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Martedì 14 gennaio 2020 - Strasburgo Edizione rivista

2. Presentazione del programma di attività della Presidenza croata (discussione)
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la discussione sulle dichiarazioni del Consiglio e della Commissione sulla presentazione del programma di attività della Presidenza croata (2019/2959(RSP)).

 
  
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  Andrej Plenković, predsjedatelj Vijeća. – Poštovani predsjedniče, potpredsjednici i zastupnici Europskog parlamenta, poštovana predsjednice Europske komisije, poštovani kolege, izuzetno mi je zadovoljstvo biti danas u Europskom parlamentu i predstaviti prioritete prvog hrvatskog predsjedanja Vijećem Europske unije.

Za Hrvatsku i sve moje sugrađane ovo je povijesni trenutak. Tek prije 30 godina, u Hrvatskoj su održani prvi slobodni izbori. Time je nakon devet stoljeća, hrvatski narod ponovno stekao svoju suverenost, a Hrvatska se vratila na političku kartu svijeta.

Drago mi je da upravo danas – uoči 28. obljetnice međunarodnog priznanja Hrvatske, kada su tadašnje članice Europske zajednice priznale Hrvatsku – imam priliku govoriti u Europskom parlamentu. Priznanje smo stekli u teškim okolnostima ratne agresije. Hrvatska se, zahvaljujući svojim braniteljima, obranila, i prije 25 godina oslobodila, nakon čega se obnovila i krenula naprijed putem razvoja, demokracije i europske integracije. I prije šest i pol godina postala je članicom Europske unije, kojoj je danas prvi put za kormilom.

Na tom putu, europska integracija Hrvatske bila je čvrst i jasan putokaz u svim naporima i u svim reformama koje smo poduzimali. Veselim se uspješnoj suradnji s Europskim parlamentom u sljedećih šest mjeseci, u želji da našim građanima pokažemo da od Europske unije imaju opipljive koristi.

Nekoliko je važnih zadaća pred nama.

First, an agreement on the new Multiannual Financial Framework: a timely agreement on the entire financial framework for the next seven years is our priority. In this, the MFF should meet the expectations of all our citizens in all our Member States.

So it must continue to finance cohesion and agricultural policies, but also be able to address the many new challenges the European Union is facing. It must ensure our togetherness and unity, while respecting all of our differences – economic, social and demographic. It must also make Europe more effective and visible on the global stage.

To achieve this, we must act fast. We cannot allow delays in the implementation of our EU programmes, as of 2021. Otherwise, we would be disappointing our citizens. Together with the President of the European Council, who is continuing the MFF talks at the highest political level, we will spare no effort to achieve a breakthrough during our presidency. This would enable us to finalise the entire legislative package under the MFF and we count on close and efficient cooperation with all the Parliament’s committees and rapporteurs in this endeavour.

We hear and understand all your concerns, messages and expectations, but we find it of crucial importance to continue the talks and negotiations at all levels and to advance all the files. In this we are united by a common goal, as our failure would only strengthen those who do not want a strong Europe. And we cannot allow that.

Second, the end of the process of orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union: after ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by the United Kingdom, we have to finalise the ratification procedure on the EU side. In this, the crucial step is the consent of the European Parliament.

The Croatian Presidency will, in accordance with the declaration on the future relationship and the guidelines of the European Council, work on the swift adoption of a comprehensive Council mandate for negotiations, on the basis of the proposals by the European Commission.

Though we will be sad to see a Member State leaving, the European Union and the United Kingdom share a long history. So this should be a new starting point for building close partner relations in the future, based on mutual interest, respect and a level playing field, especially in the areas of trade, security and other sectorial policies.

However, the transition period of 11 months is extremely short, and it will take a lot of goodwill and a lot of work to bring these negotiations to an end in that period and to reach a good agreement for both sides.

Mesdames et Messieurs, troisièmement, l’organisation du sommet de Zagreb entre l’Union et les Balkans occidentaux et l’ouverture des négociations d’adhésion avec la Macédoine du Nord et l’Albanie. Nous ne cachons pas notre ambition d’essayer d’obtenir le soutien des États membres pour l’ouverture de négociations d’adhésion avec ces deux pays.

Le prochain rapport de la Commission européenne et ses propositions pour améliorer la méthodologie des négociations d’adhésion seront importants. Pour la crédibilité de la politique de l’élargissement, il est important de maintenir les principes du respect des critères politiques, des critères de référence et des progrès individuels de chaque pays candidat sur la base de ses résultats, l’adhésion à l’Union demeurant l’objectif ultime des négociations. Cela doit rester l’axe central de la politique de l’élargissement. Nous sommes heureux que le Parlement européen ait adopté une résolution en octobre dernier en faveur de l’ouverture des négociations avec l’Albanie et la Macédoine du Nord, soulignant l’importance de l’élargissement tant pour les pays candidats que pour l’Union européenne. Ce faisant, le Parlement européen a réaffirmé son attachement à une politique d’élargissement crédible de l’Union. Le sommet de Zagreb en mai se tiendra 20 ans après le premier sommet de Zagreb, qui a ouvert la perspective européenne aux pays de l’Europe du Sud-Est et ouvert la voie aux accords de stabilisation et d’association. Parmi ces pays figurait la Croatie qui entretemps est la seule à avoir adhéré à l’Union européenne. Qui plus est, aujourd’hui elle préside le Conseil de l’Union européenne. Notre exemple donne au prochain sommet de Zagreb une valeur symbolique supplémentaire. C’est pourquoi, lors du sommet de Zagreb, nous souhaitons envoyer un message fort à nos partenaires d’Europe du Sud-Est, qui sont toujours dans une sorte d’antichambre européenne et leur dire: si vous poursuivez toutes les réformes et remplissez tous les critères d’adhésion, votre perspective européenne n’est pas remise en cause et vous êtes les bienvenus. Dans le même temps, l’Union vous aidera à atteindre votre objectif grâce à la participation à des projets européens, à l’intégration à des réseaux d’infrastructures via un dialogue politique régulier au plus haut niveau et par la promotion des valeurs et principes européens.

Quatrièmement, la mise en place de la conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe. Nous aborderons cette tâche rapidement afin que, sur la base de la position du Conseil, nous puissions conclure des accords interinterinstitutionnels dès que possible et assurer le démarrage rapide de la conférence. Il est important que le Conseil, le Parlement et la Commission s’approprient les objectifs de la conférence et y soient représentés sur un pied d’égalité. La conférence doit aussi garantir l’engagement de tous les États membres, des parlements nationaux et une large participation des citoyens, en particulier des jeunes. Elle doit être inclusive et ouverte, et son débat axé sur les questions découlant du programme stratégique de l’Union européenne, sur les orientations politiques de la présidente de la Commission européenne et, surtout, sur les sujets qui préoccupent ou intéressent le plus les citoyens. Nous nous réjouissons que ce soit la commissaire croate Dubravka Šuica, qui soit chargée à la Commission européenne de préparer la conférence. La conférence est une nouvelle occasion de rapprocher l’Europe des citoyens et de mieux appréhender par le dialogue ce qui lui est reproché; de comprendre les raisons d’une désaffection croissante des citoyens envers l’Europe; de comprendre ce qui a conduit au Brexit et pourquoi beaucoup d’Européens dans d’autres États membres développent le même scepticisme; de comprendre les causes du renforcement du populisme et du ressentiment anti-européen et de voir ensemble ce que nous devons changer et améliorer. C’est aussi l’occasion de donner la parole aux citoyens pour qu’ils nous disent quelle Europe ils veulent afin que nous puissions mieux répondre à leurs attentes.

Dame i gospodo, Hrvatska ulazi u predsjedanje Vijećem uz četiri bloka prioriteta, a oni su:

Europa koja se razvija. Naš je glavni cilj osigurati ujednačen, održiv i uključiv rast Unije koji uzima u obzir posebnosti i potrebe svih država članica i njihovih regija. To zahtijeva daljnji razvoj politika koje stvaraju kvalitetnije radne i životne uvjete te pridonose očuvanju okoliša i borbi protiv klimatskih promjena.

Posebnu pažnju posvetit ćemo Europskom zelenom planu o kojemu će Vijeće raspravljati u nekoliko formacija, s obzirom na širinu i domet, pri čemu je važno osigurati odgovarajuće financiranje njegove provedbe. O tome smo detaljno razgovarali prigodom posjeta kolegija Europske komisije u Zagrebu prošloga tjedna. Zajedno trebamo raditi na dosezanju klimatske neutralnosti Europske unije do 2050.

Produbljivanje jedinstvenog tržišta i poticanje digitalizacije, ulaganje u inovacije i istraživanje, kvalitetno i cjeloživotno obrazovanje te razvijanje vještina prilagođenih poslovima budućnosti ulog su u jačanje konkurentnosti Unije. A upravo je konkurentnost ključna sastavnica osiguranja njezina rasta.

Zbog toga je važan i razvoj tržišta rada koje je prilagođeno vremenu digitalne revolucije, novim globalnim izazovima te demografskim promjenama.

Naša glavna misao vodilja mora uvijek biti poboljšanje kvalitete života svih građana Unije, ali i utvrđivanje poticajnih demografskih mjera koje će izgraditi vitalnije društvo.

Europa koja povezuje. Rast i razvoj Europske unije uvelike ovisi o umreženosti njezina gospodarstva i punom iskorištavanju njezinih infrastrukturnih i ljudskih potencijala. Povezivost je jedna od najvažnijih pretpostavki za postizanje socijalne, ekonomske i teritorijalne kohezije među državama članicama. Stoga ćemo se snažno zalagati za dodatni razvoj prometne, energetske i digitalne infrastrukture, na dobrobit naših građana.

Pritom ćemo kao Predsjedništvo snažan naglasak staviti na zbližavanje građana kroz obrazovanje, kulturu i sport. Te su veze osobiti odraz naše snage i našeg zajedništva.

Third is a Europe that protects. Only a safe Europe can provide a peaceful environment for its citizens. In this regard, the efficient protection of the EU’s external borders – as well as increased resilience to external threats and hybrid and cyber threats – are of vital importance. Achieving a comprehensive solution for sustainable and effective migration and asylum policies is our joint objective. We will remain focused on further developing our Union as an area of freedom, security and justice, based on the shared values of democracy and the rule of law. Therefore, the adoption of the new strategic guidelines in the area of freedom, security and justice will be one of our priorities. The rule of law is a core value and a fundamental principle of our Union’s functioning. We will pursue a comprehensive approach to the protection and promotion of the rule of law, while strengthening dialogue and the unity of the Member States.

Fourth is an influential Europe. No single Member State of the Union is able to address the international challenges on its own. Our unity is our biggest strength. Europe should speak with one voice more often and more loudly, confirming its global role in today’s multipolar world. It is crucial to maintain an open dialogue with our North American partners and allies. Our ambition as a global actor should be supported by further development of capabilities and instruments for joint action, including our defence, albeit in complementarity with NATO.

It is also important to maintain Europe’s relationship with China, Russia, India and Japan – and other big powers – on the basis of mutual respect, while continuing to develop multilateralism and an international rules—based order. In a wide range of policy areas, from climate change and trade to nuclear proliferation, our Union has a unique ability to achieve necessary compromises and resolve crises. Tensions in the Middle East, the highly complex political and security situation in Iran and Iraq, old and new challenges in the Gulf region: all this requires our constant, active and creative engagement, and strong leadership. As a staunch supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the world’s biggest donor of development assistance, we have a special responsibility towards African, Caribbean and Pacific nations. During the Croatian Presidency, an Eastern Partnership summit will be held as well.

The European Union is facing, as we all know, many challenges. Every day the world is getting more complex and our tasks are more numerous. Too many actors offer easy answers and instant solutions, often unfounded or based on false information. The expectations of our citizens are growing. We must get closer to our citizens. We must listen and provide appropriate answers to their concerns. We cannot miss any opportunity to do more for the sake of our citizens. To meet the challenge, we need to promote equality, inclusivity and solidarity, while strengthening Europe’s democracy as our core value on the global scene. Therefore, as our programme says, we need a strong Europe in a world of challenges.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission. – Mr President, it is such a pleasure, Prime Minister, to see you again at the start of the Croatian Presidency. It’s just a few days ago that the College of Commissioners were treated to the very famous and outstanding finest Croatian hospitality. We spent a wonderful 24 hours there. We saw some of the very rich culture, traditional folklore, diversity, all that which Croatia has brought to the Union. It was a phenomenal ceremony at the opening of the Presidency in the National Theatre, which showed the energy and the enthusiasm Croatia brings to the Union, so thank you very much for that.

It’s also a very special moment to sit here and to listen to the Prime Minister speak about the Presidency here in the home of European democracy, because I know, Andrej, that this House is a place that is very dear to your heart. There are not many who can say that they have been a European Parliament trainee, then, later on, an MEP, and then come back to Strasbourg as a Prime Minister chairing the EU Presidency. Chapeau and respect for that.

(Applause)

In some ways, your story mirrors the remarkable journey your country has taken. As you have just said, in the space of only three decades, Croatia has gone from bitter bloodshed to being here today at the beating heart of our Union. Tomorrow you will celebrate the ‘Day of International Recognition’, marking 28 years since the European Community recognised Croatia. But no one could have imagined then how far and how fast this country has grown. That is down to the will of your people, to the sacrifice they made, to their commitment to European values, and to their determination to join our union of peace, progress and prosperity.

Over the next six months, we will need all that determination, that unity and energy that Croatians are famous for. We will need that determination to find common solutions to issues that have divided us in the past like, for example, migration, which will be one of the tasks we will be tackling. We will need that unity to handle Brexit and budget negotiations and deal with the pressing international issues you just mentioned, and we will need that energy to ensure that Europe can shape the digital and climate transitions. This is the task ahead of us and I am delighted that the Croatian Presidency reflects this fully in the four pillars the Prime Minister just mentioned.

The Presidency’s motto says we need a strong Europe in a world of challenges, and indeed, it’s true that the challenges around us are becoming louder and more dangerous and more intensive by the day. I think it is now for the constructive force to help push back on the world’s destructive tendencies. And it’s always the same. As long as there’s violence taking place, it’s very loud and dominant, but the violence only ends if the talks start again. Here is the strength of the European Union – because the European Union has an enormous amount of diplomatic strength. It is able to focus on de-escalation dialogue because we have good relations with many, many actors in that region and partners in the region. We have relations that are time tested, relations that are reliable, that are trusted. We’ve played an enormous role and still do play in the stabilisation of Iraq, and the same goes for brokering the nuclear agreement with Iran.

But beyond conflict resolution, now is also the time for Europe to be more assertive on the global stage, to strengthen our position as the trading power of the world, to deepen, as you’ve said, our relationship with NATO and to take on more responsibility ourselves, and to build an alliance with Africa that can stand the test of time and help boost both our economies. We will have the college-to-college meeting with Africa and will be preparing the EU-Africa Summit. In this spirit, we will present our comprehensive strategy with Africa during your Presidency.

The next six months will be crucial for our relationship with the Balkans. You mentioned it, Andrej. Croatia knows better than most the power of European perspective. It’s a matter of perspective to have it, a true perspective, and Croatia knows better than most how far it can take countries in transforming their systems and economies. Croatia knows the good Europe can do by engaging and investing in the region. It is now particularly important that we keep up this momentum before the Zagreb Summit on the Western Balkans later this year. If we want the Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb to be a success, we have to do our homework now. That’s a reason why we will put forward our enlargement methodology in a few weeks, so that we can discuss the modernisation that is necessary, but the most important part is to give our friends in the Western Balkans a perspective for beginning the accession talks with North Macedonia and with Albania. They’ve done the homework which we’ve asked them to do, so it’s time to give them a real perspective to move on now.

Croatia’s leadership will also be essential when it comes to negotiations on our future budget. Over the next weeks, the Presidency, supported by President Michel, will look to make headway so that we can reach an agreement. We need a balanced budget, yes, we need a fair budget, yes, but most of all we need a modern budget. The next seven years are different from the seven years we’ve just gone through, so it is of utmost importance that the modernisation part – that’s what people expect us to do, that’s the area where all the Member States keep asking the European Union to move forward, be active, be visible – receives a decent budget. If we want to deliver on these topics, we need a decent budget for modernisation. Thank you for fighting for that. This is crucial for us.

Mesdames et Messieurs les députés, les six mois de la présidence croate seront également cruciaux pour réussir la transition climatique et écologique. Nous n’avons plus besoin de parler de l’urgence et de l’obligation d’agir. Nous devons passer maintenant à l’action et mettre en œuvre notre pacte vert pour l’Europe. Le travail commence aujourd’hui. À l’issue de ce débat, le collège discutera du plan d’investissement pour le pacte vert et du mécanisme pour une transition juste. Avec ce nouveau mécanisme nous donnerons la priorité aux secteurs et aux régions qui seront confrontés aux plus grands défis et qui doivent fournir de plus grands efforts. Je sais que c’est un point important pour la Croatie et pour beaucoup d’autres. Dès que les propositions seront approuvées par le collège, les vice-présidents Timmermans et Dombrovskis seront ici en plénière pour vous présenter tous les détails.

Je compte sur la présidence croate pour avancer sur ce dossier et sur tous ceux qui suivront dans les semaines et les mois à venir.

Meine Damen und Herren Abgeordnete! Ich möchte abschließen mit den Worten einer kroatischen Schriftstellerin, die als erste Frau professionelle Journalistin in Kroatien war, Marija Zagorka. Sie schrieb einmal: „Wo Einheit ist, ist Freiheit.“ Und das war schon immer so in Europa. Wo es Einheit gibt – und die europäische Besonderheit ist, dass es freiwillige Einheit ist –, da gibt es Freiheit, und da gibt es auch Kraft. Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass die kroatische Präsidentschaft eine Präsidentschaft der Einheit sein wird, eine Präsidentschaft der Stärke für Europa sein wird, eine Präsidentschaft, die unsere Institutionen voranbringen wird bei dem Aufbau – wie ihr es in eurem Präsidentschaftsmotto nennt – eines stärkeren Europas in einer herausfordernden Welt.

(Beifall)

 
  
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  Manfred Weber, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, welcome Andrej Plenković and welcome Croatia in the European Parliament. it is good to have you here, and having listened to Ursula von der Leyen’s explanation describing your story, the Plenković story in a way, I think it is great to hear and for a lot of MEPs here in this room it is a strong motivation to hear this story.

I want to add another story because we have a Vice—President of the European Commission sitting next to Ursula von der Leyen, the Croatian Commissioner who has a similar story: being elected as a Member of the European Parliament and now sitting in such an important role. So, that is a great symbol for what the Croatian Presidency means for the European Union and also for us as Members of the European Parliament.

The Croatian Presidency is a great start for this decade because Croatia is the youngest member of the European Union. And first of all, the Croatian people showed that being a member is in the interest of the country. So that is what you showed them the last years as a member of the European Union.

For example, after 2013 the country came out of a long recession, and almost 70% of all Croatia’s exports go to the European Union and almost 3 000 Croatian SMEs can now benefit from the EU investment plan. So there are a few examples of this success story and that’s why it is great to have Croatia now in the lead.

We see in Croatia also see the beauty of Europe: on the one hand the Roman heritage in Split, the Austrian Hungarian Empire’s influence in Zagreb, the Venetian architecture in Dubrovnik. So Croatia is in a way a good mirror for the European culture. And probably what the prime minister underlined in his speech: the most important thing for today is that Croatia is today an independent nation, not anymore part of any kind of Empire. Today Croatia is an independent nation, part of a family, respected as an equal partner on the European level.

This strong European vision is also reflected in your programme. A Europe that gives an answer to the world’s challenges. This is your motto, and in today’s political and social turmoil, no single Member State stands a chance alone. The Croatian programme pinpoints all the critical challenges: climate change, transport, connectivity, enlargement, global relevance, digital revolution and the safety of our citizens.

The key to face these challenges is in front of us, and that means unity. It was already also mentioned by Ursula von der Leyen. And I want to describe a little bit what we mean with unity. Unity for us means no first and second—class citizens in the European Union. So, for example, if Croatia wants to join the Schengen area, if Croatia wants to be a member of the euro area, then they have the full support of us as the European People’s Party.

Unity means to give a European perspective to the Western Balkans, several times already mentioned. We are aware that the decision of the European Council was a short—sighted decision to not opening the accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

I, as an EPP representative, am proud that all EPP governments in Council are supporting it and that’s why I hope that Socialists will speak with the Danish friends and our Renew colleagues will speak with the Dutch and also with the French colleagues to open this path for North Macedonia and Albania to become members of the European Union.

Unity means for us, ‘one for all, all for one’ on the global stage. We experienced in the last two weeks, the developments in the Middle East and we were close to a real military escalation in the last days. And – yes – the weapons were extremely loud in these days, but we can show together we speak louder than any weapon if we activate the strength of the whole European Union.

And for us the first two weeks of this decade are a kind of a wakeup call that we have to strengthen now systematically the capacity of the European Union. To go further with a military pillar for the European Union and we have to put an end to unanimity in the decision—making process in the field of foreign affairs. We have to come to a majority making decisions; we have to bring the European voice to the global level.

Unity means for us also on Brexit: our club, our rules. Andrej, you referred to the Eurosceptic parties in all our Member States. Nobody wants to punish our British friends in any way, some would say so, but it must be clear when you are not any more a member of the European Union, you’re losing the advantages of the club. If this is not clear then we will face a lot of problems to convince our citizens that it is better to stay inside of the European Union. That is a challenging development ahead of us, but we have to be clear.

And finally on the MFF, the budget must deliver. First, let’s talk about tasks. If we establish a strong border protection then Europeans as a whole will be safer. And if we invest in research and innovation, then it will be better for all Europeans.

So, let’s stop the debate about net—payers and contributors and so on. Let’s talk about the task which we have ahead of us and new tasks means for us also fresh money for the European Union.

These are the challenges for the Croatian Presidency ahead of us. But it is time now that the youngest member will show the lead, that not only the old – and probably big – countries will show leadership. Now the youngest country can give us the proof that there is a future. And you know you can always count on your EPP Group to say it, in Croatian, svi smo s vama.

 
  
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  Iratxe García Pérez, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señor presidente, señor Plenković, nos alegra darle de nuevo la bienvenida en el Parlamento Europeo y le deseamos que su experiencia pasada en esta Cámara contribuya al éxito de la Presidencia croata. Somos conscientes de que atravesamos un periodo convulso y lleno de retos.

A raíz de los recientes acontecimientos en Oriente Próximo, valoramos positivamente su compromiso con el fortalecimiento del multilateralismo y su intención de trabajar de manera estrecha con el alto representante para garantizar que la Unión Europea hable con una sola voz en la arena internacional. Además, apoyamos su compromiso con la política de ampliación y con la apertura de las negociaciones de adhesión con Macedonia del Norte y Albania.

Entre las prioridades de su programa una de ellas lleva por título «Una Europa que proteja», y bajo esta rúbrica habríamos deseado un enfoque más amplio, que reconozca la oportunidad que la migración representa para hacer frente al reto demográfico y al mantenimiento del Estado del Bienestar.

Sí, señor Plenković, necesitamos una Europa que proteja. Pero una Europa que proteja también significa una Europa que proteja la solidaridad y el Estado de Derecho. Una Europa que proteja también tiene que abordar con humanidad la integración de los refugiados y de los migrantes en nuestras sociedades. Una Europa que proteja también significa proteger a los ciudadanos y ciudadanas de la Unión contra la exclusión, el desempleo o la discriminación por razones de género. Por ello, le vamos a pedir una mayor ambición para construir la Europa social que necesitamos.

Seamos honestos, señor Plenković. Solo con la organización de conferencias no podremos abordar cuestiones como la brecha salarial entre hombres y mujeres, la violencia de género y la pobreza infantil. Estamos de acuerdo en que es necesario potenciar la competitividad, la innovación, la productividad y el aprendizaje permanente, pero necesitamos un verdadero plan de acción para implementar el pilar social europeo y los derechos sociales. Por esta razón, lamentamos que su programa no mencione explícitamente el salario mínimo, la garantía infantil o un verdadero plan de lucha contra la pobreza y esperamos y ofrecemos nuestra cooperación para poder incluir estas acciones durante su presidencia.

Con respecto a la reforma de la unión monetaria, también pensamos que la no inclusión del seguro de desempleo entre las prioridades no es aceptable. Se trata de un instrumento clave, que nos permite proteger a los ciudadanos y ciudadanas en periodos de crisis. Aprendamos de las lecciones de las últimas crisis y no nos resignemos a legislar en las áreas donde es posible legislar. Su compromiso para lograr un acuerdo sobre el nuevo marco financiero cuenta con nuestro apoyo, pero permítame que sea clara. Esperamos que su Presidencia presente una propuesta a la altura de la propuesta que ha hecho este Parlamento Europeo. Lo hemos dicho muchas veces: no podemos hacer más con menos.

Lo hemos dicho. Y queremos cumplir con los objetivos de nuestra ambiciosa agenda. Necesitamos un enfoque triangular, una mayor contribución de la renta nacional bruta al presupuesto comunitario, una propuesta de recursos propios y la promoción de inversiones nacionales con una reforma de las reglas fiscales. Para esto último defenderemos la incorporación de una nueva regla de oro en el Pacto de Estabilidad y Crecimiento que estimule las inversiones sostenibles en los Estados miembros. No podemos frustrar las expectativas de la ciudadanía europea con promesas vacías.

Proyectos con la ambición del Pacto Verde Europeo requieren una financiación adecuada. Por ello, no quiero ocultarle la decepción de nuestra familia por la ausencia en su programa del plan de inversiones sostenibles y el fondo de transición justa. Asimismo, el programa ignora el compromiso adquirido por la Comisión Europea para incluir los objetivos de desarrollo sostenible en el Semestre Europeo.

No es tarde, señor Plenković. La familia socialdemócrata espera que su Presidencia despliegue la misma ambición que el programa de trabajo de la Comisión Europea, y la misma ambición que esta Cámara, ante los retos que tenemos por delante. Si tiene voluntad, podrá contar con el apoyo de nuestro Grupo para trabajar por el cambio ecológico, social y económico que Europa necesita.

 
  
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  Dacian Cioloş, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, dear Prime Minister Plenković, this will be Croatia’s first Presidency of the Council since joining the European Union in 2013. It is a proud moment for you, Prime Minister, and for your country, but it’s also a challenge. I saw that you have already brought such energy and a fresh approach to your first Presidency. I fully understand that you want to be, as soon as possible, in our Union’s inner circle in the Schengen area and also in the euro zone. I think that any country willing to integrate into the Schengen area and to share our common currency should be able to do so as soon as all criteria are fulfilled. Our priority is not only to make sure Europe is renewed so it works for our citizens, but we must make sure that the European Union continues to be an appealing organisation for new members to join. The conference on the future of Europe will play a key role, giving also a new prospective for enlargement in a renewed Europe. I am confident that, over the coming months, the EU will send a positive message to the Western Balkans and the Zagreb Summit should play a key role in this and should be the signal.

Colleagues, the migration crisis of 2015 and 2016 has had a deep impact on many of our countries. We discovered our migration and asylum systems are not fit for purpose. We need to move forward. Today, my Group, the Renew Europe Group, will launch a plan with some new ideas in order to fix the system for the next decade. It is time to make progress without waiting for the next crisis and I hope, Mr President, that your Presidency will be inspired by our ideas. Prime Minister, I know you will agree with me that immigration and the demographic challenges need greater recognition and actions. I am pleased to have raised this issue in your Presidency.

Regarding the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the Croatian Presidency will be critical in the process leading to the adoption of MFF and own resources packages. I hope you hear the message of Parliament for a strong budget and especially for a new approach regarding own resources. We need a strong budget that matches our political priorities. In addition, I would like to thank you and Mr Charles Michel in particular, for your work on Libya and the situation in Iraq and Iran. We need to be alert and actively contribute to the peaceful settlement of tensions and conflicts. We really need a strong European voice in the world and you take up your responsibilities at a time when our role is clearly challenged in this area. A common position and unity is key if you are to put our future into our own hands.

Mr Prime Minister, I wish you all the best for your Presidency and you can be assured that, in taking up these challenges, you will have a partner in Renew Europe.

 
  
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  Ska Keller, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I’m very happy that Croatia is taking its first ever Presidency and I wish you a lot of success for it and also many happy returns. This Presidency comes at a very crucial moment, when the new Parliament and the new Commission will enter into full legislation mode and make sure to make all the promises that were given throughout the election campaign and afterwards reality. There is lots to do. We face a huge climate crisis that impacts everyone and we need to act now, both at EU level and also in the Member States. The European Commission has already made some promises in that regard, which we applaud, but it also needs the Member States and too many of them have been blocking environmental progress in the past. This needs to change. We need the Member States along, active and pushing when it comes to climate action. It will be your task to ensure this, and that is a big responsibility as well. To fill this role, we also encourage you and your government to implement your own fair and ecological transition in Croatia.

Another area where we would like to see more action from the Member States is rule of law and human rights, and I’m very glad that you mentioned that. It needs some more peer pressure from governments to bring Member States back on track. Rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms are pillars of the European Union and should not be weakened and that goes for all Member States. Here, Prime Minister, I’m concerned about the reports about the Croatian police disregarding international law and procedures in their treatment of refugees and migrants. There are even reports of systematic violence and abuse, such as destruction of property, humiliation, beatings and even the use of firearms. These abuses have been repeatedly pointed out by NGOs and have been widely reported in the media, but the Croatian government has so far neither stopped nor investigated those reports. Prime Minister, that is not acceptable in any EU country, but in any country anywhere, refugee rights are human rights, and I urge you to ensure that those rights are being respected. The Croatian borders are European borders and what happens there is a responsibility for all of us, so we will not turn a blind eye.

Croatia is a beautiful country and the youngest member of our family. This Presidency is a big chance for your country and your government to show the rest of Europe what your visions and your ideas for our common future are, but the Presidency will also turn a spotlight on Croatia and how much your global words are met with local action, both on human rights as well as on climate justice. You can count on our support for bringing forward climate justice, social equality and rule of law, but you can also count on us to call out any human rights violation, no matter where, no matter by what government.

 
  
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  Nicolas Bay, au nom du groupe ID. – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Premier ministre Plenković, notre débat d’aujourd’hui est en quelque sorte la prolongation des premiers échanges que nous avons eus à Zagreb, lorsque vous avez accueilli la Conférence des présidents au début du mois de décembre.

Vous nous présentez aujourd’hui les trois priorités de la présidence croate, mais au-delà de l’espoir qu’elles peuvent légitimement susciter chez vous, elles peuvent aussi comporter un vrai risque: le risque de trois fuites en avant.

D’abord, en matière d’élargissement, vous nous dites que vous voulez accélérer les processus d’adhésion de la Macédoine du Nord et de l’Albanie, alors que tout le monde voit bien la vérité, à savoir que ces pays, même si ce sont des pays alliés et amis avec lesquels nous devons travailler, sont encore aujourd’hui largement gangrenés par la corruption et largement infestés par les différents courants islamistes, qu’ils soient saoudiens ou turcs, et que, évidemment, aucune des conditions n’est réunie aujourd’hui pour qu’ils adhèrent à l’Union européenne. Emmanuel Macron avait d’ailleurs opposé un veto de la France en novembre et Jean-Claude Juncker avait parlé d’erreur historique. Et puis entretemps, après la bravade, nous avons la reddition et malheureusement Emmanuel Macron nous explique qu’il est prêt à accueillir successivement l’Albanie, la Macédoine du Nord, sans doute demain aussi la Bosnie et le Kosovo. Tout cela, le fait de passer de 27 à 29, peut-être de 29 à 31 après-demain ne va pas aboutir à renforcer l’Union européenne mais à l’affaiblir encore davantage.

Vous avez évoqué également le cadre financier pluriannuel. Dans quelques jours, avec le Brexit, l’Union européenne va perdre plus de 10 % de sa population. Cela devrait aboutir à nous reconcentrer sur les domaines où on peut utilement organiser à l’échelle continentale des coopérations entre les nations, en respectant les prérogatives des États nations et non pas à nous engager dans une fuite en avant budgétaire, c’est-à-dire aller toujours plus loin dans des contributions toujours plus lourdes où tout serait dirigé à Bruxelles. Certains dans cet hémicycle évoquent la possibilité de ressources propres de l’Union européenne: il s’agirait en pratique de la première étape vers une fiscalité européenne, évidemment une très mauvaise nouvelle pour nos contribuables, qui auront l’obligation de payer toujours davantage pour avoir en contrepartie toujours moins.

Vous évoquez également la conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe. Ce devrait être un vrai débat, un débat sans tabou sur le fonctionnement et sur les orientations de l’Union européenne, mais je crains que certains veuillent l’utiliser uniquement pour aller encore plus loin dans l’intégration, pour remettre en cause le principe des décisions à l’unanimité pour passer à la majorité qualifiée, c’est-à-dire aller encore plus loin dans ce qui ne fonctionne pas. Or, force est de constater que l’Union européenne telle qu’elle est aujourd’hui est incapable de protéger ses frontières contre l’immigration, incapable de se protéger économiquement face aux grandes puissances mondiales, impuissante aussi sur la scène internationale, absente en Libye, absente en Syrie, absente en Iraq ou en Iran. Aujourd’hui nous nous limitons finalement à donner des leçons de droits de l’homme au monde entier et des leçons d’état de droit à nos États membres. Est-ce satisfaisant? Évidemment pas.

Et puis enfin, le Brexit. C’est un vrai enjeu, un vrai défi: Boris Johnson va défendre pied à pied les intérêts britanniques et il va négocier des accords commerciaux avec le monde entier. Nous ne devons pas accepter que demain le Royaume-Uni se transforme en une sorte de porte d’entrée de tous les produits, et donc de la concurrence déloyale, sur le marché européen. Nous devons bien sûr traiter le Royaume-Uni avec respect, puisque c’est une grande puissance amie, alliée et voisine, mais nous devons défendre nos intérêts, c’est-à-dire être capables enfin d’établir de vraies protections économiques; c’est ce que les peuples attendent.

 
  
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  Ruža Tomašić, u ime kluba ECR. – Poštovani predsjedniče, Republika Hrvatska nakon šest i pol godina članstva prvi put predsjeda Vijećem Europske unije. Pri pristupanju Uniji bilo je jasno da smo kao država u mnogim segmentima nepripremljeni i da put transformacije u razvijenu demokraciju koja drži do demokratskih principa, vladavine prava i tržišnog gospodarstva tu nije završio.

Bilo je ovo izazovnih šest i pol godina, ne samo za Hrvatsku, nego i za Europsku uniju. Migrantska kriza u dobroj je mjeri pojačala socijalni bunt koji je nastao kao posljedica teške financijske krize, a razlike u razvijenosti članica i dalje su velike. Mijenja se politička slika Unije, a Brexit nam je dao do znanja da se, nastavimo li okretati glavu od problema, i njezin teritorijalni obujam lako može promijeniti.

Činjenica je da nove i manje članice imaju veće šanse staviti neke svoje prioritete na dnevni red predsjedanja u manje izazovnim vremenima, kad su glavna pitanja Unije riješena, što sada, nažalost, nije slučaj. No Hrvatska je i kroz svoju povijest više puta pokazala da je spremna podmetnuti leđa za Europu u izazovnim vremenima.

Očekujem od hrvatske vlade da ovih šest mjeseci ne prođe u revijalnom tonu, već da bude dobro iskorišteno u svrhu reformiranja europskih instrumenata, osvježavanja zastarjelih europskih politika i boljeg pozicioniranja Hrvatske u Europskoj uniji.

Iako je nekada i previše slušala tuđe naputke i zanemarivala činjenicu da je punopravna članica koja bi trebala imati autentičnu politiku, Hrvatska sad ima priliku pokazati da je ambiciozna, da ima viziju i da je spremna predvoditi Europu u određenim područjima. Nadam se da će Vlada Republike Hrvatske iskoristiti ovu priliku.

Poštovani predsjedniče hrvatske Vlade, Vama, Vašim ministrima i svima uključenima u projekt hrvatskog predsjedništva želim puno uspjeha u sljedećih šest mjeseci.

 
  
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  Martin Schirdewan, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Bevor ich den Blick auf das neue Jahr und die Aufgaben des kroatischen Ratsvorsitzes richte, möchte ich kurz auf den bereits angesprochenen Konflikt zwischen dem Iran und den USA eingehen. Es ist gut, dass die europäischen Außenministerinnen und Außenminister in der letzten Woche noch mal bekräftigt haben, weiterhin zum Atomabkommen mit dem Iran zu stehen. Dabei handelt es sich um einen der großen diplomatischen Erfolge der jüngeren Vergangenheit. Der Austritt der USA aus diesen Abkommen vor anderthalb Jahren hat eine Eskalation in der Golfregion ausgelöst, die uns jetzt leider wieder in den Abgrund eines großen Krieges blicken lässt. Die EU muss in dieser Situation alles in ihrer Macht Stehende unternehmen, um diesen drohenden Krieg zu verhindern als Vermittlerin, die ohne Wenn und Aber und ohne falsche Gefolgschaft Völkerrecht und Menschenrechte verteidigt. Die einzige Gefolgschaft, die es zu leisten gilt, gilt dem Frieden und dem internationalen Recht. Deshalb dürfen europäische Militärbasen auch nicht für den drohenden Krieg genutzt werden, und die europäischen Soldatinnen und Soldaten müssen aus der Region abgezogen werden.

Aber, Herr Ministerpräsident, 2020 wird ein richtungsweisendes Jahr für die EU. Sie haben die digitale Revolution angesprochen. Hinzu kommt der Klimawandel, und ich möchte sagen: Wir stehen vor der größten gesellschaftlichen Herausforderung seit der industriellen Revolution. Diese Umwälzung sozial gerecht und demokratisch zu gestalten, geht nur mit den entsprechenden finanziellen Mitteln. Also lassen Sie uns über den MFR reden. Bislang wird ja im Zusammenhang mit dem mehrjährigen Finanzrahmen eher über Kommastellen gestritten als über politische Richtungsentscheidungen geredet. Die Kürzungen in der Kohäsionspolitik, die Kürzungen in der Kohäsionspolitik zugunsten von Aufrüstung und Militarisierung halte ich, hält meine Fraktion für grundsätzlich falsch. Wer will, dass Europa wirtschaftlich und sozial zusammenwächst, der muss auch in die Regionen, der muss auch in den sozialen Zusammenhalt unserer europäischen Gesellschaft investieren.

Ein letzter Punkt: Die EU hat Recht und Menschenrecht auch an ihren eigenen Grenzen zu respektieren. Leider erreichen uns immer wieder Nachrichten, die zeigen, dass es zu schweren Menschenrechtsverletzungen an den Außengrenzen der Europäischen Union, aber auch an den kroatischen Grenzen kommt. Hier steht Ihre Regierung beispielhaft in der Pflicht, sich in den nächsten sechs Monaten für eine dem Menschenrecht und dem Grundrecht auf Asyl verpflichtete Reform der europäischen Migrationspolitik einzusetzen. Dabei und bei den anderen Vorhaben wünsche ich Ihnen viel Erfolg.

 
  
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  Mislav Kolakušić (NI). – Poštovani predsjedniče, poštovani kolege, Europska unija se nalazi pred izuzetno zahtijevnom financijskom situacijom.

Višegodišnji financijski okvir je omogućavao do sada manjim državama poput Republike Hrvatske da gubitak u gospodarstvu, koji je primjerice u Republici Hrvatskoj od ulaska samo u poljoprivedi 4,5 milijarde eura, da dobiju određenu kompenzaciju kroz pristup fondovima pa je Hrvatska u plusu bila u odnosu na neto dobit odnosno neto uplatu 1 700 000 000 eura.

Sada se približavamo situaciji kada Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo izlazi iz Europske unije, a Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo je uplatilo samo u proteklih deset godina 69 milijardi eura više nego što je povuklo sredstava. U situaciji proširenja koja nam predstoji ponovno će ući u Europsku uniju države koje su slabije gospodarske moći, koje će također trebati pomoć.

Potrebno je razmisliti o drugačijem načinu financiranja odnosno povišenju iznosa koji trebaju platiti gospodarski razvijene države.

 
  
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  Andrej Plenković, President-in-Office of the Council. – Mr President, I would first of all like to thank all the leaders of the political groups in the European Parliament for their reactions to the presentation of the programme of the Croatian Presidency. I will make a few points on some of the items you have raised.

First of all, I very much look forward to working in synergy with you, Ursula, and with your Commission. We said in Zagreb that your first months will be efficient as possible. We in the Council will help you to be propulsive and pass the proposed legislation as much as we can. In that respect, since migration was mentioned, we look forward to the new initiatives regarding the Dublin package. I think there is a lot of expectation that we will finally be able to create a balance between responsibility and solidarity, but in an upgraded and refurbished fashion.

When it comes to Schengen and the euro, which you mentioned, this is clearly a little bit of a Croatian hat. I deliberately didn’t want to mention them at the beginning, but it’s true. My Government has two major objectives. One is to join the Schengen area – I thank the Juncker Commission for the green light when it comes to technical conditions and Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission for the forwarding of the proposal to the Council – and, after our Presidency, we will continue to push for that objective. On the strategy to adopt the euro, we are in the process of working and fulfilling the action plan for the Exchange Rate Mechanism too. We intend to complete this exercise – just – at the end of our Presidency and then a decision is at the Eurogroup level.

When it comes to multilateralism and humanitarian aspects, as well as the social pillar, which were mentioned by Ms García Pérez, I think that, when you read the entire programme carefully – and it has been distributed to all of you – you will see a lot on social inclusion, equality and non—discrimination. This is an integrative part of our programme and, when it comes to migration and the protection of the Croatian border, let me be very clear on this. The migratory and refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016 has, without any doubt, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, been the most important phenomenon that has occurred and had political ramifications, not only on the political debate of the EU institutions, but also on the national debates and policies in all of our countries. Therefore, the solution to this issue is to strengthen the external border of the European Union. We should do this with a comprehensive set of tools – foreign policy, security, development, trade, state—building, humanitarian aid – in all the crisis areas around the world as much as we can, but we must also strengthen the external border, notably the one between Greece and Turkey. This is where the problem on the eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans route arises.

Croatia will not allow itself to become a country that would be an informal hotspot. This is clear. We haven’t opted, unlike some other Member States, to erect barricades and fences, and to create barbed wire. On the contrary, we are protecting our border, with 6 500 police guarding the Croatian border, guarding the future Schengen border and guarding the European Union border. In that respect, we shall apply our law, European standards and international conventions. Any allegations that there were any misdemeanours will be investigated and sanctioned, but none of these allegations should be taken per se as a fact. This is what I’m telling you, as someone who has visited the area of the north—western border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and fully understands the terrain and the conditions. On that, we need to cooperate, use the activities of Frontex and help each other in order to address the issue adequately.

When it comes to the issue of enlargement, which was mentioned by Mr Bay, I will simply say one thing. There is no fuite en avant. There is a careful, responsible logic for those who are European states and those who are surrounded by European Union states because, let’s be clear: the countries of south—east Europe have nowhere else to go. They will not become members of the United States, China, Russia or whoever else. The only way forward is Europe. It’s our policy to structure that relationship in a serious manner. If we perennially have the policy of leaving them the impression that they’ll be part of the antichambre forever, it will not be good. They will derail, they will walk away from the objectives and they will lose momentum in the reforms. Opening negotiations doesn’t mean accession tomorrow. It means a long, cumbersome, technical and stringent process. Therefore, the modification of the methodology and progress of the two countries will hopefully come to a conducive situation so that, at the Zagreb Summit, we can have a successful declaration, paving the way for the next ten years. This is our objective.

Ms Tomašić, thank you for your suggestions. I really am grateful that you want success for Croatia. We will work with you to enable this. This will not be an exercise, as you said, almost in a protocol sense. We are working hard. We have been preparing hard. We are in the fourth year of our mandate. The people who are dealing with this have been dealing with it – unlike many other actors in my country today who dare to speak on Europe – every single hour of their working, political and professional life to understand Europe, to work for Croatian membership and to make our role in Europe relevant and successful, and this is how we approach it.

Finally, on the funds that Mr Kolakušić mentioned, I will just make two points. The balance between traditional policy and modernisation is not a simple equation to be solved. Had this been such a simple exercise, we would probably already have seen an agreement in the previous composition of the Parliament. We all have a lot of responsibility. Positions are pretty distant, but we all need to concede a little bit in order for all of us to gain for our countries and our citizens. This will be the guiding prescient principle for these negotiations in the months to come. Thank you for this part of the intervention.

 
  
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  Karlo Ressler (PPE). – Poštovani predsjedniče Parlamenta, poštovani predsjedniče Vlade, kolegice i kolege, Hrvatska povijesno i kulturno pripada Europi.

Međutim, ne tako davno, još za generacije mojih roditelja, sloboda, demokracija, ali i puna pripadnost europskoj obitelji bili su samo daleka i neizvjesna težnja. Zato hrvatsko predsjedanje Vijećem Europske unije predstavlja još jedan simbol u velikoj preobrazbi Hrvatske. Od teške borbe za samostalnost i neovisnost koja je počela prije tri desetljeća, kada sam i ja rođen, do uspješne države članice Europske unije.

Danas na početku novog i institucionalnog ciklusa imamo zajedničke ciljeve, ali i zajedničke izazove, koji su prepoznati i u hrvatskim prioritetima predsjedanja. Jedno od ključnih pitanja bit će svakako pitanje višegodišnjeg proračuna Europske unije.

Uz modernizaciju Europe, ne smijemo nikako zanemariti niti tradicionalno uspješne temeljne politike Europske unije koje su usmjerene na smanjivanje regionalnih razlika koje, nažalost, još uvijek postoje.

Uvjeren sam da Hrvatska sa svojom jedinstvenom perspektivom može pridonijeti rješavanju novih i zanimljivih okolnosti, gospodarskih, demografskih i tehnoloških promjena.

Uvjeren sam da će ovo biti uspješno predsjedanje, za cijelu Europsku uniju, za snažnu Europu u svijetu punom izazova!

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: MAIREAD McGUINNESS
Vice-President

 
  
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  Biljana Borzan (S&D). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, Hrvatska preuzima vodstvo Europske unije u izazovnim vremenima. Bez obzira na razlike među nama, kvaliteta života naših građana treba biti prioritet. Na zajedničkom europskom tržištu nitko ne smije biti građanin drugog reda. Tržište rada treba biti otvoreno za sve koji od svoga rada žele pošteno živjeti. Moramo dati novi zamah jamstvu za mlade, olakšati poduzetnicima koji žele pregogranično širiti posao, ali i osigurati minimalne europske plaće. Rad svakog građanina u Europskoj uniji vrijedi jednako i mora biti jednako i plaćen. Što smo mi, ako ne zajednica ravnopravnih?!

Svi ekonomski instrumenti trebaju biti promišljeni dugoročno. U okviru novog zelenog sporazuma moramo poticati razgovor s industrijom koja mora vidjeti dalje od profita i preuzeti društvenu odgovornost. Moramo zaštiti potrošače koji su slabija strana na tržištu.

Sigurna, ali i zdrava hrana trebaju biti prioritet članica Europske unije, pogotovo s obzirom na epidemiju pretilosti i debljine te s time povezanih bolesti. Pozdravljam najavu zalaganja za veću kvalitetu proizvoda te za istu razinu sigurnosti hrane za sve građane Europske unije. Prvi korak je provedba nove europske regulative o inspekcijama u prehrambenom sektoru s kojom Hrvatska kasni točno mjesec dana.

Na kraju, želim nam svima sreću u izgradnji bolje Europe za naše građane!

 
  
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  Valter Flego (Renew). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, poštovani predsjedniče Vlade Republike Hrvatske, upravljanje Vijećem Europske unije svakako je vrlo izazovno razdoblje za najmlađu državu članicu Europske unije.

Iz tog razloga želim da to predsjedanje bude uspješno i korisno i nemojte dozvoliti da bude zapamćeno samo po tome što je jedna država članica napustila Europsku uniju, već idemo svi zajedno raditi na tome da osiguramo europsku perspektivu našim susjedima.

Osim toga, mislim da je to idealno vrijeme za nove ideje, za nove iskorake. Mislim da u svemu što danas ovdje čujemo fali riječ obrazovanje koja je, nažalost, podzastupljena. Naime, nakon bolonjske deklaracije treba nam hitno novi iskorak prema srednjoškolskom obrazovanju. Zato predlažem i konkretno nudim proširenje bolonjskog procesa na srednje škole kako bi onda imali i usklađenije i konkurentnije znanje naših srednjoškolaca. To oni u svakom slučaju i zaslužuju i s pravom očekuju.

 
  
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  Sven Giegold (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, Prime Minister it’s a pleasure to see you again in your new role. I would just like to bring up two issues. First, the European Commission has presented a proposal for public tax transparency for large multinational companies. Small and medium-sized companies and ordinary citizens pay taxes. Some large multinationals do not pay the taxes due. You have the chance, Prime Minister, to put that issue back on the agenda of the European Council. So far there’s no meeting foreseen, therefore I call on you to put the issue back on the agenda and finish what the Finnish Presidency started in order to find a majority in Council.

And second, like the European Parliament, the Finnish have also started to publish all the minutes of the lobby meetings of their permanent representation. The Germans have now said they will do the same, but unfortunately the Croatian representation does not do so yet. Please follow the Finnish in this regard – they set a good example.

 
  
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  Rosanna Conte (ID). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, desidero innanzitutto augurare buon lavoro ai nostri vicini croati, un popolo con il quale noi italiani condividiamo uno splendido mare.

Il mare Adriatico ci offre tanto buon pesce, ma in questi ultimi anni è stato il bersaglio di dure politiche restrittive da parte dell'Unione europea, non da ultimo le TAC in vigore dal 1° gennaio 2020, e altre riduzioni, come il taglio del 10 % delle giornate in mare dei pescatori a strascico, che rischia di ridurre del 40 % la sola produzione ittica italiana.

Tutto questo per mano della Commissione europea che, invece di consultare il Parlamento in un'ottica di codecisione, ha preferito bypassarlo e agire in sede di Commissione generale per la pesca nel Mediterraneo.

Per questo è importante rafforzare il collegamento tra i nostri Stati e presentarci compatti contro questo tentativo di delegittimazione del Parlamento, che è la voce dei cittadini. L'impegno di Italia, Croazia e Slovenia per la pesca deve essere congiunto, per difendere e tutelare i pescatori in un'ottica di buoni rapporti di vicinato.

Auspico quindi che questo semestre presidenziale possa fare tanto e bene per tutelare il comparto ittico europeo, iniziando a sostenere l'ammodernamento delle imbarcazioni e le misure socioeconomiche del nuovo FEAMP.

Vista poi la presenza della Commissione chiedo, e mi aspetto una risposta chiara, se intendono iniziare i negoziati o ritirare la proposta relativa al piano pluriennale per i piccoli pelagici dell'Adriatico, arenato ormai da troppo tempo.

Solo con politiche più efficaci, semplici e accessibili potremo garantire sviluppo e crescita economica di cittadini e imprese europee. Rafforziamo quindi anche i programmi di cooperazione regionale tra Stati, promuovendo ad esempio Interreg.

 
  
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  Hermann Tertsch (ECR). – Señora presidente, presidente Plenković, enhorabuena. Quiero darle la enhorabuena a Croacia por su Presidencia. A mí me emociona especialmente, porque, cuando hace un cuarto de siglo yo estaba como periodista metido en las trincheras y casas destruidas de Osijek o de Karlovac, en la Eslavonia o la Krajina, esto era realmente un sueño que parecía inalcanzable.

Precisamente por lo inmensamente bella que ha sido la reunificación de los europeos, desde Tallin hasta Cádiz, desde Zagreb a Ámsterdam, no podemos permitir que fracase. La Presidencia croata puede ayudar, advirtiendo a todos aquellos que están intentando secuestrar Europa para un superestado, de una ideología concreta socialdemócrata, que ignore y al final destruya naciones y la democracia.

Deberían pedir sentido común contra proyectos irracionales ideológicos o esa Conferencia sobre el Futuro de Europa, tan sospechosa, que parece querer engañar a los Estados europeos con un federalismo por la puerta de atrás, que ni todos los Estados ni, por supuesto, todos los europeos desean.

 
  
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  Malin Björk (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, I would say to Prime Minister Plenković that his Presidency says that they want to focus on the rule of law and humane migration management, but after I read the reports I went to the areas that he talked about in the north of Bosnia and south of Croatia. Making a careful estimate, we have seen 10 000 illegal push—backs in 2018 and 25 000 in 2019. 10 000 of them were chain push—backs. Having read the reports on the brutality of the Croatian border police, I must say that the stories I heard were sometimes even worse: dog wounds, wounds by Tasers and the brutality that they had witnessed and that they had been subject to was horrendous. Also, civil society organisations trying to show solidarity with refugees are being targeted. I think the message here has to be clear. There is no Member State that should behave in this way at their borders, no matter where, as was said by colleagues earlier. We need to see a stop to this. We need to see an independent monitoring mechanism being put in place and we also need to be clear, there can be no Schengen membership unless this situation stops.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue card question under Rule 171(8))

 
  
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  Tomislav Sokol (PPE), pitanje postavljeno podizanjem plave kartice – Draga kolegice, zbog čega govorite neistine? Izvješća koja ste spomenuli nisu nikakva izvješća nadležnih ustanova koje se time bave, nego, nažalost, pokušaj difamiranja hrvatske vlasti i hrvatske države od pojedinih organizacija koje nemaju apsolutno nikakav legitimitet niti imaju relevantne resurse niti informacije da bi mogli govoriti o takvim stvarima.

Hrvatska poštuje sve propise Europske unije, Hrvatska poštuje međunarodno pravo te vas molim da se doista suzdržimo od ovakvih neprovjerenih informacija i njihova širenja u Europskom parlamentu.

 
  
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  Malin Björk (GUE/NGL), blue-card answer. – Excuse me, but this is ridiculous. You have read the reports, I have seen it with my own eyes. I was there for a very short time and I witnessed a push—back myself – 20 people being pushed back by Croatian border police. I saw the dog wounds. I saw the wounds. I’ve heard stories of people having to stand 30 minutes in cold water up to their chest before being forced back to Bosnia, so don’t come and say that it is not true. Say what you will do instead. Will you have an independent monitoring mechanism? Will you make sure that EU law and international law and fundamental rights are respected? Today, they are not.

 
  
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  Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (NI). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, ovom prilikom treba reći kako izgleda Hrvatska za vrijeme predsjedanja gospodina Plenkovića i vladavine njegove vlasti, a karakteriziraju je dvije stvari: to je bezakonje i korupcija.

Ilustrirat ću to na jednom osobnom primjeru, a tiče se prava na pristup informacijama. Još kao zastupnik u Hrvatskom saboru prije dvije godine poslao sam upit, a to je javni podatak, da mi se dostavi informacija tko je na određene dane ulazio u zgradu hrvatske Vlade, u svetu zgradu hrvatske Vlade, jednu od glavnih hrvatskih institucija. Do dana danas, nakon dvije godine, niste odgovorili na moj upit. Ako se tako odgovara zastupniku, što tek može očekivati građanin? Rok Vam je bio dva tjedna, zakon Vam kaže dva tjedna, ured povjerenika je donio odluku da morate odgovoriti jer je to javni podatak, imate odluku Ustavnog suda i Vi još uvijek ništa nista odgovorili. Toliko o Vašoj transparentnosti! Omotnica stoji u zgradi Vlade, 100 m od zgrade Hrvatskog sabora, odbijete dati poštu, primiti poštu! Tako se ne ponaša državnik niti premijer, tako se ponaša sitni prevarant!

A zašto sve to radite? Da zaštite svoje prijatelje koji su se ilegalno, potajno sastajali u zgradi Vlade i pisali zakon kojim su sebi dodijelili poslove od 500 milijuna kuna. Sukob interesa za hrvatske primjere bez presedana!

 
  
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  Angelika Niebler (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, verehrte Frau Kommissionspräsidentin, Herr Ratspräsident! Wir stehen am Anfang eines neuen Jahres, eines neuen Jahrzehnts, eines neuen Ratsvorsitzes. Es heißt ja so schön: „Jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne.“ Jeder Anfang ist auch mit großen Erwartungen verbunden, und gerade in Richtung des kroatischen Ratsvorsitzes sind die Erwartungen sehr, sehr groß. Das, verehrter Herr Ratspräsident, was Sie jetzt als Programm aufgezeigt haben, stimmt uns sehr, sehr positiv, dass Sie auch die großen Herausforderungen, die großen Fragen beherzt angehen.

Ich möchte noch mal auf das Thema Migration zu sprechen kommen. Wir arbeiten ja hier in der Europäischen Union seit 2015 an gemeinsamen Lösungen, und ich kann Ihnen sagen: Viele Veranstaltungen finden zu Beginn des Jahres ja bei uns, in meiner Region in Bayern, zurzeit statt. Die Menschen haben eine hohe Erwartungshaltung, dass wir das Thema Migration hier auf europäischer Ebene gemeinsam lösen, dass wir die Situation in den Griff bekommen. Bitte setzen Sie sich dafür ein, dass uns unter Ihrem Ratsvorsitz der Durchbruch gelingt, dass wir zu gemeinsamen Asylregeln kommen, dass gemeinsam von den Mitgliedstaaten auch Verantwortung für die große Herausforderung der Migration übernommen wird. Wir brauchen eine Kombination aus sicheren europäischen Außengrenzen, geordneter Migration und der Bekämpfung von Fluchtursachen.

Ich freue mich, dass Sie auch in Ihrer Replik auf die ersten Kollegenäußerungen hier auf das Thema Schengen und die Fragen der Migration eingegangen sind. Die Situation ist nach wie vor kritisch, wenn ich nur die griechischen Kollegen höre, wie die Situation auf den griechischen Inseln ist. Also bitte: Bei all den anderen Herausforderungen – MFR und der Grüne Deal und vieles andere sind angesprochen worden –: Das Thema Migration brennt nach wie vor, und ich bitte Sie wirklich, auch während Ihres Ratsvorsitzes ganz konzentriert vor allem unter den Mitgliedstaaten beherzt an Lösungen zu arbeiten.

 
  
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  Kati Piri (S&D). – Madam President, Prime Minister, it is very good to see you in this House again. The crisis in Libya and the escalation of the conflict between the US and Iran underline how the strengthening of our role in the neighbourhood and beyond are more crucial than ever. We must back our calls for diplomacy and multilateralism with clear commitments, and this is why we welcome the Croatian Presidency’s commitment to a strong Europe in a world of challenges. But Prime Minister, being a global player, as you know, is not possible if the EU fails to deliver on its commitments, and this is even more crucial for our closest partners: the Western Balkans. We must guarantee the credibility of the process and open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania in March, before the Zagreb Summit.

Finally, our Union cannot be strong if we allow our democracies to fail. Poland and Hungary require firm and unified action by the Council, and so does the threat to disinformation and election interference posed to our democratic systems. On all these issues, my Group stands ready to work with this Presidency.

 
  
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  Valerie Hayer (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Premier ministre, nous en sommes à la cinquième présidence qui s’attaque à cet épineux dossier du futur budget de l’Union européenne. Espérons que cette fois, ce sera la bonne.

Le Conseil a mandaté Charles Michel pour trouver un accord. Néanmoins, la présidence croate aura un rôle fondamental à jouer: celui de l’impulsion, car il est urgent d’avancer. Plus les décideurs tardent, plus ce sont nos agriculteurs, nos chercheurs, nos régions, nos porteurs de projets qui doutent. La majorité des programmes n’est pas encore bouclée, les moyens qui seront alloués sont encore inconnus. Je vous le demande: côté bénéficiaires, comment planifier des projets dans une telle incertitude, et côté Parlement, comment négocier sérieusement sur nos actions futures sans connaître nos moyens?

Monsieur le Premier ministre, notre avenir est commun car nos défis sont communs. La lutte contre le changement climatique ne se fera pas à l’échelle du Luxembourg, la gestion des migrations ne sera pas uniquement grecque, la défense de notre continent ne saurait être réservée à l’Estonie, notre souveraineté alimentaire ne pourra pas être assurée par la France ou l’Allemagne seule. Et si le problème après tout n’est que comptable, alors la solution est simple: dotons l’Union de nouvelles ressources propres.

 
  
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  Erik Marquardt (Verts/ALE). – Frau Präsidentin! Herr Premierminister, erst mal möchte ich Ihnen viel Erfolg für den Ratsvorsitz wünschen. Sie haben ja wichtige Prioritäten vorgelegt, auch die Priorität „ein Europa, das verbindet“. Ich glaube, dass es wichtig ist, dass wir uns in diesem Kontext auch klarmachen, dass es immer wieder Vorwürfe an Politikerinnen und Politiker gibt, dass sie das eine sagen und das andere machen. Ich glaube, wir müssen auch schauen, wie wir denn das, was wir machen, mit dem verbinden, was wir sagen. Ich glaube, wir werden und wir können hier auch in den nächsten Monaten unterschiedliche Meinungen zur Asylpolitik austauschen, ich glaube aber, dass wir diesen wichtigen Austausch auf der Grundlage stattfinden lassen sollten, dass wir ehrlich zueinander sind. Ich sehe mit Sorge, dass wir hier immer wieder auf der einen Seite sehen – ich habe mir das selbst in Kroatien angeschaut –, dass es so viele Nachweise von Push-backs, so viele Nachweise von Menschenrechtsverletzungen an den Außengrenzen gibt, dass wir aber auf der anderen Seite sehen, dass dort eben nicht gesagt wird: „Das stimmt, wir werden es aufklären“, sondern dass gesagt wird: „Es findet nicht statt.“ Ich glaube, wenn Sie ein Europa haben wollen, das schützt, dann müssen wir ein Europa haben, das auch Menschenrechte an den Außengrenzen schützt, und ich hoffe, dass Sie auch dabei erfolgreicher sein werden.

 
  
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  Jordan Bardella (ID). – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Premier ministre, sur fond de prise de conscience populaire en Croatie, le gouvernement chrétien démocrate croate entre donc en fonction dans le cadre de la présidence tournante du Conseil de l’Union.

Immigration massive, dérégulation commerciale et concurrence intracommunautaire, ingérence dans le fonctionnement même d’États souverains, faiblesse diplomatique et technologique face aux leaders de la mondialisation, les présidents se succèdent mais les politiques menées se ressemblent.

En dépit du sentiment des Européens toujours plus critique à l’égard de l’Union européenne – comme l’ont souligné les derniers scrutins électoraux en France, en Italie, en Espagne, sans parler du Royaume-Uni récemment –, les partisans de l’Europe fédérale avancent tête baissée vers plus d’intégration, plus d’élargissement, moins de liberté, moins d’identité, moins de souveraineté nationale.

L’entrée de la Croatie en 2013 dans l’Union, en pleine crise institutionnelle, eut des conséquences majeures pour des pans entiers de l’économie croate, comme pour les ouvriers de la construction navale, grande spécialité industrielle du littoral qui a dû faire face aux règles de la concurrence prétendument libre et non faussée.

Vous ne pouvez donc, Monsieur le Premier Ministre, sciemment ignorer les défis qui sont désormais devant vous. Le programme que vous nous présentez ici n’a rien de révolutionnaire et je crains qu’il ne change rien dans le quotidien des peuples d’Europe.

Rassurez-vous, chers collègues, le président Macron finira par plier devant les injonctions de la Commission et le feu vert sera donné pour la poursuite du processus d’adhésion de l’Albanie, en dépit de facteurs migratoires et sociaux que nous sommes les seuls à dénoncer dans cette enceinte. Dans six mois, Mme Merkel reprendra la main et la Croatie, comme la Finlande ou la Roumanie avant elle, pourra contempler l’inertie d’une gouvernance européenne à la dérive.

 
  
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  Eugen Jurzyca (ECR). – Vážená pani predsedajúca, dôležitou úlohou chorvátskeho predsedníctva bude posun v rokovaniach o dlhodobom európskom rozpočte. Odchodom Veľkej Británie nám na strane príjmov vzniká diera, ktorú treba reflektovať v znížení výdavkov. Nepovažujem za šťastné, že niektoré štáty chcú namiesto toho výpadok príjmov nahradiť novými európskymi daňami a vyššími príspevkami členských štátov. To, čo potrebujeme, je zlepšenie hospodárenia s tým, čo máme. Slovensko, ktoré reprezentujem, je čistým príjemcom európskych peňazí. Náš volič ale veľmi dobre chápe, že menej európskych príjmov znamená aj menej európskych výdavkov. To, čo však nechápe, je, prečo sa eurofondy míňajú roky podľa rovnakého kľúča, keď sú často sprevádzané neefektivitou. Vyzývam preto Radu, aby si pri rokovaniach jasnejšie zadefinovala ciele svojich politík a kriticky zhodnotila efektívnosť programov, ktorými ich dosahuje.

 
  
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  Δημήτριος Παπαδημούλης (GUE/NGL). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, κυρία von der Leyen, ας λέμε αλήθειες εδώ μέσα. Στην κρίση της Λιβύης και στην κρίση μεταξύ Ιράν και Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών, η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση είναι απούσα, είναι ουραγός. Είμαστε ένας οικονομικός γίγαντας αλλά ένας πολιτικός νάνος. Κύριε Plenković, αν θέλουμε μια πιο ισχυρή Ευρώπη και στη διεθνή σκηνή, που να παίζει ρόλο συντελεστή ειρήνης, με πολιτικές και διπλωματικές λύσεις, πρέπει να αλλάξουν πολλά πράγματα. H προεδρία σας δεν θα κριθεί από τα ωραία λόγια. Θα κριθεί από το αποτέλεσμα στο τέλος του εξαμήνου. Θα μπορέσετε να συμβάλετε στο να εγκριθεί ο νέος πολυετής προϋπολογισμός με βάση τις προτάσεις του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου, έτσι ώστε να μην έχουμε περικοπές στα κονδύλια της Συνοχής ή στα κονδύλια για την περιφερειακή ανάπτυξη ή την καινοτομία; Θα συμβάλετε στο να ξεκινήσουν οι ενταξιακές διαπραγματεύσεις για τη Βόρεια Μακεδονία και την Αλβανία τον Μάρτιο; Θα μπορέσετε να εγκρίνετε τον φάκελο για τη μεταρρύθμιση των πολιτικών ασύλου που έχουν ετοιμάσει εδώ και δύο χρόνια το Κοινοβούλιο και η Επιτροπή, και έχει μπλοκάρει στο Συμβούλιο; Από αυτά θα κριθείτε.

 
  
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  Ignazio Corrao (NI). – Madam President, I wish good morning to Ms von der Leyen and welcome Mr Plenković back to the European Parliament.

Mr Plenković, we listened very carefully to your priorities and we endorse your ambitions for there to be a stronger connection to promote the role of the European islands in the clean energy transition. I would really appreciate a general major focus on the Mediterranean islands during this Presidency. You previously mentioned the importance of encouraging digitalisation, investment in research and innovation, with the development of new skills adjusted to jobs. This is one of the most important challenges and opportunities for us in this new green era and in this context, speaking of the green era and therefore of the European Green Deal, why are we not pushing for a real exclusion of green investment from fiscal constraints? We all know, of course, that setting ambitious targets is only part of the job. The real job is transforming those targets into concrete and effective measures that start to change life for European citizens right now. Good luck with your first ever Presidency.

 
  
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  Andor Deli (PPE). – Madam President, I will speak about enlargement because I am truly happy that the Council President put this topic so high on the agenda. The task is enormous and twofold. First, you need to convince the opposing Member States with a new, fresh approach. Second, you need to rebuild the trust in the Western Balkan candidate countries that joining the EU is not just a distant carrot on a very, very long stick.

In all of these countries, the public polls show that a huge majority of the people are staunch supporters of EU integration. People love and support the European idea, in spite of the fact that recently the EU behaved like a mean stepmother. Hopefully, with the new Commission and with you in the Council, this will change.

The Hungarian delegation of the EPP is ready to help you as much as possible because Hungary, and we Hungarians, we want a stable and prosperous neighbourhood with the new EU Member States as soon as possible. Because I am convinced that without them Europe cannot become strong enough to bear the pressure of global politics. So all our eyes are on you now, Mr President.

 
  
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  Ismail Ertug (S&D). – Madam President, I welcome the Prime Minister to the Parliament once again and wish him good luck for the Presidency. I want to start with praise because of your strategy on the connectivity of the European Union. This is of crucial importance – I think this is clear. We still have areas and regions in the European Union with a limited connection or even no connection to the Internet. We have the situation that this is affecting, in particular, rural areas and regions suffering from depopulation. European citizens should benefit from safe and accessible digital infrastructure and 5G is not just a buzzword. I think 5G is the basis for applications and, in particular, business models in transport, health and energy, and so the current patchwork that we have for the moment in the European Union is not acceptable. Therefore, Ms von der Leyen, I want to look into your side as well. We have to do something in order to prevent and to avoid this patchwork in the European Union and we have to design a strategic and united approach to roll out 5G, an approach which leaves nobody behind and which avoids a race to the bottom when it comes to labour and social standards. Once again, good luck and thank you very much.

 
  
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  Katalin Cseh (Renew). – Madam President, dear Croatian friends, we often say that the EU is at a crossroads and now is your chance to decide which road we collectively take. As you take on this massive role at such a crucial time, your decision could not be more important. The climate crisis, burning inequalities, Brexit, our long-term budget and also the growing problems with the rule of law in certain countries are all issues that have long-term consequences for our European family. I urge the Croatian Presidency not to underestimate the importance of the ongoing rule of law procedures, because it’s not about Poland or Hungary, it’s about us as a community and whether we, as the European Union, have the self-respect to do something when our rules and values are being neglected. I wish and I hope that you will give us back our self-respect because right now, very often, it is painfully missing. I hope you have the courage and confidence to act as a true champion of the rule of law and also progress with the Article 7 procedure that has been deliberately halted in the past. Please use this unique opportunity to lead by example and to leave a legacy that we can all build upon in the future.

 
  
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  Tineke Strik (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I would like to welcome the Croatian Presidency to the European Parliament and wish it all the very best in achieving its goals. One of the goals of the new Commission is to find an agreement on the new pact on asylum, based on the principles of solidarity and the right to asylum. The adoption of this new legislation may take years but, fortunately, we already have a lot of rules in place, which, if they were implemented correctly, would already harmonise our system. I would like to know what the Presidency will do to promote compliance with the current asylum acquis by all the Member States. You know, one of the core violations taking place at the moment is push—backs, allegedly taking place at many borders of the EU Member States. I investigated these practices as a rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and, in that regard, I also visited the Croatian border with Bosnia. I was really overwhelmed by the number of well—documented cases and complaints about the brutal violence taking place and also the structural denial of access to an asylum procedure. Do you admit that this is taking place and what steps does the Croatian Government intend to take in order to achieve a complete ban of these practices and combat these practices in all other Member States as well? (The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Gianantonio Da Re (ID). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ringrazio il premier Plenković. "Un'Europa forte in un mondo di sfide": questo è il motto scelto dalla Croazia.

La Croazia ha una grande occasione, e una grande sfida da affrontare è avvicinare i cittadini alle istituzioni europee e dimostrare che l'Europa non è quella dei grandi interessi economici e finanziari ma è l'Europa dei cittadini, che può e deve dare molto di più per le nostre piccole realtà locali.

Non sarà un semestre semplice: grandi sono le sfide da affrontare – come la Brexit, la stesura del quadro finanziario pluriennale, la gestione dei flussi migratori – e ambiziose le priorità – dare all'Europa più infrastrutture, più sviluppo, più sicurezza e maggiore influenza sulla scelta globale.

Ma non solo, gli altri punti in agenda non sono meno importanti: il sostegno alle aree rurali, all'agricoltura, all'aumento della competitività delle piccole e medie imprese, la promozione del turismo sostenibile, nonché il potenziamento della cooperazione macroregionale.

Sul fronte della cultura e dell'istruzione sono certamente condivisibili gli obiettivi dell'aumento della mobilità degli studenti e dei ricercatori, la promozione del patrimonio culturale europeo, nonché l'utilizzo dello sport quale strumento di inclusione sociale.

Essendo io della regione del Veneto e viste le similitudini storiche e culturali tra la mia regione e la Croazia, darò una mano il più possibile affinché gli obiettivi vengano realizzati, augurando alla Presidenza un buon lavoro e confermando quindi il mio supporto e la massima collaborazione. Grazie al Presidente, il premier Plenković.

 
  
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  Geert Bourgeois (ECR). – Voorzitter, mijnheer de eerste minister, namens de Vlaamse delegatie focus ik op drie van uw heel belangrijke prioriteiten.

Eén, kies voor een begroting van de toekomst, niet voor een begroting van de 20e eeuw. Zet dus in op innovatie, op onderzoek en ontwikkeling, op digitalisering. De wereld wacht echt niet op ons. Twee, bescherm inderdaad de burger. U vermeldt terecht de rechtsstaat, maar zet ook in op grensbewaking, versneld, niet wachten tot 2024.

Ten tweede, een brexit met zo weinig mogelijk barrières en een zo hecht mogelijke samenwerking met onze Britse vrienden.

Tot slot, akkoord met uw perspectief voor de Westelijke Balkan. Ik denk dat het nieuwe mechanisme waar de Commissie aan werkt een goede basis kan bieden, mét clusters, mét een dynamisch proces, merits-based.

Ik wens u alle succes met uw voorzitterschap.

 
  
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  Alexandra Lesley Phillips (NI). – Madam President, I saw Ms von der Leyen leaving her hotel this morning, complete with a three-car cavalcade and police escort, and I wonder if tomorrow whether you’d like to give me a lift. I mean, it doesn’t seem very environmental not to offer a colleague a lift to the same building.

Welcome, Prime Minister. The vision for the EU over the next six months is simply astonishing: more cash to prop up weaker economies; open borders with two more countries – Albania and North Macedonia; and an ambition to keep the UK shackled to EU rules. Why on earth would we want to do that? If those policies were not bonkers enough, you want Croatia to also join the failing single currency. You would be locking your country and your people inside an economic prison and only the ECB would have the keys to set you free. The euro is the EU’s poster—child for weak growth, high unemployment and stagnant wages. Don’t do it. Keep the kuna.

As Brexit has shown, citizens want freedom, not being dictated to by a faceless superstate. The UK is leading the way out of this fanatical, democratically—bankrupt project – and I’m telling you, unless the EU can show the will to reform and repeal its Gordian knot of regulations and directives, many brave nations will follow.

 
  
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  Esteban González Pons (PPE). – Señora presidenta. Bienvenido a casa, Andrej. Que el Estado miembro más joven de la Unión ocupe esta Presidencia es un ejemplo de que la ampliación es el único camino a seguir para la Unión Europea. Los mensajes ambiguos sobre la ampliación tienen que terminar. Confunden a nuestros amigos y aliados, reducen nuestra credibilidad y abren la puerta para que otras potencias con intereses oscuros ocupen nuestro lugar. El día que Europa cierre la puerta a los Balcanes habrá empezado la deconstrucción de la Unión Europea.

Me ha gustado el plan presentado para la Conferencia sobre el Futuro de Europa. Después del dolor que el Brexit va a producirnos, es verdad, debemos señalar con el dedo a los enemigos de Europa, debemos señalar con el dedo a los nacionalistas, a los separatistas y a los separadores. El nacionalismo es el enemigo de la paz. Y sí, es verdad ―como has planteado Andrej―, debemos defender el Estado de Derecho con todas nuestras fuerzas. Debemos respetar la independencia de jueces y tribunales. Debemos atender y respetar las resoluciones de jueces y tribunales. Y este Parlamento tiene que aceptar las resoluciones de jueces y tribunales, y si quiere reconocer que respeta el Estado de Derecho tiene que atender a las peticiones de los jueces y tribunales.

Deseo que bajo tu Presidencia el Brexit sea la última vez que ocurra; que el Brexit sea el último divorcio de Europa; que el Brexit sea la última victoria del nacionalismo.

 
  
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  Tonino Picula (S&D). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, poštovani gospodine predsjedniče hrvatske Vlade, prije svega, veliko je zadovoljstvo u ovoj dvorani raspravljati o prvom hrvatskom predsjedanju Vijećem Europske unije. Iznimno mi je drago da program hrvatskog predsjedanja obuhvaća i otoke jer su, na primjer, dokazali kako mogu biti predvodnici europske energetske tranzicije. Pitam Vas kako Hrvatska kao zemlja s preko 1000 otoka planira ojačati ovaj proces?

Jedan od dobrodošlih prioriteta je i obnova politike proširenja te održavanje summita u Zagrebu za koji imam obvezu napisati preporuke u ime Europskog parlamenta. Nedavno odbijanje otvaranja pregovora sa Sjevernom Makedonijom i Albanijom vratilo je ovu temu u fokus europskih institucija. Sugestija: mislim da bi u rad Konferencije o budućnosti Europe bilo dobro uključiti i zemlje zapadnog Balkana.

Hrvatska kao najmlađa članica ima najsvježije iskustvo pregovaranja o članstvu. Dobro znamo kako je kompleksan taj proces, pogotovo u slučaju blokada zemalja članica. Pariz daje naslutiti određene pozitivne pomake. Pitam Vas, dolaze li takvi signali i iz ostalih članica koje dijele stajališta Francuske?

 
  
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  Илхан Кючюк (Renew). – Госпожо Председател, Г-н министър-председател, добре дошъл отново във Вашия дом, в Европейския парламент. Искам да поздравя хърватското председателство с амбициозната програма, и по-специално в частта за Западните Балкани. Новата година започна амбициозно и за г-жа фон дер Лайен, която от Загреб каза, че има зелена светлина, или би трябвало да има зелена светлина за Република Северна Македония и Република Албания.

Точно заради това обаче, заради тази амбиция, искам да припомня уроците от миналата година. А те са: първият и най-важен — не трябва да обещаваме неща, които не могат да бъдат изпълнявани или не могат да бъдат изпълнени. Второ — днес глобалните реалности са такива, че не може да си позволим повече да държим страните от Западните Балкани в задния двор на Европа. Те трябва да бъдат интегрална част от Европейския съюз.

Предстоят много важни инициативи през следващите седмици. Първата е да се подготви и представи новата методология за присъединяване на страните от региона към Европейския съюз. Тук е нужна консултация с тях. В противен случай обричаме процеса на неуспех още от самото начало. Второто нещо, за което говори г-н Пицула, конференция за бъдещето на Европа. Всяка страна, която придобие статут на кандидат-член на Европейския съюз, трябва да има роля и място в конференцията за бъдещето на Европа.

 
  
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  Maximilian Krah (ID). – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Premierminister! Heute vor 28 Jahren ungefähr wurde Kroatien von den meisten EU-Ländern als unabhängiger Staat anerkannt, und nun sitzen Sie hier und führen den Vorsitz. Dazu zunächst meinen Glückwunsch! Ich muss aber zugeben, dass ich beim Durchlesen Ihres Programms etwas enttäuscht war. Sie sprechen vom Beitrittskandidaten Türkei, Sie wollen das Kosovo in die EU aufnehmen. Ich glaube nicht, dass Ihr Gründungspräsident und Parteigründer Franjo Tuđman eine solche Politik unterstützt hätte, ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass die Mehrheit der Menschen in Kroatien eine solche Politik unterstützt. Und ich kann Sie nur davor warnen, hier als Europäer erster Klasse zu meinen, eine Politik betreiben zu müssen, die den Interessen Ihres Volkes widerspricht. Schauen Sie sich an, wie viele Menschen Kroatien verlassen, wie die Jugend Ihr Land verlässt. Und wenn Sie sich dann Franjo Tuđman nehmen und sein Buch „Kroatien und die Nationalitätenfrage in der heutigen Zeit“, dann werden Sie darin bessere Antworten auf die Herausforderungen Europas finden als das, was die Kommission und dieses Parlament tun.

Die Europäische Union zurzeit ist der große globale Wirtschaftsraum mit der niedrigsten Wachstumsleistung, sie hat die niedrigste Investitionskraft, will aber drei Billionen Euro für Klimawandel ausgeben, was nicht unbedingt eine Zukunftstechnologie ist, auch wenn die Mehrheit das hier anders sieht. Insofern: Die Lösung der Frage von Europa finden Sie eher bei Tuđman als in Brüssel.

Ich habe mir von Kroatien erhofft, dass es den Geist der 90er-Jahre hierher trägt, damit wir Partner sind in einer Regionalisierung und einer Rückkehr zum gesunden Menschenverstand. Große Staaten, supranationale Gebilde bringen nichts – das wissen Sie als Kinder von Jugoslawien besser als die meisten hier.

 
  
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  Evžen Tošenovský (ECR). – Paní předsedající, pane premiéra, v programu priorit Vašeho předsednictví jste se v kapitole doprava, telekomunikace a energetika zmínili mimo jiné také o klimaticky neutrální EU a s tím související implementaci energetické unie. Chtěl bych Vás požádat o zvýšení pozornosti při aplikaci již nastavených cílů – které jsou komplikované jak technicky, tak ekonomicky. Mám obavu, že sotva jsme dali průmyslu signál s cílovými hodnotami, už je na pořadu dne jejich zvyšování.

Jsem přesvědčen, že v této chvíli bychom měli síly zaměřit především na posílení programu Horizon Europe. Takto velké téma se bez adekvátního přispění nových vědeckých poznatků nedá bez neúměrně velkých ekonomických nákladů vyřešit. Věřím, že díky chorvatskému předsednictví se podaří dohodnout a navýšit finance pro Horizon Europe. Pane premiére, přeji Vám hodně úspěchů v chorvatském předsednictví.

 
  
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  Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (NI). – Madam President, Prime Minister, it’s a pleasure to welcome the Croatian Presidency of the European Union, a state that gained its independence recently, but has shown it has been a reliable Member of the European Union.

I thank Prime Minister Plenković for endorsing dialogue between Catalonia and Spain. Catalonia is today a European internal affair and will be present during the Croatian Presidency. Therefore, a political solution must be found, through dialogue and negotiation. The EU must advance to find a common democratic mechanism for self—determination. Repression cannot be an acceptable solution.

Now it’s time for European politicians to speak up and show to the world that it is the better way: that the right of self-determination is the best and the most democratic way to solve territorial conflicts, not only in Europe, but all around the world.

(The speaker declined to take two blue-card questions from Luis Garicano and Dolors Montserrat)

 
  
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  Siegfried Mureşan (PPE). – Madam President, I would like to welcome back Prime Minister Plenković to the European Parliament. It’s great to see Croatia leading the European Union for six months. You are now a model for the whole Western Balkans region. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Plenković, Croatia has reached economic stability. You aim to join the euro area in the foreseeable future and Croatia fulfils all the conditions for joining the Schengen area.

Croatia can be a model for the whole Western Balkans. We need two things. Firstly, we need other Western Balkan countries to deliver on reforms, and secondly, we, the European Union, need to respect our promises to the Western Balkans. We need to say loud and clear to Western Balkan countries, ‘you are part of Europe, you belong to the European Union, and we want to help you on your way to the European Union’. Any contribution that the Croatian Presidency can make in this direction will be of historic importance. Prime Minister Plenković, you know the European Parliament very well and you will have an opportunity to show this in the negotiations that we will have on the European budget, and the philosophy of the European Parliament for the budget negotiation is the following: we want to finance properly old priorities and new priorities. Old priorities have been priorities for decades because they are important, not because they are outdated, and we agree together that we need to do more on new priorities: border protection, combating climate change and protecting the environment.

So please stand with Parliament and tell your colleagues in the European Council that fresh priorities require fresh funding. Tell your colleagues in the European Council to put their money where their statements are, and please assure them that we are doing a lot to make sure that the EU budget is well spent. Thank you very much. Good luck for your Presidency.

 
  
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  Johan Danielsson (S&D). – Fru talman! Tack för ordet och tack till premiärministern för presentationen av ordförandeskapsprogrammet.

Det är en viktig tid vi har framför oss. Det är nu vi sätter riktningen för de kommande fem åren. För mig som socialdemokrat är det helt avgörande att vi sätter fokus på att skapa trygghet för vanligt folk. Här har EU en viktig roll att spela, inte minst vad gäller hälsa och säkerhet på arbetsplatsen.

I dag har vi en situation där 4 000 européer varje år mister sitt liv på arbetet, en situation där 80 000 européer varje år avlider i cancer på grund av exponering i sitt arbete. Det här är ju i grunden helt sjuka siffror, och därför var jag glad när rådet i december beslutade sig för att kräva en ny arbetsmiljöstrategi med en nollvision för både dödsolyckor och arbetsrelaterad cancer.

Så låt oss arbeta tillsammans de kommande sex månaderna för att se till att det här blir verklighet. För även om det inte var en del som ni prioriterade i ert öppningsanförande, hoppas jag att det kroatiska ordförandeskapet sätter arbetsmiljöfrågorna högt på dagordningen, och inte minst ser till att vi får en ny arbetsmiljöstrategi. Europas arbetstagare förväntar sig att vi levererar i den här frågan.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (ID). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, siamo stanchi. Siamo stanchi delle chiacchiere inutili e delle false promesse di questa Europa: abbiamo la guerra alle porte di casa, in Libia, e l'Europa dorme. Ci sono e ci saranno nei prossimi mesi ondate di immigrati clandestini pronti a sbarcare in Italia, e l'Europa fa finta di nulla. Abbiamo terroristi islamici e potenze straniere che minacciano la nostra sicurezza, e l'Europa regala miliardi di euro alla Turchia del dittatore islamico Erdoğan.

Sembra un film di fantascienza e invece è tutto maledettamente vero, con tanto di applausi alla Merkel, a Macron e anche a Lei, Presidente von der Leyen. Cos'altro deve succedere? Cosa state aspettando? Perché state seduti in attesa che la barca chiamata Europa affondi? O vi svegliate o questa Europa farà la fine del Titanic.

 
  
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  Robert Roos (ECR). – Voorzitter, de Europese Unie wil fossiele brandstoffen uitfaseren, omdat zij CO2 een probleem vindt. Dat kan niet met zonne- en windenergie alleen. Kernenergie is dan nodig in de energiemix. In een Nederlandse krant van 9 januari jongstleden zei commissaris Timmermans over kernenergie dat het te duur is en niet duurzaam. Dat is onzin, want juist windturbines en zonnepanelen leveren over 20 jaar een berg afval op waar we geen oplossing voor hebben.

Frankrijk heeft een aandeel van meer dan 70 % kernenergie. De kWh-prijs ligt daar bijna op de helft van die van Duitsland, waar inmiddels voor 200 miljard euro in hernieuwbare energie is geïnvesteerd. Windturbines en zonneparken slopen de natuur vanwege het ruimtebeslag, kunnen niet zonder fossiele back-up en de inpassing op het elektriciteitsnet is zeer complex. Onze investeringen moeten economisch verantwoord zijn en energie moet betaalbaar zijn om de competitie met de Verenigde Staten en China bij te kunnen houden, want anders verliezen we werkgelegenheid.

Ik doe een dringend beroep op het Kroatisch voorzitterschap om kernenergie op de agenda te zetten.

 
  
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  Herbert Dorfmann (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin! Geschätzter Herr Ministerpräsident, Herr Ratspräsident, Frau Kommissionspräsidentin! Herzliche Gratulation zu diesem ambitionierten Programm für Ihren ersten kroatischen Ratsvorsitz. Ich möchte darauf hinweisen, dass es wichtig ist, dass auch die Landwirtschaft und die Landwirtschaftspolitik im Programm zentral bleiben, vor allem auch dann, wenn es um den mehrjährigen Finanzrahmen geht. Wir brauchen in Europa lebendige, zukunftsfähige ländliche Räume, und damit wir solche Räume haben, braucht es Bäuerinnen und Bauern, die auf dem Land arbeiten und das Land bevölkern. Und heute wird von den Bäuerinnen und Bauern oft gefordert, aber es wird oft vergessen, dass wir halt auch Einkommen auf Höfen brauchen, das heißt, dass die Betriebe auch wirtschaftlich fit sein müssen. Denn nur, wenn sie wirtschaftlich fit sind, dann werden die Menschen auch im ländlichen Gebiet bleiben, sie werden auf den Höfen bleiben und werden diese auch bearbeiten. Wir brauchen auch wieder eine Politik, die stärker auf die Familienbetriebe schaut, die nicht so sehr auf die großen Investoren schaut, sondern die jene unterstützt, die wirklich draußen arbeiten und die wirklich mit ihren Familien das Land bearbeiteten. Ich denke mit Ihrem Vorsitz, mit dem mehrjährigen Finanzrahmen und mit der Entscheidung für die Gemeinsame Agrarpolitik können Sie hier Zukunft gestalten.

 
  
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  Agnes Jongerius (S&D). – Voorzitter, ik wil graag beginnen met een felicitatie aan de premier, om hem te feliciteren met het eerste voorzitterschap van zijn land sinds de toetreding. Het wordt een cruciaal jaar. Meerdere mensen hebben het al gezegd, maar we weten dat de brexit snel dichterbij komt. Ik denk dat we niet mogen vergeten dat de brexit heeft kunnen plaatsvinden omdat gewone mensen zich niet gesteund voelden.

We moeten grote stappen maken om tot een duurzame, sociale en ambitieuze meerjarenbegroting te komen. Helaas lopen de onderhandelingen nog niet al te soepel. Van het Kroatisch voorzitterschap wil ik daarom weten hoe het gaat zorgen voor voldoende middelen om de sociale pijler, ook genoemd door de premier in zijn bijdrage, te implementeren. Zeker nu het voorzitterschap inzet op sociaal verduurzamen, omdat niemand mag achterblijven.

Europa moet streven naar sociale vooruitgang en ik wens u in uw nieuwe rol heel veel succes.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE). – Senhora Presidente, Senhor Primeiro-Ministro, Senhora Presidente da Comissão, em primeiro lugar queria saudar a Presidência croata e saudar em particular o Primeiro—Ministro Plenković, não apenas porque a Croácia é o mais recente dos membros, mas porque o Primeiro-Ministro Plenković é um dos políticos europeus mais comprometidos com o projeto europeu que eu conheço, e portanto tenho a certeza que esta Presidência dará grandes passos na integração europeia.

Queria saudar também a abertura aos Balcãs, e em particular ao apoio às reformas nos países balcânicos que querem aceder à União. Há uma coisa que é certa: não haverá Europa e não há Europa sem a integração dos países dos Balcãs.

Queria também saudar a prioridade dada à coesão e ao quadro financeiro plurianual, e queria finalmente saudar o empenho na Conferência sobre o Futuro da Europa, porque havia dúvidas sobre se o Conselho queria mesmo avançar com esta conferência. Com a Presidência croata o Conselho vai apoiar claramente a Conferência sobre o Futuro da Europa.

 
  
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  Carlos Zorrinho (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, uma Europa forte num mundo de desafios: é com esta divisa que a Croácia se propõe assumir a sua primeira presidência rotativa da União Europeia. Desejo as maiores felicidades a esta missão.

Uma Europa forte tem que ser uma Europa capaz de agir e de avançar. Uma Europa em desenvolvimento é uma Europa capaz de avançar com um ambicioso programa plurianual de financiamento para promover a convergência e a coesão e reforçar os recursos próprios da União.

Uma Europa que liga é uma Europa capaz de recuperar os seus cidadãos para o extraordinário projeto de paz, de liberdade, de solidariedade e de democracia que constitui, promovendo as alianças necessárias para o reforçar.

Uma Europa que protege é uma Europa que tem a justiça e a tolerância como referências e não deixa ninguém para trás num tempo de transições disruptivas.

Uma Europa influente é uma Europa que se afirma e se prestigia, não apenas por aquilo que partilha como valores mas, sobretudo, por aquilo que faz em concreto e serve de inspiração para os outros povos e para os outros territórios.

A Presidência escolheu bem as suas prioridades. Agora é tempo de as concretizar.

 
  
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  Luděk Niedermayer (PPE). – Madam President, so, first of all welcome back Prime Minister, it is great to have you here again. At the beginning of your speech you have mentioned three topics. The first one is MFF, the second, Brexit and the last, enlargement.

I consider these topics as being well chosen, as the most important as a matter of time urgency. First of all we need to create stability in European finances. Second we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to negotiate as good a deal with the UK as possible, and last, we should avoid the destabilisation of your region of the Balkans.

But there is something even bigger. The President of the Commission, Ms von der Leyen, and has mentioned the energy of your Presidency. She also has mentioned, together with Manfred Weber, your experience. And I guess all this is needed to do something even bigger than the files: to build a sense of cooperation, to build an agreement and make our unity of the European Union stronger. I wish you all the best in this.

 
  
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  Tanja Fajon (S&D). – Spoštovana predsedujoča. Spoštovani premier, pred vami je zahtevna in odgovorna naloga, zato pozdravljam vaše ambicije in podpiram agendo. Nujno pa moramo povrniti zaupanje v vladavino prava, preprečiti korupcijo in utaje davkov, zagotoviti njihovo varnost ljudi in kakovost življenja, osvoboditi se moramo predsodkov in sovražnega govora ter urediti migracije.

Od tega bo prihodnost odvisna tudi za schengenski prostor. V našem interesu je seveda, da Hrvaška čim prej vstopi v schengen, vendar je prav tu pred vami težka naloga: vrniti zaupanje v vladavino prava in spoštovanje danih zavez, zagotoviti varne zunanje meje in urediti schengen, da bo spet deloval.

Pričakujem vašo aktivno podporo vstopanju držav Zahodnega Balkana v Evropsko unijo ter pozitivne premike že v marcu, ko gre za vprašanje Severne Makedonije in Albanije. Tudi najini državi, Hrvaška in Slovenija, morata preprosto narediti veliko več. Spoštovani predsednik. Zmoremo, če se tako odločimo seveda in srečno.

 
  
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  Andrius Kubilius (PPE). – Madam President, I would like to say to the Prime Minister that, coming from Lithuania, it is a special pleasure to congratulate him and also the people of Croatia on their first Presidency. Your Presidency is also very important because of its very high symbolic value. Just 25 years after the War of Independence ended, Croatia is leading the whole European Union. Croatia is a most convincing example of the European miracle and power to bring stability and prosperity into its neighbourhood through enlargement. The Commission President was absolutely right in saying that the EU promise of enlargement is a most powerful incentive for countries to reform themselves. The Croatian example and the Croatian Presidency is a great inspiration to their neighbours in the Western Balkan region. The success of the Western Balkans’ integration is also a great inspiration for the Eastern Partnership region. I hope that the Eastern Partnership Summit, during the Croatian Presidency, will also be ambitious in delivering an inspiring regional strategy for the next ten years. Good luck, Mr Prime Minister.

 
  
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  Aurore Lalucq (S&D). – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Premier ministre, chers collègues, notre modèle économique est aujourd’hui à bout de souffle. S’il nous a permis de sortir des milliards de personnes de la pauvreté, il est aussi à l’origine de la situation environnementale dramatique dans laquelle nous nous trouvons aujourd’hui, alors qu’il ne parvient plus à améliorer de manière significative la situation sociale sur notre continent.

Pourtant, malgré ce constat, nous avons du mal à faire évoluer notre modèle économique, nous avons du mal à nous défaire de l’obsession du PIB ou du niveau d’endettement public, comme si nous avions un attachement irrationnel à ces indicateurs, alors que, rationnellement, ils ne peuvent rien nous dire sur l’état des inégalités, sur l’état de l’environnement ou sur l’état de la pauvreté.

Puisque vous avez choisi de faire de votre présidence celle d’une Europe forte qui fait face à ces défis, le plus grand défi auquel vous devez vous confronter c’est celui de changer nos indicateurs de richesse afin de réorienter nos politiques publiques. En d’autres termes, changer le logiciel intellectuel de l’Union européenne.

Nous vous souhaitons bonne chance et nous comptons sur vous.

 
  
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  Romana Tomc (PPE). – Spoštovana predsedujoča. Spoštovani predsednik vlade, gospod Plenković, dragi Andrej. Imam izkušnje s predsedovanjem in vem, kako je, ko predsedovanje dobi nova država članica, zato vam seveda želim vse dobro na tej poti.

Izmed vaših prioritet bi izpostavila Evropo, ki se razvija. Uravnotežen razvoj je pomemben, kohezijska sredstva so pomembna, ne le za tiste države, ki ta sredstva dobijo, ampak za vse članice. Če bodo vse države članice okrepile svojo konkurenčnost, bomo seveda bolj močni tudi kot Unija.

Dotaknila pa bi se še demografije in njenih izzivov, ki so v tem trenutku bolj pomembni in močnejši na vzhodnem delu naše Evropske unije. Zato si želim več poudarka glede problematike reševanja starejše populacije v povezavi, seveda, s šibko rodnostjo in v povezavi z odhajanjem mladih v tujino. Glede na to, da to področje vodi vaša komisarka, gospa Dubravka Šuica, sem prepričana, da boste tu zelo aktivni. Srečno.

 
  
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  Robert Hajšel (S&D). – Vážená pani predsedajúca, silná Európa vo svete vízie: ja si myslím, že to je naozaj veľmi dobré heslo vášho predsedníctva, pretože Európa má svoje silné stránky a musí sa naučiť vedieť ich využívať čo v najúčinnejšej forme. Musí sa naučiť využívať svoju ekonomickú silu. Naozaj sa musí naučiť využívať aj svoju príťažlivosť, to dokumentuje záujem kandidátskych krajín vstupu do Európskej únie, ale  musí sa naučiť aj hovoriť hlasnejšie, a to jedným alebo jednotným hlasom. Myslím si, že z vašich výziev, ako nastavenie stropov pre rozpočty pre jednotlivé politiky, je táto výzva asi jednou z najsilnejších a my musíme zabezpečiť, a hlavne vy musíte zabezpečiť, aby sa zosúladili záujmy tých, ktorí chcú platiť menej, lebo sú čistými platcami, záujmy Európskeho parlamentu, ktorý chce navyšovať rozpočet, a zároveň aj záujmy tých, ktorí sú závislí od kohéznych fondov, čiže aj štáty, ako sú Chorvátsko alebo môj štát – Slovensko.

 
  
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  Λευτέρης Χριστοφόρου (PPE). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, αγαπητέ φίλε πρωθυπουργέ της Κροατίας, θα ήθελα πραγματικά να σας ευχηθώ από καρδιάς καλή επιτυχία. Είμαι πεπεισμένος, γνωρίζοντας τις ικανότητες και τις δυνατότητές σας, ότι μπορείτε να ισχυροποιήσετε την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και να δημιουργήσετε μια πιο αναβαθμισμένη εικόνα στους ευρωπαίους πολίτες. Για να καταστεί τούτο δυνατό, όμως, χρειάζεται ισχυρή οικονομία και απαιτείται ένα ισχυρό πολυετές δημοσιονομικό πλαίσιο, με την αύξηση της συνεισφοράς των χωρών μελών. Απαιτείται ισχυρή άμυνα και ασφάλεια. Συμφωνώ μαζί σας ότι δεν μπορεί να υπάρξει Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση χωρίς διασφάλιση των συνόρων μας και χωρίς αυστηρή προσήλωση σε αρχές και αξίες. Όμως η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση δεν μπορεί να καθίσταται παρατηρητής είτε στη Λιβύη είτε στη Συρία, και δεν μπορεί να αφήνει χώρες όπως την Τουρκία, ουσιαστικά, να δημιουργούν αποσταθεροποίηση στην περιοχή αλλά και να απειλούν χώρες μέλη της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, όπως η Κύπρος και η Ελλάδα. Συμφωνώ απόλυτα με την αγαπητή Πρόεδρο της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής ότι, όπου υπάρχει ενότητα, υπάρχει πραγματικά ελευθερία. Θα προσθέσω ότι, όπου υπάρχει αλληλεγγύη, υπάρχει και ενότητα, υπάρχει και ελευθερία. Αυτή τη στιγμή, αγαπητή κυρία Πρόεδρε, δύο χώρες μέλη της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης —η Κύπρος και η Ελλάδα— ζητούν έμπρακτα την αλληλεγγύη σας απέναντι σε μια χώρα-τρομοκράτη, όπως είναι η Τουρκία, που δημιουργεί αστάθεια στην περιοχή.

 
  
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  Alessandra Moretti (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signor Presidente Plenković, Presidente von der Leyen, il mondo intorno a noi è sconvolto da guerre e tensioni e l'Europa spesso sembra immobile e irrilevante nello scenario internazionale.

Manca il coraggio di scelte nette e decise, ma sono convinta che avere una Presidente donna come Ursula von der Leyen possa contribuire a un importante cambio di passo.

Innanzitutto due scelte, secondo me, sono decisive: per quanto riguarda il quadro finanziario pluriennale, deve essere adeguato alle sfide e la proposta della Presidenza finlandese è molto al di sotto del necessario e non consentirebbe di realizzare il programma di lavoro dell'Unione europea per la quale questa ha ottenuto il nostro voto favorevole.

Il Parlamento non potrà dare il suo consenso al quadro finanziario pluriennale senza un accordo parallelo sulla riforma del sistema delle risorse proprie dell'Unione.

Il New green deal dovrà determinare una rivoluzione non solo ecologica, ma anche sociale ed economica, un grande piano di sviluppo che crei crescita sostenibile senza lasciare indietro nessuno.

Ma chiedo alla Presidenza croata di insistere sulla necessità di ... (la Presidente toglie la parola all'oratrice).

 
  
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  Sunčana Glavak (PPE). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, poštovani gospodine predsjedniče hrvatske Vlade, Hrvatska je kroz povijest pokazala da se ne boji izazova i predsjedanje Hrvatske prilika je da pokaže odgovornost, prije svega za svoje djelovanje prema građanima.

Stoga i želimo Europu koja se razvija uz jasnu poruku da i manji i veći, i bogati i siromašni moraju imati jednake mogućnosti. Sigurna sam da će upravo Hrvatska biti snažan zagovornik u pravednoj raspodjeli proračunskih sredstava u donošenju višegodišnjeg financijskog okvira, ali i ono važno, vratiti povjerenje građana u stari kontinent, Europu koja mora biti korektiv i snaga za nove izazove.

Za sve one koji izražavaju sumnju u moju domovinu, a uopće je ne poznaju, ne poznaju prilike u njoj, ne znaju koliko je Hrvatska gospodarski uspješna, snažna poruka: Ako se pitate jesmo li spremni za ove izazove, jesmo li spremni za njih? Kažem vam, Hrvatska će pokazati da jesmo!

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Enikő Győri (PPE). – Elnök Asszony, Miniszterelnök Úr! Minden bizodalmam megvan, hogy a horvát elnökség józan irányba fogja terelni a jogállamiságról szóló, évek óta húzódó vitát. Abban bízom, hogy véget vetnek a kettős mércének és egyes tagállamok kipécézésének. Kérem, tegyen meg mindent annak érdekében, hogy ezt az értéket ne járathassák le többé, azaz ne lehessen a jogállamiság politikai játszmák tárgya. Kérem továbbá, hogy minden tagállamot egyenlően mérjenek, amikor azt vizsgálják, az alapvető jogok és szabadságok miként érvényesülnek az Unió egyes szegleteiben. Vessenek véget annak, hogy egyeseknek minden belpolitikai történésükről, amelyeknek egyébként nincs köze az uniós politikának, vagy nem hatáskör, számot kelljen adniuk uniós intézményeknek vagy egymásnak. Legyen bölcsességük ahhoz, hogy ne akarjanak döntőbírát játszani. Ráadásul ma ott tartunk, hogy sokszor pont a jogállamiság leghangosabb hívei és legelszántabbak ... (az elnök megvonja a szót a felszólalótól)

 
  
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  Margarida Marques (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, começaria por agradecer ao Primeiro—Ministro polaco, peço desculpa, ao Primeiro-Ministro croata ter-nos apresentado aqui nas suas prioridades a aprovação do Quadro Financeiro Plurianual.

E é com enorme satisfação que eu ouvi essa afirmação, da mesma forma que é com enorme satisfação que ouvi referir a importância de se manter no Quadro Financeiro Plurianual o valor da política de coesão e da política agrícola comum.

Temos em cima da mesa uma proposta da Comissão Europeia, proposta que a Comissão Europeia vem reforçar dizendo que 7,5 mil milhões de dinheiro fresco serão afetados ao Just Energy Transition Fund. Mas temos também as Nego Boxes apresentadas pela Presidência finlandesa.

Portanto, a minha questão ao Senhor Primeiro-Ministro é exatamente qual é a sua... (A Presidente retira a palavra à oradora)

 
  
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  Irena Joveva (Renew). – Spoštovana predsedujoča. Gospod Plenković, vam pa hvala za predstavitev prioritet hrvaškega predsedovanja. Prevzemate ga v res pestrih časih v obdobju velikih sprememb, kjer bodo, hočete nočete, nekatere teme pač v ospredju.

Brexit, proračun, prihodnost Evrope, okoljska zakonodaja, spet druge teme ste si zadali sami, med katerimi še posebej pozdravljam naslavljanje problemov demografskih sprememb, širitev Unije na regijo Zahodnega Balkana in tudi spoštovanje glavnih vrednot Unije, kot je vladavina prava.

Vaša država, Hrvaška, in moja država, Slovenija, sta sosedi, zato verjamem, da bomo v tem duhu dobro sodelovali, ampak tudi ravno zato, gospod Plenković, računam na to, da ne boste ostali samo pri besedah, da boste torej spoštovanje vladavine prava zares udejanjali in da boste spoštovali tudi človekove pravice in pravice na splošno vseh, tudi migrantov. Srečno.

 
  
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  Clare Daly (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, the Prime Minister mentioned a priority being securing Europe’s borders, but I have to question how Croatia can lead the European Union in areas of best practice in terms of human rights compliance in relation to migration and asylum when there are so many issues to be addressed regarding the documented violation by Croatian security forces of vulnerable migrants and the illegal push—backs at the Bosnia-Herzegovina borders. These are clearly a flagrant disregard of European Union asylum law, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Refugee Convention. It was highlighted obviously in the disgraceful arrest of two Nigerian athletes in Zagreb. You know, the most concerning part for me is that when we raise these issues at the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), the European Commission said that EUR 6 million of taxpayers’ funds were used for a monitoring mechanism in this area, to the UNHCR and the Croatian Law Society. It turned out these organisations ... (The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Franc Bogovič (PPE). – Spoštovana predsedujoča. Andrej Plenković, bivši kolega, lepo pozdravljen, lepo te je zopet videti v Evropskem parlamentu.

Dovoli, da na začetku takoj čestitam Hrvaški ob prevzemu predsedovanja in izrazim želje po veliko uspeha v naslednjega pol leta.

Pred Evropo je cela vrsta izzivov in sam bi se predvsem osredotočil na večletni finančni okvir. Želim, da kot nova članica, država, ki točno ve, kaj pomenijo kmetijska sredstva, kaj pomenijo kohezijska sredstva, da velik poudarek tudi temu, da bomo s politikami, s katerimi zagotavljamo enakomeren razvoj Evrope, s katerimi zaustavljamo notranje migracije v Evropski uniji, lahko nadaljevali tudi v naslednjih letih.

Sam delam tudi na projektu pametne vasi, s katerim želimo ravno razviti in povezati digitalizacijo, okoljske izzive, gospodarske izzive in omogočiti to, da bodo ljudje imeli delo tam, kjer so se rodili. Želim veliko uspeha in tudi se sam javim za sodelovanje z vami.

 
  
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  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Señora presidenta, primer ministro Plenković, efectivamente, es la primera vez que Croacia va a ejercer la Presidencia semestral de la Unión Europea, y le damos la bienvenida con los mejores deseos. Pero, al mismo tiempo, subrayamos que es una ocasión, que no puede desperdiciar, de marcar la diferencia con respecto de los malos pronósticos que el marco financiero plurianual anuncia respecto de la política regional y de cohesión, que no debe dejar de ser una prioridad absoluta, compatible con el Green Deal.

Y le subrayo también la importancia que tiene en el marco del Brexit, que va a consumarse bajo su Presidencia —la primera que coincide con una Comisión plenamente efectiva desde su investidura—, que asegure los derechos de ciudadanía, con reciprocidad, y recupere la importancia que merece el espacio de libertad, justicia y seguridad. Porque es cierto que el Reino Unido practicó el opt-out con respecto de muchas políticas. Pero es imprescindible definir en el acuerdo futuro cuál va a ser el papel del Reino Unido en materia de cooperación, en materia de seguridad, de protección de datos —porque se han producido quiebras del principio de conservación de la protección de datos por parte del Reino Unido, transfiriéndolo a países terceros—, al mismo tiempo que en Schengen, restableciendo el principio de que, sin duda ninguna, los países de reciente adhesión, entre ellos el suyo, tienen pleno derecho a ser parte de la libre circulación de personas.

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. DAVID MARIA SASSOLI
Presidente

 
  
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  Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission. – Mr President, I want to refer to the three topics that have been raised the most here. The first one is our budget and the MFF, the second one is Brexit and the third one is the Western Balkans.

First of all, where the budget is concerned, I think, dear Prime Minister, it is very important that Croatia and the Presidency convinces the Council to stick to its own strategic agenda, because – and I’m emphasising this – we need the modernisation of the budget, why this? The budget we have right now was agreed in 2013. You remember the year 2013 because it was the year when Croatia joined the European Union. The world was completely different. In the year 2013, we did not have any idea of Daesh. It existed already but we didn’t know anything of it. There hadn’t been the migration crisis yet. Russia had not annexed Crimea and had not yet started the hybrid war in the Ukraine. At that time, we had no Paris climate agreement. We were not speaking of 5G or artificial intelligence. These few highlights show that the world is completely different and that we do need a completely different budget – that means modernisation. One message from my part, and I think I have the support of the Parliament on this: if the overall ceiling is too low, if the budget in itself is too small, the only way out is our own new resources at European level.

(Applause)

There is an opportunity to introduce that with an emission trading system. The revenues of the emission trading system will grow, so we will not take anything away from the Member States. On the contrary, they’ll have more. But we can also allocate at European level the revenues from the emission trading system to serve the European Green Deal.

The second topic is Brexit. Your Presidency comes at a crucial time for the Brexit negotiations because we have to make enormous progress. This is decisive until the summer, until the end of your Presidency, and here we have to decide on – or it’s the UK’s choice to decide on – how close or how distant they want to be from the European Union, but that also means from the single market. In other terms, you cannot have no free movement for people and then expect to have free movement for goods, capital and services. It’s either all four have free movement or none of this is possible. You cannot accept to have a level playing field if there’s a huge divergence in taxation or social standards or environmental standards. So it is the choice of the UK how far they want to align or diverge, but this is decisive for how good access to the single market will be or not. In short, it’s the old proverb: you cannot have your cake and eat it at the same time.

And the very last point, the Western Balkans.

Ich glaube, beim Thema des Westbalkans dürfen wir eines nicht unterschätzen: Es ist in unserem strategischen Interesse, dass der Westbalkan so nah wie möglich bei uns ist. Wir sollten nicht unterschätzen, wie stark China bereits präsent ist, wie stark Russland dort präsent ist, wie stark die Türkei dort präsent ist – alle mit der Intention, den Westbalkan und die Staaten des Westbalkans so stark wie irgendwie möglich auf ihre Seite zu ziehen.

Es ist in unserem Interesse, sie so nah wie möglich an uns heranzuführen, und deshalb mit dem Blick auf Nordmazedonien und Albanien: Wir haben viel von ihnen verlangt. Nordmazedonien musste seinen Namen wechseln, um die Möglichkeit zu haben, die Beitrittsgespräche mit der Europäischen Union zu eröffnen. Und ich glaube, wir können es schaffen, einerseits den Beitrittsprozess zu modernisieren, aber andererseits auch treu im Wort zu bleiben zu dem, was wir Nordmazedonien und Albanien gesagt haben. Es ist in unserem Interesse, und in diesem Sinne wünsche ich Ihnen alles Gute für den Vorsitz.

 
  
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  Andrej Plenković, President-in-Office of the Council. – Mr President, first of all thank you for the many reactions, many suggestions, many different points of view on the current priorities of the Croatian Presidency, but also on some ideas how you believe we should tackle the most important political and legislative dossiers which are on the agenda.

Let me say a few points at the end in order to try to collectively touch on some of the matters that you have raised.

First of all, what is the philosophy of our first ever Presidency of the Council? We are a bit of a symbol and a signal, as I said at the beginning. Only 30 years of democracy, 28 years of international recognition, seventh year of membership. Still catching up with those who are more developed; those who were in the Union from the start, or those who joined, like our neighbours from Central and Eastern Europe, in 2004 and 2007.

One of the MEPs, Mr Krach, I think, mentioned the first Croatian President Tuđman, and tried to interpret his doctrine. I dare to say that I might know a little bit better what is the legacy of the first Croatian President, and what he wanted for Croatia once we gained our sovereignty for the future and the perspective. It was actually he, 30 years ago on 30 May in the first democratically—composed Croatian Parliament, who said that European integration is the way to go, and everything we have done in the last three decades has been the implementation of this objective.

We know what sovereignty means. We know what it means unlike any other country which is present in this hemicycle. What it means to have occupied territory. What it means to have a war on your territory. What it means to have more than 16 000 people killed in your own country, almost at the end of the 20th Century.

That experience remains vivid and we know that Europe is a project of peace and cooperation and reconciliation. That’s how we address our political responsibility today. This is very important to know.

Second, we have taken into account the strategic agenda, the trio programme, the programme of the new Commission and our own programme. Everything that we have put as priorities is very realistic. Therefore, on some of the items, we know that climate change and the climate neutral objective until 2015 will be the driver of our economic transformation. It will become for our economy what embedded human rights are for our foreign policy. This is what we agreed with the Commission in Zagreb last week.

We should help to address this issue so as to take into account the different state of play of our industries, our financial capability, our budgetary capabilities, in order to go in the same direction but not to have negative economic consequences.

Secondly, on the dossier of migration, which many of you have mentioned, I will say once again – and repeat this with full understanding – that this is crucially what we must do in the months ahead of us.

We had the arrangement with Turkey that has managed to put down the numbers of illegal migration on the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans route, compared to 2015-2016 data, by 98% – 98% down. These are the numbers we have now compared to 5 years ago, to only 2%. How should we tackle this? Jointly.

We speak about a Frontex of ten thousand border police. My country proportionally perhaps has more border police than any other – 6 500. I hear some statements and allegations, which in the reports you read, or the rumours you hear, are almost to become effect. They are not. Whenever there was an allegation, there was an investigation. There were some disciplinary measures. There is strong surveillance within our police to prevent any violation of human rights, or any behaviour which would contravene our own law, European standards or international conventions. This is how we should behave.

But I repeat, once again, unlike many other Member States, we have said no barbed wire between two friendly, neighbouring countries such as Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we will not erect fences between nations which are friendly, which will always be together as we were together in the past. Moreover we said clearly we will not erect fences between parts of the Bosnian Herzegovina border where Croats live as constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croats on the other side of the border. This will simply not happen. This is our policy and we will stay behind it. But what we want to do is jointly address the problem either at the source, or at the first point of entry. The Croatian—Bosnian Herzegovina border is not the first point of entry of migratory waves. Let’s be very clear about it. This is important to note.

On the budget, the stakes are high. We understood the message ‘we can’t do more with less finance available’. That’s very clear. But we need to find a common consensus if we are to embark on the new own resources. By many analysis, by many reports by very able people in a number of years behind us, this might seem the only way to address, as Ursula says, the modernisation expectations of what we can finance jointly – this is key.

On demography, if there is one political element which I would like to leave as a legacy of Croatia in this six months – and also together with the Commission, given that Dubrovka has this portfolio for first time ever in the history of the European Union – it is this, which we feel to be an existential question for the European Union. For almost half of our Member States who have negative natural growth, such as my country, I think there is a need for a set of tools with the great sensitiveness of the President of the Commission who knows in her previous roles how important this issue is, how we can combine policy measures which have proved to be efficient in other countries, how we can offer them to those that have difficulty.

This is the idea – the population is moving from less developed countries to more developed, from rural areas to urban areas. These are our common problems and we should address them jointly.

On the Western Balkans and the issue of enlargement, we are not naive. We are not unrealistic. I know more perhaps than anybody, since I’ve been dealing with this issue for almost 30 years, that the level of enthusiasm that the West with open hands offered to the Central and Eastern European countries in the 90s will never happen again, to those who would like to join.

But what we need to do, is intelligently to structure the process for the next ten years. To steer this process, to pilot it. To give an ambitious agenda for those who want to reform, transform and attain the standards that we have in the European Union. This is the idea behind the summit that we want to organise in Zagreb, and therefore I say for those who are afraid of saying ‘yes’ to the opening of the intergovernmental conference with Albania and North Macedonia, we know it’s a complex legal process with so many possibilities to either suspend or to reverse or to ask more or to build another requirement of this exercise. It is just a start of a marathon. It’s not a senseless fuite en avant.

We have to be clear about it. Enlargement doesn’t happen overnight, it happens after years of long reform process and careful scrutiny by the Commission and the input of the Member States.

In that respect I don’t want any of the countries in our neighbourhood to be forgotten, especially Bosnia-Herzegovina which is strategic for my country. I will also mention Ukraine, because you mentioned it Ursula now. I think in the context of the Eastern Partnership and everything we dealt with from 2013 and 2014 until now, we should adequately address their own ambitions for territorial integrity, but also for reforms in the European perspective which we should support.

One word on Brexit. I see that Michel is here and this topic is just after our debate. I think the most important element in the last three and a half years, was the unity of the 27. We remain united with full solidarity extended especially to the most concerned countries such as Ireland. In the 11 months ahead of us, with an intelligently drafted and crafted negotiated framework, I think we can attain a good agreement as a starting point for future relations. We should not pretend that in an unprecedented situation we can solve with the first contractual relations everything we’d like to do in the future, after the divorce that is happening literally in three weeks’ time. Therefore we will help you, as the Council, on the proposal of the Commission, to find the right balance for completion in the months to come.

Finally, I just want to reiterate that all of our services, all of our ministers, government, MEPs who are here – and I thank them for their contributions – will be at your disposal to have a good dialogue together and to reach compromises.

This is one of the objectives of European democracy. This is the role of the European Parliament. This is the role of the Member States within the Council and also the facilitating and leadership role that the European Commission has.

I thank you very much, Mr President, for this opportunity and for having been with you here today in Strasbourg. As many of you have said, my friends, this Parliament is a very dear institution to me.

(Loud applause)

 
  
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  Presidente. – Grazie al primo ministro Plenković. Auguri per il suo lavoro e auguri a tutta la sua squadra di governo per questo periodo così importante per l'Unione europea.

La discussione è chiusa.

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 171)

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), raštu. – Noriu pasveikinti Kroatiją su pirmuoju pirmininkavimu ir palinkėti, kad ateinantis pusmetis būtų sėkmingas ir produktyvus. Tai bus įtemptas ir ganėtinai sudėtingas laikas. Artėjantis „Brexit’as“ ir, žinoma, svarbiausias laukiantis uždavinys – daugiametė finansinė perspektyva. Kroatija, kaip 2013 m. ir mano šalis Lietuva, pirmininkavimą pradeda su dideliu iššūkiu – rasti susitarimą dėl ateinančios daugiametės finansinės perspektyvos. Laiko yra nedaug, o pozicijos labai skirtingos, todėl bus būtina tęsti konstruktyvias derybas su valstybėmis narėmis, kad bendro Europinio intereso ir solidarumo vardan susitartume dėl socialiai atsakingo biudžeto, kuris būtų pajėgus atsakyti į vis didėjančius iššūkius. Socialinė Europa ir žmonės privalo tapti biudžeto prioritetu. Noriu priminti, jog šiandien jau ir dirbantys žmonės vis dažniau patenką į skurdo riziką, nekalbant apie per 20 milijonų skurde gyvenančių vaikų. Reikės pakankamo finansavimo naujoms ir labai svarbioms iniciatyvoms, kaip Europinei vaiko garantijai, Jaunimo garantijai, kad galėtume realiai prisidėti prie skurdo mažinimo bei suteikti jauniems žmonėms galimybes dirbti ir užsidirbti. Labai tikiuosi, jog Kroatijos pirmininkavimo metu sugebėsime susitarti dėl ambicingo ir socialiai atsakingo biudžeto.

 
  
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  Jarosław Duda (PPE), na piśmie. – Bardzo się cieszę, że prezydencja chorwacka wiele uwagi poświęciła kwestiom społecznym. Chciałbym, aby zajmując się tak kluczowymi zagadnieniami jak eliminacja ubóstwa, zwiększenie dostępu do rynku pracy i budowanie wysokiej jakości, włączających systemów edukacji, prezydencja uwzględniła działania mające poprawić sytuację osób z niepełnosprawnościami. Ta ponad stumilionowa grupa obywateli na co dzień boryka się z barierami ograniczającymi dostęp do edukacji i zatrudnienia, mobilność, prowadzenie możliwie niezależnego, aktywnego życia. Przygotowanie nauczycieli i trenerów do wspierania pełnego rozwoju dzieci i młodzieży z niepełnosprawnościami jest kluczowe dla ich przyszłego życia społecznego i zawodowego, dlatego też mam nadzieję, że ta kwestia zostanie uwzględniona w konkluzjach Rady o nauczycielach i trenerach dla przyszłości Europy.

Z uznaniem przyjmuję też deklarację prezydencji dotyczącą wyzwań demograficznych. Wzrastająca populacja starszych obywateli Europy wymaga wielowymiarowej strategii obejmującej zarówno wspieranie aktywności zawodowej i społecznej, mobilności, dobrego zdrowia, jak i dostęp do usług i opieki zdrowotnej oraz przeciwdziałanie wszelkim przejawom dyskryminacji ze względu na wiek. Jestem też przekonany, że prezydencja chorwacka będzie orędownikiem silnej, ambitnej polityki spójności na kolejne lata. Mam także nadzieję , że determinacja prezydencji przyczyni się do wysłania pozytywnego sygnału w kwestii przyszłej integracji państw Bałkanów Zachodnich z Unią Europejską.

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D), în scris. – Doresc să urez succes Croației pentru programul ambițios pentru cele 6 luni de președinție. Dați-mi voie să adaug câteva puncte! M-a surprins că nu ați vorbit nimic despre Schengen. Concret, ce veți face? Veți susține ca România, Bulgaria și Croația să intre în spațiul Schengen, având în vedere că întrunesc toate condițiile tehnice?

Ați vorbit despre o dezvoltare a pieței unice, dar nu ați vorbit nimic despre criminalitatea economică care o macină și o sărăcește. Ce veți face pentru eliminarea rețelelor de criminalitate? Vorbiți de o Europă puternică, dar acest lucru nu poate fi realizabil dacă nu vor fi toate statele puternice. Ce veți face pentru eliminarea dublului tratament al statelor membre? Ce veți face cu pachetul de mobilitate în Consiliu, care va exclude transportatorii din Est și care va fragmenta piața internă și va discrimina întreprinzătorii europeni?

Și, nu în ultimul rând, nu pot să nu vă întreb ce vă propuneți pentru Parteneriatul estic? Așa cum Balcanii de Vest sunt importanți, tot așa sunt importante statele membre și Parteneriatul estic. Vă doresc succes și sper și susținerea unor măsuri care să aducă coeziune, securitate și unitate în UE.

 
  
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  Karol Karski (ECR), na piśmie. – Grupa ECR popiera przedstawione przez prezydencję chorwacką kierunki działań mających na celu dalsze pogłębianie rynku wewnętrznego. Doceniam uwzględnienie w priorytetach prezydencji chorwackiej odniesienia do usług i gospodarki cyfrowej oraz ich roli w zwiększaniu globalnej konkurencyjności UE. W mojej opinii, szczególnie w sektorze transportu drogowego, zauważalne są tendencje odchodzenia od idei liberalizacji rynku wewnętrznego.

Absolutnie zgadzam się z priorytetem prezydencji chorwackiej dotyczącym ochrony interesów finansowych UE i państw członkowskich. Jako przykład aktywności w tym zakresie należy wskazać Polskę, która niezwykle skutecznie walczy z oszustwami w zakresie VAT. Inicjatywą polskiego rządu jest stworzenie na poziomie UE koalicji na rzecz zwalczania oszustw podatkowych.

Popieram również plany prezydencji chorwackiej dotyczące przyspieszenia procesu rozszerzenia wobec państw Bałkanów Zachodnich i utrzymania wiarygodności UE w tym regionie. Oczekuję pozytywnej decyzji w sprawie otwarcia negocjacji akcesyjnych z Albanią i Macedonią Północną podczas marcowego posiedzenia RE.

Jednocześnie z zadowoleniem przyjmuję fakt, że Chorwacja w swoich priorytetach wspomina o Partnerstwie Wschodnim. Będę zabiegać o ambitną agendę dla Partnerstwa Wschodniego zarówno w wymiarze politycznym, jak i finansowym.

 
  
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  Mihai Tudose (S&D), în scris. – Doresc să atrag atenția Președinției croate a Consiliului UE asupra faptului că Nord Stream 2 nu este doar un proiect economic, ci și unul cu implicații grave asupra securității energetice europene. Sancțiunile impuse de SUA companiilor participante la construcția gazoductului sunt un avertisment serios în privința riscurilor care privesc Uniunea în ansamblul său, prin creșterea dependenței de o singură sursă de aprovizionare cu gaz. Cu siguranță, Nord Stream 2 va aduce profit - dacă și când va fi finalizat - investitorilor săi.

Cred însă că va dăuna unei Uniuni Europene prinse în menghina gazoductelor Nord Stream - Turk Stream, cu precădere țărilor din flancul estic. Constatăm, la București și în celelalte capitale eliberate acum trei decenii de comunism, că apetitul pentru business al unor state membre primează asupra principiului solidarității, ce stă la temelia unității europene, precum și asupra securității energetice comune.

Consider, în aceste condiții, că se impune o analiză urgentă a compatibilității Nord Stream 2 cu normele și interesele UE. Avem nevoie, totodată, de diversificarea surselor de aprovizionare cu energie și de negocieri coordonate ale Uniunii cu statele terțe pentru un răspuns mai eficient la provocările geopolitice pe care le presupune accesul la resursele de petrol și gaz.

 
  
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  Loránt Vincze (PPE), írásban. – Üdvözlöm az év elején kezdődött horvát elnökség programját és annak prioritásait. Számos olyan elképzelés található benne, amely számomra, mint a romániai magyar közösség EP-képviselője, biztatóan hangzik. Itt említem meg a demográfiai kihívásokra szükséges válaszokat, a régiók felzárkóztatását, európai kulturális örökségünk megőrzését, az alapvető jogok és a jogállamiság megfelelő közös európai keretbe helyezését, és nem utolsó sorban az Európa jövőjéről szóló diskurzus elindítását.

Örülök annak, hogy a megfogalmazott féléves program tárgyilagos és lényegre törő. Kivételes az elnökség helyzete abból a szempontból, hogy az új ötéves európai döntéshozatali ciklus elején vagyunk. Mindez lehetőséget ad arra, hogy újra gondoljuk, a polgárokkal közösen, melyek azok a témák, amelyek rendezésében uniós szinten adósai vagyunk még az európaiaknak.

Egy ilyen téma annak a nagyjából 10-15 százaléknyi európai polgár helyzetének az orvoslása, akik az őshonos, nemzeti közösségek valamelyikéhez tartoznak és regionális vagy kisebbségi nyelveket beszélnek. Itt a Parlamentben ismét megalakult az őshonos kisebbségekkel foglalkozó frakcióközi munkacsoport, annak tagjai örömmel együttműködnek a horvát elnökséggel. Bízom benne, hogy a horvát elnökség programjában helyet találhat az őshonos kisebbségek európai védelme az egyenlőség garantálása, diszkrimináció tilalma, alapvető jogok védelme és jogállamiság elvei mentén.

 
  
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  Bettina Vollath (S&D), schriftlich. – Ich danke Ihnen für die Einblicke in die Ziele des kroatischen Ratsvorsitzes und wünsche Ihnen nun auch viel Umsetzungskraft! Aber ich habe auch eine Bitte: Sie haben ausdrücklich die Notwendigkeit der Sicherheit unserer Außengrenzen und kurz danach die unverzichtbare Notwendigkeit der Gewährleistung von Rechtsstaatlichkeit angesprochen. Also müssen auch Sie davon überzeugt sein, dass diese beiden Notwendigkeiten miteinander zu vereinbaren sein müssen. Allerdings ist es leider so, dass es mittlerweile seit über zwei Jahren eine Vielzahl von sehr glaubwürdigen Berichten darüber gibt, dass an der kroatisch-bosnischen EU-Außengrenze illegale Rückführungen stattfinden, sogar unter Anwendung von Gewalt und der Beraubung von Migrantinnen und Migranten. Jetzt kann man natürlich sagen: Wo ist der Beweis – ich weiß von nichts. Wenn es allerdings so viele gleichlautende Berichte gibt, wenn es Menschen gibt, die mit einschlägigen Verletzungen und ausgeraubt im bosnischen Grenzraum aufgefunden werden – ist das nicht Grund genug für die kroatische Regierung, genau hinzuschauen, welche Praktiken denn nun tatsächlich beim kroatischen Grenzschutz angewandt werden? Genau darum ersuche ich Sie dringend: Machen Sie diese Vorwürfe zur Chefsache und kümmern Sie sich darum, damit nicht von Beginn an dieser Makel an Ihrem Ratsvorsitz haftet und als dunkler Schatten über ihr schweben bleibt.

 
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