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Miercuri, 13 septembrie 2017 - Strasbourg Ediţie revizuită

15. Protecția împotriva incendiilor în clădiri (dezbatere)
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  President. – The next item is the debate on the Council and Commission statements on fire safety in buildings (2017/2764(RSP)).

 
  
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  Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, after the tragic accident of the Grenfell Tower in London, many have been asking what the Commission is doing to ensure the fire safety of buildings. I therefore want to use this opportunity and the occasion of this plenary to clarify the responsibilities of the Commission and the Member States in this extremely important matter.

Fire safety is, of course, a complex issue, which is not determined only by the choice of the construction products or how those are tested. Factors playing an equally crucial role are, for example, the general design of the building, the effectiveness of the installed fire detection, fire alarm and fire-fighting systems, the location of the building, potential fire accelerators inside or around the buildings, good maintenance – not mentioned here – of the fire-protection system, and of course, human behaviour.

What is perhaps even more important, fire safety is crucially dependent on the effective enforcement of fire safety regulations at different levels, national, regional and local. Today, under the subsidiarity principles, fire safety in buildings is regulated at the level of the Member States. This is due to important differences in local conditions between Member States. For example, certain Member States do not allow flammable construction products to be used in buildings, while others have no such requirements.

The EU should only undertake actions if the objectives of fire safety cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States. Today, the Commission has no compelling proof that national regulations are not reaching this goal. For this reason we consider that it is not justified for the Commission to regulate at EU level in order to ensure the fire safety of buildings.

What are our Commission’s competences? Under the current rules the EU’s role is to make sure that construction products which have the necessary performance requested in given EU Member States are not rejected. To enable this the EU sets common testing methods for specific products, not their safety requirements. Thanks to this, Member States set their own safety requirements for buildings.

The Commission is entrusted with the implementation of the Construction Products Regulation. I will call it the CPR. The CPR is based on Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. Under the CPR, the European performance tests include the examination of how construction products behave in fire in terms of reaction to fire, resistance to fire and the fire performance of roofs. Furthermore, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires Member States to set minimum requirements for the thermal energy performance of buildings. This legislation does not limit the responsibility of Member States to define requirements on construction products in the field of fire safety – quite the contrary. The various pieces of EU legislation should be applied coherently. Therefore, Member States may equally have requirements on fire safety regarding, for example, the spread of the flame or the emissions of smoke.

Over the last few years, the need for more energy-performing buildings has resulted in a large choice of new construction products being offered in the market for buildings, and their facades, which is equally important.

These modern ways of construction like, for example, the external cladding system, creating a modern facade, and the need to renovate older buildings, have changed significantly the exterior of our buildings. They are thus a challenge to the regulatory authorities of the Member States. Moreover, new emerging issues of the fire performance of construction products which are not yet covered by the CPR are the smoke toxicity from construction products in fire and the fire performance of facades. So they are not yet covered by the CPR. For these two items, the Commission already asked for independent studies long before the Grenfell Tower fire, and the results will provide very useful information I hope for the Commission, for the Member State authorities, and the construction industry alike.

While fire safety is within Member States’ responsibility, the Commission offers to take a facilitating role and add value by bringing the relevant actors together. Therefore, I can commit that we will set up a fire information exchange platform. This forum will facilitate, I hope, the exchange of information between the national authorities and the stakeholders. The platform is expected to examine the issues regarding the various fire safety practices of Member States, lessons learned from the fire accidents in the EU and abroad, experience obtained from new products and technologies, as well as use of fire engineering principles for setting regulatory requirements.

By learning from each other and by sharing information, Member States’ authorities will have the full knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the regulatory choices they have to make. For this we need the broad participation of Member States, open discussion of the issues encountered, independence and, of course, objectivity. We are therefore working in close cooperation with the Presidency to organise the first meeting currently scheduled for 16 October, so in one month’s time.

To conclude, let me say that the Commission shares everyone’s concerns to ensure that our buildings are fireproof. As I said, the EU Member States remain responsible for setting the level of fire safety in buildings on their territory, and to enforce their building regulations. We have no proof for now that national rules are not achieving this today. The Commission is examining emerging new issues such as smoke toxicity and the fire behaviour of facades, and it evaluates the functioning of the internal market for construction products. We will act if EU intervention is needed, but not more than is necessary to ensure the single market of construction products. We are fully aware of the regulatory challenges posed to the Member States’ authorities, therefore we believe that the exchange of knowledge and experience among authorities and stakeholders is very important, and we consider it a necessity.

Under the current framework, I believe that this is the best way to contribute to the protection of European citizens. I see the Commission as a facilitator rather than the regulator in this area.

 
  
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  Matti Maasikas, President-in-Office of the Council. – Mr President, first of all, let me express my deep sadness over the horrible tragedy of Grenfell Tower on 14 June in London. I would like to pay tribute to all the victims and their families. We have to bear them in mind while having today this very important discussion on fire safety.

I commend Commissioner Bieńkowska for having given a thorough overview of the legislative regulatory arrangements that are in place in the field of fire safety in Europe today. Let me just add that the work of the Commission on fire resistance needs to be continued and possibly intensified. Both the European Parliament and Council, as co-legislators and as bodies controlling the legislative power of the Commission have exercised their responsibilities and we are ready to continue to do so. I am convinced that the Member States can follow up on that and that effective enforcement on product markets is possible, without any new shift in the competences or legal responsibilities.

However, should the Commission decide that a new proposal on the performance of construction products as part of harmonisation legislation is appropriate, the Council will of course be examine such a proposal, in collaboration with the Parliament. Finally, outside the legislative work, the Estonian Presidencies supports the forthcoming platform on information exchange on fire safety issues. This is an initiative that had already been prepared by the Commission for some months and that should fit well with other initiatives underway. I am looking forward to the discussion and thank you very much.

 
  
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  Ivan Štefanec, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, I believe that immediate action should be taken to improve fire safety in buildings for all citizens and prevent a tragedy on the scale of Grenfell Tower from happening again.

Firstly, I think that the Commission should urgently change the approach to facade testing and mandate the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to develop one harmonised, large-scale test for facades. This large-scale test needs to be designed to reflect real fire conditions in order to properly evaluate the performance of facades in fire.

Secondly, I believe that the Commission should propose new requirements to test the toxicity of smoke from construction products under fire, and to label those products with the results, so that the construction industry and consumers can make informed choices.

Thirdly, the Commission should ensure a much deeper cooperation among Member States to improve fire safety in buildings across the EU. This means collecting comparable data on fire incidents in all Member States, using data to identify best practice in national fire-safety regulations, and sharing and spreading best practice to achieve a tangible improvement in fire safety in buildings.

The proposed actions are fully in line with the principle of subsidiarity. Testing construction products to be used in the common European market is an integral part of the Construction Products Regulation and no additional EU regulation is required to deepen cooperation among Member States.

 
  
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  Neena Gill, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, for far too long we have not debated the issue of fire safety of buildings, so it is high time we did so. That was my rationale behind proposing to have this debate on fire safety. Twenty years ago I worked in social housing. Our ethos was simple: social housing provides homes for the most vulnerable so it needs to be of the best quality. Clearly, over the years, this message has been diluted, especially in the UK. Had it not, we would not have had the tragedies, such as Grenfell Tower in June. My heartfelt condolences to the families of those affected.

The issue of fire safety should always be at the forefront of our minds. It should not take losing 80 people in an inferno that could have been prevented. But it is not just about what has happened, but also about what could happen in the future. Across the EU there are too many buildings – hospitals, student accommodation and office buildings – that are vulnerable, and a key lesson from Grenfell is that it is not always the fire, but also the toxic fumes that kill people. EU regulations already require that construction work is done to limit the spreading of smoke and fire, but what we need to do is ensure there are fire sprinklers in all buildings, residential and commercial. These rules also need to be enforced and expanded to inform consumers about the toxicity of materials through harmonised labelling.

We also need to secure better fire testing methods for façades that reflect the reality. It concerns me that shortly after Grenfell, instead of trying to strengthen these regulations, the UK Government supported the ‘Red Tape Initiative’ that classified it as an ‘expensive and burdensome’ ‘red tape folly’ that should be abandoned after Brexit. I think it is far too easy to dismiss regulation as red tape, but these regulations save lives and should be strengthened.

Finally, this initiative is supported by firefighters across the EU who put their lives at risk, but very rarely get the kind of hearing they deserve. I sincerely hope that this House will continue to put this high on the agenda.

 
  
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  Syed Kamall, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, the importance of fire safety in buildings was all too tragically highlighted by the horrific events at Grenfell Tower in my home city of London. Following the grief, the anger and, sadly, the shameful attempts by some British opposition politicians to exploit the tragedy to score cheap political points, our priority should now be to continue to help the survivors, to help rebuild their lives.

My hope is that the full public inquiry that the British Prime Minister has rightly ordered will reveal: why did it happen, what can we learn, how do we prevent a repeat of this terrible tragedy? When MEPs met firefighters from across the EU last week, they told us that this tragedy could easily have occurred in any of their cities. A British firefighter told me that in the UK, an apartment in a high-rise building with the door shut should be able to contain a fire for 40 minutes to allow time for evacuation and to put out the fire. But at Grenfell, the initial reports suggest that the door to a flat may have been open and that the fire escaped through the window and spread by the flammable cladding in a matter of minutes. These are, of course, just initial reports and have yet to be verified.

A Belgian firefighter explained that plastics containing petroleum release oils and toxic smoke, making their job more dangerous and suffocating victims. They shared concerns over single staircases in some high-rise buildings, which means that those fleeing fires may block emergency services entering the building. They told me that they are now assessing which buildings in their cities contain similar dangerous cladding. So many issues were exposed by this tragedy that I hope that the Commission’s exchange or proposed exchange will address. But whichever city or country you are from, we need to make sure that at best, such a tragedy does not occur again and at worst, emergency services are able to put out the fires and evacuate residents safely.

We owe this to all our citizens and the emergency services that keep us safe. And if you will allow me, as a Londoner born and bred, I am proud when I hear stories of individuals and communities from across London and the UK who came together to support those who had suffered the greatest of losses. Let me end by expressing my deepest sympathies for the victims and their loved ones.

 
  
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  Dita Charanzová, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, every day there are 5 000 fire incidents in the EU. The horrors of Grenfell Tower have brought this to the media’s attention, but fire is something that affects the lives of EU citizens no matter where they live. For too long, we have said this is an issue of national competence. But while the devastation of fires might be local, the sources of what is burning is not. Every part of your house, from the walls to the furniture inside, are products of the single market, and therefore national actions alone will not increase fire safety in the EU.

Commissioner, the time has come for the creation of a fire safety strategy for Europe. We need an EU-wide action plan which includes a single EU system to collect comparable fire data and statistics among Member States in order to identify recurring issues and risks; a cooperative forum between Member States to share best practices; and reform of how we test products for fire safety, including for toxic smoke.

Like with vehicles, now is the time to take the tests out of the laboratory alone and to test against real life situations. Commissioner, I know that the ALDE Group is willing to revise current and on-going legislative work to ensure that we can get this right. My take-away from this debate is that you have the political support of Parliament to act on fire safety, so I encourage you to do so.

 
  
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  Jean Lambert, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, along with my colleagues I also want to express my condolences to all those affected by the Grenfell fire because I am also elected from the region of London, as is my colleague Syed Kamall.

We still do not know the final death toll from that fire, but we do know that the tragedy itself was a result of a number of factors about regulation, or the lack of effective implementation of regulation, about building design, and about smoke and toxicity. Cyanide gas was certainly related to some of the deaths, but also attitudes to social housing tenants. It was certainly felt by many in the community to have been a part of the tragedy that unfolded – not being listened to, procurement priorities, not prioritising safety – and indeed compounded by the poor disaster response.

So we do need to learn from each other. We do need an effective fire prevention strategy at European level. We need to upgrade our Regulation so that it is fit for purpose wherever you may be living in the European Union, and we also need to listen to the experience of those affected by fire to actually input too from their experience in prevention.

 
  
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  Peter Lundgren, för EFDD-gruppen. – Herr talman! Mot bakgrund av tragedin i Grenfell Tower i Storbritannien måste vi arbeta intensivt med denna fråga. Brandsäkerhet är en stor samhälls- och säkerhetsfråga. Siffror tyder på att det förekommer minst 5 000 brandincidenter dagligen i EU. I många, möjligen i de flesta, av dessa händelser påverkas ett samhälle, ett företag eller en familj ofta i flera år och ibland, som i Grenfell, för hela livet.

Bränder har också avsevärt ändrat karaktär under de senaste decennierna. Detta beror på nya, mer lättantändliga material. De flesta europeiska länder har emellertid inte uppdaterat sina brandbestämmelser på ett adekvat sätt för att följa med den snabba förnyelsen av byggmaterial som flödar in på marknaden.

På europeisk nivå har de harmoniserade brandprovnings- och klassificeringsreglerna inte uppdaterats tillräckligt för att hantera moderna byggmaterial. På detta område måste EU ta krafttag för att rädda liv. Ingen ska behöva dö i en brand.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr, im Namen der ENF-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Leider braucht es immer schlimme Katastrophen wie den Großbrand des Londoner Grenfell Tower, um Verbesserungen herbeizudiskutieren und zu versuchen solche auch einzuführen. Ich begrüße die Initiative von „Fire Safe Europe“ ganz besonders, weil ich auch selber aktives Mitglied einer Feuerwehr bin, und daher sind mir aus meiner Praxis drei Punkte sehr wichtig: Ziel sollte es erstens sein, die hohen Standards, die wir in Europa haben – wie in Deutschland, in Österreich, in der Schweiz – auch als Basis zu nehmen beziehungsweise als Best Practice heranzuziehen.

Zweitens: Die Sicherheitsauflagen für Objekte müssen sich auch nach der Größe und Nutzung des Objektes orientieren. Was für ein Bürohaus mit 30 Stockwerken richtig und wichtig sein kann oder ist, muss nicht unbedingt für einen einstöckigen Bungalow auch klug sein. Drittens ist mir wichtig, dass es auch zu einem Ausgleich zwischen Sicherheit und Innovation kommt. Ich denke hier an den Energiesparsektor, dass hier auch dementsprechend Überlegungen angestellt werden. Es gibt auch ein Projekt in Schweden, das sich bereits mit diesem Thema befasst. Ich bin über alle Maßnahmen, die in Europa getroffen werden, sehr glücklich und werde es auch dementsprechend tatkräftig unterstützen.

 
  
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  Λάμπρος Φουντούλης (NI). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, τα πρόσφατα περιστατικά στα οποία θρηνήσαμε ανθρώπινες ζωές κατέδειξαν την ανάγκη να επανεξεταστεί όλο το νομικό πλαίσιο σχετικά με την πυρασφάλεια από τα κράτη μέλη της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενώσεως. Αρχικά, θα πρέπει να πιέσουμε προς την κατεύθυνση χρήσης νέων υλικών που θα μειώσουν σημαντικά τον κίνδυνο τόσο προκλήσεως πυρκαγιάς όσο και τη διάδοσή της σε περίπτωση συμβάντος. Επιβάλλεται να καθοριστεί μία νέα μεθοδολογία δοκιμών που θα αναπαριστά ρεαλιστικά τη συμπεριφορά των υλικών στην πράξη και δεν θα είναι απλώς μία αποστειρωμένη ή και υπό ιδανικές συνθήκες δοκιμή εργαστηρίου. Θα πρέπει επίσης να λάβουμε υπόψη μας πως το μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό θανάτων σε πυρκαγιές οφείλεται στην εισπνοή τοξικών αναθυμιάσεων, σε ποσοστό μάλιστα 60%. Όσον αφορά τον μεγάλο αυτό κίνδυνο πιστεύω πως δεν έχουμε κάνει ουσιαστικά τίποτα και είναι επιτακτική η ανάγκη να επιβάλλουμε τη χρήση υλικών που θα το μειώσει σε μεγάλο βαθμό. Το ίδιο δε ισχύει και για τον κίνδυνο μετάδοσης της πυρκαγιάς μέσω της δημιουργίας φλεγομένων σωματιδίων όπου και εκεί το σημερινό ρυθμιστικό πλαίσιο υστερεί.

Τέλος, προτείνω την άμεση δημιουργία κρατικού φορέα πυρασφάλειας, σε όποιες χώρες δεν υπάρχει ήδη, ο οποίος και θα ελέγχει την ποιότητα των χρησιμοποιούμενων υλικών στις ανεγέρσεις κτηρίων ενώ θα φέρει και την ευθύνη σε περίπτωση ατυχήματος.

 
  
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  Carlos Coelho (PPE). – Senhor Presidente, caros Colegas, é lamentável que tenha sido necessária uma tragédia na Torre Grenfell, que ceifou a vida a dezenas de pessoas, para estarmos a ter este debate pela primeira vez e os Estados-Membros e a Comissão Europeia levarem a sério os problemas na segurança dos nossos edifícios. Já assisti a este filme com o Número de Emergência Europeu e não me satisfaz tão pouco.

A tragédia de Grenfell aconteceu em Londres, mas poderia ter acontecido em Lisboa, em Paris ou em Tallinn. Este é um problema europeu e deve ser abordado a nível europeu. Os padrões de segurança contra incêndios variam entre os Estados-Membros. Alguns são melhores do que outros, mas todos estão a falhar. O princípio da subsidiariedade não pode nem deve ser um escudo para lavarmos as nossas mãos e as nossas consciências.

Um bombeiro dinamarquês ligado ao movimento Fire Safe Europe, que está no exterior desta Câmara, chamou-me a atenção para o facto de que, enquanto ele e os seus colegas estão confiantes em lidar com incêndios dentro de uma sala, quando se trata de fachadas externas não conseguem controlar a rápida propagação das chamas. Isto deve-se à introdução de materiais altamente inflamáveis nos nossos edifícios e ao facto de os Estados-Membros não terem atualizado a regulamentação relativa a incêndios, aos novos materiais que chegam ao mercado e também à toxicidade dos fumos da sua combustão.

A BBC há uma hora revelou a alta perigosidade da combustão dos químicos encontrados na tragédia de Londres.

Solicita à Comissão que tome uma decisão forte e decisiva nesta questão, exorto todos os Colegas a prometer o seu apoio a um único objetivo: a segurança dos nossos cidadãos. Contra o fogo não há mais tempo a perder, é hora de agir.

 
  
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  Catherine Stihler (S&D). – Mr President, the Grenfell Tower disaster saw 18 known people dead, with dozens more injured in a blaze of which fire-fighters had never seen the like before. I want to put on record our gratitude in this House towards our emergency services staff who day-in, day-out, put their lives at risk to save others across our Member States.

We in this House cannot allow a disaster like Grenfell to happen again. The evidence and enquiry into Grenfell had ramifications across the EU and the British Government, while still a Member of the European Union, has a responsibility to work with its European partners and share information to prevent another tragedy like this from happening. The European Commission are to be commended for having the foresight before the Grenfell Tower tragedy to undertake a study on the need to assess the smoke toxicity of construction products. As a standing rapporteur of this House on construction products, I want to emphasise that smoke toxicity from burning construction products and their testing is an important subject, particularly concerning the health and safety of our emergency services personnel, as well as the victims of fires.

In the case of Grenfell, as others have acknowledged, it is generally accepted that the material and structure of the facade enabled the fire to spread as it did. My understanding is that there are currently two facade tests, a large one and a small one, with Member States choosing which one. In the UK, it is the large scale that it is chosen. In the light of the differences across Member States in facade testing, will the Commission adopt a harmonised European method to assess the fire performance of facades, which would guarantee a sufficient level of fire safety to EU citizens?

Given the complexity and the nature of the question of fire safety, it is important that national authorities communicate and exchange best practice and it is brilliant today that we have seen action about the platform that has been announced by the Commission. But as currently all Member States regulate fire safety individually, one simple way forward where action could make a difference, is if Member States have a common approach towards the collection and sharing of data.

 
  
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  Anneleen Van Bossuyt (ECR). – De beelden van de Grenfell-toren staan in het collectief geheugen gegrift. Helaas is het menselijke leed dat door brand veroorzaakt wordt, een dagelijkse realiteit in de Europese Unie. Jaarlijks worden er ongeveer 70 000 Europeanen met brandwonden in het ziekenhuis opgenomen en er zijn 5 000 incidenten per dag. Vanuit de Europese Unie kunnen we niet alle problemen oplossen, maar we kunnen er wel voor zorgen dat we op ons bevoegdheidsdomein de problemen aanpakken.

Ik stel twee zaken voor die hier ook al vernoemd zijn. Ten eerste moeten we zorgen voor betere testprocedures. De bouwmaterialen moeten in realistische omstandigheden getest worden en we moeten ook meer inzetten op het testen van de toxiciteit, want het zijn vaak de giftige stoffen die vrijkomen bij verbranding die een extra bedreiging vormen voor de gezondheid van de mensen. Ten tweede - en ik ben blij dat de Commissie dit aankondigt - moet er een platform komen waar de lidstaten beste praktijken kunnen uitwisselen.

 
  
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  Gerard Batten (EFDD). – Mr President, as a London MEP, I must also speak about the Grenfell Tower tragedy in which at least 80 people died horrifically. Now the official inquiry must establish exactly what happened, how and why.

When Grenfell Tower was built, the original cladding material was inert. Fire could not pass through or behind. Since then, specification regulation has passed from national governments to the European Union. EU regulations required a 20% reduction in energy consumption in buildings such as Grenfell under the 2020 energy policy. To achieve this, the local authority may have used combustible material in the cladding when the building was refurbished last year.

The questions for the inquiry to answer are: firstly, exactly what regulations were applicable; secondly, were they strictly adhered to; and thirdly, if they were, then how can they be changed quickly in order to prevent any similar future tragedies in the UK or indeed Europe.

 
  
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  Jiří Pospíšil (PPE). – Paní komisařko, já jsem se zájmem vyslechl vaše vystoupení a musím říci, že se s ním téměř absolutně ztotožňuji. Děkuji za něj a jsem rád za realistické cíle, které jste zde jasně definovala. Myslím si, že pole působnosti Evropské komise je právě v oblasti jednotného trhu se stavebními materiály.

Zkrátka a dobře, Evropská komise může udělat kus práce v oblasti zvýšení bezpečnosti stavebních materiálů, které se v Evropě používají, co se týče jejich hořlavosti jako takové, a také v oblasti již několikrát zde zmiňované toxicity kouře stavebních materiálů. Myslím si, že zde Evropská komise může nechat zpracovat studie, které mohou do budoucna zvýšit bezpečnost materiálů, které se v Evropské unii prodávají a které potom slouží ve stavebnictví.

Na druhou stranu říkám, nejsem příznivcem nějakých dalších regulací, které by dopadaly na samotné občany. Zde bychom měli respektovat už také zmiňovanou subsidiaritu, která jasně říká, že základ protipožární ochrany spadá do působnosti jednotlivých národních států. Ale souhlasím s Vaší tezí, kterou jste zde řekla, že Evropská komise může být zprostředkovatelem, může být koordinátorem mezi jednotlivými národními orgány, mezi jednotlivými kontrolními orgány a výměna informací mezi jednotlivými národními orgány může výrazně zvýšit bezpečnost jednotlivých budov. Takže i toto podporuji a děkuji za Vaše vystoupení.

 
  
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  Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il numero degli incendi e le loro dimensioni negli ultimi anni confermano che siamo di fronte a un problema gravissimo che riguarda tutta l'Europa e che per essere contrastato ha bisogno di politiche comuni, convergenti: non si può lasciare ai singoli Stati membri il compito di prevenire o di intervenire quando si rende necessario.

Per questa ragione, credo che il punto dal quale partire sia la modifica del regolamento sui materiali da costruzione, a cominciare da quelli che riguardano le facciate e il rivestimento degli edifici: i singoli materiali, ma anche gli effetti che vengono prodotti dalla loro mescolanza, dal fatto che vengono utilizzati spesso insieme con conseguenze assai gravi, come si è visto in più di una circostanza.

Il secondo tema è approfondire la tossicità dei fumi dei materiali anche all'interno. Non è vero che tutto ciò che capita dentro è prodotto da ciò che ognuno di noi ha in casa o da ciò che occupa i vani e gli appartamenti; riguarda anche i rivestimenti interni, e anche questi hanno bisogno dello stesso severo controllo.

 
  
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  Emma McClarkin (ECR). – Mr President, whilst it is very welcome that Parliament is having the debate this afternoon, I personally wish it did not have to happen in the wake of the terrible Grenfell Tower tragedy. I have been raising the need for a greater focus on fire safety in the EU for many years, calling for greater horizontal thinking in the legislative process and I now hope that the issue will become a priority for Member States and for Members right across the EU. But keeping this tragic event in mind, we must think what sensible steps Member States and the Commission can take.

It is the responsibility of Member States to ensure fire safety regulations and standards are applied by industry and enforced by public authorities. Prevention must be the priority going forward, which can only happen through the vigorous enforcement of existing rules relating to the design, construction and the maintenance of buildings. I hope that Member States and the Commission are able to work with industry and the necessary organisations and representatives to find a solution that makes the Grenfell tragedy the last.

 
  
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  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, io credo che sia assolutamente compito dell'Unione europea garantire la sicurezza dei cittadini che si muovono e vanno a vivere in un paese diverso dal proprio. Purtroppo, nell'incendio della Grenfell Tower di Londra sono morti anche due ragazzi italiani, una giovane coppia di architetti che venivano proprio dalla mia regione. Penso avessero diritto di vivere in una casa sicura.

Purtroppo, un'agenzia della BBC di poco fa ci dice che l'isolante della Grenfell Tower, quello che bruciando sprigiona cianuro, è stato rilevato in 34 edifici in un quartiere a est di Londra, Havering, comprese nove residenze per anziani.

Abbiamo letto che la tipologia degli incendi negli ultimi decenni è cambiata, perché sono cambiati i materiali. Non siamo stati veloci abbastanza, in certi paesi meno che in altri, nell'adeguare la normativa a questi cambiamenti delle tecniche e dei materiali di costruzione. Il mio paese ha fatto tanti passi in avanti dagli anni Novanta in poi. Però io credo che non si faccia mai abbastanza. Il mio paese già potrebbe dare alcune buone pratiche perché, per esempio, da noi non si sarebbe mai potuto rivestire un palazzo alto come la Grenfell Tower nel modo in cui è stato rivestito, il che, è stato detto dai tecnici, è uno dei motivi per cui l'incendio si è sviluppato così tanto.

Allora, sono d'accordo con quanto propone la Commissione, ma penso sia solo un primo passo: dobbiamo fare molto di più per garantire a tutti i cittadini lo stesso livello di sicurezza.

 
  
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  Arndt Kohn (S&D). – Herr Präsident, liebe Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kollegen! Wie wir wissen, sind Fassadenbrände kein britisches Phänomen. Auf der ganzen Welt, in ganz Europa sterben Menschen an Rauchvergiftung, viele infolge von Fassadenbränden, auch in Deutschland. Fünf Tote bei einem Brand in Köln 2005, drei Tote bei einem Brand in Duisburg im letzten Jahr, um nur zwei Fälle zu nennen. Ein Problem heißt Polystyrolschaum. Er ist billig, ist umweltschädlich, ist toxisch und begünstigt die Ausbreitung des Brandes auf weitere Geschosse, wenn keine Brandriegel verbaut wurden. An dieser Stelle können wir von Ländern wie Österreich oder Frankreich lernen, hier sind Brandriegel in jedem Geschoss Pflicht.

Wir brauchen also europäische Regeln, die Fassadenbrand in der ganzen EU einen Riegel vorschieben – einheitliche Regeln, nicht nur eine Diskussionsplattform. Wir brauchen ein einheitliches und unabhängiges Prüfverfahren – nicht nur, damit die Bewohner der Häuser geschützt werden, sondern auch, damit unsere Feuerwehrleute, die ihr eigenes Leben auch für uns riskieren, diese Einsätze ohne Gesundheitsschäden überstehen. Die Opfer können wir nicht zurückbringen, aber wir können weitere Opfer verhindern.

 
  
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  Monica Macovei (ECR). – România a fost marcată de tragedia din clubul Colectiv, un incendiu în care au murit 64 de persoane și am avut, și avem 147 de răniți. S-a întâmplat în 2015, era la putere guvernul socialist, care este și astăzi. Și este responsabil. În România, și astăzi, normativul de siguranță la incendiu P118 este vechi de 18 ani și este și acum blocat la Ministerul Dezvoltării. În Uniune, toxicitatea fumului și a produselor de construcție nu este testată, chiar dacă fumul este cel mai mare ucigaș din incendii. 41 % dintre victimele incendiilor sunt omorâte de gaz, fum și emisii toxice. Cerințele existente pentru testarea și etichetarea produselor de construcție pentru cazuri de incendii nu impun indicarea toxicității fumului. Distribuirea urgentă a marilor arși între spitale europene cu secții speciale trebuie să fie reglementată în cadrul mecanismului pentru protecție civilă. Toate acestea trebuie să fie parte dintr-o strategie europeană, pentru că 5 000 de incendii omoară oameni în fiecare zi în Europa.

(Președintele întrerupe vorbitorul)

 
  
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  Michał Boni (PPE). – Pani Komisarz! Jest coś budującego w akcji strażaków z całej Unii Europejskiej, by bezpieczeństwo przeciwpożarowe uczynić tematem publicznym. Jeśli praca strażaków ma być efektywna, to oprócz hartu, wyszkolenia i nowoczesnego sprzętu potrzebna jest świadomość społeczna zagrożeń ogniowych i dbałość o to, by wszystkie budynki i ich fasady odpowiadały normom przeciwpożarowym. W wielu krajach przepisy są przestarzałe albo budynki są niedostosowane do wymogów. W Polsce od lat wymagana jest analiza toksyczności dymu z różnych materiałów budowlanych, jaki powstaje podczas pożaru. To, jak i testy wytrzymałości przeciwpożarowej muszą być obowiązkowe wszędzie, by eliminować elementy najbardziej toksyczne i oznaczać je. Nie wystarczy doceniać strażaków. Trzeba w ich działania inwestować i stymulować zmianę przepisów w różnych krajach, by poprawiać bezpieczeństwo. Kluczowa jest europejska platforma wymiany danych dotyczących zagrożeń i dobrych praktyk, by uczyć się wzajemnie najlepszych rozwiązań.

 
  
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  Marijana Petir (PPE). – Gospodine predsjedniče, zaštita od požara važna je za cijelo naše društvo. Statistike pokazuju da se svaki dan u Europskoj uniji dogodi najmanje pet tisuća požara. To je dva milijuna požara godišnje, dok njih 90 % počinje u zgradama. U posljednjih nekoliko desetaka godina požari se razvijaju brže nego ikada i postaju sve opasniji.

To je uvelike zbog većeg korištenja zapaljivih materijala u zgradama. Većina europskih država nije ažurirala protupožarne propise na odgovarajući način kako bi se uskladili s novim građevinskim materijalima na tržištu. Na razini EU-a norme za protupožarno ispitivanje i klasifikaciju nisu također ažurirane na odgovarajući način. Moramo inzistirati na najvišoj razini zaštite od požara za građane Europske unije. Sve manje od toga nije dovoljno.

Možemo i moramo učiniti Europsku uniju sigurnom od požara. Moramo zaštititi naše građane, ali i vatrogasce, čije se zdravlje također narušava te su izloženiji i riziku od tumora. Kao dobrovoljna vatrogaskinja ovom prilikom želim zahvaliti svim vatrogascima diljem Europske unije što spašavaju ljude i imovinu i što svojim primjerom i životom svjedoče kakvi ljudi trebamo biti.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  José Inácio Faria (PPE). – Senhor Presidente, em junho assistimos horrorizados ao incêndio que destruiu a Grenfell Tower onde perderam a vida 79 pessoas. Sabemos agora que a torre foi construída nos anos setenta e reabilitada no ano passado. No entanto, o revestimento novo nunca foi testado contra incêndio e as queixas dos moradores nunca foram atendidas.

Todos sabemos que na gestão do risco de incêndio a prevenção assume importância elevada. Na semana passada, estive com bombeiros de toda a Europa que estiveram no Parlamento a exortar as instituições da União Europeia a agir em prol da segurança dos edifícios e a priorizar normas sobre a segurança nos edifícios que passem por métodos mais eficazes nos testes de fogo, nas fachadas, rotulagem harmonizada e melhoria na informação ao consumidor, bem como o desenvolvimento de uma estratégia europeia que vise uma abordagem integrada e coordenada neste âmbito.

Senhora Comissária, se a responsabilidade para o estabelecimento das regras sobre os limites de segurança nos edifícios cabe aos Estados-Membros, a vida, a saúde e o bem-estar dos cidadãos europeus é uma responsabilidade coletiva de todos nós, que nenhum princípio ou regra de subsidiariedade pode ser invocada para afastar.

 
  
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  Marek Plura (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! Po londyńskiej tragedii wszyscy zdajemy sobie sprawę z tego, że nie może się ona powtórzyć. Potrzebujemy bezpieczniejszych materiałów budowlanych, lepszego systemu zabezpieczenia przeciwpożarowego, kompleksowych rozwiązań także na szczeblu europejskim. Chcę, aby w tej dyskusji pojawił się wyraźnie wątek osób niepełnosprawnych. Proszę sobie wyobrazić sytuację człowieka na wózku inwalidzkim, który w chaosie pożaru ma samodzielnie ewakuować się schodami. Alarmy przeciwpożarowe, systemy ostrzegania muszą także być dostępne w praktyce, a nie tylko w teorii, dla osób niewidomych czy głuchych. Konieczne jest więc opracowanie systemu skutecznej pomocy i płaszczyzny wymiany najlepszych praktyk.

Pani Komisarz, pragnę zadeklarować ze swojej strony wszelką możliwą pomoc w tej sprawie.

 
  
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  Nicola Caputo (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la recente tragedia della Grenfell Tower deve portarci a rivedere il nostro approccio in materia di sicurezza antincendio negli edifici. Su questo tema i governi nazionali sono i primi chiamati a intervenire, ma anche l'Unione europea può svolgere un ruolo importante.

Dobbiamo lavorare sulla prevenzione. Condivido la proposta di una piattaforma UE per lo scambio di informazioni e migliori prassi per migliorare la sicurezza antincendio. Occorrono dati comparabili e test credibili di comportamento delle facciate degli edifici in caso di incendio. Va assicurata la trasparenza del livello di tossicità del fumo generato dall'incendio dei singoli prodotti da costruzione.

Il riesame del regolamento sui prodotti da costruzione può rappresentare l'occasione ideale per migliorare la normativa. Ogni prodotto costruito con marcatura CE, oltre ai valori di sicurezza antincendio, dovrebbe presentare un'indicazione della sua tossicità al fumo. Questo elementare principio di trasparenza è condizione indispensabile per responsabilizzare costruttori e consumatori, consentendo di adottare scelte informate sui prodotti da costruzione.

 
  
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  Wajid Khan (S&D). – Mr President, the shocking pictures of the Grenfell Tower blaze must serve as a wake-up call to all law makers, and we must work towards a common fire safety strategy. I recently met with colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire in my constituency, and they pointed out that while fire toxicity in trains, planes and ships is regulated, there is a real lack of regulation in the construction sector. Renovation works at Grenfell were inspected 16 times by the local authority, showing current rules simply aren’t fit for purpose.

So I urge the Commission to do two things: first, to meet with the scientists and experts as part of the DG GROW study, and secondly to incorporate an assessment of the fire toxicity of construction products into the existing regulation. This both benefits and protects consumers because we need a fire strategy that puts people first and it is shameful that it has taken a tragedy like Grenfell to put fire safety back on the agenda.

 
  
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  Tim Aker (EFDD). – Mr President, what happened at Grenfell is a terrible tragedy and I agree with all the speakers that have said that better regulation must be implemented, but who is going to monitor this? I can say that I am one of a very few, if not the only local councillor, to have spoken in this debate, and I deal week-in, week-out, with local government repairs and maintenance. I know from experience that the current regime of contracting out and tendering out maintenance and repairs of council properties, like the Grenfell Tower, is an absolute disaster. They deal on the profit motive instead of human welfare, and until we bring council maintenance and repairs back in-house, you can say everything you like about repairs and everything you like about maintenance, but unless it is brought under complete democratic control and accountability then all the goodwill will be for nothing.

 
  
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  Ελευθέριος Συναδινός (NI). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, μια φωτιά που ξεκίνησε από την κουζίνα ενός διαμερίσματος στο Λονδίνο και οδήγησε στο θάνατο δεκάδες πολίτες έγινε η αιτία να αναφερόμαστε σήμερα στην πυρασφάλεια των κτηρίων. Η πυρκαγιά όμως που ξεκίνησε από μολότοφ που πέταξαν αντιεξουσιαστές, χαϊδεμένα παιδιά της κυβερνώσας παράταξης στην Ελλάδα, στο υποκατάστημα της Μarfin το 2010 κατά τη διάρκεια των ταραχών στην Αθήνα εξαιτίας των μνημονίων που επιβάλλονται στη χώρα μου, την Ελλάδα, και κατά τη διάρκεια της οποίας βρήκαν το θάνατο τρεις νέοι άνθρωποι και ένα αγέννητο το παιδί δεν συγκίνησε κανέναν.

Όπως, μετά τη σημερινή συζήτηση, τα κτήρια θα βελτιωθούν, τα μέτρα πυρασφάλειας θα ενισχυθούν και οι αντίστοιχες διατάξεις ανέγερσης κτηρίων θα γίνουν πιο αυστηρές, έτσι και η πολιτική της Ένωσης, που οδήγησε σε αυτοκτονίες εκατοντάδες συμπατριώτες μου και δημιούργησε εκατομμύρια ανέργους στα όρια της φτώχειας, οφείλει να αλλάξει, αλλιώς «καήκαμε».

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Matti Maasikas, President-in-Office of the Council. – Mr President, this discussion makes it crystal clear: we all know where we are in terms of the regulatory and legal arrangement here. The work of the Commission in assessing the situation must be pursued and, if needed, intensified, and should the Commission come out with a new proposal on it, I can reassure you that the Council is ready to discuss.

 
  
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  Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, Honourable Members, thank you very much for this exchange of views. I think it was very important for all of us to have it today. First things first, of course, I have to say that the Commission and I personally share more of your concerns. I also share your conviction that the tragedy like the one in London must not happen again, and we have to do our best to ensure this.

I want to conclude with three points. First, as I said before, for now we have no proof that national rules are not working but, of course, the Commission is examining now the new issues which were mentioned by many of you like smoke toxicity and the fire-behaviour of facades with independent studies. I want the results of this work to be concluded and to have it before 16 October, so before the first meeting of our new fire information exchange platform.

Second, we will act when EU intervention is needed. Of course, we treat our fire information exchange platform as a first step, and of course we can re-examine what else we can do after discussion between the Member States and between the stakeholders – because industry will be an important stakeholder and an important partner in the platform. We can think about steps to be taken in the future.

But of course, and this is my deepest conviction, we should do no more than is necessary to ensure the single market of construction products. So let’s wait until 16 October, and let’s discuss the issue. We do not have any proof that it’s not working now – there are national regulations that are not working but of course, the first thing is the national regulations and the second thing is enforcement of those regulations, and this also we should examine.

These are the three points from my side and of course I am open to any comments and any discussion with you on this important issue.

 
  
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  President. – The debate is closed, but the issue is not closed. I think it was clear today that we have just embarked on a process which will bring us back to the issue.

May I also take this opportunity to extend sympathy and condolences, not just to our British colleagues, but especially to those who were enormously and tragically affected by the fire.

Written statements (Rule 162)

 
  
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  Vladimír Maňka (S&D), písomne. – V Európskej únii máme každý deň viac ako 5 tisíc mimoriadnych požiarnych udalostí. Každý rok v Európe musí byť hospitalizovaných okolo 70 tisíc ľudí v dôsledku požiarov. Každý rok spôsobia požiare v EÚ škodu, ktorá je väčšia ako celý rozpočet EÚ. Oheň spôsobuje nielen veľké ľudské a materiálne škody, ale aj zničenie dôležitých dát, znižuje produktivitu, zvyšuje nezamestnanosť a bankroty firiem. Má dopady na uhlíkové emisie a je veľkou výzvou pre udržateľnosť zdrojov energie a životného prostredia. Nevieme, ako sa ktoré stavebné výrobky správajú v situácii reálneho požiaru. Rovnako nevieme, nakoľko sú toxické splodiny ich prípadného horenia. V priebehu najbližších 30 rokov na Slovensku narastie o jednu štvrtinu počet budov určených na bývanie. Podobne aj v mnohých iných krajinách EÚ. Je veľmi dôležité, aby tieto milióny nových bytov a rodinných domov boli bezpečné. Drvivá väčšina zranení a úmrtí pri požiaroch budov je pritom spôsobená práve účinkami dymu a jeho toxicity. Je preto kľúčové, aby sme v Európe mali lepšie a harmonizované testovacie metódy stavebných výrobkov, ktoré dokážu overiť ich správanie v prípade požiaru. Musíme vedieť poskytnúť spotrebiteľom informácie o toxicite a nebezpečných materiáloch niektorých stavebných konštrukcií a zatepľovacích systémov a prehľadne rozlišovať výrobky podľa miery ich toxicity.

 
  
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  Pavel Poc (S&D), in writing. – I call on the Commission and the Council to stop playing the competence alibi game and to agree to assess fire smoke toxicity. We know that fire smoke is not only responsible for half the deaths in building fires, it also represents long-term health risks for those who survive such tragedies, including those risking their lives to save others on a daily basis – firefighters. Today, our health is at risk by failing to address this issue. We test construction materials for smoke opacity, but not toxicity. That’s wrong. Buildings have changed radically since the Construction Products Directive (CPR) introduction 17 years ago. Combustible materials have replaced brick and metal; they burn quickly, releasing different amounts of toxic gases. Conclusion: information about toxicity of burning construction materials must be available to our citizens, architects, traders so everyone can make informed decisions. Why not add fire toxicity to the classification system of the CPR? With fellow MEPs, we proposed this at our conference in Parliament two years ago. The Commission’s response could have been quicker; nevertheless I encourage the Commission during its current assessment of such idea and I ask the Council to cooperate. We have been playing with fire too long.

 
Notă juridică - Politica de confidențialitate