14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 1
WEDNESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2007
IN THE CHAIR: MR PÖTTERING
1. Opening of the sitting
(The sitting was opened at 9 a.m.)
2. The European Interest: succeeding in the age of globalisation (debate)
President. − Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to see that two of the group chairs are
here at least. I had almost overlooked one of them just now, but there he is striding quickly
to his seat.
The next item is the presentation of statements by the Council and the Commission on
the European interest: succeeding in the age of globalisation.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council. − (PT) Mr President, President
of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, globalisation is not merely a phenomenon that
must be viewed in terms of its economic consequences and technological implications.
For you, ladies and gentlemen, for the Members of the Council of the European Union and
for all of us in fact, it is essentially a political issue. It involves people losing their jobs,
regions in crisis, disappearing economic sectors, and new security and environmental
threats, but it also involves new job opportunities, new sectors of production and lower
prices for a vast range of products, allowing improved financial resource allocation and
growth of trade in goods and services.
Globalisation has fostered an unprecedented exchange of ideas and contacts between
people. The prospects for both economic and cultural enrichment are huge, but the risks
of various types of new global imbalance are also huge. We are faced with the challenge
of shaping this new and increasingly fluid interdependence in an ever smaller world. Above
all, coming to terms with and regulating globalisation is a key issue for our democracies
and for the very concept of effective democracy: will we be able to keep political control
of the fundamental options in economic governance and so many other aspects of our life
in the hands of our people and our elected representatives?
I firmly believe that in various crucial areas we Europeans will be effective only if we are
capable of providing new collective political solutions to the most serious problems of our
time, such as economic growth and job creation, environmental protection, energy,
migration and the fight against terrorism.
The European Union has been updating its internal policies to ensure competitiveness and
fair and sustainable development. The strengthening of social cohesion and respect for the
environment should guide economic reforms. Investment in research, innovation and
education must drive growth and employment. We are not alone, however, and it would
be irresponsible to become inward-looking, convinced that self-interest can be effective.
This new world does not have effective walls or strongholds. We must work together with
other countries and regions to achieve results which are positive for everyone.
Stability, freedom, security and prosperity will be consistent and lasting only if they are
shared. This is Europe’s vocation. We must lead and shape globalisation according to our
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principles and our values, looking outwards with a universalist attitude, as we did during
the finest hours of our common history.
Working together, the EU and its Member States have shown that they can address common
problems and common challenges by harnessing their experience of 50 years of integration.
The new Treaty of Lisbon provides more effective and more transparent institutional
conditions for the EU to play its role in the world. The challenge is to preserve and
strengthen what we have achieved in that time and to find ways of defending our interests
and projecting our common values beyond our borders.
The renewed Lisbon Strategy has provided the framework for Europe to respond to this
challenge. The launching of a new governance cycle gives us the opportunity to reflect on
the path we intend to follow. The Commission communication under discussion today is
an excellent starting point for the debate and provided the basis for the discussion between
the Heads of State and Government at the Lisbon informal meeting on 19 October. Our
work in the Council is based on this document and seeks to define a package of texts to
contribute to the preparation of the Lisbon Strategy’s next cycle.
This week’s Ecofin Council has now adopted conclusions, the Competitiveness Council
on 22 November will also approve some texts, and the 5 and 6 December Employment
Council plans to adopt conclusions on the future of the European Employment Strategy
in the context of the Lisbon Strategy’s new cycle. Other Council formations have addressed
issues relevant to the preparation of the new cycle. I can confirm that we are essentially in
agreement with the Commission: the renewed Lisbon Strategy must continue to be the
appropriate framework for Europe’s response to the major challenges we face, especially
the challenge of globalisation. Europe is making significant progress. The goals set out in
the four priority areas, employment, knowledge and innovation, the business environment
and energy and climate change, which were selected in 2006, are still appropriate.
The major lines of the new cycle must preserve the stability needed to consolidate results.
It is important at the same time to make adjustments and improvements so that the full
potential of the renewed Lisbon Strategy can be achieved. Taking advantage of the
momentum generated by the progress already made, our priority must be to step up the
pace of reforms to make our economies stronger.
The EU has global responsibilities and must be better prepared to face globalisation through
a strategic, coherent and determined approach at global level. We must remain firmly
committed to implementing measures at national level, meanwhile, that enable us to deal
more effectively with the problems arising out of demographic change, the quality of public
finance and its long-term sustainability, the labour market, employment, social cohesion,
the internal market, competitiveness, research and innovation, energy and climate change
and education and training.
At the same time the Community Lisbon programme has an important role to play in the
new cycle by offering more effective guarantees of the necessary coherence of reforms.
Parliament and Council’s ownership must be reinforced, and the exchange of good practices
between Member States must be developed. Migration has a fundamental role to play in
the context of globalisation by helping to increase growth potential and facilitate
adjustments. According to a recent report, submitted to the Council this week, on this
situation’s effects on the mobility of labour, EU demographic growth is increasingly
supported by migration flows, and note should be taken of the decisive way these help to
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 3
reinforce the flexibility required to face crises and to offset low levels of intraregional
In this globalised context the external dimension of the Lisbon Strategy must be reinforced
and developed, projecting the EU’s political and economic goals and social and
environmental standards beyond its borders. As you know, this was the aspect that was
addressed in the discussion of the Heads of State and Government at the Lisbon informal
meeting, where we developed issues relating to financial market instability and climate
change in particular. This interesting and stimulating political debate, in which the President
of this House also took part, reinforced our faith in the future.
As the Portuguese Prime Minister, José Sócrates, has already pointed out here, Europe has
a duty to lead the globalisation process and is in a position to do so, taking advantage of
the new opportunities that have been created, including in the area of ideas and cultural
exchange. By strengthening relations between the peoples and interdependence between
nations, the EU is making a key contribution to peace and global stability. Europe has the
political and institutional conditions to respond consistently to the challenges that
globalisation raises in the economic, social and environmental fields, and can therefore
influence the process of globalisation. We need stronger strategic cooperation with our
partners in order to develop a new global agenda that combines the mutual opening of
markets, improved environmental, social, financial and intellectual property standards,
and the need to support the institutional capacity of developing countries.
As the Portuguese Prime Minister also announced at the end of the Lisbon informal meeting,
an EU declaration on globalisation will be approved at the European Summit on 13 and
14 December. This will be a clear sign to citizens and to the world of the determination
and commitment of European leaders to stimulating the EU’s capacity to influence the
globalisation agenda and to find the right responses.
The challenges ahead of us are both difficult and stimulating, and the Portuguese Presidency
will continue to engage with them. We are counting on the European Parliament’s support,
as we always have done, to promote and develop EU and national action that is agreed at
global level and that allows Europe to assume its responsibilities in the global context and
to succeed in meeting future challenges.
We sometimes tend to forget what Europe means for so many people in this globalised
world. The images of migrants prostrate on our beaches are a cruel reminder of that reality
and of how privileged we are here in Europe, which has become a bastion of hope, hope
that it is possible to build a model combining freedom, economic growth, social justice
and environmental protection based on partnership, cooperation and shared responsibility.
It is not just our success as Europeans that is at stake. A stronger Union for a better world
is our Presidency’s motto, as you know, and we sincerely believe that Europe must play a
crucial role in building a more just and a more balanced world.
José Manuel Barroso, President of the Commission. − (PT) Mr President, Secretary of State
for European Affairs representing the Presidency of the Council, ladies and gentlemen,
globalisation is the central theme for this generation of Europeans. It touches the lives of
all our citizens in one way or another, so it is appropriate that it has risen to the top of the
As you know, I am personally convinced that the 21st century European agenda must be
organised largely around the theme of globalisation, while naturally maintaining the values
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and principles that have always informed the European project. Globalisation, however,
must also be seen as an opportunity for Europe to defend and assert its interests in this
increasingly interdependent world. I am therefore very pleased to be taking part in the
debate on this issue organised by the European Parliament.
As the Secretary of State has just said, the Commission document drafted last month on
the European interest generated an excellent debate at the Lisbon Informal European
Council. I was particularly encouraged by the stimulating consensus reached around our
ideas on how to respond to globalisation. I would also like to thank the Portuguese
Presidency for its constant support for this global European agenda and for the need to
give the Lisbon Strategy a dimension that can respond to the challenges of globalisation.
We also support the idea of a declaration on globalisation at the December European
Council. That would be an excellent way to consolidate this consensus, which must also
be promoted here in the European Parliament by the drafting of a joint motion for a
resolution on such an important issue.
The European Union has in fact been developing a gradual and truly European response
to globalisation that has encouraged Europeans to make the most of the phenomenon.
This response acknowledges the legitimate concerns of those who are facing change,
however, since it must not be forgotten that some people may be adversely affected by it,
and we must also have a response for them.
I believe the European interest lies in striking the right balance, but it can in no event be a
fearful or a defeatist response, it must be based on confidence. A new interest has in fact
arisen in the last few months: turbulence on the financial markets has shown how the
health of the European economy is linked to global developments, while extreme climate
conditions have shown how serious the potential consequences of climate change are and
how a response to this problem is increasingly urgent. Every day we see that jobs in Europe,
energy in Europe, the health of our people and quality of life throughout Europe are all
influenced by a global dimension.
Mr President, I am convinced that our starting point should be one of confidence. We have
the experience of being the world’s largest economy and its largest exporter. We have
pioneered innovative ways of tackling new problems – just look at emissions trading –
and we have some clear ground rules which have served us well.
First, we have a responsibility to protect our citizens without being protectionist. We
should target our policies so that others take the same route as us, to open up. We should
not close doors; we should, rather, make others open theirs. Protectionism for Europe,
which is the biggest exporter in the world, would be a self-defeating doctrine.
Second, we are open, but we are not naive. This means that we are not in the business of
giving a free ride to those who do not respect certain key principles. That was the spirit
behind our recent proposals to ensure that the rules on energy investment would apply to
Third, there is much to be gained from a rules-based system, and the experience of the
European Union leaves it uniquely well placed to provide a good basis for regulation at
global level – a concrete way to shape globalisation. Let us be honest: to have open
economies, we need some rules. Markets cannot work without institutions, and in the
European Union we have, more than any other, the experience of putting together different
rules, putting together different national experiences. That is why I really believe that we
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are better equipped than any other entity in the world to shape globalisation – not to
impose, but to propose our model for this globalisation phase we are now entering.
We also have some tools to help us face globalisation with confidence. Never has it been
clearer that the euro is a force for stability in the international financial system. The ability
to use European Union law to set binding targets for greenhouse gases and renewables
gives us also an unrivalled credibility, and we have a well-established lever for reform in
Europe in the shape of the renewed Lisbon Strategy.
When we relaunched the Lisbon Strategy in 2005, we sought to refine it in a number of
different ways. We increased ownership and accountability by a defined partnership
between the Member States and the Commission. We clarified the work to be done by
turning to country-specific recommendations. Every Member State now has its own national
reform programme and every Member State accepts that there is a collective effort in going
on with those reforms. We have also refocused the Union’s financial instruments on growth
The results are now bearing fruit. Despite current concerns, performance has improved:
almost 6.5 million extra jobs have been created in the European Union of 27 in the last
two years; 8 million are expected to be created over the period 2007-2009. The Lisbon
reforms have undoubtedly reinforced the growth potential of the European economy.
However, there is no room for complacency: the task is far from finished. Member States
and the Union must press ahead with reform. This is the best way to make our economies
more resilient in the face of an uncertain economic outlook.
The four priority areas agreed in 2006 provide the right framework for Lisbon: research
and innovation; a better business environment (fighting red tape and promoting better
conditions for investment); greater employability, and the great issues of energy and climate
change. These areas, and the definition of these areas, have given the strategy a much
sharper focus. Of course, those areas are also closely interrelated. We will never become a
knowledge-based, low-carbon economy without a highly skilled workforce, as well as
more research and greater innovation.
So I would like to underline this point about research and innovation. I would like to take
this opportunity to thank the European Parliament for its support of the Commission
demand for the knowledge triangle of research, education and innovation. Indeed, I would
like to thank you and draw your attention to the need for our work together to keep the
Galileo project as a great European project, and I would also like to thank you for support
for the EIT project.
We are moving forward in the need for a European space for knowledge. In fact, in our
document one of the novelties was precisely the presentation of the idea of a fifth freedom
– the freedom of circulation of knowledge in the European Union.
We will never create a new dynamism without the right climate also for our SMEs. There
are 23 million SMEs in Europe. So that is why I believe all those areas taken together can
create a virtuous circle helping all our goals at once.
As we prepare for the launch of the next three-year cycle, we must update the strategy in
the light of lessons learnt and new circumstances. There must be a greater focus on the
social dimension. More investment in education and training for all ages is the best weapon
against inequality and social exclusion and, as I said earlier, not everybody is winning from
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globalisation. If we want to be sure of the support of European Union citizens for our
agenda, we should, in due course, take in the concerns regarding the social dimension.
That is why, for instance, the Commission has proposed an adjustment to the Globalisation
Fund, precisely because we have recognised since the beginning the need to give concrete
responses concerning these areas.
I am particularly encouraged by the agreement of the social partners on the set of flexicurity
principles that were proposed by the Commission before the summer. In fact, at the
European informal Council in Lisbon, we received very good news about that agreement
between the European social partners. I hope that the December European Council can
give its support to those principles. This provides a very good basis for each Member State
to define a better balance between flexibility and security in their labour markets.
Vigorous implementation of outstanding reforms, stronger emphasis on skills and
education, concrete steps to convert Europe into a low-carbon economy: these are, from
our point of view, the priorities for the next cycle.
The integrated guidelines provide an important instrument for coordination, a common
framework for diverse Member States to pursue their own national reform agendas. Analysis
and feedback from Member States show that the guidelines are working. They are the
foundation for the Community Lisbon Programme. My feeling is that, while there is a need
to update them, if they are not broken we should not fix them.
We also need to do more to ensure that the Lisbon Strategy progresses at an even pace in
all Member States: a slower pace of reform in one Member State has obvious knock-ons
in the others. We also need more involvement of parliaments, social partners, local and
The commitment of this House to the Lisbon Strategy has been critical in sustaining the
momentum. Together with Vice-President Verheugen and with all the College, I very much
look forward to deepening our joint work as we move into the next cycle of Lisbon.
The link between globalisation and Lisbon gives us an excellent opportunity to show how,
in this day and age, the European economic agenda is not an optional extra: it is the key
to unlocking a successful future for Europe. Economic reform, a global vision, a low-carbon
economy: these are interlocking goals that need to be pursued in parallel, and only the
European Union can provide the reach and coherence that Europe needs so much. Only
together can we pursue what we call in our document ‘the European interest’.
Let me conclude by saying that I really believe it is not only the European interest. I really
believe that, in the age of globalisation, the world also needs a more committed Europe,
with our interests being protected and defended but also with our values – the values of
freedom and solidarity – being sustained in this globalisation age.
Joseph Daul, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (FR) Mr President, my dear Hans-Gert;
President-in-Office of the Council, Manuel Lobo Antunes; Mr President of the Commission,
José Manuel Barroso, in the eyes of our fellow citizens, globalisation is no abstract concept.
Globalisation is a reality that affects ordinary Europeans on a daily basis and they look to
their governments and institutions for answers to the problems it brings with it.
Our fellow citizens expect a great deal from the European Union in this regard. They expect
to be protected and to be given security: physically protected in the face of terrorist threats
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 7
and protected, too, from the vagaries of the financial markets. They also look to us, however,
to guarantee their food supply and food security; yet only last summer a sharp rise in cereal
costs sent consumer prices rocketing. European consumers need an assurance that
low-priced, imported products will be safe in every respect. This is a particularly topical
issue: as the festive season approaches, we must be able to reassure parents and grandparents
that the toys they are buying for children’s Christmas stockings will not put their health at
While globalisation must contribute to prosperity, it must also be fair – and it must be
subject to ethical rules, for example to prohibit the exploitation of children. Globalisation
cannot be built on the backs of those who are weakest: it must be an instrument for
combating inequality not only within individual countries but also between countries.
Globalisation must be directed at increasing the purchasing power of the poorest in society.
We have always spoken out in favour of free trade, but that trade has to be based on strict
rules. The European Union’s openness to the rest of the world is a driving force in the global
economy and many companies are keen to set up in Europe. They will have to accept our
rules and comply with our health, environmental and consumer-protection standards.
In the space of 50 years the European Union has managed to create a functional internal
market, in which harmonisation of the Member States’ legislation has always been the rule.
The European Union has a role to play in exporting its know-how and helping to raise the
production and quality-control standards of its partners. We are already on track to do
that with a number of them. The success of the first Transatlantic Economic Council
meeting, held last Friday in Washington, is a positive sign, and we now have to step up our
efforts to remind Brazil, China and India of their responsibilities. We take a somewhat
softer line with Africa.
To meet the external challenges we must, firstly, strengthen our own single market by
investing more in research and development and, secondly, ensure better coordination of
research and innovation among the Member States. While globalisation offers new
opportunities, it also demands adaptation work, for example in terms of education and
training throughout people’s working lives.
My group welcomes the new initiatives under the Lisbon Strategy for growth and
employment, and likewise the Small Business Act proposed by the Commission, because
small and medium-sized enterprises remain extremely important engines of stability and
job creation in Europe.
Ladies and gentlemen, we as politicians are increasingly called upon to address the challenge
of energy problems. Until it has a common policy for energy security and environmental
security, the European Union will remain vulnerable. With the price of oil at almost
USD 100 per barrel, this Europe that we live in faces an emergency. We need a European
energy policy to guarantee us security of supply and sustainable growth in this sector. We
need to undertake a thorough examination of renewable energy sources and to explore
the energy-supply potential of civil nuclear power.
All discussion of these issues must be transparent, with a view to raising people’s awareness
and securing their support for what we undertake. Ultimately we want cleaner, more
efficient and safer energy for Europe. Europe must spell out its interests, not only in terms
of trade and the global economy, but also in terms of culture, language and tradition. By
working to produce joint solutions to the challenges of globalisation we shall put ourselves
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in a position to protect the legitimate interests of our fellow citizens, without being
Martin Schulz, on behalf of the PSE Group. – (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
the title of this debate reflects the fact that the European Parliament is to discuss with the
Council and the Commission the role that Europe – the European institutions and the EU
Member States – intends to play in dealing with the opportunities and risks of globalisation.
We must therefore make it clear – as indeed today’s debate will do – that the consequences
of globalisation can be seen in different ways and can be addressed through various
The negotiations on the resolution to be adopted today have shown that there is a profound
difference, in many areas a gulf, between the conceptions on the right of this House and
what we in the Socialist Group want. What we say in this debate will therefore define the
parameters we apply when assessing the roles the institutions should play, especially the
Commission. Having listened to you very attentively, Mr President of the Commission,
and to Mr Daul, I would say there is some common ground, but there are also some stark
Anyone who stands for election to the office of President of the Commission, now or in
the future, will be measured by our group on the basis of certain key criteria, relating in
particular to his or her perception of the Commission’s role in the globalised economy.
Macroeconomic policy coordination, to use the jargon, or what we might also call common
economic and fiscal policy, must be guided by the principles of social policy. Economic
progress in Europe must result in greater social stability. The EU must ensure that global
economic progress leads to greater equality of rights and opportunities in the world. That,
too, is social policy. Human welfare at home and abroad is our common yardstick.
Economic progress is the prerequisite for social security – not the other way round, as we
have heard it suggested in a few speeches in this House. The idea that less social security
in Europe should be the source of economic progress is an absolute aberration. Anyone
who believes the EU can be used to erode achievements in the field of social policy behind
the smokescreen of globalisation, as it were, is mistaken. Deregulated markets leading to
maximised profits and lower social standards is perhaps the ideal in the minds of the right
in this House. It is not ours. What we are saying is that the secret of Europe’s success has
been social progress and economic progress, which are two sides of the same coin. Nothing
has changed in that respect as far as we are concerned.
That was an interesting interjection from Mr Daul. For those who did not hear it, he said,
‘The economy first!’ No! Economic growth and social welfare must go hand in hand – that
is the crucial point, and it highlights the error of right-wing politics in Europe. Let us get
one thing clear: the overwhelming majority of the governments in the Council are
centre-right governments, and the Commission, of course, is no El Dorado of Socialism.
You, Mr Barroso, are a politician from the centre-right, as are most of your Commissioners.
We are therefore keeping a close eye on the actions of the Commission in order to gauge
the credibility of your statements.
Of course we need research, innovation and education, and of course we need the internal
market to develop in a way that protects the environment and stabilises society’s resources.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 9
We most certainly do! But we also need the Commission to present the appropriate
proposals for directives. Then we shall need the corresponding legislative initiatives to
consolidate the process. There are some good points, and we support them, but there are
also quite a few that we need to probe thoroughly.
We also need effective administration. I do not know whether that should be called better
Lisbon governance, as it is referred to in the headings of EU documents. I do not know
whether the ordinary man or woman in the street understands what we mean by that. And
when you speak of simplifying administration and enlist the former Minister-President of
Bavaria to lead that effort, all I can say is three cheers and the best of luck!
The one thing that we most certainly need – and on this we agree wholeheartedly with
you, Mr President of the Commission – is a set of rules to tame this Wild-West capitalism
that prevails in the financial markets and, yes, threatens entire national economies. So let
us make a start with these rules in Europe. To spell out what is needed, let me say that we
expect the international financial capitalists to be subject to supervision, their operations
to be transparent and, of course, their power to be curtailed, and your pursuit of these aims
will have our support. That is one of the keys to social progress in Europe.
In conclusion, Mr President – Hans-Gert – ladies and gentlemen, let me say that the issue
we are discussing today, namely how we should line up to face the challenge of globalisation
and what influence Europe, by which I mean institutionalised Europe – you in the
Commission and we in Parliament – can actually wield in pursuit of these ambitious goals,
is also the measure by which the voters will judge us. If we keep confining ourselves to
general debates where we describe exactly what we want but they are not followed up with
concrete legislative measures here and in the Member States, the whole exercise will be
pointless. That is why we expect that what we describe here will also be reflected in our
joint resolution and converted into firm policy.
(Applause from the left)
President. − Mr Schulz, the fact that you were allowed to exceed your speaking time quite
considerably had nothing to do with the way you addressed the President. In fact, the extra
time you took will ultimately be deducted from your group’s allocation.
Graham Watson, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Mr President, we have just heard the
language of the past:
Die Rede der Vergangenheit!
Others know, often better than we, that we already live in a global society. India, China
and Brazil have caught the wave of opportunity and they are riding it high, while too much
of Europe fears the wave crashing over it.
When President Sarkozy addressed us yesterday, he spoke of ‘different possible futures for
the Europe of tomorrow’, putting our policies for competition, energy and enlargement
up for debate.
Mr Barroso’s expression during much of that speech told us more than all of his words this
morning. If Europe sits on its hands because national leaders – citing citizens’ concerns –
contest the EU’s agenda, we will miss the chance to shape globalisation in Europe’s collective
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It is not citizens we need to convince, it is Member States. Survey after survey has shown
that most of our citizens see the European Union, not national government, as best placed
to manage globalisation.
Look how the earthquake of globalisation is shaking Europe’s body politic. Some on the
right are retreating, in the face of global challenges, from Conservatism into nationalism,
or from Christian democracy into Christian autocracy. The fissure of globalisation runs
right through the EPP.
On the left, Kurt Beck and his friends are holding back much needed reforms. Franz
Müntefering saw that and that is why he has voted with his feet. And yet the visionaries
see the need for reform and they have written it into the new European Socialist manifesto,
adopted appropriately in Oporto.
The division in our politics is no longer between left and right over economic policy but
between those who respond to global challenges by pulling up the drawbridge and those
who – with Liberal Democrats – advocate the open society.
Mr Barroso, you have majority support in this House for your Commission’s approach to
globalisation. But it is not a majority based on one political family. Indeed, it may even
prise apart and refashion Europe’s political families.
Globalisation will increasingly shape our politics. Not globalisation in the rather narrow
economic sense defined in this communication – although a stable euro and effective
competition rules and market regulation are in all of our interests – but in its wider, more
holistic sense, encompassing world population growth and migration; climate change and
energy security; and internationally organised crime linked to terrorism.
Is that not the validation we need to ‘act on a continental scale’, as this document urges, to
utilise our ‘critical mass’ to ‘enable Europeans to shape globalisation’, as the Commission’s
If so, Mr Barroso, where are your policies? Your timetable? Your comprehensive approach?
We were promised action: instead we are proffered a paper which is rich in rhetoric but
rather poor in proposals. This cannot be the final word in Europe’s response to globalisation.
I await your single market review, to see how you will drive growth and jobs in difficult
terrain, and your legal migration policy, hoping it encompasses the concerns of the countries
My colleagues and I await urgent action on cutting energy use and fighting cross-border
crime. We believe, too, that social health and economic vitality are both important. If we
are creating a global market, we need a new global social contract, reconciling the competing
demands of flexibility and fairness because, as Martin Luther King taught us, ‘injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’.
So the Union must bring together the Lisbon agenda with its focus on competitiveness,
the Cardiff agenda with its focus on social rights, and the Gothenburg agenda with its focus
on the environment.
The world needs a strong, united Union to counter injustice, conflict and poverty wherever
they are found because we are one of the few players capable of tackling global issues and,
if we do not take the lead, nobody will.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 11
That means stopping the hypocrisy of trade tariffs and fashioning a fair deal for developing
countries in Doha; clinching a contract on carbon emissions in Bali, using our collective
influence to get America on board; and building an international approach to financial
markets, focusing on regulatory cooperation, convergence of standards and equivalence
Resolving these challenges in fairness to everybody needs more, not less, globalisation.
For we live in an interconnected world, a world that requires solidarity at global level as
much as it requires solidarity between European citizens.
And we must look forward, with Victor Hugo, to the day when the only battlefields are
those of markets open for business and the human spirit open for ideas.
Mirosław Mariusz Piotrowski, on behalf of the UEN Group. – (PL) Mr President,
globalisation is a phenomenon that, in many ways, is irreversible. Individual European
Union countries should not only understand this, they also need to respond to these changes
in a practical manner. The actions of the EU cannot, however, impinge on the economic
interests of sovereign states, for example by making unjustified restrictions on carbon
dioxide emissions, which will bring serious harm to the economies of countries such as
On the other hand, these political steps should not lead to the loss of national identity.
While countries in Asia are successfully adapting to the new situation and their economies
are expanding rapidly, we in the European Parliament are discussing such weighty issues
as rear view mirrors on agricultural and forestry tractors and the role and importance of
circuses in the European Union and other similar matters.
The EU is constantly adding to regulations, making effective competition increasingly
difficult and does not seem to see the reality, which is evidenced by today’s speeches from
the Socialist representative. I hope that today’s debate will help to change the way that we
think about globalisation in a European perspective.
Jean Lambert, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group . – Mr President, I think that what we have
seen in this particular communication is an absolute failure of imagination, given the
seriousness of the situation that we face.
We have in this no real definition of globalisation. It normally relates to the economic side
– that is what I want to talk about.
This paper talks about us facing a third industrial revolution. I think we need to learn some
of the lessons from the past industrial revolutions. Those that have not taken environmental
costs fully into account; those that have not taken social costs fully into account. There is
an assumption that low commodity costs are going to continue, often on the back of the
world’s poorest countries; that we can trade in countries where we force open markets
when social infrastructure and a sound public sector are not in place; that we need to
beware the siren of reciprocity if it is not amongst equals. There are also instances where
we have overestimated the role of the markets in delivering social goals, and there are issues
surrounding economic consolidation, especially when this is based on a debt economy
and speculation rather than on reality and thus becomes highly dangerous for economic
12 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
The new context that we face is not just about climate change. It is about peak oil and what
that will do to developing countries’ opportunities; it is about meeting the Millennium
It is true we need to rebalance trade, the social dimension and the environmental dimension.
The WTO prioritises trade over production methods, over anything else that gives us the
right to say that we have problems with the way in which goods are produced because this
does not meet our standards. We chose not to write that into the rules.
If we are looking at growth, we are still talking as if the quantity is what matters, not the
quality and not what is actually growing within our societies. I welcome the Commission’s
conference on this next week, but this is work that should have been going on for years.
What are we going to do with our agricultural sector? With our tourism sectors? With so
many others in the face of climate change? We do not agree that we do not need to revisit
the guidelines and to revise them. We think we do.
If we are talking about training and education, the sustainable development strategy now
demands that we look at that within the context of climate change and environmental
progress. I have heard no real, serious link on that. There is no European strategy on that
If we are talking about a low-carbon economy, how are we going to deliver that? There is
nothing within this paper to give us any great confidence on those issues.
And we need to look at the social inclusion side again. The gender pay gap is still there.
We still need a liveable wage, and flexicurity has to take into account financial security for
We still need to integrate Lisbon and Gothenburg. That is the challenge. This document
does not face up to it and I am not convinced Parliament does either.
Jiří Maštálka, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group . – (CS) Ladies and gentlemen, first of all
I would like to express my disappointment over the final version of the draft resolution. I
am disappointed on two fronts. Firstly, it is a pity that for a long time it was impossible to
come to an agreement and that a majority agreement was reached only at the last moment
and under time pressure, for which the price to pay (in my opinion) was excessive
concessions on fundamental questions. Secondly, I am disappointed because the resolution
does not reflect the European Interest, as per the title of the document, and – more to the
point – it does not even reflect the interests of the majority of European citizens.
This double disappointment stems from my analysis of motion for a joint resolution, which
in no way recognises the negative influences of globalisation and, in fact, does not offer
citizens anything more than an approach for putting up with globalisation much like they
would put up with floods for example. In my opinion, it is impossible to like either
globalisation or floods, let alone put up with them. The normal approach is to try to
influence these processes, to prevent their negative impact. There is, however, nothing of
that sort in the resolution: it does not even offer a model of sustainable global development.
In its motion for a resolution our political group focused on the following facts in particular:
– The fight against poverty, since the statistics show that around 80 million people in the
European Union have a disposable income of less than 60% of the national equalised
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 13
– We stressed the need for more effective means of ensuring citizens’ rights, such as access
to quality and well-paid employment, and minimum social standards;
– Regarding the Lisbon Strategy we stressed that a new integrated strategy for sustainability
and solidarity is needed to replace the current Lisbon Strategy and provide an effective
Yesterday some political groups agreed on a joint resolution and completely ignored our
group’s proposal. By doing this they have clearly shown that they attach more importance
to economic issues than to social rights and justice. For the above-mentioned reasons our
group will not support the resolution.
Godfrey Bloom, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group . – Mr President, yesterday we enjoyed
a wonderfully clever speech by the French President. I listened intently to this articulate
wee man. He stood foursquare for free trade. But, of course, if other countries were for
protectionism, so was he. He stood foursquare for democracy: the people were entitled to
have their views heard, but then, it would seem, ignored, as the people of France and
Holland have been ignored. He is, as he would have it, a European first, but a Frenchman
through and through, a Frenchman first, but a European through and through. Okay, with
a bit of Hungarian goulash thrown in.
We need a European army, navy and air force to ensure our peaceful European values are
spread far and wide, for we must never go to war again. We must build on our democratic
institutions but not, it would seem, too much. The French cannot have another referendum,
because that might lead to an English referendum, and of course we all know that the
British would reject the new Constitution – oh, sorry – ‘Treaty’.
We must, he suggested, examine ourselves more closely and make sure there is more
motherhood, not just for women but for men; more apple pie, especially for the poor,
whether they want it or not. To coin a phrase, an old English phrase – and I love to test the
best interpreters in the world – it was all humbug!
Dimitar Stoyanov, behalf of the ITS Group – (BG) First of all, I would like to remind the
Commission and the Council that the globalisation is not a process that exists in itself, that
Europe is a big factor in world politics and that the policy pursued by Europe will determine
whether globalisation will develop.
And it is exactly this that I could not understand from the strategy of the Commission. Is
the Commission willing to pursue a policy that will develop globalisation or slow down
this process? Furthermore, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the single
market, on its own, is not a guarantee for Europe’s success in the globalisation development
The Council has declared that it finds competitiveness to be very important but currently
there are new economies in the European Union, which are fragile and lack competitiveness
even on the internal market.
The Commission, in its turn, has stated that it considers the development of the Lisbon
Strategy to be most important for them with a view to implementing their plans from the
Specially for Bulgaria, I expect the Lisbon Strategy to fail because my country, as we have
repeatedly stated, was not ready when it joined the European Union. Therefore how can
14 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
we protect the interests of the European citizens if we do not use some forms of
The open society that Graham Watson is talking about is simply traitorous to the weaker
economies in the EU. If we have global solidarity first instead of solidarity within the
Community, then why do we need the Community at all?
In this context, a future development of globalisation with weak economies that have big
trade deficit and are not competitive even on the internal market would continue to
pressurize these economies up to the point of breakdown and these economies which have
been fighting to embark on a normal way of development would disintegrate as houses of
Jana Bobošíková (NI). – (CS) (The beginning of the speech was inaudible) ... to make an effort
so that Europe is as strong a player as possible on the world market. To achieve this,
however, the world trade negotiations must be brought to an end, subsidies to European
farmers must be lowered and US customs fees must be reduced. It is also necessary to firmer
against China within the WTO, and to make systematic use of anti-dumping measures. If
we want to tackle globalisation successfully, we have to do away with the burden of
excessive regulation hampering small and medium-sized enterprises. This is what the
Barroso Commission had promised but then it got stuck at the beginning of the road.
The Union would also become stronger if Turkey and Ukraine were to join, and if it had a
proper economic partnership with Russia. The migration policy is unhealthy. Instead of
being a final destination for poor people, Europe should become a final destination for the
brains that these days leave for China and the US. If we really want to tackle the challenges
of globalisation, the most important thing is to enable the Union to speak with one voice
on the international stage; otherwise it will not be taken seriously. I hope that the heads of
state will arrive at the same conclusion come December.
Allow me to make a couple of final comments. My colleague Mr Schulz talked about Wild
West capitalism raging on the financial markets. This used to be the rhetoric in the days
of deepest Communism when financial capitalists were labelled ‘Wall Street thugs’. We all
know what this attitude finally did for the Eastern bloc economies.
Timothy Kirkhope (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I should like to thank the Presidents of
the Council and the Commission for their statements on this fundamental issue for the
future of Europe.
To survive and prosper, Europe needs to face up to the challenges of globalisation, and we
must rise to these challenges and see the opportunities and not just the threats. Fulfilling
the Lisbon Agenda is central to Europe’s future prosperity and we need to make sure that
we finally secure a deal in the World Trade talks. We need to reform the common
agricultural policy and we must give a fair deal not only to our own farmers but to those
in the developing world. We must push further and faster on the deregulation agenda,
freeing business and industry to compete on competitive terms with China and India, and
we must make real progress supporting Chancellor Merkel’s efforts to create a transatlantic
I welcome the President of the Commission’s recent statement on globalisation, in which
he said that the EU’s raison d’être for the 21st century is clear: to equip Europe for a globalised
world. And in order to do so, he said, we must invest in people, in growth, in jobs, in energy
security, in fighting climate change and in giving consumers a fairer deal. He went on to
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 15
say that protectionism cannot make Europe wealthier; protectionism would impoverish,
not protect, our citizens. This is a crucial statement and one that all European governments
should heed now.
Of course, in financial services and accounting, European standards are fast becoming
global standards and I am proud of that. The way forward in Europe is radical reform of
the European social model, increased flexibility in labour markets and further action to
deregulate and reduce burdens on business.
Of course, we must also lead the way in tackling climate change, and I welcome Parliament’s
decision to include aviation emissions and the emissions trading scheme, another sign of
our willingness to lead the global community.
In the fight against poverty we must ensure that the programmes of the EU are credible,
cost-effective and targeted. We need to enhance the trading opportunities for the developing
world and make a real difference in Africa.
We should be proud of our achievements, but there are many opportunities still for us to
Robert Goebbels (PSE) . – (FR) Mr President, in negotiating the motion for a resolution
on the challenge of globalisation, I saw very clearly the extent of the divide between left
and right in this House. My PPE and ALDE colleagues have sought to criticise the millions
of ordinary people who – as they watch jobs disappear due to corporate relocation, mergers
and takeovers, or compare their tiny incomes to the lavish bonuses heaped on senior
executives (who, by the way, preach the virtues of wage restraint) – doubt the benefits of
In my view, globalisation is a necessary process, particularly as it gives the poorest countries
access to international markets, thus enabling them to raise their people’s living standards.
But let us not be deceived by sound bites! The perfect market, much beloved of liberals, is
an illusion. Competition is necessary but it is never free.
Take the energy market, for example, where 90% of the world’s resources are controlled
by sovereign states. A cartel dominates the oil market. Another cartel is gearing up to grab
the gas market. Pricing policies are not transparent and they apply to no more than 40%
of world trade. A third of the end price goes to a long chain of intermediary speculators
whose economic contribution is nil. When these speculators and their ‘special vehicles’
end up in the ditch, central banks pump billions into the financial system to stave off
widespread instability, but the effect is actually to underwrite speculation.
A few CEOs may manage a soft landing thanks to their golden parachutes but millions of
consumers end up mired in debt and forced to sell off their homes. In the space of six
months, nearly half a million Americans have had to file for personal bankruptcy. The
European economy, meanwhile, is marking time. The Commission may have trimmed its
economic forecasts but, in place of policy proposals, it is content to churn out familiar
mantras. Yes, indeed, we need more growth and more job creation, driven by better
coordination and more research and development and, yes indeed, we need to face new
But where are the budgets for these things? Where are the resources? Mr Barroso does not
want to improve the integrated guidelines. The right wing refuses to discuss economic
coordination. Mr Sarkozy emits quantities of high-sounding hot air but not once in
16 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
half-an-hour does he use the word ‘social’. Yet all the opinion polls confirm that people
want to see greater emphasis placed on social issues: they want to feel more secure, they
want their purchasing power to improve and they want better public services.
The mayors of ten European capital cities have just signed a declaration in defence of public
services accessible to all. But what is the Commission doing? It is hiding behind a shabby
little protocol to the future treaty, guaranteeing subsidiarity only in respect of non-economic
services – all the better to demolish the public services that ordinary Europeans are calling
for! My group will not accept this Commission cop-out. We intend to join with the mayors,
the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee and the trade unions
in a political struggle for a Europe with a stronger social dimension, in which public services
Margarita Starkevičiūtė (ALDE). – (LT) Many EU citizens are worried about the changes
in their living environment as a consequence of globalisation and our duty as politicians
is to provide the answer. Very often Parliament encourages the Member States to prepare
a common strategy, but I would like to point out that we should start with ourselves.
Preparing this resolution was very hard work and it was not easy to combine the opinions
of all the committees to form a single generalised opinion. Therefore, I would like to suggest
that we should try and combine the opinions of various committees and various resolutions
into a generalised opinion more often, so that we can give EU citizens a coordinated answer
regarding what we are actually going to do.
Another very important issue is our role as a global player. I would like to point out that
our role in the world should be an active one. At present the European Union is the largest
union, owing to expansion, owing to the new opportunities. We are bound to have the
largest role to play, notwithstanding our willingness or reluctance to take it on. Nevertheless,
the impression is that we are lingering, as if we are waiting for somebody else to come up
with the solution. Our foreign policy through the external dimension of the Lisbon Strategy
should be active.
Speaking of domestic policy, I would like to underline the importance of revising our
priorities. According to the most recent research, the reason why the European Union is
lagging behind in terms of growth in productivity is not the lack of computers or high tech
equipment. The reason is that we have management problems. We do not take full
advantage of the single market and fail to create positive conditions for the movement of
goods and the expansion of the financial market. One more question: is it right that the
EU’s main priority for the future would be the development of technologies? Is there a
possibility that food production might become the main priority, as experts warn us?
In summary, we should develop a new attitude towards our economic market and give
priority to the expansion of the domestic market. Speaking of social policy, which has
been mentioned here on many occasions, I agree: yes, it should be one of the main priorities
on our agenda, but it should be active too. We should abandon the tendency to support
certain people; our role should be that of creating opportunities for them to earn a living.
People should not be pushed into the position of being freeloaders; they should be active
market participants. That is why it would be wise to invest in the social spheres which in
the future would help accumulate intellectual capital and would ensure an increase in
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 17
In conclusion, I would like to emphasise the importance of increasing coordination among
the EU institutions. This resolution and today’s debate are examples of good coordination.
I hope that in the future we will have an opportunity to discuss these questions not only
at the night-time sessions, but also during the day.
Seán Ó Neachtain (UEN). – (GA) Mr President, it is in the interest of the EU to have a
strong, fair international trading system under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation.
It is not acceptable, therefore, that the Doha talks should revolve solely around further
concessions by the EU regarding agriculture, which, after all, accounts for only 5% of world
trade. What about the other 95%? Could surrender be the issue here?
To my mind, Commissioner Mandelson is too willing to back down where EU agriculture
is concerned. At present he is advocating a 46% import tariff cut in the agricultural sector.
But, as President Sarkozy said yesterday here in Parliament, we need to maintain our
domestic sources of food. America, for example, has so far not given any ground whatsoever
in the matter of agriculture. The recently published US agriculture bill suffices to
demonstrate the point.
We need to move forward in the world trade talks in the fields of industry, trade, and
services. The average tariff 4% in force in the EU stands at 4%, whereas the equivalent rate
in Asia and South America is 30%. Once the Indian and Chinese markets have been opened
up in the software and telecommunications sectors, there will be a chance to bring about
progress driven by competition. In addition, simplification should apply not just to customs
procedures, but also to future trading arrangements.
Pierre Jonckheer (Verts/ALE) . – (FR) Mr President, Mr Vice-President of the Commission,
to my mind, something major is absent from the document before us and it was absent,
too, from Mr Barroso’s speech. The missing element is effective analysis of the proposals
being made on the operation of international financial markets, on the existence of
international tax havens, on the fight against international financial crime, and on tax
treatment at international level – on capital flows in the strictest sense.
I believe that international debate needs a reality check here. Neither in the documents nor
in the words of the Commission President do I find any remotely incisive policy initiatives
on what are, after all, extremely serious subjects and I cannot help making the connection
with climate change and the forthcoming debate in Bali, where the financial dimension
will be crucially important, particularly in relation to helping the most vulnerable countries
sign up to the second Kyoto Protocol.
We all know that this will require very large sums of public money. Where will they come
from? While I realise it is extremely hard to push these issues to the top of international
agendas, I believe that if we fail or refuse to do so we will inflict damage on our own
My second comment concerns the global battle for standards, especially environmental
and social standards, and more specifically environmental standards.
The Commission document is very general, as Mr Watson says, and I share his opinion of
it. You tell us on page 6: ‘A new international approach focusing on regulatory cooperation,
convergence of standards and equivalence of rules is emerging as a result of sectoral bilateral
discussions with third countries.’ Well, Mr Vice-President, I should like to know exactly
what that implies for the preservation of European environmental standards. What does
18 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
it mean in terms of developing those standards and what are its practical implications in
terms of promoting them internationally as Mr Barroso envisages?
My concerns are only heightened when I read newspaper reports of the negotiations
currently taking place between the European Union and South Korea, suggesting that when
it comes to upholding standards – or at least social standards – our stance is weaker than
that of the USA.
You owe us detailed answers to these questions.
Sahra Wagenknecht (GUE/NGL). – (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
globalisation is not a natural process, even though some may like to present it that way.
Globalisation is itself the fruit of politics. It is a political creation, born of every measure
taken to deregulate and liberalise the international movement of capital. Its political creation
continues every time a developing country is blackmailed into opening its capital market
and permitting foreign takeovers. It is a creation of the industrialised nations and not least
of the European Union.
What the term ‘globalisation’ actually stands for is not nearly so much the
internationalisation of the economy as the power of property owners, banks and
conglomerates, which are now beyond the reach of national legislators, to put their money
wherever it yields the highest returns, regardless of the social consequences. That power,
of course, also enables them to play off countries against one another as potential business
locations and thereby compel them to create conditions that are increasingly conducive
to profit maximisation.
This is precisely the hidden agenda that lurks beneath the aim of competitiveness, namely
the drive to slash corporate taxation, destroy welfare systems and engage in brutal wage
dumping – in other words, the quest for increasingly unbridled capitalism. This means, of
course, that not everyone is a loser in the globalisation game; it also produces some very
bloated winners. Not least among these are the European conglomerates which have
developed into global players in the course of this globalisation process and whose profit
trends in recent years could scarcely have been bettered. The vast majority, however, are
not benefiting from this development. On the contrary, the law of the jungle that prevails
in unbridled capitalism enables the ‘haves’ to oppress and exploit the ‘have-nots’.
The resolution on the table whitewashes this state of affairs, and our group will not support
it. Instead, we shall continue to fight for a different economic order in Europe, for an
economic order in which people are not mere cost factors and countries are more than
just business locations.
Witold Tomczak (IND/DEM). – (PL) Mr President, we need to distinguish between two
realities: the phenomenon of globalisation and the globalism programme.
Globalisation results from the development of new technologies in areas such as transport,
communications and the collection and processing of data. Globalisation opens new
opportunities, but it also creates new threats. It is up to us how we make use of it.
Globalism, on the other hand, is a programme aimed at creating a supra-national global
power. This is opposed to freedom for peoples and nations and acts to exalt a small number
of those with the most capital and global infrastructure in such a way as to allow them to
realise their own selfish interests within the framework of a global country and does not
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 19
act for the good of peoples and nations. In essence, this is a totalitarian programme. It is
opposed to pacifist ideals and provokes threats of war.
Europe is faced with the temptation to undermine the rights of its own nations in order to
increase the role played by its cosmopolitan elites in the running of the world. To give in
to this temptation would be to wipe out the centuries old heritage of European nations,
which rests on respect for human rights and the rights of human societies.
In the age of globalisation, Europe’s success would be respect for human rights, for the
rights of families and nations, expressed in the development of institutions that guarantee
respect for their achievements. Europe’s success will be to show other peoples and nations
in the world how to create a situation of freedom and dignity for the citizen. It would be
a disaster for Europe to go down the path of a totalitarian globalism programme.
Jean-Claude Martinez (ITS) . – (FR) Mr President, colleagues: globalisation,
internationalisation, or ‘planetisation’ as the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin would have it, is
obviously here to stay, and what we are seeing now is a second wave of globalisation, more
comprehensive than that of the 1990s because it embraces finance, the economy, language,
population movement and ideology, with a single dominant model – namely the market.
The negative effects of this globalisation are equally obvious: in the southern hemisphere
where resources are being over-exploited, in India and China where people, land, forests,
seas and rivers are affected and human rights are jeopardised. Here in the North we see the
impact in corporate relocations, job losses and financial destabilisation of our social systems,
and in the risk – as our population ages and we face the cost of caring for the very elderly
– that Europe will turn into a geriatric Rwanda, with all the implications of that in terms
of disregard for human life and violation of human rights.
Confronted by these realities, faced with the obvious, what is our response? It would seem
to be a mixture of magic words, minimalism and mumbo-jumbo. We hear the magic words,
for example, in our current debates and resolutions. Our political ‘spells’ consist of references
to the Lisbon Strategy and a more competitive economy. It is reminiscent of Khrushchev
at the UN in the 1960s, trying to catch up with the capitalist system. It is the Harry Potter
answer to globalisation.
Then there is the minimalism. The perfect example is the Globalisation Fund: a little poke
of financial sweeties. Unable to control what is going on, we then look to the heavens and
try the old mumbo-jumbo. In the name of the Father, Adam Smith; the Son, David Ricardo;
and the Holy Spirit of the Market; before the great global altar of free-trade ideology, we
make the sacrifice of cutting and then eliminating customs duties.
Utter mumbo-jumbo! Yet Europe’s greatest invention, the product of its genius 2 500 years
ago, was logical thought: reason! What reason tells us today is that free trade is necessary,
but it is equally necessary to protect our social and cultural assets. So we have to find a way
of reconciling free trade with human security.
We actually have the capacity to do that, thanks to a new form of customs technology. I
am talking about the technology of deductible customs duties: under this system, customs
duties are of course payable by exporters but their payments give those exporters an
equivalent amount of customs credit, deductible against the cost of purchases in the
importing country. This new generation of variable, refundable, negotiable customs duties,
subject to rebates, will enable us to solve the all too familiar problem of economic, social
and environmental imbalances in international trade between North and South.
20 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Jim Allister (NI). – Mr President, for an increasing number of our constituents,
globalisation means desolation, as factory after factory pulls out and moves east.
Just two weeks ago in Limavady, in my constituency, Seagate Technology announced its
closure with 960 job losses, leaving that small town reeling. It is not just the lure of cheap
labour, but our crippling burden of regulation on European industry which is devastating
President Sarkozy was right when he told us yesterday that the EU has the right to protect
itself from such ravages; I wish it would. Two immediate steps would help: a lowering of
the threshold for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. One thousand job losses
in Paris is bad, but in a small town like Limavady it is catastrophic. So the threshold should
be lower for smaller economies. Secondly, the EU needs to loosen its state aid prohibitions
so that things like modest industrial derating might help keep our manufacturing afloat. I
would invite the Commission on those two specifics to respond positively.
Werner Langen (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, anyone listening to the speeches here,
especially those delivered by Mrs Wagenknecht and Mr Schulz, can tell that they were
talking of a time which, I am glad to say, has long passed. These were sayings dug out of
the Socialist glory hole, and they bring us no further forward on globalisation issues.
Everyone in this Chamber knows that economic freedom, increased prosperity and the
social model are mutually compatible. Europe is the best illustration of that fact. Just as
we introduced the euro as an internal fitness programme for the single market, we now
have the Lisbon Strategy, for all the reservations and problems that may accompany it, as
a fitness programme to get us into shape for global competition. We have no reason at all
to hide from globalisation. The way it is being discussed here is absolutely unreal.
Globalisation is the mainspring of democracy and prosperity for underdeveloped countries.
It is certainly untrue that there is only a downside, as the examples cited in the last few
speeches implied. In fact, all countries benefit from globalisation: the developing countries,
the newly industrialised countries and even those developing countries with an
overextravagant government apparatus that taxpayers can no longer afford. We cannot
turn back the clock, and Europe is the model for the rest of the world. I wonder why we
hush that up. Why do we only speak about the bad things?
Of course we can speak about Wild-West practices in the financial markets. Yes, we do
need international coordination. We need international restriction and supervision. But
who, apart from Mr Goebbels, has mentioned the fact that there are also systemic
malfunctions which we have not yet managed to curb? In Japan the rule is that the senior
manager of a company must not earn more than twenty times the salary of its average
worker. What justification is there for allowing managers in Europe and the United States
to earn a thousand times more than their companies’ workers? We can talk about these
things, but we surely cannot demonise globalisation in general, for globalisation opens up
new opportunities while combining freedom with prosperity.
Anne Van Lancker (PSE). – (NL) Mr President, President-in-Office of the Council,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, it is good to see the Commission acknowledging the
external dimension as a new element in the Lisbon Strategy, but above all we should not
forget that globalisation also has implications for our own internal European policy.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 21
The Lisbon Strategy has been good for economic growth and jobs, true, but it is also true
that not everyone has benefited as a result. In Europe globalisation has considerably widened
the gulf between those with skills and those without.
So I am glad that the Commission and the Council of Employment Ministers will be paying
greater attention in future to the social dimension because there are still too many people
– the poorly skilled, persons with a disability, older workers, migrants – who have no access
to decent training and good employment prospects. Six million youngsters leave school
without qualifications, 72 million live in poverty on the margins of society and Europe
even has 14 million working poor.
Economic prosperity should benefit everyone, ladies and gentlemen. So I would like to
highlight three additional points.
One: it is clear that the new generation of policy instruments for Lisbon must be focused
far more heavily on social inclusion, equal opportunities, poverty reduction and proper
social protection. The social dimension must again feature in the integrated guidelines.
Two: there must be greater emphasis on Member States’ fulfilment of the undertakings
they give regarding employment and training. Economic growth does not automatically
mean quality jobs – for that there has to be a clear commitment on the part of Member
Three: a lot more must be done in partnership. A good strategy for growth, jobs and social
inclusion also requires input from national parliaments, local and regional authorities,
social partners and civil society.
So my group does not think that the next generation of Lisbon Strategy instruments can
just be ‘business as usual’. The Vice-President of the Commission should appreciate that
there are many reasons to make critical adjustments to the Lisbon package.
Bernard Lehideux (ALDE) . – (FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this recurring
debate about the pros and cons of globalisation makes just about as much sense as debating
the pros and cons of winter on Christmas Day.
The only real issue for us is how the European Union can attempt to turn what is an
ineluctable phenomenon to the advantage of its peoples. What the citizens of Europe
expect are effective reforms to boost employment and support them through changing
Following the Lisbon Strategy has so far been rather like Waiting for Godot. We hear a lot
of talk about it, we are desperately anxious for it to materialise, but we never actually
encounter it. Those who hold the key to the Lisbon Strategy’s success, namely the Member
States, must come up with the resources to achieve the aims they have set. We expect them
to deliver initiatives as well as a full and objective assessment of their results.
It is not my intention to paint an entirely gloomy picture. There are a few encouraging
signs, such as the Adjustment Fund, which is functioning even if its effectiveness has yet
to be judged. It is also significant that, for the first time in Europe, the social partners have
an agreed analysis of the challenges to be addressed on labour markets. They have also
agreed to ask the Member States to implement flexisecurity policies, combining the twin
elements of flexibility and security, for both employees and employers.
22 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
I shall conclude, Mr Barroso, by urging you not to sacrifice the social dimension of the
Lisbon Strategy because you think it makes us less competitive. Ordinary people expect
Europe to be attentive to their concerns, and companies expect Europe to implement a
policy that will counter widespread social dumping.
Wojciech Roszkowski (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, the Commission’s document contains
many words about the place of the European Union in the globalisation process, but does
it provide specific answers to the questions that we are asking ourselves ? I rather doubt it.
The document gives the impression that good EU regulations will guarantee growth in the
EU and prosperity for its citizens. However, growth and prosperity depend on the efforts
of the citizens, who need to be more efficient and productive than before, and also need
to be more efficient and productive than citizens in other countries.
Good regulation is not enough to ensure future economic growth in the European Union.
It is not enough to equalise economic levels between the old Member States and the new
Member States, which are growing at a faster rate than the EU average. The effects of
economic migration from low labour cost countries to high labour cost countries are not
Future economic growth in the EU will depend on its competitiveness, but instead the
Commission’s document talks a great deal about protecting social gains. This is all very
well, but these are not the causes of growth, but its result. While we are protecting these
social gains let us not forget that growth comes from innovation, improved organisational
efficiency, greater productivity and competitiveness.
Jill Evans (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, I would like to thank the Commission and the
Council for their statements. I agree that there is potential for the EU to take a very positive
role. But, to date, economic globalisation has led to the acceleration of environmental
degradation, poor conditions for workers and growing social imbalances.
On a local level it has come to mean job insecurity and, worse still, the loss of jobs in
manufacturing and services, which I saw at first hand in my own community in Wales,
where I live, earlier this year with the closure of the Burberry factory, which meant the loss
of hundreds of jobs in a very poor area, a convergence area.
Companies are finding it easier to move around, seeking the cheapest labour and not
worrying about the consequences of their actions, despite voluntary corporate social
responsibility agreements which, like Burberry’s, look wonderful on paper but mean very
little in practice.
The consequences are devastating for local communities and those local communities, as
we have already heard, are the key to jobs and growth, the very purpose of the Lisbon
Agenda. All of this leads to disillusionment with politics, proving that the market is stronger
The EU can help by making sure it improves labour and social standards across the world,
including the cost of climate change in the market price to avoid environmental dumping.
The effects of globalisation make social protection even more important for workers and
I do agree that the way forward is to support small business and provide long-term
sustainable jobs, high-quality jobs, and I do hope that the proposal for a small business act
will help to achieve this in the long term.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 23
IN THE CHAIR: MRS KRATSA-TSAGAROPOULOU
Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL). – (PT) Madam President, in this debate it is right to stress
that the European Union’s success depends on how it responds in terms of solidarity and
economic and social cohesion. When the European Union continues to suffer a high level
of poverty affecting 17% of the population, or some 80 million people in the EU-27, when
employment insecurity is rising and the percentage of poor workers is increasing, our
fundamental priority must be to abandon neoliberal policies and prioritise employment
with rights, decent wages, enhanced social protection and high-quality public services for
all that supports productive investment by micro and small businesses and a fairer
distribution of the wealth produced so as to promote real convergence among Member
States, foster development and social progress, and implement a cooperation policy with
the countries of the Third World.
Patrick Louis (IND/DEM) . – (FR) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, our fellow
citizens – who are also workers, consumers and taxpayers – recognise quite clearly that
the European Union, as currently configured, is not so much a bulwark against the excesses
of financial globalisation as a staging post on the road to those excesses.
For 20 years now we have been promised a shining future, courtesy of the euro and the
dismantling of borders; that is what they dangled before us, for example, to win our support
for the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Despite everything, however, our manufacturing base
is packing up and pulling out, leaving behind it millions of unemployed, tracts of industrial
wasteland and a deserted countryside.
To hear President Sarkozy argue the case, before this House, for a mission to protect Europe,
one would almost think he had never accepted either Maastricht or the Lisbon Treaty. It
is quite splendid to hear him coming on like General de Gaulle and declaring he will stand
up in the WTO against any negotiations likely to damage our national interest. He appears
to have forgotten, however, that France does not possess a veto and that the only one doing
any negotiating is a Commissioner from Brussels, who consistently disregards the terms
of reference given him by the Member States.
Similar illusions were evident when – once again with every justification – he attacked the
deflationary obsession of the independent European Central Bank in Frankfurt. But who
are we to believe: the man who stands before the TV cameras proclaiming French
sovereignty, or the man who abandons our national sovereignty in a European treaty? The
reality is that the Lisbon Treaty confirms the logic of the existing treaties, which bar us
from steering the course of the euro, from protecting our markets and from standing up
for ourselves in global trade negotiations.
Yes, the treaty mentions as an aim the protection of citizens but that is no more than a
policy statement without legal force behind it. Significantly, the treaty strengthens the
powers and independence of both the Commission and the ECB, with their free-trade
thinking. Protocol No 6, and also Articles 3 and 4 of the EC Treaty, reinforce their dogmatic
conception of unfettered competition, heedless of national interests, unbridled by borders
and careless of democracy.
We believe that the people of France and the people of Europe want something different.
So let us rehabilitate genuine free trade, in the form of exchange between nations that
enriches them without stripping them of either their defences or their identity.
24 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Udo Bullmann (PSE). – (DE) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, over the next three
years the Commission intends to present proposals for a realignment of economic, social
and environmental policies in the European Union. That is a good thing because, as we all
know, there is nothing on the table yet. The October paper, which is the basis of our present
discussion, is a brief document. While I must mention in passing that it is always good to
present brief papers, this one is also a shallow paper, a thin paper, from which we can learn
nothing about the direction this journey is supposed to take.
The Commission must help us by resolving a contradiction. If we take today’s debate as
the cover page, the introduction, we are dealing here with enormous challenges:
globalisation, climate change, the issue of the international financial markets – the
formidable challenges that face us in each of the Member States. If, however, we then follow
the discussion further into the realm of practical implications, we are told that there is no
need to alter the practical policy guidelines. That is incomprehensible. It is totally
incomprehensible because it naturally raises the question of the real nature of this
globalisation debate. Is it a pretext for taking no action in terms of the practical
implementation of our social, environmental and economic policies, or is it really an
opportunity to see the real picture and to provide responses to the urgent questions and
needs of people in the countries of the European Union?
Let me raise a few more questions. If our future does indeed lie in an environmental
industrialised society, why is it so difficult to speak in the Commission, with the Commission
and even in this House about the proper investment policy that is needed if we are to
achieve that goal? Why can we not talk about the building-refurbishment programmes
and the modern vehicles and transport systems we need to achieve that goal? Why is it
almost taboo to discuss a decent investment policy? And why do these things not feature
in the Commission’s programme? Why are they not in the Lisbon work programme either?
I do hope there are still changes to be made.
When we talk about the knowledge triangle – the need for education, research and
innovation – why can we not make the European Youth Pact a practical instrument and
guarantee high-quality training for all young people in Europe, so that they can use their
specialised knowledge and intelligence in the effort to restructure industrialised society.
These are the practical challenges to which we want to respond.
Marco Cappato (ALDE). – (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I think that
there have been speakers in this debate as well who have placed economic freedom in
opposition to the assurance and protection of social rights and the fight against poverty.
That opposition between economic freedom and social rights smacks of the last century
and is no longer current in the politics of our Europe. We undoubtedly have a duty to
ensure that the rules are applied to the full in respect of economic freedom against
monopolies, the transparency of financial markets, and ensuring that the costs of
environmental pollution are paid for. That is without a doubt fundamental! From the point
of view of social rights, however, what is now stopping us from helping the poorest in our
countries are old social security systems geared towards corporations and organised work
which do not help the unemployed and those who continue to be outside social guarantees
and social protection.
In my country, Italy, we have a system which more or less forces people to retire at the age
of 58 or 59, when at the same time only 20% of the unemployed have any social protection.
That is the problem that the poorest face: not globalisation or economic freedom, but the
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 25
fact that social security mechanisms are old, outdated and behind the times; those
mechanisms have to be rethought and that is where the Lisbon Strategy and the Commission
Ryszard Czarnecki (UEN). – (PL) Madam President, I do not want to repeat the same
old banal statements about the benefits of globalisation. It would also be valuable in the
European Parliament to present a critical opinion as regards globalism.
For me, the best illustration for our debate is the voice of the Canadian philosopher John
Ralston Saul. I dedicate his words to the choir singing the praises of globalisation, singing
the same song today in the European Parliament. Globalism is an ideology that takes many
elements from typical Western religion. Globalism is the belief in a single idea that excludes
alternative points of view. At its basis there lies a conviction in the supremacy of economics
over other areas of life and a certainty that all economic theories apart from liberalism
have failed and that there is no other way.
This conviction is born from the fact that liberalism put in motion global forces that support
liberalism as the right way forward and make other approaches appear incorrect. However
globalism is deluded in believing that economics is the motor behind civilisation. Over the
last twenty or thirty years we have learned to look at everything in economic terms. Even
Marx did not go that far. He said that economics is important but did not go so far as to
say that everything should be viewed through the prism of profit.
Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (GUE/NGL). – (EL) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen,
the topic presented by the Commission today is full of contradictions. Allow me to highlight
Firstly, the Commission emphasises that the increase in adaptability to globalisation needs
to be intensified in order to ensure viability in our citizens’ standard of living. This is not
the situation we have at present, given the failure of the Lisbon Strategy. The truth is that
these policies of intensified competition aggravate the inequalities in wealth and
manufacturing power, and only the European Commission can see any enhancement of
prosperity or elimination of unequal development among the EU Member States.
Secondly, we learn from the document that the Commission is working towards a social
Europe, an idea we have heard so much about but evidence of which we have never seen
for ourselves. Let me quote a simple example: since 2002, the price of automotive fuels in
the Member States has risen by 35-50%. This, along with many other things, hits the purse
of those on low incomes, and none of the Commission’s social economic strategies seems
to offer a solution.
Daniel Caspary (PPE-DE). – (DE) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, our European
aim of success in the age of globalisation can be achieved if we take our chances. Our
discussion in the public forum focuses all too often on the adverse effects of globalisation.
We discuss them whenever companies have to shed jobs or relocate abroad, but we say
far too little about all the good things that come out of globalisation.
Take my constituency, for example – my home region. No less than 74% of the industrial
output of my constituency is now exported. We are reaping definite benefits from
globalisation. In my home region, sadly, workers are also being laid off by businesses that
are no longer profitable, but many more can be recruited by other businesses that are
benefitting from globalisation, companies that have adapted, and our unemployment
figures are falling sharply. Unfortunately, we speak too rarely about that side of the coin.
26 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
The European Union has an important role to play in shaping globalisation. Four hundred
and eighty million Europeans must stand together for their interests and values. We already
have the world’s most open economy, but we need worldwide market access. We must set
greater store by reciprocity. Non-tariff barriers and other obstacles to trade are unacceptable.
We must be able to defend ourselves against unfair trading practices. To that end we need
trade-defence instruments, and we need a Commissioner who neither lacks credibility nor
exudes arrogance when representing the European Union in the world, but who boldly
defends our trading interests in a spirit of cooperation and mutual trust. We must protect
intellectual property more effectively, we must press harder for global rules and standards,
we must strengthen the WTO, and we must practise transatlantic partnership.
If we and the Commission perform these tasks, we shall truly be able to use and shape the
globalisation process to ensure that people in general can continue to live their lives in
freedom and prosperity.
Edite Estrela (PSE). – (PT) Succeeding in the age of globalisation is the great challenge
facing the European Union. The question is, how can competitiveness be reconciled with
social cohesion, or in other words, globalisation with regulation.
The Lisbon Strategy provides the answer, and the Treaty of Lisbon will make
decision-making easier, but success will depend above all on Europe seeing globalisation
as an opportunity rather than as a threat. We must understand what is happening with
China and India. China has overtaken Great Britain, France and Italy in the ranking of most
industrialised nations, overtaken the United States as the major exporter of technological
products, and accumulated enormous financial reserves.
As regards India, few people are familiar with the name ‘TATA’. In 2006, however, TATA’s
automobile-manufacturing subsidiary had a higher stock exchange value than General
Motors, while no-one had heard of the MITTAL Group until it launched a hostile takeover
bid against ARCELOR, triggering panic in Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg.
The other side of the Asian miracle, however, must not be forgotten. This is a tale of suffering
arising out of the Beijing Government’s complicity with western multinationals that have
relocated their factories to take advantage of cheap labour and the absence of a welfare
It is in Asia, meanwhile, that the challenge of combating global warming will be won or
lost. Europe must be firm and must demand reciprocity in international trade, but must
not systematically adopt protectionist policies. It is true that Chinese competition is unfair
because of low wages, lack of political and trade union rights, counterfeiting and the
undervalued currency. All this is true. It is also true, however, that there are 800 million
Chinese and 700 million Indians who are eager to get a decent minimum income and to
demand greater social justice. These are challenges for a stronger Europe and a better world.
Sarah Ludford (ALDE). – Madam President, I also believe our reaction to globalisation
should not be based on fear but on a sense of opportunity mixed with intelligent adaptation.
As the resolution says, the EU as a global player is one of the major beneficiaries of an open
world economy. You would not always realise that from the volume of European
anti-globalisation rhetoric. I agree with Mr Czarnecki that liberalism has spread across the
world. But, unlike him, I am glad about that.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 27
The EU can only achieve its objective by being active and organised on the world stage,
and this is particularly true of migration. I am grateful to see that a paragraph I drafted for
the ALDE Group has survived almost unscathed into the final resolution. I really do think
that migration deserves to be a priority on the EU agenda, on a par with climate change
and energy. We see the pressure from outside; we see the social tensions and, indeed, the
racism from inside the EU. But still there is no comprehensive EU policy on legal as well
as illegal immigration, and on integration.
Finally, let us not forget the potential of global communications and especially the internet
to promote human rights. Okay, maybe it is not as inevitable as we once thought – if you
look, for instance, at the censorship being successfully practised by China – but, still,
globalisation and the internet and other global communications are a very potent force
for good. That is also part of globalisation.
Jan Tadeusz Masiel (UEN). – (PL) Madam President, honourable colleagues in the Council
and Commission, just as, in the life of man, childhood is followed by a period of adolescence,
so globalisation appears to be a natural stage in the development of humanity and the next
challenge for it.
In this difficult debate on this ever-changing and unfamiliar issue I would like to say that,
paradoxically, all the preceding speakers from both the left and right of the House were
correct to a considerable degree.
What is most important is that there is a real need to create proper guidelines and regulations
for a just division of the benefits of globalisation. Since, from the very definition of
globalisation, it is clear that it is a widespread phenomenon, it is not enough that only the
European Union should have such institutions and regulations – they have to be accepted
by the whole world. Mr Barroso was quite right to say that the European Union can and
should propose to the world a balanced and just model for globalisation.
Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL). – (EL) Madam President, the topic of today’s discussion
is misconceived. Success in the age of globalisation safeguards neither European interests
nor the prosperity of workers in EU countries, but only the interests of capital. In the
context of globalisation, the new order being created by business interests and multinational
companies at Community and international level aims to multiply the profits of capital
through the intensified exploitation of workers.
Mr Sarkozy’s statements yesterday about globalisation confirm the EU’s reliance on big
capital. They underline the intensity of intra-imperialist conflicts and the intention to use
the EU as a battering ram against other large imperialist centres, and especially against the
achievements and rightful claims of workers. The common denominator of all these
endeavours is a full-on attack on workers. Reduced wages, increased working hours,
adaptation to the needs of capital, an increased pension age, flexicurity and the restructuring
of labour relations are at the core of the Lisbon Strategy.
We therefore consider that the harsh reality experienced by millions of workers cannot be
judged by any terms of globalisation. Nor is anyone convinced by the arguments put
forward by the Commission and the Council about environmental protection.
Robert Sturdy (PPE-DE). – Madam President, it is very difficult for Commissioner
Verheugen to listen to everything that is said in this Chamber, but of course some very
poignant points have been raised and I hope he takes them into account.
28 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
I listened to what President Barroso had to say. I thought he put a point across that I totally
believe in, that globalisation is here to benefit the European Union. Mr Toussas has just
talked very glibly about the working class, but if we do not have globalisation, if we do not
have industry and business in the European Union, there will be no jobs for people. What
actually worried me considerably was what Mr Sarkozy said yesterday. Are we going to
have an old France, a protectionist France, or are we going to have a France which is going
to embrace a new generation? I am reminded of when the Chinese went to sign the
declaration to join the WTO in the United States. President Clinton had managed to stop
them from signing it for 10 years. When President Bush signed it, his advisers looked back
and said, ‘my God, China has signed it! What have we done?’ In actual fact, what they have
done is that they have brought into play some great opportunities for us.
We must look upon China and India as an opportunity. We must not bring up the
drawbridges, man the battlements, close the doors, because Europe has a huge opportunity
here and we must take it. Mr Caspary quite rightly talked about employment in his
constituency. I know that it is very difficult to keep employment, but if we do not allow
ourselves to be part of a global market, then we will get nowhere. I do believe that we have
a huge opportunity if we can embrace it. We must look at such things as free trade
agreements. Morocco, at the moment, has signed a free trade agreement with the United
States. We must look at that.
Finally, I would ask the Commission to allow business and industry to get on with doing
what they are supposed to do. Be very careful about the legislation you put in place which
damages European opportunities.
Pervenche Berès (PSE) . – (FR) Madam President, Presidents of the Commission and the
Council, we have just heard Mr Barroso tell us that the European Union is uniquely well
placed to provide a good basis for regulation at global level. He is right. But if that is what
we intend to do, we must also put our own house in order. The tools available in the Union
for tackling these challenges include what we call the ‘guidelines’ on economic policy and
on employment. I fear today that the Commission is trying to lose these necessary guidelines
under the carpet of globalisation. But they are useful and we need to review them.
We need to do this firstly because, at the European Council last March, the Heads of State
and Government adopted the best possible strategy for enabling the European Union to
address globalisation and the challenges of energy supply and climate change. If, in pursuit
of that strategy, we do not use all the means at our disposal in the European Union, including
the guidelines – and perhaps especially the guidelines – we will get nowhere and we will
merely foster disillusionment about the Union’s ability to tackle globalisation.
We also need to do this because Commissioner Almunia himself has recognised that that
questions of exchange rates, oil prices and the real impact on the EU economy of the
sub-prime lending crisis will affect the Union’s projected economic growth. He has revised
the projections downwards: from 2.9% to 2.4% for the Union as a whole and from 2.6%
to 2.2% for the euro area.
We need to do this for the further reason that we need to respond to peoples’ aspirations
in Europe and, whatever Nicolas Sarkozy may think, social Europe is a very real issue that
you will have to address if you want to avoid being disowned by Europe’s citizens in the
very near future.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 29
The final reason for doing this was pinpointed today by Commissioner Almunia when he
admitted that, in the prevailing international climate, Europe’s growth will be driven
primarily, if not entirely, by internal consumption.
Is it conceivable that, against this background of comprehensive change, the only constant
should be the guidelines? Is it conceivable that there should be no change in the Union’s
only instrument for effectively steering its Member States’ economic and social policies?
I would ask the Commission representative and the Commission Vice-President to tell
Mr Barroso that he needs to change the guidelines; that he needs to take account of the
new context so that the Union can equip itself internally with the best tools available for
meeting the challenges of globalisation head on.
Wolf Klinz (ALDE). – (DE) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, those who proclaim
their commitment to a fairer world have no qualms about blaming globalisation for the
difficulties in their own economies. They therefore call for less free market, more regulation
and more government intervention. Yet globalisation offers the genuine prospect of a
win-win situation because it enables the emerging economies and the slow starters in the
world economy to catch up and give us the opportunity to develop new markets for
high-quality, top-of-the-range products, facilities and services.
If we are to grasp these opportunities, however, we must do our homework, which means
redoubling our efforts in the fields of training, further education – particularly for young
unemployed persons – and lifelong learning, becoming even more creative in the ways we
shape the value-added chains and processes of our economy and encouraging even more
free enterprise. Unimpeded globalisation leads to more open markets and more competition,
which benefit all consumers.
Let us resist the temptation to shield our economy. Such a move would quickly degenerate
into sheer protectionism. Instead, let us nurture the inherent power of our economy to
keep renewing itself. Let us invest in the technologies of the future, and the future will be
Ewa Tomaszewska (UEN). – (PL) Madam President, the economy should be for the
benefit of the people and not the other way round. Natural differences in the tempo of
movements of capital and labour in the age of globalisation are leading to a spiralling drop
in employment standards. Manufacturing is moving to areas with ever lower salaries and
ever more dangerous working conditions. This leads to loss of jobs for employees in regions
with higher employment standards and to a loss in the purchasing power of employees,
which damps down demand for consumer goods.
If the European Union wishes to be successful in the age of globalisation, it has to find
effective tools to combat social dumping and to uphold and protect Europe’s social
Piia-Noora Kauppi (PPE-DE). – Madam President, I think the Commission’s contribution
to the globalisation debate is a very valuable one.
I think globalisation is not a threat but an opportunity. Europe is well placed to rise to the
challenge. We have highly developed infrastructure, education systems, technology, capital
markets, and vibrant home markets in the making.
It cannot be emphasised too strongly that Europe’s strength lies in an internal market that
is a springboard for our companies globally. Business innovations are born all around
30 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Europe. Their proliferation, which brings well-being to Europe, should not be burdened
with red tape. I especially look to Commissioner Verheugen on this. Reducing red tape in
Europe is a key issue for globalisation and the competitiveness of Europe. We have to focus
on SMEs in particular. They are the right focus for the Commission’s attention. Much has
been achieved but, for example, tax barriers still hamper business in Europe.
Strong businesses do not exist without a workforce, which threatens to be a scarce resource
in Europe very soon. Europe’s demography requires immigration. Here, other world regions
are far ahead of us, which shows in their economic performance. This is a difficult issue
requiring balanced consideration of all interests, not least those of employers. It is an EU
issue, of course, because competitiveness does not come about without a mobile workforce.
Plans such as the ‘Blue Card’ are welcomed to this end.
Another element that should move freely but steadily is capital. Financial stability is a sine
qua non of a competitive and economically safe Europe. Financial markets are, globally,
one of Europe’s strong sectors, one of our new winning industries. Innovation thanks to
market-led regulation, which does not equal ‘laissez-faire’ – here, also, making it easier for
the sector to function across Europe is vital.
As for the outside world, Europe should establish itself as a strong global actor. We need
unity from European Union Member States, and the Commission can also contribute to
bringing that unity.
Jan Andersson (PSE). – (SV) Madam President, Commissioner, President-in-Office of
the Council, I would rather look at the opportunities of globalisation than the problems,
but that depends on how we act in Europe. I agree that we should invest in research and
development, that we should make more long-term investments in a good environment
and that we should invest in people and lifelong learning, but what the Commission is
forgetting – the error in the Commission’s document – is that we are neglecting the social
Developments in Europe today point towards good growth and more jobs, but also greater
exclusion, bigger gulfs and more insecure jobs – more jobs, not least in Germany, on which
you cannot support yourself and you need to receive social security benefits to supplement
your pay. We must link growth and employment with a social dimension which reduces
the gaps between people and regions in Europe. This was discussed in the debate in
Guimarães in which I participated during the meeting of Ministers for Employment and
The Portuguese Presidency is attempting to push the issue of the Integrated Guidelines and
change them to make the social link much clearer and much more integrated.
However, the Commission does not want to do this. The Commission does not want to
change the guidelines. The guidelines need to be changed. In our resolution we have reached
agreement that we want to have new guidelines which integrate the social dimension and,
of course, also deal with the issues of security in change and ‘flexicurity’. The Commission
should also take this on board so that we have a stronger link between issues of growth
and the social dimension.
We must also embed the Lisbon Strategy. At present it is not embedded at the national,
regional or local level. There are many people who are unaware of the Lisbon Strategy. We
must integrate it and get the social partners and civil society to also work to ensure that
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 31
these issues – the social dimension, growth and employment – are treated as important
and are integrated.
Samuli Pohjamo (ALDE). – (FI) Madam President, I wish to bring a northern perspective
to this debate. Two years or so ago I worked in a regional development organisation close
to the Arctic Circle and the Russian border. For that distant region, globalisation was both
a threat and an opportunity. We began development work, trusting in our own strengths
as we took advantage of globalisation. Companies, the public sector, the education system
and universities pooled their resources to build a productive innovation environment. The
skills base was strengthened by networking with global skills networks in the spirit of the
Lisbon Strategy. At the same time renewable energy projects were launched. The results
are encouraging. A particular example is the fast growth in international tourism in the
area. I believe that this region would serve as a useful model elsewhere in Europe, and the
EU should make this sort of work much more feasible.
Corien Wortmann-Kool (PPE-DE). – (NL) Madam President, Europe’s stature stems
from the single market, liberalisation of the single market and liberalisation of the world
market, globalisation. This has brought us not only prosperity but also stable democracy.
So we must be wary – and I am talking primarily of trade aspects here – of an excessively
defensive strategy, and above all of protectionist-style trade instruments.
Madam President, Europe’s competitiveness is better served by an attitude of openness
towards the world, so I think it is important to give greater priority to opening up economic
markets in non-EU countries, more specifically in the emerging industrial countries such
as India, Brazil and China, because the enormous potential for growth of those markets
represents an opportunity for European companies and an opportunity for the European
economy. These emerging industrial countries will in turn have to open up their markets
to our companies, in respect of services too, and in the interests of reciprocity I urge the
Commission, in its negotiations, to bring pressure to bear accordingly on these countries
We visited Singapore as part of a delegation from the Committee on International Trade
and we saw that American firms get far better access there than European ones,
Madam President, and we cannot have that. So we need to be pro-active. We are after all
the world’s largest economy. If we all pull together effectively, we should be able to use
our power to open up these markets. Then there is the abolition of import levies and
non-tariff barriers to trade, Madam President, and in our strategy on market access it is
also important to prioritise these emerging markets.
Katerina Batzeli (PSE). – (EL) Madam President, Commissioner, President-in-Office,
Europe has been asked to show its citizens a different side to globalisation. This is not the
side of unfettered competition, but that of social solidarity, redistribution, diversification
and cultural values.
In this internal dialogue, and also in any opening-up of the EU to the rest of the world
through economic, social and environmental policies and those on security, viable
development and immigration, the European Commission must promote and strengthen
the EU’s cultural ethos. The Commission must directly promote in its annual legislative
work, in the Lisbon Strategy and also in the process of strengthening the post-reform
Treaty, the following areas in the cultural sector:
32 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Firstly, the Commission must strengthen the cultural industries based on high-quality,
innovative services while providing significant productive and innovative possibilities for
the European economy. This sector is of considerable importance for intercultural dialogue.
Secondly, it must strengthen the ‘knowledge triangle’ of research, education and innovation.
This, unfortunately, does not yet have the backing of legislative measures, although it
should be one of the EU’s aims.
Innovation in the field of culture should not be a luxury enjoyed by a few multinational
companies, but a horizontal policy for SMEs.
Madam President, the European Commission and the Council must clearly decide their
positions for meeting the challenges of globalisation. They must do this through open
dialogue, initially with the national parliaments. Globalisation can be presented as part of
European history if it can be imbued with the ethos of European culture.
Sharon Bowles (ALDE). – Madam President, globalisation is blamed for everything,
from population explosion to climate change to exploitation. But these are just products
of mankind; so is competition. Darwin called it natural selection.
European citizens are fearful. We must educate them, true, but not by stating that we need
a policy at EU level to face the challenge of a globalised economy. That makes me fearful,
suggesting that we do not have a policy.
The EU has unique power at supranational level to shape things and to challenge excesses.
In July, in the Financial Times it said: ‘Brussels is the regulatory capital of the world and
cannot be ignored from Washington to Tokyo’. So, if we have got it, let us use it, but
judiciously. What is the purpose of a competitiveness agenda if it is not to maintain our
position in the world? What is the purpose of a single market if we fail to get it properly
completed? Stop the faint-hearted excuses. The EU is absolutely about meeting the
challenges. We just need to get on with it before natural selection catches up.
Cristóbal Montoro Romero (PPE-DE). – (ES) Madam President, representatives of the
Council and the Commission, globalisation is good for Europe; Europe must encourage
We are witnessing an as-yet slow but irreversible dissolution of frontiers in the world, a
process which has succeeded in lifting more than 400 million people out of poverty in less
than twenty years and for the first time, in 2007, China will be the country, the area of the
world, which will contribute most to the growth of the world economy, China, not the
European Union, ladies and gentlemen!
This means in short that globalisation is a challenge but also a great opportunity. It is a
challenge in the sense that opening-up means more growth, more welfare and more
employment, and this is something we must explain to European citizens. What concerns
me again is hearing the word ‘protect’ in this Chamber.
Protectionism is a denial of globalisation and a denial of the European Union. Protecting
citizens is not necessary when they are the protagonists of their own economic growth
and their own well-being. We must hand that ability back to the people and we must
therefore also conduct an exercise in self-criticism in the European Union.
This is because we in the European Union are not doing what we must when our growth
is inadequate, when we also have our share of responsibility for the crisis in world financial
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 33
markets and, in short, when we do not do everything we must at home, on our own
doorstep, to foster economic growth among small and medium-sized enterprises and
create more employment, because we need much more employment than the process of
opening up the economy will be able to provide.
The Lisbon Agenda is really a marker: achieving the internal market, putting public finances
in order, reforming, modernising our labour market, committing ourselves to environmental
reform, renewable energy and in short opening Europe up really means greater social
cohesion in Europe.
Enrique Barón Crespo (PSE). – (ES) Madam President, Mr President of the Council,
Mr Vice-President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, I think it most appropriate
for the debate on globalisation to have taken place under the Portuguese Presidency because
Portugal is a country whose flag is on the map, because the Portuguese were at the forefront
when we Europeans began globalisation, and because globalisation is not a plague upon
our heads. The Europeans began the process of globalisation during the Renaissance, when
we were less developed than the Chinese and the Indians, and that is how we are seen in
the rest of the world.
Now, with the Treaty of Lisbon, we will also be pioneers in what I would call ‘post-imperial
globalisation’. We are not going to conquer new continents; what we are doing is giving
a response in which we bring together, of our own volition, the values shared between
States and peoples and we can be an example of the type of globalisation which is most
needed, namely political and social globalisation.
Here we have talked about impetuous, uncontrolled financial globalisation despite the fact
that we have, for example, a European at the head of the International Monetary Fund. We
are the principal bloc at the WTO and have a specific responsibility. What is missing? What
is missing is precisely for us to be able to find answers in a globalised world which are in
line with this. Specifically, there are two very important, challenging aspects on which we
must be very active: not only in terms of trade and technological development but in the
universal defence of human rights, especially workers’ rights, for which the International
Labour Organisation exists, and also the negotiations and policies necessary to tackle
In any event, Madam President, and on this I shall close, I believe that we Europeans have
no right to hold a pessimistic view of globalisation. We sought it and must now come up
with innovative answers.
Jerzy Buzek (PPE-DE). – (PL) Madam President, Mr President, it is obvious that we will
not be able to solve all the problems of globalisation with one statement and one measure
to promote the Lisbon Strategy. However, the statement of the Council and of the
Commission is good because it draws attention to the fact that globalisation is not a curse
and does not have to be a threat, in fact, it could be something positive for the citizens of
Europe, and that it is the citizens and their activities that should be the principal guide
behind the actions of the EU.
I am in favour of four areas of activity. First of all, the knowledge triangle, particularly
innovation, and I understand that here it is essential to act quickly in order at least to launch
the European Technological Institute.
Secondly, the business environment, and this means a fully open and free internal market
without monopolies, with open competition, less regulation and less bureaucracy, which
34 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
is something that the Vice-President of the Commission, Günter Verheugen, is fighting for
Thirdly, human resources, entailing the problems of migration and, primarily, counteracting
the brain drain, which means better education, attractive investments, and a social
dimension to the EU based on the achievements of the economy.
Fourthly and finally, energy and climate change, which means a common energy policy,
which I believe is something we are all aware of, and reductions of emissions. However,
there is no way that a reduction in greenhouse gases in the European Union alone can save
the world’s climate. For this reason we need to have an EU that is politically strong because
only a strong EU can influence the United States, China and India towards compliance
with climate protection guidelines.
As regards a reduction of emissions in the EU – yes, I am in favour, but I am also in favour
of an EU that is politically strong and this means full ratification of the European Treaty
as quickly as possible.
Gary Titley (PSE). – Madam President, hopefully, and I say hopefully, the Lisbon Treaty
is going to represent the closing of a chapter in the history of the European Union, the
chapter of the growth of the EU, the consolidation and peace and stability on the continent,
the dismantling of trade and economic barriers between Member States, and the institutional
development which was needed to achieve those things. Now, though, we need to open a
new chapter, a chapter of looking outwards, of rising to the challenges of globalisation.
We need a global Europe which sets a completely new agenda for globalisation, resting on
the principles of openness, fairness and the importance of cooperation between Member
States. We know what the challenges are – they have been well explored in this debate.
Climate change and migration are, in my view, the two biggest, but we need to maintain
high growth and jobs. We need to have a modern effective social agenda. We need to deal
with terrorism and crime and promoting security beyond our borders and dealing with
poverty. And indeed, as Ms Bowles has said, we do have policies towards those. But let us
be frank: progress has been slow, it has been uneven and it has not always been very
If we really are to deal with globalisation, we need a radical and fundamental shift, not only
in our policies but in our entire thinking in the European Union. We have to focus now
simply on action and delivery. We have to ensure that Member States fulfil their promises,
because we have an EU framework. What we do not have are 27 Member States that all
do as they say they are going to do, and our focus must now be on delivering on promises
and fulfilling all the potential that the EU has.
Alexander Radwan (PPE-DE). – (DE) Madam President, sum up globalisation in two
minutes – well, here goes! My first request is that we deal a little more honestly with the
subject of globalisation in our discussions. My native region of Bavaria earns half of its
GDP from exports. Many people are critical of globalisation, but if we asked them whether
they agreed that their local companies should not be allowed to serve the world market
any more, they would say ‘no’.
Likewise, if we turned to the public galleries and asked whether anyone was prepared to
give up the opportunity to buy competitively priced goods – be they electrical appliances,
textiles or other products – there would be no volunteers. Everyone knows that imports
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 35
from low-cost countries are the reason for the low inflation rates of recent years. It is only
right and proper to acknowledge that, even if we regularly speak of globalisation as a threat.
Europe must shape the globalisation process, for it has been benefiting our manufacturers
as well as our consumers. That is the purpose, for instance, of eliminating red tape, which
is an important objective both for Commissioner Verheugen and for Europe. I do not wish
to imply that this is a task for the Commission alone; I am also referring to Parliament and
the Council. We are speaking about globalisation now, but afterwards we shall be adopting
the Soil Protection Directive and creating more red tape. In short, our actions need to be
rigorously consistent in Europe, and it is our mission to shape Europe.
When we consider the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, we need to realise
that international financial markets are intertwined and that we Europeans must help to
make things happen. How do we deal with rating agencies, and how do we deal with hedge
funds? Regrettably, Commissioner McCreevy, who is responsible for these matters, has
not yet taken the lead in the movement to rein in the Americans and other markets, and
so Europe is lagging behind.
Nevertheless, I firmly believe that Europe is well prepared for globalisation. We are
benefiting from it, which we must explain to the public, and we must press for minimum
standards, although these would not be European standards, and then we shall be prepared
and fit to win the globalisation game. Whether or not globalisation takes place is not
determined in Brussels or Strasbourg.
Magda Kósáné Kovács (PSE). – (HU) Thank you, Madam President. I speak as a
representative of a region that was not able to choose its fate after the war. There was
barbed wire between our country and the luckier part of Europe, but not even that was
able to stop the unexpected effects of globalisation.
In 2000 we started to familiarise ourselves with competitiveness and solidarity in the
strategy for work and workers, and in the Lisbon Strategy. Since then, the balance has
tipped in favour of capital recovery many times and it came to be feared that the human
face of the strategy was becoming obscured.
Competitiveness and work are incontrovertibly and historically inseparable concepts, and
we are starting to realise that worthwhile work is only part of a worthwhile life. A
worthwhile life also includes basic security, a contribution to a healthy life and development,
a lack of discrimination and acceptable living conditions.
But Europe should not only view itself as defending values, but also as shaping the dreams
of generations, creating an opportunity for European citizens and for those coming from
third countries who want to make things. And it is for precisely this reason that solidarity
should not merely remain a slogan; it should be the chance for people who are able to
make things, or to enable them to do so.
Ladies and gentlemen, the labour market and the capital that demands a return is ruthlessly
selective, and new human resources require investment at a price greater than capital,
whose movement is ever easier, can acquire labour. The Europe of values cannot accept
that those starting their careers, the elderly, those who are isolated by poverty, those forced
to learn new skills, and the gypsies who carry the burden of many kinds of disadvantage,
will not have work. Especially so that the burden of disadvantage should not weigh heavily
on the shoulders of coming generations, the Community funds spent on us not only keep
36 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
them within the framework of a worthwhile life, but also continue to increase the prospects
of European competitiveness. Thank you, Madam President.
Georgios Papastamkos (PPE-DE). – (EL) Madam President, the conclusion that is
naturally drawn from the debate is that projecting the European model onto the global
‘megascreen’ entails both risks and opportunities.
As a rule, globalisation is perceived by European citizens as an external phenomenon: it
has no obvious European regulatory or political intervention. It is therefore up to the
European plan of action to show that a visible, measurable European interest is indeed
being defended, while at the same time promoting global understanding.
As regards the Union’s external commercial agenda, my view is that priority should among
other things be given to ensuring terms of market access reciprocity and competition on
equal terms, as the French President, Mr Sarkozy, emphatically pointed out yesterday in
The strict European regulatory framework for environmental protection and public health
protection for consumers and workers is a significant indication of the Union’s political
and institutional maturity. However, if this is not to be a protracted competitive
disadvantage for the Union, it must meet with an equivalent response from other leading
The give and take between the internal and external aspects of the Lisbon Strategy will help
to promote the European model in the global arena of governance. However, it clashes
with a lower degree of regulatory rigour and legally binding completeness in both the WTO
and other international organisations. The Union is called upon to play a leading and
constructive role at an increased level of international cooperation. It is called upon to
prioritise the undertaking of binding obligations and the adoption of international standards
in the interests of upwardly escalating regulatory convergence.
Stephen Hughes (PSE). – Madam President, this has been a very wide-ranging debate
and at the end I would like to bring it back to a focus on social policy as a productive factor.
The launch of the integrated guideline package was supposed to lead to a balanced delivery
of the economic, social and sustainability strands of the Lisbon process but in practice,
when it comes to the employment guidelines, it has been a case not of integration but of
subordination. The employment guidelines have become virtually invisible, hiding the
very wide variability in Member State performance against the range of indicators and
targets they are supposed to meet under the employment strategy on youth unemployment,
integration of older workers – a range of factors. In some Member States, spending on
lifelong learning and active labour market measures has actually declined over the last five
years – not improved but declined. That is disastrous for the Lisbon process overall.
The employment strategy therefore needs to be given much greater visibility in the next
Lisbon cycle. One other point – the joint resolution that we are debating here today in
several places emphasises the need to deliver decent work and to focus on improving the
quality of work. This focus is not helped by the Commission’s concentration on the idea
of employment security as opposed to job security, which is repeated in both the Green
Paper on labour law and the communication on flexicurity. In our work on flexicurity in
the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs we make clear that both employment
security and job security are important.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 37
What a fast changing flexible firm needs – a firm changing its production line every six
months, its IT configuration every four months – is an adaptable, skilled, loyal and dedicated
workforce, not a casualised and fragmented labour market. So we will do our best to help
produce a good set of principles on flexicurity but they must then lead to an amendment
to the guidelines. President Barroso said earlier, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Well, it is
broken and it needs fixing.
Philip Bushill-Matthews (PPE-DE). – Madam President, I congratulate the Commission
on an excellent paper and I would just like to highlight these four points.
The first one is on the knowledge economy. I think the way this has been expressed in the
paper, about the free movement of ideas and researchers being perhaps seen as ‘the fifth
freedom’ of the EU, is a beautiful way of expressing it, and I would like to see that developed.
In reaction to what Mr Hughes has just said, I think this point really reflects where we are,
debating in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, that we want to move away
from the idea of just simple job protection towards employment protection, by promoting
employability and by strengthening skills; in that way, success for Europe in the age of
globalisation can mean success for individuals – success for people – which is what the EU
should be very much more about.
The second point concerns SMEs. There is a reference to a wide range of new proposals
for the end of 2008. I welcome that, but there is a ‘but’: please let us not shift our focus
towards new proposals for agreement tomorrow before we first focus on delivering against
existing commitments for action today. Here, particularly for Mr Verheugen, I would draw
attention to this 25% reduction in simplification of existing EU legislation. Let us please
see some real delivery on this across the board, sooner rather than later, as this will
particularly benefit SMEs. I would encourage, in this context, a wholesale review of the
Working Time Directive, where much more lateral thinking is required of us all – and I do
mean of us all, including MEPs.
Thirdly, the single market: adding an external dimension is all very well, but let us get the
internal dimension first, completing our own single market before we develop grand
ambitions outside. I would say to Mr Schulz, as well as to Mr Hughes, I agree absolutely
that this is not just for our economic progress but also because this will deliver social
Finally, on a more personal point, the only thing I really stumble over in the document is
the very first line of the front page, which says ‘Communication from the Commission to
the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and
the Committee of the Regions’. I recognise that the European Economic and Social
Committee and the Committee of the Regions exist – although I am never clear why – but
please do not elevate them to the same level as the two codecision institutions.
Miroslav Mikolášik (PPE-DE). – (SK) The phenomenon of globalisation is becoming
more and more perceivable. In such a situation, the European Union has to react fairly
quickly and determine whether Europe’s competitiveness has not only been preserved but
whether it has also been growing; whether the Lisbon Strategy, the tool that is supposed
to ensure that this happens, is capable of providing solutions in the areas of innovation,
energy, migration, education and demography, in particular. All of this must facilitate
growth and the ability to create jobs.
38 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
New challenges are appearing in relation to the environment, such as CO2 emissions, the
use of pesticides, concerns about clean water reserves and sources, the protection of soil
and agriculture. Last but not least, there are also challenges concerning health and epidemics,
as well as fighting obesity, cardiovascular diseases and the growing occurrence of all types
Ladies and gentlemen, globalisation brings further challenges in the areas of security and
migration, and there is a growing danger relating to criminality and terrorism. Very soon
we will witness the fall of the last remains of the Iron Curtain and the divided Europe when
nine new Member States join the Schengen area. We have to do everything possible to
guard this common area comprehensively so that illegal migrants, who aggravate the
security situation in the Member States, cannot get in. On the other hand, I am advocating
a responsible approach in the area of work permits for legal migrants: we must think about
it properly and we must choose qualified employees for the employment sectors most in
I also believe that the older Member States of the European Union – and I would like the
Commission to take note of this – will do away with the nonsensical restrictions on the
employment of citizens from the new Member States. In today’s situation this is an
Tokia Saïfi (PPE-DE) . – (FR) Madam President, the European Union cannot let itself
become a victim of globalisation or give its people the impression that they are caught up
in something they cannot influence. So the question now is not whether globalisation is
good or bad: it is whether we are prepared to bring our own weight to bear on it and to
regulate it. To face that challenge, the European Union needs to reconcile competitiveness
and economic and social cohesion. Strengthening multilateral rules is part of the process.
In an open economic system, the best way of ensuring that consumers’ and citizens’ right
are respected is by observing the rules of competition and establishing a fair and equitable
market, reflecting environmental and social standards. Therefore, until we have a set of
rules that are internationally recognised, it is crucial that we retain and do not water down
our existing trade defence instruments, which are our only effective tools against dumping.
And yes, it is possible for Europe to protect its citizens without being protectionist. Europe
also needs to invest in those sectors that will determine its economic clout in the future:
namely research, innovation and the development of clean technologies.
Furthermore, in order to support those who have most difficulty in benefiting from
globalisation, Europe needs to step up its arrangements for putting solidarity into practice,
for example through the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and flexisecurity. It is
in Europe’s interest, in terms of coping with international competition, to anticipate
adaptation and to embark on reform. The European Union possesses all the necessary
capabilities and resources to meet the challenge.
Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE-DE). – (FI) Madam President, success in globalisation is vital
for European prosperity: it is the producer of its material content. Now that the three-year
cycle for the renewed Lisbon Strategy is coming to an end, we need to focus attention on
the external dimension in particular. I wish in particular to highlight three elements.
Firstly, energy, its supply and sufficiency, raises and lowers the position of societies in the
global competitive environment. The situation in Europe does not seem to be a happy one.
The decline in energy self-sufficiency is a serious challenge for the EU. Even now we import
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 39
half of our energy from outside the EU and dependence on imports is predicted to grow.
In addition to making a determined effort to increase energy self-sufficiency, we need a
strong foreign policy on energy, a common voice, solidarity and security of imports.
The second central issue is climate change, a global phenomenon, which is having a negative
global impact on the environment, the economy and society, and which calls for global
solutions. Unilateral actions distort competition and cause carbon leakage. The following
assume prominence where globalisation is concerned: the inevitability of a global emissions
trading scheme, the compulsory commitment to such an idea on the part of all industrialised
countries and rising economies, and the removal of barriers to market access for clean
Thirdly, the EU should always remember Schuman’s brilliance, i.e. that in our success story
the economy would be made to serve common objectives, the human good, peace and
stability. Our cultural tradition obliges us to strive for a more human world which respects
human rights. Only then can globalisation be in the interests of everyone. Only then will
we prevent the world from slipping out of our hands.
Panayiotis Demetriou (PPE-DE). – (EL) Madam President, President-in-Office of the
Council, Commissioner, European citizens generally seem to be greeting the historic
phenomenon of globalisation with scepticism – many of them, indeed, with fear and an
entirely negative attitude. This is because of the revolution taking place in the global
economy and the social fabric of Europe. Prejudice, fear and above all inaction and passive
observation of developments are, however, no way to face the new order on the world
stage. The situation cannot be reversed. Globalisation is here to stay, whether we like it or
not. The great global village is being built, as President Barroso said.
The EU has European interests to protect. It must therefore become involved in a methodical,
planned, collective and dynamic manner in the globalisation process, in order to develop
proper rules of operation in the new world system. The EU must move forward; it must
aim for the wellbeing both of European citizens, of course, and of world citizens. As a
commonwealth of principles and values, the EU must give pride of place to its
human-centred character and promote it internationally. It must convert economic
competition into genuine emulation to promote freedom, democracy, the principle of
legality, social justice, respect for human rights, environmental protection and the peaceful
coexistence of nations and individuals. This is the role that the EU can and must play in
the process of globalisation.
Marianne Thyssen (PPE-DE). – (NL) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, this debate
comes none too soon. Globalisation is a fact. Every generation has its own challenges, so
they say. Well, the challenge for us is to respond as best we can to the new circumstances
brought about by globalisation.
The best response is of course not to resist globalisation – as some would still have us do.
We cannot and we do not seek to. That would in any case be particularly counterproductive
for us in Europe since more than anyone we depend on the rest of the world for raw
materials, energy, markets to sell what we produce and even, given our ageing population,
Our response must be to go along with globalisation and shape it better. That means
concluding agreements and setting rules internationally. As Europe, we are well schooled
40 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
in concluding intra-Community agreements. So let us use this experience to give more of
a lead internationally.
We should do that, Madam President, with the necessary self-confidence and inspired by
the values which also inspire our actions within the EU, the values we have expressed so
well in the Reform Treaty and Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday's assurance that the Commission Legislative and Work
Programme 2008 is focused on the desire to shape globalisation to best effect is a good
sign, a sign that things are getting serious. The fact that globalisation was also a topic
discussed at the informal Lisbon summit indicates that the Lisbon Strategy needs a new
As group coordinator on the Lisbon Strategy I would emphasise that this strategy has
galvanised us into action. Gradually, in fits and starts, we are now getting somewhere. The
first three-year cycle following the mid-term review has almost ended and maybe a new
adjustment is needed. I would suggest, Madam President, that from now on we focus less
on targets, percentages and statistics and more on the real objectives: innovation, a good
business climate, competitiveness, growth, and more and better jobs.
Ultimately we must work towards the goal which hopefully we all share, namely good
chances of a decent quality of life for as many people as possible.
Zuzana Roithová (PPE-DE). – (CS) Europe’s ability in the past to cope with the modern
age has to be admired, but when it comes to globalisation we are not sure how to find an
adequate strategy that would enable Europe to play a key role. The first step in this search
is to understand that the Lisbon Strategy lacks an external dimension and that it will have
to become a part of a more complex economic and social strategy. This strategy should
properly identify the conflict between the highly regulated European economy and
liberalised global trade, and should give us a tool to minimise this conflict, which makes
Europe much less competitive.
The two reasons that justify regulation inside a common economic area are fair competition
and a high level of consumer protection. However, both of these are being increasingly
eroded by floods of cheap goods from third countries and counterfeit items. We are facing
frightening tasks, such as checks on the gigantic volume of imported goods that do not
comply with European safety standards.
The key point of our complex strategy must be to promote the convergence of regulatory
mechanisms, in other words the creation of global rules and standards, not only technical
but also ecological, social and safety rules and standards. One way to help this process is
to insist constantly on respect for human rights in third countries. Freedom of speech will
enable the citizens of these countries to demand higher living and working standards, and
thus contribute to convergence from the other side.
Our new energy policy provides a good response to the challenge of globalisation and sets
a good example. However, we need to revise other policies, too, which will subsequently
become part of an appropriate and complex strategy for the managing globalisation. We
have to do away with relicts such as the agricultural policy, for example.
If we want to continue to be an important player on the global stage, we must not just
react: we must actively cooperate in setting up global convergence rules both within and
outside the EU. Europe must change slightly. If not, we can expect to meet the fate of the
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 41
boiled frog: the water will come to the boil very gradually and then it will be to late to leap
out of the pot.
Hans-Peter Martin (NI). – (DE) Madam President, one of the previous speakers,
Alexander Radwan, said that Europe was well prepared for globalisation, yet the modern-day
version of globalisation has already been with us for eighteen years. We, meanwhile, are
sliding straight from the globalisation trap – the talk of what used to be, the reversal of
mass prosperity and the onslaught against democracy – into the European trap, a product
of the political original sin of failing to secure a decent treaty back in Nice, where overhasty
enlargement was preferred to deeper union.
As a result, the core of today’s problems consists in bureaucracy, wastage of billions of
euros and – yes – mistakes in the political recruitment of Europe’s elites. Indeed, you
yourself, Commissioner Verheugen, are a case in point. The despicable personal attacks
on you began when you tried to bring the bureaucracy under control. Now there is a new
man, and they are already trying to pull the carpet from under his feet. We shall see what
progress he manages to make on red tape.
This is no way to proceed. If we cannot cure these ills, the Union will remain in the grip of
political paralysis, and the challenges of globalisation will defeat us.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council. − (PT) Madam President, Mr
Vice-President of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, this has indeed been a long and
full debate, and of all those I have taken part in here on behalf of the Presidency, this one
had the longest list of participants and Members to have given their opinion. This is clearly
a highly topical issue of major importance, but let there be no illusions that it is also a
difficult and controversial one that has generated a broad variety of opinions, analyses and
comments. I take there to be a common conclusion, however, which is that globalisation
is here to stay and to develop and to manifest itself in new ways.
There is no turning back, there are no steps backward, we cannot reverse history.
Globalisation itself is the result of our march towards the future. What we must do, what
we must analyse and what we must decide naturally concerns how to make the most of
and get the greatest benefit from globalisation, while reducing or eliminating all the known
risks associated with it and always bearing in mind – a very important point for me – that
globalisation must be at the service of humankind and citizens rather than the other way
round. It is not humankind, citizens or human beings who must be at the service of
There is also little doubt that to be able to make the most of and take full advantage of what
globalisation has to offer, we in Europe must equip our enterprises, whether large or small
and medium-sized, with tools and policies enabling them to face the challenges of economic
globalisation. We must raise qualifications and train European citizens and we must also
reform our social model. It is not a question of reducing or weakening that model, quite
the contrary in fact. We must reinforce it and adapt it so that it can successfully meet the
challenges and threats that globalisation raises. In the environmental field it must be
recognised that the European Union has proved itself in protecting the environment, and
it has proved its capacity to lead and point the way to the future like no other regional bloc
in the world has done. The negotiations that will begin in Bali in December will clearly
42 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Finally, I must also refer to the ‘external dimension’ of the Lisbon Strategy, which is so
closely linked to globalisation. The idea is to invite others who share this pathway, these
difficulties and these challenges of globalisation to share economic, social and environmental
values and principles with us, and naturally to make it very clear that globalisation will be
successful for everyone only if we can actually agree on a social, economic and
environmental world which is truly regulated for and at the service of all. This aspect is
fundamental. Let us not be naïve, ladies and gentlemen. We believe that with solid policies,
solid principles and solid values, we can as I have said really achieve what is a fundamental
objective for us: globalisation at the service of humanity.
Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the Commission . − (DE) Madam President, ladies
and gentlemen, the Communication from the Commission on the European interest that
has served as the basis for today’s debate is nothing more than a kind of discussion paper.
It is not the Lisbon plan for the next three years. It is a document which is intended to
stimulate discussion in the European Council and the European Parliament, so that the
Commission can feed the results of that discussion into its proposals for the next Lisbon
cycle. These proposals will not be made until December. They are not yet on the table, and
so those honourable Members who criticised the Commission for not having presented
any tangible proposals were labouring under a misapprehension.
That is not what today’s debate was about. The Commission’s aim was to find out what
you, the representatives of the European voters, have to bring to the Commission’s attention
for the formulation of the Lisbon plan. I am pleased to say that I can respond favourably
to much of what has been said here.
The guidelines will remain the core instrument of the new Lisbon package. As President
Barroso made clear, the instrument has worked, and we shall not change the instrument
as such, but it will, of course, be formulated so as to enable us to take due account of the
experiences of the past three years and to attach greater weight to the issues that have come
to the fore during that period.
Let me cite a few examples. We shall have to place greater emphasis on the connections
between competitiveness, energy and the environment. There have been several requests
to that effect in today’s debate. That is entirely correct. It is time to stop considering policies
in isolation. We need a fully joined-up approach. We must attach greater importance to
the formulation of firm proposals designed to ensure that global competition, which is
certainly what we want, takes place on a level playing field with the same rules for everyone.
We must devote more attention to finding ways for social policy to underpin structural
change. In today’s debate, there seemed to be a cross-party view that this is the real big
issue, and indeed that view is justified.
Let me say something on that subject. I believe it is wrong to see investments in social
stability and social security as nothing more than charitable handouts. On the contrary,
they are also investments in economic potential, for there can surely be no doubt that
Europe’s economic potential depends on a highly motivated and highly efficient labour
force, and the reason why we possess this asset is that we have high wage levels and a high
level of social security.
It is not the case that economic growth and social welfare are mutually incompatible. In
actual fact, as several speakers have said today, each complements and nurtures the other.
I regard that as a major consideration. I should also point out that, if only because more
and more regions and sectors are suffering from a lack of trained and skilled labour, the
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 43
question of employability must be addressed far more forcefully than hitherto. So I believe
we are on the same wavelength in many of these matters.
The Commission, let me add, shares the view that the turbulence we have recently been
experiencing in the financial markets calls for international, multilateral action. Things
cannot simply be allowed to run their course because what we have here, as has been said,
is an inbuilt structural defect in the international financial system. It is not about human
error on the part of those managers who are now being put out to grass with severance
packages worth 100 to 200 million dollars; no, it is the result of a structural defect.
I would like to make another three brief comments on the keynote debate that has taken
place here today on the subject of globalisation. Firstly, it is so difficult to forge a common
European policy on the basis of this debate because there is no agreement as to what the
European interest actually is. In our everyday work, in fact, we are constantly confronted
with a kaleidoscopic definition of Europe’s interests. Depending on the situation at any
given time, Europe’s interest may lie in low supermarket prices in one Member State or in
a high level of industrial employment in another, and this is a conflict of aims which is not
easily resolved. Europe’s interest may lie in a high level of employment in the steel industry
in Liège, to cite a very topical example, or in high environmental standards in European
emissions trading. We are continually faced with these conflicts, and there is no uniform
line that 27 Member States can follow in order to define their common European interest.
Secondly, we cannot adopt the attitude that globalisation was fine as long as it meant the
poor countries of the South being dominated by the rich countries of the North, that it
was good as long as those circumstances obtained but is bad when the countries of the
South become competitors. That is no way to react. Nor is it acceptable to come up with
demands for high environmental and social standards in the developing regions while
refusing to change our own policies.
What I am hearing in Europe today is that China and India must change their environmental
and social standards. So they must, of course, but the Chinese and Indians perceive such
demands as pure European protectionism, as we rose to prosperity with the aid of low
social standards and low environmental standards, and now we are telling others that we
want to keep what we have but that they cannot have the same.
Such a policy, ladies and gentlemen, is doomed to failure, I can assure you. The only viable
approach for us is to demonstrate to these developing economies that there is another
way, that it is possible to turn the environmental and social challenge into an economic
opportunity. Hence the term ‘environmental industrial policy’.
I believe we are largely in agreement on that point, and against that backdrop the
Commission will now work hard to present its proposals for the next Lisbon cycle. These
will then be dealt with at the spring meeting of the Council in March, which gives the
European Parliament ample opportunity to voice its opinion on the specific initiatives and
proposals before the final decision is taken in March of next year.
President. – Thank you for the summing-up, Commissioner.
I have received seven motions for resolution in accordance with Article 103(2) of the Rules
The debate is closed.
44 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
The vote will take place tomorrow at 12 noon.
(Abbreviated in accordance with Rule 142 of the Rules of Procedure)
Edit Herczog (PSE), in writing. – (HU) Mr President, Council, Commission, ladies and
gentlemen, the consequence of developing globalisation is that more and more countries
become democratic and switch on to free global trade. As such, it shows the success of
Europe’s half-century policy of peace and democracy. On the other hand, the fact that
some countries sometimes gain an advantage in international trade by using illegal
instruments is a sign that the switch-over to constitutionality is gradual and is not perfect
immediately. It is for precisely this reason that Europe’s goal should continue to be the
promotion and reinforcement of democracy.
How successful we will be in the global competition arising from this depends on us. As
the author of the Parliament’s report on globalisation, I know that we have recognised the
challenges, and it is time for action.
We must think about the fact that the prosperity we have today should remain for our
grandchildren, and in such a way that in the meantime the other peoples of the world
should develop in this way. Will they have energy? Will they have an inhabitable
environment? This is what the European energy policy and the building of a ‘low-carbon’
economy are about.
We must ensure that every person in Europe, irrespective of their origin and situation, and
every business, irrespective of their size and registered office, can develop all their talents
and their best abilities. This is what equal opportunities, the building of a knowledge-based
society, innovation policy and the new European SME policy are about.
We must switch over to the digital age, for which we must implement e-inclusion in all
areas and for everyone.
In short, we have all the tools ready; we just have to do it. Let us get to work!
Janusz Lewandowski (PPE-DE), in writing. – (PL) Globalisation is an unstoppable
process, but the success of the European Union in this globalisation is not a foregone
conclusion. For certain, the Lisbon Strategy, implemented as it has been so far, is no recipe
for success. In fact, it is just a paper strategy and even at the halfway stage, in 2005, it was
clear that the main objective, which was the race against the USA in the areas of
competitiveness and innovation, had not been achieved.
In the meantime other challenges have presented themselves in the form of the economic
offensive from China, India and other Asian countries. So far, the multitude of sensible
objectives have hidden the fact that there is not the political courage to undertake structural
reforms at national level, which is the level at which the possibility of an innovative and
dynamic Europe is decided. Due to the lack of this courage, the European Union is looking
for replacement solutions. For example, by placing its hope in a radical change in the
Community budget, meaning increasing public expenditure on research and development.
This is not enough if it does not go hand in hand with an ability to take risks together with
support for innovative companies from the private financial sector.
A solution in the form of the European Institute of Technology illustrates the tendency
towards institutional solutions, while the Globalisation Adjustment Fund shows the extent
of exaggerated European concerns. The proper response to the challenge of globalisation
is full market liberalisation and courageous reform of the European social model.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 45
Joseph Muscat (PSE), in writing . – In order to succeed in this era of globalisation, the
European Union needs to develop a Foreign Direct Investment Policy for Europe.
We need a policy to cover:
- Incoming Foreign Direct Investment, that is direct investment into the European Union
and originating anywhere else in the world;
- Outgoing Foreign Direct Investment, that is direct investment anywhere in the world
originating in the European Union; and
- Internal Foreign Direct Investment, that is direct investment in any European Union
Member State originating in any other European Union Member State.
It is true that we have elements of such a policy, such as the Seventh Framework Programme,
which provides the conditions to attract research and development investment.
But this is only one part, albeit an important one, of the story.
Facts and figures show the immense importance of foreign direct investment in today’s
world economy, or Europe’s foreign direct investment position in relation to the rest of
These facts show that if we are to put any real strength in the Lisbon goals, we need an
overall FDI Policy for Europe to reap the maximum benefits of FDI for our people.
Alexander Stubb (PPE-DE), in writing . – Nowadays Europeans don't find it at all strange
to backpack in Latin America, chat online with friends from Africa and order cds from US.
Because of globalisation, the world is shrinking. Especially the young generation regards
Europe as the backyard and the globe as just the hometown.
Still the term globalisation has a bad ring to it. A common fear is that due to globalisation,
countries with low labour costs will deprive Europe of jobs.
The EU has a significant role in changing these attitudes. And it has - by proving that
together the member states are strong enough to not only survive globalisation but even
gain from it. As mentioned in the statement, Europe is the worlds' largest exporter of goods
and services and the second largest destination of foreign direct investment. And talking
about employment: in 2006 altogether 3,5 million new jobs were created!
Sure, there are things to improve: Europe's innovation policy would do with a boosting,
global market regulation is needed and climate change prevention should not be only
Europe's problem. Still, all in all, I have no doubt that the EU will pass the test of
globalisation with flying colours.
IN THE CHAIR: Edward McMILLAN-SCOTT
3. Voting time
President. − The next item is the vote.
(For the results and other details on the vote: see Minutes)
46 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
3.1. The regional impact of earthquakes (vote)
– Report: Nikolaos Vakalis (A6-0388/2007)
3.2. The European Union and Humanitarian Aid (vote)
- Report: Thierry Cornillet (A6-0372/2007)
3.3. Protection of soil (vote)
− Report: Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines (A6-0410/2007)
3.4. European insurance and occupational pensions committee (implementing
powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0236/2007)
– Before the vote:
Pervenche Berès (PSE), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President, we are about to vote on nine
reports. In fact, the six that follow will be in the same vein. This is all about implementing
the agreement on comitology procedure that was so impressively concluded among the
three institutions. What we are engaged in here is the necessary practical follow-through
and we need the support of this House, following the long and fruitful negotiations between
the Council and the Commission.
3.5. Transparency requirements in relation to information about issuers of securities
(implementing powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0418/2007)
3.6. Capital adequacy of investment firms and credit institutions (implementing
powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0419/2007)
3.7. The taking up and pursuit of the business of credit institutions (implementing
powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0420/2007)
3.8. Life assurance (implementing powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0421/2007)
3.9. Supervision of credit institutions, insurance undertakings and investment firms
(implementing powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0422/2007)
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 47
3.10. Insider dealing and market manipulation (implementing powers conferred
on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0423/2007)
3.11. Markets in financial instruments (implementing powers conferred on the
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0424/2007)
3.12. Prospectus on securities (implementing powers conferred on the Commission)
− Report: Pervenche Berès (A6-0425/2007)
3.13. Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across
borders (Schengen Borders Code) (implementing powers conferred to the
− Report: Michael Cashman (A6-0289/2007)
3.14. Deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms
(implementing powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Gyula Hegyi (A6-0292/2007)
– Before the vote:
Gyula Hegyi (PSE), rapporteur . – Mr President, I do not want to steal my colleagues’ time,
but as we did not have a plenary debate and we have reached the first reading discussion,
I would like to inform you about the basic elements of the new legislation on GMOs.
The compromise package gives Parliament the right to control the deliberate release of
GMOs. Parliamentary control means transparency on this sensitive issue. The
Eurobarometer opinion poll showed that, with regard to GMOs, 94% of our citizens want
the right to choose, 86% want to know more before consuming GMOs and 71% simply
do not want GMO food. That is why our greatest success is that the Council and the
Commission have agreed to Parliamentary control of the implementation of the labelling
requirements of GMOs.
I wish to thank the shadow rapporteurs, the Commission and the Portuguese Presidency.
Having greater openness on genetically modified organisms makes Europe more democratic.
3.15. Placing on the market of biocidal products (implementing powers conferred
on the Commission (vote)
− Report: Åsa Westlund (A6-0344/2007)
48 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
3.16. Statutory audit of annual accounts and consolidated accounts (implementing
powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Bert Doorn (A6-0374/2007)
3.17. International accounting standards (implementing powers conferred on the
- Report: Manuel Medina Ortega (A6-0370/2007)
3.18. Prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering and terrorist
financing (implementing powers conferred on the Commission) (vote)
− Report: Philip Bradbourn (A6-0225/2007)
3.19. 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP) (vote)
− Report: Jean-Marie Cavada (A6-0417/2007)
3.20. International accounting standards (IFRS 8) (vote)
− Motion for a resolution (B6-0437/2007)
3.21. Application of the international accounting standards (vote)
– Motion for a resolution (B6-0438/2007)
3.22. EU-Russia summit (vote)
− Joint motion for a resolution: EU-Russia summit (RC-B6-0434/2007)
– Before the vote:
Konrad Szymański (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, I would like to draw your attention to
the fact that, following the discussion on the compromise version of this resolution, we
had precisely 16 minutes to submit amendments and to review the results of our work. I
believe that this undermines the rights of every Member of this House and every political
group in this House to be able freely to influence the texts of our resolutions, including by
I would ask that this situation should not be allowed to reoccur in the future.
– Before the vote on amendment 1:
Ria Oomen-Ruijten, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (NL) Mr President, I would like to
propose the following amendment to Paragraph 6. This will require a split vote. The first
sentence should be changed to read:
‘emphasises that the situation in Chechnya continues to be a point of dissent in the relations
between the EU and Russia’
(NL) replacing the text as it currently stands. The rapporteur is in agreement.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 49
( The oral amendment was accepted)
– Before the vote on paragraph 23
Ria Oomen-Ruijten, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (NL) Mr President, we must allow
the realities to speak for themselves, and the summit on Siberian overflights. This has not
taken place, so we ask that the reference to it in the text be replaced by a reference to the
(The oral amendment was accepted.)
– Before the vote on recital O:
Hannes Swoboda, on behalf of the PSE Group . – Mr President, we speak about frozen
conflicts. We mention two conflicts – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – but I would like, on
behalf of my Group, to introduce after ‘frozen conflict’ the phrase ‘such as Transnistria’,
so that Transnistria is also mentioned in Recital O.
Marianne Mikko, on behalf of the PSE Group . – Mr President, Mr Swoboda has already
informed you of our amendment, which was about Transnistria.
(The oral amendment was accepted.)
3.23. Report on the deliberations of the Committee on Petitions during the year
- Report: Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo (A6-0392/2007)
President. − That concludes the vote.
4. Membership of political groups
President. − I have today received letters from Ms Daniela Buruiană-Aprodu and Mr
Cristian Stănescu announcing their decision to leave the ITS Group. Parliament takes note
of this decision with effect from today, 14 November 2007.
Taken together with the announcements already made this week concerning three Members
leaving the group, I conclude that the number of members of the ITS Group has now fallen
below the minimum of 20 Members required to form a political group laid down by Rule
Parliament therefore takes note of the fact that the ITS Group no longer fulfils the conditions
of the Rules of Procedure for the formation of a Group. As a consequence, the group ceases
to exist with effect from the moment of this announcement.
Hans-Peter Martin (NI). – (DE) Mr President, I should like to bring to your notice that,
when I, like many other Members, was applauding your last announcement, Jean-Marie
Le Pen made this hand gesture, signifying (EN) ‘Fuck you!’ (DE) directly at me. May I ask
you to check that on the video recording. I believe such an action really must have
consequences. I find it appalling that anyone should behave towards me in such a downright
50 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
President. − Thank you, Mr Martin, I did not see it myself, but I take note of your point.
5. Explanations of vote
- Report: Vakalis (A6-0388/2007)
Den Dover (PPE-DE), in writing . − Conservatives have supported the Vakalis report but
have grave reservations about paragraphs 16 and 17. We believe that both prevention and
rapid reaction capabilities in relation to earthquakes should be concentrated on the resources
of the Member States and do not support ‘the establishment of a European Civil Protection
Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing . − I am in favour of this report on the regional impact of
earthquakes. As a geologist and oceanographer – in fact my thesis was on the seismicity
of the mid-Atlantic ridge from 12°N to 20°S. I am all too well aware that the United
Kingdom is almost immune. According to records in the UK, only one person has died as
the result of an earthquake and that was in the mid-seventeenth century. Yet across Europe
the same is not true, with thousands killed, and massive devastation across the centuries
from Lisbon to Sarajevo.
Part of my own constituency, Gloucestershire, was devastated by floods in July that caused
billions of euros of damage to road and rail, hospitals and schools, water treatment plants
and power stations. We are likely to get assistance from the European Solidarity Fund. I
hope it will not prove necessary, but if it does Europe must prove willing to assist nations,
regions and committee hit by earthquakes.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) As has been pointed out, the whole of
southern Europe is delimited by the edge of two tectonic plates that cross the Mediterranean
and go on through the Atlantic Ocean via some of the Azores Islands, which means that
earthquakes are one of the most frequent natural disasters in this region.
This EP report contains a variety of concerns and proposals that we appreciate, particularly
when it recognises that the outermost regions suffer these phenomena regularly, or when
it points to the need, among other things, to support national action in terms of prevention,
response and repairing damage, public information, scientific research, civil protection
and solidarity at Community level.
As far as coordination is concerned, the report proposes cooperation between Member
States and between the latter and third countries to implement the measures referred to.
However, despite supporting the creation of a ‘European Civil Protection Force’ as a
‘centralised prevention and management instrument’ – a policy we disagree with – it states
that this ‘only makes sense on the basis of improved national civil protection schemes, and
of better instruments for coordination between Member States’, which in our opinion
raises the question again as it should be raised.
Andrzej Jan Szejna (PSE), in writing. − (PL) Our fellow member Mr Cornillet has
presented us with a very thorough report, noting that earthquakes have a negative impact
on social and economic cohesion in the regions.
We should remember that severe earthquakes also occur frequently in the countries and
regions of the European Union, especially in southern Europe and by the Mediterranean
Sea. For this reason we need to ensure that the necessary prevention and rapid reaction
capabilities are in place to deal with any such disaster.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 51
It is important to initiate social education and information campaigns throughout the EU
and to provide education and training to the staff of the relevant technical authorities in
the Member States, and this should include training at regional and local levels as well as
for all the specialists involved in earthquakes. In addition we must take into account the
role to be played by the many national, regional and local authorities and ensure that
instructions exist for effective protection of essential infrastructure, such as access to
telecommunications infrastructure, power networks, hospitals, bridges, ports, airports
and so on.
In future, cohesion policy should give thorough consideration to the damage caused by
earthquakes and this should be taken into account in the framework of a new financial
instrument for the protection of the population.
I also believe that issues of coordination, cooperation and flexibility in the activities of
authorities at Community, national, regional and local levels should be included in the
debate, as these create considerable problems when dealing with natural disasters.
- Report: Cornillet (A6-0372/2007)
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE-DE). – (LT) Today we have voted in favour of the
resolution, drawn up on basis of the report by Mr Cornillet, on a European Consensus on
Humanitarian Aid. I would like to thank the rapporteur and confirm once again my approval
of this important document.
We are well aware of the fact that the European Union – and here I am thinking of the
Commission and the Member States – is the leading provider of humanitarian aid. The EU
contribution for 2006 amounted to only EUR 2 billion. I completely agree with the opinion
that the EU should determine where to set the limit for the new level of humanitarian aid.
On the other hand, the EU has to define its position in view of the new international
initiatives and the implementation of the reform initiated by the United Nations. As a
member of the Committee on Budgets, I would like to point out the third problem that
the EU needs to solve, namely improving the coordination of Community and Member
States’ resources with a view to making them easily accessible for the victims of
I hope that Parliament’s concrete and precise position will facilitate the achievement of
our common objectives and help find consensus on the subject of humanitarian aid.
Koenraad Dillen (NI). – (NL) Mr President, I am glad to hear there is a European consensus
on humanitarian aid and of course no reasonable person objects to aid for countries that
do really need it. But we must also be honest and admit that there is manifestly no European
consensus on a code of conduct as regards dictators.
The UK’s intention to boycott the EU-Africa summit if Mugabe attends is simply being
ignored by other Member States, and humanitarian tragedies – as we all know – very often
arise as a result of wars or criminal misrule, as is the case in Zimbabwe. The enduring truth
is that Africa is the scene of bloody conflicts and that Africans spend more on arms than
they receive in development aid.
It is equally true that states with a democratic system, where rulers and government are
not above the law, hardly ever go to war with one another. If dictators like Mugabe are
allowed to take part in a European summit, that totally undermines Europe’s credibility
52 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
on human rights and democracy. It is because of this ambivalence that I abstained in the
vote on the Cornillet report.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) Irrespective of our support for various
aspects of humanitarian aid which are stressed in the report, we cannot endorse a ‘consensus’
on the EU's principles, objectives and strategies for the delivery of humanitarian aid in third
countries that calls for the promotion of ‘the right, or indeed the duty, of intervention in
cases of serious violation of IHL and/or human rights’, considering that ‘coercive measures,
including military intervention, may only be used as ‘a last resort’. We know the results of
such a policy of ‘good intentions’, i.e. the aggression and military occupation of Iraq by
the USA and its allies and the resulting hundreds of thousands of deaths.
As has been said, so-called ‘humanitarian intervention’ very often conceals other real
objectives that use and manipulate it according to the interests and unscrupulous
calculations of the major powers and multinationals, calling the basic principles of
international law into question.
We believe that the resolution of the serious problems affecting millions of human beings
involves, among other things, respect for the sovereignty of all peoples and countries, the
peaceful resolution of international conflicts, meeting the urgent needs of the economically
poorest countries on a basis of friendship and solidarity, and their effective development.
Bogusław Liberadzki (PSE), in writing. − (PL) The rapporteur Thierry Cornillet is right
to emphasise the need for the Community and the Member States to extend the debate on
political strategies in humanitarian operations to the relevant Council forum by creating
a new special working group. The creation of such a group (e.g. COHUMA, that is, the
working group of the Council on Humanitarian Aid) would help to develop coherent
methods that would enable rapid and systematic activities in this area.
It was also quite right to point out that the frequency of natural disasters has increased and
that their effects are becoming increasingly significant, which means there is a need to
For these reasons I agree with the proposal that the EU should increase its rapid reaction
capabilities. The readiness and ability to react will certainly follow on from improvements
in coordination and early warning mechanisms as well as stores of appropriate materials
and reserves on the international level.
Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) Humanitarian aid is often very difficult to deliver
because of adverse circumstances or security problems. This makes good harmonisation
and coordination of aid activities all the more important. Efforts to achieve that objective,
however, must not in any way be used as a pretext to make European institutions even
more bloated, nor can either an EU civil-defence agency nor an EU rapid-response force
provide effective protection in the event of natural disasters.
Moreover, consideration must be given to yesterday’s criticism from the Court of Auditors,
which identified a ‘material level of errors’ in various areas, including the EUR 5.2-billion
budget for food aid, humanitarian aid and the part-funding of non-governmental
organisations. Since the present report, in my view, is not a suitable basis for the resolution
of all these problems, I have voted against it.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 53
Geoffrey Van Orden (PPE-DE), in writing . − As a strong supporter of humanitarian aid
projects when they are timely, well targeted and effectively resourced, I voted in favour of
the report on humanitarian aid.
However, I have serious objections to many of the formulations that are used. It is
unfortunate that there are references to the so-called Reform Treaty – the revived EU
Constitution – to which I am fundamentally opposed. It is unrealistic to imagine that
humanitarian aid can be free of all political considerations; the report itself is a very political
document, advancing the EU agenda.
In any case, priorities, scale of assistance, and delivery of aid in a way that avoids the clutches
of abhorrent regimes are all political questions. Apart from many other objections to EU
involvement in military matters, it is a distraction from a clear focus on humanitarian aid.
The EU is not a unique humanitarian actor. It should focus on adding value to the
humanitarian efforts of our nations through improved coordination of effort in particular
areas and in ensuring that there is proper control of its resources and evaluation of their
- Report: Gutiérrez-Cortines (A6-0410/2007)
Hans-Peter Mayer (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, I regard this Framework Directive
for Soil Protection as a serious mistake which jeopardises the competitiveness of European
agriculture and food supplies in Europe. What image do the supporters of this directive
actually have of our farmers? Let me tell you: they believe that we need a fat bureaucratic
directive, that we need to map 420 million hectares of farmland, wield the threat of
horrendous fines and finally create priority areas for soil protection before farmers will
take proper care of their soils.
I say to you, however, that this image is completely divorced from reality. Soil is a farmer’s
most precious asset. Any farmer who does not treat his soil with care will not be a farmer
for long. Most of the soils in the EU are cared for; they are worth preserving and are nurtured
by our farmers. I regard this directive as an example of ivory-tower bureaucracy, and I hope
we can rectify this mistake quickly before any serious damage is inflicted on our agriculture.
Péter Olajos (PPE-DE). – (HU) Thank you, Mr President. As the MDF MEP, I have voted
in favour of the creation of the European Soil Protection Directive because I am convinced
that it is necessary. Without an appropriate amount of good-quality soil, European
agriculture too will be jeopardised. I trust that, if this legislation is created, an opportunity
will open up for us to work using Union resources on cleaning soil from pollution and
protecting its quality.
However, at this point I would like to draw the attention of the Member States to the fact
that this is possible only if the Member States also take their duties seriously. In my home
country, for example, the action mostly amounts to the preparation of plans, and their
implementation drags along. There is a national remedial programme in Hungary, but not
a word about consistent implementation of it. The government does not guarantee the
necessary resources. EUR 18 million is earmarked for the future, which is risible in
comparison with the scale of the problem. At this rate, we would need more than 220
years to finish cleaning up the soil pollution we know about today. Let us be more serious,
please! Thank you.
Anja Weisgerber (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, I voted to reject the Commission’s
proposal. The proposal breaches the principle of subsidiarity. Soil has no cross-border
54 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
aspects, which is why this matter can be regulated equally well or even better in the Member
States than at European level. Many countries already have soil protection legislation. The
Commission’s proposal takes scant account of that.
In the final vote I also voted against the report and most of the compromises, although I
do believe that the report adopted by Parliament is a marked improvement on the
Commission’s proposal. There were improvements, for example, with regard to the
identification of potentially contaminated sites. The redraft offers greater flexibility in the
application of the criteria enumerated in Annex II. In general, however, there are still many
provisions that make this directive an elaborate bureaucratic and expensive instrument.
One good thing is that the criteria listed in Annex I will at least be non-binding now.
Another is that the directive recognises the special character of agricultural land use. The
cons outweigh the pros, however. On the question of funding, for example, we ought to
have spelled out more clearly that the Soil Protection Directive will have no impact on the
Community budget and that no new funds will be set up to implement the directive. Only
the existing support mechanisms are to be used.
For these reasons I have voted against the directive, and I hope that the Council will now
make the necessary corrections.
Zuzana Roithová (PPE-DE). – (CS) Mr President, some time ago this Parliament asked
the Commission for a directive on soil protection. Commissioner Dimas gave it to us five
years later. We do not need it any more, and that is no secret. We have other Directives on
the protection of specific, transnational problems relating to soil. The Commission ignores
the fact that many countries – and the Czech Republic is one example – have their own
legislation and good systems in place to protect soil from further erosion and degradation.
What some countries (including Flanders) need is a common strategy and enhanced
Thanks to an enormous effort by the rapporteurs, Parliament was able to vote for the
reworked Directive, which will probably not cause too much harm because it will at least
make it possible to maintain national legislation where it already exists. In his presentation
yesterday, the Commissioner did not show any understanding for a sensible solution
painstakingly negotiated by the rapporteur in Parliament. By not being receptive to
Parliament’s hints, the Commissioner is helping to bury his own Directive. He as good as
asked me to vote against his report. I believe that the Council will behave in a similar
Czesław Adam Siekierski (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, I am convinced that the clauses
that we have approved are absolutely necessary and that they will help to improve the state
of the environment and also people’s health. The soil is a finite and non-renewable natural
resource. It deserves special protection because of its social, economic, environmental and
I share the view that soil protection should be subject to regulation at Community level in
order to guarantee a minimum level of protection in all the Member States of the EU.
I look very positively on the proposal to create publicly available national inventories of
polluted locations. An inventory should be drawn up of locations where the soil may have
been contaminated in the past. Guided by the principle of providing assistance, help should
be given to EU Member States to return contaminated soil to cultivation and to assist in
the removal of dangerous compounds that remain in it.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 55
The introduction of proper regulation restricting soil degradation and ensuring sustainable
soil usage, while at the same time returning degraded areas to cultivation will undoubtedly
constitute a step forward as regards protection of the resources of the natural environment.
I also believe it to be particularly important to harmonise legislation in Member States as
regards the issue of soil protection.
Richard Seeber (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, all the Austrian PPE members advocate
an ambitious set of measures to protect soil, but they must be adopted at the right political
level. We consider the proposal and the report to be in clear breach of the principle of
subsidiarity, which is why we have voted against many of the amendments and also against
the report in its entirety.
In spite of the sterling work of the rapporteur, Mrs Gutiérrez, who drew many of the fangs
in the proposal, we take the view that this report overshoots by far the proper bounds of
EU legislation. The Member States should, however, be urged to involve themselves deeply
in this area because soil is the basis of all economic and agricultural activity. It must also
be said that the Member States are responsible for funding their own programmes.
Albert Dess (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, I have voted against this so-called soil
protection directive because I find we lose any credibility if we talk every day about
eliminating red tape and then we create this bureaucratic monster of a directive. Unlike air
and water, soil is not a cross-border issue but a national matter. We need this directive like
a hole in the head. The Commission and President Barroso ought to have withdrawn this
draft. President Barroso speaks eloquently of eliminating red tape, but his actions do not
match his words. Where I come from, people like that are called Dampfplauderer – patter
merchants. For 46 years I have been tilling my soil. My soil is more fertile now than it was
46 years ago. I am all for a European soil protection regulation, but one that protects my
soil from European bureaucracy.
Bogusław Sonik (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, I voted in favour of the directive. The
implementation of the provisions of the directive will allow economic use to be made of
degraded areas, while at the same time protecting greenfield sites from being used for
industrial and commercial purposes. This directive will also make it possible to classify
soils in accordance with an evaluation of their plant and animal production capacity, with
particular attention being paid to the production of high quality food.
I would like to emphasise the importance of preparing a European strategy to recognise
and resolve problems associated with soil degradation. The considerable diversity of
different types of soil means that, irrespective of the steps taken by individual countries, a
European strategy is required, based on prevention and increasing awareness of the need
for protection of the soil as well as a description of existing risk factors, in order to solve
this problem on the European level.
Jan Andersson, Göran Färm, Anna Hedh and Inger Segelström (PSE), in writing. −
(SV) We have chosen to vote in favour of the report even though a number of EU countries
already have fully functioning legislation in the area of soil protection.
We supported Amendments 106, 107, 108 and 110 which read as follows:
‘Member States which already have specific national legislation in place to protect their
soils shall be exempted from the obligations under this Article, on the condition that their
legislation secures at least an equivalent level of protection.’
56 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Even though the directive can be seen as superfluous in certain Member States, we have
hopes that it can bring about an improvement in the large number of Member States which
currently lack functioning legislation for the protection of soil.
We also hope that the Member States which have functioning legislation in this area can
work together with Parliament in the ongoing negotiations to ensure that the directive
does not entail unnecessary duplication of administrative work for them once it has entered
Jens-Peter Bonde (IND/DEM), in writing. − (DA) Carbon storage is of great significance
in connection with the reduction of greenhouse gases. The overexploitation of the soil
involving the combustion of carbon is causing considerable pressure. That is therefore an
issue that requires an international initiative.
The June Movement is therefore in support of the EU’s dealing with soil protection in the
It is very good that the European Parliament has endorsed the examination of the possible
use of the ‘polluter pays’ principle under Article 22, and the assessment of land use under
Article 28, given its great significance in connection with carbon sequestration. Both
proposals are the initiative of Mr Bonde.
Avril Doyle (PPE-DE), in writing . − On balance, I voted in favour of the
Gutiérrez-Cortines report as I believe her text has substantially rewritten the soil proposal
to restore subsidiarity, remove duplication of obligations and introduce a voluntary code
of conduct for agriculture, without imposing further red tape. It also recognises, very
validly, the important role of farmers as the custodians of the soil.
It is important that the soil proposal both protects peatlands as valuable habitats under
threat, while at the same time allows for the appropriate extraction of peat as a raw material.
It is not clear whether Amendment 36 of the Gutiérrez-Cortines report (on the adjustment
of the list of functions in Article 1) allows this and I urge the Commission and or Council
to clarify this in their considerations.
Edite Estrela (PSE), in writing. − (PT) I voted in favour of the Gutiérrez-Cortines report
on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing
a framework for the protection of soil and amending Directive 2004/35/EC because I
consider soils to be a vital resource that must be protected to mitigate the effects of climate
change and to ensure that the activities of future generations can take place in a safe and
I therefore believe that this proposal contributes to effective soil protection insofar as it
defines the objectives on which there is no Community and/or national legislation.
According to their specific situation, however, Member States will have to decide what
their priority measures should be, in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity.
Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) We understand the importance of
protecting soil, firstly for agriculture, which will need to produce more food and will require
more water. Protection of soil is therefore essential to safeguard food production and to
guarantee sufficient clean water for future generations, since the earth has a social function
that no private interest should threaten.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 57
Soil is a platform for human activities, including cities and infrastructure, but also for
nature and landscapes. Its protection is therefore crucial to the preservation of our cultural
heritage and natural resources.
The proposal tabled by the European Commission, however, is not the most appropriate
because of its partial vision, the conditions it imposes and its scant regard for agriculture.
The European Parliament has amended it significantly, with proposals in support of the
principle of subsidiarity, recognising the importance of agriculture and stating that ‘each
Member State, in accordance with its climate, soil characteristics (...) may decide upon its
own agricultural policy in relation to the soil’, and recognising the different approaches
towards soil protection.
It nevertheless retains aspects on which we have reservations. Hence our final vote to
Duarte Freitas (PPE-DE), in writing. − (PT) I consider the existence of a framework
directive on soil protection to be extremely important, since soil is a non-renewable resource
that provides vital services for human activities and the survival of ecosystems, particularly
when climate change is an increasingly worrying issue, and when there is as yet no specific
European legislation on soil protection.
I therefore support the Gutiérrez-Cortines report and vote against all the proposed
amendments that seek to reject the Commission proposal or significantly weaken the
Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (PSE), in writing. − (PL) The proposed framework
directive consolidates legal solutions in the area of soil protection policy that are contained
in a fragmentary way in other legislation relating to waste management, the use of pesticides
and environmental protection. The document proposes not only measures for the protection
and sustainable use of the soil, in order to prevent its degradation by climatic changes, but
also measures to remediate soil that is already degraded.
The framework directive is an instrument that will make it possible, first and foremost, to
take account of the differences in soil in individual EU Member States and will guarantee
flexibility in its implementation. Its objectives are already being achieved, although to
different degrees, on the basis of legislation in individual Member States. On the other
hand, the directive offers a great opportunity to those countries which do not as yet have
any soil protection regulation.
In this regard the decision to introduce a definition of contaminated land would seem quite
significant, as well as the obligation to draw up national lists of such land by EU countries,
which would be made public knowledge and updated every five years. In addition, the
clauses concerning the obligation to draw up a remediation strategy that includes objectives
for repair measures, a financing mechanism and identification of priority areas requiring
particular protection from erosion, salinisation or acidification, over a period of seven
years from the introduction of the directive, is very encouraging.
Thank you for your attention.
Robert Goebbels (PSE), in writing. – (FR) The geological and climatic conditions within
the European Union differ widely from one country to another, and sometimes indeed
within the same country. There are something like 300 different types of soil. Nevertheless,
the European Commission is bent on regimenting soil use right across Europe, and the
58 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Committee on the Environment actually wants more regimentation. I support subsidiarity
and I oppose over-regulation. That is why I voted against this indigestible and pointless
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. − (SV) There is no need for
a framework directive on soil protection. The soil situation in the Member States varies.
The problem areas included in the directive are of a national character and are therefore
best managed at national level. The soil protection which is needed is already governed by
existing EU and national legislation.
The proposal will only lead to increased bureaucracy and more complicated rules for the
parties involved. Detailed provisions and exhortations are typical EU ideas which lead to
increased costs and irritation with the EU machine. Some of us in Sweden question the
compatibility of the directive with the EU’s work to simplify rules and want Sweden’s
Parliament to examine the proposal in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.
We have therefore, as a matter of principle, chosen to reject the proposal in its entirety.
Marian Harkin (ALDE), in writing . − Amendment 112: I am rejecting the Commission
proposal, as a Soil Framework Directive would simply mean increased bureaucracy and
duplication of regulations without bringing about any additional improvements to soil
protection. A wide range of measures exist under the CAP reform, as well as under the
reform of environmental legislation, and these will bring about benefits for soil protection.
Christa Klass (PPE-DE), in writing. − (DE) Soil is a vital asset. As a non-renewable
resource, it is of the utmost importance in sustaining biodiversity, as a source of raw
materials and also as a storage and filter medium for nutrients and water. Soil, however,
is not something that crosses borders, nor can it be shifted by the European Union.
Protecting our soils is in the best interests of those who own land and therefore falls within
the responsibility of the Member States. This application of the subsidiarity principle must
There is no justification for ignoring all the existing European legal provisions and the
dedication of farmers right down to the present day and to enact new provisions running
parallel to the European directives, national statutes and cross-compliance rules that directly
or indirectly affect the protection of soil. Among the numerous soil-related directives and
regulations enacted by the EU are such instruments as the Nitrates Directive, the Water
Framework Directive, the Emissions Trading Directive and the Plant Protection Products
The bureaucratic commitments that could hit the Member States and the farming
community is in stark contrast to the common efforts to eliminate red tape. In addition,
the precautionary measures envisaged in the draft directive impinge on every aspect of the
law as it relates to agriculture. I consider a European soil protection directive to be
superfluous and inexpedient, and I have voted against this proposal.
Astrid Lulling (PPE-DE), in writing. − (DE) Healthy soils are the basis of human health
and wealth. They must be protected. We cannot be content with the current state of soils
in all parts of the EU.
Nevertheless, wanting to regulate this problem paternalistically and bureaucratically at
European level is a step too far.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 59
Soil, which is already protected by the directive concerning integrated pollution prevention
and control (the IPPC Directive) and the Habitats Directive, does not migrate, as we all
know, from one country to another, although the same cannot be said for water, which is
a potential factor in soil pollution. That, however, is already covered by the Water
Framework Directive and the Groundwater Directive. If we now add a soil protection
directive, the result will be duplicated regulation and costly bureaucracy, which nobody
Open coordination and sharing of experience on best practice would be a better approach.
Adopting a framework directive on soil protection would be putting the cart before the
horse. It is unthinkable that countries which already have exemplary legislation on soil
protection should have to invest a great deal of time and money re-examining their entire
territory for possible risk areas.
I tried to engage in damage limitation in this vote, but I am afraid I did not succeed. I was
therefore unable to vote in favour of the report. I want to know that I can still look our
farmers in the eye.
David Martin (PSE), in writing . − With my fellow Labour MEPs, I voted against this
proposed directive. While we supported the general thematic strategy on soil protection
yesterday, as it stands, the directive on soil protection is over-prescriptive. It does not take
into account existing and well-functioning legislation that is already in place in the Member
Mairead McGuinness (PPE-DE), in writing . − Despite my stated opposition to a proposal
for a Directive on Soil Protection, I voted in favour of this report at the final vote.
I have already placed my opposition to such a Directive on the record in relation to the
Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection. I do not believe that there is a need for additional
legislation relating to soil protection. We already have a range of legal instruments in place
to ensure the protection of soil, and until these pieces of legislation are fully implemented
and the effects are fully analysed I do not believe that further legislation in this area is either
necessary or desirable.
However, the amendments proposed by the rapporteur go some way towards reducing
the level of overlap between this new proposal and existing legislation and this is to be
Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (NL) Soil protection is very necessary in order to
prevent the destruction of natural soil systems, erosion, contamination and desiccation.
Without measures of this kind it becomes impossible to grow plants in densely populated
areas where soil use is intensive. In many places in Europe I see wasteland which has lost
all value for nature and human use.
Yesterday, along with a majority of this House, I voted for the Prodi report which spells
out the need for proactive measures to protect our soils.
Today we are looking at what those measures should be. I am in favour of encouraging
Member States which have not yet taken the necessary measures on their own initiative
to remedy the omission now. Their failure to act affects not only them but neighbouring
states too, for example in producing erosion debris which causes rivers to silt up and flood.
But EU rules must in no event mean that Member States which already regulate these
matters properly have to face more bureaucracy or obstacles to dealing with them efficiently.
60 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
I support amendments to the effect that those applying equal or higher standards must be
free to do so. But it is irresponsible to reject, delay or limit the soil protection package in
the way the largest group in Parliament is proposing.
Robert Navarro (PSE), in writing. – (FR) I voted in favour of the Gutiérrez-Cortines report
because it proposes positive steps forward for the protection and sustainable use of soil –
a non-renewable resource which it is vital to preserve, and the quality of which is crucial
if we are to ensure adequate levels of food production and access to clean water. The
European Parliament has called for clearer identification of contaminated sites where
dangerous substances, present as the result of human activity, constitute a significant risk
to health and the environment. National or regional lists of such sites will be compiled and
they will be available for the public to consult. Each Member State will have to prepare
remediation strategies so that the number of contaminated sites can be limited, and
sustainable agricultural policies will be encouraged, taking account of national soil
characteristics, so that clean soil can be preserved. In adopting this report the European
Parliament is underscoring the need to protect the earth’s resources and use them more
James Nicholson (PPE-DE), in writing . − This is yet another example of the
one-size-fits-all approach which gives the European Union a bad name in our Member
States. With more than three-hundred types of soil in the European Union, how can we
expect to cover them all by means of a single directive? Surely this is a prime example of
an area in which we should allow Member States to determine their own legislation on the
basis of their own soil types.
It is very disappointing that, with all the scientific expertise at its disposal, the European
Commission has produced a legislative proposal which fails to take account of simple
scientific facts. If the United Kingdom suffers floods and Greece suffers a heatwave during
the course of one summer, it is obvious that the impact of those weather conditions on
the soil in those Member States will be entirely different. The only real consequence of this
proposal will be to tie up the agriculture industry in yet more red tape and burden it with
yet more expense. It is frustrating that, yet again, the agricultural community will have to
pay for the pursuit of useless uniformity.
Frédérique Ries (ALDE), in writing. – (FR) I welcome the adoption by the House of
Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines’ report, urging the introduction of a single, coherent European
policy for soil protection.
Soil protection has become a priority for the EU because Europe’s soils are becoming more
and more degraded. The factors to blame are rampant urbanisation, an increase in the
number of contaminated sites (to more than 2 million at the most recent count) and
intensive farming practices over the last 50 years, with abusive use of pesticides and
In my view, the 225 MEPs who voted to reject this directive were either driven by nationalist
fanaticism or, at the very least, have lost touch with ordinary people’s concerns! Europe
can offer genuine added value in the matter of soil protection, an issue on which only nine
Member States have their own legislation.
I would add that the directive leaves the Member States a considerable freedom of choice,
with two precise targets to be achieved within generous deadlines: within, respectively,
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 61
five years and seven years from transposition of the text, they must compile a list of
contaminated sites and adopt a national remediation strategy.
I think there can be no doubt that this constitutes respect for the principles of flexibility
Brian Simpson (PSE), in writing . − I am afraid I will be voting against this report because
it is my view that a framework on the protection of soil is not needed. I voted for rejection
initially because I believe this issue should be left to Member States under the subsidiarity
What we have before us is a piece of legislation that is disproportionate, has little flexibility
and merely repeats what is already covered in other directives. It tries to cover desertification
on the one hand and cleaning up soil on the other — a wide remit indeed — but ends up
being a report that covers neither adequately; but creates problems in how it will be
In my own region where local authorities are trying to recycle soil, this proposal would
make that so difficult that the viability of the whole operation is put in question.
Sorry to say, I think this is a poor and unnecessary piece of legislation, and I will vote against
in the hope that I can save farmers, horticulturalists and local authorities from a bureaucratic
Gabriele Stauner (PPE-DE), in writing. − (DE) I reject the framework directive on soil
protection, because it is a gross breach of the principle of subsidiarity and is therefore
unacceptable as European legislation. Even if the European Parliament votes in favour, I
shall take my fight to the Federal Government with a view to ensuring that the Federal
Republic of Germany challenges this directive before the European Court of Justice.
Jacques Toubon (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) In line with the vote in the Committee on
Legal Affairs, I believe that the Commission has exceeded its brief here and that the European
Union does not need to issue new instructions to the Member States. It is a matter of
national responsibility. I see it as an artificial exercise to seek to issue identical prescriptions
to countries with extremely diverse legal traditions and environmental circumstances. The
Commission should therefore review its proposal and identify specifically those situations
where European legislation is called for.
Thomas Ulmer (PPE-DE), in writing. − (DE) I reject the framework directive on soil
protection, because it is a gross breach of the principle of subsidiarity and is therefore
unacceptable as European legislation. Even if the European Parliament votes in favour, I
shall take my fight to the Federal Government with a view to ensuring that the Federal
Republic of Germany challenges this directive before the European Court of Justice.
- Report: Berès (A6-0425/2007)
Janusz Lewandowski (PPE-DE), in writing. − (PL) Mr President, the justification for the
Commission’s proposal to the European Parliament is a new comitology procedure that
significantly increases the powers of the European Parliament. It is a regulatory procedure
combined with scrutiny. The rapporteur’s view, which deserves to be supported, is that
the new procedure will apply to matters in regulations concerning securities prospectuses,
such as measures relating to exemptions from the obligation to publish a prospectus, the
format of the prospectus as well as third country equivalence.
62 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
This is the basis for the amendments tabled on behalf of the Committee on Economic and
Monetary Affairs in the plenary vote. The report under consideration also gives additional
impetus to the idea of significant progress in the harmonisation of regulations for European
financial and stock markets. This is due in large part to the inexorable process of
globalisation and partly to the Financial Services Action Plan from 1999.
At the same time it confirms the sound choice made at the beginning of the 1990s in
countries such as Poland, where the reconstruction of capital markets was based on
European standards, which is now simplifying the harmonisation of regulations across
the European Union.
- Report: Cashman (A6-0289/2007)
Carlos Coelho (PPE-DE), in writing. − (PT) In 2006 the decision amending the previous
1999 decision laying down the rules for the exercise of implementing powers conferred
on the Commission was finally adopted after years of negotiations between the Council,
the Commission and the European Parliament.
The regulatory procedure with scrutiny was thus introduced. This must be used for adopting
measures of general scope which seek to amend (by deleting or supplementing)
non-essential elements of a basic instrument adopted in accordance with Article 251 of
the Treaty, i.e. under the codecision procedure.
This is therefore a new comitology procedure that must be applied to a list, drawn up by
the Commission, of 25 instruments that have already been adopted and that must be
adapted, including the present Regulation on the Schengen Borders Code.
I therefore support the technical proposals introduced by the rapporteur, Mr Cashman, to
take into account the specificity of the Schengen Borders Code since it constitutes a
development of the Schengen acquis.
Andreas Mölzer (NI), in writing. − (DE) The Schengen acquis is a particularly sensitive
area in which we must be able to respond to any contingency. Organised human-trafficking
gangs are constantly on the lookout for new gaps in our defences through which they can
flood the EU with migrants. For this reason there must be no overhasty enlargement of the
Schengen area. Steps must be taken beforehand to ensure that the Member States concerned
have fully mastered the task of protecting their external borders. Since this is extremely
doubtful in my opinion, I have voted against the Cashman report.
- Report: Hegyi (A6-0292/2007)
Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE). – (DE) Mr President, I voted in favour of the Hegyi report
because we have repeatedly criticised the democratic deficit that exists with regard to
genetically modified organisms.
We know that a proper decision for or against the authorisation of GMOs has scarcely ever
been taken by the Council or the Committee of Permanent Representatives. It has always
been more or less the same story of the European Commission exercising its responsibility
for risk management by authorising GMOs against the will of the EU population and in
spite of the reservations of many Member States and experts. The European Commission
cannot be allowed to have the final say. Its decisions must be subject to scrutiny by the
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 63
Although Mr Hegyi’s report goes in the right direction by insisting on a binding
parliamentary right of codecision on GMO authorisations, we reject the negotiated
compromise, because it leaves the undemocratic comitology procedure in place. There
can really be only one solution, namely codecision rights for the European Parliament in
all matters relating to GMO licensing. I therefore find it rather regrettable that we have not
made the most of this vote and grasped the opportunity at long last to exert more pressure
against the continued existence of this democratic deficit.
Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) It is true that the long-term consequences
of GMO technology are still unknown. There are contradictory scientific statements, and
many people are afraid of the possible dangers and risks. Precautions must therefore be
taken and their use in agriculture must not be insisted upon.
Directive 2001/18/EC concerning the deliberate release into the environment of genetically
modified organisms is in force. This directive covers the experimental release of GMOs
into the environment, in other words the introduction of GMOs into the environment for
experimental purposes (such as for field testing) and the placing of GMOs on the market
(products containing or consisting of GMOs), such as for cultivation, import or processing
into industrial products.
We believe it is important as a minimum to have wider control of GMO technology, at
least in relation to procedures, as the European Parliament now intends, but we stress the
need to exercise caution, whether in relation to agriculture or processed foodstuffs.
Andreas Mölzer (ITS), in writing. − (DE) 70% of the European population are opposed
to genetic engineering. In Austria people are even more afraid of toxic residues in food
products than of terrorist attacks or bird flu. Besides the suspicion of a link between
genetically modified organisms and increasing incidences of health problems, there is more
and more evidence that the use of genetic engineering will cause farmland to degenerate
into wasteland as well as making farmers dependent on multinational conglomerates.
- Report: Bradbourn (A6-0225/2007)
Philip Bradbourn (PPE-DE), in writing . − Conservatives voted in favour of this report
but have regrets over the approach the Council has taken during the parliamentary process.
In early stages of drafting the report, a great deal of undue pressure was placed upon
Parliament by the then Presidency of the Council. This we find unacceptable, given
Parliament’s role as scrutineer of legislation.
Carlos Coelho (PPE-DE), in writing. − (PT) This directive is extremely important because
of growing concerns regarding money laundering and its role in funding international
crime and terrorism.
A Community approach is therefore required to create uniform rules, close loopholes and
strike a balance between the need to control and requirements concerning the protection
of the internal market and the free movement of capital.
I support this initiative, which seeks to update Directive 2005/60/EC on money laundering,
particularly as regards all the implementation measures listed in Article 41 of that directive.
This is therefore yet another case of updating the legislation in force in line with the new
regulatory procedure with scrutiny under the Comitology Decision.
64 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
This will give the European Parliament greater control over the implementing powers
conferred on the Commission.
Hélène Goudin and Nils Lundgren (IND/DEM), in writing. − (SV) We have chosen to
vote in favour of the proposal in its entirety. It is important that international standards
are introduced and respected in order to protect the financial system against crime and
money laundering in general, while at the same time the Member States’ own measures
must not be incompatible with the rules of the single market. However, we find it repugnant
that through the frequent use of the concept of terrorism the EU is seeking to extend its
power at the expense of the Member States. Money for terrorism is a tiny part of money
laundering. The large sums go to other kinds of well-organised crime.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) The proposal submitted amends the
provisions of Directive 2005/60/EC on the prevention of the use of the financial system
for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing, which imposed a time
limitation on the implementing powers conferred on the Commission in this area.
According to the recent decision on the exercise of the Commission’s powers, this limitation
has been removed, but the European Parliament retains the right to scrutinise the
implementation of acts adopted under the codecision procedure. It is therefore now clear
that any amendments to this directive must be submitted for consideration to the European
Parliament as well as to the Council.
This should not mean, however, that national parliaments are excluded from the legislative
procedure or are restricted merely to transposing directives adopted in this area at
Community level. And what is more, as the ‘Reform’ Treaty seeks to establish, gradually
transforming justice and internal affairs into a future common policy, which we obviously
Finally, we must highlight the inconsistency of the European Union, which promotes total
freedom of movement of capital and tax havens at the same time as it champions the fight
against money laundering.
Jeffrey Titford (IND/DEM), in writing . − The justification for this legislation is to protect
the EU financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing. The UKIP would
always seek to cooperate internationally on these matters, however, the EU has no agreed
competence on defence. Moreover as an organisation that has been unable to get its own
accounts signed off for thirteen years the EU Commission cannot be considered to have
any expertise whatsoever on finance or to be a fit body to put forward legislation on control
of the financial system.
- Report: Cavada (A6-0417/2007)
Jan Andersson, Göran Färm, Anna Hedh and Inger Segelström (PSE), in writing. −
(SV) We Swedish Social Democrats voted in favour of the report because we consider that
there is a need to increase knowledge about BZP, which is a synthetic drug, and to make
the substance subject to control measures and criminal sanctions. However, we voted
against all proposals which aim to prevent the introduction of decisions on control measures
and criminal sanctions, as that is contrary to the precautionary principle.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 65
- Resolution: International accounting standards (B6-0437/2007)
Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) Since 2005 listed companies have been
required in certain circumstances to draw up their consolidated accounts in compliance
with international accounting standards. These standards were developed by a London-based
private organisation (the International Accounting Standards Committee
Foundation/International Accounting Standards Board) and were subsequently incorporated
into Community legislation by means of a regulation.
Despite certain reservations, this resolution accepts the Commission’s proposal (amending
that regulation) to endorse a standard (IFRS 8) which in turn incorporates a US standard
(SFAS 131) into EU law.
This is accepted, as stated in the resolution, even though the impact assessment carried
out by the Commission did not take sufficiently into account the interests of users as well
as the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises located in different European countries
and enterprises operating only locally.
We therefore cannot support this resolution.
- Joint resolution: EU-Russia summit (RC-B6-0434/2007)
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I requested explanations of votes
on the EU-Russia Summit resolution. I regret that some important paragraphs have been
sacrificed for some strange reason, in order to have a shorter resolution instead of having
a longer resolution but covering important issues.
I think it is very important to call on the Commission and the Council to pursue joint
initiatives with the Russian Government aimed at strengthening security and stability in
the common neighbourhood, in particular by means of enhanced dialogue over Ukraine
and Belarus and joint efforts to finally resolve the frozen conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh
as well as in Moldova and Georgia by guaranteeing the full territorial integrity of those
states and, as far as Transnistria is concerned, by withdrawing the remaining Russian troops,
who if necessary should be replaced by a force of international monitors.
Jana Hybášková (PPE-DE). – (CS) I emphatically voted against this motion for a resolution
on the outcome of the 10th EU-Russia Summit. The Russian KGB regime is seeking
legitimacy. I refuse to become a puppet and I feel ashamed for all those who are becoming
Russia’s puppets due to ignorance and cowardice, especially in order to gain minor
economic advantages. Russia is not Europe’s partner. I completely reject the opinion that
Russia is our partner on the issue of Kosovo’s independence. Why does this House attach
so much importance to the partnership? Russia continues to throw the bodies of Chechens
from helicopters above Chechnya, keeps thousands of opponents of the regime in prison,
institutes illegal court proceedings against politicians from the Other Russia and detains
Mikhail Khodorkovsky in prison illegally. Who and when will we find out the truth about
the death of Anna Politkovskaya? When is Russia going to stop threatening human rights
activists? Why have we not been invited to observe the Russian parliamentary elections?
Why does Putin not want us, his partners, to be there? They put up with us in Morocco as
well as in Palestine.
Someone who breaches the fundamental principle of solidarity, helping Poland in relation
to free export, equal export conditions, is considered a partner by this House. Russia is
holding us hostage. If we do not support a democratic and stable Russia, but we do we
66 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
support a secret service regime instead, then we are our own worst enemies. Finally, our
country has the right to be free to contribute to Europe’s safety, to protect Europe from a
possible attack by Iranian forces. How can we ask the US not to jeopardise peace in Europe
through its policy, while we make allowances for the Russians’ more than obvious support
for the Iranian regime? This resolution is an example of perfidy and weakness. As we Czechs
know, being weak in relation to Russia really does not pay off. I emphatically reject this
resolution, if for no other reason than as an expression of respect for the legacy of the
Czech political prisoners, of all whom had opposed the occupation.
Vytautas Landsbergis (PPE-DE). – Mr President, after having voted in favour of the
motion for a resolution on the EU-Russia Summit, I still regret that the amendment I
proposed as a new recital was rejected by the rapporteur. Therefore I quote it now, ‘ whereas
Russian Federation did not fulfil any commitments of those undertaken by its accession
to the Council of Europe in 1996 and two years ago bluntly denounced already signed
new border agreement with EU Member State Estonia, thus leaving this sector of EU-Russia
border unregulated up to now; whereas the actual legislation of Russia Federation still
contains aggressive positions as that on social privileges for its military servicemen in a
case of losses caused or injuries got during armed actions in Baltic States, or that about
procedures of accession of foreign states or their parts with Russian Federation’. I am
convinced that those positions will be reconsidered by this House later.
Glyn Ford (PSE), in writing . − I supported this resolution with a degree of reluctance.
Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin have proved difficult of late in a number of areas,
Nevertheless, the one issue on which I have some sympathy is their response to the highly
contentious US plan to deploy Theatre Missile Defence in the EU supposedly to defend
against a scarcely credible threat from Iranian nuclear-tipped ICBMs, but which equally
poses threats to Russia’s own defence.
I therefore regret that Amendment No 3, which I voted for, by the Green Group, was
defeated by 242 to 362.
Pedro Guerreiro (GUE/NGL), in writing. − (PT) A great deal could be said on this
resolution about the recent EU-Russia summit, and we will therefore only mention certain
examples concerning its aims.
For example, at the same time as it glosses over the US Administration’s initiatives and
profound responsibilities in promoting a new escalation in the militarisation of Europe –
with the support of NATO members, it should be noted – it considers that the ‘declarations
made by the Russian authorities’ and the ‘[...] inappropriate threat to pull out of the Treaty
on Conventional Forces in Europe have raised serious concerns about the preservation of
peace and stability on the European continent’.
It more or less directly stresses the essential aspects, for example, which are that Russia has
allowed EU companies to buy strategic stakes in Russian companies, the importance of
improving the climate for investment in Russia (to the joy of major EU financial groups),
and ‘equal access to markets, infrastructure and investment’ on the basis of the principles
of the ‘Energy Charter Treaty’.
And in line with the above examples, it maintains the political pressure on the Russian
Federation, even seeking to promote intervention instruments, while ignoring the
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 67
unacceptable situation of the most basic rights of the Russian-speaking population in
Latvia, an EU Member State.
Richard Howitt (PSE), in writing . − The European Parliamentary Labour Party supports
this resolution and its aim to build a strategic cooperation with Russia based on common
values, democracy and respect for human rights. In particular we support calls for a positive
Russian contribution to finding a sustainable political solution on the issue of Kosovo.
We voted in favour of Amendment 3, as there are concerns which should be raised regarding
any further build-up of conventional or unconventional weapons on the European
continent, and we support continuing bilateral discussions between the US and Russia on
Janusz Lewandowski (PPE-DE), in writing. − (PL) Mr President, the EU-Russia summit
in Mafra illustrates the change in relations since the 1990s when the partnership and
cooperation agreement, which expires in 2007, was born. Three principal factors have
affected these relations.
First of all, European Union enlargement, marking a definitive emancipation of a whole
group of countries from the Russian sphere of influence, which the former empire is
unwilling to accept.
Secondly, the authoritarian nature of the Putin presidency, which has put back the
democratisation of Russia. Although there is wide acceptance of it in Russia and while it
provides a basic economic order, the EU cannot remain passive in the face of instances of
violations of human rights, which creates an additional area of friction.
Thirdly, the situation in the energy markets, which makes it easier to use Gazprom for
political purposes and has also made European countries more sensitive to the issue of
Taking the above background into consideration, the resolution proposed by the Group
of the European People’s Party and European Democrats provides a balance of criticisms
of Russia with hopes for a warmer diplomatic climate, fortified with principles reflecting
our system of values. Particularly worthy of notice are the points about respect for human
rights as well as a demand, which is important for Poland, for the suspension of the impasse
as regards Polish agricultural exports to the Russian market, which is a confirmation of
the much-desired solidarity between European Union countries in relations with Moscow.
David Martin (PSE), in writing . − I voted for the joint motions for a resolution arising
out of the EU-Russia Summit, where Parliament, among other things, called on the Russian
Government to create, together with the European Union, the necessary conditions for a
rapid start to the negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between
the EU and Russia. Other issues covered included Russia’s pending accession to the WTO,
human rights issues in Russia, the climate for investment and ongoing concerns over the
upholding of the Conventional Forces Europe Treaty.
Luís Queiró (PPE-DE), in writing. − (PT) The 18th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin
Wall came after the EU-Russia summit, which was held after this report was discussed but
before it was put to the vote. Eighteen years later, what used to be Eastern Europe is now
a democratic area in which the market economy is an established feature. Russia, meanwhile,
is far from democratic and far from being a reliable partner. In relation to energy, Kosovo,
68 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
the Caucasus, Central Asia, Ukraine, Moldova or on the Iranian nuclear issue, Russia’s
contribution to the solution has been found wanting.
In the same week the European Council on Foreign Relations presented a report stating
that the Russians are making the rules in relations between Russia and the European Union,
and that Europe has shown a lack of unity and of strategy, in some cases not appearing to
have put memories of the Soviet era behind them, while in others being overly pragmatic.
It then rightly suggests that EU strategy should encourage Russia to respect the rule of law.
Even though it is not a liberal democracy, Russia must be a predictable and reliable state,
and Europe must work hard to that end.
- Report: Iturgaiz Angulo (A6-0392/2007)
Jan Andersson, Göran Färm, Anna Hedh and Inger Segelström (PSE), in writing. −
(SV) We consider the freedom to disclose information to be an important principle. Civil
servants should, without risk of reprisal, be able to provide information, obtain information
in order to exercise their freedom of expression and freedom to disclose information, have
the right to anonymity and an investigation ban which means that authorities and other
public bodies are not allowed to investigate who has provided information under the
freedom to disclose information.
Proinsias De Rossa (PSE), in writing . − I strongly disagree with the Atkins amendment
(Amendment 1 to paragraph 15) to the Committee on Petitions’ report by Carlos José
The Ombudsman’s Special Report regarding OLAF concerns the allegations made by the
Office against a journalist who covered the story regarding its investigation into allegations
made by Mr van Buitenen.
Regardless of whether Mr van Buitenen’s allegations are right or wrong, we should defend
the right of journalists to report on matters of public interest, even those who work for
newspapers which are not very supportive of our views.
The Ombudsman’s Special Report found that OLAF acted incorrectly in making accusations
against a journalist. The Petitions Committee agreed to request an own-initiative report
on this issue in order to pressure OLAF into accepting it had acted incorrectly. By voting
for the PPE-DE amendment, we will be failing to defend the independence of journalists
doing their work, failing to support the Petitions Committee in its work, and failing to
support the Ombudsman in his work.
6. Corrections to votes and voting intentions: see Minutes
(The sitting was suspended at 13.10 and resumed at 15.00)
IN THE CHAIR: MR VIDAL-QUADRAS
7. Approval of Minutes of previous sitting: see Minutes
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 69
8. Situation in Pakistan (debate)
President. − The next item is the debate on the Council and Commission Declarations
on the situation in Pakistan.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council. − (PT) Mr President,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, as we know, the European Union has observed recent
developments in Pakistan with great concern, particularly the events leading to the
establishment of the state of emergency on 3 November last, and consequently to great
social unrest and numerous arrests, including the Chief Justice, who is currently under
Have no doubt that this is a serious backward step in the structure of the rule of law and
the democratic process in Pakistan, which I would say destroys any hope the Pakistani
people and the international community in general may have entertained of strengthening
the legitimacy of democratic institutions in Pakistan. This is why the Presidency issued a
statement on 6 November on behalf of the Union expressing our profound concern
regarding the introduction of the state of emergency and the suspension of the Pakistani
constitution and fundamental freedoms.
On 4 November, two days previously, the Heads of Mission in Islamabad and the High
Representative, Javier Solana, had expressed their concern at the course of events. Our
words, the words of the EU, were thus added to the many others reiterating how important
it is to reinstate the Constitution, restore civil order, guarantee the independence of the
judiciary and the freedom of the mass media, release all political prisoners, journalists and
defenders of human rights and create the conditions required for the legislative elections
to take place as planned, i.e. in January 2008.
We have no doubt that any nation’s stability and development can only be guaranteed in
an atmosphere of total democratic credibility. We are seriously concerned by reports of
numerous arrests, the boycott on freedom of information, repression of the essential
freedom of expression of citizens and attacks on professional people, such as judges,
lawyers, journalists and human rights activists. At the same time, however, we appeal
strongly for all parties to exercise the utmost restraint and to work together to seek a
democratic and peaceful solution to the present crisis that will allow a rapid return to
Although recognising the challenges currently faced by Pakistan in relation to its security
situation and the Pakistani people’s sacrifices and efforts in combating extremism and
terrorism, the European Union firmly believes that the solution to these challenges cannot
involve an interruption in the democratic process.
We cannot, however, fail to acknowledge the ally that we have always been able to count
on in this battle against extremism and terrorism. We must therefore ensure that Pakistan
remains committed to the battle against this global threat, in which international
cooperation is an essential tool.
Finally, the Union hopes that the current climate of uncertainty will be resolved swiftly
and peacefully and calls upon President Muscharraf to honour his pledge to remove his
military uniform and abandon his position as Chief of Staff.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, Pakistan is on the
agenda of this plenary for the third time within a few months. This bears witness to the
70 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
very difficult transition the country is currently going through. The imposition of emergency
law by President Musharraf on 3 November in his capacity as Chief of Army Staff has sent
a deeply worrying signal to Europe and the wider world and has damaged the course of
democracy in Pakistan.
Before the emergency was imposed we had witnessed some encouraging developments,
with hope for a more inclusive political process and stronger democratic institutions, but
regrettably this has now been put in question and today we ask ourselves whether this
situation is still reversible or whether it is not too late to restore confidence and conditions
in advance of the parliamentary elections.
President Musharraf, in his televised address on the night of 3 November, told us that he
was suspending the Constitution because of threats to the nation due to a visible ascendancy
in the activities and incidence of terrorist attacks. There is no doubt that Pakistan is currently
facing a very serious threat of religious extremism and violence as recent events in the
North-Western Frontier Province and the attack on Ms Bhutto’s convoy on 18 October in
Karachi have clearly demonstrated. But what we are also witnessing now is the arrest of
thousands of lawyers, journalists, political party workers and human rights activists,
including such distinguished persons as Ms Asma Jahangir, the Chair of the Human Rights
Commission of Pakistan, or Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, President of the Supreme Court Bar
These are people who stand for an open and tolerant Pakistan. They are not terrorists and
it is wrong to detain them. They should be set free immediately. I would regard the drastic
action taken against Pakistan’s judiciary as particularly serious. Rule of law is at the heart
of any democratic process and the functioning democratic system cannot be sustained
without an independent judiciary.
The statement by the Presidency, just mentioned also by our President on behalf of the EU,
is therefore very clear, and this remains our position. Last Sunday President Musharraf
announced at a press conference that he hopes parliamentary elections can be held in
Pakistan by 9 January 2008. This would be a step in the right direction but there are a lot
of remaining problems. When can we expect the state of emergency to end? How can we
have free and fair elections when print and electronic media are censored, other civil rights
and liberties suspended and the independence of the judiciary has been undermined? How
will parties be able to campaign when freedom of assembly is curtailed and party leaders
like Benazir Bhutto are kept under house arrest? These issues are not at all clear at this
To end this uncertainty it is of fundamental importance that a firm date for elections should
be announced as soon as possible, along with a clear timeframe for ending the emergency.
For these elections to have any chance of being at all democratic and transparent, it will
be essential for all restrictions on political rights and fundamental freedoms to be lifted.
And, as things stand, at present it seems it will not be possible to deploy an election
observation mission. Certain minimum conditions laid down in the Commission
communication on EU election assistance and observation for the holding of democratic
elections are not met.
However, if the emergency rule was lifted rather quickly and conditions were significantly
improved soon, I might yet be able to review the situation. In any case I have made the
necessary preparations for possible deployment of an EU election observation mission to
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 71
Pakistan should the conditions noticeably change for the better quickly. But, as I say, I am
very much concerned as to whether this is likely to happen.
There have been calls to suspend or review our aid to Pakistan, and some EU Member States
have taken steps or are considering some action in this respect. The European Commission’s
support to Pakistan focuses, I would like to remind you, on key issues such as poverty
reduction and education, including in the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan,
which are the most disadvantaged provinces in Pakistan.
Therefore, I think we will need to consider how best to proceed but, given the nature of
this assistance, I think we have to reflect very carefully on that.
José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (ES)
Mr President, the truth is that the situation is very worrying: suspension of constitutional
guarantees, state of emergency, detention of many members of civil society, including
lawyers such as Mr Ahsan, who is the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and
of opponents, house arrest of the opposition leader Mrs Bhutto. What do we do in this
We have learnt that the Deputy Secretary of State at the US State Department,
Mr Negroponte, will shortly visit Pakistan and that one Member State, the United Kingdom,
has joined the United Nations in its call for the President to renounce his leadership of the
army and lift the state of emergency within ten days.
What can we, as the European Union, do? I believe that as a first step we must act with
utmost caution. I believe that the representative of the current Presidency has noted, very
correctly, that Pakistan is a vital partner in the fight against terrorism and also a country
with nuclear weapons.
I therefore believe that on the one hand the European Union must ask the Government to
re-establish as far as possible – because we must not lose sight of the fact that terrorism is
a factor in Pakistan, a major factor – to re-establish to some extent order and stability and
constitutional rights and freedoms, and to release those people who have been unlawfully
detained. Furthermore, Commissioner, I would ask you to marshal your considerable
capacities and efforts to ensure that free and fair elections can be held and, on the basis of
the guarantees you referred to in your speech, that the European Union is present and has
a presence in the process in Pakistan which is so very important for the stability of the
region and all relations between that region and the European Union.
Therefore, Commissioner, we have great confidence in your capabilities, great confidence
in your diplomatic action, great confidence in your efforts and we hope that they will
genuinely have a successful outcome which will allow the European Union to have a
presence in the electoral process.
Robert Evans, on behalf of the PSE Group . – Mr President, I would like to thank the Council
and the Commission, especially the Council for its tough declaration on 8 November.
I do not think that anyone would doubt that the situation in Pakistan is very serious and
very volatile. It is perhaps hard to register that everything that has been going on has really
only taken place in the last ten days or so, since the state of emergency was declared. Several
Members here met General Musharraf some months ago, both in Brussels and later in
Islamabad, and we received a number of assurances. He was adamant that he would follow
the constitution and that free and fair elections would take place. I welcome his
72 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
announcement that elections can take place by 9 January, but I share the Commissioner’s
apprehension and beg the question: in the light of what has gone on and the present
emergency measures – the suspension of certain television channels and other human
rights – are free and fair elections possible in less than eight weeks’ time?
Whilst I refer to the Commissioner, I would also like to draw her attention in particular to
our paragraph 14 of this resolution where we invite the Commission to consider expanding
aid to Pakistan for education, poverty reduction, healthcare and relief work, but channelling
the funds through secular NGOs rather than directly to the government under these
We have no issue with the Pakistan people. We recognise that Pakistan is a key ally of the
West, as Mr Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra said. We recognise the important role they played
in many, many areas and that they have also been victims of terrorism. But I do not think,
colleagues, that means we should stand aside and ignore what is happening at the moment.
My group also wanted to have a paragraph in about possible sanctions, inviting the Council
(The President asked the speaker to speak more slowly)
I thought I was speaking such clear English that they would manage perfectly but I will, of
course, slow down.
I am also inviting the Council to consider targeted sanctions, which is what the Socialist
Group would have liked to have done but we did not get any support for it: travel bans
perhaps, the freezing of assets. But we hope all of this will not be necessary and we hope
that Pakistan can still come back from the brink, that the state of emergency can be
withdrawn and that General Musharraf will step down as Chief of Army. Mr President, my
apologies for going too quickly.
Sajjad Karim, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Mr President, Pakistan is a vital ally for the
European Union. Today we find that Pakistan finds itself at a crossroads. But I believe that
it wants to engage with us and we have re-established a recent history of engagement with
Pakistan, which I understand is progressing reasonably successfully.
But we must not forget the historical context in which we find ourselves today. I know
Pakistan reasonably well and by far the biggest issue and problem facing Pakistan internally
today is the terrorist threat coming from across the border in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is
a common global problem. We in the West turned our backs on Afghanistan some years
ago. It is important that we do not turn our back on Pakistan today.
Pakistan has been at the forefront of this battle, sometimes carrying a very heavy burden
on behalf of the international community, a heavy burden sometimes carried on weak
shoulders, a burden the people of Pakistan have carried, absorbing so much violence and
carnage which would otherwise have made its way into other parts of the world. The
solution is not to isolate liberals and liberal values and to take away those liberal values
from the people of Pakistan.
Today I see that the Commission has again called for the release of prisoners who are
currently being held and I support that call. This includes people like the Chief Justice of
Pakistan, and indeed Mr Aitzaz Ahsan, who is a leading lawyer in Pakistan. The President
of Pakistan must – and these must be our baselines – end the state of emergency
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 73
immediately. He must reinstate the Constitution. He must reinstate the Supreme Court
and he must move towards free and fair elections.
President Musharraf should recognise that we have not turned our back on Pakistan. We
remain engaged. It is now time for him to roll back from his current position, to
acknowledge our core values, to make them shared values. In a distinct way, despite the
desperate situation, he has a unique opportunity even now to deliver power to the people
of Pakistan, the true custodians of that power.
Eoin Ryan, on behalf of the UEN Group . – Mr President, I too recognise the importance
of Pakistan to all of us in the fight against terrorism and it has been an ally to all of us in
that fight. However, I do not believe for one minute that it justifies in any circumstances
what has happened in Pakistan in recent weeks.
Any deviation from the general democratic process cannot be a solution to solve political
problems within Pakistan. One of the things that really worries me about this is why he
did it: because he was afraid that he was not going to get the decision from the Supreme
Court that he expected or that he wanted. It is a fairly trivial matter in one way and it seems
that he has gone to extreme measures in his dealings with the people in Pakistan, with the
judiciary in Pakistan, in the way he has dealt with it, which is extremely dangerous.
I welcome the fact that he has given a commitment that he will hold elections, but the
international community must not allow him to turn his back on this commitment. The
state of emergency in Pakistan must be lifted immediately and the Government of Pakistan
must respect the boundaries of its Constitution. The scrapping of the Supreme Court did
immeasurable damage to the separation of power systems within Pakistan. It is a very, very
poor example for the General to have undertaken. I fully condemn the wholesale arrest of
political opponents of the General, which include 3 000 peaceful protestors and civilian
and human right activists.
The European Parliament today must send a very strong message out to General Musharraf
that his recent actions violate all respected international conventions and he is moving
Pakistan in a very negative and very dangerous direction.
Jean Lambert, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group . – Mr President, like many others, I think
we are here with a deep sense of regret and a certain feeling of anger that, once again, we
are having to discuss the situation in Pakistan. I would agree with virtually everything that
has been said this afternoon. We are in a serious situation, not least because this is a nuclear
state and the risk of a failed nuclear state is one that should make us all feel very nervous
People are right to say that the power to step back from the brink here is basically with
President Musharraf and his supporters. This idea that there is a state of emergency but the
elections should go ahead undisturbed does not hold water. It is certainly not an undisturbed
election if the leaders of the other political parties are under house arrest or in jail. If there
is no freedom of the press, if people cannot even get satellite dishes because imports of
those have now been banned, then there are no circumstances for free and fair elections
It is clear that we want the release of all those political prisoners, that we want freedom of
the press and we want the judiciary to be able to operate freely because, if all those with
stated commitments to democracy are locked up, who else is left out on the streets? The
74 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
message that is being sent by the actions of the Government in Pakistan at the moment is
therefore extremely worrying for a state that says it is committed to democracy.
I would agree with what Mr Robert Evans has said. We do need to have certain sanctions
ready for use if the deadline of 22 November set by the Commonwealth and the UN is not
observed and we do not see President Musharraf stand down as military leader or, indeed,
an end to the state of emergency.
We should be supporting Amnesty International’s Day of Action tomorrow to remember
the political prisoners held in Pakistan, and we certainly need to be looking at aid and the
way in which it is spent. Pakistan has had USD 10 billion dollars of aid from the USA in
about the last five or six years, mostly for anti-terrorism measures, and not for the
maintenance and development of education.
Georgios Georgiou, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group. – (EL) Mr President, I have seen
that the entire western world, with the United States at the forefront, is demanding an
earlier election in Pakistan. They want an election before the opposition is out of prison
and Mr Ahsan, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, is released from house
The consequences will certainly be felt in Pakistan. There will also inevitably be political
instability and a negative impact on the economy of a country that is in a bad enough
situation already. The crisis is likely to have other repercussions at regional level, and wider
developments affecting stability throughout Asia. I find it impossible to disassociate
developments in Pakistan and Kashmir from those in Afghanistan.
I propose that the EU should insist on securing Pakistan’s considerable nuclear arsenal, if
necessary through the UN, at least until the country returns to its former political and, if
possible, democratic state.
Eija-Riitta Korhola (PPE-DE). – (FI) Mr President, Commissioner, for years now we and
the rest of the western world have thought of Pakistan as an important ally. The threat of
terrorism and the Pakistani Government’s promises and hardline rhetoric with regard to
stopping this threat have also been words of assurance to the EU. There have, however,
been too many drawbacks associated with this alliance and mutual solidarity. Now at last
it is time to open our eyes.
The state of emergency declared by General Musharraf on the third day, a crack in Pakistan’s
constitution, is just the tip of the iceberg, which we gave warning about here in July and
October. The society has been gradually militarised over the years, and the litmus test for
the state of human rights, freedom of religion and the rights of minorities, has shown that
these are restricted. Instead of Pakistan getting itself ready for the triumphal march of
democracy this year, there have been clear signs of a hardening dictatorial system of
government. The arrests of members of the opposition, the disruption of the work of the
Supreme Court, the refusal to allow one opposition leader into the country and the house
arrest of another, the detention of a UN representative, and the violence used by the
authorities against peaceful demonstrators all show that Pakistan is on the brink of a
Commissioner, the EU should now send the strong and united message that it is popular
democratic power and a society that respects human rights, and not an army, which is the
strongest barrier to the rise to power of radical groups. We understand that the country
has internal threats to its security and that there has to be a response to these, but democracy
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 75
is not a threat to security. Democracy is also precisely the answer in the struggle against
talebanisation. The EU must dare to speak up and say that we see the building of a stable
and democratic society as being crucial to our alliance. The first step for Pakistan’s stability
is to guarantee that the Supreme Court can work independently and in peace. Then there
are the parliamentary elections in January. The supply of international assistance to the
authorities in the investigation into the bomb attack in October would show our concern.
A society which is at least officially constitutional, with long democratic traditions and
where the people have a genuine desire for democracy, peace and stability, will not give
up that easily. Pakistan is, therefore, full of hope.
Libor Rouček (PSE). – (CS) Mr President, Madam Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen,
the long-term experience of many countries shows that the rule of law and democracy are
the best and most effective way of preventing extremism, instability and chaos. Seen from
this angle, President Musharraf’s decision to declare a state of emergency is a serious mistake
and gaffe. Pakistan is not a country without democratic traditions: on the contrary, as seen
from the courageous and responsible conduct of Pakistani judges, lawyers, journalists and
other representatives of non-governmental organisations, civil society has deep and strong
roots in Pakistan. However, this civil society needs help. We therefore appeal to President
Musharraf to end the state of emergency, to release all political prisoners and to restore all
the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, including freedom of movement,
speech, association and assembly, so that truly democratic, free and transparent
parliamentary elections can be held at the beginning of next year.
Neena Gill (PSE). – Mr President, the last couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster of
shocking events in this turbulent and troubled country. The imposition of martial law in
the guise of emergency rule is an underhand attempt to destabilise Pakistan for the personal
ambition of one man.
President Musharraf justifies his actions as an attempt to stop the country from committing
suicide, but it is not that the country is committing suicide but that the actions and deeds
of a dictator are killing the country.
It is totally unacceptable that the leader of the opposition, Benazir Bhutto, has been put
under house arrest and banned from political activity and that other activists and the media
and independent judiciary have all been muzzled.
While recognising that there are real threats from extremists within the country, I believe
that General Musharraf’s actions will only embolden the extremists instead of eradicating
them and will serve only to weaken the democratic and moderate voices within the country.
Some say that Pakistan is on the brink of collapse. We must prevent this by giving a strong
response. Moderate people in Pakistan are feeling frustrated and angry and they are
disappointed by Europe’s soft response.
Therefore I call upon Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and the Council to give an
unequivocal, clear message to the President about the severe consequences if the suppression
of the constitution, of politicians, of the media and of the judiciary does not end
Philip Claeys (NI). – (NL) Mr President, almost all the previous speakers have made the
point that the declaration of a state of emergency in Pakistan and the way in which it was
done is totally unacceptable. It is unacceptable that Musharraf should show such a cavalier
disregard for democracy.
76 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Moreover, this state of emergency aggravates a serious problem still further because in a
manner of speaking it opens up a second front, that of Islamic terrorism.
As you know, there is already plenty about Musharraf’s regime to criticise: it is ineffectual
in its measures against the Taliban, for example, and groups associated with Al-Qaeda
which are operating along the border with Afghanistan. Well, declaring a state of emergency
has opened the door to terror organisations of this kind and the situation can only get
worse as a result.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council. − (PT) Mr President,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, firstly I would like to thank the European Parliament
for scheduling this debate, which, in view of the situation in Pakistan and the cooperation
we have had with that country in such an important battle against extremism and terrorism,
is very opportune indeed.
We cannot and will not remain indifferent to a country like Pakistan. This debate also
shows that the three institutions, Parliament, the Council and the Commission, share the
same fundamental and immediate objectives, i.e. the rapid and complete restoration of the
rule of law and democratic freedoms in Pakistan and the holding of free and democratic
elections. This is the goal that unites us and the goal that we must all work towards,
particularly the three institutions, in the area of our respective competences and powers.
I would also like to say that in the capacity of the Presidency we also understand, as the
Commissioner has said here, that any measures that might lead to a possible suspension
of cooperation affecting a population which is already suffering many shortages must be
considered and examined with care. The people of Pakistan have already suffered enough
and must not suffer further. This too is a question that must be considered with some care,
should it arise.
Whatever the case, our objectives are now clear and defined, and I can assure you that the
Presidency and the Council will take all the initiatives and measures deemed appropriate
to respond to developments in the situation.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, I think it has been
shown very clearly that we all feel that what has happened is very difficult to understand.
It is very serious. We are all concerned, because the imposition of emergency rule has
greatly endangered the strengthening of democratic institutions and the building of a more
inclusive democratic process. It is therefore of fundamental importance that civil and
political rights are fully restored, media restrictions withdrawn and essential improvements
made to the framework and conditions for elections. Stability and development can only
be achieved with democracy and the rule of law.
We therefore have to reflect further on the question of a possible election observation
mission. As I said, we might be able to send a smaller team of advisers to follow the process
under the current circumstances. If not, as I said, the state of emergency would have to be
lifted very quickly and civil liberties restored.
With regard to aid, let me say that we had already substantially increased our aid to Pakistan,
particularly in the fields of education and rural development. Therefore, as I said before, I
think at this stage we must sit back, wait for a moment, and judge very carefully. Of course
we should not endanger the poor people in Pakistan, but we have to go about things in
the right way.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 77
President. − To wind up the debate I have received seven motions for a resolution tabled
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure (1) .
The debate is closed.
The vote will take place on Thursday, 15 November 2007.
Written declarations (Rule 142 of the Rules of Procedure)
David Martin (PSE), in writing . – Pakistan is a vital ally in the war on terror. As a result
it has faced enormous internal pressure and threatened instability. President Musharaff has
responded to this situation by declaring a state of emergency.
He argues that an abnormal situation requires abnormal actions. His response is in part
understandable but quite wrong. The way to fight anti-democratic forces is with democracy.
He should end the state of emergency, announce a date for elections and a date on which
he will give up his uniform. He should then call for an open and wideranging debate about
the future of Pakistan.
I am convinced such a debate would reveal that the vast majority of Pakistanis reject
extremism and fundamentalism and wish to live in a country at peace with itself, at peace
with it's neighbours and on good terms with the West.
9. Council's strategy for the Bali Conference on Climate Change (COP 13 and
COP/MOP 3) (debate)
President. − The next item is the debate on
- the oral question on the Council’s strategy for the Bali Conference on Climate Change
(COP 13 and COP/MOP 3), by Guido Sacconi, on behalf of the Temporary Committee on
Climate Change to the Council (O-0057/2007 - B6-0379/2007), and
- the oral question on the Council’s strategy for the Bali Conference on Climate Change
(COP 13 and COP/MOP 3), by Guido Sacconi, on behalf of the Temporary Committee on
Climate Change to the Council (O-0058/2007 - B6-0380/2007).
Guido Sacconi (PSE), author. – (IT) Mr President, Minister, Commissioner, ladies and
gentlemen, I am sure that I do not need to remind you of the importance of the Conference
of the Parties in Bali which is now imminent and in view of which we have asked for further
information on your strategy, on the line that you intend to take.
As the European Union, we are independently committed to an extraordinary effort, if I
may put it that way, even though we know that it does not represent the ultimate solution.
Our shared goal is to keep global warming within two degrees of levels in pre-industrial
times, fully aware that this is a high-risk threshold, and that it will be necessary for some
areas of the world, for some parts of Europe, to make provision, as planned, for a policy
of adaptation. If we really want to pursue this difficult goal, however, we know that a new
international treaty is absolutely crucial.
As we know, the European Union’s burden of responsibility is limited (14% of global
greenhouse gas emissions). A new international treaty taking account of the changes that
have taken place since Kyoto, in particular the extraordinary and explosive growth of the
(1) see Minutes.
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Asian giants: indeed, Bali is a crucial step in that direction, and while it will not be the place
at which agreement is reached, it will be the place at which negotiations will start and it
will therefore be very important for Bali to come up with a clear negotiating mandate, with
precise deadlines, with a view to conclusion by 2009.
In recent months, the world context has changed from the political, economic and cultural
point of view, from the IPCC reports whose final synthesis will be released at the end of
this week, and is to be presented in Valencia, to the award of the Nobel Prize to Al Gore
and the IPCC’s scientists. A great deal has changed in recent months and we can therefore
be optimistic, albeit in a critical and vigilant way.
I would therefore like to sum up the purport of the resolution which we have drawn up
and which we are sure will be adopted in this House tomorrow by a large majority; it is an
offering, an offering to the negotiators to help them to take a tougher line as these
negotiations are being launched. I would like to thank Mrs Hassi who, with the other
rapporteurs, has managed to provide a synthesis, to prevent the whole thing from becoming
an overdressed Christmas tree. The focus is very much on those negotiations and that is
how we put it before you.
Satu Hassi (Verts/ALE), author. – (FI) Mr President, I wish to express my thanks for the
excellent levels of cooperation with the shadow rapporteurs of the political groups in the
negotiations on this resolution. Climate change is happening now, and it is advancing
more quickly than predicted. A dramatic indication of this was that at the end of last
summer a million square meters of the ice in the Arctic Ocean melted, an area the equivalent
of Finland, Sweden and Norway combined. The message the scientists are sending out
about the advance of climate change and the urgent need to cut emissions is becoming an
ever more alarming one. It is also echoed in the advance information on the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meeting in Valencia this week.
It is important that there is no gap left between the Kyoto Protocol and the next climate
agreement. That is why the post-2012 treaty must be ready no later than 2009. At Bali the
EU must do all it can to achieve a negotiating mandate to allow global warming to remain
under two degrees. The leading role assumed by the EU is crucial to this. We are showing
the way with our own measures to reduce our own emissions, but also by coordinating
international negotiations. It is vital to get all the industrialised countries involved, including
the United States of America, although that will not be enough to save the climate. It is
just as crucial to get big developing countries, such as China and India, to accept limits on
the increase in their emissions. This is perhaps the hardest challenge in the history of
international diplomacy. We have to understand that if China, India and other similar
countries accept limits to their emissions, it will mean a huge change in their way of thinking
and the way they do things. We have to be prepared to give them something back in return.
In other words, we also have to provide financial assistance for the breakthrough in clean,
climate-friendly technology in these countries.
I would like to remind everyone that Nicholas Stern estimated that 1% of global gross
domestic product each year would be needed to protect the climate. After the Second
World War the United States delivered 2% of their GDP in the form of Marshall Plan aid.
It was important to get reconstruction under way after the war, but it is still more important
to prevent a comparable catastrophe as a result of climate change. We must therefore also
be prepared to pay for climate protection.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 79
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council. − (PT) Mr President,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the time is approaching when the Indonesian island
of Bali will welcome delegates to the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
Climate Change, who will be asked once again to use their experience and negotiating skills
to make history.
In light of the first period of compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, from 2008 to 2012, the
worrying scientific information that has emerged meanwhile on recent developments in
relation to climate change highlights how urgent it is to find a collective and effective
response to this challenge, since the very future of our planet is at stake. In this context
Bali is the final opportunity to launch negotiations on a global and comprehensive
agreement on the post-2012 climate regime. We are aware of the difficulties of this judicial
The European Union will go to Bali with the same sense of purpose that has guided it over
the last 15 years, during which we unhesitatingly and unambiguously took on the role of
leader of the international community in this great global challenge. The European Union's
major objective at the Bali Conference on climate change will relate to the process itself,
i.e. to ensure that a global and comprehensive negotiating process is set in motion.
I would also like to inform you that the EU considers the following aspects to be essential
for creating an effective and appropriate post-2012 framework: firstly, to continue to
develop a common perspective on the problem so as to achieve the Convention’s major
objective; secondly, to reach agreement on the adoption of firmer commitments by the
developed countries as regards global emission reductions; thirdly, to facilitate the provision
of new equitable and effective contributions by other countries, including incentives created
by new types of flexible commitments to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions
associated with economic development; fourthly, to expand the carbon market, particularly
by reinforcing innovative and flexible mechanisms; fifthly, to reinforce cooperation in the
areas of research, development, dissemination, forecasting and transparency in the
technological sector; and finally, to intensify efforts to adapt, particularly as regards risk
management tools, financing and technology.
Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the figures speak for themselves. We were on the front
line in Kyoto in making greater commitments than were asked of us, and today the EU and
its Member States have clearly defined ambitious targets that again put us on the front line
in combatting climate change. As the President-in-Office of the European Council
emphasised in New York, climate change is now undeniably one of the greatest challenges
facing humanity, and has moved from the realm of theory to become an effective and
widespread concern for the people of the entire world.
This is a global challenge that requires a global response, the effectiveness of which will
depend on the international community’s collective action. That is why we insist that every
effort must be made to negotiate the global comprehensive agreement, as I said, under the
United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, which represents and must
continue to represent the central and essential reference framework for all actions and
initiatives to be taken in this area.
It is therefore time for other states to assume their responsibilities and to play a real and
proportionate role in the global battle against climate change. Encouraged by the debate
between the Heads of State and Government at the recent Lisbon Informal Summit on
Europe and globalisation, which clearly showed that climate change is an EU priority area,
80 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
and also by the Environment Committee’s 30 October conclusions on the preparation of
COP 23, we will go to Bali committed to contributing actively to achieving a result that
can be translated into concrete, perceptible progress on the future of the climate regime.
Bali represents not the end but rather the beginning of a journey, the ‘road map’ that has
been talked about so much in recent years. It is a complex and difficult challenge, but one
that can be achieved and that cannot be put off. The EU for its part is prepared to lead this
challenge, since that is what our people want.
Stavros Dimas, Member of the Commission. − (EL) Mr President, thank you for the
opportunity we have had today to exchange views on the EU’s position at the UN Conference
in Bali opening on 3 December.
The Commission and the European Parliament made a decisive contribution towards
adopting an ambitious European policy on climate change. It took a leading role on the
international scene and a constructive position with regard to our main partners among
developed and developing countries. I look forward to continuing this close and fruitful
cooperation in Bali, where Parliament will be represented by a strong delegation.
The question submitted by the Temporary Committee on Climate Change concerns the
most important issues we will be facing in Bali.
One such issue is how to secure the support of our main partners for starting negotiations,
with a view to concluding an international agreement that will aim to ensure that global
warming is limited to 2°C.
The Bali Conference will undoubtedly be a milestone in the international endeavour to
combat climate change. Bali will be a first practical test of the international community’s
determination to translate political declarations into action.
There are many encouraging signs. Climate change is now a first priority in international
policy; it is an issue of direct concern to Heads of State or Government around the world.
A month ago, the first meeting of its kind, called by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
in New York, sent out a very powerful message: climate change is now recognised by all
leaders throughout the world as an issue requiring urgent and decisive action by the
The recent meeting in Bogor also confirmed that there is a shared view among a steadily
growing number of countries that an agreement must be reached in Bali on starting official
negotiations aimed at concluding an agreement on climate change for the period after
The discussions so far have also shown that there is a convergence of views on the main
points to be included in the agreement for the period after 2012. Of course, some would
prefer clusters (reduction, adaptation, technology, funding) to establishing the main points
of agreement at Bali, which is the position held by the EU.
It is nevertheless true that the EU has to large extent managed to set the agenda for the Bali
Conference. The EU strategy on climate and energy, approved by the European Council in
March 2007 on the basis of a related motion from the Commission, has had a decisive
effect on the aims and level of ambition of the Bali Conference as well as the architecture
of the post-2012 agreement on climate change.
The EU strategy has formed a basis for a series of multilateral and bilateral discussions. At
the end of this month, the EU will discuss the issue of climate change as a matter of priority
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 81
at the EU-China and EU-India summit conferences. It is up to our partners in the developed
countries to respond to and cooperate on the targets set by the EU, acting at all times on
the basis of scientific data.
The developed countries must continue to take the lead by making ambitious commitments
to reduce emissions in absolute terms. We have the economic and technological means to
limit greenhouse gas emissions. If we and the other developed countries do not take the
first steps, how can we expect the rapidly developing, emerging economies to take action,
especially on the scale required?
Nevertheless, the forecasts for emission increases worldwide leave no doubt that the
developing countries must contribute. We are not asking them for the time being to commit
themselves to emission reductions in absolute terms. However, with our help the developing
countries must slow the rate of increase in their emissions. Thus on a global scale, at some
point in the next 10-15 years, once we have reached a peak in CO2 emissions these can
begin to decrease in absolute terms.
This is the only way we can keep the increase in the average temperature of the planet
within the limit of 2°C. In this context, we must focus on specific proposals to strengthen
funding and investments in clean technologies and the transfer of these technologies to
We therefore support the initiative of our Indonesian hosts to invite finance ministers to
a meeting on climate change and funding, to be held in Bali during the Conference.
To retain its leading role internationally, the EU must above all achieve results within its
own territory. The Commission will approve the package of measures on climate and
energy at the beginning of next year and will plan the necessary measures for achieving
our targets, namely a unilateral reduction in emissions of 20%, or 30% if an international
agreement is achieved.
This package of measures will include proposals on the allocation of responsibility and
obligations among the Member States in order to improve the EU Emissions Trading System
and achieve the targets for renewable energy sources.
Measures to be taken at Community level must also play a part in reducing emissions. One
such area is our forthcoming proposals on CO2 and motor vehicles, as discussed in the
European Parliament at the October plenary session.
The Commission will propose a legislative framework for achieving the Community target
of 120 g/km by 2012. The Commission will also present the legal framework for capturing
and storing CO2, with the necessary guarantees on environmental protection.
Bali is only the start of the negotiation process, as the President said earlier. We must now
prepare and secure the widest possible international support for the way ahead that we
The EU will intensify bilateral contacts with major partners and will take full advantage of
the forthcoming summits as well as all the important international meetings.
As I have said before, despite encouraging signs internationally, there are nevertheless
serious differences of opinion. For instance, there is disagreement on how to combat climate
change, and in particular the type and nature of the targets. The US is continuing to oppose
82 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Targets of this kind are of fundamental importance if we wish to ensure the effectiveness
of our agreement and the strengthening of the global CO2 market. We shall continue to
cooperate with all those in the United States who can help towards bringing about a change
of attitude at federal level.
In the United States itself, a very lively dialogue is already being conducted on the issue of
combating climate change. From various sections of the United States we are receiving
clear messages and appeals for decisive action in the run-up to the Bali Conference.
Through your various contacts with colleagues in other parliaments around the world,
with representatives of industry and with civil society, we are counting on the support of
the European Parliament in promoting the EU’s ambitious aims regarding the issue of
We need this support in our efforts to strengthen international cooperation on climate
IN THE CHAIR: MRS ROURE
Eija-Riitta Korhola, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (FI) Madame President, first of all
my sincere thanks go to Mrs Hassi for her cooperation on this resolution. Obviously this
is perhaps going to be one of the most important, if not the most important, conferences
on climate change. Unfortunately, not much progress was made in the last five conferences.
Now at last the time has come to decide upon concrete measures for the period after 2012.
What all the earlier conferences have had in common is that, instead of souvenirs in the
shape of real breakthroughs, we have seen a pat on the back for the EU for leading the way
in its unilateral actions and environmental aspirations, and then off we go again for another
year. The problem is that global measures are needed urgently for what is a global climate
problem, although they have seemed difficult to produce. For example, a year ago Nairobi
failed to show any indication that there would be commitment from any of the important
new countries to emissions cuts from 2013. We have therefore had to hope that
negotiations outside the Kyoto Protocol framework will result in emissions cuts among
the world’s four largest polluters, the United States of America, China, India and Russia.
Perhaps the most tangible challenge for developing countries is the notion of solidarity.
At one time no one could have foreseen the extent to which emissions would start to
increase, and now around half of all emissions come from the developing countries, mainly
China and India. Of course their citizens have a right to economic growth, but it is in
everyone’s interests that that growth be as clean as possible. The negotiating situation is
thus awkward, but then also is the practice. It may tempt companies operating in global
markets to continue to invest in places where there are not proper environmental standards
or emissions limits. For people in the developing world, however, there is no solidarity in
having their environment contaminated. Furthermore, to move emissions is not to cut
them. The outcome, then, is that three out of every four emissions are increasing rapidly.
How do we move forward from this situation? Will there be time to decouple industrial
production from country-specific restrictions and instead produce a worldwide scheme
for the industrial sector and an international carbon economy? The priorities should be
energy content, eco-efficiency and low-emission technology and its development.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 83
Elisa Ferreira, on behalf of the PSE Group. – (PT) President-in-Office of the Council,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I will begin by sincerely congratulating the rapporteur,
Mrs Hassi, for her opening text and for her capacity to generate commitments on this
The text to be put to the vote reflects the genuine effort made by the various political groups
to send a clear, effective and mobilising message to Bali. This is the only way to ensure the
conditions for achieving the central objective, which is to transform the Bali meeting into
the departure point for all global partners to assume clear and quantified policy
commitments for combating climate change by 2009.
Everyone has had to make sacrifices and adjustments. The objective will have been achieved
if this text is widely approved by Parliament. That will give democratic legitimacy to the
EU’s pioneering spirit in the area of the environment and climate in the eyes of the whole
world. This pioneering spirit has created added responsibilities, however, particularly as
regards the quality of the specific proposals presented, which must meanwhile include
both reductions and adaptations. Account must be taken in particular of the fact that the
greatest adaptation costs are now falling upon the poorest regions of the world that have
contributed least to the problem and which are least equipped to resolve it. The proposals
must meanwhile ensure that the various international reduction responsibilities are
distributed equitably, proportionally and fairly.
Environmental commitments will have to be adjusted to the development process the
poorest countries and regions are entitled to, including access to normal standards of
well-being and comfort, whether for the less developed countries or for the huge
populations in the emerging economies. While the pioneering European approach is a
duty, it should nevertheless also be seen as an opportunity to gain environment-related
technological and innovative comparative advantages. This will only materialise, however,
if environmental concerns and commitments gradually become the rule of operation of
the global economy. If not, the EU’s good practices will distort competition and disappoint
In this context Parliament makes the practical suggestion that national commitments
should be complemented by the exploration of global sectoral commitments with a view
to creating benchmarks and internationally accepted good practices for all sectors of
industry and services involved in international competition. This is a very ambitious agenda,
but the EU must assume the responsibilities corresponding to its role of positive leadership
which is so very important for the survival of the planet.
Lena Ek, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – (SV) Madam President, Minister, Commissioner,
the start of negotiations for what will become the new Kyoto Agreement in Bali in December
is, of course, extremely important. Parliament is preparing itself though this debate and a
resolution, and the Council has also prepared itself through a resolution. What is still
lacking, I believe, is clearer cooperation between the EU’s various institutions. A big
responsibility rests here with the Portuguese Presidency. The European Union must speak
with one voice in Bali.
An important element is how the situation of developing countries is to be managed and
how they are to be able to combine economic development with environmentally friendly
technology. They need our assistance. Not only in fine words, but they need money,
methodological development and access to new technology. We need to focus our efforts
on various policy areas and the aid must be changed so that it is also climate friendly.
84 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Part of the solution also depends on the second point I intended to mention in the debate
– forests. Large areas are being devastated today and we all know what that means for the
climate. But it is also a catastrophe for the people who live in these areas when their
livelihoods disappear. A method of working must be developed in which we pay developing
countries and ordinary families to look after and take care of forest areas. Sustainable
production is extremely important. A completely untouched forest is good from the point
of view of biodiversity, but a rotting forest emits large volumes of methane gas. What we
need is a growing forest where the final product is taken care of in a way that locks in the
CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Bali will be a big, difficult and chaotic meeting. The best we can do is prepare ourselves
well so that the actual start of the negotiations is good. For that this debate is an excellent
tool, but we must also make preparations together with our friends through a strong
transatlantic dialogue and dialogue with China and India. We know that 25 states emit
83% of the gases we need to stop and, Commissioner, Minister, a true friend is a person
who asks how you are doing and also stops to listen to the answer.
Liam Aylward, on behalf of the UEN Group . – Madam President, can I too congratulate
Mrs Hassi on her work and contribution to this debate.
I also want to congratulate Al Gore, the former Vice-President of America, for being recently
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his sterling work in highlighting the need for international
action to arrest climate change.
Receipt of this prize is an international recognition that climate change has risen to the
top of the international political agenda. It is international action that is now needed, so
that we can all collectively ensure that carbon dioxide emissions are substantially reduced
in the near future. I thus fully support the 20/20 and 50/50 EU commitments to reduce
Bali represents a real window of opportunity for us to agree an official mandate and
framework in order to secure clear and firm international commitments for post-2012.
In Bali let the foundations of the building blocks and road map commence, based on: a
shared vision; firm commitments from developed countries; the expansion of the use of
carbon markets; the strengthening of cooperation on technological research and the
reduction of deforestation. Also, let us not forget that the EU needs to deliver here at home
and to lead by example.
Therefore, I look forward to President Pöttering’s proposal in February on how this House,
the European Parliament, can itself reduce its carbon footprint.
Rebecca Harms, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Madam President, it has become
standard practice in the European Union, as we heard again today from the
President-in-Office of the Council, to speak of a leading European role in the international
effort to combat climate change. When I cast my mind back to March and the decisions
taken at the summit to set targets of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 20% increase in
energy efficiency and a 20% renewables quota by 2020, that does indeed sound like a
I find it highly regrettable that negotiations with the Member States on the energy package
did not progress far enough for us to underpin these summit decisions in Brussels prior
to the Bali conference. If the countries with which the EU intends to negotiate in Bali take
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 85
a look behind the European scenes and see the arduous nature of the negotiations with the
Member States on energy efficiency and renewables, they will realise that the whole business
has been nothing short of a tragedy. I believe it is an ominous sign when we demand giant
strides on the global stage but are only prepared to tiptoe forward cautiously at home. It
is not as if a lack of technology were a problem for us. Our problem is that we totally lack
the political courage to effect the sea change that was discussed in March in our energy
and resource policies.
I have to say that, when the Reul report was adopted at the last Plenary part-session, I was
horrified to hear that we were back to talking about nothing but coal and nuclear-power
options, and it fills me with utter shame that Europeans should now be offering African
countries nuclear power as a solution to climate problems. I believe some Europeans must
have taken leave of their senses.
Roberta Musacchio, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. – (IT) Madam President, the text
before this House is the result of collective work by the Climate Committee. That committee,
set up on ad hoc basis with a mandate of great importance, has undertaken major
consultation and discussion initiatives, and has drawn up an instrument which Europe can
use to play a major role in the thirteenth Conference of the Parties in Bali.
The crux of the policy proposal is clear and forceful. What is needed is a political and
multilateral approach which is based on the UN, and takes account of the IPCC and major
changes not just in technology but also in the social model. Technology transfers,
cooperation and a new environmental and development approach are needed. The proposal
of 3.20% by the Commission and the Council is only a starting point in this sense, albeit
a positive one. Our thinking needs to be wide-ranging and forward-looking, and frankly
the future cannot involve a return to technologies of the past which are old, dangerous
and controversial, such as nuclear technology.
We also need to start thinking about innovative proposals that we ourselves have put
forward in our parliamentary debate and which are now being taken up in a more
authoritative way by leading figures such as Chancellor Merkel. I am speaking of the per
capita calculation of emissions, which we have proposed, together with Mr Prodi, and
which is very important in the light of the current situation in which there now seems to
be an inequality in emissions and in which those emissions all have to be reduced in an
Bastiaan Belder, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group. – (NL) Madam President, may I make
the following points on behalf of my colleague, Hans Blokland.
To begin with I must thank Satu Hassi most warmly for all the important work she has
done to arrive at the resolution now before us. In view of the upcoming Climate Change
Conference in Bali it is important to record the European Parliament's position on climate
policy as concisely as possible, and Satu Hassi has done just that.
Now that the European Union is focusing hard on climate policy, it is time for other parts
of the world to follow suit, including those countries which have not yet ratified the Kyoto
Agreement. In Bali the European Union should demonstrate its credentials as a leader, not
paternalistically but in a spirit of cooperation.
I see the Bali conference as a perfect opportunity for us all to sit down together and consider
what action is needed on climate policy after 2012. It will take joint efforts worldwide to
preserve the quality of our world and safeguard our future.
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Karl-Heinz Florenz (PPE-DE). – (DE) Madam President, allow me to extend a warm
welcome to Stavros Dimas. We look forward to our discussions with you in Bali about the
path that Europe intends to pursue in the field of climate policy.
I see the pursuit of climate policy as a challenge for all of us. It is not the preserve of
misty-eyed environmentalists or of liberal merchants but a challenge to which we must
all respond together, and the Temporary Committee on Climate Change is starting to do
just that. Not everyone appreciates this yet, but we have nevertheless made a good start.
Bali is a milestone – no doubt about that. A post-Bali gap, which would also be a post-Kyoto
gap, would be a disaster, not only for the environment but also in terms of economic policy,
because industry cannot invest without hard and fast data. It is also a matter of where we
stand at the present time and what we actually have to offer in Bali, for we must have
something to offer, otherwise we cannot expect other continents to join us in a common
effort to solve the problem.
This is why it is right and proper that we should be committed to making offers here. Three
times twenty per cent amounts to a great deal, and we would be happy to hit these targets.
I still see major obstacles ahead, to be sure, but we shall make it. Besides, precisely because
we need to set a good example, I do believe we shall arrive at a European environmental
foreign policy that serves to influence the search for answers to questions such as why
these huge conflagrations break out across the globe, producing more CO2 than all of
Europe’s power stations put together.
I believe Europe has to get involved here, and we are well on the way to doing so, and then
Americans within the United States – not necessarily through their government – will be
given a positive stimulus to move forward too. That is precisely where we are heading. I
regard climate change entirely as a golden economic opportunity. If we do not take it,
others surely will.
Riitta Myller (PSE). – (FI) Madam President, the credibility of the leadership shown by
the European Union in the area of climate policy will be measured in December in Bali.
The result must be global will in the shape of a clear mandate to prevent the earth’s
temperature from rising by more than two degrees. The European Union has already made
its own decisions. If the goal is to be achieved, however, it will take the commitment of all
the industrialised countries, the United States and Australia for example, to quantitative
cuts in emissions.
We can no longer afford to have the sort of debate we have had up to now as to whether
we should reach this target through technological development or by setting binding
targets. We need both. Only binding targets and adequately stringent emissions targets,
however, will make companies switch to cleaner and more environmentally friendly
technology. We have to remember, as has been said here, that to get all the parties to adopt
the treaty will take solidarity, especially with the developing countries, which are the worst
off of all. We also need, however, to reach a clear negotiating position with developing
countries, such as China and India, on quantitative reductions in emissions in the future.
Again I would like to thank all those who have been involved in drafting this resolution
for Parliament, and especially Mrs Hassi and the groups’ negotiators. You have done some
Vittorio Prodi (ALDE). – (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, a word of welcome
to Commissioner Dimas, who will be on the front line in Bali. Global warming is an urgent,
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 87
very serious and genuinely global problem in respect of which a global consensus is urgently
needed. That makes it necessary immediately to put forward proposals to control
greenhouse gas emissions which are more equitable and more widely accepted than those
of the Kyoto protocol based on the principle of ‘grandfathering’, i.e. ‘whoever has polluted
most, can continue to pollute most’. That is unacceptable.
For that reason I think that we have to put forward a bolder proposal. I tabled an
amendment, as has already been pointed out, which can be summarised in slogan form as
‘one person, one right of emission’, something suggested by Germany’s Professor Lutz and
also welcomed by Chancellor Merkel.
If every person is to be given the same right of behaviour, the same access to natural
resources, it is important for Parliament to support this process which, from the point of
view of the emissions trading mechanism, could bring the developing peoples a quantity
of resources of an order of magnitude greater than that of international cooperation and
easier to control. In return, that would also require a commitment to respect carbon deposits
such as the equatorial forests.
The principle of equity should provide a baseline for a gradual improvement that has to
start from a baseline if emission figures admissible in 2050 are to be calculated. It is therefore
crucial for ‘grandfathering’ to be gradually reduced. It is precisely because the matter is so
serious and urgent that we have to set matters in motion so that that final outcome can be
Caroline Lucas (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, one of the most effective strategies the
EU can employ in Bali is to lead by example. The first piece of new European climate
legislation to be decided upon since the March Council is the inclusion of aviation in the
Emissions Trading System. So the outcome of that is vitally important, not only in itself
but for the signal that it sends to others at the Bali Conference about whether the EU is
genuinely serious about its climate change commitments.
So far, frankly, the outlook is pretty grim. The Commission’s initial proposal was hopelessly
weak and the fact that the Council has been unable to reach a common mandate for a first
reading agreement sends extremely negative messages. I therefore urge both the Council
and the Commission to raise their game substantially and quickly.
Success in Bali also depends critically on whether equity is at the heart of any new agreement.
That is why proposals must be based on convergence towards equal per capita emission
rights, such as the approach known as ‘contraction and convergence’. I urge the Council
and Commission to follow that approach.
Finally, I would caution against an over-reliance on carbon-offsetting mechanisms. As a
colleague of mine memorably pointed out, carbon offsets are about as useful as an
anti-smoking campaign that pays someone else to stop smoking in the developing world
while you continue cheerfully puffing away. It is irresponsible and critically ineffective.
Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL). – (EL) Mr President, Commissioner, the remit of
the Bali Conference is to promote an ambitious and realistic post-2012 framework. There
is no room for further delay. Global warming must be addressed immediately and drastically.
Ecology and economics can and must coexist.
The ensuing benefits will greatly exceed the financial cost. However, this requires a broader
agreement, with specific commitments to reduce emissions, and not mere wishful thinking.
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Commitments must be made to combat emissions from international air and sea transport.
There is a need to capture greenhouse gases through sustainable forest management and
a change in production standards and consumption, as well as through land use.
However, in order to achieve this, the Commission must remember forgotten aims relating
to the bold promotion of renewable energy sources. It must promote more ambitious
targets and demonstrate a stronger political will.
This is what we expect, Mr Dimas.
Romana Jordan Cizelj (PPE-DE). – (SL) The European Union is a world leader in
combating climate change and developing new environmentally friendly technologies.
But for how much longer? Awareness of the need to reduce human impact on the natural
environment is growing in a large number of countries. This is being followed by strategies,
plans and measures, even in countries in which environmental protection was, even recently,
not a priority.
Take for example China, which a delegation of the Temporary Committee on Climate
Change visited recently to familiarise itself with the situation there. Although as a developing
country under the Kyoto Protocol China does not have to reduce its greenhouse gas
emissions, it is becoming aware of the problem of global warming and has already begun
to take action. It has adopted a national climate change program in which it has, amongst
other things, set itself a large number of ambitious targets.
All this demonstrates that we cannot rest on our laurels if Europe is to retain its global
influence. I therefore call upon the delegation in Bali to put forward Europe’s position in
the fight against global warming accordingly and with a single voice. In my view, a sufficient
reduction in warming is possible only if we succeed in setting up a global market in carbon.
Price, that is to say money, is an extremely effective mechanism for attaining goals in human
In seeking to reach an agreement on global measures we cannot forget about implementing
our own targets. We must steadily develop our own policies and continue to introduce
innovations in energy, transport and other sectors which also cause greenhouse gas
emissions. Only with effective and successful implementation at home will we be successful
in our negotiations and cooperation with third countries.
I hope that the delegation in Bali will have a very successful visit and successfully put
forward the positions set out in our resolution.
Dorette Corbey (PSE). – (NL) Madam President, next month in Bali the European Union
must bring its full political weight to bear in order to make the conference a success. To
that end we very much need the support of the developing countries and also of countries
like China and India. To date those countries have contributed very little to climate change,
but they are seriously affected by its repercussions. Europe must offer help to those countries
and reach out to them so that they can adjust to climate change, and we must invest in
I am optimistic that in 2009 we can really get down to brass tacks and conclude a good
agreement which the United States can also sign up to. But if the rest of the world does not
follow Europe and agree binding targets, we shall need a plan B and even a plan C.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 89
Plan B would be to set worldwide targets for reductions in every sector of industry, and if
that does not work plan C would be to slap import levies on products from countries that
refuse to implement the climate policy.
The proposed resolution is a good one and it merits our full support. My compliments to
Satu Hassi and the shadow rapporteurs.
David Hammerstein (Verts/ALE). – (ES) Madam President, an average per capita
emissions level has been proposed for everyone but be aware that what may be fair in social
terms may end up being impossible in ecological terms.
Environmental objectives must incorporate countries such as China and India, they must
incorporate equity. However, environmental convergence between North and South must
take place quickly and the level of emissions must be very low if it is to be an effective
measure rather than smoke and mirrors.
At the same time we should consider fiscal and commercial measures to slow trade both
in highly polluting products and in products which have been manufactured using dirty
External climate protection of this kind may provide a response on the part of the European
Union to the growth of emissions in our products from Southern countries and we can
collect the income generated and then invest it in clean technologies in the South.
Jens Holm (GUE/NGL). – (SV) We will soon be deciding how we will be able to combat
global warming after 2012 when the Kyoto Agreement comes to an end.
We have a very good basis. We need reductions of up to 80% by 2050, assistance for
developing countries to reduce their emissions, measures against the meat industry, which
is responsible for almost one fifth of global emissions of greenhouse gases, more flexible
patent laws which make it easier to spread green technology, certification of biofuels to
avoid them coming into conflict with food supplies, and the conservation of the world’s
forests. As has been said, this is all wonderful.
What is missing and what we must do in the future is to take measures against the constantly
growing flows of traffic within the EU, EU subsidies and the fact that markets tend to be
given priority when the EU legislates and implements.
There are eleven amendments, most of which I think are good and strengthen the thrust
of the resolution, which is that it is the rich world which is responsible for climate change
and must therefore take the lead in radical reductions.
I am troubled by Amendment 7, which aims to use nuclear power to combat the greenhouse
effect. We should not replace one environmental problem with new problems.
Anders Wijkman (PPE-DE). – (SV) Madam President, it is almost 15 years since the
Climate Convention was signed at the Rio Conference and yet the fact is that climate
emissions are rising faster today than ever before. This shows how inadequate international
cooperation has been so far.
The EU must continue to take a leading responsibility through measures at home –
everything from tougher requirements for the cars of tomorrow to increased aid for
alternative sources of energy. But ‘domestic action’ is not enough. Mr Florenz asked what
we can offer the rest of the world. That is a good question. I believe we can offer three
90 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
things. First, clean environmentally friendly technology to all developing countries which
are in a phase of modernisation, not least China and India. They are fully entitled to their
development, but they do not need to repeat our mistakes. Providing support for technology
and knowledge must be a priority in the EU budget. They gain from it, but we also gain
It is equally important for us to accept our historical responsibility and provide support
for adaptation measures to all the low-income countries which will be greatly affected by
storms, floods and extended droughts. The money which has so far been put aside in
various adaptation funds and the initiative recently taken by the Commission, the ‘Climate
Alliance’, is not enough. It is absurdly small. The need is hundreds of times greater.
Third, as Mrs Ek underlined, it is important to pay attention to the role of forests, not least
tropical forests. We must give the forest owners an incentive not to chop down forests but
to preserve them.
Climate policy does not stand and fall with Bali, but success in Bali will, of course, improve
the chances of achieving a final agreement in 2009. In order to facilitate this I assume that
the Commission and the Council will listen to Parliament, not least with regard to the need
to do much more with regard to technical cooperation, adaptation measures and forest
Matthias Groote (PSE). – (DE) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen,
at their spring summit the Heads of State and Government took good decisions on the
fight against climate change. Their decision on greenhouse gases provides for a 20%
reduction in the 1990 emission levels in Europe by 2020. It was also agreed at the spring
summit that the reduction target would be raised to 30% if other industrialised nations
committed themselves to cutting their greenhouse-gas emissions. The EU should therefore
make every effort to encourage other industrialised nations to sign up to the post-Kyoto
I should like to refer to another specific point, namely transport, for it is important that
we should succeed in securing the inclusion of transport in the post-Kyoto agreement. In
Europe alone, transport produces 21% of all greenhouse gases. International aviation in
particular was not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, because the ICAO, the International
Civil Aviation Organization, gave assurances that there were plans to create a global system.
This pledge has not been honoured in the period since 1997, and I am afraid we are still
waiting for aviation to be incorporated into the Protocol. I hope that this step can be
initiated in Bali.
Herbert Reul (PPE-DE). – (DE) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, there is a serious
climate problem. No one is denying that. The political issue, however, is how we approach
the effort to solve the problem. I must say that we have had great difficulties with the
present report as regards the manner in which the problem is being addressed.
Problems are not solved by describing doomsday scenarios and speaking of human-rights
violations or by adopting a disheartening tone instead of proposing solutions. The aim
must be to search realistically and objectively for solutions, weighing up diverse arguments.
In this respect I find it regrettable that we have not been prepared to countenance divergent
assessments regarding the causes of climate trends and changes. I am all for the inclusion
of ambitious goals, but it is also essential to ensure that they are achievable, otherwise our
climate policy will be ineffectual.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 91
It is also wrong to establish taboos and say that the subject of coal and the development
of clean-coal technology or the subject of nuclear power are off limits and that the only
answer is renewable energy. Such an approach completely fails to address the problem.
What is needed is a comprehensive debate in which all aspects are examined in detail and
in which we are all open to a variety of instruments and to information from a wide range
I believe we should also consider, as part of that debate, what impact we can achieve with
what resources. How do we maximise the impact? We should also reflect on costs. I believe
we should not only focus on the way in which national political decisions are taken but
also consider, as one or two colleagues have said to me, how the development of technology
can be spurred on and supported. I do not see any sense in holding today’s debate and then,
two or three hours or two or three days later, discussing Lisbon strategies and the like in
the same chamber. These two debates must be rolled into one if we want to fight climate
change and mitigate its effects.
In my view there has been only a limited opportunity here to voice the critical comments
that we aired in our deliberations in committee. I hope that the next time, when we deal
with the full report from the Committee on Climate Change, we shall have a chance to put
forward a rather wider spectrum of arguments.
Karin Scheele (PSE). – (DE) Madam President, I should like to add my voice to the
numerous compliments that have been paid to the rapporteur for this good and objectively
presented report, which also received the support of a good majority of the Committee on
Climate Change. It goes without saying that we expect results and a clear mandate for Bali.
This must include shared but differentiated responsibilities for the industrialised nations,
the states with emerging economies and the developing countries.
This resolution also indicates clearly that we expect results by 2009. In the legal instruments
the European Parliament adopts – and speakers have already referred today to the inclusion
of aviation in emissions trading as well as to CO2 emissions from motor vehicles – we must
send very clear political messages to the rest of the world, to the other continents. That is
an essential condition if we are to bring all countries on board.
Katerina Batzeli (PSE). – (EL) Commissioner, allow me first of all to congratulate you
on your efforts in this important international issue of climate change.
Mr President, the fight against climate change should inspire the creation of a new
development model. This model will redefine the existing policies in the direction of
environmental protection, linking economic activity with respect for natural resources
and social welfare.
The EU should play a leading role and ensure that the negotiations do not end in a
broadening of the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. The aim in Bali should be
an agreement with an environmental perspective. The agreement should also make use of
the opportunities for technological innovation, economic development and job creation.
For example, transition to a low-carbon world economy, by linking carbon markets to
emissions trading systems, would be a move in the right direction.
The Bali Conference should be an opportunity to formulate a comprehensive proposal for
the post-2012 period with binding, long-term targets.
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Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Madam President,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, this is a debate of unquestioned importance that we
have had regularly here in the European Parliament. The issue of climate change and the
European Union’s preparations for the Bali Conference have been a recurring theme during
these monthly sessions that I have attended. That clearly highlights the importance
Parliament rightly attaches to it, and only this morning climate change was on the agenda
once more in connection with our debate on globalisation.
In my opening speech I referred to the six fundamental objectives the European Union is
taking to the Bali Conference. These are clear and defined objectives which I assume are
well understood and fully endorsed, and naturally our aim will be to achieve them all. I
also stated very clearly, however, that this is a difficult, complex and politically delicate
process, but we will obviously do our utmost to reach a conclusion.
Some fellow Members have suggested that the EU may not have been the leader it has often
claimed to be in this process. I cannot share that opinion, because if there is a bloc,
organisation or entity that has shown practical signs of having ambitious targets, of seeking
to go further and of showing a real concern for a problem that affects our citizens, then
that entity is the European Union. We have established our own emission reduction goals
that cannot be and have not been equalled anywhere in the world, and we have also made
significant efforts to save energy, to invest in renewable energies, etc. We must therefore
be proud of our efforts and of our work and must not slacken them.
Finally, I would also like to say that I have taken note of the recommendations and
suggestions made in Mrs Hassi’s resolution. Some of those suggestions were referred to
here by Mrs Ferreira, and the Council will certainly bear the recommendations in mind.
Stavros Dimas, Member of the Commission . − Madam President, first of all I would like
to thank the speakers in today’s debate for their positive contributions.
There is an emerging consensus that global efforts are needed to win the battle against
climate change and that Bali must set out the process and content of the post-2012 climate
The European Union will intensify its bilateral contacts with key partners to gain support
for this line. However, we also need to look beyond Bali. Let us not forget that Bali is just
the start of a negotiating process. Making sure that we get on the right track in Bali is, of
course, fundamental. But we will need to step up our efforts to forge common views and
develop common solutions with all our partners over the coming months and years.
The EU-China and the EU-India summit, as well as the EU-Asia summit, all this November,
are the next steps to generate even more convergence and political momentum for the
post-2012 international climate agreement.
As regards the United States and Canada it will be vital to continue but also to go beyond
contacts with the Federal Government. The international carbon market partnership (ICAP)
with US states and Canadian provinces, which I signed on behalf of the European Union
in Lisbon on 29 October, brings together partners who are actively pursuing the
implementation of carbon markets through mandatory cap and trade systems.
I look forward to continuing these discussions with Members of the European Parliament
in the run-up to Bali, and thank you very much for your support.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 93
I have to underline that without the continuous support of the European Parliament we
would not have had an energy and climate-change package earlier this year and without
your support we do not have any hope of achieving a better result in Bali. So please come
in Bali with high ambitions and try to help us as you know how to do.
President . – I am now closing the debate, and I have received a motion for a resolution, (2)
in accordance with Rule 108(5), on behalf of the Temporary Committee on Climate Change.
The debate is closed.
The vote will take place tomorrow – Thursday.
10. Strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy - Situation in Georgia
President . – The next item is a joint discussion on:
– the report by Raimon Obiols i Germà and Charles Tannock, on behalf of the Committee
on Foreign Affairs, on strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy (2007/2088(INI));
– the Council and Commission statements on the situation in Georgia.
Raimon Obiols i Germà (PSE), Rapporteur . – (ES) Madam President, I inherited the role
of co-rapporteur of this report from our colleague Mr Beglitis, who is now a Member of
the Greek Parliament, and I did so with a degree of trepidation, but I must now say that I
am very satisfied with the result achieved. First, because of the good working relationship
with my co-rapporteur Mr Tannock, and also because I have had the opportunity to work
with a group of extremely competent assistants and officials, and finally because a high
level of consensus was reached in the drafting of the report.
It has also been possible to accept most of the amendments, which were likewise submitted
in a spirit of agreement, and I feel the outcome has been satisfactory.
The report supports the Commission document of December 2006 on the assessment and
future development of the European Neighbourhood Policy and, having regard to the
consensus reached, we can currently say that Parliament and the Commission share the
same vision, the idea that the European continent and the Mediterranean are interdependent
realities which cannot be viewed in isolation, and that the neighbourhood policy offers
new channels for relations and for cooperation with societies facing common challenges
and problems, as well as major opportunities for joint progress.
The report points up a number of aspects which can make the European Neighbourhood
Policy as strong and as ambitious as possible. I shall quickly go through five of them:
First, the principle of a broad policy schema in a framework of differentiation, a principle
of differentiation, so that the European Neighbourhood Policy is viewed not as a
standardised, mechanical routine, but as the means by which the European Union can
organise relations with its neighbours while being flexible enough to respond successfully
to different situations.
(2) See minutes.
94 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Secondly, the idea of a balance between the countries of the East and the countries of the
South. We must not prioritise one side over the other, but must have a fully balanced
approach at all times.
Thirdly, the idea of strengthening, using the neighbourhood policy, the structure of the
Euro-Mediterranean policy, the aspect on which I worked most closely in this report. This
does not mean superimposing policies, establishing an over-elaborate, over-complicated
framework, but creating synergies so that the European Neighbourhood Policy can mean
the strengthening of the general structure of the partnership policy or the
Fourthly, the idea of moving from cooperation towards integration in all areas where it
may be possible to do so. This would mean that in the coming years, those sectors which
are prepared for it would share policy areas to help develop rapprochements and synergies
in key sectors such as energy, transport networks, intercultural dialogue, the environment
And finally, involvement on the part not only of government policy or parliamentary
institutions but also, as far as is possible, of many other active sectors in involved civil
societies, the more the merrier.
To that end the European Neighbourhood Policy should also tackle the basic issue of
communication and visibility. I would say, the history of the overall policy of Europe in
relation to its neighbours.
Finally, I would like to note that at the moment it faces its first challenge of visibility, of
history, with the proposal for a Mediterranean Union made by Mr Sarkozy. Yesterday we
heard the French President speak, and I think he introduced some very positive nuances
in that he noted that his proposal for a Mediterranean Union excludes no one, first of all,
secondly it must be added to the acquis of the Euro-Mediterranean policy and, thirdly, it
must try to go beyond it.
I could not agree more with this idea of trying to simplify the general political and
institutional framework of the European Neighbourhood policy, in particular with regard
to the Mediterranean area.
Charles Tannock (PPE-DE), rapporteur . – Madam President, I too would like to join in
thanking both Mr Beglitis, who is now a Greek MP in his national Parliament, and his
successor Mr Obiols i Germà for excellent cross-party cooperation and eventual consensus
as co-rapporteurs of this key report.
It is self-evident that everybody needs good neighbours. In an uncertain and ever-changing
world, the EU needs to develop good and enhanced relationships with countries on its
periphery that are based on security, stability and mutual benefit to all. So far the European
Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is proving to be a valuable tool in this process, in creating a
ring of friends aimed at improved trade, travel and political cooperation, particularly against
terrorism and people trafficking. But, of course, of utmost importance are the shared values
and in particular reinforcing democracy, the rule of law and human rights as our main
ENP policy was conceived somewhat hastily, I have to say to the Commission. Some would
argue that a blanket arrangement for all southern Euromed and Eastern European countries
and the South Caucasus neighbouring countries cannot be an enduring foreign policy idea
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 95
for the European Union. Nevertheless, our report fully accepts that for the foreseeable
future this unitary policy is here to stay and Parliament will engage with it as it is.
Nevertheless, clearly Moldova is not the same as Morocco. Countries in the southern
dimension are not European and therefore have no real prospects of EU membership. In
the East, which is my side of the report, however, there are at least two countries in my
view – Ukraine and Moldova – that are allowed to accede under Article 49 of the Maastricht
Treaty, as they are undeniably European in nature.
Certainly, matters in terms of visa facilitation, readmission and, post-Ukraine’s WTO
accession – which we hope will happen next year – a deep EU free trade agreement, these
are all progressing well with a country such as Ukraine, and I hope these will be extended
to Moldova and eventually to other South Caucasus countries in due course.
In my view the eventual ENP aim to the East must be visa-free travel.
The ENP will help generally to consolidate these countries’ wishes to anchor themselves
firmly within EU institutions. In Moldova’s case, the ENP may prove to be a significant
boost to the resolution of the Transnistria frozen conflicts. Nevertheless, these Eastern
European ENP countries need to know for sure, by the EU Council and Commission, that
membership is ultimately available to them and that the ENP is not just a delaying tactic
to frustrate these countries’ membership ambitions.
The report also recognises the suffering of the people of Belarus and the bravery of the
country’s democratic forces. We need to be ready, as and when the Lukashenko regime
crumbles, to welcome Belarus back into the ENP and grant it, too, a European perspective.
The report proposes the development of a joint parliamentary assembly for the European
Parliament and Eastern ENP countries, provisionally dubbed ‘EURO-NEST’. It draws on
the success of similar structures, such as the Euromed Parliamentary Assembly, which is
already up and running and basically is the southern dimension of parliamentary
cooperation for the ENP, as well as the Barcelona Process, and the more famous ACP
Assembly. I am personally convinced that EURO-NEST would strengthen democratic
institutions in Eastern ENP countries. It would hasten an end to the isolation of Belarus
and enable, for instance, Azerbaijani and Armenian parliamentarians to discuss the
potentially explosive Nagorno-Karabakh frozen conflict, where a war could once again
break out, given the amount of petrodollars flowing into the Azerbaijani Government’s
treasuries and the rhetoric on both sides of the divide.
The EU has become far too dependent as well on Russian energy resources, so we all agree
that we must develop alternative sources. That is why our report, when it went through
the Committee on Foreign Affairs, proposed the idea of bringing Kazakhstan potentially
one day as a possibility into the ENP. However, now, I am afraid to say, this is sadly no
longer supported by the major political groups, so it may well be taken out of the report
tomorrow at the vote. We would have had access through this process to Kazakhstan’s
vast natural resources, while the EU would help further reforms in this vast – geographically
speaking – secular country of strategic importance. If it is indeed pulled closer one day to
Russia and China, which I am sure is the intent of those two powers, we will be ruing the
day that we took such a precipitous decision to keep Kazakhstan at arm’s length.
96 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
IN THE CHAIR: MIGUEL ANGEL MARTÍNEZ MARTÍNEZ
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President,
Commissioner, whom I would particularly like to applaud for dedicating so much of your
time, work, effort and enthusiasm to developing and implementing the European
Neighbourhood Policy. I acknowledge all that commitment, work and effort and must
applaud you for it.
Ladies and gentlemen, the European Neighbourhood Policy, to which from now on I will
refer simply as ENP, is an essential policy for the EU.
The ENP is a fundamental element of the architecture of the Union’s relations with the ring
of states surrounding it. Stability, security and development are interconnected processes.
Relations between the Union and its neighbours must be strengthened, both to the East
and to the South, so that the ENP provides a global, single, inclusive, balanced and coherent
policy framework. Despite the specific nature and individuality of each country and each
society, common interests and challenges exist that must be faced together.
The fact that we are strengthening the ENP is first of all evidence of the merits of this policy.
We are concerned only with strengthening and deepening policies that have been successful.
We all acknowledge, however, that we must continue to reinforce and strengthen the ENP.
Since the Commission presented its proposals at the end of last year, Member States have
reached a broad consensus on the need to strengthen the ENP and the measures required
to do so. In this context, on the Council’s behalf I would like to thank the two rapporteurs,
Mr Tannock and Mr Obiols i Germà, for their excellent and exhaustive report.
Parliament’s opinions are particularly important and valuable, especially for implementing
the strengthened European Neighbourhood Policy, and will be taken into account as we
go forward. As you know, the German Presidency presented an interim report on
strengthening the ENP that was endorsed by the Council and by the European Council last
June. The June Council also adopted conclusions reiterating the main principles of the ENP.
Firstly, the ENP consolidates a strategy based on partnership and cooperation. Our objective
is to help our neighbours to modernise and to reform. For this purpose and to ensure that
the strengthened ENP is effective, it must be followed by all the member countries as part
of a privileged partnership with a view to achieving the necessary reforms. The imposition
from Brussels of a calendar of reforms is certainly not the best way to obtain results, which
is why we have listened to what the partner countries want from the strengthened ENP.
Secondly, it is a global, single, inclusive, balanced and coherent policy framework. The
Member States agree that the offer of intensified relations applies to all partner countries,
while maintaining an overall balance between the East and the South.
Thirdly, the aspects of differentiation set out according to the performance and assistance
per measure continue to be essential in the EU's relations with neighbouring states. The
ENP’s policy framework obviously needs to remain sufficiently flexible to take into account
the needs of each partner and the extent to which they effectively and visibly make and are
prepared to make progress on the reform track. EU support should therefore be tailored
even more to the needs of partners and their priorities as set out in the ENP action plans.
Finally, the European Neighbourhood Policy remains distinct from the process of
enlargement and does not prejudge any possible future developments in partner countries’
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 97
relationships with the EU. Participation in the ENP in itself makes it possible to bolster
national transformation processes in the interests of our partners’ citizens, independently
of an EU accession perspective. We must therefore be cautious and not amalgamate two
things which are different.
Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union provides that any European State which
respects the principles of the rule of law, freedom, democracy, respect for human rights
and fundamental freedoms may apply to become a member of the Union. Any application
for accession will be examined in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty.
I would now like to refer to the strengthening of the ENP. As you know, one of the key
aspects of the strengthened ENP is to make best use of the Union’s financial weight. The
increase in funding for partners under the new European Neighbourhood and Partnership
Instrument is already a sign of the Union’s enhanced commitment. To encourage reforms
even further, a governance facility has been created based on objective and transparent
allocation criteria. Funding will be allocated via this facility for the first time this autumn.
Work is also progressing on the establishment of the ENP investment facility, which is
intended to improve the impact of the Union’s budgetary contributions and to help to
mobilise major donor resources. This new mechanism will be fully compatible with existing
financial instruments, particularly the Euro-Mediterranean investment and partnership
In order to further encourage and support regulatory and administrative reform and
institution-building, we aim to open up Community agencies and programmes to ENP
countries through a gradual approach. Some progress has already been made in this area.
The Commission is negotiating the necessary protocols on the general principles for
participation in these new Community programmes with the first group of ENP partners.
Israel, Morocco and the Ukraine are likely to be the first countries to benefit from this
I would like to conclude with some remarks on what we consider to be the key elements
of the strengthened ENP. First and foremost, one of its essential components is increased
economic integration, which must be achieved in particular by the gradual adoption of
comprehensive free trade agreements. The opening of negotiations on such agreements,
however, must be preceded by the accession of partner countries to the WTO.
It is also essential to facilitate mobility for certain categories of people between the partner
countries and the EU. As a clear and tangible sign of the Union’s openness to its neighbours
and in line with its common approach on visa facilitation, we concluded visa facilitation
and readmission agreements with Ukraine and Moldova. We will also discuss visa facilitation
for certain groups of people from Eastern Europe so that they can participate in ENP-related
events, building on equivalent measures that have been applied for groups of citizens from
the Euro-Med countries since 2003.
Finally, I would like to refer to the commitment we recently assumed in relation to the
Black Sea and countries in that region. The Black Sea Synergy initiative aims to strengthen
cooperation among the countries of the region and deepen the EU’s relations with it at all
levels. In general terms, the European Neighbourhood Policy is in the interests of both the
Union and the partner countries. It is now time to make it a more attractive, effective and
credible policy that guarantees security and prosperity for all.
98 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission . − (DE) Mr President, ladies and
gentlemen, I regard the European Neighbourhood Policy, the intensification of which we
are discussing today, as a key strategic policy, and I would like to record my sincere thanks
to the two rapporteurs for their report, a truly important document which will also serve
to fill our sails for the next leg of the ENP voyage.
We want to use this neighbourhood policy, of course, to project our stability and to
encourage reforms. In view of the international challenges confronting Europe, the success
of this policy is also vital not only to our prosperity but also to the prosperity, stability and
security of both ourselves and our neighbours. That is the basic idea.
I also thank you for the key elements that were developed in the report. It is a differentiated
policy, a policy that must have a coherent political framework. It is a policy which is also
designed to generate synergy within a regional structure – Black Sea Synergy in one area
and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in the other. It is a policy based on recognition
of the need to support particular sectors. Implementing and further intensifying the
neighbourhood policy is thus an absolute priority. I am therefore grateful for the support
of Parliament, which is essential.
The results of the major European Neighbourhood Policy Conference on 3 September also
show that our partners and our Member States are now fully in agreement with this
prioritisation. The conference was a real success, because it brought all of our ENP partners
and all the Member States together for the first time, along with representatives of the
various authorities and of civil society. A clear consensus emerged on the substantive
priorities of the neighbourhood policy, from economic integration to greater mobility,
and from energy policy to political cooperation.
Parliament can play an especially prominent and important role in the realm of political
cooperation, and of course you are also a catalyst for the development of democracy, for
human rights and for reforms leading towards the establishment of the rule of law, to
which we naturally attach the utmost importance here, and which serve as a compass of
this neighbourhood policy. The neighbourhood policy is already yielding definite results
too. One need only consider how much we have intensified our cooperation with Ukraine
in the ENP framework since the Orange Revolution. The fact that Ukraine has now held
free and fair elections for the second time undoubtedly constitutes a success. I hope that
the political decision-makers in Kiev will now maintain the momentum of recent weeks.
We shall continue to work with you on the implementation of major reforms too, with
the aid of the substantial ENP Action Plan. Negotiations are progressing on an enhanced
agreement, which, as you are aware, is intended to bring Ukraine as close as possible to
the European Union.
We shall also continue, of course, to support Ukraine’s accession to the WTO so that we
can establish a comprehensive free-trade area, and we have already – as you know –
concluded a visa-facilitation agreement with Ukraine and hope that the same can be done
soon with the Republic of Moldova, each of these agreements being accompanied by an
agreement on readmission.
Morocco is another enthusiastic beneficiary of this neighbourhood policy, and is using it
astutely as an engine of modernisation, which is precisely what we wanted to happen. We
have very clearly commended Morocco’s progress on the basis of its detailed internal reform
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 99
programme, and the new aviation agreement and Morocco’s close energy cooperation
with the EU, for example, are good models of fruitful cooperation.
Only last week I was in Rabat for talks, at which I also initiated further progress on the
joint reflection process we began in July with a view to meeting Morocco’s request for
advanced status in the ENP framework. I am confident that in the second half of next year
we shall be able to present appropriate proposals on a new and advanced form of
The neighbourhood policy, then, is working, but we must go further, of course, in our
efforts to make it even better, even more effective and even more comprehensive. Last
December the Commission published recommendations on ways of strengthening the
ENP, which our President-in-Office of the Council has already presented. I believe we have
taken some very important steps. For example, our eastern partners lacked a regional
dimension, but now we have launched this Black Sea Synergy programme as a tailor-made
process for the East. It gives the East what the South has long possessed in the form of the
Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, and the first meeting in the Black Sea Synergy framework
will take place in 2008.
We have also made progress towards opening Community programmes and agencies to
our neighbours. This year we shall also be awarding the first allocations from the new
Governance Facility, through which we are demonstrating that we can and will offer more
to those partners that display genuine reforming zeal.
In addition, before the year is out we shall have established the Neighbourhood Investment
Facility. Its purpose is to help mobilise funds for the neighbourhood policy over and above
our normal budget, primarily to make it possible to fund the large-scale projects in areas
such as energy and transport.
I do believe we can claim some successes, but we now need your continued support and
that of the Member States to enable us to make further improvements and take further
steps. I am thinking mainly of closer economic integration and of more intensive free trade
with our partners. Their integration into the EU internal market is, of course, a very powerful
reform lever. For this reason we must also gradually open our market, even to what we
call sensitive agricultural goods and services, in which our partners have certain competitive
advantages. This means that we must also ask ourselves whether we are prepared to do
The second thing I am thinking of is further visa-facilitation measures, which are urgently
required to facilitate contacts between people in different countries. These measures can
often be taken within the existing rules, provided there is enough political will to use the
available scope, and we must continue to develop the political dimension of the
neighbourhood policy. This relates to the frozen conflicts we see in the partner countries
on our eastern borders, conflicts that seriously impede our neighbours’ progress towards
reform and, in some cases, threaten our own security.
For this reason the neighbourhood policy must help to create the right climate for the
resolution of conflicts such as the one in the southern Caucasus.
In the Mediterranean region, I shall naturally continue to press for progress in the Middle
East, especially in the Quartet framework, and I very much hope that the meeting in
Annapolis and the subsequent donors’ conference in Paris will materialise so that further
genuine progress can be made in the Middle East.
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We are also prepared to help the parties to the conflict in the Western Sahara in their quest
for a long-term solution. In the coming period our neighbourhood policy will be sharply
focused on practical implementation. We must all pull together in order to maintain and
intensify the dynamics of reform that have developed among our partners.
Next month the Commission will adopt another communication on the neighbourhood
policy, in which we shall outline the steps which the EU needs to take in order to deliver
further tangible results in 2008, in other words our own contribution. In April we shall
then present the country-by-country progress reports, in which we shall analyse where
our neighbours can further improve the implementation of the action plans.
At the beginning of December some fundamental questions will have to be asked, such as
whether the Commission is fully aware of the various capacities and goals of individual
neighbouring countries. As I have said, however, we can make a good deal of progress on
the basis of this differentiated approach.
It seems to me that importance also attaches to the concept of ownership and the local
potential for putting the ownership principle into practice, as well as to even greater
involvement of civil society, an area in which we could still do far more.
I must not omit to add a few words on the events in Georgia, which we have been discussing
together. I merely want to add that we are very concerned about the latest developments
in Georgia. We regret the excessive use of force on the part of the Georgian state security
forces in breaking up demonstrations and closing down independent television stations.
I believe we need an independent inquiry into these incidents. We also remain concerned
about the continuing state of emergency and the restrictions on the freedom of the media,
for curtailing constitutional rights and closing down media operators are draconian
measures which are inconsistent with those democratic values that underlie our bilateral
relations with Georgia and that Georgia has pledged itself to uphold. We therefore expect
these measures to be lifted without delay.
I welcome, on the other hand, the decision taken by President Saakashvili to hold
presidential elections and a referendum on the date for parliamentary elections, thereby
meeting the main demands of the opposition. I hope this will help to ease tension, and I
appeal to all involved to keep political disputes within the bounds of the normal democratic
process and to return from the streets to the negotiating table. We need the right conditions
for a fair and transparent electoral process.
I just wanted to add that. Do forgive me for taking longer than usual, but since I bear
particular responsibility on the basis of the precept that politics is about people, you will
understand that these matters are particularly close to my heart.
Tunne Kelam (PPE-DE), Draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development
. – Mr President, the Committee on Regional Development views a strengthened European
Neighbourhood Policy as a key tool first and foremost to bring our neighbours closer to
the European system of values. An efficient and open ENP can provide multiple incentives
for boosting economic, legal and social reforms in countries bordering the EU. True, the
ENP is not to be seen as a direct route to EU membership. Therefore, the conditionality
principle in the EU approach should provide workable mechanisms to encourage necessarily
economic and democratic changes in our partner countries, in accordance with their own
willingness and progress.
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The ENP can only function as a two-way street. On a political level, I think the ENP would
provide us with a wonderful opportunity to deepen regular political dialogue with countries
which are willing to align their foreign policy positions with those of the EU, countries like
Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and others.
The Committee on Regional Development stresses the crucial importance of cross-border
and interregional cooperation programmes in implementing the ENP. These programmes
should include economic and environmental as well as social and cultural aspects.
I would like to stress another principle: ENP should not be limited to cooperation between
governments and institutions. It has to involve civil society and especially stimulate
grass-root exchanges between citizens, NGOs and local authorities. Therefore, it is important
to facilitate efficiently visa requirements for local border traffic and for specific population
groups. We also call on the Commission to develop guidelines for local and regional
authorities on their specific role in implementing the ENP action plans to develop the ENP
Finally, in the Regional Development Committee’s opinion, the ENP should also include
cooperation in preventing and dealing jointly with natural disasters. We encourage the
Member States to include this aspect in the cross-border cooperation programmes.
Adina-Ioana Vălean (ALDE), Draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties,
Justice and Home Affairs . – Mr President, in these times of globalisation and insecurity about
the future, our neighbours need clear signs from the European Union. They need to hear
that we consider them as partners. They need to know that we support them in their
transition towards democracy and a better life. Therefore I welcome the Commission
proposal for strengthening the ENP by offering our partners new incentives for reforms.
As draftsman of the opinion for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,
I want to insist on the importance of the ENP as a means of enforcing an area of freedom,
security and justice that goes beyond our borders. We cannot afford to leave our neighbours
dealing alone with security issues, organised crime and illegal migration. In today’s world,
each of these phenomena has a global impact and these challenges are our challenges. The
ENP is ultimately a win-win policy. Building an area of freedom, security and justice is in
our mutual interest for the EU and for our neighbours, for the sake of all our people.
President. − I am being told that the Presidency of the Council had not been informed
that the debate was a joint debate on the European Neighbourhood Policy and the situation
We shall therefore give Mr Lobo Antunes the opportunity to deal with the latter topic now,
with the change of speaker.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) I really did not understand
why this debate should cover both neighbourhood policy and Georgia. We do not have
much time, which is why I would like to say very quickly that on 18 November last, as you
know, the Presidency issued a declaration expressing its deep concern at recent events in
Georgia, and called for dialogue between the parties and a search for solutions to the current
crisis that did not violate democratic principles and fundamental rights, namely freedom
of expression. We would also like to stress that it is essential for the Government of Georgia
to restore confidence in the legitimacy of its actions and to do its utmost to ensure respect
for the principles of democracy.
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From our point of view the current situation remains a cause for concern, but we very
much welcome the Georgian Parliament’s announcement that the state of emergency will
be lifted on 16 November next, the day after tomorrow. We hope that this will actually
come to fruition rather than simply remaining an announcement.
This is an important step towards restoring democratic normality in Georgia, since
presidential elections have been announced for the near future and all the democratic
conditions necessary for those elections to take place must naturally be guaranteed. We
are also pleased that dialogue has been established between the authorities and the
I can inform you that the Council is working with Georgia in exerting political and
diplomatic pressure to ensure a rapid return to normality. Our Special Representative for
the region is active and is currently in Georgia. I can also inform you that the situation in
Georgia will be on the agenda of the next General Affairs and External Relations Council.
Some three weeks ago I personally chaired an Association Council between the European
Union and Georgia, when I was able to highlight the economic progress the country was
making and to refer with some hope to the democratic developments that we considered
to be positive.
We sincerely hope that what is currently happening in Georgia is not a backward step,
since that would naturally be highly detrimental to the positive aspects of the development
of both the political and the economic situation that we thought were encouraging. I
assume that the Georgian people and the Georgian authorities are aware of that. A backward
step is neither possible nor acceptable.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group . – (PL) Mr President, Commissioner,
Minister, I would like to refer to one aspect of the excellent report prepared by our colleagues
Mr Tannock and Mr Raimon Obiols i Germà. This is the idea of the EURO-NEST
The main purpose of EURO-NEST, as proposed in the report, is to put into practice the
idea of creating a circle of friends of the EU on the parliamentary level and making them
friends among themselves. This is to supplement the policy of neighbourliness pursued
by the executive bodies of the EU. EURO-NEST would be a parliamentary forum for
dialogue, the exchange of experiences and multilateral cooperation. It is not just a matter
of strengthening contacts between the European Parliament and the national parliaments
of Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, as well as with representatives of
democratic forces in Belarus. For us, the most important issue is that our neighbours should
have dialogue and cooperation among themselves, that they should get to know each other
better, develop trust in each other and benefit from the best examples of democracy, free
speech and respect for human rights.
The concept of EURO-NEST was supported by the majority of the members of the
Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home
Affairs. I would hope that it will also gain the support of all of Parliament. I would like to
address my colleagues from the Liberal Group, who submitted amendment number 5,
which proposed replacing EURO-NEST with the existing organisation PABSEC. I would
like to say that PABSEC, the Parliamentary Association on Black Sea Economic Cooperation,
fulfils a completely different function. First and foremost there is no role within that
organisation for the European Parliament. Thank you to my colleagues from the Socialist
Group for their understanding. The compromise formula, replacing amendment number
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11 and emphasising the need for better intergovernmental cooperation, will make it
possible to delineate this form of cooperation in the proper way.
I am convinced that EURO-NEST will provide an additional impetus to strengthening
partnership with our eastern neighbours and will complement relations with regard to our
southern neighbours as part of the Barcelona process. It will be a signal that, in the European
Parliament, we treat our neighbours seriously, and proof that we are strengthening ties
with our eastern neighbours, irrespective of party divisions.
Marek Siwiec, on behalf of the PSE Group . – (PL) Mr President, in the report under
consideration there are some important statements and they come at a good time. The
situation in the countries to which the report relates (I am speaking mostly about the
eastern area) is a very dynamic one, bringing, as can be expected, many new experiences.
It is very good that European institutions – the Commission, the Council and the European
Parliament – are speaking with a common voice, a voice that reflects the function for which
the institutions were created, and for these introductory statements I would like to thank
the Commissioner and the Minister. I would also like to thank the rapporteurs.
The Socialist Group in the European Parliament supports the development of a European
Neighbourhood Policy, a strengthened European Neighbourhood Policy, provided that it
is prudent and effective. During work on this report we avoided many unnecessary disputes.
We avoided a rather unwise discussion on whether neighbourliness with the East is more
important, or neighbourliness with the South. That would be like asking a child ‘who do
you love more, your Mummy or your Daddy?’ We avoided any unnecessary debate on
whether or not a European Neighbourhood Policy takes the place of a policy aimed at EU
enlargement. These, too, are unreal dilemmas, but these matters received clarification.
A European Neighbourhood Policy can be effective if it is carried out jointly. ‘Jointly’ means
that it is carried out by the European Union as well as by interested countries. It cannot be
the same towards all countries, because these countries have different degrees of democracy
and are interested in implementing this policy in different ways. How delicate a matter this
is you have seen for yourselves, in observing what took place recently in Georgia, which
has just been the subject of discussion. Satisfaction because of another democratic election
in Ukraine has been clouded by the fact that these were the second elections in two years
in that country. One could say a mixed satisfaction. As far as the East is concerned, our
policy relates to an area that is constantly troubled by intrigue organised by the Russian
Federation, whether this is obvious or hidden.
Finally, as the Minister said, this policy can only be successful if it is accompanied by
resources, political will, effective action and an absence of naivety, especially if the creation
of new institutions is involved.
Anneli Jäätteenmäki, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – (FI) Mr President, neighbourhood
policy is one of the priorities of the EU’s foreign policy. The European Neighbourhood
Policy is part of a wider aim to promote peace, stability and economic prosperity. The
implementation of the ENP also demands much from the EU, as the strategic goals of the
27 Member States have to be able to be compatible. It is important to avoid east-west
confrontation, although, obviously, the Member States of the EU have different priorities
when it comes to cooperation.
Cooperation is needed in all directions. As all the EU Member States are involved as well
as 16 partner countries, it is also understandable that people should have strong misgivings
104 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
in the development of this policy as to how the different partner countries can be included
in the collaboration. The ENP policy’s strength, however, lies in the fact that it provides
the EU with more resources to aid the partner countries than would be the case if each
country were approached separately and from totally different angles. The ENP’s
comprehensive approach also ensures that EU policy does not depend on the regional and
national predilections of each country to hold the presidency.
My group offers its unambiguous support for the development of the ENP and the priority
areas highlighted by the Commission, which are economic integration, the mobility of
people, energy (to which we would definitely like to add climate change), and financial
and technical assistance.
Adam Bielan, on behalf of the UEN Group . – (PL) Mr President, the European
Neighbourhood Policy gained more impetus at the same time as the last enlargement of
the EU. It now helps to encourage neighbouring regions to move towards the European
value system. It is the sine qua non for realising objectives that are in both sides’ interests,
that is, a guarantee of security and stability and the promotion of values such as respect
for human rights and full democracy.
At the same time, within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy it is worth
emphasising the particular significance and identity of countries such as, for example,
Ukraine. This country should have a special status within the group of countries included
in the ENP and should be given priority treatment, first and foremost because of its role in
Europe’s cultural heritage and its historical ties with neighbouring countries. Granting
Ukraine privileged status is also particularly important because this country has a pivotal
role to play in ensuring energy stability and security for the whole European Union.
The issue of Ukraine and opening the way for its full membership of the EU should therefore
be considered on an individual basis, taking into consideration that it is Ukraine that is the
EU’s principal partner in the east European neighbourhood.
Marie Anne Isler Béguin, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (FR) Mr President, I should
like to say, firstly, that I am sorry this is a joint debate because the crisis in Georgia ought
to have been the subject of a debate in its own right. Last weekend, the President of this
House sent me to Georgia. I have just returned and I should have liked to deliver a report
on events there and the various meetings I had. Two minutes – sadly – will not be long
enough for me to do that.
Before talking about Georgia, however, I should like to welcome the latest arrival among
the European Neighbourhood Policy countries, namely Mauritania – a country which I
recently visited as head of our election observation mission there.
What is clear today is that the serious crisis in Georgia has certainly put our European
Neighbourhood Policy to the test. Can this neighbourhood policy be really useful? It is
now legitimate to ask that question in the light of the situation in Georgia.
What I can tell you, colleagues, is that, four years on from the non-violent Rose Revolution,
the communities in Georgia are truly shocked by the violence of which we saw something
on our television screens: the violence directed against Georgia’s people and the violence
used to close down Imedi TV. They are shocked because they do not understand what is
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 105
I am therefore grateful to the Commission for calling on the Georgian authorities to instigate
an inquiry – an independent and transparent investigation – because people want to know
exactly what happened and how it happened.
We visited the country and, of course, we heard two versions of events: the opposition
version and the authorities’ version. Both are admissible. It is very clear that two versions
exist, but people are calling for genuine transparency. Obviously we must remember not
only, as our colleague reminded us, that Georgia is vulnerable – and we do know that –
but also that Georgia has to compromise with a ‘big brother’ constantly lying in wait to
catch it out.
When the Georgian authorities draw our attention to Russia’s omnipresence, we need to
consider the sort of things that happen. We had an example with our visa facilitation
arrangement with Russia, benefiting people from Abkhazia and South Ossetia who hold
Russian passports, even though these areas are part of Georgian territory, and thus placing
Georgia in an awkward position.
None of this is news to you, Commissioner. What we must demand today – in addition,
obviously, to lifting of the state of emergency – is the immediate restoration of freedom
of expression and media freedom and of course, most importantly, an assurance that there
will be free and transparent elections. Georgia today is capable of organising such elections.
It demonstrated that just last year when it held transparent, democratic local elections in
full accordance with international standards. It is now time – and I am addressing the
Council here, for I believe it has been somewhat harsh with the Georgian authorities – for
us, with our European Neighbourhood Policy, to demonstrate that we can be useful. We
need to show the people of Georgia that there is some point to the ENP. The European
Union must not let them down. That is the message we should convey very strongly to the
Willy Meyer Pleite, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group . – (ES) Mr President, Commissioner,
Minister, first I would like to thank Mr Tannock and Mr Obiols for presenting the report
and, without further ado, to inform you that my group is critical of the evolution and
approach taken in the neighbourhood policy.
We are critical because in 2004, when establishing a neighbourhood policy based essentially
on promotion of human rights, specialised technical advice, a better balance in terms of
trade and people in migratory flows, we clearly saw possibilities opening up; however
there is no doubt that since the approval of the financial instrument it would appear that
the impression we give is that what we are basically interested in is establishing free-trade
areas, free-trade agreements and cast-iron control over migratory flows, while leaving to
one side any reference to the promotion of human rights and the requirement to respect
There are two clear examples towards the west and the south, namely the conflict in the
Sahara, to which Mrs Ferrero-Waldner has referred, and the conflict with Israel or, to put
it another way, the responsibility of Morocco and the State of Israel for two conflicts: the
occupied territories of the Western Sahara and the Palestinian conflict.
I sincerely believe that in those areas the neighbourhood policy would have to be much
more demanding of those two States in order for them to assume responsibility once and
for all for conflicts which in the one case has been going on for almost a hundred years,
and in the other has been in existence for forty or fifty years without having been resolved.
106 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
We therefore believe that from that point of view we would have liked the European Union
to take a much more rigorous position when establishing the neighbourhood policy.
Gerard Batten, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group . – Mr President, this report clearly
demonstrates how the Europhile political elite in this place are completely out of touch
with reality and the wishes of their constituents.
The report asks for the processing of visas to be urgently improved so that travel from
some non-EU states can be made easier and less burdensome. This is not what most
Londoners want. They do not want to make it easier for people to come to Britain: they
want to make it harder. They want to be more selective of the people we invite to our
country, not to extend the current open-door policy.
The report anticipates Ukrainian entry to the EU. Ukraine has a population of 46 million
and, as EU citizens, they would all have the right to enter Britain. The majority of my
constituents do not want millions more people given the right of entry to Britain. They do
not want any more indiscriminate immigration from Eastern Europe. We already have
enough immigrants driving around London without tax and insurance; we have enough
criminals, drug dealers, fraudsters, people traffickers and sex slaves.
Another crackpot idea in this report is the call for a EU Neighbourhood Parliamentary
Assembly – another talking shop of politicians, out of touch with reality, dreaming up
more ways of wasting taxpayers’ money. These politicians would, of course, need to be
handsomely rewarded for their efforts.
It should surprise no one that one of the authors of this report is a member of the British
Conservative Party, a party that pretends to be Eurosceptic at home, but is enthusiastically
Europhile here. No wonder that in London Mr Tannock is known as the Member for Eastern
I totally oppose these policies; they damage the interests of my constituents. That is why
I will be re-elected in London in 2009, and Mr Tannock may not be.
Philip Claeys (NI). – Mr President, recital C of the report says that the European
Neighbourhood Policy 'should remain distinct from the process of enlargement, whereas
participation in the ENP does not preclude, for the eastern neighbours which are clearly
identifiable as European countries, any perspective of EU membership in the long term'.
For some reason that rule seems not to apply to Turkey. Here we have precisely the opposite
situation. Turkey is clearly identifiable as a non-European country, is not part of the
European Neighbourhood Policy, but it does aspire to membership of the EU.
It has never really been clear why Turkey was not included in the ENP. The Commission
said at the outset that as an applicant country Turkey's inclusion was not appropriate. That
is odd, because in other cases the point is specifically made that the Neighbourhood Policy
and the enlargement process must remain distinct from one another. For Turkey clearly a
sui generis rule applies.
All this, I fear, has to do with ideological obfuscation. Even assuming total commitment
to negotiations on Turkish accession, we ought to have included Turkey in the European
Neighbourhood Policy, if only for reasons of prudence. If the negotiations had to be
suspended, as they should have been long ago, Turkey could then have been absorbed
directly into an existing structure. It did not happen, and things will only be more difficult
as a result in future.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 107
Marek Siwiec (PSE). – (PL) Mr President, after today’s vote I found out – perhaps it was
only I who found this out – that the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty Group ceased to
exist at the time that the President of the Parliament announced this information. However,
I note that, according to the list of debates, this Group does still exist, so I am not at all sure
who made the mistake: was it Mr McMillan-Scott when he announced that the Group had
ceased to exist, or the person who writes these lists?
President. − Mr Siwiec, the electronic mechanism has still not been updated, but Mr Claeys
has not already spoken on behalf of a group which ceased to exist a couple of hours ago,
rather he spoke as a Non-Attached Member.
Elmar Brok (PPE-DE). − (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, Mr President-in-Office, ladies
and gentlemen, I am indeed astonished at the words of Mr Batten, who comes from the
cosmopolitan United Kingdom and yet is spreading narrow-minded and xenophobic
propaganda here with his false allegations. That has nothing to do with the proud tradition
of his great country.
The neighbourhood policy has surely become the European Union’s main instrument of
foreign policy now that we are entering more of a consolidation phase following the
accession of twelve countries altogether. For this reason it is important that the instrument
of the ENP is used in an appropriate and concentrated manner, and indeed this is clearly
being done in some respects.
The neighbourhood policy also gives us a solid instrument for active involvement in matters
relating to the conflict in the Middle East, as Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner indicated. I
do believe the emergence of solutions in Georgia so soon after the outbreaks of tension,
and the fact that fresh elections are to be held, are partly connected with the effects of the
European perspective and the neighbourhood policy, and show that we are on the right
track here. The policy gives us the means to look after our interests, to forge links, to serve
the interests of our partners and to foster the development of human rights and democracy.
When we discuss Belarus in this context, Commissioner, I find it interesting how we are
managing to find a suitable way to link the instruments for human rights and democracy
in a situation in which the neighbourhood instrument cannot yet have the same impact.
That is an important exercise, which we must repeat in the coming year.
We have here an eastern neighbourhood policy and a southern neighbourhood policy.
Both are equally important, but the method need not always be the same, because the
eastern neighbourhood policy also has this dimension of the European perspective, which
means that there can be different starting points and, to a certain extent, different prospects
too. A policy that has to do with association agreements, with partnership and cooperation
agreements and with the objectives of getting a country such as Ukraine into the WTO
and then creating a free-trade area – with steps towards that kind of development – seems
to me to be a very important instrument of progress.
This is a policy of joint responsibility. It is not a matter of the Central European Member
States alone looking eastward and the Southern Europeans looking southward; the whole
European Community is responsible for both parts. For this reason, I have to say that I
cannot accept proposals such as that for a Mediterranean Union. I would very much like
to see people in Spain and France concerning themselves with Ukraine, and Swedes and
Germans taking the same interest in Morocco. That, and not a new division of the European
Union, must be our policy.
108 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
IN THE CHAIR: MANUEL ANTÓNIO DOS SANTOS
Jan Marinus Wiersma (PSE). – (NL) Mr President, first may I wholeheartedly, on behalf
of my Group, echo the appeal which Elmar Brok addressed to us all just now. It shows how
important the neighbourhood policy is to the European Union’s external activities. We
welcome the plans to strengthen the ENP, but this does not mean that the ENP is the finished
article. The EU must keep looking for ways of making the policy more effective.
Differentiation – as others have said too – is the key to making the neighbourhood policy
a success. The ENP applies to a huge area, from Morocco to Ukraine. Europe’s influence is
not the same in all these countries, and Europe is not equally attractive to all of them.
Within the context of the ENP, the EU must offer its partner countries the cooperation
agreement that best meets its expectations. This is a given which we think should be reflected
in the Commission’s priorities.
Georgia’s European aspirations are different from those of Azerbaijan. Tunisia is less
important to the EU than Ukraine and Lebanon does not have the same weight as Morocco.
Hence the need to consider each country individually.
We must concentrate on those countries where the ENP’s key objective of bringing
neighbouring countries closer to Europe appears the most achievable.
The report also talks about the ENP countries’ eastern neighbours. We think it is a good
idea, as part of the recently adopted Central Asia Strategy, to work for solid ties with the
countries in question. In so doing, the European Union could certainly draw on experience
from its neighbourhood policy.
We do not, however, endorse the idea of giving countries outside the region the status of
ENP countries. We would do better to focus on a coherent approach to Central Asia rather
than dragging certain countries into the ENP.
Lastly, stronger parliamentary cooperation with the ENP countries to the east is only useful
if it is accompanied by multilateral cooperation by the region’s governments. If a
parliamentary assembly were to be set up, there would also have to be a ministerial assembly,
as in other regions where we have created parliamentary assemblies of this kind. In our
view there could only be a parliament of this kind if the Council and Commission also
created an intergovernmental counterpart.
Lydie Polfer (ALDE) . – (FR) Mr President, as rapporteur on the South Caucasus, I should
like to use the opportunity of this report by Mr Tannock and Mr Obiols i Germà – whom
I congratulate, by the way, on their work – to tell you my impressions of the situation in
Georgia, based on a visit I made there on 5 November, at the height of the demonstrations.
I found it a very complex situation. The major reforms that had been undertaken were, on
the one hand, impressive, particularly in relation to the economy and to combating
corruption; on the other hand, the difficult social climate has to be borne in mind, with
very high unemployment and a third of the population living below the poverty line.
The most striking thing is the very tense, indeed aggressive, political climate, with the
opposition levelling extremely grave accusations at the President, then engaging in public
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 109
retractions that simply raise more questions. The Government responds with repeated
accusations of foreign – i.e. Russian – interference, and produces video footage in support
of its claims. The events of 7 November – the declaration of the state of emergency, the
violent police crackdown on demonstrators and the closure of the television station –
underscored the extremely worrying nature of the situation. Obviously actions like this
do not sit well in the traditional European framework of values rooted in the rule of law
and fundamental rights; and they need to be explained.
We must hope that the presidential election scheduled for 5 January will allow democratic
debate to return to the fore. It will be up to the Georgian people to decide what is rumour
and what is fact, and whether to focus on their disappointments or on the challenges ahead.
It will be up to us, however, to encourage them and to assist in the organisation of genuinely
democratic, properly conducted elections, in accordance with international standards. The
issue at stake is the credibility and stability of democracy in Georgia.
Inese Vaidere (UEN). – (LV) Ladies and gentlemen, after the Rose Revolution, Georgia
demonstrated its wish to subscribe to European values. It expected our understanding and
sensitivity. Unfortunately, we have totally ignored this wish. Last year I called for CIS
peace-keeping forces to be replaced by international peace-keepers. I suggested a review
of the legality of issuing Russian passports in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which alters
the national make-up of Georgian citizens. I proposed that the Commission and the Council
should adopt the same visa facilitation for Georgia that is currently granted in Russia.
However, these calls for more active involvement in resolving Georgia’s problems fell on
deaf ears. This disregard has done much to encourage the current situation. The path of
democratisation and reform often means internal political crises, especially in this situation,
where they are provided by a large neighbouring state. The European Union must listen
to Georgia and must demonstrate its solidarity through deeds as well as words. Thank you.
Tobias Pflüger (GUE/NGL). – (DE) Mr President, the official aim of the European
neighbourhood policy is to create, and I quote, ‘a ring of stable, friendly states’ around the
EU. A very large amount of money is being spent on it – EUR 12 billion for the period from
2007 to 2013. For what purposes? There has been much talk of human rights, but it is all
about asserting the interests of the EU. For example, there is talk of establishing a free-trade
area. For whose benefit, I ask.
There is a lot about protecting borders and controlling migration. Specifically, the report
says, if I may quote parts of it, that Parliament ‘stresses the need to improve the capacity
of ENP countries to manage migration flows, effectively combat illegal migration, … to
intensify their cooperation in the fight against … terrorism (and) supports the neighbours’
involvement in the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at
the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) and the
European Police Office (Europol)’. These are things that we do not support, and so, as my
colleague Willy Meyer-Pleite has said, our group will not be voting for the report.
Bastiaan Belder (IND/DEM). – (NL) Mr President, the Commission’s commitment to
the state of Israel under the European Neighbourhood Policy is a matter close to my heart.
Only yesterday the Commission demonstrated it here in the person of its eminent
spokesman Dr Andreas Eldina.
Keep it up, Commissioner. I know I have the backing of our co-rapporteur, Mr Tannock,
and of the chairwoman of our Israel delegation, Mrs Hybášková.
110 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
I have one burning question to ask. What specific new possibilities does the Commissioner
envisage for strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy in regard to Israel, certainly
in view of the highly developed political and economic status of the Jewish state? In short,
is it not altogether appropriate to differentiate here within the European Neighbourhood
Policy? I think it is. Indeed!
Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, it is very important for our
neighbours to be a circle of prosperous, stable, peaceful countries where power is based
on democratic models and where there is full respect for basic rights.
This idea must be a basic premise for the European Neighbourhood Policy, a policy which
should encourage and help our neighbours to undertake the reforms necessary to make
the values I referred to above effective.
The issue of political, economic and social reforms is, for me, an essential part of the report
which we will approve tomorrow.
A second thought is that the neighbourhood policy must have regard to each country’s
specific characteristics. Differences must not be drawn on the basis of the continent to
which the country belongs. Neighbours are just that: neighbours. That is the important
point. The fact that some of them are also European may have consequences in terms of
potential accession to the Union, but not for the purposes of neighbourhood policy. That
is a more general assertion with which I agree, because it would be a mistake for us to
discriminate against one group of countries in favour of another.
There cannot be a first-tier neighbourhood policy and another, second-tier, neighbourhood
policy. Neighbours on the southern shore of the Mediterranean have noted with some
apprehension that the enlargement to twenty-seven may lead to a degree of exclusion by
the enlarged Union; a neighbourhood policy which prioritises Eastern Europe or the
Caucasus may well fuel that fear.
The southern Mediterranean countries have very ancient links to the Union. They are
crucial to us in key fields such as security, immigration and energy. Many of our Member
States have, as we know, extremely close historic, political, human, cultural and economic
links with them.
This, then, is the second major point in my speech. We should not differentiate between
Europeans and non-Europeans in the neighbourhood policy. The policy must, as Mr Brok
has just said, be one of shared responsibility.
In view of the above, Mr President, I do not share the doubts expressed in numbered
paragraph two of the report about the meaningfulness of the ENP’s geographic scope.
Moreover, I would not have split the report into two sections, one on European neighbours
and the other on Mediterranean neighbours. A single document would have been better.
To close, my congratulations to Mr Tannock and Mr Obiols.
Hannes Swoboda (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, the question is whether developments in
Georgia show that the neighbourhood policy has failed. I believe that is not the case. They
show that there may still be a need to raise the profile of the neighbourhood policy, for
much of what has happened there was foreseeable. The fact is that the successes and the
credit side of the Rose Revolution in Georgia have been tarnished in recent months and
years by a good few authoritarian decisions which have encroached on the powers of the
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 111
Compounded by the social situation, this has resulted in the recent unrest, and I hope we
are now strong enough to ensure, together with President Saakashvili, that a dialogue is
initiated and that transparent and free elections are conducted with genuine freedom of
expression, resulting in truly democratic choices.
A second reason why the neighbourhood policy needs to be strengthened is undoubtedly
this whole discussion regarding further enlargement. Our intention is now to discuss
enlargement to the south-east, to negotiate with the countries of south-eastern Europe and
Turkey and to bring the process to a conclusion. This is not the time to anticipate subsequent
rounds of enlargement, but rather to strengthen relations with our neighbours, and some
of those neighbouring countries, in so far as they are situated in Europe, will have the
chance to join the European Union at a later date, though some will not. This strong link,
however, must exist.
The third reason has already been mentioned. I believe that such abstruse ideas, if you will
pardon the expression, as a Mediterranean Union that would draw a line right across the
European Union, a Mediterranean Union in which, as President Sarkozy suggested yesterday
to the Conference of Presidents, the other Member States of the EU could have observer
status, should and must be prevented, to which end we must have a common
neighbourhood policy and work together to strengthen relations.
It is legitimate to envisage an EU-Black Sea community and an EU-Mediterranean
community, but it will always be the task of the European Union as a whole to maintain
and strengthen relations with these neighbours, a task which also involves supporting the
efforts of the Commission.
István Szent-Iványi (ALDE). – (HU) Mr President, the Union’s objective is to create an
area of prosperity, stability and security with its neighbours. There have already been some
serious and solid results in this area, but there have been serious failures too. There has not
been any real progress in the area of frozen conflicts, and we do not see any ideas for solving
the Transnistrian, Abkhazian, Palestinian or Western Saharan crises.
The countries of the neighbourhood policy do not constitute a whole, either geographically,
culturally, economically or politically. This is why a differentiated, country-specific approach
is needed – it is not certain that what is good for Jordan will be good for Ukraine.
Political and budgetary balance needs to be created as soon as possible between the eastern
and southern dimensions of the neighbourhood policy. However, this must lead to
reinforcement of the eastern dimension, since it is an obvious consequence of the fact that
the European Union was recently enlarged, with the accession of new Member States. We
have had many promises from the Commission about this, but we are waiting for the
Commission to keep them. Thank you.
Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, for the European Neighbourhood
Policy to be effective, it must be constantly monitored and adapted to the geopolitical
situation. Only in this way will it be able effectively to implement the tasks required of it
by the EU.
The European Neighbourhood Policy still faces considerable challenges. These challenges
consist not only in providing effective assistance for the creation of interstate or economic
cooperation. Today it is also of vital importance to have an answer to the question of how
we can help to remedy the situation in those countries where freedom is under threat. I
am thinking particularly of Russia and Belarus.
112 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
The European Neighbourhood Policy must be a tool to exert influence on the authorities
of those countries where political freedom and democracy are no more than a show, where
journalists from independent media lose their lives in unexplained circumstances, and
where opposition is systematically and often brutally removed from public life. Countries
that act in this way must be made aware that such practices will be exposed and roundly
condemned by the European Union.
Árpád Duka-Zólyomi (PPE-DE). – (HU) Thank you, Mr President. The last three years
have proved that the European Neighbourhood Policy is a very important instrument for
ever closer cooperation with the states concerned and for increasing the stability and
security of our Community. The neighbourhood policy also puts us under an obligation,
mainly if the fragile system constructed up to now in one of the countries concerned is at
I would like to draw your attention to the situation in Georgia, where the democracy,
constitutionality and vigorous economic development that have been built jointly are
threatened. The mass demonstrations and riots have made the situation uncertain. I am
convinced that the subversive intentions of Russian superpower policy lie behind the
situation that has developed.
The greatest attention must be paid to strengthening the system of democratic institutions.
After the declaration of a state of emergency, or excessive action by the armed forces against
demonstrators, bringing the presidential elections forward was the right step in this
Georgia, led by Saakashvili, is a committed partner to the EU, and despite numerous
problems it is showing significant progress in the areas of reform and economic growth.
The EU, that is, the Commission, the Council and Parliament, in cooperation with the
OSCE, have taken an interest in resolving this tension using peaceful means. We must give
all our support to this.
The EU is a ‘soft power’, in other words the method of persuasion through involvement
was proved by the Georgian situation, when President Saakashvili drove the intensified
process back into the pool of democracy. I feel it is particularly important to have a
systematic review of the effectiveness of the neighbourhood policy in the mirror of the
Georgian events. Georgian power is being put to the test. In any event, dialogue with the
divided opposition, which cannot be excluded from this process, is inevitable. Despite our
support, Tbilisi must prove how strong the country’s democratic system is in the January
Josep Borrell Fontelles (PSE). – (ES) Mr President, as special envoy of the Spanish
Presidency of the OSCE I have had the opportunity to visit one of the most conflict-torn
of our neighbourhood areas: the Caucasus; the best thing that could happen with all the
‘frozen’ conflicts is, given what is going on in Georgia, for them to remain ‘frozen’, because
we have achieved no clear improvement in any of them; indeed, the events in Georgia,
which have been admirably described, demonstrate how difficult the road to full democracy
Today the Caucasus is the front line of the new cold war, the localised cold war. Upon
arrival in Tbilisi, one is greeted by a huge image of President Bush and, upon arrival at the
border with Ossetia, by a huge image of President Putin, symbolising the new confrontation
which we thought we had overcome.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 113
What has happened has happened, but it is now our responsibility to use the neighbourhood
policy to help ensure that the elections in January are free and fair. It will be difficult. It is
difficult to go within a few months from a state of emergency where demonstrations are
violently repressed, where the media are closed down with brute force, to an atmosphere
of freedom which enables a free, democratic election to be held; it is difficult to imagine
that we can go from a situation in which the Ombudsman is beaten in the city streets by
the police to a situation in which people can freely choose their president. But such are the
facts of the matter.
We, the European Parliament, must be heavily involved and must participate in overseeing
the elections with the OSCE through the observers we must send, because the area
concerned is the one where most progress towards democracy is at stake in one of the
most conflict-torn areas in our neighbourhood.
Samuli Pohjamo (ALDE). – (FI) Mr President, I too want to thank the authors of this
report for the excellent job they have done. I would like to point out how important the
role is of local and regional authorities and civil society in the implementation of the
European Neighbourhood Policy.
When we want to promote European values in the neighbouring countries, of crucial
importance are cultural and student exchanges and successful practical projects jointly
realised. The Committee on Regional Development is also reminded of the excellent
experiences of the partnership principle in cohesion policy. These should also be used to
advantage when the ENP is being implemented.
A genuine sense of rapprochement will also be achieved if the impediments regarding
border traffic are relaxed and the movement of students, researchers, artists, journalists,
entrepreneurs and others is facilitated.
Bogusław Rogalski (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, in speaking of the European
Neighbourhood Policy we must remember, first of all, to support those governments that
respect basic freedoms and human rights, and to encourage those rights in countries where
they are not respected. This is of fundamental importance for the stability of the European
The list of countries included in the ENP is a long one. I would like to draw your attention
to two countries, Ukraine and Belarus, which may be included in the ENP.
Ukraine must be a priority for us, and current negotiations with that country should lead
to the conclusion of an association agreement and then make it possible for that country
to become a member of the EU. Such a policy should provide us with an insurance policy
against Russia’s developing ambitions and yet another attempt to make Ukraine a vassal
Finally, Belarus – the Commission’s initiative to invite Belarus as an observer to the ENP
conference would seem to be premature. We should bear in mind that this country is still
under the dictatorship of Lukashenko, breaching human rights and the rights of ethnic
minorities. The EU would do better to provide more effective support for the people and
the opposition within Belarus. A reduction in the cost of visas for Belarussians, and
particularly for students, could be a positive signal in this direction, and the Commission
should introduce this without delay.
114 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Jana Hybášková (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I should like first of all to congratulate the
Commission on having collaborated on such a unique concept as the ENP. Now finally we
have a clear distinction between the enlargement instrument and the ENP.
Europe is in a very peaceful process. So far it is extremely successful. The ENP represents
a necessary amount of creative thinking which will guard and protect peace and stability
for our kids. Energy security, immigration and counter-terrorism are all core issues. The
more clear, precise and analytical and the less political that we are, the better we are equipped
to face these threats. Allow me, then, to use this particular context and to ask about the
Some action plans will expire soon. Specifically I point to the EU-Israel action plan, which
is due to expire in April 2008. The German Presidency created the reflection group. Its
main task is to come up with clear working action for the future. In between, Madam
Commissioner, your work, our work, is very positively reflected in Israel itself.
The Council and Commission received a non-paper reflecting on the simple fact that Israel
wishes to enhance our bilateral relations, to have the EU and Israel meeting annually, to
have regular high-level cooperation. Madam Commissioner, my question is how the
Commission will reflect on the Israeli non-paper and especially how will the Commission
work on a new action plan? How will our new action plan or enhanced action plan reflect
our concerns – counter-terrorism, the fight against extremism, xenophobia, energy security
and of course human rights issues, as well as international issues, the Geneva Conventions?
How will all this be reflected and how we will answer the reflection group and the German
Alexandra Dobolyi (PSE). – Mr President, I am also very concerned about the crisis in
Georgia and I have to admit that I am negatively surprised. Recent developments are very
unfortunate and regrettable for all those who are in favour of the democratic development
of Georgia. The reports of organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch and the Georgian Ombudsman’s report are very disturbing.
Given the situation in the country at present, I welcome the statement by the Speaker of
the Georgian Parliament that the state of emergency will be lifted on Friday and that within
two days from today normal life will hopefully return to the Georgian citizens. The situation,
in my opinion, undermines the reputation of the Government and also of Mr Saakashvili,
who rose to power with peaceful protests in 2003, and that cast him as the most democratic
leader in the Caucasus.
The fact that President Saakashvili has already called presidential elections on 5 January
2008 is a positive step that has already helped to ease the tensions in the country. But the
Government has to hold a democratic and free election in accordance with international
standards in order to show to the world that the country is moving on. Therefore the
Government must guarantee that the election campaign will ensure freedom of expression
to all the candidates. I welcome the dialogue which is taking place between the authorities
and the opposition; it is a progressive sign. I also expect and call upon all the parties involved
to act with responsibility during the whole electoral campaign and to engage constructively
in the challenge, which is free and safe democratic elections.
Grażyna Staniszewska (ALDE). – (PL) Mr President, it is vitally important that, in
tandem with the neighbourhood policy, the doors of the European Union should remain
open to our East European neighbours. Membership can be a long-term possibility, as it
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 115
is dependent on the progress of reforms and on compliance with the Copenhagen criteria,
but it has great symbolic and political significance. I know, based on the example of my
own country, that the possibility of EU membership alone has the power to mobilise society
to take the path of economic reforms and democratic change.
Today, in the European Parliament, we are sending a clear and positive signal to our eastern
partners, and now we await their reaction, not only in political declarations, but also, most
importantly, in practical economic and social measures. We expect them to go down the
path of reform and democracy, to reform their justice systems and make them independent
of political influences, to fight corruption and to create a positive environment for economic
I am convinced that a democratic and wealthy Ukraine, Moldova and – let’s hope – one
day also Belarus would be good not just for the inhabitants of those countries, but also for
the whole of the European Union.
Andrzej Tomasz Zapałowski (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, the neighbourhood policy
is one of the mechanisms aimed at supporting the creation of an area around the EU where
cooperation without conflict is possible, as well as avoiding the formation of a cultural
and economic divide at the EU borders. I agree with the concerns expressed by the authors
of the report that it would be a mistake to include the countries around the Mediterranean
in this same policy. It would be much better to create an EU-Mediterranean partnership
with its own proper mechanisms.
I believe that only those countries that have land frontiers with the European Union should
be included in the neighbourhood policy. Participation in this policy should be a step to
the country in question gaining EU membership, obviously only if this is something that
the countries themselves and the EU want. In the future we will have to think about the
creation of a separate EU-Asia policy for cooperation with countries in Asia that want to
cooperate economically and politically with the European Union, for example, countries
such as Georgia and Armenia. We have to separate our activities by region.
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE-DE). – (LT) We are aware of the fact that the aim of the
European Neighbourhood Policy is to create a secure circle of safety and stability around
the European Union, to develop close relations with neighbouring countries as well as to
enable these countries to implement democratic reforms, based on respect for human
rights, the rule of law and economic and social development. My question would be this:
what price are we prepared to pay to achieve these objectives?
Having considered past experience I would like to point out that adequate funds are essential
for the development of the European Neighbourhood Policy. In my opinion, EUR 11 billion
for a seven-year period for 16 countries is not very much. More efficient coordination of
financial instruments and policies is an essential part of improving the funding of the
European Neighbourhood Policy, and the evolving EU budget reform is an excellent
opportunity to lay solid foundations for the much more efficient development of the
European Neighbourhood Policy in the future. There is no way I could agree with Mr Pflüger,
that it is just a case of squandering taxpayers’ money.
The second point I would like to emphasise concerns relations among EU neighbour states.
It is essential that they maintain good relations and support one another. No doubt they
would be able to solve most of their problems by working together. In view of this the
European Parliament should express its forthright support of EURO-NEST – the EU
116 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Neighbourhood-East Parliamentary Assembly – as well as show political determination
and offer financial support for the implementation of this project. EURO-NEST would
provide new momentum for more efficient implementation of the European
Neighbourhood Policy while substantially increasing the parliamentary dimension of this
policy, within which the European Parliament would be able to fulfil its honourable mission.
Jamila Madeira (PSE). – (PT) The European Union’s role in the world is now absolutely
vital if we are to achieve certain balances which are essential to the pursuit of global peace
and justice. The logic of associating with some countries through bilateral agreements in
particular must therefore not undermine the development of a multilateral approach that
a global vision requires of us.
The undeniable influence of universal human rights and the guarantee of fundamental
freedoms in the EU’s relations with the world must underpin any dialogue with any partner
in the world, especially in connection with the Mediterranean region.
Because of this region’s geographic proximity to Europe, its age-old affinity, its cultural
diversity and its constant political instability, the EU must act very firmly to ensure those
fundamental principles. I therefore congratulate the rapporteurs for the importance they
attach to this in their report on the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The proposal tabled by President Sarkozy, meanwhile, on the Mediterranean Union is
completely out of context. Although it is extremely useful because it revitalises the debate
on the Mediterranean, it proposes on the one hand to dismantle the current partnership
while, on the other, it disowns the EU’s fundamental principles regarding the supremacy
of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms in particular, considering them to
be secondary issues according to a case-by-case pragmatism that would foster a multi-speed
It is not our role to foster the slow-down our partners take refuge in, or to foster divisions.
We must promote development and progress, especially in terms of rights, while always
guaranteeing that we use our investments to provide opportunities for growth and economic
development as a whole for the entire region.
Guaranteeing completion of the free trade area in the region in 2010, among all its peers,
is therefore an achievable objective, but we must never abandon our respect for humanist
and democratic values and rights.
Marian-Jean Marinescu (PPE-DE). – (RO) I appreciate Mr. Tannock’s report. We need
neighbours that meet the European Union standards, no matter if and when they become
members of the European Union.
For this reason, I believe the Neighbourhood Policy should become proactive, namely we
should not only monitor the development of the situation, but also support the given
countries in their efforts to meet the required standards.
Regarding the situation in Georgia, President Saakaşvili’s decisions to organize early
presidential elections, a referendum for establishing parliamentary elections and to lift the
state of emergency are salutary.
All these actions will contribute to the restoration of a democratic climate favourable to
resuming debates and negotiations for the viable settlement of the sensitive situation in
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 117
I support the idea of the need to reinstate the mechanisms of the rule of law, freedom of
expression and freedom of the media. I ask all the political forces in Georgia to cooperate
in order to draw up a law regulating audio-visual activity, which would prevent situations
like the recent one.
The party now governing is the one that, beginning with 2003, has initiated and supported
a coherent system of reforms in key fields that, in their turn, have generated visible economic
development, propelling Georgia towards a functional market economy and an authentic
Under the same government, the creation of mechanisms for more efficiently actually
implementing the action plan with the European Union has been supported and the
evolution towards a European direction has been intensified.
At the same time, Georgia has become a strategic partner in the neighbourhood policy,
which is indispensable for solving the frozen conflicts in the region, a good mediator, an
important partner within regional cooperation and a strategic ally in energy cooperation
projects and transport.
The claims and attitude of the opposition should be taken into consideration, but evaluated
in the context of the entire political and economic situation, both internally and in the
region. I believe we should carefully watch what happens in the conflict areas in Georgia,
as well as the attitude of the Russian Federation, especially in the context of the near deadline
for making a decision on Kosovo’s status.
Kader Arif (PSE) . – (FR) Mr President, I intend to speak specifically about the
Mediterranean region which, as the rapporteurs have reminded us – and I thank them for
doing so – is very important to Europe in foreign-policy terms. It is my support for
substantial European commitment in the Mediterranean region that prompts me to warn
against the risks of diluting Europe’s Mediterranean policy within its overall neighbourhood
We do not want to see rivalry developing between eastern European countries and our
southern neighbours. The ENP should bilaterally complement the multilateral Barcelona
Process, which, I would remind you, has been the framework of reference for structuring
relations in the Mediterranean region since 1995. That being so, neither the ENP nor any
other project directed at the Mediterranean countries should be allowed to obscure or
replace the Barcelona objectives, based on the three pillars of partnership in political,
economic and social development, which are the only way of promoting effective regional
I therefore need to highlight two points. First, we must maintain a balance in apportioning
funding between the eastern European and the Mediterranean countries. Our ability to
sustain a strong and ambitious European policy for the Mediterranean region depends on
getting that balance right. Secondly, with regard to the projected Euro-Mediterranean Free
Trade Area – the subject of my report to the House earlier this year – I would emphasise
the importance of a coordinated and gradual approach, enabling the countries concerned
to cope with the pace and intensity of an open trading system, while taking account of
their own specificities and particularly the fragility of some sectors of their economy. Trade
that serves the cause of development must remain our aim.
118 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
In conclusion, I should like to see these aspects addressed in the report because they are
necessary to the definition of a clear Mediterranean policy based on a strategic long-term
vision of development and stabilisation in this region.
Ioannis Varvitsiotis (PPE-DE). – (EL) Mr President, let me congratulate the rapporteurs
on their thorough examination of the topic. However, I must point out that if one of our
basic aims is to create an area of peace, we must pay attention to the political future of the
countries in question.
Let me cite Egypt as an example. Do any of us know what will happen in the post-Mubarak
era? I fear not. Do we not realise that sooner or later Egypt will be taken over by the Muslim
Brotherhood, a large Islamic extremist organisation? We must therefore understand that
all our planning in the area will be undermined by such a situation.
I do not want to repeat here, yet again, the proposal I made last year in the previous debate
on the report. I suggested the creation of a commonwealth among these countries in order
to strengthen relations in the political neighbourhood.
Allow me to end by pointing out that the European political neighbourhood was promoted
in tandem with the accession of the Ten, with the aim of mitigating the formation of new
lines of division with neighbouring countries. For this reason, the European political
neighbourhood must remain unified, geographically cohesive and balanced between its
eastern and southern parts.
In addition, since the countries making up the European political neighbourhood display
political, economic and even cultural differences, the principle of diversity is as ever crucially
important, but it must not be used to widen the gaps between these countries.
Evgeni Kirilov (PSE). – Mr President, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner was right at the
beginning that the ENP should stimulate democratic reform. The Georgian Government
has to fully restore the normal democratic process in the country and strictly abide by the
principles of the rule of law in all its actions. In particular, we should express our concerns
about the serious violations of the right to free expression and access to information. What
is needed in this situation is resuming the political dialogue and finding a compromise in
the interests of the people and democracy in the country.
I am particularly alarmed by the violence exerted by the police force against peaceful
demonstrators. The events of these last days show failure on the part of the government
to bear criticism. The excuse of the alleged plot of a coup d’état, implying some Russian
influence, is highly controversial to say the least. Moreover, it is clear that any successful
opposition challenger, whom at this moment we do not see on the political scene, is highly
unlikely to be pro-Russian.
We welcome President Saakashvili’s decision to call early presidential elections. Today’s
news that the state of emergency will be lifted is also a positive sign. From now on, we
expect that all the necessary conditions for free and fair elections will be met. One of these
conditions is the freedom of expression, and this means that all media that have been
forcibly closed down during the recent developments, like Imedi TV, and Kafkasya TV,
should resume their normal activities. We should be very clear on that.
I believe that President Saakashvili will be bold enough to reverse the negative trends
established over the last weeks. After his election he started a good reform policy in Georgia,
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 119
which has to be supported. I also firmly believe that the democratic development of the
country should be closely monitored and supported by the European Parliament.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, because of the time I will be very brief, though that
is in my favour since I will be present at question time. This has been a long and intense
debate, which I think has covered every essential aspect of the neighbourhood policy.
I also believe that broad consensus has been reached on fundamental issues such as the
need for the neighbourhood policy to be a comprehensive and inclusive policy geared
towards the North but also towards the East and the South. It must also take the specific
characteristics of the countries to which it is addressed into account. We must of course
take our partners’ specific characteristics and needs into account, just as we must also use
the necessary instruments in line with those needs and specific characteristics. The European
Neighbourhood Policy has a single objective which is valid for all the partners, which is to
establish a partnership leading them towards economic and social progress and towards
strengthening the rule of law and their democracies.
I have to say, however, that in this and other forums I sometimes hear the reflection or
indeed suggestion and advice that we should possibly increase the resources and possibly
increase the instruments. These are generous ideas that I understand, but we must also be
aware that increasing the instruments or increasing the funding, i.e. the resources, very
often simply does not work because our partner countries’ absorption capacity is limited.
We would obviously like to see an increase in resources too, but the truth is, as I have said,
that our partners’ absorption capacity is very often limited, so giving them more financial
resources will not make the programmes more effective or the results quicker or more
I believe the Commission has made the right choice of areas in which partnerships should
be established with the countries which are in these associations with us. The Commission
acts in a broad variety of areas, including administrative capacity building, reinforcement
of the judicial system and the provision of support for civil society organisations and for
education and training – a whole gamut of areas are covered by this neighbourhood policy.
As I have said, the single and most important objective is obviously for these partners to
be able to experience a development which is also in the European Union’s interests.
The Council will naturally continue to monitor closely the proposals the Commission
submits for its approval in connection with the European Neighbourhood Policy, and is
naturally also always prepared to discuss and debate ideas, suggestions and proposals with
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, I will also try to be
as brief as I can. I will just say that I think it was a very fruitful debate and I wish again to
thank the two rapporteurs. It was really clear that a great number of Members wanted to
speak in this very important discussion.
I shall make just a few points in response to some questions. Firstly, it is true that Mauritania
is now a partner country in the Euromed process, but it is not a Neighbourhood Policy
country. I just wanted to make this clarification; the funds for Mauritania will still come
under the ACP heading.
On my second point, I wish to be very clear. There was criticism from some Members that
human rights, democracy and the rule of law were not our major objectives. On the
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contrary. If you look at any of the action plans, one of the major parts is always a basis for
developing as much as possible human rights, democracy and the rule of law. But, of course,
it takes time and we are working particularly with those countries on the question of the
judiciary and the justice system, which is, of course, a basis for making differences on the
Then one of the Members of the Independence/Democracy Group said that he did not
want to have more migration. I want to tell him that visa facilitation always goes
hand-in-hand with readmission agreements, so we are trying to combat illegal immigration,
but we also want to try to facilitate people-to-people contact and sometimes apply some
ideas for legal immigration, which is also necessary for many of our countries because of
the ageing population.
Fourthly, on frozen conflicts, of course the Neighbourhood Policy alone cannot solve all
frozen conflicts. For that, we also have special representatives of Mr Solana, the
Secretary-General of the Council. But with the Neighbourhood Policy we are trying to
create the best enabling environment for that. And that is highly important: in Israel and
Palestine, when we speak about the Maghreb and when we speak about the countries of
There was another question with regard to Israel’s special status. I can tell you, as I told the
Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, when we met her in Lisbon, that we have a special reflection
group. The reflection group is working. The ideas on the table are very ambitious,
particularly from the Israeli side. But, we have to see that it fits into the overall coherent
framework approach of the Neighbourhood Policy. But within that we can certainly do a
lot. And this is what we are reflecting on and discussing at the moment. I imagine that,
next year, under the next Association Council, we will hopefully come up with proposals
for that. So we have not forgotten it; we are working on it.
A last word on Georgia: many colleagues who have spoken on Georgia, including my
friend Lydie Polfer, have said that the situation is very complex. We all know that, on the
one hand, there are great tensions between the opposition and the government, but, on
the other hand, there might be also other tendencies there. I therefore think it is highly
important that President Saakashvili has called for presidential elections. He has said that
he will consult the population on the date for parliamentary elections. And I do hope that
the reform aspect that we have really tried to promote will go on in the future, otherwise
confidence in the Georgian Government will be very much damaged if the current crisis
cannot be solved in a democratic way. But, of course, we will try to do everything to support
My last point is on financing. Many have said that we need more funds. But you should
know that the European Investment Fund or Investment Facility that is always mentioned
is an opportunity to give more funds to those countries that need them with regard to
infrastructure projects, energy, transport and so on. We have therefore said that what we
have is maybe not sufficient. Therefore, let us have more.
President. − The debate is closed.
I would like to remind you that the Raimon Obiols i Germà and Charles Tannock report
will be put to the vote tomorrow morning, and that the texts submitted to close the debate
on the Council and Commission statements will be put to the vote in Brussels on
29 November 2007.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 121
Written Statements (Rule 142)
Marianne Mikko (PSE), in writing. – As the Chair of the Moldova delegation, I want to
thank Mr Tannock for pointing out that Moldova fully corresponds to the criteria necessary
for a perspective of membership codified in the Maastricht Treaty’s Article 49. Thanks also
to his co-rapporteur Mr Obiols i Germà for this balanced and thorough report.
Moldova is not in the neighbourhood of Europe, it is geographically in Europe and should
be entitled to join the EU once the three Copenhagen criteria are fulfilled.
Although the EU-Moldova Action Plan is far from being completed, we must ask what is
the next step? More incentives are needed to motivate our partners in Europe to make
To achieve its aims, the financial and other resources of the ENP must be noticeably more
generous. Full ESDP missions are needed to have a realistic chance of solving the frozen
conflicts in Transnistria and the Caucasus. Presently there are no resources available to
stage those missions.
Finally, it is hard to imagine policy which would fit both the countries of geographic Europe
and the non-European Mediterranean countries. Clearly, the scope of the ENP needs to be
rearranged in the future. Especially its eastern component needs better definition.
José Ribeiro e Castro (PPE-DE), in writing. – (PT) I congratulate the rapporteurs on
their excellent work. The resolution we approve will consolidate Parliament’s vision in this
area of neighbourhood policy, developing the lines we defined in January 2006.
For that very reason it is important to approve amendments 1 and 2, which I thank Mr
Tannock for presenting. They reaffirm points we have already approved and that cannot
be forgotten now, concerning our neighbourly relations on the South Atlantic border. It
is important to recall once again the particular situation of island states neighbouring our
outermost regions – the Canaries, Madeira and the Azores – with which we have historic
links and special close ties. We must also therefore reiterate our request to the Commission
to propose and to develop specific policies to expand the European Neighbourhood Policy
as far as possible to our island neighbours in the Atlantic, close to the European continent,
insofar as they highlight not only our geographic proximity but also our cultural and
historic affinity and the common interest of mutual security.
Along the same lines, I would also like to take this opportunity to applaud the recent
communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the
future of relations between the EU and the Republic of Cape Verde.
11. Question Time (Council)
President. − The next item is questions to the Council (B6-0382/2007).
The following questions were presented.
Question No 1 by Manuel Medina Ortega (H-0777/07)
Subject: ‘Revolving door’ immigration policy
Some political figures and specialists have raised the possibility of achieving an agreement
between the Member States which would combine the monitoring of the Union’s external
borders with a new ‘revolving door’ immigration policy to allow legally established
122 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
immigrants in the Union to return to their countries of origin without fear of encountering
a closed door when returning to the EU.
Does the Council consider this approach feasible, and would it be possible to set up this
policy using straightforward intergovernmental cooperation, or would it be necessary to
establish new institutional mechanisms to achieve this end?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) As the honourable
Member will know, in May 2007 the Commission presented to the European Parliament,
to the Council and to the Committee of the Regions a communication on circular migration
and mobility partnerships between the European Union and third countries. In its
communication the Commission considers circular migration to be a useful means to be
developed at Community level to ensure more effective management of migration flows.
In the June 2007 conclusions on extending and enhancing the global approach to migration,
the Council in turn stressed that legal migration opportunities, including well-managed
circular migration, could potentially benefit all partners involved.
The Council believes that all well-managed circular migration opportunities should therefore
be explored in close cooperation with all the relevant parties, with a view to the adoption
of Council Conclusions not later than the end of 2007. The need to examine these circular
migration opportunities, based on the Communication from the Commission of 16 May
2007, was also reiterated in the conclusions of the June 2007 European Council. The
Council is currently examining the issue of the adoption of specific instruments and
measures to facilitate circular migration, and the issue of finding out how such measures
may be implemented.
The Commission has not as yet proposed any specific measures.
Manuel Medina Ortega (PSE). – (ES) Mr President, I believe the Portuguese Presidency
is devoting a fair amount of attention to this matter, I believe the reply was accurate.
I am aware that the Portuguese Presidency is coming to an end because this half-year is
fairly short, but I do not know whether you think it will be possible for a specific proposal
to be formulated before 31 December, or whether you will encourage the Commission to
submit more specific proposals, especially with regard to the institutional aspects, whether
the mechanisms we have today are sufficient or whether it would be appropriate to establish
an institution of some kind to facilitate circular migration of this nature.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President, I would
like to thank the honourable Member for his kind words. The presidencies are indeed
always a little shorter in the second half-year, whether fortunately or unfortunately I am
not sure, because of the summer holidays. We would in fact like to make further significant
progress on this matter by the end of the year, but we are also obviously dependent to
some extent on the initiatives the Commission wishes to present to allow us to do so. That
would be our intention and our desire. At this time I cannot guarantee that, however, but
if possible and if we have the opportunity, we will certainly take it.
Josu Ortuondo Larrea (ALDE). – (ES) Mr President, I share the view of the Presidency
of the Council on the revolving door policy for immigration and the new ideas on blue
cards to attract immigrants of high calibre.
I would, however, like to ask the Presidency of the Council if it is convinced that we will
be able to contain the huge inflow of immigrants to the European Union we have each
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 123
year, in view of the fact that there are countries in the world whose level of development
is so poor and so low.
Emanuel Jardim Fernandes (PSE). – (PT) The question I would ask on circular
immigration is whether there should not be a special mechanism to provide for such
immigration, particularly in terms of providing training in the countries affected. I am
thinking of doctors and nurses from Malawi who are in the UK, for example.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) This question of circular
immigration has been or is being discussed and was rapidly raised by the Commission
during a broader debate on the question of immigration in Europe, particularly illegal and
legal immigration, and was one of the mechanisms referred to in this debate on
immigration-related issues. The Commission has reflected on the matter, and invited the
Council to do so and to discuss it. In my opinion circular immigration mechanisms alone
will not resolve all the issues arising in this area and in this debate. It is a measure that could
be a proposal and that could be a way of easing our burden and resolving issues related to
immigration, and in this case even to legal immigration, but it will certainly not resolve all
the problems involved. That will naturally require a broader range of policies, which as
you know the Council is in fact discussing, on a proposal from the Commission.
You will also naturally be aware that the Portuguese Presidency’s programme prioritises
all questions related to immigration, whether illegal or legal. At next month’s December
Council marking the end of our Presidency, we would like to be able to present a set of
conclusions on the general question of legal immigration and on combating illegal
immigration, which signals real progress in these two areas.
As regards the concrete technical questions addressed to specific groups, the reflection the
Council is and must be engaged in is not concluded, and I am sure the honourable Member
will appreciate that I cannot tell you at the moment what the results of that reflection are,
particularly on very ad hoc and very specific questions.
President. − Question No 2 by Claude Moraes (H-0779/07)
Subject: Burden-sharing regarding asylum and immigration
In the context of the framework programme Solidarity and Management of Migration
Flows 2007-2013, what progress has there been with regard to the concept of
What practical steps are being undertaken by Member States to achieve a fair sharing of
responsibilities with regard to asylum and immigration between themselves?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) In May 2007 the European
Parliament and the Council approved three decisions: the decision creating the European
Refugee Fund 2008-2013, the decision creating the External Borders Fund 2007-2013,
and the decision creating the European Return Fund 2008-2013. In June 2007 the Council
also approved the decision creating the European Fund for the integration of third country
nationals 2007-2013. These four decisions are an integral part of the general programme
‘Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows’.
In line with the objectives laid down by the European Council, the objective of this
programme is the fair sharing of responsibilities among Member States with regard to the
financial burden arising from the introduction of the integrated management of the EU’s
external borders and the implementation of common asylum and immigration policies.
124 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
The European Refugee Fund complies with the obligations set down in Article 63(2)(b) of
the EC Treaty on the adoption of measures promoting a balance of effort between Member
States in receiving and bearing the consequences of receiving refugees and displaced persons.
The Council also seeks to promote solidarity by other means. The Council Conclusions of
18 September 2007 on reinforcing the EU’s southern maritime borders, for example,
encouraged Member States to provide support on a bilateral basis to Member States facing
particular pressure, stating that such support can be provided at the level of return
operations, reception conditions, case working expertise or voluntarily undertaking to
take responsibility for asylum seekers, refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection or
Claude Moraes (PSE). – That was a comprehensive statement of the theoretical position
on burden-sharing. We know what the instruments are, but I have to ask you candidly,
when it comes to Malta, Lampedusa and the Canaries, what is the implementation? Do
you feel that, over the last six months, Council members, including those in Western
Europe, have taken seriously their burden-sharing commitment regarding these places,
which are in an emergency situation? Some of our colleagues here know it and see it every
Nobody is identifying Portugal as being in any way apathetic on this issue, but what about
the Council actively carrying out burden-sharing? Is it being implemented? Please give us
your candid response.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) I am very pleased to
answer the honourable Member, and obviously I am speaking on behalf of the Portuguese
Presidency in accordance with its thinking on this issue. The honourable Member knows
that migration and migration flows, especially illegal migration flows, particularly from
regions to the south of Europe, represent a new problem that we did not have to face just
a few years ago.
We must obviously, therefore, react to this new and unfamiliar phenomenon and must
take appropriate measures. As is always the case, however, those measures, that reaction
and the instruments referred to are taking shape gradually, just as our awareness of the
importance and gravity of this problem is taking shape gradually. I have to say in this regard
that the keyword in this issue for the Portuguese Presidency and for Portugal as a Member
State is solidarity. Just as we all understand that when other issues affect one or two Member
States they must be seen as a problem for everyone, so too in connection with illegal
migration the appropriate word is also solidarity, since we are aware that these phenomena
often affect individual States in particular.
It is true that quite often all we do is talk, and it is true that we must and should do more
than just talk. However, the current awareness that the issue concerned is a global problem
that affects everyone and that is everyone’s responsibility is a first step. Naturally we are
confident that gradually and realistically, but also with the necessary urgency, we can
continue to refer to ‘solidarity’ while turning it into concrete actions and measures. That
is the Presidency’s role, and that is what Portugal must do as a Member State. You will also
understand that it is not up to a single Member State or a single Presidency to influence all
events and all measures, as might perhaps be desired. But I can assure you that there is a
heightened and increasingly strong awareness that we must share that responsibility and
give effect to that solidarity.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 125
Simon Busuttil (PPE-DE). – (MT) With all due respect, President-in-Office, I am not
convinced by your reply, as while the Council of Ministers are thinking about it, there are
people drowning in the Mediterranean and there are Mediterranean countries that cannot
cope with the emergency; that is why I am not convinced. I am going to ask you something
specific: Malta made a proposal in the Council on the division of the burden, on burden
sharing. It asked that any immigrants saved from the sea outside EU waters – in Libya’s
waters, for example – should be divided among all the EU countries. What was the Council’s
reply, I would like to know.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) I am very familiar with
that situation and I am very familiar with the issue the Government of Malta has raised in
that regard, and your question is covered by the answer I have already given to a fellow
Member: the Presidency is aware, and Portugal as a Member State is aware, that Portugal
is also a country of the South, and we too will therefore do our utmost to ensure that the
word ‘solidarity’ is actually put into practice while bearing in mind the difficulties and
problems, which do exist, though like many cases this one also requires perseverance and
President. − Question No 3 by Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou (H-0781/07)
Subject: Measures to ensure decent living conditions for illegal immigrants, particularly
women and children
Which measures does the Council intend to take to ensure that illegal immigrants,
particularly women and children, enjoy decent temporary living conditions, so that Member
States uniformly respect their international commitments?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President, I do not
know if this is possible or within the regulations, but when the question is introduced I
would like to know exactly which of the honourable Members is the author, because
obviously my answer will be addressed firstly to them.
As I am sure you know, the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the
Council on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally
staying third-country nationals lays down specific rules for the treatment of such nationals.
Article 13 of the proposal for a directive provides for safeguards as to the conditions of
stay pending the return of all persons covered by the directive. Article 15, which establishes
the conditions of temporary custody, defines the treatment to be afforded to third-country
nationals pending their return. Article 15(3) states that particular attention must be paid
to the situation of vulnerable persons, and specific provision is made for minors. As you
also know, the European Parliament and the Council are currently examining this proposal
for a directive.
Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou (PPE-DE). – (EL) Thank you, Mr President; allow
me to repeat Mr Moraes’s comments: you are theoretically answering our questions very
well and in detail. However, what is the responsibility of the Member States when we do
not yet have your analyses? Are there any international treaties and are they being applied
equally to all Member States, or do some Member States, for special reasons, provide more
or less? What is the responsibility of the accession countries that serve as transit routes for
illegal immigrants, mainly women and children? During yesterday’s sitting I mentioned
to the Commissioner that even a 14-year-old illegal transporter of clandestine immigrants
had been arrested.
126 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) I have just said that a
proposal for a directive is currently under discussion between the Council and the European
Parliament in which this issue is addressed. Since the proposal for a directive has not yet
been approved, I cannot say exactly what measures the directive will propose for defending
and protecting the weakest individuals who need the most protection. We shall see. This
proposal for a directive now addresses that concern to protect the weakest.
I can also clearly tell you that when we, the Portuguese Presidency, refer to the question of
illegal immigration, we always say that the fight against it is based on two fundamental
principles: solidarity and respect for people and respect for the humanitarian tragedy
underlying the phenomenon. We should not treat people as objects, and neither the
Presidency nor Portugal accepts or has ever accepted that the humanitarian dimension
should not be considered or should be considered to be secondary in these situations. This
is our position in principle as the Presidency, it is our position in principle as an EU Member
State, and it is a position that we will not abandon under any circumstances.
President. − Question No 4 by Georgios Papastamkos (H-0784/07)
Subject: European Security Strategy
What are the results to date of implementing the European Security Strategy? In particular,
what are the results of extending the security zone to include Europe's periphery? Is the
Council satisfied with the strategies ‘Peace through regional integration’ and ‘Regional
integration through peace’ on the EU’s geopolitical perimeter?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President, honourable
Member, in the four years that have elapsed since the European Security Strategy was
adopted in December 2003, the European Union’s foreign and security policy has developed
We have reacted successfully to the threats identified in the European strategy, following
the main thread that informed our approach. We have had to be more active, more coherent
and also more competent. The new threats of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction, regional conflicts, degeneration of the state and organised crime have
been met by many concrete actions that reflect the range of instruments currently available
to the European Union. These include diplomatic action, civilian and military missions
and trade and development activities.
We have endorsed effective multilateralism, supporting and increasing our cooperation
with the United Nations in crisis management, the war against terrorism and
non-proliferation. Our operations in relation to European security and defence policy are
our most visible contribution to global peace and security and demonstrate our willingness
to take on global responsibilities. Since 2003 we have initiated 16 crisis management
operations, four military and 12 civilian, in various parts of the world. These European
security and defence policy operations cover three continents and range from purely
military operations, including reform of the security sector and institutional development,
to police missions to ensure the rule of law. From Aceh to Ramallah, from Kinshasa to
Sarajevo, the EU is putting the main catalysts for peace and stability into place.
The pressures on the Union are increasing, however. We have just decided in principle to
lead a military mission to Chad and the Central African Republic to help to draw a close
to the regional consequences of the Darfur crisis. We are also prepared to lead a police
mission to ensure the rule of law in Kosovo. From the Western Balkans and from Eastern
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 127
Europe to the Mediterranean, we have worked actively for peace and stability in our
neighbourhood using all the means at our disposal. I believe that the work done by the
High Representative Javier Solana, EU enlargement policy, the Barcelona process, the
European Neighbourhood Policy just debated here, the EU’s special representatives in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova and the
Southern Caucasus and the peace process in the Middle East, as well as the EU’s role as a
member of the Quartet for the Middle East and the Troika for Kosovo, plus the other ESDP
missions I have referred to here reflect our determination to create security in our
Georgios Papastamkos (PPE-DE). – (EL) Thank you for your answer, Mr President. I
really feel that the European security strategy is proving more successful in missions outside
the European continent than in meeting challenges arising within the EU. I believe that
situations such as that in Kosovo, the management of an emerging crisis, the policy of
conditionality in FYROM, a candidate country whose political system is seriously ailing,
and the Russophobia, whether justifiable or not, that preoccupies our colleagues from the
countries of the former Eastern Europe – all these challenge us to form a more coherent
and effective European security strategy.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) We have just had a
discussion here in this plenary session on the European Neighbourhood Policy intended
precisely for our partners on this continent. I presume that a general conclusion was that,
despite the difficulties that might exist and the improvements that could be introduced,
this European Neighbourhood Policy that forms part of our strategy has worked well and
has ensured that many of our partners and neighbours can enjoy stability, economic
progress and economic and social development.
For well-known historical reasons, many of our partners are naturally now experiencing
what could be called stages of transition, democratic consolidation and consolidation of
the rule of law, and as is so often the case, these processes are not exempt from difficulties,
upheavals or problems. And this is perhaps true of some of those countries. We recently
spoke about Georgia, when I said here that I chaired the Association Council with Georgia
some three weeks ago and had the opportunity to inform our Georgian colleagues that in
the area of the economy, for example, we were pleased to note that significant progress
had been made in terms of economic development, despite the problems that country has
with Russia. We must therefore be prepared for the significant progress that we expect and
want, but for well-known reasons we must also sometimes expect backward steps that we
sincerely hope will only be temporary, and we hope that the States and countries will
rapidly return to progress and towards reinforcing the rule of law.
I must therefore tell the honourable Member in all sincerity that, although we European
Union citizens sometimes tend to be very modest with regard to the capacity of our
achievements and to the achievements themselves, we must be a little more friendly towards
ourselves, as it were. I think that we have achieved something despite the difficulties.
Gay Mitchell (PPE-DE). – Given what the Treaties of the Union say and the content of
the Reform Treaty on the issue of security and defence, and given what the President of
the French Republic said here yesterday and the fact that France will be taking on the
Presidency next year, could the Council tell the House if it envisages that there will be a
common defence policy within the European Union in the lifetime of this Parliament, or
in the next Parliament, and when it thinks that might come about?
128 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) As the honourable
Member knows, the Council does not comment on speeches by Heads of State of European
Union Member States. Naturally, however, I have noted President Sarkozy’s opinion, which
is that of the Head of State of a very important EU Member State. If we are to progress in
that direction or not, towards a Europe with an enhanced defence, it will be the Council
that will have to decide, and as you can imagine, I cannot anticipate the Council's decision.
If that is the Council's decision – and as you know, defence is a specific area that requires
very strong consensus – then naturally we will be able to go forward along that route, but
the decision is obviously in the Council’s hands. I do not have a crystal ball and therefore
cannot tell you how far this idea will go. We shall see, but since it is a proposal from
President Sarkozy, it will obviously be listened to very attentively, like all his proposals.
President. − Question No 5 by Bernd Posselt (H-0788/07)
Subject: Accession negotiations with Macedonia
What is the Council’s assessment of the stage reached in bringing Macedonia closer to the
EU, and when does it consider that it will be possible or desirable to set a date for starting
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President, honourable
Member, the December 2005 European Council decision to grant candidate country status
to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was recognition of that country’s reform
achievements. The European Council stated that further steps towards EU membership
would have to be considered firstly in the light of the debate on the enlargement strategy,
as provided for by the conclusions of the 12 December 2005 Council, which concluded
with the ‘renewed consensus’ on enlargement that was achieved at the 14-15 December
2006 European Council; secondly, of compliance by the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia with the Copenhagen criteria; thirdly, of the requirements of the Stabilisation
and Association Process and the effective implementation of the Stabilisation and
Association Agreement; and finally, of the need for further significant progress to respond
to the other issues and criteria for membership included in the Commission’s Opinion and
implementation of the priorities in the European Partnership.
In its interim reports the Commission has examined developments in detail. Following the
assessment of the situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as set out in
the Commission report of 2006, in its session of 11-12 December 2006 the Council
regretted that the pace of reforms observed had slowed down in 2006. On 14-15 December
2006 the European Council reiterated that each country’s progress towards the Union
would continue to depend on its efforts to comply with the Copenhagen criteria and the
conditionality of the Stabilisation and Association Process. The Council called for the
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to accelerate the pace of reforms in key areas and
to implement the priorities identified in the European Partnership in order to move ahead
in the accession process. The fourth meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council
between the European Union and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia took place
on 24 July last. Particularly important among the messages set out in the Union’s common
position for the Stabilisation and Association Council was its insistence that stability and
the regular functioning of democratic institutions were fundamental aspects of the political
criteria essential for ensuring progress towards European integration. Institutions such as
the Government, Parliament and the President must function and cooperate effectively.
They must also play their differentiated roles and interact as laid down in the Constitution.
A constructive political climate must be established and maintained so that the country
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 129
can concentrate on the reforms necessary to make progress towards the Union. Further
efforts must also be made to establish confidence between the ethnic communities at all
levels. The Union recalled that sustained implementation of the Ohrid Framework
Agreement was a key element of the political criteria. Every effort must be made to achieve
the broadest possible political agreement on the associated reforms, in full compliance
with the letter and spirit of the agreement.
The meeting also recalled the importance of making progress in the areas of justice and
internal affairs, particularly in combating organised crime and corruption. At the same
time the Council also recalled that regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations
were an essential part of the process of EU integration. Finally, I wish to state that the
Council is examining very carefully the Commission report published on 6 November,
which will be the subject of conclusions at the General Affairs and External Relations
Council in December next.
Bernd Posselt (PPE-DE). – (DE) Thank you, Mr President-in-Office, for your very
comprehensive reply. I have only two brief supplementary questions. Firstly, do you think
it conceivable that a date for the opening of accession negotiations will be set in the course
of next year? Macedonia’s applicant status dates from more than two years ago, and it is
surely high time to think about a date.
My second supplementary question is this: what approach is being adopted? Are attempts
being made to link Macedonia’s accession with that of other countries, such as Serbia, or
is this country really being dealt with separately from any others?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) As the honourable
Member will understand, I cannot say whether we are or are not in a position to set a date
in the coming year for starting accession negotiations with the Former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia. Difficult and demanding conditions and criteria must be met before such
negotiations can begin, so the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be further
from or closer to being informed of the date for starting negotiations according to how
far it meets those criteria and conditions. What I would say, however, is that the candidate
country will be better placed to answer that question than the European Union.
As regards connecting accession processes, the Presidency maintains and has always
maintained that each candidate State must be judged separately on its own merits. If the
candidate State is eligible because it meets the commitments and conditions for starting
accession negotiations, it should be granted that status irrespective of what might happen
in parallel processes involving other candidate States.
President. − Question No 6 by Sarah Ludford (H-0790/07)
Subject: Tiger conservation
What has the EU done, and what further measures are under consideration, in order to
encourage and assist India and other relevant countries in the conservation of their tiger
populations in a way that involves local people and gives them a stake in the protection
of those animal populations?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President, honourable
Member, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora, or CITES, provides the international legal framework for the conservation of tigers
130 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
and other endangered species. The EU and its Member States are strong supporters of
CITES, both politically and financially.
In recent years the EU has laid particular stress on the need for greater concentration of
effort in the practical application of CITES controls in order to reduce illegal slaughter and
trade and to guarantee sustainable trade of species. To underscore this need, the Commission
published Recommendation No 207/425/EC of 13 July 2007, identifying a set of actions
for the enforcement of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species
of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein. Meanwhile, the species ‘pantera tigris’
is listed in Annex A of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1332/2005 of 9 August 2005,
and is also listed in Annex I of CITES, which means that specimens of that species can only
be moved in exceptional circumstances, subject to rigorous criteria. If those criteria are to
be met and any decision to authorise trade is to be possible, assurances must be forthcoming
that the activity is not detrimental to the state of conservation of the species.
We would also draw your attention to the need for international cooperation and in
particular for capacity building to facilitate the implementation of policies for the
conservation and sustainable use of wild flora and fauna in States where such species are
found. The EU thus supported the decisions relating to Asian big cats, approved at the
14th meeting of the parties to CITES at the beginning of this year, with the aim of
intensifying application and conservation efforts.
We are, furthermore, also prepared to provide assistance to India and to the other States
of the distribution area in implementing these decisions. We recognise that the effective
implementation of conservation measures requires the participation of the local population.
We have stressed the need, through CITES, to ensure the support and cooperation of local
and rural communities in managing wild fauna and flora resources, and consequently in
combating illegal trade in them.
Sarah Ludford (ALDE). – I thank the Presidency very much for that, and I will read the
However, the problem is that the situation regarding tigers is a crisis. There are probably
only 3000 left in the wild. They could be extinct in the wild by 2020. The main problem
is poaching, which is driven by the lucrative illegal trade in tiger skins and parts, said to
stretch to Eastern Europe. The Indian forestry authorities say they are unable to cope with
poaching gangs, due to chronic underfunding. Can the EU help with that? Have we got
A Chinese official said recently that it is very hard to resist pressures to open the tiger trade.
Surely the key is education on the one hand, but also giving local people an economic stake
in maintaining higher levels. What is the EU actually doing in terms of specific projects?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) The honourable Member
will note that I have referred extensively, at length and in detail to the international legal
and judicial framework in which the European Union exists and operates. I have also
naturally expressed the Council’s willingness, readiness and commitment to do its utmost
within that international framework to ensure that the measures it provides for are
I have also said very transparently that we also recognise that we must work together with
local populations that have direct contact with those endangered species. The battle against
poaching and similar illegal activities is not an easy one, as people with experience of these
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 131
situations know. They are aware that it is a difficult yet necessary battle, an assessment
with which I agree.
The whole of European public opinion is with you, because what has been seen recently
in connection with the illegal trade in endangered species shows that people are much
more aware of the need to draw attention to these issues than they used to be. The pressure
of public opinion and the attention paid to it in connection with these situations is therefore
now much greater than it was. You can therefore obviously count on that public awareness,
which is also necessary to ensure that we, the EU, and our Member States are able to act
more effectively. As I said, we must recognise that it is a difficult battle.
David Martin (PSE). – Mr President-in-Office, you have made it very clear that you and
the Council as a whole are committed to the protection and conservation of the tiger. The
Indian Prime Minister equally has, in a number of statements, made his passionate
commitment to defending the tiger clear. As we are engaged in a bilateral negotiation with
India to create a new bilateral treaty between the EU and India, do you think this is a subject
we could include in that treaty and that we could go beyond our current commitments
under CITES to help with education, training, conservation – the sort of measures that
Baroness Ludford was talking about?
Reinhard Rack (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office, my question has
to do with this issue but relates to a slightly different aspect. I believe – and you rightly
referred to this – that questions such as the one under discussion arouse strong feelings
among the general public. On the other hand – and you also referred to the legal position
– are we in the European Union really justified in arrogating legislative or contractual
powers to ourselves on every issue that deeply concerns anyone in the EU? Or should we
not exercise a little restraint in these matters?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Very well, I must confess,
Mr President, that I did not fully understand the second question, perhaps because of delays
in the interpreting.
As regards the question of the tiger and dialogue with India, I must say in all sincerity and
frankness that it is a specific question, on which I have not reflected, but on which we will
reflect in the future, and I therefore take note of the honourable Member's suggestion. In
our bilateral dialogue with India – an EU-India Summit is to be held – we may also discuss
this issue of protected species and how we can better protect endangered species.
I must confess that because of the interpreting, I believe, I could not understand your second
Reinhard Rack (PPE-DE). – (DE) Thank you very much, and my apologies for having
spoken so quickly. I was consciously trying to avoid overrunning. I mean it is important
that we deal with such concerns when they matter to the people of Europe. On the other
hand, we should also be aware of the legal limits of the Union and take care to respect these
limits as far as we can.
The approach you have proposed seems interesting, but we should not leave ourselves
open to the accusation that the Union is claiming competence for all global matters.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) I agree with the
honourable Member, the European Union cannot and should not be responsible for
everything, and should not be accused of or judged for everything. According to the Treaties,
132 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
many of those aspects and responsibilities lie with the Member States, and in this case may
be responsibilities both of the Member States and of the States in which these situations
The European Union is not and cannot be a universal panacea, particularly since there is
a principle, the principle of subsidiarity, that must always be respected.
President. − Question No 7 by Gay Mitchell (H-0792/07)
Subject: Non-EU financial services centres
Will the Council make a statement on how it engages with non-EU financial services centres
on areas of mutual concern?
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) Mr President, honourable
Member, in the conclusions adopted in May 2006, the Council welcomed the Commission’s
White Paper on financial services policy from 2005 to 2010. The Council particularly
welcomed, and I quote: ‘the ideas put forward with respect to the growing importance of
the external dimension in financial services – namely to deepen and widen regulatory
dialogues with third countries and work towards the further opening of global financial
On the Portuguese Presidency’s initiative, on 9 October last the ECOFIN Council examined
the state of play regarding macroeconomic, financial and regulatory dialogues with the
Union’s principal partners – the United States, Japan, Russia, India and China. The
importance of these strategic dialogues was stressed during the discussion. Such dialogues
make it possible to reinforce convergence, cooperation and mutual understanding between
global partners, thereby helping to facilitate access to the respective markets and to promote
macroeconomic and financial stability, particularly in financial services. The dialogues
have led to significant progress concerning convergence and equivalence of accounting
The Council supports the work carried out by the Commission, and considers that financial
market globalisation requires increasing effort to achieve convergence and cooperation at
international level, in line with the Commission and the Council’s strategic vision on the
need to reinforce the Lisbon Strategy’s external dimension through the promotion of and
an international approach to regulatory cooperation and the convergence and equivalence
Stress was also laid on how important it is for the European Union to ensure a coherent
approach in this area, and it was considered that information on the development of such
dialogues should continue to be forwarded to the Council on a regular basis.
Gay Mitchell (PPE-DE). – I would like to thank the Council Presidency for its reply. Is
this Council Presidency aware that there is a school of thought that says that the developing
world could greatly benefit from having a financial services sector? Given Portugal’s
experience in Africa in particular, could I ask the Council President, if he does not have the
response there in his brief, if he would cause this issue to be examined and pursued, because
it may well be a way of assisting not just the developing world but in having global
interchanges, which would be of great benefit to this part of the world as well.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) The honourable Member
is right, I do not have a written answer in my brief to give you, but I will give you my
opinion. In this respect we had a very interesting discussion this morning on globalisation,
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 133
when we also discussed financial services and questions related to the turbulence on some
One issue I consider to be fundamental in relation to Africa and which is closely linked to
the Europe-Africa Summit concerns Africa’s position in globalisation: should Africa be a
full partner, as we believe it should, in the problems and challenges raised by globalisation,
should Africa be an active partner and should it have effective instruments at its disposal
so that it really can be a full partner in globalisation, or do we on the other hand want an
Africa which is condemned to war, insecurity, underdevelopment and poverty?
In this context, therefore, the financial or other instruments, initiatives or mechanisms
that could actually put Africa with all of us, with the European Union and with other major
emerging blocs, on the agenda of the talks, debate and theme of globalisation can only be
Mairead McGuinness (PPE-DE). – Thank you, President and President-in-Office for
being on overtime as we all are; we appreciate that.
What do you think are the obstacles to greater progress in this area, and do you think that,
as things stand, enough is being done? Because what we are talking about is consumer
confidence in the financial services sector, both within Europe and outside.
Manuel Lobo Antunes, President-in-Office of the Council . − (PT) This issue, the conduct
of these dialogues and so on in this specific area, which is part of the question I was asked,
has been directed by and is the responsibility of the Commission. I also have to confess
that I am not a financial specialist and therefore do not have the detailed knowledge required
to give you a technical answer. You are asking for a technical answer and I cannot give you
one. I can give you a political answer that will outline a new reality, a new problem and a
new challenge, but also a new opportunity. This problem should be and has now been
examined and has been developed to an unprecedented extent. We in the European Union
too must naturally seek appropriate answers when problems arise, and the necessary
instruments must also be at our disposal when it is a case of developing and making
I cannot tell you specifically what obstacles may have arisen or may arise, though I can
give you an idea, as I have, of what the EU’s policy and the Council’s responsibilities in this
field have been. Finally, I can say that it gives me great pleasure to be able to extend my
stay here with you, particularly since this mandate is coming to an end. I only have one
more opportunity to be with you, so I must make the most of this experience.
President. − Questions which have not been answered for lack of time will receive written
answers (see Annex).
Question time is closed.
(The sitting was suspended at 19.45 and resumed at 21.05)
IN THE CHAIR: Edward McMILLAN-SCOTT
12. Membership of committees and delegations: see Minutes
134 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
13. Trade and economic relations with Ukraine (debate)
President. − The next item is the report by Zbigniew Zaleski, on behalf of the Committee
on International Trade, on trade and economic relations with Ukraine (2007/2022(INI)
Zbigniew Zaleski (PPE-DE), rapporteur . – (PL) The report illustrates the role that we
envisage for Ukraine against the background of our own economic activities as well as as
a partner in the context of trade with other countries. In addition we wanted to emphasise
the role that Ukraine plays in the Black Sea region, that is, its political, economic and
I believe that economic activities and development should progress irrespective of the
political ideas held by a country. The economy must be free, state and legislative authorities
should provide support, individual businessmen and groups of entrepreneurs should
constitute economic entities. The economy should be an instrument to bring good living
conditions to the citizens, and this objective can be achieved by raising living standards,
improving working conditions, through good education, a good justice system, including
ownership rights. We cannot allow common property to be used for individual gain.
Encouragement should be given, also motivation, for people to work honestly to bring
material and other personal benefits.
If one does not have one’s own good models or history, it is worth taking advantage of
others’ good practices and experiences, those of one’s neighbours. For this reason it is
important to include Ukraine in the common market and make the know-how developed
in the EU available to it. I believe that our economic model is good, even though it is far
from perfect, for example with regard to production and trade in food, but we are making
constant efforts to improve ourselves. We can offer to our neighbour from the other side
of the River Bug the standards and rules that we have found to work.
What does the report cover? It covers industry, agriculture, energy, finance, border guards,
transport infrastructure, examples of non-corrupt activities, intellectual property, the
natural environment, scientific cooperation and relations with neighbours. These are parts
of a single whole that we call the economy. There are well-defined standards that form the
basis of that economy and, in the report, we recommend that our partners develop such
standards for themselves or abide by them.
What conditions does Ukraine have to fulfil in order to negotiate better links with the
European Union? As essential conditions, I believe, first of all, joining the World Trade
Organization and, while so doing or even before, resolving the debt problem with
Kyrgyzstan. This process is already under way. Secondly, approval of membership by the
Ukrainian Parliament as quickly as possible. Other conditions include good relations with
its neighbours, that is, with Russia and Belarus, stability in its currency, the quality of
financial services, developing brands in international markets and keeping to the letter of
Ukraine, which has declared its desire to join the European Union, faces great, even
enormous, challenges. Namely, convincing Europe by its economic, legal, financial and
political activities that it is a sufficiently committed partner for the EU to ask itself, sooner
or later, would it not be worthwhile to include Ukraine in the common European entity?
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 135
Commissioner, our approaches may sometimes have been different, but I believe that we
have the same objective, which is to develop a beneficial modus vivendi, a way to coexist
with this important eastern neighbour.
I think, Mr President, that I have saved some time as it is already evening.
Joe Borg, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, first of all let me congratulate the
rapporteur, Mr Zaleski, on this very good report.
I also want to thank the rapporteur for the excellent cooperation with the Commission
services when drafting this report. The report is very timely. It provides a comprehensive
overview of the issues at stake in EU-Ukraine economic and trade relations.
Allow me to focus on some points that you also highlighted in your report. We consider
Ukraine a key and valuable partner in our neighbourhood strategy. We agree with the
general spirit of the present report: to bring Ukraine’s economy as close as possible to the
EU by means of a new enhanced agreement, of which the deep and comprehensive free
trade agreement will be a key pillar.
The Commission also fully shares your views concerning the need to strengthen the rule
of law in Ukraine and the importance of Ukraine’s accession to the WTO. We strongly
hope that Ukraine can still complete the WTO accession process this year, and we will
cooperate closely with the Ukrainian Government to this end. We consider that, once the
accession package has been approved by the members of the WTO, the multilateral process
of accession will have been completed.
Ukraine has set WTO accession as its priority and we are convinced that it will duly carry
out its internal ratification procedures to formalise its membership. The European Union
has no interest in further delaying the launch of FTA negotiations and is ready to start as
soon as the decision on the accession package has been approved by the members of the
WTO. Concerning the future FTA, we completely agree that it should be deep and
comprehensive, with a strong focus on regulatory alignment.
As for economic relations with neighbouring countries, the report suggests a three-way
dialogue: EU-Russia-Ukraine. We should be very prudent not to duplicate processes on
topics already covered in other forums. Furthermore, the question arises as to whether the
European Union would not risk being drawn into bilateral disputes between Russia and
Ukraine. We would also question the benefit of such an approach.
It is our policy to favour the opening-up of energy markets to competition as a means of
ensuring access to secure and affordable energy. This will be an important subject in the
future FTA negotiations with Ukraine.
As for concerns on safeguarding the basic needs of the population, EU legislation on the
liberalisation of the electricity and gas sector includes significant provisions with the scope
to ensure protection of consumers and to safeguard their basic needs. We intend to negotiate
Ukraine’s alignment with this legislation.
Concerning the suggestion to extend the GSP+ to Ukraine, I would like to underline that
Ukraine does not qualify for these additional preferences and that the European Union has
committed itself not to amend the basic GSP criteria on an ad hoc basis. In addition, this
would severely undermine our negotiating positions for the future FTA.
136 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
In conclusion, allow me to once again congratulate the rapporteur on his good report. The
Commission widely shares its general approach, except on the few issues that I have
underlined above. The Commission will take the report into account in its ongoing and
future cooperation with Ukraine.
Jerzy Buzek, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group . – (PL) Mr President, although the
post-electoral situation in Ukraine has not yet stabilised, those who represent democracy
have won. This is a victory not just for democracy in Ukraine, but also for the European
Union itself, which supported this kind of activity. Now, in the interests of Ukraine, the
Ukrainians and the European Union, we must consolidate what has been achieved with
such great difficulty in Ukraine. It is the Ukrainians themselves who have to take the
post-electoral decisions, but we can help Ukraine and, at the same time, help ourselves.
I fully support Mr Zaleski’s report, and congratulate him on preparing such a document.
In my opinion there are three areas that are most important as regards bringing stability
to Ukraine and also benefit to the European Union.
Firstly, energy cooperation, which is very important for both sides. It is essential that we
become involved in investment in pipelines that are in many cases in poor condition, as
also in new pipelines, such as the one from Odessa – Brody – Gdańsk, in investment in the
electricity grid and in supporting energy efficiency. We can offer our own technologies,
we can create joint capital to improve energy efficiency in Ukraine, and this will also help
our own energy security. Finally, something which is obvious, improvements in nuclear
power station safety in Ukraine, which is very important for Europe.
The second area is scientific cooperation. Ukraine has considerable achievements in this
area. It is worth benefiting from them. In addition, exchanges of students and scientists,
which could reduce the deficit in the European Union, where we are short of seven hundred
thousand scientists. We should bear in mind that this is always the surest and fastest method
of cooperation: science, educational institutions and students.
Thirdly, cooperation between local and regional government. Our EU towns have a great
deal to offer in this regard. We could assist in creating full democracy on the level of local
government in Ukraine, which is something that has not happened so far.
All this should be made part of a long-term aim, namely an association agreement with
Ukraine. It does not matter whether it takes 10 years or 20. It is worth presenting Ukraine
with this opportunity. It will help Ukrainians, and it will help the European Union.
Vural Öger, on behalf of the PSE Group . – (DE) Mr President, in plenary this afternoon
we debated the European neighbourhood policy. Following the enlargement round of
2004, the European Commission proposed the development of a coherent strategy towards
the Union’s new neighbours. The ENP has created special links with a ring of countries that
share the EU’s fundamental values and aims.
Our neighbour Ukraine is firmly embedded in the ENP. We are aware of the special
geopolitical and commercial importance of Ukraine as a natural bridge between the EU
on the one hand and Russia and Central Asia on the other. Today the EU is Ukraine’s main
trading partner; by 2006, the volume of trade between Ukraine and the Member States of
the EU had already reached EUR 26.6 billion.
We in the European Union acknowledge the great efforts that have been made in Ukraine
in recent years. The former command economy has been developed into an efficient market
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 137
economy. According to the OECD report, Ukraine’s economic growth averaged 7.6% in
the years from 2000 to 2006. That is a great success.
In February 2007 we began negotiations on a new partnership and association agreement
between Ukraine and the EU. The Ukrainian aspirations to EU and NATO membership are
also well documented. For reasons of trade and economic policy, accession to the World
Trade Organization is at the very top of the Ukrainian agenda. We assume that accession
to the WTO will prove possible before the end of this year. This would also considerably
broaden the scope for cooperation between the EU and Ukraine and smooth the way for
negotiations on the creation of a free-trade area in the ENP framework.
The EU must treat Ukraine as a genuine partner and give it clear messages. In this respect
I can only welcome the outcome of the EU-Ukraine summit held in Kiev on
14 September 2007, where the strong and enduring relationship between the two parties
was reaffirmed. We should continue to lend vigorous support to Ukraine on its path to
WTO membership, in the subsequent creation of a free-trade area, and with regard to its
Danutė Budreikaitė, ALDE Group – (LT) Ukraine is a strategically and economically
significant EU partner and an Eastern neighbour with an important role within and outside
Relations between the EU and Ukraine have mainly developed in the direction of increasing
political cooperation and gradually increasing economic integration. The implementation
of these objectives would contribute towards the further consolidation of democracy and
the development of the market economy in Ukraine. However, the success of Ukraine’s
development does not depend solely on the EU. Ukraine must make a forthright decision
to follow the pro-Western direction and follow it consistently.
I would like to share some thoughts about economic and trade relations between the EU
First of all, the start of negotiations for a free trade area with the EU is strictly linked to
Ukraine’s membership of the WTO. However, negotiations on the-free trade area would
cover not just the abolition of tariffs (which is included in the negotiations with the WTO),
but the more extensive convergence – the liberalisation of the services sector, institutional
reforms, the harmonisation of the legal basis with the EU acquis. Accordingly, coordinated
actions between the EU and Ukraine with a view to creating the free-trade area should
develop alongside Ukraine’s membership of the WTO.
Secondly, more attention should be paid to the implementation of good management
practice, the intensification of the public sector and the curbing of corruption. More intense
cooperation in these areas would contribute significantly towards establishing more stable
economic and trade relations between the EU and Ukraine as well as strengthening the
process of democratisation and increasing the prospect of Ukraine’s membership of the
Thirdly, it is important to point out the fact that Ukraine’s producers are not yet ready to
compete with the producers of EU Member States. Therefore, transitional periods should
be established, as well as supervisory institutions in order to safeguard against the negative
impact on the Ukrainian economy and society.
138 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
The fourth point is that while the EU supports the liberalisation of trade with Ukraine, it
must be prepared for possible difficulties arising from Ukraine’s producers, especially those
involved in exporting to the CIS; resistance to implementation of EU standards; attempts
by functionaries to maintain the status quo and existing corruptive ties. To facilitate
successful implementation of the reforms the Ukrainian Government should inform
business people and the public about the advantages of the liberalisation of trade and a
free-trade area between the EU and Ukraine.
The fifth point is that the intensive development of relations between the EU and Ukraine
can potentially increase Russia’s political and economic pressure on Ukraine. In that case
the EU should abandon its role of passive arbitrator, as has happened quite often before,
and take on the role of defender of its own interests and those of Ukraine. There is a
possibility that Russia could apply pressure on Ukraine and certain EU countries in the
sphere of energy supply. Therefore, the EU should not only make an effort to solve these
problems at the highest level, but also, at the same time, seek Ukraine’s involvement in the
EU common energy market and ensure the security of EU and Ukrainian energy security.
Guntars Krasts, on behalf of the UEN Group. – (LV) The report provides an overview of
the current development of Ukraine, as an EU partner, and the tasks it still has to carry out,
and it deserves praise for the number of issues covered and the depth with which they are
assessed. It is apparent from the report that the author has a deep, personal interest in
Ukrainian development issues and in the shaping of its relations with the European Union,
and this has of course benefited the report. The rapporteur has carefully and considerately
assessed the problems posing a threat to the successful development of Ukraine, but at the
same time, if we do not call a spade a spade, it is sometimes difficult to anticipate solutions
to problems. It cannot go unremarked that in Ukraine’s economy increasing numbers of
economic sectors are over-regulated, state intervention is not based on laws and there is a
continual increase in the creation of mutually incompatible legislation, which benefits
those seeking loopholes in laws and those whose job it is to interpret legislation. Together
with the high level of bureaucracy, this significantly hampers the influx of investment into
the country’s economy, including that from the European Union. The energy sector is an
obvious example of this. The European Union is interested in a transparent transport
system for Ukraine’s natural gas, which, like the entire energy sector in Ukraine, is
over-regulated, with artificially complex structures and flows of money that are not
transparent. The European Union still does not have the data to allow it to assess the safety
of Ukraine’s gas transport system. These are important issues for the European Union,
which is Ukraine’s largest trading partner. It is to be hoped that Ukraine will manage to
overcome the protracted political crisis and that the Ukrainian Government will in future
be involved in EU talks that, on the basis of mutual interest, will make it possible to establish
close cooperation. I agree with the rapporteur that Ukraine’s wish to join the European
Union cannot be ignored, and here I would like to stress this once again: a clear prospect
of EU membership is the most effective reform tool that the European Union can offer
Ukraine. Thank you.
Caroline Lucas, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group . – Mr President, I would like to
congratulate Mr Zaleski very warmly on his report. I think it is a significantly different kind
of report to recent ones which have been voted on in the Committee on International
Trade. Compared to the reports on bilateral trade relations of one or two years ago, like
the EU-Russia or EU-Mercosur reports, it shows a lot more cautiousness with regard to the
benefits of unfettered free trade. And I think it indicates a growing consensus across the
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 139
party spectrum on the importance of actively engaging in a political search for how best
to submit trade rules to the principles of sustainable development.
In that respect, I think we can be pleased that we have made the most of the various delays
at the WTO Doha Round, which, in a way, have allowed us to conduct this search for more
fair and sustainable trade rules in our bilateral trade relations. I therefore thank the
rapporteur for actively seizing this opportunity.
Among the many positive signals that this report gives to DG Trade for their negotiations
with Ukraine on a free trade agreement, I would like to highlight four points in particular.
In paragraph 10, I think the report rightly warns against relying exclusively on export
orientation and export diversification in order to make trade sustainable. Instead, it focuses
on the importance of developing the domestic market as a necessary basis for any
economically sustainable development.
In paragraph 13, the report suggests the need to strike a balance with regard to investors’
rights. In other words, it insists on a legal framework in Ukraine which fosters best practice
in corporate social responsibility.
In paragraph 23, the report suggests a significant shift in our foreign energy supply policy
by asking for multilateral rules regarding access to energy resources and by warning not
to support the race for the best conditions for unilateral energy access.
Finally, in paragraph 36 the report recognises that agriculture is a special activity that
cannot be treated in the same way as industrial goods and therefore justifies different tariff
I very much hope that those and other points remain in the final text so that my group can
very happily vote in favour of the report. But I do just want to add that I think it is a pity
to hear that DG Trade has been objecting to three key amendments proposed by the Greens
and supported by the rapporteur, which call on DG Trade to start negotiations for a bilateral
FTA only after the Parliament of Ukraine has given its assent to the WTO accession
negotiations. While DG Trade is certainly right that this might delay the bilateral FTA, we
have to insist as parliamentarians, as we do ourselves before the conclusion of such FTAs
on the part of the European Union, for the voice of the people to be taken into account on
such an important matter and that includes, of course, the people of Ukraine. We would
therefore especially like to thank Mr Zaleski for not giving in to that pressure and, once
again, for an excellent report.
Helmuth Markov, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group . – (DE) Mr President, everyone has
thanked our honourable colleague Mr Zaleski, and I shall do likewise. His report was
adopted in committee without a single dissenting vote, which shows that we can indeed
produce a cross-party report if we try hard enough.
Allow me to make a few remarks. The Ukrainian elections have taken place. They were
democratic, they were fair and they were free, but I believe they have left a host of problems
unresolved. The incumbent President has always had difficulties in his dealings with strong
prime ministers, whether with Yulia Tymoshenko, whom he dismissed in 2005, or with
Viktor Yanukovych in 2006 and 2007.
Although the coalition agreement concluded between Yulia Tymoshenko’s alliance and
the Our Ukraine bloc exists on paper as the basis of a possible new government constellation,
the government has not yet been formed. Nor do we know what will actually transpire,
140 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
even though the deadline is now quite close. If this government is formed by then, its first
task, in my view, is to tackle constitutional reform, for without reform of the Constitution
there is no guarantee that the internal stability of the political forces in Ukraine will suffice
to avoid another fresh set of elections, especially as some people are already thinking about
calling for new parliamentary elections at the time of the presidential election.
If you look at certain areas, such as economic policy, the OECD report paints a truly
encouraging picture. It tells us that Ukraine recorded average GDP growth of 8.7% between
2000 and 2006. If you look behind these figures, however, you will see a huge trade deficit.
Ukraine has a deficit of more than EUR 4.5 billion in its trade with the countries of the CIS
and a deficit of almost EUR 4.5 billion with the European Union. In other words, there is
still a real need for economic change, and the partnership agreements can and must be
used for that purpose.
On the other hand, compared with the statistics of a country such as my own – the Federal
Republic of Germany – the Ukrainian figures do seem magnificent. Ukraine’s unemployment
rate is lower, its GDP is growing faster, its welfare expenditure on pensions is higher, and
it spends a higher percentage of its GDP on education, and hence on investment in the
future, than the Federal Republic of Germany. There is therefore every reason to conclude
that the country is unquestionably on the right path.
Nevertheless, I referred to problems in the economy, and there are, of course, problems in
other areas too. Russia has clearly signalled and plainly stated that its energy prices will
rise by 10% with effect from 1 January 2008. That will have a profound impact on the
Ukrainian economy. At the present time, Ukraine pays its debts to Russia with gas supplies
from its own underground deposits. We shall see how that develops. It will become a
political issue again, and it is important for the European Union to intervene to keep the
peace. The Russians are entitled to raise their prices, and it goes without saying that the
Ukrainians will have to work out how to deal with the economic fallout.
Take another point, namely social policy. During the electoral campaign, all of the parties
that stood for election announced vast increases in welfare spending. If you look at the
present coalition agreement between the Tymoshenko alliance and the President’s bloc,
you will see that there is no mention at all of an increase in welfare expenditure. And indeed
it would be virtually impossible, given the present level of government revenue, to effect
the promised spending increases. This means that Ukrainian development is not advancing
as quickly as is always asserted.
The next point to which I wish to refer is foreign policy. During the election campaign, all
parties promised to move the country closer to the European Union. The party that has
always linked this convergence with the European Union most closely with the issue of
accession to NATO, namely the Our Ukraine party, was the one that suffered the heaviest
losses. An absolute majority of the Ukrainian population are opposed to membership of
NATO. I therefore ask the European Union to proceed cautiously here. The majority of
the population do not want their country to join NATO. All the available data indicate that
they do want it to join the WTO.
If we consider, against this backdrop, how the partnership agreements should now be
shaped, the real needs emerge in the areas where Ukraine still has the difficulties I have
listed. Ukraine must – and here I agree entirely with Mr Zaleski – have a European
perspective, a prospect of accession to the EU. It would be good for the European Union
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 141
to have a strong partner in the East, and it would also be good for Ukraine in view of its
general geostrategic orientation.
Bastiaan Belder, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group . – (NL) Mr President, our debate on
the European Union’s trade and economic relations with Ukraine, the subject of Mr Zaleski’s
very thorough report, comes at a crucial time: parliamentary elections have taken place
and the country’s economic and political problems need to be tackled vigorously by an
energetic new government. I am thinking of active measures against corruption. With
winter coming, Ukraine also needs a strong government which can negotiate with Russia
on the supply and transit of Russian gas.
Having read this report, I am inclined to say that Europe has made clear what it wants. The
ball is now in Ukraine’s court. The country must have not only an effective government,
but also one which demonstrates a political determination to address the problems. After
five elections in as many years, the population is understandably tired of all the political
squabbling. Ukraine’s politicians must henceforth be concerned less with each other and
more with the country’s political and economic future.
Yes, the ball is in Ukraine’s court, but I will say more than that, Mr President. The European
Union has work to do too. I agree with what our rapporteur says in Paragraph 51, that the
European Neighbourhood Policy suffers from a lack of clear definitions and perspectives.
The prospect of EU membership must be extended to Ukraine in the medium or long term.
As part of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the European Union can then initiate or
support the reforms needed in the country.
Sylwester Chruszcz (NI). – (PL) Mr President, Ukraine is a country with strategic
importance within the European Neighbourhood Policy, and it is an important partner for
the countries of the European Union.
We all hope that growth in trade between Ukraine and EU countries will strengthen
economic growth and cooperation with countries in the region. Good economic relations
are advantageous to both sides.
Economic growth in Ukraine should take place in parallel with respect for democracy and
for the country’s laws. I am also thinking at this point of respect for the rights of ethnic
minorities and, an issue that is important for me, activities that glorify fascism and genocide
should not be permitted. We support democratic and economic processes in our eastern
On the other hand, it would seem appropriate to avoid biased and one-sided support for
any political bloc in Ukraine.
Bogdan Golik (PSE). – (PL) Mr President, acting as you did earlier I would like first of all
to congratulate Mr Zaleski on such an insightful report concerning trade and economic
relations with Ukraine. The issue of cooperation with Ukraine is particularly important at
present, and all the initiatives aimed at strengthening cooperation are a clear sign of
European interest in our eastern neighbour and of openness on the part of the European
The problem lies in the fact that the time when it would be appropriate to put into practice
the idea of closer cooperation, going further than the European Neighbourhood Policy,
which has been of little benefit to Ukraine so far, is actually coming. It is undeniable that
142 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Ukraine still has far to go to approach the Community’s economic, political and social
structures. The tasks that Ukraine faces have been thoroughly considered in the report.
Despite the fact that Ukraine can boast of its achievements as regards liberalisation of trade
and capital flows, further reforms and strengthening of the Ukrainian economy, which
includes membership of the WTO, are essential. Despite the European aspirations aired
during the orange revolution, Ukraine still has to make an unequivocal choice between
the European option and the Russian one. If we want Ukraine to choose the European
option, we must state this clearly and we must give this our support.
The EU should express its interest in contact with Ukraine by providing active support on
the one hand for changes in Ukraine and, on the other, by taking steps within the European
Union aimed at a gradual transition from a neighbourhood policy to a policy of integration.
For this purpose, steps need to be taken both on the economic front and in the social and
political arenas. It would be appropriate, therefore, to support Ukraine’s independence
from Russia by strengthening economic ties, which means creating an EU-Ukraine free
trade area, including Ukraine in the Community’s power network, and possibly providing
finance for the transport system.
It would also be useful to support and implement programmes to promote Ukraine in the
European Union as well as the European Union in Ukraine, and also programmes to
promote the development of science and education, which is an issue raised by Professor
Buzek. The most important step as regards changing the image of the European Union in
the eyes of Ukrainians would be to abolish the visa requirement for travelling to the
European Union, as well as a clear statement, and this is something of which everyone has
spoken, that Ukraine will be able to accede to the European Union, even if this involves an
extended time frame.
Šarūnas Birutis (ALDE). – (LT) On 18 October in Portugal President Yushchenko
announced Ukraine’s intention to join the WTO this year. Ukraine has already completed
negotiations with the WTO countries, with the exception of Kyrgyzstan, which still insists
on recovering the old debt of USD 27 million dating from Soviet times.
Ukraine’s acceptance into the WTO will result in a reduction in import taxes and an
increased number of importers. However, it is important that Ukraine implements
systematic economic reforms. Despite positive changes, such as the membership of the
WTO, the public mood indicates the need for serious reforms.
Ukraine is developing rapidly. In recent years there has been significant growth in the GDP,
but there is still a lot to be done in the area of economic productivity and competitiveness.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2007-2008,
Ukraine has dropped from 69th place to 73rd. The influence of oligarchs is decidedly
Ukraine is a strategic partner, so it is important to integrate it further into such important
sectors as energy and bilateral trade. Ukraine’s significant role in ensuring the security of
EU energy supply should be considered comprehensively. The possibility of integrating
Ukraine in the trans-European transport networks should be encouraged, as Ukraine could
play the strategic role of a transit country through which oil and gas could be supplied to
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 143
I hope that, now the Verkhovna Rada elections have taken place, Ukraine will have got on
the path towards political stability. I think the EU should continue its open door policy in
respect of Ukraine.
Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, Commissioner, it would
clearly be in the interests of the European Union to strengthen and develop political and
economic ties with Ukraine. Ukraine, which has benefited from the continuing process of
democratisation, has become one of the most promising trade partners for the European
Ukraine’s aspirations to become a member of the World Trade Organization deserve
support. The acceptance of Ukraine by that organisation will show, once and for all, that
the country has gone from being a centrally planned economy to being a fully functioning
It is also important to accept Ukraine’s aspirations to have good political and economic
ties with Russia. As Russia, in offering an agreement on a common trade area with Ukraine,
is trying to gain control over that country for its own ends, it is important for the European
Commission to present a decisive standpoint supporting Ukraine in its aspirations to
become a member of the European Union. Ukraine should have proper political and
economic relations with Russia but, at the same time, we should support its EU aspirations.
At the start of the coming year, the solutions relating to the acceptance by Poland of the
Schengen Convention will come into force. It is important that compliance with the
regulations on security as regards the borders of the European Union do not, at the same
time, create a new Berlin wall for the inhabitants of Ukraine. I hope that the European
Commission will allow Poland to introduce these regulations in such a way as to make
them beneficial for the inhabitants of Ukraine.
Kathy Sinnott (IND/DEM). – Mr President, I questioned the Ukrainian Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych during his visit to Parliament last March. I confronted him with the
problem of the gruesome, but lucrative and widespread illegal trade in human body parts
in his country. To my surprise, he did not deny it. In fact he said it was a very painful issue
and asked us in the Committee on Foreign Affairs for help, especially with the buyers,
many of whom come from the EU.
It is important to compliment the Ukraine on its honesty about this problem and we should
express a strong desire to eradicate it as a trade completely incompatible with human
dignity and with closer EU-Ukrainian relations. This report is about helping the Ukraine
in areas like trade. This must include the help that the former Prime Minister asked our
Parliament for. It is a matter of urgency, as one cannot talk about further collaboration
with a country where the trafficking of living and dead humans makes up a significant part
of the economy. The fight against it has to play an important role in the cooperation
between the EU and the Ukraine.
Béla Glattfelder (PPE-DE). – (HU) Thank you very much, Mr President. I would like to
join those who have congratulated our colleague, Mr Zaleski, on his excellent report. It is
in the interests of the European Union for Ukraine to remain politically stable and to
develop its economy. A successful Ukraine could serve as a positive example for all the
countries in the region and the states of the former Soviet Union, and help to reinforce
democracy in the region.
144 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
The European Union must help and encourage Ukraine to bind its future not to Russia but
to the European Union. Ukraine is a European country, and its geographical location,
history and cultural traditions bind it to Europe. We must help Ukraine to become capable
of applying the WTO rules. WTO membership may lead to a free trade agreement with
the European Union.
Expanding trade is a common interest for Europe and Ukraine, but there is a need for
undistorted trade that also ensures the application by Ukraine of the social, employment,
animal health, plant health and environmental rules. Failing this, we will have to face many
Allow me to cite Hungary as an example in this case, since Hungary shares a border with
Ukraine. In Hungary, poultry keepers have to make extraordinarily expensive investments
in order to fulfil the animal welfare and environmental protection provisions. If the free
trade agreement also covered animal husbandry products, a significant proportion of
Hungarian producers would relocate their production plants to Ukraine, barely 100 km
from the current sites, and could continue competitive production at extraordinarily low
cost. On the other hand, all the products that they could produce avoiding the animal
welfare provisions would come back into the European Union, and as the River Tisza flows
from Ukraine into Hungary, we in Hungary will have to face environmental protection
I am therefore of the opinion that we must help Ukraine to apply all the international social,
animal health, environmental protection and animal welfare rules as soon as possible.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Stavros Arnaoutakis (PSE). – (EL) Mr President, I, too, should like to congratulate
Mr Zaleski on his excellent work.
Ukraine is an important EU trade partner. We support its accession to the WTO and the
negotiations for a free-trade area with the Union.
For this purpose, Ukraine’s economic performance needs to be developed further so that
it can achieve the greatest possible rapprochement with the EU economy.
In addition, a greater effort is needed to meet the challenges in Ukraine effectively. The
following need attention:
fighting corruption, combating illegal trade, strengthening cooperation with the Union in
the fields of science, technology and education, and creating closer cross-border cultural
If Ukraine continues with greater vigour to support the reform efforts it has undertaken,
I believe the desired results will not be slow in coming.
Andrzej Tomasz Zapałowski (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, Ukraine stands today before
a strategic decision: whether to make the divisions in the country permanent through the
creation of an orange coalition, or to create an Our Ukraine coalition with the Party of
Regions. The decision taken in this regard will have a profound significance for future
EU-Ukraine relations. If the first option is chosen, there is a high probability that this will
lead to political cooperation with the European Union as well as enormous economic
tensions with Russia. If there is a large orange-blue coalition there will be relative economic
stability, but the integration of Ukraine with the EU will be significantly delayed.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 145
I am not sure whether the EU today is in a position to provide Ukraine with assistance that
would be sufficient to compensate that country for the losses brought about by a conflict
with Russia. This issue is important, in that the EU has to make a declaration now as to
whether it is prepared for significant financial and political involvement in helping Ukraine.
If we do not provide an unequivocal viewpoint, we could ourselves provoke destabilisation
of the internal situation in Ukraine. I would like to congratulate Mr Zaleski on his report.
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE-DE). – (LT) If somebody were to ask me today which
of the European Neighbourhood Policy countries was the closest to the European Union,
I would not hesitate to say: Ukraine.
This huge country with a population of 46 million has a right to take pride in its democratic
achievements since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has undoubtedly developed into
one of the most promising EU partners. As a representative of the European Parliament
delegation, more than a month ago I had the opportunity to observe the parliamentary
elections in this country and was satisfied that there is an obvious trend towards increasing
the development of democratic civic institutions, democracy is becoming an integral part
of life in Ukraine, and the elections in that country are no different from those in the EU
If you look at the map, it is obvious that Ukraine’s position cannot be easy (on one side
there is the EU, and on the other side, Russia). The choice is not easy, as it is not easy to
give an answer to the question – ‘Quo vadis, Ukraine?’ It is clear, though, that today Ukraine
must make an irreversible choice.
This choice does not mean that all long-term trade and economic relations with Russia
and the CIS must be severed or that Russia cannot participate in Ukraine’s economy; it is
rather the opposite. However, for example, the agreement on the CIS Single Economic
Space recently proposed by Russia would be more likely to jeopardise Ukraine’s ambition
to achieve economic independence than help realise that ambition.
I wish to point out that the EU, together with its institutions, its Member States, should
offer political and diplomatic assistance to Ukraine with a view to ensuring the country’s
acceptance into the World Trade Organisation. Assistance after membership of the WTO
is finalised is also of great importance, such as assistance with official negotiations on the
Free-Trade Agreement and a new, more detailed agreement between the EU and Ukraine.
Finally, I would like to thank my Polish colleague Mr Zaleski for his excellent report. My
best wishes to our colleagues from Ukraine in finalising the formation of the new
government and commencing the important tasks that await them.
Bogusław Rogalski (UEN). – (PL) Mr President, Ukraine is a strategically important
neighbour for the European Union. It is a natural bridge linking us with Russia and Central
Since 2004, that is, since the time of the major enlargement, the EU has been Ukraine’s
largest trading partner. To a great extent, the EU and Ukraine share the same economic
and trading interests and, for this reason, it is sensible to go down the path of further
integration of our markets in order to gain the greatest benefits. The way to achieve this is
to create a common free trade area, but first Ukraine must complete its process of accession
to the WTO. We should do everything we can, politically and diplomatically, to support
Ukraine in its bid to gain this membership. It will also be necessary to provide ongoing
support to help Ukraine fulfil WTO requirements.
146 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
We should remember that, behind Ukraine, there is the mighty hand of Russia, which
would once again like to dominate this part of Europe. For this reason it is a good idea to
give Ukraine the status of a market economy, which should bring that country closer to
Western Europe and, as a result, should lead to membership of the European Union.
Mr Zaleski’s report is a good step in this direction, and I would like to congratulate him on
Daniel Caspary (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, allow me to begin my remarks by pointing
out that this is the second debate today on a foreign-policy issue at which the Commission
has not been represented by the competent Commissioner. This morning we had our main
debate on the subject of globalisation, and the competent Commissioner was not present,
and this evening the members of the Commission with responsibility for this important
matter are once more absent. I have nothing against our esteemed Commissioner Borg,
but it would be proper, in my view, if the Commission were represented by the
Commissioner with responsibility for the subject under discussion. I should be grateful,
Mr President, if you would forward this request to the Commission for future debates, and
I am sure it serves the interests of the whole college of Commissioners.
I should like to express my sincere thanks to Mr Zaleski for his very balanced report. We
must improve our cooperation with our Ukrainian neighbours. That is why it is good that
the European neighbourhood policy should be shaped accordingly. That is why it is good
that Ukraine should accede to the WTO. That is why it is good that we should negotiate a
partnership and cooperation agreement, and it is good that we should support the vision
of a free trade area as the start of a careful unveiling of a European perspective for Ukraine.
Let me also say at this point, however, that I cannot envisage Ukrainian membership of
the EU for the foreseeable future. Improved cooperation, to which many of my fellow
Members have already referred, is also an urgent requirement and can benefit both sides.
I attach particular importance to fruitful cooperation and close solidarity with our eastern
In my view it is intolerable, for example, that Russia should make its cooperation with
Ukraine dependent on which government is in office in Kiev and which parliamentary
majority the Ukrainian nation has elected. That is intolerable, and Russia is on the wrong
track with such a policy. We as Europeans, as the European Union, must support the
Ukrainian people on the next stages of their journey to independence and firmly established
democracy. Mr Zaleski’s report constitutes a large and important contribution to that
President. − I am sure you are right, Mr Caspary, that the debate should be replied to by
the appropriate Commissioner, but in practical terms that is not always possible. I know
that Mr Borg is an extremely experienced Commissioner and politician who will no doubt
convey your message to the relevant people.
I should point out that the debate on globalisation earlier today was replied to by Mr
Barroso, so it is a mix-and-match Commission, but a very competent one.
Bogusław Sonik (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, Ukraine should have priority as regards
the European Union’s foreign policy within Europe. This is because of its strategic
geopolitical situation. On one side it is a direct neighbour of the European Union and, on
the other, Ukraine could be an important bridge between the EU, Russia and the countries
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 147
of Central Asia. With its access to the Black Sea, it could be an important economic partner
in that region as well.
I support the recommendations of the rapporteur as regards assistance from Member States
to Ukraine in its accession to the WTO. This will bring a raft of benefits to Ukraine and to
the region. In saying this, however, we should not lose sight of the fact that, for historical
reasons, Kiev still has much to do. The European Union should support the Ukrainian
government in rebuilding the country on many levels, not just as regards its economy or
industry, but also in social matters. There should also be considerable flexibility as regards
foreign policy, taking into consideration the political complexity in Ukraine.
At this point it is important to consider Russia, whose interests conflict with Community
interests in Right-bank Ukraine. Ukrainian democracy is still very young. However, the
last few years have shown that democratic processes are becoming stabilised. We cannot
at this time forget that, depending on social attitudes, it would be possible for strongly
anti-European forces to come to power. For this reason I would like to add my
congratulations to those that have already been expressed in the House, and I am in favour
of Mr Zaleski’s report. It is a report in which all these fundamental questions have been
addressed, and in which a path has been outlined for the EU to follow in its policy towards
Joe Borg, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, I would like to thank the Members
of Parliament for their comments and the interesting debate.
I have taken good note of it and will convey your messages to my colleague, Commissioner
Mandelson, who is today attending an international commitment that he could not miss.
I am, however, certain that he will give them due consideration.
Allow me to react to some of the points raised in the debate. While not entering into detail
on the different points, I would like to underline that we are in agreement on two most
First, that Ukraine is a key and valuable partner in the European Union’s neighbourhood
strategy. We share your key messages concerning the positive economic interdependence,
the importance of our energy relations, the field of science, people-to-people relations and
the need to deepen and strengthen our economic relations.
On the issue of WTO accession, the Commission is in full agreement that this is a key issue.
However, the Commission and the Member States believe that negotiations on an FTA
represent a crucial step which needs to be taken as soon as possible. As a consequence the
finalisation of the WTO Geneva process would be sufficient to allow for the setting in
motion of the negotiations for a deep and comprehensive FTA. We hope that the WTO
process can still be finalised by the end of this year or the very beginning of 2008.
We aim to conclude the most ambitious bilateral trade agreement we have ever entered
into. It will also need to address the question of institutional capacities and reform needs,
customs, police and the judiciary and the question of corruption in general.
On the issue of scientific exchanges and visas, I would like to point out that these will also
be covered by the FTA.
Let me also state that increasing trade flows is not a threat for sustainable development.
On the other hand, it encourages sustainable development through the adoption of EU
148 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
On the issue of Ukraine’s possible accession to the EU, let me emphasise that neither side
is ready for this step. The new enhanced agreement will bring Ukraine as close as possible
to the EU in as many areas as possible while not prejudging any possible future
developments in EU-Ukraine relations in accordance with the treaty provisions.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the rapporteur once again for this good report, which
we find to be a balanced report, and we will take due account of its recommendations in
our ongoing work with Ukraine.
President. − Thank you, Commissioner, and thank you to all speakers in this important
debate on a particularly relevant topic.
The debate is closed;
The vote will take place on Thursday.
Written statements (Rule 142)
András Gyürk (PPE-DE), in writing. – (HU) The report that has been discussed rightly
sheds light on the fact that Ukraine is a strategically important partner for the European
Union, since it may play an important intermediary role in dialogue with Russia and other
Central Asian countries. We are convinced that the strengthening of economic relations
through the principles of a free market has inherent advantages for both sides. This is
particularly true in the area of energy policy.
The events of the last few months have shed new light on the fact that the energy sector in
Ukraine today is characterised by a lack of transparency. The confusing relationships allow
room for corruption and the exercise of political pressure. None of this promotes the
realisation of market relationships. They impede Ukraine’s endeavours in respect of
integration with the Union and thereby endanger the security of European supply.
The European Union and Ukraine must work together precisely for this reason, so that the
principles of transparency and competition are realised as cooperation begins to develop
in the field of energy. At the same time, in any case, we must base the relationship on
I feel that it is important to note that the economic cooperation to be developed between
the European Union and Ukraine cannot be interpreted without taking into account the
ambitions of Russia. The Ukrainian Government that is taking office may have an important
role in ensuring that the principles outlined above are realised not only in connection with
dialogue with the Union but also in the whole region.
Gábor Harangozó (PSE), in writing. – Following the 2004 enlargement and the accession
of countries with common external borders with Ukraine, it is clear that Ukraine has
become a neighbour of strategic importance to the EU as a whole, as well as a determinant
actor in the region. Since 2004, the EU has been the most important trade partner of
Ukraine, and the eastern expansion of the Union’s borders has definitively opened up new
opportunities for trade, industrial cooperation and economic growth in the region.
In this respect, it is of the utmost importance for the Union to actively support the WTO
accession of Ukraine, following which it will be possible to establish a genuine EU-Ukraine
free trade area within a sound and transparent institutional framework. Generally speaking,
it is indeed in the interests of the Union to foster a good commercial, economic and social
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 149
performance in Ukraine in order to secure trade relations and political stability in the
We therefore support the call for a coordinated global response to the political, economic
and social challenges in Eastern Central Europe. More specifically, we ought to set up
consistent approaches, together with Ukraine, on important issues, such as the reliability
of energy supply, nuclear safety, agricultural matters and environmental sustainable
14. Recovery plan for bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean
President. − The next item is the report by Iles Braghetto, on behalf of the Committee
on Fisheries, on the proposal for a Council regulation establishing a multi-annual recovery
plan for bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (COM(2007)0169 –
C6-0110/2007 – 2007/0058(CNS)) (A6-0408/2007).
Joe Borg, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, firstly I would like to express my
thanks to the rapporteur, Mr Braghetto, and to the Committee on Fisheries for this report,
which raises the issue of the recovery plan for bluefin tuna.
The Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna is a key stock for the Community. As
confirmed by scientific advice, this bluefin tuna stock is now at high risk of collapse. All
the states involved in this fishery have agreed to the need for urgent measures to ensure
the sustainability of the bluefin tuna stock and of the fishery.
I am convinced that the recovery plan adopted by the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas in 2006 represents a realistic chance for the gradual recovery
of bluefin tuna if it is fully respected. Therefore, decisive and effective action is immediately
necessary at Community level. The speed of the implementation of the ICCAT recovery
plan is an absolute must, both for conservation reasons and to safeguard the common
fisheries policy’s credibility and the credibility of the EU fishermen themselves. The objective
is to have the proposal agreed at the November Council.
During discussions held in the context of the Council preparations, many changes were
introduced to the original proposal, some of which go in the direction of your suggested
amendments. I am sure that we are in agreement on the objectives of urgently taking
measures to eliminate overfishing and to ensure strict compliance with ICCAT measures,
in order to bring the bluefin tuna stock to sustainable levels. This will, at the same time,
improve the profitability of the fishing industry in the long term. Apart from the benefits
to industry, there is also an international political commitment that we are obliged to fulfil.
Turning now to the report, I appreciate and share the Fisheries Committee’s view that the
Community needs to address the excess fishing effort of its fleet. The Commission also
considers that the annual fishing plan is an effective instrument to avoid overfishing because
of the overcapacity of the Community fleet.
In this context, the Commission can accept Amendments 1, 2, 7 and 8 concerning the
establishment of annual fishing plans to ensure a balance between the fishing effort of the
Community fleet and the quotas. A relevant provision on this issue has been introduced
in the Presidency compromise.
150 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
In addition, the Commission asks the Member States concerned to include in their
operational plans a reduction of their fishing capacity, either temporary cessation or
scrapping, to ensure that their quotas for 2008 and the following years are fully respected.
I recognise that we are asking the industry to make considerable sacrifices, but these are
necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fisheries, fleets and coastal
communities concerned. The choice is between short-term sacrifice and the collapse of
Moreover, I totally agree with you that, in order to alleviate the socio-economic impact
that will be caused by the reduction in fishing activity, it is necessary to ensure financial
compensation for the industry. A provision on the related financing measure in line with
Amendment 5 has also been introduced in the Presidency compromise. I am aware that
there are other concerns. I share many of those concerns and know that they too will need
to be addressed.
With respect to Amendment 3, let me state first of all that I am well aware that the number
of cages for tuna fattening has increased greatly since 1990 and that their capacity exceeds
the total sum of the TAC available.
ICCAT has now adopted a strict regulation in order to ensure the sustainable development
of farming activities for bluefin tuna. The next step will be to regulate the number of farms.
The Commission fully supports the adoption of the recommendation made by the ICCAT
Working Group on Capacity in July 2007.
This recommendation proposes the implementation of a freeze on boat fishing capacity
and farming capacity for bluefin tuna. We need to wait for the final results of the ICCAT
discussion being held in Antalya this week. That is the reason why the Commission cannot
accept, at this stage, the amendment concerning the limitation of farming capacity.
On the derogations relating to fishing areas and minimum size, I would like to remind you
of the context within which such derogations were accepted by ICCAT. All contracting
parties have agreed these derogations as part of the package on the recovery plan. These
derogations were granted for artisanal fleets and for some seasonal fleets because their
impact on catches is insignificant. In addition, these derogations include a series of strict
conditions, such as a limited number of vessels, limited catches and designated ports.
Having said that, the recovery plan may be revised in 2008 on the basis of new scientific
advice or weaknesses detected in its implementation.
At this stage, the Community has a responsibility to ensure that the recovery plan is
incorporated in Community legislation to ensure its full implementation. In this context,
I cannot accept Parliament’s amendments on the deletion of the derogations, that is
Amendments 4 and 6, or Amendments 12 and 13 on the renaming of the plan, the
modification of the EC quotas and the introduction of a new payback system. These
amendments are not in line with the recovery plan adopted by ICCAT and the ICCAT rules
Similarly, I cannot accept Amendment 10 regarding traps, since the proposal does not
include measures to address this issue. For the first time, the recovery plan regulates trap
activity and this will, in future, enable an evaluation of the impact of this fishing activity
on the stock.
Regarding Amendments 9 and 11 relating to the harmonisation of sanctions and the
possible closure of a national fishery of a Member State where it fails to respect its reporting
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 151
requirements, let me say that, whereas we fully understand and share the spirit behind this
proposal, we cannot accept the amendment in this context, as the proposal does not include
measures that address the issue. The issue is one of general policy and the Commission
will examine it in the forthcoming 2008 reform of the control framework of the common
We consider that documentation and transmission of information to the Commission at
set times is a crucial element for the success of the bluefin tuna recovery plan, and it is also
a prerequisite if we are to monitor the uptake of the EU quota in real time. The Commission
has therefore opened infringement procedures against all seven Member States which take
part in the bluefin tuna fishery for shortcomings in data transmission.
In conclusion, let me state that we are deeply concerned about the overshoot of the quota
by some Member States, which undermines the credibility of the Community at
international level and jeopardises the success of the bluefin tuna recovery plan.
At the meeting of the Compliance Committee, which took place in Antalya on 8 and 9
November, the contracting parties – notably the United States and Canada – criticised the
lack of compliance with ICCAT rules. As expected, the European Community was severely
criticised for overshooting the TAC in 2007.
At the same time, the contracting parties acknowledged the difficulties for the European
Community fleet in adapting to the reality of the recovery plan, which entered into force
in 2007, and welcomed the European Community proposal on a specific payback regime.
The Compliance Committee has adopted a specific recommendation concerning a payback
system for the overshoot of the EC quota in 2007, which comes to 4 440 tonnes, based
on an EC proposal.
In accordance with this recommendation, the overharvesting of the European Community’s
quota in 2007 will result in a yearly deduction of 1 480 tonnes from its annual quota for
the period 2009-2011.
In addition, the Compliance Committee agreed that the figure for the European Community
was provisional and may be subject to review and eventual adjustment as a result of ongoing
investigations. This recommendation will be adopted by ICCAT during its plenary session
on 18 November.
Nevertheless, we have to reassure the ICCAT parties that the European Community will
do its utmost to ensure that quotas allocated to the vessels of our Member States are
scrupulously monitored by those Member States and by the European Commission, in
order to ensure respect for the quota set for 2008 and the forthcoming years.
Following the adoption of this regulation, the Commission is resolved to work closely with
the Member States to ensure and closely monitor the full implementation of the bluefin
tuna recovery plan. The Community Fisheries Control Agency will also play an active role.
The agency has started the preparatory work for the coordination of control and inspection
activities by Member States, with a view to having everything in place for the 2008 bluefin
Iles Braghetto (PPE-DE), rapporteur . – (IT) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and
gentlemen, the purpose of the European Commission’s recovery plan for bluefin tuna, set
in motion by ICCAT, is to respond to scientists’ concerns regarding the critical condition
of the stock brought about by overfishing.
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The plan has been criticised in a variety of ways, illustrating the fact that scientific experts
and fishermen hold differing views regarding the need for stocks to be protected. It does,
however, offer an appropriate response to those needs that have been highlighted, providing,
as it does, for a steady reduction in the catch quota of up to 20% between 2006 and 2010,
an increase in minimum size to 30 kg, the limitation of fishing periods and the stepping
up of control measures to combat illegal fishing.
In detail, some elements of the plan were strengthened during the Committee’s work, with
– make provision and ask for fisheries plans to be submitted by Member States under the
fisheries agreements, even in the case of fish stocks which are in good biological shape,
since one of the main problems is a fleet capacity which exceeds the quotas available;
– establish a balance in each Member State between its quotas and the capacity of its
– remove the derogations relating to fishing areas and minimum sizes: these conflict with
the views held by all scientific experts and with the opinion of the majority of the Member
States. Moreover, these derogations are not justified from the biological point of view,
since the Mediterranean and the Atlantic are populated by a single stock, and are severely
distorting competition, leading to more intensive fishing in the areas concerned, including
by vessels which do not traditionally operate there, and reducing the effectiveness of checks;
– urge Member States to respect their requirements to report data and information to the
Commission, closing national fisheries if no catch data are provided by Member States;
– draw up a plan to reactivate traps in the Atlantic and to recover traps which are no longer
active in the Mediterranean in order to preserve a sustainable and highly selective method
of catching tuna;
– make provision for financial compensation from the European Fisheries Fund to be paid
to fishermen during the closed season in order to safeguard and protect the socio-economic
balance of fishery enterprises and fishermen;
– harmonise penalties in order to prevent discrepancies in the way in which the Member
States implement this regulation.
Lastly, the infringement procedures opened in recent months against some Member States
for their failure to respect the 2007 catch quotas are undoubtedly called for and necessary,
but the short period for the entry into force of the current provisions during this year
should also be borne in mind.
Bearing in mind also that stock management is particularly complex, especially in areas
in which there is strong competition with other non-EU fleets, in particular in the
Mediterranean, there is a need for improved respect of the principle of reciprocity to ensure
that the aims set out by ICCAT are fairly pursued. Those measures will be effective only if
their principles and their provisions are applied by both the Member States and non-EU
In conclusion, Mr President, I should like to offer my particular thanks to all those colleagues
who have taken part in this work.
Carmen Fraga Estévez, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (ES) Mr President, although I
share the view that this recovery plan is not as ambitious as it should be, the truth is that
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 153
it is the result of a hard-won compromise at the ICCAT and I believe that by approving it
we are taking a huge step forward and for the first time sending a very clear message to the
persons responsible for the over-fishing of this species.
In any event, as far as the European Union is concerned, the serious status of the bluefin
tuna is down to certain Member States which have allowed and even encouraged excessive
growth of their Mediterranean fleets and by the Commission which, while fully aware of
that abuse and the continuous under-reporting of catches, has not lifted a finger to remedy
the situation until now.
This failure to take responsibility is what has led to the closure of the fishery to all Member
States because of the scandalous news in August that two countries had fished the European
Union’s entire quota.
On that ground I believe it is important for the plenary sitting to endorse Mr Braghetto’s
report, which includes my amendment, so that henceforth the Member States will be
required to submit a fisheries plan in advance stating, first, the maximum number of vessels
and secondly, that the country’s fishing effort is in line with its quota. The Commission
has indicated that it is in favour of incorporating the fisheries plan and we hope that the
Council will also lend it its support.
I regret, nonetheless, that the report has not made provision for any exceptions for fleets
which have since time immemorial fished the Atlantic taking a negligible amount of the
Community quota with much more selective gear. The people involved in these traditional
fisheries are therefore forced to pay for the sins of unrestricted avarice on the part of the
purse-seine fleets of the two Member States I referred to above even though they have had
no part in it. This is an injustice which I also hope this Parliament and the Council will
Finally, all that remains for me to do is to ask and urge the Commission to take all the
measures necessary so that when distributing the Community quota for next year due
compensation is made to the Member States which have been forced to stop fishing because
the quotas to which they were entitled have been used up by others and that the appropriate
tonnage is withdrawn from the quotas of those responsible so that it can serve as genuine
and effective recompense.
IN THE CHAIR: MR COCILOVO
Rosa Miguélez Ramos, on behalf of the PSE Group . – (ES) Mr President, I take a very
positive view of the Commission proposal to transpose the recovery plan for bluefin tuna
agreed at ICCAT into the legal order and I agree with the Commissioner that the measures
it contains, if applied correctly, will allow a gradual recovery of stocks both in the Atlantic
and the Mediterranean.
The plan — and this is a very important factor for me — has taken into account the specific
features of traditional fisheries by extending to them terms and conditions which will
prevent their activity from being penalised, while at the same time striving to combine
conservation of the resource with socio-economic aspects.
On that matter I would like to inform the Commissioner that from the outset my country
sought a degree of flexibility over the minimum size to be applied to the traditional fleet
154 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
and for that reason asked for a given percentage allocated to the traditional fleet to be
included in the under-30kg quota of that fleet.
The Commission listened to that request, understood that small traditional fishermen could
not be made to pay for a situation brought about by large industrial fleets, and agreed to
include that measure, although it reduced it to 2% in the plan.
However, Commissioner, the place in which it incorporated it, namely point 6 of Annex I,
raises doubts as to the geographical scope of application.
Restricting the measure to Atlantic fisheries would mean quite simply ordering the
disappearance of the traditional Mediterranean fleet, a fleet which does not even have the
capacity to travel to the Atlantic fishing grounds. At issue here is an historic fleet which
has been operating for centuries without causing problems to the stock; any decline is
down to excess capacity in the purse seine fleet of the Mediterranean.
Commissioner, the measure should apply to the fleets of all countries which are involved
in the fisheries, not only those which have Atlantic fleets. Algeria, Tunisia or Turkey also
have the right to use some of their quota to protect their traditional fleets against
competition from industrial fleets and I do not believe that this exception, minimal as you
know it to be, will do anything at all to reduce the effectiveness of the recovery plan.
That is why I am asking the Commission to take account of the doubts raised by the
inclusion of the measure under point 6 of Annex I and why I am asking the Commission
representatives to make every possible effort during the ICCAT meeting currently under
way to clarify that that 2% of catches may be made by traditional fleets both in the Atlantic
and in the Mediterranean.
As regards the report we are debating today, I would like to inform the rapporteur that my
Group is again opposing the removal of exceptions both to the minimum size and to
off-limits areas, exceptions which, as the Commissioner has said, were agreed at ICCAT.
For the same reason we oppose, and will oppose tomorrow in the vote, the new
amendments tabled by the Group of the Greens.
Alfonso Andria, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – (IT) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies
and gentlemen, first of all I should like to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Braghetto, on
his excellent work in the Committee on Fisheries, making it possible for to us to table a
balanced text for tomorrow’s vote, which, based to some extent on previous experience,
amends the regulation on bluefin tuna recovery in a way which undoubtedly improves it.
The removal of the derogations to the fixed quotas for tuna catches, some of which had
originally been maintained, and for catches in the Eastern Atlantic and in the Adriatic, is
in my view one of the major successes of this parliamentary procedure. Those derogations
were not adequately justified from the biological point of view, since the Mediterranean
and the Atlantic are populated by a single tuna stock, and they could even severely distort
competition since they could lead to more intensive fishing in those areas not subject to
restrictions. Checks would also be more difficult and would undoubtedly be less effective.
I agree with the rapporteur that financial compensation needs to be paid to fishermen
during the closed season and I also welcome the proposed plan to reactivate traps.
Illegal fishing, considered to be one of the major scourges undermining the protection of
bluefin tuna stocks, also needs to be vigorously combated. Although the proposal for a
regulation tackles the problem of checks more incisively than in the past, ongoing
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discrepancies in the way in which the various Member States apply the legislative provisions
should, in my view, be ironed out. In my view, improved cooperation between states is
needed to harmonise national legislation on implementing measures and that is the direction
that my amendment takes.
In my view, a further problem also needs to be resolved: managing bluefin tuna stocks in
the Mediterranean requires a global strategy agreed with the other non-ICCAT countries
which fish in the Mediterranean. I am thinking, for instance, of the Japanese fleet, as
otherwise the goals pursued by the regulation will come to naught.
I therefore hope, by way of conclusion, that the vote will endorse the text agreed by the
Committee on Fisheries.
Raül Romeva i Rueda, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (ES) Mr President, I too would
like to begin by acknowledging the work done by our colleague Mr Braghetto in this report.
However, as I mentioned at the time during the Fisheries Committee discussions, on the
basis of the reports being drawn up by a large number of scientists, environmental
organisations and even some areas of the sector, I believe the title of the report should be
Instead of referring to a supposed regulation of the recovery plan for bluefin tuna, we
should call it the non-recovery plan or, better still, the plan for the annihilation of tuna.
Let’s be clear about this: when the misnamed recovery plan was adopted at ICCAT a year
ago in Dubrovnik the Scientific Committee warned even at that stage, and I quote, ‘Generally
speaking the preliminary results indicate that it is unlikely that the measures adopted,
although a step in the right direction, will fully achieve the objective of the plan’. It added,
‘If implemented perfectly and if future recruitment is approximately at the level of the
1990s and is not affected by the recent level in the reproductive biomass, there is a 50%
probability of recovery in 2023 under the current regulations’.
In other words, in the event either of less than perfect implementation or of recruitment
which falls below recent levels in line with the reduction in the reproductive biomass, or
both, the objectives of the recovery plan will be difficult to achieve.
I reiterate that the basis for my speech is scientific reports. As if that were not enough, the
plan, which has already been implemented provisionally in 2007, has gone so badly in
practice that the European Union has exceeded its quota by 26%, which, in an
unprecedented move, has forced legal proceedings to be taken against all the countries
which failed to comply with the rules, especially France and Italy.
I am of course concerned to know how another country, Spain, was able to export almost
9 000 tonnes of tuna in 2006 when it only declared having captured 4 700 tonnes, as
organisations such as Greenpeace or Adena have noted.
Finally, it would also be interesting to hear what measures the Commission and governments
intend to take to control and even reduce the size of the fishing fleet, given that it would
be difficult, to say the least, to believe it possible to reduce catches when our vessels are
increasing in number and quality, vessels which in the majority of cases are living off
European subsidies. Perhaps the ICCAT meeting being held at the moment in Antalya,
Turkey, which my colleagues Marie-Hélène Aubert and Michael Earle are attending, will
be able to provide us with some answers.
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To my mind, however, the immediate conclusion is both simple and alarming: all the
indications are that the situation with regard to the stock is very much worse than the most
optimistic forecasts. Some even say that we have already gone past the point of no return.
In other words, given the circumstances, I find it difficult to believe that the current plan
should be called a recovery plan rather than something else.
James Nicholson (PPE-DE). – Mr President, can I, first of all, also add my congratulations
to the rapporteur on this report. To achieve recovery in any recovery plan is always difficult.
This is no different from many of the others establishing a multiannual recovery plan, but
this time it is for bluefin tuna. I, like everyone else, sincerely hope that the programme will
I have only had one experience and that was with the cod recovery plan in the Irish Sea.
During those years the fishermen in that area did not receive any compensation for not
being allowed to fish during that period. I believe two wrongs never make a right: if you
have conservation then I believe you must also be prepared to pay compensation – I do
not believe there is any alternative. It is fine to ask for sacrifice but sacrifice also comes at
I recognise that this report is extremely sensitive for fishermen who come from the
Mediterranean and those who fish in the Atlantic. So, from an economic and social
perspective, it is going to be extremely difficult for them. In such circumstances, this will
also be a very painful regulation for the fishermen on the ground in this region. However,
the preservation and the protection of species of bluefin tuna are paramount.
Paulo Casaca (PSE). – (PT) Mr President, Commissioner, I also want to congratulate our
rapporteur, Mr Braghetto, on the excellent work he has presented, and I would like to begin
by saying that the most striking example of the inability of the current common fisheries
policy to ensure the sustainability of this activity is the situation we are now facing with
bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and in the Mediterranean in particular. This was recently
recognised in a very interesting study commissioned by the Directorate-General for Fisheries,
which Mr Borg took the trouble to make public, a gesture I would like to thank him for
The fact is that the tough measures we are now seeing in this area, with the total closure
of fisheries before the end of the year, an attempt to decommission a substantial part of
the fleet and the prospect of a total paralysis of activity, even if it perhaps does not achieve
its objectives, are a direct consequence of a view of the common fisheries policy in which
management decisions are dissociated from their application and control, and in which
the fishing communities and authorities’ responsibilities have been eroded by an exclusive
European competence that has nevertheless not been exercised by the party that advocated
Environmentally sustainable but economically less profitable traditional pole-and-line
fishing gear had to compete with modern technologies and extremely sophisticated
resources that were incomparably more profitable in the short run but environmentally
unsustainable, and some discriminatory measures against the latter type of vessel are finally
only emerging now. I would like to endorse and stress my total support for what my
colleague Mrs Miguélez said here, to the effect that it is essential to favour traditional fishing
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 157
The imminent threat of the commercial extinction of bluefin tuna fishing should make us
all reflect on what needs to be done urgently in connection with the common fisheries
policy as a whole.
Ioannis Gklavakis (PPE-DE). – (EL) Mr President, Commissioner, I agree with most of
Mr Braghetto’s positions on restoring tuna stocks. I think we all want seas with satisfactory
However, let me express two concerns. Firstly, there are plans to establish a system whereby
fishing boats would submit a detailed tuna fishing plan, to ensure greater control. I believe
the situation created by this fishing plan would be feasible only for large tuna-fishing vessels
that exclusively catch tuna, not for small craft intended for tuna and other fish.
We all want to control tuna fishing but do not wish to exclude nations with small craft.
Besides, there is a strong fishing tradition here.
Secondly, I refer to Amendment 3, which links the capacity of the fattening units to the
national quota. The breeding of red tuna in the EU is carried out in countries other than
those with large quotas.
My country, for example, is not one of the favoured countries in terms of quotas. On the
other hand, we have comparative advantages in terms of tuna breeding. Why should we
reduce the capacity of our units to the level of our quota?
To conclude, let me now mention the unacceptable fact that tuna fishing was prohibited
in September, because two EU countries were catching quantities that should have sufficed
for all Member States together. These countries must be subject to the appropriate sanctions.
On the other hand, the countries deprived of their fishing rights this year should be the
first, next year, to receive the percentage they were deprived of. Meanwhile, we should find
ways of checking fish catches promptly.
Robert Navarro (PSE) . – (FR) Mr President, allow me to begin by thanking the rapporteur,
Mr Braghetto, for the excellent job he has done. As the ICCAT negotiations are still ongoing,
we do not yet know what fate has in store for our fishermen next year. What we do know
is that something very serious happened this summer and that we shall have to undertake
a thorough review of the arrangements for monitoring catches. The Commission, I am
glad to say, has that task in hand, although I fear that some of the measures proposed last
month for eliminating illegal fishing will not go down too well with the Council.
I hope that, whatever happens, the Community Fisheries Control Agency will succeed in
introducing proper coordination of European efforts to carry out the necessary checks,
because the national monitoring systems are not working. It is all very well for our Spanish,
Portuguese and Greek friends to sound off about the behaviour of the French and Italian
fleets and the failure of monitoring in those two countries. Everyone knows the true picture!
We are all aware that every country has concealed the illegal activities of its own fishing
fleet for too long. That is why – like it or not – we need tougher control at European level,
and that is why I am convinced we need a European coastguard.
We also need to discuss sanctions for this overfishing. It is very likely that ICCAT will decide
to penalise the Community, and then we in turn would have to penalise those Member
States that are at fault. The French Government has made loud noises about refusing to
compromise and has warned that heads could roll. Personally I hope these sanctions –
which would not have been necessary if the monitoring systems had been effective – will
158 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
be tough but fair and balanced. I also hope that those engaged in traditional tuna fishing
– which has less impact on stocks – will not be punished for the faults of others.
Lastly, since the experts have clearly established that European fleet capacities have been
disproportionate to the bluefin tuna stocks, I want to take this opportunity of asking the
Commissioner what resources are to be allocated to retraining those fishermen who will
have to go out of business.
Joe Borg, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, first of all I would like to thank the
honourable Members of Parliament for the interesting points they have made.
What has emerged from this debate is recognition of the fact that we share a common
objective, which is that of effectively addressing the precarious situation of bluefin tuna.
The best way of addressing the poor stock status is to implement the ICCAT recovery plan.
I thus thank Parliament for its proposal regarding national fishing plans, which is an effective
tool for addressing compliance on overcapacity.
On the issue of derogations, the Commission cannot modify the contents of the plan
adopted by ICCAT. All the contracting parties have agreed to those derogations. Let me
remind you that the derogations were granted for artisanal fleets and for some seasonal
fleets because their impact on catches is insignificant. Furthermore, those derogations
include a series of strict conditions, such as a limited number of vessels, limited catches
and designated ports. Having said that, the recovery plan may be revised in 2010 on the
basis of new scientific advice or weaknesses detected in its implementation.
As regards the point made by Mrs Miguélez Ramos, who wanted a further extension to the
two specific instances in the Atlantic and in the Adriatic, these are specific, small and
inconsequential cases. To extend them to cover other areas necessitates a change to the
ICCAT recovery plan agreement. That certainly cannot take place this year. We do not
want to reopen the ICCAT plan. A revision is scheduled for 2008 but, given the criticism
of the two derogations, I believe it will be extremely difficult to extend them even further.
Overcapacity will be addressed through the national plans to be submitted by the Member
States, which will have to balance capacity with catch. In addition, in our discussions in
the Council, we have managed to introduce enhanced control measures to allow for better
compliance. Furthermore, in 2008 we will be concentrating our efforts on the reinforcement
of controls in general.
We are also insisting that, under the European Fisheries Fund, funds are committed for the
decommissioning of vessels in those Member States where there is overcapacity, in particular
with regard to bluefin tuna fisheries.
On the question of ensuring that other fishing vessels comply with ICCAT regulations,
which is to say fishing vessels belonging to third countries, the ICCAT provisions apply to
all ICCAT partners, and we expect all of them to adhere to the terms and conditions of the
bluefin tuna recovery plan. If they do not, we will take this up with them within ICCAT
and bilaterally. If they refuse to honour their commitments, then we will consider other
measures that can be taken.
Regarding the question of overfishing by two countries, I have already said that we support
the national fishing plans, and this features in the Presidency compromise, which I hope
will be endorsed by all Member States at the November Council.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 159
The amounts overfished have to be repaid, and this was agreed to in Antalya. The result
will be a yearly deduction of 1 480 tonnes for the period 2009-2011. Compensation with
regard to states underfishing will take place with effect from 2008.
President. − The debate is closed.
The vote will take place at 12 noon on Thursday.
Written statements (Rule 142)
Francesco Musotto (PPE-DE), in writing . – (IT) The Braghetto report contains much
for us to think about as regards the implementation of the bluefin tuna recovery plan. That
plan imposes major restrictions on fishing, in view of the need to protect stocks of an
endangered species. There is nevertheless a risk that the initiative will not be effective if the
European Union fails to adopt measures to counteract its socio-economic impact. All credit
is due to the report for highlighting this gap and proposing appropriate instruments for
effective implementation of the recommendations from the Commission and ICCAT.
As regards socio-economic aspects, tuna fishing is a traditional activity and is the sole
source of income for thousands of families: if it were to be shut down completely, fishermen
would have to receive financial compensation from the EFF.
Member States must also apply penalties for illegal fishing, which is the real cause of stock
impoverishment. There is little point in clobbering honest fishermen if there are no
instruments to stop predators at sea.
Lastly, reciprocity must be demanded from non-EU countries: there is no point in sacrificing
our fishermen to protect the species if the other countries, and I am thinking here of Libya
and Turkey, as well as China and Japan, do not apply equally severe restrictions in their
seas. While they would have a competitive edge over European fishermen, the problem of
tuna impoverishment would not be resolved.
15. Quarterly statistics on Community job vacancies (debate)
President. − The next item is the report by Alexandru Athanasiu, on behalf of the
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, on the proposal for a regulation of the
European Parliament and of the Council on quarterly statistics on Community job vacancies
(COM(2007)0076 - C6-0090/2007 - 2007/0033(COD)) (A6-0335/2007).
Joe Borg, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, the objective of this regulation is to
establish a legal framework for the collection of quarterly statistics on job vacancies.
Quarterly data on job vacancies, broken down by economic activity, are needed by the
Commission and by the European Central Bank for economic and monetary policies. They
allow monitoring of short-term trends in the labour market and help to assess the business
cycle. Owing to its importance, this statistic was included in the set of principal European
economic indicators defined in the 2002 communication from the Commission to the
European Parliament and the Council on Eurozone statistics. Quarterly data on job vacancies
is the only one of those indicators for which a legal basis has not yet been developed. The
proposed legal act will provide for a mechanism to guarantee a harmonised set of timely
job vacancy data across all Member States.
I understand that there was a discussion on several issues addressed by the legal act proposed
by the Commission, and some changes were introduced. The amendments proposed in
160 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
the Parliament report include the changes introduced by the Council, and the text proposed
to you today for adoption reflects the compromise achieved between the three institutions
involved – the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. There is
also agreement across the three institutions that the legislation should come into force as
soon as possible. This opens the way for adoption of the regulation at first reading. I am
grateful to the rapporteur, Mr Athanasiu, for his good cooperation and his understanding
on this matter.
Alexandru Athanasiu (PSE), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President, representatives of the
Council and the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to begin by thanking my
colleagues, who entrusted me with this report, and the shadow rapporteur for their
Obviously, in the society we live in, data collection has become an essential tool of analysis.
Data about job vacancies are used not only to gauge the health of the economy but also to
determine and shape certain policies. Nowadays, statistics about job vacancies have a direct
impact on financial markets. Ratings agencies await these figures and use them to inform
the advice that they give.
Statistics, Mr President, are, if I may say so, a demanding subject. It is worth quoting
G.O. Ashley’s famous comment: ‘Like other occult techniques of divination, the statistical
method has a private jargon, deliberately contrived to obscure its methods from
non-practitioners.’ In working together on this text in the Employment and Social Affairs
Committee, my colleagues and I sought to highlight three aspects.
Firstly, there is the political aspect of the regulation: reasserting once again, even in the
context of a statistical tool like this, the concept of free movement for European citizens
and unconditional, unlimited and unhindered access to employment. Then there is the
social aspect: making it easier for all the people of Europe to find suitable employment and
to access information about job vacancies throughout the European Union. Lastly – and
we have the Commission and the Council to thank here – there is the technical aspect of
data quality. We are talking about a system that has harmonised procedures and has
effectively updated arrangements for statistical information gathering, in other words an
improved approach to obtaining precise data.
As you know, Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, we previously had no more than a
gentleman's agreement – that is to say a voluntary basis for statistical information gathering.
Accurate analysis depends, however, on the collection of these data being compulsory and
consistent. That is why a regulation is a better legal basis than a directive because the
provisions of a regulation, unlike those of a directive, are identical throughout the Union:
the Member States have no power to apply them incompletely or selectively and no choice
as to the methods of pursuing the stipulated aims.
One of the aims of the Lisbon Strategy is to bring more people onto the labour market,
and at the same time more jobs need to be created, hence the need for the best possible
system of information on labour supply and demand. Quality of information can be the
key to success, and we all know today that information is power. That applies in economics
as elsewhere, and that is why it was deemed necessary to develop and publish a structural
indicator for job vacancies, capable of measuring just how narrow the job market is and
where the skills shortages lie.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 161
The Commission and the European Central Bank also need quarterly data on job vacancies
in order to monitor fluctuation in the number of vacancies in particular sectors of the
economy. Job vacancy figures are part of a series of major European economic indicators
and they are needed for evaluation of prevailing conditions on the EU labour market and
within the euro area under the EMU Action Plan.
Mr President, I will conclude by quoting Abbé Pierre, who said that many politicians are
familiar with poverty only through statistics, and no one has yet shed tears over statistics.
We ought to need no convincing of the necessity for a technically more effective mechanism
for gathering all the statistics that are required. As politicians we can do our job by making
it easier for people to find suitable employment. These statistics will enable us to facilitate
José Albino Silva Peneda, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (PT) Mr President,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, firstly I would like to thank the rapporteur,
Mr Athanasiu, whom I have had the opportunity to meet several times over the last few
months, and who is now presenting the results of what I consider to be a fine job.
I have monitored the content of the report under discussion today and negotiations with
the Commission and with the Council since June this year, and on behalf of the PPE-DE I
can now safely say that a high-quality and very sound compromise text has been reached.
Should Parliament adopt the amendments to the Commission proposal in this plenary
session, as I hope it will, we know that the Council has already said that it will also adopt
the same amended proposal for a regulation.
I believe this report will turn out to be a useful tool for identifying EU sectors and regions
where workers are needed, and therefore for promoting solvency and better management
of training. I would also like to draw attention to what I believe is an important aspect: the
content of this report does not represent a greater bureaucratic burden or more
inconsequential legislation, since in its current version it avoids the duplication of initiatives
and the inclusion of tools already in place.
Meanwhile, the report also represents a good compromise between the need to provide
information for statistical purposes and the need to ensure that enterprises, mainly small
and medium-sized ones, are not overburdened with unnecessary bureaucratic procedures.
I therefore believe that all the conditions have been met for it to be adopted now at first
reading, and that is the decision I recommend to this House.
Proinsias De Rossa, on behalf of the PSE Group . – Mr President, having all of four minutes
tonight, which is 400 % more than I normally have to play with, I have to avoid becoming
too talkative. So I will get on with it.
Despite the exceptionally technical nature of this proposed regulation, its value to Europe
and the Member States should not be underestimated. The relaunch of the Lisbon Agenda
for more and better jobs in 2005 gives rise to the need for accurate, timely and comparable
statistics on job vacancies in Europe, by region and by economic activity. It is crucial if we
are to plan for the needs of the labour market and the needs of those entering the labour
I welcome the fact that, in this instance, we are negotiating a regulation rather than a
directive, as this ensures speedier implementation once it is approved. And, of course, it
is directly and equally applicable to all Member States and there is therefore no likelihood
162 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
of different definitions or interpretations arising from one Member State to the next. There
is no need, for instance, to transpose it into national law, thus avoiding the delays that this
This is an excellent example of how the EU can add value to the work of Member States
that could not possibly be achieved by them working on their own or even together.
Nevertheless, it has taken two years for this piece of legislation to reach this stage and I
hope therefore that an agreement can be finalised with the Council and that it will be
approved at this first-reading stage.
I know that in Ireland we do not produce job vacancy data, but work by the Central Statistics
Office is under way. The CSO is highly regarded and it is hoped that, within a year or so,
Ireland will be able to participate fully in the system.
I welcome too the proposal to include personal services, farm vacancies etc., employers
with fewer than 10 employees, and the nature of the employment contract. I think this is
particularly important in view of the growing concern about the casualisation of
employment and the fears in some quarters arising from the move towards flexicurity.
I do hope that an agreement can be reached and that we can get on with the job of
establishing common statistics right across the European Union.
Marian Harkin, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Mr President, first of all I would like to
congratulate the rapporteur for his excellent work on this proposal for a regulation on the
collection of quarterly statistics on Community job vacancies.
First of all, let me say that high quality, up-to-date and relevant statistics underpin good
policy decisions. This is particularly true at EU level, where we are dealing with 27 different
countries all trying in this particular context to achieve the Lisbon objectives. Indeed, any
help or assistance that can be given to Member States to achieve these objectives – that is
to create more and better jobs – in my opinion will be well worth the effort.
I fully support the idea that, while the information required can be compiled by the Member
States themselves under this regulation in order to ensure comparability of data, we still
need the Commission to coordinate the harmonisation of the statistical information. And
I am satisfied in this context that we do need a regulation – rather than a directive – but
that the regulation proposed is the minimum required to achieve the desired objectives
and does not go beyond that.
I suppose in this context I do not really need to go beyond that except to say that I am
particularly pleased to see that we are asking Member States to transmit information on
personal care services, residential activities and social work activities without
accommodation. This information is hugely important because of the growing number
of carers in the EU. The ageing of our population is a major demographic challenge and
caring is an essential element of dealing with that challenge. Those of us who are lucky
enough to live long enough will be more likely to need care of some sort and this is definitely
a growing market for job opportunities within the EU. While most caring work is unpaid
and indeed much will remain so, the opportunities for employment in this area will increase.
Therefore we need reliable, good quality statistics in order to prepare ourselves to meet
the caring aspect of the demographic challenge.
To conclude, as I said earlier, in the overall or global context: high quality, relevant, timely,
comparable and coherent information is an extremely valuable tool in good policy
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 163
formation, provided of course that we as politicians use the information that is provided
Ewa Tomaszewska, on behalf of the UEN Group . – (PL) Mr President, implementation
of the Lisbon Agenda as regards the increase in the number of high-quality jobs requires
certain tools. One of these is provided by quarterly statistics on job vacancies in the
Community. Eurostat has to have a legal basis for collecting data on job vacancies. An
unwritten agreement is not enough and does not guarantee comparability and completeness
Now for some specifics. The first amendment means, in practice, an increase in the
bureaucratic burden placed on small businesses, but there is an ever-increasing percentage
of employees in just such businesses and therefore information about the situation in these
businesses is increasingly useful.
I support the second amendment, which includes social partners in the implementation
of the regulation.
Amendment 3 tidies up the method for submitting data even when they are provided
voluntarily, which makes it vital.
I also support Amendment 17, which guarantees publication of the data, thus creating the
possibility of using them to come to practical conclusions.
I would like to congratulate the rapporteur.
Jiří Maštálka, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group . – (CS) Ladies and gentlemen, I, too, would
like to add my voice to those who wish to congratulate the rapporteur and thank him for
his report. Like him, I also support the opinion that the compilation of good quality and
comparable job vacancy statistics is a European priority. I am equally certain that collecting
this statistical data under the auspices of a gentlemen’s agreement alone is insufficient, and
that it is necessary to adopt a legal act at European level to guarantee the production of
harmonised and high-quality statistics across the Member States. Only the Commission
can coordinate the necessary harmonisation of statistical information at Community level.
I did advocate the same point of view recently, when expressing my opinion on the proposal
for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics
on public health and health and safety at work. I was also very pleased by the results of the
trialogue between the rapporteur, the Commission and the presidency. The ensuing
compromise proposals significantly enhanced the quality of the document. Just like the
shadow rapporteurs from the other political groups, I, too, was happy to add my signature
on behalf of the GUE/NGL.
Among these compromise proposals I would like to highlight in particular the significant
contribution of the proposal to include in the statistics data concerning units with fewer
than 10 employees, the proposal to distinguish between vacancies for fixed-term and
permanent posts, and the proposal to ensure that as many European citizens as possible
have access to the data.
Finally, I would like to say that I welcome the definition of the quality assessment criteria
because only relevant, exact, updated and comprehensible job vacancy data can help to
fight unemployment in the Community.
164 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Derek Roland Clark, on behalf of the IND/DEM Group . – Mr President, information on
changes in job vacancies to identify labour shortages sounds fine. But surely not just to
compile statistics? It must be to enable employers to fill vacancies and for workers to find
jobs, both as quickly as possible, hence quarterly.
Currently, national statistics are compiled by Member States themselves and the
Commission seems to favour making use of that to set up a common framework under a
single European Union regulation, option C. So the EC craze to harmonise converts a
simple system into a bureaucratic and time-consuming one.
The real purpose is centralised control. Will we soon see a requirement for employers and
jobseekers to consult an EU bureau? Down the road, does it lead to job direction? It certainly
leads to a planned European economy, spelling the end of the dream of an increasingly
prosperous Europe of full employment and bustling innovation.
In a globalised marketplace, the only way to stay competitive is to stay loose, ready to fill
the gap, ready to exploit an opening, ready for anything. Columns of stats on reams of
paper or locked on a hard drive do not do that – it is the man or women on the ground
suddenly finding the chance and striking quick, before the other fellow. If he wants second
place, get employers to browse the stats. While they are doing that, streetwise operators
elsewhere are jumping in first thing and cornering the market.
Worse, Amendment No 8 – if adopted – allows the collating agency to reject as
inappropriate national figures and substitute figures of their own. Thus they can create a
false image to suit the EC centralised controllers, misleading the people. So much for
informing the citizen!
Finally, Amendment No 3 encourages the exclusion of agriculture, fishing and forestry
from these considerations. Now, why should that be? I do not know much about forestry,
but the UK figures for farming and fishing are horrendous. Since 1973, when we joined
under the CAP, more British farmers have left the land and more have committed suicide
than in any other comparable period in our history. Our fishing fleets, down to about a
quarter of 1973 size, are testimony to the devastation caused by the rotten CFP.
No wonder some people want to keep these figures out of pan-EU stats; no need to alarm
the citizens is there?
Zdzisław Kazimierz Chmielewski (PPE-DE). – (PL) Mr President, every attempt to
streamline the EU is worthy of respect, especially when it concerns the issue of employment.
Employment is, I believe, the most crucial link in the social and economic transformation
of an integrated Europe. The rapporteur has found a climate of anticipation accompanying
this legislative initiative and has imbued his report with a highly accessible and truly
The Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council replaces existing practices,
based on a gentlemen’s agreement, for the collection of data on job vacancies with a decision
to establish a legal framework for this activity. This provides the opportunity to improve
the next section of the process of information integration, which, by the way, forms part
of the basic European economic indicators. With this there arose the need for a legal basis
that would help in the creation of the necessary methodological pillars for summarising
the growing collections of data.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 165
This regulation also promises to create another type of benefit. It enables higher standards
to be achieved in the quality and comparability of statistics. It will also make it easier to
develop effective employment policies based on reliable data, at both national and
international level. At the same time it will become possible to monitor the implementation
of such policies in individual countries. The governments of the so-called new EU countries
have pointed out that, thanks to quarterly statistics, they will have at their disposal a
common system of indicators which is essential for monitoring the employment market.
They have also noted, with some relief, that the introduction of this regulation will not
mean that any additional finances are needed for quarterly data collection.
In the justification for its standpoint as regards this proposal, the Polish Government
pointed out that the unification of data at European level, together with monitoring of its
quality, should lead to increased knowledge concerning the changing levels of demand for
specific qualifications and to more effective monitoring of the situation in the Polish labour
market. It will also make it easier for more accurate employment and pay forecasts to be
made. Comparability of data at European level will make it possible to evaluate the extent
of mismatches in national labour markets against the background of the remaining EU
countries. It also has specific practical outcomes as regards the correlation of employment
policy with supply and for planning the direction of vocational training for future
Bogdan Golik (PSE). – (PL) Mr President, I would like to express my support for the
proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on quarterly
statistics on Community job vacancies. There can be no disagreement over how important
it is for these data to be collected systematically and uniformly while fulfilling set standards
in all Member States. The value of information collected in this way is undeniable in terms
of assessing the situation in the labour market in the European Union, as well as for the
functioning of the European Central Bank.
The present situation, where these data are collected on the basis of an unwritten agreement,
clearly shows that this method is ineffective and has to be changed. Only with the approval
of this regulation, which establishes the same rules for the preparation of high-quality
statistics throughout the Community, will it be possible to have an accurate insight into,
as well as an analysis of, the factors that combine to create the overall situation and
conditions in the labour market.
This regulation does not just oblige Member States to create statistics in accordance with
well-defined norms but also helps them in this task, by supplying ready-made tools for
this purpose. The unification of this research at European level will help to extend our
knowledge of fluctuations in demand for specific jobs in national markets and will enable
more accurate employment and pay forecasts to be made.
For these reasons it is vital for a legal document to come into force that, in a clear and
transparent manner, will define all the rules regarding the collection of data about job
vacancies across the entire Community.
President. − The debate is closed.
The vote will take place at 12 noon on Thursday.
166 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
16. Cross-border collective copyright management (debate)
President. − The next item is the debate on the oral question to the Commission on the
follow-up of the EP resolution on cross-border collective copyright management (Lévai
report (A6-0053/2007)), by Giuseppe Gargani, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs
(O-0068/2007 - B6-0381/2007).
Cristian Dumitrescu (PSE), author. – (FR) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, on
13 March 2007, in plenary session, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the
Commission's Recommendation of 18 October 2005 on collective cross-border
management of copyright and related rights for legitimate online music services.
In that resolution, Parliament invited the Commission to make it clear that the 2005
Recommendation applied exclusively to online sales of music recordings, and to present
as soon as possible – after consulting closely with interested parties – a proposal for a
flexible framework directive to be adopted by Parliament and the Council in codecision,
with a view to regulating the collective management of copyright and related rights as
regards cross-border online music services, while taking account of the specificity of the
digital era and safeguarding European cultural diversity.
Parliament also stressed that the proposed directive should not in any way undermine the
competitiveness of creative businesses, the effectiveness of the services provided by collective
rights managers (CRMs) or the competitiveness of user businesses – in particular small
right-holders and users – and that it should, on the other hand, guarantee right-holders a
high degree of protection and equal treatment; ensure that the relevant legal provisions
had a real, significant and adequate impact; emphasise the use of alternative dispute
resolution; provide for democratic, transparent and accountable governance in CRMs;
promote creativity and cultural diversity; allow only fair and controlled competition without
territorial restrictions, but with the necessary and suitable qualitative criteria; take into
account the interests of users and of the market; satisfy the future needs of an online market;
and foster the development of legitimate online music services.
Today the European Parliament is asking the Commission what steps it has taken towards
meeting the expectations enshrined in that resolution.
Joe Borg, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, I would like to thank the European
Parliament for the interest expressed in the cross-border management of music rights and
the 2005 recommendation on online music. The Commission’s 2005 online music
recommendation aims to allow the music market in Europe to develop in the digital
environment. It aims to create a framework in which the best new online licensing model
will emerge by agreement between the market players. This should allow authors, composers
and music publishers to get a fair share of the distribution of their online works.
The recommendation does not prescribe a particular EU licensing model, and leaves
implementation of its principles to the market. Exactly two years after adoption of the
recommendation, the Commission is assessing the development of online licensing practices
in the music sector in Europe. Stakeholders were invited to comment on emerging online
licensing trends by 1 July 2007. The Commission received 88 replies from interested
parties, such as collecting societies, authors, creators and music users in Member States.
The process of reviewing the submissions is still ongoing. Only after a thorough examination
will the Commission assess further policy steps regarding the online operations of collecting
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 167
societies. The submissions analysed so far show that most stakeholders do not see the need
for a framework directive, and prefer market-based solutions to regulatory intervention.
On the question of whether the 2005 recommendation is limited to online sales of some
recordings, the Commission would like to point out that the principles on transparency
and governance set out in the recommendation should not be limited to online music sales
and should apply to all the activities of collecting societies.
To conclude, while the online market for music is still in flux, legislating in favour of a
particular licensing model would appear premature. The Commission will monitor
developments and report back to Parliament and the Council as foreseen in the
recommendation. Any follow-up, if necessary, will be closely coordinated with the European
Parliament and the Council.
Manolis Mavrommatis, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. – (EL) Mr President, on
13 March 2007 the European Parliament passed a resolution on collective cross-border
management of copyright.
In its resolution, Parliament called on the Commission to waste no time in presenting a
proposal for a framework directive regulating collective cross-border management of
copyright and related intellectual property rights for legitimate online music services. It
also called on the Commission to make it clear that the 2005 recommendation in this area
applies exclusively to online sales of music recordings.
Can the Commission update Parliament on the measures it has taken to date, in response
to Parliament’s requests?
Can the Commission inform Parliament whether it is following the same guidelines and
instructions issued by President Barroso on the unified, democratic, rapid development of
a united Europe? When will the Commission respect Parliament’s procedural rules and the
position adopted by the majority of its 785 Members?
The 13 March resolution reflects the European Parliament’s clear position on cross-border
collective management of copyright. The Commission’s recommendation was the first
step towards future convergence of the various practices in the 27 Member States. On
behalf of the Committee on Culture and Education, I myself argued, in my opinion for to
the competent Committee, in favour of the importance of ensuring equal treatment for all
right-holders, whether writers, composers, editors, record producers or performers.
In other words, this is an issue concerning millions of right-holders throughout Europe.
The situation today, as regards online services is not considered to be effective enough,
either for rights users, or for right-holders. We have thus all worked to present the
Commission and the Council with the proposals that we believe would bring about a
change for the better in the collective management of copyright.
The close cooperation between rights managers must be retained for the benefit of all
parties. Piracy remains the greatest problem facing the music industry today. Three of the
reasons for the spread of piracy internationally are the technological facilities for low-cost
illegal copying, unfavourable economic conditions and the expansion of the Internet.
We shall all have to bear in mind that the spread of music piracy has the greatest impact
on small countries where the music industry is mainly of a local and regional nature. In
specific terms, piracy entails a shrinkage of the legal music market and results in a decline
in legal sales; it therefore affects the viability of the national music recording industry.
168 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
Piracy certainly entails copyright losses for composers and songwriters, but it also deprives
the state of income tax and VAT. The fight against piracy must therefore be included among
the Commission’s initial aims in the possible legislative proposal on collective management
I would therefore like to call upon the Commission to take steps, as soon as possible, to
fulfil Parliament’s requests and to present a proposal for a framework directive with a view
to regulating the collective cross-border management of copyright.
Lastly, as I have always said, music is not a commodity, and it is the duty of us all to protect
and strengthen creativity in Europe. A directive that will in all likelihood not come into
force until 2010 is a disaster for millions of artists in the EU.
Katalin Lévai, on behalf of the PSE Group. – (HU) Thank you very much. I would like to
emphasise that this is about an extraordinarily important area, since income from goods
and services protected by copyright and related rights accounts for 5–7% of the European
Union’s GDP. This highlights the importance of such rights being managed appropriately.
As you know, in 2005 the European Commission adopted a Recommendation on the
cross-border management of legitimate online music services. At the time, Commissioner
McCreevy described the Recommendation as ‘a “soft-law instrument” designed to give the
market a chance to move in the right direction’.
The Recommendation has far-reaching consequences for the copyrights market and major
players in the market are already acting on the basis of it. It clearly goes further than merely
interpreting and supplementing existing rules and its impact has all the characteristics of
a full regulatory initiative.
At the time, a lot of fear took hold in connection with this Recommendation, including
the fact that it would result in uncontrollable competition and that market forces would
be concentrated in the hands of a few big management societies, and monopolies would
be created. This is precisely why I thought that I should make a recommendation in an
own-initiative report for the online music market to be regulated in a different way.
All the same, the Recommendation – which the Commission adopted – deprived the
European Parliament and the Member States of the opportunity to have any significant
influence on the changes affecting competition and cultural diversity in Europe.
It is precisely for this reason that I have been able to win the support of the whole Parliament
and all the political parties for my report, in the interests of bringing to fruition a
decision-making triangle, so that Parliament cannot be left out of the legislation of such
an important area, and I have recommended that the Commission draw up a framework
In my opinion, this recommended directive must meet the following requirements: it must
guarantee right-holders a high degree of protection and equal treatment. It must be based
on solidarity between right-holders and on an appropriate, fair balance among management
societies. It must provide for democratic, transparent and accountable governance in
management societies, including organisational structuring, transparency, representation,
rules relating to copyright and production, and accounting, through minimum standards.
Comprehensive transparency must be ensured in collective management societies. Creativity
and cultural diversity must be promoted. Fair and controlled competition can be allowed,
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 169
without territorial restrictions, but with the necessary and suitable qualitative criteria for
the collective management of copyright and the preservation of the value of the rights.
A high degree of legal certainty must be provided for users, and the availability of the global
repertoire must be preserved. We, or I, therefore ask you to think about whether a directive
would be necessary for regulating this important area.
Manuel Medina Ortega (PSE). – (ES) Mr President, Commissioner Borg’s reply to the
question put by Mr Dumitrescu fills me with concern: the Commissioner spoke of leaving
the matter in the market’s hands. But what is it we are talking about?
We are talking about rights which have taken two centuries to evolve: rights of creators,
authors, composers, artistes. And now we are being told that those rights are to be regulated
by the market: by what market? The market of thieves, the market of people who have
divested producers and creators of their intellectual property by using new means of
communication? What sort of rights are we talking about?
Rights are regulated by public bodies; specifically in the European arena we have institutions,
namely the Commission, the Council and Parliament: the Commission with its power of
initiative, the Council and Parliament through the codecision procedure.
It seems to me that now is not the time to follow a path which will lead to the disappearance
of intellectual property. And if intellectual property disappears, intellectual creation
disappears as well.
Some of the wise men and women who talk to us today about the advantages of the
information society say well, yes, composers and authors can wander the streets giving
concerts like in the Middle Ages. Are we going to reduce our authors to medieval minstrels
who can play in the middle of the street, with a cap on the floor hoping someone will give
I think now is the time for the institutions of the European Union to react vigorously to
defend this European tradition; its political essence is very important and it is vital for the
maintenance of intellectual creativity. Only through societies of authors, the collective
management of those societies, can intellectual property rights and the creation of
intellectual property be defended today, right now, against the real thieves in the form of
broadcasting companies which use intellectual creativity for their own benefit.
Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (PSE). – (PL) Mr President, the response to the
Commission’s Recommendation on collective cross-border management of copyright for
legitimate online music services was provided by Parliament’s Resolution that a framework
directive be introduced to regulate this issue. However, the Commission did not carry out
the necessary and wide-ranging stakeholder consultation that was required, including with
Parliament, which was a breach of democratic procedures. It is completely unacceptable
to ignore the institutional triangle and instead apply the so-called soft law approach without
prior consultation and without the formal involvement of Parliament and the Council in
This recommendation, which aims in practice to create more freedom for copyright owners
to select the institution that provides collective management, depending on requirements,
would have far-reaching consequences for the copyright and related markets and would
create a potential threat not just to competition rules, but also to cultural diversity. As a
result, market power would be concentrated in the hands of a few of the largest entities
170 EN Debates of the European Parliament 14-11-2007
that will then be able to bypass the network of bilateral agreements and grant licences to
the whole European market.
It is worth remembering that about 5-7% of the EU’s GDP comes from the sale of goods
or services that are protected by copyright and similar laws. This fact illustrates even more
how important is proper management of the relevant rights, as well as the need to
strengthen their position in the current digital era. While respecting the principles of
competition, we should avoid reducing the income of composers, at the same time providing
users of musical works with an EU-wide licence that corresponds to the business model
of the future. With this in mind the Commission should, as soon as possible, submit a
proposal for an appropriate instrument that would be legally binding on entities working
in this area.
Joe Borg, Member of the Commission . − Mr President, first of all I would like to thank all
the Members who spoke for their comments, which I will certainly convey to my colleague,
If I can pick up on a number of points that have been raised: regarding the need for legislative
intervention, let me say that the 2005 Commission recommendation on online music
licensing has already brought about significant progress in the marketplace. The
recommendation has given collecting societies in Europe an incentive to set up EU-wide
licensing platforms that make their repertoire available for online music shops across
Let me cite three relevant examples. The UK and German societies have set up a platform
for EU-wide licensing of the EMI repertoire, CELAS. The UK and the Spanish societies are
cooperating on a platform that will manage the Anglo-Hispanic repertoire at EU level, and
the French and Spanish societies have announced a joint licensing platform that grants
EU-wide access to the French-Hispanic repertoire. In these circumstances, the Commission
does not see the need for any premature legislative intervention.
I would also like to say that the 2005 Commission recommendation on online licensing
has already brought about significant progress in the marketplace. The recommendation
has encouraged collecting societies in Europe to set up EU-wide licensing platforms that
make their repertoire available for online music shops across Europe. I refer to the three
examples I have just mentioned. The CELAS joint venture alone is in fact in a position to
license approximately 25 % of all musical works to any European online music retailer,
such as iTunes, Sony’s CONNECT or eMusic, in a single transaction.
On the question of cultural diversity, let me state that our recommendation is not
detrimental to cultural diversity. There are clear indications that the new platforms for
Anglo-American, French or Spanish music are open platforms. These platforms can include
other music publishers’ repertoires or the entire repertoire of existing societies.
National collecting societies would not disappear; authors would still be members of local
collecting societies and revenues would still be distributed through collecting societies
affiliated to the new licensing platforms.
Regarding the issue of rights, I would like to underline that there is no reason to think that
this multiterritorial licensing model is bad either for cultural diversity or for the rights of
artists, while it is good for the rightholders, who get more money than under the old
territorial model. Cultural diversity and the rights of artists are also about giving authors
more money so that they can continue to create.
14-11-2007 EN Debates of the European Parliament 171
Let me make one last point. The Commission actively encourages the development of an
own online licensing market for music. In this vein, the Commission will closely monitor
developments in this emerging market and, in doing so, the Commission will carefully
consider the issues raised in the Lévai report of 5 March 2007.
If, between now and 2010, we observe, for example, that monopolistic licensing structures
are emerging on the Internet, that the repertoire available on the Internet does not
adequately reflect Europe’s cultural diversity and that the marketplace alone is not delivering
EU licensing structures that are adapted to the Internet era, then the Commission will
consider adequate alternative means for reaching those objectives.
President. − The debate is closed.
The vote will take place on Thursday, 29 November in Brussels.
Written statements (Rule 142)
Jacques Toubon (PPE-DE), in writing. – (FR) The purpose of Mr Dumitrescu’s question
is to remind the Commission of its responsibilities. Through its recommendation of
September 2005 and its decision to call into question the territorial competence of CRMs,
the Commission has upset the relationship between rights-holders and national collecting
societies – and this has happened outside the context of any legislation or harmonisation
Under the guise of adaptation to the digital environment, the Commission has introduced
confusion into the European system of author’s rights and related rights. That in turn has
encouraged concentration and a format-based approach, to the detriment of artists and
to the advantage of industrialists and other economic operators.
The Commission urgently needs to stop taking random initiatives without serious
assessment of their impact; it needs to examine the situation in all the arts and cultural
sectors, in conjunction with all the stakeholders, and to adopt a comprehensive policy that
will reflect the requirements of cultural diversity, as well as Europe’s values and the Lisbon
Strategy objectives based on the knowledge and innovation economy; and it needs to
present Parliament and the Council with coherent draft directives respecting the principles
that I have mentioned.
17. Agenda for next sitting: see Minutes
18. Closure of sitting
(The sitting was closed at 11.30 p.m.)