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									EPP-ED Report
Issue 5 / May 2008


Fighting global warming a top priority for the EU

By Thomas Bickl

The worldwide reduction of CO2 is the greatest challenge in the years ahead.
This is the main gist of the European Parliament's Interim Report on Climate
Change which was drafted by EPP-ED Member Karl-Heinz Florenz (D).

Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 25% to 40% below 1990 levels
by 2020 if the rise in global warming is to be limited to two degrees Celsius.

Karl-Heinz Florenz highlighted the challenge: "What is our main task? It is all
about Europe being powerful and inventing a new, third industrial revolution. And
it is about sustainability: sustainability of products, of the social sphere and, of
course, the economy. This is not a burden, but a great opportunity which we
need to build further on."

The report calls for practical steps in everyday life to fight climate change. For
example, CO2 labelling of consumer products could help raise awareness.

EPP-ED Group Chairman Joseph Daul (F) pointed out the main victims of
climate change: "The regions most affected by climate change are the
development countries in Africa, Asia and Central and Latin America. We can
see the environmental impact coming. The effects of climate change could
become stronger and stronger and that could lead to a new kind of refugee - not
political refugees or economic migrants, but climatic refugees."

The Temporary Committee on Climate Change will continue its work and come
up with practical proposals in a final report by the end of the year.


Reforms needed in 2008 in Turkey. Ria Oomen-Ruijten MEP

By Eduard Slootweg

The European Parliament has adopted its Resolution on Turkey's 2007 Progress
Report by an overwhelming majority with 467 in favour, 62 against and 61
abstentions. The Rapporteur, Ria Oomen-Ruijten (NL), is happy with this broad
consensus: "This sends a strong signal to Turkey and the Council", she said.
"2008 must be the year of reforms. The Turkish Government must make use of
its strong parliamentary majority to resolutely pursue further reforms that are
crucial to Turkey's transformation into a modern, democratic and prosperous
society. Further delays will seriously affect the pace of negotiations."

The adopted changes to Article 301 of the Penal Code by the Turkish Parliament
are considered as a first step towards a fundamental reform. Parliament looks
forward to further moves and stresses that progress has to be achieved.

Ria Oomen-Ruijten said: "A total repeal of Article 301 and other articles of the
Penal Code would be the best solution in order to ensure that Turkey fully
guarantees freedom of expression and press freedom in line with the European
Convention on Human Rights."

She is concerned about the implications of the AK Party closure case and
expects the Turkish Constitutional Court to respect the principles of the rule of
law, European standards and the Venice Commission guidelines on the
prohibition of political parties. The Turkish Parliament is asked to bring the
constitution in line with these standards. Mrs Oomen-Ruijten stressed that broad
involvement of civil society is needed in this constitutive process in order to
achieve a consensus on Turkey's constitutional future embracing political parties,
ethnic and religious minorities and social partners.

Mrs Oomen-Ruijten emphasised that only a society which is guided by respect
for human rights and fundamental freedoms and which is based on democracy,
rule of law and a socially-oriented market economy can develop into a peaceful,
stable and prosperous society.


Protecting our seas

Europe needs to do more to protect its seas. A large majority of Members of the
European Parliament have voted in favour of a new European Maritime Policy
and have urged the Commission to take the initiative.

The new maritime policy has to include measures to protect the environment and
raise awareness for the significance of maritime policy, for example by
establishing an annual Maritime Day.

EPP-ED Spokesman in the Transport Committee, Georg Jarzembowski (D),
welcomes the report, but regrets that some of the proposed measures are not
detailed enough, especially regarding air pollution from ships.

He said: "Concrete measures are missing. It is unclear which actors - such as
ship-owners - have to contribute to the fight against climate change, and how
they will be able to survive global competition. This includes measures to reduce
sulphur and nitrogen oxides at sea, as well as measures in ports such as the use
of land energy. To be honest, I am a little disappointed. If the Commission says it
will table proposals this autumn, then we will not be able to implement those
before the end of this legislature."

The report, which was approved by 587 votes in favour with only 20 against, also
calls for better coordination in the protection of fishing and merchant vessels in
international waters. These should be better protected by naval vessels against
the risk of piracy.

                                                                    Lasse Boehm


Revised rules for the international road transport market

By Greet Gysen

The European Parliament has adopted a package on road transport with a large
majority. This package includes proposals aimed at modernising the rules
governing access to the market of transport by road and admission to the
profession of road transport operators.

As regards the transport of goods, Rapporteur Mathieu Grosch (BE) welcomed
the fact that Parliament established a clear and simple definition of 'cabotage'
(i.e. delivering a transport service between two Member States of which none is
the country of establishment of the transport company). Mathieu Grosch said:
"Cabotage aims at avoiding empty transport trips and is therefore important from
an environmental point of view. At the same time, it is feared that mostly
transport companies from low wage countries will use cabotage, which would
lead to social dumping. At the moment, there are 27 different sets of rules with
regard to cabotage, which is inefficient, leads to abuses and makes controls
impossible. To put an end to this economic disadvantage, the European
Parliament has decided that in a first instance, cabotage should be limited to
three trips carried out on international routes within a delay of maximum seven
consecutive days. This simple and straightforward definition is the only way to
ensure legal certainty and administrative simplification, while at the same time
increasing the efficiency of transport trips." From 2014 onwards, any limitations
as regards cabotage should be abandoned.

As regards access to the profession of transport operator, the European
Parliament voted in favour of improving the exchange of information between
Member States. Grosch continued: "If serious infringements are committed by, or
fall under the responsibility of transport managers, these managers will be
disqualified and will not be able to work as a transport manager anywhere within
the EU."
A second report by Mathieu Grosch on the international carriage of passengers
by coach and bus was postponed as the social partners in the transport sector
did not reach a timely agreement as regards the reintroduction of the so-called
'12-day rule', which the Rapporteur is in favour of. This rule allows drivers to
accumulate their compulsory weekly leave and take it only after twelve
consecutive working days. For the tourism sector, the reintroduction of this rule is
vital, as it allows for longer international holiday tours with one and the same
driver.


Parliament sets minimum standards on                         criminal law in
environment

By Knut Goelz

The European Parliament has for the first time ever approved minimum
standards in criminal law relating to the protection of the environment. It voted in
favour of a respective Directive.

"Criminal law remains a core competence of the Member States. To make the
implementation of environment protection in the European Union more effective,
it was however necessary to define common standards for punishment in this
area", said EP Rapporteur Hartmut Nassauer (D).

There was a broad consensus between Parliament, Council and the Commission
that a better implementation of punishments was necessary to avoid
"environment protection tourism" looking for the lowest possible denominator.
Controversy remained, however, about the question how a better observance of
existing EU legislation in this field could be achieved.

This question has been solved by a decision of the European Court of Justice. It
stated that criminal law remains in principle within the responsibility of the
Member States, while the European Union has the right to call for effective
punishments in those areas where it has a legal competence such as
environment protection.

The new Directive shall now be put into force within the next 24 months. It
defines the offences that shall be pursued in all 27 Member States while clearly
limiting them to environment law. "This fully complies with the principles of
proportionality and certainty. Environment protection law in the European Union
has not been fully harmonised but minimum standards have been set to provide
for an effective, deterrent and proportionate punishment of serious offences", the
Rapporteur concluded.
EU Consumer Policy Strategy

By Majella O Doherty

The European Parliament has voted on a report on the EU Consumer Policy
Strategy (2007-2013), however the EPP-ED Group did not support the final
Resolution.

The report commends the Commission's efforts to strengthen co-operation in the
area of product safety at international level, in particular with the Chinese and US
authorities. Continued dialogue and information-sharing on product safety is in
the interest of all parties and is central to building consumer confidence.

However, the EPP-ED Group was forced to vote against the final vote on the
overall report given the persistence of some political groups within Parliament to
call for the premature introduction of a system of collective redress in the EU.

"I strongly support easy and effective access to redress for all consumers in the
EU. We know that non-judicial forms of redress are the preferred solution of most
consumers as they serve consumers' interests most rapidly at the lowest
possible cost.

"I have stated since the outset of discussions that I do not support the calls for
legislative action to introduce an ill-thought-out system of collective redress in the
EU", said Colm Burke MEP (IE), who was EPP-ED Shadow Rapporteur on the
report.

The EPP-ED Group's Spokesman on the Internal Market and Consumer
Protection Committee, Malcolm Harbour MEP (UK), said: "The EPP-ED Group
strongly supports a comprehensive programme of actions to inform and empower
consumers in Europe's Single Market. We want consumers to take maximum
benefits from the choice, diversity and innovation available in a thriving market of
nearly 500 million consumers, the largest retail market in the world.

"We also want consumers to be able to enjoy their rights of redress quickly and
effectively if they run into problems. We support easy and effective access to
justice especially through non-judicial means, backed as a last resort by judicial
remedies."
Mid-term review of industrial policy: a contribution to the EU’s Growth and
Jobs Strategy

By Klemen Žumer

Slovenian MEP Romana Jordan Cizelj has stressed the significance of the
renewed Lisbon Strategy as well as the importance of an integrated approach
towards industrial policy in her report which was adopted by a large majority in
the European Parliament: "Industry is supporting the development of a society of
knowledge, research, development and innovation. At the same time, it is also
making use of these services", said the MEP and pointed out that EU industry
represents more than 80% of the private sector for research and development,
whereas innovative products make up approximately 75% of EU exports.

According to Jordan Cizelj, climate change and sustainable development are
amongst the priorities: "Commitments to the significant reduction of greenhouse
gas emissions do not only apply to the fields of energy and transport. They also
strongly apply to the field of industry, without which, a development of a low-
carbon society would not be possible. We must ask ourselves what
encouragement industry needs to be able to develop cleaner technologies and
use more efficient technologies in such a way that competitiveness and the
consumers' ability to choose would not be put at risk."

Jordan Cizelj especially stressed that climate change is an opportunity and not a
threat to the European economy.

Among other priorities, the MEP emphasised sustainable supply and treatment of
raw materials as well as the development of a more stimulating environment for
the functioning of small and medium-size enterprises and the need for the
removal of red tape as well as the protection of intellectual property.

Finally, Jordan Cizelj MEP pointed out the need for encouragement of equal
industrial development within the EU as well as coordination and cooperation
amongst the institutions of knowledge, research and innovation.


Prosperity for outermost regions

As Rapporteur on the Strategy for the Outermost Regions, Margie Sudre (F),
Member of the Committee on Regional Development, welcomed in plenary the
Commission's public consultation on the future of the Union's strategy towards
these regions, but, she said: "Even if the chosen topics are unavoidable, such as
climate change, demographic trends, migration, agriculture and maritime policies,
they do not cover all the major concerns of our regions." She expressed regret
that Article 299, paragraph 2, of the Treaty, where the recognition of these
regions is stated, was not included in the Commission's agenda for discussions,
which would have given them the legal, institutional and political weight required.

"The importance of public services for the economic, social and territorial
cohesion of outermost regions, the issue of state aid, continued differential tax
regimes, persistent unemployment and inequality, means to overcome the small
size of local markets, integration into the European Research Area, participation
in European policies for innovation, the issue of the digital divide and joint
funding for co-operation between neighbouring countries, appear to me today as
unavoidable subjects for discussion", she said.

"I would like to emphasise the objectives of my report: ensured conditions for
economic development of the outermost regions thereby guaranteeing people in
these regions prosperity, strengthened competitiveness, and convincing them
that the future of Europe also depends on territories far away", Sudre concluded.

                                                                 Gunnar Larsson

								
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