Index 
 Previous 
 Next 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2010/0289(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Select a document :

Texts tabled :

A7-0069/2011

Debates :

PV 09/05/2011 - 19
CRE 09/05/2011 - 19

Votes :

PV 10/05/2011 - 11.12
CRE 10/05/2011 - 11.12
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes
PV 13/09/2012 - 11.14
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0205
P7_TA(2012)0350

Debates
Thursday, 13 September 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

12. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Gerald Häfner (A7-0245/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, transparency and access to all relevant documents and information form the basis of and are a compulsory precondition for democracy and, above all, for Parliament to be able to do its job.

Through the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament saw its powers extended as colegislator with the Council, especially in the field of international agreements.

Negotiations resulted in a jointly agreed draft text for an interinstitutional agreement on access to classified information held by the Council, which has seen Parliament achieve important objectives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carl Schlyter (Verts/ALE).(SV) Mr President, I very reluctantly voted in favour of this report, because this agreement includes a prohibition of giving documents to Parliament. For example, if Iran has sent a document to the Council, Iran can prohibit the Council from giving Parliament this document. Such rules are unacceptable in my opinion, as is the fact that we have an obligation of secrecy in respect of information provided orally. It will never be possible to prove what we have or have not received through official channels, and therefore it will become a source of legal uncertainty. I am also opposed to the fact that we must always be forced to accept the Council’s secrecy classification. I think there ought to be a mechanism for negotiating with the Council on what should belong to what level of secrecy.

Despite these various shortcomings, as well as a number of others in relation to how information is provided, I nevertheless voted in favour of the report, as we need some form of agreement. We will have to improve it when we get the opportunity.

 
  
  

Report: Sajjad Karim (A7-0251/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, scientific and technological cooperation, especially in those countries that are in upheaval, is always extraordinarily important, in my view. True to the principle of building trust through cooperation, it can also really serve to remove barriers that are perhaps based on the prevailing value set or religion. It is often the only way to make contact with these countries. I therefore believe that this is extraordinarily important, and recent events in the Arab world have shown us just how important cooperation is. Particularly when operated in the scientific and technical sphere, it is a splendid thing.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report, which I regard as being of paramount importance, especially in the current situation, because the legislative techniques used in the European Union have been and will be extremely important. However, I feel obliged to mention a number of delays which the Commission has had in applying Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty regarding delegated acts and consulting national parliaments.

At a time when we all want more Europe, I believe that greater legislative coherence is required, as well as more active consultation with national parliaments, using mechanisms for making this consultation real and not a formality, as is the case now.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Emma McClarkin (ECR). – Mr President, I came down here this morning to listen to the debate by my colleagues on better legislation and to hear how the Commission planned to go about improving it. The echo in this Chamber was quite incredible, because there was nobody here to discuss it. This really is the reality of what we have got here in our democratic Chamber – a real lack of debate on the pursuit of better legislation.

Some of my constituents would probably say that having fewer politicians would be the right way forward. But the reality is that the EU needs to be doing less, and it needs to be doing it better. It can start with better legislation or, quite frankly, just less legislation.

 
  
  

Report: David Martin (A7-0207/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Renate Sommer (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I must admit, I have made a mistake. I wish to give an explanation of vote not in respect of this report, but in respect of the Moreira report on the agreement concerning immediate autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan. Can I please ask you to give me the floor again at the appropriate time?

 
  
MPphoto
 

  President. – I have just heard that there will be no explanation of votes in respect of the Moreira report, as there was no debate about it. When there is no debate in plenary, there are no explanations of vote either. I ask your understanding for pointing out how the Rules of Procedure operate in this respect.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, I was happy to assist my friend, the rapporteur Alain Cadec, with regard to this report. He has done an enormous amount of work from the outset to establish a strategy for the Atlantic region in general. We already have one for the Baltic Sea and the Danube and, as he has said, we have marvellous opportunities to do a lot for this region, especially for industries based on the sea, sea sport, job creation and specifically to promote coastal areas. I am pleased that we have made a good start.

 
  
  

Report: Krišjanis Kariņš (A7-0264/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, the European Commission has notified us that it does not have information about most of the Member States’ agreements concerning energy. This means that it is unable to react to a situation where clearly unfavourable contracts are being concluded for supplies from outside the EU which, in turn, directly affects the energy security of the country in question. There is certainly good reason to increase the powers and involvement of the European Commission in negotiating international agreements and in assessing the legality of such agreements. I believe that such measures would initiate a rational price policy and would make it possible to reduce the colossal discrepancies in agreements made between individual countries and, for example, the Russian gas giant. Energy agreements with third countries also impact on the functioning of the internal energy market. Considerable investment is also required for development of the distribution infrastructure. In this context, the vital knowledge and assistance that the European Commission can provide should be used properly and the basic step towards achieving this goal is the sharing of information concerning negotiations and agreements that have been concluded.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, energy is a vital resource in all developed industrial countries, which therefore includes those in the European Union. The first thing we have to deal with is that the Member States, unfortunately, still act alone in this area. That is why collaboration at Union level is the first necessity. Secondly, there is a need to ensure the highest possible level of self-sufficiency in the energy field. Thirdly – and this is, after all, what our report, our amendment addresses – when it comes to energy imports, there is a need to ensure the necessary energy mix through intergovernmental agreements designed to bring about a great degree of stability. It is very important that Parliament should get involved here, too, and that the Commission should also have a seat at the table in the case of bilateral negotiations. Let me reiterate, everything that we decide here must be integrated with the European Union’s energy supply so that we will be able to continue to develop our economic basis in future, too.

 
  
  

Report: Iratxe García Pérez (A7-0266/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, practically every region of the European Union has developed its own traditional methods of agricultural production, which have a bearing on the variety of products available throughout the EU. Local foods are often of great value for a given region. Farmers and consumers should be aware, first of all, of their quality, which also impacts on the presence and recognition of these products in European and world markets. This is helped by quality control systems supported by special markings.

In supporting the resolution, I look forward to improvements in legislation relating to quality as well as to improvements in the operation of the certification systems. Transparency and ease of use of these mechanisms will make them less burdensome for producers. I am looking forward to an ever greater number of excellent Polish foodstuffs obtaining protection. I also agree with the rapporteur’s proposal that the quality assurance system should also apply to unprocessed products. This will make it possible to apply for protection for apples from the Mazowsze region, for example.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, products such as Dresden Christmas stollen or Black Forest ham are not only known beyond Europe’s borders, but their very names represent a promise of quality on which consumers can rely. Not only do consumers benefit from the mark of quality, but so do the producers, who, if anything, might not survive at all in the marketplace without the protection of certification. For this reason, I am convinced that the introduction of the quality mark 20 years ago has achieved its objective and promoted traditional and regional foodstuff products. I therefore agree with the rapporteur and would like to add my thanks for the addition of further quality marks, which are necessary, after all. I would like to offer my thanks once again for the initiative to simplify the existing certification processes.

On the other hand, there are still a couple of open questions, but that is nothing unusual in the day-to-day of politics. We will also continue to negotiate these issues in the competent committee in friendly dialogue with the Commission.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, without a doubt, the European Union is to be highly commended for the help it has been giving for a long time now to the poorest countries in the world. But things change and countries change, and thankfully some of those countries are becoming rich, some of them richer than countries in Europe. Therefore, it is right and proper that we review the development aid we give them. However, I voted with the committee and against my own group in relation to Section 2(4) because I think that more time should be given to some of the countries in the ACT to reach the arrangement mentioned. That aside, I think we have done a good job.

 
  
  

Report: Sophie Auconie (A7-0194/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I voted for this report, which I regard as being of paramount importance, because it stipulates for the first time a regulation on the European Social Entrepreneurship Fund. After the Commission’s statement launching this fund as part of the innovation project, I think that, given the social vulnerabilities in the European Union, it is time for this fund to address the needs of practically almost everyone and not only of vulnerable, excluded and socially disadvantaged people, but of other people too.

However, I believe that the regulation ought to have encouraged cross-border cooperation in the use of the fund. With regard to the rules on using the profits, they ought to have been made much clearer because, in the spirit of social investment in social undertakings, I believe that profits need to be reinvested for the same purpose as initial capital.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Constance Le Grip (PPE).(FR) Mr President, I should like to lend my support to the report by Sophie Auconie, which aims to support social entrepreneurship and social investment through the creation of a European label for European Social Entrepreneurship Funds.

This label will aim to help investors easily identify funds which are primarily used to invest in European social undertakings. In order to benefit from this label, a fund will have to have invested 70% of the capital received from investors in social undertakings.

As a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, I am particularly interested in the creation of this European Social Entrepreneurship Fund, which Commissioner Barnier has kept in the Single Market Act among the 12 levers for growth in Europe, and which attests to the fact that our work can have an impact on concrete measures for supporting this growth.

Social entrepreneurship already represents 10% of our European enterprises and 11 million workers: that is important. We must support it and implement a real strategy for development and support in this area.

 
  
  

Report: Philippe Lamberts (A7-0193/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I believe that I expected the Council to take a different view and that it would attempt to block this dossier. However, this dossier gives us the chance to have a debate on venture capital funds, especially about registering European companies off-shore. I believe that, with regard to SMEs, it is time for us to attempt, as part of the EU 2020 strategy, to have a very clear European framework and a method for supervising venture funds because they explain, if you like, the situation of the European Union’s financial market.

I believe that it is unacceptable, and we will have to investigate some day what the situation is regarding off-shore companies and their registration because, otherwise, we are being totally hypocritical in a way which requires us to help Member States, while large profits and huge sums of money from Europe are located in these off-shore funds.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, a social market economy needs clear ground rules, and activity in the social market economy needs to be fair, as fair competition and fair basic conditions also create confidence. The same applies, in particular, to financial dealings. Many people say that friendship stops when it comes to money. There are a number of things in the European Union – as the speaker before me said – that are not in working order. I found the vote on this difficult. On the other hand, I have heard that the rapporteur and the competent committee are seeking not only to consult with the Commission, but also to hold intense discussions in order to put an end to these irregularities at long last. I could also say something polemic with respect to the most recent financial crisis. It was not the tradespeople who brought the world to the edge of ruin; it was the elite of this world in finance. We therefore need to pay attention and we need to obtain fair conditions for competition once again.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, I consider that a regulation on the European venture capital funds is of paramount importance in a Union which has the ambition of becoming the most innovative economy in the world. This regulation contributes to that end. By laying down uniform rules, it is instrumental for the good functioning of the internal market.

This regulation draws a proportional balance between the needs of our economies and macro-economic prudence. More than ever, we need simpler rules in order to support innovative ideas and daring start-ups. By voting in favour, I express my support for everyone in the EU who has viable projects but who does not necessarily have the funds to finance them readily available in their Member State. This is especially true in the case of the new Member States, where there is no lack of bright ideas whilst the funds are not always within reach.

 
  
  

Report: Bernd Lange (A7-0249/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Emma McClarkin (ECR). – Mr President, I agree with the referral of this report back to the committee because there is still work to be done. I wish for clarity of certain details regarding the application of the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism.

Broadly, my points relate to the Central American agreement for which I am shadow rapporteur. Some of the amendments I wish to be discussed further include a clear definition of ‘a threat of serious deterioration’ for the activation of a safeguard clause on bananas, and of ‘stabilisation mechanism’ as well. They also include the Commission’s room for manoeuvre in its application for Parliament’s involvement in possible investigations, and the inclusion of additional socio-economic indicators on top of Colombian and Peruvian export and import statistics for monitoring the effect of the FTA. I hope that future trialogue negotiations with the Council will help to resolve these issues.

 
  
  

Report: Jörg Leichtfried (A7-0237/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Emma McClarkin (ECR). – Mr President, the association agreement between the EU and Central America undoubtedly offers a good deal for both partners, and I fully support it. The opening of markets in industry, agricultural services, government procurement and investment goes further than the commitments undertaken with the World Trade Organisation and surpasses the existing EUR 12 billion trade relationship.

While I, for one, believe the bilateral safeguard clause must exist along with the agreement to prevent injury or threat thereof to the EU banana industry, I also believe that, in its current form, it presents a number of problems. These include: the involvement of the European Parliament in initiating an investigation in the framework of the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism; the lack of a clear definition of ‘threat of serious deterioration’ for activation of the clause; the additional further socio-economic indicators of top Colombian and Peruvian exports; and import statistics for monitoring the effects of the FTA.

So I am pleased that this has also been referred back to the committee, and I look forward to discussing these issues. I do not want to see trade agreements literally held up for a bunch of bananas.

 
  
  

Report: Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (A7-0055/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, one could smirk and say that in our modern world, too, absolutely everything needs to be regulated. Of course, I do think it important that we should not concern ourselves solely with the protection of works in which everything is known from a copyright point of view. On the contrary, it is also important to consider cases in which authors and creators are no longer known, for whatever reason. Our European culture is extremely diverse, something which is also boosted by the digitisation of orphan works. Attention needs to be paid, however, to ensuring that there is proper checking of whether a work is actually an orphan work, whether the creator or author really is not known. Otherwise, we run the risk of copyright being undercut as the basis for the motivation to create new works. I therefore advocate the creation of a comprehensive regulatory framework so that exactly that does not happen.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution RC-B7-0425/2012

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, the ECR Group strongly supports the joint text on Syria. Each day, the news about the situation in Syria worsens as the violence escalates and the conflict descends further into civil war.

It was reported that, last month alone, 5 000 Syrians were killed, making it the deadliest month of the conflict so far. According to activist groups, this has pushed the overall death toll up to 26 000 and, what is more, the violence seen in Syria last month sadly shows no sign of stopping, as Assad-loyal, mainly Alawite-led forces continue to rely on air power and heavy weaponry to suppress the rebellion, and Iran continues to arm the Syrian regime with military equipment and weapons flown through Iraqi airspace. Sadly, there are now also allegations of atrocities being carried out by the rebel forces and, if they are true, that must also be investigated, and there can be no climate of impunity for anybody carrying out atrocities on either side of the conflict.

The ECR extends solidarity to the Syrian people who are in desperate need, now more than ever, of significant humanitarian assistance as a result of this ongoing violence. Whilst the group resolution calls for a peaceful solution to be found in order to facilitate a political transition, without President al-Assad, towards a more stable and democratic Syria, speaking personally, I would like to find ways of establishing a limited no-fly zone in the border regions and some kind of escape corridors, in order to create a sanctuary for refugees.

Again, speaking personally, I call on the UN Security Council to refer all those responsible for war crimes to the International Criminal Court, and for Russia and China to lift their veto in the Security Council on tougher sanctions against the Ba’athist Syrian regime.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Mr President, Syria is in the middle of a civil war, and the situation in the country is alarming. It is absurd that the international community has been standing by watching the crisis deepen since January 2011. There has been an exchange of fine words and ideas, but words have not turned into action. Put simply, there has just not been the political will to intervene.

The world order since the Second World War, and the United Nations, which was set up as its guardian, are not effective enough to respond to today’s humanitarian crises. Nor has the European Union been effective. Its foreign and security policy is toothless. Wars today are no longer waged on battlefields between the armies of two clearly distinct states, pennants streaming: the biggest single victim in today’s wars is always the civilian. That is the case in Syria, too, and we have been able to watch developments there with the help of modern technology, like the best type of feature film – unfortunately.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Norica Nicolai (ALDE).(RO) Mr President, I welcomed and voted for this Parliament resolution, one of numerous resolutions which have been adopted in this Chamber. However, I would like to point out that, unfortunately, both the international community and the European Union are making moves, but the Syrian dossier is not making any progress at all.

We all agree that there is a civil war going on, we are all trying to propose solutions, and the ‘no-fly zone’ principle may be a solution. However, no one is actually managing to do anything because the divided interests of the major powers with regard to Syria are the only certainty.

I deplore the fact that it was not taken on board in this resolution that there are a number of groups associated with terrorist groups or Hezbollah, which is present in Syria and is supporting the Syrian troops of President Assad, and that the amendment was not adopted either, because, due to games being played and fragmented support, some of us are refusing to see the real situation in a country which can no longer wait.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I voted against these motions for resolutions because they are completely one-sided. They completely misjudge the fact that there are a large number of mercenaries in Syria who mostly speak Saudi Arabian dialects and who are carrying out gruesome massacres. Syria was, for decades, a stable partner for the West, but also for its neighbours. The instability that is now arising in Syria poses an eminent risk, especially for the neighbouring countries, and especially for Israel. The West thus cannot act the way it did in Libya or Egypt. The situation in Syria is considerably more dangerous for the entire region. The question that must first be asked is: what is Saudi Arabia doing? Why is the West watching on as fundamentalist Muslims in Syria massacre Alawis and Christians? That is the first thing to do.

Only when the mercenaries are out of the country can we talk about what stable government we want to bring about in future in Syria.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL). – Mr President, people across the world are watching the situation in Syria with horror and empathy for the plight of the Syrian people. What began as a popular uprising against Assad has descended into a civil war with religious, ethnic and sectarian characteristics. Unfortunately, it is increasingly the arena for a regional and international proxy war. On the one side is the brutal Assad regime, backed up by Iran and Russia. On the other side is an array of anti-Assad, often ethnically-based and divided opposition forces. Many of these are bankrolled and aided militarily by some of the most reactionary Arab states and Turkey, together with Western imperialism.

Clearly, they do not provide a way forward for the Syrian people. Any military intervention would worsen the situation. It would not be taken in the interests of the Syrian people or peace and it could accelerate the process of Balkanisation and potentially inflame the whole region. Building a united working class movement to overthrow the Assad regime is a Herculean task, but it is the only way to successfully win democratic rights and fundamental social and economic change.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE).(PL) Mr President, a resolution on Syria is quite simply a moral obligation. Even though this will not affect the actual situation, it will draw the attention of the entire civilised world to what is happening in Syria, to the plight of thousands of refugees and the extent of human suffering caused by the deaths of those who have been killed, as well as to those who are in the thick of the conflict. At the same time, the use of the military against civilians is something that has to be condemned, and which has caused an exodus of refugees. The lack of agreement within the UN Security Council, and particularly the position of China and Russia, makes this a situation that is very difficult to resolve politically. We therefore call on these countries to take part in an international response capable of bringing about a radical change in the situation in Syria.

Another issue, one which we do not often discus, relates to the risks associated with the huge stockpiles of chemical weapons. Institutions investigating the situation in Syria have been flagging this up. If adequate safeguards are not maintained in relation to these weapons, there could be an enormous humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Bernd Posselt (PPE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of all eight MEPs from the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), I would like to advocate a politically intelligent solution in Syria. It goes without saying that we condemn the barbaric regime and its brutal acts of violence. However, we watch with concern how there are also radical and dangerous forces in the opposition and in the underground that are abusing and escalating the situation. We therefore advocate a Syrian peace framework in which the various ethnic groups, the various religious communities, not least the many Christians in the country, have a chance to survive and take their place in the construction of a balanced civil society that also looks after peace with Syria’s Lebanese and Israeli neighbours. We have a significant responsibility in this area. There are no simple formulas that help here, there are no easy solutions, only intelligent, strategic planning and preventive diplomacy can help. This is an area where there is a particular call for Europe.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution RC-B7-0427/2012

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, the ECR Group is deeply concerned about the integrity of the justice system in Russia. One of the most high profile cases in the past decade has been that of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Many legal experts and human rights organisations have condemned the charges against him as politically motivated, especially with regard to his second trial.

But with specific reference to the mention in the text of the resolution of the reduction of Platon Lebedev’s prison sentence by three years, it is important for the House to note that this has been appealed by the prosecutors. The verdict, due on 21 September 2012, will be crucial in determining whether the courts respect the country’s constitutional and international obligations or whether instructions from the executive will prevail.

It is also important to point out that the Supreme Court has referred the appeal by Khodorkovsky and Lebedev back to the Moscow City Court, despite a plea by the defence to consider the appeal on its own merits and not to send it back to the Moscow court, whose judicial independence is highly questionable.

It is unacceptable, in the view of the ECR Group, that political prisoners still exist in Member States of the Council of Europe. I am thinking here not only of Russia but also of neighbouring Ukraine, in particular, the case of Yulia Tymoshenko. The recent disproportionate sentencing of the punk group Pussy Riot is also the latest in a string of selective justice cases that include the Russian Supreme Court’s prohibition on peaceful Falun Gong practitioners practising their beliefs. Russia is, of course, a very great country and a strategic partner, but it seems to be going backwards as far as democracy and human rights are concerned.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Mitro Repo (S&D). (FI) Mr President, the most recent events in Russia are unfortunate examples of how culture and religion are abused in the context of the political game. Unfortunately, this is not the first case, and it will not be the last: we, of course, remember the murders of Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, Magnitsky and other journalists, which have still not been investigated.

A breach of religious peace is always a crime, and in other countries, too, it carries a penalty. What is most problematic about Russia, however, is the high-handed way in which the issue was dealt with there. Since the case, the Russian Duma has even enacted new laws against citizens who express their opinions. Apart from the matter of the individual destinies of people, the greatest concern is how freedom of speech will be safeguarded in Russia in the future.

Does Europe intend just to stand by and do nothing? Safeguarding human rights and the rule of law must be an essential component in a democratic society. We in Europe must do all we can to promote freedom of speech and democracy everywhere, including Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, over the past few years, we have been hearing more and more about abuses of the Russian judicial system. This has been evidenced even by the huge number of cases submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. Of particular note are instances of interference by the judiciary in political matters, on which, of course, it should be completely independent. I would draw attention to the fact that the Russian constitution guarantees its citizens a full range of rights and liberties. These activities have brought about a dramatic fall in the trust that people have in the legal system and have reduced the independence of the judiciary. It is worrying to see legal restrictions being placed on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and the imposition of stiff penalties in cases of contravention of these restrictions.

As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia should respect civil rights. In supporting the resolution, I call on the authorities in Moscow to return to the rule of law, to stop political persecution, and to remove restrictions on civil rights. I also call for a stop to discrimination against non-governmental organisations and for NGOs to be given conditions that will enable them to function properly. I also condemn all acts of repression directed against civil society and the democratic opposition.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, the characteristic style of these motions for resolutions could just as well have come from Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate in the US presidential elections. It is for that very reason that I voted against it. I would warn against meddling too deeply in Russia’s internal affairs. Russia and the Russian people are capable of themselves developing a state under the rule of law and at a speed and with the focuses that they themselves choose. No country, especially one the size of Russia, would accept that from outside. The United States, similarly, would not accept a comparable imposition.

For the time being, I would like to concentrate on the conviction of the band Pussy Riot. I have some sympathy for the Russians’ sensitive reaction to actions of this kind in Moscow’s largest and most important church, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, in which I, too, have prayed. If these women had done the same thing in a mosque in Saudi Arabia or in Pakistan, they would have been sentenced to death. No parliament would react to that. This is therefore a cheap form of anti-Russian propaganda that is being used here, and I must protest against the attempt being made here to force Europe into conflict with Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE).(PL) Mr President, Russia is a very important country and a very important partner in the world. It is also a political partner, and a strategic partner with which the European Union has a special relationship. Since this is a very privileged relationship, and is thought of in such strategic terms, we, too, have the right to expect our partner – and there are clauses about this – to abide by rules regarding human rights, including the justice system, that are accepted in the democratic world.

We have, at the same time, been considering the new issue of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, which also involves certain obligations. It is, of course, true that every country has the right to build its own justice system, based on acceptable standards, but it cannot be the case that political pressure, as in the case of Magnitsky or in other cases, such as that of Platon Lebedev, which has been mentioned before, or the cases of Estemirova and Politkovskaya, should cast such a shadow over the justice system. For this reason, we call on Russia, as a great country with enormous capabilities, to abide by standards that are accepted in democratic societies.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). – Mr President, this morning, a journalist called me from Moscow and asked the question: where did I think the Russian Federation would be by the end of President Putin’s term of office? I think it was an essential question; nevertheless, we politicians cannot really deal with predictions like that, but should take very concrete steps.

The resolution which we voted on today – and I voted in favour – is exactly such a step towards supporting, and showing our solidarity with, Russian citizens, civil society and the political opposition, who are fighting for their constitutional rights in their own country.

I hope that our support is very meaningful in terms of their further activities. It is symbolic, also, that we are once again discussing the Russian Federation at our first part-session this autumn, together with Vice-President/High Representative Catherine Ashton. I hope more concrete steps will be taken soon to implement the ‘Magnitsky list’ by introducing visa bans and imposing sanctions on the assets of those who are abusing rights and misusing the judicial system for political ends.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Krisztina Morvai (NI). – Mr President, I just happen to be sitting here because I am interested in my colleague’s explanation of vote. I was going to ask my colleague a question, but I understand that that is not possible. I apologise.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0457/2012

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I voted against these motions for resolutions as I believe that, overall, the banking union is a sticking plaster on the giant wound that is the financial crisis. I regard this banking union, which was proposed by the President of the Commission yesterday, as downright laughable. The subsequent debate has shown that most Members believe that this supervision of banking represents financial supervision. That is absolutely wrong. It is something completely different.

This supervision of banking proposed by the President of the Commission will not make it possible to monitor any finance and investment houses such as Goldman Sachs, nor to remove any financial products from the market. It will make it possible to supervise the activities of a few small banks, but no more than that. This supervision will not enable us to tackle the financial problems that various financial institutions got us into, in particular Goldman Sachs, with its consultancy services via Mario Draghi in Greece. That is why what is being proposed here is downright laughable. It is yet another attempt to use the crisis to create a political union, which is then to be imposed on Europe’s citizens – a kind of birth of a state through the crisis. That is something that I categorically reject.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE).(PL) Mr President, yesterday’s speech by Mr Barroso, along with our work on the draft resolution, constitute approval for plans to create a banking union. In fact, the crisis in the euro area is speeding up this process. However the presentation of the resolution and the legal basis to which reference was made indicate that this is meant only for members of the euro area. All European Union Member States should, of course, have the right, if they want, to join this banking union. After all, there is 90% external capital in Hungarian banks and about 70% in Polish banks, which includes funds from banks in European Union Member States.

The proposal concerning closer cooperation for countries that are outside the euro area constitutes a second category of membership in the banking union, with obligations but without the possibility of influencing decisions, with serious consequences for the country concerned and for savings, deposits, guarantees for these deposits and any rescue funds. This is a direct path to a two-speed European Union, and we would not want to agree to this.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, I am actually very pleased that we have made progress in this regard. These proposals first emerged back in June and I think we are making good and satisfactory progress which will help us to get out of this recession and, more importantly, put proper controls in all banks in the future.

I come from a small country, and from my experience, I would never again trust banks in my country if it was left up to the authorities within the State to supervise them totally. Central authority at European level is far better; it is more objective and, certainly, the ‘palsy-walsy’ situation which we saw in Ireland was partly responsible for leading us into the terrible position we are now in.

This is to be welcomed, and the sooner it happens – and the more banks that are under the supervisory control of the ECB – the better. Finally I just want to thank President Draghi for the courage, the vision and the decisions he has taken since he came into office. He has been a breath of fresh air.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Recommendation: Amalia Sartori (A7-0268/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) As a country that is undergoing tremendous change, Brazil is one of the European Union’s main partners in Latin America. It is only natural that Parliament has renewed the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation with this country, in order to enable our scientists to work together on numerous projects with a great deal of potential for innovation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Union and Brazil needs to be renewed. It is in the European Union’s interest to renew this agreement so that it continues to facilitate cooperation with Brazil in areas of common interest, for the benefit of both sides. The economic and technological progress made by Brazil in recent years provides an additional reason why the EU had to extend this agreement. Given the intention of both sides to renew this agreement, I think that there are no other obstacles which could delay this extension. The European Union must continue to seek to conclude such agreements with third countries. Key partners for the EU should be identified which, depending on the area of interest, could provide added value.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil is based on a balance of advantages on the basis of the principles of mutual benefit, mutual access to research and development work carried out by each party, timely exchange of information which may have an impact on cooperation and adequate legal protection of intellectual property. The renewal of the agreement will further develop visits and exchanges of scientists, researchers and technical experts, as well as the organisation of joint research seminars, conferences and symposia and participation in them. Of course, the exchange and sharing of equipment, materials and information about practices, laws, regulations and programmes important for cooperation is an integral part of this agreement so that the mutual benefits are clear.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the renewal of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and Brazil. It enables us to encourage this ambitious and stimulating scientific and technological cooperation for the two contracting parties for an additional five years.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report as I agree with the recommendation of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A7-0268/2012) to renew the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) The Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil came into force on 7 August 2007, with provision for its renewal by agreement between the parties. As a Portuguese and a European, a closer relationship between the European Union and Brazil is extremely important to me and I am pleased that this is not restricted to trade, but also encompasses scientific and technological cooperation. This is essential, considering Brazil’s increasing role on the world stage. In this regard, I must also emphasise the Portuguese language’s strategic role as a direct means of communication between the two sides of the Atlantic, strengthening a relationship that we want to be fruitful and advantageous for both parties. The European institutions would function better if they had greater ability to communicate externally in their languages. I hope that the renewal of this agreement enables scientific and technological cooperation with Brazil to continue and that more flexible and bolder ways for researchers and companies to share information, projects and experiences are studied.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) Ms Amalia Sartori has tabled a recommendation concerning the renewal of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil. As a Member of the European Parliament from a country belonging to the same family as Brazil and sharing the same culture and language, I am pleased with and welcome the renewal of this agreement between the EU and Brazil. It concerns a subject that should transcend borders: scientific and technological cooperation. We will all benefit from the advance of knowledge in this area, regardless of the institutions where it occurs. In addition, I am sure that this agreement with a country whose economy has one of the highest growth rates in the world will allow many young Europeans, in general, and Portuguese, in particular, to pursue their studies in that country, strengthening the ties that bind Brazil and Europe further still and boosting transatlantic mobility. In other words, the Atlantic Ocean could be a great driver of scientific and technological cooperation in the sectors related to the environment and natural resources.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament, having regard to the draft Council decision (10475/2012), to Council Decision 2005/781/EC of 6 June 2005 on the conclusion of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil, to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 186 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), point (v) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to Rules 81 and 90(7) and 46(1) of its Rules of Procedure, and to the recommendation of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, consents to the renewal of the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. – I voted in favour of this recommendation because I support Parliament’s consent to conclude the renewal of the EU’s cooperation agreement with Brazil in the field of science and technology. This proposed decision grants the renewal for an additional period of five years of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and Brazil. It is worth mentioning that in 2005, the EU put in place specific visa measures to facilitate the entry and long-term stay of non-EU researchers, as well as their short-term movements between EU Member States. The EU and Brazil hold a regular S&T dialogue at bilateral but also at sub-regional and regional levels through MERCOSUL and ALCUE, in accordance with the Guadalajara Declaration on science and technology. We should continue our tradition of cooperation in the field of scientific research.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome the renewal of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing.(PT) The Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil is a step forward in the mutually beneficial and equitable exchange of knowledge between our peoples. It will facilitate cooperation between research bodies in the secondment of scientists, experts and technicians; legislative exchange on research matters; and the sharing of scientific and biotechnology experience in, for example, biotechnology, information and communications technology, bioinformatics, space, green technologies, health and medicine, human sciences and the sustainability of natural resources and the environment. Galicia’s universities have an excellent opportunity to pursue this path and to open up new opportunities for great mutual benefit. I voted in favour in a spirit of common humanity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil initially entered into force in 2007 for a period of five years. The agreement aims to facilitate collaboration and the exchange of scientific research between the EU and Brazil. In addition, new joint paths are to be taken in terms of research that will benefit both sides. Since there is no clear cost/benefit analysis in respect of the last agreement between the EU and Brazil, I am not sure whether an extension of the agreement, which does cost the EU some money, would actually make sense. I therefore abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The renewal of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil is up for debate. The agreement was last adopted in 2007 and expires in 2012. An agreement of this kind can certainly provide benefits to the EU in terms of technology and science, but there is a lack of any breakdown of the costs and benefits for the EU of the last agreement. In economically difficult times, however, an analysis of this kind is necessary before any commitments are entered into. I therefore abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) I welcome the positive vote in favour of the draft European Parliament legislative resolution on the draft Council decision concerning the renewal of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Although not all areas of cooperation represent Green priorities, the renewal of the agreement with Brazil is consistent with supporting the opening up of participation in EU Framework Programmes to third countries and enhancing international scientific cooperation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for Parliament’s consent to the renewal of the agreement between the European Union and Brazil, taking account of the importance of the current scientific and technological cooperation between the two parties. I am pleased that the agreement has been renewed as the cooperation between the European Union and Brazil goes far beyond this area, increasingly including many other sectors that strengthen the relationship between these two parties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the draft Council decision concerning the renewal of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the EU and the Federative Republic of Brazil. The Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation with Brazil came into force in 2007 for an initial period of five years. It is now being renewed for a further five-year period based on the parties’ common consent. The agreement is based on the principles of mutual benefit, common access to the programmes and activities of the other party under the remit of the agreement, on non-discrimination, effective protection of intellectual property, and on the fair distribution of intellectual property rights.

Renewing this agreement will allow a greater volume of scientific knowledge to be accumulated, which will result in opportunities for accessing the market. It is in the EU’s interest to renew this agreement so that it continues to facilitate cooperation with Brazil in priority scientific and technical areas of common interest, for the benefit of both sides.

This decision will allow both Brazil and the EU to reap common benefits resulting from the scientific and technical progress achieved through cooperation on research in their own specific research programmes. The decision will facilitate the exchange of specific knowledge and the transfer of expertise for the benefit of the scientific community, industry and ordinary citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The agreement on scientific and technological cooperation facilitates cooperation between the European Union and the Federative Republic of Brazil. An extension is in the interests of the European Union. Joint action in the priority areas of science and technology brings benefits to both parties. For this reason, I voted in favour of extending this agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the report by Ms Sartori.

I believe that renewing the agreement for scientific and technological cooperation with Brazil can bring benefits for the European Union, especially in a time of crisis like the present.

 
  
  

Report: Amalia Sartori (A7-0267/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) By supporting this Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation, Parliament wanted to strengthen exchanges with this neighbouring country. Algerian scientists were already able to take part in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Development. This new agreement will enable European scientists to take part in Algerian research projects and will thereby further strengthen our links with this partner, which is central to our neighbourhood policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because it is particularly important for the European Union to cooperate with its neighbouring countries. Signing the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation would serve the mutual interests of the EU and Algeria, as it would allow cooperation to continue and increase with this country in this area. Scientific research is a key contributory factor to creating the knowledge-based society and reducing unemployment against a backdrop of economic openness.

Algeria needs to remain an important partner of the EU, and cooperation with this country could be extended to other areas as well. Signing this agreement would allow the EU to open the European Research Area to third countries. The EU’s wish must still be to promote technological progress not only within its own borders, but also in their immediate vicinity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because this agreement will improve relations between both parties, will promote regional integration, and will expand people’s opportunities. The agreement will bring clear mutual benefits because scientists and technical experts in both Algeria and the Member States will have the opportunity to organise and participate in joint visits, seminars, conferences and symposia. There will also be an increase in the exchange and sharing of equipment, materials and information about practices, laws, regulations and programmes important for cooperation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The 2002 agreement identified cooperation on scientific research as an area of priority interest, especially with a view to strengthening cultural ties between the EU and Algeria, including with regard to creating dynamic leaders with international cultural awareness. I have always been a strong advocate of cooperation initiatives that aim to promote the dissemination of a common Mediterranean future by helping and supporting our natural constituency of the middle classes and professionals, who are drawn to collaboration and stability, the free exchange of ideas and a good quality of life for all. Research and technical development also offer a way for enterprises in these countries to grow, including in industries where innovation happens unexpectedly – here, I am thinking of a number of interesting experiments on managing agricultural soils through low-cost technologies that are within the reach of local businesses. I therefore welcome the report, since I am sure that the agreement will bring significant medium- and long-term benefits for both parties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of concluding the agreement between the European Union and Algeria on scientific and technological cooperation. I support this agreement, which enables the promotion of a society of knowledge between the two parties, the exchange and protection of intellectual property rights and, above all, the cooperation of researchers in joint projects and programmes which, in the long term, will have real mutual benefits in the scientific and technological partnership.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report as I agree with the recommendation of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A7-0267/2012) to consent to the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on scientific and technological cooperation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) Algeria has seen unrest in recent months due to what is called the Arab Spring, and its population’s desire for change is increasingly evident. Despite this background of political and social instability, it is not only expedient but vital that science and technology issues and international cooperation in these areas are not disrupted. The European Union should follow the developments in that country closely, but not wait until they are concluded before embarking on and encouraging scientific and technological cooperation. Over and above the issues that this agreement addresses, it should be seen as a further step towards establishing wider, consistent and durable relationships with the countries to the south of the Mediterranean.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) Ms Amalia Sartori has tabled a recommendation on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on scientific and technological cooperation. It is said that knowledge is weightless. We can also add that it should not be restricted by borders, particularly when we are dealing with young democracies, such as Algeria, which belongs to the group of southern Mediterranean countries that have embraced the so-called Arab Spring, with the support of the European Union. As we all benefit from the advance of scientific and technological knowledge, I am pleased with and welcome the conclusion of this agreement on a subject that should transcend borders. In addition, the southern European Member States and the North African countries that share the Mediterranean have great potential for scientific and technological cooperation in the sectors related to, inter alia, the environment and natural resources, maritime transport, security, information technology and cultural projects.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Parliament, having regard to the draft Council decision (08283/2012), to the draft agreement signed on 19 March 2012 (17318/2011), to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 186, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to Rules 81, 90(7) and 46(1) of its Rules of Procedure, and to the recommendation of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, consents to the conclusion of the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. – I voted in favour of this recommendation because I support Parliament’s consent to conclude the EU’s cooperation agreement with Algeria in the field of science and technology. The Euro-Mediterranean agreement establishing an association between the European Community and its Member States and Algeria identifies cooperation in scientific and technological research as an area of particular interest and potential and provides for the establishment of permanent links between our scientific communities. This is an endeavour worth supporting and I hope that Parliament will closely monitor its benefits.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome the agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on scientific and technological cooperation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing.(DE) The Euro-Mediterranean agreement establishing an association between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria was signed back in 2002. Collaboration on scientific and technological research was specified at that point as being an area of particular interest and with particular potential. The EU considers scientific research to be a significant factor in the construction of a knowledge society and in reducing unemployment, while opening up the Algerian economy. Particularly in economically uncertain times, like those in which we currently find ourselves, there is a need to pay strict attention to cost-cutting and control of expenditure. As, in my view, there is a danger that the EU could end up providing a majority of the funding in, above all, the planned construction of joint research centres, given that the level of the Algerian economy is still far beneath that of the EU, I abstained from the vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this European Parliament resolution on the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on scientific and technological cooperation as I am in agreement with it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The agreement does not concern the Framework Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) for nuclear research but the FP7. Therefore, the opening up of the programme to Algeria and the enhancement of scientific cooperation may be supported by the Greens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) European companies have been increasing investment in research and innovation, leading to the development of new products and services with greater added value for the public. Science and technology is therefore fundamental for strengthening the companies’ global competitiveness and it is vital to establish international agreements with a wide range of countries. I therefore voted for the scientific and technological cooperation agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, which will provide the European economy with new types of knowledge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted to conclude the agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Union, on the one hand, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, on the other. The EU and Algeria are jointly involved in carrying out research, technological development and demonstration activities in various areas of common interest. It is beneficial to both sides for each of them to be involved in the research and development activities of the other side, on a reciprocal basis.

Cooperation activities are carried out based on the following principles: promoting a knowledge-based society; reciprocal access to the activities covered in the research programmes and projects being carried out by each side; exchanging information promptly which may facilitate cooperation activities; allocating and providing appropriate protection for intellectual property rights; participating and providing funding according to the provisions laid down by law and administrative provisions applicable to both sides.

This cooperation will help both promote Algeria’s development and competitiveness and establish closer ties between both sides for the EU’s benefit. The agreement on scientific and technological cooperation is the most suitable tool for strengthening cooperation and Algeria’s involvement in the framework programme and for stepping up dialogue in the field of science and technology.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) Scientific research is an area that is vital for the development of the information society and also to reduce unemployment. Conclusion of an agreement in the area of science and technology is therefore in the interests of both the European Union and Algeria, as a measure that makes it possible to carry out joint research and to bring about closer cooperation in this area. This will allow closer cooperation between the parties and also create permanent ties between the scientific communities of both parties. For this reason, I voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Gerald Häfner (A7-0245/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The Lisbon Treaty enabled Parliament to increase its powers, notably with regard to foreign policy and international agreements. The Council, the representative of the Member States, must now inform Parliament throughout the procedure. This obligation requires an interinstitutional agreement to be adopted in order to establish the conditions of this cooperation. I supported this text so that Members could gain full access to documents classified ‘EU Confidential’. This step forward is crucial as it will make procedures more transparent and more democratic.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that it is vital for MEPs to access the relevant information they need to make Parliament operate as effectively as possible. Unrestricted access for MEPs to information classified as ‘EU Confidential’ is one of the main points of interest in this agreement. Another important aspect is granting MEPs and Parliament staff access to classified information in accordance with Parliament’s security rules.

I also welcome the fact that rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs or all the committee members will be granted access to documents, depending on the dossier. This will enable us to ensure that decision makers at Parliament level will be able to make the best decisions, by enjoying access to all the necessary information. Parliament will cope with these new procedural rules, with administrative training being provided for managing this type of information.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the European Parliament must do its work smoothly and transparently and this can only be achieved with access to all relevant documents and information. To ensure the effective exercise of its prerogatives and competences, Parliament needs access to classified information held by Council and arrangements therefore need to be made for cooperation between Council and Parliament. In accordance with EP security rules, Members and EP staff on EP premises must have access to classified information, and rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs and all committee members can have such access. This draft agreement concerns access to classified information on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report. It aims to facilitate the access of Members and employees of the European Parliament to classified information within Parliament’s premises. It also grants access, depending on the dossier, to rapporteurs or all committee members. This report means that there will be greater transparency between the Commission and Parliament, while ensuring a high level of security and guarantee.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for the report on the conclusion of an interinstitutional agreement concerning the forwarding to the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council (apart from matters relating to the common foreign and security policy). I firmly believe that Parliament should have access to all relevant documents and information in order to do its work. I therefore believe that it is time for the Council and Parliament to begin negotiations to amend the 2002 interinstitutional agreement and to better reflect the increased importance of Parliament.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I support the need for closer and fairer interinstitutional cooperation between Parliament and the Council. The Treaty of Lisbon extended Parliament’s powers, making it colegislator with the Council, and increased, in particular, Parliament’s powers in the area of international agreements. In spite of the repeated attempts by the Council not to apply the Treaty’s provisions in this regard, the Council’s obligation to inform Parliament must be fulfilled, which is explicitly stated in Article 218(10) of the Treaty, according to which Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure. We call on the Council for greater openness to ensure access to classified information on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of this text, which grants Members access to documents classified ‘EU Confidential’. This interinstitutional agreement sends a strong message to EU citizens. Their representatives will now be able to enjoy a level of information that allows them to stand on an equal footing in negotiations with the Member States. This transparency will therefore strengthen Parliament’s role in the European decision-making process, and this will be for the benefit of everyone.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) Managing information that is considered classified is inevitably complex, requiring caution and discretion and a strict notion of who can access it and how they can use it. This sensitivity is aggravated when the information has to pass between institutions which, by their nature, have very different structures and ways of operating. This is the case with Parliament and the Council. Together, they should be capable of ensuring that information considered classified remains that way, whilst simultaneously ensuring that MEPs’ right to information is not restricted in an inappropriate and disproportionate way. This balance between the right to information and the restriction thereof is inevitably changeable and must be constantly re-evaluated by the two institutions. The interinstitutional agreement is a considerable joint effort to this end.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) Under Article 127 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, it ‘may enter into agreements with other institutions in the context of the application of the Treaties or in order to improve or clarify procedures’. The report we are considering relates to the conclusion of an interinstitutional agreement between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy. The Council has been criticised for hiding information from Parliament. Obviously, it is not possible for everyone to have access to everything. We understand that there may be ‘top secret’ confidential information that should not be available to the general public or to MEPs. However, Parliament must have the ability to supervise the EU institutions. I voted for this report to narrow the field of classified information because it is a decisive step towards more democracy, since policy cannot be made behind closed doors and because Parliament must be an example of openness for EU citizens so that they can evaluate the decisions taken by their elected politicians.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Transparency and access to all relevant documents and information is the very basis of and an essential precondition for democracy and especially for the European Parliament to be able to perform its duties. The Treaty of Lisbon extended Parliament’s powers as a colegislator with the Council. Notably, it increased Parliament’s powers in the field of international agreements. The Council’s obligation to inform Parliament is explicitly stated in Article 218(10) TFEU, according to which Parliament shall be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure. For the effective exercise of its prerogatives and competences, Parliament needs access to classified information held by the Council. Arrangements therefore need to be made for cooperation between the Council and Parliament. Article 295 TFEU allows for the conclusion of interinstitutional agreements for that purpose.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the conclusion of an interinstitutional agreement concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy. Transparency and access to all relevant documents and information is the very basis of and a compulsory precondition for democracy, and especially for the European Parliament in order to be able to do its work. Furthermore, the agreement concerning the forwarding to and handling by Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy is an indispensable instrument, enabling Parliament to fully exercise its powers and functions. Arrangements therefore need to be made for cooperation between Council and Parliament allowing these objectives to be achieved.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the report by Mr Häfner in plenary. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament’s powers were increased, notably in the field of international agreements. This report aims to make arrangements for cooperation between the Council and Parliament on the basis of an institutional agreement. This report was adopted by a large majority: 587 votes to 7, with 6 abstentions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report. This agreement has been the subject of extensive negotiations with the Council and was approved by the Conference of Presidents in March 2012. The agreement follows a similar structure to the agreement found between the Parliament and Commission concerning the release of confidential documents received by the Commission, though additional safeguards have been introduced to protect Member State interests where necessary. I support this solution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this agreement. Transparency and access to all relevant documents and information is the very basis of and a compulsory precondition for democracy, and especially for the European Parliament in order to be able to do its work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the conclusion of an interinstitutional agreement between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy. The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty means that an interinstitutional agreement should be concluded and this will notably grant Members access to classified information within Parliament’s premises.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour. The agreement concerning the forwarding to and handling by Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy is an instrument enabling Parliament to fully exercise its powers and functions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) European Parliament reports often address the subject of transparency and access to all EU documents and information as the basis for and precondition to democracy and in order to facilitate the work of the European Parliament. Moreover, the broader powers vested in the European Parliament under the Treaty of Lisbon also relate to international agreements. In light of this, Parliament laid down and attained certain crucial objectives in the negotiations, such as, but not limited to, access to classified information for members and staff of the European Parliament in European Parliament buildings, subject to European Parliament security rules. This draft agreement, which I supported, concerns access to classified information on matters other than those in the closed area of the common foreign and security policy, such as so-called ‘mixed agreements’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report, which contributes towards strengthening the principle of transparency in Parliament’s access to all relevant documents and information, which is the very basis of and a compulsory precondition for democracy, and especially for Parliament in order to be able to do its work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. The present draft agreement concerns access to classified information on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy. However recital 4 and 7, Articles 1(b) and 1(c) and a statement attached to the agreement concerning the classified information in this area clarify that so called ‘mixed’ agreements fall under the scope of this agreement and that access to classified information that relates exclusively to the CFSP will be governed by arrangements under an ad hoc Council decision or using the 2002 IIA. According to the same statement, a review of the interinstitutional agreement of 20 November 2002 should begin in the course of 2012.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  József Szájer (PPE), in writing. (HU) The agreement under discussion aims at guaranteeing equivalent management of classified information in all EU institutions. Transparency and access to information are fundamental requirements for the European Parliament as the body responsible for the democratic legitimacy of the EU. The framework agreement between Parliament and the Commission contains detailed provisions on the forwarding of confidential information to Parliament. However, for Parliament to be able to actually exercise its significantly extended privileges and competences granted by the Treaty of Lisbon, it also needs access to classified information held by the Council. I voted in support of the adoption of the agreement because it lays down the rules applicable to the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of any classified information held by the Council on matters other than common foreign and security policy that is relevant to the European Parliament for exercising its competences and fulfilling its duties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) This report addresses the draft interinstitutional agreement concerning access to classified information on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy. As is currently the case in the interinstitutional agreement with the Commission, it is intended that Parliament, as a colegislator with the Council, will have access to confidential, relevant information, as provided for in Article 218(10) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. I voted for this report as I believe that it is essential to have access to the information, under strict rules, in order to perform parliamentary work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of concluding an interinstitutional agreement between Parliament and the Council concerning the forwarding to and handling by Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy. Transparency and access to all relevant documents and information form the basis of and are a compulsory precondition for democracy and, in particular, for enabling Parliament to do its work for Europe’s citizens, as provided for in the Treaties. The Lisbon Treaty reinforces the requirements of transparency and the rights of citizens to participate in EU decision making, while limitations on the right of Parliament and its Members to share relevant information with the public must occur in clearly specified and justified exceptional cases.

The rules on classifying and declassifying EU documents should be laid down by means of regulations adopted by Parliament and the Council. We think that the interinstitutional agreement concerning the forwarding to and handling by Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy is an essential instrument enabling Parliament to fully exercise its powers and functions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The European Parliament needs to have access to all documents and information in order to be able to carry out its activities in accordance with democratic principles. The Treaty of Lisbon clearly extended the rights of the European Parliament as regards the processing of and access to information held by the Council. In order to make effective use of these new powers, it is vital to establish rules for cooperation between Parliament and the Council. For this reason, I voted in favour of the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Janusz Władysław Zemke (S&D), in writing.(PL) I believe that the conclusion of an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy is the right way forward. This agreement is a vital instrument enabling Parliament to exercise its powers and perform its functions fully, especially in the context of the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, which extended the powers of Parliament in the area of international agreements.

The agreement contains detailed definitions as well as levels for the categorisation of classified information sent between the Council and Parliament, security measures relating to persons, as well as a procedure for obtaining access to classified information and for its protection. In addition, the fact that the agreement also sets out specific rules for the transfer of classified information to Parliament by the European Commission is also worthy of note.

 
  
  

Report: Sajjad Karim (A7-0251/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European Union is often described as complex and difficult for citizens to understand. In 2003, an initiative aimed at simplifying the legislative and administrative process was adopted and, 10 years later, Parliament is actively preparing to review it. Knowing the situation facing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Members want to simplify access to Community resources as much as possible for these SMEs and strive towards the simplification to which they are committed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because legislation at European level must provide added value. We must ensure compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality when the Commission initiates new proposals. Greater importance should be attached to both these principles when assessing the impact made by the Commission.

On the other hand, national parliaments must be involved more consistently in verifying compliance with both principles. Although 211 opinions were received from national parliaments in 2010, only 34 of them raised subsidiarity concerns. The ‘yellow card’ procedure was used in 2012 for the first time since the Lisbon Treaty came into force. It is also important that the SME test analyses in as much detail as possible the impact of legislative proposals on this category of companies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing.(PT) The Smart Regulation agenda marks a renewed opportunity for European institutions to fully adopt good governance based on evidence-based policy making where impact assessments and ex post control play an essential role. Its intention is to consolidate efforts in better law making, the simplification of EU law and the reduction of administrative and regulatory burdens. However, the interinstitutional agreement on better law making of 2003 has become ill-suited to the current legislative environment as created by the Treaty of Lisbon. I voted for this report, which calls for the interinstitutional agreement of 2003 to be renegotiated to reflect the new reality created by the Treaty of Lisbon. It underlines the overarching need for legislation to be clear, simple, easy to understand and accessible to all. It stresses the need for the Commission to ensure consistent application of the SME test to motivate the Member States to include similar considerations in their national decision-making processes. Finally, it calls for an independent analysis to be carried out on behalf of the Commission to examine the role of regional or local parliaments in the area of subsidiarity controls.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the Smart Regulation agenda is a step towards better law making, as well as the simplification of EU law and a reduction in administrative and regulatory burdens. The idea was suggested of turning the Lisbon strategy into the EU 2020 strategy, which would emphasise competitiveness and a reduction in the administrative burden through smart regulation to ensure that markets work for people. The most important thing now is to ensure that activities are stepped up. It is important to update the 2003 interinstitutional agreement, taking into account the legislative environment that has come about following ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. It is also necessary to stress the need for action in the areas of subsidiarity checks by national parliaments and when it comes to impact assessments conducted by Parliament and the Council. Finally, the functioning of existing legislation needs to be examined.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The majority of the Commission’s proposals have been adopted by national parliaments without any significant discussions taking place about subsidiarity. The only proper debates about the way to interpret subsidiarity have taken place between Parliament and the Council, ending up with a suitable balance being found between the responsibilities of the EU and those of Member States. In practical terms, it can be seen that implementing EU legislation is still a problem nationally, and I think that better communication between national parliaments and the European Parliament could improve this situation.

The report is also important because it touches on a number of issues which are of particular interest to Parliament. I would like to mention among these the need to revise the interinstitutional agreement on better law making, adopting legislation on SMEs and, last but not least, making further improvements for better law making.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) This is a decent report throughout, from its basic structure onwards. Moreover, the Treaty of Lisbon set out a system of close integration between national and local parliaments according to the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, which now – if such a thing is possible – take on even greater significance given the tension that Europe’s governance structure is subject to in view of the crisis. Bearing this in mind, I especially agree with the proposals and observations set out in paragraphs 7, 9, 11 and 13. Regarding minimising regulatory burdens, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), I think that the principle is as widely held as it has turned out to be difficult to apply in reality. It is now hard not to see over-regulation as the main thing holding back the development of dynamic economies. The Commission’s ‘tailor-made’ doctrine could probably be of help here, as – even more so – could the general approach based on the concrete proposals set out in paragraphs 22 to 28. In any case, the key to achieving the goals of the interinstitutional agreement is a shared experimental approach and a shared rigorous review and revision process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report. The principle of minimising administrative burdens must urgently be applied to European legislation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – On the face of it, this contains language which some eurosceptics might approve: ‘underlines the overarching need for legislation to be clear, simple, easy to understand and accessible to all; stresses that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality must be respected by the European institutions when legislating’. The author used to be a LibDem MEP. Hence, this document is actually yet another of the collaborationist sort which operates on the basis that the EU is a good thing in principle and only a small degree of reform is needed. It is important to remember that ‘Smart Legislation’ is no better that any other sort of legislation. It is still passed by the EP.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted for this report on the report on better legislation, which aims to simplify EU law and reduce administrative and regulatory burdens. This report proposes sensible measures and I welcome its adoption. I particularly support the idea that there is a dire need for the 2003 interinstitutional agreement on better law making to be updated, taking into consideration the changing European legislative environment. I approve the recommendation for measures on subsidiarity controls carried out by national parliaments. I think that a follow-up needs to be made to amend legislation identified as being possible to ameliorate and to combat the practice of ‘gold plating’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report as I support the Smart Regulation agenda in its attempt to consolidate efforts in better law making, simplify EU law, and reduce administrative and regulatory burdens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing.(PT) I have always supported every effort to increase transparency and to bring the European Union closer to its citizens. Making EU legislation clearer, simpler, easy to understand and accessible to all is a relevant step in this direction. That is why the smart regulation agenda is important. It aims to consolidate efforts in better law making, simplify EU law and reduce administrative and regulatory burdens, while promoting a process of evidence-based policy making, particularly through impact assessments and ex post controls. Only in this way can we ensure that EU law is consistent with its objectives and able to make an effective contribution to meeting the approaching competitiveness and growth challenges. I equally welcome the fact that national parliaments will be more closely involved in the European legislative process with regard to scrutinising legislative proposals in the light of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. The new procedure introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon has made the EU policy-making process more transparent and, without question, has enriched debate.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) I will today repeat the words that I have used before on this same subject. ‘I fully support the ongoing effort to develop legislation for Europeans that is simple, transparent and understandable. Despite well-intentioned declarations, rigorous studies and clear reports from numerous institutions, the truth is that European legislation continues to suffer from the ills that are frequently pointed out: excessive volume, unsuitable complexity, unintelligibility, and a string of remissions. This fact not only distances Europeans from decisions made at European level, it also feeds the debate – not always very reasonable or rigorous – regarding European intrusion into matters on which it would not pass judgment or legislate if there were more careful compliance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality’. Yesterday, we heard President Barroso talking about strengthening democracy and praising the principle of subsidiarity. I heard him state that not everything can be a priority. He is correct. We should be capable of producing less, but better, legislation because that is the only way we will serve European citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) The report by Sajjad Karim we are discussing addresses the content of the 18th report on better legislation – Application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (2010). As a colegislating body, Parliament wants the European Union to produce the best legislation in the world. To achieve smart and simplified EU law, a timely report on implementing this agreement has been drafted. The 2003 interinstitutional agreement on better law making is currently being revised to adapt it to the legislative procedures that came into force with the Treaty of Lisbon. One aspect that needs to be resolved is to urge national institutions involved in law making to ensure that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are applied under the terms of Protocol No 2 annexed to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. I welcome the closer involvement of the national parliaments in the European legislative process with regard to implementing the proposals related to these principles. I voted for this report because I think that this smart regulation will reduce bureaucracy and make the markets work better for all EU citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) This report aims to evaluate the smart regulation agenda. According to President Barroso’s political guidelines, it aims for competitiveness and less administrative burden through smart regulation to make markets work for people. In other words, markets and their free operation are prioritised to benefit economic and financial groups. When it comes to individuals, to Europe’s workers and peoples, they suffer the full impact of an unprecedented regression in civilisation caused by EU policies backed by its legislation. We must mention that the EU’s increased legislative burden results from the encroachment on the Member States’ sovereignty, which is undemocratic because their wishes and participation are ignored and because it is contrary to their interests. The elected bodies in Member States, which are closer to citizens and more closely controlled by them, are losing their power, especially national parliaments. Today, these are mere spectators to the EU legislative process (as the card procedures for scrutinising the principle of subsidiarity demonstrate), which covers decisive areas of their daily business and their collective duties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) In order for legislation at EU level to be effective, it must be clear, simple, easy to understand and accessible to all. In shaping European legislation, it is our duty to follow two fundamental principles of EU law, namely, the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. We must involve the national parliaments of the Member States more closely in the European legislative process. In relation to controls, the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality play an important role. European institutions must consolidate efforts in terms of better law making, the simplification of EU law and a reduction in administrative and regulatory burdens. We need to ensure that European legislation is as close to the citizens as possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – In the current economic climate in which Europe finds itself, we need policies that are going to help our businesses to create growth and jobs. By reducing the regulatory burden that businesses face, we can stimulate the economic recovery that Europe so desperately needs. I strongly welcome the approach to regulation outlined in this report. Better law making will, amongst other things, see SMEs being supported in their compliance with regulation, allowing them the necessary flexibility to compete with the economies of scale associated with large businesses. I hope this report will also lead to better impact assessments of proposed European legislation, so that law makers have the necessary evidence base to make pragmatic decisions. I hope, too, that the use of ‘regulatory offsetting’ will encourage a situation where ineffective or obsolete regulation is removed. This approach to better law making has my full support.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the report by Mr Karim in plenary. This own-initiative report calls for the 2003 interinstitutional agreement on better law making to be reviewed without further delay. Parliament wants to step up its efforts to simplify Community legislation and minimise administrative burdens. This report was adopted by a large majority and I welcome that.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report, which recalls that, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the EU will take action outside its areas of exclusive competence only and insofar as the objectives of a planned measure can better be achieved at Union level rather than at national, regional or local level; subsidiarity may, therefore, lead both to an extension of the activities of the Union within the framework of its powers when circumstances so require and, conversely, to the action concerned being restricted or curtailed where it is no longer justified. Parliament emphasises that subsidiarity, in this context, not only applies to the relationship between the EU and its Member States, but encompasses as well the regional and local levels; urges the Commission to improve and regularise the statements which justify its legislative initiatives on the grounds of subsidiarity; recalls that EU administrative law should be adjusted and simplified in order to reduce administrative and regulatory costs; states that, in this context, the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality should be applied accordingly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Action is needed in the areas of subsidiarity checks by national parliaments and when it comes to impact assessments conducted by the Parliament and the Council. It is essential for scrutiny of the principle of subsidiarity to extend to the regional and local levels in the Member States. I agree with Mr Karim. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alajos Mészáros (PPE), in writing. (HU) The effects of the crisis can still be felt in Europe, and we must use all means available to mitigate them. I supported the report, the aim of which is once again an improvement in the quality of EU legislation. I believe that the only way for us to effectively cooperate at both Member State and institutional level is within the framework of appropriate and clear laws. I particularly support ideas that are against pushing the administrative burdens of citizens and SMEs even higher. Smart regulation must include the possibility to reduce, if necessary, the number of aspects of the transposition and application of legislation that were not entirely successful so far, and attempt to accomplish them by other means. As a democratically elected body, the European Parliament can do much in this regard through its consultations with the citizens and its continuous contact with the national parliaments. The relaying of information and mutual communication must be given a central role. We are looking forward with optimism to the report the Commission has promised for the second half of 2012 regarding the progress of the smart regulation agenda.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing.(PT) It is our objective to legislate well for our citizens, to make legislation that is clear, simple, easy to understand and accessible to all, and that respects subsidiarity. The rapporteur had an excellent opportunity to include the capacities of the Member States’ co-official parliaments, which have colegislative responsibilities, and forgot the important role that they also play in legislating for and implementing EU regulations, which often present interpretation and implementation difficulties. I voted against due to this omission.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The smart regulation agenda constitutes an attempt to consolidate efforts in terms of better law making, the simplification of EU law and a reduction in administrative and regulatory burdens. The agenda offers EU bodies a new opportunity to implement good governance, based on evidence-based policy making in which impact assessments and ex post controls play an essential role, on a comprehensive basis. One of the things that is needed is for the interinstitutional agreement on better law making from 2003 to be updated to the current legislative environment created by the Treaty of Lisbon. In principle, I welcome the fact that subsidiarity checks are to be reviewed. However, in my view, this report gives far too little time to the way in which the EU attempts to wipe out national competences through the back door. I took these factors into consideration when voting.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) I supported the ‘Better Legislation’ resolution because we are living in a state of emergency – a crisis of democratic legitimacy, which risks exploding if citizens’ active participation in decision making is lost. Better legislation means that the laws passed by this House need to be clear, simple, easy to understand and accessible to all; they must represent those who have elected us, not a compromise among external parties. Better legislation also means institutional respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, which are basic principles of the EU Treaties and a guarantee of national and popular sovereignty. Faced with opinions from national parliaments in which justifications for subsidiarity are sometimes inadequate or absent, I welcome the closer involvement of national parliaments in the European legislative process, particularly with regard to scrutinising legislative proposals in the light of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, because this is consonant with the legitimate appeal against the Commission and the Council made by national parliaments for the first time on 22 May 2012 through the ‘yellow card’ procedure on the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services. Let us continue in this vein in the hope that the Commission will genuinely reduce its regulatory burden in its 2013 Work Programme.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Many EU rules are opaque and baffling as far as Europe’s citizens are concerned. It is therefore important and necessary to draw up measures by means of which the functioning of legal provisions that have entered into force can be monitored. Only in that way can a final verdict be reached on whether a given piece of legislation makes sense. I therefore voted in favour of this contribution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report, which puts forward concrete measures to simplify European Union law and to reduce the administrative and regulatory burden.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. The report overemphasises the role of impact assessment and the use of the new Impact Assessment Directorate.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) Smart regulation means a clear, simplified legal framework and reduced administrative and regulatory burdens, so as to improve the internal market from the viewpoint of its main beneficiaries, EU citizens. I also believe that it is important for Parliament to continue scrutinising these procedures, to put forward measures that improve the adoption and implementation of EU law, avoiding over-regulation and respecting the principle of subsidiarity.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the European Parliament resolution on the 18th report on better legislation – application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (2010). Smart regulation is an attempt to consolidate efforts in terms of better law making, simplifying EU law and reducing administrative and regulatory burdens, and to adopt measures leading towards good governance based on evidence-based policy making.

We welcome the Commission communication on minimising regulatory burdens for SMEs and consider it essential that the Commission respects the ‘think small first’ principle when preparing legislation and wishing to introduce lighter regimes and exemptions for smaller businesses. Furthermore, we call on national parliaments, in accordance with the Subsidiarity Protocol, to consult the regional parliaments with legislative powers, and call on the Commission, when verifying subsidiarity and particularly in its annual reports on subsidiarity and proportionality, to pay attention to the role of the regional parliaments with legislative powers.

We stress the importance of these measures as a key element for economic growth in the EU and urge the Commission to introduce in its 2013 Work Programme a programme which addresses the need to reduce the overall regulatory burden.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) The report on better legislation highlights the fact that it is important that the EU should heed the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality laid down in the Treaties. Member State parliaments have taken the Commission to task, above all, where it has provided an inadequate explanatory statement in respect of the principle of subsidiarity, or has failed to provide one at all. Moreover, it is important to involve the national parliaments in the legislative process and to create conditions that facilitate the performance of supervision of subsidiarity and proportionality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The creation of simple, comprehensible and transparent law is the primary requirement for the European Union. It is vital that the European institutions should abide by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality when creating this law. It is of particular importance that all breaches in this area should be put right. Best practice should be used on a permanent basis and other practices should be improved with the assistance of a programme of smart regulation. For this reason, I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
  

Report: Alain Cadec (A7-0222/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL), in writing. – I am voting in favour of this report because it supports infrastructure and transport development in outermost regions. However, I am opposed to the use of project bonds and public-private partnerships to replace what should be public investment.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) This report, which was largely supported in Parliament, provides for the implementation of a European strategy for the Atlantic Arc regions. Numerous initiatives will be taken in order to strengthen the industrial competitiveness of these areas, sustainable fishing, marine energies, tourism and shipbuilding industries. In order to open up these regions, they ought to benefit from major infrastructure projects, with motorways of the sea and rail connections towards the centre of Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because the Atlantic area has a number of clearly defining characteristics which need to be addressed politically at European level. A macro-regional strategy is required to revitalise the Atlantic area by means of a common approach. The measures which we have in mind include creating a permanent maritime spatial planning structure for the Atlantic area.

Another suitable measure would be to establish local, regional and cross-border partnerships with the aim of improving risk prevention and management capacities in the Atlantic in the event of maritime and land-based accidents. Last but not least, it is vital to improve connections between the Atlantic regions and the rest of Europe through investing in multimodal transport infrastructures.

The Commission should look into the possibility of developing similar macro-regional strategies in other regions too, where such a measure would result in lasting, sustainable economic growth.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing.(PT) The Atlantic strategy should take the form of a macro-regional strategy that promotes synergies among the various instruments and levels of action involved in spatial planning policies and that allows the actors on the ground to be involved in defining and implementing the strategy’s objectives. Accordingly, the strategy should be built around two themes: maritime and terrestrial spatial planning and promotion of the land/sea interface; stimulation of the economic fabric of the Atlantic regions through an industrial policy adapted to their specific characteristics. The strategy should strive to make better use of existing European funding, without creating any new budgetary instruments, aiming to improve existing policies in all sectors. I therefore voted for this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the need for an EU policy strategy for the Atlantic area is clear. The strategy will be launched in 2014 and will receive European, national and regional funding. It is also very important to stress that in 2012 and 2013, public and private Atlantic partners will be involved in the preparation of an action plan. The Atlantic area is characterised by specific problems, which go beyond national borders and require answers for the whole of the Atlantic seaboard. In essence, the strategy is aimed at promoting the sustainability of the Atlantic’s resources, and properly controlling human activities to safeguard the ecological balance. This strategy is also aimed at opening up the Atlantic regions, promoting the competitiveness of industrial sectors and improving the response to certain risks and other emergencies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The Atlantic area strategy should take the form of a macro-regional strategy in order to promote synergies among the various instruments and levels of action involved in spatial planning policies. The Structural Funds and Integrated Maritime Policy will form the basis of this action plan. I think that the strategy will need to endeavour to make better use of existing European funding, without creating any new budgetary instruments. I also believe that, for the next programming period for the Structural Funds, measures must be introduced to ensure that the operational programmes are geared more towards the relevant priorities of the macro-regional strategies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on the EU cohesion policy strategy for the Atlantic area. This strategy is focused on two main principles which I fully support: maritime and terrestrial spatial planning and promotion of the land/sea interface, on the one hand, and, on the other, stimulation of the economic fabric of the Atlantic regions through an industrial policy adapted to their specific characteristics.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – Cohesion policy strategy in the Atlantic Area calls for coordinated action at the EU level, through a macro-regional instrument, to tackle common maritime concerns such as tourism, transport and renewable energy. In my view, any initiatives between the regions concerned should be done on a voluntary basis. An EU Atlantic macro-regional strategy would simply add further bureaucracy, with little positive impact on areas of mutual concern such as biodiversity and carbon emissions. Furthermore, proposals for an EU Coastguard service would merely duplicate existing national provision. Any maritime problems between the regions should be addressed by the forthcoming reform of the common fisheries policy, and specifically through its regionalisation proposal. Given that my own constituents have not called for greater cooperation with the other regions of the Atlantic area, I shall not be supporting this initiative.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report as I agree with the EU strategy for the Atlantic area as a whole and particularly support the political priorities of the action plan.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – I welcome the adoption of the resolution calling for a European strategy covering Europe’s Atlantic regions, including the coastal regions of the Irish Sea from 2014, as is already being put in place for the Danube and the Baltic regions. The aim of such a macro-regional strategy and a related action plan is to better coordinate and to create synergies between all EU policies that affect this area, particularly those relating to marine energy, maritime industries, tourism, employment opportunities for young people in the maritime sector, and the sustainable exploitation of maritime resources. The aim should be to provide a new impetus to coastal areas and their hinterlands. I would point out that Dublin Port welcomed over 85 cruise ships in 2011, worth an estimated EUR 50 million to the city’s economy, as well as hosting the ‘Tall Ships’ event this August. Coming from a Member State that does not have a direct land link to mainland Europe, I particularly welcome the call on the EU to invest in ‘motorways of the seas’. Finally, I agree with the call on Ireland’s EU Presidency to prioritise European Council endorsement of this strategy during its forthcoming term of office.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) The European Union’s cohesion policy can, and must, make its own important contribution in the Atlantic area in order to complement the maritime aspects of the relevant strategy. It is important therefore to ensure that the environmental balance and biodiversity in the region are protected, and to establish close cooperation among the countries bordering it on risk prevention and management in the Atlantic, especially in the case of accidents, natural disasters and criminal activities, including with regard to ensuring safety, maritime surveillance and civil protection.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. (HU) The basic pillars of the Atlantic strategy, spatial planning policy and industrial policy, provide the basis for the creation of a complex and effective macro-regional strategy with the involvement of actors ranging from local authorities through public and private sector participants to European Union bodies and the participation of transnational and international actors. Through the implementation of that strategy, we can undertake comprehensive innovation in the Atlantic region (including the English Channel and the coastal regions of the Irish Sea) from 2014, with particular focus on youth employment and the invigoration of transatlantic transport. The Atlantic area is a dynamic maritime area that forms the Western approach to the EU, and is therefore of strategic importance for transatlantic transport. At the same time, it is an outlying area of the European Union, the elimination of which could enable the connection of Atlantic areas to Europe, the interconnection of transport, energy and information networks, the development of regional areas and the improvement of land-sea links.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing.(PT) I voted for the report on the EU cohesion policy strategy for the Atlantic area as the development of a macro-regional strategy is essential in order to revitalise the Atlantic area and to promote synergies between European policies and the various instruments available, so as to better respond to the common challenges.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson, Marita Ulvskog and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Social Democrats voted in favour of the own-initiative report on the EU cohesion policy strategy for the Atlantic area as we believe that a cohesive political strategy for the development of the Atlantic area will be a good tool for solving the cross-border problems of this area. However, we do not support the passages that call for public support for the updating of fishing vessels. This support was abolished in the last fisheries reform in 2003, and would entail a major step backwards in the work to reduce the overcapacity of the European fishing fleet. We are also opposed to the call for the establishment of a European coastguard service. We believe that border control is a national competence and therefore do not support the call for the establishment of such an organisation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) Developing a maritime strategy for the Atlantic Ocean area will allow the public and private Atlantic partners to be involved, in 2012 and 2013, in the preparation of an action plan proposing specific actions on multiple issues for this area. I am therefore pleased to learn that it aims to create a macro-regional strategy that will promote synergies among the various instruments and levels of action involved in spatial planning policies. The macro-regional approach will also allow other actors on the ground (private sector, regional and local public authorities, civil society organisations) to be involved in defining and implementing the strategy’s objectives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) On 21 November 2011, the Commission published a communication entitled Developing a maritime strategy for the Atlantic Ocean area in response to requests from the Council and Parliament. Firstly, as an MEP from a country facing the Atlantic, where much of its history has played out and some of its economic activity takes place, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Alain Cadec, for his work. The Atlantic area is a region with huge potential, where the most diverse activities take place: tourism, fishing, renewable energy, transport, etc. As a marine environment, it is obviously fragile and needs to be protected; as an outlying area, it requires special attention; and, as the western approach to the EU, it has a strategic position. I therefore welcome the drafting of this Atlantic strategy, with a macro-regional approach, that brings together different synergies and will boost socio-economic development across the region. I voted for this report because I agree with the themes on which the strategy has been built: maritime and terrestrial spatial planning and promotion of the land/sea interface; and stimulation of the economic fabric of the Atlantic regions through an industrial policy adapted to their specific characteristics.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) The report addresses the issues of maritime and terrestrial spatial planning; the improvement of trans-European transport networks; and the promotion of industrial and other economic activities and economic growth, developing specific aspects related to the outermost regions. We recognise the need to tackle these issues and value some of the objectives given in the report. However, we profoundly disagree with the overall philosophy of the report. We believe that these issues should be tackled in a spirit of cooperation and coordinated effort, with recognition given to each Member State’s sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone, not the supranational perspective that runs through the whole of this report. We disagree with the proposals to create a European coastguard service and the Single European Sky, which undermines national control of airspace and aims to pave the way towards liberalising the aviation sector. We disagree with the neoliberal focus in the EU 2020 strategy. We disagree with an Atlantic strategy that is subjugated to the imperial ambitions of the European powers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. SK) The Atlantic area has a number of defining characteristics: it is a dynamic maritime area, thanks to renewable marine energies, maritime transport, maritime industries, tourism and fishing, it is an area with a fragile marine environment that must be preserved, it is an area that forms the western approach to the EU and therefore has a strategic position in Europe, and, in addition, it is an outlying area within the European Union, which raises issues of how to open it up and connect it with the rest of Europe. These problems go beyond national borders and require political answers for the whole of the Atlantic seaboard.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – The Atlantic area, covering parts of the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal, includes a section of my own constituency in south-west England. This report on the subject of cohesion policy strategy in the Atlantic area calls for coordinated action at the EU level, through a macro-regional instrument, to tackle common maritime concerns such as tourism, transport and renewable energy. In my view, any initiatives between the regions concerned should be done on a voluntary basis. An EU Atlantic macro-regional strategy would simply add further bureaucracy, with little positive impact on areas of mutual concern such as biodiversity and carbon emissions. Furthermore, proposals for an EU Coastguard service would merely duplicate existing national provision. Any maritime problems between the regions should be addressed by the forthcoming reform to the common fisheries policy, and specifically through its regionalisation proposal. Given that my own constituents have not called for greater cooperation with the other regions of the Atlantic area, I shall not be supporting this initiative.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing.(FR) I welcome the adoption by a resounding majority of the European strategy for the Atlantic tabled by my fellow Member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Alain Cadec. This strategy, which will be launched in 2014, puts in place important measures to boost the Atlantic regions in France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. Regional policy aims to help the most underdeveloped regions and reduce disparities. However, the crisis has not spared our regions and the members of the UMP in the European Parliament have taken action in favour of a fairer distribution of funding. Thanks to this road map, we will have to be able to contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of maritime regions by focusing efforts on strategic sectors: marine energies, shipbuilding industries, sustainable fishing and tourism. By investing in motorways of the sea and rail connections, the Atlantic is opening itself up to the centre of Europe and creating opportunities for our coastal areas and their hinterlands.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this document because the Atlantic area has a number of defining characteristics and therefore problems go beyond national borders and require political answers for the whole of the Atlantic seaboard. It is proposed that the Atlantic strategy should take the form of a macro-regional strategy in order to promote synergies among the various instruments and levels of action involved in spatial planning policies. The macro-regional approach will also allow other actors on the ground (private sector, regional and local public authorities, civil society organisations) to be involved in defining and implementing the strategy’s objectives. The report calls for the strategy to be built around two themes – maritime and terrestrial spatial planning and promotion of the land/sea interface, as well as stimulation of the economic fabric of the Atlantic regions through an industrial policy adapted to their specific characteristics.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the report by Mr Cadec in plenary. This own-initiative report on the EU cohesion policy strategy for the Atlantic area was adopted on 13 September and I welcome this. It should be noted that the Atlantic area is composed of a disparate collection of regions, many of which have still not reached the EU’s average income level and thus remain under the convergence objective for the purposes of European cohesion policy. The report calls for the development of a macro-regional strategy and the creation of a permanent maritime spatial planning structure. Lastly, it seems essential to improve the connections between the Atlantic regions and the rest of Europe through investment in multimodal transport infrastructures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this report, which stresses that renewable marine energies comprise an industrial sector for the future that can combat climate change and EU energy dependence, achieve greater energy sustainability within the Atlantic regions, and meet the Europe 2020 targets. Parliament notes that the Atlantic area is particularly suitable for the promotion of such energies, and considers that public support is necessary to accompany private investment in the technologies concerned, especially offshore wind energy and wave and tidal energy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report by Alain Cadec on the EU cohesion policy strategy for the Atlantic area. This report is a relevant contribution to the debate on a future European strategy for the Atlantic for 2014. As this proposal contains concrete suggestions, Parliament has positioned itself in favour of an action plan which will breathe new life into the Atlantic area through coordinated action at macro-regional level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Atlantic strategy contains a strategic vision for the Atlantic area, which will provide the reference for the action plan 2014-2020. It also suggests that this action plan should first of all establish key priorities, measures and identify flagship projects, as well as set out clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report contains many ideas that are in line with those we are developing in the Left Front. Its promotion of renewable marine energies and, in particular, wave and tidal energy, is one such example. It is a choice for the future in which Member States should invest. Given that support for sustainable tourism, training and access for young people to maritime professions, along with the creation of new specialisations, could contribute to the sustainable development of fishing regions, the ambition to safeguard the ecological balance and biodiversity of the Atlantic area and public support for the modernisation of the fishing fleet are among the ideas that I support. However, I should like to express my strong opposition to creating a macro-region designed as a hub of European competitiveness, just as I reject the idea that we should bend to the will of private investors in order to protect the Atlantic area. I therefore abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ana Miranda (Verts/ALE), in writing.(PT) An Atlantic policy is essential so that the different approaches and variations of this geographical region of Europe can help citizens to make better use of the maritime and land resources. Of the European population living on the coast, 60% live on the Atlantic coast, spread throughout subnational bodies with political autonomy. The macro-regional strategy proposed in this report, therefore, is the appropriate instrument to enable the Atlantic area to gain greater access to the outlying policies (for example, through integrated transport policies). Ports such as Vigo, in Galicia, and Brest, in Brittany, were excluded from the trans-European transport network, making it clear that its scope is not the Atlantic. It is necessary to revitalise this Atlantic strategy to create jobs and to repair the economy of the whole European Atlantic coast. I therefore voted in favour and I congratulate the rapporteur.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) In 2012 and 2013, the partners in the Atlantic area are supposed to formulate an action plan for the Atlantic area as part of the European maritime strategy. There is nothing objectionable about such a course of action in itself. Nevertheless, you cannot help but suspect that the EU will, first and foremost, be called on for financial support. Previous experience leads to doubts about the chances of success in achieving the desired synergies. Up to now, none of our maritime strategies have exactly been a shining beacon of success. Rather, we have not so much as once succeeded in achieving success in terms of compliance with the existing strategies, for example, in relation to maritime surveillance or overfishing. It is my view that the cohesion policy strategy for the Atlantic area is an impractical fantasy that will cost a great deal of money, and I voted accordingly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) In response to political requests from the Council and Parliament for a strategy for the Atlantic area, on 21 November 2011, the Commission published a communication entitled Developing a maritime strategy for the Atlantic Ocean area. I welcome this communication and this report, which puts forward concrete proposals to define the political priorities of the action plan. I hope that in 2012 and 2013, the public and private Atlantic partners will be involved in the preparation of an action plan proposing specific actions that will meet the needs of these populations. This is essential for the success of the strategy to be launched in 2014, which will receive European, national and regional funding.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. With regard to sustainability, the motion for a resolution calls for vigorous action to safeguard the ecological balance and biodiversity of the Atlantic and reduce the carbon footprint in that area; the establishment of specific recommendations concerning vessels, with a view to promoting the inclusion of propulsion systems with low carbon emissions; the promotion of socially, economically and environmentally sustainable forms of tourism.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) The Atlantic strategy is built on two fundamental pillars: the maritime pillar and the terrestrial pillar. These two pillars should facilitate synergies between the sector-based policies relating to economic, social, environmental and territorial development. I voted for this report as I believe that it is extremely important that strong investment is made in economic activities related to the sea, renewable energy and tourism. They must play a key role in maritime spatial planning policies so as to make a decisive contribution to greater economic growth and to wealth and job creation. I believe that it is important to remember that the Atlantic strategy must strengthen the strategic locations of the outermost regions, given that these regions could become logistical platforms to facilitate the transportation of products between Europe and the rest of the world and are rich in natural resources that are beneficial to the European Union. I believe that it is time for the Commission to take the decision to make the Atlantic the third European Union macro-region and that this strategy should be properly linked to the integrated maritime policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the cohesion policy for the Atlantic area because a future strategy for the Atlantic area is vital for improving access to the Atlantic regions. It should focus on linking the Atlantic area with the European mainland, connecting transport, energy and communications networks, as well as developing urban and rural areas. We think that motorways from the Atlantic area will improve trade relations, stimulate port-based economic activity, encourage tourism, and reduce CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, renewable marine energy sources are an industrial sector of the future which can combat climate change and EU energy dependency, achieve greater energy sustainability within the Atlantic regions, and meet the Europe 2020 targets. The strategy must contain an ambitious social dimension in order to promote training and access for young people to maritime professions, thereby helping improve the quality of life in these areas. We stress the need to increase the volume, efficiency and competitiveness of short sea shipping in the Atlantic Ocean as an innovative and environmentally friendly way to improve and diversify the trans-European transport networks, encourage small and peripheral port activity, and help cut road congestion and emissions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – This report, which has my full support, puts forward concrete proposals, including a suggestion for the Atlantic strategy to take the form of a macro-regional strategy. This will go towards promoting synergies among the various instruments allowing for better use of funds. This report impacts on my constituency in Wales and I hope that, building up to the launch of the strategy in 2014, public and private Atlantic partners are involved in the preparation of an action plan.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Dominique Vlasto (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported this report on the development policy for the Atlantic region, a region with a great deal of issues as a western border of the EU and a strategic and vulnerable seaboard. I am pleased that my proposals have been adopted in order to ensure an integrated approach, which will allow several levers to be activated, particularly transport and tourism. Let us not forget that it is essential to open up the Atlantic regions by ensuring their cohesion, their transport services and the interconnectivity of economic centres and employment areas. I also stressed the need for the effective and sustainable management of maritime/coastal areas and the hinterland by promoting their many assets and encouraging the harmonious management of the land-sea interface. I also believe that we should focus on tourism, which is a source of growth and employment. This strategy will enable us to support the development of the Atlantic region by striking a balance between preserving the environment and biodiversity and creating wealth, competitiveness and attractiveness. Looking to the future, I support the idea of a strategy to link the Atlantic seaboard and the Mediterranean coastline. This is in keeping with the spirit of our cohesion policy and it would be mutually beneficial for both of these regions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) A strategy for the Atlantic area is essential. A significant part of this area has gone backwards as a result of the last European crisis. Nevertheless, I abstained from voting on this matter because of certain elements which are missing from the proposed strategy. Firstly, in the proposed core trans-European transport network, there is no proposal to create a corridor that covers the entire Atlantic area. Secondly, too few Atlantic ports have been included in this network, and it does not include hub ports, for example.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Cadec’s report which, by defining the political priorities to be pursued, proposes that the EU cohesion policy strategy for the Atlantic area should take the form of a macro-regional strategy.

The main goal must, therefore, be to promote synergies among the various instruments and levels of action involved in spatial planning policies.

 
  
  

Report: David Martin (A7-0207/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Parliament has preferentially extended access to the European market for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries until 2016. I chose to abstain on this vote as I do not fully share Parliament’s position, which was at odds with the position of the Commission. Some of these countries have achieved sufficient levels of development. Therefore, it is no longer possible to allow them to benefit from such advantages without creating an unfair situation with some of our other trading partners who have achieved intermediate levels of development, comparable to those of the ACP countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that amending the regulation will increase the momentum of the negotiations. The aim of the Commission’s proposal is to remove the inconsistencies among the special tariff concessions for countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States which cannot apply economic partnership agreements yet. This will encourage the countries concerned to ratify their commitments as soon as possible.

I support the fact that the proposal intends to remove the concessions granted to countries which no longer comply with the provisions of this regulation. Countries like Botswana or Namibia can no longer enjoy the same treatment as they have done up to now. At the same time, I should highlight the fact that the interests of both sides must be taken into account when concluding the negotiations, and the different level of development of each country has to be taken into consideration during the process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it provides for the conclusion of economic partnership agreements (EPAs) between members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the EU and its Member States, and the detailed arrangements applying to products from the countries in question were set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007. This regulation offers duty free access to the EU market. Unfortunately, several countries have neither taken the necessary steps towards ratification of an EPA nor concluded comprehensive regional negotiations and the European Commission has therefore proposed that, as of 1 January 2014, those countries should be removed from the list of beneficiaries of this provision. Seventeen countries have not yet proceeded with their ratification process and, according to the European Commission, such a situation is not compatible with WTO rules. Essentially, it is proposed that measures should be taken that would increase the momentum of negotiations, but such agreements are difficult in nature and are hard to implement in rigid timeframes, so the proposed deadline (by 2014) is too short. The proposal also includes amendments to align the decision-making procedures with those of the Lisbon Treaty.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries gained duty-free access to the EU market following the Cotonou Agreement. This benefit, granted basically unilaterally, presupposed that the countries would take steps towards ratifying economic partnership agreements. However, 17 of these countries have not done so and the Commission proposes that, as of 1 January 2014, those countries which have not signed or ratified their agreements should be removed from the list of beneficiaries. The Commission argues that the current situation is not compatible with World Trade Organisation rules and that it is also a question of fairness, both towards countries which have fulfilled their obligations and ratified their agreements, but also towards developing countries which are not ACP partners. I voted for this report as I believe that the issue should be resolved safeguarding the objectives behind the economic partnership agreements, which are that the agreements should contribute to deepening the regional integration process while fostering economic growth and development for all the countries and regions concerned.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Emer Costello (S&D), in writing. – There is a moral imperative as well as an EU treaty obligation on Europe to agree fair and development-friendly economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with its African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partners. Europe must take account of the different needs and levels of development in ACP countries and regions. It should not rush its partners into signing unsatisfactory EPAs before all contentious issues are resolved. The ACP countries affected by the Commission’s proposal to abolish, from 2014, duty-free and quota-free access to EU markets, need a realistic timeframe to agree and ratify fair EPAs. The abolition of such access from 2014 would be detrimental for these countries, particularly for those that would not benefit under the ‘Everything But Arms’ market access arrangements. I therefore support a two-year extension, i.e. from 2014 to 2016, during which these ACP countries should continue to benefit from unlimited preferential access to EU markets. This extension should provide a realistic timeframe to work towards development-friendly EPAs that are fair to both ACP and non-ACP countries alike.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing. (FR) The European Union negotiates numerous economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States in order to facilitate their integration into international trade and promote their development. While awaiting the conclusion of these agreements, most of the ACP countries enjoy significant trade preferences which already facilitate the entry of their products onto European markets. These preferences are, in theory, valid until 2014, the date initially planned for the entry into force of the economic partnership agreements concluded with the European Union. However, some ACP countries have expressed a desire to be able to take advantage of these measures for longer before the subsequent conclusion of these agreements. By giving the green light to prolonging trade preferences for ACP countries until 2016, the European Union is allowing numerous ACP countries to negotiate without the pressure of fair economic partnership agreements.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Göran Färm, Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson, Marita Ulvskog and Åsa Westlund (S&D), in writing. (SV) We Social Democrats believe that the deadline set in the report is too short and risks resulting in a number of ACP countries, which still have major development needs and a high level of poverty, having poorer access to the EU market. To unilaterally exert pressure to conclude the negotiations within the specified short timeframe regardless of whether or not the problem of the contentious provisions has been resolved is not a good way to create a climate conducive to concluding negotiations in a manner that takes account of the interests and problems of both parties. It is obviously important for the World Trade Organisation rules to be respected, and the regulation in question was intended to be a temporary arrangement. It is not a sustainable situation for preferences to be maintained for countries which are not fulfilling the criteria, but the Commission’s proposal is not a satisfactory solution to this problem.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) The Cotonou Agreement provides for the conclusion of economic partnership agreements (EPAs) between members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the EU and its Member States, and the detailed arrangements for market access applying as from 1 January 2008 to products from these countries. This regulation governs the EU import regime for the 36 ACP countries that initialled economic partnership agreements in 2007. It was a bridging solution for countries that were not yet in a position to apply these EPAs, awaiting ratification. The regulation basically unilaterally anticipated the duty-free access that the EU offered in these agreements. However, 17 countries have still not ratified the agreements. The Commission therefore proposes that, as of 1 January 2014, these countries should be removed from the list of beneficiaries of this provision. I totally agree with this step to treat the countries benefiting from these exceptional commercial conditions equally.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) This report by David Martin addresses the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007 as regards the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded negotiations. In accordance with World Trade Organisation rules, the preferential treatment that the European Union granted to the countries with which it established cooperation agreements ended in 2007. The Cotonou Agreement was concluded in 2008 and provides support to the developing countries under specified rules. After concluding negotiations with half of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, the EU approved a new regulation exempting them from paying duty and quotas, in the expectation that they would all sign the new agreement. However, around 18 countries have not gone on to conclude the agreements. It is therefore imperative to force these countries to conclude the cooperation agreements with the EU as soon as possible. I agree with the Commission proposal to demand that the new agreements be signed by 1 January 2014, as we cannot continue with temporary measures that disadvantage third parties.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing.(PT) As we stated during the plenary debate, this proposal for a regulation is an unacceptable form of pressure and blackmail on the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries which are refusing, with good reason, to conclude the so-called economic partnership agreements. These are nothing more than free trade agreements between the EU and ACP countries, which could have disastrous consequences for the fragile and undiversified economies of these countries, opening the door to the colonisation of their markets and further economic dependence and subordination. Our group proposed to simply reject the proposal which, regrettably, was not accepted by the majority of Parliament. The agreement between the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe succeeded in postponing for two years the end of the trade preferences granted to these countries. However, the idea behind this postponement (which was still a defeat for the Commission, which opposed it with the fundamentalism we have come to expect in this area) is very clear: to give the countries more time to conclude the agreements. That is, to leave the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the ACP countries. This is unacceptable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The Cotonou Agreement provides for the conclusion of economic partnership agreements between members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the EU and its Member States. Detailed conditions were set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 1528/2007, the so-called Market Access Regulation. This regulation governs the EU import regime for the 36 ACP countries that initialled economic partnership agreements in 2007. It was a bridging solution for countries that were not yet in a position to apply these EPAs because they were awaiting ratification. Several countries have neither taken the necessary steps towards ratification of an EPA nor concluded comprehensive regional negotiations. The European Commission therefore proposes that those countries which have not yet signed or ratified their agreements should be removed from the list of beneficiaries of this provision. The European Commission argues that the current situation is not compatible with WTO rules, and that it is also a question of fairness, both towards countries which have fulfilled their obligations and ratified their agreements, but also towards developing countries which are not ACP partners.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the exclusion of a number of countries from the list of regions or states which have concluded negotiations because the current situation is not compatible with WTO rules, and it is also a question of fairness, both towards countries which have fulfilled their obligations and ratified their agreements, but also towards developing countries which are not ACP partners. The amendments initiated are aimed at intensifying the ongoing EPA negotiations in order to conclude fully-fledged regional agreements. Essentially, the main reason behind the proposal is probably to increase pressure and thereby the momentum of the negotiations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I am delighted that Parliament has backed my deadline of 2016. The 2014 deadline the European Commission wanted to impose on ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries was not feasible and my proposals passed today now give some of the world’s poorest countries another two years to negotiate trading deals with the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report endorses a new economic arsenal to put pressure on African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that refuse to ratify economic partnership agreements (EPAs). Postponing the end date for the trade preferences granted to these countries from 2014 to 2016 makes no difference. The idea that these countries should be pillaged or punished is revolting. I must denounce the blackmail in which the European institutions are engaged. The ACP countries are not colonies, no matter what the Commission says. I am therefore voting against this contemptible report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) In the distant days of June 2000, a framework cooperation agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States was signed in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. The goal of that agreement was to facilitate economic, social and cultural development in these areas, to be achieved in various areas and via different instruments. One of the measures adopted provided that, as of 1 January 2008, a number of products from some of these countries could enjoy particular trade advantages. However, everything was tied to compliance with specific criteria, which not all the states in question were capable of living up to. Therefore, the Commission rightly decided to remove from the agreement those countries who did not want to comply with the regulations: for once, I cannot disagree with this decision by the Commission. Respect for agreements and guarantees should be the minimum that is demanded from partner countries when such agreements are made. Accordingly, I voted in favour of this report, which at long last speaks up for Europe’s rights as well, which are too often cast aside in the area of international trade.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing.(PT) I voted against the proposal to reject the Commission proposal to exclude a certain number of countries from trade preferences since this would have harmful consequences for these countries. Although the report improves the Commission’s proposal, I believe that it still contains significant negative aspects. I therefore abstained in the final vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. It will apply on 1 January 2016. It is necessary to give more time for further negotiations to reach an agreement on the comprehensive EPAs, in order to avoid the risk that a number of ACP countries which still have strong development needs and substantial levels of poverty will have significantly reduced market access to the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI), in writing. (ES) This matter presents many challenges; I am voting in favour of the majority position of the Committee on International Trade as it consists of an intermediate position within the very delicate conflict of interests that this issue entails. However, the date of 2016 should be reviewed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alf Svensson (PPE), in writing. (SV) In the final vote on the abovementioned report, I chose, like 35% of my colleagues in Parliament, to abstain. The reason for this was the fact that Amendment 4 was adopted with a narrow majority. This amendment postpones the end date for the negotiation period for the current trade agreements from 2014 to 2016. I am convinced that it would be a positive move both for the countries concerned and for the EU if the negotiations, which should, of course, have been concluded several years ago, could be concluded as soon as possible.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing.(PT) The main objective of the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) enshrined in the Cotonou Agreement is to strengthen regional integration between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and thereby enable the regions’ economic growth and development. At the same time, these agreements comply with World Trade Organisation rules. Several countries have still not negotiated or ratified the EPAs and the Commission has presented a proposal for a regulation to exclude countries such as Haiti and Mozambique from trade preferences and exemptions. I believe that the date of 1 January 2014 set by the Commission for ratifying the EPAs is too soon, since the specific characteristics of these countries must be considered. Such an example is Haiti, which is still suffering the consequences of the 2010 earthquake, and regions of Africa where regional integration and stable relationships between countries sometimes do not exist. Furthermore, many of the 2007 agreements were concluded with the countries and not with the regions. I am therefore in favour of extending the deadline until January 2016, given the importance of these negotiations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) The trade preferences from which African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries benefit are a lifeline for some of those countries, whose economies are not ready to face the challenge of global liberalisation and go head to head with developed economies. No matter what we might think about fanatical liberalisation, with its devastating consequences, the aim of Parliament in this resolution is to prolong the protection that ACP countries receive through so-called preferential agreements. This is hardly satisfactory, but the interests of the countries concerned are, in this case, a priority. Like most of the Members of my group, I therefore voted for this resolution in the interests of the countries concerned.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) Any failure to comply with international agreements should be condemned and the party in breach should be subject to penalties. This is the reason that the European Union is taking a decisive position, which involves removing from the list of beneficiaries those countries that failed to implement the measures required for ratification of economic partnership agreements. The reason for my abstention is a concern as to whether the amount of time that parties have been given to sign or ratify the agreements (by 2014) is too short. To summarise: I condemn the behaviour of the countries that are in danger of being removed from the list, but I would give them one last chance to correct their mistakes.

 
  
  

Report: Krišjanis Kariņš (A7-0264/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing.(PT) I voted for this report, as I believe that to ensure compliance with EU legislation on the energy market, Member States should communicate to and negotiate with the Commission all energy agreements with third countries, so as to avoid possible incompatibility with EU legislation. This system would be innovative and effective since it would enable the European Union to harmonise the energy market once and for all with a single voice, both internally and externally. I deeply regret that the Member States did not want this compromise, jeopardising the work done so far. As it is therefore impossible at this time, we cannot take this to be the final report and we await new negotiations, as it is preferable to have no legislation than legislation we do not support.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) This text, which I voted for, allows for a better rationalisation of the information submitted by EU Member States during negotiations with third countries in the field of energy. In order to avoid incompatibilities between Community law and the provisions contained in these intergovernmental agreements, Member States must submit them to the Commission for verification. The Commission may also, upon the Member States’ request, assist them during energy negotiations with third countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. (HU) Today, the European Parliament took an important step towards strengthening the position of EU Member States in relation to major energy exporters and mitigating their vulnerability. According to the document adopted at today’s plenary session, Member States will, in future, engage in more extensive information exchange about intergovernmental agreements on energy supply. The exchange of information will facilitate the coordination of the actions of EU governments against major energy exporters, as a result of which Member States will be able to obtain energy under more favourable conditions. The majority of EU Member States ensure their long-term energy supply through intergovernmental agreements with third countries. Yet, in their negotiations concerning energy supply, they do not make use of the circumstance that the European Union, with its population of 500 million, is the world’s largest energy market. The guarantee for the security of EU energy supply and more favourable energy prices lies in closer cooperation between Member States, as well as common action. Through knowledge of the effective intergovernmental agreements and the coordination of negotiation strategies, Member States can attain a better bargaining position with major energy exporters, and can thus obtain energy at more favourable prices. The strengthening of the bargaining positions of Member States is a current issue for Hungary as well, as the country’s long-term gas supply agreement expires in 2015. In order to ensure the secure energy supply and industrial competitiveness of my home country, it is crucial that we manage to extend our gas supply agreement under favourable conditions. Today’s decision strengthens my country’s bargaining position.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because secure energy supplies are very important for fostering a predictable economic environment for EU citizens and the industrial sector of the European Union as a whole. A stable internal energy market is the best way to ensure the reliability of energy supplies. However, given the fact that EU Member States still import over 60% of gas and over 80% of oil, many EU Member States are vulnerable in this respect. The gas supply crisis of 2009 demonstrated the weak points and vulnerability of the EU gas supply system. The adoption of Regulation No 994/2010 has provided the Union with some tools to fight future gas supply disruptions, but the provision of supplies at a competitive price still remains a challenge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) The incentive to use intergovernmental agreements as a political guarantee, related to the more systematic involvement of the Commission, as a way to ensure transparency and compliance, ought to improve commercial, industrial and international relations in the energy sector.

Moreover, strengthening coordination between Member States and private companies will help reinforce the EU’s position as a buyer on the global energy product market, while discouraging uncoordinated actions and agreements clearly at risk of a subsequent infringement procedure. Bringing together practices where energy contracts with third countries are concerned is a way to strengthen foreign policy overall and to defend European interests on the global stage.

I welcome the fact that the EU institutions will provide safeguards for European companies, because the other actors in this market are very strategically aware and have no qualms in exerting traditional regional influence where significant interests are at stake.

I therefore approve the report, with a special mention for the measures to protect business and trade secrets, via the provisions of Article 3a, which are essential in order to allow companies to draw genuine benefits from the support of the EU institutions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report. It aims to ensure transparency with regard to intergovernmental exchanges. Specifically, Member States must make the Commission aware of the progress of new negotiations and verify the compatibility of the agreements with Community law. I support these commitments, which are fully in line with the desire to better coordinate the activities of the EU and the Member States in the EU’s external relations. Better regulation of the internal energy market is a key objective of the European Union: the security of energy supply depends on it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing.(PT) The EU imports over 60% of its gas and over 80% of its oil. This import tendency is increasing. Intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) between Member States and third countries, particularly for gas transmission infrastructure development, for which large investment is needed, could contribute to the proper functioning of the energy market. To avoid a breach of internal market rules in the field of energy, enhanced cooperation between Member States is needed regarding IGAs in the field of energy. Information on these IGAs should be shared between the Member States, and the Commission needs to be aware of existing contracts and ongoing negotiations. I voted for this report, as I believe that it is crucial to facilitate compliance with the EU’s internal market rules and to encourage Member States to take necessary steps to eliminate incompatibilities identified in the IGAs with third countries in the field of energy in order to secure the proper functioning and security of the internal energy market in the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) As it stands, the management of intergovernmental agreements between individual Member States and third countries is more complex than ever before. Not only do we not know their exact number, but since there is no obligation to inform the Commission and the other Member States, we find ourselves faced with agreements that contradict or are incompatible with EU legislation on the energy market. Consequently, a set of regulations that brings about a clear break with the past seems equally urgent. Hence, legislation should require final agreements to be notified to the Commission and made subject to its approval. Moreover, it would be a good idea if the Commission were to be granted an ex ante compliance check, thus avoiding any time and resources being wasted. Unfortunately, however, this approach – which is the only option that is really compatible with the very idea of the EU – is once again being steamrollered by the interests of the Member States and their desire to act freely in delicate areas like the energy sector. It is nevertheless regrettable to note that the moderate and conservative forces of this House have also taken the same position, while they should always seek to ensure that EU interests take precedence.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) While the European Union appears today to be the most appropriate level for developing a real, strong and independent energy policy, it seemed important to ensure a transparent dialogue with the various economic actors concluding agreements with third countries in this strategic field. I therefore voted in favour of this text, which will strengthen confidence between European actors.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing.(PT) Stable and secure energy supplies are crucial for competitiveness, growth, the sustainability of European companies and reducing the bills that citizens pay. Energy security also is of great significance for the EU’s strategic interests. The best way to ensure the reliability of energy supplies is via a functioning internal energy market and reduced external dependence, as the President of the Commission made clear in his State of the Union 2012 Address. The EU currently imports over 60% of its gas and over 80% of its oil. This tendency is increasing and is unsustainable. Accordingly, in addition to the need to reduce energy dependence, it is also crucial to diversify sources of energy supply. Intergovernmental agreements can therefore support the EU’s goal, extending the supply sources to the Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean region and Central Asia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing.(PT) EU Member States are among the most dependent on other countries for their energy needs. We actually import over 60% of the gas and over 80% of the oil we consume, and this tendency is increasing due to citizens living more comfortably, regardless of the investments being made in renewable energy. It is therefore crucial to ensure secure supplies. Currently, each Member State has its own bilateral agreements for supplying these products, the contents of which are unknown to other Member States. This means that prices vary significantly from country to country, with enormous losses for consumers. Conscious of this situation, in its 2011 conclusions, the Council suggested that the Commission present a proposal to remedy this problem. We all agree that we would obtain significant cost reductions if the EU negotiated the supply of these products centrally. It is therefore necessary for Member States to provide copies of the contracts they hold. I voted for this report, as I believe that we cannot waste this golden opportunity to move forward into the future, otherwise we could be accused of not knowing how to manage the EU’s resources.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing.(SK) The European Union is heavily dependent on energy imports. Over 50% of the EU's overall energy needs to be imported, the figure being even higher for gas and oil. The EU’s energy security is therefore vulnerable to irregularities of supplies from outside the Union. Moreover, energy imports are responsible for 6% of the EU’s total imports, representing enormous economic costs and risks for the EU economy. It is in the interest of the EU and the Member States to manage the external energy relations though intergovernmental agreements and to leverage the negotiating power of the Member States and its vast internal market through the exchange of information and best practices between Member States and the Commission. As a consequence, intergovernmental agreements, in particular, when well-coordinated between Member States, can enhance the competitiveness of the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) Until now, the number of intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries in the field of energy is unknown, as Member States are not obliged to notify the Commission of such agreements. According to the Commission, Member States are becoming increasingly obliged to accept regulatory concessions, which is incompatible with European law on the matter. In addition, as the Commission does not know exactly how much energy is being imported, it cannot provide for market fluctuations or the means to alleviate them. Consequently, the Commission has proposed to put in place an information exchange mechanism with regard to energy agreements with third countries. The Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance tried to strengthen the proposal by allowing the Commission to have access to agreements before they are signed, in order to be able to advise Member States on their compatibility with the law. Such a measure would also strengthen transparency. The Member States did not want this, and the rapporteur did not seem to care, preferring a bad agreement to no agreement on the subject at all. I personally voted against this text.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Françoise Grossetête (PPE), in writing.(FR) I chose to vote in favour of this text as, in my view, this report seems to strengthen the solidity of European energy policy in a difficult energy situation, with unstable balances and alliances. It is about exchanging information on agreements that are likely to have an impact on the internal market for energy or on the security of our supply in order to better coordinate our external energy policy. Only intergovernmental agreements are concerned; agreements between commercial companies would not be subject to these provisions. This text achieves a good balance between the rights of Member States to negotiate independently and the need for the European Union to have a coherent and solid external energy policy. It is simply a question of ensuring that no agreement is signed that would run counter to the energy needs of the European Union. The most important point in the implementation of this agreement is to respect the confidentiality of such agreements; as the actors are fully aware of this issue, I am sure that the confidentiality of these issues will not be in danger.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  András Gyürk (PPE), in writing. (HU) More efficient information exchange between EU Member States plays an important part in improving their chances of success in negotiating with major energy exporters. Knowledge of the effective intergovernmental agreements facilitates the coordination of the actions of EU governments, and Member States can thus obtain energy under more favourable conditions. The agreement adopted at first reading today represents an important step towards the coordination of negotiating strategies and the strengthening of Member States’ positions. If we were to adopt a more ambitious parliamentary proposal, on the other hand, we would violate the compromise between the EP and the Council, and would further delay the establishment of the legislative framework for information exchange. It is essential to the EU’s energy supply and competitiveness that we improve Member States’ bargaining positions as soon as possible, and I therefore voted for the approval of the agreement between the EP and the Council and the immediate establishment of the relevant legislative framework.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this decision setting up an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) between Member States and third countries in the field of energy. The European Union is heavily dependent on energy imports and the EU’s energy security is therefore vulnerable to irregularities of supplies from outside the EU. Moreover, energy imports are responsible for a large proportion of the EU’s total imports, representing enormous economic costs and risks for the EU economy. It is in the interest of the EU and the Member States to manage the external energy relations though intergovernmental agreements and to leverage the negotiating power of the Member States through the exchange of information and best practises between Member States and the Commission. As a consequence, intergovernmental agreements, in particular when well coordinated between Member States, should enhance the competitiveness of the EU. IGAs can support the EU’s goal of diversifying routes and sources of energy supply. Furthermore, stable and secure energy supplies are particularly important for fostering a predictable economic environment for citizens and the industrial sector of the European Union. The best way to ensure the reliability of energy supplies is via a functioning internal energy market. I therefore welcome this proposal’s aim of increasing the transparency of the IGAs concluded by the Member States in the field of energy and ensuring that Member States are aware of the compliance or non-compliance of the agreement with the internal market rules. The Commission will therefore have to prepare standard clauses, which Member States will be encouraged to use. This will ensure that the IGA does not breach EU law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the report by Mr Kariņš in plenary. It was adopted by 369 votes. This report aims to set up an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries that are likely to have an impact on the internal market for energy or on the security of energy supply, particularly for gas, oil and electricity. Setting up this mechanism will improve transparency in the energy market and, thus, allow us to anticipate the energy supply problems from which Europe suffers. This tool will also enable us to increase legal certainty for our European companies in the energy market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report. The EU imports over 60% of its gas and over 80% of its oil. This import tendency is increasing and makes us very vulnerable. Energy supply contracts are usually concluded between commercial entities, but there are some situations when intergovernmental agreements (IGA) are requested of an EU Member State. Sometimes, however, the aim of the third country is to bind an EU Member State to assure the commercial contract or to secure a monopolistic position in energy supplies via particular infrastructure. I believe that in order to avoid a breach of internal market rules in the field of energy, we must enhance our internal EU cooperation regarding IGAs. We know that Gazprom does not always play by the rules and the Russian Federation uses political pressure to try to get what it wants. This has recently taken place in Bulgaria. For this reason, Member States need all the help they can get and I believe that the Commission’s involvement in negotiations with third parties has had positive effects in the past.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report as I believe setting up an information exchange system between the Commission and Member States regarding intergovernmental agreements with third countries in the field of energy is absolutely needed. The European Parliament has called repeatedly for a common EU foreign policy on energy which would provide a basis for transparency and coordinated actions. Although measures proposed in this report are not obligatory, I urge the Member States to show political will and solidarity and follow this proposal. Our internal market is almost fully dependent on the imports from third countries, hence, we need a system to govern this. And, as the report states, such transparency would also be of benefit in achieving both closer intra-Union cooperation in the field of external energy relations and the Union’s long-term policy objectives relating to energy, climate and security of energy supply.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) Stable and secure energy supplies are important to foster a predictable economic environment for citizens and the industrial sector of the European Union. The best way to ensure the reliability of energy supplies is via a functioning internal energy market. The introduction of the third energy package has supported the freeing up of the energy market. Many Member States have unbundled power generation from transmission, which has allowed the entry of new participants in the energy supply market and significantly increased its liquidity. Nevertheless, external vulnerabilities remain as the EU imports over 60% of its gas and over 80% of its oil. This import tendency is increasing. It is therefore necessary to face the challenges relating to secure safe supplies of energy at a competitive price, and intergovernmental agreements in the field of energy between Member States and third countries are among these challenges. The right of participation of the Commission in such negotiations may make any achievements more effective.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this report. Stable and secure energy supplies are important to foster a predictable economic environment for citizens and the industrial sector of the European Union. The best way to ensure the reliability of energy supplies is via a functioning internal energy market. The introduction of the third energy package has furthered the EU’s efforts to free up the energy market. Many Member States have unbundled power generation from transmission, which has allowed the entry of new participants in the energy supply market. The third energy package has removed entrance barriers to the energy market and significantly increased its liquidity. Although the second and third energy packages still have to be fully implemented, the results in Member States where they have been introduced are encouraging. Nevertheless, external vulnerabilities remain. The EU imports over 60% of its gas and over 80% of its oil. This import tendency is, unfortunately, increasing.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text on setting up an information exchange mechanism with regard to intergovernmental agreements between Member States and third countries that are likely to have an impact on the internal market for energy or on the security of energy supply. This system will improve transparency in the energy market and, thus, allow us to anticipate energy supply problems in Europe. Member States will have to submit to the Commission all existing bilateral agreements with third countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) In order to avoid breaching internal market rules on the energy sector, we need greater cooperation between Member States on intergovernmental agreements in the energy sector. Information on such agreements ought to be shared between Member States, and the Commission must be aware of existing contracts and ongoing negotiations. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) Not content with gaining control over Member States’ national budgets and employment policies, the Commission now wants to control all of the energy agreements that Member States enter into with third countries. This restriction of Member States’ sovereignty has but one goal: to impose by force the dogma of free and unfettered competition. From now on, not a single agreement can be signed without the Commission’s approval. What is more, the Commission will now be able, if it so desires, to invite itself to sit in on negotiations so that no secret clauses are hidden from it. The drift towards authoritarianism has reached its climax. By only eliminating the sole obligation of Member States to tell the Commission that negotiations are taking place, this report violates the demand for respect for the sovereignty of the elected representatives of the people, which is rightly theirs. Conversely, the report makes companies exempt from any such control. For them, the State is bad and the private sector is good. It is ideological blindness. I voted against.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The assertion that a reliable energy supply can best be ensured via a functioning internal energy market is not borne out by the experience of the consequences hitherto of the efforts to liberalise the energy market and the problems relating to privatisation. End consumers have not noticed anything of the falls in electricity prices that were supposedly to be expected as a result of liberalisation. The bills produced by energy companies are so complex that they are practically impossible to compare. That may be one of the main reasons why – in contrast to the forecasts – only a small number of consumers have actually switched suppliers. I can only endorse occasional examples of the propositions contained in the report, such as the concern about the EU’s continued high level of energy dependence. Overall, then, I cannot vote in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, energy became one of the EU’s policy areas. The document approved today is one of the first steps towards implementing the objectives of EU energy policy. A single energy market cannot exist in the European Union until Member States coordinate actions and share information about planned or existing agreements with third countries in the energy sector. I hope that this is not the last document that helps the European Union to speak the same language in the energy sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) This report advocates an expansion in the competence of the Commission in relation to third-country intergovernmental agreements with Member States of the EU. According to the report, in future, the Commission is to be present at negotiations between a Member State and a third country where the subject matter is energy policy. However, an extension of the Commission’s competences of this kind makes no sense. Energy policy in the EU is not a harmonised policy area and, as a result, the requirements of an intergovernmental agreement vary widely. For this reason, the Member States should continue to take responsibility themselves and be able to conduct their negotiations alone. I therefore voted against this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I fully agree with the idea that stable and secure energy supplies are important in order to foster a predictable economic environment for citizens and the industrial sector of the European Union.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. Two key amendments, key for us, were rejected. Number 4 (a Member State must inform the Commission and other Member States when it enters into negotiations with a third country) and number 5 (the Commission shall have the right to participate as an observer in negotiations between a Member State and a third country).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Energy has become increasingly important at the level of the daily expenses of citizens and companies, affecting not only the quality of life of the people, but also European competitiveness. The EU imports over 60% of its gas and over 80% of its oil. Therefore, mechanisms for ensuring stable and secure energy supplies must be guaranteed. I am voting for this report as I maintain that the internal energy market must function correctly, the security of energy supply must be guaranteed and a new information exchange mechanism must be established. I also believe it is important that there is more transparency with regard to future intergovernmental agreements that are being negotiated, and that the Commission is kept regularly informed of the progress of negotiations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for Amendments 2 and 3, which call for greater transparency with regard to future agreements that will be negotiated or are being negotiated between Member States and third countries in the energy sector. This could contribute to consistency between Member States, compliance with EU legislation and the EU’s energy supply security. With this in mind, the Commission should be kept informed regularly about the ongoing negotiations.

I voted for Amendments 4 and 5, which stipulate that a Member State or the Commission may request that the Commission participates as an observer in the negotiations. In the event of participating in negotiations as an observer, the Commission may provide the negotiating Member State with advice on how to avoid incompatibility between the negotiated intergovernmental agreement and EU law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vladimir Urutchev (PPE), in writing. (BG) I supported the compromise reached after the trialogues on establishing an information exchange mechanism for intergovernmental energy supply agreements with third countries. I consider this hard-won agreement the first legislative step towards creating a common external energy policy of the EU. The compromise does not adhere to the Commission’s proposal and does not meet Parliament’s expectations. Even so, an opportunity has been created for Europe-wide coordination of energy relations with third countries to monitor compliance with European legislation. This establishes legal predictability and stability for investors and the operation of energy infrastructures created with the involvement of third countries. The compromise limits the Commission’s role in negotiations with third countries to that of an observer who may, however, offer advice and assess the agreements’ compliance with European law, when the countries expressly request this. The positive example of the European Commission’s involvement in last year’s negotiations between Poland and Gazprom is encouraging for the Member States from East Europe. The opinion that a common EU agreement on energy supplies from third countries is the ideal solution for securing energy supplies, reducing market fragmentation, increasing competition and ensuring fair energy prices is gaining increasing traction. A more transparent and coordinated EU energy supply policy also means a stronger position for the benefit of European consumers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) The agreement, which I endorsed, is aimed at eliminating inconsistencies between EU law and international agreements concluded between Member States and third countries. It will bring about a considerable improvement in the functioning of the internal energy market. What is also important is the fact that it contains clauses that oblige Member States to provide complete information about international agreements that affect the quantity of energy imported into the EU. Adoption of this agreement will ensure a high level of transparency in the agreements concluded by Member States and third countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the text by Mr Kariņš because the measures adopted aim to create the conditions to strengthen EU external policy on energy, which is a necessary condition for the completion of the internal energy market.

Fraught interinstitutional negotiations have led to a final compromise that preserves Member States’ rights to request the intervention of the Commission during bilateral talks. Furthermore, specific clauses on protecting commercially sensitive information have been introduced.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing. (PL) For many years now, the European Union has been struggling with the issue of energy security. This is particularly striking in Central and Eastern European countries, which, in many cases, are dependent on a single supplier. Slovakia obtains 100% of its gas from Russia and it is a similar situation for Hungary, Poland and Lithuania. Of course, this means that the supplying company can dictate prices unilaterally. It is important for the European Commission to have information about the prices paid by Member States for oil and gas. It is important for the EU to try, using the experience of certain countries, to help other countries obtain better conditions in their gas contracts. There are many positive examples relating to such activities, for example, the negotiations for a gas contract between Poland and Gazprom. We should not forget, however, that the only way to reduce the price of these fuels is to create alternative connections with suppliers from different regions in the world.

 
  
  

Report: Iratxe García Pérez (A7-0266/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I am in favour of adopting the proposal for a regulation on agricultural product quality schemes because they have a role to play in simplifying as well as developing existing quality schemes. The intention behind this regulation is to strengthen the protection for designations of origin and geographical indications so that farmers and producers receive a fair profit for the quality of their products, while also providing clear information about the products with specific features relating to geographical origin, enabling consumers to make better-informed purchasing decisions. Consequently, the diversity and quality of the European Union’s agricultural production will continue to be protected, while retaining both the significant competitive edge for farmers and the specific aspects of the EU’s cultural and gastronomic heritage.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) As you know, I am particularly committed to products from our regions and that is why I supported this text, which aims to better protect them. This regulation provides for a system of protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGI). This will allow us to better protect the producers of products linked to a geographical area. A ‘traditional speciality guaranteed’ (TSG) label will be put in place. Producers will be able to obtain this label once they prove that the product has been used on the internal market for a period of at least 30 years, as opposed to the current threshold of 25 years. This label will allow us to safeguard not only traditional production methods but also recipes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) European farmers produce a range of high-quality food that is sustainably produced as regards the environment and the rural community.

It is thanks to regional diversity, traditional methods of production, an emphasis on safety, and superior environmental conditions that the high quality of European food is recognised and respected. Producers have little familiarity with existing quality schemes – such as the protected designation of origin scheme, for products from certain areas produced by local methods; the protected geographical indication scheme, for articles with strong links to a particular district; and the traditional speciality guaranteed scheme, which emphasises the traditional character of the foodstuff – and each one is a complex and lengthy process.

I agree with the rapporteur with regard to giving priority in the quality package to simplifying and promoting the quality schemes. Ireland has a small number of products recognised under these schemes, such as Connemara Hill Lamb, Timoleague Brown Pudding and Clare Island Salmon, but, in order to develop the foodstuffs sector, producers must be put in the picture and encouraged to take advantage of all the opportunities for high-quality Irish products.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nora Berra (PPE), in writing.(FR) This week, Parliament voted on the García Pérez report on agricultural product quality schemes. Controlling production volumes is an essential tool which must be made available to all bodies involved in defending and managing protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGI), following the example of the cheese sector with the adoption of the Milk Package in March 2012. This will enable them to maintain a high level of quality and added value in their products and avoid market imbalances. Unfortunately, the Council and the Commission were unable to reach an agreement on this provision, which was supported by a majority in Parliament. However, other points in the quality package represent real progress, for example, in terms of protecting against misuse and shortening procedures. The Council, which is divided on this issue, has nevertheless agreed to confirm in a statement that this debate is not closed, but that it will now be included in the discussions on the reform of the single common market organisation (CMO).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the issue of food quality is very relevant for consumers as it encourages the demand for high-quality products, both on the internal and international markets. The EU applies its own food quality policy measures: labels and quality schemes have been introduced which focus on products’ high value characteristics and regional specificities. Currently, new proposals have been presented on quality and marketing standards, which are concerned with quality assurance and the operation of national and private certification schemes. Priorities include the simplification and development of the current schemes, as well as the addition of new quality terms. The main goal of all the amendments presented is to achieve consistency with the other amendments that depart from the limitation to processed foods only.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Arkadiusz Tomasz Bratkowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Improving the food certification and labelling scheme should bring great benefits to regions with particularly large numbers of local specialist products. Setting clear definitions may help in better understanding of the whole production process, which would seem to be of special importance for producers. Looking just at the economic aspect of this decision, the simplification of quality assurance systems for agricultural products and the resulting reduction in the time needed to certify regional and organic foods could bring considerable benefits to regions with a high concentration of such products, as well as giving them greater recognition and maintaining the high quality of these products. I believe that the direction taken by these measures is the right one for all of Europe.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) The quality and safety of food rely upon the efforts of all those involved in the complex chain which includes agricultural production, processing, transport and consumption. A variety of control procedures and mechanisms need to be carried out along the food chain to ensure that the food which arrives on the consumer’s table is edible and that the risk of contamination is kept to a minimum. This will make the population healthier as a result of the benefits provided by safe and healthy food. However, there is no such thing as zero risk when it comes to food, and we must realise that even the best legislation and best control systems cannot protect us entirely against those with evil intentions. The best way in which we can practise food safety is for us to be well informed about the basic principles of producing food and handling it safely at home.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alain Cadec (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this report, which aims to simplify agricultural product quality schemes. I believe that the Commission’s proposal is a good departure point but greater clarity and a more comprehensive quality system may be achieved. Furthermore, I am convinced that the development of current schemes, as well as the addition of new quality terms that are likely to create added value for the best European products, should be among our priorities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report as I consider the development and simplification of current quality schemes to be fundamental for agricultural product quality, as well as the addition of new quality terms that are likely to create added value for the best European products.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lara Comi (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of the proposal for a regulation because I believe it makes a significant contribution to, and helps complete, the rural development policy and the market and income support policies of the common agricultural policy (CAP). The quality and diversity of the European Union’s agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture production is one of its strengths, giving a competitive advantage to producers and making a major contribution to its cultural and gastronomic heritage. Citizens and consumers in the Union increasingly demand quality as well as traditional products. They are also concerned to maintain the diversity of agricultural production. This generates a demand for agricultural products or foodstuffs with identifiable specific characteristics, in particular, linked to their geographical origin. This regulation establishes quality schemes which provide the basis for the identification and protection of names that indicate or describe in particular agricultural products. The current quality schemes are: protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI), traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG), organic farming and outermost regions. The proposal as re-worked by Parliament is an excellent and commendable legal framework.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE), in writing. (SV) I voted in favour of this report because I believe that it could be a positive way of increasing quality and making things easier for both small-scale producers and consumers. We currently have protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs) that are used to protect and enhance the quality of regional products with specific characteristics. In Sweden and Scandinavia, we are not particularly good at using these designations in the way that they are used in southern Europe (for example, Parma ham, Parmesan, etc.). The new proposal is more comprehensive and aims to introduce more categories and labelling, for example, food from Arctic regions, mountain areas, etc. This may also result in us having more uniform labelling that can be used throughout Europe and that could help to increase Swedish food exports as set out in the concept of Sweden – the new culinary nation. Fewer labels, which consumers trust and recognise, will make it easier for them to make an informed choice. The proposal also aims to ease the administrative burden and reduce red tape, something of which I take a very positive view.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andrea Cozzolino (S&D), in writing. (IT) The quality package proposed by the Commission aims to establish a coherent legal framework for the EU’s policy on agricultural product quality. The proposal is, overall, worthy of support, thanks especially to the changes and amendments made by this House. Specifically, it is of the utmost importance to recognise the role, importance and responsibilities of producer groups, which can and must play a crucial role in product protection and marketing according to the established standards, thereby limiting the risks of abuse or, even worse, counterfeiting, as far as possible. I feel compelled, in particular, to highlight the changes made regarding the traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) scheme. In this case, the Commission’s proposal seemed incongruous and detrimental, especially the idea to abolish TSGs without reservation of the name, forcing associations to repeat the whole bureaucratic process to get new recognition. Thanks to Parliament, good sense prevailed instead. We believe that the introduction of a simplified procedure for TSGs registered without reservation of the name can ensure their survival and, above all, extend safeguards and reduce counterfeiting, benefiting producers and consumers alike.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) The demands of the market are diverse and are increasing all the time. In the European Union, the key aspects relate to food hygiene and safety, health and nutritional value, as well as certain social requirements. In addition, consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of the contribution made by agriculture to sustainability, climate change, food safety, biodiversity, animal welfare and the water shortage. Faced with these new commercial challenges, the European farmer’s main asset is quality.

The European Union offers the benefit of quality, which is attributable to an extremely high level of safety, guaranteed by current legislation, throughout the entire food chain, to which not only farmers but producers, too, have contributed. However, there are a few aspects capable of enhancing quality. I believe that it is the European Union’s duty to promote good-quality products, along with taking action to protect them globally. In this context, I think that tighter control must be exercised with regard to those organic products originating from third countries, thereby guaranteeing fair competition between organic products produced in Europe and those from third countries.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michel Dantin and Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) Controlling production volumes is an essential tool which must be made available to all bodies involved in defending and managing protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGI), following the example of the cheese sector with the adoption of the Milk Package in March 2012. This will enable them to maintain a high level of quality and added value in their products and avoid market imbalances. Unfortunately, the Council and the Commission were unable to reach an agreement on this provision, which was supported by a majority in Parliament. However, other points in the quality package represent real progress, for example, in terms of protecting against misuse and shortening procedures. The Council, which is divided on this issue, has nevertheless agreed to confirm in a statement that this debate is not closed, but that it will now be included in the discussions on the reform of the single common market organisation (CMO). That is why I do not wish to call into question the agreement reached with the Council, as this would block the adoption of the text and put the debate on volumes management on hold. I will therefore vote against the amendment authorising this mechanism, which I otherwise fully support.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for the report on ‘Quality systems applicable to agricultural products’, as it presents proposals to improve European Union legislation in the area of quality, as well as in the operation of national and private certification schemes, so as to promote the regional diversity of food, traditional methods of production, food safety and protection of the environment.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The common agricultural policy must commit to the high quality of its agricultural produce, which undeniably increases European competitiveness in the global market. Quality policy cannot be dissociated from the common agricultural policy as a whole, nor can it stand aside from such new challenges as the fight against climate change, the need to preserve biodiversity, energy supply issues, the development of bioenergies, animal welfare and water management in agriculture. Consumers’ growing requirements also need to be suitably incorporated in the future quality policy for agricultural products, not forgetting that quality matters to informed consumers when making choices. It is worth remembering, however, that agricultural product quality policy cannot be so demanding that it threatens small and medium-sized farmers, or the existence of traditional products that are typical of certain regions and whose manufacture cannot be subject to rules that are blindly uniform. The purpose of quality policy must be to give the Member States’ agriculture impetus in the global market and to defend European products. It is there to serve producers and consumers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report, drafted by Ms García Pérez, concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products. The European Union has always fought to increase the quality of its products, whether produced in the Member States or imported from third countries. Marketing standards aiming to simplify and harmonise have been approved by Parliament so as to guarantee premium products for European consumers. European agricultural production is not only of a high quality but it is also diverse. Therefore, product authenticity must be guaranteed through protected designations of origin. I therefore welcome the protection granted to mountain farming products. What is more, there will also be more transparency for producers and better information for consumers. I voted for this report as it is a step towards improving our agronutritional policy, both in the quality and in the diversity of agricultural products. Nonetheless, I cannot help but regret that the Council has not agreed to include the dairy sector in the final agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The objective of this directive is to assist agricultural producers in communicating the characteristics and farming attributes, as well as the origin of agricultural products and foodstuffs, to buyers and consumers. The European Union has a policy of quality food products based on a system of certifications and labelling, in particular, protected designations of origin, protected geographical indications, the organic farming system and traditional specialities guaranteed. This is indisputably a way of bringing added value to regional products and traditional, local processes of production. However, it is not – and cannot be – the panacea for competitive pressure resulting from the liberalisation and deregulation of agricultural markets, of a ‘market-oriented CAP’. This system will not count for much in a context in which the income and purchasing power of the general population are being drastically reduced, and people are impoverished by so-called austerity measures. Moreover, doubts persist as to the conditions of access to these systems for small-scale, family-based and peasant farming, whether for bureaucratic or financial reasons. The rapporteur herself refers to these problems. We are doubtful that adequate, effective solutions have been found to address these problems.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome the report by Ms García Pérez. I believe that simpler and faster registration procedures will encourage farmers to register their quality products and ingredients and to communicate their added value more effectively to customers, who will thus be in a position to make more informed choices. The role of foodstuff producer groups – by which I mean all producers, processors or producer-processors – is important, and they will be able to take steps to protect their own trade names and to promote the authenticity and reputation of their goods. This vote coincides with the start of discussions over the reform of the common agricultural policy 2014-2020, where we will also talk about managing supply, which the regulation adopted here does not address.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) European agriculture delivers high-quality food, with production methods that are respectful of the environment and of rural communities. The regional diversity of food, the traditional methods of production sometimes going centuries back, the emphasis on safety, and good environmental conditions lead to the fact that the quality of European food is among the highest in the world. This quality-oriented approach could help reward the best quality products on the domestic, as well as international markets. The quality package presented by the Commission aims to improve the Union legislation in the field of quality, as well as in the operation of national and private certification schemes, in order to make them simpler, more transparent and easier to understand, adaptable to innovation, and less burdensome for producers and administrators.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) I applaud the excellent work of Ms García Pérez and the shadow rapporteurs for the outcome of their work, and therefore I have voted in favour of the report. Important progress was made by inserting ‘ex-officio protection’ and the optional term ‘mountain product’, which may be used exclusively to describe products (as listed in Annex I to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)) obtained using raw materials essentially from mountain areas.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) There are currently three quality labels for agricultural products in the European Union (protected geographical indications (PGI), protected designations of origin (PDO) and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG)). The Commission wishes to reform this system in order to simplify or facilitate new entries, in particular. For the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, it was important to take advantage of this overhaul to promote the introduction of a new ‘local agriculture and short supply chains’ label. We also called for the introduction of a ‘mountain’ label to highlight the considerable added value of products from these regions, where agriculture is often traditional and extensive. These two measures were passed during the vote in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and we are pleased about that. However, during the negotiations in trialogue with the Council and the Commission, the Members representing Parliament sacrificed the ‘local agriculture and short supply chains’ label, which is nonetheless important for encouraging these kinds of agricultural practices. That is why I voted against this text, which was initially encouraging.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour because the quality and diversity of the European Union’s agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture production is one of its important strengths, giving a competitive advantage to the EU’s producers and making a major contribution to its living cultural and gastronomic heritage. This is due to the skills and determination of EU farmers and producers, who have kept traditions alive while taking into account the developments of new production methods and materials. European agriculture delivers food of great variety, with production methods that are respectful of the environment and of rural communities. This document aims to help producers of agricultural products and foodstuffs to communicate the product characteristics and farming attributes of those products to buyers and consumers, thereby ensuring fair competition for farmers and producers of agricultural products and foodstuffs having value adding characteristics and attributes, the availability to consumers of reliable information pertaining to such products, respect for intellectual property rights, and the integrity of the internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Consumers all around the world know about the high quality of food produced in Europe. Long traditions, tried and tested recipes, varied products and high standards all result in a unique offer. This is also helped by a number of certification and quality control schemes. It is of the greatest importance for producers that the recommendations and requirements be transparent and easy to implement. For this reason, I am pleased to see that we are moving in the direction of consolidating these procedures. This will help to improve the competitiveness of European producers.

I support the proposed amendments aimed at improving EU legislation in the area of service quality as well as from the point of view of the operation of national and private certification systems, to make them more understandable and transparent. The attention being given to the importance of regional markings is also important – both protected geographical indications and protected designation of origin. The promotion of a healthy lifestyle will result in increased consumer demand for traditional and organic foods. For this reason, special markings will make it easier for consumers to choose a product and will ensure a market for producers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sergej Kozlík (ALDE), in writing. (SK) The quality package presented by the Commission aims to improve Union legislation in the field of quality, as well as in the operation of national and private certification schemes, in order to make them simpler, more transparent and easier to understand, adaptable to innovation, and less burdensome for producers and administrators. The package includes two proposals for regulations – one on agricultural product quality schemes and one on marketing standards – as well as two guideline documents, one on certification schemes and one on labelling of products using PDO-PGI ingredients. The Commission proposal can be considered a good departure point for the achievement of greater clarity and a more comprehensive European quality system.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The new quality rules adopted today represent a decidedly stronger mechanism for agri-food operators to better protect and promote their products and their regional specialities, thereby gaining important competitive advantages in the marketplace. The possibility of special labelling for mountain and island products is especially important, as is the possibility of establishing a new local farming and direct sales labelling scheme to assist producers in marketing their produce – albeit only locally. Through this text, which I have supported wholeheartedly, Parliament is laying down the challenge of investing in the qualities of typical, local products, while counting on increasing consumer awareness of the real provenance and production process behind a given product.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska (PPE), in writing.(PL) At present the European market assesses products not just on price but, increasingly, on quality. The European Union must move to increase the dynamism of its economy and must find ways to stimulate growth and employment. It can do this, inter alia, by promoting its products on European and world markets. Personally, I believe that we should improve the standing and renown of our local and regional products. We should make consumers aware of the quality and variety of these products, as agriculture is now the guarantor of food security.

I believe that we should use our natural resources in tandem with the development of rural areas, which will lead to economic growth and improved regional competitiveness and will help to create new jobs. I voted in favour of the report by Iratxe García Pérez on agricultural product quality schemes.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – European agriculture delivers food of great variety, with production methods that are respectful of the environment and of rural communities. The regional diversity of food, the traditional methods of production sometimes going centuries back, the emphasis on safety and good environmental conditions lead to the fact that the quality of European food is among the highest in the world. This must be maintained. The quality package presented by the Commission aims to improve the Union legislation in the field of quality, as well as in the operation of national and private certification schemes, in order to make them simpler, more transparent and easier to understand, adaptable to innovation, and less burdensome for producers and administrations.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing.(IT) I voted in favour. Provision should be made for the development of designations of origin and geographical indications at Union level and the creation of mechanisms for their external protection in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), within which it is important to secure the recognition of the quality of products and of their model of production as a factor that adds value.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I must denounce the backing down of all of the parliamentary groups, except for the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, when faced with pressure from the Council. They have accepted the withdrawal of the possibility for producer organisations to ask their country’s government to regulate their production. They have backed down on establishing a label for local agriculture and direct sales. Yet the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development approved these two major advances! The theories of liberalism and free trade will continue to take precedence over the general economic and environmental interest. We expected nothing less from the right, but we have to marvel at the decision taken by the social democrats. I abstained so as to denounce this contemptible renunciation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) European agricultural products are among the highest quality in the whole world. One of the reasons for this is the tradition of agriculture and of optimising the resources used stretching back many years. In order for consumers to have certainty about where a product comes from and what it contains, there are Europe-wide quality labels such as the protected designation of origin (PDO), the protected geographical indication (PGI), the traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG), organic farming and the outermost regions. Given that it is still, to some extent, difficult for end consumers to negotiate the jungle of information on each product, I agree with the rapporteur that we need greater clarity, as well as a simplification. Above all, the regulation of quality under the ‘traditional speciality guaranteed’ label should apply to all processed products. I also agree with the rapporteur that there needs to be a clear definition of what ‘production steps’ means. The introduction of an EU-wide label that can only be borne by products that have gone though the same registration procedure, on the same terms, would be a welcome move. I therefore voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this report, since it is in line with the principles that we in Lega Nord have always upheld. Indeed, this text is also inspired by an own-initiative report of 2010 by Mr Scottà, a member of my party, on the quality of agricultural products. Our supermarkets are often flooded with products of dubious origin and we risk finding foods on our tables about which we know precious little: we therefore welcome greater protection and guarantees for the recognition of quality labels and for producers that meet specific requirements. The report also makes it possible to include additional, complementary information in labels, which can only be of help for consumers. Quality agriculture is a strength for all our territories so therefore let us defend and protect it vigorously, including – especially – at European level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) During the current parliamentary term, we have, on several occasions, considered legislation which aims to ensure that consumers are better informed about the foodstuffs they consume, their origin and ingredients. This regulation on agricultural product quality schemes is therefore another step towards improved awareness. I hope that once the Council has approved the text, it will be easier for consumers to understand information both about agricultural methods of production and geographical indications or designations of origin.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report, given how important it is for European farmers and Member States’ exports. I also voted in favour of Amendments 73 and 75 concerning the introduction of new terms – ‘mountain product’ and ‘local product’. I think that both new terms would entail important benefits for producers, enabling them to find market niches more easily in competing against large producers. They will also benefit consumers who want to buy food produced in the region where they live.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) The standard of food in Europe is the highest in the world. Certification systems and quality labels to that effect can increase consumers’ awareness of this high quality. There is therefore a need for a transparent system in order to also inform the citizens of the meaning of each example of certification or quality mark. I therefore voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Against. Unfortunately, in their desire to achieve a first reading agreement at any price, the other groups sacrificed too much during the negotiations. Most importantly, the Committee on Agriculture report contained a strong commitment to supply management of quality products by producer organisations, similar to what was agreed for certain dairy products on the Milk Package. The Council refused to compromise at all on this issue and, as a result, the EP negotiators consented to removal of this provision in return for a meaningless ‘political statement’ that the issue would be considered in CAP reform. Also, the trialogue agreement allows a ‘fast track’ procedure for third-country products to be marketed in the EU with quality marks, without going through an equivalent legislative procedure. As we had also failed to immediately achieve the ‘local farming and direct sales’ label, and given the disturbing precedent that this negotiation sets for future Committee on Agriculture codecision negotiations (with the Council refusing to compromise on essential points of policy for the EP), we signalled our opposition to a first reading agreement, preferring to go for second reading.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) I am very much in favour of this text, dubbed the ‘quality package’, because it protects quality agricultural products and the well-known protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI) and traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) marks.

It is especially interesting that it allows for the development of specific product labels that can include representations of the area of origin and refer to particular qualities to be emphasised.

Mountain products, too, have been given a mark that can only be used to indicate that the raw material and/or animal feed used comes from such areas, and that processing took place there. Likewise, an ‘Island Product’ indication can also be used.

It is regrettable, however, that the regulation approved on Tuesday regarding labelling of beef removed the possibility for describing the characteristics of that product, such as the farming method and nutrition quality.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Daciana Octavia Sârbu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of an agreement at first reading between Parliament and the Council on the regulation on agricultural product quality. I am pleased that Parliament has recommended supporting not only the processing of food locally, but also the direct sale of agricultural products. I also commend the efforts made by my colleagues in the negotiations with the two institutions to get the optional quality terms included for products from mountain areas. I believe that using these terms could enable a huge number of farmers in mountain areas to get more for their products.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Our group has submitted an amendment to the trialogue text – we are re-submitting the Agriculture Committee’s Amendment 87 on Article 42, which allows the Member States to establish rules allowing producer groups to adjust supply to demand of PGI and PDO products where such groups formally make a request. This is in no way a criticism of the excellent work done by the rapporteur, but reflects the political concerns our group has with the compromise. First, because we believe that volatility in the markets, seen most dramatically in the milk markets, has to be dealt with through a certain degree of supply management, to ensure that supply and demand do not go out of sync. Primarily, this shows our deep disapproval of the attitude of Council during trialogue negotiations. Amendment 87 was a key demand of the European Parliament, yet Council refused to even negotiate on the issue. This is unacceptable, especially under codecision, and represents a worryingly uncooperative attitude. The ‘political statement’ we in the Committee on Agriculture received, promising to discuss supply management under CAP reform, lacks legal force. This does not bode well for successful negotiations on CAP reform, particularly for supply management.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) European agriculture offers food of great variety, with production methods that are respectful of the environment and of rural communities. The regional diversity of food, the traditional methods of production, and the concern for safety and good environmental conditions mean that the quality of European food is among the highest in the world. Parliament believes that the development and simplification of current quality schemes must be a priority, as well as the addition of new terms of quality which create added value for the best European products. The Commission’s proposal constitutes a good and laudable departure point and Parliament believes that greater clarity and a more comprehensive European quality system may be achieved.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the report on agricultural product quality schemes. The farming sector accounts for a significant part of the economy and production costs are high. I think that quality schemes are able to complement and contribute to rural development policy as well as market and income support policies applied as part of the common agricultural policy (CAP), especially in areas where the farming sector is of greater economic importance, in particular, in disadvantaged areas. Operating quality schemes for producers, which reward them for their efforts to produce a diverse range of quality products, can benefit the rural economy, particularly in less favoured areas, in mountain areas and in the outermost regions.

In order to avoid creating unfair competitive conditions, any producer, including third-country producers, should be able to use a registered name of a traditional speciality guaranteed, provided that the relevant product complies with the requirements of the relevant specification and the producer is covered by a system of controls. I think that access needs to be provided to the register containing protected designations of origin and geographical indications to make it easier to inform the public.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – This legislation, which has my full support, will simplify and accelerate the process through which farmers apply for an EU quality label. At present, the Commission aims to respond to such requests within twelve months; under this new law, the registration time will be reduced to just six. This will benefit both farmers and consumers alike: a speedier and simpler registration process will encourage more food producers to register their products with quality label schemes, which will, in turn, allow consumers to make more informed choices about the food they buy. In addition to this, there is a new label recognising the value of foodstuffs produced in mountainous areas. Overall, this resolution is instrumental in ensuring that farmers are able to promote the quality and authenticity of their products to consumers more effectively.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) I abstained on the vote on the quality package, which includes a proposal for a regulation on agricultural product quality schemes and a proposal on marketing standards. These texts fall within the framework of the review of the policy on the quality of agricultural products. They contain some positive aspects, particularly recognition for the high value characteristics of the products (labels) and their regional specificities, place of provenance and promoting European symbols. However, while such measures provide information to consumers, the fact remains that they fall within the framework of the policy on the liberalisation of the agricultural sector. Specifically, it prevents farmers from supplying quality products and threatens the survival of entire regions. Unless there are changes in the general direction of this policy, any measures for promoting production and marking consumption will be merely cosmetic.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) The EU has provided quality labels for high-quality regional foods (protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI) and traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)). In order to provide greater clarity for producers, both clear definitions of the terms and a simplification of the entire text are needed. Furthermore, additional and precisely defined product groups have been adopted in order to create added value both for consumers and producers. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The compromise text put to the vote today looks at ways for producer associations to combat detrimental practices by adopting promotional and commercial initiatives designed to limit abuse.

Aside from the simplification compared with the previous regulation, it is also worth reserving praise for the continued use of EU symbols in communications, and not only in labelling, as the Commission had requested in the original proposal.

 
  
  

Report: Sophie Auconie (A7-0194/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) At European Union level, social undertakings act as drivers of change by offering innovative solutions to social problems. Thanks to their help in tackling the social consequences of the financial crisis, they need to be supported by sufficient investment funds, properly regulated across the EU. This is why an appropriate legal framework needs to be put in place to provide uniform rules applicable to the various types of investment funds which are eligible for the status of ‘European Social Entrepreneurship Fund’, helping increase the confidence of investors wishing to do business throughout the EU. Failing this kind of common framework, there is a risk that Member States will adopt disparate measures at national level, which would have a direct negative impact on and create obstacles preventing the good functioning of the internal market. I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) One company in four set up in Europe today is a social undertaking. This means that it seeks to generate a positive social impact for our fellow citizens. As rapporteur for this proposal, I can only welcome the unfailing support I have received from Parliament. This sector, which represents more than 11 million jobs in Europe, should finally benefit from a European label for social investment. Thus, investment funds which invest at least 70% of their capital in social undertakings will be able to benefit from this label. Social entrepreneurship will then have a real lever for growth, a key element in this time of economic doom and gloom.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Liam Aylward (ALDE), in writing. (GA) I voted in favour of this important and timely report because of what it says about the positive and wide-ranging social impact, such as bringing about full integration into the community of the vulnerable or marginalised. The efforts being made to create a European sector for investment in non-profit activities aimed at achieving particular social goals are both necessary and timely in today’s difficult economic climate. Social businesses account for 10% of European businesses, and they employ 11 million people. Social businesses are undertakings whose primary objective is to have a social impact rather than to make a profit. These undertakings have a genuine social aim, but because they depend, for the most part, on funding from grants, they often have an uncertain future. The European Social Entrepreneurship Funds would help social businesses continue with the good work they are doing. I share the rapporteur’s view on implementing safeguarding and transparency measures for the European Passport for European Social Entrepreneurship Funds to ensure that the European strategy for social businesses succeeds in a way that is tailored to the Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that social objectives have an increasingly important role to play for investors, along with financial ones. In fact, against this background, creating a European sector for social investment and setting up an appropriate legal framework are necessary steps. I think that adopting the regulation will increase investors’ confidence in the relevant funds. At the same time, I welcome it because it will cut costs and simplify administrative formalities. The presence of uniform criteria and rules applicable to European Social Entrepreneurship Funds will also boost confidence.

I should highlight the fact that effective monitoring is required of compliance with the rules. This will ensure that the regulation is consistent and enable it to be applied accordingly. In this regard, I should stress the importance of cooperation between Member States’ relevant authorities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it is very important to create a European sector for investment in legal persons carrying out not-for-profit activities aimed at fulfilling various objectives of a social nature. Certain types of investment fund can be granted the status of ‘European Social Entrepreneurship Fund’ and the respective ‘passport’ if they fulfil the criteria provided for in this proposal. Two directives relating to investment funds already exist: Directive 2011/61/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 2009/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing.(RO) Social undertakings are companies which have a positive social impact and are intended to achieve social objectives rather than maximise their profits. This sector already accounts for 10% of all European companies and employs more than 11 million workers in Europe. Although these companies often receive public aid, the private investments made through the funds investing in social entrepreneurship remain crucial to their development. However, these specialised social investment funds are rare and not large enough.

I would like to highlight the fact that the rules which apply to social investment funds vary between Member States and are often long-winded and complex. This is why I think that the new proposals will simplify the rules.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I am pleased that Parliament has largely voted in favour of the swift implementation of the European label for social investment. The adoption of this regulation is a good omen for the forthcoming implementation of a social label for all enterprises, and not only for investment funds earmarked for social undertakings. Let us consider the vote on this text a first step towards encouraging and identifying enterprises which are socially virtuous, and which could therefore attract new investors. For, given that the social investment market is estimated at EUR 1 billion, this will surely encourage all enterprises to become a little more socially virtuous and to make this known through a ‘European social label’, as I encouraged the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs to adopt in the Agenda for Change and Social Innovation and in the review of the regulation on the European Social Fund (ESF).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report, taking into account the opinion presented by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and by the Committee on Legal Affairs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) Investing in the European Social Entrepreneurship Fund will benefit the European Union at present, especially if encouragement is given to apply the most transparent methods possible regarding the policy and objectives of this investment. It is vital that its main aim is not to make a profit but to generate social benefits and offer services to people who are vulnerable or marginalised. This will help combat poverty in Member States, a process which is one of the EU’s objectives.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The economic and financial crisis that we are living through is forcing us to pay particular attention to social issues. The optimisation of existing financial resources is the agenda of the day. We have to achieve better results with the same amount, or with even less. In this context, social enterprises set an example. This is on top of creating social links through integration policies for deprived people or people with problems. I welcome the adoption of the report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds. It is the first time there is a European regulation on social entrepreneurship aimed at supporting companies that pursue social aims and implement innovative programmes. We cannot forget that 10% of European companies carry out their activities in the social domain, which is fundamental for the European economy. This is a text which aims, on the one hand, to foster inclusive development and, on the other hand, to diversify the financial resources of social companies, which are nowadays mainly funded by subsidies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal, alongside the proposal on European venture capital funds, is based on the aim of promoting and financing projects of social interest in the context of the Commission’s initiative for corporate businesses. The aim here is to harmonise the means of access and redistribution of funds for social entrepreneurship, encompassing the creation of a mechanism which enables companies and interested investors to come together, the composition of the portfolio of funds, the investment tools they may employ and the categories of eligible investors. It is worth noting that these companies, according to standards for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), constitute 10% of European companies and employ approximately 11 million people, thus making the standardisation of new rules essential, along with correct communication with investors and companies. I would like to congratulate my colleague, Ms Auconie, for the excellent work that she has carried out in an area which can greatly contribute to the creation of more SMEs.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The proposal for a regulation establishes the legal framework under which different types of investment fund can be granted the status of ‘European Social Entrepreneurship Fund’ and the respective ‘passport’. The aim is to create a European sector for investment in legal persons carrying on not-for-profit activities aimed at fulfilling various objectives of a social nature. I support the Commission’s legislative initiative for several reasons. Currently, investors are increasingly pursuing social goals and are not only seeking financial returns. A social investment market has been emerging in the European Union, comprised in part by investment funds targeting social undertakings. Such investment funds provide funding to social undertakings which are acting as drivers of social change by offering innovative solutions to social problems stemming from the economic crisis and making a valuable contribution to meeting the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE). in writing. (HU) In recent years, social enterprises have played an increasingly important role in economic and cohesion policies. Many and various initiatives have been taken and promised by various organisations. I, too, believe that these enterprises can play a key role as drivers of social innovation. The experience of social cooperatives in getting people into work is an obvious example. However, legal forms aside, social innovation also arises from new methods of providing services and from the creation of new products to satisfy society’s new needs. The European institutions must therefore take coherent action, coordinating the provisions on social enterprises with those on innovation and social change. I believe that social enterprises should be supported: both because they can introduce new methods for providing services and action aimed at improving people’s quality of life, and because they promote the creation of new products to satisfy society’s new needs. It is also important to foster a more ‘subsidiarity friendly’ attitude on the part of public institutions, to introduce a policy of targeted incentives, and to work to implement initiatives by business associations, which have proved to be crucial to the growth of social enterprises. I therefore voted in favour of this report because, all in all, the proposals it contains can improve access to financing and the regulatory framework.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Brice Hortefeux (PPE), in writing. (FR) The competitiveness of enterprises is part of economic recovery in Europe. However, in this time of crisis, enterprises have limited access to funding. In Europe, there is a social investment market which today represents EUR 1 billion. This market is a lever for growth which should be fully exploited. Social undertakings, that is, enterprises whose principal objective is to achieve a positive social impact, employ 11 million workers. Following a proposal by the Commission, Parliament has therefore logically decided to support the creation of a European label for social investment which will benefit investment funds which invest at least 70% of their capital in social undertakings. By proposing this investment instrument, Parliament is hoping to contribute to stimulating the market and further encouraging investment in social entrepreneurship.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Social undertakings are enterprises whose principal objective is not to make a profit but to achieve a positive social impact, for example, the integration of vulnerable or marginalised people. Apart from subsidies, they need other sources of funding to help them achieve their goals and thereby improve our social market economy. It is with this in mind that Sophie Auconie’s report proposes the establishment of a European passport for European Social Entrepreneurship Funds. The report was partially adopted by a large majority (there was no vote on the legislative resolution). The aim is to let the rapporteur enter into negotiations with the Council in order to reach an agreement at first reading.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I approve of the regulation on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEFs), as set out in this report. Working out access to the fund, its areas of application and the conditions for its use are necessary steps in order to make the EuSEF into a tool for entrepreneurial development and growth which meets the needs of users as closely as possible, and to ensure that its organisation is transparent. Moreover, the EuSEF must be one of the levers to develop the European Union’s economy and must be used according to the criteria of efficiency and efficacy that guide us in selecting helpful ways to overcome this crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), in writing. – I expressed my support for this initiative and for the text that was agreed between the European Parliament and the Council. My position is underlined by my belief that we in Europe should foster the development of undertakings that are committed to tackling important issues such as, for instance, ensuring inclusion, fighting marginalisation and poverty. The regulation on the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds would make an important contribution to promoting those undertakings that pursue a social impact in their activity rather than just monetary benefits. Securing better funding opportunities for them is key to supporting the role they fulfil in our societies. The matter is even of a bigger importance, given the economic and societal problems we are facing nowadays in the EU. However, I give my full support to the rapporteur, Ms Sophie Auconie, who called for the final vote on the legislative resolution to be postponed due to the Council’s decision to renegotiate the previously agreed text. I consider that this regulation should not simply be a legislative exercise. The justification for it lies in its potential socio-economic impact, and the European Parliament must stay committed to its position in the renegotiation process.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this proposal. Increasingly, as investors also pursue social goals and are not only seeking financial returns, a social investment market has been emerging in the Union, comprised, in part, by investment funds targeting social undertakings. Such investment funds provide funding to social undertakings which are acting as drivers of social change by offering innovative solutions to social problems, helping to tackle the social consequences of the financial crisis and making a valuable contribution to meeting the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) The European label for social investment would respond to the desire of more and more investors to use their money to support social action rather than simply looking at financial performance. If it is accepted, this agreement will establish rules in order to provide investors with guarantees on the functioning of these funds thanks to a label for European Social Entrepreneurship Funds.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a regulation establishes the legal framework under which different types of investment fund can be granted the status of ‘European Social Entrepreneurship Fund’ and the respective ‘passport’. The aim is to create a European sector for investment in legal persons carrying out not-for-profit activities aimed at fulfilling various objectives of a social nature. I agree that funding for social businesses must be increased, using all the available resources, including private ones. However, the current tendency is that public investment in these areas is increasingly replaced by private funds that are less stable and for profit, to the detriment of social impacts. As such, I have some reservations that this regulation may be a step towards privatisation or external contracting in areas that are the responsibility of the State. For these reasons, I abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This regulation aims to direct funds towards the social economy. It is far from satisfactory. Its near total resemblance to the regulation on venture capital funds speaks volumes about the importance of the social economy in the eyes of the Commission. The few safeguards that Parliament is proposing are still too weak. The possibility that Parliament could use these funds to finance undertakings which finance or support social economy enterprises, but which are not social undertakings themselves, makes one fear that things could drift off course. Likewise, the possibility for any fund to register and conduct their activities anywhere in the European Union without needing to obtain prior authorisation paves the way for the usual abuses. I do not want to hinder the development of the social economy. However, I condemn the abuses made possible by this regulation. I therefore abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Enterprises are categorised as social undertakings where they aim to achieve social impact and where the primary purpose of the enterprise is to achieve social goals rather than simply to maximise profits. Although social undertakings often receive public funding, investment via private funds investing in a targeted way in social entrepreneurship remain indispensable to their growth. Such social investment funds are rare, however. Cross-border investments in such funds have proven to be complicated and expensive. The European fund is designed to help tackle the chronic shortage in funding for undertakings and initiatives in the field of social entrepreneurship. Access to the fund is designed to be available to undertakings that use their profits to achieve social goals. For that purpose, the idea is that the money in the fund will be opened up, first and foremost, to institutional investors and wealthy individuals. However, experience with micro-credit, inter alia, has shown that well-meaning projects for social purposes with intensive private sector involvement can develop an uncontrollable momentum, under which those who suffer are exactly the people who should have benefited. In this regard, the proposal on the table seems to me too ill-considered, for which reason I am unable to give it my support in the vote.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) The difficulties faced by many European businesses call loud and clear for an assumption of political responsibility to improve conditions for entrepreneurship. It is necessary to lay down a common framework of rules regarding the use of the designation ‘European Social Entrepreneurship Fund (EuSEF)’, in particular, on the composition of the portfolio of funds that operate under this designation, their eligible investment targets, the tools they may employ and the investors that are eligible to invest in such funds by uniform rules in the Union. In the absence of a common framework, there is a risk that Member States take diverging measures at national level having a direct negative impact on, and creating obstacles to, the good functioning of the internal market, since funds would be subject to different rules in different Member States. Moreover, diverging quality requirements on portfolio composition, investment targets and eligible investors could lead to different levels of investor protection and generate confusion as to the investment proposition associated with a European Social Entrepreneurship Fund. Investors should, lastly, be able to compare the investment propositions of different EuSEFs. It is necessary to remove significant obstacles to cross-border fundraising and to avoid distortions of competition between those funds.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The final vote on this report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds was postponed. The regulation does not jeopardise existing national arrangements, which allow for investment in social entrepreneurship, but it does supplement these arrangements at EU level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the report on the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds, which contains important addenda that improve the Commission’s initial text. The European Parliament emphasises the supervisory level, so as to ensure that proper use is made of EuSEF resources and to eliminate the risk of EuSEFs being used for purposes that have nothing to do with promoting social entrepreneurship. At the same time, it increases the number of enterprises that could be integrated into the fund by including those whose objective is to make a social impact, rather than to generate profit for owners and shareholders. Given that such vehicles exist in Greece, this particular provision will benefit our country in these difficult times for entrepreneurship and the labour market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour of the amended proposal (the final vote on the legislative resolution was postponed). What did the Greens get? Good things: The Economic Affairs Committee report voted on included our requests concerning what counts as a social enterprise and the ability to invest outside the EU as well as enhanced reporting on the social impact of EuSEF investments. We also obtained an opening to retail funds via an amendment to the UCITS directive (governing retail investment funds) allowing a limited amount of such funds to be invested in EuSEFs (plus a review of further measures to boost retail investment in this sector). Less good things: the extensive text we had proposed setting out criteria for assessing social impact (based on other EU assessments related to the social economy) and requiring the European supervisor (ESMA) to provide harmonisation was reduced to a more general set of criteria (although this was still much better than the original proposal) and the reporting requirements for non-social enterprise investments were similarly watered down. Overall, the report adopted was a good one from the Green perspective.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) Social entrepreneurship plays an important role in the European Union by integrating vulnerable and marginalised people into the world of work.

We keep a close eye on, and are very much in favour of economically supporting. European citizens belonging to vulnerable groups in society – especially disabled people. We are wary of social enterprises that aim to classify people as ‘vulnerable’ when this is not the case – here, I am referring to citizens of third countries whom, at a time of economic crisis like the present, when there is no work available, we would prefer did not come to Europe.

We need to be careful to ensure that social entrepreneurship does not become a loophole allowing companies to operate at lower prices than others and thereby distort market conditions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing.(FR) With the amendment to the directive on financial transparency, which is currently under review in Parliament, this proposal is part of a series of measures in favour of corporate social responsibility adopted by the Commission at the beginning of the year. This easily identifiable label, granted to investment funds which mainly invest in socially responsible enterprises, should enable us to respond to the need for transparency and fairness, which more and more citizens have expressed since the beginning of the crisis. It will also stimulate economic sectors which are still under-exploited. That is why I supported these proposals in plenary.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of Ms Auconie’s report because I consider that the measures which she proposes will help to address the social impact of the financial crisis. The common framework of rules governing use of the name ‘European Social Entrepreneurship Fund’ will help the internal market to function properly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) In October 2011, the Commission presented a proposal on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEFs) with the purpose of supporting social enterprises through improving the efficacy of the mobilisation of investment funds for these companies. According to Eurostat, the unemployment rate reached 10.4% in the EU and 11.3% in the euro area in July 2012. There were 25.2 million unemployed people in the 27 Member States and, of these, approximately 18.1 million belonged to the euro area. I understand that it is fundamental to adopt measures to solve this social problem, which is affecting millions of people. Social entrepreneurship is a good solution, given that social businesses encompass a broad range of entities whose principal aim is solidarity. I agree with this report which establishes uniform rules on the nature of EuSEFs, in particular, on portfolio undertakings in which EuSEFs are authorised to invest and which investment tools to employ.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the amendments to the proposal for a regulation on European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEFs), which is part of the Social Business Initiative set out by the Commission in its communication of 25 October 2011. A growing number of investors are interested in achieving social goals, as a result of which a social investment market has been emerging in the EU, comprised in part of investment funds targeting social undertakings. These funds finance social undertakings which act as drivers of social change, offering innovative solutions to social problems and making a major contribution to fulfilling the Europe 2020 strategy targets.

A regulation needs to be adopted establishing uniform rules applicable to EuSEFs wishing to raise capital in the EU and imposing corresponding obligations on their managers in all Member States. These requirements should ensure the confidence of investors who wish to invest in the relevant funds. In order to provide capital to social undertakings, EuSEFs should invest at least 70% of the total capital contributions and of committed callable capital in such undertakings.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This regulation aims to create uniform standards for the funding process for social enterprises, within the framework of the European Commission ‘Social Entrepreneurship Initiative’ (2011). According to the regulation, the aim would be to create funds with a level playing field in order to make investors trust investment in the funds. The definition of ‘social enterprise’ encompasses a ‘large range of undertakings with various legal forms, which provide social services or goods to vulnerable or marginalised persons’, including enterprises ‘that employ a method of production of goods or services with a social objective’. These funds can be useful for financing the so-called third sector, that is to say, collective management companies like cooperatives. Nonetheless, we cannot help but point out that, in a framework in which the troika – including the Commission and the European Central Bank – encourage public divestment and the privatisation of public services on the part of Member States, this solution is a perversion in the sense that the EU supports the transfer of social services to the private sphere, dismantling the social role and public goods at the same time as supporting the funding of private companies to substitute public services.

 
  
  

Report: Philippe Lamberts (A7-0193/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I support the adoption of the regulation on European Venture Capital Funds because they will help create a European venture capital investment sector for small and medium-sized enterprises. By providing finance and offering consultancy to small and medium-sized enterprises in the initial stages of their corporate existence, but with strong potential for growth and expansion, venture capital funds boost economic growth, help create jobs and raise capital, while also increasing their investments in research and supporting entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness. The role of this regulatory framework is to encourage venture capital funds to engage in cross-border business, which will help develop the internal market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Venture capital provides funding to undertakings which are still modest in size but which have significant potential for growth and innovation. While the United States mobilised EUR 131 billion between 2003 and 2010, European venture capital funds only managed to raise EUR 28 billion. This lack of available funds is seriously harmful to European competitiveness and job creation. Alongside my initiative in favour of social entrepreneurship, I strongly support the rapporteur, Philippe Lamberts, in his steps towards making the European venture capital market more secure and uniform.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it is very important to create a European venture capital investment sector for small and medium-sized enterprises. For investment funds to be granted the status of ‘European Venture Capital Fund’, set requirements will have to be fulfilled by venture capital fund managers. There will also be restrictions on the investments that can be made using a fund’s assets. Two directives already exist: Directive 2011/61/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 2009/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sebastian Valentin Bodu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Access to funding is vital for increasing the potential competitiveness and growth of SMEs. During the current crisis, highlighted by a fall in the number of loans granted to the real economy, such companies are finding it increasingly difficult to gain access to loans. Venture capital provides early funding to newly created business and is an important source of long-term funding for newly created and innovative SMEs. However, the limited sizes of funds and the fact that they can only provide low levels of capital have prevented them from playing a bigger role in funding new businesses. Consequently, SMEs continue to rely on bank loans in the short term. I think that increasing venture capital funds means more capital for individual companies and will enable funds to specialise in certain sectors such as information technology, biotechnology or health.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) Small and medium-sized enterprises form the basis of the economy in European Union Member States, which is why I think that it is important to involve European venture capital funds in financing them. This will boost economic growth, help create new jobs and raise capital, and will also help encourage new SMEs to emerge and innovative businesses expand.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) This proposal, presented together with the proposal on Social Entrepreneurship Funds, aims to efficiently implement a funding model in the European Union for companies which, even though in an early phase, have ambitious business models. The aim is to create conditions for investors with venture capital funds to be able to use them following participation requirements, allowing them to benefit from the European passport, and therefore increase funding for small and medium-sized enterprises.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report analyses the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on European Venture Capital Funds. The economic and financial crisis is forcing us to pay special attention to the issue of investment. The optimisation of existing financial resources is the agenda of the day. We have to achieve better results with the same amount. For a long time, certain economists maintained that such funds are not good at reviving economies and supporting companies. Nowadays, nobody thinks this. We must put funds at the service of the people in order to stimulate the economy, economic growth and job creation. If each of the 22 million small and medium-sized enterprises were supported through the creation of one job post, the problem of unemployment in the European Union would be resolved. Therefore, venture capital is very important. I welcome the EU’s access to a new Europe-wide legal framework, which will facilitate obtaining money, as well as donors. This will be essential in order to get out of the current crisis. Finally, I would highlight the need to strengthen the fight against tax evasion and cash outflows through tax havens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The proposal for a regulation establishes the legal framework under which different types of investment fund can be granted the status of ‘European Venture Capital Fund’ and a venture capital ‘passport’. The aim is to create a European venture capital investment sector for small and medium-sized enterprises. The draft regulation sets criteria which the available assets to such a fund must meet in order to get that status and ’passport’. It also sets out the requirements to be fulfilled by venture capital fund managers and the restrictions on the investments that can be made using a fund’s assets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) The adoption of the report will make it easier for European venture capital funds to raise capital throughout Europe for the financing of start-up undertakings. The approach is simple: all fund managers that meet the requirements can raise capital across the EU under the designation ‘European Venture Capital Fund’. They will no longer need to comply with complicated requirements that are different in each Member State. Thanks to the standardised rules, venture capital funds will potentially be able to raise more capital and grow larger. Larger venture capital funds mean larger amounts of capital available to individual enterprises, thereby enabling funds to specialise in independent sectors such as information technology, biotechnology or health care. This will ultimately aid SMEs in improving their competitiveness on the global market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The role of the European venture capital sector is to support the funding of SMEs and encourage innovation and technological progress. However, this sector is fragmented in the European Union and we need to remedy these shortcomings by harmonising legislation across all Member States. I think that more attention needs to be focused on regulating venture capital investments in the green technologies sector. This is an important factor contributing to economic recovery, also bearing in mind that the European Union’s prime objective is to hold on to its position as global leader in terms of energy resource efficiency. Therefore, adopting legislative regulations which provide an incentive for investors will definitely attract venture capital in the green technologies sector.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this proposal. Venture capital provides finance to undertakings that are generally very small, in the initial stages of their corporate existence and display a strong potential for growth and expansion. It is necessary to adopt a regulation establishing uniform rules applicable to the European Venture Capital Funds and imposing corresponding obligations on their managers in all Member States that wish to raise capital across the Union using the designation ‘European Venture Capital Fund’. These requirements should ensure the confidence of investors that wish to invest in venture capital funds.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This proposal for a regulation establishes the legal framework under which different types of investment fund can be granted the status of ‘European Venture Capital Fund’ and a respective ‘passport’ intended for venture capital funds. The aim is to create a European venture capital investment sector for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). While it is a fact that funding for SMEs is problematic in the EU, the solution cannot be to move solely to private funds whose principal aim is profit, exonerating the state of its responsibility to support growth and employment. I therefore abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This report endorses the Commission’s proposal to provide a European passport for all venture capital funds, whether European or from a third country, once they have registered in one of the Member States. The only limitation to this is that they are prohibited from being established in a country considered a tax haven. Nothing has been said about sanctions against infringements to these funds. However, we can see that these sanctions will only be implemented by the Member State responsible for registering the fund. In that case, would the Member State responsible for this authorisation be best placed to sanction the consequences of its proposals? The entire European Union is therefore at the mercy of the lowest common denominator in terms of financial security. Clearly, this ultraliberal report even allows these venture capital funds to evaluate their assets on the basis of their own criteria, preventing there from being any reliable expertise on the matter. I am voting against this dangerous report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The final vote on this report on the proposal for a regulation on venture capital funds was postponed. The report tries to regulate these funds, which provide finance to undertakings that are generally very small, in the initial stages of their corporate existence, and which display a strong potential for growth and expansion.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour (of the amended proposal). The final vote was postponed at the request of the rapporteur. Our key points – which found large support – were the exclusion from the EU label venture capital funds that are either domiciled in tax havens or that invest in companies established in tax havens as well as the exclusion of financial service providers from benefiting from venture investments. Furthermore, a light depositary regime (notary safeguards) was included, together with a recital on orienting investments towards the ecological transformation of the economy. The Economic Affairs Committee position also included enhanced powers for the EU financial supervisor (ESMA) tasked with overseeing the implementation of the regulation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) At a time when the capital available for banks to support business investments is increasingly scarce, other funding prospects take on greater importance. As such, venture capital provides finance to undertakings that are generally very small, in the initial stages of their corporate existence, and which display a strong potential for growth and expansion. I am voting for this report as I understand that venture capital funds provide undertakings with valuable expertise and knowledge, contribute to the creation of jobs and capital mobilisation, foster the establishment and expansion of innovative undertakings, increase their investment in research and development, and foster entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness in line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. I believe that the process of creating a European venture capital fund should be as quick as possible, in order to ease the costs of establishing new funds in the market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the amendments tabled by Parliament on the proposal for a regulation on European Venture Capital Funds. I think that it is important that this regulation’s objective is to support economic growth and innovation in the EU’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

At present, venture capital plays a minor role in funding SMEs. SMEs mainly rely on bank loans which account for more than 80% of their funding, while only 2% of funding comes from venture capital specialists. The corresponding figure in the United States is 14%. I voted in favour of managers of a qualifying venture capital fund being able to attract additional capital commitments during the lifetime of that fund. Additional capital commitments should be allowed based on criteria and conditions set out in the fund’s regulations or in its statutory documents.

I am in favour of the venture capital funds’ basic activities involving funding of SMEs via primary investments. Venture capital funds must not get involved in systemic banking activities outside the normal prudential regulatory framework (the ‘parallel banking system’).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) This is a comment about the regulation establishing a legal framework for the use of the name ‘European Venture Capital Fund’ by various investment funds. The objective is to create a European sector for venture capital investment in small and medium-sized enterprises. There is no doubt that European venture capital funds could play an important role by improving SME access to sources of finance. There is the major risk, however, that these funds will be used for purposes other than those that are intended. We should therefore make sure that any possible loopholes of this kind have been eliminated. For this reason, I abstained from voting.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The aim of this regulation is to create a European venture capital investment sector for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The express aim of venture capital is to ‘provide finance to undertakings that are generally very small, in the initial stages of their corporate existence’. Financing for SMEs is doubtless a real need, which must be addressed. Nonetheless, in Portugal, SMEs’ growing difficulties result from a continued public disinvestment and an increase in recessive so-called austerity policies. The problems of Portuguese SMEs are the result of a policy of abandoning and destroying our production and productive apparatus, an internal market that is increasingly stifled by workers’ decreasing acquisition capacity, and a fiscal policy which penalises work and small companies. Privatisation, which has put energy companies, banks, telecommunications and transport companies and providers of essential goods and services in the hands of big businesses, at monopoly prices, is one of the causes of SMEs’ economic strangulation. It is this policy which must be reversed and which has led to 46.7% more companies declaring bankruptcy in the first semester of the year than during the same period last year.

 
  
  

Report: Bernd Lange (A7-0249/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In June 2012, the European Union, Colombia and Peru concluded an association agreement. For security reasons, a safeguard clause has been added, enabling the original customs tariffs to be reinstituted in certain circumstances. This concerns, in particular, cases where goods are imported in such large quantities that they cause (or threaten to cause) serious injury to Union industry producing a similar or directly competitive product. Parliament therefore wanted to activate the stabilisation mechanism for bananas, which enables us, until 1 January 2020, to suspend preferential customs treatment when a certain annual import volume has been reached. We are thinking here, in particular, of banana producers concentrated in the outermost regions, who could be affected by this agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because I think that the two agreements will allow the EU to open up its market even more, while also increasing its exports in the two countries. In this context, I would like to emphasise the importance of the safeguard clause in liberalising the trade in agricultural products. It provides a safety net in the situation where the markets are faced with a certain amount of disruption as a result of signing the bilateral agreements. I should also highlight the monitoring and reporting provisions. They are vital for ensuring that this regulation is applied properly. In addition, they have an especially large impact in the case of sensitive products, which also includes bananas. Another important aspect concerns the social and environmental regulations which need to be adhered to completely when implementing the agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because, on 26 June 2012, a trade agreement was signed between the European Union and Colombia and Peru which provides for the reduction and elimination of customs tariffs, as well as a safeguard clause by which tariff preferences can temporarily be suspended or removed if such trade liberalisation leads to an increase in imports resulting in a deterioration in the situation facing European industry and thereby also threatening employment in the EU. The provisions proposed by the European Commission for the bilateral safeguard clause of the Peru and Colombia Trade Agreement are similar to the bilateral safeguard clause of the FTA between the EU and the Republic of Korea, apart from two essential differences – the stabilisation mechanism for bananas and special treatment for remote and vulnerable regions of the European Union. Finally, it is also very important to include certain aspects such as reporting and provisions on monitoring. Basically, the agreement has to be implemented in accordance with international labour and environmental conventions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I agree with most of the amendments introduced.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ole Christensen (S&D), in writing. (DA) The regulation implements stabilisation mechanisms for bananas in the trade agreement between the EU and Colombia and Peru. It means a gradual stepping up of the volumes of bananas imported into the European market. This will take place gradually, in order to protect the particularly vulnerable producers in the EU, who need to adapt to greater competition. The protection clauses are reciprocal; in other words, Peru and Colombia are introducing equivalent clauses into their own legislation and in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. We support the report’s focus on labour rights and human rights and the monitoring of the regulation, and emphasise that how we will vote on the actual free trade agreement has not been decided (cf. resolution B7-0301/2012).

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the draft legislative resolution because I think a safeguard clause needs to be introduced so that the European banana-growing sector, which also creates jobs, is protected as a result of imports from third countries. On the other hand, the production of bananas imported into the EU from Colombia or Peru must benefit from adequate and decent wage, social and environmental conditions, with the aim of avoiding dumping to the detriment of European producers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) While the ratification of the trade agreement with Colombia and Peru is under review, safeguard measures have been adopted for the European banana sector, and rightly so. Now, if the Colombia-Peru free trade agreement is ratified by Parliament in the autumn, it will include a specific clause safeguarding European banana producers and, in particular, those in France’s overseas territories. More specifically, in the case of serious injury to European banana producers as a result of opening up trade with Colombia and Peru, the reduced tariffs provided for within the framework of the trade agreement would be increased again. This mechanism is essential for safeguarding our European producers as the EU represents the most important market for banana exports and 72.5% of bananas sold in the EU already come from Latin America.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of these measures, aimed at protecting an industry which has, at times, made agreements that no longer apply. This stabilisation mechanism will, in particular, enable us to better control the volume of products moving freely within the internal market, thereby limiting the possibility of too much speculation, which was threatening our producers. With these provisions, the EU is supporting our industries and preventing us from slipping back into the temptation of a less costly, less skilled workforce.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) As I had the opportunity to state when I spoke about the resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council which implements the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas in the association agreement between the European Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and Central America, on the other, I believe that the same application is justified for Colombia and Peru. These tools must be used effectively – they must be streamlined and not bureaucratic – so long as it is justified. From the perspective of Europe, the tools must first be used to protect European banana production, which constitutes an important part of the economies of the outermost regions, in particular, those that are precarious and fragile.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Colombia and Central America will completely alter their trade relations with the European Union, opening markets by eliminating tariff barriers and facilitating trade. This report, drafted by Mr Lange, concerns the proposal for a regulation of Parliament and of the Council which applies the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas of the trade agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru. As the rapporteur states, these agreements raised some technical and philosophical problems, which must be resolved. There are technical problems because we need to protect European producers from unfair competition and make the safeguard clauses work; and there are philosophical problems because on top of trade policy, we must include obligations regarding human rights, working conditions, the environment, and so on. While the outermost European regions are in a somewhat vulnerable competitive situation, the existence of safeguard clauses in accordance with World Trade Organisation provisions protects them. I regret that it has still not been possible to arrive at an agreement with Peru, and I hope that this will happen soon.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In March 2011, after a turbulent process, the Commission signed a trade agreement with Colombia and Peru. Many social forces in these two countries and in Europe were against this agreement. Countries like Bolivia and Ecuador decided to abandon negotiations, accusing the EU of not wanting more than a free trade agreement. In fact, this is true. The consequences – which are profoundly negative – will be felt on both sides of the Atlantic. In the area of bananas, the agreements anticipated losses for European producers. They therefore included a safeguard clause which, as experience has shown us, will not prevent these losses. The opinion of Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture itself recognises this. There are many weaknesses mentioned in this clause. With unacceptable hypocrisy and intolerable cynicism, for a body that, at the end of the day, approved the agreement, it has even proposed, like the Commission, the enlargement of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for these farmers, recognising that they are being condemned to ruin. Portugal, especially the Autonomous Region of Madeira, where banana production is important, will also be affected.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The aim of a bilateral safeguard instrument is to provide a safety net where, as a consequence of the trade liberalisation provided for by the free trade agreement, industry needs time to adjust to the new conditions. It will therefore only be applicable for a transitional period of ten years after the entry into force of the agreement, or slightly longer for products which are liberalised over more than ten years. The provisions proposed by the European Commission for the bilateral safeguard clause of the Peru and Colombia Trade Agreement are very similar to the pattern of the regulation implementing the bilateral safeguard clause of the FTA between the EU and the Republic of Korea, which was the first safeguard regulation where the European Parliament acted as a colegislator. This means that issues which were very important for the European Parliament then, such as surveillance measures, factors to take into account in an investigation and the online platform for increased exchange of information, are all included in the proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) Although the free trade agreement between the EU and Colombia/Peru should be ratified shortly, Parliament has just voted on a text establishing safeguard clauses for the banana sector. The safeguard clauses enable us to temporarily reinstitute normal customs duties or to suspend tariff liberalisation. The text recognises that there are problems in terms of employment rights in the countries concerned, although this recognition is not sufficient. The rapporteur also calls for greater consideration of social and environmental aspects within the framework of the forthcoming economic liberalisation. The Commission must understand this message. Moreover, the texts clearly state the need for greater consideration of overseas countries, where bananas are a pillar of the economy. This vote should not make us forget that the real issue for these regions is a transition towards a more diversified and more sustainable economy. For all of these reasons, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Richard Howitt (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report in order to give as strong as possible a mandate to our negotiators to seek to safeguard labour and human rights in the context of the EU-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

However, the cuts in state protection for trade unionists, which are putting the lives of those who speak out for human rights at risk, and the draft laws on impunity being proposed by the Colombian Government, which will see alleged abuses committed by Colombian armed forces tried in military rather than civilian courts, are both simply not consistent with international human rights commitments which Colombia tells us it respects.

If Colombia moves away from human rights commitments even as it awaits ratification of the agreement, surely it begs the question as to whether such ratification of this free trade agreement itself should go ahead.

In any case, I hope the trialogue will consider these two examples as a test of whether safeguards negotiated would be achieved in practice.

I and my Labour colleagues will continue to campaign strongly on this issue for the sake of those who put their lives at risk for rights which in Europe we take for granted.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this amended proposal because this agreement has major implications for the agricultural sector and particularly significant repercussions for banana exports to the European market. In practice, the provisions of the agreements mean that the EU market will become more open to imports mainly of bananas, sugar and beef, while, at the same time, the EU will be able to increase its capacity to export other agricultural products, such as dairy products, cereals, pork and spirits, to these countries. Both the agreement with Colombia and Peru and that signed with the six Central American countries contain a chapter on mutual recognition of geographical indications, which will enable the EU to protect around 200 geographical indications. Out of all the exports by these countries to the EU, bananas are the star agricultural product, mainly from Colombia and Costa Rica, and, to a much lesser extent, from Panama, Honduras, Peru and Guatemala. The agreements provide for further reductions in the tariff applied by the European Union to banana imports, improving the terms for Latin American countries wishing to export to the European market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Mr Lange’s report was adopted by a large majority in plenary on 13 September. The bilateral agreements concluded with Latin American countries serve European trade interests. However, the concessions granted on bananas could weaken the French overseas banana production sector, which is essential to the economic development of our overseas departments. In order to support the French overseas banana sector, the report proposes the implementation of a stabilisation mechanism in order to suspend tariff preferences when Latin American exports exceed the maximum volumes provided for in the agreements.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jarosław Kalinowski (PPE), in writing.(PL) Both of the reports being discussed today concern what is known as a sensitive product, which needs to be covered by a detailed legal framework. Bananas, which are the product we are discussing, come to the European Union by way of imports from third countries (leaving aside, of course, the EU’s peripheral regions such as the Canary Islands, Martinique or Guadeloupe), which is why they are subject to the relevant customs duties. Trade agreements with Colombia, Peru and Central American countries are to be covered by appropriate safeguard clauses that are meant to prevent disruptions that could be caused by the import of bananas into the European market.

The Commission’s proposals do not, however, take into account the issue of careful supervision of trade nor any protection for European producers who may be harmed by excessive trade liberalisation. As a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, I am in favour of enabling the application of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in this instance. In addition, we must remember the need for compliance with environmental standards in the production process and also – primarily, in fact – the need to enforce respect for human rights, which are often breached in the countries with which we are signing the agreements.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. – I abstained because, while fully recognising the need for a bilateral safeguard clause to safely implement on the EU side the free trade agreement concluded between the EU, Colombia and Peru, I consider that some of the amendments adopted in the International Trade Committee require further redrafting for the sake of clarity and feasibility. For example: definition of ‘threat of serious deterioration’ for the activation of the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas; extent of the Commission’s monitoring and especially the inclusion of additional socio-economic indicators on top of Colombian and Peruvian export and import statistics, to assess the impact of the FTA on the banana production in the EU; involvement of the European Parliament in initiating an investigation in the framework of the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas; the Commission’s room for manoeuvre with respect to the activation of the stabilisation mechanism for bananas. These issues need to be clarified.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I supported this report. A bilateral safeguard instrument is designed to provide a safety net where, as a consequence of the trade liberalisation provided for by the FTA, industry needs time to adjust to the new conditions. It will therefore only be applicable for a transitional period of ten years after the entry into force of the agreement, or slightly longer for products which are liberalised over more than ten years. In order to be operational, the safeguards need to be incorporated into EU law, the reason behind this regulation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour. We urgently need to create safety mechanisms to prevent serious harm to Union banana growing, a sector which is of great importance to the end agricultural production of many of the outermost regions. The limited ability of these regions to diversify, owing to their natural characteristics, makes the banana sector particularly vulnerable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) The final vote on the application of the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas of the trade agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru has been postponed. However, I have voted for the compromise amendments submitted by the main political groups.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. It is rather unlikely that the safeguard clause will ever be applied. Nevertheless, the report is an occasion to bring into the discussion aspects other than rises and declines in export/import data. Greens followed the rapporteur in his call for a closer look not only at economic implications of the foreseen trade liberalisation, but also the implementation of environmental and social aspects. The respect of international conventions in these areas should be fully monitored and reported. To this end, trade unions, NGOs, the European Parliament and concerned civil society organisations should be consulted. Furthermore, an explicit reference to the outermost regions should be introduced. Though DG Trade was not happy with a good number of the amendments proposed (39 in the International Trade Committee, plus the Agriculture Committee opinion), which they considered as outside their realm of competence (such as social and environmental data!!), and though DG Trade carried out extensive lobbying ahead of the International Trade Committee vote, a good number of those amendments passed. The current European Parliament proposal differs therefore quite substantively from the Commission proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 19 January 2009, the Council authorised the Commission to open trade negotiations with the Member Countries of the Andean Community, which finally resulted in a trade agreement with Colombia and Peru. The agreement was initialled on 23 March 2011 and signed on 26 June 2012. This agreement provides, inter alia, for the reduction and, finally, for the elimination of customs tariffs in the bilateral trade between the partners. It also contains a safeguard clause according to which tariff preferences can be suspended or removed if such trade liberalisation leads to an unexpected increase of imports resulting in a deterioration in the situation facing European industry, which competes with such imports, and thereby also threatening employment in the EU, as may happen to the most fragile economies in the outermost regions.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the amendments on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas of the trade agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru. Appropriate safety mechanisms need to be introduced to prevent serious harm to banana growing in the EU, a sector which is of huge importance to the end agricultural production of several of the outermost regions.

The limited ability of these regions to diversify their economies, due to their natural characteristics, makes banana growing a particularly vulnerable production sector. It is therefore essential to create effective mechanisms for managing preferential imports from third countries, in order to guarantee that banana production in the EU, which is a crucial employment sector especially in the outermost regions, is maintained under the best possible conditions.

I voted in favour of complying with the international labour regulations drafted and monitored by the International Labour Organisation. Ensuring decent working conditions for all must be an absolute priority for this sector, and bananas imported from Colombia or Peru must be produced under decent social and environmental conditions and for a fair wage to prevent EU producers from becoming the victims of dumping.

 
  
  

Report: Jörg Leichtfried (A7-0237/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) In June 2012, the European Union concluded an association agreement with Central America. For security reasons, a safeguard clause has been added, enabling the original customs tariffs to be reinstituted in certain circumstances. This concerns, in particular, cases where goods are imported in such large quantities that they cause (or threaten to cause) serious injury to Union industry producing a similar or directly competitive product. Parliament therefore wanted to activate the stabilisation mechanism for bananas, which enables us, until 1 January 2020, to suspend preferential customs treatment when a certain annual import volume has been reached. We are thinking here, in particular, of banana producers concentrated in the outermost regions, who could be affected by this agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because, on 22 March 2011, an agreement was signed between the European Union and six Central American countries, consolidating concessions and liberalising trade for certain agricultural products. This made the EU more open to imports and the EU will therefore be able to increase its capacity to export certain products to the Central American countries. The agreement also includes a stabilisation mechanism for bananas according to which preferential customs duties can be suspended if a certain import volume is reached (applicable until 2020). It is very important to ensure the effectiveness of both the stabilisation mechanism for bananas and the safeguard clause.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  John Bufton (EFD), in writing. – While the EU trade deals supersede those made in Member States, it is important to protect and encourage trade in the developing world. The countries in question are largely members of the Commonwealth, which offers better protection as an international trading body. However, while the EU stands as a trading bloc, it is necessary to protect vulnerable countries and develop the future global market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) EU bananas, mainly produced in the Antilles, on Réunion Island and in the Azores, are a livelihood for thousands of small European producers. The sector must face competition from American bananas, mainly produced in Central America, sometimes under questionable social and environmental conditions, and at a very competitive cost price. It is therefore essential for the European Union to equip itself with mechanisms allowing it to protect European bananas. If the association agreement with Central America is ratified by Parliament in the coming months, it will include a special clause allowing for a temporary increase in customs duties on Central American bananas in the case of too many imports, which would seriously injure our European producers.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I supported the adoption of these measures, aimed at protecting an industry which has, at times, made tariff agreements that no longer apply. This stabilisation mechanism will, in particular, enable us to better control the volume of products moving freely within the internal market, thereby limiting the possibility of too much speculation, which was threatening our producers. With these provisions, the EU is supporting our industries and preventing us from slipping back into the temptation of a less costly, less skilled workforce.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Bananas are one of the main products exported by several Latin American countries to the European Union, and they are enormously important for their respective economies. In spite of the willingness on the part of Europe to contribute to the stability, progress and development of exporting countries, it is worth remembering that bananas are also a product produced in the EU. The bananas are of very high quality and come from outermost regions whose economies, due to their specific circumstances, deserve special attention and protection from European decision makers. The agreements established for this product must take these circumstances into account and provide for mechanisms which defend European interests. I hope that it is not necessary to use them, but I recognise that the need for them must be addressed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Colombia and Central America will completely alter their trade relations with the European Union, opening markets through eliminating tariff barriers and facilitating trade. This report, drafted by Mr Leichtfried, concerns the proposal for a regulation of Parliament and of the Council which applies the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas in the association agreement between the European Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and Central America, on the other. As the rapporteur mentions, these agreements raised some technical and philosophical problems. They raised technical problems because we need to protect European producers from unfair competition and make the safeguard clauses work; and philosophical problems because on top of trade policy, we must include obligations regarding human rights, working conditions, the environment, and so on. While the outermost European regions are in a somewhat vulnerable competitive situation, the existence of safeguard clauses in accordance with World Trade Organisation provisions protects them. I voted in favour as there will be more transparency through comprehensive monitoring by the Commission, which will present a report on this trade before Parliament every year.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The Commission has signed a free trade agreement with six countries from Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. This agreement totally or partially liberalises the trade in certain agricultural products. Out of all the exports by these countries to the EU, bananas are the most important agricultural product, and North American multinationals their main producers, in extensive areas of monoculture in which locals’ working conditions come close to slavery. For these reasons, there are numerous organisations that have denounced the labour, social and environmental dumping practices, which are a result of this agreement and, more generally, a result of free trade and agriculture being subjected to World Trade Organisation rules. The safeguard clause and stabilisation mechanism proposed here will not be worth anything. Their weaknesses are numerous and their inefficiency is expressed in the very opinion of the Committee on Agriculture. The stabilisation mechanism will not be automatic, as the Commission will be free to decide whether or not to apply it. Parliament recognises its inability – and, we would add, its unwillingness – to contradict the Commission, in spite of all the propaganda surrounding its increased role in trade policy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) On 22 March 2011, the Commission signed an association agreement with six Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama). The negotiations took place in parallel with those of the trade agreement with Colombia and Peru, the characteristics of which were very similar. Both agreements consolidate specific concessions made to these countries by the EU within the framework of the Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) as well as totally or partially liberalising the trade in certain agricultural products between the contracting parties. The agreements include a safeguard clause to prevent serious disruptions in the respective markets, and this provision has to be transposed into European law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Catherine Grèze (Verts/ALE), in writing.(FR) Parliament has just voted on a text establishing safeguard clauses for the banana sector within the framework of the association agreement with Central America. The safeguard clauses enable us to temporarily reinstitute normal customs duties or to suspend tariff liberalisation. The text recognises that there are problems in terms of employment rights in the countries concerned, although this recognition is not sufficient. The rapporteur also calls for greater consideration of social and environmental aspects within the framework of the forthcoming economic liberalisation. The Commission must understand this message. Moreover, the texts clearly state the need for greater consideration of overseas countries, where bananas are a pillar of the economy. This vote should not make us forget that the real issue for these regions is a transition towards a more diversified and more sustainable economy. For all of these reasons, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Mr Leichtfried’s report was adopted by a large majority in plenary on 13 September. The bilateral agreements concluded with Latin American countries serve European trade interests. However, the concessions granted on bananas could weaken the French overseas banana sector, which is essential to the economic development of our overseas departments. In order to support the French overseas banana production sector, the report proposes the implementation of a stabilisation mechanism in order to suspend tariff preferences when Latin American exports exceed the maximum volumes provided for in the agreements.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I welcome this safeguard clause. In October 2011, the Commission transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council a proposal aiming at incorporating into EU law the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas. This proposal for a regulation constitutes therefore the necessary legal instrument to implement such measures and to provide legal certainty to operators by establishing the different procedural aspects, definitions and rights and obligations of the parties, all of which are necessary for such measures to be operational and to effectively provide a gradual opening of the markets to enable all the sectors involved to gradually adapt to the new situation, in particular, the most vulnerable.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted to return this report to the Committee responsible for beginning negotiations between the Commission, the Council and Parliament on the application of the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas in the association agreement between the European Union and Central America.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour of the amended proposal. The vote on the legislative resolution was postponed. It is rather unlikely that the safeguard clause will ever be applied. Nevertheless, the report is an occasion to bring into the discussion aspects other than rises and declines in export/import data. Greens followed the rapporteur in his call for a closer look not only at economic implications of the foreseen trade liberalisation, but also the implementation of environmental and social aspects. The respect for international conventions in these areas should be fully monitored and reported. To this end, trade unions, NGOs, the European Parliament and concerned civil society organisations should be consulted. Furthermore, an explicit reference to the outermost regions should be introduced. Though DG Trade was not happy with a good number of the amendments proposed (45 in the International Trade Committee, plus the Agriculture Committee opinion), which they considered as outside their realm of competence (such as social and environmental data!!), and though DG Trade carried out extensive lobbying ahead of the International Trade Committee vote, a good number of those amendments passed. The current European Parliament proposal differs therefore quite substantively from the Commission proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 23 April 2007, the Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations with certain countries of Central America. The negotiations, which concluded during the EU-Latin America Summit in Madrid in May 2010, resulted in an association agreement between the EU and Central America, which was initialled on 22 March 2011 and signed in Tegucigalpa on 29 June 2012. The Council took a decision on its conclusion on 10 July 2012. The agreement includes a bilateral safeguard clause that provides for the possibility to reinstate the most-favoured nation customs duty rate when, as a result of the trade liberalisation derived from the agreement, imports take place in such increased quantities and under such conditions as to cause, or threaten to cause, serious injury to the Union producers of like or competitive products, as is the case in the outermost regions, in particular, as regards the banana sector.

 
  
  

Reports: Bernd Lange (A7-0249/2012) and Jörg Leichtfried (A7-0237/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tokia Saïfi (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the amended proposal for a regulation as it will allow for a more detailed follow-up of banana imports through close monitoring within the framework of a stabilisation mechanism, which will be able to be triggered automatically. This will allow for more effective protection for European banana producers, particularly French producers. Furthermore, Parliament itself will be able to request to initiate an investigation to trigger the safeguard mechanism by adopting a resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the amendments tabled for the proposal for a regulation implementing the bilateral safeguard clause and the stabilisation mechanism for bananas, provided for in the association agreement between the EU and Central America. The agreements include a safeguard clause to prevent serious disruption in the respective markets, and this provision has to be transposed into European law. The agreements provide for further reductions in the customs duties applied by the EU to banana imports, improving the terms for Latin American partner countries wishing to export to the EU market.

Banana imports to the EU are subject to a ‘single tariff’ system which came into force in 2006, replacing the quota system which had been applied since setting up the common organisation of the market (COM) in bananas in 1993. The Commission should submit a report once a year on the implementation of the agreement and of the safeguard measures and the banana stabilisation mechanism, which should include up-to-date and reliable statistics on imports from Central America and an assessment of their impact on market prices, employment, working conditions in the EU and the development of the EU’s production sector, paying special attention to small producers and cooperatives.

 
  
  

Report: Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (A7-0055/2012)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Protecting copyright is one of the central issues in the EU’s digital strategy. Orphan works are protected by copyright even when the right holder cannot be identified or located. By supporting this text, I wanted to allow for the implementation of a framework that would enable institutions whose missions are in the public interest (archives, libraries, museums, etc.) to become the sole beneficiaries of these orphan works. The beneficiaries may only receive revenues from the use of these works within the framework of their public interest missions and only in order to cover the costs of the digitisation and making available of these orphan works.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this report because, until now, no remedy was provided to the lack of framework for online and cross-border access to orphan works in libraries and archives. Creating a legal framework supporting the movement of these works is one of the key points in completing the digital single market. We need to have clear indicators defining these works, taking into account the need to respect copyright.

It is particularly important to prevent new orphan works appearing in the future. Therefore, clear ways of identifying and locating the copyright holders need to be established. I am also thinking about situations where a work has been wrongly considered to be an orphan work. Respecting copyright is vital for boosting innovation and creation at EU level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because rational dissemination of information online can benefit the internal market and the digitisation of cultural works should be supported further. The European Parliament supports the idea for a legislative solution, which would help to address the issues of orphan works. It also welcomes the creation of a European database to facilitate the availability of information, but we should not forget that we need to improve the copyright management system. There is a proposal to allow certain bodies (educational establishments, libraries, museums and archives) to display orphan works online. Access to works of this kind should be free of charge for all. The Commission also presents exemption and licensing that would facilitate digitisation of orphan works. It needs to be stressed that copyright is basically the foundation for innovation, investments and production in the creative industry and it is therefore very important for right holders to be able to put an end to the status of orphan work.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vito Bonsignore (PPE), in writing. (IT) Parliament is courageously facing up to central issues in the areas of communications, publishing and copyright. As an expression of this effort, the report is worthy of support because it makes timely interventions in an area that right now is ‘under construction’ in legal terms, meaning it should be possible to set up a reasonably simple regulation without too many problems of legal harmonisation. The online availability of orphan works across Europe also represents a fundamental stepping stone in the creation of a climate of cultural wealth, also bearing in mind the extraordinary variety and productivity of European authors as a whole. Above all, this initiative facilitates ongoing education, including for adults, and helps offer further cultural opportunities to the so-called ‘Millennial Generation’ – young people who operate almost exclusively using digital means. I must make special mention of Ms Geringer de Oedenberg’s hard work on aspects relating to copyright checks so that a work can be legally certified as an orphan work. This is a difficult legal and logistical issue, which I think the rapporteur has addressed with exemplary conscientiousness.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report because I agree with most of the clauses of the draft legislative resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Conservatives voted today in favour of the legislative proposal on certain permitted uses of orphan works. The report deals with several important areas, such as the fact that the public may now access orphan works via libraries, archives and educational establishments. However, we believe that permitting the works to be commercialised for further dissemination and use is a condition for the provision of a broad range of cultural content. We regret that this possibility is not included in the report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) I support the directive from Parliament and the Council, aimed at the cross-border use of books, newspapers, publications, films, musical works, television productions and so on where the copyright holders cannot be identified. A digital database is being created, accessible to all EU citizens, so that they can use the vast cultural heritage available in Member States’ archives and libraries, which is still unused. Publishing these works via the Internet or other distribution channels will strongly promote Europe’s cultural diversity and make it available to everyone.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tadeusz Cymański (EFD), in writing.(PL) The legislative initiative concerning the use of orphan works is justified and positive. Such works constitute as much as 45% of all the works in the collections of various institutions and archives. Being unable to establish who is the copyright holder cannot be an obstacle to the general use of these works. Many orphan works have played a fundamental role in the development of our culture. Using them in a non-profit capacity is essential, especially when we are discussing processes which disseminate knowledge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. (RO) In a flourishing information society, it is vital to preserve and distribute Europe’s cultural heritage. Therefore, digitising the collections and archives belonging to museums, libraries, different archiving systems in public, educational, film and film heritage institutions, as well as public service broadcasting organisations, in all Member States will allow access to the works held at these facilities to be extended to the public. However, it must not be forgotten that respect for copyright is vital because this will boost innovation, creativity, investment and production, thereby ensuring that activities in the creative sector are rewarded.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of this text, which enables us to better protect the use of works within the EU. Now more than ever, it is crucial for the survival of this industry to take account of its needs through policies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) With the extraordinary technological progress of recent years, access to culture has changed radically. Nowadays, it is possible to read from mobile telephones, tablets and e-readers. The public’s relationship with books is not the same as it was ten years ago. Because of this, making available works for which all the respective rights holders were not identified, namely orphan works, seems to me to be relevant and important, with access online at European level. This is a step towards preserving and divulging European cultural diversity, making it accessible to all.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Man is a social being who has always lived in society and can only survive in society. This implies the existence of standards of conduct and laws to obey. The truth is that we live in a society where everything is regulated. The report presented by my colleague, Ms Geringer de Oedenberg, addresses the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain permitted uses of ‘orphan’ works – those for which the author or authors are unknown. In fact, there are thousands of works in national and municipal archives, castles and other archives which cannot be disseminated because the copyright holder is unknown. This proposal for a directive aims to resolve this issue through a new legislative framework. I welcome the approval of this proposal since, thanks to digitisation and dissemination through the Internet, it is possible to make the work available to the interested public without fear of the author appearing. As such, destruction of works is avoided, at the same time that the identification of their authors is promoted. I voted in favour and I believe that this is a measure with great cultural and scientific scope.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) We support the genuine democratisation of access to cultural creation and enjoyment in diverse spheres and expressions of culture. The discussion on permitted uses of orphan works should be framed by this basic principle. Safeguarding the possibility of using orphan works, without commercial purposes, and with the sole aim of cultural dissemination, is of undeniable value for society. Nonetheless, we have doubts and concerns about the possibility that this recognition may enable works to be disseminated within the framework of strengthening the single market, since it may pave the way for monopolising the commercialisation of these works, creating a lucrative business for large digital distribution companies.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) The European Union has an exceptionally rich cultural heritage. Much of this heritage, however, lies unused in the archives and libraries of the Member States and is inaccessible to the people of Europe. In order to maintain the diversity of European culture, it is therefore essential to make these works available across borders. Orphan works are works whose rights holder or rights holders cannot be identified or found. Making a work available to the public requires – in accordance with copyright principles – an authorisation from the rights holder. At the same time, European legislation provides for certain exceptions that allow scanning for preservation purposes, but they do not allow libraries to make the digitised works available online on the Internet, even for non-commercial purposes. However, we live in a digital era. The rational dissemination of information online has enormous advantages for the internal market. The digitisation of cultural material should also be supported at a European level. The European Parliament has already expressed support in the past for the idea of ​​finding a legislative solution to the problematic issue of orphan works. In future, new legislation will make it possible to have Europe-wide online access to such orphan works.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. – Cultural works, whether a book, a film or a piece of music, which do not have an identified author or creator, known as orphan works, provide a useful addition to the preservation of our cultural heritage. This directive will allow such works to be used by libraries and other public institutions for non-commercial use so that access to them can be widened. Orphan works will continue to receive copyright protection, and my ECR colleagues and I have worked to ensure there are appropriate safeguards in place if a work is inadvertently designated as orphan. Furthermore, we have secured guarantees in the final compromise package that any diligent search carried out to determine whether a work is orphan should be done for each individual work so that the intellectual property rights of authors and creators are fully respected. As such, I am happy to support this first reading agreement.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I fully supported the report by Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg so that we may finally have clear legislation which grants public institutions, such as museums and libraries, legal certainty with regard to the online use and dissemination of orphan works whose rights holders cannot easily be identified. It is not acceptable that public institutions have to conceal works for fear of reprisals under the current rules on intellectual property, with very costly proceedings to boot. Culture and creativity are not solely concerned with the market sphere. By making works available for our archives, by building on the rules on rights, we are progressing towards an ever more necessary redefinition of intellectual property, which we should welcome.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I abstained from voting on this document because we still do not know whether the beneficiaries mentioned in the Commission’s proposal should get harmonised definitions, and how Member States will deal with a situation where one Member State has to carry out a careful search but the information available in another Member State is more accurate and up-to-date, and therefore more apt as regards the actual search. The spectrum of permitted use also needs further attention, since the proposal leaves the door open not only for broad interpretation of the definition, but also for all forms of use in the various Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing.(FR) Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg’s report was adopted by a large majority by 531 votes to 11, with 65 abstentions. I welcome this result. Orphan works are works that are protected by copyright or related rights whose rights holder cannot be identified or located. Through this report, we are establishing a legal framework aimed at ensuring legal online access to orphan works across borders.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. – I voted in favour of this report because I support the directive which will allow those works which fall into the ‘orphan works’ category to be used by libraries and other public institutions within the Member States for broadly non-commercial purposes such as digitisation and preservation. This will help facilitate access so that these cultural works can remain available for future generations. I support the safeguards that were introduced to protect those rights holders whose works are accidentally designated as ‘orphans’. It is also important to carry out a diligent search for each individual work to appropriately respect the intellectual property rights of its authors and creators.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Constance Le Grip (PPE) , in writing.(FR) We have adopted a directive which responds perfectly to the issues of the digital era in which we are living. More specifically, it deals with the digitisation of cultural material with regard to orphan works, that is, works whose right holder cannot be identified or located. Without authorisation from the right holder, these works are not accessible to the public. We therefore wanted to authorise libraries, educational establishments, museums and archives to provide specific services in the internal market which involve the display of orphan works online. However, in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, which was consulted for its opinion, we wanted to provide clarifications with regard to copyright in order to avoid any misuse. I would like to take this opportunity to strongly remind you that copyright remains the foundation of innovation, creation, investments and productions in all creative industries. Therefore, by voting in favour of this text on orphan works, I fully supported the promotion of the cultural diversity of the EU and an increase in sources of knowledge and learning through regulated access to orphan works at EU level.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. (RO) The digitisation era has had a considerable impact, including on areas such as works protected by copyright, with a general trend being noticed towards creating and making libraries and digital archives available to the public. In the case of works whose authors are known, there is detailed, harmonised legislation which regulates the compensation for copyright, which is a crucial factor in encouraging innovation and provides the foundation for the creative industry. On the other hand, I think that works whose authors are unknown or who can no longer be identified, generally known as ‘orphan works’, must be accessible to the public to the same extent, without causing any detriment to the institutions which own them. This is why I support this measure as auguring well for this development because making works available online for cultural and educational purposes provides a way of protecting Europe’s cultural heritage.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – This is a welcome proposal. The European Union has an exceptionally rich cultural heritage. Much of this heritage, however, lies unused in the archives and libraries of the Member States and is inaccessible to the people of Europe. In order to maintain the diversity of European culture, it is essential to make these works available across borders. At present, only on their respective national territories are EU Member States able to digitise works where the right holder cannot be identified. In future, new legislation will make it possible to have Europe-wide online access to such orphan works. The European Commission’s proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain permitted uses of orphan works provides a basis governing books, newspapers, journals, films, musical works, TV productions, etc., which are, in fact, covered by copyright, but for which the right holder cannot be identified.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Véronique Mathieu (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the text on orphan works, which will allow for greater dissemination of cultural works as a result of their digitisation. In some Member States, works whose rights holders cannot be located or identified cannot be displayed online by libraries or other public organisations. From now on, there will be a framework for this, with measures in the event that a right holder comes forward.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I concur with Ms Geringer de Oedenberg in welcoming the proposal of the Commission. I completely agree with its objectives – namely, that EU-wide online availability of orphan works will promote Europe’s cultural diversity and increase sources of knowledge and learning. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This draft directive tries to reconcile copyright with making orphan works available for cultural or educational purposes. By combining the obligation to conduct a diligent search for the authors of the work prior to dissemination, the obligation to fairly remunerate them, even if they are discovered after their work has been disseminated, and the obligation to only use orphan works for public interest missions, this report manages to strike a successful balance. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Orphan works are works whose copyright holders cannot be identified or located. As it stands, the situation is that libraries that have digitised such works cannot make them available, as the question of creatorship cannot be resolved. As a result, even the non-commercial use of orphan works is not possible. Furthermore, there is no Europe-wide regulation of this area at present, which means that the accessibility of orphan works varies from Member State to Member State, which can give rise to considerable disadvantages for individual users. Since there has been a court decision in the United States that has authorised Google Books to publish orphan works, there is also a considerable competitive disadvantage for the EU in the online market. Intellectual property is an asset that should be particularly well protected, especially in these days of the online media. According to the report, there would be an option to revoke the status of a work as an orphan work if an author were to report justified infringements of his/her copyright as a result of publication. I voted in favour of the report as I take the view that it is time to provide legal certainty for users on the Internet, too, that goes beyond the borders of individual Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this resolution. We must promote European culture, bypassing anachronistic and restrictive bureaucracy while also guaranteeing copyright. Orphan works are works whose right holder or rights holders cannot be identified or found, while making a work available to the public requires authorisation from the right holder. For younger generations, especially, who are used to digital forms, what is not on the Internet might as well not exist. In short, orphan works represent a lost heritage that a powerful American search engine would like to take sole ownership of, although this is only limited to US works for now. Despite the Commission’s 24 August 2006 Recommendation, only a few Member States have introduced legislation on orphan works, limiting online access to citizens resident in their national territories. What this House is asking today is for libraries, educational establishments, museums and archives to be allowed to provide specific services for the online display of orphan works, whose ownership would be immediately recognised if, one day, the owner came forward with a duly documented request.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) Adopting this directive creates the framework for public institutions, such as libraries or museums, to research and use orphan works, and for accelerating the process of digitising Europe’s cultural heritage, making it available to all citizens. Adopting this directive will allow broader access to culture, supporting all those wishing to enrich their knowledge.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Franz Obermayr (NI), in writing. (DE) Orphan works – which is to say, works whose author is unknown – bring with them the issue that they cannot be published. Even non-commercial use is prohibited without the author’s consent. This report advocates the publication of orphan works for non-commercial use in all the Member States. This would facilitate proper, legal access to the content of such works for citizens. The availability of orphan works across the Union would promote Europe’s cultural diversity and provide a further source of knowledge and learning. Should the author then be found after all, it would be possible to revoke the status of ‘orphan work’ again. On the other hand, a great many issues relating to copyright remain unresolved. Thus, for example, the issue of the remuneration of the author and of a possible harmonisation of the Member States’ databases still has not been cleared up. I therefore abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) This report presents proposals on the fairest way of regulating the use of orphan works. According to statistics, around 45% of all works in the European Union fall into this category. Under current procedures, in order to protect rights regarding orphan works, such works cannot be publicly displayed and are not available to the public. This prohibition remains in force until the authors are established. The report states that the current procedures hamper the dissemination of European culture. I voted in favour of this report because it calls for permission to display orphan works and for all money raised to be used to search for the authors of these works. I welcome the rapporteur’s general proposal to use all possible means to help public libraries, museums, archives and broadcasters to contribute to revitalising European cultural heritage.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. (EL) The EU’s rich cultural heritage deserves commensurate protection and promotion. The fact that a large portion of that heritage is lying untouched in archives and libraries and, in some cases, is completely unavailable to EU citizens means that a regulatory framework needs to be created. This report, which I supported, proposes that orphan works should be available online, for the benefit of all citizens, without the need to travel. Europeana has already made an important contribution along these lines; however, it still does not include orphan works. We therefore need a new legislative provision which allows orphan works to be made freely available on the Internet. The proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on permitted uses of orphan works will pave the way for their use in books, newspapers, journals and films, with due respect for intellectual property rights in all cases, even though their authors cannot be identified.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning certain permitted uses of orphan works because I agree with the principle that a clear indication on how to identify and locate the copyright holders is required as a precondition for the full exercise of rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – Abstention. The Legal Affairs Committee report extended the scope of the directive to rights related to copyright which opened up the possibility for sound recordings and audio heritage institutions to be included in the directive. Public service broadcasting organisations and publishers were also included, and public-private partnership agreements and commercial use of orphan works were explicitly permitted. All in all, positive and necessary improvements of the Commission’s proposal. Unfortunately many, if not all, improvements in the Legal Affairs Committee were watered down, made unworkable or unclear in first reading agreement negotiations. Most notably unclear is Article 1(2c) in the portal paragraph defining the subject matter and scope of the directive by stating as a fact that ‘This directive does not interfere with any arrangements concerning the management of rights at national level’, which seems to exclude them from the scope of the directive since managing rights in practice is the same as permitting uses, including assessing orphan status and sharing registered search results.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) At long last, a solution has been found to establish a legal framework to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of works subject to copyright or related rights for which no right holder is identified or cannot be located.

A work can be deemed an orphan after a diligent search in good faith, and cannot be made public for profit. In the event that the rights holders are found as time goes on, the work will no longer be considered an orphan and they will be paid a fixed entitlement, bearing in mind it was disseminated for free. For these reasons, I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) We are living in a digital age. The system for managing intellectual property rights needs to be improved in order to support innovation and creativity within the single market.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI), in writing. (ES) I am voting in favour because the issue was broadly supported by Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs. Nevertheless, a more ambitious directive might be needed in future in order to better deal with these orphan works and allow for better collaboration between public and private entities. These orphan works represent an important cultural heritage.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  József Szájer (PPE), in writing. (HU) Making copyright-protected works publicly accessible in online digital libraries requires prior authorisation. Consequently, the use of ‘orphan works’, where the identity or whereabouts of the copyright holder are unknown, is virtually impossible, because in the absence of a right holder, the authorisation necessary for publication cannot be obtained. At present, Member States of the European Union are limited to digitising works whose rights holders cannot be identified only in their respective national territories. I voted for the adoption of the report so that we can finally create a basis for the management of books, newspapers, journals, films, music and television programmes protected by copyrights whose holders cannot be identified. As a result, such orphan works can, in the future, be made available online throughout Europe for cultural and educational purposes without prior authorisation.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report seeks, in the digital era, for certain orphan works, whose rights holders cannot be identified or found, to be made available to the public under certain rules and in accordance with authors’ rights. I am voting in favour as I believe that cultural borders should be abolished and that digitisation and online access to cultural material, libraries, schools, museums and archives at the level of the internal market should be allowed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted for the resolution on the proposal for a directive on certain permitted uses of orphan works. The directive is aimed at the specific issue of determining legally the status of orphan works and the consequences of this from the perspective of the authorised users and authorised uses of works or phonograms regarded as orphan works. Furthermore, the directive refers to some uses of orphan works by libraries, educational institutions and museums accessible to the public, and by archives, film and audio heritage institutions, as well as by public service broadcasting and television organisations established in Member States, in order to achieve objectives relating to their public interest missions.

Different approaches in Member States to the recognition of orphan work status can present obstacles to the functioning of the internal market and to the use of, and cross-border access to, these works. These different approaches can also result in restrictions on the free movement of goods and services which incorporate cultural content. Therefore, it is appropriate to ensure the mutual recognition of this status as it will allow orphan works to be accessed in all Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Derek Vaughan (S&D), in writing. – I voted in favour of this legislation, which will allow so-called ‘orphan works’ to be accessed in the public domain if the copyright holder cannot be traced. At present, institutions such as museums, libraries and public broadcasters risk being sued for misuse of content if they make use of orphan works, and therefore many remain unused. I welcome this new resolution, under which orphan works will be digitised and made public following a ‘diligent search’ for the copyright holder. In the event of the copyright holder being traced, the author will be compensated appropriately and the risks of prosecution for misuse of content will be minimised. This new ruling is a positive step forward in terms of making Europe’s rich cultural heritage available to a wider public.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) We live at a time of global digitisation, and we have to take special care over all issues of copyright., We should prevent the illegal use of copyrighted works, and we should also take care of works where the author is unknown. Enabling the digitisation of our cultural heritage is an important responsibility and should be supported at European level. The enormous number of amendments that were introduced during work on this directive are proof of the difficulties involved in creating a single text that does not, at the same time, breach decisions taken by Member States with regard to the mass digitisation of works. I have enormous respect for the parliamentarians working on this project and I voted in favour of the motion.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The present proposal of the Commission, which Parliament has voted on today, aims to allow libraries, educational establishments, museums and archives to provide specific services in the internal market which involves the display of orphan works online, that is, works whose right holder or rights holders cannot be identified or found.

One of the operational objectives of the proposal is to diminish transaction costs for the online use of orphan works by these institutions, and also to facilitate cross-border access.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing.(PL) The text that we voted on today contains important and long-awaited solutions. For this reason, I hope that it will be successful in closing the legal loophole in which we are currently caught and will allow wide access to orphan works. The report of Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg provides a great opportunity to accelerate the digitisation of cultural works in Europe which, of course, will mean that they will have a wider readership. I hope that this will provide a strong stimulus for cultural development and for the wider dissemination of works such as those of Juliusz Korczak and other figures killed during the Second World War.

The new clauses also allow us to legalise the use of works by galleries, museums and public libraries. At the same time, they provide proper protection to any heirs of the authors. This is a big step forward.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The discussion on permitted uses of orphan works must be guided by the principle that access to culture and the arts is a citizens’ right, and an important tool for development, as well as for cultural, social and economic dynamism. Using orphan works not for commercial purposes but simply with the aim of political dissemination is of undeniable economic and social value for society. Nonetheless, what we fear is that the aim of this recognition may be to promote and disseminate the works within the framework of strengthening the single market and competitiveness among companies, monopolising the commercialisation of these works and thereby creating a lucrative business for large digital distribution companies.

 
  
  

Report: Vital Moreira (A7-0069/2011)

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Josefa Andrés Barea (S&D) , in writing. (ES) This report shows that it is a mistake to use trade measures as urgent humanitarian aid, from the point of view of both convergence with the World Trade Organisation rules and the efficiency which can be gained by following parliamentary procedure. The EU already has appropriate tools to facilitate international aid in the event of a disaster.

In fact, the majority of textile exporters in Pakistan who export to the EU are large companies with a turnover of more than EUR 200 million, and they would be the greatest beneficiaries of these trade preferences. There is no direct relationship between these major beneficiaries of the agreement and those people affected by the floods.

Moreover, these measures undermine the interests of the entire European textile sector, which has already been badly affected by other factors including the ongoing brutal economic crisis. We must be sensitive to the delicate situation which our textile industries find themselves in. In addition, most are located in southern European countries, where the economic crisis is ravaging employment.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing.(FR) Taking into account the particularly unfavourable situation in Pakistan since the 2010 floods, Parliament wanted to support the country’s economic recovery. It will temporarily be allowed to export more goods to Europe, duty free. This exceptional measure will apply until the end of 2013 and will concern the textiles, clothing, linen, leather and ethanol sectors.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because it is aimed at adopting a regulation setting out aid measures for Pakistan, which was recently affected by floods. Basically, this regulation seeks to extend autonomous trade preferences applied to 75 product lines. Despite the fact that humanitarian aid is already being provided, trade preferences would contribute even more to combating the negative long-term economic consequences of the floods. The recovery of the state of Pakistan is important not only for its citizens, but also for the overall stability of the region. Before determining how long to extend autonomous trade preferences for, it is important for the Commission to carry out a full assessment. This should assess the overall impact of the measures on EU trade and production, their effectiveness on the population and fiscal resources of Pakistan, as well as Pakistan’s commitments to improve the effectiveness of its taxation system. Strict compliance with the relevant rules of origin for products is necessary, as is ensuring that the trade preferences only benefit those they are intended for and it is also crucial that they truly serve Pakistan’s economic recovery. It is also important to stress that a worsening of the human rights situation in Pakistan in the future may lead to the suspension of the trade preferences.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing.(FR) I voted in favour of the report on granting emergency autonomous trade preferences to Pakistan. Following the terrible monsoon rains that caused severe landslides in Pakistan in 2010, the European Union has decided to put in place support measures for this region. This support comes in the form of a temporary agreement on increased market access to the Union through the exoneration of customs duties or tariff quotas for some products, mainly from the textile sector, which accounts for the majority of trade between the EU and Pakistan. Nevertheless, these trade preferences would only apply if guarantees of respect for human rights were provided in exchange for this aid. Furthermore, it seems crucial to limit the duration of the autonomous trade preferences to 31 December 2013 so as to allow the Commission to fully evaluate the impact of the measures.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted against granting exceptional autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan. Substantial corrections were introduced to the Commission’s initial proposal, which testifies to the added value of Parliament’s intervention in matters of international trade after the Treaty of Lisbon. Nonetheless, the text on the compromise reached between Parliament and the Council, with the help of the Commission, maintains the two original sins which caused me to vote against the report at first reading. Firstly, it is inadmissible that trade preferences be instrumentalised under the pretext of humanitarian aid, such as the floods of two years ago, for which the EU has appropriate financial tools available. Secondly, in spite of the initiative’s harmful effects – mainly for the European textile and clothing sector – having been substantially reduced in the final version, it is still the most vulnerable countries, like Portugal, that will pay the bill for the EU’s generosity towards Pakistan, which is not fair.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) Finally, two years later and following the ‘green light’ from the World Trade Organisation, this ‘urgent’ process, which will grant emergency autonomous trade preferences, namely, exclusive preferences, to Pakistan, following the devastating floods in 2010, is finished. As shadow rapporteur of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) for this report and a Member for Portugal, I closely monitored this process and twice submitted questions to the Commission and the Council on this issue. What was in question was essentially the use of EU trade policy as a tool for humanitarian policy, an unparalleled precedent in the history of the EEC or the EU. I therefore voted against this report. This does not mean that I am against humanitarian aid to Pakistan as a response to emergency situations created by floods, conflicts and Afghan refugees. Far from it, in fact! As a European, I commend and support without reservation the amount of EUR 2.458 billion in humanitarian aid being granted to the Pakistani population for the period 2009-2013 by the Member States and the Commission. What I do not understand is the rationality of insisting on a precedent of using trade policy as a tool for humanitarian aid, nor do I believe that this is possible to achieve.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE), in writing.(FR) Pakistan’s economy has been bled dry since the serious floods that hit the country in 2010. In order to favour the economic recovery of those areas worst hit by the floods, Pakistan will be able to export more goods to Europe duty free until the end of 2013, particularly in the textile, ethanol and leather sectors. The European Union’s trade policy cannot be used as a humanitarian aid instrument in the long term, but certain exceptional circumstances may justify one-off trade facilities. Furthermore, should Pakistan take measures that are in breach of human rights in the coming months, the agreement states that the European Union must immediately suspend these trade facilities.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted against granting exceptional autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan. Substantial corrections were introduced to the Commission’s initial proposal, which testifies to the added value of the intervention of Parliament in matters of international trade following the Treaty of Lisbon. Nonetheless, the text on the compromise reached between Parliament and the Council, with the help of the Commission, maintains two original sins which caused me to vote against the report at first reading. Firstly, it is inadmissible that trade preferences be instrumentalised under the pretext of humanitarian aid, such as the floods of two years ago, for which the EU has appropriate financial tools available. Secondly, in spite of the initiative’s harmful effects, mainly for the European textile and clothing sector, having been substantially reduced in the final version, it is still the most vulnerable countries, like Portugal, that will pay the bill for the EU’s generosity towards Pakistan, which is not fair.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) Pakistan suffered serious human and material damage after being struck by floods to an unprecedented degree. These tragic circumstances motivated the presentation, on the part of the Commission, of a proposal for a regulation which introduces emergency trade preferences for Pakistan. I honour the memory of the victims and I hope that Pakistan can recover its stability after such a severe blow. I believe that the European Union should not be closed in on itself and should aim to help those most in need so that, in principle, there are no repairs to be made to the same preferential regime. Nonetheless, I believe that this cannot be disassociated from a permanent demand on the part of the EU regarding the need for those who receive our aid to respect human rights. Furthermore, these measures should have been subjected to an in-depth assessment on the part of the Commission regarding their possible impact on competing EU companies and possible alternative measures studied. Fortunately, Parliament was aware of these issues.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report concerns the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council introducing emergency autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan. In terms of humanitarian aid, the European Union always leads the way. That was the case when floods devastated a large part of Pakistan, with enormous human and material losses. In addition to humanitarian assistance in the first hours of the disaster, the EU also sought other ways to support the country’s economic recovery, as is set out in the proposed regulation. I hope that Pakistan’s economy recovers quickly and that it is transformed into a prosperous country and not a refuge for terrorists. Nonetheless, I believe that humanitarian aid cannot be substituted by trade preferences. In spite of the fact that this report is better than the initial proposal, I believe that sectors like the European textile industry may be harmed. I am therefore voting against this proposal.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) In May of last year, we voted against this report, a position we now maintain. It is worth remembering that this proposal was drafted following floods, which affected the country in 2010. As we stated back then, forms of effective aid and genuine solidarity with the people of this country are necessary. However, the floods ended up being a pretext to satisfy the interests of those who, in Europe, will benefit from these measures. At the same time, it harms countries and regions which are more dependent on industries like the textiles, clothing, footwear, components, leather goods and leather substitutes sectors. In Portugal, representatives from the footwear, components, leather goods and leather substitutes sectors have repeatedly expressed concern about the impact that the proposal for granting emergency autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan will have on their sectors. This impact is severe in a sector that is already very weakened – as it was hit hard by the liberalisation of world trade – and which is concentrated in regions with high levels of unemployment, poverty and marginalisation, and with low economic diversification. However, it becomes even more serious when these regions are situated in Member States, like Portugal, which are facing an extremely serious economic and social crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Presented after the unprecedented floods that devastated a vast portion of Pakistan’s territory last summer, the Commission’s proposal seeks to extend autonomous trade preferences to this country concerning 75 product lines of interest to Pakistan (mostly textile and clothing) in the form of exemption from custom duties, with the exception of one product (ethanol) for which a tariff rate quota would apply. The proposed measures should be welcomed as an excellent example of the synergies that the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has made possible. While the EU and its Member States already provide Pakistan with generous humanitarian aid, the extension of trade preferences to this country is part of a larger package of measures that would address the medium and long-term economic consequences of the catastrophic floods. Ensuring Pakistan’s recovery and future sustainable development is extremely important not only for its citizens, but also for the security and the stability of the region. A stable and prosperous Pakistan that does not drift away into extremism or fundamentalism is obviously in the EU’s interest.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I abstained from voting on introducing emergency autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan. Although the autonomous trade preferences would be extended to Pakistan for three years, a full impact assessment of the proposed measures has not been carried out by the Commission prior to the adoption of the proposal for a regulation. In addition, it should be noted that the Commission’s proposal does not impose any burden on Pakistan in the field of human and social rights. Furthermore, it cannot be excluded that the decision to grant autonomous trade preferences for flood stricken Pakistan may be followed by other similar initiatives in the future. Thus, there is a risk that adopting autonomous trade preferences decoupled from any kind of human rights conditionality would, in fact, undermine the current system of EU preferences based on respecting a set of fundamental rights and values.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – Presented after the unprecedented floods that devastated a vast portion of Pakistan’s territory, the Commission’s proposal seeks to extend autonomous trade preferences to this country concerning 75 product lines of interest to Pakistan (mostly textile and clothing) in the form of exemption from custom duties, with the exception of one product (ethanol) for which a tariff rate quota would apply. The proposed measures should be welcomed as a perfect example of the synergies that the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has made possible. While the EU and its Member States have already provided Pakistan with humanitarian aid, the extension of trade preferences to this country is part of a larger package of measures that would address the medium and long-term economic consequences of the catastrophic floods. Ensuring Pakistan’s recovery and future sustainable development is extremely important, not only for its citizens, but also for the security and the stability of the region. A stable and prosperous Pakistan that does not drift away into extremism or fundamentalism is obviously in the EU’s interest.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I agree on the aid, but I also agree that we ought to take into account the situation of human rights in Pakistan. A serious degradation of this situation could thus be a reason to suspend the application of the trade preferences awarded to the country. I voted in favour.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Vital Moreira (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted against the granting of exceptional autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan because, in spite of substantial corrections introduced to the initial proposal of the Commission, which testifies to the added value of the intervention of Parliament in matters of international trade following the Treaty of Lisbon, the text on the compromise reached between Parliament and the Council, with the help of the Commission, maintains the two ‘original sins’ that caused me to vote against the report at first reading. It is inadmissible that trade preferences be instrumentalised under the pretext of humanitarian aid, for which the EU has appropriate financial tools available. Moreover, in spite of the initiative’s harmful effects, mainly in relation to the European textile and clothing sector, having been substantially reduced in the final version, it is still the most vulnerable countries, such as Portugal, which will pay the bill for the EU’s generosity towards Pakistan, which is not fair.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) I shall never grow tired of repeating that agreements like these are the ruin of Europe.

The floods in Pakistan happened two years ago and the European Union has already helped this Asian country in the short term, with almost half a billion euro, and it continues to do so: just last week, in the Committee on Budgets, we voted in favour of new appropriations for Pakistan.

On the other hand, what has been adopted today is a criminal agreement, which will probably threaten to give the Italian textile industry the coup de grace: this aid will not actually go to people affected by the floods, but will be used to help further increase the revenues of many large Pakistani companies that are already internationally competitive.

If the goal is to sweep away the entire textile and manufacturing sector of some EU countries, then come out and say it. I am from Prato, a city that used to be one of the main textile districts within the whole of Europe. Local businesses that have managed to struggle on so far might not be able to withstand this latest blow. If things do, unfortunately, unfold in this way, we will be quite sure who is to blame.

We of the Lega Nord have always had clear ideas on the subject, others perhaps less so.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Cristiana Muscardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) We are pleased that this House’s efforts to reduce the negative impact of the first draft of the Pakistan waiver have resulted in some significant amendments, such as cutting preferences from three years to 15 months, reducing tariff quotas by 25% from the original volume, and cutting the threshold for excluding products that record sudden increases in imports.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted against this report as the introduction of emergency autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan has not been positive, and a harmful precedent has been set by using trade policy as humanitarian aid. The adoption of this measure would create major imbalances in the economies of some European countries, on top of injustices related to neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and India. Nonetheless, I am in favour of EUR 2.458 billion in humanitarian aid being given to populations affected by the floods which affected a large part of the country.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The report was referred back to committee at the sitting of 10 May 2011 (Rule 57(2)). Amendment 47, adopted, replaces the amendment adopted in that sitting. We abstained in the amended proposal, and voted in favour of the final legislative resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Licia Ronzulli (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of this measure because I think it will be an effective way to revive the recovery of Pakistan’s economy following the recent floods.

The decision to give the country the possibility, temporarily, to export more duty-free goods to the EU will certainly enable its economy to cushion the damage suffered.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Oreste Rossi (EFD), in writing. (IT) This regulation is something we have never seen before: using a trade policy in favour of a third country instead of financial aid for humanitarian purposes.

I voted against this underhand playing of favourites instead of intervening with economic aid. Textiles customs for Pakistan have been cut, which is tantamount to destroying a European industry that is already in serious trouble. This is a country that has no health or pension cover for workers, where men, women and children are exploited. Not surprisingly, highly labour intensive textile products then arrive in my country and across Europe at very low prices.

In Italy, the crisis affecting the textile sector has led to tens of thousands of lost jobs. A blow like this threatens to make it disappear, which would have very serious consequences on employment levels.

It is right to help Pakistan after the catastrophic flooding it experienced, but it should be done through emergency economic aid and not to the detriment of a single industry.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Matteo Salvini (EFD), in writing. (IT) I decided to vote against the report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council introducing emergency autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan because I think, frankly, that it is absurd. I cannot understand the need to come up with such a complex and laborious regulation because, in just a few years’ time and without any great upheaval, Pakistan will benefit from the trade preferences established in the recent reform of the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) system, which I voted against. Moreover, this regulation provides for the total elimination of customs for a list of 75 tariff lines that relate almost exclusively to the textile sector, which will have a devastating impact on the industrial make-up of northern Italy.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Renate Sommer (PPE), in writing. (DE) I voted against the agreement concerning immediate autonomous trade preferences for Pakistan. The planned removal of import duties on 75 products threatens thousands of jobs in the EU. This applies, in particular, to the textile industry, but also, for example, to the manufacturers of industrial ethanol in Germany. Given the tough economic situation in the EU, these negative consequences of the agreement are not justifiable. The planned agreement is not only dubious from an economic point of view, however; it also fails in terms of the original goal of trade facilitation as a form of emergency aid. As a result of the initial refusal of India to accept the trade agreement in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the negotiations on the agreement have been long delayed. Two years after the flood disaster, we can no longer talk of short-term emergency aid. It goes without saying that the EU’s relations with Pakistan – which is capable of playing a major role in the security of the region – are of major importance. However, with the approval of over EUR 415 million for emergency humanitarian aid and with the additional provision of EUR 114.8 million through the amendment of ongoing programmes towards rebuilding, the EU has already demonstrated its solidarity with Pakistan. Mixing development aid and economic policy, which would be the effect of this agreement, is disproportionate, given the problems I have described above.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) This report presents an exceptional approach to economic development aid to Pakistan, after floods devastated part of the country. An exemption from custom duties is therefore proposed, with a list of 75 strategic products for the Pakistani textiles and clothing market. Parliament proposes that this trade concession be granted for a period of two years, with a possible one year extension, following an evaluation of the respective impact on these strategic sectors and on the Pakistani population. A conditionality clause should be included regarding human rights, as is presented in other trade agreements. I believe that the Commission proposal of three years presents a fairer approach to addressing the situation in Pakistan. I therefore voted against this report. These measures should not harm textiles and clothing exporting countries, namely Portugal, and do not permit Pakistan to introduce new rights or charges on imports coming from the EU.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing.(PL) I decided to abstain from voting on this issue as I am concerned that the adoption of autonomous trade preferences without any conditions regarding human rights will weaken the present system of EU preferences, which is based on respect for certain rights and values. In addition, I do not have much trust in the authorities in Pakistan that supervise EU aid. At the same time, I would like to express my sadness at the enormous tragedy that has affected that country.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0425/2012

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I was one of the co-authors of this resolution because the situation in Syria is a cause of great concern for the international community. Thousands of Syrian citizens killed and maimed, badly injured children, thousands of refugees sheltering in neighbouring countries – this is the price of keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power. Due to certain circumstances – the disastrous position of China and Russia, sycophantic to President Assad and his regime, the US Presidential election campaign – the international community implies that the EU must play a much greater role and take greater responsibility in this situation. I voted in favour of this important resolution and hope that it will encourage the leaders of the EU and High Representative Catherine Ashton to take more vigorous action to address this bloody conflict that has gone on for too long.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Charalampos Angourakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. (EL) The Greek Communist Party group in the European Parliament condemns the unacceptable joint motion for a resolution by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and the social democrats, liberals and conservatives on Syria. As with Libya, the European Parliament is at the vanguard and is paving the way for a new criminal imperialist military intervention against the Syrian people. It impudently and provocatively demands the creation of so-called ‘humanitarian corridors’ and zones which, like the no-fly zone over Libya, provide the pretext needed for military operations by the EU/US/NATO imperialists that will result in civilian bloodshed in Syria. The joint motion for a resolution prepares the way for open intervention by the imperialists by citing civilians’ ‘right to protection’, in order to give military operations the necessary credentials. It calls for various military alliances to be coordinated in a ‘single opposition’ in order to lend a non-existent popular cause to the criminal plans of the EU, US and NATO to control and exploit the wealth-producing resources and nations in the area. The people urgently need to step up their anti-imperialist action and fight to overturn the new imperialist crime and block the way to intervention, imperialist war and civilian bloodshed in the Middle East and the wider area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. – I strongly support this resolution because it reiterates its condemnation in the strongest possible terms of the increasing use of indiscriminate violence in Syria. In particular, we denounce the use of heavy artillery and shelling against populated areas, and horrific killings by the Syrian army, security forces and the Shabiha, as well as by various opposition forces. I also would like to denounce, as a matter of priority, the support given by various external actors and states to all parties to the conflict, with financial, logistical and tactical aid, including the supply of weapons, munitions and all other types of military equipment. We must bear in mind that any further militarisation of the conflict can only bring greater suffering to the Syrian people and the region as a whole.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) I voted for this resolution in order to express my concern about the serious deterioration in the situation in Syria. I endorse the efforts being made by the European Union to step up the pressure on the Syrian regime. The main aim must still be to end the repression against the civilian population. UN sanctions offer the best solution for supporting a peaceful resolution of this crisis. Active political dialogue must be promoted involving Syrian opposition forces and society. This dialogue will be able to meet ordinary citizens’ expectations on achieving a peaceful, democratic transition in Syria.

I am concerned about the violence in Syria, particularly as Romania has the second largest community of foreign citizens residing in Syria. I am also worried about the possible impact of the Syrian crisis spreading throughout the region.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mário David (PPE), in writing. (PT) As one of two underwriters of the motion for a resolution by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and this joint motion for a resolution, I would like to express here, in this explanation of vote and to complement the speech I made in plenary, my state of mind related to this horrendous and demeaning situation, which has exponentially worsened in recent weeks to completely unsustainable and intolerable levels, which we should be ashamed of as human beings. It was thus with dismay and some disgust that I voted again for this resolution on the situation in Syria – with mixed feelings which seem to be shared by the whole House – and I hope that the hypocrisy of the international community, based on a set of criteria, in the light of similar, recent situations, will come to an end as soon as possible and that the Syrian population can aspire to a future in peace and harmony, in a country which is going through a difficult time, which goes against obscure idealism mixed with genuine cries for freedom to a regime that is fighting to survive, as I stated in plenary.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution as I deplore the escalation of violence against the Syrian civilian population by President al-Assad’s regime. This is a criminal attack on the right to life and people’s safety, in particular, for children and women. If the action of the EU and the international community fails in Syria, the stability of the Middle East will be compromised. Security in Europe will also be seriously threatened in several ways, from terrorism to arms proliferation, from illegal immigration to energy security.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The news and images that are reaching us about Syria show us the brutality which is devastating the country and how it is mired in the most cruel and fratricidal of wars. The attempts by al-Assad’s regime to survive international condemnation and quell the popular revolt have failed. However, the insurgents do not yet seem to possess the capacity to obtain a decisive military victory, which could bring the regime to an end. Internationally, the United Nations Security Council has been blocked by two of its permanent members, preventing the international community from taking measures towards a more resolute intervention in the country. This situation of brutality and paralysis is affecting, above all, defenceless citizens who suffer and pay with their lives for their desire to live in peace and democracy. The European Union and Parliament cannot but vehemently condemn what is happening in Syria, demand that the hostilities come to an end, and encourage the transition to a free, democratic and peaceful Syria.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) The humanitarian, political and military situation in Syria has been the subject of various analyses in this Parliament over the last two years, and resolutions condemning the brutal acts of the al-Assad regime have even been voted upon. Living conditions in Syria are getting worse day by day, in the face of the impotence of an international community which has not managed to put an end to one of the cruellest and most fratricidal wars of our times. This joint motion for a Parliament resolution presented by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the European Conservatives and Reformists Group and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe addresses the political situation in Syria, where a dictatorial regime led by President Bashar al-Assad continues to violate the most basic human rights, resulting in more than 60 000 victims among a defenceless population which only wishes to live in peace and democracy. Furthermore, al-Assad’s air force is continuing to massacre the rebel forces and devastate civilian areas, and it has not even been possible to establish a humanitarian corridor. I regret that the international community continues to hesitate to resolve this conflict, in particular, the behaviour of the superpowers China and Russia, which have not assumed their political and humanitarian responsibilities within the United Nations Security Council.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Just like the positions adopted to attack Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the majority of Parliament is once again insisting on a destabilisation campaign in Syria, widely broadcast by the mainstream media. There are aims to exacerbate real, existing problems, to manipulate facts, to hide the responsibilities of the EU, the USA, NATO and the major powers of the EU, and of obscurantist monarchies and fundamentalists in the Gulf region, in order to support military aggression in Syria. On the ground, a strategy of militarisation, subversion, aggression, interference and war continues by the so-called ‘friends of Syria group’, some of whom have been identified as belonging to terrorist networks, funded, armed and trained by imperialist powers, namely France and the United Kingdom, and by dictatorships in the Persian Gulf. The majority of Parliament is once again on the side of those that carry out actions against efforts developed to resolve the situation in Syria through political and diplomatic means. In Syria, imperialism seeks to repeat wars of aggression perpetrated in the name of human rights and democracy, but whose real motives are the economic and geostrategic interests of the main imperialist powers of NATO, and the profit of the military complex and associated multinationals. Obviously, we voted against the resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) Nearly 20 000 people have been killed and many more injured in the brutal crackdown by the Syrian regime against its population since March 2011. 235 000 refugees from Syria have been registered or are awaiting registration with the UN High Commission for Refugees. Tens of thousands more who flee from Syria into neighbouring countries do not register. According to UN estimates, more than 1.2 million people have been internally displaced within Syria and around 3 million are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The crisis took a particularly brutal turn in August 2012 which resulted in a rapid escalation of these figures. The slaughter of its own population perpetrated by the Syrian regime, which has driven the country to the brink of civil war, continues.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which reiterates Parliament’s condemnation in the strongest possible terms of the ever increasing use of indiscriminate violence by President Assad’s regime against the Syrian civilian population, in particular, the targeted killing of children and women and mass executions in villages.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jiří Maštálka (GUE/NGL), in writing.(CS) In my opinion, the authors of the submitted proposal have done some very good work in trying to find a balanced viewpoint. I therefore consider it right that the proposal opens with a call to halt the violence. Despite this, I feel that the text is too abstract. The calls to the Syrian regime are academic, as the EU’s powers do not extend to that unhappy land. They do extend, however, to the Member States. I therefore consider it essential for the resolution to include a call on Member States to put an immediate halt to military hardware, logistics and intelligence support for all parties in the conflict. We must call on all Member State governments to strictly honour and uphold international law when addressing the conflict in Syria, and to seek peace talks between all parties in the conflict. We should learn a lesson from the Libyan tragedy, when innocent people perished under NATO bombing and a population continues to live in chaos on account of NATO and EU support for an unstable regime. Our position should be clear concerning the UN Security Council talks on Syria. It is, above all, necessary to put our own house in order. We cannot look on while certain European statesmen demand, on behalf of the EU, a halt to the violence and respect for human rights by day, and then by night the same statesmen decide, on behalf of NATO, to supply arms to the rebels. Legal nihilism cannot be blurred by any propaganda, at least not in countries where people are dying.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The utmost coordination between Member States is required, especially at the United Nations. We must be united in dealing with countries such as China and Russia, whose continued vetoes contribute to prolonging the current devastating civil war.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This resolution condemns the massacres perpetrated by the Syrian regime and the possible crimes against humanity authorised or perpetrated by the Syrian army, security forces and armed groups. It calls on Bashar al-Assad to step aside so as to allow for a peaceful transition. It declares its support for Syrians struggling for democracy. It calls on the regime to call a truce to ensure that humanitarian assistance is sent to the Syrian people. In that sense, I support it.

However, it is unacceptable that this resolution suggests the use of foreign military intervention under the pretext of the ‘responsibility to protect’ and proposes setting up humanitarian corridors (which means sending in military troops) along the Syrian border and even in Syria itself. It is even more unacceptable that it proposes to operate outside of the United Nations framework to put such corridors in place. What can be said about the intervention it promises by calling on the EU, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, the Arab League and the Syrian opposition to prepare for peaceful transition in Syria? I voted against this text.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing.(FR) The situation in Syria is morally unsustainable. The international community has a moral obligation to go beyond posturing and declarations, to practise the right of humanitarian intervention and to ask itself whether it would be more relevant to act within the framework of the G20, which is more representative of the reality of the world, rather than obstinately and fruitlessly trying to obtain a resolution in the Security Council. Faced with escalating violence, we must help the population by providing emergency medical supplies and food, by setting up humanitarian corridors and by establishing no-fly zones. We must also urgently refer this matter to the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. If we stand idly by and watch as massacres are taking place in Syria, we will have to explain ourselves to future generations. Inaction is not an option, as Ban Ki-moon rightly said.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) According to United Nations figures, more than 20 000 people have already died in Syria since the start of the unrest. All attempts thus far by international politicians to end this crisis and the fighting have failed. Unfortunately, there are too many external influences that are simply aggravating the situation in the country. We hear, for example, that there have been weapons deliveries to both sides in the conflict. Meanwhile, paid mercenaries, too, are said to be active in Syria. That is totally unacceptable. The international powers must not abuse Syria as a pawn in their games and a strategic marching zone. The objective must be to put a stop to the bloodshed as quickly as possible. To that end, the pressure on the Assad regime must be increased in order to prevent further violations of human rights, while, at the same time, it must be made clear in conversation with the opposition that there is a need for a transition to democracy that is as ordered and peaceful as possible. A chaos like that in Libya must be avoided. Unfortunately, the resolution before us takes all too little account of all this and one-sidedly follows the hitherto unsuccessful policy, for which reason I voted against it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) The situation in Syria is tragic. We have to make it clear that moral responsibility for the violence perpetrated by the regime, the lives lost and the limited ways for the international community to act lies on the shoulders of those countries using the right of veto in the UN Security Council. Alongside all diplomatic, political and humanitarian means, it is important for material on crimes against humanity committed in Syria to be passed to the International Criminal Court. It is doubtful whether hesitation to do this would somehow bring peace in Syria closer.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tiziano Motti (PPE), in writing. (IT) Supporting the resolution on Syria, as we have done today, gives voice to a clear stance held by this House: the Syrian people have a right to a peaceful and effective transition towards a democracy that is capable of meeting their legitimate demands and is based on an inclusive dialogue involving all democratic forces. A process of fundamental democratic reform is desperately needed, which must also bear in mind the need to ensure national reconciliation and aim to ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of minorities – especially ethnic and religious minorities. Today’s vote reaffirms this House’s unbending support for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ call for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, in view of a formal investigation. Syria must firmly commit to ensuring that all those responsible for violations of human rights and international law are identified and called to answer for their actions, offering real support for the work of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which is tasked with investigating all violations of international human rights standards and international humanitarian law in the country, thereby ensuring that the culprits are brought to justice.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. – The current conflict in Syria is a humanitarian disaster that must not continue. Thousands of Syrians have been killed since the uprising began. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have streamed across the borders of neighbouring countries. The EU must further act under the CSDP to try to end the bloodshed and resolve the crisis as soon as possible. I voted in favour of this resolution because it urges the Member States to cooperate and agree on a common path forward, working together with regional countries surrounding Syria, providing sufficient humanitarian aid for Syrian citizens and refugees, consolidating opposition groups to form a united front to replace Bashar al-Assad and drafting a framework for a transitional government to oversee the implementation of peace and democracy in Syria. Direct military intervention could potentially aggravate the situation and is not the best option. The EU should continue to apply pressure and economic sanctions on Syria while working with the other members of the UN Security Council to arrive at a common solution for this terrible crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this report in solidarity with the Syrian people.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Unfortunately, however, we did not manage to include an oral amendment asking to call also the Member States, and not only the EU, to take appropriate responsible measures regarding the possible influx of refugees.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution because I consider that humanitarian aid needs to be delivered swiftly to Syria and because international humanitarian law must be respected fully by everyone involved in the crisis.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) Since the beginning of the conflict on 15 March 2011, more than 27 000 people have died, according to data from the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, and more than 250 000 Syrians have left the country, which is mired in extreme violence between al-Assad’s forces and the rebels. The consequences of this conflict have already spread to neighbouring countries, with an unprecedented wave of refugees. In spite of humanitarian, financial and technical assistance from the EU, international organisations and NGOs, the situation of the Syrian population worsens day by day. I regret that a serious and concerted position has not yet been adopted by the Security Council and I would reiterate my condemnation of all kinds of human rights violations. I hope that the UN adopts a common position which condemns and reinforces sanctions for the al-Assad regime and that a concerted effort is made for the construction of a new, stable regime.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Geoffrey Van Orden (ECR), in writing. – I voted in favour of the resolution on the situation in Syria. I fully support assistance to alleviate the plight of Syrians who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries. As a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and with a particular interest in Turkey, I have been paying close attention to the impact on the region as a whole and the challenge not only Turkey but Jordan and Lebanon face in supporting those that flee the crisis. The unfortunate reality is that the international community is at a deadlock, the Annan plan has not worked and the Syrian opposition is divided. It is vital that we do all that we can to identify and support those in the Syrian opposition with a genuinely democratic perspective and with political goals that might help bring peace to a troubled region.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) The current political conflicts in Syria under the Assad regime are accompanied by a high degree of human rights violations, numerous crimes against humanity and increasing militarisation. There is thus an urgent need for measures and agreements at all political levels in order to counter these developments. I therefore voted in favour of this report.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing.(PL) The situation in Syria is still very complicated and unclear. A large proportion of Syrians, up to 70%, still support President Assad. What is more, he can count on the total loyalty of Alawites, Christians and Druze living in the country, who constitute about 34% of the population. For this reason, there is currently not the slightest chance of any suspension of hostilities, especially as the situation at the front is favourable for government forces. The rebels only control the country’s northern regions and they are not in a position to engage in warfare outside mountainous or urban areas.

For over two months now, there have been no indications of any serious instances of desertion from the government side. On the other hand, we have received information about battles between the rebels and the inhabitants of Aleppo. Opposition forces do not mean armed forces; they are acting as representatives of the expatriate community rather than being the real voice of Syrians. In the conflict, there are worrying stories of ever more frequent attacks on Christians and on Christian places of worship by the rebels. Unfortunately, the resolutions that have been put to the vote describe this situation in a way that is too superficial.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) Just like the positions adopted to attack Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the majority of Parliament is once again insisting on a destabilisation campaign in Syria, widely broadcast by the media worldwide, to exacerbate real, existing problems, to manipulate facts, to hide the responsibilities of the EU, the USA, NATO and the great powers of the EU, and of obscurantist monarchies and fundamentalists in the Gulf region, in order to support military aggression in Syria. On the ground, a strategy of militarisation, subversion, aggression, involvement and war continues by the so-called ‘friends of Syria group’, some of which have been identified as belonging to terrorist networks, funded, armed and trained by imperialist powers and by dictatorships in the Persian Gulf. The majority of Parliament is once again on the side of those that carry out actions against efforts developed to resolve the situation in Syria through political and diplomatic means, against the sovereignty and the legitimate democratic and national rights of the people. In Syria, imperialism seeks to repeat wars of aggression perpetrated in the name of human rights and democracy, but whose real motives are the economic and geostrategic interests of the main imperialist powers of NATO.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0427/2012

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution as I deplore the recent deterioration of the legal system in Russia, in particular, as regards acts of intimidation and legal persecution for political motives in relation to opposition activists. Relations between the EU and Russia must also depend on efforts to consolidate democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) The international community recently learnt of the sentencing to two years’ imprisonment of three members of a feminist punk group for alleged hooliganism and incitement to religious hatred after they burst into the main Orthodox cathedral and performed a song against the regime of Vladimir Putin. I will divide the issue into three parts: taste, religion and politics. Although freedom of expression is of great value to our civilisation, this should not exempt us from critically appraising its manifestations. For my part, and without denying freedom of expression, I think the action of the band ‘Pussy Riot’ was in very bad taste. In religious terms, we have seen actions carried out in places of worship across Europe clearly disrespecting believers’ religious sentiments and, often, exhibiting clear hostility towards them. Believers are not lesser citizens than others. There are certainly other ways to condemn the Russian regime. Nonetheless, more important than all this is the political issue and the functioning of the rule of law, the proportionality of punishment and its use for political aims. Russia has a long way to go in this area. It is up to us to help this happen.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) This joint motion for a resolution of the European Parliament, presented by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the European Conservatives and Reformists Group and the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, concerns the political use of justice in Russia. The exchange in the roles of President and Prime Minister between Putin and Medvedev has provoked mistrust in the international community in the process of the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights. There are various voices which denounce the violations of democratic norms in Russia and the judicial system’s lack of impartiality in the face of political power, in spite of the Supreme Court following the recommendation of the Human Rights Council and having reduced Lebedev’s sentence to three years. Yet there are other cases, like politically motivated trials of scientists accused of espionage, the imprisonment of opposition members like the activist, Taisia Osipova, who was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment, singers from the punk band ‘Pussy Riot’, who performed in a church and have been subjected to exaggerated sentences, and so on. As Russia is a strategic partner with whom the EU has collaborative agreements, we have the right to demand correct behaviour in terms of respect for human rights and the independence of the judicial system.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This resolution is part of a permanent campaign by those who, with unrestrained imperial ambitions, see Russia as a wealth of natural resources and an enormous market, including its workforce. The majority of Parliament is continuing an extremely well-known, hypocritical strategy of disrespect for Russian sovereignty and interference in its internal affairs. This strategy is all the more hypocritical given that it is pointing its finger at the country yet continuing to cover up the situation in the EU, where there are the most serious violations to national sovereignty, principles and democratic freedoms, to citizens’ rights, freedoms and guarantees, with the attempt to impose a reversal in the area of workers’ and peoples’ rights and social achievements. It is not possible to separate this campaign from Russia’s role in the United Nations Security Council, preventing the USA, the EU and NATO from achieving their strategy of instrumentalising the UN to try to legitimise military aggression towards Syria. This strategy is as old as imperialism and seeks to create and foster international press campaigns to label and isolate Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Benová (S&D), in writing. (SK) There remains concern about developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles, rules and procedures. The Russian Federation is a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and has therefore committed itself to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights. There is an increasing need for a firm and comprehensive EU policy towards Russia, together with just criticism, including sanctions and restrictive measures when needed.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing. (LV) I supported this motion for a resolution because I believe Russia’s judiciary system is using disproportionate force against opposition politicians and activists. Relations between the European Union and Russia are based on mutual economic benefit, but it is important that Russia observes such values as the rule of law and democracy. The European Union cannot ignore the increasing trend of turning against individuals inconvenient to the authorities through criminal proceedings. Even if I find the actions of the punk band Pussy Riot in the Orthodox Church unacceptable, I believe the punishment is disproportionate to the offence. That gives rise to concern about the recent upsurge in the politically motivated intimidation and prosecution of opposition activists. At the same time, the murderers of Anna Politkovskaya and the people responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky have still not yet been found and punished. To me, the discovery and conviction of the people guilty of these murders is a test that would show Russia is moving in the direction of the rule of law. Unfortunately, at present, no realistic person can express anything more than an ironic wish for the murderers of opposition activists to be discovered and convicted as swiftly as the members of the punk band Pussy Riot. I am firmly convinced that we in Parliament do not have the right to ignore the violations of human rights in Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jaromír Kohlíček (GUE/NGL), in writing. (CS) An orgy of hypocrisy – that is the only way to sum up the content of the motion for a resolution on the political use of justice in Russia. Centre-right politicians insist that they are the true interpreters of democracy. They show us how it is possible to condemn anyone from a country outside the EU. Bishop Rydzyk from Radio Maria and his mohair berets must be clapping loudly, not just in Poland, but across the EU. In a time of crisis for the capitalist system, it is a very useful to talk about things we do not like in other countries. These naughty Russians still refuse to see that when it rains in the EU, they need to open their umbrellas in Moscow. I can imagine how the Russian Duma would condemn the tough stance of the German police against demonstrators opposing the reconstruction of the station in Stuttgart. I can imagine my esteemed fellow MEPs praising a punk band performing in a Catholic cathedral somewhere with idiotic words demanding the resignation of the current Pope, because the Catholic Church in many parts of the world turned a blind eye to clerical child sex abuse. It is a pity, for example, that the European Parliament has so far failed to comment on the dirty operations of the US secret services in the case of the Miami Five – the Cubans convicted of documenting the terrorist activities of emigrants against their homeland. I feel ashamed of the MEPs who produced this joint motion for a resolution, and, on behalf of the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, I would like to say a clear NO to this farce.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Svetoslav Hristov Malinov (PPE), in writing. (BG) It was with a feeling of deep satisfaction that I supported this resolution because it contains a clear message by the citizens of Europe to Putin’s Russia. At the previous debates on resolutions dealing with the presidential and parliamentary elections in Russia, the most difficult issues and greatest doubts were left unaddressed. Even then, immediately after the fraud and threats against the opposition’s leaders, which were followed by unprecedented civil protests, the following questions were floating around the Chamber: How will the Kremlin react? Will it take the path of dialogue and strengthening the foundations of democracy or will it choose the familiar path of violence and kangaroo court justice against its political opponents? Even if there had been someone naive enough to wonder which direction Putin’s Russia will take, all optimistic illusions were completely dispelled in just a few months. The resolution adopted just now reveals a repulsive picture of acts of political repression which are prepared and carried out with the involvement of the parliament, the government, the public prosecution service and the courts, in other words, the entire state machine stifles, including through special legislation, pluralism and the opposition’s voice. I voted in favour of this resolution because it does not restrict the solidarity in defence of democracy to the EU Member States. With it, we are showing the citizens of Russia that the citizens of Europe will always support their aspirations to make their country freer and more democratic.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution in which Parliament expresses its deep disappointment with the verdict and the disproportionate sentence issued by the Khamovnichesky District Court in Russia in the case of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samutsevitch, members of the punk band ‘Pussy Riot’.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The sentencing of the all-female punk band ‘Pussy Riot’ for ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’ is the outcome of a weakly justified and disproportionate court judgment, given that their protest was non-violent. The mistreatment of members of the group during their pre-trial detention and the clear irregularities in the trial itself must also be condemned. I expect the judgment to be reviewed and overturned, in line with Russia’s international commitments.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR), in writing.(PL) The resolution on the political use of justice in Russia reminds us of the difficult internal situation in that country as well as the legislation passed by the Duma of the Russian Federation which hits at human rights. As co-rapporteur of the draft resolution, I believe that it is particularly important that it draws attention to specific instances of breaches of human rights, such as the convictions of Mikhail Khordokovsky, Platon Lebedev and Taisia Osipova and also mentions the tragic case of Sergei Magnitsky.

The situation of human rights defenders and activists who do not agree with the present authorities is very difficult. Although the media highlights some cases, prosecutors ignore most of them. It is in the interest of the European Union to enjoy fruitful cooperation with neighbours that, in their societies, abide by the principles of democracy and the rule of law. This is still lacking in Russia. For this reason, it is the responsibility of Members of the European Parliament to continue providing reminders about what needs to be changed and improved. For these reasons, I supported this resolution.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) It is obvious that the events in Russia cannot be measured according to Western standards of democracy. There would be a great deal to catch up on here. The question does arise, however, of whether it is the EU’s job – and the Union itself is not without its faults and is currently struggling with other problems – to constantly intervene in Russian domestic affairs. That, after all, is exactly what the Pussy Riot case is. A rock band infiltrated the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow – the central church of the Russian Orthodox church, comparable to Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome for Catholics – and chanted slogans such as ‘The church is God’s crap!’ at the faithful there present. First of all, this is tasteless behaviour. When the Western media translates this unannounced and unauthorised ‘concert’ before the altar into a ‘punk prayer in church’, you have to wonder why it does so. To laud Pussy Riot for this action and hold them up as a symbol of freedom and democracy is not only impious, it is also simply too see-through as yet another means of attacking President Putin. The same applies to the outrage at their conviction – a conviction that is understandable even just on the basis of the band’s lack of contrition. The severity of the punishment is another matter. Despite all the justified criticism of events in Russia, this resolution should be rejected as too one-sided, and I therefore voted against it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour. Justice used for political ends is no longer justice. As well as the worrying trends and cases mentioned in the resolution where justice was damaged, it should be noted that there are ‘black holes’ in the territory of the Russian Federation where injustice and impunity are allowed to flourish. I have no doubt that there are many people in Russia for whom the European Parliament’s document and support are important.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) Russia is an important partner of the European Union, with which our community of states is ready to cooperate for the sake of modernisation. However, neither the European Parliament, nor the EU as a whole will turn a blind eye to the Kremlin’s efforts to limit the actions of a civil society that is wakening up. There have been several positive changes in Russia recently: the country joined the WTO and committed to trade in accordance with international standards. In the spring, steps were taken towards fairer procedures for the registration of parties and presidential election candidates and the restoration of direct elections for regional governors. Unfortunately, at the same time, we are seeing ever fewer signs of the Kremlin’s willingness to cooperate with civil movements. Its intolerance of activists expressing a different opinion is becoming increasingly clear. Laws are adopted in the Duma at the speed of light, which reduce the freedom to demonstrate and the area of NGO activities. I voted in favour of this resolution because it calls for Russia to steer a course towards becoming a state that respects the rule of law and guarantees human rights. The Kremlin should stop manipulating the judiciary politically and turn to civil society and begin discussions with it.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution as I am sure that the proposals it contains are balanced.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR), in writing.(PL) This year, the European Parliament has adopted a whole series of resolutions concerning Russia, most of them focusing on issues relating to respect for human rights and the rule of law. Unfortunately, it would appear that, instead of improving, the situation in that country continues to deteriorate. Persecution of human rights defenders, independent journalists and non-governmental organisations is increasing. What is worse, special legal provisions have been adopted which, under the guise of combating extremism, allow effective action to be taken against representatives of civil society. It is quite right that the European Parliament is expressing its concern about the situation in Russia yet again, highlighting a long and ever longer list of abuses and breaches of fundamental freedoms.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. – In favour. Among other things, the resolution takes the view that Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, should meet the obligations it has signed up to, and points out that recent developments have moved in the opposite direction to the reforms necessary to improve democratic standards, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Russia.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nikolaos Salavrakos (EFD), in writing. (EL) I voted in favour of the joint motion for a resolution because the human rights situation in Russia has deteriorated drastically over recent months and measures need to be taken to protect civil society and freedom of expression and assembly.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 17 August this year, three members of the band ‘Pussy Riot’ were sentenced by a Russian court to two years’ imprisonment for vandalism motivated by religious hatred. This accusation resulted from a punk song recorded inside a cathedral in protest at President Vladimir Putin’s policies. This and other recent cases in Russia have provoked criticism from the international community regarding the true independence of the judicial system and the rule of law in Russia. As a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia must comply with its international obligations and therefore apply democratic values to the rule of law.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), in writing. (DE) Observing recent events in Russia illustrates that there are doubts both in relation to the respect for human rights and to the adherence to the principle of the rule of law in that country. Similarly, current developments show an increasing mistrust of the principle of democracy. In light of this, measures such as the ongoing monitoring of Russian Government agencies for compliance with Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) standards and a constant exchange of views with Russia on human rights are essential.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing.(PL) Today, we voted on a very important resolution. Russia has long been struggling with poor law enforcement. The justice system, which should be independent, has become an efficient tool for the authorities to strike at the opposition, meting out drastic sentences to isolated Siberian prisons, or else to fudge inconvenient matters, leaving them unresolved for years.

One does not have to dig deep to find examples. The Russian police and prosecution service still have not been able to find and try the killers of Anna Politkovskaya or Natalia Estemirova, for example. The sixth anniversary of the death of the first of these falls on 6 October. Similarly, there is very worrying news about the Russian organisation ‘Golos’, which monitors elections. A court in Moscow imposed a fine of RUB 30 000 on this organisation for creating a negative image of one of the parties. In addition, formal restrictions were placed on travel around Russia and collaborators were arrested.

Also worrying is the information about changes to Russian law. I would like to remind you that, in 2011, a proposal was put forward, according to which the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is to gain the right to block implementation of decisions by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In the light of these events, there is a fundamental question: how has the European External Action Service responded to the abovementioned instances, which are illegal and detrimental for the rule of law?

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) This resolution is part of a permanent campaign by those who, after having helped to destroy the Soviet Union and the world’s first socialist state, now want to contain the development of a capitalist Russia, control its natural resources, its market, its workers and the Russian people. The majority of Parliament is continuing an extremely well-known, hypocritical strategy of disrespect for Russian sovereignty and interference in its internal affairs. This strategy is all the more hypocritical given that it points its finger at the country yet continues to cover up the situation in the EU, where there are the most serious violations to national sovereignty, to principles and democratic freedoms, to citizens’ rights, freedoms and guarantees and the attempt to impose a reversal in the area of workers’ and peoples’ rights and social achievements. It is not possible to separate this campaign from Russia’s role in the United Nations Security Council, preventing the USA, the EU and NATO from achieving their strategy of instrumentalising the UN to try to legitimise military aggression towards Syria. This strategy is as old as imperialism and attempts to create and foster international press campaigns to label and isolate Russia.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution B7-0457/2012

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Christofer Fjellner and Gunnar Hökmark (PPE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Conservatives in the European Parliament voted today in favour of the resolution on the European banking union, as we think it is regrettable that the Commission’s proposal for a new banking authority in the euro area countries will be established on the basis of Article 127(6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, thus excluding Parliament from the process. In one of the resolution’s citations, the possible creation of a European Stability Fund for banks is mentioned. While it is one thing to establish a European fund of this nature from scratch, we think it is a different thing entirely, in a situation where certain Member States have established this type of fund at national level and others have not, to combine existing funds into one joint fund. That is something about which we have serious doubts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Corina Creţu (S&D), in writing. (RO) Banking union is the most ambitious solution devised so far in relation to the debt crisis and risks relating to the banking system. However, there are a number of risks which need to be taken into account. There are serious warnings about the risk of a banking union putting banks in Eastern Europe with local capital at a disadvantage when facing unfair competition from the big banks in the euro area. It also seems that the decision-making body will be made up only of representatives from euro area Member States. There is the problem, for instance, in the event of a major risk, of a decision being made to withdraw capital from the branches in Eastern Europe to stabilise the parent banks in the euro area.

I endorse this project, provided that the position of the countries outside the euro area is regulated fairly when decisions made at banking union level will affect all 27 Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. (RO) I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution on creating a banking union as I firmly believe that a single regulatory mechanism is needed to bring stability to the financial markets and steer us towards genuine economic and monetary union. I also think that the European Union’s decisions need greater democratic legitimacy. This is why Parliament must be involved in the process of setting up a banking union as a representative of Europe’s citizens.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Edite Estrela (S&D), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution as I support the strengthening of democratic legitimacy in the banking union and the single supervisory mechanism. Any major change in supervision must be accompanied and monitored by Parliament as a colegislator.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. (PT) On 28 and 29 June 2012, in the Council, the leaders of the euro area agreed that there is a need to move towards a strengthened economic and monetary union – that is, to complete the legal framework of economic and monetary union (EMU). They also agreed, as I have maintained, that to achieve the final phase of EMU, it will be necessary to work on four essential pillars: a banking union, a budget union, an economic union and a political union. To this end, yesterday, the EU presented a proposal which aims to move towards a banking union which, despite its merits, is based on Article 127(6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This article aims to circumscribe Parliament’s participation in drafting this legislation, forgetting one of the pillars which the European leaders set for themselves: that of political union and democratic legitimacy. It is therefore essential that the participation of the only democratic European entity is reviewed immediately.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. (PT) Over recent months, various European leaders, starting with Mr Barroso, the President of the Commission, have drawn attention to the need to urgently advance towards a strengthened economic and monetary union, on the path of an already enshrined economic and monetary union. Now, Mr Barroso is moving forward with a new proposal: the creation of a European banking union aimed not only at euro area countries, but which also cooperates with countries outside the euro area that want to join. The soundness of the euro implies the existence of supervision at EU level which is guaranteed by this new legislative framework and carried out by the European Central Bank. As such, citizens’ savings would be guaranteed and, if a financial institution fails, it would not be taxpayers who pay the price, as currently occurs. I voted for this proposal, as it responds to the main challenges that the euro area is facing: breaking the link between the banking sector and sovereign debt and creating a single, effective European monitoring mechanism which will support the Member States. There will be a single book on the banking sector, which must be applied to the 27 Member States.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. (PT) The majority of Parliament claims that the supervision of the banking sector should move from national authorities to the European Central Bank (ECB). They claim that this sector, which is fundamental for financing countries’ economies, should stop being under the direct responsibility of the Member States and that it should become the responsibility of the ECB to intervene in this area. The ECB, without any political and democratic control, has fulfilled the triple role of lowering the refinancing costs of big capital – promoting Member States’ dependence on the funding – of the financial sector, with its so-called ‘markets’, and promoting labour exploitation through covering losses in purchasing power with credit. Countries like Portugal, which do not have their own currency and cannot autonomously intervene in monetary policy, also remain limited in the regulation of the financial sector. What economies like that of Portugal need in order to grow is the nationalisation of the banking sector, putting it at the service of the national economy. Portugal needs a public banking system which finances an increase in national production and a programme of reindustrialisation, a fundamental tool for creating employment with rights, increasing salaries, reducing dependence on other countries, and thereby resolving the problems of deficit and public debt.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Carlo Fidanza (PPE), in writing. (IT) I welcome the resolution on the proposals regarding a European banking union. The fact that we are voting on this resolution the day after the Commission tabled two proposals to enhance banking supervision shows that Parliament – the only democratically elected EU institution – is keen to make a major contribution to putting together the instruments that will give the Union and the single currency greater stability, without negative repercussions for Member States that are not part of the euro area. In my view, it is essential that we achieve a fully functioning European Stability Mechanism (ESM) as soon as possible, which, although it certainly further limits Member State sovereignty over public finances, at least has the benefit of excluding the contributions they pay from the calculation of their sovereign debts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. (SK) It is crucial to mobilise all efforts to stabilise the European financial market and break the link between banks and sovereign debts in order to start moving towards a genuine economic and monetary union The European Council and the Council are finally reaching the same conclusions as Parliament as regards the need for a more integrated supervision system, and are now calling for the establishment of a banking union through the setting-up of a single supervisory mechanism in conjunction with deposit guarantee schemes and a resolution scheme. In moments of crisis, the Community method must always prevail, because this is the only way of ensuring that the Union is able to come out of the crisis stronger.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE), in writing. (HU) We expect accountability with regard to the common banking supervision of the euro area. This is what the resolution that I myself supported at the Thursday vote states. The document calls on Member States to introduce ‘quality’ rules to guarantee the democratic accountability of the common European banking supervision to be established, but also notes that on the basis of current Member State concepts, there is a risk that the actual rules will send the wrong message and will sustain poor efficiency. I am hoping for a system that would stabilise the euro area – after all, this is in the interest of non-euro area countries as well – while not making the situation of banks outside the euro area worse. Unfortunately, some measures that reinforce the stability of the euro area (such as the withdrawal of capital from eastern subsidiaries to allow increased lending at home) can have an acute impact on Member States outside the euro area. It must therefore be pointed out that the resolution stresses the importance of the creation of a mechanism to manage the ripple effects of the establishment of a banking union in the euro area on non-euro area Member States. I believe that the system can only be good if it addresses this extremely difficult situation by applying uniform rules throughout the European Union to create equal rights and obligations for Member States both inside and outside the euro area.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sylvie Guillaume (S&D), in writing.(FR) I supported the resolution on the creation of a banking union. The Commission presented its proposal for banking supervision on 12 September. It was on this occasion that Parliament expressed its position on the subject: if we want to prevent new financial crises and stabilise the euro area in the long term, it is essential to have better supervision in the banking sector, particularly through the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Banking Authority (EBA). However, what we especially wanted to show in this text is that Parliament’s prerogatives must absolutely be respected in these future mechanisms. The specific missions entrusted to the ECB and the EBA must be the subject of strict democratic controls, without which the banking union proposal would be void of substance. We will stand our ground on this point.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) We Swedish Conservatives in the European Parliament voted today in favour of the resolution on the European banking union, as we think it is regrettable that the Commission’s proposal for a new banking authority in the euro area countries will be established on the basis of Article 127(6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, thus excluding Parliament from the process. In one of the resolution’s citations, the possible creation of a European Stability Fund for banks is mentioned. While it is one thing to establish a European fund of this nature from scratch, we think it is a different thing entirely, in a situation where certain Member States have established this type of fund at national level and others have not, to combine existing funds into one joint fund. That is something about which we have serious doubts.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sandra Kalniete (PPE), in writing. (LV) I voted in favour of this resolution because I believe a banking union and a single supervisory mechanism are needed in the European Union. At the same time, I should like to emphasise that the Commission must develop this mechanism to a very high quality in order to avoid distorting competition in those Member States in which the euro has not yet been introduced. I can only express regret that such a union and such supervision were not established along with the introduction of the single currency, because that would have allowed several Member States to avoid bank collapse or nationalisation. The European Central Bank will have the decisive role in this process. The Member States will have to hand over certain supervisory functions to the ECB, which has caused dissatisfaction in several Member States, but our financial situation will benefit from it in the long term. The ECB has not given any reason to doubt its independence and is able to take decisions that are significantly more difficult to adopt at a national level in a calm and rational way. I consider this a decision that will help Europe regain the trust of the financial markets.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  David Martin (S&D), in writing. – I voted for this resolution, which notes that the European Council and the Council are finally reaching the same conclusions as Parliament as regards the need for a more integrated supervision system, and are now calling for the establishment of a banking union through the setting up of a single supervisory mechanism in conjunction with deposit guarantee schemes and a resolution scheme.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is quite right, above all, to reiterate that, in times of crisis, the Community method must always prevail, because this is the only way of ensuring that the Union is able to come out of the crisis stronger. We also need to enhance democratic legitimacy with regard to the proposed banking union and single supervisory mechanism by fully involving Parliament as colegislator.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing.(FR) This resolution has the merit of making a statement that is common sense: ‘It is crucial to break the link between banks and sovereigns’. Unfortunately, it will have no effect. It makes no mention of the proposal to authorise the European Central Bank (ECB) to lend directly to States, who are the only ones capable of resolving the problem. More and more European economists and politicians support this theory. However, clearly, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs has not been listening. I denounce this unprecedented blindness. Nonetheless, I appreciate, firstly, that the resolution recalls that a European Banking Authority, which responds to the same objectives as those of this ‘banking union’ that we are sick and tired of hearing about, was already established in 2010 and, secondly, that it denounces the exclusion of Parliament from the process of establishing the banking union, which the Council is trying to impose. I therefore abstained.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The regulation of the banks is a first step towards a European banking union. We have thus come to the crunch, and much sooner than expected. It is clear that this supervisory authority, which is to be located within the ECB, cannot be responsible for all 6 000 banks in the euro area. Smaller institutions should be monitored by the national authorities in any case. Cross-border shared liability is a mistake, as the harmonisation of EU supervision law and practice are not sufficiently developed for this purpose. Thus, if the euro area Member States and this House were to support the Commission proposal, hard-up banks could receive funding directly from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) as of the start of 2013, without recourse to the Member State in question. That would represent collective liability for European bank debts in itself. It would also mean that the crisis fund, as capital provider, would also become the co-owner of ailing institutions such as those in Spain. Cross-border credit and transfer services represent the de facto communitarisation of the liability. The banks would have to pay money into a common European deposit guarantee scheme without being able to influence the risk and business policy of the banks in other Member States. That is like an invitation to pursue particularly risky business activities that such institutions would otherwise avoid. All the proposals should therefore be rejected.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Sławomir Witold Nitras (PPE), in writing.(PL) The document published in June by the President of the European Council constitutes a particularly important initiative, which is an expression of the primary function of the European Council, namely, to set new directions for integration and to set the European Union’s political priorities. I strongly support the detailed strategy for the parallel creation of integrated financial and budgetary frameworks and economic policy, while at the same time maintaining the right level of democratic legitimacy. The implementation of this courageous plan should take place on an EU-wide level, which will ensure the appropriate transparency of the decision-making process as well as accountability on the part of the new institutions vis-à-vis their citizens.

I also believe that all European Union Member States should be included in the new integrated financial frameworks, so as to avoid losing the progress towards a single financial market that has been achieved to date and to avoid frustrating the implementation of future steps. In my opinion, we should also remember that, before implementing the ambitious vision of a banking union, we should first, acting quickly and effectively, conclude negotiations on outstanding areas of the integrated financial frameworks, namely, regulations concerning a deposit guarantee scheme and capital requirements. Without these areas, it will not be possible to rebuild a stable European financial system.

 
  
MPphoto
 
 

  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. (PT) I voted for this resolution, which sets out a proposal for a concrete step towards resolving the European economy’s current problems.