategic framework on agriculture. It is an important intervention that ties in with the others also adopted in today’s sitting.

We have, however, observed – including in light of the information provided by Mr De Castro – that the Council’s stance on opposing delegated acts constitutes an unwarranted removal of Parliament’s competences and powers. Inter-institutional dialogue would, instead, force the Council to take a more flexible stance.

Simplification on EU funds and the possible use of the Structural Funds are important issues, as are the preservation of ecosystems, better organisation of the agri-food sector, improved attractiveness of farmers for investment and better development of skills tied to the results achieved.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0322/2011)

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, decisions concerning the criteria for granting aid to European farmers and concerning export refunds and minimum export prices for agricultural products must no longer be made behind closed doors. The Council can no longer take decisions on Commission proposals on its own, as it did in the past. All matters relating to agriculture must be decided on in a proper legislative procedure. This has been the law since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and must also be taken into account in the adaptation of the old comitology procedure to the new distribution of powers in agricultural policy. That is also what the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development is demanding. With this package of reports by our committee chair, we have ultimately taken a good decision, and Parliament is also ensuring that we are not only asserting the powers that have been bestowed upon us by the Treaty of Lisbon, we are also defending them.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0209/2011)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Mr La Via’s text on the financing of the common agricultural policy aims to streamline the complex European bureaucracy in the agricultural sector. In particular, the amendments on the expenses to be funded by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the recovery proceedings do offer simplification, by eliminating two Council regulations and hence cutting the administrative burdens faced by the Member States. Therefore, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR).(ES) Mr President, there has not been a single bailout package whose consequences have, in principle, justified it. Despite this, the response of the European bureaucrats always ends up being a bigger bailout package.

Ladies and gentlemen, a debt crisis cannot be resolved with more debt. The recent bailout package has not solved the Spanish debt crisis but rather aggravated it, adding up to EUR 100 billion more to the country’s liabilities.

The harsh truth is that we have witnessed the damaging consequences of a fever for artificially cheap credit. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but we are rectifying the disastrous consequences of that fever and, once we have finished, we will be able to return to growth, following the path of good, common sense.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because of its legal, financial and operational importance. In order to implement the Treaty of Lisbon, the categories of specific acts need to be defined clearly for each situation. I am thinking in particular of delegated acts.

At the same time, we must not forget that the common agricultural policy is the most important chapter in the EU budget. Therefore, any changes must be aimed at making the system simpler and efficient. This will enable us to provide support to farmers, while cutting red tape and removing complicated procedures. In this context, I support the amendments tabled by Mr La Via on the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure. I hope that both the Commission and Council will adopt a constructive attitude to come up with an agreement.

 
  
  

Report: Martin Häusling (A7-0215/2011)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE) . – (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, discussing delicate issues like the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production is really the same as talking about protecting the health of European citizens. Indeed, it is important to meet consumer expectations on the quality of organic products on the European market, just as it is important to ensure adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned. That is why I voted in favour of the report by Mr Häusling.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, although I opposed the Treaty of Lisbon it is now clear that European Union law must conform, albeit reluctantly, with its contents, so in the case of organic products and the regulation of such products, along with my political group I accept the use of delegated acts and therefore voted in favour of this proposal. The committee should of course include representatives from Member State governments and technical experts.

It is quite appropriate that technical prescription of organic labelling should be handled by the Commission. I welcomed Amendment 4 in particular, which specifically stated that the process of alignment of the Treaty of Lisbon should unburden organic farmers of excessive red tape through the simplification of the EU law in this area.

It is to be hoped that the Commission will take this opportunity now to support organic farmers, as I do every day I do my shopping in my local supermarket.

 
  
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  Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE). – (SK) Mr President, the legitimate interests and expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products require the adequate application of rules by the state organisations, private organisations and operators concerned. However, the current rules are not sufficiently clear, and so consumers often find themselves in situations that may threaten or harm their health and may even lead to epidemics.

The reliable functioning of the single market and trade therefore requires that clear rules be adopted and conditions be established for the application of regulations on organic production and the labelling of organic products. I agree that it is necessary to clearly define the substances for use in organic production, the production methods for processed food, and the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or with the aid of GMOs.

In the interests of legal certainty for consumers, the labelling rules, and the requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, labelling size, and logo design for organic products in the European Union should be unified.

 
  
  

Recommendation: David Martin (A7-0204/012)

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I feel an urgent need to clarify the fact that, following the application for referral back to committee and the motion for deferral, a certain amount of confusion has arisen. I heard from your announcement that we would vote on the agreement itself, which is why my colleagues and I voted against it, because we are firmly convinced that we should not conclude this agreement. Numerous reasons for this have, of course, already been given.

The report by Mr Martin, however, provides for Parliament’s refusal to agree to the conclusion of the agreement. In other words, we would have to support the report. I therefore feel the need to clarify the fact that I have rejected this Commission draft and the draft of the Council on the conclusion of a trade agreement – I reject ACTA – and therefore I would have supported the Martin report itself had it been put to the vote.

 
  
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  Joseph Cuschieri (S&D). - (MT) Mr President, I would like to refer to the report of a colleague of mine, David Martin, on behalf of the Committee on International Trade regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

I voted in favour of the rapporteur’s recommendation, that is, against ACTA, because I believe that in light of the agreement that was drawn up, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection to European citizens. To fight against counterfeiting and to strengthen Intellectual Property Rights, namely trademarks, patents and copyrights, is laudable, however not if it is done in the way that is being advocated through ACTA. I condemn the process that led to the signing of this agreement. Transparency was lacking from the very start of the negotiations and no consultations took place with civil society. A number of recommendations that were tabled by the European Parliament were rejected. I agree with the conclusions of David Martin’s report and I too believe that this agreement needs to be rejected by this Parliament.

I firmly believe that the European Commission needs to come up with new proposals and replace ACTA with a new agreement, one which will above all guarantee that the privacy and human rights of our European citizens are respected and not infringed upon.

 
  
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  Josef Weidenholzer (S&D).(DE) Mr President, ACTA represents more than just the agreement itself; it is an example of a wrong and unprofessional policy from which we should all learn. The legitimate concern of protecting European industry from product piracy is one that should in principle be supported, as our competitive advantage does not lie in low unit labour costs, but instead is knowledge-based. In order to have achieved this, however, we would also have had to involve China and India in such an agreement and, above all, we should not have overloaded it with demands from the music and entertainment industries. Most importantly, we should not have allowed Internet service providers to be turned into some kind of deputy sheriffs. The question of copyright is too important to be regulated by means of a trade agreement. This was an attempt to solve the problems of the 21st century using the methods of the 19th century. In particular, the Commissioner responsible has failed. He totally disregarded Parliament in an outdated cabinet policy style. Mr De Gucht should draw the appropriate conclusions from this and step down from the office that is clearly too much for him.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It is symbolically apt that the path that ACTA has taken should end at this plenary in Strasbourg, since the European Parliament, of course, represents 500 million citizens and consumers, as well as their interests. It is important to remember that the ACTA Treaty, which has now been rejected, nevertheless addressed problems that were found to exist. In the solutions that it proposed, however, there was scope for improvement and clarification. The Treaty had muddled two completely separate issues.

Since ACTA has failed, it is vitally important to propose alternative European solutions both for counterfeit products and intellectual property rights (IPRs). This is ultimately about European jobs and European competitiveness, which counterfeiting and IPR violations undermine. In my opinion, today Parliament sent a strong message that not just anything goes.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, above all we need to guarantee the fundamental rights of citizens, democracy, freedom of expression and free access to the Internet. However, we must not ignore the commitment – which must be strong – to combat counterfeiting, piracy and the violation of intellectual property. One only need think of the enormous turnover in fake medicines, which can be lethal for citizens’ health.

I abstained, because it would have been better to vote after the pronouncement of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and because the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has many weaknesses. First of all, China, India, Russia and Brazil – where many counterfeit goods come from – are not party to the agreement, while ACTA also provides for unclear processes and excessive sanctions which could impose restrictive measures on citizens’ freedom on the Internet, thereby violating fundamental rights.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE).(FR) Mr President, like most of my Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe here in the European Parliament, I voted against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) proposal. Of course, that does not mean that protecting intellectual property is not one of the cornerstones of liberal doctrine; on the contrary. However, the main error of those who initially proposed the ACTA was to think ‘global’: clearly, we do not protect a song or film from illegal downloading in the same way as we protect citizens from counterfeit medicines, for example.

In my view, there are three lessons here for the future, because we believe that an international anti-counterfeiting agreement is essential. Saying no to the proposal today, as we have done, means listening to the position of civil society and calling for greater cooperation between the Commission and Parliament, which has been reiterated many times. Saying no to the proposal today also means asking the European Union to speak with a single voice to ensure that creators receive fair recompense. Must we point out again that five Member States, including Germany and the Netherlands, have not signed this agreement? Finally, saying no today means calling for negotiations with China and India that are as transparent and broad as possible: they are the countries responsible for most counterfeit products, and need I remind you that this counterfeiting costs Europe 100 000 jobs every year?

 
  
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  Kristian Vigenin (S&D).(BG) Mr President, I would like to say to those 15 000 plus Bulgarian citizens who wrote to me about the ACTA that my colleagues and I from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament voted against this anti-counterfeiting agreement.

I want to be clear: intellectual property and copyright must be protected. However, this cannot happen at the expense of restricting freedom on the Internet, the only place where everyone is equal. I am pleased that the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the S&D Group adopted a clear stance against the ACTA from day one. The European right also showed today how little they are interested in the citizens’ voice and how divided they are on this key issue.

I am surprised at the Commission’s persistence in continuing to defend the ACTA in spite of the clear opposing stance adopted by Parliament and the mass turnouts at the protests across Europe in dozens of European cities.

Ladies and gentlemen, the ACTA is dead. Admit your own mistakes in the negotiations and start the whole thing from scratch, the right way this time.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, the ACTA file, for me personally, has been a very difficult one on which to come to a decision. My preferred route would have been to refer it back to the committee until the judgement of the ECJ was available, but this was rejected democratically, and I therefore reluctantly abstained.

I would like to make it clear that I do support rigorous, defensive intellectual property. I also deplore the proliferation of counterfeiting, particularly in safety-critical areas such as medicines and car parts. It is regrettable that these two issues have been conflated in the ACTA regulation.

But I also have considerable misgivings about the level of powers proposed for various authorities and the level of intrusion into citizens’ lives that could be possible, depending on the interpretation of the report. So I therefore find it impossible to support the complete rejection and I find it impossible to support the complete embracing of this report. I think that it needs further work, but it is not a case of it being completely dead. Maybe the ACTA is dead, but we still have to go out there and find ways of promoting and supporting our intellectual property in Europe.

 
  
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  Edward Scicluna (S&D). - Mr President, I voted to reject the ACTA treaty and for victory for freedom on the internet.

ACTA has been flawed from the start. It was negotiated in secret and we only learned of it through Wikileaks nearly three years into the talks. It is also clear from the minutes of the negotiating meetings that the Commission did not take a strong stance on behalf of the EU.

But the main problem with ACTA is its ambiguity. The sanctions are draconian and it is unclear how they would be applied. Accountable internet service providers would have sweeping new powers to monitor our internet use. People could lose their internet connection and face criminal prosecution for sharing downloaded music with their friends.

Intellectual property is one of the most valuable commodities of the European economy and we need to have clear rules to protect the rights of authors and performers alongside data privacy. ACTA does not do this. The Commission must go back to the drawing board.

 
  
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  Bendt Bendtsen (PPE).(DA) Mr President, I voted today to postpone the vote until the court has issued its opinion. The majority did not want to do this. I was then forced to vote in favour of ACTA. I do not think that the agreement is perfect, and I do not think that it restricts freedom on the Internet, but European undertakings lose an enormous amount of money every year and a huge number of jobs are lost as a result of counterfeiting and illegal copies of products. We adopted the Creutzmann report yesterday in respect of taking action within the EU’s borders to stop copies and counterfeits, but that is not enough. Crime must be stopped at source, and we need international regulations that enable us to enforce legal protection by means of customs control, injunctions and the possibility of applying civil liability. India and China are not involved in ACTA, and it is now becoming even more difficult to exert pressure on these countries in international trade agreements. I have to say that these days they are laughing all the way from New Delhi to Beijing.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, Europe’s comparative advantages cannot just be in manufacturing or natural resources but also in the marketing of proprietary information and intellectual property. This is the core of our economic model and I strongly support measures against counterfeit products.

However, there are many aspects of this ACTA resolution which gave grounds for concern. It was a shame that the US drafters conflated physical goods, e.g. counterfeit medicines and car parts, with digital content, since the latter is so much more difficult to protect from copyright theft and requires a different approach from the former.

There are also civil liberty concerns and questions regarding the draconian measures envisaged in this resolution. The ECJ was reviewing these at the time, which is why I was in favour of referring it back to committee.

The other issue which gave me a lot of concern was the fact that it is not a global thing, bringing on board China and India which are the source of much counterfeit in the world. So overall, like all other Conservatives, I abstained.

 
  
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  Dimitar Stoyanov (NI).(BG) Mr President, as a representative of the Bulgarian National Democratic Party, I voted against adopting ACTA. This was obviously prompted by the fact that our citizens actually hugely opposed this agreement, protested against it and expressed their desire for it not to come into force.

However, this is also down to the way in which the actual proposal was basically agreed: in secret, behind closed doors, without providing sufficient information. The basic conclusion which can be drawn is that the United States attempted to impose the US police state in Europe. However, Europe’s citizens rebelled against this and, thankfully, their reaction was also reflected in our decision today.

However, what actually concerns me the most is that, if our citizens had not come out onto the streets, would all of us now speaking out against adopting this agreement have had the same opinion? We should look at these issues more seriously and not go along with everything that the Commission tells us because this is why we were elected: to control the Commission and always do the right thing, and not only when there is public discontent.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, like Julie Girling and Charles Tannock, I voted first for this report to be cancelled and, when that was not accepted, I abstained at the final vote because I feel it is right and proper to wait until the Court of Justice of the European Union comes to a decision before we come to a decision here.

Having said that, one thing I could not understand about this agreement is that it is supposed to be dealing with counterfeit goods, and as 95% of these goods are coming from China, and to a lesser extent India, and those countries are not a party to this agreement, I just wonder how effective it would have been anyway.

When I asked this question I was told this was a ‘coalition of the willing’. I would say more a ‘coalition of the innocent’, and the guilty are let off scot-free.

So now that we have a chance to go back to the drawing board we should first deal with China, and to a lesser extent India, in the area of counterfeit goods, which are costing us EUR 250 billion and hundreds of thousands of jobs, and then move on to other matters.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I abstained from voting on this report because we ought to have waited for the judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union before voting. I surf the Internet a lot and I would not like my access to the online service to be restricted. I too would like my rights to be defended, and my personal data to be protected appropriately. Therefore, I understand the concerns which ACTA has raised for many citizens. However, perhaps they have also been raised by a lack of information because, at the same time, we are bombarded by counterfeit products. They have an impact on our finances, pose a danger to our health and provide unfair competition for European manufacturers. Therefore, we need an international treaty to combat counterfeiting. This is why I regard today’s decision as being hasty.

 
  
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  Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE). - (FI) Mr President, this is a rather different explanation of vote, because I would like to explain why I did not vote at all. I did not even abstain, because I am unhappy with the entire process for dealing with the issue of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

I did have an opinion on the matter: that, whatever the case, we need protection against piracy. We need an international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to protect intellectual property rights. This House, I believe, made itself look ridiculous by adopting a position on ACTA before its unanswered questions had been dealt with by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The decision should have been deferred to allow us to take a decision based on facts. Now our email inboxes have become full with a lobbying campaign spreading the wrong information.

I would now like to correct a few factual errors. ACTA does not regulate use or freedom of the Internet. ACTA will not lead to border checks on computers carried by airline passengers or to control of the Internet. ACTA will not result in the adoption of a ‘three strikes penalty for online infringements. ACTA will not prevent poor countries from purchasing cheap medicines. All the safeguard clauses and derogations under EU legislation or the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) will remain fully in place, and so on. The list could well go on, but my time has run out.

 
  
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  Zuzana Roithová (PPE). (CS) Mr President, I would like to explain why it was a good thing that the European Parliament did not wait for the statement of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Following the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon, we have the power to judge whether any international agreement complies with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) failed that test – this was said in all of the committees – due to the insufficient guarantees resulting from the ambiguous wording of the obligations, the poor guarantee of the right to a fair trial, the lack of transparency and the consequent violation of the right to the proper administration of public affairs, and the risk of a violation of the right to the protection of privacy and communications. Generally, however, it was mainly due to the considerable legal uncertainty it created with regard to the scope of its key provisions, where even the leading academic experts in Europe were unable to agree on their impact.

Waiting for the Court would prolong the uncertainty in this area, and would also undermine public confidence in the fact that the European Parliament represents European citizens and is an independent body. The Court of Justice of the European Union cannot replace the role of the European Parliament.

After the Court of Justice of the European Union had expressed its opinion, moreover, the ACTA would surely produce greater fragmentation of the market and of national laws as far as human rights are concerned. It would have a negative impact on European citizens and businesses, rather than on professional counterfeiters. There were many such reasons in favour of rejection, but the fight against counterfeits goes on, of course, and we must take a very strong line, particularly when it comes to negotiating the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive.

 
  
  

Report: Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (A7-0163/012)

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Council Regulation No 73/2009, which provides the rules for the current system of direct payments to farmers, will be superseded by other proposals under the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform for 2014-2020 In its proposals for the multiannual financial framework and the CAP for 2014-2020, the Commission is proposing to make use of a new crisis reserve to address additional financing needs resulting from unexpected agricultural crises.

The net ceiling in 2013 for EU Member States would be equal to the value of the net ceiling in 2012, with the adjustments deriving from grubbing-up in 2012 and the appraised transfer of the wine envelopes to the single payment scheme.

I agree with the solution contained in the report and therefore I voted in favour of Mr Capoulas Santos’s proposal, because I think we need to maintain the current financial structure for 2013 in order to ensure continued levels of payments and to support agricultural development in an effective way.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, you might imagine the horror which British MEPs felt when we first saw the Commission’s proposals for what looks like a very routine adjustment for one year, only to discover that the voluntary modulation mechanism, much used in the UK, and indeed only necessary because of the appalling settlement on Pillar 2 in the last CAP, had been left out.

So I very much welcome the pragmatic support by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for reasserting this right for the UK for the last year of the financial framework. Without it we would not be able to deliver what are, I think, fairly uniformly recognised in the European Parliament as good – in many cases exemplary – agri-environment schemes delivering biodiversity and environmental benefits across the UK.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, for the majority of farmers in Northern Ireland, direct payments account for a large percentage of business income and are key to maintaining adequate cash flows. The smooth transition to the new CAP post-2013 is key, and it is important that farmers’ incomes are sustained. Rural development spending must also be maintained in the transition period, especially for spending which has been earmarked for countryside management and less-favoured area payments.

A lack of investment and support for the farming community over a short period of time will have a negative impact on rural communities and businesses. The Commission must allow for Member States to take the appropriate action to prevent this from taking place.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). - Mr President, what Ms Dodds said about Northern Ireland applies equally to Southern Ireland, and I concur with her. Direct payments are crucial for the development of agriculture, and particularly for the maintenance of the family farm. Any transition has to be done on a gradual basis. Above all, we have to think of the long-term consequences. We are in a position where the world population is now seven billion, and likely to go to nine billion over the next 20 or 30 years. There is not going to be any more land created in that time, so we have to ensure that our policies firstly preserve family farms and – in particular – that productivity is rewarded and encouraged. If we move too quickly away from that, then we are going to be damaging European agriculture and also inhibiting our hopes of ending poverty in the world.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report because I think that it is important for the current financial structure also to be maintained for next year. Establishing net ceilings will ensure continuity in the levels of payments for farmers, while the adjustment mechanism similar to modulation will help achieve this objective. In my view, we also need to take into account the consequences arising from phasing in the direct payments in the new Member States. This is why it is good that there will be no adjustments for Romania because the process is still not complete in my country. At the same time, the value of the net ceilings for Romania will not change either next year. I think that a transition mechanism for 2013 would be beneficial and could ensure an easy switch to the future reformed system.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0215/2012)

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE). - Mr President, I did not vote for the budget mandate for 2013 in today’s vote. The Commission’s proposal for a 6.8% increase is based on the forecast from Member States of the amount of EU expenditure they think they will need for 2013. Of course the majority of the budget – 94% of the EU budget – is spent in the Member States’ own backyards, yet many in the Council are now saying that the forecast for the increased spending is too high. They are disputing their own figures supplied by their own managing authorities.

If we are to have a serious discussion on how much EU spending is needed for 2013 then we need to clarify Member States’ forecasts and agree between the institutions what the right figures are. We also need to examine whether there is scope for savings in the budget and agree various options to be put on the table. It is also important that this Parliament makes a contribution towards finding savings, and I am sure that the working group looking into this will come forward with some concrete suggestions.

I hope that the Commission, the Council and Parliament’s Committee on Budgets can work together to bottom out the Member States’ estimates so that we can have a robust set of options on the table which will allow us to make an informed decision on the spending levels needed for 2013.

 
  
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  Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR). - Mr President, the EU budget is EUR 130 billion. That is 13 followed by ten zeros. It is a number so large that it is almost incomprehensible. Yet, for the Commission this colossal figure is simply not enough. The Commission, like Oliver Twist, would like to ask for more. But, like Oliver Twist, the Commission is in the poorhouse.

Many Member States are tightening their belts and reining in public spending. So why should the Commission be immune to austerity when it so quickly imposes it on others? We need regular evaluation of the EU budget to ensure that all spending is achieving its desired outcome. A 6.8% increase is simply not acceptable. We need to freeze the EU budget and to look to make cuts where possible.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, I voted against this report as I do not believe that Parliament should be giving a mandate for negotiation at trilogue of a budget with these levels of increased spending. At a time when national governments all over Europe are having to take drastic and sometimes socially divisive decisions to reduce public spending, it is impossible to support an increase in spending across the EU via this budget.

We are missing a golden opportunity to review the way in which budgets are put together. We need to be more flexible in looking at Member States’ needs and looking for ways to save money. All kinds of innovative programmes are coming through Member States, but they never seem to permeate through to this level.

We here in the European Parliament could achieve a real increase in public support and we could really make inroads into public perception of our activities if we were simply to grasp this nettle and get on with delivering a budget that the people of Europe could support.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, the budget negotiations provide an opportunity for this Parliament and EU leaders to restore some degree of credibility against the backdrop of the continuing economic crisis which engulfs the eurozone and the rest of Europe. A modicum of credibility can be restored if we, as MEPs, accept that we too must exercise budgetary restraint.

I have said this often in this House but I will repeat it once again: it is simply not realistic, it is not sensible and it is not equitable that, while Member State governments exercise economic prudence at home, Brussels argues for the right for greater budgets. Where is the responsibility? Where is the leadership and the example that the EU can show at this time?

In the United Kingdom confidence in the EU is at an all-time low. While we persist with vanity projects like the European House of History or the waste of travelling between two places of work, Strasbourg and Brussels, then that will not change.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, British Conservatives have consistently called for the EU to do less, but do it better. Therefore I could not vote for this resolution, giving a mandate to take to the budgetary trilogue which would have endorsed the Commission’s unrealistically inflated and actually unfounded budgetary proposals.

The draft budget for 2013 astonishingly calls for a 6.8% increase on the figure of GBP 100 billion a year, a figure that looks totally incongruous set against the current climate of EU-wide austerity. In a time of widespread fiscal consolidation by Member States, it makes no sense to propose anything other than a spending freeze, if not a reduction. This will be widely interpreted as the institutions living in a parallel universe of their own fashioning.

My constituents in London should not have to endure the prospects of more EU spending and largesse whilst every other tier of national government in my country makes cuts to its budgets, resulting in many jobs being cut in public services. I agree with Ms Dodds that perhaps we should close down the Strasbourg parliament. That would be a huge saving to the budget, if only we could get consent for this from France and Germany.

 
  
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  Georgios Koumoutsakos (PPE).(EL) Mr President, my explanation of vote concerns the La Via report on the 2013 budget and, specifically, the mandate for the trilogue on the 2013 draft budget. I wish to refer specifically to the amendment tabled by the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left to paragraph 20 about a single seat for the European Parliament.

I voted against that amendment, because we need to respect the institutional order as set out in the EU Treaties. At the same time, however, we need to state that the economic environment, the economic difficulties faced by Europe as a whole and, more importantly, by its citizens, make this a very important matter politically and we must clearly review it. We cannot spend a lot of money when a large number of European citizens are suffering daily from the economic situation. We therefore need to reconsider this. At this stage, of course, we have respected our institutional obligations.

 
  
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  Andrea Češková (ECR). (CS) Mr President, I was unable to support this report. Europe is currently facing a serious financial and budgetary crisis. It is time we realised that EU resources must be used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

A total sum of EUR 748 million has been earmarked for decentralised agencies in 2013. The total contribution has thus increased by 3.2% or EUR 24 million compared to 2012. Even though this increase is logically connected with the start-up of eight new agencies and also with an expansion in the activities of seven agencies, I believe there should be no general increase in the contribution to these agencies.

The main reason is that research aimed at identifying areas of duplication and overlapping activities of existing agencies has not yet been completed. Personally, I firmly believe that there a number of agencies that, based on the similarity of their activities, could be merged, particularly in a period when we cannot allow further wastage of the EU's budgetary resources.

 
  
  

Report: Marit Paulsen (A7-0216/2012)

 
  
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  Andrea Zanoni (ALDE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I voted in favour of the report on the welfare of animals because it introduces important concepts for a better future for animals and European citizens. Issues including a new directive to protect dogs and cats, the violation of the directives on zoos and laying hens by many Member States, and maintaining the March 2013 deadline for cosmetics tested on animals must be addressed urgently and as a matter of priority.

We also need to provide for mandatory labelling for meat from animals barbarically slaughtered without being stunned. We must adopt an EU law on animal welfare and set up a body that monitors whether the Member States enforce the rules on the industry.

We can and we must, however, do much more for animal welfare. Modern, civilised Europe can no longer tolerate barbaric, uncivilised and backwards practices such as vivisection, hunting or bullfighting. Let us renounce these absurd activities right now, for a Europe that is more respectful of animals and more respectful of the views of its citizens, who are often much more far-sighted, caring and sensitive than national and EU authorities.

 
  
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  George Lyon (ALDE). - Mr President, I was pleased to support Marit Paulsen’s report. I think that she deserves credit for producing a very balanced report that deals with some very sensitive issues where there are strong feelings on both sides of the argument. I welcome her emphasis on enforcement rather than on the need for more rules. I also welcome her suggestion of legally enforced milestones for new EU legislation in the future, because our experience of both the egg ban and the ban on battery cages, which was introduced last year, was that the Commission was utterly powerless when faced with a situation where many Member States appeared to be dragging their feet in enforcing that legislation. We are about to see a rerun of that same fiasco again with the ban on sow stalls and tethers for pregnant pigs.

We need to give the Commission more teeth to be able to step in earlier and enforce legally enforced milestones to ensure that Member States do comply in future with deadlines for introducing bans relating to animal welfare.

 
  
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  Agnès Le Brun (PPE).(FR) Mr President, the report by Marit Paulsen on the Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals seems to have struck a balance and takes into account the needs of agricultural production. I therefore voted in favour despite being somewhat reluctant at the start.

For many years, livestock farmers have been improving their practices in order to respond to consumer demands. This resolution puts forward some very interesting proposals to give this animal welfare policy added value for animal protection but also, and above all, for European production. It advocates a new approach to our trade policy, putting the emphasis on promoting the high standards met by our farmers. In terms of consumer negotiations and information, the quality of our production must be highlighted in order to combat distortions of competition.

This report also emphasises the need to align the animal welfare strategy with the desire to safeguard productivity. Animal welfare must be protected, but on the basis of sound scientific proof, and it must not lead to an unnecessary increase in what is already an extremely heavy regulatory burden.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report, because animal welfare must figure in everything that we do. Financial considerations should not take priority over humane treatment.

Legislation on animal welfare must be simplified and harmonised. Furthermore, it must be based on researched data. What is most important for the practical implementation of animal welfare, however, is the effective enforcement of legislation. Even good legislation is of no importance if it is just a dead letter.

In addition to supervising legislation effectively, the Member States must ensure that there are appropriate sanctions for violations. This is especially important in animal transport, another area where there is where often non-compliance with existing legislation.

The European Union is a community of values, and animal welfare has intrinsic value. The legislation should also be extended to pets and stray animals.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, animal welfare is both an ethical and a public health objective, because more specific rules on animal health can help avoid the spread of disease under the ‘One Health’ principle, and therefore also ensure greater food safety, which goes hand in hand with product quality and with boosting the competiveness of European agriculture, even if there is also the issue of unfair competition. Indeed, we need to ensure equal conditions for European farmers and to protect the EU agri-food industry from unfair competition from third countries by demanding the same standards for imported products and animals. In conclusion, I say ‘stop’ to the indiscriminate and barbaric use of animals as test subjects and massacres of strays.

 
  
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  Alfredo Antoniozzi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, protecting animal welfare standards is part of and complementary to sustainable development policy. European institutions, as signatories to the agreement on sustainable development, must do all they can to ensure these standards are adequate. The deterioration in the state of health of wild animals could result in an increased spread of contagious diseases to domestic animals and, at the same time, have an adverse effect on public health;

I voted in favour of Ms Paulsen’s proposal, since I think the current regulations need to be better enforced, with special focus on the animal transport sector. I welcome the inclusion in the strategy of a European animal welfare framework law and join in Ms Paulsen’s call for this law to be clearly formulated, followed by a consultation with all relevant parties.

 
  
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  Julie Girling (ECR). - Mr President, regrettably I was not able to support this report.

There are many welcome aspects, particularly the call for a new regime to deal with compliance with animal welfare advances, such as the rules on sow stalls which come into force at the end of this year. It is vital to devise a system that allows us to take action to expedite compliance before a deadline is reached. The debacle of this year’s Laying Hens Directive must simply not be repeated. I welcome Ms Paulsen’s attempts to come up with a strategy for that. I also welcome the call for equivalent welfare standards on all imported animal products as a significant step forward for livestock farmers and human health.

However, I regret the inclusion in this report of a call to extend the scope of Europe’s animal welfare strategy to pets and wild animals. I believe that these are Member State issues and will not benefit from European interference. If you look at the way in which we have put into place the European Zoos Directive and the complete lack of enforcement in Member States, I have no confidence at all that wild animals and pets will get any more attention.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, supporting and encouraging meaningful animal welfare advances is important to both the consumer and the producer. I think it is important to note from a purely production point of view that a well cared-for animal is a more productive animal. There is always a need for safeguards and updating of legislation as a result of developments in science, but equally important is the need for adequate monitoring and surveillance of the current legislation.

In Europe we must have a level playing field for all producers. We are all aware of animal welfare standards which have been put in place where some Member States have blatantly been non-compliant and little action has been taken in the form of punishment or redress. This has been recently demonstrated in the debacle over the continued use of battery cages for hens, and is facing us again in relation to sow stalls. This puts those Member States and producers that have complied at a competitive disadvantage, which is unacceptable in the single market.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). - Mr President, I voted in favour of the Paulsen report as a firm supporter generally of animal welfare across the Union. It is vital that the EU should have a cohesive and effective science-based strategy in defending and advancing animal welfare. I agree with the report’s conclusion that lack of compliance and non-harmonised standards across Member States not only distort farming competition, for example over the laying hens issue and the sow stalls issue, but also put animal welfare generally at risk and make our WTO demands for third countries to fall into line much less credible.

It is disappointing to learn that the enforcement of existing rules has remained lax. It is, however, heartening that this report envisages future legislation to fill in the rather large gaps in EU animal welfare law, most notably in the field of dairy cows. I would also like to take this opporunity to register my support for the maximum journey time of eight hours and 500 km for the transport of live animals, with some derogations, and for the general principle of ‘on the hook’ rather than ‘on the hoof’. However, I agree with my colleague that the issue of managing stray dogs is far better left to the Member States to legislate on.

 
  
  

Motions for resolutions: B7-0407/2012, B7-0408/2012, B7-0409/2012, B7-0410/2012

 
  
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  Patrizia Toia (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, following the initial comments on the European Council, now the time for simplistic interpretation has begun, which is a mistake because important progress was made. For example, the destructive link between banks and public debts has been broken and we have a plan – albeit a weak one – on employment and jobs. The European institutions seem once again to be infused with a spirit of resurgence and renewed progress towards political unity, after so much slowness and dragging of feet, and a desire for real progress towards greater integration.

In this vein, yesterday saw a display of real unity between Parliament and the Commission. There were no winners or losers, but an undeniable, new institutional and political vitality compared to the diarchy of the past, which was the negation – the very antithesis – of the European spirit. Many countries showed initiative and a desire to act, not to create new, exclusive alliances, but to build a shared consensus that is respectful of all Member States. This is the path towards political unity, without which any form of banking, fiscal or monetary unity will be totally inadequate.

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I have rejected all of the motions for resolutions, except the one tabled by the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group, which I supported. I would like to explain why I did this, further to the comments I made yesterday regarding the Council document.

Let me reiterate: with all of these proposals, which I already criticised yesterday, this gang of four is attempting to use the crisis in Europe to establish a European superstate by the back door. However, this Council meeting was the 19th meeting of cluelessness. I come now to further proof that this European Union is simply a fair weather programme and it cannot cope with crises: the proof is this proposal for banking supervision. Why should banking supervision work when the supervision of the Member States by the European Union in respect of compliance with the Maastricht criteria is already not working? Who would share this optimism? In other words, the next failure is already on the cards. All of this is intended to serve to ensure that in future, circumventing the Treaty establishing the ESM, the banks will be financed directly. We only need to consider the fact that, during the current ratification procedure, the Council itself is already breaking the rules with its own proposals for direct financing of the banks. That is outrageous.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, amid the continuing crisis, yet another summit, yet another set of short-term fudges that buoy the market for a moment and then begin to unravel soon after. At the same time the people of Europe continue to suffer.

In Italy in May, 36.2% of young people were out of work. In Spain, that number is 51.1%. In all of this summitry, the fundamental issue of the lack of competitiveness has not been answered. Significantly – and very worryingly – in this whole process, the importance of national democracy has been diminished. In this House this week, we have heard demands for people to be quiet after a summit. Surely this House, being directly elected by citizens, should recognise that national governments – having pursued the proper ratification of ESM – have the right to raise questions when those rules are changed. I fear that we will soon be discussing another spike in this continuing crisis.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). - Mr President, last week the Irish Taoiseach arrived home from the summit proclaiming a tremendous victory for the Irish people. The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that the deal lifts the bank debt burden from Irish taxpayers. They were both very long on rhetoric and very short on detail, and when you read the detail it is not very enlightening. There is one sentence dealing with Ireland in the statement, which simply says that the Euro Group will examine the situation of the Irish financial sector.

It is as clear as mud. The summit has not provided any solution for the crisis. It does not deal with the unsustainable debt facing the Irish people, the Greek people, the Portuguese, Spanish, Italian people, and it does not tackle the collapse of private-sector investment that has taken place across Europe of EUR 300 billion in the course of the crisis. At the same time, the profits are going up and the richest corporations are hoarding EUR 3 trillion in liquid assets.

Radical socialist measures are needed to deal with the crisis. That means repudiating the debt. It means a capital tax on those uninvested profits, public investment to create jobs and, crucially, taking the key sections of the economy into democratic public ownership in order to be able to plan a way out of this crisis and redevelop the economies in a sustainable way.

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, this week there has been intense and profound discussion on the achievements of last week’s EU Summit. There have even been doubts expressed in the press and among the Members here as to whether anything of any real import was actually achieved at the meeting in the end. I would like to believe that something was achieved, but Europe needs to promote closer cooperation. We either sink together or we steer the European ship towards a better future. In any case, we already have what is a kind of two-speed Europe. Those countries that want to develop and strengthen their cooperation must be allowed to do so.

It is a regrettable fact that several Member States see the Summit as a contest in which to further their own interests, and nothing more. National interests are in this way taking priority over European cooperation. This is an unfortunate, dangerous phenomenon. The European Union is facing what is perhaps the most serious crisis in its history. Now the crisis is about its very existence.

 
  
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  Silvia Costa (S&D).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we must acknowledge that the European Council of 28 June represented an important political step forward, finally bucking the trend of years of repatriation of EU policies and delays in the process of strengthening and completing the Union’s institutional and economic framework to accompany the single currency.

It is now irresponsible of certain governments or political groups to question or threaten to veto the decisions that have been taken, which I hope will be confirmed and fleshed out at the next Ecofin Council meeting. Such behaviour also risks negating Parliament’s efforts to push ahead with common objectives, namely boosting own resources, investment, jobs and growth.

Thanks above all to the efforts of our political group and the work of the Italian and French Governments – together with the Spanish Government – the ‘golden rule’ and the Tobin Tax are now on the agenda, but a renewed push for greater political and economic integration in the European Union should be there as well.

 
  
  

Report: Jürgen Klute (A7-0197/2012)

 
  
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  Mitro Repo (S&D). - (FI) Mr President, I have just voted in favour of the report on access to basic banking services. Although the use of cash is rapidly diminishing, some 7% of the adult population of the EU still do not have a bank account. The reason why around six to seven million of these 30 million consumers do not have a bank account is that the banks have not agreed to let them have one.

Not having a bank account gives rise to basic problems for people in their everyday lives, when, for example, they go shopping, have to pay bills or enter into accommodation agreements. Furthermore, it is incredible that some banks are unwilling to open a bank account for a consumer even when they are presented with a currently valid contract of employment. In some cases, this is a serious problem, especially for employees from a migrant background.

We must rid ourselves of such discrimination and also persuade the banking sector to assume some social responsibility. For this reason, I enthusiastically support this report, which promotes the status of EU citizens and the internal market.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR). - (PL) Mr President, this report was prepared in reaction to the problems experienced by citizens trying to open a bank account in another Member State. The objective, which is sensible, is to standardise the rules and to make it easier to use banking services. However, the solutions presented diverge from the initial concept, which focused on improving access to basic payment services in the European Union. First of all, the report recommends that the Commission should not begin work – which is planned for the beginning of next year – on a draft directive for this service sector. Many other recommendations contained in the report will in reality constitute a direct or indirect threat to the Union’s banking sector. One issue that requires discussion is whether the suppliers of payment services should bear the cost of an information campaign to raise awareness about the right of access to the new product, especially in view of the fact that they will incur considerable costs for employee training. For this reason, I voted against this report.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE).(RO) Mr President, I fully endorse this resolution. I believe that every European citizen should have access to a basic bank account, for free or for a modest charge, because:

1. the annual opportunity cost of not having access to a payment account is estimated at roughly EUR 250 per consumer;

2. access to basic payment services is, in particular, a prerequisite for access to jobs, for health-care services and housing.

Furthermore, factors such as level or regularity of income, employment, credit history, level of indebtedness, individual situation regarding bankruptcy or turnover should not be taken into account for opening a basic payment account. In particular, access should in no way be conditional upon purchasing other products or services, such as insurance or an additional account.

 
  
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  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, thank you for your great patience today.

I am sure that for many of my UK colleagues – and particularly those other UK MEPs representing Northern Ireland in this House – the timing of this report is rather ironic in light of the banking failures of the RBS Group and the particular plight of Ulster Bank customers in my own constituency.

The technical problems that have consequently affected so many Ulster Bank clients, with no access to bank accounts for several weeks and problems with direct debit facilities, serve to highlight how important simple banking transactions have become to our everyday lives. The situation in my constituency has caused great anger, particularly since in Great Britain customers of RBS have had these problems resolved, whilst Ulster Bank customers will have to endure further weeks of misery.

Tellingly too, it has also served to highlight how banks seek patience from their clients at all times, even when they are at fault. But when clients default on their responsibility, even slightly, those penalties are severe and entirely disproportionate. It is time for the banks to regain trust from their customers and ethical banking will do much to help this.

 
  
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  Claude Turmes (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, I want to congratulate you for your perseverance and hope that you have not been too hungry during this time.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0158/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because I support the alignment process suggested to tackle financial provisions for 2013 for the Member States that have acceded to the EU since 2004. I am happy with the way direct payments are to be gradually introduced: it is suitable for enabling those Member States to grant – in a non-detrimental way – Commission permission for transition and national support for farmers in 2013. As such, this report represents the real interests of its beneficiaries.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In order to prevent European Union legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the European Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. This enables us to avoid a full-text revision that would involve repeating the whole legislative process. As regards the common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers, I voted in favour of certain adjustments and approved the simplifications that will benefit farmers. Our aim was to reduce the administrative burden and give Member States the option to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas from the requirement of an area declaration.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I believe that current legislation needs to be brought into line with the new legal reality. I should stress in particular the need to establish some common rules for the direct support schemes for farmers. At the same time, I think that any amendments must be aimed at simplifying the system to reduce the administrative burden on Member States. Indeed, the fact that states will be able to grant farmers certain exemptions will provide greater clarity and legal certainty. The common agricultural policy is the most important section in the EU budget. This is why I think that establishing an agreement should be a priority and, in this regard, both the Commission and Council should adopt a constructive attitude.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 providing the rules for the current system of direct payments to farmers should be superseded by the CAP reform proposals for 2014-2020, which are due to apply as from 1 January 2014. While Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 continues to apply in 2013, there are some financial provisions, which only run until 2012. In addition, calendar year 2013 corresponds to financial year 2014, and therefore falls under the new multi-annual financial framework of 2014-2020. This proposal has been produced to deal with the financial provisions for the 2013 transitional period. The main purpose of the proposal is to set net ceilings for direct payments for the calendar year 2013 by establishing an adjustment mechanism similar to modulation, so as to ensure continuity in payment levels while taking into account the phasing-in of direct payments in the new Member States and the cessation of voluntary modulation. In order to safeguard the continuity of support for farmers in 2013, this act must enter into force by 1 January 2013. It should also be borne in mind that the Commission proposal has been prepared on the premise that the alignment proposal COM(2010) 539 would be adopted first. Account should therefore be taken of this on-going procedure, possibly through additional amendments, at the time of adopting this report.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny, has been abolished by the Treaty of Lisbon. The new system is made up of a two-tier structure consisting of delegated and implementing acts, which enables the Commission to exercise its implementing and execution powers.

The Commission’s proposal is properly drafted in terms of its content, and given the new legal reality, I think that the current legislation must be brought into line. This is why I support this report.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal for a regulation because I consider it consistent with the overall development strategy for a sector that is still in trouble; a sector dominated by great market volatility, by environmental challenges and by the need for environmental security. Simplified and functional procedures that guarantee direct delivery, to ensure support – which is in great difficulties at the moment – capable of real development: that is why I voted in favour. That is the reasoned argument that enables direct payments to young farmers, to give them a chance and an opportunity for the entrepreneurial spirit and development that could have a significant impact on employment levels.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. The establishment of support schemes for farmers under the CAP is important for ensuring adequate standards of living for farmers as well as good food quality and fair prices for consumers. Given changes to the EU's comitology system, I am in favour of these amendments to Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that adapting the current legislation to the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon is of paramount importance, particularly in the areas where the relevant legislation was not adopted using the codecision procedure, which also means agriculture.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. (FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which tangibly implements the Treaty of Lisbon in the important case of aid to farmers and strengthens the powers of European citizens, who, through their representatives in Parliament, will be able to express their position through the drafting and monitoring of European regulations. The text also seeks to simplify procedures and reduce administrative costs so that the strengthening of European law is no longer synonymous with complexity and additional expenditure.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘common rules for direct support schemes for farmers’ because it includes measures aimed at updating agricultural legislation to the new provisions, thereby ensuring greater legal clarity and certainty, and aligning this Regulation with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) There have been various amendments to existing legislation aimed at adapting it to the Treaty of Lisbon since the latter came into force. Agricultural matters were bound to undergo such revisions and incorporate the drafting considered most suitable and compliant, not just with the letter, but also with the spirit of the Treaty of Lisbon. I hope issues relating to competences and the division thereof between the European institutions will not cut them off from the need to act together so as best to serve the public. I also hope the envisaged simplification will translate to concrete events that will improve the lives of farmers and reduce the – not always reasonable – bureaucratic burden weighing down on them.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Paolo De Castro concerns a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. Since the Commission proposals are balanced, in view of the report by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development demanding delegated acts in direct payments to farmers, and given that the current proposal provides for simplification of Regulation (EC) No 73/2009, particularly as regards the legislative environment and reducing the administrative burden on the Member States, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report forms part of the ‘Joint Debate – Alignment with the Treaty of Lisbon’, involving a series of reports by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, which amends the legislative text from the old comitology system using the two-tier structure imposed by the Treaty of Lisbon, which consists of delegated acts and implementing acts, enabling the Commission to exercise implementing powers without consulting Parliament. The report aims to amend the proposal for a Regulation establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers: ‘the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of Regulation (EC) No 73/2009’. The three issues arising here are the use of delegated acts to amend annexes to the Regulation, when rights are conferred on farmers, or when there could be negative consequences whenever there is a need to preserve the consistency of a legal text. The intention is to simplify the Regulation and some aspects of that simplification could be positive, particularly exempting farmers from area declarations when the areas are smaller than one hectare. However, we are concerned that some decision levels handed to the Commission will not benefit small farmers.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality. One of the first proposals is the alignment of the present proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. The proposal contains modifications in terms of alignment, but also provides for simplification of the Regulation. The proposal also includes a number of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. I would like to express support for the proposed modifications in order to achieve better legal clarity and certainty.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because the existing body of legislation is thus aligned with this new legal reality. One of the first proposals is the alignment of the present proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. The proposal contains modifications in terms of alignment, but also provides for the simplification of Regulation 73/2009. The proposal also includes a number of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. These amendments concern cross compliance, as well as the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas (less than 1 hectare) from the requirement of an area declaration. They will mainly concern livestock producers without any eligible land to apply for area-related payments. It is judged that the number of farmers who could be affected is difficult to predict, but it can be assumed that it will be limited, bearing in mind the continued decoupling of livestock payments and transfer to area-related payments. This amendment represents a cut in the administrative burden for certain Member States. It should help achieve better legal clarity and certainty.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The rules on direct support for farmers must be updated with regard to the Commission’s delegated and implementing powers. As a result, in an emergency the Commission will be able to use delegated acts to amend the annexes to the Regulation and adopt new measures. It will also be able to use implementing acts to grant specific targeted support for Member States. The European Parliament adopted this report by a very large majority and I welcome that.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. I voted in favour of this report. As part of a package of four technical dossiers aligning the existing CAP rules with the Treaty of Lisbon, this dossier deals with the rural development programme of the CAP and is significant because it focuses on the issue of delegated or implementing acts and how they should be applied to the different provisions included in the existing regulation. As with most agriculture dossiers I am satisfied that the European Parliament has sought to ensure that delegated acts and therefore the ordinary legislative procedure are used in as many cases as possible.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (EFD), in writing. I was pleased to see the large majority with which this vote passed. One common market should see truly common rules in agriculture. In keeping with the spirit of equality and solidarity, the product of the labour of one farmer should be held in the same esteem as that of another. I call upon all actors in the European Union to accelerate progress towards the equal treatment of EU workers in the agricultural sector and look forward keenly to the day when disparities in treatment across the Union will be eliminated.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) In recent years, Member States have called for the number of reports submitted to the Commission to be reduced. According to the current regulations, the summary reports must be submitted every two years, which gives a total of three reports. Consequently, the new proposal takes into account the recommendations made by Member States and restricts the number of reports to two. I think that, apart from the simplifications on reporting, the amendments relating to cross-compliance and the use of counselling services are a particularly important simplification, which will help considerably ease the administrative burden for Member States.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal on common rules for direct support schemes for farmers.

The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two-tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. This week the decision on payments to farmers of the Latvian Republic for the year 2012 was taken. Neither the European Commission nor the majority of Members of European Parliament are concerned about the fact that the issue remains unsolved and it is still very far from the tangible fairness. Declaring the perfection of democracy and transparency of approaches to the problem of discrimination of farmers is pure populism. Meanwhile Netherlands' farmers receive in average three times higher direct payments than Latvian. I am sure that such practice of double standards can lead to social explosion and mass protests from Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian farmers' side. I call on the Commission and the European Parliament to equalise the level of direct payments to all farmers in all EU Member States.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this report, which has two objectives: on the one hand, to adapt the existing legislation to the new Treaty provisions on the Commission’s implementing powers, and on the other hand, to simplify the current procedures by reducing the administrative burden on Member States. This proposal will thus help to strengthen legal clarity and certainty, thereby consolidating the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon and benefiting European farmers and citizens in general.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. Given the new comitology system provided for by the Treaty of Lisbon it is appropriate to grant the Commission the right, by means of implementing acts, to adopt a mechanism for allocating certain specific support. I therefore welcome the proposal that the Commission should be able to decide, without the assistance of the Committee for Direct Payments, which Member States fulfil certain conditions regarding the suckler cow premium and which do not, and also authorise new Member States to complement, subject to certain conditions, any direct payments.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) As a result of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers attributed to the Commission pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 should be aligned with Article 290 and Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As such, I voted for the report on the alignment of common rules for direct support schemes for farmers.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred on the Commission pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 must be aligned with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Said alignment is set out in this proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers. I have voted in favour, in order to simplify the current legal framework, reduce the administrative burden for Member States and ensure greater legal clarity and certainty.

 
  
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  Franck Proust (PPE), in writing. (FR) With this report, we are showing that Europe can react quickly. Legal specifications must remain the tools of our policy, rather than becoming insurmountable obstacles. It was absolutely crucial to align the legislation, particularly for the agricultural sector, which has suffered a great deal in recent years. It is time for Europe to lead the way by regulating agricultural markets so that excessive fluctuations do not further damage their financial situation. The CAP reform already offers a new framework, notably through the use of contracts.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the alignment of this proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 establishing common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy, and also simplifying that Regulation. Fundamentally, the intention is to align the existing body of legislation with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. The proposal also includes a set of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The rapporteur considered that the procedure defined in Article 11 of Regulation No 73/2009 (financial discipline mechanism) may no longer be applied without the involvement of the European Parliament, in light of the Treaty of Lisbon provisions on the CAP and the budgetary procedure. These amendments which concern cross-compliance, as well as the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas (less than 1 hectare) from the requirement of an area declaration, will mainly concern livestock producers without any eligible land to apply for area-related payments. The amendment reduces slightly the administrative burden for a few Member States.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am also in favour of this report, since it makes changes in terms of alignment and simplification. The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system and replaces it with delegated acts and implementing acts. One of the first proposals for alignment establishes common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and establishes support schemes for them. The report looks at the Commission’s proposal and proposes recourse to delegated acts only in specific cases. In terms of simplification, the proposal includes a series of provisions on the current legal framework and a reduction in the administrative burden for Member States, such as the possibility of exempting farmers who do not submit applications for area payments or only declare areas of less than a hectare from having to declare their areas.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. Ι voted in favour of this proposal because it establishes common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy and certain support schemes for farmers. It also includes a number of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) This votes sees the adoption of a series of measures designed to simplify the current legal framework and reduce the administrative burden faced by Member States. The changes mostly affect farmers whose land is not eligible to receive area payments. The new proposal includes changes in terms of alignment and also simplifies the regulation. Although it is hard to predict how many farmers will be affected by this change, we can presume that it will not be very many, if we bear in mind the increasingly marked tendency to move away from payments per animal and towards area payments. In any case, the change brings a reduction in red tape for some Member States.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In September 2010, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation intended to lay down common rules for direct support schemes for farmers under the common agricultural policy. I am voting for this report because I support the set of provisions aimed at simplifying the current legislative environment and easing the administrative burden for Member States. These amendments concern cross compliance, as well as the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers not applying for area-related payments and declaring only small areas – less than one hectare – from the requirement of an area declaration. Finally, I believe the European Commission should adopt acts pursuant to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, but should consult experts during the preparatory work.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) 2013 is a transitional year of preparation and adaptation to the new CAP 2014-2020, which will have even more catastrophic consequences for small and medium-sized holdings and agricultural production, by boosting large capitalist agricultural undertakings. The proposed transitional provisions contained in the Commission regulation and the European Parliament report for the transition to the new CAP do nothing in essence to change the anti-farming policy of the CAP. There is barely even a feasible facility for transitional national support for countries with a large public debt and deficit, in order to provide farmers with national resources. As a result, inequality within the EU is increasing, in keeping with the capitalist growth model, poor farmers are being ousted more quickly and further support is being given to large-scale farmers, thereby paving the way for the ‘new’, even more anti-farming CAP.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. In the European Commission’s legislative proposals on the new CAP, it was proposed that direct payments should be better targeted, including specifically to young farmers through an annual top-up of direct payments representing up to 2% of the national envelope for the first five years after installation. I support both the mandatory aspect of the young farmer top-up in Pillar I of the new CAP and the higher co-financing ratio and improved measures for the Pillar II sub-programme including young farmers.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr De Castro’s text, which brings in a series of measures designed to simplify the current legal framework and reduce the administrative burden faced by Member States. Among other things, the changes relate to cross-compliance and the possibility for Member States to exempt farmers who declare less than a hectare of land from the area declaration obligation. Lastly, I would like to point out the decision of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, which, in the absence of an agreement with the Council, has decided with today’s vote to send a strong message ahead of the forthcoming negotiations on reform of the common agricultural policy.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0161/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since the Commission is proposing to extend the current funding possibilities to all Member States to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups, but this proposal considers it discriminatory to exclude support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetable sector, and I clearly agree with that. In order to avoid different interpretations of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, it seems useful to allow Member States that have opted for regional programs to calculate the automatic cancellation of financial resources at Member State level. In order to harmonise European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Regional Development Fund, I also agree with the suggestion that the VAT for non taxable persons – that is, public institutions – be made eligible for an EAFRD contribution, which could certainly be very helpful for Europeans living in rural areas.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Regarding the report on the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, I approved the wish to improve its efficient and targeted use with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries, through delegated acts. In general, the requirements to qualify for this aid have been lowered. At times, the European Union seems too complicated, so we need to simplify procedures. Here, the number of annual progress and summary reports under Rural Development is reduced, Cross Compliance controls are facilitated and the rules for the use of advisory services are changed. These elements should contribute to ease the administrative burden for the Member States and simplify the lives of beneficiaries.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this agreement because it is particularly important for this regulation to be brought into line with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. A clear distinction needs to be made between implementing acts and measures, on the one hand, and delegated acts, on the other. I support the Commission’s proposal as, in my view, its aim is to make effective, constructive use of the available funds. They must be properly targeted at the beneficiaries who are eligible.

I also welcome the measures and regulations on simplification, aimed at ensuring that the scheme runs better. Indeed, harmonising EAFRD and ERDF is particularly important in this context. I would also like to stress the need to reinforce governance in this area, thereby enabling all the stakeholders to take an active part in the decision-making process.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr De Castro’s report because I approve of the simplifications to the current regulation, which aims to partly relieve Member States from the administrative burden relating to the process of aligning Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, to the new rules brought in by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 (as one of the first proposals) has to be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature of the Commission’s current implementing powers which were adopted on the basis of Regulations (EC) No 1974/2006 and No 1975/2006. The Commission proposal suggests ensuring efficient and targeted use of funds, establishing a level playing field for beneficiaries, and this is mostly covered in the proposal by delegated acts. Other provisions regarding concrete details of programmes, measures and rules are covered in the proposal by implementing acts, which are to be adopted by Member States. It is essential to ensure that the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups are extended to all Member States, without discriminating against producer groups in the fruit and vegetables sector. Also in order to avoid different interpretations of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, it seems useful to allow - for Member States, which have opted for regional programs - the calculation of the automatic cancellation of financial resources at Member State level.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Food security is an issue which has always been a global concern, and agriculture is the only branch of production which can guarantee food security for mankind, reserves for export and supplementary domestic stocks. The Commission’s proposal ensures efficient and targeted use of the funds with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries.

I welcome the introduction in the current regulation of some elements of simplification which provide for the extension of Natura 2000 support to the areas referred to in Article 10 of Directive 92/43/EEC, and the reduction in the number of annual progress and summary reports on rural development.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) With this report, we are showing that Europe can react quickly. The legal specifications must continue to be the tools of the policy that we implement rather than becoming insurmountable obstacles. It was absolutely crucial to align the legislation, particularly for the agricultural sector, which has suffered a great deal in recent years. It is time for Europe to show the way by regulating the agricultural markets so that excessive fluctuations do not further damage their financial situation. The common agricultural policy (CAP) reform already offers a new framework, notably through contractualisation.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, which includes the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and increases the powers of the European public, whose position is being defended via the development and monitoring of European regulations by their representatives in Parliament. The text also ensures the simplification of procedures and the reduction of administrative costs: no more will increased European legislation be synonymous with complexity and cost.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. It is important to make the appropriation of funding fair amongst different sectors of rural development. I am in agreement with the opinion of the Rapporteur on these matters and therefore have voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) It is important for Parliament that in the new open legislative context of the Treaty of Lisbon, the new provisions concerning the Commission’s powers of execution and implementation must be adapted to the Treaty’s text.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and strengthens the powers of European citizens, who, through their representatives in Parliament, will be able to express their position on the preparation and control of European regulations. The text also seeks to simplify procedures and reduce administrative costs so that the strengthening of European law is no longer synonymous with complexity and additional expenditure.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development’ because I think there is a need to update agricultural legislation to the new provisions, particularly as regards delegated acts, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the system established by the legislator, and implementing acts, in order to ensure a uniform application of the regime in the Member States and prevent unfair competition.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Parliament should set out a robust common position on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. This position should be brought closer to that advocated by the European Commission. That is the only way it will be possible to make sustained progress in negotiations with the Council.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report by Paolo De Castro concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. In order for the institutions to run more smoothly, the Council and Parliament can delegate the implementation of certain acts to the Commission, for a five-year period and notwithstanding the right to revoke that delegation. Given that the Commission proposal ensures efficient and targeted use of EAFRD funds and that certain simplification measures – such as extending Natura 2000 support to the areas referred to in Article 10 of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) – are being introduced, and in view of the report by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, I voted for this report.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) As regards alignment with the Treaty of Lisbon, the Commission is proposing, in general terms, to ensure efficient and targeted use of funds with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries, which is mostly covered in the proposal by delegated acts. Other provisions regarding concrete details of programmes, measures and rules are covered in the proposal by implementing acts which are to be adopted by Member States. As regards simplification, the proposal makes several positive suggestions, particularly extending Natura 2000 support to areas referred to in Article 10 of the Habitats Directive, reducing the number of annual progress and summary reports concerning rural development, and facilitating cross-compliance controls. The rules for the use of advisory services are also changed. Furthermore, it extends to all Member States the funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups, harmonises the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Regional Development Fund, and proposes that the VAT for non taxable persons – that is, public institutions – be made eligible for an EAFRD contribution.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 confers powers upon the Commission to implement some of the provisions of that Regulation. As a consequence of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred upon the Commission under Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 need to be aligned to Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Pursuant to Article 290 of the Treaty (delegated acts), the legislator may, where appropriate, delegate to the Commission the power to adopt generally applicable non-legislative acts that supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act. With regard to Article 291 of the Treaty (implementing acts), the legislator confers upon the Commission the power to adopt uniform conditions for implementing legally binding acts of the European Union. In addition, certain simplifying elements are being introduced to the current Regulation; support under the Natura 2000 system is being extended to the areas referred to in Article 10 of the Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora; and, similarly, in the rural development programme, the number of annual progress reports and summary reports is being reduced, controls of cross-compliance are being simplified, and the rules for using consultancy services are being simplified. These elements should help reduce the administrative burden on Member States.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the proposal because some elements of simplification are introduced in the current Regulation, Natura 2000 support is extended to areas referred to in Article 10 of Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) (these are legal elements of the proposal), the number of annual progress and summary reports under Rural Development is also reduced, cross compliance controls are facilitated and the rules for the use of advisory services are changed (these elements should help ease the administrative burden for the Member States). Besides this, as a (legal) element of simplification an incentive element should be introduced for measures approved under Article 43 of the Treaty (cofinanced measures within RD).

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Regulations on rural development by the European Agricultural Fund should be clarified in the light of the introduction of implementing acts and delegated acts by the Treaty of Lisbon. The conditions for exercising the delegation of power must therefore be specified. Moreover, aid to support rural development should only be granted to farmers or associations who devote an essential part of their working time to agricultural activities and derive from them a significant part of their income. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by Parliament by 645 votes in the July part-session.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. My group was in favour of the committee's approach of supporting the use of delegated acts in as many instances as possible. As we know, the recent trilogues were inconclusive with no agreement possible, largely due to a number of horizontal issues which crossed through all four main pieces of legislation. For this reason, the Rapporteur decided to go to plenary to highlight Parliament's position and outstanding issues will be negotiated as part of the full CAP reform trilogues that will take place next year. For this reason, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal as according to the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 (as one of the first proposals) has to be aligned based on the principle of sorting the current Commission implementing powers which were adopted on the basis of Regulations (EC) No 1974/2006 and No 1975/2006 between measures of implementing nature and measures of delegated nature.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which has two objectives: on the one hand, adapting the existing legislation to the new Treaty provisions on the Commission’s implementing powers, and on the other hand, simplifying the current regulations (reducing the number of annual progress and summary reports required under Rural Development, simplifying Cross Compliance controls and the rules for the use of advisory services …). This proposal strengthens legal clarity and certainty, thereby consolidating the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon and benefiting citizens, and will enable more efficient and targeted funding.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) By voting in favour of the various reports on the common agricultural policy (CAP) presented today in this Chamber, we want to reaffirm the importance for Parliament of moving ahead with the alignment of the legislative procedures set out in Article 290 of the Treaty, giving the Commission the power to adopt delegated acts on reforming the CAP, which had been blocked on several occasions by the Council. This procedure is an essential part of the attempt to boost rural development and farming in our territory.

We therefore welcome Mr De Castro’s proposal, which aims at an effective, targeted use of funds from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) for the various beneficiaries. We are, however, sorry to see that, in the extension of funding opportunities for producer groups to all Member States, the fruit and vegetables sector has been left out, because it plays a key role in European agriculture and the health of our consumers. We would point out that the fruit and vegetables sector contributes to preservation of the environment, economic growth and the creation of many direct and indirect jobs that, in many areas of the Union, have suffered as a result of the current economic crisis. We hope the Commission can resolve this problem and add the fruit and vegetables sector to the EAFRD beneficiaries.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) It is very important to establish a mechanism, which would ensure that no producer groups are discriminated against and that all of them can take advantage of the support provided under equitable conditions. Furthermore, following a thorough analysis a compromise must be found to prevent disharmony between environmental provisions and local development. The proper use of these funds would swiftly and effectively help address issues of economic investment and environmental protection.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on aligning the scheme for support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with the Treaty of Lisbon, pursuant to Article 290 and Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union makes a distinction between the powers delegated to the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act and the Commission’s power to adopt uniform conditions for implementing legally binding Union acts. I voted in favour of the proposal in order to ensure effective and targeted use of funds in terms of the treatment of beneficiaries, while also giving the Commission the task of making further changes to ensure the correct functioning of the system proposed by the legislature.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Fundamentally, the intention is to align this text with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. It also proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. Natura 2000 support is extended to areas referred to in Article 10 of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC); also the number of annual progress and summary reports under RD is reduced; cross-compliance controls are facilitated and the rules for the use of advisory services are changed.

Besides this as a (legal) element of simplification, an incentive element should be introduced for measures approved under Art.43 TFEU (cofinanced measures within RD). That means that aid which is granted retroactively in respect of activities which have already been undertaken by the beneficiary and miss the incentive element would therefore be prohibited and a starting date of eligibility should be provided.

 
  
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  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) With regard to the current regulation, the Commission can adopt delegated acts in order to introduce exceptions to the rule that no rural development support should be granted to schemes eligible for support under common market organisations. I am in favour of Mr De Castro’s report, which suggests ensuring effective and targeted use of funds in terms of the treatment of beneficiaries covered by delegated acts. The regulation brings in simplifying measures, which need to be accompanied by an incentive element for measures approved under Article 43 of the Treaty (cofinanced measures on rural development). The Commission rightly proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups. The report considers it discriminatory to exclude support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetables sector.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of this report because it proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) This vote proposes to extend to all Member States the current funding possibilities to support the setting up and administrative operation of producer groups, but the rapporteur, Mr De Castro, considers it discriminatory to exclude support for producer groups in the fruit and vegetables sector. The goal is to ensure efficient and targeted use of funds with regard to the treatment of beneficiaries, which is mostly covered in the proposal by delegated acts. Other provisions regarding concrete details of programmes, measures and rules are covered in the proposal by implementing acts which are to be adopted by Member States. In order to harmonise the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Regional Development Fund, VAT for non-taxable persons such as public institutions is made eligible for an EAFRD contribution.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is to make the agricultural and forestry, environmental, and landscape sectors more competitive, to improve quality of life in rural areas, and to diversify the rural economy. The EAFRD is intended to complement national, regional and local activities contributing to EU priorities. It is the European Commission and the Member States that oversee the EAFRD’s coherence and compatibility with EU support measures. I am voting for this report because I agree that the aid to which this article refers should only apply to farmers or farmers’ associations that devote an essential part of their working time to agricultural activities and derive from them a significant part of their income. So as to ensure greater consistency and uniformity in the application of EAFRD rules, I very much support the suggestion that each Member State should establish a national rural network involving regional and local representatives. However, the European Commission should lay down rules concerning the establishment and operation of those networks.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The proposal for a regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 is intended to extend the scope of the measure on producer groups, reduce the number of summary reports and simplify their content as part of strategic monitoring, facilitate the use of advisory services in a more personalised manner, and monitor the cases failing to respect cross-compliance. According to this regulation, the advisory service to farmers will cover at least one or more of the statutory management requirements and good agricultural and environmental conditions provided for in Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 and, where relevant, one or more of the occupational safety standards based on EU legislation. Parliament has requested that work carried out on a time and materials basis as part of rural development measures by the ultimate beneficiaries using the manpower, materials and equipment which a firm has available should also be eligible for EAFRD contributions.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. If we are to keep producing locally-grown, high-quality food for European citizens then generational renewal in the sector must be secured and the downward trend in young farmer numbers must be reversed. That is why it is crucial that the top-up in Pillar I stays mandatory for all Member States, just as the co-financing ratio in Pillar II stays favourable: the future of the Common Agriculture Policy is dependent on an effective Common Installation Policy.

Today’s reports have given the European Parliament an opportunity to back important measures to promote generational renewal in the sector, and the young farmers of Europe are counting on other MEPs to mirror Mr Capoulas Santos’ support for measures to enhance demographic sustainability as well as to encourage Member States to endorse such a crucial policy for generational renewal in European agriculture.

 
  
  

Report: Paolo De Castro (A7-0322/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report and would stress, from the outset, that the adoption of this regulation is particularly urgent. The upcoming substantial reform of the single common market organisation, within the framework of the general common agricultural policy reform, would be unreasonably burdened if the Commission alignment proposal were still open. The guiding principle is that a balance should be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently and the powers Parliament and the Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process. I am also voting for the various cross-cutting amendments intended to reflect the common understanding reached between the institutions on the use of delegated acts, as well as the recent entry into force of the Regulation laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Union has established common rules regarding agricultural markets. These rules relate in particular to public interventions on markets, quota and aid schemes, marketing and production standards as well as trade with third countries. Over and above the legal changes that need to be implemented, I approved the rapporteur’s recommendations stressing the importance of early adoption of the new common market organisation (CMO) regulation to ensure stability of the markets and an adequate standard of living for the farmers that we need to support here in Parliament, every day.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I think that updating this regulation is of paramount importance. This will allow a clear distinction to be made between delegated powers granted to the Commission for adopting non-legislative acts and those granted for adopting implementing acts. At the same time, the Single Common Market Organisation must take into account the current differences between the Commission’s delegated and implementing powers.

In my view, the new regulation should be adopted as quickly as possible to address the urgent problems and disquiet about the Single Common Market Organisation. In this context, the general reform of the common agricultural policy should progress as normal and should not be obstructed or hindered by other additional problems. I believe that there must be a balance and effective cooperation between the Commission and Parliament so that the legislative process runs under optimum conditions.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am in favour of the report by Mr De Castro on establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and establishing specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation). This vote is a matter of responsibility to ensure that we do not bog down the major reform of the single common market organisation with an unwarranted burden in the event that negotiations are still ongoing over the Commission’s alignment proposal, all the while bearing in mind that there is still a great deal of work to do on this issue.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it is essential to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the single common organisation of agricultural markets with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). This proposal includes, for the sake of completeness, the proposals for modifications of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 already separately submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. The proposed alignment of Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 with the new requirements is based on the Commission’s classification of its existing powers as ‘delegated’ and ‘implementing’ under Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 against the background of the implementing measures adopted by the Commission on the basis of its current powers. In order to ensure a balance between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently and the powers Parliament and Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process, the new regulation needs to be adopted as soon as possible. The upcoming substantial reform of the Single CMO (in the framework of the general CAP Reform) would not thus be unreasonably burdened with a still open negotiation on the Commission alignment proposal still under consideration.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) It should be remembered that we need to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a single common market organisation with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; the proposal confers the right to legislate and the power to set out the key elements of the common organisation of agricultural markets. The legislator retains the power to set out the conditions and criteria for determining aid, export refunds and the minimum export price. I am voting for the proposal.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. I am in agreement with the Commission's proposals with regard to the common organisation of agricultural markets but I also believe that they need to consider the distinction between delegated and implemented acts. Therefore I support the Rapporteur's conclusions and am in favour of these amendments.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that in a situation where Parliament and the Council are on an equal footing with regard to the common agricultural policy, it is important that delegated acts are the preferred procedure, provided, of course, that the technical conditions are met for them.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of common rules regarding agricultural markets. Strengthening Parliament’s supervisory powers on European regulations enables European citizens to express their position through their representatives in Parliament.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural product’ because I think current agricultural legislation needs to be updated to the new provisions, pursuant to the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the Treaty of Lisbon, Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on a single common market organisation (Single CMO Regulation) needs to be adapted to the distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Article 290 enables the legislator to delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act. Article 291 of the TFEU enables the Member States to adopt all measures of national law necessary to implement legally binding EU acts. The proposal on which we are currently voting is to adapt the Single CMO Regulation, including several amendments intended to make it more comprehensible and effective.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) All alignment exercises are fundamentally technical, but they include a certain political sensitivity and always elicit some controversy. I therefore welcome the fact that this issue has been debated in the European Parliament before the debate on reforming the common agricultural policy. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. This report, by Paolo De Castro, concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products. I voted for this report which advocates increasing the competences conferred on Parliament by the Treaty of Lisbon and urges the Council to share responsibilities to a greater extent, from which the public as a whole will benefit.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Part of the ‘Joint Debate – Alignment with the Treaty of Lisbon’, which consists of adopting delegated acts and implementing acts, enabling the Commission to exercise implementing powers without consulting Parliament, this report is an element of updating the Regulation ‘establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products’. As such, the legislator fixes the objectives of market-intervention measures, production-limitation systems and aid schemes. Similarly, the legislator lays down the principle of establishing a system of import and export licences, the fundamental elements of the rules concerning marketing and production and the principle of application of sanctions, reductions and exclusions. Although the content of the report focuses on a technical adaptation, the rapporteur tackles important and positive issues: the facilitation of cross-compliance controls, thereby alleviating the administrative burden on the Member States; the rejection of discrimination against fruit and vegetable producers; and VAT eligibility for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková-Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The objective of the Commission’s proposal is to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation with the new differentiation between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In addition, this proposal includes for the sake of completeness the proposals for modifications of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 already separately submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. Articles 290 and 291 TFEU establish a clear distinction between, on the one hand, the powers delegated to the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts and, on the other, the powers conferred on the Commission to adopt implementing acts. The proposed alignment of Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the new requirements is based on the definition of the existing Commission powers as ‘delegated’ and ‘implementing’ based on the implementing measures adopted by the Commission on the basis of its current powers. The proposal therefore gives the legislator the power to define the essentials of the common organisation of markets. I believe that it is necessary and important to achieve a balance between the need for the Commission to act effectively and efficiently, and the powers available to the Council and Parliament under the Treaty of Lisbon in the context of the legislative process.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because the Commission proposal aims to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO) with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In addition, this proposal includes, for the sake of completeness, the proposals for modifications of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 already separately submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. The proposal provides the legislator with the power to define the framework of the CMO. For example, the objectives of the market intervention measures, of the systems of production limitation and of the aid schemes are fixed by the legislator. Similarly, the legislator lays down the principle of establishing a system of import and export licences, the fundamental elements of the rules concerning marketing and production and the principle of application of sanctions, reductions and exclusions. The legislator also provides for the existence of specific provisions for individual sectors. The guiding principle is that a balance should be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently and the powers Parliament and Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts. Delegated acts and implementing acts are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the powers originally provided for. In effect, the Commission is given the power to determine the amounts through implementing acts, while the legislator is still responsible for defining the conditions and criteria for setting the amounts of aid, export refunds and minimum prices. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by Parliament by a large majority in the July part-session.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal which strikes the right balance between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently, on one hand, and the powers Parliament and the Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process, on the other.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this report which aims to adapt the Council Regulation to the new Treaty provisions on the implementing powers of the Commission. This proposal strengthens legal clarity and certainty, thereby consolidating the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon, and will make the single common market organisation more accessible to all stakeholders.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) It is very important for legislation on the single common organisation of agricultural markets to be made simple, transparent and as clear as possible for citizens. Furthermore, in every case the decision to adopt delegated acts must be taken carefully and only in specific and limited cases. We must stop any abuse of this right. I believe that in order to guarantee the necessary quality of delegated acts and the opportunity to implement them, the Commission must constantly consult experts in the Member States and take due account of their opinion.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for adapting Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a single common market organisation with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) I would point out the need to align Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO) with the new distinction between delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal provides the legislator with the power to define the essentials of the CMO. I am voting in favour of the proposal, so that the powers over defining conditions and criteria for fixing aid amounts, export refunds and minimum export prices remain with the legislator.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of this European Commission proposal is to amend Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the single common market organisation (CMO) to the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. Fundamentally, the guiding principle is that a balance should be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently, on the one hand, and the powers Parliament and the Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process, on the other. It should be noted that the adoption of this Regulation is particularly urgent. In fact, it is important to bear in mind that the upcoming substantial reform of the single CMO, within the framework of the general common agricultural policy reform, would be unreasonably burdened if the Commission alignment proposal were still open.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The rapporteur, and the AGRI Committee voting in favour, consider that the Commission proposal on the Single CMO has not respected the principle that Article 43(3) TFEU needs to be interpreted restrictively. They consider that defining conditions and criteria for fixing aid amounts, export refunds and minimum export prices should remain with the legislators, leaving to the Commission only the fixing of amounts through implementing acts.

Therefore in the report he deleted all provisions related to Article 43(3) TFEU and replaced them by the respective content laid down in the Commission proposal for a Council Regulation (which reproduces the corresponding provisions of the existing Single CMO Regulation No 1234/2007). This approach is more pragmatic and also sensible from a procedural point of view (lege artis).

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of this proposal as a reform of the single CMO is important. I strongly believe that a balance will be achieved between the need for the Commission to act efficiently and expediently, on one hand, and the powers Parliament and Council have under the Treaty of Lisbon with regard to the legislative process.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) At a time when economic uncertainty and market volatility are dictating everything, the support of the EU is essential for reviving the competitiveness of our agricultural sector on a global scale. Even despite the economic crisis that has been dragging on since 2008, Europe remains the largest trading bloc in the world and therefore the EU must intervene to accentuate its strengths. I voted in favour to show my support for the need to achieve some fundamental goals, namely improving the functioning of the single market, ensuring wise use of the Structural Funds, maximising the benefits of cohesion policy, ensuring stability and improving access to funding. All of this must be brought about by cutting back the procedures that make the law and the red tape faced by Member States so unwieldy and only serve to dissuade investment by farmers.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of the European Commission proposal is to establish a single common market organisation, aimed at clarifying the Commission’s current ‘delegated powers’ and ‘implementing powers’. This proposal provides the legislator with the essentials of market-intervention measures, such as production-limitation systems and aid schemes, fixed by the legislator. I am voting for this report because I believe the legislator needs to define the key elements of the common agricultural policy and of taking the political decisions that shape its structure, instruments and effects. The intention is thereby to describe specific rules for certain agricultural products, such as beef or butter. So as to ensure the smooth running of the scheme established by this Regulation, due attention should be paid to regional and local authorities, island, sparsely populated and mountainous regions, and the outermost regions, so as not to aggravate the constraints that such regions already face.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation). The proposal aims to update Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 on the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO) to take into account the distinction between the delegated and implementing powers of the Commission introduced by Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In addition, the new proposal for a regulation also includes the proposals for amending Regulation No 1234/2007 to make the Single CMO clearer and more accessible to all the stakeholders. This regulation covers all the fundamental elements of the Single CMO. In certain cases, setting prices, levies, aids and quantitative limitations is inextricably linked with these fundamental elements. In order to stabilise the markets and provide the population in agricultural areas with a fair standard of living, a system was devised for supporting prices, differentiated according to sectors, along with the introduction of direct support schemes. This procedure allows, on the one hand, the various needs of each sector and, on the other hand, the interdependencies between sectors to be taken into account.

 
  
  

Report: Giovanni La Via (A7-0209/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since I agree with some amendments concerning delegation conditions: period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure, etc. I would stress the importance of the amendments being introduced, but especially those relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the recovery procedure, because replacing two Council Regulations and decreasing the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States constitutes a simplification. These amendments contribute to more efficient and swifter funding for beneficiaries. I would fervently restate that the European Union should move towards increasing simplification as regards EAGF funds: let us not forget that the regions need that, since they normally wait long periods before being able to put their funding to use and implement the necessary measures.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In order to prevent EU legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. That enables us to avoid revising a text entirely by going through the whole legislative process. Should all existing legislation then be adapted to this new legal reality? I approved the proposed amendments which once again aim to decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. Europe must be more accessible and I work there every day!

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in accordance with the Common Understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents on 3 March 2011 and Regulation No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council, laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers, some amendments should be introduced as regards the conditions of the delegation (period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure and so on). Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the harmonisation of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on the classification of the provisions adopted by the Commission as delegated powers and implementing powers pursuant to that Regulation. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the financing of the common agricultural policy (CAP). I support the proposals to amend the conditions of the delegation (period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure and so on.). This report aims to simplify the regulation on the financing of the common agricultural policy by classifying the provisions into delegated powers and implementing powers. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the recovery procedure also constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. With this in mind, I think it is important to prepare for the reform of the European common agricultural policy.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) This text concerns the funding of the common agricultural policy and aims to rationalise the complex bureaucracy of the European farming sector. In particular, the amendments relating to the costs to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund so as to guarantee the recovery procedure constitute a simplification, since they scrap two Council Regulations, thereby decreasing the administrative burden on Member States. I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I agree with the importance of switching to the new system and of Parliament’s prerogative to control the Commission’s initiatives using delegated acts.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of our important common agricultural policy (CAP) and strengthens the powers of European citizens, who, through their representatives in Parliament, will be able to express their position on the drawing up and control of European regulations. The text also seeks to simplify procedures and reduce administrative costs so that the strengthening of European law is no longer synonymous with complexity and additional expenditure.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘the financing of the common agricultural policy’ because I believe the amendments tabled concerning the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the recovery procedure represent a simplification, since they replace two Council Regulations and decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States, thereby aligning this Regulation with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 aim to adapt it to the Treaty of Lisbon and fully to set out the scope and limits of the powers enjoyed by the Commission, thereby enabling it to ensure the proper functioning of the scheme laid down therein. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has been eliciting doubts in relation to the scope of delegated acts and how they are used, and to Parliament’s intervention. I believe everyone would win if the delegation conditions were clear and enabled adequate monitoring, translating into more transparent processes and decisions and into increased monitoring, not least by Parliament. The common agricultural policy accounts for too great a share of the EU budget for it to be any other way.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) We could say that farmers, particularly small-scale farmers, are the poor relations of our society. Despite their immeasurable contribution to creating and maintaining a healthy environment by preserving ecosystems, the truth is that farming is very unprofitable and not at all attractive. Only 6% of Europe’s population works in agriculture and a third of those are aged over 60. Without the involvement of young people, farming has no future. We therefore have to step up the stimuli for rural areas within the framework of the common agricultural policy. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. This report has been much-debated and agreement on horizontal alignment is impossible because a majority in the Council can always block an implementing act. Nevertheless, Parliament cannot renounce its prerogatives in areas as sensitive as these, so I voted for this report.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková-Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the harmonisation of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on a classification into delegated powers and implementing powers of the provisions adopted by the Commission for the application of that Regulation. Based on the criteria defined in Articles 290 and 291 for each type of act respectively, the rapporteur carefully scrutinised the Commission’s proposal and identified areas where the conditions for delegated acts were met. Consequently, the proposal was scrutinised on the conditions of implementing acts. It is appropriate to amend and supplement the conditions of the delegation in accordance with the Common Understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents in March last year and Regulation 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. The simplification will be reflected in the repeal of two Council regulations and a decrease in the number of administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because under the Treaty of Lisbon, the harmonisation of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on the classification of the provisions adopted by the Commission as delegated powers and implementing powers pursuant to that Regulation. The Committee carefully scrutinised the Commission proposal and identified areas where the conditions for delegated acts were met. Consequently, the conditions for implementing acts were scrutinised. The rapporteur proposed some amendments as regards the conditions of the delegation (period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period, committee procedure, etc.) in accordance with the Common Understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents on 3 March 2011 and Regulation No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council, laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts, which are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the essential provisions originally provided for. The report provides amendments to the Regulation exclusively regarding the conditions of the delegation, namely the period of delegation, the timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, the extension of that period and the committee procedure. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by a very large majority by Parliament.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal. The amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because it is above all very important to ensure that legislation on the financing of the common agricultural policy is clear and comprehensible to citizens. The principle of legal clarity and certainty must be properly implemented, while constantly taking account of legitimate expectations. Furthermore, the implementation of legislation should not cause an additional administrative burden for the Member States.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on aligning the scheme for financing the common agricultural policy with the Treaty of Lisbon for each type of act, on the basis of the criteria set out in Articles 290 and 291.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) In accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the alignment of Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new rules contained in the Treaty is based on classifying into delegated powers and implementing powers the provisions adopted by the Commission pursuant to that Regulation. Considering the amendments on delegation conditions and the resulting simplification and reduction in the red tape faced by Member States, I have voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Following the Treaty of Lisbon, there was a need to align Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 with the new provisions concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. In this context, a number of amendments have been tabled concerning delegation conditions, including period of delegation, timeframe for objecting to a delegated act, extension of that period and committee procedure; these are in line with the common understanding on practical arrangements for the use of delegated acts approved by the Conference of Presidents on 3 March 2011 and with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers. Amendments are also intended, relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, which themselves constitute a simplification, since they replace two Council Regulations and decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of this proposal because the amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the EAGF and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council regulations and result in a decrease in the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The adoption of this text is of the utmost importance because it encapsulates our agriculture policy – the most important heading in the EU budget. The amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 aim for simplification and efficiency, which translates into genuine help for farmers and reduced bureaucracy, eliminating complex and burdensome procedures for Member States. In the hope that both the Commission and the Council will take a constructive approach, so that an agreement may be found, I have voted in favour of the amendments proposed by Mr La Via.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The goal of the European Commission proposal is to identify the delegated powers and define the implementing competences conferred on the Commission by Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005, and to establish the correct procedure for adopting the acts in question. I am voting for this report because I believe the European Commission should have powers to ensure the existence of uniform conditions for applying the common agricultural policy (CAP) Regulations. Moreover, the amendments relating to the expenditure to be financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the recovery procedure constitute a simplification in that they replace two Council Regulations and decrease the administrative tasks incumbent on Member States. In the next EU budget programming period 2014-2020, the CAP is aiming to make the farming sector more competitive and ensure healthier and better-quality food for the European public.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. It is not by chance that a policy to which an important part of the EU budget is allocated is the one that regulates the rural development of large areas of the EU and guarantees that farmers can continue producing in compliance with certain requirements that are designed to protect consumers and the environment.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) At a time when the financial framework of the European Union has not been decided, it is difficult to speak about financing the common agricultural policy. It is not difficult to see that we are discussing the future of the common agricultural policy without knowing the future budget of the Union. This has not stopped us from creating new challenges for farmers. We are giving them additional responsibilities, such as the obligation to look after the environment, without paying any attention to the fact that we still do not know how much money farmers will receive to meet these challenges.

In order to be able to plan agricultural policy sensibly, we have to know the European Union’s budget. The present discussions are not about a real common agricultural policy, they are just empty words. In all the complexity of this situation, what is particularly important is to finance the common agricultural policy, and this is an indisputable fact. For this reason I decided to support this document by voting in favour.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing. (PL) The common agricultural policy is an ineffective and harmful tool that serves primarily to subsidise large and wealthy farms. For years its rules have breached the Union’s fundamental law, which speaks about the equality of Member States. For this reason, the basic rule according to which rich farmers from the West receive more than twice the level of subsidy received by their colleagues in Central and Eastern Europe should be changed. Making payments equal would be a breakthrough for which millions of citizens are waiting and it would be a new opening that would make it possible to use available funds better and more effectively. I too am waiting for these changes.

 
  
  

Report: Martin Häusling (A7-0215/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it aims, above all, to update current legislation in line with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, which accorded Parliament new powers. This proposal will contribute to the smoother running of the market and aims to prevent unfair competition.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the report regarding organic production and labelling of organic products. We, Members of the European Parliament, encouraged the Commission to adopt specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this Regulation in order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade. It is very important that all Member States adopt all measures of national law necessary to implement the regulation and to ensure high quality of organic products.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In order to prevent EU legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. That enables us to avoid revising a text entirely by going through the whole legislative process. Amendments may be needed in order to take account of scientific or technical advances, a new fact, or to adapt quantitative data. Here we are talking about organic production and the labelling of organic products. As the rapporteur points out, delegated acts will ‘better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade’.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal on the alignment of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products. The aim of the proposed alignment is to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade. It is essential to relieve organic farmers of the burden of unnecessary red tape.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I support that this regulation must be brought properly into line with the Treaty’s provisions as soon as possible so as to take into account the differences between implementing measures, on the one hand, and delegated acts, on the other. This adjustment is particularly important, especially with regard to organic and green products, with the aim of paying more attention to consumer’s expectations in terms of the relevant products’ quality.

This means that the rules, measures and conditions required to implement the regulation effectively will be adopted by the Commission using delegated acts. I think that this can ensure the single market will function properly and make trade more efficient. I would like to stress the importance of applying this regulation uniformly across the whole EU so as to prevent any problems or discrepancies arising.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I decided to support the report by Mr Häusling because it embraces and develops a number of principles that I think are essential in terms of organic production and labelling of organic products: taking account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products, ensuring the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned, and safeguarding the proper functioning of the single market and trade.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in order to take better account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, it is necessary, by means of delegated acts, to adopt specific rules, measures and conditions applicable to this Regulation (for example, the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production, their inclusion in a restricted list or the withdrawal from that list for the purposes of Articles 16 and 21; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs; the labelling rules and other aspects). No amendments concerning the proposal for the Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products linked to the classification of delegated and implementing acts are proposed. According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 has to be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature. This proposal is one of several Commission proposals for the approximation of legislation in order to adapt agricultural legislation to new provisions, as provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Organic farming is a dynamic sector and, in the country I come from, it has enjoyed steady growth in recent years, both in the crop and animal production sectors. One of the prerequisites for developing organic farming is to promote the green concept so as to make consumers aware of the benefits of eating organic products so that they will pay a higher price for fresh products whose quality is guaranteed by an inspection and certification system.

In order to achieve this, I think that we need to give greater consideration to consumers’ expectations about the quality of organic products and also ensure that the rules are applied by all the operators involved and, last but not least, that the single market and trade are functioning properly.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the adoption of this text, which incorporates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon as regards the specific case of the production and labelling of organic products. It enhances Parliament’s supervisory powers over European legislation, thereby enabling the public to express their opinions through their representatives.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. To serve the expectations and health of consumers, the quality of organic products must be regulated. Ensuring the quality of organic products cannot be achieved without the application of necessary rules, which must be implemented by the designated authorities. I support the Rapporteur's additions to promote and facilitate this and therefore am in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that we need to take into account consumers’ expectations about the quality of organic products to ensure that the rules are applied properly by the relevant authorities, agencies and operators, and that the single market and trade are functioning properly.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which consolidates the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon for the specific case of the production and labelling of organic products. Strengthening the supervisory powers of Parliament on European regulations enables European citizens to express their position through their representatives in Parliament.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘organic production and labelling of organic products’ because it includes measures that guarantee the quality of organic products and adequately apply the rules for the entities, bodies and operators in question, thereby ensuring that the internal market and trade work properly.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) sets out the distinction between delegated powers and implementing powers. Article 290 enables the legislator to delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act. Article 291 of the TFEU enables the Member States to adopt all measures of national law necessary to implement legally binding EU acts. In the proposal we have just adopted, the Commission performed a rigorous repartition between the more general provisions of Article 290, establishing additional elements, and the more technical elements of Article 291, which are very much connected with the discretion that Member States enjoy in implementing this measure. For this very reason, no amendments are proposed to the drafting of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products as regards the classification of delegated and implementing acts.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The main concern of Members of this House is public health and well-being. When we debate delicate issues in the field of organic production, what is at stake is protecting European consumers as regards the products in circulation in the EU. Since it has come into force, all legislation has had to be aligned with the Treaty of Lisbon, which involves changing the old comitology system, which has now been replaced by a two-tier system: delegated acts and implementing acts. This report by Mr Häusling concerns a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on organic production and labelling of organic products. Although we are adapting legislation to the Treaty of Lisbon, it is essential not to disappoint consumers of organic products: we must create clear labelling conditions that enlighten and inform people, but that free these products from all unnecessary bureaucracy. I voted for this report and I hope that the Commission will soon table a proposal to improve the Organic Farming Regulation as regards the substances that may be used for this type of farming.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report aims to align this regulation with the Treaty of Lisbon. The legislative text from the old comitology system is now being aligned using the two-tier structure imposed by the Treaty of Lisbon, which consists of delegated acts and implementing acts, enabling the Commission to exercise implementing powers without consulting Parliament. According to the rapporteur, so as better to take into account consumer expectations regarding the quality of organic products, the Commission uses delegated acts to adopt the specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for applying this regulation. These include the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products produced from or by GMOs; and the labelling rules, requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, size and design of the EU organic logo as well as the conditions and rights of its use. As experience has borne out, particularly as regards GMOs, these are areas in which the Commission has been defending the rights of corporations rather than those of the public and consumers.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the state organisations, private organisations and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission will, by means of delegated acts, adopt the specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the uniform application of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 in all Member States. It should be empowered to adopt implementing acts in accordance with Article 291 of the Treaty and, similarly, it should be empowered to adopt implementing acts regarding the attribution of code numbers under the control regime, the indication of origin for the products and uniform rules on the exchange of information to be sent by Member States, third countries, state control authorities and private control agencies or made available by the Commission, or the publication of that information, as well as for the recognition of third countries and state control authorities and private control agencies for the purposes of equivalence and compliance. For the sake of clarity, the wording of the references to the European standard EN 45011 or ISO Guide 65 should be harmonised with other relevant EU acts. I therefore consider it justified to amend and supplement Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 accordingly.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the proposal because according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 has to be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature. Article 290 of the TFEU allows the legislator to ‘delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of a legislative act’. Legal acts adopted by the Commission in this way are referred to in the terminology used by the Treaty as ‘delegated acts’ (Article 290(3)). In order to take better account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission will, by means of delegated acts, adopt specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this Regulation (for example, the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production, their inclusion in a restricted list or the withdrawal from that list for the purposes of Articles 16 and 21; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs; the labelling rules, requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, size and design of the organic logo of the European Union as well as the conditions and rights of its use, in accordance with Title IV and so on).

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts, which are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the essential provisions originally provided for. In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission shall adopt the measures necessary for the application of this regulation. These measures include in particular the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production and the labelling rules. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by a very large majority by Parliament.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. As we well know, the issue on how decisions authorising certain products and substances are taken (by means of delegated or implementing acts) is a horizontal one. In case of organic farming products the authorisation procedure is even more general, because there is no application by individual operators. Authorisations are done in a general manner by the Commission upon a request of a Member State. The Commission has proposed in Article 16(1) and 21(1) to authorise these substances by means of delegated acts. Although Parliament supported this position, the Council has changed these provisions to implementing acts. The position of the European Parliament in the third reading on Art. 16 and 21 was to move the list of substances into annexes of the basic act which will then be modified by the ordinary legislative procedure. The ECR is in favour of the committee's approach of supporting the use of delegated acts in as many instances as possible. For this reason, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) In accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), this report calls for the alignment of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, based on the principle of sorting between measures of implementing nature and measures of delegated nature. In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products, the Commission has adopted specific rules for the application of this regulation Accordingly, the Commission has drawn a clear line between the provisions and I am therefore voting in favour of the resolution.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The regulation being discussed, albeit technical, is particularly important as organic production accounts for 5% of the agricultural area of the EU and for sales worth EUR 18 billion (certified organic products). The amendments made to the previous regulation relate to the requirements for producers and the authorisation of certain products, the EU organic logo and aspects relating to the audit carried out by the control bodies and authorities. However, I believe that this revision of the regulation is aimed at purely administrative aspects. We need to continue in the future to take far-reaching action to simplify the regulations for the benefit of farmers and producers in the organic production sector.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this proposal and share the point of view of the rapporteur on this proposal. The Commission has drawn an accurate distinction between more general provisions, establishing additional elements (Article 290) and more technical elements that are very much connected with the discretion that Member States enjoy in implementing this measure (Article 291).

Therefore no amendments on the classification of delegated and implementing acts are proposed to the proposal for a regulation to amend Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. For reasons of legal certainty and clarity the regulation currently in force must be aligned based on the principle of distinguishing between measures of an implementing nature and measures of a delegated nature. The expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products will thus be better taken into account. Furthermore, the authorities and other operators concerned will be able to apply the rules more effectively and favourable conditions will be created for the smooth functioning of the single market and trade. I believe that it is appropriate to entrust the Commission to adopt, by means of delegated acts, specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this regulation.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) This regulation seeks to introduce special rules to safeguard the quality of organic products, the proper application of the rules by the relevant authorities, operators and undertakings, the seamless operation of the single market and trade and proper information for consumers. There has, in fact, been an abundance of complaints, including in Greece, about non-organic products being labelled as organic, and this is duping consumers and distorting the market. In this report, which I supported, the European Parliament ratifies the Commission’s executive powers to safeguard uniform conditions for the measures taken by the Member States in order to safeguard proper labelling of organic products.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Pursuant to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 should be aligned on the basis of the principle of distinction between implementing acts and delegated acts. I therefore voted for this report, which aligns the aforementioned Regulation with Articles 290 and 291 of the TFEU.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 has to be aligned based on the principle of sorting between measures of implementing nature and measures of delegated nature. The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt the necessary provisions aiming at reaching a uniform application of this Regulation in the Union, in particular relating, for example, to details and specifications regarding the content, form and way of notification, submission and exchange of information. Considering that the Commission has done an accurate repartition between provisions, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of the Report on the proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products because I support the Commission’s intention to introduce clearer rules for both producers and consumers. On the basis of these rules, consumers will find it easier to assess the quality of products and produce.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) Pursuant to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the current Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 should be aligned on the basis of the principle of distinction between implementing acts and delegated acts. In this proposal, the Commission performed a rigorous repartition between the more general provisions of Article 290, establishing additional elements, and the more technical elements of Article 291, which are very much connected with the discretion that Member States enjoy in implementing this measure. Therefore, no amendments are proposed to the drafting of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products as regards the classification of delegated and implementing acts. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. In order to better take account of the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and to ensure the adequate application of rules by the authorities, bodies and operators concerned and the proper functioning of the single market and trade, the Commission shall, by means of delegated acts, adopt specific rules, measures and conditions necessary for the application of this Regulation (e.g. the authorisation of products and substances for use in organic production, their inclusion in a restricted list or the withdrawal from that list for the purposes of Articles 16 and 21; the processing methods for processed food; the conditions of application of the prohibition on the use of GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs; the labelling rules, requirements and specific criteria as regards presentation, composition, size and design of the organic logo of the European Union as well as the conditions and rights of its use, in accordance with Title IV etc.)

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour of the proposal because it takes into account the expectations of consumers regarding the quality of organic products and it ensures the adequate application of rules by the authorities throughout the European Union.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Since it has been impossible for the Council and Parliament to reach an agreement on cross-cutting issues (which are connected in various dossiers on alignment) during informal trilogues, all files on alignment in the agricultural sector, which we have discussed in this Chamber, will no longer be dealt with individually, but will instead be covered under the process to reform the CAP and the four legislative packages that we are amending in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. These negotiations have not resulted in an agreement primarily because of the Council’s reluctance to accept application of Article 290 on delegated acts, in accordance with the Commission’s proposal. In the Committee on Agriculture, we therefore decided to vote on all the reports in plenary separately, so as to confirm the position adopted in committee. I hope my and my colleagues’ vote in favour will send a strong signal to the Council ahead of the forthcoming negotiations on reform of the CAP.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) lays down that the current Organic Farming Regulation should be aligned on the basis of the principle of distinction between implementing measures and delegated measures. According to Article 290 of the TFEU, the legislator should ‘delegate to the Commission the power to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of the legislative act’. I am voting for this report, since I believe delegated acts set out by the Commission aim to improve consumer expectations of organic products, to ensure the entities, bodies and operators in question properly apply the rules, and to guarantee that the internal market and trade work properly. I also consider it crucial that the Commission’s preparatory work for implementing acts continue to involve reference to consultative groups, so that the voices of stakeholders and NGOs can be heard in a regular and structured way.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the report on organic production and labelling organic products. I think that operators need to comply with the production regulations established at EU level, as well as with the measures and conditions required to implement them. To implement this regulation, the Commission needs to have the authorisation to adopt implementing acts for assigning code numbers under the control scheme, indicating the origin of products and providing uniform rules on the exchange of information to be sent by Member States, third countries, control authorities and control bodies. It is important to publish this information and the information about recognising third countries, control authorities and control bodies for the purposes of equivalence and compliance. I think that the European Union organic production logo can be used for labelling, presenting and advertising products which fulfil the requirements stipulated by this regulation. This regulation must be applied uniformly in the EU, especially the methods and conditions which need to be taken into account for online certification, with the aim of ensuring transparency by exchanging information quickly, efficiently, accurately and cost-effectively.

 
  
  

Report: Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (A7-0204/2011)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report, since it is essentially a legislative-alignment proposal resulting from the requirements of the Treaty of Lisbon, which gave Parliament codecision powers on agricultural legislation. I therefore support the Commission being able to use implementing acts, so as to prevent unfair competition in the market.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In order to prevent EU legislation from becoming too complicated and technical, the Treaty of Lisbon modernised the system for delegating certain powers to the Commission in the case of minor legislative changes. Here, the proposal is limited to only the amendments needed for this adaptation and I approved this alignment.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this report because I believe that current legislation needs to be adapted as quickly as possible to the new legal reality. Therefore, the regulation on the scrutiny carried out by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund also needs to be modified appropriately. In this regard, I support the Commission’s proposal aimed at the consistent use of the provisions on delegated acts and implementing acts. I should stress, at the same time, the importance of aligning this regulation with the provisions of the Treaty regarding implementing powers. I should highlight the importance of this adjustment in the current context, against the background of the forthcoming reform of the common agricultural policy, which should be carried out under optimum conditions.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because this proposal is one of several Commission proposals for the approximation of legislation in order to adapt agricultural legislation to new provisions, as provided for in the Treaty of Lisbon. The alignment procedure concerns Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In order to update existing provisions, taking into account the legal reality, it is essential to check the provisions of the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. Based on the criteria defined for each type of act, the Commission proposal was carefully scrutinised and areas were identified where the conditions for delegated acts were met. Consequently, the conditions for implementing acts were scrutinised. Inconsistencies were not observed. The use of delegated and implementing act provisions in these articles is appropriate. However, parts of the wording of articles relating to delegation do not correspond to neither the standard wording for these articles agreed in the draft Common Understanding, nor to formulation agreed upon by the institutions in Regulation No 438/2010, and these therefore need to be amended.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 lays down rules for the current system of direct payments to farmers, which will be replaced by other proposals in the reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) for 2014-2020. In its suggestions for the CAP multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, the Commission proposes using a crisis reserve to tackle the need for additional funding due to sudden farming crises. I am voting for the solution included in the report, so I voted for the proposal by Mr Capoulas Santos because I believe we need to retain the existing financial structure to be used in 2013, so as to ensure continuity of payments and levels of support for effective agricultural development.

 
  
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  David Casa (PPE), in writing. Changes to the EU's comitology system render certain parts of Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 out of date. It is important that legislation concerning the European Agricultural Guarantee be modified to ensure the efficiency of the system's financing. With this in mind, I support the Rapporteur's proposals and am thus in favour of these amendments.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I think that this new system with a two-tier structure consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enables the Commission to exercise its implementing powers, is excellent.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this proposal for ‘transition’ between the financial provisions for 2013 concerning Member States who have acceded to the EU since 2004 because I believe we should prevent a cut in support in 2013 for any sectors benefiting until 2012 from additional direct national payments, since such a possibility is not available for 2013.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Issues pertaining to EU legislative acts, chiefly their delimitation, have occupied a significant proportion of this sitting. I understand why that is and that we are attempting systematically to make the EU legal system consistent and sufficiently comprehensible. It is an essentially formal process, but it has to be done because of the extent to which the material consequences of a potential failure in adaptation could harm the balance of power within the EU and, more seriously, jeopardise the public’s rights.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) I should like to start by congratulating Mr Capoulas Santos on his excellent report on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. The Treaty of Lisbon has changed the old comitology system, thereby increasing the powers of Parliament, which now has the right to veto delegated acts. That system has been replaced by a two-tier system of delegated acts and implementing acts, so there needs to be an alignment with the existing body of legislation. All alignment exercises are fundamentally technical, but they include a certain political sensitivity and always elicit some controversy. I therefore welcome the fact that this issue has been debated in the European Parliament before the debate on reforming the common agricultural policy. I voted for this report and I am of the same view as that expressed in almost all the speeches regarding the need for Parliament to adopt a firm and cohesive stance on defending its role of scrutinising comitology, in line with its new status of co-legislator.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (delegated acts include Parliament’s right of veto), which enables the Commission to exert powers in the implementation and execution of acts. The valid legislation must therefore be aligned to this new legal reality.

One of the first proposals is the alignment of this proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. The proposal is limited to modifications required for alignment only. Under the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred upon the Commission pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 485/2009 need to be aligned to Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which distinguishes between two types of Commission acts—delegated acts and implementing acts. Parts of the wording of the articles relating to the delegation do not correspond to the standard text for these articles, as agreed approved in the Common Understanding, or to the formula agreed by the institutions in Regulation 438/2010, so I believe that they should be amended and supplemented.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the resolution on the proposal because the proposal amends Regulation No 485/2008 by including one provision on delegated acts (Article 1(2) - establishment of a list of measures to which the regulation does not apply). The first sentence of Article 1(2) of Regulation No 485/2008 contains a reference to Regulation No 1782/2003, which is no longer in force and has been replaced by Regulation No 73/2009, and as this provision has not been modified by the proposal, an amendment is necessary. The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system has now been replaced with a two-tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality. One of the first proposals is the alignment of this proposal for a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. The proposal is limited to modifications for the purpose of alignment only.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The report aims to align the existing regulation with the regime of delegated acts and implementing acts, which are powers granted to the Commission by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. This update is not intended to affect the essential provisions originally provided for. In addition, the report provides a clarification of the text with regard to the conditions of delegation of acts. I supported this report, which was adopted by Parliament by 654 votes in the July part-session.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (EFD), in writing. I note the near consensus (95%) with which this vote passed. I cannot but conclude that European deputies share my strong support for European agriculture and wish to see the sector continue to thrive.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I supported this proposal. The Treaty of Lisbon abolishes the old comitology system, which was based on the classic comitology procedures (advisory, management, regulatory) and the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. This system is now replaced with a two-tier structure, consisting of delegated and implementing acts (the former including Parliament’s right of veto), which enable the Commission to exert powers in implementation and execution. Thus, the existing body of legislation has to be aligned to this new legal reality.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report. It supports the Commission proposal, which limits itself solely to the amendments needed to align the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund with Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the powers conferred upon the Commission need to be aligned with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), based on distinguishing between delegated powers and implementing powers. Given that some of the wording of the articles on delegation does not correspond to the standard wording for these articles agreed in the draft Common Understanding, nor to the wording that was agreed upon by the institutions in Regulation (EC) No 438/2010, and therefore needs amending, I voted in favour of the proposal.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 485/2008 on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund. Fundamentally, the intention is to align this text with the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon concerning the exercise of the Commission’s implementing powers. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In December 2010, the Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation on scrutiny by Member States of transactions forming part of the system of financing by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF). This proposal aims to identify the Commission’s delegated powers and implementing powers conferred under the aforementioned regulation and to establish the correct procedure for adopting the acts in question. I am voting for the report tabled by Mr Capoulas Santos, which ensures uniform application of rules and provisions common to all EU Member States, thereby preventing market disparities in terms of EAGF funding.

 
  
  

Reports: Paolo De Castro (A7-0158/2011, A7-0161/2011 and A7-0322/2011), Giovanni La Via (A7-0209/2011), Martin Häusling (A7-0215/2011) and Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (A7-0204/2011)

 
  
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  Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL), in writing. I abstained on the Agriculture reports on alignment. These reports align the existing body of agricultural legislation to the new legal reality, which is the system of delegated and implementing acts. Reports which use delegated acts are those on which the parliament has a right of veto.

Although I am opposed to the Common Agricultural Policy, I recognise that the principle of protecting Parliament’s right of veto, where it has been legally given (in the Treaty of Lisbon), is a principle that needs to be protected. This principle will go beyond agricultural reports. Because of this, because I do not wish the Commission to make decisions in which Parliament should co-legislate, I abstained on these reports.

 
  
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  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing.(IT) The huge delays in adapting the package of basic regulations on the common agricultural policy (CAP) to the Treaty of Lisbon are down to the Council’s intransigence and the deferral of the Polish Presidency, which prevented us from finalising the agreements that had earlier been made. Today, we once again find ourselves faced not just with the old regulations in the package, but also with new texts on the CAP and with voting on alignment to the Treaty of Lisbon, as approved in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in April 2011. The changes introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon – abolishing the old comitology system, allowing the Commission to exercise implementation and enforcement powers that amend the role of the Council, which, acting on a proposal by the Commission, can adopt measures to set prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations – show us the important role of Parliament even more. Accordingly, we need to align the body of laws to the new framework, bringing in an alternative system that is in keeping with Articles 290 and 291 and allows Parliament to act to protect farmers, land, products and agricultural markets.

 
  
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  Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL), in writing. I abstained on the agriculture reports on alignment. These reports align the existing body of agricultural legislation to the new legal reality, which is the system of delegated and implementing acts. Reports which use delegated acts are those on which the parliament has a right of veto. Although I am opposed to the Common Agricultural Policy, I recognise that the principle of protecting Parliament’s right of veto, where it has been legally given (in the Treaty of Lisbon), is a principle that needs to be protected. This principle will reach beyond agricultural reports. Because of this, because I do not wish the Commission to make decisions in which Parliament should co-legislate, I abstained on this report.

 
  
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  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing. (PL) Once the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, the legislative procedure used to date, namely comitology, was replaced by a system comprising delegated acts and implementing acts. Under delegated acts, the European Commission can adopt non-legislative documents of lesser importance that add to or modify already existing laws. However, implementing acts are used for legislation that must be introduced in all Member States on the same conditions.

For us, as Members of the European Parliament, the most important issue is the participation of the European Parliament in decision making and in monitoring the implementation of legislation. In this regard it is the delegated acts that give us greater powers; here we can specify conditions according to which the European Commission can introduce laws (in the case of implementing acts, the European Parliament is in a certain sense removed from any further work once the decision has been taken). For this reason, too, I believe that we should move in the direction of classifying as many dossiers as possible as delegated acts, which will give us greater ability to review and inspect projects that have been adopted. Of course this brings with it greater administrative involvement and it may be necessary for the European Parliament to increase its ‘processing’ power, meaning the employment of legal experts and other staff that can assist in adapting our everyday work to the new procedures.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. This is one of several Commission proposals on alignment aiming to update the actual agricultural legislation to the new provisions as foreseen in the Treaty of Lisbon. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted, along with the overwhelming majority of my colleagues, for the whole package proposed by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development regarding alignment with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. This package is not only important because of the provisions it contains, but especially because it defends our new powers as codecision-maker in the area of agriculture and rural development, granted by the Treaty. Parliament must defend these powers it has and exercise them according to the mandate given by the electorate, especially now when the major debates on the future of the CAP are going on.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Gianluca Susta (A7-0176/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting for this report because it aims to ensure the preservation of commitments previously made as regards EU-Russia trade. This is a partnership that should also be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia agreement on the preservation of commitments on trade in services. This EU-Russia agreement contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. As a result of that accession, Russia will become a country that is relatively open to foreign services. Although Russia has agreed to lower its barriers to trade and investment and to grant more favourable treatment than it did previously to foreign service providers in 11 sectors covering professional services, IT services, construction, postal services, telecommunications, media, transport, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services, we, Members of the EP, urge the Russian Government to make major adjustments in the Russian law, in particular trade and competition law and customs regulations, in order to be able to implement those concessions. The EP and all European community expect that the commitments made by Russia would not only provide new business opportunities for EU firms; they would also improve the business environment – not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition – for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Negotiations about Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been going on for almost two decades. It is almost a done deal; all that remains now is for the Russian Parliament to vote on approval of WTO membership before the end of July. This week, I approved several agreements which are more advantageous to the European Union than those resulting from WTO rules. EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement which will improve the conditions of service providers who establish themselves in that country.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal on the conclusion of the new bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Russia on trade in services replacing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded in 1994. With Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and according to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), trade in services will be liberalised and foreign service providers will have substantially greater access to the Russian market. It is important for the EU and Russia to update the bilateral commitments entered into almost 20 years ago so that the EU secures additional trade concessions over and above those available under the multilateral regime, and preserves the current commitments on access to the Russian market for EU service providers in the maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes sectors.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this resolution because concluding the EU-Russia agreement on preserving the commitments on trade in services is part of the new legal framework produced by Russia joining the WTO, enabling the Russian market to become more open to services from the European Union and better conditions for European economic operators already present on the Russian services markets, thanks to the provisions on non-discrimination and free competition. European service providers will gain substantial benefits at a time when exports in this area generated a turnover of EUR 22.6 billion in 2010, accounting for 20% of the EU’s total exports in Russia.

In addition, the bilateral agreement will allow European investors to continue to enjoy a more favourable preferential scheme than that offered by the multilateral trade scheme in two areas (maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes) where the current commitments to the EU under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed in 1994 are stricter than those Russia is also going to adopt after officially joining the WTO.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. (PL) Mr President, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation offers new possibilities in relations between the European Union and Russia. However it also means that existing bilateral agreements may be subject to change, since Russia now becomes a country that is much more open as regards the international exchange of services. Thus service providers in European Union countries have greater opportunities to access the Russian market, which has a significant impact on Poland, as an immediate neighbour. It is encouraging to hear the undertaking of the Russian Government to reduce trade barriers as well as barriers to investment in key service sectors which, as an example, means full access for computer or construction services. Services relating to land and water-borne transport have also been opened to foreigners. Another important issue is the simplification of movement of persons between companies. I support both this and other resolutions concerning the multilateral package regulating the accession of Russia to the WTO. At the same time I am counting on full liberalisation of the Russian market in the future.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Susta’s recommendation as the Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organisation requires it to commit to amending trade agreements with other countries that subscribe to the principles of free trade. The agreement to ease restrictions in the Russian services sector will bring great benefits for the European Union in a sector that now represents 20% of European exports to the Russian Federation.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the EU-Russia agreements on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. By becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia has committed to implement a more open economic liberalism through bilateral trade agreements with the European Union. These agreements represent real progress in the sense of greater openness in certain sectors to foreign suppliers. Russia has also committed to promoting a wider range of services and a higher quality of service. It should be noted that these structural changes require adjustments to Russian law, in particular in commercial law and competition law. Through this report, the European Union wants to send a strong signal of support to Russia in pursuit of these reforms, which bode well for a strengthening of trade relations.

 
  
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  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report which calls for the preservation of a more favourable EU-Russia bilateral regime than the one adopted at international level. As a result of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia has agreed to liberalise its trade system in numerous service sectors. However, in the areas of maritime trade and the temporary movement of employees for business purposes, Russia’s commitments do not go as far as those it made in the existing bilateral agreement with the European Union. I therefore welcome the adoption of this report, which is a step further in the defence of our interests.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the adoption of this agreement because it represents a new stage in trade cooperation with Russia since it joined the World Trade Organisation. The opening up of the Russian services market – telecommunications, insurance, tourism, transport, etc. – to foreign competition is a genuine challenge, both for Russian consumers, who benefit from a wider range of improved services, and for EU businesses, which will find new markets.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this agreement, which represents a new chapter in trade cooperation with Russia once it joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The opening up of the Russian services market (telecommunications, insurance, tourism, transport, etc.) to foreign competition poses a real challenge, both for Russian consumers, who will benefit from an increase in supply and better quality services, and for our European businesses, which will have new opportunities.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) Considering the fact that the relations between Hungary and Russia will have a long-term influence on both the economic development of the region and, if these relations are further deepened, the region’s political stability, I support the report and commend Russia for agreeing to eliminate barriers to trade and investment, and to grant more favourable treatment to service providers in 11 sectors. Hungary is among the eastern regions of the European Union, and its geographical position is one of the reasons why it has a stake in an agreement with Russia. In the trade-related sections of the ‘New Agreement’ between the European Union and Russia that is currently being negotiated and will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded in 1994, the conditions of the bilateral commitments entered into nearly 20 years ago should be updated, in particular in order to secure additional commitments from Russia in modes 3 and 4 under the chapter on trade in services and the right of establishment. That chapter should also consolidate the rights of EU service providers setting up operations in Russia. If these conditions are met, then I can do nothing but support this report.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on the EU-Russia agreement on the preservation of commitments on trade in services because I believe this partnership and cooperation agreement should be seen in the light of the new legal framework resulting from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation, specifically through the ‘new bilateral agreement’ aimed at obtaining additional commitments giving firmer guarantees to European service providers when they set up in Russia.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The opening up of the Russian market is always a good sign for the European Union. Its accession to the World Trade Organisation is good news, as well as an important opportunity for Europe. Despite the multiple issues that remain and the informal obstacles to increased liberalisation of trade with Russia, I think this is another step in the right direction. We can now clearly see, not only Europe’s great dependence on Russian energy, but also the prospects of success for European services companies in Russia. Despite the natural suspicions held throughout so many years in a climate of confrontation, I believe we will benefit if we manage to promote greater integration between the two parties and if the EU is able to make Russia into a strategic partner of the first order. Both the EU and Russia currently face major geostrategic challenges that would be more easily overcome if both opted to harmonise their positions.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This recommendation concerns the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Government of the Russian Federation relating to the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), in view of Russia’s application for membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Russia is a strategic partner of the EU that, by joining the WTO, is opening itself up to foreign services after around 20 years of timid reforms to privatise and liberalise its national economy. Although gradual, this opening up will enable foreign service providers to invest in sectors like construction, IT, professional services, telecommunications, transport, postal services, the media, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services. I welcome Russia’s accession to the WTO and the resulting benefits, as well as the fact that, under this new agreement, which will replace the PCA of 1994, the EU will still benefit from a more favourable system as regards maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The conclusion of this agreement is a long-awaited step forward for big business in the major EU powers. The process of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation involves a process of liberalisations and privatisations in a number of areas, particularly services, thereby opening up its market to foreign investment. Russia’s services market started developing only in the 1990s after the end of the Soviet Union, following the victory of the counterrevolution, which dismantled a major state-owned services sector.

With this agreement, Russia is giving up part of its sovereignty and undertaking to bring an end to almost all preferential national treatment, so as to enable EU big business to access its services market. The beneficiaries of this agreement concluded by the EU are the same as ever: big companies in the major EU powers, for which it creates ‘new business opportunities’ in an area in which they will have a competitive advantage. Those who gain nothing and lose everything from this agreement are the same as ever: the workers in this sector threatened with redundancy, the small and medium-sized enterprises threatened by competition from the sector’s major monopolies, and working-class consumers who are seeing higher prices and lower quality. For all these reasons, we are compelled to vote against.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. – (SK) The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. The schedules for the liberalisation of trade in services included in Russia’s multilateral WTO accession package will give foreign service providers substantially greater access to the Russian market. Russia has agreed to lower its barriers to trade and investment and to grant more favourable treatment than it did previously to foreign service providers in 11 sectors covering professional services, IT services, construction, postal services, telecommunications, media, transport, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services. Currently, trade in services accounts for approximately 20% of EU exports to Russia. The commitments made by Russia will not only provide new business opportunities for European firms; they will also improve the environment for exporters and investors from the EU already working in Russia, not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition. Greater competition should increase the supply and raise the quality of services in Russia in a large number of sectors, which could make it easier for all European companies established in Russia to do business. I think it is right for Parliament to approve this agreement.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution on the conclusion of the agreement because the EU has to conclude a bilateral agreement with Russia in order to secure additional bilateral trade concessions over and above those available under the multilateral regime. In many service sectors, the trade liberalisation commitments made by Russia go further than the arrangements that have applied to date to EU firms under the terms of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed in 1994 and implemented since 1997. The European Union would continue to enjoy more favourable arrangements and greater preferences than available under the multilateral regime. This bilateral agreement details the preferential treatment that is to be granted exclusively to the EU. The agreement does not require the European Union to make any new commitments. This agreement should also consolidate the rights of EU service providers setting up operations in Russia.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) As a result of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Russia has made a number of commitments to the General Agreement on Trade in Services. However, at multilateral level, Russia has achieved case-by-case liberalisation in some sectors. This case-by-case approach to the commitment is not feasible within the framework of EU-Russia relations. The purpose of this agreement is therefore to maintain a more balanced bilateral regime than the one adopted at multilateral level and one which favours the interests of the European Union. Parliament has adopted this report and I welcome it.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. Hopefully, as a result of accession to the WTO, Russia will become a country that is relatively open to foreign services; nevertheless, today major restrictions on imports of services and the establishment of foreign service providers remain in place in Russia. The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement should be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the WTO. Russia's commitments to reduce market access restrictions and put an end to almost all national treatment may have potential benefits for the European Union. For this reason, the EU should continue to monitor how Russia improves its business environment. I voted in favour of this recommendation.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Köstinger (PPE), in writing. (DE) The accession of Russia to the World Trade Organisation and the resulting framework conditions will provide more opportunities for European business. The new version of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will not only improve access for businesses, it will also improve the position of those businesses that are already established in Russia. I welcome this agreement, as I see it as additional means for improving the position of Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises in Russia.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I welcome this proposal which should help improve access for EU companies to the Russian market for services. The Russian market remains very restrictive and is not in line with their new obligations since becoming WTO members.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) As I have already said before, Russia is one of the EU’s most important partners in many regards. The numerous political and economic agreements that have been signed with our Russian neighbour are proof that the EU considers it to be a key partner on the international stage. Russia is also the EU’s third biggest trading partner. We have just approved three resolutions on trade agreements with Russia which favour EU firms. Russia’s imminent accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which will improve access to the Russian market, has played a huge part in these agreements. By becoming a member of the WTO, Russia will reduce its tariffs, which currently average 9.5%, to about 6% by 2015.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. I am in favour.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this report because I want bilateral cooperation between the European Union and Russia that is fairer, whereas at multilateral level Russia has achieved case-by-case liberalisation in some sectors. Russia has agreed to liberalise its trade system as part of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This agreement underlines the scope of its commitments that will not only improve the situation of Russian consumers, who will benefit from better services, it will also provide new business opportunities for EU firms, and for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia. I therefore welcome the fact that Parliament has adopted this report.

 
  
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  Mariya Nedelcheva (PPE), in writing. – (SK) As a result of the recent accession of Russia to the World Trade Organisation, it is necessary to establish a new legal framework for relations between the EU and Russia regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation. Russia is one of the largest economies in the world, a country full of new opportunities and challenges. For this reason, therefore, I consider the reciprocal bilateral agreements will contribute not only to the interlinking of the EU and Russian economies but will also ensure the balanced economic growth of both contracting parties. Liberalisation of trade in services was one of the conditions for the accession process of Russia to the WTO. I therefore firmly believe that the strengthening of mutual cooperation between the EU and Russia will help to improve the perceptions of foreign service providers and facilitate access to the Russian market for European companies. What is crucial in this collaboration will equally benefit the Russian Federation. The agreement must, however, be concluded on the basis of common interests and awareness of mutual rights and obligations. The creation of such a stable business environment by means of the new Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the EU and Russia will help to gain further additional concessions. Compared to the multilateral system based on bilateral agreements, the rights of European service providers should be clearly confirmed.

 
  
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  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE), in writing. I voted in favour of the report consenting to the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

With its accession to the World Trade Organisation, Russia has made a commitment to reduce market access restrictions in many areas and put an end to favouring national companies over foreign companies. On the one hand I would like to see prompt and effective implementation of those reforms, yet on the other hand I would hope that successful liberalisation of the economy spills over into liberalisation of society. Improving the access of European companies to the Russian market will hopefully pave the way to European business culture.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this agreement on further commitments on trade in services, thanks to which the European Union will continue to enjoy more favourable arrangements. Trade liberalisation will give many services sectors more rights. I believe that it is appropriate and essential for the EU to conclude a bilateral agreement with Russia because more trade concessions will be given than available under the multilateral regime. It should be noted that it is important for the current commitments on access to the Russian market for EU service providers to be preserved in the services sectors of maritime trade and the temporary movement of natural persons for business purposes.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since it is a consensual agreement, I voted for Parliament’s legislative resolution of 4 July 2012 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Government of the Russian Federation relating to the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

 
  
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  Aldo Patriciello (PPE), in writing. (IT) By becoming a member of the World Trade Organisation, Russia will become a country that is relatively open to foreign services, giving foreign service providers substantially greater access to the market. The commitments made by Russia will not only provide new business opportunities for EU firms; they will also improve the business environment – not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition – for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia. So that the EU may continue to enjoy more favourable arrangements than those available under the multilateral regime, I voted in favour of the conclusion of the ‘new bilateral agreement’ between the European Union and Russia.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The process of liberalising the trade in services included in Russia’s multilateral WTO accession package will give foreign service providers substantially greater access to the Russian market, in particular telecommunications, tourism, transport and the financial sector itself. I voted in favour because I believe this will not only provide new business opportunities for EU firms, but will also improve the business environment – not least as regards non-discrimination and free competition – for EU exporters and investors already working with Russia.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. With the accession of Russia to the WTO in December 2011, the EU needs to align specific rules it maintained bilaterally within the framework of the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the prevailing WTO law. This dossier carries out this alignment in the field of trade in services.

 
  
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  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. I voted in favour because the inclusion of Russia in the WTO will allow the opening of the Russian market to foreign services. In this case Russia will grant more favourable treatment to foreign suppliers than it did before, and the EU has the greatest interest in signing this Agreement as one of Russia's largest trading partners.

 
  
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  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Susta’s report. These openings by Russia, even if due to its imminent accession to the World Trade Organisation, are clearly good news. Russia is a very important market for our companies. Reciprocity, in the name of reciprocal development, must be guaranteed and I believe it will yield good results.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) means the country will gradually open up to foreign services. Russia has thus agreed to lower its barriers to trade and investment and to grant more favourable treatment than it did previously to foreign service providers in 11 sectors, covering professional services, IT services, construction, postal services, telecommunications, media, transport, distribution, tourism and travel, and financial services. The most noteworthy commitments include the concessions granted in the telecommunications sector, with the phasing out over a four-year period of the current 49% limit on foreign participation in the share capital of telecommunications groups and the decision to apply the terms of the Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services. In the financial sector, the commercial presence of foreign insurance firms on the Russian market will be authorised, subject to a number of restrictions, nine years after Russia’s accession to the WTO. This vote thus approves the agreement between the European Union and Russia relating to the preservation of commitments on trade in services.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing.(FR) My vote on Mr Susta’s text was a ‘yes … but’. This was because EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement. It is one of three trade agreements that do not prejudice the EU’s new commitments and which should even improve conditions for producers who rely on raw materials coming from Russia. The agreement on trade in services offers new opportunities for EU shipping agencies trying to establish themselves in Russia. It also grants preferential access to employees of European service companies going to work in Russia with a view to starting up a business there. It provides for a minimum quota of 16 000 work permits a year for this purpose. However, it is important that Russia keeps its commitments and ensures that workers’ rights are respected: the credibility of the European Union is at stake.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU-Russia agreement regarding the preservation of commitments on trade in services contained in the current EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement must be viewed in the light of the new legal framework arising from Russia’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation. Officially, in a large number of service areas, Russia has also undertaken to reduce market access restrictions and put an end to almost all national preferential treatment, so as not to discriminate against foreign operators. The most noteworthy commitments include the concessions in the telecommunications sector, the authorisation of the commercial presence of foreign insurance firms on the Russian market nine years after accession, and the opening up of transport services – in particular maritime, road and inland waterway services – to foreigners. I voted for this recommendation for these reasons.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. The inclusion of Russia in the WTO will allow the opening of the Russian market to foreign services; Russia will grant more favourable treatment than before to foreign suppliers in eleven sectors covering, inter alia, professional services, construction, telecommunications and financial services. We must not forget that currently trade in services represents approximately 20% of European exports to Russia.

This means that the EU has a special interest in signing this Agreement to keep the commitments that the EU is already enjoying; Russia’s commitments will not only create additional business opportunities for European companies, but will also improve the situation of European exporters and investors currently working with Russia.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the agreement whereby the EU and Russia commit to the reciprocal liberalisation of services. In particular, with this agreement Russia undertakes to amend its national legislation to bring its laws in many sectors in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and its status as a member of the WTO. In the trade-related sections of the agreement that is currently being negotiated and will replace the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement concluded in 1994, it will be vital for the bilateral commitments to be updated, in order to secure additional commitments from Russia.

 
  
  

Recommendation: Pawel Zalewski (A7-0175/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I am voting in favour. The European Union has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a mechanism for compensating car-component manufacturers if EU exports decline because of that agreement. As this agreement is also associated with commitments to the World Trade Organisation, the EU must support it.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. − I voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia agreement on trade in parts and components of motor vehicles. The EU has negotiated this bilateral agreement to have a compensation mechanism for the EU car components producers if the risk of falling EU exports of such products to Russia materialises as a result of the application of Russia's automobile investment programme until 2018. The EU must adopt this agreement because it is tied to its WTO commitments. To ensure that the scheme benefits its producers immediately, it must do so before the Russian Federation joins WTO. I support the position of the rapporteur that the survival of trade-distorting measures in Russia after its WTO accession is regretful, but it is important to stress that the EU producers of automobile components will benefit from a compensation scheme in case their exports to Russia fall significantly. We, members of the EP, call for a close monitoring of the evolution of the trade relation in vehicles and their components between the EU and Russia and, if necessary, for renegotiating the terms of the compensation scheme.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Negotiations about Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been going on for almost two decades. It is almost a done deal; all that remains now is for the Russian Parliament to vote on approval of WTO membership before the end of July. This week, I approved several agreements which are more advantageous to the European Union than those resulting from WTO rules. EU firms should have more favourable arrangements under this agreement which will improve the conditions of automobile parts manufacturers in the EU.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) Following the Russian Federation’s recent accession to the World Trade Organisation it is essential for the EU and Russia to conclude bilateral agreements to secure additional and complementary bilateral trade concessions for the European Union. The bilateral agreement would be beneficial to both parties as an incentive for useful trade and investment. However, there is concern that Russia’s accession package condones the existence of some trade-distorting measures, such as Russia’s automobile package, which prescribes localisation of automobile manufacturers in Russia (resulting in discriminatory treatment of imported auto parts and components and restriction of imports). It is essential to ensure that such measures are removed in future.

 
  
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