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B7-0296/2012

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PV 05/07/2012 - 13.5
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

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Debates
Thursday, 5 July 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

14. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
  

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
 

Report: Alexandra Thein (A7-0185/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, due to the ever rising number of pending cases, the Court of Justice, in order to tackle its increasing workload, has expressed the need for an increase in the number of judges. Despite its efforts, the Court cannot keep up with its judicial functions. I therefore voted in favour of my fellow Member’s report, which increases the number of judges by 12, taking them from 27 to 39.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, if I may repeat a cliché: justice delayed is justice denied. That is why I voted in favour of this resolution. Any large backlog in any part of the EU justice system is obviously highly unwelcome. The fact is that, despite a large increase in the number of cases disposed of annually – i.e. in productivity – the number of pending cases continues to rise year on year, as we have failed to close the gap with the increasing number of new cases.

I was not in support of the Lisbon Treaty, but we now need to buttress it by adjusting to the high judicial case-load that the Treaty seems to have generated. The list of structural reforms, as we have heard, will reduce the restrictions on the composition of the Grand Chamber, allowing holders of the newly created post of Vice-President to sit in the Grand Chamber in lieu of the President, and doing away with the quite excessive requirement that all the Presidents of the five-judge chambers be present there all the time.

I am all in favour of streamlining the EU’s decision making so that my constituents get better value for money.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, during the 18th century in a sermon preached before his King, Bishop Hoadly of Winchester made the observation that ‘whoever hath an absolute authority to interpret any written or spoken laws, it is he, who is truly the law giver, to all intents and purposes; and not the person who first wrote or spoke them’. Judicial activism is a problem intrinsic in any system which places final interpretative power in a tribunal. It is a system that has been greatly exacerbated in the European Union by two particular phenomena.

First of all, the fact that there is no requirement for the judges at the ECJ to have spent a single day on the bench in their home countries. The only qualification you need in essence is a law degree, so many of them are politicians, officials who have an overt federalist agenda. Secondly, the federalist agenda is in the job description, in the spec of the people who do it. This is the problem with any renegotiation. You have matters which are plainly intergovernmental being reinterpreted as single market issues, as QMV issues by judges with a mission.

The ECJ should stick to interpreting what the law says, rather than ruling on the basis of what they think it ought to say.

 
  
  

Report: Alexandra Thein (A7-0184/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the European Union Civil Service Tribunal consists of seven judges, but its operation can be seriously affected if one of its members falls ill or is unable to perform his or her duties for an extended period.

In order to ensure that the tribunal is not placed in a situation in which it cannot carry out its judicial functions, the Court of Justice has submitted a proposal for a regulation that allows temporary judges to be appointed, when necessary. On these grounds, being convinced that this proposal is a sensible solution to a practical problem which can be disruptive to European justice, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, as I have just said before regarding the ECJ, I welcome this common-sense proposal on reforming the structural features of the EU justice system to better fit them for an ever expanding case-load of an enlarging Union post-Lisbon.

It is quite shocking actually that there currently exists no workable procedures for replacing a civil service tribunal judge if he or she falls ill. One has to wonder why this was not included in the original statute in the first place.

I was in favour of the separate civil service tribunal (CST) at the time of its establishment in 2005 and I should like to reiterate my ECR Group’s position that we need more specialised courts on the model of the CST to provide tailored expertise in specific legal areas such as infringements of IP law. But we must always be wary, as my colleague Daniel Hannan said, of judicial activism whereby judges seek to replace the role of elected politicians.

 
  
  

Report: Göran Färm (A7-0150/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the internal market cannot reach its full potential without modern and effective infrastructure. Thanks to the agreement recently reached on financial contribution, it will be possible to boost investments in European transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) networks.

I therefore voted in favour of Mr Färm’s text because I would argue that building new infrastructures can have a positive impact on the relaunch of the European economy.

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). (FI) Mr President, it is very important that Parliament should have vigorously supported the establishment of the trans-European transport and energy networks and funding for them. They are crucial to Europe 2020 and to growth.

The only regrettable aspect of this issue is that funding is currently still at a level that represents just about a tenth of what is needed. I believe that significant funding for a European high voltage main grid, which would be a better guarantee of energy efficiency, security of energy supply and, furthermore, better exploitation of renewable energy in electricity production, represents one of the absolutely crucial investments on which the Member States of the European Union, the European Investment Bank, project bonds and this financing project too should, in future, concentrate its resources.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution. It is, of course, very questionable whether we need to have a growth plan at European level over the next ten years after the clear failure of the Lisbon Agenda. I am sceptical about a deliverable programme that the project bond initiative hopes to represent. However, I have some immediate real concerns and this is why a proper evaluation of the pilot phase is vital at this stage, as the ECR Group has repeatedly made clear.

The moribund economies of southern Europe do not necessarily need some gigantic Keynesian investment programme. They need flexible labour markets. The problem is mainly the supply side. Across Europe, as well as at EU level, national and regional governments refuse to cut red tape, the one long-term solution that could lead Europe to the prosperity we now find elusive in a globally competitive world.

I am nevertheless in favour of infrastructure development as a general principle and, since this initiative may, if well thought through, bring some success, it makes sense to trial it now, with a view to making an evidence-based decision on whether to take it further at a later date.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I voted in favour of this report, but I would still ask to be allowed to make three comments on the project bonds. Firstly, project bonds are a way to place the financing of projects on a broader footing by including private capital. This does not involve an infinite increase in financial capital. Secondly, this means that the projects must make sense and demonstrate economic effectiveness. We need to learn from the past: we are not just talking about building roads and hotel complexes. That is why a test and pilot phase is so important; after all, we should only promise people what we can actually deliver. At present, there are numerous promises and unrealistic expectations associated with these project bonds and a pilot phase would help us to get back on the straight and narrow.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, I was happy to support this recommendation as well, and it was clear that the majority of Parliament were in favour: 579 for, 32 against and nine abstentions. So, that is clear enough.

I think it is important that we have as close cooperation and connection as possible between all parts of the European Union and, in that regard, we should not forget the islands – in particular I am thinking of my own country.

Thankfully, in energy terms, we have interconnectors with our nearest neighbour, the United Kingdom, and hopefully also in due course with other areas. In terms of transport, the United Kingdom has a link with the continent now through Eurostar, and maybe somewhere down the line there might be one connecting Ireland with Britain.

The relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom has never been better; thanks, in particular, to the Queen of England, who visited Ireland last year and last week was involved in the historic handshake with Martin McGuinness. I think connecting us physically would also be a step in the right direction.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I would like to say very briefly that I supported this proposal and I believe that it is an excellent one. It is important that funding for the trans-European transport and energy networks is stepped up and that new instruments are sought for them. It will be interesting to see how these project bonds will then start to work.

At the moment, we need the kinds of projects that create conditions for real growth, and it is surely growth that we are currently seeking in Europe. We now need sustainable growth, because the problem of indebtedness that has now arisen will not be solved in any other way. In this respect, this is a good project, and one that is perfectly suited to the European Union’s involvement in creating conditions for sustainable growth. Furthermore, it is also in harmony with our own Europe 2020 programme.

 
  
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  Daniel Hannan (ECR). – Mr President, once again, we are trying to spend our way out of trouble. Excessive consumption without any commensurate production is why we are in this mess, and more subsidies are the problem rather than the solution.

I know it is a very unpopular thing to say this in this Chamber, where you get thunderously applauded if you make any kind of attack on the British Conservatives – as we saw yesterday, when Mr Swoboda did it, and the day before, when Mr Barroso did it. I think the mood of the House can perhaps be best understood in psychological terms. Perhaps I should ask my friend and colleague, Charles Tannock, who is a proper psychiatrist, to explain it in terms of transference, in terms of projection.

The thing is that nobody is enjoying this mess, for all that Mr Barroso claims otherwise. No one could possibly be enjoying the economic crisis that is engulfing Europe, and nobody likes to say ‘I told you so’; it never makes you popular. What we are pleading for is that the people who have got the analysis right so far be listened to next time, so that we stop repeating the very mistake that led us to our present discontent. We are where we are because we have been spending too much and borrowing too much. We are not going to get out of it by spending more and borrowing more.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0296/2012

 
  
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  Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE). (FI) Mr President, the situation in the Middle East is extremely delicate and it is therefore obviously important that political positions on this issue are well-balanced and conducive to positive developments in the region.

I voted for this joint resolution because I think that the situation is one in which there is immense human suffering and also tragedy, and regarding which the European Union and European Parliament need to adopt a clear position in favour of a policy calling for an end to needless and excessive violence and a better guarantee of human rights and public safety in the Middle East.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE).(IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the changes taking place in the Arab world make the need for progress in the Middle East Peace Process even more urgent. We must take into account the wishes of the region’s populations – those of the Palestinians and of the Israelis. This is an essential element for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Rocket attacks from Gaza, settlement construction, evacuations and the demolition of homes in East Jerusalem, worsening living conditions for the Palestinian population – in particular, women and children – extremism and provocation from settlers in the West Bank are all factors that undermine the two-state solution.

Resolving the conflict is one of the European Union’s main interests. For this reason, we need to create a climate of trust, which is required to ensure peaceful negotiations, refraining from measures that compromise the project’s credibility in order to overcome this unacceptable status quo.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). – Mr President, the brutal Israeli state policy and repeated human rights violations in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem are a conscious policy designed to undermine any prospect of real Palestinian self-rule. They are also designed to stir up nationalism, to help lower the pressure from social pressures within Israel and to try to avoid the development of a joint struggle of the oppressed.

I would like to draw specific attention to the fate of over 2 300 Jahalin Bedouins, one of the poorest communities living in the West Bank, who are at risk of being driven out of their homes by the Israeli State. Demolition orders have been issued, including against two schools, which would cut off hundreds of children from education. The alternative they face is to go to live in a site no more than 300 metres away from a landfill near the Palestinian town of Abu Dis.

These scandalous policies have to cease. They can be ended by the development of a mass struggle of the Palestinians, together with Israeli workers and the poor, against the oppression, against the occupation and for a socialist alternative in the Middle East.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, at a critical time for peace negotiations, possibly based on the Arab peace initiative, it is highly inappropriate for a body such as this Parliament, famed for its anti-Israeli invective, to seek to undermine the honest broker status of the European Union and incite further tensions.

The goal should be now to work for an equitable and viable two-state solution where Israelis live in peace and security while the Palestinians have the job opportunities they need to prosper. Rather than apparently coming down so strongly against one side, the Parliament should take a much more balanced position and not prejudice any negotiations between the parties, which I very much hope will resume soon.

My group, the ECR, refused to sign the joint motion which virtually tried to question the state of Israel’s legitimacy. This is the only true democracy in the region and it was more like a report than a resolution: a litany of condemnations of Israel. We all hope for a two-state solution of course, but these matters are very complex and a lot of give and take will be required by all parties to come to a fair and lasting peaceful settlement.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I had to vote against this resolution because, unfortunately, it took a very one-sided view of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Just as people have said in their speeches here, this would question Israel’s legitimacy.

We in the European Union need to remember our values. We are in favour of democracy, human rights and freedom of opinion, and I hope that we also want to build lasting peace in the Middle East. In this respect, it was encouraging to see that the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) suggested that Hamas should recognise the state of Israel and give its support to a two-state solution, and that it should end its strikes against Israel. They have, of course, intensified in recent times.

In this respect, I hope that the European Parliament and the European Union will make it very clear that we will stand by our values. We support democracy and Israel. We should also clearly state that Jerusalem is the indivisible capital of Israel. It is that, both in the historic sense and today. If a two-state solution should one day materialise, it will also do so with a respect for the facts of history.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, of course there is no disputing the fact that we all would like to support the Middle East peace process in an active and positive way. We all know that there is no easy solution there. Anyone who takes a closer look at the history of the region and the facts will know that it is not that easy to distinguish between good and evil. In most cases, the solution lies somewhere in the middle, and that is precisely my problem: when I consider the amendment, it seems far too one-sided. The way I see it, the legitimate interests of the Israeli side have been ignored. Let me repeat: it is particularly difficult to distinguish between good and evil here. Personally, I would like to see a European Parliament motion for a resolution that places this compromise on a broader footing. I would then have been able to vote in favour of the motion for a resolution.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Alexandra Thein (A7-0185/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because, for several years now, the number of cases disposed of by the General Court has been lower than the number of new cases, so that the number of pending cases is rising constantly. It is therefore urgent to make the Court of Justice of the European Union more efficient and effective, as it is mainly European citizens and businesses that end up being penalised. The Court of Justice therefore considers that an increase in the number of judges by at least 12, bringing the number of General Court judges to 39, is necessary. However, while there is, in principle, an agreement to increase the number of judges at the General Court, a method for their designation has not yet been established and this needs to be put in place.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) Amending the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union was necessary and I supported it. The proposed amendment involves reforming certain provisions relating to the three courts currently making up the Court of Justice. In particular, proposals relating to the Court of Justice include establishing the office of Vice-President and broader participation by the judges in cases assigned to the Grand Chamber; proposals relating to the Civil Service Tribunal include attaching three temporary judges to this tribunal to replace a judge in the event of prolonged absence.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. I welcome the proposal to establish the office of Vice-President of the Court of Justice because the President’s workload has increased considerably with time and I believe that it would therefore be useful to appoint a Vice-President who could assist him in carrying out his duties. I agree that in order to increase the capacity of the Chamber, the structure of the Grand Chamber needs to be changed and the number of judges that compose the Grand Chamber needs to be increased to 15. In order to enable the General Court to address the issue of the ever increasing number of unprocessed cases, which has grown from 787 in 2000 to 1 300 in 2010, it is essential to increase the number of General Court judges. I welcome the proposal to increase the number of judges by 12.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of the dossier concerning Ms Thein’s proposal for a regulation to amend the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, as I agree with my fellow Member’s proposal to change its composition and to introduce changes in how the tribunal operates. These measures will make the Court a faster and more efficient instrument, able to give greater legal assistance to all EU citizens.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has proposed several amendments to its Statute, which concern, to varying degrees, the three courts currently making up the CJEU: the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal. The Court considers it desirable to establish the office of Vice-President of the Court of Justice and to amend the rules relating to the composition of the Grand Chamber. The Court of Justice argues that its President’s workload has increased considerably with time and it would therefore be useful to appoint a Vice-President who could relieve or assist him in carrying out his duties in future. As well as substantive changes, the proposals concern staff changes and increases. The Court of Justice argues that for some years now, the gap between the number of cases processed by the General Court and the number of new cases has been widening and that the number of unprocessed cases is rising constantly. Increasing the number of judges is the way to cope with the essential need for effectiveness, urgency, flexibility and consistency in Court of Justice case-law.

 
  
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  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The present structure of the Grand Chamber and the rules determining how it operates are the result of amendments introduced by the Treaty of Nice. At present, the President of the Court and the Presidents of the Chambers of five Judges have a very heavy workload. As a result of this workload, the Court has amended its Rules of Procedure to allow it to dispense with the oral procedure in intellectual property cases, while clarifying the status of interveners in such cases, thus allowing them to be dealt with more expeditiously. In these circumstances, I think an increase in the number of General Court judges is necessary in order to streamline the Court’s activity.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report to increase the number of judges by 12, from 27 to 39. The increase in pending cases led the Court of Justice to submit its requirement to increase the number of judges. The judges are unable to carry out their work due to the current workload.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) As the partial renewal of the Court of Justice is due to take place on 7 October 2012, amendments to the Statute of the Court of Justice and Annex I thereto have been proposed which concern, to varying degrees, the three courts currently making up the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal. The European Union’s jurisdiction has increased, particularly following the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, leading to the progressive expansion of the CJEU’s jurisdiction, which has also increased with the far larger number of Member States, causing it to become overloaded. The objective of these proposals is to improve the CJEU’s efficiency, both in terms of its work and in terms of reducing delays in pending cases so as to ensure legal certainty and general confidence in the EU’s judicial system. I support the compromise achieved, despite regretting the fact that no agreement was reached on the necessary increase in General Court judges, which would significantly help to speed up cases and to combat the current trend for the number of cases disposed of by the General Court to be lower than the number of new cases.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the motion for a European Parliament legislative resolution on the draft regulation amending the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice because, given the evident increase in the workload of the Court in the last years, a revision of the rules concerning its activities and the composition of the Court was fundamental.

The document, containing proposals relating to the Court of Justice and to the General Court, aims at strengthening the working capacity of the ECJ, in line with the guidelines suggested by the European Commission. The suggested reform, by amending Articles 16 and 17 of the Statute, wants to increase the participation of the judges in cases assigned to the Grand Chamber, allowing them to sit far more frequently than at present, thereby easing the activities of the President of the Court and the Presidents of the Chambers of five judges, redistributing the workload in a more balanced way.

I positively welcome this text amending the Protocol on the Court of Justice because it responds to the urgent need for a necessary rationalisation of certain specific aspects of the working rules of the ECJ, a crucial component of the European Union institutional architecture.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the draft regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Annex I thereto. I believe that the amendments to the Statute and its Annex proposed by the Court of Justice of the European Union aim to enable the Court of Justice and the General Court to operate more efficiently, specifically by establishing the office of Vice-President, who, along with the President, will participate in judging all cases assigned to the Grand Chamber, so as to ensure that its case-law is consistent.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal aims to amend the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union to improve its operation and to better share the workload between the judges. The amendments increase the number of judges and establish the office of Vice-President. Despite the budgetary implications of these proposals, granting effective judicial protection, notably through court judgments handed down within a reasonable period of time, is a crucial obligation. Moreover, the possible financial consequences of inefficient justice should not be ignored, even at a time of budgetary constraints.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), based in Luxembourg, is the supreme court of the European Union (EU) and has jurisdiction over the interpretation of EU legislation. An exceptional rise in the number of pending cases has resulted from greater citizen awareness about their rights and European Union enlargement. After the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, the CJEU also saw its jurisdiction and, similarly, the number of cases and judgments expand. The report by Alexandra Thein concerns the draft regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Annex I thereto, which aims to improve the court’s performance, as justice delayed is justice denied. Although I regret that it has not been possible to increase the number of judges, I voted for this proposal to internally reorganise the CJEU. By establishing a Vice-President and having temporary judges, the court will not only improve its work, but will also have a significant impact on citizens’ quality of life.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report relates to the proposed amendments to the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The proposal comes from the Court itself and includes establishing the office of Vice-President of the Court of Justice and amending the rules relating to the composition of the Grand Chamber. The justification given for this proposal results from the observation of a practical problem: at present, the President of the Court and the Presidents of the Chambers of five Judges have a very heavy workload. To respond to this constraint, it is therefore proposed to increase the number of judges, amongst other measures. For several years now, the number of cases disposed of by the General Court has been lower than the number of new cases, meaning that the number of pending cases is constantly on the increase. As the report essentially focuses on technical issues, there are inevitably considerations to be made from a political point of view. The Court of Justice’s situation is inseparable from the development of the integration process itself and the growing encroachment on the sovereignty of Member States and their institutions, including in the area of justice.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The workload of the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal is constantly increasing. We urgently need to find a solution which will ensure the proper functioning of all three courts. The productivity of the Court of Justice itself has substantially improved, but the number of unfinished cases continues to rise. It is interesting that the Court of Justice states by way of illustration that the files of cases under review cover an area of 505 metres! Such a rate is simply not manageable, and the Court of Justice clearly lacks the resources needed to perform its activities properly and effectively. We therefore need an urgent structural solution. The Court of Justice has concluded that, in view of the urgency of the situation, the most advantageous solution would be to increase the number of judges by at least 12, bringing the overall number of judges at the General Court to 39. The matter of their appointment, however, is problematic. The request has been divided into two sections, and the section dealing with the matter of the General Court is therefore still open. It is clearly desirable to increase the number of judges as quickly as possible. It is no less important, however, to agree on a method for appointing them. I consider it important for the Council to address this issue as a matter of priority.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has proposed several amendments to its Statute together with the adoption of a regulation concerning temporary judges of the Civil Service Tribunal. The proposed amendments concern, to varying degrees, the three courts currently making up the CJEU: the Court of Justice, the General Court (EGC) and the Civil Service Tribunal. As well as substantive changes, two of the proposals concern staff changes and increases requiring additional resources and thus having a direct impact on the EU budget. The Court of Justice argues that its President’s workload has increased considerably with time and it would therefore be useful to appoint a Vice-President who could relieve or assist him in carrying out his duties in future. The President of the Court has a large number of responsibilities, which are crucial to the smooth running of the Court. There have been cases where appeals against the General Court’s orders for interim measures have sometimes taken over a year to be dealt with. The establishment of the office of Vice-President should help improve the situation in this area. The Court of Justice also argues that, for some years now, the gap between the number of cases processed by the General Court and the number of new cases has been widening and that the number of unprocessed cases is continually rising. The Court of Justice assumes that the number of cases per year will also continue to rise in the future. After weighing up the options, it has decided on the proposal to increase the number of judges as the only way to cope with the essential need for effectiveness, urgency, flexibility and consistency in Court of Justice case-law. I therefore voted in favour of this document.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) The Court of Justice of the European Union submitted a request for its Statute to be amended. These amendments include establishing the office of Vice-President and increasing the number of judges from 27 to 39. Within this framework, the procedures for appointing the additional 12 judges and the role of the Vice-President were defined. Parliament adopted this report by a very large majority, which I also supported.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. – I support the proposal for broader participation of judges assigned in cases in the Grand Chamber. This would ensure that case-law is consistent, as currently, the Court of Justice judges have a very heavy workload while other judges sit in relatively few cases.

I also support the establishment of a Vice-President to assist the President in carrying out his ever increasing duties. As for the General Court, the number of cases disposed of has been lower than the number of cases brought before the court for several years. Despite the Court’s substantial efforts and increased productivity, it cannot keep up with the resource-intensive job.

The increase in workload comes from a variety of reasons, including the increase of litigation following 2004 and 2007 accessions, European integration, and the devolution of jurisdiction. The Court has made several efforts to deal with cases more expeditiously but believes a structural solution is urgently required, such as increasing the number of judges. This must be done to increase the effectiveness, urgency and flexibility of the court. Not only is effective judicial protection vital, but inefficient justice might be even more costly.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report but I feel that it would be unwise to require the Court to create at least two specialised chambers. This would be too rigid. I would prefer to leave the Court with the possibility of creating such chambers in its Rules of Procedure. Moreover, the Court already has the power to allocate cases of the same nature to one or more specified chambers.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – In conjunction with the proposed amendments to the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, proposals have also been brought forward to lay down rules for the appointment of temporary judges to the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. In favour.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The European Court of Justice wishes to establish the office of Vice-President of the Court and to change the rules regarding appointments to the Grand Chamber. The current structure and the rules on the functioning of this judicial panel – involving the participation of the President of the European Court of Justice and the Presidents of the Chambers of five Judges in all legal cases referred to the Grand Chamber and decision-making powers when nine judges are present – date back to the changes brought about by the Treaty of Nice. If the workload of the President of the European Court of Justice and the Presidents of the Chambers of five Judges is very heavy, while the remaining judges preside relatively infrequently over the legal cases referred to the Grand Chamber, then a change makes sense. When changes are made to a protocol, however, the same procedures must be observed as when changing a treaty. Accordingly, the procedure must be rejected on formal grounds.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I supported the proposal by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to amend its statutes, considering the great increase in the Court’s workload and the need to improve the organisation of work so as to increase the number of resolved court cases. Despite the Court’s efforts, through which it has resolved more and more cases each year, the number of cases waiting to be heard is increasing at a continuous rate. This, however, is largely the result of the enlargement of the European Union and the greater integration between Member States, which are giving rise to various disputes. To ensure that the ECJ is able to cope with the increase in its workload, there will be an inevitable need to increase the number of judges. Here, too, I would like to commend the ECJ for its current efforts to process cases more speedily; for example, the Court’s Rules of Procedure have been amended to permit the handling of intellectual property cases through oral proceedings.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. Given the significant workload of the Presidents of the Chambers, it is necessary to increase the number of judges in the Grand Chamber. In order to ensure more consistent case-law, I welcome the establishment of the new office of Vice-President, which would enable the Vice-President to participate in every Grand Chamber case and would assist the President in carrying out his duties. Given the number of unprocessed General Court cases, the structural changes to this court need to be implemented as a matter of urgency. In order to increase the efficiency of the General Court its number of judges should also be increased.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Annex I thereto as I am in agreement with it.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been overloaded for a number of years now. Congestion in the courts of the European Union is very damaging both to EU citizens, who can no longer have justice administered within a reasonable period of time, and to the CJEU itself, with the quality of its judgments compromised due to its increased workload. Proposals to reform the organisation of the Court of Justice and of the General Court, as well as a change to the composition of the General Court, were submitted to improve the productivity of this institution. We are taking a step forward today by establishing our position at first reading on the organisation of the European Courts in Luxembourg. The action taken aims, in particular, to end the automatic participation of all the Presidents of the Chambers of five Judges in Grand Chamber cases, to adapt the quorums of the Chambers for greater flexibility, to establish the office of Vice-President to assist the Presidents of the Court and of the General Court, and to appoint a temporary judge in the absence of a judge who is prevented from participating in judicial business for an extended period of time. I fully support this position.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The proposal provides for: (a) broader participation by the judges in cases assigned to the Grand Chamber, allowing them to sit far more frequently than at present. That would be achieved by amending Articles 16 and 17 of the Statute so as to increase to 15 the number of judges constituting the Grand Chamber and to end the automatic participation of all the Presidents of five-judge Chambers in Grand Chamber cases. Corresponding adjustments would have to be made to the rules relating to the quorum of the Grand Chamber and of the full Court; (b) the establishment of the office of Vice-President: the latter would sit, like the President, in every case assigned to the Grand Chamber. The permanent presence of two persons, together with the more frequent participation of the other judges in the work of the Grand Chamber, would ensure that its case-law is consistent. In addition to sitting in every Grand Chamber case, the Vice-President would also assist the President of the Court in his duties.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) This vote looks to amend the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Firstly, it proposes establishing the office of Vice-President of the Court of Justice of the European Union. This measure is needed because its President’s workload has increased considerably with time and it would therefore be useful if he could, in future, be replaced or assisted by a Vice-President in carrying out his duties. In addition, for some years now, the gap between the cases processed by the General Court and the number of new cases has been widening and the number of unprocessed cases is rising constantly. At the end of 2010, there were 1 300 cases pending, whereas, in the same year, 527 cases were disposed of. The average duration of proceedings rose from 20.9 to 27.2 months. This is why we need to take on 12 new judges.

 
  
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  József Szájer (PPE), in writing. (HU) The Court of Justice of the European Union has requested the amendment of its Statute because it believes that urgent restructuring is necessary in order to handle its extremely large workload and to reduce the time taken to judge cases. The Court of Justice is aware that a significant number of cases currently before the General Court require an urgent solution. Like the judicial reform recently carried out in Hungary, the aim of the draft amendment requested by the Court of Justice is to increase the efficiency of the Court of Justice and to reduce the duration of proceedings. It is not sufficient to stem the tide of new cases; it is also necessary to take strong steps to process the backlog of cases in progress. According to the Court of Justice, the necessary efficiency and consistency of the Court of Justice's administration of justice can only be ensured by increasing the number of judges as a matter of urgency. There is general agreement among the institutions of the EU regarding the necessity of these amendments. However, while there is agreement in theory about increasing the number of members of the General Court, the method of appointing them has not yet been determined. Given that the Council was unable to reach political agreement concerning the distribution of the 12 new judge positions to be created among the Member States, the relevant section was omitted from the regulation, enabling the remaining points of the reform to be adopted and for the organisational changes to come into effect prior to the partial restructuring in autumn.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) This text makes a contribution to a Europe in which justice is respected because it is given the necessary resources. We cannot stand idly by as new procedures abound while the number of unprocessed cases is rising constantly. At the end of 2010, there were 1 300 cases pending, whereas, in the same year, 527 cases were disposed of. Other modifications have been proposed to alleviate the workload of the President of the Court and of the Presidents of the Chambers of five Judges.

There has been no shortage of constructive proposals during these first six months: to establish the office of Vice-President; to enable the Presidents of five-judge Chambers not to participate in Grand Chamber cases, and to increase by 12 the number of judges at the General Court. It has been pointed out that the majority of national and international courts, such as the European Court of Human Rights, have, to my knowledge, Vice-Presidents.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Due to a sudden increase in cases, the Court of Justice of the European Union has submitted a request for the amendment of its statute to increase the speed and efficiency of its work. I voted for this report as I believe it is vital to establish the new office of Vice-President, to broaden the participation of judges in the Grand Chamber, and to increase the number of judges at the General Court.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the draft regulation amending the Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union and Annex I thereto. The Court of Justice of the European Union has proposed several amendments to its Statute together with the adoption of a regulation concerning the temporary judges of the Civil Service Tribunal. Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, these amendments should, for the first time, be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure. The proposed amendments concern, to varying degrees, the three courts that currently make up the Court of Justice of the European Union. They are necessary due to the increased workload of these courts. The proposed amendments concerning the Court of Justice refer to the increase in quorum for the decisions of the Grand Chamber and of the full Court and to the establishment of the office of Vice-President and its corresponding duties. As regards the General Court, an increase in the number of judges to 39 has been proposed in order for it to cope with its increased workload and duration of proceedings. Concerning the Civil Service Tribunal, the Court requests that three temporary judges be assigned to it, whose assistance it can avail itself of in case a judge is prevented from acting for a longer period.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The courts’ problems in handling and solving the continuously increasing number of legal matters require adaptations in the courts’ structure. To raise the number of judges in court as well as to establish a new function for a Vice-President seem to be adequate solutions to guarantee the coherence of jurisdiction and improve the division of labour.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) In connection with the partial change in the composition of the European Court of Justice and the resulting urgent need to find a solution that would enable the Civil Service Tribunal to function properly, I believe it is vital to adopt the proposed changes to the statute relating to the organisation of the Court and the Civil Service Tribunal. For this reason, I voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Alexandra Thein (A7-0184/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, given that the Court of Justice has submitted a proposal for a regulation which would allow temporary judges to be appointed to the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. The Civil Service Tribunal consists of seven judges. As a result, its operation can be seriously affected if one of its members falls ill and is unable to perform his or her duties for an extended period without, however, suffering from disablement within the meaning of Article 10 of Council Regulation No 422/67/EEC, No 5/67/Euratom. For this reason, I agree with the rules put forward to govern the appointment of temporary judges, their rights and obligations, the conditions under which they are to perform their duties and the circumstances in which they will cease to perform those duties. I believe that this measure will help the efficiency of this institution and, at the same time, ensure the rights of its staff, since the temporary judges will be appointed for a period of four years and may be reappointed.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) The Civil Service Tribunal of the European Union consists of seven judges. When one of them is prevented, on medical grounds for example, from participating in judicial business for an extended period of time, the functioning of this tribunal is affected. I therefore approved the possibility of appointing temporary judges. Such recruitment will be subject to rules and conditions, of course, but this report makes it possible.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. I agree that it is necessary to provide for the possibility of supplementing the Civil Service Tribunal with temporary judges. In order to ensure that the operation of the court is not disrupted if one of the judges falls ill, it is very important to be able to replace the judge if, on medical grounds, he or she is prevented from participating in judicial business for longer than three months. I agree that temporary judges should be able to perform only strictly judicial duties and should not be entitled to participate in the administration of the Civil Service Tribunal.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the dossier regarding the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation relating to temporary judges of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. I agree with Ms Thein’s position, which considers it necessary to introduce the role of temporary judges to specialised courts, so that the Court’s operation is not affected should one of the seven members be unable to perform their duties for an extended period. This amendment to the Statute and Annex I will not place any burden on Member States.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because, in order to ensure that the European Civil Service Tribunal is not placed in a situation in which it cannot carry out its judicial functions, Article 62c of the Statute of the Court should be amended, by providing, in general terms, for the possibility of attaching temporary judges to the specialised courts. The Court of Justice submitted a proposal for a regulation which would allow temporary judges to be appointed to the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. The Civil Service Tribunal consists of seven judges. As a result, its operation can be seriously affected if one of its members falls ill and is unable to perform his or her duties for an extended period. The main thrust of the proposal is as follows: on a proposal from the President of the Court of Justice, the Council of the European Union draws up a list of three persons to be temporary judges. Temporary judges are to be chosen from among former Members of the Court of Justice of the European Union who are able to place themselves at the disposal of the Civil Service Tribunal. This proposal is a sensible solution to a practical problem, which can be very disruptive to the work of the European Civil Service Tribunal. The proposed amendments are purely technical and reproduce those put forward by the Commission in its opinion.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I fully support the request by the Court that wished to appoint three temporary judges who could replace a judge in the event of prolonged absence. It should be noted that this vote was partially conditional upon the clarification of the status of judges between MEPs and the Court of Justice.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this regulation as I believe that appointing temporary judges to perform judicial duties only is the way to ensure the smooth running of the EU Civil Service Tribunal, which currently consists of only seven judges.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU Civil Service Tribunal currently consists of seven judges. The temporary absence of any of these judges due to ill health can have a profound effect on the tribunal’s operation and contribute to delays in pending cases. Accordingly, this initiative introduces the possibility of attaching temporary judges to the specialised courts. It also provides for the Council drawing up a list of three persons capable of carrying out the duties of a Civil Service Tribunal judge. These persons can be called upon to perform temporary judge duties whenever it is necessary to temporarily substitute a judge who is unable to perform his or her duties due to medical grounds for at least three months. These temporary judges shall be appointed for a period of four years and may be reappointed. They shall exercise the prerogatives of a judge solely in the context of dealing with cases to which they are assigned. That is, temporary judges will have strictly judicial duties and will not be entitled to participate in the administration of the tribunal or in the election of the President or the Presidents of the Chambers. I therefore voted for this regulation as I believe that it appears to be the most logical solution to deal with situations that could prevent the tribunal from carrying out its judicial functions.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on temporary judges of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal as I believe that the proposed amendments will help the Civil Service Tribunal to operate more effectively, specifically enabling the Civil Service Tribunal to draw up a list of three temporary judges who can be called upon to replace permanent judges unable to carry out their duties for medical reasons.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Court of Justice has submitted a proposal for a regulation which would allow temporary judges to be appointed to the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. The Civil Service Tribunal consists of seven judges. As a result, its operation can be seriously affected if one of its members falls ill and is unable to perform his or her duties for an extended period. Rules have been put forward to govern the appointment of temporary judges, their rights and obligations, the conditions under which they are to perform their duties and the circumstances in which they will cease to perform those duties. This appears to be a balanced and sensible proposal that will ensure that the European Union Civil Service Tribunal operates effectively.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union Civil Service Tribunal (CST), established on 2 December 2005 by the Council of the European Union, consists of seven judges and has jurisdiction in disputes between the Community and its servants (Article 236 of the EC Treaty and Article 152 of the Euratom Treaty). It is a specialised court and appeals against its decisions may be lodged with the Court of First Instance. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of pending cases that must be dealt with. The current CST Statute does not allow a judge to be replaced during temporary absences on medical grounds, which leads to pending cases accumulating. To remedy this situation, it is proposed that temporary judges be chosen from among former Members of the Court of Justice of the European Union who are able to place themselves at the disposal of the Civil Service Tribunal, to be appointed for a period of four years, after which they may be reappointed. Although I regret that my vote was too late to be included, I voted for this draft amendment to the CST Statute since, by establishing the office of Vice-President and introducing the possibility of replacing a judge absent on medical grounds, the tribunal will not only improve its work, but will help to improve citizens’ quality of life.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This report concerns a proposal for a regulation which would allow temporary judges to be appointed to the European Union Civil Service Tribunal and governs their rights and obligations, the conditions under which they are to perform their duties, and the circumstances in which they will cease to perform those duties. The Civil Service Tribunal may decide to avail itself of the assistance of a temporary judge if it determines that a judge is or will be prevented, on medical grounds, from participating in judicial business and that the situation will be, or is likely to be, of at least three months’ duration. The rapporteur commends this proposal of the Court of Justice as a sensible solution to a practical problem which can be very disruptive to the work of the European Civil Service Tribunal. She also points out that the proposed amendments are purely technical and reproduce those put forward by the Commission in its opinion. Even so, these issues are inseparable from the development of the integration process itself and the growing encroachment on the sovereignty of Member States and their institutions, including in the area of justice.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Court of Justice has submitted a proposal allowing the appointment of temporary judges to the Civil Service Tribunal of the European Union. The Civil Service Tribunal is made up of seven judges. It follows from this that the operation of the court may be seriously put at risk if any of them falls ill or is incapable of carrying out his duties for some time. In order to ensure that the Civil Service Tribunal does not get into a situation where it is unable to perform its judicial role, a proposal has been made for temporary judges to be allowed in specialised tribunals. The essence of the proposal is that, at the suggestion of the President of the Court of Justice, the Council will draw up a list of three people proposed as temporary judges. They will be appointed for a term of four years, with the possibility of reappointment. They will exercise judicial powers only when addressing the cases assigned to them. This means that the temporary judges may only perform a judicial role and may not take part in running the Civil Service Tribunal or electing the President of the Court of Justice or the Presidents of the Chambers. In my opinion, the proposal submitted by the Court of Justice looks like a sensible solution to a practical problem which might otherwise significantly disrupt the activities of the Civil Service Tribunal of the EU.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – The Court of Justice has faced an ever growing caseload in response to the continued expansion of the powers of the European Union and increasing levels of litigation. The backlog of cases in the General Court is increasing: as of 12 October 2011, the number stood at 1 323 cases, compared to 1 304 at the same date in the previous year. It is important that the Court of Justice works effectively, as part of a well-functioning legal system providing clarity and certainty for firms operating in the EU. Under this dossier, the office of Vice-President of the Court of Justice will be established, and the rules relating to participation of judges in the Grand Chamber reformed, in order to allow the Court to operate more efficiently. Concerning the Civil Service Tribunal, the possibility of appointing temporary judges has been created, in order to substitute for existing judges who may be unavailable for long periods of time. I voted in favour of this pragmatic proposal which will avoid adding significant extra costs to the Court. It ensures a balance between delivering efficiency and maintaining a consistent direction in the jurisprudence of the Court.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), in writing. (PL) Ever since the new Member States acceded to the European Union, the European Court of Justice has been faced with the problem of too few staff in relation to its caseload. The number of cases before the ECJ is steadily increasing and, in 2011, was 11.3% higher than in the previous year. An additional problem is the lack of replacement judges in situations where one of the main judges is on sick leave for a period longer than three months. This results in considerable delays in the Court’s work. Last year, there were as many as 1 323 cases waiting to be heard on 12 October. I therefore support the ECJ’s request for a regulation that would allow temporary judges to sit in the European Union Civil Service Tribunal.

At present, the Civil Service Tribunal comprises seven judges. The Court has suggested that, at the request of the President of the European Court of Justice, the Council of the European Union should prepare a list of three persons to act as temporary judges for a period of four years, who would be drawn from former ECJ members. Such judges would only have judicial competence over the cases to which they have been allocated. They would not have the right to participate in court administration or in the selection of the Court’s President or chamber presidents. The additional costs incurred by such a solution would be relatively small, as these judges would only receive 1/30 of the salary of a permanent judge for each day of work. I support the Court’s request. The provision of effective legal protection and the possibility of speeding up court proceedings should be a priority for the proper functioning of the European Union, even though this will increase costs in next year’s budget.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the proposal for a regulation submitted by the Court of Justice, which would allow temporary judges to be appointed to the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. The Civil Service Tribunal consists of seven judges. As a result, its operations can be seriously affected if one of its members falls ill and is unable to perform his or her duties for an extended period, without, however, suffering from disablement. In order to ensure that the European Civil Service Tribunal is not placed in a situation in which it cannot carry out its judicial functions, it is proposed to amend the Statute of the Court and Annex I to the Statute, by providing, in general terms, for the possibility of attaching temporary judges to the specialised courts. In these circumstances, the President of the Tribunal will be able to call upon the services of a temporary judge. Such temporary judges will have the prerogatives of a judge solely in dealing with cases to which they are assigned. In other words, temporary judges will be able to perform only strictly judicial duties and will not be entitled to participate in the administration of the Civil Service Tribunal or in the election of the President of the Tribunal or Presidents of the Chambers.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) Under Article 281 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Court of Justice of the European Union submitted a request for its Statute to be amended to enable the appointment of three temporary judges who could replace a judge in the event of prolonged absence. The report therefore clarifies the status of these judges. I voted in favour of this report, which was adopted by Parliament by 591 votes in favour in the July part-session.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. – I support the regulation of the European Parliament and the Council to allow temporary judges to be appointed to the EU Civil Service Tribunal.

Since the tribunal consists of just seven judges, its work can be severely affected if one member is unable to perform his or her duties. It is crucial that the tribunal carry out its judicial functions. The temporary judges would only be able to perform strictly judicial duties and would not participate in administration or elections. They would be selected according to capability and flexibility to immediately perform the duties of the tribunal. Thus, I find this proposal a realistic solution to ensure the tribunal’s work does not get disrupted or adversely affected.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal of the Court of Justice as a sensible solution to a practical problem which can be very disruptive to the work of the European Civil Service Tribunal.

 
  
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  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the draft regulation concerning temporary judges of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal which would permit the appointment of three temporary judges who could replace a judge in the event of prolonged absence.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The proposal presented by the Court of Justice is designed to allow judges to be appointed to the European Union’s Civil Service Tribunal on an interim basis. In principle, it makes sense to ensure that the Court can continue to work even in the event of absences through illness. When changes are made to a protocol, however, the same procedures must be observed as when changing a treaty. Accordingly, the procedure must be rejected on formal grounds.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. In order to ensure that the work of the EU Civil Service Tribunal is systematic, continuous and swift, it is right to provide for the possibility of appointing a temporary judge to this court from a selection of former judges, who would be able to begin work immediately. This would be an appropriate and effective method of resolving the problem that currently exists, ensuring that the Civil Service Tribunal is not placed in a difficult situation, which creates obstacles to carrying out the duties it is assigned.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this draft European Parliament legislative resolution on the draft regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to temporary judges of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) Today, we voted on Alexandra Thein’s report in plenary in Strasbourg, which explains the relevance of the proposal for a regulation submitted by the Court of Justice which would allow the European Union Civil Service Tribunal to appoint temporary judges. The tribunal consists of seven judges and its operation can be seriously affected if one of its members is unable to perform his or her duties for an extended period, without, however, suffering from disablement within the meaning of Article 10 of Council Regulation No 422/67/EEC, No 5/67/Euratom. In order to avoid a situation in which its judicial functions cannot be carried out, it is proposed to amend Article 62c of the Statute of the Court by providing for the possibility of attaching temporary judges to the specialised courts. According to the proposal from the President of the Court of Justice, the Council of the European Union shall draw up a list of three persons, chosen from among former Members of the Court of Justice of the European Union, as temporary judges. For four years, they would be able to perform only strictly judicial duties and would not be entitled to participate in the administration of the Civil Service Tribunal or in the election of the President of the Tribunal or Presidents of the Chambers.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The Court of Justice has submitted a proposal for a regulation which would allow temporary judges to be appointed to the European Union Civil Service Tribunal.

The Civil Service Tribunal consists of seven judges. As a result, its operation can be seriously affected if one of its members falls ill and is unable to perform his or her duties for an extended period, without, however, suffering from disablement within the meaning of Article 10 of Council Regulation No 422/67/EEC, No 5/67/Euratom.

In order to ensure that the European Civil Service Tribunal is not placed in a situation in which it cannot carry out its judicial functions, it is proposed to amend Article 62c of the Statute of the Court by providing, in general terms, for the possibility of attaching temporary judges to the specialised courts. Under Article 62c of the Statute, as thus amended, the attachment of temporary judges to the Civil Service Tribunal requires an amendment to Annex I to the Statute.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) In order to ensure that the European Civil Service Tribunal is not placed in a situation in which its judicial functions cannot be carried out, it is proposed to amend Article 62c of the Statute of the Court by providing, in general, for the possibility of attaching temporary judges to the specialised courts. Under Article 62c of the Statute, as thus amended, the attachment of temporary judges to the Civil Service Tribunal requires an amendment to Annex I to the Statute. This vote welcomes this proposal by the Court of Justice, as it is a sensible solution to a practical problem which can be very disruptive to the work of the European Civil Service Tribunal.

 
  
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  József Szájer (PPE), in writing. (HU) The Civil Service Tribunal is composed of just seven judges, which means that its operation is severely affected if a member falls ill and cannot perform their tasks for a protracted period. The Court of Justice of the European Union therefore recommends that the possibility be provided for in the Statute of the Court of Justice of supplementing the Civil Service Tribunal with substitute judges who could be called upon if one of the judges is unable to perform their tasks for a lengthy period, namely, in those cases when one of the judges is unable to judge cases for a period expected to exceed three months for health reasons, but is not in a condition of total incapacity to work. To ensure that the Civil Service Tribunal is able to perform its work continuously and with the greatest possible efficiency, it has become necessary to amend the Statute of the Court of Justice. The use of substitute judges is a sensible solution to a practical problem that can disrupt the work of the Civil Service Tribunal in the extreme. The recommended amendments are merely of a technical nature, but can significantly facilitate the provision of procedural guarantees in the Court of Justice’s administration of justice.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) I voted positively for this text, the outcome of which must also be positive. The Civil Service Tribunal (CST) only has seven judges. If one of them were to be absent for an extended period of time (on sick leave, for example), this would seriously affect the functioning of the CST. To address this issue, it was important to allow the attachment of temporary judges to the specialised courts.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This purely technical report proposes that it be possible to appoint temporary judges if one of the seven judges is absent, meaning that the tribunal’s operation is not seriously affected. I voted for this report, as it aims to improve the tribunal’s operation.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – The court for government service should be able to work continuously, especially in case of outage of one or more of the current judges. Therefore, an appointment of judges ad interim seems to be an expedient and useful solution. The arrangements for the nomination and their duration, as well as the judges’ authorisations and duties, are acceptable.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) I am writing with regard to the growing need to regulate operational rules for temporary judges in the European Union Civil Service Tribunal. Taking into account the circumstances that justify their appointment, I believe that the way in which they are paid should also be regulated, as should the way in which the activity of temporary judges is terminated. For this reason, I voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Göran Färm (A7-0150/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because the development of a modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment. Investment needs in the field of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Europe are estimated at EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. While the private sector should finance the main part of these – mostly profitable – investments, the public sector’s role in Europe will be crucial for achieving the above targets. To this aim, the Commission has proposed a ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF) for the next financial framework in order to accelerate infrastructure development in the fields of transport, energy and ICT networks, with particular emphasis on strategic cross-border parts. The establishment of this new instrument has often been strongly called for by Parliament. However, I draw attention to the fact that this document does not contain any reference to, or solutions for, the more remote regions, particularly the outermost regions. To this end, I suggest a specific initiative in this area, based on the Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity (POSEI).

 
  
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  Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – Because of the need for investment in cross-border infrastructure, particularly in Ireland, I have voted in favour of this report. However, I have concerns about the use of project bonds, which involve the transfer of risk from major private sector companies to the public sector.

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD), in writing. – I voted against the Färm report because my experience with the management and supervision of European funding is not good. Regional funds which require cofinancing are poorly controlled, with responsibility being shirked by the Commission which is ultimately in charge. Project bonds should be a good means to get private funding for these infrastructure projects, but alas, with the EU managing them, I anticipate poor control and indifferent results.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of the resolution on financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks. A modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, i.e. smart, sustainable and inclusive growth as well as a reduction in unemployment through the completion of the internal market. Investment needs in the field of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Europe are estimated at EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. While the private sector should finance the main part of these – mostly profitable – investments, the public sector’s role in Europe will be crucial for achieving the above targets. At the present time of fiscal constraint, when the need to stimulate private financing of key infrastructure projects becomes urgent, it has been decided to launch a pilot phase of the Europe 2020 project bond initiative already for the current MFF (2012-2013). Even though the pilot phase would, by definition, be limited in terms of scope, budget availability as well as projects supported, it is expected to provide a unique possibility to evaluate the operation of the current instrument before its possible implementation for the period 2014-2020.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Investment needs in the field of transport, energy, and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Europe are estimated at EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. While the private sector should finance the main part of these – mostly profitable – investments, the public sector’s role in Europe will be crucial for achieving the above targets. We therefore hope to mobilise the private sector. To ensure that everything works perfectly from 2014, we hope to launch a pilot phase immediately. Through the use of a European Investment Bank (EIB) facility, supported by an EU contribution, this pilot phase should enable us, first, to test financial markets’ acceptance of and reactions to this initiative, since new instruments take time to be incorporated in private sector investment decisions, and, second, to test the functioning and optimisation of project bonds intended to finance projects in practice in order to fine-tune the initiative.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this proposal on establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. The pilot phase is aimed at testing markets’ acceptance and assessing the implementation of the new initiative. A modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. I agree that in order to step up private sector participation in financing infrastructure measures in the areas of transport, energy, ICT and broadband networks, the Europe 2020 project bond initiative should be launched as a pilot phase in 2012-2013.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. (PL) Modern and efficient infrastructure encourages long-lasting economic growth. Infrastructure development is also directly related to expansion of the internal market and the creation of more jobs. As has been said already, investment in transport, energy and extension of the telecommunications and computer network will cost around EUR 1.5 trillion over the present decade. In this context, the solutions put forward by the European Commission are aimed at attracting private sector investors. One should always take great care when presented with such solutions. For this reason, I welcome the introduction of an 18-month pilot programme as a test for all the capital instruments associated with the Europe 2020 strategy. This will make it possible to determine the level of acceptance in capital markets for such measures and will also provide a test of the functioning of the project bonds system. I voted in favour of the report in order to support the pilot stage. However, I would describe my overall attitude to the project, including the bond mechanism, as being somewhat lukewarm.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Mr Färm’s motion for a resolution, as I am in favour of a regulation that plans a pilot phase for project bonds, in this case, to finance infrastructure in the field of transport. Given that this financing will not impact negatively on the general trend of funds for grants for EU projects in other fields, I think it is worth trying to solve the problem of the liquidity needed to create major European infrastructure, necessary for the competitiveness of our economy and, as in this case, using careful and prudent financing.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because a modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. Investment needs in the field of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Europe are estimated at EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. While the private sector should finance the main part of these – mostly profitable – investments, the public sector’s role in Europe will be crucial for achieving the above targets. A Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) should therefore be included in the next financial framework in order to accelerate infrastructure development in the fields of transport, energy and ICT networks, with particular emphasis on strategic cross-border aspects. For the pilot phase, the Commission proposes an EU budget contribution of EUR 230 million, financed through redeployment within existing programmes. While it is important for adequate reporting to be ensured so that well-founded conclusions can be drawn before the setting up of the CEF, the main aim of this pilot phase is to test markets’ acceptance as regards this new initiative.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I believe that a common policy on trans-European network infrastructures is necessary for the proper functioning of the common market. In this regard, the Commission has proposed the creation of a Connecting Europe Facility for the next financial framework. Furthermore, this report proposes the launch of a pilot phase in 2012-2013 through the implementation of a new financial instrument to mobilise more private sector funding as well as project bonds. This project is part of the Europe 2020 strategy for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive Europe.

 
  
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  Antonio Cancian (PPE), in writing.(IT) I am pleased to see that Parliament has today voted by a large majority in favour of the text of which I am the rapporteur and which considers testing a new financial instrument to contribute to implementing trans-European transport and energy networks, the so-called ‘project bonds’. I voted in favour as I am personally committed to highlighting the crucial importance of giving the go-ahead to this pilot phase.

We must use European resources and take advantage of the experience already gained by the European Investment Bank (EIB) if we want to create a leverage effect that allows us to create quality projects of European interest. However, I would argue that we must not stop at this first step, but must already be looking at how to develop the future pilot phase: firstly, we need to increase the budget, which is currently insufficient (EUR 230 million), especially in the energy and telecommunications sector. Secondly, to succeed in driving a genuine economic recovery, the EU must have the courage to create a direct bond issuance initiative which directly releases bonds, to directly participate in investments in infrastructure regarded as key to pulling the economy out of crisis, creating jobs and restoring competitiveness to the system.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I am very pleased that this text establishes a new financial instrument to support development in the field of trans-European transport and energy networks. However, I believe that this pilot phase should be developed in the future through increased funding and infrastructure investment to create jobs and restore the system’s competitiveness.

 
  
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  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the proposal launching a pilot phase for project bonds to support investment in the transport, energy and ICT fields through attracting and facilitating private financing of priority projects. National budgets are under considerable pressure, so it is important that we look at new and innovative ways of boosting growth and creating jobs. Crucially, this initiative does not make any additional demands on domestic budgets, sovereign debt or contingent liability. It does rely on redirecting EUR 230 million from existing EU programmes to the EIB, to leverage a total investment of EUR 4.5 billion. It is better to use private finance productively rather than have it end up in speculative markets. Should the pilot project prove successful, this type of financial instrument could be used more widely in the future. I welcome the fact that the Parliament and the Council have agreed on the re-investment of any revenues generated into the mechanism itself, on a clear role for MEPs in monitoring implementation, as well as a full independent evaluation of the pilot phase in 2015. I would emphasise that infrastructure projects funded under this initiative should cover the entire EU, and not just in the centre.

 
  
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  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) I chose to defend and strongly support Mr Färm’s report because – in addition to its content as a whole – I would argue that it represents an extraordinary turning point both in the relationship between institutions and for the future of EU economic policy. For the first time, the European institutions have paved the way for testing project bonds, or rather for one of the instruments for which Parliament has often expressed its support. While noting that unfortunately, the conditions needed to actually start implementing European bonds in a fuller and more forceful way still do not seem to be in place, today’s report opens up the possibility of testing the will of other European institutions to following the declarations. Implementing connecting trans-European infrastructure is of key importance strategically and therefore lends itself extremely well to testing the issuance of bonds intended to finance infrastructure projects. I fully support this report, and I hope that other European institutions agree that we need to find new ways to finance strategic investments in order to relaunch the European economy.

 
  
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  Tadeusz Cymański (EFD), in writing. (PL) I supported the legislative resolution concerning, inter alia, trans-European transport networks. The aid programme for the creation of a common road, rail, water and air transport network will help strengthen social cohesion, particularly in central European countries where significant improvements are still required in infrastructure quality. I am pleased to see the allocation of a special pool of funds, comprising EUR 10 billion, for countries covered by the Cohesion Fund, including Poland.

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of the motion for a European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Decision establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) and laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks because I believe it may become an important tool in the achievement of the economic relaunch of the Union.

As unanimously agreed upon, investments in infrastructure will have to play a crucial role in this sense, not only as a means for growth and for the completion of the single market in transport and energy, but also as a necessary precondition for the convergence of the European regions. However, it is also evident that the EU budget alone cannot sufficiently tackle this challenge. One of the key actors in this field being the involvement of the private sector, I believe that the launch of a phase testing the financial markets’ reactions and the functioning and optimisation of project bonds can constitute an important tool to attract private investments, triggering a virtuous circle for the European economy as a whole.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks as it includes measures to stimulate private investment, specifically in the field of transport, energy and information and communication technologies, through project bonds.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) A modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. Investment needs in the field of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Europe are estimated at EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. Although a large part of this investment will be private, the truth is that a public component is still required, here achieved through project bonds. These are a debt instrument issued by private project companies, with the backing of an EU/European Investment Bank contribution, which will make the bonds safer and more attractive to capital market investors. This pilot phase is essential to test how the project bonds issue is received by the markets.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The European Union single market will only operate at its full potential when Europe has adequate infrastructure. The report drafted by Göran Färm addresses the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1639/2006/EC establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) and Regulation (EC) No 680/2007 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks. At a time of crisis, we must use our imagination and perform the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. Accordingly, I welcome this initiative, which will leverage the limited public resources available to create wealth and employment through a mixed economy: the EU, the European Investment Bank and the private sector. I voted for this report and I hope that the symbolic amount of EUR 230 million contributed to this pilot phase can be significantly increased in the next budgets to stimulate the economy and to create jobs in the important areas of transport and energy networks, where innovation and digital technologies are essential.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This proposal originates from a real need. A number of large-scale infrastructure projects demanding enormous levels of funding are now seriously compromised, in the context of the huge transfers of public resources that have been undertaken to fill the holes in the financial system and an outlook of restrictive financial policy, with limited credit and an increased risk of default, for some years to come. The underlying logic of these large-scale projects is not to benefit the countries and their people, however, which would first require a break with the current policies of pillage and exploitation. This proposal’s sole concern, in truth, is the large-scale projects, those that fundamentally involve the German or French big businesses that dominate the transport, energy and telecommunication sectors. It is significant that investment in smaller-scale infrastructure is purely and simply ignored, although this is extremely important since it allows greater integration of national production and provides incentives to those small and medium-sized enterprises that supply it, thereby creating jobs. In addition, the proposal maintains all of the dogmas associated with current policy: budgetary control, deficit reduction and austerity. These long-term bonds are nothing more than public investment to reduce private risk and, hence, increase private profit.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Over the next decade, extensive investments will be needed in Europe’s transport, energy, information and communication networks in order to underpin the Europe 2020 flagship actions and develop smart, upgraded and fully interconnected infrastructures to foster the completion of the internal market. In its resolutions of June 2011 on ‘Investing in the future: a new multiannual financial framework for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive Europe’, the European Parliament emphasised that the Union should adopt measures, above all, for improving the use of EU resources as a catalyst attracting further funds from the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, other international financial institutions and the private sector. Financial instruments can improve the efficiency of budget spending and achieve high multiplier effects in terms of attracting private sector financing and achieved investment volumes. The Europe 2020 project bond initiative has a twofold objective. First, to help finance projects of European policy priorities, and, second, to facilitate greater private sector involvement in the long-term capital market financing of infrastructure projects. In my opinion, the Union support should mitigate the risk inherent in project bonds to the extent that capital market participants are willing to invest in a larger volume of infrastructure project bonds than would be possible without Union support.

 
  
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  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) I voted in favour of the report since the proposed means enables important investment instruments to be mobilised in the transport, communication and energy fields for infrastructure projects, which are needed for growth, innovation, competitiveness and job creation. Implementation of the planned projects will enable citizens to perceive the benefit of European integration in a concrete way, thereby strengthening the European idea. However, this instrument also carries risks, primarily associated with assuming losses that may potentially be suffered in the course of the planned investment projects. While the upper limit for assumption of risk regarding the EU budget is clearly defined in the legislative proposal of the European Commission, the situation is different where the European Investment Bank (EIB) is concerned. Based on the EIB and the investors concluding a contract for each individual project and the EIB drawing up an overall risk sharing plan covering all projects, it is assumed that the EIB does not need to assume further risks. We therefore need to avoid at all costs a situation where the materialisation of risks has a negative impact on the EIB’s creditworthiness and reputation or on the planning and implementation of projects traditionally supported by the EIB.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) Finally, after having concentrated our attentions on financial stability and economic discipline, the European Union is beginning to talk about growth. However, it is a shame to have to note that the means made available do not meet the purpose. Project bonds are undoubtedly a useful instrument to attract the largest possible number of private investments in financing infrastructure projects in the field of transport, energy and broadband networks. We are talking about sectors whose operation is key to developing the European single market. Therefore, it is easy to imagine the negative consequences in terms of economic and employment growth that lack of development in these areas would cause. This said, faced with a requirement of EUR 1.5 trillion to create this infrastructure, today we find ourselves talking about a budget of EUR 230 million (because this is the figure given by the European Union). The only thing we can say is that we have taken a tiny step in the right direction. Only a tiny one, however. Using these figures, we cannot put into place the development we urgently need in the field of trans-European networks. We are giving European citizens the impression of a Europe with a worrying lack of ambition in tackling the current economic situation.

 
  
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  Mathieu Grosch (PPE), in writing. (DE) It will be particularly evident in ‘times of crisis’ that such investments are, in fact, ‘double’ investments. On the one hand, they will secure or finance jobs during implementation. These investments also enhance the attractiveness and ‘accessibility’ of Europe’s regions, which may also encourage further investment.

 
  
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  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of bonds to fund transport, telecommunications and energy projects. These project bonds, which we have been negotiating for months, will be financed by the redeployment of existing budget lines amounting to a maximum of EUR 230 million. EUR 200 million will be invested in transport networks, EUR 20 million in information and communication technology (ICT) networks and EUR 10 million in energy networks. Let us be clear: project bonds do not pave the way to possible debt mutualisation; they are issued by private sector companies which bid on a call for tenders and which are guaranteed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for up to 20% of the project. By attracting private capital and limiting risk, the EU hopes to raise EUR 4.4 billion in the pilot phase by 2014, which will finance investments in viable, long-term projects. I welcome this initiative of the Commission, which has the potential to stimulate growth in Europe without giving rise to additional expenditure. This is a considered and responsible proposal.

 
  
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  Salvatore Iacolino (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Färm’s report because I consider financing infrastructure projects in the field of transport and energy to be of crucial importance in achieving the objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as laid down by Europe 2020. As highlighted many times by the Commission and by Parliament, developing the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), trans-European energy network (TEN-E) and telecommunication infrastructures is part of the overall and necessary framework to relaunch EU employment and investment. Therefore, adequate support for financial resources guarantees the project will go ahead, and so acts as a catalyst for private investors, for whom uncertain risk perceptions and the ceaseless advance of the global economic crisis block the flow of finance. The construction of new modern and integrated infrastructures is fundamental if Europe is to remain a competitive, central player on the world stage and a leader in the post-crisis international economy. Building new infrastructures will create an enabling environment for a striving and competitive European private sector, stimulating growth, creating jobs for young people and engaging future generations in the relaunch of our economy, thus addressing some of the most pressing challenges our continent is facing today.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcomed the document because a modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. To this end, the EU Commission has proposed a Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the next financial framework in order to accelerate infrastructure development in the fields of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) networks, with particular emphasis on strategic cross-border aspects. Through amending the current CEF and trans-European network (TEN) rules, the proposal extends and upgrades the present Loan Guarantee Facility for TEN Transport (LGTT). It is upgraded to cover sectors other than transport, including energy and ICT projects, whilst at the same time being extended to cover not only traffic risk, but all risks possibly leading to a shortfall of revenues in the lifecycle of a project. The establishment of this new instrument for investing in the future has often been strongly called for by the European Parliament. Finally, in the conclusions of its meeting of 1-2 March 2012, the European Council set this ambitious target for the pilot phase: ‘given the need to stimulate the private financing of key infrastructure projects, work on the pilot phase of the Europe 2020 project bond initiative should be stepped up...’.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) In order to stimulate growth, the report by Mr Färm provides, for project sponsors and on a proposal from the Commission, for the issue of loans with the partial guarantee of the EU budget and the capital of the European Investment Bank (EIB). Thus, by reducing the risk profile of these loans, this European contribution will attract other investors. I voted in favour of this report, which Parliament adopted by a very large majority during the July part-session.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) By adopting project bonds intended to create European infrastructure projects throughout the European Union, our institution has clearly expressed its wish to emerge from the crisis through relaunching the economy and investment in development, employment and infrastructure. It must be stressed that the project bonds adopted will not replace the public and private instruments currently available, but rather will add to these, thus constituting real added value for infrastructure projects. I also agree with the restrictions and criteria adopted to determine capital allocation, the maximum amount of projects that may be financed and the instruments used to choose the projects. The pilot phase of this new European financial instrument will be key to analysing its efficacy and, where applicable, making any necessary changes, with widespread application and more important economic implications in mind.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) There are certain key areas of activity at the moment, given that investments in development projects in these sectors are certain to lead to the long-term recovery of the EU economy. However, I have noticed that the division of budgetary funds between these three key areas (transport, energy and information technology) is disproportionate, in the sense that financial resources for trans-European energy and IT networks in the pilot phase (2012-2013) will be limited to EUR 10 billion and EUR 20 billion respectively, compared to the amount of EUR 230 billion allocated to trans-European transport networks.

The energy infrastructure sector, in particular, the industries of non-polluting and resource-efficient energy sources, is of top priority for the EU’s sustainable economic growth policy and therefore deserves to be given greater weight in the allocation of available funds, which should amount to at least half of those allocated for transport. An argument such as that of the obstacles arising from issuing permits for these energy projects is unacceptable, and our efforts should be channelled towards streamlining bureaucratic procedures that hinder economic development, instead of reducing funding allocations on such grounds.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this proposal. A modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market.

Investment needs in the field of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Europe are estimated at EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. While the private sector should finance the main part of these – mostly profitable – investments, the public sector’s role in Europe will be crucial for achieving the above targets. To this end, the Commission has proposed a ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF) for the next financial framework in order to accelerate infrastructure development in the fields of transport, energy and ICT networks, with particular emphasis on strategic cross-border parts.

 
  
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  Barbara Matera (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Parliament and the Council’s proposal for a regulation establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme and on the regulation laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks. Indeed, I would argue that a modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. Project bonds are a debt instrument issued by private project companies, with the backing of the EU/European Investment Bank (EIB). This makes the bonds safer and more attractive to capital market investors otherwise not normally investing in infrastructure, such as pension funds. By reducing the risk taken by investors, it should stimulate the flow of private funds towards priority infrastructure investments, for which uncertain risk perceptions block the flow of finance.

 
  
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  Iosif Matula (PPE), in writing. (RO) The trans-European transport network has a strategic role in terms of economic, social and territorial cohesion, while ensuring the free movement of passengers and goods within the European Union. However, Europe is facing increasing requirements for investment in transport infrastructure. In this context, I welcome the Europe 2020 project bond initiative. I think this stage is essential for attracting private sector financing in the area of transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructures, having great potential to contribute to job creation and economic growth.

The pilot project will allow investors to become familiar with the new financing structures, while supporting a resource-efficient economy in line with the Europe 2020 strategy. I voted for this report because I believe that innovative financial instruments have an extremely important role in attracting additional funding from the private sector for key infrastructures.

 
  
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  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report, which outlines an infrastructure which is of key importance to achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of this resolution, which provides for an EU allocation of EUR 230 million for guarantees to support the private issue of bonds to finance infrastructure projects (project bonds) in the fields of transport, energy and information and communication technologies (ICT). Our only chance to relaunch the European machine is to attract private investors for large-scale transport, energy and ICT network projects. By undertaking projects that bode well for the future, and by undertaking coherent investments, we are giving a positive image of Europe. However, for some time now, Europe has been forced to adopt a defensive stance, which it is difficult for European citizens to sign up to. It is therefore high time we made every effort to put an end to this disenchantment.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The European Commission proposed in October 2011 to launch a pilot phase (mid 2012-2013) for project bonds to support European investments in three specific sectors: transport, energy and information and communication technologies. In favour.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I supported the decision to amend this regulation, in order to accelerate the development of European infrastructure, which is in line with the implementation of the objectives established in the Europe 2020 strategy. The creation of the Connecting Europe Facility and the use of the financial instrument known as project bonds, which would be issued by private project enterprises supported by the EU/Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), would significantly reduce investors’ risks and promote the flow of private capital to vital infrastructure investments. It is important that in initiating the various projects, one should not set too many additional criteria and operational measures, but instead ensure greater flexibility for the development of the new market. I am convinced that greater private sector involvement would significantly accelerate infrastructure development, thereby reducing unemployment and increasing economic growth.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because efforts should be increased to attract private sector investment in infrastructure measures in transport, energy, ICT and broadband. I believe that use of money from the EU budget alone will not enable us to address existing problems in these areas. Achieving the above objective will ensure appropriate and sufficient financial aid for the fields of trans-European transport and energy networks. Attention must be paid to the fact that in all cases when funding transport infrastructure, it is very important to take into account energy efficiency needs, noise reduction at source, biodiversity and climate change challenges.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL) A total of EUR 1.5 trillion has been earmarked for investment in transport infrastructures and information and communication technologies in Europe between 2010 and 2020. Clearly, initiatives need to be taken by private individuals, coordinated by the Member States. We therefore need to create a framework to facilitate the effective utilisation of these investments. The Commission has proposed for the new multiannual financial framework that such investments should be facilitated using the Connecting Europe Facility. This initiative is a very important element for Greece because it focuses on the cross-border parts, and it therefore stands to benefit. The report, which I supported, encourages this initiative, calling for convergence and an agreement with the Council, but emphasising the points which require particular attention in each case.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the European Parliament legislative resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1639/2006/EC establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) and Regulation (EC) No 680/2007 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks, as I am in agreement with it.

 
  
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  Alojz Peterle (PPE), in writing. (SL) I voted in favour of financial aid because I consider it to be of major strategic importance in this sector.

 
  
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  Dominique Riquet (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the project bond initiative because project bonds will enable resources we know to be limited to be used intelligently through the redeployment of existing budget lines and the leveraging of potential investments. Furthermore, budgetary stability policies will not bear fruit unless they are supported by measures to relaunch the European economy. The bonds in question are targeted at precisely those areas which are likely to create jobs and boost competitiveness, namely, transport and energy infrastructure and broadband. We now have to think about the way forward, that is to say, the establishment of the Connecting Europe Facility. This comprehensive EU ‘infrastructure fund’ will be based not only on subsidies, but also on innovative financial instruments, such as project bonds.

 
  
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  Crescenzio Rivellini (PPE), in writing.(IT) I congratulate Mr Färm on his work. By approving this report, Parliament, having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council and the opinion of the Committee of the Regions, has reaffirmed the need for a modern and effective infrastructure for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. The proposal approved today in Parliament not only extends but also upgrades the present Loan Guarantee Facility for the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). While upgrading provides the possibility of covering sectors other than transport, including energy and information and communication technology (ICT) projects, extension enables not only traffic risk to be covered, but all risks possibly leading to a shortfall of revenues in the life cycle of a project. Finally, it is rightly highlighted that it is crucial to find the right balance between the delegated powers granted to the Commission and European Investment Bank (EIB) and the reporting requirements and accountability mechanisms.

 
  
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  Jean Roatta (PPE), in writing. (FR) A modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. To this end, the Commission has proposed a ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ (CEF) for the next financial framework in order to accelerate infrastructure development in the fields of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) networks, with particular emphasis on strategic cross-border aspects. In addition to equity instruments and grants, the CEF includes a new financial instrument to mobilise more private sector funding, as well as project bonds. However, the initial report by the Committee on Budgets and the subsequent negotiations with the Council focused on a limited number of issues including, for example, defining project bonds and evaluating the facility. Nevertheless, I welcome the proposals made in this report, which encourages projects in the fields of transport, energy and trans-European networks.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. This report insists on a full-scale independent evaluation of the pilot phase and on regular reporting by the Commission to the Council and Parliament. It did not deem it necessary to fine-tune the criteria for selection of projects to be financed, as these have already been fixed in sufficient detail (EU economic policy objectives, criteria presented in the basic TEN and CIP acts, EU policy guidelines, EIB standard eligibility and environmental criteria, credit risk policies, etc.).

However, several references to green sustainability criteria were introduced into the report following Green/EFA amendments to that effect. We, the Greens/EFA, focused on three main points and introduced amendments accordingly: the green sustainability of the projects to be financed; the issue of correct remuneration of the EU actors issuing risk guarantees; and the participation of these actors in the decision-making process concerning the design and implementation of the projects. In the past, such financial instruments at national level have resulted in excessive risk taking by public authorities, resulting in big financial losses financed by public budgets. The first two points were taken over in the text, even be it to a less strict extent. Our amendments on participation in the decision-making process were not taken on board by the rapporteur.

 
  
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  Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (PPE), in writing. (FR) Since 2008, the developed economies have been mired in an unprecedented economic crisis. The current recession in Europe is the consequence of the disastrous situation of our public finances. We have therefore embarked on in-depth reforms to put in place sound and rigorous budgetary policies. Nevertheless, for sustainable growth to resume, it is imperative that this budgetary consolidation effort is associated with policies to invest in projects that promote the competitiveness of our companies and our economies. This was the objective of the national loan scheme (known as the ‘Grand Emprunt’) in France, and it is still the objective of the project bonds and the report voted on today. EUR 230 million, redeployed from the current budget, will be earmarked to guarantee private bonds issued to finance investments in projects to further growth and job creation, such as in the fields of transport, energy and information and communication technologies. This report, which has been under negotiation for almost a year, owes nothing to the election of President Hollande and his meaningless and misleading rhetoric on growth. The political recovery of the socialists should not be at the expense of the credibility of the time-consuming and exacting work of the European institutions.

 
  
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  Amalia Sartori (PPE), in writing. (IT) The issue of growth, especially in this historic period where Europe is going through a period of economic and financial crisis, is amongst the priorities on Europe’s agenda. ‘Europe 2020’ includes measures aimed at achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. To achieve the objectives set out in this strategy and to help the market unleash its full potential, modern and efficient infrastructure (in the field of transport and energy) throughout Europe is of key importance. This is exactly why I voted in favour of Mr Färm’s report. It focuses on project bonds which, in addition to equity instruments and grants, help to finance new projects and obtain more private investment. For 2010-2020, EUR 1.5 trillion will be needed to build infrastructure, whereas the figure allocated in the text is EUR 230 million. There is still a lot of work to be done, but in this situation, Mr Färm’s report is a step in the right direction.

 
  
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  Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (ALDE), in writing. (ET) In today’s vote, I supported the adoption of this report on financial assistance in the area of trans-European transportation and energy networks, more precisely, project bonds. As is generally known, in order to achieve the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, it is important to develop modern and efficient infrastructure that could ensure the development of a uniform and efficient common market. The volume of investment required in the area of transport, energy and information and communication technology over the next ten years is roughly EUR 1.5 trillion. In order to achieve the abovementioned volume of investments, significant amounts of private sector funding must be involved, and here I am glad to note that this report encourages that. In addition to increasing the attractiveness of investments, this report will help improve cooperation between private and public sectors. Here, one should certainly note the fact that, in future, it will be possible to combine EU support, Member State funds and funding from the European Investment Bank and the private sector. What is important is the influence that this report will have on cross-border projects, in which the project in question is perhaps not particularly important, but has a significant added value for Europe. Based on the above, I was glad to lend my support to this report.

 
  
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  Olga Sehnalová (S&D), in writing. (CS) I supported the proposal of rapporteur Göran Färm on general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks. The report addresses the pilot phase of project bonds, which should be launched next year. Project bonds are presented in the report as one of the funding facilities that might be combined with other public and private facilities such as public grants, bank or bond loans, guarantees, equity and others. I consider it important that this facility does not in any way intervene in the setting of traditional grants, which will thus be able to focus on the projects most needed in terms of balancing out the differences in infrastructure between the more and less developed regions. For the pilot phase, the Commission is proposing a contribution from the EU budget of EUR 230 million, obtained by redistributing resources from existing programmes. According to the Commission, however, this redistribution will not have an impact on the finances earmarked for supporting less developed regions.

 
  
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  Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE), in writing. (PL) Project bonds are an instrument that has been developed to finance projects in the Connecting Europe Facility, whose aim is to create transport, energy and digital networks. What is worrying is that levels of investment in Europe are falling and this trend began even before the crisis. In addition, networks in the East are not connected to the networks in the West and they need to be joined up. Project bonds are meant to provide an additional instrument for financing infrastructure investment, which will supplement the current system of financing. 2012 and 2013 are earmarked for a pilot project for the bonds and they are to be implemented fully in 2014. The purpose of the pilot stage is to test the reaction of financial markets to the new instrument.

The introduction of project bonds could accelerate the realisation of infrastructure projects by making it easier to obtain private funding. EU backing would provide security for the bonds. Such a containment of risk could encourage various market players to invest in infrastructure projects. Project bonds will not replace grant aid. They are meant as a supplement that will provide more effective and faster investment financing. In addition to the project bonds, private and state funds, whether EU or national, should both continue to play an important role.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) A modern and effective infrastructure is of key importance for achieving the Europe 2020 objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as reducing unemployment, through the completion of the internal market. Investment needs in the field of transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Europe are estimated at EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. While the private sector should finance the main part of these – mostly profitable – investments, the public sector’s role in Europe will be crucial for achieving the above targets. This vote looks to accelerate infrastructure development in the fields of transport, energy and ICT networks, with particular emphasis on strategic cross-border elements.

 
  
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  Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D), in writing.(EL) I voted in favour of this particular report, due to the importance of project bonds to the economy of the EU and its Member States. With investments in the EU in steady decline over recent years, exacerbated by the economic and financial crisis, restrictions on national budgets and capital requirements for banks, we need to find new ways of stimulating investment that will generate recovery and growth. Project bonds will make investments in vital infrastructure works more attractive, by mitigating the risk associated with them, and are expected to generate exponential results and thus encourage further investment. Hence, project bonds are expected to play a decisive role in the Member States’ recovery efforts, especially in the Member States facing the biggest fiscal challenges. They will also make a decisive contribution to the growth strategy which numerous leaders of EU Member States have called for. I would also add that the risk to the EU budget and, hence, to European taxpayers is severely curtailed, without exceeding the maximum EU contribution of EUR 230 million.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has presented the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a financial instrument for transport, energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, as vital for developing the European economy, with particular emphasis on cross-border links. Since considerable investment is required, it proposes a new project bond instrument to encourage funding from the private sector, which usually does not invest in these types of projects. Project bonds are a debt instrument issued by private project companies for a specific project, with the backing of an EU/European Investment Bank (EIB) contribution which will make the bonds safer and more attractive. Like other innovative instruments, the project bonds in this pilot phase can be combined with other public and/or private funding. The EU, for its part, will contribute a maximum of EUR 230 million. I agree with this initiative and hope that, at the end of the pilot phase in 2013, this instrument will be implemented to provide Member States with another opportunity to raise funds for developing energy, transport and ICT infrastructure.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament’s report on the proposal to amend Decision No 1639/2006/EC establishing a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) and Regulation (EC) No 680/2007 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of the trans-European transport and energy networks. The difficulties in gaining access to long-term private or public sector funding for infrastructure projects should not lead to a drop in the performance of transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructures, nor to delays in broadband network penetration. The Commission should involve the EIB in the implementation of the pilot phase, given that the EIB is the main financier of infrastructure projects and the EU financial body established by the Treaty. The EIB should request budgetary funds based on a project list deemed by the EIB and the Commission as being suitable, in line with the EU’s long-term policy objectives, and feasible. Any such requests and the related budgetary commitments should be made prior to 31 December 2013. Where large infrastructure projects are concerned, it should be possible for the actual EIB approval to be obtained at a later date, as well, but no later than 31 December 2014.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – Investment needs for transport, energy and ICT infrastructure projects are estimated at around EUR 1.5 trillion for 2010-2020. It is therefore vital that we find some mechanism to help generate this investment. I believe that the decision to launch a project bond pilot phase over the next 18 months is a good initiative and will help test how financial markets perceive them. Guarantees from the EU will help to attract private investment in transport, energy and information technology network projects across the EU. The fact that the bonds are guaranteed by the EU budget and the EIB will mean that they are safer and more attractive to capital market investors, for example, pension funds and insurance companies. At present, many investors are reluctant to fund large infrastructure projects due to risks that are perceived to be too high. I strongly believe that project bonds are what we need in order to boost growth and provide the best infrastructure for citizens across the EU.

 
  
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  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D) , in writing. (PL) The programme for the construction of a trans-European transport network in 2014-2020 requires radically increased funding. Two out of ten such transport networks will cross Polish territory: the west to east axis and the north to south axis (the Baltic-Adriatic Axis). A significant section of the latter corridor will cross the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. This should radically improve the speed and quality of transport, and also justify the renovation of railway stations such as Grudziądz, Bydgoszcz and Inowrocław. However, it is well known that traditional EU budget funding is insufficient for such large projects. We will need the support of international financial institutions. I am therefore very much in favour of project bonds issued by banks subordinate to the EU. This would speed up railway investments and create badly needed jobs.

 
  
  

Report: Francesca Balzani (A7-0206/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, given that all available indicators point this year to a shortage in payments in many areas of EU intervention. This is notably because, once again, the Budgetary Authority agreed for 2012 on a lower level of payments compared to the one proposed by the Commission (more than EUR 3 billion less than the Commission’s initial draft budget). Moreover, the Council unilaterally decided to lower by more than two thirds the level of the EUR 485 million transfer (DEC 9/2012) to the research area, despite urgent requirements in terms of payments. Accordingly, payment appropriations of more than EUR 338 million are left on budget lines where they cannot be spent. Since, on the expenditure side (EUR 0.73 billion), under implementation did not result from absorption difficulties or mismanagement by the Commission, but from the rules in force for adjusting the repartition of payments in line with the needs in the last weeks of the financial year, this amount should legitimately go back to the EU budget, as some carry-over of unspent appropriations.

 
  
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  Marta Andreasen (EFD), in writing. – I voted against draft amending budget number 3/2012, the Balzani report, because my party’s policy is to return unused European funds to the Member States and not to put them aside for future use by the European Union. Member States are having difficult budgets at present and are cutting across the board, even frontline services. At times such as these, there is no excuse for these funds being diverted for the questionable projects of the EU.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) I was delighted by the surplus of EUR 1.49 billion, which represents 1% of the budget of the European Union for 2011. In other words, 99% of this budget was implemented last year. I approved this third draft amending budget, especially since, under the rules applicable to the EU budget, this amount of EUR 1.49 billion will reduce the contributions of the Member States to next year’s budget by the same amount.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of Ms Balzani’s motion for a resolution as I am in favour of reusing part of the surplus from the 2011 financial year for payment appropriations, above all, in the areas of research, health and agriculture, which are key for sustaining Member States’ production infrastructure and the European economy’s competitiveness in general.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because draft amending budget No 3/2012 aims to enter in the 2012 budget the surplus from the 2011 financial year, amounting to EUR 1 496 968 014. The main components of that surplus are an under-spend in expenditure of EUR 0.73 billion, a positive outturn on income of more than EUR 0.67 billion, and a positive exchange rate difference of EUR 0.1 billion. A major part of the income comes from fines and interest on late payments. The under-spend in expenditure does not result from absorption difficulties or mismanagement, but from the rules in force for adjusting the repartition of payments in line with needs, particularly during the last weeks of the financial year. In its position on transfer request DEC 9/2012, Council also drastically reduced the payment appropriations transferred to the research area, where there are reports of the need for payments to honour previous commitments, and left the payment appropriations on budget lines where they cannot be spent. Furthermore, Article 15 of the Financial Regulation provides that any discrepancy with the estimates, to be entered in the Union’s budget, will be the sole subject of this amending budget. Bearing in mind the unfulfilled needs presented in DEC 9/2012, as well as the latest implementation figures, notably in the field of cohesion policy, the position shown on this amending budget should be adopted.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on draft amending budget No 3/2012 on the surplus resulting from the implementation of the budget year 2011 as I believe that it is necessary to transfer the surplus EUR 730 million to payments in 2012, in support of research and cohesion projects.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 16 April, the Commission presented its draft amending budget No 3/2012 on the surplus resulting from the implementation of the budget year 2011. It was proposed that a surplus of EUR 1.49 billion be entered in the 2012 budget, diminishing by the same amount the global contribution of Member States to the EU budget (as a reminder, a surplus of EUR 4.54 billion was entered in the 2011 budget). As there are budget lines with urgent needs in terms of payments, I support the rapporteur’s proposal.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, written by Francesca Balzani, addresses the draft amending budget No 3/2012, which enters in the 2012 budget the surplus resulting from implementing the budget for the 2011 financial year, as stipulated in Article 15.1 of the Financial Regulation: ‘the balance from each financial year shall be entered in the budget for the following financial year as revenue in the case of a surplus or as a payment appropriation in the case of a deficit’. This draft amending budget aims to enter in the 2012 budget the amount of EUR 1 496 968 014, corresponding to the surplus from last year resulting from an under-spend in expenditure of EUR 0.73 billion, a positive outturn on income of more than EUR 0.67 billion, and a positive exchange rate difference of EUR 0.1 billion. I voted for this draft budget and, although I understand that it is important and necessary to secure appropriate funding for the Cooperation Programme included in the Seventh Framework Programme, it is my understanding that all of the remaining funds must be channelled to the heading of payment appropriations in order to ensure that unpaid bills are paid, so as to improve the liquidity of both the public and business sectors.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We have been vehemently complaining about the small size of the EU budget, particularly as regards cohesion policy and the so-called Structural Funds. For some time, we have been highlighting the limitations of the instruments associated with creating jobs with rights, promoting fair development, aiding environmental protection and supporting productive activity, such as industry, agriculture and fishing. This report informs us of a surplus in the region of EUR 1.497 billion resulting ‘from the rules in force for adjusting the repartition of payments in line with the needs’. The proposal provides that EUR 768 million (51%) of the surplus amount be used to reduce Member States’ contributions to the 2012 Union’s budget, that EUR 337 million (23%) be directed to secure appropriate funding for the Seventh Framework Programme and that EUR 390 million (26%) contribute to meeting upcoming payment claims under cohesion policy. While agreeing with further payment appropriations under cohesion policy, we must note the fact that more than half of the surplus is being returned, while the EU increasingly moves away from the objectives of eliminating the divergences between Member States and between regions, which the crisis has exacerbated. This is yet another demonstration of what the much talked about ‘EU solidarity’ means in practice.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The aim of draft amending budget No 3/2012 is to incorporate the surplus from the 2011 budget into the budget. The budget surplus from the 2011 financial year amounted to EUR 1 496 968 014 (not including contributions from the European Free Trade Association or the European Economic Area), which is entered as budget revenue for 2012. The inclusion of the surplus in the budget diminishes by the same amount the global contribution of Member States to the EU budget. All available indicators point this year to a shortage in payments in many areas of EU intervention, mainly because the Budgetary Authority once more agreed on a lower level of payments for 2012 compared to the level proposed by the Commission. Moreover, the Council unilaterally decided to lower by more than two thirds the level of the EUR 485 million transfer to the research area, despite the urgent needs for payments. Accordingly, payment appropriations of more than EUR 338 million are left on budget lines where they cannot be spent. In my opinion, however, since the under-implementation on the expenditure side did not result from absorption difficulties or mismanagement by the Commission, but from the rules in force for adjusting the repartition of payments in line with the needs in the last weeks of the financial year, this amount should legitimately go back to the EU budget, as some carry-over of unspent appropriations.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – In 2011, there was a budget surplus of almost EUR 1.5 billion. As is standard practice, this money should be transferred back to the Member States by way of diminishing their global contribution to the EU budget. This global decrease by Member State will also be influenced by the updated own resources forecast, Traditional Own Resources, Value Added Tax and Gross National Income and updated corrections. The original Balzani report called for a draft amending budget to reallocate the surplus, not back to the Member States, but to other budget lines, a blatant attack on the Member States and their right to have their money back because of over-budgeting or under implementation by the European Union. There were last minute amendments to the report which did reallocate the surplus back to the Member States, as is standard practice, and I therefore voted in favour of the final report.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because, on 16 April, the Commission presented its draft amending budget No 3/2012 on the surplus resulting from the implementation of the budget year 2011, where it was proposed that a surplus of EUR 1.49 billion be entered in the 2012 budget, diminishing by the same amount the global contribution of Member States to the EU budget, including Lithuania. The outturn of the 2011 budget is a sum of the outturn on income, outturn on expenditure, and exchange rate differences, with the following breakdown: as regards outturn on income, an amount of EUR 0.67 billion is entered, stemming mainly (EUR 0.45 billion) from extra fines and interest on late payments received in 2011 and not budgeted when the 2011 budget was adopted; as regards outturn on expenditure, the under implementation by EUR 0.73 billion stems notably from the non-adoption of the proposed salary adjustment for 2011; as regards exchange rate differences, an amount of EUR 97 million is entered in draft amending budget No 3/2012.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The report by Ms Balzani notes a budget surplus resulting from the implementation of the 2011 budget. More than EUR 338 million of appropriations and payments remain on budget lines. They have not been and cannot be used. The report therefore considers that this amount should legitimately be paid back to the EU budget. Parliament adopted this report with a very large majority and I welcome that.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal which provides for a reduction of EUR 768 707 073 in Member States’ contributions to the Union’s 2012 budget.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – The execution of the 2011 budget led to an historically low surplus of EUR 1.49 billion being entered in the 2012 budget. Therefore, at the initiative of the 2012 budget rapporteur, Francesca Balzani, the Budget Committee proposed to transfer EUR 0.73 billion under spent in 2011 to payments in 2012. I agree with that.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) A draft amending budget makes it possible to change parts of the existing budget retrospectively. The adjustments to the relevant regulations and the distribution of payment appropriations meant that some of the payment appropriations for 2012 were unused, leading to an increase in the surplus for 2012. Estimates indicate that this year will see a shortfall in payment appropriations in the area of research, as well as other areas. In principle, it may make sense to treat any underspend according to the method described in the report. In principle, I am against the use of derogations, as these tend to set precedents. For these formal reasons, I did not vote in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour of this proposal, aimed at redistributing a surplus in the EU budget for the financial year 2012. A good part of the unused funds will be returned to Member States, giving them new and immediate resources that could serve to mitigate the dramatic effects of the crisis we are unfortunately experiencing, and which it seems is still not over. Another part of the amount will go towards covering other payments, already provided for in the EU budget and which have not yet been paid: we hope they will be able to breathe life into companies operating in the fields of research and innovation, who are hit hardest by the problem of late payment in Europe.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution. I believe that the unspent amount of funds should legitimately go back to the EU budget, as some carry-over of unspent appropriations. Given the surplus from the 2011 budget, the global contribution of Member States to the EU budget will be reduced accordingly. Furthermore, this redeployment is very important and useful because this year, there may be a shortage of funds in the field of research and other areas of EU intervention. This draft amending budget will therefore help secure the appropriate funding of the FP7 Cooperation Programme, taking account of unfulfilled needs, as well as provide further payment appropriations under cohesion policy.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing.(EL) According to the Commission’s proposal, a surplus of EUR 1.49 billion should be entered in the 2012 budget, diminishing by the same amount the global contribution of Member States to the EU budget and relieving the pressure – albeit slightly – on national budgets, especially of those countries under serious financial pressure. Nonetheless, the European Parliament opposes the unilateral decision by the Council to reduce spending on research by more than two thirds on the grounds of low take-up and under-performance of the programme, for obvious reasons. This point and the European Parliament’s reaction are clearly underlined in this report, which I voted in favour of.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this European Parliament resolution on Council’s position on draft amending budget No 3/2012 of the European Union for the financial year 2012, Section III – Commission.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. In general, we, the Greens/EFA, believe that Parliament should reconsider its traditional approach to always accept the budgeting of the preceding year’s budget surplus as revenue for the current year’s budget, if it is legally feasible.

In this specific case, however, Parliament would be in a difficult position towards the Council, as it made acceptance of DAB 3 conditional on acceptance by the Council of DAB 19. As the Council gave in on DAB 19, Parliament would lose its credibility if it came up with yet another condition. We thus supported the rapporteur’s line.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) This vote in favour approves draft amending budget No 3/2012 on the surplus resulting from the implementation of the budget year 2011. The level of the EUR 485 million transfer to the research area was lowered by more than two thirds, despite urgent needs in payments. Accordingly, payment appropriations of more than EUR 338 million are left on budget lines where they cannot be spent. By definition, this transfer was simply a mere redeployment, not impacting on the 2012 national contributions to the EU budget.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The Commission has presented its draft amending budget No 3/2012 on the surplus resulting from the implementation of the budget year 2011 and proposes that a surplus of EUR 1.49 billion be entered in the 2012 budget, diminishing by the same amount the global contribution of Member States to the EU budget. Moreover, the Council unilaterally decided to lower by more than two thirds the level of the EUR 485 million transfer to the research area, despite urgent needs in payments. The rapporteur therefore proposes to amend the Council’s position to secure the appropriate funding of the FP7 Cooperation Programme, in view of the unfulfilled needs identified by the Commission, as well as to provide further payment appropriations under cohesion policy to contribute to meeting upcoming payment claims, as estimated by Member States by the end of 2012, and limit the level of decommitments at the end of 2013. For these reasons, I voted for the report.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament’s report on the draft amending budget No 3/2012 of the European Union for the financial year 2012, Section III – Commission. In 2011, for the second financial year in a row, the Budgetary Authority decreased the 2012 level of payment appropriations in the EU’s budget by more than EUR 3 billion, including for research and cohesion policy, as compared to the Commission’s initial estimates. We must stress that the under-spend in expenditure (EUR 0.73 billion) does not result from any absorption difficulties or mismanagement, but from the rules in force for adjusting the repartition of payments in line with the needs. The European Parliament deplores the fact that, despite the provisions of Article 310(5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union on sound financial management and the Joint Statement on payment appropriations agreed by all three institutions in the framework of the 2012 budgetary procedure, the Council initially decided to reduce by two thirds the level of the EUR 485 million transfer request DEC 9/2012 from under-implemented energy projects to aid economic recovery by reinforcing three budget lines under FP7 – Cooperation.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (NI), in writing. – According to Article 15(1) of the Financial Regulation, nothing is said against the draft amending budget. Therefore, it is advisable to follow the principle of sound financial management. The substitution of the under-implementation by EUR 0.73 billion for the EU budget is adequate.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7-0296/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this motion for a resolution, given that the relationships between the European Union and the parties must be founded on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which must guide their internal and external policies and form an essential element of the agreements. With regard to the blockade of the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian crisis there, I believe that, in line with countless appeals from the international community, the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the border crossings must be arranged to enable the flow of humanitarian aid, goods and persons to and from the Gaza Strip, as reiterated in the Council conclusions of 14 May 2012. Ending the conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU as well as of the parties themselves and the wider region, and it can be achieved through a comprehensive peace agreement, based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Road map, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – With this resolution, we reiterate once again the validity of the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of two states. The right of Palestinians to self-determination and state sovereignty is unquestionable, as is the right of Israel to exist within safe borders. The EU and Member States must play a more active political role, also within the Quartet, in the efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace. In particular, I consider of fundamental importance the need to clearly denounce the illegality of all Israeli settlements as they constitute a major obstacle to peace efforts. The Israeli Government must stop all construction and extension of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001. Israel is obliged to ensure that the basic needs of the occupied Palestinian population are met and administer its occupation in a manner that benefits the local population. With this text, we strongly condemn all acts of settlers’ extremism, violence and harassment against Palestinian civilians and call on the Israeli Government and authorities to bring the perpetrators of such acts to justice and hold them accountable.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. (FR) In voting in favour of this report, I was keen to stress that direct negotiations leading to a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians ‘should be resumed without delay and according to the deadlines called for by the Quartet in order to overcome the unacceptable status quo’. I also considered it important to remind people that all the settlements are illegal under international law and that construction must cease and dismantling begin. As regards the Gaza Strip, it is clear that Israel must implement an effective control mechanism to prevent arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR), in writing. (PL) Recently, brutal attacks on the West Bank of Jordan have again intensified. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues, and is even increasing in intensity, despite the growing involvement of the international community and international institutions. The European Union has repeatedly confirmed its support for the development of a two-state solution, calling for direct peace negotiations. It seems that the only desirable solution which can achieve peace and security is the coexistence side by side of the two countries, with the capital in Jerusalem. I voted against the resolution and for the adoption of my political group’s motion for a resolution, which I believe is more balanced and pragmatic. It recognises the Palestinian right to the West Bank, while respecting the right of the authorities in Tel Aviv to protect their legitimate security interests. It also expresses full understanding and support for the people on both sides of the conflict, who experience the daily hardship of the conflict and seek a quiet and peaceful coexistence.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. (FR) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Parliament calls on Israel to stop all construction and extension of settlements in the Palestinian Territories. I also denounce the illegality of Israeli settlements under international law. Furthermore, I consider the extension of settlements to be detrimental to the resumption of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

 
  
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  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) It is in the fundamental interests of the Union and of the region as a whole that the conflict in the Middle East ceases. This will not happen without a comprehensive peace agreement based on the resolutions of the UN Security Council. The EU, as the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority and one of Israel’s major trading partners, has instruments at its disposal to encourage both parties to work more actively towards a solution. Consequently, we must call on the parties to work together. The EU must therefore decide to act. At the same time, it must guarantee the security of Israel and pursue all efforts to ensure that the blockade is lifted. Finally, it must exist as a major player speaking with one voice and employ all its budgetary policy, commercial, economic and development resources to achieve a single objective: the long-term coexistence of the two states.

 
  
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  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the motion for a resolution on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem as it calls on both parties to resume peace talks concerning a two-state solution. The recent report on the EU mission in Area C in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is alarming in its revelation that the Palestinian presence continues to be undermined by the expansion of settlements, administrative measures, the planning system and other extreme restrictions, such as the prolonged closure of many Palestinian institutions.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The conflict between Israel and Palestine has dragged on since 1967, when Palestinian territory was occupied by Israel. Despite all the efforts by international organisations such as the UN Security Council and the European Union, amongst others, there is no end in sight. Apart from recognising that this is a very delicate situation and that, accordingly, it demands an extremely thoughtful approach, it is urgent to bring an end to the violence in the region and the great suffering and human tragedy it causes. The political changes in the Arab world have made peace in the Middle East possible, but the latest missile attacks on Gaza, the housing demolitions, the persecution of the impoverished Bedouin community and the demolition of two schools by Israel overshadow the relationship between the two states, undermine the climate of trust and make a peaceful solution more difficult. I voted against this motion for a resolution presented by four colleagues, on behalf of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, as the proposed measures do not reflect my views and I do not believe that they deal with this very sensitive situation with the impartiality that it deserves.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) With every day that passes, it becomes more vital and pressing to denounce Israel’s repeated and criminal disrespect for UN resolutions: the demand for an end to the occupation of the settlements, the shameful security wall and the assassinations, detentions and countless humiliations inflicted on the Palestinian people; and compliance with the inalienable right of Palestine to have a free, independent and sovereign state within the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. When will the aggression and inhumane blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip population, a clear violation of its fundamental rights and of international law, come to an end? When will the EU consequently condemn Israel’s denial of food, medicine, fuel and basic services to these Palestinians, many of them minors? When will the brutal aggression, the crimes, and the policy of totally unjustifiable slow extermination perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people come to an end? We voted for the resolution as, despite the negative amendments inserted by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), it generally points in the right direction. However, we reiterate the accusation that in Palestine, there is an occupier and an occupied country, an aggressor and a victim. We cannot therefore allow confusion between the oppressor and the oppressed, the exploiter and the exploited.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament has repeatedly expressed support for a two-state solution, under which the Israeli State would live side by side in peace and security with a neighbouring, independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state. It has called for the resumption of direct peace talks between the two sides, and it has declared that no changes to the pre-1967 borders will be recognised, except for changes agreed on by both sides. The right of the Palestinians to self-determination and their own state is beyond question, as is the right of Israel to exist within secure borders. In my opinion, the priority in this issue should be for the EU and the Member States to play a more active role, within the framework of their policies, towards securing a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the EU has repeatedly confirmed its support for the two-state solution with the state of Israel with secure and recognised borders and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security, and declared that no changes to the pre-1967 borders, other than those agreed by the parties, will be recognised, including with regard to Jerusalem as the capital of two states. The right of Palestinians to self-determination and to have their own state is unquestionable, as is the right of Israel to exist within safe borders. Ending the conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU, as well as of the parties themselves and the wider region, and this can be achieved through a comprehensive peace agreement, based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid Principles including land for peace, the Road map, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative. Any resulting resolution should not affect the dignity of either side. The EU and its Member States must play a more active political role, including within the Quartet, in the efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. (FR) The resolution on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem reaffirms its unreserved support for a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as capital of both states, and an independent, democratic and viable state of Palestine. With that in mind, Parliament calls for the resumption, without delay, of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Furthermore, Parliament strongly condemns all acts of extremism, violence and harassment and calls on the Israeli Government and authorities to bring the perpetrators of such acts to justice and hold them accountable.

 
  
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  Nicole Kiil-Nielsen (Verts/ALE), in writing. (FR) I welcome the adoption of this resolution on EU policy on the occupied Palestinian territories. This text provides a comprehensive account of reality on the ground and openly denounces the rampant expansion of Israeli settlements, the extremism of the settlers, the expulsions and the demolition of Palestinian houses. I welcome the fact that Parliament unequivocally calls on the Israeli authorities to end the expansion of the settlements and once again reiterates the official position of the European Union, which is that Europe will not recognise any unilateral change to the borders of the future state of Palestine. I regret, however, that this resolution lacks ambition. Parliament does not openly recognise that the existing control mechanism – the 2005 technical agreement concluded by the Commission with the Israeli authorities – has never been effectively implemented and that products from the Israeli settlements continue to be imported into the European market labelled ‘made in Israel’. Instead of calling on the Commission to create a new legally binding control mechanism, Parliament is content to request that the Union’s existing legislation be implemented.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which calls on Israel to respect Palestinian rights in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. – According to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, continued settlement building, house demolitions, evictions of Palestinians, administrative restrictions relating to residency status, the separation wall, the permit regime, and inequities in the education and health systems have a significant adverse impact on the daily lives of Palestinian residents. All these issues are inadequate. However, information that the destruction by Israel of infrastructure projects in the area, several of which have been funded by the EU and its Member States, is further hindering EU efforts in this field is a complete nonsense. I am against.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I voted in favour of the joint motion on the EU policy on the West Bank and Jerusalem in spite of the fact that this resolution does not fully represent my views. The EPP, ECR and EFD did not sign the joint motion for a resolution and had indicated they would vote against it. Given the balance of forces in the European Parliament, there was a real danger that the joint motion would fall. This would have represented an endorsement of the aggressive and unacceptable settlement policy of the Israeli State. The settlement policy consciously aims to create facts on the ground that would effectively rule out the possibility of Jerusalem becoming the joint capital in a two-state socialist solution. Unfortunately, an amendment passed that aims to blame Hamas for the situation in Gaza. I reject this view. The state of Israel is the occupying force and its siege of Gaza needs to be lifted immediately in order to end the humanitarian disaster. I reject the policy of individual terrorism by Hamas that targets Israeli citizens but I defend the right of the Palestinian people to self defence and to resist en masse against the ongoing occupation.

 
  
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  Rolandas Paksas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome this resolution because peaceful and non-violent measures are the only way to achieve a sustainable solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine and remove political tension. There must be greater progress in the Middle East peace process. Above all, the Israeli authorities should end the detention of Palestinians and guarantee them a fair trial. Furthermore, it is very important for Hamas to finally recognise the state of Israel and to end the acts of violence it carries out both within Israel and outside.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for the Parliament resolution of 5 July 2012 on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem as I am in agreement with it.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D), in writing. – I supported the resolution on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem as the Middle East peace process requires our urgent attention. The possibility of a two-state solution continues to be debilitated by both the closure of many Palestinian institutions and the evictions and housing demolitions of many Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian presence in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem continues to be undermined by Israeli Government policies, which impact heavily on the peace process. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved through peaceful and non-violent means and any act of violence impeding this must be condemned. All Member States need to play a more active, political role in the achieving of a peaceful and long lasting solution that will resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. We must lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip, so that persons and crucial humanitarian aid may pass with greater ease and we must also implement an efficient control mechanism to prevent the smuggling of arms into Gaza. Therefore, I welcome the resolution on EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 
  
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  Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. (FR) I opposed this resolution, a particularly unbalanced and highly charged text on the situation in the Middle East. I also question Parliament’s almost monomaniacal obsession with denouncing the policies of the state of Israel. I wish it would denounce with the same fervour the atrocities committed around the globe, most notably in Syria and in Mali, on which not a single word has been uttered during this part-session, despite the thousands killed by the butcher of Damascus and the destruction, looting and bloody clashes in Mali.

 
  
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  Robert Rochefort (ALDE), in writing. (FR) In this resolution, which I voted for, we are calling on the Israelis and the Palestinians to relaunch the peace process. I, like many other MEPs, am convinced that a fair and lasting solution will only be achieved through peaceful means. Together, we affirm that only a situation of peace will relaunch economic activity in this region. From a strategic and economic point of view, a situation of peace, in which economic activity develops, will serve the interests of the Union itself. To achieve this, we urge Israel to comply with its obligations under international humanitarian law by stopping all illegal construction and the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Furthermore, as the Israelis still exercise civil and military control over a large part of the Palestinian Territories, we call on Israel to ensure equitable water sharing to meet the needs of the Palestinians in these areas and to improve access to social services such as education and public health services.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. This resolution, once again, stresses that: ending the conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU, as well as of the parties themselves and the wider region, and that this can be achieved through a comprehensive peace agreement, based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid Principles, including land for peace, the Road map, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative; insists on the fact that any resulting resolution should not affect the dignity of either side; notes that the EU, as the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority and one of Israel’s major trading partners, has instruments at its disposal to more actively encourage both parties to work towards a solution; calls on both parties to work together with the EU, which should pursue all efforts to resolve the conflict; recalls the applicability of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Direct negotiations leading to a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians should be resumed without delay.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing.(IT) This vote encourages long-term peace and stability of the region. It notes with concern the political and administrative difficulty of dividing Jerusalem as capital for both Israel and a future Palestinian state. Finally, it recognises the right of the Palestinian Authority to govern and control the West Bank as well as recognising the right of the Israeli authorities to safeguard its legitimate security and safety interests and calls on the Israeli authorities to enforce the rule of law in response to the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories and to comply with its obligations under international law

 
  
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  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) I voted against the cross-party resolution, as I found it impossible to support the text of the resolution. Wordings and descriptions did not indicate an effort to be objective, and several facts were missing in my opinion. It is of the utmost importance that the responsibility of all parties for the peace process is emphasised. The multiparty resolution did not sufficiently emphasise the role and responsibility of the Palestinian authorities. The refusal by Hamas to recognise Israel as a country with a right to exist must also be highlighted and criticised. Otherwise, we will never be able to achieve lasting peace. The rocket attacks on civilians in Israel from the Gaza Strip must cease. The refusal of surrounding countries to grant Palestinian refugees citizenship and to stand up for human rights is also an obstacle to peace. The refugee body, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), must adopt a more constructive role by revising the globally unique exception specifically making Palestinian refugee status hereditary.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. (FR) By voting in favour of the resolution, we wanted to send an historic message concerning the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Indeed, through this text we strongly criticise the construction and extension of illegal settlements by the Israeli Government, which constitute major obstacles to peace efforts. This vote also heralds a change in the position of Parliament. It is the first time that such a strong message has come from our institution. I am very happy and proud to have taken part in this historic vote. The resolution calls on both parties to resume negotiations leading to a two-state solution without delay. It also seeks to ensure that the EU control mechanism – the ‘technical arrangements’ – does not allow Israeli settlement products to be imported into the European market under preferential terms.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) The EU has reiterated its support for a two-state solution: the state of Israel, with recognised and secure borders, and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The EU has also expressed its concern about the way in which the situation in the territory has progressed, including the repeated attacks from Gaza, the smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip, the acceleration in settlement construction, the evictions and demolition of houses in East Jerusalem and the deteriorating living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C of the West Bank. I therefore welcome the Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process of 14 May 2012, which include the conclusions on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the Statement of the Middle East Quartet of 11 April 2012. I support the calls for cooperation between the parties to facilitate the economic and social development of Area C of the West Bank, and reiterate that it is necessary to find a negotiated solution to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.

 
  
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  Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL), in writing.(EL) Although, in the face of pressure from the Palestinian fight and tragic events, the motion for a resolution acknowledges aspects of Israeli barbarity, it negates them by setting the ‘right’ of Israel to security, which is its pretext for occupying Palestinian territories, against the fair and legal demand for an independent Palestinian state and legalises the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians. The EU, the USA and NATO are upgrading relations with Israel. They are seeking to consolidate and expand imperialist intervention in the area, an area of infighting between them and other imperialist forces, in order to exploit the people and the wealth-producing resources in the area. Their policy is encouraging Israel, preventing the recognition of an independent Palestinian state and escalating and complicating the problems and it harbour dangers for the people. The Greek Communist Party stands in solidarity with and supports the just fight of the Palestinians for the immediate and unconditional creation of an independent, viable and territorially cohesive Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem, the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from the occupied Palestinian territories, an immediate halt to and the break-up of the settlements, the immediate and unconditional lifting of the isolation of the Gaza Strip, demolition of the Israeli wall of shame in East Jerusalem and on the West Bank, the immediate reunification of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and the immediate release from prison of Palestinian nationals and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

 
  
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  Inese Vaidere (PPE), in writing. (LV) I deeply regret the fact, that even though I and my political group – the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) – voted against, the motion for a resolution was passed with a very small majority of votes.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing. (FR) This resolution concerning EU policy on the West Bank and East Jerusalem reaffirms the EU’s commitment to the peace process between Israel and Palestine. I welcome it, although I do regret that the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) put to the vote an amendment based on the responsibilities of Hamas, which therefore creates an imbalance in the resolution and once again gives Israel an excuse to keep things the way they were. In addition, this resolution is a major step forward. For the first time, it condemns Israeli settlement activities, underlines the responsibility of Israel in the deadlock in the peace process, which constitutes an obstacle to the two-state solution, and denounces its regular human rights abuses. In an unprecedented way, it confronts Israel with its responsibilities. I therefore voted for this resolution, which strengthens the European Union’s commitment to uphold international law in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The European Union, as a member of the Quartet for Peace, must have a clear position. Let us hope that this position of Parliament will help us move forward.

 
  
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  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing. (FR) The other political groups dropped the resolution of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) concerning the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which was, nevertheless, balanced. My position, as well as that of my political group, is that a solution of two free and independent states living side by side within the 1967 borders should be sought. However, the resolution adopted by the different political groups will not, in my view, encourage the pacification of the region. To my great regret, the agreement is deeply unbalanced and garbles the political message of this House. We cannot expect a solution to this crisis, which is paralysing the region, if the two parties are not placed on an equal footing. From the start, I have fought hard for the ideas of the reasonable provisions to be taken into account. These efforts have borne fruit, particularly with regard to support for the economic and social development of the occupied territories and the need to re-establish a constructive dialogue between the two parties by avoiding any provocation. However, I am convinced that we must put an end to declarations of intent and move towards solutions that will re-establish peace and hope in the region.

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE), in writing. (SK) Both the EU and this Parliament have long emphasised their effort towards a peaceful resolution to the dispute in the Middle East. Billions of euro flow out of the EU budget every year for support programmes that are supposed to improve the functioning of the Palestinian Authority, so that it can better meet the needs of its citizens. In view of the complicated history of this region, I am in favour of diplomatic pressure on both parties to the conflict in order to speed up the settlement of the core dispute. The resolution submitted by the European left, greens and liberals, however, just pours oil on the fire. The proposers of the text do not even pretend to attempt a balanced approach. I cannot agree to such a one-sided policy. Ideological blindness has never led to sustainable solutions. I am sorry that we were unable, jointly, to find a compromise wording for the resolution that would be fair both to Israel and to the Palestinian Arabs. Unfortunately, I was unable to support the text with this wording.

 
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