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Procedure : 2012/2027(INI)
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Texts tabled :

A7-0270/2012

Debates :

PV 25/10/2012 - 21
CRE 25/10/2012 - 21

Votes :

PV 26/10/2012 - 6.5
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0404

Debates
Friday, 26 October 2012 - Strasbourg OJ edition

8. Explanations of vote
Video of the speeches
PV
 

Oral explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Eider Gardiazábal Rubial (A7–0270/2012)

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE). (IT) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the increase in the number of innovative financial instruments poses many challenges in terms of regulation, governance and monitoring of their effectiveness. It is essential to strike a balance between the need for transparency and monitoring, and a sufficient level of effectiveness and speed of implementation.

The introduction of such instruments at European level is, however, highly important, as it is a way of enabling the European Union, especially in times of crisis, to stimulate investment in the real economy in a way that is in line with its objectives at a time when, against the background of a constant fall in the volume of resources allocated to its budget, its political ambitions are steadily growing.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, in recent years, various European institutions have used innovative financial instruments to manage their budgets in these times of fiscal discipline. Using innovative financial instruments includes combining grants by using public and/or private funds to maximise the potential for achieving objectives. While they remain an innovative tool for agency budgets, they pose a challenge in regulating and monitoring the use of these funds. We have to ask ourselves who these individuals are and why are they donating their money in the first place.

The Commission must take certain preventive measures to prevent corruption and all other backdoor deals. One such measure entails the Commission installing management and control systems. Preventing corruption and other market abuses is vital to the economy, especially in these hard times. This is extremely important, because a single distortion of the market will ruin the whole economy for everyone. Innovative financial instruments are still a crucial tool for growth and investment in the economy.

 
  
  

Report: Erminia Mazzoni (A7–0297/2012)

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I think we had a good debate yesterday on the annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman 2011. It also shows, very importantly, that people in the European Union are making increasing use of this facility.

What struck me was that it became clear that the European Ombudsman and Parliament’s Committee on Petitions dovetail nicely with each other and make a good combination. Each one depends on the other; each one complements the other. Where, in politics, you usually expect to find conflicts of competence, here that is not the case. With regard to the current parliamentary term at least, I can say that we complement each other wonderfully and provide mutual assistance. In both cases, it is not the competences but the citizen that matters. If that remains the case, it will be a real success story for the people of Europe.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, it is obvious that the majority of Members are satisfied with the work of the Ombudsman as only 10 people voted against the report this morning.

We had a debate on this yesterday and it was obvious then, too, that most of the Members were satisfied with the Ombudsman. He explained his job and the work that he does. That is very important for our citizens. When they have a complaint to make, it is extremely important for them to be able to voice that complaint to an independent party, and that is undoubtedly the case.

I have one other suggestion, which is that we should have an Ombudsman for multinationals, in particular to investigate the prices they pay to farmers for their products. Farmers clearly have substantial complaints, too, and if we had this type of Ombudsman, it would be better for everyone.

 
  
  

Report: Markus Ferber (A7–0306/2012)

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, this report aims to reintroduce a greater degree of regulation to the financial markets. We have discovered in recent years that deregulation and liberalisation lead to crises, to a rampant increase in national debt that we are now forced to tackle, with a great deal of effort and a great deal of money. Liberalisation as a dogma has not proved a success.

The financial institutions began to plunder entire countries, driving them into a debt trap. That is ultimately one of the principal causes of the problems we are now facing. I would like at this point just to mention Goldman Sachs, a financial institution that has, for instance, unleashed disaster in Greece, with which the entire European Union is currently grappling.

It is high time for us to ensure that the financial economy is again bound by clear regulations. It is high time for us to reintroduce rules; it has been proven here that it was wrong to liberalise too early and too much.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, the market can obviously regulate many things, but not everything. Things go particularly wrong when we have a market without rules. Unfortunately, that has been made very clear to us in the case of the financial market. That was a game without rules. We tried to reassure ourselves a little by saying: ‘Of what interest are stock market transactions to us? Of what interest is the financial market to us? That has nothing to do with the real economy. That has nothing to do with public finances’.

We then made the painful realisation that when prices fall, errors are made or bankruptcies occur in this sector, it evidently does have consequences for the real economy and for public finances, as, ultimately, we are inextricably linked to the world and the market and are consequently all in the same boat. It is therefore very important that, politically, too, we are finally able to impose restrictions and establish rules. For me, that is a vital initial step in the right direction and must be followed by others.

 
  
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  President. − I would ask all Members who wish to speak, including the last speaker, to stick to the topic of their voting behaviour, as we are supposed to be listening to explanations of vote and not a continuation of the debate.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, I, too, warmly welcome the initiative to increase the competitiveness of financial services products and services and to create a truly free securities market in line with the EU’s most fundamental objectives. After some of the excesses seen in recent years of over-leveraging, particularly in the banking sector, we now want to see a well-regulated single financial rule book that operates throughout the European Union. This can allow the City of London, which is within my constituency and which I proudly represent, to market its services across the EU and create a levelling of the playing field for all businesses needing to raise capital and for investors to invest in it. But in order to safeguard this free market and public confidence, we must ensure that protection for investors and the transparency of securities are maintained at the highest level.

There currently remain fears about inducements to financial advisers and the potential for insider dealing and market abuse. Let us now work to improve this legislation and deliver a free and fair transparent market for all financial services throughout the entire territory of the European Union.

 
  
  

Report: Markus Ferber (A7–0303/2012)

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, as I said before, in my opinion, these reports are an important step in the right direction, which is why I was able to vote in favour of them. With regard to derivatives traded between countries, involving covered and naked short selling, we have made the painful discovery that errors must be addressed where they have occurred. I am naturally one of those who say that we should impose even more regulation. Even more needs to be done to address the situation, not just in Europe but also among our global competitors. However, it was easy for me to support this report, as it is an important step in the right direction.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, I support this piece of legislation. The recent financial crisis has exposed several weaknesses within the multinational economic framework. In order to correct these, the present sustainable development and cooperation strategy should include the proposals outlined in the amendments to the Commission’s draft.

For example, one proposal involves greater transparency and more oversight of less-regulated markets. The intention of this proposal is to develop effective competition between the trading of financial instruments.

We also need to eliminate trade barriers and discriminatory trade practices. By abolishing these obstacles, the market system will decrease risk, better protect investors and increase the efficiency of the financial markets. It will also reduce unnecessary costs for investors and participants. Therefore, the passage of this legislation will not only lead to economic growth but will also ensure that all Europeans are united under one social and economic framework.

 
  
  

Report: Jean–Paul Gauzès (A7–0312/2012)

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE).(DE) Mr President, it was also easy for me to vote in favour of this report, as it is ultimately a question not just of developing rules for the financial market, but of developing rules that will enable us to keep national debt under control, establish an alert mechanism and settle the issue of how the Member States should communicate with each other and how the European Union should deal with those who fail to comply with the rules.

To those Members for whom the report did not go far enough, I would say that no regulation, no directive, no motion for a resolution is so good that it cannot be made better. We are only just embarking on this route. But if we do not begin our journey, we will never reach our destination. That is why I had no problem at all in voting in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE). – Mr President, the recession is far from over in Europe. Since 2008, the European Union has lost more than 25 million jobs. Increasing disparity in wages has slowed growth and the lack of integration has hurt competitiveness. I am voting for this report in an attempt to bring about the end of the current debt crisis and lay a foundation that will prevent another crisis from happening in the future. We must continue forward and ensure that Member States comply with the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs laid out in the Europe 2020 strategy.

The European Union must have stronger coordination between its Member States for the purposes of budgetary and economic policy and certainly, in my view, we need a single budgetary and economic and fiscal policy. A more integrated and balanced Union with multilateral oversight will ensure that jobs are created and reckless decisions are avoided. This will pave the way to a more successful and prosperous Europe.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of the European Semester for economic policy.

On this point, I want to emphasise that it is very important that we ensure proper implementation in the Member States; and it is clear that, over the past few years, even the large Member States, such as Germany and France, have missed the headline targets. It is important for the countries to abide by the recommendations they have given, but it is especially good that the target advocated by some representatives and even the European Parliament from time to time has not been met, namely the signature of a stricter agreement on economic discipline by all 25 Member States or even all 27, and I can say that the fewer agreements there are in addition to the Treaties, the better. In my opinion, we must now focus attention on implementing the agreements in place and honouring them. In so doing, we will be able to move forward.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, once again I was happy to give my support to this report and to vote for it. In particular, I congratulate Jean-Paul Gauzès and others on their excellent work. It is very important.

It demonstrates that we are – gradually – establishing rules not only to emerge from the economic recession but to ensure that we will not make the same mistakes ever again. The European Semester is one example of this work; I welcome it and I believe that it will do a great deal of good in the future.

The report also refers to the Irish referendum on the Fiscal Treaty and praises it. It was quite an achievement to get 60 % of the people to vote for it in the referendum if we consider the difficulties that Ireland is experiencing at the moment. Therefore, it is evident that we are making progress bit by bit and the European Semester is helping us in that regard.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7–0461/2012

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I supported this motion for a resolution as a whole, because it has been drafted in the spirit of greater fairness in relations with Russia, which I welcome, in particular in the energy sector and in the aforementioned area of public procurement. However, I rejected all amendments, and with a clear conscience. I would like to appeal to this House, once again, to show greater fairness in its treatment of Russia. That also means refraining from unwarranted interference in internal Russian affairs. No country I know is as sensitive to the interference of outsiders, in particular the European Union institutions, as Russia. Russia is not a country of children. The Russians are quite capable of organising their own judiciary and are not necessarily in need of advice from the EU. There are some countries closer to home that could do with some advice and whose judicial systems we should look at improving. Russia, however, is not top of that list.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I also voted for this resolution on Russia’s accession to the WTO.

What I would like to say in this regard is that, when we in the European Union implement policies and when we build relations, we must always be mindful of the fact that the European Union is, above all, a community of values. We must apply the same standards in our relations with Russia as we apply to other countries. The human rights situation in Russia is still very worrying.

In our debates here, for example, we have raised the Khodorkovsky case, and, in my view, the European Union should have the courage to tackle issues of this nature more vigorously. If we look at Russia and Belarus, we can see that both have exactly the same policy, both have exactly the same attitude towards human rights issues, but regardless of that fact, we have the courage to talk big to Belarus but not to Russia, and on this matter we should have the same attitude toward all countries. I certainly hope that this accession to the WTO will mean that human rights issues in Russia will begin to become more prominent and assume a better form.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE).(GA) Mr President, first of all I would like to say that I was very pleased with last night’s debate on this report. Indeed, it was adopted almost unanimously, which is to be welcomed.

Without a doubt, it is much better for Russia to be in the World Trade Organisation than outside it, and it offers us a great opportunity to make progress for the good of Europe and for the good of Russia, that is if Russia adheres to the rules. We will adhere to the rules and we will see if it does, too. I hope that that is the case.

I would add one more thing: I was also pleased to support the proposal concerning Yukos. We obviously need an independent investigation, and if Russia carries out that independent investigation, it will help us to have more confidence in it and we will be able to proceed from there.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC–B7–0463/2012

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR).(PL) Mr President, every single principle of freedom and democracy has been stifled under the rule of President Alexander Lukashenko. The law has been violated in every election in Belarus during the last 17 years. During the September elections, a range of illegal methods were again used. These included discriminating against the opposition and limiting its involvement in electoral commissions, censuring election material and numerous irregularities, including inflation of the turnout figures. In view of all of this, the parliament that emerged still cannot be deemed to represent the will of the people. Consequently, Belarus cannot be seen as a credible partner for Europe.

I therefore appeal to the authorities in Minsk to re-run the parliamentary elections, ensuring that next time they are free and fair. I call on President Lukashenko to stop attacking the opposition, to free political prisoners and journalists, to ensure that non-governmental organisations can carry out their activities without restrictions, and to ensure the free flow of information. To this end, we must also provide wide-ranging support for the activities of Belarusian civil society, using instruments such as the Telewizja Bielsat television channel.

 
  
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  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). – Mr President, I voted in favour of the resolution on Belarus for two reasons: to condemn the recent parliamentary elections and to demonstrate my support for the Belarusian citizens, who do not want to live under the authoritarian rule. The EU has long understood Lukashenko’s ruling methods and therefore the results of the elections were no surprise. They did not meet any basic standards set by the OSCE. Once again we were witness to the political farce that serves only the interests of Lukashenko.

Having lived in an occupied country myself, I know very well how important it is to know that you have not been forgotten and left in the cruel hands of the regime. This resolution is a signal of European support to the Belarusian people. There is no place for a dictatorship in Europe.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I voted in favour of the resolution on the Belarusian elections.

In my view, it is important to send a message to Belarus that we are genuinely concerned about the fact that the Lukashenka Government will accept no opposition, that there are many arrests there, and we can clearly state that the values that are important to us Europeans have not been put into effect there.

As Europeans, we are particularly concerned about Belarus, a country on the European continent, because we want it to have democracy, human rights, freedom of opinion and the principles of a state governed by the rule of law, and, for that reason, we must pursue our work vigorously so that Belarus can embark on the road to democracy.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC–B7–0467/2012

 
  
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  Ewald Stadler (NI).(DE) Mr President, I voted against this motion for a resolution, not because I do not recognise the Georgian elections and the progress Georgia has made, but because this motion for a resolution and the elections have been used as a pretext for the real aim, evident in paragraphs 18 and 19, of supporting and advancing the cause of Georgia’s admission to NATO. This Parliament is not, however, a body of NATO. Where have we got the idea that we should do NATO’s homework and conduct NATO negotiations via this Chamber?

That, incidentally, is a contradictory policy and it shows the discrepancies in this House; on the one hand, a World Trade Organisation agreement is concluded with Russia and, on the other, an attempt is made to position NATO in Russia’s backyard. That is not Parliament’s role. I say that as a national of a neutral country. This Parliament should not allow itself to be used as an agency of NATO.

 
  
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  Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE). – Mr President, I voted in favour of this resolution. It encourages all Georgian political parties to work together constructively to ensure stability, the rule of law, respect for human rights and also good governance. Therefore I believe that any threats of mass retribution against former government members or pressure on the parliamentary opposition to switch to Georgian Dream might lead to their further polarisation.

This resolution supports the new government in continuing its cooperation with the EU and also with NATO. It also calls on Russia to withdraw from the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Finally, the mass media are a central element in any democracy. Therefore, the change of ownership of one of the major TV channels and closure of two others very shortly after the elections raises questions.

 
  
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  Hannu Takkula (ALDE). (FI) Mr President, I also voted in favour of the resolution on the elections in Georgia.

It is extremely important to support the fledgling democracy in Georgia; it could be said that it stands at a crossroads that leads from the ongoing Russian occupation of the Abkhazia region, and into the future this young State needs support so that it can take real steps on the road to democracy.

I shall continue to return to the meaning of the European Union, what we as European politicians mean by strengthening democracy, human rights and freedom of opinion in our border region. It is always good to recall that the European Union is, above all, a community of values. That is our key mission, and therefore we wish to build on a pan-European dimension for peace and prosperity. I can say that Georgia clearly wants to be part of Europe and the West, and therefore its democratic development must be supported in these new circumstances.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE). − (LT) I voted in favour of this resolution. The parliamentary elections in Georgia have shown that Georgia has passed the democracy test. The elections were very well organised and transparent, leaving aside certain minor problems. President Saakashvili demonstrated that he is a politician who values democracy and the will of the people. This was very important in that rather tough year. The former opposition will have to learn to show respect for its opponent and I am alluding to the fact, that following the elections, the leader of the opposition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, immediately proposed that the Georgian President resign.

Most importantly, the European Union should continue to pay significant attention to Georgia and its new government should maintain the course and dynamics of the reforms. It might now be time for the ‘more for more’ principle in relations between the European Union and Georgia.

I observed these elections up close and saw how heated the atmosphere was. A number of threats from the opposition against people who did not intend to vote for them cause some mistrust. I hope that those cases are clarified and the European Union should also draw attention to this.

 
  
  

Written explanations of vote

 
  
  

Report: Béla Kovács (A7–0275/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I endorse this report and welcome the successful conclusion of negotiations for a new agreement extending the Energy Star programme, since the programme has been very effective in steering the office equipment market towards greater energy efficiency. However, I share the rapporteur’s opinion that while it is regrettable that the principle of mutual recognition will no longer apply due to the introduction of third-party certification in the United States, it is preferable to maintain the lighter self-registration procedure in the European Union in order to avoid additional costs to manufacturers, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, it is noted that the Commission does not expect that the end of mutual recognition will negatively impact manufacturers who participate in the EU programme as they tend to focus almost entirely on the EU market. On the other hand, EU exports to the US would come mainly from large manufacturers who have registered their products already in the past in the US. In light of the above, I supported the conclusion of the agreement.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the conclusion of this Agreement, which will promote the energy efficiency of office equipment. Energy Star is a programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. In 2000 the EU and the US signed an Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The Agreement, which was renewed in 2006 for a second five-year period, provides for the setting up of the Energy Star programme in the EU, which will help to ensure closer cooperation between the EU and the US in the development of product specifications. This Agreement is therefore aimed at extending the Energy Star programme for an additional period of five years. I believe that in the next five years there must be negotiations with the US so that the principle of mutual recognition as regards products’ energy efficiency is applied in future.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted in favour of this report because I welcome the Commission’s proposal on the conclusion of the negotiations on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Programme aimed at improving the energy efficiency of office equipment. To date, it has proved effective in achieving its aim of improving the energy efficiency of office equipment. I believe that Europe should maintain its self-certification procedure to avoid additional costs to manufacturers, especially small and medium-sized businesses.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Kovács’ recommendation. Following the end of the negotiations for the new EU-USA Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment, a system of third-party certification has been introduced in the US. This new model means that it will not be possible to maintain the principle of mutual recognition that has prevailed over the last 10 years. The EU has in fact decided to keep the system of self-certification by manufacturers, to avoid additional costs to European companies, and to support SMEs in particular.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in 2000 the EU and the US signed an Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. This Agreement aimed at improving the energy efficiency of office equipment was renewed in 2006 and expired in 2011. The Council authorised the Commission to negotiate a new Agreement continuing the Energy Star programme for a third period of five years. These negotiations were concluded in November 2011 and were recognised by both parties as effective and successful, promoting energy efficiency. Circumstances therefore permit the conclusion of this Agreement.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the revision of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The new Energy Star Agreement sought to introduce measures to simplify the programme with a view to making its application more efficient. A labelling programme established by the US, Energy Star came into force in 2001 and was renewed in 2006. Given the high energy consumption of office equipment, it is important to encourage European manufacturers to improve the energy performance of such equipment. To that end, if a piece of equipment displays the Energy Star logo, it means that it has been designed in accordance with the programme’s technical specifications.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) We are all aware of the Energy Star programme as we see the logo on much of our office equipment. It is a programme implemented by both the EU and the United States, and it is popular and has proven to be successful. I am pleased that it is being renewed today. I therefore voted in favour of this text, especially because it emphasises the measures to be taken to protect our SMEs.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Energy Star programme was established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. In 2000 the European Union and the United States signed an agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The agreement was renewed in 2006 for a second five-year period and now Parliament is giving its consent to a further renewal of this important coordination programme between the EU and the US.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The report by Béla Kovács on the recommendation in question concerns the draft Council decision on the signing and conclusion of the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the European Union on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The agreement between the EU and the US expired on 31 December 2011. However, bilateral negotiations were concluded during the previous month with a view to continuing the Energy Star programme for a further five years. The programme, established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment, was implemented in the EU in 2006, when the EU-US Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment was renewed. In the meantime, the US decided to move to third-party certification and the principle of mutual certification ceased to apply. In view of the huge importance of environmental matters, in particular with regard to energy saving, and bearing in mind that the Energy Star programme has proved very effective in the changes it has introduced to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment, I voted in favour of this recommendation.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This report consents to the conclusion of an agreement to extend the Energy Star programme, created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. Back in the year 2000, the European Union and the United States of America signed a five-year agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. This agreement was renewed for a second period in 2006. The programme has been managed by the European Commission and the EPA, including cooperating on the development of product specifications and the mutual recognition of products registered in the EU and the US. The rapporteur, while giving her approval for the extension of the programme, nevertheless notes that the principle of mutual recognition will cease to apply, due to the introduction of third-party certification in the US. The European Commission, however, considers that this will not have any particular impact on European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (the Commission assures us that the vast majority of European manufacturers tend to sell to the European market and that large exporters have already registered their products in the US), and that it is therefore preferable to maintain the lighter self-registration procedures in the EU, in order to avoid additional costs for manufacturers, particularly SMEs. There was a consensus within the Committee on Industry that this report should be approved. We voted in favour.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) Energy Star is a programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. In 2000 the EU and the US signed an Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The Agreement, which was renewed in 2006 for a second five-year period, provides for the setting up of the Energy Star programme in the EU. Accordingly, the programme has been jointly managed by the EPA and the Commission, including cooperation on the development of product specifications and the mutual recognition of products registered in the EU and the US.

Before the expiry of the Agreement in December 2011, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate a new Agreement continuing the Energy Star programme for a third five-year period. These negotiations were concluded in November 2011. It is appropriate for Parliament to approve the new Agreement.

 
  
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  Ashley Fox (ECR), in writing. I voted in favour of the Council Decision to conclude the Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The EU should work towards harmonisation of certification schemes as the main means of improving the energy consumption of office equipment through the EU Energy Star Programme which provides both parties with third-party certification. Single systems of accreditation benefit the consumer by simplifying the market and increasing transparency. They also remove a regulatory burden, which in turn will lead to lower prices for consumers.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported the report by Béla Kovács, which was adopted by a large majority in plenary. It aims to continue the Energy Star programme in the European Union. This programme was established by the US Environmental Protection Agency to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. It is a relevant and particularly effective programme. I am pleased that it has been renewed.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour of Mr Kovács’ recommendation on the EU-USA Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment (Energy Star). I believe that apart from extending the validity of the previous agreement, which in the event proved to be very effective, it also improves it. The programme will continue its action to save energy in the office environment. A slight flaw is certainly the decision by the United States to use third-party certification rather than the self-certification previously used, and which will continue to be used in the EU. This decision will increase costs for manufacturers, but does not, however, affect the fundamental excellence of the resolution.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I welcome the new mutually beneficial five-year agreement between the European Union and the United States on the Energy Star programme on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment products.

It should be noted that the new, simplified self-certification procedure for EU manufacturers will benefit SMEs and reduce the cost of certification by a third party, as will be required in the US. Nevertheless, the simplified procedure and access by more European manufacturers to the US market may favour the larger and older manufacturers, who already enjoy an established market share and consumer confidence.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. While it is regrettable that the principle of mutual recognition will no longer apply due to the introduction of third-party certification in the US, I consider it preferable to maintain the lighter self-registration procedure in the EU in order to avoid additional costs to manufacturers, in particular SMEs. Furthermore, it should be noted that the Commission does not expect that the end of mutual recognition will negatively impact manufacturers who participate in the EU programme as they tend to focus almost entirely on the EU market. On the other hand, EU exports to the US would come mainly from large manufacturers who have registered their products already in the past in the US.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I agree with the rapporteur that it is appropriate to conclude the agreement. It is right to extend the Energy Star programme, since it has been very effective in steering the office equipment market towards greater energy efficiency.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Energy Star programme was established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. In 2000 the European Union and the United States of America signed an agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The agreement, which was renewed in 2006 for a second five-year period, provides for the setting up of the Energy Star programme in the EU. Accordingly, the programme has been jointly managed by the EPA and the Commission, including cooperating on the development of product specifications and the mutual recognition of products registered in the EU and the US. Under the new agreement, there will be two separate product registration systems in the EU, which maintains self-certification by manufacturers, and the US, which decided to move to third-party certification. Consequently, the principle of mutual recognition will no longer be applicable. Furthermore, provisions regarding the respective responsibilities of the Commission and the Member States in the enforcement of the programme were clarified. There are no other substantial changes in relation to the current text, hence my vote.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) In order to ensure the efficient and effective use of resources (in this case, energy), it is important for consumers to be properly informed about the energy indicators of the equipment concerned. The Energy Star labelling used by the US is sufficiently well known in the European Union and it is therefore very appropriate to continue to use it. I welcome the position that an agreement should be concluded on the further recognition of this labelling.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) I voted in favour of this report, which consents to the Council’s decision to conclude the agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. Energy Star is a programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. In 2000, the EU and the US signed an Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The Agreement, which was renewed in 2006 for a second 5-year period, provides for the setting up of the Energy Star programme in the EU. Accordingly, the programme has been jointly managed by the EPA and the Commission, including cooperating on the development of product specifications and the mutual recognition of products registered in the EU and the US. Before the expiry of the Agreement in December 2011, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate a new Agreement continuing the Energy Star programme for a third period of five years. These negotiations were concluded in November 2011.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The renewal of the Energy Star programme in the European Union on the basis of the Agreement between the US Government and the EU on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment, enables the energy performance of office equipment to be improved. I cannot but welcome a project that will lead to high levels of energy saving, along with reduced costs and lower CO2 emissions. The Agreement also includes the creation and implementation of tools for promoting energy efficient office equipment, improving market transparency and enhancing users’ awareness of energy efficiency. Energy Star’s high environmental standards and the positive results it has achieved in past years are the reasons I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Parliament welcomes the successful conclusion of negotiations for a new agreement extending the Energy Star programme, since the programme has been very effective in steering the office equipment market towards greater energy efficiency. While it is regrettable that the principle of mutual recognition will no longer apply due to the introduction of third-party certification in the United States, it is preferable to maintain the lighter self-registration procedure in the European Union in order to avoid additional costs to manufacturers, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on draft Council decision on the signing and conclusion of the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the European Union on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling for office equipment, given its improved applicability and functions.

Office equipment is responsible for an increase in energy consumption. The EU-US Agreement aims to maximise energy savings and environmental benefits by stimulating the supply of and demand for energy-efficient products. A common set of energy specifications and a common logo will be used to establish consistent targets for manufacturers, thereby maximising the effect of their efforts on the supply of and demand for these products. The Agreement’s Common Specifications must be defined in such a way as to represent not more than 25 % of the most energy-efficient models at that time. Moreover, better labelling will be required so that consumers can easily identify energy-efficient products.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) As regards the negotiation of an agreement that has been in place for many years and is deemed favourable, when it came to voting on the draft decision we had to consider the points with significant amendments. An analysis of the functioning of the agreement between the European Union and the US since 2000 allowed those parts that were not working well to be identified and replaced with appropriate provisions. Indeed, the only issue of concern to me was the decision to do away with the principle of mutual recognition. However, the information provided, namely that the operation of two separate registration systems (EU and US) will not have negative consequences, and will actually simplify registration and reduce costs for manufacturers, has convinced me to support the draft decision.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Energy Star is a programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. In 2000 the EU and the US signed an Agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. The Agreement, renewed to 2011, provides for the setting up of the Energy Star programme in the EU. Two separate product registration systems will be introduced: one in the EU, which keeps self-certification by manufacturers, and one in the US, which has decided to move to third-party certification. The successful conclusion of negotiations for a new Agreement extending the Energy Star programme is welcomed, since this programme has been very effective in steering the office equipment market towards greater energy efficiency.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This report supports the agreement to extend the Energy Star programme, created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its owner, to improve the energy efficiency of office equipment. Back in 2000, the European Union and the United States signed a five-year agreement on the coordination of energy-efficiency labelling programmes for office equipment. This agreement was renewed for a second period in 2006. The programme has been managed by the Commission and the EPA, who have focused on cooperating on the development of product specifications and the mutual recognition of products registered in the EU and the US. Parliament is now consenting to the conclusion of the agreement, with which the principle of mutual recognition will cease to apply, due to the introduction of third-party certification in the US. However, Parliament considers that the lighter self-registration procedures should be maintained in the EU in order to avoid additional costs to manufacturers, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. As regards sales, the Commission assures us that the vast majority of European manufacturers tend to sell to the European market and that the large exporters have already been registered in the US for a long time. We voted in favour.

 
  
  

Report: Eider Gardiazábal Rubial (A7–0270/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I support this report, taking into consideration the fact that the use of innovative financial instruments (IFIs) does not generate unforeseen costs/contingent liabilities for the Union budget, in that the liability borne by the European Union is limited to the amount of the Union contribution committed to the IFI in question on the basis of annual budget appropriations, as agreed by the budgetary authority (European Parliament and Council). On the contrary, an IFI may generate proceeds that can be reinvested (reflows) in the fund concerned, thereby strengthening its multiplier effect. The European Parliament strongly defends this principle. Unfortunately, the Council is more reluctant. The new Financial Regulation due to be adopted in October 2012 (Grässle/Rivellini report) should facilitate the use of reflows. However, concrete measures will have to be determined. I endorse this report, but by way of a conclusion, I believe that IFIs merit a simpler, clearer, more transparent legal framework.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) This text, which I supported and which was adopted by the European Parliament, is a response to the crisis in the European Union. The aim here is to mobilise part of the European budget to strengthen its innovative financial instruments. Specifically, that means that funds will be used to finance public or private projects that offer significant potential but are unable to find investors because of the current difficult economic climate.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I supported this report, which is aimed at assessing innovative financial instruments and their use in the financial framework for 2014-2020. Since the early part of the last decade, the EU institutions have developed a series of innovative financial instruments (IFIs) based on arrangements combining grants from the Union budget with public and/or private funding in order to boost the volume of investment available to achieve the Union’s strategic objectives. However, in the last decade public investment in the EU has been falling steadily, and this trend has become more pronounced since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. In order to achieve the objectives set by the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU will need massive investment over the next decade and it is therefore essential to properly exploit the potential of these IFIs by attracting private sector funding. I agree that the increased use of IFIs should not become a reason to reduce the size of the EU budget but should serve to optimise its use.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I support the report by Ms Gardiazábal Rubial on innovative financial instruments in the context of the new multiannual financial framework 2014-2020. The introduction of financial instruments at European level was seen as a way of enabling the Union to stimulate the volume and quality of investment in the European economy. The Commission is proposing, for the internal policy field, to reduce the number of financial instruments while broadening their scope and stimulating their use by simplifying and standardising them to make them more accessible and efficient. This report gives useful suggestions and guidelines specifically aimed at achieving an improvement in these fundamental resources in the 2014-2020 period.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I believe that the know-how and the technical capacity for using and managing financial instruments should also be strengthened at the level of managing authorities, financial intermediaries and banks. I agree that the purpose of innovative financial instruments (IFIs) is to act as a catalyst in situations of market failure or suboptimal investment. It is important to point out that in the area of internal Union policies, IFIs are implemented either at European level (managed by the Commission itself or a body authorised by it) or at national level in the context of regional and cohesion policy (managed jointly with the Member States). It is important to note that implementing IFIs takes time and calls for sophisticated investment skills, careful preparation of projects and detailed knowledge of market mechanisms. Such financial instruments can only improve management if countries’ common financial and human resources are adequately coordinated.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) I voted in favour of this report, which recognises that financial instruments are a tool to grant funding and provide the opportunity to create multiplier and leverage effects. Therefore, in some cases they can be a more efficient and effective means of public support, although there is a need to guard against the risks they entail.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Financial instruments are a tool of choice for the rational management of public funds: by increasing the impact of every euro invested, they encourage sound management and the success of the programmes we implement. This text points out that, although we support these innovative tools, they must be used in an appropriate and transparent manner. European taxpayers have the right to know how their money is used and they must not be kept out of the loop because of excessive technical details or an overly complex legal framework. I therefore voted in favour of this report, which underlines these fundamental requirements.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted for this text, which improves the performance of the innovative financial instruments established in the Union to stimulate investment. These instruments encourage the development of our businesses, which form the social fabric of our territories, and that is exactly what we expect of the European Union in these times of crisis.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Eider Gardiazábal Rubial has presented us with a report on innovative financial instruments in the context of the next multiannual financial framework (MFF). This is a subject of major importance, not only because this an opportune time to discuss it – we are currently preparing the MFF for 2014-2020 – but also in terms of its content. With the crisis still ongoing, and in view of the challenges facing the EU in achieving the objectives set in the Europe 2020 strategy, all ways of increasing the EU’s financial resources without imposing an excessive burden on the budgets of Member States are to be welcomed. In fact, to stimulate economic growth and job creation, we need more support for small and medium-sized enterprises so that they can become more innovative and competitive and embark upon a process of internationalisation. Considering that this is quite a complex subject, I agree with the Committee on Budgetary Control on the need for good coordination in the targeting of financial instruments so that the beneficiaries are not always the same, and I therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This motion uses the window already opened by the transfer of unused amounts from the EU budget to create so-called ‘financial instruments’ (FI), in order to give them a more instrumental role in tackling the priorities that are taking shape for the next financial framework. FIs are no more than instruments for transferring funds that were public (such as the Cohesion Fund) into the financial (and speculative) sphere. The majority of the European Parliament wants to go even further than we have until now, extending their application to ‘projects, project groups or parts of project programmes that will generate income and profits’ through public-private partnerships (public funding and private profit). These instruments and the funds that will be attached to them – the Commission estimates that EUR 1 600 billion will be needed between now and 2020 to fund the seven thematic initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy – will be used to finance large infrastructure projects, which will serve to consolidate the ‘single market’ and its beneficiaries. At the same time, the direct participation of EU capital in infrastructure-sector projects is being advocated. In addition to the chronic shortage of funds in the EU budget, new risks are now emerging, such as even more unequal distribution of the Union’s resources and (even greater) impairment of the cohesion objectives.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) Since the beginning of 2000, the EU institutions have developed a whole range of innovative financial instruments (IFIs), which are based on mechanisms combining grants from the Union budget and public and/or private financial resources in order to increase the volume of available investment to meet the Union’s strategic objectives. The ultimate purpose of, and the rationale for, the financial instruments is that they should act in situations of market failure or suboptimal investment as a catalyst that makes it possible, on the basis of a contribution from the Union budget, to mobilise funding – public and/or private – for projects that can secure no support, or only inadequate support, from the market.

The IFIs developed thus far have been used to carry out an extremely wide variety of interventions, ranging from the taking of stakes in equity/venture capital funds to the provision of guarantees/counter-guarantees to financial intermediaries, via the creation, jointly with financial institutions, of risk-sharing instruments in order to stimulate investment, innovation and research. This variety is justified by the diversity of areas covered. I also agree with the view that the introduction of IFIs under the umbrella of the Union will help to put finance at the service of the real economy for projects with European added value.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The report by Eider Gardiazábal Rubial was adopted by a large majority at the sitting of 26 October. This report relates to innovative financial instruments in the context of the next Multiannual Financial Framework. Innovative financial instruments are distinct from traditional grants as far as the European budget is concerned. One example is project bonds. The aim of the Gardiazábal Rubial report is to develop them further, while making them more efficient. The Commission feels that the use of innovative financial instruments is one way of achieving the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy, despite the climate of austerity. The report sets out the criteria for the use of these instruments, the implementation conditions, the control and monitoring arrangements, and the adjustments to be made on the basis of the experience gained by the EU in this area.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The merit of the report by Ms Gardiazábal Rubial is the proposal to introduce innovative financial instruments, with a view to maximising the European budget, making it more efficient and increasing its importance in the context of the global crisis we are experiencing. Using new financial instruments at different public and private levels, in order to make all the links in the chain participate in the implementation process, is the right approach to follow when European institutions decide to adopt new measures to tackle systemic and economic emergencies. The European budget is an instrument with a high added value, 95 % of which consists of resources that are invested directly in the Member States, and are used to finance major development projects and policies for the benefit of enterprises, researchers, workers and students. Along these lines, I believe that emphasis should be given to a suitable information campaign on how much the European budget produces in terms of concrete facts and actions in favour of the 500 million European citizens, and I am absolutely in favour of it.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this resolution which reiterates that the increased use of innovative financial instruments should not turn into a strategy to reduce the size of the Union budget but should serve to optimise its use, and welcomes the fact that in its communication on IFIs the Commission acknowledges that ‘the intention behind an increased use of innovative financial instruments is not to replace grant funding with financial instruments’.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I voted in favour. I agree with the fact that the European Union would send a powerful signal to public and private investors, as well as to financial markets, by participating directly, alone or together with the Member States, in the capitalisation of infrastructure projects. This should ensure consistency with the Union’s long-term policy objectives and would represent a guarantee of realisation of the project.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report rightly points out that public investment is needed to develop public infrastructures and that private investment generally focuses on short-term profitability, which does not allow certain key projects to be implemented. However, it does not draw the relevant conclusions. In fact, it proposes developing private partnerships and relegating the public authorities to the role of market stand-in and protector of private investors. The text therefore retains the formula that generally prevails throughout the EU. I voted against this organised wastefulness.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The introduction of these new financial instruments as part of the next multiannual financial framework is crucial for the successful development of the major projects envisioned by the European Union, especially in these difficult times of economic crisis. These new instruments may stimulate investment in the real economy in a way that is consistent with its objectives, at a time when the continual decline in resources allocated to the EU budget stands in contrast to the constant growth of its political ambitions.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Innovative financial instruments cover a rather broad range of interventions such as participation in equity (risk capital) funds, guarantees to local banks lending to a large number of final beneficiaries, for instance small and medium-sized enterprises or risk-sharing with financial institutions to boost investment in large infrastructure projects. The aim of such interventions is to boost the real economy through increasing the access to finance for enterprises and industry producing goods and service. I think that we need such instruments in order to promote growth and jobs in the EU.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. – (EL) This own-initiative proposal of the European Parliament examines the operation and effectiveness of the existing financial instruments and the scope for developing a range of new, innovative instruments combining subsidies from the Union budget with public and/or private funding, with the aim of increasing investment in Europe. In any case, flexible instruments on these lines are to Greece’s advantage, as a means of releasing EU funding for businesses which will provide liquidity on the market and will at the same time contribute to the country’s development effort. With this in mind, I voted in favour of the report in question. In any case, however, the volume of funding to Greece under the new multiannual financial framework (2014-2020) depends on the information which the Commission takes into account (per capita GDP). Both in the European Parliament and at the level of governments, Greece is demanding that attention should be given to its current GDP rather than that of 2009-2010, which the Commission is taking as a basis and which is about 18 % higher than the current GDP, with the result that valuable funding for our country from the European Structural Funds is being withheld.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) To date, the experience acquired in the field of financial instruments has been satisfactory overall. Mindful of all of the positive opinions of the committees involved, I voted in favour of this resolution on innovative financial instruments in the context of the next multiannual financial framework.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The introduction of IFIs at European level was seen as a way of enabling the Union to stimulate investment in the real European economy in line with the Union’s objectives at a time when – against the background of a constant fall in the volume of resources allocated to its budget – its political ambitions, and thus its needs, were steadily growing. Thus, the increased use of IFIs should not turn into a strategy to reduce the size of the Union budget but should serve to optimise its use. We welcome the fact that in its communication on IFIs, as referred to above, the Commission acknowledges that ‘the intention behind an increased use of innovative financial instruments is (…) not to replace grant funding with financial instruments’;

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I would like to stress the importance of innovative financial instruments in the realisation of projects through which the Union’s strategic objectives are to be achieved. I am convinced of the contribution they could make, at both national and EU level, to ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth. In particular those outlined by the Europe 2020 strategy, which describes non-discriminatory instruments that respect the principles of sound financial management, improve the quality of spending and ensure optimal use of financial resources. To ensure a sufficient level of effectiveness and speed of implementation, I believe it is necessary to make sure that the legal framework is simple and transparent, so that the objectives of transparency and monitoring of financial instruments may be effectively pursued. Trusting that innovative financial instruments will have a positive impact as an effective means of public support and hoping that they may have better legal definition, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D), in writing. – (EL) According to the Commission’s estimates, a total investment of many billions of euros between now and 2020, throughout the EU, will be needed to implement the EU 2020 strategy. However, the lack of funds which we have seen in recent years makes such investments difficult. I voted in favour of the report, given that the ultimate aim of the innovative financial instruments and their decisive effect lies in the possibility, through a contribution from the Union budget, of drawing capital for projects in cases where the market proves inadequate or deficient. In this way, state intervention may reduce the costs of potential risks or partly shoulder such costs, thus facilitating the implementation of these plans. As regards the design of new financial instruments, I agree about the importance of a preliminary assessment to identify market weaknesses or sub-optimal investments, and also that a range of simple qualitative indicators for ex-ante and ex-post assessment needs to be specified. These instruments, in combination with project bonds, will make investments more attractive and will have a knock-on effect in encouraging further investment. In this way they will play a crucial role in the Member States’ recovery efforts and in growth strategy.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Innovative financial instruments can be used to achieve a complementary combination of grants from the EU budget and public and/or private funding, thus increasing the volume of investment available to achieve the EU’s strategic objectives. Against the background of a constant fall in the volume of resources allocated to its budget, I cannot fail to agree with the motion to create innovative financial instruments, as it will allow the European Union to stimulate the volume of investment in the real economy. I also consider it extremely positive that the application of financial instruments is to be extended to the thematic objectives and funds of the common strategic framework, as well as projects, project groups or parts of project programmes that will generate income and profits.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) Under the provisions, the introduction of financial instruments was intended to provide an opportunity for increasing the amount of investment in the European Union when the market is not operating effectively. That was why, when preparing the Union’s budget, 1.3 % of the Union’s budget was allocated to financial instruments. There are clearly defined legal and budgetary provisions regulating use of the financial instruments. In practice, these provisions help to ensure correct and efficient management of public funds.

However, my decision to abstain from voting was due to the fact that the impact of the financial instruments in the area of cohesion policy varied across Member States. This was due to the poor quality of the legislative framework, resulting in delays in the implementation process. In addition, the financial instruments were not always developed in a coordinated manner, resulting in duplication.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) What we are discussing here is the creation of so-called ‘financial instruments’ as a way of transferring funds that were public (such as the Cohesion Fund) into the financial (and speculative) sphere. The report also advocates the widening of their field of application to include ‘projects, project groups or parts of project programmes that will generate income and profits’ through public-private partnerships. These instruments and the funds attached to them will be used to finance large infrastructure projects, which will serve to consolidate the ‘single market’ and its beneficiaries. We are diametrically opposed to this decision, which will lead to an even more unequal distribution of the resources of the European Union budget while impairing the cohesion objectives.

 
  
  

Report: Erminia Mazzoni (A7–0297/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I endorse this report, because it is thorough in its presentation and treatment of data concerning the performance of the Ombudsman’s functions. I would like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the fact that in 2011 the Ombudsman recorded 2 510 complaints, whilst in 2010 there were 2 667. It is therefore a body to which citizens are turning more and more frequently, and one that is increasingly justifying its existence and demonstrating its usefulness.

 
  
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  Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE), in writing. (RO) While European citizens and decision-makers from the Member States continue to debate the integration process, a high level of decision-making and institutional transparency must be maintained by the European Union. The European Ombudsman is the sole actor capable of ensuring EU openness and rapid communication between European citizens and the institutions. I support the adoption of the 2011 report on the European Ombudsman. Given that most complaints to the European Ombudsman – 61 % – were submitted electronically, it is important for the European Union as a whole, and the Ombudsman in particular, to promote the internet as a direct and transparent means of communication with citizens. It is equally important for the Ombudsman to continue its close cooperation with the European Parliament, the Member States and the European Commission.

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) This text, which I supported, is the report on the activities of the European Ombudsman for 2011. Created by the Treaty of Maastricht, the Ombudsman is an essential link between the European Union and the European citizens. The citizens can thus submit a complaint concerning ‘maladministration’ by the European Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. − (LT) I supported this report. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for the possibility for EU citizens to apply to the Ombudsman when EU institutions or bodies fail to act in accordance with rules or principles that are binding upon them and go against the principles of good administration. In 2011 the European Ombudsman helped more than 22 000 citizens. A decline in the number of complaints received each year has also been observed. I believe that the effective work of the Ombudsman and opportunities for EU citizens to defend their legitimate demands is one of the main ways of promoting citizens’ trust in the European civil service and the EU institutions. I agree that, in spite of the progress made, we need to increase EU citizens’ awareness of the opportunities to assert their rights.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Ombudsman is empowered to receive complaints concerning maladministration in the activities of Union institutions, bodies, offices, and agencies. On 22 May 2012, he presented his Annual Report for 2011, which notes that he helped more than 22 000 citizens, of whom 2 510 submitted complaints, 1 284 requested information and 18 274 obtained advice through the interactive guide. The significant reduction in requests for information received over the last few years demonstrates the success of the interactive guide. It is also worth highlighting that the number of inquiries that the Ombudsman opened concerning the European Parliament dropped significantly compared to 2010. Despite some success, the quantity of complaints processed in 2011 was again relatively modest (around 27 %) and provision should therefore be made for more comprehensive and proactive public awareness-raising. All European Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies are called upon to act in accordance with the European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, and the Ombudsman must continue to ensure the best possible use of resources. The ability of EU citizens to enjoy their rights fully, in particular the right to complain, appears to be essential to the accomplishment of the European project. For these reasons, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I did not vote in favour of the Annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman 2011 as it is simply a technical statement with no reflections or analysis of any particular depth or originality. The European Ombudsman’s mandate pursuant to Article 228 TFEU empowers him to receive complaints concerning instances of maladministration in the activities of the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. If a large number of such instances persist, it is not sufficient simply to call on those involved to act in accordance with the European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour adopted by Parliament in September 2011; instead a strong political position needs to be taken, leading to concrete proposals and solutions to counteract this situation.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because in 2011 the European Ombudsman helped more than 22 000 citizens, of whom 2 510 submitted complaints, 1 284 requested information and 18 274 obtained advice through the interactive guide on the Ombudsman’s website. I believe that the Ombudsman’s work is commendable and successful, bearing in mind that the European Network of Ombudsmen comprises over 90 offices in 32 European countries, and an increasing number of European Union citizens are beginning to use this service. I believe that we should continue to encourage cooperation, which would be directed towards the principles of improving the EU’s work and would aim to strengthen the European Citizens’ Initiative, enabling people to be involved directly in the preparation and promotion of EU legislation.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Ombudsman did a remarkable job in 2011. During 2011, the Ombudsman helped more than 22 000 citizens, of whom 2 510 submitted complaints, 1 284 requested information and 18 274 obtained advice through the internet. The total number of complaints submitted to the European Ombudsman has gradually fallen, particularly the number of complaints that do not fall within the Ombudsman’s remit, undoubtedly due to better communication with European citizens. For these reasons, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I agree with the Ombudsman that a straightforward and concise statement of the fundamental values that EU civil servants’ behaviour should reflect can effectively promote citizens’ trust in the European civil service and the EU institutions.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati and Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The European Ombudsman is an essential cog in the continuous dialogue between the Union and the citizens of Europe. His annual report demonstrates clearly the trust he has managed to establish among those who have contacted him, and we very much welcome that. I support this text, which highlights the Ombudsman’s success and points to the efforts that have yet to be made.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. – (HU) The European Ombudsman has the authority to address complaints concerning maladministration in the activities of any EU institution, body or office except those that fall within the jurisdiction of the judicial service or within the remit of the public authorities in the Member States. Only 27 % of the complaints registered by the Ombudsman in 2011 actually fell within the Ombudsman’s remit. This percentage has gradually increased in recent years. I welcome the new interactive guide available on the Ombudsman’s website, as this has helped significantly to reduce the number of requests for information. In 2011, as a result of this, the Ombudsman introduced more citizen-friendly, simplified procedures. More inquiries were opened and it took longer to complete them, but it meant that citizens received more effective assistance. Most of the inquiries opened in 2011 concerned the European Commission, while the number of complaints concerning the European Parliament dropped by half compared with 2010.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Ombudsman plays a fundamental role in the joint effort to bring the European institutions closer to citizens. His actions make European administration clearer and more open, and citizens have a guarantee that their rights will be protected, their complaints listened to and their doubts cleared up at Union level. The Ombudsman’s annual report explains those efforts and the initiatives that have been developed to that end. I note their number, their quality and the way in which the Ombudsman has interpreted his role. Nevertheless, doubts remain about his remit, which should be clarified as a matter of urgency.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) It is the role of the European Ombudsman to receive complaints concerning instances of maladministration in the activities of European Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and to process them as he sees fit. Each year, he submits a report on his activities to the European Parliament for appraisal. The Annual Report 2011 was submitted to the President of the EP, Martin Schulz, on 22 May 2012. According to the report, the number of complaints submitted fell slightly to 2 510 (157 fewer than in 2011), of which only 698 (27 %) fell within the Ombudsman’s remit. I commend the European Ombudsman on the work he has done and welcome the innovations introduced, in particular the success of the interactive guide available on the website, which allows citizens to obtain the information they want promptly, without leaving their home and without making a formal request. I voted in favour of the report drafted by Erminia Mazzoni and congratulate the Ombudsman for all the efforts he has made to bring his procedures closer to citizens.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The European Ombudsman’s Annual Report 2011 explains his work, and presents statistics on the complaints received and the number of inquiries conducted, amongst other things. The total number of complaints received amounted to 2 510, which led the Ombudsman to open 396 inquiries, 58 % of which concerned the European Commission and 11 % the European Personnel Selection Office. The average length of the inquiries was 10 months. In addition to these complaints, 1 284 people requested information and 18 274 obtained advice via the interactive guide on the Ombudsman’s website. The Ombudsman’s remit has been extended, a process that is inseparable from the (anti-democratic) concentration of new powers and competences within the European Union, for which the Treaty of Lisbon paved the way. It now covers possible instances of maladministration within the common foreign and security policy, including the Common Security and Defence Policy. The main types of alleged maladministration have been matters of illegality, including refusal to provide information, bias, unsatisfactory procedures, avoidable delays, discrimination and replies by letter in a language other than that of the complainants. In general, the Ombudsman’s intervention has proved useful. The efforts made to facilitate the submission of complaints are worthy of note and the report rightly highlights them.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) On 22 May 2012 the European Ombudsman presented his annual report for 2011 to Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament. In 2011 the Ombudsman received 2 510 complaints, compared with 2 667 in 2010. Of the total of 2 544 complaints processed, 698 (27 %) were within the Ombudsman’s mandate. The number of complaints has risen steadily over the past nine years. In 2011 the Ombudsman modified his procedures to make them more citizen-friendly.

This explains why a higher number of inquiries were opened than in 2010 and why it took him slightly longer, on average, to complete inquiries in 2011. The modification also meant that the Ombudsman closed fewer cases as ‘settled by the institution’ than in 2010, while he closed a greater number of cases with a finding of ‘no further inquiries justified’.

As regards cooperation, the European Ombudsman cooperates closely with his counterparts in the Member States. This cooperation takes place in the framework of the European Network of Ombudsmen, which comprises 90 offices in 32 European countries. It includes national and regional ombudsmen and similar bodies in the Member States of the European Union, the candidate countries for EU membership and other countries in the European Economic Area or the Schengen area, as well as the European Ombudsman and the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions.

 
  
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  Mariya Gabriel (PPE), in writing. − (BG) I voted in favour of this report because it is a step forward in monitoring, assessing and raising awareness of the activity of the European Ombudsman. This is extremely necessary given that in the years since the Ombudsman was set up, the gap between the citizens and the institutions has certainly narrowed. It is vital for the EU to ensure that its citizens exercise their rights fully and to ensure that the quality of the EC administration is improving. Through the application of these two conditions, we will gradually develop a culture of service that, crucially, changes the way in which public services are provided while fully guaranteeing citizens’ rights and interests. The Ombudsman helps to identify citizens’ rights as regards the activities of the institutions, disseminating information on problem-solving mechanisms for citizens. I think that all of us, as citizens and participants in Europe are directly affected by the workings of this institution. Therefore, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on her excellent work. I voted in favour of this report and that is a reflection of my support for the activities of the European Ombudsman.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of the annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman 2011. I agree with the Ombudsman that a concise statement of the fundamental values that EU civil servants’ behaviour should reflect can effectively promote citizens’ trust in the European civil service and the EU institutions it serves. I also endorse the Ombudsman’s view that an institution in which a culture of service is embedded does not regard complaints as a threat, but as an opportunity to communicate more effectively and, if a mistake has been made, to put matters right and learn lessons for the future.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported the report by Erminia Mazzoni, which was put to the vote in plenary on 26 October. This annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, in 2011 was adopted by a large majority: 499 votes to 10, with 17 abstentions. I welcome that result. The report indicates that there has been a gradual reduction in the number of complaints submitted to the Ombudsman. Despite some progress, the proportion of processed complaints that actually fell within the Ombudsman’s remit in 2011 was once again relatively low. To resolve this problem, it is essential to ensure more comprehensive and proactive awareness-raising among the European public about the Ombudsman’s sphere of responsibility.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) I thank Ms Mazzoni for the Annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman, which shows how very active and important this person is in his role of monitoring and control in the various fields of application of his activity. The following data are particularly noteworthy: in 2011 the Ombudsman closed 318 inquiries, 310 on the basis of complaints and 8 on his own initiative. Individual citizens submitted 82 % of complaints leading to inquiries (253), whereas companies, associations, and other legal persons submitted 18 % (57). These and other data in the report are a clear testimony to the good work of this European institutional figure, who needs to be protected and assisted by European legislation in the performance of his duties.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I supported this resolution which commends the Ombudsman for having published and distributed to staff in all EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies the European Ombudsman’s guide to complaints, with a view to encouraging the EU administration to improve its performance by deepening its commitment to the principles of a culture of service to citizens.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report has two important elements. The first, and the most important, is that it reveals that most of the complaints about maladministration relate to the European Commission, further proof of the impenetrable nature of that unmonitored body.

The second is a reminder: the European Ombudsman serves no purpose. If the budget it receives were spent on translating the documents that we are working on, the money would at least do some good.

I should point out that the documents produced by the Commission are sometimes not translated for several weeks, that Members’ speeches in plenary have not been translated for nearly a year and that we still, as always, have to work on texts in English. The European institutions are supposed to work in all of the EU languages. Their inability to do so is the result of maladministration.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) It is positive to note that the European Ombudsman’s mandate has been broadened and now includes possible maladministration in the framework of the common foreign and security policy. It seems that there is still a failure to guarantee that the EU institutions not only respect their legal obligations but are also service-minded and ensure that members of the public are properly treated and enjoy their rights fully. The rising number of complaints also reflects the fact that the European Ombudsman now has the competence to act in response to maladministration and illegal behaviour without maladministration being automatically restricted to unlawful activity. There is undoubtedly more work to be done in respect of the Office of the European Ombudsman, including in terms of raising its profile. As this report does not include any promising future plans to that end, I abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir (ALDE), in writing. (ET) I am pleased to learn that according to the annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman 2011 – the report on which I voted in favour of – the number of complaints outside the Ombudsman’s mandate fell to 1 846 in 2011, which is the lowest level recorded since 2003. This means that EU citizens have become more aware of the Ombudsman’s mandate – particularly owing to the clearer information communicated by the Ombudsman and making the procedures more citizen-friendly, which has contributed to the increased number of inquiries. However, this has resulted in somewhat longer inquiries and thus there should be more focus on making the procedures shorter. As an MEP I consider it a positive thing that the number of inquiries concerning the European Parliament initiated by the Ombudsman has dropped considerably – by more than half in a year.

 
  
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  Georgios Papanikolaou (PPE), in writing. – (EL) I voted for the report on the annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman 2011. The information submitted to the European Parliament indicates that the office of the European Ombudsman is not only gaining a high degree of recognition as a service to our fellow European citizens, but is also consolidating its position as, amongst other things, a means of ensuring accountability within the Union. It is significant that in 2011 the Ombudsman registered 2 510 complaints, 53 % of which were submitted on the electronic complaint form, which is available on the Ombudsman’s website in all the official EU languages. Requests to the Ombudsman are primarily on issues of openness, public access and personal data, and control of the award of tenders and grants. Electronic communication with the Ombudsman needs to be further promoted and, given the excellent work which Mr Diamandouros is doing in this crucial post, the result is bound to be successful.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Annual Report 2011 was presented to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and subsequently to Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, the committee responsible for relations with the Ombudsman. As the Committee on Petitions raised no points or objections, I voted in favour of this report, which outlines the activities of the European Ombudsman during the year 2011.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The European Ombudsman cooperates closely with his counterparts in the Member States. This cooperation takes place in the framework of the European Network of Ombudsmen, which comprises over 90 offices in 32 European countries. It includes national and regional ombudsmen and similar bodies of the Member States of the European Union, the candidate countries for EU membership, and other countries in the European Economic Area and/or the Schengen area, as well as the European Ombudsman and the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions. The Network holds seminars for national and regional ombudsmen in alternate years. The European Ombudsman and the Ombudsman of Denmark jointly organised the 8th National Seminar of the Network on ‘Law, politics, and ombudsmen in the Lisbon era’. It took place in Copenhagen from 20 to 22 October 2011. The Committee on Petitions was represented by my colleague, Mrs Margrete Auken (Green/EFA).

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Annual report on the European Ombudsman contains a detailed account of the institution’s activity over the last year. The facts are impressive: he received 2 510 complaints (2 667 in 2010), opened 396 inquiries (335 in 2010) and completed 318 inquiries (326 in 2010); of the total of 2 544 complaints processed by the Ombudsman in 2011, 698 (27 %) were within his mandate (744 in 2010). It is a body which, operating as intermediary between citizens and EU bodies, helps identify instances of maladministration within European Union institutions and bodies. I believe in the need to safeguard observance of the law and the principles of good administration or human rights, whenever an institution is in breach of these through acts of maladministration. So on the one hand the European Ombudsman helps create a citizen-friendly Union, and on the other hand he improves administrative efficiency. I am pleased that the importance of the activity carried out is borne out by the figures presented. For these reasons I voted in favour of the report on the European Ombudsman’s activities.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) I naturally voted for this text. The role of an ombudsman is important, even essential. An ombudsman is a link between citizens and administrations. It enables administrations to examine their actions and has the power to force them to do so, where necessary. In 2011, the Ombudsman registered 2 510 complaints compared to 2 667 in 2010. It is worth noting that more than 60 % of the complaints received in 2011 were submitted using the internet. Indeed, in the European spirit, it is important to make the system user-friendly for citizens and facilitate access to information or complaints. The significant reduction in requests for information received over the last few years (1 000 in 2010, 1 850 in 2009, 4 300 in 2008 and 4 100 in 2007) demonstrates the success of the Ombudsman’s interactive guide, which is available on his website. It enables interested parties to obtain information without having to submit a request. The Ombudsman opened 382 inquiries on the basis of complaints, and launched 14 additional inquiries on his own initiative, which goes to show that the Ombudsman can and must be proactive, too.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Parliament has approved the Annual Report for 2011 presented by the European Ombudsman, noting that the Ombudsman helped more than 22 000 citizens, of whom 2 510 submitted complaints, 1 284 requested information and 18 274 obtained advice. I welcome the fact that the number of inquiries opened by the Ombudsman fell by more than half in relation to 2010. I voted in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on the annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman 2011. The 2011 Eurobarometer on citizens’ rights and the performance of the EU administration showed that citizens attach great value to their right to complain to the European Ombudsman, and that their right to move and reside freely in the Union and their right to good administration are also important.

The main types of alleged maladministration that the Ombudsman investigated in 2011 concerned: lawfulness (28 %), requests for information (16.2 %), fairness (13.6 %), stating the grounds of decisions and the possibilities of appeal (8.1 %), reasonable time limits for taking decisions (7.3 %), requests for public access to documents (7.1 %), absence of discrimination (6.8 %), as well as replying to letters in the language of citizens and indicating the competent official (5.8 %).

The majority of inquiries opened by the Ombudsman in 2011 concerned the Commission (231), with the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) in second position (42).

The publication of the Ombudsman booklet entitled Problems with the EU? Who can help you, which contains comprehensive information on problem-solving mechanisms for citizens who face problems with the EU, is an important step in assisting EU citizens.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The legal basis for the European Ombudsman’s mandate is Article 228 TFEU, which empowers him to receive complaints concerning maladministration in the activities of Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, with the exception of the Court of Justice of the European Union acting in its judicial role. The right to complain to the European Ombudsman is provided for in Article 24 of the TFEU and in Article 43 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the Ombudsman’s mandate was broadened to include possible maladministration in the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Most inquiries which the Ombudsman opened in 2011 concerned the European Commission, since it is the main EU institution whose decisions have a direct impact on citizens. The European Ombudsman cooperates closely with his counterparts in the Member States. This cooperation takes place in the framework of the European Network of Ombudsmen.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The total number of complaints received by the European Ombudsman (2011) amounted to 2 510, which led the Ombudsman to open 396 inquiries, of which 58 % concerned the European Commission and 11 % the European Personnel Selection Service. The average length of inquiries was 10 months. In addition to these complaints, 1 284 people requested information and 18 274 obtained advice via the interactive guide on the Ombudsman’s website. In general, the intervention of the Ombudsman proved useful. The efforts made to facilitate the submission of complaints are worthy of note and the report rightly highlights them, We are, however, opposed to the widening and centralisation of powers in this area, which was enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon.

 
  
  

Report: Markus Ferber (A7–0306/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I support this report. The texts deal with various aspects of the structure of the financial markets, the instruments and the participants, and in my view represent a very important step towards increasing transparency and guaranteeing a good price formation process on the European stock exchanges. We must ensure that transparency requirements for high-frequency trading firms are increased, so that everyone is aware of their technical trading. Another very important issue is that of ‘commodities’ and agricultural derivatives: this is an important political matter and it is crucial to establish provisions to reduce speculation in food markets. There must therefore be more transparency requirements and more stringent rules on the rights of asset managers in relation to their clients, and strict limitations must be imposed on the practice of ‘incentivisation’. With regard to this last point, Member States will have the option to ban incentives. This text makes a good commitment and constitutes a strong starting point for negotiations with the Council. I believe that the European Parliament’s text will increase transparency and reduce speculative practices with the overall aim of protecting investors and making financial markets more transparent and efficient.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this Directive, which aims to make financial markets more efficient, resilient and transparent, and to strengthen the protection of investors. In force since November 2007, the original Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) governs the provision of investment services in financial instruments (brokerage, advice, dealing, portfolio management, underwriting, etc.) by banks and investment firms and the operation of traditional stock exchanges and alternative trading venues (so-called multilateral trading facilities). While MiFID created competition between these services and brought more choice and lower prices for investors, shortcomings were exposed in the wake of the financial crisis. In 2009 the G20 agreed at the Pittsburgh summit on the need to improve the transparency and oversight of less regulated markets – including derivatives markets – and to address the issue of excessive price volatility in commodity derivatives markets. I agree that we need to establish more robust and efficient market structures, and greater supervisory powers and controls for these markets, and ensure better protection for consumers.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. – (HU) I voted in favour of this report because the amendments will help to prevent commodity speculation on the financial markets, which often results in significant increases in food and energy prices. The proposed changes limit the number of contracts or positions that members of or participants in a given market are able to enter into or hold during a specified period of time, and they ensure transparency both before and after trading.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The objective of this directive is to regulate the provision of investment services on the financial markets by banks and investment firms or other firms regularly performing investment activities on a professional basis. The European Commission is proposing a revision of the MiFID Directive to promote more efficient, resilient and transparent financial markets, while also strengthening the protection of investors. To achieve these objectives, common regulatory requirements must be introduced for investment firms in the European Union, guaranteeing full operation of the single market. This directive will bring countless advantages by making it possible to create more structured and robust markets, better manage the environment in which technological innovations are used in the operation of capital markets, increase transparency and facilitate the supervision of these markets. All these measures will provide better protection for investors in the market. With this in mind, and considering that the approval of this legislation is a fundamental step in regulating the EU’s financial markets in order to address their weaknesses and improve the transparency and regulation of the financial markets, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour of this initiative because we need to adopt measures to put an end to the speculation that is affecting food and energy prices and that is causing an unprecedented crisis. To that end, we need better regulation of trade in financial products, creating a more coherent and more transparent framework that benefits investment and protects consumers. In short, we need to establish a coherent and transparent framework for access to the system with a view to ensuring a high quality of execution of transactions and upholding the integrity and efficiency of the financial system.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because the position set out, taking into account the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, does not include any substantive amendments other than those identified as such in the proposal. In addition, as regards the codification of the unchanged provisions of the earlier acts together with those amendments, the proposal contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts, without any change in their substance.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. – (RO) Due to the fact that irresponsible behaviour such as increased speculation on commodities and high-frequency trading lead to poverty and greater instability within the financial system, I voted in favour of the report on the financial regulations that aim to eliminate these activities.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I support this text because it is going to restructure completely our financial markets. It will provide them with a better framework, make them more transparent and combat excessive speculation. Long debates were needed to achieve this result, but we can now welcome the adoption of this text. The financial markets must serve the real economy, not the other way round.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Following the profound changes that have occurred in the market in financial instruments in recent years, and by virtue of the Leaders’ Statement at the 2009 G-20 summit, the European Commission has presented a set of proposals to reinforce the rules applied to these markets. These proposals are part of a larger package aimed at strengthening the banking system and the financial system, including, for instance, the revision of the Capital Requirements Directive or the Directive on Deposit Insurance. There will thus be regulation of organised trading facilities (OTF), which are playing an increasingly active role in these markets, and a decision is being made on the creation of a private label for capital markets, especially those aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, to facilitate their access to alternative financing. These proposals will provide greater transparency in the financial markets, strengthen the role and power of national supervisors and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), and make investment institutions more responsible and accountable through the introduction of corporate governance principles. Finally, I would like to congratulate Markus Ferber and I support his conclusions on this important matter.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Markus Ferber presents us with a report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on markets in financial instruments, repealing Directive 2004/39/EC of the EP and the Council (recast). The proposed recasting aims to ensure greater transparency, by introducing some additional changes to address the weaknesses exposed by the current financial crisis. Considering that, according to the opinion of the Consultative Working Party of the Legal Services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, which has been adopted by common accord, the proposal ‘does not include any substantive amendments other than those identified as such in the proposal and whereas, as regards the codification of the unchanged provisions of the earlier acts together with those amendments, the proposal contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts, without any change in their substance’, I voted in favour of it, conscious of the fact that the implementation of this directive will result in a significant improvement in the functioning of markets in financial instruments, in particular by increasing transparency, reinforcing confidence and better protecting investors.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) With this proposal for a directive, the European Parliament is endorsing another retreat in the face of political forces committed to the system, and is refusing to tackle the essential issue: the existence of these markets and their instruments. Contrary to what this report would have us believe, it is not merely the current functioning of the markets that generates instability and financial and economic crisis. The problem stems from their existence, which does not meet any objective need for the healthy functioning of economies or the satisfaction of human needs or aspirations, which is what the objective of the economy should naturally be. As we stated in relation to the regulation put to the vote along with this directive, the ‘financialisation’ of the economy and the way in which it holds productive activity hostage remain taboo, that is, the ‘financialisation’ of the economy, with the development of processes that have no resulting or corresponding productive activity, with all the risks that that entails.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), in force since November 2007, is one of the EU’s cornerstones of the integration of financial markets in the EU. The main objective is to deepen the integration, competitiveness and effectiveness of the EU’s financial markets. The ability of Member States to require all trading in financial instruments to take place in traditional stock exchanges has gone and it is now possible to have Europe-wide commercial competition between these stock exchanges and alternative trading venues. Banks and investment companies would be more ‘entitled’ to provide investment services within the EU if they adhere to the organisational and reporting requirements and the comprehensive rules intended to protect investors.

However, it is also true that the more competitive scenario has resulted in new challenges. The advantages of greater commercial competition have not benefited all market participants equally and have not always been passed on to the end retail or non-retail investors. In the final analysis, although the comprehensive MiFID rules largely acquitted themselves well during the financial crisis, there is a need for specific, but ambitious improvement. I believe that the amendment of the MiFID represents an integral part of the reforms intended to create a safer, more reliable, transparent and responsible financial system, which, in a period marked by the consequences of the financial crisis, will operate to the benefit of the economy and society as a whole.

 
  
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  Lorenzo Fontana (EFD), in writing. (IT) The financial market clearly needs to be reformed to ensure greater stability of financial markets and adequate protection of investors. It is therefore necessary firstly to define clear and harmonised commercial rules on the financial products that can be negotiated, and secondly to prevent conflicts of interest in companies selling investment products. Finally, I consider it very important to resolve the risks raised by high-frequency trading systems. In the belief, therefore, that this report is fully consistent with the current need for transparency of financial markets, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Gunnar Hökmark and Anna Ibrisagic (PPE), in writing. (SV) We Moderates are voting today in favour of two reports concerning the rules relating to financial marketplaces and the trading of financial instruments (MiFID and MiFIR). We have done this because we believe there is a need for updated and improved legislation in connection with this, particularly through greater transparency and openness. However, there are three areas that we continue to remain sceptical of. The first concerns competition between clearing houses in connection with a completed transaction. As the proposal is currently worded, there is a risk that competition may be restricted, which would be to the detriment of both the way in which the market functions and individual investors. The second matter concerns the trading of commodity-related instruments, concerning which more restrictions are being introduced which could have an adverse effect on pricing. Finally, the third matter concerns high-frequency trading, where the current formulation of the proposal aims to regulate technical development rather than any elements of market abuse that could arise in the wake of this development. We believe that technical development should be accepted, while abuse and irregularities should instead be addressed with stricter supervision.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I welcome the proposal because the financial crisis has exposed weaknesses in the functioning and in the transparency of financial markets. The evolution of financial markets has exposed the need to strengthen the framework for the regulation of markets in financial instruments, including where trading in such markets takes place over the counter, in order to increase transparency, better protect investors, reinforce confidence, address unregulated areas, and ensure that supervisors are granted adequate powers to fulfil their tasks.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this Report but regret that Amendment 3 to Article 59 was defeated. This would have toughened up limits on excessive speculation on commodities.

 
  
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  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) has been in force since 2007. However, since then, the emergence of new products and the financial crisis of 2008 have exposed weaknesses in the functioning and transparency of those markets, leading to a need to revise the legislation. The new legislation aims to increase the transparency and supervision of markets that are not regulated, OTFs and MTFs, as well as to regulate high-frequency trading, introduce limits on the trading of derivatives, which will now be done on regulated platforms, revise investor protection measures, and consolidate the information and provisions on existing products. Although there is still much to do in terms of financial regulation, this proposal will allow greater regulation of new trading platforms for financial products, which has until now been virtually non-existent. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The financial crisis has exposed weaknesses in the functioning and in the transparency of financial markets. All trading venues, namely regulated markets, multilateral trading facilities, and organised trading facilities, should lay down transparent rules governing access to the facility.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report and the proposal for a new directive on markets in financial instruments that it amends are nothing but an attempt to compensate to some extent for the terrible consequences of opening up the stock exchanges to competition. I welcome the requirement for more transparency and measures to avoid conflicts of interest proposed by the report.

However, as far as the rest is concerned, the report is clearly not up to the task. It maintains the European passports for all trading platforms and even proposes giving them to third-country firms.

It does not prohibit parallel forms of trading but chooses to integrate them in the scope of the directive as ‘organised trading systems’. It does not prohibit high-frequency trading. It does not prohibit commodity speculation. It maintains exemptions from the transparency requirement for platforms. One cannot harness the financial markets through half-measures and exemptions and by opening them up even further to competition.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) In recent years, more investors have become active in the financial markets and they are being offered an increasingly complex and wide-ranging set of services and instruments. In view of these developments, the legal framework of the European Union should encompass the full range of investor-oriented activities. To this end, it is necessary to provide for the degree of harmonisation needed to offer investors a high level of protection and to allow investment firms to provide services throughout the European Union, within the framework of a single market, on the basis of home country supervision. The financial crisis has exposed weaknesses in the functioning and in the transparency of financial markets. The evolution of financial markets has exposed the need to strengthen the framework for the regulation of markets in financial instruments, including where trading in such markets takes place over the counter, in order to increase transparency, better protect investors, reinforce confidence, address unregulated areas, and ensure that supervisors are granted adequate powers to fulfil their tasks. This regulation constitutes a step in this direction, hence my vote in favour.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. I think that this is a good compromise text and a strong starting point to start negotiations with the Council. Our main achievements concern high-frequency trading and commodity and agricultural derivatives. I think that we need to adopt this resolution because it will increase transparency and reduce speculative practices with the overall aim of defending investors and having transparent and efficient financial markets.

 
  
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  Paul Murphy (GUE/NGL), in writing. I welcome aspects of these reports (A7-0306/2012, A7-0303/2012), such as the imposition of some regulation on practices such as high-frequency trading and the over-the-counter trading of derivates. I also welcome position limits that will at least curb some of the worst excesses of commodity speculation. However, I abstained on the final reports. The reports go nowhere near far enough in challenging the dominance of the financial markets, which will continue despite these regulations. Speculators have been gambling on the financial markets in order to make massive profits off the backs of the world’s poor; creating mass poverty and hardship in the process. These practices should be outlawed. Instead of a financial market that is run in the interests of the major finance houses and speculators I stand for a financial sector that is run in the interests of the vast majority in society, where its goal is the facilitation of the democratic planning of the satisfaction of the needs of the world’s population and not the enrichment of a tiny section of speculators.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The objective of this directive is to regulate the provision of investment services on the financial markets by banks and investment firms or other firms that regularly perform investment activities on a professional basis. The directive will bring countless advantages, by making it possible to create more structured and robust markets, better manage the environment in which technological innovations are used in the operation of capital markets, increase transparency and facilitate the supervision of these markets. All these measures will provide better protection for investors in the market. With this in mind, and considering that the approval of this legislation is a fundamental step in regulating the European Union’s financial markets in order to address their weaknesses and improve the transparency and regulation of the financial markets, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (ES) I voted in favour. Nevertheless, although Parliament voted today to limit high-frequency trading and reduce speculation on food products, it is regrettable that it did not support our proposal to eliminate scams such as preferred stock. That is another symbol of how difficult it is to change the financial system, despite five years of crisis. Our proposal sought to put an end to the incentives financial advisers receive for placing junk products with consumers who are not investors. We thus wanted to see an end to the benefits gained from these instruments, or for them to be passed on directly to consumers. In this way, financial advisers would have been forced to recommend products that benefited their clients, not increased their own revenue. There must be a clear distinction between the marketing of complex financial products and the marketing of savings products; it is entirely unacceptable for someone who wants a deposit to end up with a high-risk derivative product, which is what has been happening until now.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) establishes a legal framework aimed at regulating the provision of investment services, so enabling investors to be offered a high level of protection and allowing investment firms to provide services throughout the Union. Directive 2004/39/EC also increased transparency and competition in the markets and improved investor protection. However, I feel that consideration should be given to problems that have arisen in recent times, with greater competition emerging between trading venues for financial instruments and investors having more choice in terms of service providers and available financial instruments. In fact, the benefits arising from greater competition are not evenly distributed among all market participants, and have not always been passed on to the end investors. All this means that the provisions contained in the Directive under examination are now out of date. The purpose of re-examining the MiFID Directive is to update the current regulations and bring them into line with market developments, including the financial crisis and technological developments, and also to improve their efficiency. That is why I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) On 20 October 2011 the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive on markets in financial instruments repealing Directive 2004/39/EC, which had been in force since November 2007. With the aim of making the European Union’s financial markets more integrated, more competitive and more efficient, the current directive has resulted in greater competition between financial instrument trading platforms and greater choice for investors in terms of the service providers and financial instruments available. I agree with this recasting of the directive in question, since a number of problems stemming from greater global competition have been identified and markets in financial instruments are facing new challenges, such as trading platforms, investment vehicles and the issuing of transmission rights. I believe that the new directive will help to make the financial system more secure, more solid, more transparent and more responsible, to the benefit of the economy and society as a whole.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the proposal amending and repealing Directive 2004/39/EC on markets in financial instruments.

The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) adopted in November 2007 is an important element in the integration of the EU financial markets. It establishes the regulatory framework for the provision of investment services by banks and investment firms and for the operation of trading venues. It also defines the remit of the competent national authorities.

Three and a half years after its implementation, we see greater competition between the trading venues of financial instruments, and a larger range of investment options and financial instruments from service providers. This progress completes the technological development of the last few years. The proposed directive amends the specific requirements for the provision of investment services, the scope of exemptions in the current Directive, the authorisation and operation conditions for investment firms, the organisation of trading venues, authorisation of data reporting service providers, the powers of the competent authorities, and the sanctions and rules applicable to third-country firms with a branch in the EU.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The exacerbated commodity market volatility and price levels that seem unrelated to fundamental extraction costs and the balance between supply and demand over the last ten years has indeed generated devastating and long lasting negative externalities which are potentially much bigger than the total amount of official development aid over the same period. A comprehensive EU sustainable development cooperation strategy should go hand in hand with more transparent and better regulated commodity related markets in the EU and worldwide. The Commission recast proposals on the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation (MiFID and MiFIR) include provisions with the explicit purpose of addressing the need to reinforce supervision and regulation in commodity related financial markets. Three general issues need to be addressed by the European Parliament in the framework of the MiFID/MiFIR revision: strict limitation on exemptions from MiFID to include all commodities actors within the scope of the regulation; strengthening the provisions for position limits; strengthening the powers for regulators to intervene in specific products or activities.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This proposal, backed by the majority of the European Parliament, constitutes another retreat in the face of political forces committed to the system, and refuses to tackle the essential issue in this area: the existence of these markets and their instruments. Contrary to what this report would have us believe, it is not merely the functioning of the markets that generates instability and financial and economic crisis. The greatest threat stems from their existence, which does not meet any objective need for the healthy functioning of economies or the satisfaction of human needs or aspirations. The ‘financialisation’ of the economy and the way in which it holds productive activity hostage remain taboo. The ‘financialisation’ of the economy, with the development of processes that have no resulting or corresponding productive activity, is a central part of the development strategy of the European Union, always seeking to achieve profit for the large economic and financial groups that the production of real goods and services could not, and cannot, achieve. Part of this strategy is this instrument, which is inseparable from the existence of tax havens, the increasing contraction of public spending and investment, and the privatisation and liberalisation of public services and businesses essential to economic and social development.

 
  
  

Report: Markus Ferber (A7–0303/2012)

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) In view of the fact that the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), in force since November 2007, is one of the cornerstones of financial regulation in the EU, I support this report and acknowledge the need for a revision of the current MiFID (MiFID II) in order to address its weaknesses. Since then, however, two developments have occurred that revealed the need for improvements: firstly, the financial markets have evolved, with the emergence of new products, for instance. Secondly, the financial crisis of 2008 and the period that followed it exposed weaknesses in the functioning and transparency of these markets, as well as shortcomings in the capacity of MiFID to deal with them. The European Commission has learned the necessary lessons and proposed that MiFID should be revised. Thus, I agree with the proposed new legislation, which comprises two different legal instruments, a directive (MiFID) and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR), both of which must be examined together. I will conclude by saying that I agree with the position of the rapporteur, who advocates that future debates should focus more on the impacts of MiFIR for non-financial firms.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report on markets in financial instruments and amending the European Market Infrastructure Regulation. The financial crisis that the EU is experiencing has exposed weaknesses in the transparency of financial markets. In order to strengthen the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market for financial instruments, uniform requirements for the transparency of transactions in markets for financial instruments need to be established,along with comprehensive rules for a broad range of financial instruments. Together, both legal instruments should form the legal framework governing the requirements applicable to investment firms, regulated markets and third-country firms providing investment services or performing investment activities in the Union.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. – (HU) I voted in favour of the report on financial market instruments because the decisions will mean that the new provisions will extend the authorities’ jurisdiction and ensure that clear rules of procedure apply to all trading activities. Certain financial activities and commodities had become exceptionally complex and lacking in transparency of late as a result of fundamental changes in the financial markets. The European Union, meanwhile, must keep pace with these changes in the interests of protecting its citizens and consumers.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Together with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), this regulation forms the legal framework governing the requirements applicable to investment firms, regulated markets and data reporting services providers, in order to reinforce the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market in financial instruments. The adoption of a regulation guarantees that the requirements are directly applicable to investment firms and provides fair conditions for all, avoiding the diverging national requirements that would result from transposition of a directive. Therefore, standards will be applied in a uniform manner throughout the European Union and to all market participants. It will be possible to trade financial instruments on regulated markets through multilateral trading facilities (MTF) and organised trading facilities (OTF), which will also bring greater transparency to the market. A guarantee of more efficient and assertive operation of the high-frequency markets will be another advantage of this new legislation. In view of the progress and improvements to the market made by this legislation, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because strengthening transparency is one of the shared principles that needs to be implemented to strengthen the financial system, as confirmed by the G20 Leaders’ Statement in London on 2 April 2009. In order to strengthen the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market for financial instruments, a new framework establishing uniform requirements for the transparency of transactions in markets for financial instruments should be put in place. The framework should establish comprehensive rules for a broad range of financial instruments. The adoption of a regulation ensuring direct applicability is best suited to accomplish those regulatory goals and ensure uniform conditions by preventing diverging national requirements as a result of the transposition of a directive. This framework should complement requirements for the transparency of orders and transactions in respect of shares established in Directive 2004/39/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 21 April 2004 on markets in financial instruments.

 
  
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  Rachida Dati (PPE), in writing. – (FR) This text is the result of the clear objective that we set ourselves for the financial markets: creating more secure, more transparent markets for all. I therefore welcome the adoption of this text, which I support and which lays down important measures for improving transparency and protection for investors.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Following the profound changes that have occurred in the market in financial instruments in recent years, and by virtue of the Leaders’ Statement at the 2009 G-20 summit, the European Commission has presented a set of proposals to reinforce the rules applied to these markets. These proposals are part of a larger package aimed at strengthening the banking system and the financial system, including, for instance, the revision of the Capital Requirements Directive or the Directive on Deposit Insurance. There will thus be regulation of organised trading facilities (OTF), which are playing an increasingly active role in these markets, and a decision is being made on the creation of a private label for capital markets, especially those aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, to facilitate their access to alternative financing. These proposals will provide greater transparency in the financial markets, strengthen the role and power of national supervisors and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and make investment institutions more responsible and accountable through the introduction of corporate governance principles. Finally, I would like to congratulate Markus Ferber and I support his conclusions on this important matter.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The report in question, prepared by Markus Ferber, focuses on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Markets in Financial Instruments and amending the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) on over-the-counter derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. At present, after much having been said and written about the actual cause of the current economic and financial crisis, the conclusion is unanimous: financial speculation! To prevent such a crisis in the future, it is becoming urgent to adopt measures and implement rules that promote security and transparency in financial transactions and offer guarantees to investors. There is no doubt that financial markets are necessary, but they must be secure and transparent. To achieve this, it is necessary to address all the existing shortcomings. I therefore welcome the safeguard clause, which will protect citizens. For many years, the financial markets have been working for the benefit of themselves and their institutions and not for the benefit of the real economy. I voted in favour of this proposal because it refocuses the financial markets on the real economy, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, making the financial sector more credible and guaranteeing greater protection for the rights of consumers and investors.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This proposal, backed by the majority of the European Parliament, is part of a wider set of proposals that have emerged against the backdrop of one of the most serious eruptions of the systemic crisis of capitalism, which follows the old principle of ‘changing things so that everything stays the same’. In essence, the products and mechanisms that make financial speculation possible remain in place. Under the pretext of providing greater regulation, this set of recommendations for legal harmonisation ends up ensuring that the financial markets have the necessary fluidity to keep operating in the same way as they have up to now. The substantive issues that would have been addressed if the intention was, in fact, to curb and impose limits on financial speculation, remain untouched. In essence, despite some apparently correct measures, the conditions are being maintained to ensure the stability of financial operators and the continuation of the whole circuit that drains added value from the productive sectors and into financial capital. The costs involved in the movement of various financial products are being harmonised and reduced, creating an illusion of greater regulation and supervision which is, at root, false. There is, for example, no mention at all of tax havens, banking secrecy or countries with tax regimes that are ‘friendly’ to big finance, either in this or other legislative proposals.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) The financial crisis has exposed weakness in the transparency of financial markets. Strengthening transparency is therefore one of the shared principles to strengthen the financial system, as confirmed by the G20 group of countries’ statement in London on 2 April 2009. In order to strengthen the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market for financial instruments, a new framework establishing uniform requirements for the transparency of transactions in markets for financial instruments should be put in place. This should establish comprehensive rules for a broad range of financial instruments.

The Group on Financial Supervision in the EU, chaired by Jacques de Larosière, invited the Union to develop a more harmonised set of financial regulations. In the context of the future European supervisory architecture, the June 2009 European Council also stressed the need to establish a European single rule book applicable to all financial institutions in the internal market. The new legislation should, as a consequence, consist of two different legal instruments, a directive and this Regulation.

I believe that both instruments should form the legal framework governing the requirements applicable to investment firms, regulated markets and data reporting services providers. This directly applicable legal act aims to contribute in a crucial manner to the smooth functioning of the internal market and should therefore be based on the provisions of Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as interpreted in accordance with the consistent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 
  
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  Juozas Imbrasas (EFD), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this amendment because I agree that the recent financial crisis has exposed weaknesses in the transparency of financial markets that can contribute to negative socio-economic effects. I therefore believe that in order to strengthen the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market for financial instruments, a new framework establishing uniform requirements for the transparency of transactions in markets for financial instruments should be put in place.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported the report by Markus Ferber on markets in financial instruments and the amendment of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) on over-the-counter derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. This report was adopted by 497 votes to 20, with 17 abstentions. The rapporteur focused on the following points: a transparency requirement, the introduction of a new category of organised trading facility (OTF) for bonds, structured financial products, emissions allowances and derivatives, ensuring uniform applicable conditions between trading venues, and finally, protection for investors.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this report which states that in order to ensure the orderly functioning and integrity of financial markets, investor protection and financial stability it is necessary to provide a mechanism for monitoring of the design of investment products and for powers to prohibit or restrict the marketing, distribution and sale of any investment product or financial instrument giving rise to serious concerns regarding investor protection, the orderly functioning and integrity of financial markets, or the stability of the whole or part of the financial system, together with appropriate coordination and contingency powers for ESMA. The exercise of such powers by competent authorities and, in exceptional cases, by ESMA should be subject to the need to fulfil a number of specific conditions.

 
  
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  Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The new Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation aims to take a further step towards greater regulation and supervision of markets. The main objective of this proposal is to establish uniform requirements in all Member States in relation to public disclosure of trade data and reporting of transactions. Trading of derivatives on organised venues will be mandatory, thus reducing the risks associated with these products. This regulation provides for the introduction of position limits or alternative arrangements for derivative financial instruments related to commodities (e.g. food and energy), which may facilitate price discovery and efficient hedging of the price risks to which producers and consumers are exposed, and therefore prevent and correct asset bubbles and other distortions. Although there is still much to be done in the field of financial regulation, this proposal means that a large number of products that have until now been traded on unregulated markets are now subject to stricter rules. I abstained.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) It is appropriate to ensure that as much trading as possible which occurs outside regulated trading venues takes place in organised systems to which appropriate transparency requirements apply while ensuring that large-scale and irregular transactions can be concluded. I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report and the draft regulation that it amends once again fall short of what the situation requires. I welcome the desire to impose greater transparency and to give the competent national authorities powers to prohibit permanently certain financial products and certain financial activities or practices. Why would the European Securities and Markets Authority have a say in this, however?

As for the rest, it aims only to alleviate the consequences of the liberalisation measures put in place in 2007. Why integrate alternative trading platforms in the scope of this regulation instead of prohibiting them? Why not prohibit derivatives and short selling? We cannot combat speculation just by supervising it a little more closely. We need to put an end to the free competition between trading platforms.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The recent financial crisis has exposed weaknesses in the transparency of financial markets which can have harmful socio-economic effects. Strengthening transparency is one of the shared principles to strengthen the financial system, as confirmed by the G-20 Leaders' Statement in London on 2 April 2009. In order to strengthen the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market for financial instruments, a new framework establishing uniform requirements for the transparency of transactions in markets for financial instruments should be put in place. The framework should establish comprehensive rules for a broad range of financial instruments. It should complement requirements for the transparency of orders and transactions in respect of shares established in Directive 2004/39/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 21 April 2004 on markets in financial instruments. We must continue to legislate to ensure that in the future we are not again confronted with the same sins that led to the financial crisis that gave rise to the major economic crisis we are facing.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. I think that we need to adopt this resolution because it will increase transparency and reduce speculative practices with the overall aim to defend investors and have transparent and efficient financial markets.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Together with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), this regulation forms the legal framework governing the requirements applicable to investment firms, regulated markets and data reporting services providers, in order to reinforce the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market in financial instruments. The adoption of a regulation guarantees that the requirements are directly applicable to investment firms and provides fair conditions for all, avoiding the diverging national requirements that would result from transposition of a directive. Therefore, standards will be applied in a uniform manner throughout the European Union and to all market participants. Given the apparent benefits that this legislation can bring to the market, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. The Greens want to slow down trading, as the kind of speeds now used only serve to fuel a technological arms race between HFT players and other algorithms that try to protect large investors from speculative attack. We also want proper testing by exchanges of algorithms to avoid Flash Crash and similar events. The compromise eventually included our demands for proper testing and a consensual limit of 500 milliseconds on how long HFT players must wait before they can change or withdraw offers to trade. (Articles 51 and 51a MiFID).

We also successfully blocked an attempt to enshrine ‘market maker schemes’ in MiFID – the compromise now only requires market makers (including HFT players) to sign agreements about their obligations towards other market participants. Since these schemes often come with rewards attached that we consider unfair treatment of some participants relative to others, we are glad that the term was removed (see Article 4 of MiFID for definitions).

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The global dimension of the financial crisis and its consequences that have fallen upon banks, enterprises, workers and States, compels us to look with particular clear-sightedness at the need for financial market transparency, in order to boost the financial system. For many years the lack of transparency has resulted in total asymmetry with an imbalance in favour of the strong side of the market and not at all protective of savers. Self-regulation of intermediaries has also proved disastrous, shaking the very concept of market to the core. I would therefore like to emphasise the importance of a single set of rules to govern all financial institutions, in order to provide legal certainty and to simplify existing regulations. The financial crisis is also, if not above all, a crisis of trust, and trust needs to be rebuilt with rules, transparency and justice. I believe that EU legislation represents an unmissable opportunity to rebuild trust and make a lasting contribution to facilitating the way out of the current very serious crisis. For this reason I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) The European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) will, in the course of 2013, establish obligatory central clearing for a large proportion of derivatives. Clearing houses will increasingly concentrate on the risks previously posed by banks involved in over-the-counter trading. Only clearing houses with bank status will fall within the supervisory remit of the European Central Bank. There, too, it is a question of applying the principle of identical supervision for identical activities, and thus eventually including all clearing houses in the scope of the single supervisory mechanism. The plan to extend the scope of supervision to other sectors is neither realistic nor appropriate in the short term. However, in order to have the means in the long term, we must affirm our intention to do it now.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The recent economic and financial crisis has exposed various weaknesses in the transparency of financial markets, which can have harmful socio-economic effects for Member States and for the population as a whole. I support this report, which establishes more transparent and efficient criteria in European markets, creating equivalent conditions in the different trading venues and organisations. In addition, trading must be done with the greatest possible transparency and in organised systems. I also consider beneficial the introduction of more detailed trading conditions to guarantee the orderly functioning and integrity of financial markets, the protection of investors and financial stability.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted to amend the proposal for a regulation on markets in financial instruments and amending the European Market Infrastructure Regulation on over-the-counter derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories. The recent financial crisis has exposed a number of weaknesses in the transparency of financial markets, which can contribute to harmful socio-economic effects.

I support greater transparency to strengthen the financial system. In order to strengthen the transparency and improve the functioning of the internal market for financial instruments, a new framework establishing uniform requirements for the transparency of transactions in markets for financial instruments should be put in place. In order to make markets more transparent and efficient, and to level the playing field between various venues offering multilateral trading services, it is necessary to introduce a new category of organised trading facility (OTF) for bonds, structured finance products, emissions allowances and derivatives, and to ensure that it is appropriately regulated and applies non-discriminatory rules regarding access to the facility. This new category also encompasses systems that should be eligible for trading clearing-eligible and sufficiently liquid derivatives but that do not have the characteristics of the existing categories of trading venue.

 
  
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  Glenis Willmott (S&D), in writing. The 2007 Directive regulated the provision of most tradable financial products by banks and investment firms; this new legislation aims to strengthen this by increasing market transparency, in particular regarding derivative trading and commodity speculation, which were not previously covered. The legislation will also introduce new safeguards on high-frequency trading and Labour MEPs supported an amendment to prevent traders pushing food prices up through excessive commodity speculation. In addition, my colleague, Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy, put forward an amendment for an EU-wide ban on advisors receiving commission for recommending a particular financial product. This would provide much-needed protection for consumers from financial advice that is biased in favour of those who pay the highest commission, rather than what is really in the customer’s best interests.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) The recent financial crisis has exposed weaknesses in the transparency of financial markets. These can have harmful socio-economic effects. The financial system therefore needs to be strengthened by increasing the transparency of the financial markets. To this end, new frameworks should be established, laying down a single set of requirements concerning the transparency of transactions in the financial instruments markets. A single set of provisions is required, one that should apply to all financial institutions in the single market. That is why I voted in favour of the proposal for a regulation.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) Developments in commodity related markets are critical and need to be thoroughly monitored and regulated, if dramatic situations are to be prevented. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID, 2004/39/EC), in force since November 2007, is one of the EU’s cornerstones of financial regulation; however, the current MiFID needs to be revised in order to correct its weaknesses. The main objectives of the MiFID revision should be: to increase transparency and oversight of less regulated markets, to reduce the risks of market disorder and systemic risks, to better protect investors as well as to restore confidence, to increase the efficiency of financial markets while reducing unnecessary costs for participants, and to provide for both greater transparency and better regulation of financial markets.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This proposal, backed by the majority of the European Parliament, is part of a wider set of proposals that have emerged in the context of one of the most serious crises in the systemic crisis of capitalism, which pretend to change everything so that, in essence, everything stays the same. The ‘financialisation’ of the economy and the way in which it holds productive activity hostage remain taboo. This proposal is limited to a set of recommendations for legal harmonisation, the principal concern of which is to oil the financial markets, without addressing the substantive issues that would have been addressed if the system and its defenders were actually intending to impose limits. Although the document does propose some sensible measures, most of its provisions are aimed at ensuring stable conditions for financial operators and the continuation of the whole circuit that drains added value out of the productive sectors and into financial capital: expropriating powers from the states, harmonising and reducing the costs involved in the movement of various financial products, and creating an illusion of greater regulation and supervision which, at root, is false. An example of this superficial approach is the complete absence of any mention of tax havens, banking secrecy or countries with tax regimes that are friendly to big finance.

 
  
  

Report: Jean–Paul Gauzès (A7–0312/2012)

 
  
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  Sophie Auconie (PPE), in writing. – (FR) The European Semester was initially set up to support the Member States in drawing up and applying their budgets. Adopted by the European Parliament, this text, which I supported, emphasises the need for the Member States to fulfil their commitments concerning the sound management of public accounts and the rapid reduction of excessive deficits.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. The European Semester is a six-month period each year when Member States’ budgetary and structural policies are reviewed in order to establish anomalies and emerging imbalances. During this period, the Commission gives policy guidance and recommendations to the governments before their national budgets are finalised. This helps Member States to coordinate their economic policies better, benefiting from a shared EU economic agenda while still tailoring policy for their national situation. I welcome the proposals to democratise the European Semester, involving national parliaments, social partners and civil society more in the European Semester process. I welcome the measures that have been proposed to ensure sustainable public finances, minimise macroeconomic imbalances and boost competitiveness that will accelerate growth and increase employment. I welcome calls for the Commission to produce the Annual Growth Survey 2013, based on reliable economic data and reflecting the Member States’ true macroeconomic situation.

 
  
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  Erik Bánki (PPE), in writing. – (HU) I think that economic policy coordination with competences transferred to EU level must go hand in hand with tough democratic accountability. This is the key message in this report, because experience has shown that the European Semester, as an instrument of economic governance, is too bureaucratic and lacking a political dimension. Although cutting expenditure and improving competitiveness remain important goals, economic policy coordination needs to reflect more clearly the growth targets of the EU 2020 strategy, and more attention needs to be given to curbing tax evasion. The report emphasises these aspects, which is why I voted in favour of it.

 
  
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  Regina Bastos (PPE), in writing. – (PT) In the past, the European Union institutions analysed countries’ economic policies only retrospectively. With the adoption of the European Semester, the Member States and the European Commission are now assessing structural reforms, measures to promote growth and the budget supervision of Member States in advance and as a whole. The European Semester is the appropriate framework to ensure efficient economic governance of the euro area by Member States linked by common responsibility, which includes multilateral surveillance of budgetary and macroeconomic policies and the implementation of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs, as established in the EU 2020 strategy. Amongst other things, Parliament asks the European Commission to give greater democratic legitimacy to the process by involving national parliaments, social partners and civil society. It also calls for the country-specific recommendations, such as policies designed to address youth unemployment and combat poverty, to be better reflected in this process. I voted in favour of this regulation, which strengthens more than one of the pillars of European economic governance and will help to build a path to prosperity and greater coordination in the EU.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Bennahmias (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) The European Semester, a new way of coordinating our national economic policies, is a recent instrument for the EU. The idea is that by looking at one another’s proposed budgets and proposed national reforms, we get a view of the economic situation of the euro area as a whole. This initiative is part of the process to reinforce economic governance but, as the report points out, it must involve all of the interested parties: the European Parliament, the national parliaments as well as civil society. At present, that is far from being the case. As far as the substance is concerned, we need to concentrate on growth and employment: promoting high-quality jobs, developing new tools to combat unemployment but also, and above all, working to preserve our European social model. I do not agree with all of the observations in this report but it does emphasise these important elements that are currently at the heart of the political debate, at both national and European level.

 
  
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  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE), in writing. (ES) I voted for this report because in these times of crisis we need to coordinate the budgets of the Member States to make them more efficient and because in the next semester we need to reinforce the measures to promote growth and employment and increase our competitiveness; that is what the European citizens expect of us. I therefore do not think that the reduction in the budgets is adequate and I believe that we urgently need to adopt measures to control tax evasion in Europe, which cannot continue to go unpunished. All of these actions and recommendations must be carried out by the Member States and the Commission must put in place mechanisms to ensure the necessary follow-up.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (EFD), in writing. (IT) I voted against the Gauzès report on the European Semester for economic policy coordination. It aims at ex ante coordination of the economic and budgetary policies of the euro area Member States, in order to ensure financial coherence between the structural policies of each country. I feel that the actions proposed in this report are not at all valid for confronting the economic crisis that is engulfing Europe or for ensuring market stability.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report because I feel that the economic, social, financial and sovereign debt crises have not yet abated. The current economic situation has demonstrated that stronger coordination between Member States’ macroeconomic and budgetary policies is needed in order to achieve a more integrated and balanced economic union. I welcome the proposal that, building on the European Semester for economic policy coordination (as codified in Regulation (EC) No 1466/97), the Commission should present a framework regulation specifying the role (including timelines) of the Member States and the EU institutions under the various steps of the Semester cycle. The European Council is committed to mobilising all levers, instruments and policies to stimulate smart, sustainable, resource-efficient and job-creating growth by adopting the Compact for Growth and Jobs.

 
  
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  Philippe Boulland (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported this report on the European Semester because it takes into account the demands of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, of which I am a member: they involve examining the economic and social policies to ensure that all of our growth-oriented policies are coherent. Economic governance has been the EU’s main concern over the last two years; it is now time to focus on establishing social governance, which could be initiated at the top via our governments and at the bottom via socially virtuous companies that are identifiable by a label, as I proposed in this report that has just been adopted.

 
  
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  Maria Da Graça Carvalho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) In order for the European Union to advance more resolutely along the path to success and prosperity, it is essential to improve coordination between Member States and to move towards a more integrated budgetary, economic and fiscal policy. This coordination of policies should have a positive impact on job creation and will surely prevent disparate or contradictory decisions from being taken on the same subject. For these reasons, I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I regret that no recommendations have been made on the Europe 2020 objectives to the Member States receiving financial assistance. That is why I am calling on the Commission to assess the impact of the economic adjustment programme on progress towards the Europe 2020 headline targets and to propose modifications designed to bring the adjustment programme into line with the Europe 2020 objectives.

 
  
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  Christine De Veyrac (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of this text, which reinforces economic cohesion in Europe. The European Union is putting in place safeguards to prevent the public finances of the Member States from deteriorating in the future and dragging the other countries into a negative economic spiral.

 
  
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  Tamás Deutsch (PPE), in writing. – (HU) The European Semester is a tool that is used to help set country-specific economic goals. It also enables coordination of Member States’ national budgets and reform programmes, including the Europe 2020 strategy. Most of the projects in the multiannual financial framework for 2007–2013 are still in their implementation phase. At the same time, the restructuring of funds that support programmes that are under way in particular policy areas but are taking longer than expected and the steps aimed at temporarily easing cofinancing rules indicate that the EU institutions are taking appropriate measures to ensure that EU economic policy governance is heading in the right direction and that the targets set can be met as soon as possible. I welcome the steps taken to help SMEs, to strengthen support for research and development and innovation, and to support youth employment.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Semester is one of the cornerstones of the economic governance package (six-pack), its main objective being the coordination of the macroeconomic and budgetary policies of Member States. This mechanism was fully implemented for the first time this year, and all the necessary conclusions must therefore be drawn to improve what is as yet the only mechanism that allows for the necessary ex-ante surveillance and coordination in the euro area context, via both the exchange of draft budget plans and the previous discussion of all major economic policy reform plans, allowing the reduction and/or elimination of any possible negative spill-over effects that may arise. Lastly, I would like to congratulate Jean-Paul Gauzès on the work he has done, and say that I believe that this mechanism has a fundamental role to play in leading the Union through the next steps towards the accomplishment of a real economic and monetary union.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) This report drafted by Jean-Paul Gauzès focuses on the European Semester for the coordination of economic policies, in particular with regard to the accomplishment of the priorities set for the year 2012. The European Semester is an exceptional tool for the coordination and articulation of economic goals between Member States and the European Union in a spirit of cooperation that does not call national sovereignty into question. The Members of the European Parliament do not wish to interfere in national parliaments. Their roles are different. I hope that the Commission follows the recommendations of this report and brings its position into line with the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, on which all our efforts should be focused so as to ensure that the ‘European Semester’ is not merely an alert mechanism, but a form of effective collaboration between the EP and national parliaments ensuring a balance between income and expenditure. I voted in favour of this report assessing European economic governance and I call upon the Member States to abide by the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) The report adopted heaps extensive praise on the European Semester, indicating the nature of the political forces that hold the majority in this Parliament. It is a process that aims to do nothing more than coordinate an attack on the rights and living conditions of workers and peoples throughout the European Union. The report ‘acknowledges the Commission’s emphasis on labour market reforms with a view to increasing the competitiveness of the euro area’ and ‘considers that wage increases should be kept in line with productivity’. What should be highlighted here is the total collusion of the social democrats – the so-called ‘socialists’ and ‘greens’ – in this regression of civilisation and this dangerous attack on democracy. It is illuminating to read the amendments, which attempt to add a few ‘social’ touches to the profoundly reactionary edifice of the ‘European Semester’, but end up legitimising not only the process that led to it but also its content. They are profoundly anti-democratic, showing contempt for the will and participation of the people and, behind citizens’ backs, taking away all powers from the power structures that are close to them and which they control (better), namely the national parliaments, in an intolerable attack on the sovereignty of each country and its people.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) The economic, social, financial and sovereign debt crises have not yet abated. The current economic situation has demonstrated that stronger coordination between Member States’ macroeconomic and budgetary policies is needed in order to achieve a more integrated and balanced economic union. The increasing disparities in competitiveness since the introduction of the euro have highlighted the need for enhanced coordination of economic and employment policies and improved budgetary practices.

The European Council is firmly committed to mobilising, at every level of governance in the EU, all levers, instruments and policies to stimulate smart, sustainable, inclusive, resource-efficient and job-creating growth. All the measures proposed for this problem should help to achieve sound and sustainable public finances, minimise macroeconomic imbalances and boost competitiveness that may help lead to higher growth and employment. I am of the view that there is a need for stronger cohesion within and among the different Member States’ recommendations, for better use of the macroeconomic scoreboard and for account to be taken of the negative effects of individual Member States’ economic policies.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Semester and the Stability and Growth Pact are a powerful system of economic and fiscal coordination for the Member States.

I congratulate Mr Gauzès for his work. The resolution sums up the various proposals for coordinating economic policies agreed at EU level and points out that many Member States, national parliaments, social partners and civil society have not been involved in the European Semester.

I agree: the system should become more political and democratic, and involve more partners.

Acknowledging that cost reduction and expenditure control are still important objectives; today’s vote shows that we are asking for greater control by the European Parliament and the national parliaments.

Greater consideration should be given to the objective of economic growth.

I hope that the Commission will implement measures to permit greater involvement of the various parliaments in drawing up proposals, and that a new mechanism will be created for joint management of public finances and the macroeconomic situation of Member States.

 
  
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  Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D), in writing. Europe is going through difficult times. We have to insist on the importance of quality job creation, in particular for young people, and greater focus on other EU2020 objectives, especially social inclusion. The report calls for a greater legitimacy in the whole process by better involving the EP. This is a measure that should have been taken a long time ago. In the field of employment, the report specifies that Member States should combat the existence and proliferation of non-decent labour contracts and false self-employment and ensure that people with temporary or part-time contracts or who are self-employed have adequate social protection and access to training and, when feasible, advanced training, and implement related framework agreements. In the field of the budget, the report urges the Council, during negotiations on the 2013 EU budget, to accept a political and public debate on the level of appropriations needed to implement the ‘Compact for Growth and Jobs’ adopted at the June 2012 European Council. These are two strong arguments why I voted in favour of this report.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I supported in plenary the report by Jean-Paul Gauzès. This report on the European Semester for economic policy coordination and the implementation of 2012 priorities was adopted by 430 votes to 90, with 8 abstentions, and that is to be welcomed. Although the European Semester is one of the cornerstones of the economic and governance measures, my colleagues and I call on the Commission to give the process greater democratic legitimacy. We regret that the European Parliament was left on the sidelines when the main economic decisions were adopted to cope with the crisis. The key sectoral contributions for the 2012 European Semester are and have been: employment and social policies, budgetary policies, the internal market and gender equality.

 
  
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  Giovanni La Via (PPE), in writing. (IT) The guidelines of the European Semester for economic policy coordination stress certain important issues for the financial, economic and social future of our Union. Stabilisation of the financial system in the euro area, to encourage the creation of a real economic and monetary union, is one of the necessary steps for implementing the Europe 2020 strategy. This action, and indeed other proposals in the report, is necessary to restore stability and credibility on an international level, and with our strategic partners. It is important that economic and financial stabilisation go hand in hand with renewed attention to social cohesion, which also means focusing on research in order to improve employment data and business competitiveness.

 
  
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  Constance Le Grip (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the report on the European Semester by Jean-Paul Gauzès. Through its vote on this report, the European Parliament is showing that it continues to play an important role in putting forward proposals to reinforce budgetary and economic coordination among the Member States and among the European institutions, it is strongly reaffirming its commitment to working with the national parliaments and it is calling for greater involvement of the latter in the European Semester process.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The European Semester will help to improve the management of economic governance of the Member States that are linked by the responsibility to implement the Europe 2020 strategy. I believe that, in 2012 and the years ahead, regional policy will play an important role in developing national programmes during the European Semester, and it will be one of the key instruments in meeting the long and medium-term objectives. A strong cohesion policy with adequate funding could prevent future financial and economic crises in Europe, and protect the less developed regions. It is also important to involve local and regional partners in achieving the European Union’s objectives, given the different levels of development and special characteristics of the 271 regions. This would result in a higher level of overall responsibility and ensure greater visibility for the objectives and the results on the ground.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this resolution which points out that the European Semester is the proper framework within which to ensure the effective economic governance of the euro area Member States that are linked by common responsibility, bringing together the multilateral surveillance of budgetary and macroeconomic policies and the implementation of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs as embodied in the EU2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Semester is the appropriate instrument to ensure the effective economic governance of the euro area Member States that are linked by a common responsibility, in that it combines multilateral supervision of budgetary and macroeconomic policies with implementation of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs as embodied in the Europe 2020 strategy.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) This report calls for measures to combat the low participation of disadvantaged groups in the labour market, fraud and tax evasion, and gender inequalities. It also rightly recognises that MEPs have no control over the European Semester process.

However, those are the only positive elements. The rest is strictly in line with the austerity propaganda that prevails within these walls: call for ratification of the ‘Merkozy’ treaty, support for greater flexibility on the labour market, call on the governments to meet the Commission’s demands in the framework of the European Semester, praise for the austerity policies implemented and commitment to the rapid liberalisation of the transport and energy sectors. As for the text’s support for the fight against gender inequalities, it is rendered meaningless by the absurd affirmation that women ‘choose’ part-time jobs that are less secure. I voted against this text and I denounce it.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The economic, social, financial and sovereign debt crises have still not been overcome. The current economic situation proves that more solid coordination is necessary between the macroeconomic and budgetary policies of Member States, in order to ensure a more integrated and balanced economic union. The European Semester is therefore the proper framework within which to ensure effective economic governance of the euro area by Member States linked by common responsibility, which includes the multilateral surveillance of budgetary and macroeconomic policies and the implementation of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs, as established in the Europe 2020 strategy. We must therefore take this opportunity to join forces to pull the European Union out of this crisis, which has already been too painful for too long.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Instead of finally tackling the euro area’s real problems, the European Union has buried its head in the sand and is attempting stay afloat by means of marketing strategies. Reality has long caught up with this European Semester, in spite of the fact that it was meant to bring greater financial transparency. Instead of allowing the European Semester to lead us further down the wrong track of centralisation and the transfer of powers to Brussels, we should prevent debt arising in the first place. The priority should be to ensure, at all costs, that the economically successful euro-area states are not dragged down into the abyss by the debt crisis. Since the European Semester has no sensible solutions to offer in this regard, I voted against the report.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE), in writing. – (FR) Improving economic governance must be one of the European Union’s priorities and that is why I supported this report. It is essential to increase the economic dialogue between the Member States and the EU institutions. In that regard, wage increases must be in line with productivity. Moreover, funds must be reallocated to research and innovation to put Europe at the forefront of these sectors. Finally, we need to secure the coherence of the European economic policy in order to generate sustainable growth for future generations.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) It is regrettable that even when faced with the crisis, the Member States have failed to devote enough attention to such an element of economic policy as promoting the efficient and effective use of resources. Unfortunately, a great deal of money is still being lost through the inefficient use of existing resources. I therefore call on the Commission and the Member States to pay more attention to this particular element when coordinating and monitoring economic policy.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Semester is the proper framework within which to ensure effective economic governance of the euro area by Member States linked by common responsibility, which includes the multilateral surveillance of budgetary and macroeconomic policies and the implementation of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs, as established in the Europe 2020 strategy. Amongst other things, Parliament is asking the Commission to give the process greater democratic legitimacy by involving national parliaments, social partners and civil society. These are reasons enough to vote in favour of the report.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. (ES) I abstained in the vote for the following reasons.

The report stresses that the next semester must put more emphasis on the employment policy. It states that reducing spending and improving competitiveness continue to be important but that the Commission must also focus on other issues, such as the growth targets of the Europe 2020 strategy and the fight against tax evasion.

The European Parliament urges the Commission to pay more attention to negative spill-over effects of individual members’ economic policies and calls on it to use EU legislation to prevent them. The report also asks the Commission to address the role of the EU budget in the European Semester, given that it is an integral part of the EU’s public spending.

Moreover, the Members of the European Parliament call on the Member States not to reduce the European budget, in line with the commitments made in the Compact for Growth and Jobs.

However, the text is full of controversial articles (concessions to the right), which prevented me from voting for it.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I consider it necessary to coordinate economic and employment policies in order to encourage sustainable, inclusive growth. The European Semester is an opportunity to promote an approach consistent with the development of new economic, employment and governance policies. Concrete action should be taken to confront the challenges of poverty, social exclusion and unemployment. I would also like to stress the need for the EU to be a key player in the world economy, correcting the macroeconomic imbalances that characterise the euro area by promoting the single market, competitiveness and social welfare. I welcome the prospects for improvement contained in the structural reform plans that are primarily aimed at promoting social cohesion, and therefore voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The current economic situation has proved the need for more solid coordination between the macroeconomic and budgetary policies of Member States, in order to ensure a more integrated and balanced union. The economic, social, financial and sovereign debt crises have not yet been overcome, with the Council’s country-specific recommendations for the euro area yet to reach their full potential. Because I consider that the European Semester allows for the necessary ex-ante coordination in the euro area context, via both the exchange of draft budget plans and the previous discussion of all major economic policy reform plans, I voted in favour of the document concerning its priorities for 2012.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for Parliament’s resolution on the European Semester for economic policy coordination and the implementation of the 2012 priorities because the current economic climate demonstrates that closer coordination of the macroeconomic and budgetary policies of the Member States is needed to create a more integrated and balanced economic union.

In this year’s country-specific recommendations, Parliament notes that the Commission urged a number of Member States to restructure national systems for wage formation and/or reduce national wage levels. We would stress that the Commission’s recommendations on wage formation and levels may increase the risk of in-work poverty or wage inequalities that harm low-income groups. The autonomy of social partners is a crucial element of any well-functioning labour market and should be taken into account.

I call on the Commission and the Member States to prioritise the job creation potential of the environmental, health, education and social sectors, as well as the ITC sector, which are the key priorities of the Annual Growth Survey 2013. I also urge the Member States to make access to finance for SMEs a priority in their national growth plans.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) I voted against the motion for a resolution mainly because the European Semester for economic policy coordination lacks sufficient democratic legitimacy. In many Member States, neither the national parliaments nor the social and economic partners were involved in this process. In addition, the recommendations made to the Member States were of a general nature. No effort was made to draft the recommendations with reference to the specific needs of a particular country.

 
  
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  Iva Zanicchi (PPE), in writing. (IT) The European Semester is primarily a tool to coordinate the national budgets and reform programmes of Member States. In the current situation of fiscal restraint on all Member States, the EU budget should play a countercyclical role. Through its triggering and leverage effects, particularly in areas of inclusive and sustainable growth, such as cohesion and regional policies, it can help foster growth and increase competitiveness. During this European Semester 2012, a very important agreement was reached aimed at stimulating the financing of key infrastructure projects able to generate growth in Member States in the areas of transport and energy.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This report emphatically welcomes the European Semester process, endorsing all of the regressive and socially unjust policies of the European Commission. It asserts, for example, that it ‘acknowledges the Commission’s emphasis on labour market reforms with a view to increasing the competitiveness of the euro area’ and ‘considers that wage increases should be kept in line with productivity’. What we are talking about here are the recommendations made within the framework of the European Semester that impose a reduction in public investment, privatisations and, in several countries, such as Portugal, a reduction in wage levels, as part of a ‘coordinated’ strategy for the supervision of macroeconomic policies. In other words, we are talking about the imposition of policies that recommend more recession, more unemployment and more poverty, policies to which the majority of this Parliament, by approving this report, is necessarily committed. It is also committed to an attack on national sovereignty by preventing elected sovereign bodies from deciding the fate of their own countries.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: B7–0461/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I support this report, which notes that Russia concluded its negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after 18 years of negotiations on 10 November 2011 and was officially accepted as a member on 16 December 2011. The European Union is a strategic trade partner of Russia, ranking as its first source of imports, its main export destination and a key investment partner. Furthermore, since Russia has become the EU’s second source of imports (EUR 158.6 billion) and its fourth export destination (EUR 86.1 billion), its accession to the WTO should be welcomed in this resolution, which underlines how it can facilitate trade flows between the EU and Russia and, at the same time, stimulate economic growth and job creation on both sides. I would also highlight the possibility of concluding a new partnership and cooperation agreement as another opportunity to contribute to an enhanced partnership between the two parties. The text must, however, advise against restrictive measures.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia trade relations following Russia’s accession to the WTO even though Russia remains a potentially unreliable partner for the EU. The European Parliament today welcomed Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, but also underlined that, in order to benefit from this strong potential, it is of the utmost importance that Russia fully lives up to the obligations and rules of the WTO. As we see already now, Russia has not been duly fulfilling all its duties as a member of the organisation since it joined the WTO in August this year. Even though the accession of Russia to the WTO is an important step, a comprehensive and binding Partnership and Cooperation Agreement should be the objective for both the EU and Russia. The Agreement must be based on common values of democracy, human rights and rule of law. In this regard, it is appropriate that on the ninth anniversary of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s arrest we raise concerns about Russia’s trustworthiness as a trading partner. One way for the Kremlin to restore investor confidence in Russia would be to commission an independent and impartial inquiry into the Yukos case and the subsequent politically-motivated prosecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. The Russian accession to the WTO is a remarkable achievement for the country’s economic development and a significant opportunity for exporters and investors around the world. Russia, with a population of 140 million, is the last major world economy to join the organisation. Its membership ends the anomaly of having Russia, a leading oil and natural gas exporter and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, outside the world trade system. The World Bank estimates that Russia will gain between USD 53 and USD 177 billion per year because of WTO membership, reducing poverty and raising the living standards of millions of people. I also would like to underline that this accession is a further step in improving the bilateral EU-Russia relationship. The EU and Russia are interdependent trading partners and for the first time both entities will be bound by multilateral rules and obligations for their mutual trade. For these reasons, I value the possibility of concluding a New EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as a further opportunity to contribute to an enhanced partnership for both.

 
  
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  Zigmantas Balčytis (S&D), in writing. (LT) I voted in favour of this report. Russia is the EU’s third largest trade partner: in 2011 exports to Russia represented 7 % of all EU exports, while imports constituted 12 % of all EU imports. Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation will facilitate trade between the EU and Russia and will boost growth and job creation in both countries. I believe that the signing of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement would be an important next step towards contributing to stronger economic ties between the two parties. I welcome the proposals for the Russian Federation to fully enforce its WTO commitments, and remove unjustified trade bans, temporary tariff increases, protectionist measures and barriers to open and fair trade. I agree that, in the EU’s negotiations with the Russian Federation, particular attention should be paid to an open and transparent EU-Russia energy market, the reform of Russian customs procedures in the light of international conventions, the elimination by Russia of its dual pricing of goods and the clarification of the terms of establishment of services companies. The Commission should secure fair reciprocal rules and procedures for the attribution of public tenders.

 
  
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  Ole Christensen (S&D), in writing. (DA) It is important that Russia demonstrates a willingness to comply with international commitments. Therefore, we would also like to offer our support regarding recital 11, point 7: the requirement for Russia to fully respect and enforce human rights and labour rights, as well as a commitment to the implementation of the relevant international environmental standards – in dialogue with relevant stakeholders and civil society. At the same time, this must be emphasised as a pivotal aspect of future negotiations.

 
  
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  George Sabin Cutaş (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this resolution because I believe that Russia’s accession to the WTO will open new avenues for its relations with the European Union. Observing common rules will make trade relations between the two parties more predictable.

However, energy is one of the most delicate and important subjects in the negotiations between Russia and the European Union, as it depends on gas imports from Russia. We still remember the gas crisis of 2006, when gas deliveries to Europe ceased. To avoid a similar scenario, Russia must demonstrate that it is a partner on which we can rely. I therefore recommend including legally binding provisions in the new agreement between EU and Russia.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) In a world of economic globalisation, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation can only be beneficial. Russia will now benefit from a number of international trade instruments. I believe that Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation will serves the interests of Russia but also those of the European and global economies.

The World Bank estimates that productivity will increase GDP and that Russia will attract more investors and be able to purchase high-quality technological products. The European Union is Russia’s main economic partner, and the EU exports over EUR 138 billion of products to Russia. Russia’s anchoring to the multilateral trading system and its rules represents a further step in improving the bilateral EU-Russia relationship.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The interdependency of Russia and the European Union in trade matters is becoming increasingly clear. This state of affairs can be beneficial to both parties and provide a way of boosting their respective economies. Russia has had a somewhat mixed record on respecting free trade. With its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), I want to see its behaviour become more consistent and inspire confidence in its European counterparts, so that the EU feels more inclined to invest in the Russian market and can free itself from unjustified restrictions. A new partnership and cooperation agreement could be a further step towards freeing up both parties’ trade capacities and promoting greater integration between their economies. From a strategic point of view, in light of the emergence of new economic powers, both the Union and Russia have much to gain from this partnership.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) This motion for a resolution, tabled following a statement by the Commission pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, concerns trade relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation following the accession of the latter to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), confirmed on 16 December 2011. The Russian Federation is an important partner for the EU, with whom partnership and cooperation agreements have been established. Its accession to the WTO opens up the possibility of investment in the country by foreign companies. This opening-up, though gradual, will allow foreign service providers to compete in sectors such as construction, information technology, professional services, telecommunications, transport, postal services, media, distribution, tourism and travel services and financial services. Considering that the EU is interested in deepening its bilateral relations with Russia, I vote in favour of this motion for a resolution and urge the Russian authorities to make efforts to move closer to the EU’s values and to work to resolve the issues still pending, such as the removal of entry visa requirements, the cancellation of the increase in customs duties and other obstacles that make trade between the EU and Russia difficult.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) After 18 years of negotiations, Russia was officially accepted as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in December 2011. The European Union and Russia are interdependent trade partners, in particular with regard to raw materials and energy sources. Through this resolution, the European Parliament intends to put pressure on Russia to comply fully with all WTO rules. This means the removal of all ‘protectionist barriers to trade’ with the EU and includes the creation by Russia of an energy market, the liberalisation of public procurement, and privatisation of the service sector. Parliament also advocates easier movement of capital between the two parties. There is nothing new, then. This is the neoliberal playbook in all its splendour; the big finance agenda of the EU, which wants to reduce the import costs of products that are, in many cases, crucial to the industry of many EU countries. Russia, like any other country, has the right to exercise sovereignty over its natural resources and to impose the export duties it deems most appropriate to its own interests, regardless of the WTO’s provisions.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) The Russian Federation concluded its multilateral negotiations on accession to the WTO after 18 years of negotiations on 10 November 2011 and was officially accepted as a member on 16 December 2011. The EU is a strategic trade partner of Russia, considered its most important and still growing source of imports, its main export destination and a key investment partner (in terms of direct foreign investment), accounting for 47.1 % of Russia’s overall trade. This relationship is still growing, while Russia has also become the EU’s second source of imports (EUR 158.6 billion) and its fourth export destination (EUR 86.1 billion) (2010 figures).

On the other hand, however, it is important to state that, in the run-up to the completion of its WTO accession Russia has not been fully living up to its future WTO obligations. I consider it essential for Russia to remove the unjustified temporary bans, unilateral temporary tariff increases and protectionist measures and barriers to open and fair trade, which have done great damage to EU exporters. Providing the stated obligations are mutually observed, Russia’s anchoring to the multilateral trading system and its rules undoubtedly represents a further step in improving bilateral relations between the EU and Russia.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia trade relations at the sitting of 26 October. This resolution has both a multilateral dimension, with Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 22 August, and a bilateral dimension with the EU. While a new partnership and cooperation agreement is being negotiated, the resolution calls on Russia to adopt a coherent and reliable trade policy, to implement its WTO commitments and to apply the provisions of the WTO Agreement on intellectual property. Finally, my colleagues and I are calling for the new bilateral agreement to guarantee convergence of the certification systems, development of an open, transparent EU-Russia energy market, reciprocity in the field of public procurement, protection for all forms of intellectual property and an update of the dispute settlement regime.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The European Union is a strategic trade partner of Russia, ranking as its first and still growing source of imports, its main export destination and a key investment partner (in terms of inward foreign direct investment), accounting for 47.1 % of Russia’s overall trade. This relationship is still growing and Russia has become the EU’s second source of imports (EUR 158.6 billion) and its fourth export destination (EUR 86.1 billion) (2010 figures)

Russia’s accession to the WTO can further facilitate trade flows between the EU and Russia, while stimulating economic growth and job creation on both sides. The new agreement contributes to an enhanced partnership, which fosters sustainable development in their joint neighbourhood. I welcome Russia’s accession to the WTO, as ratified by the Russian State Duma on 10 Jul 2012, and I believe that Russia’s anchoring to the multilateral trading system and its rules represents a further step in improving the bilateral EU-Russia relationship.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this resolution which notes with concern, however, that in the run-up to the completion of its WTO accession Russia has not been fully living up to its future WTO obligations, as it has introduced or extended a number of potentially trade restrictive measures, including a ban on imports of live animals from the EU, legislation including preferences for domestic producers in public procurement, decisions establishing seasonal import duties on certain types of sugar, and new legislation on a recycling scheme for vehicles.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) I agree on the positive judgment concerning Russia’s accession to the WTO, as ratified by the Russian State Duma on 10 July 2012. Russia’s accession to the multilateral trading system and its rules represents a major step in improving the bilateral EU-Russian relationship.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) We welcome the fact that the Russian Federation concluded its multilateral negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after 18 years of negotiations on 10 November 2011 and was officially accepted as a member on 16 December 2011. The European Union is a strategic trade partner of Russia, ranking as its first and still growing source of imports and its main export destination, as well as a key investment partner (in terms of inward foreign direct investment), accounting for 47.1 % of Russia’s overall trade. I am pleased to see that this relationship is still growing, as Russia has also become the EU’s second source of imports (EUR 158.6 billion) and its fourth export destination (EUR 86.1 billion) (2010 figures). I therefore expect this accession to lead to an even greater increase in multilateral relations between the EU and Russia, which will be satisfactory for both parties.

 
  
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  Louis Michel (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) I supported this resolution because not only does it encourage Russia to continue on the path towards open and fair trade, it also reiterates the EU’s concerns about the measures taken by Russia to restrict trade.

In fact, Russia has recently adopted measures that give preference to domestic producers in public procurement, establish significant seasonal import duties on certain types of sugar and introduce a recycling scheme for vehicles. I would point out that these measures run counter to international trade and should be eliminated.

This vote is also a call from Parliament for efforts to combat corruption and implement the rule of law. Finally, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is important for the future of EU-Russia relations, particularly as regards raw materials and energy. I firmly believe that its accession will undoubtedly facilitate trade flows between the EU and Russia, while stimulating economic growth and job creation.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. Russia concluded negotiations on accession to the WTO after 18 years of negotiations on 10 November 2011 and was officially accepted as a member on 16 December 2011. Despite the restrictive measures, taken by Russia, including a ban on imports from the EU of live animals, legislation containing preferences for domestic producers in public procurement, and decisions establishing seasonal import duties and new legislation concerning recycling scheme for vehicles imposed by Russia, I believe that accession to the WTO can facilitate trade flows between the EU and Russia, while stimulating economic growth and job creation on both sides

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) Russia is an important economic partner for the European Union and of great significance with regard to Europe’s energy supply. For that reason alone, relations with Moscow should be put on a new footing. Differences of opinion, such as on human rights and the situation in Syria, should not lead to a deterioration in relations, as, in that case, the European Union really will be unable to achieve anything. The European Union is currently seen by Moscow as a satellite of the United States and therefore regarded with a certain amount of scepticism. This motion for a resolution could have been an opportunity to address this state of affairs. As the opportunity was not taken, I abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Claudio Morganti (EFD), in writing. (IT) Last December, after 18 years of negotiations, the Russian Federation became a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This resolution covers some guidelines for trade relations between the European Union and Russia, emphasising certain key points with which I am in complete agreement. Firstly, these relations should be based on the principle of reciprocity that should apply in a wide variety of contexts, from access to public contracts, to recognition of intellectual property rights and protection of origin marking and quality marking in the agricultural sector. Russia is a strategic partner for Europe, especially with regard to energy supply. I therefore think that shared rules should be established to govern trade between these two huge markets where there is still so much untapped potential, which if well exploited could open up new horizons and new prospects for many of our businesses and products.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) I supported the European Parliament resolution, which expresses concern that having joined the WTO, Russia is not in a hurry to enforce its commitments. Russia and the EU need each other as trade partners and, therefore, when Russia joined the WTO following 18 years of negotiations, the EU welcomed Russia’s achievement as a new incentive for growth and expansion of the country’s economy. Unfortunately, in reality, there are examples where expectations have not been met. Used car exporters, for instance, reasonably expected a higher volume of trade at lower prices, but when Russia introduced the ‘utilisation fee’ on 1 September, car exports became even more difficult than prior to WTO membership. Energy resources constitute Russia’s main exports to the EU, whereas the EU exports a wide range of products to Russia. The European Commission identified 300 products that are subject to import duties that do not comply with WTO commitments. Experience with the Energy Charter Treaty, for example, shows that Russia can be selective in complying with its commitments. In that case, Russia lost a major court case involving Yukos in an international arbitration tribunal because of its failure to respect its commitments. I believe that the European Parliament’s signal to Russia is necessary and timely.

 
  
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  Maria do Céu Patrão Neves (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Union is a strategic trade partner of Russia and Russia is also already the second source of imports into the EU. These facts make greater dialogue and coordination essential, and I thus voted in favour of this resolution, which sets out the European Parliament’s positions and concerns in this matter.

 
  
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  Cristiana Muscardini (ECR), in writing. (IT) Russia’s entry into the WTO after 18 years of difficult negotiations is an important event, historically, economically and in terms of trade. Russia’s decision is also an advantage for the EU, if we consider that we are its main source of imports and a key investment partner. Russia’s anchoring to the multilateral trading system is a further step in improving the bilateral EU-Russia relationship. However, many problems are yet to be resolved, of which the main ones include eliminating a number of potentially trade restrictive measures, legislation including preferences for domestic producers in public procurement and the establishment of seasonal import duties on certain types of sugar; and new legislation on a recycling scheme for vehicles. The temporary bans, unilateral temporary tariff increases and protectionist measures and barriers to open and fair trade must be removed. In addition there is the issue of counterfeit products and the need for measures in the field of intellectual property rights. Rapid progress should also be made towards implementing the rule of law, as certain convictions and penalties inflicted recently are cause for concern for democracy. Economic modernisation has many facets and they should all be considered by Russia, to strengthen its new bilateral relationship with Europe.

 
  
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  Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this resolution and I share the concerns about Russia’s failure to live up to its obligations, for example, with the ban on imports of live animals from the EU and new regulations on seasonal sugar imports. The Commission must ensure that the negotiations with the Russian Federation protect the interests of European farmers, especially geographical indications, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which only permit temporary bans. Finally, the Commission must ensure that the Agreement demands the same agricultural quality and food safety standards from our partners as from our own European producers.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) After 19 years of negotiations, in August Russia became a member of the World Trade Organisation. The European Union is a strategic trade partner of Russia and the leading partner in terms of import and export indicators. At the same time, Russia has become the EU’s second source of imports and its fourth export destination. I voted in favour of this resolution welcoming Russia’s accession to the WTO. In the medium and long term, this will boost trade flows between the EU and Russia even further, and will stimulate growth and job creation both in the EU and in Russia. I also welcome the resolution’s important provision that implementation of the ‘Common Steps towards visa-free travel’ be one of the main conditions for EU-Russia trade and investment.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. Abstention. We made our final vote conditional on three highlighted points (notably deleting part of Article 10, adopting our Amendment 8 and getting rid of Article 16). We won the two first items, but the third was unclear, which led us to abstain.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) After 18 years of negotiations, Russia has become the 156th member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). I feel that this membership is an important step for the EU, bearing in mind that the total value of trade in goods between the two countries in 2011 amounted to 308 billion euros. The EU is Russia’s main trading partner, and Russia in turn is the EU’s third main trading partner. With Russia’s entry into the WTO, the trade and mutual exchange activities will be tied to multilateral rules and obligations. I consider this to be an event offering major opportunities to Russian and European businesses, facilitating trade and investment and throwing new light on Russia’s position in the world economy. This partnership will permit a positive influence on access to the goods and services market. For these reasons I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The Russian Federation concluded its multilateral negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 10 November 2011, after 18 years of negotiations, and was officially accepted as a member of this international organisation on 16 December 2011. The European Parliament notes with concern, however, that in the period prior to the conclusion of its WTO accession negotiations, Russia had not moved fully into line with its future obligations within the framework of the WTO in various regards. It takes this opportunity to call on Russia to remove the unjustified temporary bans, unilateral temporary tariff increases and protectionist measures and barriers to open and fair trade identified by the G20’s biannual report on Trade and Investment Measures and by the Commission’s Trade and Investment Barriers Reports. For these reasons, I voted in favour of the document.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on EU-Russia trade relations following Russia's accession to the WTO because Russia’s accession will improve this bilateral relationship. Russia is the EU’s third largest trade partner, and the EU is Russia’s largest. In 2011, EU exports to Russia were worth EUR 108.4 billion while imports from Russia totalled EUR 199.5 billion, giving a total trade of EUR 308 billion.

I am in favour of strengthening this relationship through the Partnership for Modernisation, which is based on mutual interests and a deep commitment to universal democratic principles, respect for human rights and the rule of law. I believe that this EU-Russia Partnership will help to enhance their economic and commercial relations within the WTO and bilaterally. I also believe that fostering synergies between both parties’ trade and investment strategies can help Russia to realise the full potential of its economic modernisation and diversification.

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE), in writing. I have voted in favour of the resolution on EU-Russia trade relations following Russia’s accession to the WTO (2012/2695(RSP)). Russia has long been one of the EU’s strongest trade partners and I feel that this relationship can only be improved with their accession to the WTO which came into effect last year. Russia has primarily exported energy and mineral fuels to the EU; the EU has covered a vast range of areas in which it has exported to Russia, such as nearly all categories of machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, and live animals. While I certainly agree with the authors of the resolution that we must take care to not allow Russia to dictate and in some cases prevent good trade practices, I feel strongly that the positives will far outweigh the negatives in our future trade relationship. Therefore, we must take and allow every opportunity for negotiations with regard to future trade relations with Russia and take advantage of what is sure to be a great relationship for a very long time.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) After 18 years, Russia has completed its multilateral negotiations on accession to the WTO and become an official member. This is a significant development, as the European Union is one of Russia’s strategic trading partners, mainly as an export market and an investment partner. Russia and the European Union are also mutually dependent trading partners where raw materials and key energy sources are concerned. Russia’s accession to the WTO bodes well for better bilateral relations with the European Union. That is why I supported the motion for a resolution.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) Through this resolution, the European Parliament intends to put pressure on Russia to comply fully with all World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. This means the removal of all ‘protectionist barriers to trade’ with the European Union and includes the creation by Russia of an energy market, the liberalisation of public procurement, and the privatisation of the service sector. Parliament also advocates easier movement of capital between the two parties. What is the objective? Big finance in the EU wants to reduce the import costs of products that are, in many cases, crucial to the industry of many EU countries. In our opinion, any country has the right to exercise sovereignty over its natural resources and to impose the export duties it deems most appropriate to its own interests, regardless of the provisions of the WTO.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC–B7–0463/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I support this report, which begins by expressing regret that the parliamentary elections held in Belarus on 23 September once again failed to meet the international standards for free and fair elections. The reports of irregularities cast serious doubt on the elections’ outcome and the legitimacy of the elected parliamentarians. I strongly condemn the deteriorating situation regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms, combined with the lack of deep democratic and economic reforms in Belarus. The immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners must be demanded. The European Union must continue to support all initiatives aimed at developing Belarusian democratic civil society, which could result in increasing Belarusians’ political participation and greater awareness of the need for change.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the resolution on elections in Belarus. I deeply regret that that the conduct of parliamentary elections in Belarus once again failed to meet many of the basic standards set by the OSCE, resulting – notwithstanding some minor improvements in the elections’ legal framework – in unfair, non-free, non-transparent and unbalanced consultations, so-called ‘elections’. Therefore, the parliament elected in Belarus cannot be considered as having a democratic legitimacy. I fully support the position to continue its policy of not recognising the so-called Belarusian parliament. It is important to stress that parliamentary elections in Belarus were conducted in an atmosphere of persecution of journalists, constant pressure on media and civil society. We condemn the detention of journalists, a tactic obviously aimed at controlling the free flow of information by not allowing journalists to exercise their regular duties, thus violating such basic freedoms as freedom of speech and freedom of thought. Belarusian authorities and citizens should know that the European Union is ready to renew its relationship with Belarus and its people as soon as the Belarusian leadership proves its respect for democratic values and basic rights of the Belarusian people.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. I voted for this resolution because, despite some improvements on the electoral law, according to the international election observation mission of the OSCE/ODIHR, in these parliamentary elections the citizens’ rights to associate, stand as candidates, and express themselves freely were not respected. The Belarusian authorities ignored the numerous calls of the international community, and a large number of democratic opposition candidates were denied registration on the grounds of minor inaccuracies or through the invalidation of ballot-access signatures. With this resolution we ask the Belarusian authorities to upgrade the electoral legislation and conduct new free and fair parliamentary elections in line with international standards. In addition, we call on the Council and the Commission to support initiatives aimed at developing Belarusian civil society, which could result in increasing citizens’ political participation, and raise awareness of the need for change. I believe that any attempt to empower Belarusian citizens is a vital milestone and the most effective way towards democracy and rule of law in Belarus.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE), in writing. – (RO) I voted for this resolution in view of the Union’s many previous attempts to establish constructive dialogue with the Belarusian authorities. The main objective was to promote democratic reforms that respect human rights. The response from the Minsk authorities was not positive, and this was confirmed by last September’s elections. I believe that the irregularities noted by the international observers raise serious questions about the elections. Georgia, on the other hand, is a model that Belarus can follow. The first step for Belarus is to remedy the democratic deficit, ensuring free press and protecting freedom of opinion.

The Union must bring further pressure to bear on the Minsk authorities, which must carry out far-reaching democratic reforms in order to regain credibility in Europe.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The European Union has shown its readiness to renew its relationship with Belarus within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy provided that the Belarusian government begins to respect democratic values and the basic rights of the Belarusian people. Such conditions were not met in the recent parliamentary elections. In light of the fact that no opposition candidates were elected to the parliament and several violations of the Belarusian Electoral Code were observed, and in the knowledge that the parliament elected in Belarus lacks democratic legitimacy, the European Parliament will continue with its policy of not recognising it, both in its bilateral relations with the country and within the framework of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. We condemn the fact that journalists have been arrested for doing their job, in a clear attack on freedom of expression; we condemn the persecution of members of the opposition; we demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners; and we call on the Belarusian Government to hold fresh elections that are truly democratic, in accordance with international rules. I therefore support this resolution, in the hope that the Belarusian Government will respect human rights and join the European family of freedom and democracy.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE), in writing. – (FR) In line with the resolution adopted by the EP, I sincerely regret the nature of the Belarusian parliamentary elections on 23 September. They did not fully respect the democratic process, which makes it difficult to recognise the democratic legitimacy of the Belarusian Parliament. I hope that the country’s political forces and civil society activists, assisted by the EU, can work together to put in place a transition to a more open society that respects human rights and in which political opponents such as Ales Bialiatski, Mikalai Statkevich and Zmitser Dashkevich are no longer treated in a degrading manner. Like my colleagues, I also wish to stress the importance of respect for freedom of expression and I strongly condemn the imprisonment of journalists.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Belarus continues to show the worst levels of respect for democracy and human rights on the European continent. The elections held there do not provide any guarantee of fairness, freedom or reliability. The list of flagrant violations of the electoral process is very revealing in this respect. This was another missed opportunity for the country. I note with fresh concern the detention of journalists, the number of political prisoners and the intransigence of the regime in maintaining the death penalty. Nothing has changed recently in the country to suggest that significant change could come soon. I would like the situation to be reversed and for Belarus to take its place among the free and democratic nations, to which its people are entitled.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The joint motion for a resolution in question, tabled pursuant to Rule 110(2) and (4) of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, replacing the motions by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group and the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left, focuses on the situation in Belarus following the legislative elections that took place on 23 September. After the elections were held, many criticised them as fraudulent, among them the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. In fact, several instances of violations were confirmed by independent international observers and there was a lack of transparency in the counting of the votes, which makes it possible to assert that the election results do not reflect the will of the Belarusian people. I voted in favour of this joint motion for a resolution because I believe that the international community must draw Belarus’s attention to its obligation to respect democratic values, such as the primacy of the rule of law and human rights, and to abolish the death penalty immediately.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This resolution insists on a position of interference by the European Union, which aims to compete with Russia, the United States and NATO for influence over Belarus, a country that, despite all pressure, has maintained an independent and sovereign path. In spite of our differences with the authorities in Minsk, we cannot support the majority of Parliament. We recognise the sovereignty of the Belarusian people to choose the political powers that govern its country and to make their own economic, social and cultural choices. We do not support direct interference in the country’s internal affairs, which violates one of the basic principles of international law, that is, interference in the form of political and financial support for the opposition and for ‘independent’ media, for Belarusian civil society and for non-governmental organisations, or greater ‘cooperation’ with ‘its Eastern neighbours’. In the name of the fundamental principle of protecting the independence and sovereignty of peoples, and because it is up to each people to define the political, economic and social system that best serves its interests and aspirations, we do not support this resolution.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) None of the parliamentary or presidential elections held in Belarus since 1995 has been recognised by the OSCE as being free and fair. According to the OSCE/ODIHR international election observation mission and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, in the parliamentary elections of 23 September many OSCE commitments, including the citizens’ rights to associate, stand as candidates and express themselves freely, were not respected, despite some improvements to the electoral law. Furthermore, international electoral observers were not provided with a proper opportunity to monitor vote counting and the organisation of the election was given a negative assessment at a large number of poll stations. Independent international observers have stated that there was a serious contravention of standards during the elections and, owing to the lack of transparency in vote counting, it was impossible to confirm that the results of the elections were a true expression of the will of the Belarusian people. The undemocratic nature of the parliamentary electoral process in Belarus is deplorable. Furthermore, in my view, this negative assessment of the parliamentary elections will again prevent the European Parliament from establishing official relations with the Belarusian Parliament. Moreover, the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly does not at this stage have grounds to invite the official representatives of the legislative body in Belarus to take their seats in the Assembly, their absence depriving the Eastern Partnership of an important tool for bringing Belarus closer to the EU’s democratic values.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the resolution on the elections in Belarus. This resolution was adopted by a very large majority. Through this resolution, we wished to express our concern and our disappointment regarding the organisation and results of the parliamentary elections of 23 September. Alexander Lukashenko has led Belarus single-handedly for more than 18 years, and we denounce the climate of intimidation and falsification in which the elections were held.

 
  
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  Michał Tomasz Kamiński (ECR), in writing. The elections in Belarus under the Lukashenko regime have been, and continue to be, a complete farce. They do not come close to democratic standards. The old Soviet-style tactics of this dictatorship are best exemplified by the fact that a number of students and employees of state-owned companies were forced to take part in early voting which started five days before election day. It is evident that these individuals would be fired from their work or thrown out of their university if they refused to take part in this charade. It is unfortunate that Belarus cannot take part in the Euronest PA, but, bearing in mind the complete lack of transparency of these elections, we would have to have a total disregard for our values to allow the undemocratically-elected parliamentarians of Belarus to sit at the Euronest table.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I strongly believe that the parliament elected in Belarus falls short of democratic legitimacy and that the European Parliament should continue its policy of not recognising it, both in its bilateral relations with Belarus and within the framework of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.

 
  
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  Jiří Maštálka (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (CS) As is now customary, motions for resolutions relating to Belarus put forward by the different political groupings in the European Parliament differ greatly. I do not wish to enter into debate on the individual points contained in motions other than this one put forward by the Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left. I should just like to emphasise the importance of a passage in paragraph four of our motion, expressing preoccupation about the diplomatic conflict between EU Member States and Belarus. I am genuinely convinced that the Union’s confrontational approach to Belarus is not only damaging international relations, but is not helping anti-government opposition either. If we are incapable of expressing an interest in and seeking common paths to compromise, then our support for opposition activities, not just through resolutions, will only serve as evidence of interference with the sovereignty of Belarus and an attack on the convictions and interests of those who supported the current leadership of Belarus in elections.

I should like to point out that our confrontational approach not only has no effect but may also result in a whole range of quite unacceptable escalations. These escalations might have an altogether different purpose than that of helping the Belarusian opposition and might, for example, complicate the integration processes in the post-Soviet area. As demonstrated by the situation in Libya and Syria, this may lead to the use of resources other than resolutions and street demonstrations. I therefore request that, as an extremely valuable part of our proposed amendments, we eliminate the mutual prejudices.

 
  
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  Mario Mauro (PPE), in writing. (IT) Detaining journalists is a patently obvious way of controlling the free flow of information by not allowing journalists to do their job properly, thus violating one of the most basic freedoms, namely freedom of expression. I voted in favour, as I agree with the firm condemnation of such attitudes.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The elections in Belarus were once again marred by various irregularities. The fact that none of the democratic opposition candidates was elected to the national parliament, that there are still countless political prisoners and that the Belarusian authorities have ignored repeated calls from the international community and decided to turn away from the path to democracy and subject the country to greater isolation must be condemned at all levels. I therefore voted in favour of this resolution, which highlights the main problems in a Belarus that claims to be democratic.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D), in writing. The parliamentary elections held in Belarus on 23 September once again failed to meet international standards for free and fair elections. Reports of irregularities seriously call into question the validity of the elections’ outcome and the legitimacy of the elected parliamentarians. The S&D Group continues strongly to condemn the deteriorating situation regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms combined with the lack of deep democratic and economic reforms in Belarus. The S&D Group demands the unconditional and immediate release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners. The EU should continue to support all initiatives aimed at developing the Belarusian democratic civil society, which could result in increasing Belarusians’ political participation and rising awareness of the need for change.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) There is no doubt that the elections in Belarus did not comply with prevailing international standards, although, as the motion for a resolution notes, improvements have been made. Numerous election observers also reported that the elections were properly conducted. This is not to gloss over the fact that certain opposition groups were not even permitted to take part in the elections. Nevertheless, the complete ostracism of Belarus by the EU, as called for in the motion for a resolution, is not the right way of bringing about changes in the country. It will simply lead Belarus to withdraw further and to turn towards Russia, precisely the opposite of what the EU is hoping to achieve. I therefore abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė (PPE), in writing. (LT) It is regrettable that there is no change in the situation in Belarus. The European Parliament resolution states that the parliamentary elections in Belarus once again failed to meet many of the basic standards set by the OSCE, and were thus neither fair, free, nor transparent. As the new parliament in Belarus lacks democratic legitimacy, the European Parliament will continue its policy of not recognising it. At the same time, we need to further strengthen civil society in Belarus, including by continuing and strengthening funding for the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius. This Belarusian university will mark its 20th anniversary this year. For seven of those years, in order to avoid persecution by Lukashenko’s regime, it has sought sanctuary in Lithuania and has been operating successfully there. The EHU is one of the most effective and successful projects funded by the EU and, in the absence of any possibility of EHU activities moving back to Minsk, the EU should also allocate funds in the new financial perspective to support this university’s work.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) Since 1995, according to observers from the OSCE and other international organisations, not a single election held in Belarus has met international standards. Human rights and civil freedoms continue to be violated in the country, while political opponents are persecuted. Not one representative of the opposition was elected in September’s parliamentary elections. The new parliament will consist of members of five political parties that only represent the regime. The opposition forces were unable to unite and establish a common election strategy. Independent observers reported many violations. I voted in favour of this resolution because it expresses concern over the steadily worsening situation as regards people’s fundamental rights and freedoms in Belarus. As in previous EP resolutions, we demand the immediate release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners and a moratorium on executions. We call on the EU Member States to continue to use all initiatives aimed at developing the Belarusian civil society in order to raise awareness of the need for political, economic and social change in the country.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour of the text. The parliament elected in Belarus falls short of democratic legitimacy and the European Parliament will therefore continue its policy of not recognising it, both in its bilateral relations with Belarus and within the framework of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. We regret that the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly does not at this stage have grounds to invite the official representatives of the legislative body in Belarus to take their seats in the Assembly, and that their absence deprives the Eastern Partnership of an important tool for bringing Belarus closer to the EU’s democratic values.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) The perpetration of human rights violations during the Belarus elections forces the EU to take action to prevent the failure to observe fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. I believe that we can no longer put off concrete measures to ensure the correct conduct of the electoral process in accordance with international standards. The exacerbation of repression of the opposition by a deplorable censoring of the media excludes citizens from enjoying the political rights guaranteed by the Belarusian Constitution and universal and fundamental human rights. Whilst calling for action to help the process of democratisation of the country, I voted in favour.

 
  
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  Kārlis Šadurskis (PPE), in writing. Today’s resolution on the situation in Belarus after the parliamentary election of 23 September 2012 unfortunately, resembles other EP documents adopted with regard to the political situation in that country. It once again points out that elections there fail to meet basic democratic standards and are unfair, non-free and non-transparent; it urges the Belarusian Government to ensure democratic elections in the future and to respect human rights, and the EU Council and Commission to support initiatives aimed at developing Belarusian civil society. We need to continue to repeat these statements and calls in order to support the efforts of Belarusian democratic political forces and civil society activists, aimed at improving and democratising the lives of Belarusian people. Therefore, today I voted in favour of this joint resolution.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) Belarus is subject to European Union sanctions because of its repression of opponents, which, according to the EU, has increased since Alexander Lukashenko’s controversial re-election in 2010. The parliamentary elections in Belarus failed to meet international democratic standards. A free election means that the people are free to express themselves, organise themselves and seek a mandate, but we saw none of that during the campaign. Moreover, the electoral authorities lacked ‘impartiality’ and the counting of the votes was questionable, to say the least. The elections took place in an environment that makes free elections almost impossible. Political prisoners are still locked up and opponents were prevented from standing as candidates. It is very clear that, rather than accepting the partnership with Europe that he has been offered, President Lukashenko has instead opted for a policy of repression.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The elections held on 23 September in Belarus in no way adhered to democratic principles. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) acknowledge the day before the elections that they would not take place in a free and democratic manner. The ongoing political persecution of members of the opposition, either by imprisoning them or denying them the opportunity to register as candidates for political office, is also totally deplorable. President Lukashenko’s regime is also demonstrating its inability to deal with human rights and fundamental freedoms by preventing the development of a politically participative civil society and by constantly censoring the media. The European Union must do everything in its power to mitigate the effects of the Lukashenko regime by actively supporting projects aimed at developing a participative civil society, respect for human rights and democratic values.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) I supported the motion for a resolution because once again the parliamentary elections in Belarus violated the basic standards laid down by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Not a single opposition candidate was elected to the national parliament. The Belarusian authorities remain deaf to repeated appeals by the international community, and they are determined to move even further away from democracy and entrench the isolation of Belarus. We are prepared to engage in a European Neighbourhood Policy but only when the Government of Belarus demonstrates respect for democratic values.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) Once again, the majority of the European Union is seeking new arguments to continue its attack on the sovereignty of Belarus and the choices of its people. This text reiterates all of the usual arguments for EU interference, competing with Russia, the United States and NATO for influence over Belarus, a country that, despite all pressure, has maintained an independent and sovereign path. In spite of our obvious differences with the Minsk Government, we do not support the majority of the European Parliament, which not only does not recognise the sovereignty of the Belarusian people to choose the political powers that govern the country and to make their own economic, social and cultural choices, but also supports direct interference in its internal affairs, violating one of the basic principles of international law, that is, interference in the form of political and financial support for the opposition and for ‘independent’ media, for Belarusian civil society and for non-governmental organisations, or greater ‘cooperation’ with ‘its Eastern neighbours’. We believe that protecting the independence and sovereignty of peoples is a fundamental principle; it is up to each people to define the political, economic and social system that best serves its interests and aspirations.

 
  
  

Motion for a resolution: RC–B7–0467/2012

 
  
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  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), in writing. – (PT) I support this report. Although some fundamental issues are still being tackled, the October elections constituted an important step towards the consolidation of democratic elections, in line with the recommendations of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. Georgia’s President Saakashvili accepted defeat in the parliamentary elections and declared himself an opposition politician. The statements made by the party leaders were quite positive in their commitment to work together to build the country. These elections were competitive, with active public participation, including strong participation by women, throughout the campaign. The freedoms of association, assembly and expression were respected and the media operated freely. The electoral administration was highly reliable and managed to prepare for the elections in a very professional way. The Central Electoral Commission acted in an efficient and transparent manner and promoted various welcome initiatives to promote the participation of national minorities in these elections. The active participation of a large number of national observers and civil society throughout the electoral process also strengthened its general transparency.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE), in writing. I voted in favour of the resolution on elections in Georgia. I congratulate the Georgian people on the significant step they have taken towards the consolidation of democracy in their country. Moreover, I welcome the fact that the elections were free and fair and in line with internationally-recognised standards. Georgians freely expressed their will during those elections and we have to admit that it shows a very important step towards democratic development of our neighbours. What is important now is the cooperation between political forces. It will require an extra effort from both sides. I hope that the new government and the opposition will concentrate on the further democratic development of their country. In this regard it is important to stress once again that the EU fully supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Russia must withdraw its troops from the occupied Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and this is what we, Members of the European Parliament, declare in our resolution.

 
  
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  Pino Arlacchi (S&D), in writing. As one of the EU’s foreign policy goals is to enhance relations with Georgia, with this text we commend its strong commitment to democratic standards during the parliamentary elections held on 1 October 2012. Georgia is one of the founding members of the Eastern Partnership, which is based on a community of values and on principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. For this reason I hope for a fast conclusion of the negotiations for the new Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia. I also praise the EU’s commitment to the objective of visa-free travel, and expect the parties to make substantial progress in this respect.

 
  
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  Vasilica Viorica Dăncilă (S&D), in writing. – (RO) Georgia’s parliamentary elections of 1 October are a significant step towards the consolidation of democracy that country. We hope that the new government will cooperate with all of the political parties in the parliament to ensure that Georgia achieves its objectives and maintains its European and Euro-Atlantic commitments.

The European Union supports the Georgian authorities in strengthening democracy and the rule of law through various instruments such as the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and the EU-Georgia Mobility Partnership (visa regime). These commitments must be applied through close economic and political cooperation.

 
  
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  Diogo Feio (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Although it is an old nation, Georgia was part of the Russian Empire until 1918 and was reabsorbed by the Soviet Union in the 1920s. After gaining independence from the USSR in 1991, it experienced a great deal of instability. The current Georgian regime, established by President Saakashvili, has manifested its desire to join the European Union and is trying to position itself as pro-Western. However, it has not escaped criticism from institutions such as Freedom House, which considers the country only ‘partly free’. Separatism lies at the heart of its dispute with Russia. This issue still has to be resolved and tensions continue, as do mutual accusations of human rights violations. Transfers of power in countries whose democratic institutions and processes are still in the consolidation phase always entail risks and unknowns that can only be avoided and clarified through the civic maturity of the people and, in particular, of party leaders. Despite the difficulties and the need to address some issues, the Georgians have met international electoral standards and are well on the path to democracy and freedom that they want to follow. President Saakashvili’s prompt and dignified acceptance of defeat was an important testament to this.

 
  
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  José Manuel Fernandes (PPE), in writing. – (PT) This motion for a resolution, tabled pursuant to Rule 110(2) and (4) of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, replacing the motions by the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, concerns the situation in Georgia following the legislative elections that took place on 1 October. The international community considered the elections to be free and fair and that the freedoms of association, assembly and expression were respected. Indeed, Georgia adhered to shared values and principles such as democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights. Since Georgia is one of the founding partners of the Eastern Partnership and an important partner of the European Union, I would like to congratulate the Georgian people on the progress they have made towards the consolidation of democracy, as demonstrated in the recent elections. All that is needed for Georgia to gain greater admiration from Western European countries is for the Georgian authorities to investigate and prosecute all of the cases of ill-treatment and violence in its prisons, and carry out effective reform of its penitentiary system. I voted in favour of this report and I hope that the new government and the new majority will continue to strengthen cooperation with the EU.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This resolution notes the result of the elections in Georgia, which it sees as being a step towards asserting the interests of the European Union in the country and in the region. These are difficult times in Georgia. Neoliberal measures have destroyed the guarantees and social rights of workers, and the privatisation of all spheres of the economy, including strategic sectors – electricity supply systems, natural resources such as water and gas, social services, ports – has resulted in an economy that is concentrated in the hands of half a dozen rich oligarchs, who also control the entire media. The intention of the majority of Parliament is now to gloss over what is happening in this country, a situation to which the EU, NATO, the United States and the big finance organisations (International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation, etc.) have contributed greatly. Furthermore, they want to move towards the conclusion of a ‘free trade agreement’ and bring Georgia closer to NATO. Obviously, we cannot support this resolution. The actions of internal and external players in this country and the Caucasus (a region full of tension) are sustaining great instability that may generate new sources of conflict.

 
  
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  Monika Flašíková Beňová (S&D), in writing. − (SK) The active engagement of Georgia and a commitment to shared values and principles, including democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights, are essential to move the European integration process forward and ensure the success of negotiations for, and subsequent implementation of, the Association Agreement. The Georgian authorities invited a large number of international observers to monitor the electoral process. They considered that the parliamentary elections held on 1 October were conducted in line with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments. Georgia, as an important partner of the EU, demonstrated its strong commitment to democratic standards during these parliamentary elections. The European Parliament has confirmed that the European Union supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 
  
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  Philippe Juvin (PPE), in writing. – (FR) I voted for the resolution on the elections in Georgia, which was adopted by a large majority. This resolution comes after 1 500 international observers visited Georgia to observe the parliamentary elections on 1 October. Their task was to identify any infringements of the Election Code or problems with the vote.

 
  
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  Petru Constantin Luhan (PPE), in writing. – (RO) The power shift in Georgia and its acceptance by both political sides demonstrate the country’s democratic maturity. It is important for the new government to build on its European and Euro-Atlantic commitments, and the dialogue initiated through various instruments such as the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and the EU-Georgia Mobility Partnership, which all aim to bring Georgia closer to Europe.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D), in writing. I voted for this resolution which congratulates the Georgian people on the significant step they have taken towards the consolidation of democracy in their country; I welcome the fact that the democratic parliamentary elections of 1 October 2012 were conducted in line with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments, although certain issues remain to be addressed. This election is an important step in the consolidation of democratic, free and fair elections in Georgia and of the political future of the country.

 
  
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  Jiří Maštálka (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (CS) I should like to express my agreement with all of the resolutions insofar as they recognise the conduct of the recent parliamentary elections in Georgia as free and fair. I, too, am convinced that the elections were in fact so. We all want the transfer of power in Georgia to take place without force and democratically. The results of the parliamentary elections mean a new start for Georgia. It is the end for the political leadership that was noted for its unprecedented confrontational method of solving political problems. I might mention just the attempt to settle complex ethnic and political disputes through a one-off war. I would like to note this for all those in the EU and NATO who were still supporting the acting President of Georgia in this political style and possibly even encouraging it. For what other purpose were the supplies of munitions and weapons and assistance with the training of troops in an area where the fires of post-Soviet conflicts are still smouldering? Where prison officers tortured prisoners in jail with a feeling of impunity? Where the political protectors of these prison officers were confident of generous support from some states of the Union and the US? The results of the Georgian parliamentary elections should be a lesson for all of us that the politics of double standards will not do. One cannot announce a commitment to human rights to all the countries of the world, while at the same time condoning flagrant contraventions of human rights in some countries simply because we like their foreign policies.

 
  
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  Nuno Melo (PPE), in writing. – (PT) Georgia has rightly opted to adhere to shared values and principles such as democracy, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights, values that are essential to advance the process of European integration and bring to a successful conclusion the negotiations and subsequent implementation of an association agreement. Georgia’s internal political stability and the emphasis on internal reforms are essential for the future development of relations between the European Union and Georgia. Therefore, in light of the progress that Georgia has made, I agree that one of the EU’s main foreign policy objectives should be to strengthen and promote relations with Georgia.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. (DE) The motion for a resolution correctly notes that the recent parliamentary elections in Georgia on 1 October 2012 were largely free and fair and conducted in line with internationally recognised standards. Nevertheless, the International Election Observation Mission identified some shortcomings, which the Georgian authorities will have to address. It is important for the European Union to continue to support Georgia in its efforts to strengthen the institutions of democracy. It should, however, keep out of Georgia’s internal conflicts, including with regard to the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and should not place any demands or conditions on Russia. These problems must be resolved locally. Solutions cannot be imposed from outside. Since the motion for a resolution fails to adopt the requisite tone of impartiality in this regard, I abstained from the vote.

 
  
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  Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D), in writing. (LT) Having held parliamentary elections that met international standards, Georgia has demonstrated once again that it is taking the road to democracy. These elections, which had some irregularities, were marked by fierce competition between the parties and a high turnout at the polls. The ruling party dominated the media but the Central Election Commission worked effectively. The high number of observers and active civil society contributed to the transparent election process. I supported this resolution, which welcomes President Saakashvili’s actions and the withdrawal to opposition of his party, which lost the elections. In particular, I welcome the desire of the President and Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the Georgian Dream coalition of opposition political forces that won the elections, to work together for the good of the country.

 
  
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  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), in writing. In favour. We congratulate the Georgian people on the significant step they have taken towards the consolidation of democracy in their country, and welcome the fact of the democratic parliamentary elections of 1 October 2012, which were conducted in line with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments, although certain issues remain to be addressed. We also stress that this election represents an important step for the democratic development of Georgia and the political future of the country, and welcome the first instance of the transfer of power by means of democratic, free and fair elections to have occurred in Georgia.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE), in writing. (IT) I am satisfied with the way the elections took place in Georgia; they were held in a peaceful and orderly manner even with a result that gave victory to the opposition. In my view, this may be considered as a strong sign of change in Georgia, starting with free elections complying with international standards. This is a fundamental step forward in the process of European integration. In view of the results achieved, I feel that the EU should strengthen relations with Georgia, to urge an affirmation of democratic values and respect for fundamental freedoms. I trust that the negotiations will be successful and that the Association Agreement will be implemented in line with the country’s European aspirations, necessary events for the continuation of economic, social and political reforms.

 
  
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  Kārlis Šadurskis (PPE), in writing. While the European Union congratulates the people of Georgia on the free and fair parliamentary elections of 1 October 2012 and welcomes the democratic transfer of power, we must remain fully committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We must not forget that the Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are still de facto occupied by the Russian armed forces and that, despite the agreement signed in 2008 by the Russian Federation, access for the EU Monitoring Mission to these territories remains hindered. The resolution on the elections in Georgia adopted today calls on Russia to withdraw its troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It also stresses the need for Georgia’s new government to maintain the country’s engagement in the Geneva International Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus. The European Parliament expects the new government to continue cooperation with the EU and NATO, in line with the expressed commitments on the incoming government’s part. As someone who witnessed the devastation of the war of 2008, I believe that Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration is a strong guarantee of the country’s security and stability. Therefore I supported today’s resolution on Georgia.

 
  
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  Marc Tarabella (S&D), in writing. – (FR) The Members of the European Parliament wished to welcome the significant progress made in the election process during Georgia’s parliamentary elections, but it is also important to note that there are still some shortcomings. There was visible progress in the area of freedoms in particular, allowing for very active and dynamic participation by the citizens and a campaign that was contested, even if it was polarised. We always have to show strong support for the promotion of democracy and reforms in Georgia. That will be possible if those elected, be they in government or in the opposition parties, exercise their democratic privileges in a responsible manner and continue to make progress on the reforms, for the benefit of the Georgian people.

 
  
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  Nuno Teixeira (PPE), in writing. – (PT) The recent elections in Georgia, held on 1 October 2012, constituted a historic milestone as they were the first to be held in an entirely fair and free environment. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe considered that the elections were a step towards consolidating democracy in Georgia. The results provide Georgia with an opportunity to cooperate even more closely with the European Union and NATO. However, there will have to be understanding and respect between the parties in Georgia, especially on the part of the defeated opposition. There is still a long way to go to consolidate democratic values in this country of the Caucasus, so the European Union must continue to support the reforms that still have to be completed there. In light of the above, I congratulate Georgia and I voted in favour of the motion for a resolution tabled by the rapporteurs.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D), in writing. – (RO) I voted for the resolution on the Georgian elections because I believe that the Georgian people took a significant step towards the consolidation of democracy with the democratic elections of 1 October, which were conducted in line with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments.

I welcome the Georgian Government’s commitment to further Euro-Atlantic integration and its determination to build on the results of the good work done by the previous authorities.

I call on the Council and the Commission to ensure the necessary support for the new administration and to continue the ongoing dialogue, so as to ensure continuity and maintain momentum in the negotiations for an Association Agreement. This should be considered in line with the principle of ‘more for more’ to redouble the efforts to complete the negotiations for a visa-free regime between Georgia and the EU, in the context of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. A good relationship between Georgia and the EU will contribute to economic development in the Black Sea region.

 
  
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  Jacek Włosowicz (EFD), in writing. (PL) I voted in favour, as one of the EU’s foreign policy goals is to enhance relations with Georgia. We should try to ensure that the new government continues to cooperate with us. The support Georgia has hitherto received from the European Union concerning the former’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should also be maintained. It is vital for the new government to continue combating corruption and for it to implement the political reforms initiated by the current government. We should support Georgia as it takes its next steps towards greater democracy.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Ziobro (EFD), in writing. (PL) For a considerable time, under President Saakashvili’s leadership, Georgia has been moving towards democracy. The recent elections confirm that trend. The opposition’s victory was a meaningful signal in support of that view. Unfortunately, it seems that victory has been accompanied by a return of the demons that last appeared in Georgia during the Rose Revolution. A situation in which the successful opposition makes every effort to increase its victory by exerting pressure or rigging elections cannot be allowed. Not only is the new Prime Minister making derogatory statements about the hitherto pro-European policy of the President, but he is also leaning towards Russia rather than strengthening links with Europe. I hope that the Prime Minister will soon reconsider his actions and redefine his foreign policy in the future.

 
  
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  Inês Cristina Zuber (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (PT) This resolution, which ‘celebrates’ the outcome of the elections in Georgia and the step forward that the elections represents, glosses over a number of facts about the country that ought to have embarrassed those who produced and/or supported it. It obscures the neoliberal measures that have destroyed the guarantees and social rights of workers, and the privatisation of all spheres of the economy. What the majority of the European Parliament wishes to do is to gloss over what is happening in this country (a situation to which the European Union, NATO, the United States and the big finance organisations (International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organisation, etc.) have contributed greatly), support the conclusion of a ‘free trade agreement’ and bring Georgia closer to NATO. For the majority of the EP, any means are acceptable to achieve geostrategic domination of this country, and get their hands on the important resources throughout the region and the energy supply guarantees on which the EU is dependent. The actions of internal and external players in this country and in the Caucasus – a region full of tension – are sustaining great instability that may generate new sources of conflict.

 
  
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  President. − That concludes the explanations of vote.

 
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