Written explanations of vote - 8th parliamentary term David MARTIN

Members can submit a written explanation of their vote in plenary. Rule 194

EU political relations with ASEAN (A8-0243/2017 - Reinhard Bütikofer)


I voted in favour of this report as it stresses the importance of strengthening EU-ASEAN political and economic relations. Developed over four decades, EU-ASEAN relations are of vital importance for ensuring security and stability, international co-operation and promoting democracy and human rights. The report further highlights the ultimate objective of establishing a region-to-region free trade agreement, as trade negotiations are currently on-going or have already been completed with some ASEAN countries. Finally, the report also acknowledges the EU’s concerns for human rights violations in certain ASEAN countries which are affecting the status of current relations and, I believe, will continue to be an issue if not resolved.

EU political relations with India (A8-0242/2017 - Cristian Dan Preda)


I voted in favour of this report outlining political priorities for EU relations with India. A strengthened partnership between the world’s largest democracies is vital to tackle climate change, preserve global peace and stability and achieve sustainable development goals. The report would tap the potential of relations between the EU, as the world’s leading trading block, and India - which tops the ranks of the fastest growing major economies - to fight poverty and inequality, create jobs and growth, and advance gender equality and women’s rights.

Arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP (A8-0264/2017 - Bodil Valero)


I voted in favour of this report, which discusses the implementation of the Common Position on Arms Export, a legally binding framework that sets minimum requirements in arms export controls and the obligation to assess the request for an export licence. The report calls on the EU to launch an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, which is viewed as non-compliant with the second criterion of the Common Position, as well as other countries accused of serious breaches of international humanitarian law. The report urges the Member States and the EEAS to significantly improve the consistency in implementing the Common Position through a standardised verification and reporting system, and to overcome the current lack of efficiency in defence spending due to duplication. Finally, the report highlights the importance of the UK remaining bound by the position after Brexit.

EU political relations with Latin America (A8-0268/2017 - Javi López)


I voted in favour of this report, as it emphasises that the Latin American and Caribbean region is a key partner for the EU. As partners, the LAC and the EU must jointly face global challenges such as the eradication of poverty, fight against climate change and human rights issues. The report emphasised the need to step up political dialogue on migration, to have closer economic ties through visa facilitation and research cooperation and the need for greater democracy and implementation of gender equality, ensuring reproductive rights. Finally, the report condemns the cut in humanitarian aid and refusal to accept international assistance in some countries, and calls on the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners in Venezuela.

Corruption and human rights in third countries (A8-0246/2017 - Petras Auštrevičius)


Today, I voted in favour of this report, as it emphasises that the fight against corruption must involve a partnership approach between public and private organisations and that the EU must develop an external anti-corruption strategy. The report further lays the ground for anti-corruption clauses to exist alongside human rights clauses in trade agreements with third countries, and for lobbying to be regulated to ensure openness and transparency. Finally, it calls on the EU to launch a discussion on corruption at the UN level and continue the fight against tax havens.

2016 Report on Turkey (A8-0234/2017 - Kati Piri)


. ‒ Today I voted in favour of suspending Turkey’s accession process if it goes ahead with constitutional reforms that threaten the rule of law and separation of powers. Importantly, this report makes it clear that if accession talks are suspended, any accession funding that the EU currently provides should go directly to the NGOs and civil-society organisations that are under threat in an increasingly authoritarian Turkey.

Conclusion of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (Consent) (A8-0232/2017 - Elena Valenciano)


I voted to support the Commission in its signing of a new agreement between the EU and Cuba which aims to increase trade and dialogue. The agreement contains rules on human rights standards which will halt the agreement if they are not met.

Conclusion of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (Resolution) (A8-0233/2017 - Elena Valenciano)


I voted in favour of this motion on Cuba as it struck the right balance between being constructive, aiming for closer ties between Cuba and the EU, yet at the same time rightly criticising Cuba for human rights violations in the country.

EU-Kosovo Framework Agreement on the general principles for the participation of Kosovo in Union programmes (A8-0207/2017 - Ulrike Lunacek)


I gave my consent to this procedure as the European Union has been a crucial actor in the international effort to build a new future for Kosovo since 1999. It is important work for the region and we should continue to develop our relations with Kosovo.

Addressing human rights violations in the context of war crimes, and crimes against humanity, including genocide (A8-0222/2017 - Cristian Dan Preda)


I voted in favour of this report, which addresses human rights violations in the context of war crimes, genocide and gender-based violence. The report reaffirms the support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as urging the EU to engage more with third countries to stop human rights violations. With my colleagues, I will now scrutinise the Commission in how it acts as a result of this report.

Private security companies (A8-0191/2017 - Hilde Vautmans)


Whilst Labour MEPs held some reservations about the implications this (non-legislative) report may hold for UK private security companies (PSCs) post-Brexit, overall we voted in favour as the report calls for much-needed improved and closer regulation of PSCs, which are often contracted to supply logistical back-up to combat troops and are used in post-conflict reconstruction.

State of play of the implementation of the Sustainability Compact in Bangladesh (B8-0396/2017)


The Bangladesh Sustainability Compact was set up by the EU, the ILO and key trading partners in 2013 to improve the situation of workers in that country following a spate of deadly factory fires. Despite some progress on health and safety measures, the situation of labour rights in Bangladesh still leaves a lot to be desired. This resolution calls on the Commission to take a firm stance on renewing the agreement as well as highlighting areas where we expect continued improvement. It also calls for an enhanced dialogue between the Commission, the EEAS and Bangladesh to achieve better compliance with the GSP principles. This resolution sends a strong political message to Bangladesh and I voted for it.

Introduction of temporary autonomous trade measures for Ukraine (A8-0193/2017 - Jarosław Wałęsa)


I voted for this measure to give political and economic support to Ukraine at a time when it is facing a war in the east of the country and a trade blockade from Russia. The previous import quotas for agricultural and industrial products were routinely exhausted very quickly, so these extended quotas aim at providing extra possibilities for Ukrainian companies to export to the EU market. These quotas remain relatively small and should be absorbed into the much larger EU market easily. However, our Group made sure that safeguards were maintained in certain sensitive sectors and that we keep up the pressure on Ukraine to continue its progress on reform and its fight against corruption.

Agreement between the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway on an EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 (A8-0072/2017 - David Borrelli)


Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland participate in the single market under the EEA agreement. In accordance with the agreement, the three countries also contribute financially to the alleviation of economic and social disparities in Europe. Despite some minor outstanding trade disputes, I voted to consent to this agreement because it is important that we have a financial mechanism in place so that these important funds are not withheld from the areas that need them the most.

Implementation of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (A8-0123/2017 - Adam Szejnfeld)


. ‒ I supported this resolution as it acknowledges, on the one hand, the mutual benefits of the FTA, such as a significant increase in exports and the consequent creation of new jobs especially for the EU, and, on the other hand, its missed achievements, such as the lack of implementation of some provisions of the chapter on trade and sustainable development.
Following significant violations of the freedom of association, including the imprisonment of trade union leaders, the resolution calls for consultations with the Government with a view to resolving the matter as soon as possible.

Protocol to the EU-Mongolia Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation (accession of Croatia) (A8-0074/2017 - Helmut Scholz)


I voted in favour of this motion as it is important for Parliament to give its consent to completing the Protocol to include all 28 EU Member States.

EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Stabilisation and Association Agreement (accession of Croatia) (A8-0169/2017 - Cristian Dan Preda)


It is important for Parliament to give its consent to completing the update of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement to include all 28 Member States, so I voted in favour of this motion.

EU accession to the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) (A8-0187/2017 - Fernando Ruas)


I voted for the EU to accede to the International Cotton Advisory Committee because the Labour Party is committed to improving workers’ rights in other countries and this requires international cooperation. The ICAC brings together cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It assists governments in promoting a sustainable world cotton economy by raising awareness, gathering statistics and fostering international cooperation. By being a member of this organisation the EU will have more influence and leverage over our cotton-producing partners.

Evaluation of external aspects of customs performance and management as a tool to facilitate trade and fight illicit trade (A8-0162/2017 - Tiziana Beghin)


The resolution acknowledges the importance of tackling illicit trade, counterfeiting and fraud. To this end it is crucial to guarantee a better cooperation between the Commission and Member States to ensure a coordinated and uniformed approach in the implementation of the Union Customs Code. In addition, cooperation on customs controls between the EU, Member States, third countries and international organisations such as the OECD and the World Customs Organisation needs to be improved. I therefore supported this resolution.

Supply chain due diligence by importers of minerals and metals originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas (A8-0141/2015 - Iuliu Winkler)


. ‒ Unfortunately, many of the minerals essential for everyday electrical devices such as smartphones are extracted from conflict-affected areas like the Democratic Republic of Congo, and can fuel violence by providing funds for armed groups and corrupt regimes. This harms the prospects for sustainable development as well as raising serious ethical questions.
Having significantly altered the Commission’s original proposal, which was too lenient, Parliament secured important changes, including mandatory due diligence requirements for Union importers, smelters and refiners of 3TG (tungsten, tantalum, tin, and gold), based on OECD guidelines. The Commission had initially proposed a voluntary scheme, but Labour MEPs and our social democrat colleagues from across Europe dug in our heels to ensure this more progressive and effective conclusion. I therefore voted for the final text of the proposal, which was the result of long negotiations between the three institutions.