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Srijeda, 12. ožujka 2014. - Strasbourg Revidirano izdanje

5. Priprema zasjedanja Europskog vijeća (20. — 21. ožujka 2014.) (rasprava)
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  Der Präsident. - Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgen die Erklärungen des Rates und der Kommission zur Vorbereitung der Tagung des Europäischen Rates (20./21.[nbsp ]März 2014) (2013/2699(RSP)).


  Dimitrios Kourkoulas, President-in-Office of the Council. - Mr President, the Spring European Council meeting is traditionally dedicated to economic and social policy. However, before looking at the economic agenda of next week’s European Council, let me first say a few words about the other items on its agenda.

International events have once again forced themselves onto the agenda of the Council. The situation in Ukraine is uppermost in our minds, and was, of course, the reason for last week’s extraordinary meeting of Heads of State or Government. I will refrain from going into detail now on this, since it is the subject of the next debate. I would simply say that it is highly likely that next week’s European Council will revert to this issue. Also on external relations, the March European Council will discuss the EU-Africa summit which, as you know, will bring together some one hundred Heads of State or Government in Brussels on 2 and 3[nbsp ]April[nbsp ]2014.

As I said, the March European Council is traditionally focused on economic and social policy. The President of the Council has decided to structure the debate around three major components of our strategy for growth, jobs and competitiveness: first, the European Semester; second, industrial competitiveness; third, climate and energy.

This is not a random set of issues. They are all closely interlinked. The European Semester is the tool for monitoring implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, while industrial competitiveness, and climate and energy, are two of its levers. There can be no industrial competitiveness without a coherent climate and energy policy, and vice versa.

As regards the European Semester, the European Council will conclude the first phase. The Council provided guidance on policy priorities for 2014 in December, and this innovation underlines the importance of the semester process. Next week the Council will assess the implementation of the 2013 country-specific recommendations and provide guidance for further work on the stability and convergence programmes and national reform programmes with regard to the economic and social dimension. I would like to take this opportunity to thank this Parliament for the significant work which you have undertaken on various aspects of the semester.

We are approaching the end of an economic cycle. The consequences of the crisis are still being felt. Growth is fragile and uneven, but the worst is probably behind us. This is one of the reasons why the Council will look at the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The President of the Commission will provide for a review of the Strategy in time for the Spring 2015 European Council.

Europe needs a strong and competitive industrial base. Improving our competitiveness is essential. It is a vital component in ensuring the lasting recovery of our economies. The Council will discuss how to achieve a strong and competitive industrial base in Europe. It will look at how to strengthen the regulatory framework and the internal market. But that will not be enough. Leaders will therefore be looking to support mainstreaming of competitiveness across all policy areas and to conduct systematic competitiveness proofing to make sure that we deliver on implementation.

The European Council will also address the issue of skills. We need to ensure that Europe has access to skilled labour. We see that there are important shortages, for example in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Those shortages must be addressed. Another issue to be tackled by the Council is that of high-growth sectors, where there is often a patenting lag. Stimulating investment in innovation and new technologies is also a priority.

Competitiveness is also vital when we look at our industry from the perspective of the international markets. We must ensure the integration of European companies into global value chains as well as enhance our competitiveness through an ambitious trade and investment agenda.

A strong and competitive European industry must be seen alongside a coherent climate and energy policy. The European Council will therefore hold a first debate on a new policy framework for energy and climate in the period 2020 to 2030. The Council is expected to call for early agreement, taking into account the timeline agreed in Warsaw and the international events to come, in particular the COP 21 in Paris next year, on an ambitious EU position on emissions reductions up to 2030. This of course is an area which will need to be developed further in the near future.

The European Council will also take stock of progress made since its meeting on energy last May. The completion of the internal energy market by 2014 and developing interconnections so as to end the exclusion of some Member States from European gas and electricity networks by 2015 remain a priority. I do not need to highlight the importance of this issue in the light of recent events in Ukraine. The European Council will identify areas where further work is needed to reach these objectives. It will also look at how to tackle the issue of high energy costs.

We expect this European Council meeting to be an economic one as usual. But, as always, additional topics will need to be addressed. The European Council will address all these issues alongside questions of how to achieve growth, create jobs and improve our competitiveness. As has been shown many times here in the debates in this Parliament, our economic and social policy is our strength. It gives us greater weight on the international scene and enables us to play a leading role globally.


  José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission. - Mr President, it goes without saying that today, the eyes of Europe and of the world are set on the crisis in Ukraine. I am sure that the European Council will also devote a large part of its work to this big issue. Since we are going to discuss this issue later this morning, I will now concentrate on the other main elements on the agenda of the Council.

I expect the European Council to take stock of the progress that has been achieved so far in the response to the economic crisis and focus on the policy decisions needed to consolidate the recovery. We need to keep up the pace of structural reform and reinforce our specific actions regarding the issue of unemployment. The European Council, which will also be the last Council before the European elections, will be a very important moment as regards maintaining the momentum. It will conclude the first phase of the European Semester and debate the next steps to take in our reform agenda.

The Commission has already presented its assessment of the economic context and the state of play of macroeconomic reforms in countries under additional scrutiny. Only two weeks ago, we had a debate in this plenary which led to the adoption of a resolution of this Parliament on where it sees the priorities in the European Semester. I was glad to note that there was a large degree of convergence on the priorities.

As you know, we have revised our economic forecasts upwards. We now expect growth of 1.5[nbsp ]% this year for the European Union as a whole, and of 2[nbsp ]% next year. This is again a slight improvement. Growth is returning in Europe, and this is also true for the most vulnerable Member States. Domestic consumption and investments are set to expand further, thus reducing Europe’s dependency on the recovery of the external sector.

This is good news for public budgets, because debt levels are still too high in several Member States. These will need to be reduced further through smart fiscal consolidation and structural reforms that support growth. Weak competitiveness is still a crucial concern in a number of countries, so implementation of our 2020 Strategy and the country-specific recommendations remains as necessary as ever to improve their growth prospects.

This is even better news for citizens, because growth is a prerequisite for jobs. The need to generate jobs – especially in order to fight youth unemployment – remains one of our main priorities. That is why we are urging governments to put in place youth guarantee schemes. It is also why we are organising a follow-up conference in Brussels at the beginning of next month in order to keep up the momentum on what I think is the most important social challenge in Europe today: unemployment, and specifically youth unemployment.

Confidence is based on credibility, and credibility depends on delivering on our commitments. Since we started work on our banking union in 2012, we have seen the positive impact in terms of helping restore confidence and stability in Europe’s markets. The Single Supervisory Mechanism is on track to begin its work later this year. Now there is an urgent need to deliver the final element – the Single Resolution Mechanism.

Today’s trilogue will be very important. The Commission has defended its proposal with vigour. It is the Council alone which has to answer for its insistence on putting some elements into an intergovernmental agreement. But we need to be realistic, so the Commission argued once again in the Council meetings this week that the intergovernmental agreement must be kept to the minimum.

We are in favour of accelerating the fund’s mutualisation and for it to have effective access to funding from day one. We are with Parliament in seeking simpler governance rules that respect the autonomy of European law and its decision-making procedures, the institutional balance and the prerogatives of each institution to determine its own organisation.

Yesterday in Ecofin, no progress was made as regards the respective roles of the Council and the Commission, and the Commission remains deeply concerned as to the compliance of the Council’s approach with the case law of the court. Let me be clear: the Commission has been working, and continues to work, constructively with you for an outcome that is as close as possible to our original draft, which is fully compatible with and upholds the primacy of European Union law.

I also expect the European Council to endorse the approach of the Commission’s communication on a European Industrial Renaissance – and then to not only talk the talk but also walk the walk, because a lot of the levers capable of making our industries more resilient are found at national level.

The problems are clear. Some of our industries have lost competitiveness; investment in research and innovation remains too low, holding back the modernisation of our industrial base; progress on improving the business climate remains uneven; European firms face higher energy prices than most of their leading competitors and have difficulties acquiring qualified labour and capital in affordable conditions.

The Commission is committed to doing its share of the work: for example, making our own rulebook more business-friendly; completing the integration of networks; supporting investment in new technologies through Horizon 2020; providing EUR[nbsp ]100 billion of European funds for smart specialisation in industry over the next seven years; assuring better access to finance, in particular for SMEs; supporting the development of skills; cutting red tape; negotiating trade agreements and supporting economic diplomacy and the internationalisation of firms. This is part of what we are doing.

But Member States have to be equally committed and decisive. Many of the issues, in fact, have to be dealt with at Member State level. Some countries should do more to ensure that government services and regulations support industry’s needs; that labour markets are effective and conducive to job creation by companies; that a special effort is made to reduce the regulatory burden on SMEs; and that innovation projects and investment levels are cranked up, because only technological progress can guarantee competitiveness in the long run. Last but not least, they need to ensure that all the necessary steps are taken towards dismantling the barriers that still exist to the full internal market that we wish to see, because this is one of the most difficult problems we have in Europe when it comes, for instance, to areas such as the digital and energy sectors.

We need to take more steps towards a real internal market for energy so as to keep down energy costs. The Council has previously made commitments to doing this. I am sure this is also going to be discussed, and I hope that a clear signal is given in the European Council. The same is true for climate action policy in relation to energy policy. This will probably be the most important point to discuss, together with Ukraine, at the next European Council.

Companies need a clear long-term regulatory perspective to base their investments on and stay competitive. Rising energy prices for companies and consumers are a real cause for concern. At the same time, green technologies are critical for growth and jobs, provided that we create the right environment for them to prosper sustainably. And finally, in the light of the crisis in Ukraine, no one will need to be reminded of the costs and dangers of Europe’s continuing energy dependence.

The triangle of competitiveness, sustainability and security was already the key rationale behind the 2020 climate and energy policies, and we have proved that we can make it work in practice. We are largely on track to reach our 2020 goals. We must now build on that and go further, setting the pace for an ambitious and affordable agenda towards 2030.

The strategic climate and energy framework which the Commission tabled a few weeks ago does just that. It proposes a binding, domestic greenhouse gas reduction target of minus 40[nbsp ]% by 2030 as compared with 1990. That is ambitious, not least when compared to other global actors. It is also feasible. And it is cost-effective, as our research shows, because 40[nbsp ]% is the smartest milestone on the path to our ambition for 2050.

Secondly, we should also set a binding 2030 target for renewables – at European level – of at least 27[nbsp ]% of energy consumption. ‘Home-grown’ renewables are crucial, as they also contribute to our energy security. We have, however, proposed not to set 28 individual national targets any more, but rather to rely on a bottom-up approach, leaving more flexibility to the Member States. I think the lessons of the past clearly show that this is the most efficient way to go. We need a smarter European division of labour here. Member States remain free to set their own national renewables goals. We have to respect, of course, the national energy mixes. It is for them to define the goals at national level, but we should continue to support renewables, provided that they remain within our state aid rules. We shall make sure their combined efforts add up to the overall European Union budget. This is possible to do through a reinforced governance scheme.

Lastly, energy efficiency. As you know, the current 2020 strategy does not have a binding target. The Commission will undertake a review in mid-2014, and we should wait until after this review has been carried out before we consider the next steps. We expect to come with a proposal before expiry of the mandate of this Commission.

So the Commission has set out a framework. The ambition is clear. The ball is now in the court of the Member States’ governments and, of course, of this Parliament. I expect the European Council to make some progress next week and to give a clear signal that work will continue rapidly on the basis of that strategy, and that we will maintain the momentum by coming back to this issue in the European Council later this year.

I believe this discussion in the European Council will be important, because we really need the ownership of the Member States to commit to this more ambitious programme. I know this is a difficult decision for some, but I expect the European Union will be able to maintain competitiveness and play a leading role on the climate agenda so that others can join in this effort. This is critically important; we cannot be alone in the world in this effort. We also need to have the major economies with us. We need to bring others along, in light of the high-level event organised by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September this year. This is another reason why it is important that, when we go to New York in September, we show that the European Union is leading the way with concrete proposals.

It is not too soon, as some are saying. 2030 is around the corner. Waiting is not an option. It would be good to give our businesses the certainty that they need for their investments as soon as possible. Internationally, the European Union can only continue to set the agenda if we do our own homework first.

In all these areas, the internal challenges for Europe are clear and call for decisive action. The international context is demanding and forces us to act together. Recent events have shown how important it is that the European Union remains together and that the Member States work together. The European institutions have taken the lead, and we must continue to lead.

With elections drawing near – and particularly in times of economic hardship – we should not lay down our tools; rather we should do the opposite: work as hard as we ever did. That is what our citizens expect from us, and that is what is at stake at the forthcoming European Council. I hope the European Council will respond to these issues with determined action.


  Joseph Daul, au nom du groupe PPE. – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Président du Conseil, chers collègues, le Conseil européen de mars se tient dans un contexte international tendu. La Syrie, l'Égypte et l'Ukraine sont dans tous nos esprits. L'instabilité de notre voisinage nous rappelle combien la paix est fragile autour de nous, combien en tant qu'Européens nous devons travailler et agir ensemble pour aller plus loin et pour garder cette paix.

Vendredi dernier, lors du congrès du PPE, le chanteur irlandais Bono nous a délivré un message fort et plein de bon sens. Je partage avec lui ce constat: l'Europe est une entité économique qui existe et qui doit maintenant s'affirmer et devenir une entité sociale. C'est vrai, l'Union doit être unie pour être forte. C'est ainsi que l'on fait entendre notre voix dans le monde.

Les décisions que prendra le Conseil sur la politique énergétique, la compétitivité et le semestre européen sont justement des éléments moteurs pour faire avancer notre ambition pour l'Europe. Sans une politique énergétique pour 28 États membres, nous resterons tributaires, voire otages, de fournisseurs d'énergie situés dans des régions instables qui sont prêts à utiliser l'énergie comme une arme économique. Cette dépendance ne doit pas et ne peut pas durer.

Nos concitoyens sont préoccupés et nos concitoyens des pays de l'Est qui nous ont rejoints – "les pays de l'Est" entre guillemets, je n'aime pas cette appellation – sont très préoccupés par le chômage et l'emploi, et par ce qui se passe dans leur voisinage. Ce thème sera un thème central des prochaines élections européennes.

Tous ici nous sommes d'accord, mais nos solutions pour créer de l'emploi sont différentes. Nous, nous utilisons des slogans en agitant des mots comme "austérité" pour jouer avec la peur des gens. J'emprunte aussi à notre candidat à la présidence de la Commission européenne, Jean-Claude Juncker, cette formule: les 25 millions de chômeurs en Europe sont le vingt-neuvième État membre de l'Union européenne. Dans la seule zone euro, on compte 20 millions de chômeurs: il faut concentrer nos efforts pour leur permettre de retrouver un emploi.

En instaurant le semestre européen, nous avons donné à l'Europe des instruments pour renforcer sa crédibilité, pour rétablir la confiance des investisseurs et pour assurer notre stabilité économique. Remettre de l'ordre dans les comptes nationaux n'est pas une fin en soi, mais il faut le faire. Il faut aussi assurer de bons investissements pour soutenir la croissance partout en Europe. C'est pourquoi les objectifs de la stratégie Horizon 2020 sont capitaux.

C'est pourquoi il faut également se pencher sur notre politique industrielle. L'industrie européenne, grâce à nos PME, a toujours été une force de l'Europe. Celle-ci a ainsi bénéficié d'un puissant creuset de recherche, de développement et d'innovation. Cependant, faute d'une réelle harmonisation sociale et fiscale, nous assistons mois après mois à des faillites de PME. Si vous avez ouvert hier Les Dernières nouvelles d'Alsace, vous êtes tombés sur deux pages d'avis de liquidation de société. Rien que pour ma région, l'Alsace, c'est énorme. On a tendance à parler des licenciements dans les grandes entreprises, mais pas un mot sur ces centaines de PME qui disparaissent tous les jours et qui laissent des milliers de salariés sur le carreau. Aujourd'hui, il y a vingt millions de PME en Europe et en optimisant leur compétivité grâce à l'instauration d'un environnement favorable et à la lutte contre les distorsions de concurrence entre États, on aide efficacement les PME et on favorise les embauches. Or, si chacune des PME en Europe embauchait, ne serait-ce qu'une personne, il n'y aurait pratiquement plus de chômeurs dans la zone.

J'aimerais revenir au semestre européen: certains estiment que c'est une perte de souveraineté intolérable. C'est justement le contraire: c'est un gain de souveraineté. La crise nous l'a démontré: tout se tient. Or, avec plus de transparence, une surveillance partagée et une meilleure coordination, on renforce la souveraineté, notre souveraineté d'Européens. Le semestre européen, c'est un rempart pour résister aux aléas, aux attaques des marchés financiers.

Au cours des dernières années, des avancées considérables ont été accomplies par l'Europe et les Européens. Nous devons en être fiers, fiers de la paix, fiers de la prospérité, fiers d'une Europe unifiée, fiers d'une Europe qui protège. Je souhaite que, le 25 mai, nos concitoyens disent quelle Europe ils veulent pour eux, mais aussi pour leurs enfants, et je pense qu'ils le feront. Pour moi, la réponse est simple: il faut plus d'Europe car l'Europe c'est la solution.

(L'orateur accepte de répondre à une question "carton bleu" (article 149, paragraphe 8, du règlement))


  Graham Watson (ALDE), blue-card question. – I am sure the House will join me in congratulating Joseph Daul on his re-election as President of the European People’s Party (PPE).

Mr Daul, at your Congress you discussed how the situation in Ukraine highlights our dangerous dependence on Russian oil and gas. Germany clearly has much at stake. My question is: why do you not send Angela Merkel to Moscow to talk to them about the crisis in the Crimea and about energy policy, rather than leaving it to John Kerry?

Secondly: if we speed up the switch from fossil fuels to clean energy, we not only regain our independence from Russia, we also meet our commitments to fight climate change. So why does the PPE continue to oppose the binding national targets that we need for the green energy switch of which Mr Barroso spoke?


  Joseph Daul (PPE), réponse "carton bleu". – Monsieur Watson, je vous remercie pour vos félicitations. Vous savez, en Alsace, on ne dit pas: "Félicitations" à quelqu'un qui occupe un tel poste, on dit: "Sincères condoléances"!

Pourquoi enverrai-je Mme[nbsp ]Merkel négocier avec les Russes? Je suis un Européen. Que Mme[nbsp ]Merkel garde de bonnes relations avec les Russes, je suis totalement d'accord, et elle le fait sûrement. Mais, dans le cadre du semestre européen, c'est l'ensemble des Européens qui doivent négocier le dossier énergétique. Parce qu'un seul pays, même l'Allemagne, n'aura du poids que si nous avons une politique énergétique européenne. C'est ma première réponse.

Je ne crois pas, mon cher Watson, que l'on peut dire que le groupe PPE est contre l'environnement. Non! Je suis aussi en faveur de l'environnement mais nous devons faire très attention. Au niveau mondial, nous sommes les meilleurs et nous sommes loin devant. Nous devons poursuivre nos efforts, mais si les autres –[nbsp ]la Chine et l'ensemble du monde[nbsp ]– ne nous suivent pas, nous supprimerons tous nos emplois et l'Europe sera le continent le plus propre au monde mais sera sans emploi.

Quand j'étais en Allemagne, à Berlin, avec des grands chefs d'entreprises, un grand patron, que je peux citer, de Thyssen-Krupp, m'a dit: "Messieurs,....".

(Mouvements divers)

Je suis pour que nous maintenions chaque emploi que nous avons. Ne mettons pas nos entreprises en difficulté à cause des problèmes environnementaux. Nous devons les respecter, en tant que paysan, je sais que cela nous coûte. Si tout le monde faisait les mêmes efforts, nous serions déjà beaucoup plus avancés.


  Hannes Swoboda, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, I think we should be more realistic. Citizens in Europe express disappointment, disillusionment and sometimes even disgust when they think about Europe. They perceive Europe as an empty shell – as a cold bureaucratic machine. I must say that what I have heard today from the Council and the Commission does not counter this perception. Mr President of the Council, you spoke about guidance. Where is the guidance of the Council and where is it guiding us to? It is not clear to the citizens and it is not clear to us.

There will be another European Council, and it will be business as usual. If you look at the conclusions, it will be business as usual. There will be some hollow and rather meaningless conclusions, some vague commitments and a search for the lowest common denominator. Still there is a neo-liberal cloud which is preventing the Council from seeing the reality: for example, the enormous social problems we have in Europe. We are one the richest continents – or the richest continent – but the income and wealth distribution are growing more and more unequal.

You spoke about the skilled labour which is needed. Why, then, are so many young people leaving countries like Spain, Portugal or even France? Yes, there are some mismatches between skills and needs in the economy, but regardless of these mismatches, there are not enough jobs in Europe. This is the problem we are facing in Europe and we have to tackle it.

If you compared the eurozone with the United States of America, you would see that – while not everything is good in the US – the US had growth of 2.4[nbsp ]%. We in the Eurozone had 0.5[nbsp ]%. The US has an unemployment rate of 6.7%, while the eurozone has nearly double that unemployment rate. US inflation is at 1.6[nbsp ]%, but in the eurozone it is only 0.9%. Some still think our problem is inflation, but our problem may be deflation, and not enough is being done against deflation. The EU unemployment rate was 11[nbsp ]% in January[nbsp ]2014 – the same as in 2013. Where is the big improvement many people speak about? GDP grew by 0.1[nbsp ]% last year. Where is the improvement?

On the subject of young people: yes, there are many young people who are innovators, who are researchers or who want to create new start-ups. But what is the Council doing against the brain drain? Many countries today are experiencing a brain drain, and the European Union is taking no action to keep our best people in Europe and provide them with jobs. There the Council and the Commission fail totally.

What the people want is some vision on how Europe should be developing, or at least some concrete measures. Regarding the FTT, which is high on the agenda at least of the countries concerned, there has been nothing on this here until now. On tax evasion: in Germany alone there is one man now on trial in court, and this one man seems to have evaded tax to the tune of more than EUR[nbsp ]20 million through speculation in Switzerland. Yes, it may be EUR[nbsp ]27[nbsp ]million, but it is certainly more than EUR[nbsp ]20 million of tax evaded by just one man.

What is the Council doing against tax evasion? How can you not take steps with regard to the two countries that still are resisting pressure to do something to combat tax evasion? Again there is a lack of courage, of vision and of guidance. People are disappointed, and yes, this is the reason why Mr Farage may have some success – not that he has any answers. He has no answers. But when mainstream politics fail, populists may win even without answers or proposals. What we have today in Europe resembles surrealist politics, and this reminds me of Samuel Beckett when he says ‘try again, fail again, fail better’. Unfortunately, we have no time to fail better, and the Commission does not even try to do it.

The President of the Commission spoke about 2020. We already know that we are missing the targets, as is also the case with the Lisbon targets that we are missing. Mr[nbsp ]Daul was committed to saying that we are against binding targets, because the Council and the Member States are not truly ready to move towards fulfilling the 2020 targets, especially on the environment and energy, and I will come back to that later. So what we need – and we are capable of doing this – is to act quickly, firstly with the banking union.

What Mr Schäuble said yesterday was very interesting. I am not a fan of the intergovernmental method, but he is proposing something which is highly intergovernmental, so that is not serious. Either you are for it or you are against it, but do not propose something that you are not a fan of. This is not very clever politics.

As regards a real fight against tax evasion, as I have already said, it would be good if next week the Council could say that we are now united in fighting tax evasion. However, I do not see this happening. Of course, a fairer distribution of income would also give more money to those who would spend it and create new jobs, especially green jobs.

Our group last week had a very successful conference on progressive economics with Joseph Stiglitz, Jean-Paul Fitoussi and others. They showed that there is an alternative to austerity – an alternative which is reducing debt better than austerity. It is a policy of growth, of creating jobs and of creating incomes. This is what we are fighting for, and it should be the task of the Commission and the Council to go for it. Then we will also be able to fulfil our 2020 climate goals or the 2030 climate goals – whatever you want to do. Environmental policy and climate policy can only be carried out by sensible and high-quality green growth. This is what we are calling on the Council to do, and I hope that for once the Council next week will give a positive message to the citizens of Europe.

(Loud applause)


  Guy Verhofstadt, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, this is in fact the last meeting of the European Council before the elections, and I think it is a good moment to make an assessment of the last five years – of what has been done, what has not been done, and what the results of our policies have been.

First of all let me say that over the last five years we had a very dramatic period, Mr[nbsp ]Barroso. We had the fallout from the financial crisis of 2008. We had the sovereign debt crisis that started in Greece in December 2009. We had the Arab Spring in our neighbourhood. With our American friends we had the spying affair that is still going on and in connection with which we have to make new legislation as fast as possible. And now we have the deep crisis in the Crimea, which reminds us of all the old tensions of the Cold War. So the last five years has been a turbulent period.

I think we also have to be honest about the fact that a number of things have been done. Since the financial crisis in 2008, a huge new financial regulation based on initiatives by Commissioner Barnier has been put forward. We now have directives on bank recovery and resolution. We have a directive on the deposit guarantee schemes. We have a directive on markets in financial instruments. We have a directive on market abuse. We have a regulation on credit rating agencies and one on capital requirements. So a lot has been done on financial regulation. Thanks to our colleague Commissioner Rehn, a lot has also been done on the rules of the Growth and Stability Pact. And finally the rules are being applied; that was not always the case in the past.

The last element is that we also have positive action by the European Central Bank. Let us be honest, it is thanks to Mr Draghi’s OMT that the tensions in the markets have fallen; unfortunately the tensions and the pressures on politicians to make the necessary reforms have also fallen. Having said that, I think it is also necessary to tell the people – the citizens of Europe – the truth. The crisis is not over. Just because the end of the recession is here, this does not mean that we now have entered a period of growth – we have entered into a period of what we can more or less call economic stagnation, a goal between 0[nbsp ]% and 2[nbsp ]%. That is growth, but not enough to lower the enormous unemployment figures that we are experiencing in Europe.

And why? Because I think we lack two elements. It was interesting that Mr Swoboda made a comparison between the US and the European result. Why the difference? Because, first of all, they have solved their banking problem and we are still in the middle of a banking crisis. We have still not created a system that is capable of transferring the money from the banks to the real economy: that is the problem. A small or medium-sized company in Greece, for example, is still faced with interest rates of 7[nbsp ]%, 8[nbsp ]%, 9[nbsp ]% or 10[nbsp ]% for making investments, and the same is true for a small company in Italy. We will not recover if we do not first of all create a banking union, and I am doubtful about the outcome of the trilogue today when I see what the Council and Ecofin decided yesterday – if they decided anything, because that is not very clear.

The second thing we need is a European convergence policy. We need a new economic strategy. The Lisbon Agenda failed, the 2020 Agenda failed. Why? Because it was not binding enough. If you have one currency you also need more convergence and more binding economic strategies between the different parts of your Union.

My last point – on a totally different matter – is that I think over the last five years we have seen a lack of unity in our foreign policy, and we are seeing it today again in the crisis in Ukraine and the Crimea. An outrageous lack of courage on the part of the European Union, because it is our neighbourhood: we are talking about Ukraine, which is in fact a European country. When you go to Odessa or Kiev you see that you are in the middle of Europe – and what are we doing? What is our attitude to the tragedy that is happening in the Crimea? There is no serious strategy at all, and we need one. In my opinion we need one based on a number of elements. First of all, a real common energy policy and, as Graham Watson indicated, we need binding targets. It is the only way to have a real common energy policy. We also need to launch real sanctions against Russia, against the dirty money coming from Russia and which is invested in German industry, in the City of London, in real estate in France. We need real sanctions, otherwise the case is over. Crimea becomes a new frozen conflict for years and for decades.

So let us be clear: we are dealing with a Russian leadership that has turned its back on the consensus following the Cold War. It is no longer the Russian leadership of 1990 and the years after. It is a Russian leadership which is no longer prepared to accept the integrity of its former parts. It started, as we know, in 2008 in Georgia and it is continuing now in the Crimea, and the only way to stop it is by being bold, by being courageous in the European Union and doing what is necessary.


  Rebecca Harms, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Sehr geehrte Herren Präsidenten, sehr geehrte Kollegen! Ich fände es eigentlich ganz gut, Herr Barroso, wenn dieser letzte reguläre Gipfel, der Frühjahrsgipfel, den Sie mit vorbereiten – jedenfalls gehe ich davon aus –, auch auf Ihrer Seite Anlass zu einer nachdenklichen Bilanz geben würde. Denn in den letzten Jahren ist es zu oft so gewesen, dass wir auch von Seiten der Kommission gehört haben, dass die Krise im Griff sei. Tatsächlich ist es so, dass wir am Ende Ihrer zweiten Präsidentschaft an der Spitze der Kommission eine Europäische Union vorfinden, in der unsere Gesellschaften von vielen Spaltungen betroffen sind – der Norden, der Süden, oben und unten. Das funktioniert schlechter als vor fünf Jahren und sehr viel schlechter als vor zehn Jahren. Einen eigenen Beitrag dazu von Ihrer Seite, das zu erklären, was da schiefgegangen ist, würde ich sehr begrüßen.

Ich will mich jetzt auf die Debatte um die Klima- und Energiepolitik und die Frage der Zukunftsfähigkeit der europäischen Industrie konzentrieren. Ich habe hier schon wieder anklingen gehört, wie kompliziert das ist, wenn man ehrgeizige Klima-, Umwelt- und Energiepolitik in einer Industriegesellschaft macht. Schauen Sie mal nach Deutschland. Das ist ja wirklich ein Land, das man geradezu als industrielle Wüste bezeichnen kann, weil wir ehrgeizige Klima- und Energiewendeziele haben. Diese Wirtschaft in Deutschland kommt offensichtlich nicht zurecht, ist nicht mehr wettbewerbsfähig wegen ehrgeiziger Klimaziele. Also, wer diesen Blödsinn glaubt – Sie lachen, ich kann darüber leider nicht mehr lachen, denn diese blödsinnige Interpretation findet ja Eingang in die europäische Strategie!

Herr Barroso, Sie haben als Kommissionspräsident eine Legislaturperiode lang offensichtlich ertragen, dass wir mit Stavros Dimas aus Griechenland und mit Andris Piebalgs aus Lettland ehrgeizig Klima- und Energiepolitik gemacht haben. In dieser Legislaturperiode sind Sie mit Ihren Leuten, zum Beispiel mit Kommissar Oettinger, konsequent darangegangen, alles, was erreicht war, wieder abzureißen, und wir sind mit den Klima- und Energiezielen, die Ihre Kommission präsentiert hat, auf dem Tiefpunkt der internationalen Klimapolitik und der Rolle der Europäischen Union angelangt. Das Ziel in Bezug auf erneuerbare Energien ist lächerlich, und dass es kein Effizienzziel gibt, ist ja gerade, wenn man jetzt nach Osten schaut, Wahnsinn, ist auch strategisch völliger Wahnsinn! Wie erklären Sie so etwas? Wie rechtfertigen Sie so etwas? Sie müssen rechtzeitig – und das kann eigentlich nur noch bei dieser Ratstagung passieren – diese ganze Verantwortungslosigkeit der Klima- und Energiepolitik korrigieren, denn sonst kann in Paris kein erfolgreicher UNO-Klimagipfel mehr stattfinden. Mit Ihren Zielen haben Sie sich verabschiedet vom 2-Grad-Ziel, dem Ziel, woran wir immer festgemacht haben, wie wir den zerstörerischen Klimawandel stoppen wollen. Und Sie haben auch die Idee preisgegeben, dass mit ehrgeizigem Klimaschutz industrielle, wirtschaftliche Innovation verbunden werden kann.

Was lerne ich im Moment aus der Auseinandersetzung auf der Krim und aus der Auseinandersetzung mit Russland? Was lerne ich auch aus der Lage südlich des Mittelmeers? Dass wir Energieeffizienz und Ressourceneffizienz in einer Welt der begrenzten Ressourcen, wo damit Politik gemacht wird, wo Völker erpresst werden, in den Mittelpunkt unserer Strategien stellen müssen. Das haben Sie als Kommissionpräsident – unterstützt von Tajani und Oettinger – ganz offensichtlich abgemeldet.


  Jan Zahradil, za skupinu ECR. – Pane předsedající, moje země vstupovala do Evropské unie před deseti lety. Vstupovali jsme tam s velkým entuziasmem. Dnes je to tak, že podpora Evropské unie nebo důvěra Evropské unii v České republice je na nějakých 34 % obyvatelstva. Je to velice nízké číslo. Je nutné se ptát, kde se stala chyba. Jak říkáme u nás doma podle jednoho známého filmu, ono je to asi nepřeložitelné tady do těch jazyků: „Kde udělali soudruzi z NDR chybu?“.

Myslím si, že ta chyba je systémová, že to není chyba jednotlivých politik. Tady se hovoří např. o ztrátě konkurenceschopnosti a o podpoře malých a středních podniků. My je na jedné straně podporujeme různými schématy, na druhé straně je dusíme a ničíme nadmírou regulace. V podstatě každá regulace se dá dnes nějak ušlechtile zdůvodnit buď ochranou spotřebitele, nebo ochranou životního prostředí. Ale za těch 10 let, co jste, pane předsedo, ve funkci, ten balík evropské legislativy a evropské regulace narostl.

Byla tady řeč o politice klimatu. To je samozřejmě totální selhání a říkají to i členové vaší Komise. Vždyť jen maloobchodní ceny elektřiny vzrostly za poslední roky o 20 %, pro podniky o 17 % a značnou část tohoto nárůstu tvoří velmi štědrá podpora obnovitelných zdrojů. Ty stávající cíle 20-20-20 budou stát evropské podniky dalších 210 milionů EUR ročně, pokud půjdeme na 30 %, tak to bude 450 milionů EUR ročně. Ale to nám tady v Evropském parlamentu nestačilo, my jsme si vytýčili dokonce 40 %. Takhle si podřezáváme sami pod sebou větev a těžko pak můžeme hovořit o nějaké konkurenceschopnosti.

Evropské instituce jsou zahleděny samy do sebe, evropské politické stany vymýšlejí kandidáty na předsedu Evropské komise, což není ani podle Lisabonské smlouvy, protože tam je napsáno, že předsedu jmenuje Evropská rada s přihlédnutím k výsledkům voleb do Evropského parlamentu. Tady se to dezinterpretovalo způsobem, který je legrační, a skupiny vymýšlejí takové kandidáty, jako je např. pan Verhofstadt, kterého podle našeho průzkumu nezná 84 % evropské veřejnosti.

To není odpověď na krizi, ve které se Evropská unie dnes nachází. Ta krize je systémová, a pokud se nezmění paradigma vnímání evropské integrace, tak se nezmění nic. Já se obávám, že ani na tomto zasedání Evropské rady bohužel k žádné změně nedojde.


  Gabriele Zimmer, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Herr Barroso, Herr Ratspräsident! Sie werden sich auf dem bevorstehenden Ratsgipfel mit dem Europäischen Semester befassen und dabei auch herausstellen, wie positiv die Ergebnisse zu beurteilen sind. Schließlich befinden wir uns unmittelbar vor den Europawahlen und da wäre es wahrscheinlich sehr naiv, zu erwarten, dass die Regierungschefs um Klarheit und schonungslose Aufklärung bemüht sind.

Meine Fraktion hat wiederholt eingefordert, dass Lehren aus dem fehlgeschlagenen Krisenmanagement zu ziehen sind. Die wirtschaftliche Erholung, auf die Sie auch heute immer wieder verwiesen haben, zielt in erster Linie darauf, vor allem auch die Opfer der Krise – die, die eigentlich überhaupt nichts mit Finanzmarktspekulationen, mit Steuerhinterziehungen zu tun haben – zur Verantwortung zu ziehen. Bei den Opfern der Krise kommt diese Wirtschaftserholung nicht an. Dazu sind die wirtschaftlichen, die finanziellen und auch die sozialen Ungleichheiten einfach zu groß. EU-Mitgliedstaaten leiden unter brutalen Kürzungen der öffentlichen Haushalte. Sie belasten gerade jene, die eben nichts mit der Verursachung der Krise zu tun haben.

Andererseits hat die Bundesrepublik Deutschland allein im Jahr 2013 einen Exportüberschuss von 199[nbsp ]Milliarden Euro abgeschlossen. Das ist der größte Exportüberschuss weltweit und auch in der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Kommissar Rehn hat darauf verwiesen und gleichzeitig gesagt, dass zu wenig in Deutschland investiert wird. Die Rolle der Bundesregierung innerhalb der EU lässt sich mit der des FC Bayern in der Bundesliga vergleichen. Beide schwimmen oben auf der Wurstsuppe. Beide sind auf das Engste mit dem internationalen Finanzkapital verbunden. Der FC Bayern wird von einem Präsidenten geführt, der mit ungeheuren Finanzspekulationen und einer Steuerschuld von 27,2[nbsp ]Milliarden Euro im Rücken den Moralapostel spielt und anderen arrogante Ratschläge erteilt, wie sie z.[nbsp ]B. den Wettbewerbsabstand in der Bundesliga verkürzen können. Gleichzeitig treten Angela Merkel und der Finanzminister Schäuble ebenso auf. Und ich bleibe dabei: Die Gewinne der einen sind die Schulden der anderen! Das deutsche Rezept taugt nur für die deutsche Wirtschaft – und das auch nur kurzfristig! Wenn daran nichts geändert wird, schwebt über der Europäischen Union das Damokles-Schwert der nächsten europäischen Krise!

Im Rahmen des Europäischen Semesters wurden hochverschuldete Staaten unter makroökonomische Aufsicht gestellt. Warum, so frage ich, wird nicht die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ebenfalls unter makroökonomische Aufsicht gestellt und erhält selbst klare Auflagen zur drastischen Erhöhung von Mindesteinkommen, Mindestlöhnen und zu massiven nachhaltigen Investitionen?

Der Gipfel wird sich auch mit der Vorlage der Kommission zu den Klimazielen 2020 bis 2030 befassen. Ich habe mit Erschrecken festgestellt, dass den einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten keine ambitionierten, keine verbindlichen Ziele mehr auferlegt werden sollen, und dass es auch zur Effizienz keine Aussagen der Kommission mehr gibt. Ich empfinde das als ein Trauerspiel, weil ich der Überzeugung bin, dass wir der Krise und den globalen Herausforderungen als EU nur dann trotzen können, wenn wir uns wirklich einem sozial-ökologischen Umbau stellen, wenn wir soziale und ökologische Mindeststandards einführen und wenn wir diese im Interesse der Menschen und der Entwicklung der Europäischen Union auch wirklich durchsetzen!


  Nigel Farage, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Mr President, even by the standards of this place, today’s atmosphere has been leaden. A great global political leader, Mr Barroso, comes along and out of 750 Members, 44 people turn up to listen. Why is that? Well, I have noticed something: I have been here fifteen years, but in the last five years something really big has changed. The European dream is crumbling, absolutely crumbling. There are a few maniacs in the front row here and in your Commission who of course still want a United States of Europe, but actually out there in the Member States they do not.

And most of the MEPs here, yes, they want a job, yes, they want to be re-elected, but the enthusiasm for this project is dying. Why? Well you have made two big mistakes. The first mistake was of course to extend the eurozone. It would have been OK had it just been Germany and a few northern European countries, but to bring the Mediterranean into the eurozone has been a disaster.

The second mistake was to allow the free movement of people to southern and to Eastern Europe. We in the United Kingdom – who have been the most open country with regard to immigration of any European country through a history that has lasted hundreds of years – now have 4[nbsp ]000 migrants a week who come to Britain from the European Union and stay for a year or more.

These are the two realities that have hit home to people: the EU does not work economically, and open-door migration is fundamentally changing societies in ways that people do not want.

Listen to the economics. Mr Barroso, you talked today about the possibility of an industrial renaissance in Europe, which sounded good. Lighter-touch regulation – all very encouraging. And then you say: but we must pursue our climate-change carbon targets. The Americans have gone for shale gas and reduced energy prices. The Chinese are digging up coal in quantities we cannot fathom and building two coal-fired power stations every week. This policy of economic unilateralism on climate change is what is destroying jobs in Europe, and the electors are going to have a chance in 72 days’ time to give their verdict. I suspect the next European Parliament will be very much more exciting than this one has been this morning.

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


  Nicole Sinclaire (NI), blue-card question. – Mr President, my question is: with unemployment still a problem across Europe, and indeed in the UK, does Mr Farage think it is a fair use of taxpayers’ money – namely his secretarial allowance – not only to employ his wife Kirsten but also his former mistress, Annabelle Fuller? Is this a responsible use of taxpayers’ money, Mr Farage?


  Nigel Farage (EFD), blue-card answer. – I do not see any need to answer that at all.

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


  Mairead McGuinness (PPE), blue-card question. – Mr Farage, I hope you will answer my question, please. You talk about excitement in politics and a leaden debate, but with the greatest of respect, I do not want excitement in politics; I want people who work. Will you please commit to staying in this Chamber and listening with respect to the responses of those who will be here? Your practice in the past has been to walk out.

And could I add that you say that the enthusiasm for the EU is dimming. I think that enthusiasm for UKIP is dimming.


  Nigel Farage (EFD), blue-card answer. – Had there been a proper question there, I might try to answer it. Euroscepticism is growing right across the European Union. Nobody here, not even the maniacs that believe in the project, would question that. It is coming in all shapes and forms. It is on the right, it is in the centre, and it is on the left.

The reason is of course – and you come from Ireland, so you should know better than anybody – that actually no one has ever given consent for a political European Union. The French clearly – followed by the Dutch – rejected the Constitution. They rebranded it as the Lisbon Treaty, and only one country had a referendum on that. That was Ireland, and the people of Ireland rejected it. So you cannot tell me that there is popular support for a United States of Europe. Mrs Reding may believe it, Mr Barroso may believe it, one or two in the front row may believe it, but the peoples of Europe do not believe it.


  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). - Mr President, to find out what a meeting is about, it is sometimes necessary to put together different sources as though they were pieces in an intricate jigsaw. The agenda of the forthcoming meeting refers to the European Semester which, among other things, includes inspection by the Commission of reform programmes, including reforms of the labour market. The agenda also mentions industrial competitiveness and the importance of a strong and competitive industrial base as a driver for economic growth and jobs.

If we refer back to a meeting of ECOFIN, held on 16[nbsp ]February[nbsp ]2012, about the European Semester of that year, we find that ‘reforms need to focus on labour markets – in particular wage-setting mechanisms – to ensure efficient adjustment of labour costs’. What does all this mean? It means that a relatively high-wage economy, or group of economies, embracing the ideology of globalism and the process of globalisation, must drive down wages to compete with the emergent economies.


  Μαριέττα Γιαννάκου (PPE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, είναι γεγονός ότι πρόκειται για το τελευταίο Συμβούλιο προ των Ευρωπαϊκών Εκλογών και γι' αυτό έχει ιδιαίτερη και τεράστια σημασία. Και βέβαια το περιεχόμενό του, η ατζέντα του, δίνει έμφαση στο ευρωπαϊκό εξάμηνο, το οποίο αποτέλεσε μια πολύ θετική διαδικασία που αποφασίστηκε τα τελευταία χρόνια. Στην ουσία κλείνουμε πέντε χρόνια μιας οικονομικής κρίσης ιδιαίτερα σκληρής, για την οποία ελήφθησαν συγκεκριμένα μέτρα και έγιναν συγκεκριμένες ενέργειες, όπως το Σύμφωνο Ανάπτυξης και Σταθερότητας το οποίο θεωρείται υποχρεωτικό πλέον και δεν παραβιάζεται, ούτε από μεγάλες, ούτε από μικρές χώρες, ενώ τεράστιες αλλαγές συνέβησαν και στην περιοχή μας, στον περίγυρο της Ευρώπης.

Κατάφερε αυτές τις αλλαγές, είτε την Αραβική Άνοιξη, είτε όσα συμβαίνουν αυτή τη στιγμή στις παλιές Σοβιετικές δημοκρατίες, να τις αντιμετωπίσει από κοινού η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση; Όχι. Παρά τις προσπάθειες, ο διακυβερνητισμός εξακολουθεί να αποτελεί το βασικό στοιχείο λειτουργίας και τη βασική μέθοδο εργασίας στην ουσία. Ο τριμερής διάλογος για συγκεκριμένα θέματα καθυστερεί αφόρητα και συγκρούσεις μεταξύ των κρατών μελών γίνονται για ελάχιστα συμφέροντα. Κάτι που φυσικά δεν συνέβαινε στην αρχή της δημιουργίας της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Ωστόσο, η Ένωση αυτή προσφέροντας 50 χρόνια ευημερίας και ειρήνης σε όλους τους πολίτες, τους έδωσε το δικαίωμα και την πολυτέλεια να είναι πολύ κριτικοί απέναντί της. Πρέπει να τονίσουμε τα αρνητικά, αλλά συγχρόνως και τα θετικά και να σημειώσουμε, κύριε Πρόεδρε, ότι δεν είναι δυνατόν να υπάρξει πραγματική ανταπόκριση στα ζητήματα που ετέθησαν από τους συναδέλφους, αν δεν υπάρξει μια πραγματική ευρωπαϊκή διακυβέρνηση. Κι αυτή τη στιγμή δεν υπάρχει μια πραγματική ευρωπαϊκή διακυβέρνηση. Επομένως, μας χρειάζεται μια διαφορετική Ευρώπη. Αυτό που λένε ορισμένοι 'περισσότερη Ευρώπη', αλλά διαφορετική, όπου θα ξεκαθαριστεί τι απομένει στα κράτη μέλη και τι υπάγεται σε ευρωπαϊκή πραγματική διακυβέρνηση, η οποία μπορεί να κάνει τις αλλαγές που χρειάζονται, είτε στην φορολογία, είτε στην καταπολέμηση της φοροδιαφυγής, είτε συντονίζοντας τα δικαιοπρακτικά συστήματα, είτε λειτουργώντας ως πραγματικά ενιαίος χώρος. Αυτό πρέπει να είναι το ζήτημα που θα απασχολήσει το επόμενο Συμβούλιο μετά τις εκλογές, στις οποίες εγώ προσωπικά ελπίζω ο ευρωσκεπτικισμός, όπως παρουσιάστηκε προηγουμένως από τον κ. Farage, να μην έχει ιδιαίτερα σημαντική θέση.


  Elisa Ferreira (S&D). - Senhor Presidente, a união bancária é talvez o legado mais relevante que este Parlamento e esta Comissão poderão deixar para reconstruir a União Europeia no pós-crise. Um acordo com o Conselho é ainda tecnicamente possível antes do fim do mandato, desde que haja vontade política para tal. O contributo da Comissão tem sido fundamental na construção do texto legislativo, mas este Parlamento gostaria de ter visto essa mesma Comissão bastante mais ativa, bastante mais determinada na defesa do processo legislativo comunitário.

Quanto ao Conselho, a presença no trílogo de hoje do Presidente em exercício do Ecofin, Ioannis Tornaras, acompanhado do Presidente do Eurogrupo, Jeoren Dijsselbloem, é um gesto de grande simbolismo desde que eles venham acompanhados de um processo negocial e de propostas sérias que permitam um consenso. O calendário das negociações vai-se esgotando, mas a urgência não pode sacrificar a qualidade dos textos que produzimos.

Este Parlamento está unido. Unido envolvendo a equipa relatora, os principais grupos políticos, o seu presidente, e tem um claro mandato negocial. Queremos uma resolução bancária isenta, eficaz e credível, blindada em relação a jogos de poder político. As perdas bancárias têm de ser imputadas aos acionistas e credores e os contribuintes têm de ser poupados. Os meios financeiros para operacionalizar a resolução serão financiados pelos bancos de acordo com o seu perfil de risco, mas é necessária uma linha de crédito a ser reembolsada pelas contribuições dos próprios bancos para ser credível desde o início.

Dentro destes princípios o Parlamento está aberto à negociação. Fora deles o acordo torna-se impossível porque um mau acordo contaminaria para sempre a credibilidade da união bancária.

Estamos sinceramente empenhados em fechar o texto legislativo, mas são precisos dois para o conseguir. Acordamos ou aguardamos com grande sentido de responsabilidade a evolução dos acontecimentos, mas temos a esperança de que o interesse europeu e a seriedade das instituições prevalecerão.


  Jill Evans (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, as we have heard, the first debate on the climate and energy framework 2030 will be held next week. This is the time when we need to be ambitious on climate change, because the need to cut emissions is becoming more urgent if we are to avoid dangerous levels of global warming. We need binding targets for energy efficiency as well as for increasing renewable energy. We have to listen to the science and the evidence. The Commission’s own research shows that higher targets result in reduced dependence on energy imports and in savings on health spending.

This is not just an environmental argument but an economic one. Creating jobs is essential, particularly for young people. We need sustainable employment in the energy sector. I know from my own constituency in Wales that they look to the EU for leadership. We need to keep our promises to the people that we will work effectively to combat climate change. I urge the Council to meet the challenge.


  Matteo Salvini (EFD). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, l'euro è morto, i numeri lo dicono, l'euro è kaputt, rischia di uccidere anche l'Europa che è nata con una bellissima idea! Se ci sono gli euroscettici evidentemente è perché la crisi, le tasse, i suicidi, la disoccupazione, la fame, in questi 15 anni sono aumentate, quindi mi dispiace che il Presidente Barroso non abbia tempo per ascoltare anche qualche critica.

Probabilmente a Bruxelles c'è qualcuno che difende gli interessi delle banche, delle multinazionali, si parla di risparmio energetico, si parla di rilancio aziendale, quando non siamo in grado neanche di difendere le nostre aziende. L'India, gli Stati Uniti, il Canada, il Giappone hanno il made in per difendere le loro imprese, il loro commercio, la loro industria, noi neanche quello!

E quindi, nel nome della difesa di un morto che cammina che è l'euro, stiamo discutendo del nulla massacrando migliaia di imprese e dimezzando il valore reale degli stipendi, dei salari e dei nostri immobili. Quindi l'unica cosa da fare è prenderne atto e – se non volete che con l'euro muoia anche l'Europa – ricostruire tutto daccapo, altrimenti sono solo parole al vento.


  Herbert Reul (PPE). - Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen, liebe Kollegen! Es gibt Fortschritt und es wird Fortschritt erzielt in der Europäischen Union. Das ist unbestritten. Ich verstehe auch nicht, wie man jetzt nur über die Riesenprobleme reden kann.

Wir erleben, dass wir in der europäischen Industrie- und Wirtschaftslandschaft ein Problem mit Wachstum und Arbeitsplätzen haben. Deshalb muss man sich dieser Frage zuwenden. Der Industrieanteil in der heutigen EU lag 1970 bei 27[nbsp ]%, und er liegt heute bei 15,2[nbsp ]%. Da ist doch offensichtlich Handlungsbedarf angesagt! Man muss sich darum kümmern, dass diese Deindustrialisierung in europäischen Staaten nicht immer weiter voranschreitet. Nur in fünf Ländern ist der Anteil der industriellen Wertschöpfung seit 2007 gestiegen. Zu den weltweit 25 umsatzstärksten Unternehmen gehören nur noch neun europäische, Tendenz sinkend. Da gibt es doch nur eine Konsequenz, und die heißt: Wir müssen uns ein bisschen sorgfältiger und intensiver um die Industrie kümmern, um das Wachstum. Und zwar nicht dadurch, dass wir Geld ausgeben, sondern dadurch, dass wir Regeln unterlassen, unnötige Beschwernisse unterlassen.

Da, Frau Harms, muss ich Ihnen widersprechen. Es geht nicht darum, immer neue, immer mehr Ziele zu formulieren und damit die Industrie unnötig zu belasten, sondern es geht darum, kluge Ziele, kluge Projekte zu benennen, es geht darum, Anregungen zu setzen, es geht darum, in dem Teil, wo staatliche Aktivitäten sinnvoll sind – bei Forschung und Innovation –, Gas zu geben, Unterstützung zu organisieren. Das Ergebnis der bisherigen Politik in den letzten Jahren ist an der Stelle durchaus verbesserungsfähig.

Wir brauchen eine Querschnittsaufgabe Industrieförderung, wir brauchen mehr Wettbewerbsfähigkeitsprojekte, wir brauchen ein Projekt, wie die Kommission es vorgeschlagen hat, mit dem Ziel, wieder 20[nbsp ]% Industrieanteil zu erreichen. Ich fand das Projekt auch außerordentlich gut, bei allen Gesetzen, die wir hier machen, vorher einen Wettbewerbscheck zu machen, um zu schauen, dient oder schadet das der industriellen Entwicklung und der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der europäischen Industrie.


  Enrique Guerrero Salom (S&D). - Señor Presidente, hace apenas unos minutos el señor Swoboda hacía referencia al riesgo de que este nuevo Consejo Europeo tuviera las dos características más dañinas para la inacción. En primer lugar, que se aborde como business as usual y, en segundo lugar, con una ambición común mínima, con un mínimo común denominador que significa poca ambición.

Hablemos de energía. Hace apenas unas semanas, este Parlamento aprobó sus objetivos para el clima y aprobó un esfuerzo en energías renovables del 30[nbsp ]%, una reducción de emisiones del 40[nbsp ]% y una eficiencia energética del 40[nbsp ]%. ¿Qué hizo la Comisión?

Sin esperar a la resolución del Parlamento, a la decisión del Parlamento, presentó una propuesta mucho menos ambiciosa: una propuesta menor en energías renovables y sin ningún tipo de objetivo en eficiencia energética. Nos anuncia para septiembre u octubre una propuesta sobre eficiencia energética.

Es verdad que será la víspera de que esta Comisión deje de existir, pero si estuviera el señor Barroso, que conoce algo mejor el español, reconocería esa frase que dice: «Nunca es tarde si la dicha es buena». Si finalmente hay una ambición en eficiencia energética, será bienvenida.

Pero, ¿qué sucede? Sucede que tanto el accidente de Fukushima como las nuevas tecnologías, cada vez más eficientes, y la inseguridad energética —como nos está mostrando la situación en Ucrania— exigen un esfuerzo mayor sobre la energía renovable, sobre la eficiencia energética y sobre la interconexión.

Mi Grupo ha peleado por objetivos vinculantes y por objetivos más ambiciosos al respecto. Alemania lo está haciendo con una política energética ambiciosa. Otros países, como España por desgracia, no. Han destruido el esfuerzo en energías renovables y han creado un caos en la energía eléctrica que seguramente desincentivará la inversión y nos situará lejos del esfuerzo que habíamos realizado.


  Giovanni La Via (PPE). - Signor Presidente, Presidente del Consiglio, Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, è chiaro che siamo in uno di quei momenti nei quali l'attenzione dei cittadini europei è rivolta verso le istituzioni: siamo più prossimi e siamo prossimi ormai alle elezioni europee – e si accendono i fari su quello che abbiamo fatto in questi anni e su quello che ci promettiamo di fare negli anni che verranno.

Sicuramente quello che abbiamo fatto non è stato sufficiente, perché i risultati sono sotto gli occhi di tutti, c'è una forte differenza in Europa tra i tassi di crescita di alcuni paesi e quelli di altri. L'Europa probabilmente doveva fare di più, abbiamo fatto poco e il Consiglio di primavera – che è il Consiglio tradizionalmente attento ai temi della competitività – oggi mette all'ordine del giorno tre punti: il Semestre europeo, la competitività, clima ed energia. Ma sono questi gli unici che dovremmo attenzionare o dovremmo guardare con nuovi strumenti?

Abbiamo bisogno – secondo noi – di nuovi elementi, abbiamo bisogno di maggiore flessibilità per rafforzare la crescita, abbiamo bisogno di nuovi strumenti finanziari per supportare la crescita del nostro sistema imprenditoriale. Sicuramente la Youth Guarantee


  Pervenche Berès (S&D). - Monsieur le Président, M.[nbsp ]Barroso ne s'intéresse pas à nos débats. Il s'agit pourtant de son dernier Conseil européen de printemps et je ne peux que m'en réjouir, car le président Barroso n'a manifestement pas compris à quoi servait un Conseil européen de printemps.

Un Conseil européen de printemps, ça ne peut pas servir à mettre en œuvre un semestre européen qui ne soit qu'un semestre d'austérité. Cela ne peut pas servir à mettre en œuvre un semestre européen qui ne voit pas la fracture sociale qui existe, aujourd'hui, en Europe après dix ans de mandat de M.[nbsp ]Barroso. Cela ne peut pas servir à mettre en œuvre un semestre européen qui dit qu'il faut des indicateurs sociaux et qui n'en tire aucune conséquence. Cela ne peut pas servir à mettre en œuvre un semestre européen qui pense que les prévisions de croissance sont satisfaisantes et qui considère que la stratégie Europe[nbsp ]2020 est un succès, alors même que tous les indicateurs sont au rouge et qu'aucun des objectifs de cette stratégie ne seront atteints.

Il est temps de changer de majorité. Il est temps de changer de Commission pour mettre en œuvre une vraie stratégie européenne, qui nous permette d'avoir une vision globale, qui nous permettre de relancer, en priorité, l'investissement public et privé, et qui nous permette de refaire de l'emploi une vraie priorité. Pour cela, M.[nbsp ]Barroso, paradoxalement, a eu une intuition, il y a maintenant presque sept ans, lorsqu'il a défini l'idée d'une stratégie européenne de l'énergie. Pourtant, on voit bien à quel point il a été incapable de la mettre en œuvre.

Nous sommes, aujourd'hui, au cœur de cette fracture énergétique au sein de l'Union européenne, de cette absence de pilotage. M. Barroso nous parle de renaissance industrielle, mais qu'a-t-il fait pour que l'énergie soit le fer de lance de cette renaissance industrielle? Le projet était là, à portée de main, mais il fallait un peu de volontarisme politique et de leadership, ce dont il s'est montré incapable.

Nous devons mettre en œuvre cette communauté européenne de l'énergie qui nous permette de créer de nouveaux emplois partout en Europe et je ne peux que me réjouir de ce que, peut-être, l'absence de M.[nbsp ]Juncker au Conseil européen permettra d'avancer sur la fiscalité de l'énergie pour remettre la finance au service de cette stratégie commune dont nous avons besoin.


  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE). - Monsieur le Président, je voudrais complimenter le président Barroso et le président Van Rompuy pour tout ce qu'ils font pour engager la réflexion politique.

Madame Berès, je vous conseille de vous adresser au président de la République française, qui est membre du Conseil européen et qui exerce normalement une grande influence sur les décisions qu'il prend et non pas au président Barroso, qui exécute ce que nous décidons. Je regrette d'ailleurs qu'il n'y ait pas un sommet de la zone euro qui soit prévu en parallèle par le traité sur la stabilité, la coordination et la gouvernance au sein de l'Union économique et monétaire.

Quant à la politique industrielle, je crois que c'est un domaine très important. Il faudrait que les chefs d'État ou de gouvernement considèrent que toutes les politiques de l'Union européenne doivent être élaborées dans l'optique de mettre en œuvre une politique industrielle fructueuse.

Il en est ainsi de la politique de la concurrence. Dans ma circonscription, le Limousin, nous sommes encore sous le choc provoqué par la Commission européenne, qui a refusé la fusion de deux grands champions européens, qui aurait permis de créer un champion du monde dans le secteur de l'électronique. La politique de la concurrence doit être au service de la politique industrielle.

Il doit en être ainsi de la politique commerciale. Arrêtons d'être naïfs et de croire que nous bénéficions de la réciprocité. Il doit en être ainsi de la politique monétaire.

Le dernier mot de mon propos sera consacré aux élections. Je crois que les citoyens doivent avoir le dernier mot. Je suggère, Monsieur le Président, que, lors de la dernière session de cette législature, nous tenions un grand débat avec plusieurs documents: l'opinion des chefs d'État ou de gouvernement, le document de la Commission européenne sur la révision à mi-parcours de la stratégie Europe 2020 et également la perspective des prochaines discussions politiques sur la clause de révision budgétaire de 2016.

L'orateur accepte de répondre à une question "carton bleu" (article 149, paragraphe 8, du règlement).


  Pervenche Berès (S&D), question "carton bleu". – Monsieur Audy, vous avez sans doute une lecture sélective de l'actualité. J'imagine pourtant qu'il ne vous a pas échappé que le président de la République française avait proposé des initiatives fortes dans le domaine de l'énergie, y compris sur la base de la coopération franco-allemande, qui permettraient de créer des champions européens, ce qui me semble coïncider exactement avec la stratégie que nous proposons.


  Jean-Pierre Audy (PPE), réponse "carton bleu". – Madame Berès, je n'ai pas bien compris où était la question.

Je me réjouis que le président de la République française, ce qui n'était pas le cas de son gouvernement il y a un an, ravive les relations franco-allemandes et donc je lui adresse toutes mes félicitations.


  András Gyürk (PPE). - Európa ipara stratégiai fontosságú az Unió gazdasági növekedése és foglalkoztatása szempontjából. Az utóbbi években azonban kontinensünk világgazdaságban betöltött szerepe fokozatosan csökkent. Ez egyben persze világosan ki is jelöli a következő európai vezetés feladatát: meg kell erősíteni az Európai Unió versenyképességét. Biztosítani kell, hogy versenyképességi szempontok szerves részét képezzék minden uniós szakpolitikának.

A probléma súlyosságát kiválóan példázza az uniós acélipar helyzete, mellyel jelentéstevőként az elmúlt fél évben foglalkoztam. Az elhúzódó pénzügyi válság, a gazdasági realitásokat figyelmen kívül hagyó uniós klímapolitika és a folyamatosan emelkedő energiaárak versenyhátrányt jelentenek az európai acéltermelők számára. Az uniós ipar hosszú távú versenyképessége szempontjából kulcsfontosságú, hogy a 2030-as klíma- és energiacsomag figyelembe vegye a gazdaság teljesítőképességét, a technológiai korlátokat és a nemzetközi szereplők visszafogott kibocsátás-csökkentési ambícióit.

A klímavédelmi megfontolások mellett azonban mérsékelnünk kell az energiaárakat is. A versenytársainkhoz képest két-háromszor magasabb energiaárak túlzott terhet rónak az uniós iparra. Ezért Brüsszelnek és a tagállamoknak is mindent meg kell tenniük az energiaárak féken tartása érdekében.


  Paulo Rangel (PPE). - O primeiro ponto que eu queria sublinhar, e que para nós é decisivo, agora, a propósito do trílogo que hoje tem lugar e em particular o impulso que o Conselho Europeu e que os membros do Conselho Europeu, primeiros-ministros e chefes de Estado podem dar a este dossiê, é a questão da união bancária.

É absolutamente essencial que se tenha aqui uma perspetiva de abertura e de flexibilidade por parte do Conselho para ir ao encontro das posições que tanto o Parlamento como a Comissão Europeia têm defendido e que de resto devo dizer, o Governo português, presidido pelo Primeiro-Ministro Passos Coelho, tem sistematicamente dentro do Conselho Europeu chamado a atenção para a importância de uma verdadeira união bancária e não de uma fragmentação intergovernamental da união bancária.

Não só o Primeiro-Ministro como ainda recentemente a Ministra das Finanças e o Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros vieram defender, uma no congresso do PPE e o outro numa cimeira com o Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros alemão Steinmeier, a importância da união bancária. É fundamental que as empresas de toda a Europa, nomeadamente de países como a Grécia, como Portugal, como a Irlanda, como o Chipre, como a Espanha, como a Itália e outros, que têm exatamente o mesmo desempenho de empresas do Norte, tenham as mesmas condições de financiamento, não sejam penalizadas pela situação dos seus países. É fundamental que se uma empresa é boa e tem bons números tenha exatamente as mesmas condições de financiamento, esteja situada em Lisboa, ou esteja situada em Berlim, esteja situada em Estocolmo ou esteja situada em Atenas. É absolutamente fundamental e era esta a mensagem que eu queria deixar.


  Lambert van Nistelrooij (PPE). - Voorzitter, het is goed dat Made in Europe, het in Europa produceren, nu ook op de agenda komt en prioriteit krijgt. We hebben te lang excellente kennis geleverd in Europa en vervolgens de productie in andere delen van de wereld laten gebeuren. Neem de lithiumbatterij, hier ontwikkeld: de hele productie is weg. Dat moet anders en dat kan ook anders. En daar is dit beleid op gericht. Neem de hele nieuwe generatie zonnecellen. De oude generaties worden met Duitse machines allemaal in het Verre Oosten gemaakt.

De nieuwe technologie, die moeten we hier ook produceren en vervolgens exporteren. Dat is een andere mindset. En dat kan ook als we onze middelen van de EIB, de structuurfondsen, Horizon[nbsp ]2020, anders inzetten en bindende afspraken maken met de industrie.

Ik zie dat ook gebeuren. De Europese Commissie zet goede stappen. Tajani, eurocommissaris Hahn zullen naar mijn gebied komen om dat te zien. En ik heb er vertrouwen in dat als we onze instrumenten, onder andere garanties van de EIB, anders inzetten, de bedrijven, universiteiten, opleidingen dit begrijpen. Dan krijgen we kansen voor groen, groei en banen, en wat mij betreft met bindende doelstellingen voor de komende jaren.




  Mairead McGuinness (PPE). - Mr President, I think it is important that we reflect on the fact that while we look inwards at the problems in the European Union, the President of the Council has rightly alluded to the situation in Ukraine, which should make us look outwards as well.

I just want to make some brief comments about the current situation. There is no one in this House – certainly no one on our side – who would say that all is rosy. For example, in Ireland we know that many people have not seen the improvements in their family situations that we would like them to see, but we have got to admit that stability has been restored and that growth is there. It is far too modest, and we need to stimulate it. I would support Mr van Nistelrooij’s comments that we need to bring manufacturing into the European Union so that we can create sustainable jobs.

Lastly, what we had in Ireland in the Celtic Tiger era was unsustainable. We have had to fix it. People have suffered, but let us give them hope.


  Karin Kadenbach (S&D). - Herr Präsident, Herr Kommissar, Herr Ratsvorsitzender Kourkoulas! Sie haben heute darauf hingewiesen, dass sich der Gipfel mit Europas industrieller Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und den Themen Energie und Klima beschäftigen wird, da diese Bereiche zusammenspielen müssen. In meinen Augen geht es hier um weitaus mehr als ein Zusammenspiel. Ich bin im Gegensatz zu Herrn Daul davon überzeugt, dass nachhaltige, fortschrittliche und vor allem ambitionierte Klima- und Energiepolitik langfristig einerseits der europäischen Landwirtschaft das Überleben sichern, aber vor allem Voraussetzung für ein Europa der Beschäftigung und des Wohlstands sind. Nur mit der Energiewende und Investitionen in die Lebensqualität der Menschen können bestehende Arbeitsplätze gesichert und neue geschaffen werden.

Entwicklungen zukunftsfähig machen heißt, dass die gegenwärtige Generation ihre Bedürfnisse befriedigt, ohne die Fähigkeit der zukünftigen Generation zu gefährden, ihre eigenen Bedürfnisse zu befriedigen. Wenn wir jedoch die Bedürfnisse der jetzigen Generation nicht befriedigen, in Bildung, Wachstum, Beschäftigung und soziale Sicherheit zu investieren, dann schädigen wir hiermit die gegenwärtige und die zukünftige Generation!


  Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE). - Señor Presidente, señor Comisario, señor Ministro, repito las palabras que el presidente de mi país, nuestro Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, dirigió en el Global Forum Spain la semana pasada a responsables europeos: «les pido un triple compromiso: con las personas, con el empleo y con la economía real».

Es hora de poner el mismo empeño en el rescate del empleo que el dedicado al rescate bancario. Los bancos rescatados deben devolver el esfuerzo público, engrasando la economía con crédito a los emprendedores, porque la solución está en la economía real, en el capital humano, en las personas, en los jóvenes y las mujeres, que son los actores de la economía real, no en la especulación financiera.

Desarrollo económico sí, pero con desarrollo social. Y mejor proponer y propiciar que los chinos trabajen como nosotros que intentar competir trabajando sin protección social y entre nubes de humo venenoso. Porque el mundo, así, no es sostenible.

Por eso lamento que se haya marchado el señor Barroso, pero me gustaría que este fuera el mensaje que trasladaran al próximo Consejo Europeo de marzo y al evento de alto nivel que, como han anunciado, se celebrará en septiembre en Nueva York.


  Tarja Cronberg (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, talking about jobs, European business leaders have estimated that, with binding renewable energy targets, 570[nbsp ]000 jobs will be created by 2030. Can we say ‘no’ to these jobs when 20 million people are unemployed? President Barroso or Commissioner Rehn, we hope to have binding targets for renewable energy for 2030 in order to get these jobs.


  Peter van Dalen (ECR). - Voorzitter, de Europese Raad heeft te maken met tsaar Vladimir de Eerste, die bezig is de Sovjet-Unie te herstellen. Hij deelt talloze Russische paspoorten uit en vervolgens komt hij die zielige onderdrukten te hulp. En passant pikt hij delen van landen in. Dat begon in Georgië, vandaag Oekraïne, morgen Moldavië. Consistente Russische politiek dus. Tsaren doen al honderd jaar aan landje-pik.

Wat moet de Europese Raad volgende week doen?

1) Oekraïne is één van de meest corrupte landen ter wereld. Zowel Janoekovitsj als Tymosjenko zijn er miljardair geworden. Dus gerichte, beperkte financiële steun onder strenge voorwaarden en scherp toezicht met het IMF.

2) Garry Kasparov zei vorig jaar bij zijn bezoek aan de ECR-Fractie: "The only account Putin cares for is his bank account.". Dus Poetin en zijn oligarchen financieel droogleggen, onder andere door bevriezing van tegoeden.

3) De EU moet haar energiebeleid tótáál herzien. We zijn nu té afhankelijk van Russisch gas.


  Andrzej Grzyb (PPE). - Bardzo dobre zestawienie tematów na Radę Europejską: z[nbsp ]jednej strony – sytuacja na Ukrainie, z drugiej strony – energia i klimat. Myślę, że to jest asocjacja, która sama się narzuca. Bezpieczeństwo dostaw energii i[nbsp ]dywersyfikacja w[nbsp ]sytuacji kryzysu na Ukrainie i[nbsp ]inwazji ze strony sąsiada nabiera szczególnej wymowy. Postawmy sobie również pytanie: gdzie Unia Europejska zaopatruje się w[nbsp ]podstawowe surowce energetyczne?

Jednocześnie tematem posiedzenia będzie polityka klimatyczna. Słusznie powiedział Pan Przewodniczący, że powinna ona uwzględniać również wielkich graczy w[nbsp ]skali świata. Unia Europejska nie jest w stanie sprostać tym zadaniom samodzielnie. Koszyk energetyczny powinniśmy kształtować w[nbsp ]oparciu o[nbsp ]dużą swobodę państw członkowskich. To pozwoli w[nbsp ]sposób zracjonalizowany na powrót przemysłu do Europy, na to, czego oczekujemy: na odbudowę miejsc pracy, których straciliśmy 5[nbsp ]mln w[nbsp ]wyniku kryzysu, w sytuacji gdy ponad dwadzieścia milinów Europejczyków pozostaje bez pracy. Myślę, że to jest element, który powinien zostać zdecydowanie uwzględniony w trakcie najbliższego posiedzenia Rady Europejskiej.




  Csaba Sándor Tabajdi (S&D). - Az európai polgárokat a munkanélküliség és a szegénység érdekli, nem a Tanács köldöknéző vitája. Az is aggasztó, hogy bár az elmúlt években az Unió több lépést tett az energiarendszerek összekötése érdekében, de több közép-európai tagállam, így hazám, Magyarország számára sem lenne igazi alternatíva az orosz gázszállítások elmaradása esetén.

Foglalkozik-e válságkezelő forgatókönyvvel a Bizottság és a Tanács? A szerény mértékű európai gazdasági növekedés még rendkívül törékeny. Ezért is kell rendkívül megfontoltan reagálnunk az Ukrajna kapcsán kialakult feszültségre. Egy elhúzódó politikai-gazdasági hidegháború az EU és Oroszország között alááshatja a törékeny európai fellendülést. Bármiféle gazdasági szankció bevezetése bumerángként ütne vissza, akár Oroszország, akár az Európai Unió részéről vetődne fel. Legyünk nagyon óvatosak!


  Ivo Vajgl (ALDE). - Jaz mislim, da bo Evropski svet zaradi dogodkov v Ukrajini in nastajanja novih zamrznjenih konfliktov, od Krima in situacije tam si ne moremo kaj drugega pričakovati, kot da bomo imeli novo krizno žarišče, zato se bo Evropski svet moral vprašati, kaj je s skupno evropsko politiko.

Ali skupno zunanjo evropsko politiko lahko nadomestijo ad hoc izleti zunanjih ministrov v Kijev, ki se končajo pravzaprav velikokrat s škandaloznimi rezultati, kot je bil na primer telefonski pogovor estonskega ministra z lady Ashton ali pa posredovanje treh ministrov pri sporazumu, ki ni živel niti 24 ur.

Mislim, da se bo morala Evropska unija dokazati na reševanju zamrznjenih konfliktov, ne pa pri ustvarjanju novih. Mislim, da potrebujemo skupno zunanjo politiko in o tem se morajo šefi držav in vlad izjasniti, kakšno in kakšne instrumente imamo zanjo.


  Ana Gomes (S&D). - Mr President, how can there be any credible and efficient commercial policy, industrial policy or competition policy if the Council and the Commission continue to overlook the race to the bottom in terms of taxation amongst Member States – if they continue to overlook the scandal of tax evasion?

Recently the US Senate issued a report and conducted hearings showing that Swiss banks are heavily involved in tax fraud exercises for American taxpayers. The same is happening to European taxpayers while, at the same time as they are demanding terrible taxes from the middle classes and the poor in countries like mine, Portugal, the rich and the super-rich are taking advantage of this system. That is absolutely untenable. So what are the Council and the Commission doing to put an end to this?


(Fin de las intervenciones con arreglo al procedimiento de solicitud incidental de uso de la palabra («catch the eye»))


  Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the Commission. - Mr President, let me first of all thank you for this very serious and substantive debate on the issues concerning the upcoming European Council. I must say that I was tempted at some points to raise my blue card to question some of the arguments – not only those of Mr Farage – but I could not find it on my table. So I will make some points now and some counter-points by way of conclusion.

As you will recall, during the last plenary we discussed the European Semester at length. Last week’s Commission winter forecast does indeed confirm that Europe’s economic recovery is now gaining ground. The recovery is leaning more on domestic demand and has become more broad-based across the Member States, including most of the vulnerable Member States.

Last week we published our analysis and conclusions, which emerged from the in-depth economic reviews carried out into 17 Member States’ economies. Our analysis shows that the Member States are making progress in addressing their economic challenges, but that this progress is uneven and, in many cases, must be stepped up – especially in fighting unemployment, which is intolerably high in many countries. We expect to see a strong response from the Member States, and we stand ready to support them in a constructive partnership for reforms to strengthen the recovery and boost job creation.

The key message of the Commission to the large euro-area Member States has been – and continues to be – that there is a pressing need in Italy and France to intensify economic reforms for the sake of growth, competitiveness and job creation, while there is a clear need to reinforce domestic demand, especially domestic investment – public and private – in Germany. With this complementary and synthetic economic strategy we and they can do the best service to sustainable economic growth and job creation in Europe, and that is what we need.

It is therefore essential that we stay the course of reform in all the Member States. This concerns not just economic reforms but also the broad range of reforms that are essential to restore competitiveness and ensure sustainable growth in Europe.

It also concerns tax evasion, an issue which was raised by several speakers, the last being Ms[nbsp ]Gomes. This is important, not only for economic efficiency by getting tax revenues for the sovereign, but also in terms of social fairness so that people can see that the burden is being shared equally in society. Mr Daul referred to Jean-Claude Juncker. I am very much looking forward to working with my former colleague and friend, Jean-Claude Juncker, in intensifying the fight against tax evasion – including in Luxembourg, which can be made the benchmark in the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion.

The Commission welcomes the Summit’s focus on industrial competitiveness and climate and energy policies. The European Union is the global leader when it comes to fighting climate change. I listened very carefully to Ms[nbsp ]Harms and I have to say that, with due respect, the Greens seem to be doing a disservice to Europe by underestimating our crucial contribution and leadership in fighting climate change.

This is recognised by such authorities as Al Gore, Nicholas Stern and Ban Ki-moon, and I think it is very important that we do not shoot ourselves in the foot. Al Gore, Nicholas Stern and Ban Ki-moon and other authorities in the field of climate policies recognise the leadership of the European Union and of the Commission.

Green growth must be turned into a competitive advantage that can deliver not only technological advancement but also economic growth and jobs. I am convinced that Europe needs to be big in big things and small in small things. This also applies to the areas of climate and energy policies, the single market and the new industrial policy. Europe needs to set the overall goals and provide rules for this but to let the Member States decide about implementation and choose their individual strengths and then let the markets function and enterprises find the most innovative solutions, for instance in the fields of bio-economy and clean tech.

Our analysis shows that the most cost-effective way to achieve our ambitious objectives was to have one leading European target for greenhouse gas reductions with a well-functioning emissions trading scheme. This framework, combined with continued broad economic reforms in order to restore competitiveness, will promote economic recovery in Europe and enable us to emerge from the crisis with a stronger and more sustainable economy than before.

Let me conclude by saying that this key debate will be followed by a debate on Ukraine. Let me simply underline that Europe will support the right of the Ukrainian people to decide on their own course regarding European orientation. As we want to help Ukraine stabilise the security situation, it is essential to create the conditions for economic stabilisation and development. To that end, last week we sent a fact-finding mission to Ukraine with a view to assessing the prospective financing needs of the country. We are now analysing the findings of this mission and are in close contact with the IMF, whose own mission is still on the ground in Kiev.

Last week the European Council endorsed the multi-year support package for Ukraine announced by the Commission the day before. In the immediate short term, EUR[nbsp ]1.6 billion can be gradually made available soon in the form of conditional loans in the framework of macro-financial assistance. This includes, in addition to the existing EUR[nbsp ]600 million operation, a new MFA operation of about EUR[nbsp ]1 billion that we intend to disburse urgently, as soon as an IMF programme is in place. This will, of course, be conditional upon economic reforms that will make the Ukrainian economy more resilient, more sustainable and, in particular, more capable of creating sustained welfare for ordinary Ukrainians, especially by getting serious about fighting corruption.

I trust we all recognise that the emergency in Ukraine requires the swift adoption of this package. To this end, I count on the support of Parliament.


  Dimitrios Kourkoulas, President-in-Office of the Council. - Mr President, honourable Members, thank you for this interesting debate. We have heard a wide range of interventions on the various issues – all inter-related – which are on the agenda for next week’s European Council. All these issues go hand in hand; even our concerns about developments in Ukraine can only be addressed if we deal with them in a serious and coordinated manner, and that cannot be separated entirely from our record on economic and social policies.

Some of you have underlined the social aspects. I agree with you that this is a vital part of the European Union which is based on the notion of the social market economy. If there appears to be an imbalance between market and social elements, then that is mainly because social policy still lies largely in the hands of the Member States. We coordinate and we share experiences, but the responsibility lies primarily at national level.

Economic recovery in Europe is there, but it reminds fragile, so we have to continue to take the Semester process very seriously. It is only one of many tools but it is an important part of our Europe-wide strategy for ensuring sustained economic growth and job creation. As was mentioned by many Members of this Parliament, progress has been achieved: in the area of economic governance, important financial regulations have been mentioned, such as the Growth and Stability Pact and the very important measures taken by the European Central Bank.

Banking union is, of course, of vital importance. It is our ambition, as the Greek Presidency, to have the Single Resolution Mechanism adopted during the mandate of this European Parliament.

A crucial trilogue will take place here today in Strasbourg at 15.00 with the Greek Finance Minister and the President of the Eurogroup. Our Presidency has received a new mandate. Let us hope that this will be a solid basis for a compromise, otherwise I think we will have to go back to our governments and ask for a more flexible mandate. I would say, and I conclude, that this is a matter of the credibility of the European Union as a whole.


  El Presidente. - Se cierra el debate.

Declaraciones por escrito (artículo 149 del Reglamento)


  Claudette Abela Baldacchino (S&D), bil-miktub. – L-Aġenda tal-Kunsill Ewropew għal dan ix-xahar tinkludi l-Klima u l-Enerġija. Nieħu din l-okkażjoni biex infakkar f´dak li qalli l-KE meta, f´mistoqsija parlamentari, staqsejt dwar il-foqra tal-enerġija. Fit-tweġiba ntqal li fil-livell tal-UE ma teżistix statistika la dwar l-għadd ta’ persuni meqjusa li huma f’sitwazzjoni ta’ faqar u lanqas dwar kunċett li jipproteġihom. Intqal li m’hemm l-ebda obbligu fuq l-Istati Membri li jiġbru u jirrappurtaw statistika armonizzata dwar il-vulnerabilità u l-faqar tal-enerġija fost il-konsumaturi. Intqal li l-Kummissjoni qed twettaq studju biex tidentifika l-mudelli ta' vulnerabilità fis-swieq ewlenin tal-konsumatur, inkluża l-enerġija u li għandu jkun pubblikat fl-2015. Inħeġġeġ biex il-Kunsill Ewropew jieħu inkunsiderazzjoni l-foqra tal-Enerġija, mhux l-anqas fuq livell ta' ġeneru. In-nisa huma l-aktar milquta għaliex il-miżuri ta' awsterità fl-aħħar snin komplew għafsu fuqhom u fuq il-familji tagħhom. F´soċjetà tradizzjonali, li għadha teżisti f´bosta pajjiżi membri tal-Unjoni Ewropea, bosta nisa jaħdmu fid-dar mingħajr kumpens finanzjarju. Dan ma nistgħux ninsewh. Mhux għaliex in-nisa f´impjieg ma jistgħux jispiċċaw foqra tal-enerġija wkoll, għax wara kollox irrid infakkar li bosta nisa qegħdin f´impjieg prekarju, u għaldaqstant, is-saħħa tal-flus [tagħhom] hija limitata. Għaldaqstant, fl-isfond ta´ dan kollu, irrid inħeġġeġ lill-Kunsill Ewropew jara li, fl-istrateġiji u l-politiki tiegħu, jinkludi wkoll il-generu. Hekk biss jista' jkollna soċjetà ġusta u Ewropa Soċjali.


  Elena Băsescu (PPE), în scris. În contextul în care Consiliul European va lua în discuție stadiul implementării recomandărilor specifice de țară adresate în contextul semestrului european, se impun o serie de remarci, în special în privința modului în care România a îndeplinit cerințele formulate de Comisie.

În ceea ce privește reforma în domeniul sănătății, nu s-au înregistrat progrese vizibile. Medicii români continuă să părăsească țara, alegând să muncească în state care le oferă un nivel de salarizare și condiții de muncă decente. Strategia națională de integrare a romilor nu este implementată corespunzător, mai ales datorită faptului că proiectele în desfășurare nu au fost aprobate pe baza unor analize costuri-beneficii coerente. Practic, se cheltuiesc banii europeni, însă nu într-un mod articulat. Reforma sistemului de învățământ stagnează, dovadă stau și rezultatele catastrofale de la examenele naționale și de la simulările acestora. Nu în ultimul rând, societățile cu capital majoritar de stat continuă să fie adevărate „găuri” în bugetul de stat, datorită intereselor guvernanților de a nu demara o reformă veritabilă a modului în care aceste societăți funcționează și se administrează.

Concluzia este că, din păcate, angajamentele actualului guvern român au fost făcute doar pe hârtie, pentru că, în practică, lucrurile nu s-au schimbat.


  Frédéric Daerden (S&D), par écrit. La politique énergétique de l'Union n'est pertinente que dans le cadre d'une politique industrielle transversale et propice à la relance économique. Les axes principaux de cette politique industrielle européenne, qu'il convient de mener à tous les niveaux de pouvoir, seraient: une politique commerciale offensive; l'ajustement des règles relatives aux aides d'États et à leurs seuils de notification; un investissement massif dans la R&D et la formation, difficilement compatible avec l'austérité actuelle imposée dans les budgets européens et nationaux; une réduction significative du coût de l'énergie, actuellement très largement supérieur à celui du travail, pourtant régulièrement pointé du doigt par les libéraux. Cette réduction passe par des efforts environnementaux, comme le renforcement de la part des énergies renouvelables ou de notre efficacité énergétique. Oui, l'Europe doit donner l'exemple sur le plan mondial en ces matières, avec des normes contraignantes et des objectifs renforcés, mais accompagnés d'une politique de juste échange exigeante en matières environnementales et sociales. À défaut, elle ne peut pas s'engager seule dans ce combat, sans qu'aucun accord international contraignant n'ait préalablement été mis en œuvre. Les récents licenciements dans la sidérurgie, l'automobile, le verre ou les hautes technologies appuient mon propos. Bref, une ambition énergétique et environnementale au service de la réindustrialisation.


  Edit Herczog (S&D) , írásban. Ukrajnának minél hamarabb alá kellene írnia a társulási megállapodást. Az uniós tagállamok intenzíven együttműködnek az ukrajnai válság kezelésében, a hosszabb távú megoldás ennek sikerén áll vagy bukik. Ha az állam- és kormányfők kitartanak Brüsszelben kifejtett integrációpárti álláspontjaik mellett, és a belföldi közvélemény felé nem folytatnak kettős beszédet, akkor a gazdasági fellendülés megkerülhetetlen céllá teszi az európai integrációt az Unió szinte minden szomszédja számára. Ezért fel kell gyorsítani a bankunió és a közös pénzügyi kormányzás kialakítását, a védelmi ipar egységesítésének folyamatát.

A magyar bankároknak lehet, hogy nem, de a magyaroknak, akik a pénzüket ott tartják, fontos lenne a bankunió. Ha sikerül új gazdasági hajtóerőt fogni az Unió vitorlájába, akkor nemcsak saját gazdasági és társadalmi problémáinkat oldjuk meg, hanem a „keleti partnerség” program országai számára is kikerülhetetlen szükségszerűséggé válik a nyugati integráció. Mi békés globális nyomást szorgalmazunk. A háború nem lehet a béke fenntartására létrejött EU missziója. Az Európai Szocialista Frakció intenzíven foglalkozik az ukrán válsággal, és annak mielőbbi helyreállításával.


  Romana Jordan (PPE), pisno. – Tekom enega leta je bil vrh na temo industrijske politike dvakrat odpovedan. Vesela sem, da bodo voditelji držav članic zdaj vendarle razpravljali o težavah, s katerimi se sooča evropska industrija. Le-ta je pomemben gradnik evropskega gospodarstva, njen delež v BDP EU pa je v zadnjih 15 letih padel z 20 % na 15 %. Tudi v Sloveniji se je število zaposlenih v industriji med leti 2004 in 2012 zmanjšalo kar za 17 %. Zato od voditeljev pričakujem, da bodo začrtali usmeritve za oblikovanje konkurenčnejšega okolja. To vključuje pripravo programov za črpanje kohezijskih sredstev, oblikovanje delujočega energetskega trga z znižanjem cen energentov, večja vlaganja v raziskovalne in razvojne projekte, izobraževanje blizu potrebam gospodarstva, razvoj ustrezne infrastrukture, kot npr. energetske in telekomunikacijske. Kako resno voditelji nameravajo okrepiti industrijo, bo pokazala razprava o novem energetsko podnebnem svežnju, ki pokriva politike na tem področju do leta 2030. Obstoječe politike do 2020 se izkazujejo kot drage in premočno politično usmerjane, in praktično ne temeljijo na konkurenčnem pristopu. Le če bo vrh na tem področju okrepil tržno delovanje, se evropski industriji obetajo boljši časi, ljudem pa več delovnih mest.


  Bogdan Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz (PPE), na piśmie. Obecna sytuacja polityczna na Ukrainie oraz powracający brak poczucia bezpieczeństwa dostaw gazu do Europy z Rosji wskazują na wyzwania w dziedzinie polityki energetycznej na kilka dni przed posiedzeniem Rady Europejskiej. Niedawna zapaść gospodarki światowej, z której nadal usiłujemy się wydobyć, spotęgowała niepewność i uwypukliła słabości poszczególnych państw w sferze bezpieczeństwa energetycznego i ochrony środowiska naturalnego. Państwa, samodzielnie lub w ramach sojuszy, rewidują fundamenty swojej polityki energetycznej. Rządowe programy stymulujące gospodarkę krajów wysoko uprzemysłowionych pomalowane są na wszystkie możliwe odcienie zieleni. Wyrażenia „zielona gospodarka” czy „redukcja emisji CO2” weszły już na dobre do słownika politycznego. Jakie zatem najważniejsze tendencje zarysowują się w ewoluującym ciągle scenariuszu, który będzie determinować przyszłą politykę energetyczną Unii Europejskiej do 2030 roku? Energetyka, środowisko naturalne i gospodarka są wzajemnie powiązane. To powiązanie wpływa na międzynarodową politykę i samo jest przez nią kształtowane. Wspólna polityka energetyczna musi być i będzie kolejnym następnym wielkim projektem integracyjnym Europy z uwzględnieniem: • paliw kopalnych, które zachowają jeszcze przez jakiś czas swoje kluczowe znaczenie • rosnącego zapotrzebowania na energię, któremu towarzyszyć będzie rosnąca potrzeba oszczędzania energii, poprawianie wydajności energetycznej; • przesunięcia punktu ciężkości gospodarki globalnej w stronę Azji, za sprawą Chin i Indii, będzie mieć długoterminowe konsekwencje polityczne i energetyczne; • solidarności między państwami członkowskimi w dziedzinie priorytetów energetycznych.


  Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D), schriftelijk. De Europese Commissie stelt dat de Europese economie bezig is te herstellen en dat de economische vooruitzichten gunstig zijn. Alhoewel ik deze stelling verwelkom, kan ik niet anders dan er ook kritisch naar kijken. De groei waarvan sprake is zeer miniem: 0,1% in de Eurozone tussen januari 2013 en januari 2014. Op het vlak van werkloosheid werd er eigenlijk geen vooruitgang geboekt: zowel in januari 2013 als in januari 2014 was deze 12% in de eurozone. Dit resultaat valt enorm tegen als je daar de inspanningen tegenover zet die in vele lidstaten geleverd zijn. Daarenboven wil ik nogmaals benadrukken dat de sociale kostprijs van de crisismaatregelen opgelegd door de Trojka enorm is. De schade die de afbraak van het sociale systeem met zich meebrengt, gaat nog jaren voelbaar zijn. Het is dus absoluut nodig dat de sociale dimensie van de EMU meer uitgewerkt wordt. Het zou inmiddels duidelijk moeten zijn dat economisch beleid in evenwicht moet worden gebracht met sociaal beleid. Enkel zo kan er werk gemaakt worden van de sociale heropleving van Europa. Ik vraag de Raad dan ook tijdens haar bijeenkomst van 21 en 22 maart voldoende aandacht te besteden aan de sociale dimensie. Want er is een ander beleid nodig.

Pravna obavijest - Politika zaštite privatnosti