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                                            SITTING OF WEDNESDAY, 14 JANUARY 2004
                                                   ___________________________

                                                                 to an effective Union which is successful and which
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                                                                 delivers. It goes without saying that a good relationship
                   IN THE CHAIR: MR COX
                                                                 between the Council and Parliament is vital to the
                          President
                                                                 Union’s success.
(The sitting was opened at 9.05 a.m.)1
                                                                 The elections in June mean that the time in which we
3-003                                                            can work together will be shorter than usual. As a
              Programme of the Irish presidency                  presidency, therefore, we are totally committed to
                                                                 working intensively with Parliament at all levels so that
3-004                                                            our interaction is as constructive and productive as it can
President.  The next item is the Council statement on           be. President Pat Cox – of whose leadership of
the programme of the Irish presidency.                           Parliament we in Ireland are enormously proud – has
                                                                 assured me that you stand ready to play your full part.
For reasons which I know you will understand, I am
especially pleased today to be able to give the floor to         There is important work to be done. As Europeans
An Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, on behalf of the Council.                working together, we must ensure that the Union can
                                                                 take advantage of the global economic recovery. We
(Applause)                                                       must create an environment which fosters more and
                                                                 better jobs for our people. We must take the measures
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                                                                 necessary to allow our citizens to live and move freely
Ahern, Bertie, Council.  A Uachtaráin, a chomhaltaí
                                                                 throughout the European Union in safety and security.
onóracha de Pharlaimint na hEorpa, a Uachtaráin an
                                                                 And we must ensure that the Union can play a positive
Choimisiúin, a dhaoine uaisle, is onóir agus cúis áthais
                                                                 and constructive role in the world.
domsa a bheith anseo inniu chun na tosaíochtaí
d’Uachtaránacht na hÉireann a chur i bhur láthair.
                                                                 The Irish presidency is the first to see the full
                                                                 implementation of the Seville European Council
Mr President, honourable Members of the European
                                                                 decisions aimed at ensuring a more coherent and
Parliament, President of the Commission, ladies and
                                                                 strategic approach to our work. Our programme is,
gentlemen, it is both an honour and a pleasure to be here
                                                                 therefore, consistent with and reflects the priorities in the
today to present to you the priorities for the Irish
                                                                 annual Operational Programme for 2004, prepared with
presidency.
                                                                 the future Dutch presidency. It is also consistent with the
                                                                 Multiannual Strategic Programme for 2004-2006. The
Before I make this presentation, may I thank you for the
                                                                 preparation of the annual and multiannual programmes
reception you gave the President of Ireland, Mrs Mary
                                                                 with the Netherlands and with the four presidencies to
McAleese, during her visit last November. Your warm
                                                                 follow has been both an innovation and a practical
welcome to her was greatly appreciated in Ireland.
                                                                 example of 'Europeans – Working Together'.
We have chosen 'Europeans – Working Together' as the
                                                                 This is a time of historic change for the Union. We must
theme of our presidency. It is a theme which captures a
                                                                 be prepared for the future. We want a Union that is more
vision of the people of the European Union working as a
                                                                 democratic, more accountable, more transparent and
partnership, striving together to achieve our common
                                                                 more effective. We must ensure that the Union is, and is
goals and objectives. We need the cooperation of
                                                                 seen to be, as close as possible to its citizens. A new
everybody to achieve our ambitions. I know that I can
                                                                 constitution is fundamental to this. The European
count on the Members of the European Parliament to
                                                                 Convention did outstanding work in bringing forward an
work with us during our term for the greater good of the
                                                                 excellent draft text. I pay warm tribute to all who
European Union.
                                                                 contributed to its proceedings. In particular, I pay tribute
                                                                 to the representatives of the European Parliament who
This is Ireland’s sixth presidency. We are taking on our
                                                                 brought to the Convention not only great vitality, but
task at an historic and challenging time, but we have
                                                                 also great insight. I fully understand the importance
prepared well for what lies ahead. The overriding
                                                                 Parliament attaches to bringing the constitutional project
objective of our presidency is to secure outcomes which
                                                                 to a successful and early conclusion. In my contacts with
have a positive impact on the lives of Europe’s people.
                                                                 many of you here in Parliament since the Brussels
Like every presidency, we aim to write another chapter
                                                                 European Council, we have made clear our strong
in the success story that is the European Union.
                                                                 support for a speedy and successful outcome to the
                                                                 Intergovernmental Conference.
This task deserves our full attention and we each have a
part to play. Parliament is unique among the institutions
                                                                 (Applause)
in having a direct mandate from the people. It is central
                                                                 You may rest assured that I have heard that message and
1
    Texts of agreements forwarded by the Council: see Minutes    I share your view.
6                                                                                                         14/01/2004

                                                              ceremony in Dublin on 1 May. We plan to make this a
I thank the Italian presidency for the good work it did       real welcome in Ireland. Community cultural events are
during its term, and I want to thank it for the support and   being organised and real local involvement and
assistance it has given to our presidency. We all hoped       international exchange will occur. We believe that the
that agreement could be reached last month and were           diversity of Europe’s cultural heritage is something to be
disappointed when it was not. It now falls to Ireland to      shared and celebrated.
try to make further progress. We have taken up this
challenge and we will do all in our power to see it           We want the formal enlargement of the European Union
through. We are determined to do whatever we can to           to be as smooth and successful as possible. Making
encourage and facilitate the earliest possible agreement.     enlargement work is of the greatest possible importance
It remains to be seen whether this will prove possible in     to us. Integrating the new Member States and ensuring
our presidency. We know what the outstanding issues           that the Council continues to function effectively will be
are. Various possible solutions have been proposed. But       a high priority. We will press forward with the future
ultimately, if we are to arrive at the necessary              enlargement agenda. We will prioritise work in relation
compromises, what is needed is sufficient collective          to Romania and Bulgaria with the aim of concluding
political will.                                               negotiations this year.

I am convinced that this is profoundly in the interests of    We also welcome Turkey’s efforts to fulfil the necessary
the Union and its citizens, and indeed of the Member          criteria with a view to a decision to be taken at the
States individually – new and old, large and small. A         European Council next December. I am convinced that
new constitution would help the Union respond to the          the accession of Cyprus continues to provide the context
demands and expectations of its citizens. It would help       for a comprehensive settlement, which would enable the
the Union play a more coherent and effective role in the      accession of a united island on 1 May. We welcome the
wider world. On the other hand, excessive delay will          signs of progress in recent days. As the presidency, we
damage our credibility and weaken our standing.               will support fully the central role of the United Nations
Stalemate is not an option any of us can contemplate.         Secretary-General in this process. I urge all parties in the
                                                              period ahead to demonstrate conclusively their
I have undertaken to consult intensely and to make a          commitment to negotiating a settlement on the basis of
report to the March European Council. That process of         his proposals.
consultation is well under way. I have spoken to many of
my colleagues in the European Council already. All of         The newly enlarged Union must work for all its people.
them have indicated their commitment to helping us find       That is why the Irish presidency has placed sustainable
a way forward. I will continue to explore with them how       growth and social cohesion at the very centre of its work
and when this can be achieved. I want to be able to make      programme. Four years ago in Lisbon, we agreed on the
the fullest possible report in March.                         goal of making the European Union the most
                                                              competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in
I can assure Parliament that if my consultations suggest      the world. The Lisbon Agenda is the best mechanism for
that there is a real prospect of agreement, I will            achieving this goal in a demanding and competitive
immediately move to seize the opportunity. I pledge to        global context. It is the means by which the Member
you again that the Irish presidency will spare no effort to   States and the European institutions can work together to
make progress and to facilitate consensus during our          develop the European economy, to create more
term in office.                                               employment, to ensure social protection and to invest in
                                                              a sustainable future for us all.
(Applause)
                                                              Next year, we will be half way towards the 2010 target
This issue will command the highest priority under our        date set at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000.
presidency.                                                   We have achieved a great deal already. We have seen
                                                              advances in the areas of research and development,
The negotiations on the future financial perspectives will    financial services, liberalisation of energy markets,
be critically important for the future shape and direction    telecommunications, environmental protection and
of the enlarged Union. We also look forward to initiating     regulatory reform. It is now much easier for workers and
discussions once the Commission communication is              students to move around the European Union, to access
tabled later this month. Our aim as the presidency will       jobs and education; it is easier to set up and run a small
be to seek initial reactions from Member States and we        business; consumers are already enjoying cheaper
will be working to secure agreement at the Spring             telephone calls; significant studies have been made in
European Council on the calendar and process for the          terms of equality and social protection. And Europe’s
negotiations.                                                 commitment to the environment means a cleaner and
                                                              safer world for our children and our grandchildren.
The Irish presidency has begun in a Union of 15               Despite these achievements, it is increasingly clear that
Member States and will end in a Union of 25. It is a          unless we increase momentum, we will not make Europe
particular privilege to hold the presidency at a time when    the most competitive economy in the world by 2010.
history is being made. We greatly look forward to
welcoming the new members of the family at an official
14/01/2004                                                                                                          7

We intend to use the Spring European Council this year       Over the past 50 years, we in Europe have created an
to give renewed focus and impetus to the Lisbon              area of peace and prosperity. We have also created a
Agenda. We look forward in this context to the               single market where our people can trade and do
publication next week of the Commission's report on the      business without barriers. We must ensure that the
Spring European Council. Positive signs of economic          freedoms we enjoy are not exploited by criminal
progress are emerging, both in Europe and                    elements for illegal gains. As a presidency, Ireland will
internationally. It is imperative that we make the most of   work for the greatest levels of freedom, security and
this. We must increase our efforts to implement at           safety for all the people of the European Union.
individual Member State level those reforms and
legislative changes already agreed, if we are to reap the    In the justice and home affairs area, we will focus on the
full social and economic benefits. We must also continue     delivery of the outstanding requirements under the
to implement further reforms. Maintaining the status quo     Amsterdam Treaty and the broader Tampere
will not improve Europe's economic standing,                 programme, as updated by subsequent European
competitiveness or employment rates.                         Councils. This will involve a wide-ranging agenda
                                                             including asylum, immigration, police, judicial
I have written to you, Mr President, and to my               cooperation in criminal matters and civil law
colleagues in the European Council, setting out my           cooperation. The June European Council is likely to
proposed approach and the key elements of the Lisbon         initiate an assessment of the achievements of the
Agenda, on which I intend to focus at the Spring             Tampere programme, with a view to launching a further
European Council. Our primary focus is clear:                development of the Union’s justice and home affairs
sustainable growth and high-quality employment are our       policies. We will also focus on practical police
twin priorities.                                             cooperation. We will place emphasis on the fight against
                                                             drugs and organised crime and on combating illegal
It is my intention that, during the Spring European          immigration.
Council, we will have a real debate on the most pressing
economic and social challenges facing Europe.                The range of foreign policy issues that the Union now
Investment in physical and human capital, supporting         deals with and the breadth and intensity of the Union’s
higher rates of growth across the European Union             contacts with its partners around the globe is truly
economy and, equally, continuing to maintain                 extensive. The European Union is, in every sense, a
macroeconomic stability are just some of the challenges.     global player. During our presidency, we will focus on a
                                                             number of key areas, as well as ensuring the effective
A central challenge facing Europe continues to be            conduct of the Union’s international commitments. We
competitiveness. While the internal market has indeed        are committed to working ever more closely with the
been one of the Union’s most important achievements,         United Nations. We want in particular to support the UN
we see the further development of the services sector as     Secretary-General's reform effort and will work to shape
the key motor of growth and job creation.                    a positive and progressive European Union input into the
                                                             High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Europe, however,
is the pressing need to create more and better               I welcome Parliament's decision to award the Sakharov
employment. We welcome the focus and the practical,          Prize to the Secretary-General of the UN. Mr Kofi
country-specific messages in the report of the               Annan's participation in the plenary session of the
Employment Taskforce which was chaired by Mr Wim             European Parliament later this month sends out a clear
Kok. Building on the employment guidelines, we will          message. That message is that effective multilateralism
work with our European partners, Parliament and the          is a core value which informs the Union’s foreign
Commission, to ensure that real progress is made.            policy. The Council will be represented by Foreign
                                                             Minister Cowen on this important occasion.
Social dialogue will greatly assist us in addressing these
challenges. During our presidency, I look forward to         We will also work to advance EU-UN cooperation in
working with the European social partners, through the       crisis management. The European Union and the United
Tripartite Social Summit in March and in other ways, to      Nations are natural partners. Under the Italian
boost their involvement in achieving the overall Lisbon      presidency, the Union signed a declaration with the UN
goal.                                                        on cooperation in crisis management. The challenge for
                                                             our presidency is to put this declaration into practice.
Before leaving the Lisbon Agenda, I also want to point
out that 2005 will offer a unique opportunity for a mid-     European Security and Defence Policy is how the
point review of the overall process. How to stay on          Union's contribution to conflict prevention and crisis
course to realise the Lisbon goal in the new climate         management. As a presidency, we will also progress
represents a very considerable challenge. The Irish          work on the Union's crisis management capabilities.
presidency will contribute to the process of setting up a    Europe will work with the world community to fight the
meaningful evaluation of the Agenda, in cooperation          spread of weapons of mass destruction and to promote
with our partners, including the incoming presidency.        disarmament.
8                                                                                                        14/01/2004

Our presidency will be practical and imaginative in           our African partners to find comprehensive solutions to
promoting human rights around the globe. During our           these problems. Our overriding approach as a presidency
presidency, we will adopt the EU guidelines to support        will be to support African-led initiatives to tackle the
human rights defenders. We also intend to implement           enormous challenges the continent faces.
the EU´s Strategy on Children in Armed Conflict.
                                                              I would like to see greater convergence between foreign
Last year saw serious tensions and disagreement over          and development policy and this will form part of our
Iraq, both across the Atlantic and indeed within Europe.      approach as a presidency. The Union has a critical role
The world is a better and a safer place when the              to play in responding to major developing challenges
European Union and the United States work together,           such as poverty alleviation, the fight against infectious
pooling their considerable energy and resources to            diseases and environmental degradation. The Union
achieve our shared goals based on our shared values.          must set an example in relation to the progress towards
The United States has stressed the importance it attaches     the Millennium Development Goals and the creation of a
to working with key partners, including Europe. We will       fairer and more stable world order.
continue to focus EU-US relations on what we can and
should achieve together. Our aim will be to consult and       We also need to extend to our near neighbours the
cooperate with the United States on the broad range of        conditions of security, stability and prosperity that we
issues, both political and economic, that face us all. We     enjoy in the European Union. After enlargement on 1
intend to work particularly closely with the United           May, there will be 385 million people living in the
States on areas such as the Middle East, Iraq,                countries on the external land and sea borders of the
Afghanistan and effective multilateralism, as well as on      Union. Through our European neighbourhood initiative,
the extensive trade and economic agenda. We will not          we will enhance relations with those countries to the east
always see eye to eye, but we can and should                  and south on the basis of the values of democracy,
concentrate on those areas where our cooperation is to        respect for human rights and the rule of law.
the mutual benefit of our citizens and the wider
international community.                                      The Union has reached a shared understanding with the
                                                              countries of the Western Balkans that their future lies
The European Union values its relationship with the           within the European Union. As a presidency, we are
Americas as a whole. This is reflected in the fact that the   committed to the full implementation of the agenda
European Union will have summit meetings with the             agreed last June at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in
US, with Canada, with Latin American and Caribbean            Thessaloniki. The rate at which progress is made now
countries during our presidency. These meetings will          depends on the democratically elected governments of
provide key opportunities to strengthen our                   the region. The Union will strongly support their efforts
relationships.                                                as they pursue wide-ranging and difficult reforms.

In the Middle East, we will continue to promote the           We are also committed to a multilateral approach to
implementation of the roadmap as the basis for progress       trade policy. Since Cancun, the European Union has
towards a just and lasting two-state solution. Our            been reflecting on the way forward in order to achieve a
participation in the Quartet will be based on this            successful relaunch of the Doha Development Agenda.
principle and we will work closely with our partners in       A successful conclusion to the current round of trade
an effort to move the peace process forward. Ireland’s        talks is vital for long-term economic growth and
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Brian Cowen, in his          development in the world. The presidency will work in
capacity as President of the General Affairs and External     the Council and with the Commission to achieve
Relations Council, travels to the Middle East this            balanced progress in the negotiations.
evening.
                                                              The Union's relations with Asia are a key element of our
Enlargement gives renewed impetus to the Union’s              agenda. Our engagement will be at all levels in the
strategic relationship with Russia. Our security and well-    region. We will pursue political dialogue with the full
being are increasingly intertwined and we need to work        range of countries, including an Asia-Europe meeting at
effectively together. The EU-Russia Summit during our         foreign minister level in April. We would also hope to
presidency is an opportunity to set a course for our          hold an EU-Japan Summit during our term.
future relationship.
                                                              As I have already stated, the Irish presidency looks
In the conflict prevention area, we want to focus, in         forward to working closely with Parliament in the
particular, on the role of non-governmental organisations     coming months. It is essential that we cooperate
and civil society in conflict prevention. We also want to     effectively and that we get down to work immediately.
integrate support for conflict prevention into our            There is a range of important dossiers which require
engagement and dialogue with the rest of the world. This      close cooperation if they are to be satisfactorily
is particularly relevant in the case of Africa. There are     progressed in the time available to us. The discussions
290 million people living below the poverty line in sub-      on the Members’ Statute are of particular concern. I pay
Saharan Africa. An estimated 30 million are infected          tribute to President Cox for his personal commitment to
with HIV/AIDS. Over a dozen conflict situations make          bringing closure to these discussions. The Parliament
this humanitarian crisis even worse. We must work with        vote, in December, provides the basis for us to move
14/01/2004                                                                                                            9

forward together to achieve an agreement which has            will discuss today – this Presidency will see the
eluded our institutions for too long. The Irish presidency    completion of enlargement and progress will have to be
hopes to conclude this matter rapidly and is doing all in     made on the Constitutional Treaty and on our strategy
its power to deliver a positive outcome.                      for growth. So, ladies and gentlemen, the best wishes
                                                              that we have exchanged over the last few days are
As we move further into the 21st century, I have no           especially valuable and I am sure that Mr Ahern and his
doubt that the Union will continue to develop and to          colleagues will employ all their determination and
grow, to broaden and to deepen. The Union must meet           ability to ensure that this Presidency is a successful one.
new challenges and exploit new opportunities that lie
ahead. There will continue to be healthy debate and           I will start my brief speech by referring to enlargement.
differing perspectives among us. We will continue to          After years of meticulous preparation, 1 May 2003 will
work to accommodate this enriching diversity. We must         really be a day of celebration. I am glad that these
tackle these challenges and embrace these opportunities       celebrations will be centred on Dublin, because the Irish
together, united by our shared interest in the success of     people are known for their exuberance and conviviality.
the Union.                                                    I am pleased that this celebration will be geared towards
                                                              young people in particular, from whom we have a lot to
The founding fathers were inspired by the dream of a          learn, especially in times of difficulty when there seems
future in which Europeans would never again fight each        to be a lack of enthusiasm about the future. Enlargement
other to the death over resources, over territory or over     will bring about significant changes for all our
their beliefs; a future in which Europeans would never        institutions. At a practical level, work will continue on
again be divided from each other. This year will see that     the internal organisation of the Commission, and I will
dream – a Europe whole and healed – brought closer to         report back to you on this in good time. Furthermore, I
reality.                                                      am stepping up my consultations with the governments
                                                              of the new Member States in order to appoint new
The founding fathers dreamt also of a Europe in which         Commissioners. Work is progressing very quickly and
ever-closer cooperation would deliver greater security        so I can confirm that at the end of February – as early as
and prosperity for its people. I stand before you as a firm   was called for by Parliament – I will let you have the
believer in that dream. I come from a country where           names of the Commissioners so that you can duly
membership of the European Union – a Union which we           proceed to the hearings that have been proposed. The
have helped to shape – has enabled us to develop and to       aim is, of course, to integrate the new members of the
flourish to our fullest potential. I profoundly wish the      College as from 1 May 2004, after they have been
same for the incoming Member States.                          approved by Parliament.

Six months is not a long time. But I promise you an Irish     The celebrations in Dublin will be a symbolic moment,
presidency that will not stint in its efforts to achieve as   which will open up new horizons. This monumental step
much as is possible in this time. I greatly look forward to   is like a mountain pass: when we get there, a new
cooperating closely with our partners and with the            landscape will of course unfold before us. We will see
institutions of the Union, especially with the European       the final frontiers of the Union, which will be complete
Parliament.                                                   when it welcomes the countries of the Western Balkans.
                                                              From this height we will be able to see the new
Our agenda is demanding and complex. We have begun            neighbours of the enlarged Europe with whom, as
our work with ambition and with humility. We call on          Mr Ahern mentioned, we want to create an area of
everyone to help us with this challenging task for the six    cooperation, stability, security and peace. We have
months ahead. We know that, as Europeans, our strength        already embarked upon this task with the circle of
is our unity. We achieve more, and we are at our very         friendly countries, which increases the possibility of far-
best, as 'Europeans – Working Together'.                      reaching and systematic cooperation with the European
                                                              Union from the Mediterranean to Russia.
(Loud applause)
                                                              We propose the European model as a way of structuring
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                                                              relations between countries outside of Europe; everyone
Prodi, President of the Commission.  (IT)
                                                              is hugely interested in this model: in Asia, in Latin
Mr President, Prime Minster Ahern, ladies and
                                                              America, everywhere. In recent years, the world, which
gentlemen, I believe that the best way of opening this
                                                              has become less secure, has gone through a period of
debate is to make final assessment of the future, given
                                                              profound uncertainty. I am therefore pleased by the call
that events of future months will shape the course of the
                                                              from the Irish Presidency to promote strong and
Union for many years to come. I am referring to the key
                                                              effective multilateralism, respect for human rights and
institutional events, such as the parliamentary elections
                                                              conflict prevention: these principles are European
in mid-June and the completion of this Commission’s
                                                              principles. The Union must indeed strengthen relations
mandate at the end of October. Furthermore,
                                                              with the United Nations and try to find more common
negotiations are about to start on establishing the
                                                              ground with all the major players on the world stage,
Union’s future Financial Perspective, and the
                                                              starting with the United States and Russia, and thus we
Commission will soon be presenting its proposals.
                                                              are right on track. We must work together with the
Finally – and here I am moving on to the issues that I
                                                              Member States to help Secretary-General Kofi Annan –
10                                                                                                       14/01/2004

 whom we will meet in two weeks time – to push ahead          The Spring Council will continue in the direction
with the reform of the United Nations, an organisation        outlined in the Lisbon strategy, which remains the only
that we want to be strong, effective and present              basis that will allow Europe and its economy to
wherever peace is under threat, where people are in need      maintain – I am not saying to increase, simply to
of aid, where human rights need protecting.                   maintain – its prosperity, security, social justice in a
                                                              globalised world. The Commission will, therefore, make
Ladies and gentlemen, threats to security and world           its proposals and the Council will take its decisions; no
peace are not posed simply by armed conflicts and             decision will be able to bear fruit until the decisions
groups that are prepared to fight to achieve their goals.     become real policies at national level, and so we need
Whilst we must show determination in opposing and             the cooperation of the Member States to be harmonised.
neutralising terrorist organisations, conflict situations     The key priorities must be knowledge and innovation,
must be resolved at political level. I therefore agree with   that is to say, a single priority: human resources, full
the proposals made by the Irish Presidency to                 stop. That is the priority. Investment in education,
concentrate Union measures on humanitarian aid,               lifelong learning and in research are not theoretical
respect for human rights and on the political, economic       problems, but an objective that must be pursued at once
and social factors that fuel war and violence.                because our international competitors are overtaking us,
                                                              or have already done so. We must, therefore, step up our
I would now like to turn briefly to the issue of the          efforts to become a knowledge-based economy.
Constitutional Treaty, which was the thorniest issue on
the agenda of the Presidency that has just concluded.         Ladies and gentlemen, if we look beyond the here and
Firstly, I would like to say how satisfied I am with the      now, it is clear that our growth depends primarily on
Presidency’s announcement that the work of the                developing human resources and knowledge. I would
Intergovernmental Conference will begin again. For the        again like to stress the need to create research centres of
Commission, adopting this Constitution is an absolute         excellence in Europe and at world level, or even better,
priority: both the Irish and the Dutch Presidencies can       that are the best in the world. They must be the tangible
count on our continued support. 2004 must be the year         and fundamental symbol of our belief in the future,
of the European Constitution. The December summit             that – as Mr Ahern said – the future is something we can
clearly showed that the existing stumbling blocks would       shape and make happen. National strategies alone will
not be insurmountable if the Member States made a             not produce cutting-edge research; we need a strategy
further effort to extend the consensus – which was            for the continent, we need the whole of the Union to pull
huge – on the Convention’s proposals. If this                 together. Our continent must once again become what it
development occurs – and I know that Mr Ahern is a            was for centuries: the reference point for researchers
master of patience and persuasion – then agreement may        across the world. We must put in place measures to
not be far away. The cost of slowing down the process         allow young people who are currently specialising
of integration is too great. Clearly, there are risks         elsewhere to return to Europe when they have completed
involved in any situation and the Commission insists          their studies. There is no point in me giving you facts
that we all move together towards a form of integration       and figures: here the issue is that hundreds of thousands
that is more solid and which enjoys broader agreement.        of people are educated here and go elsewhere, or are
If the efforts to this end were to fail repeatedly – and I    educated elsewhere and go elsewhere. We are thus out
do hope that this does not happen – then we could not, of     of the loop of cultivating human resources in the world:
course, oppose better solutions from other quarters but, I    either we re-enter it or the Lisbon strategy will not be
repeat, this does not apply to the historic phase in which    fully achieved. There is only one way forward possible:
we are currently working: we are now working towards          fundamental research and disseminating education
us all having a Constitution shared by all the Member         throughout the European workforce. Our young people
States.                                                       must be able to find opportunities to study, work and be
                                                              successful in Europe: that is their right. I say this not
Mr President, I would like to finish my speech with the       only for the sake of young people, but also because their
European measures for economic growth, to which you           success is the key to our own survival. This must,
referred very clearly. On this subject, your programme        therefore, be the aim of our policies and our effort to
contains a wealth of ideas and is also ambitious; it could    meet the expectations of the people of Europe.
not be otherwise, since this Presidency will host the
Spring Summit, which is the main meeting to set out the       (Applause)
economic strategy. After several difficult years, the
                                                              3-007
economy finally seems to be picking up: not too
                                                              Poettering (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr
enthusiastically, but at least there has been some
                                                              President-in-Office of the Council, Mr President of the
improvement. The climate is becoming favourable to
                                                              Commission, ladies and gentlemen, just before
stimulating economic activity. This is not the place to
                                                              Christmas the political group chairmen had an
repeat any analysis of the objectives set out in the
                                                              opportunity to speak to the then-incoming Irish
Presidency’s programme – which will, I guarantee,
                                                              Presidency: with the Taoiseach, Foreign Minister Brian
receive the Commission’s full support – and so I will
                                                              Cowen and the Minister for Europe, Dick Roche. I can
just give a brief review of the ideas underlying the
                                                              tell you that the meeting was professional, efficient and
strategy in question.
                                                              amicable. I think this bodes very well for a successful
14/01/2004                                                                                                         11

Irish Presidency and by happy coincidence we have an         for your opinion, even now, on the subject of appointing
Irish President of the European Parliament. I would also     the ten Commissioners from the accession countries.
like to mention Gerard Collins, the co-chairman of an        Please ensure that there is a cross-party political balance
important group here in the European Parliament, who         when you appoint the Commissioners.
we first met when he was still Foreign Minister. The
Irish Presidency of the time performed excellently, and I    (Loud applause)
wish you every success in the coming six months as
well.                                                        Mr President-in-Office, you went on to speak about our
                                                             relationship with the United States of America. Let me
Mr President-in-Office of the Council, you mentioned         underline everything you said. We do not want to be the
the Constitution. For my group, for the European             United States’ lackeys, but neither are we her rivals. We
People’s Party section of it, the Constitution is the        want to be partners with the United States, with equal
number one priority. The Constitution project cannot be      rights, speaking on an equal footing with our American
allowed to fail simply because the Brussels Summit was       friends, and on many issues we share common goals.
unsuccessful. You will have our full support if you          Anyone who believes that Europe has to be defined by
manage to resolve matters during the Irish Presidency.       contrast with the United States not only has it wrong in
                                                             treating the United States, as it were, as an enemy, but
(Applause)                                                   would also split Europe itself, because we have different
                                                             views on how we should structure our relationship with
Everyone needs to move into action now. We in the            the United States. Consequently, I can only advise that
Group of the European People’s Party (Christian              we consider ourselves partners and equals of the United
Democrats) and European Democrats may support the            States. It is up to us to establish that equality. Rather
principle of double majority for decision-making in the      than constantly criticising American dominance, we
Council of Ministers, but it cannot now be considered a      should do our utmost to ensure we, as Europeans, are
fundamental principle whereby we say that if it is not       united, and then we will be on an equal footing with the
accepted, the whole Constitution project will fail –         United States. This does not mean that we ought not to
certainly not. The Constitution is so important a subject    criticise our American friends at all. For example, I
that we must move towards one another. A compromise          consider the current situation in Guantanamo Bay
must be found, and we need everyone to work together         unacceptable. No one on this earth – no terrorist, no one
to that end.                                                 – should be without rights. Everyone in the world is
                                                             subject to a system of law. We should tell our American
(Applause)                                                   friends so. Please include it in all documents we
                                                             exchange with them.
Then there is the discussion about ‘core Europe’ or a
two-speed Europe. I would advise against any such            (Applause)
discussion. It is inherently wrong. How would a core
group work? How would a two-speed Europe work? It is         The same holds true for Chechnya. We are always told:
the wrong approach, but it is also seen as a threat to       yes, yes, we have talked to the Russian President about
make certain governments move in a particular                Chechnya. We would like to see it in black and white: a
direction. Let us stop talking about a two-speed Europe,     statement that Chechnya will also be dealt with, that we
let us create this Constitution and move forward             will intervene to uphold human rights and that we also
together.                                                    have the courage to address world leaders – or those
                                                             who consider themselves as such – on such matters. So
(Applause)                                                   my request to you is: give human rights a chance, again
                                                             by referring to them in documents and agreements. This
Mr President-in-Office, the elections for the European       applies both to Guantanamo Bay and to Chechnya.
Parliament fall during your Presidency. The
Convention’s draft Constitution says – although of           Let us respect one another: the small respecting the
course it is not yet in force – that the results of the      large, the large respecting the small, the majority
European Parliament elections will be taken into account     respecting minorities. Europe can only work if we
when the Commission President is appointed. I do not         understand others, and if we respect one another. There
know whether your Presidency will actually make a            should be no domination, and I thought it would be good
proposal for the office of Commission President at the       to ask, in all modesty, everyone to do their bit. That is
end of June, after the elections. I can only encourage and   exactly what we need. Everyone needs to do their bit for
ask you to respect the results of the European Parliament    a united Europe. Our group will stand alongside you. We
elections if you do. It is a question of principle. Our      wish you every success.
group is not willing to repeat the events of 1999, when
                                                             3-008
one side won the elections and the other side took up
                                                             Barón Crespo (PSE). – (ES) Mr President, Mr
offices in the Commission. This time the results of the
                                                             President-in-Office of the Council, President of the
European elections must be taken into account. The
                                                             Commission, ladies and gentlemen, Taoiseach, céad
Commission as a whole must be balanced. As President
                                                             míle fáilte, which according to my poor Gaelic means ‘a
of the Commission – you are laughing, and I am always
pleased to see you happy –you are already being asked
12                                                                                                         14/01/2004

hundred thousand welcomes’: you are more generous              financial perspectives, because ultimately, if we are
than the Spanish, who say buenos días in the plural.           going to get married we must also talk about the dowry
                                                               and the marriage settlements, and that is where we are
I would like to welcome the arrival of the Irish               going to see solidarity. In this regard, I would like to
Presidency, because fate and the timetable have placed         say, Mr President, that we naturally support the
you right at the European Union’s important political          proposals from the Commission which at least maintain
crossroads. It was you who began the process – while I         the current effort. We cannot set many more objectives
was President of the European Parliament – in Dublin, in       while providing fewer resources and it is not acceptable
March 1990, which led to Maastricht, you played a              for one or several governments to tell us that in order to
decisive role as the Presidency in relation to the Stability   do many more things we must provide much fewer
Pact and now you have an enormous responsibility.              resources. We must respect the work of the Commission
                                                               and its responsibility, and I hope that it makes proposals
As well as participating in the Conference of Presidents,      as soon as possible, and that the Irish Presidency can
in December, the Bureau of my group last week visited          interpret them. We must also provide a future for the
Dublin and we had the opportunity to hold a full debate        Stability and Growth Pact.
with the Taoiseach and the Irish Government; I would
like to say, on behalf of my group that we finally have a      With regard to international policy, I would like to stress
reliable, experienced and serious interlocutor.                two elements: one is the President-in-Office of the
                                                               Council’s insistence on the value of human rights at
Following what we have just experienced – a Presidency         world level and the importance of Kofi Annan’s visit,
full of political extravagances and boasting in the media      because it is an affirmation of Europe's attachment to
– I believe this is a very significant step forward. We can    multilateralism. I believe that the Irish Presidency also
have faith in you, Mr President-in-Office of the Council.      has the capacity and experience to take this forward.
I personally went to ask you to support us in the
Convention – you are not from my political family – but        Finally, Mr President, an important issue, since we are in
you supported us in this challenge from the outset. As         an election campaign and my distinguished colleague,
well as having experience – since being negotiator of the      Mr Poettering, has raised the issue. I believe that the
Single Act and participant in the subsequent reforms of        important thing, from the point of view of the European
the Treaties – you know what you are talking about and         Parliament and democracy in Europe, is that the Irish
have demonstrated your seriousness.                            Presidency applies the Simitis-Cox Agreement to the
                                                               letter, taking the form of an exchange of letters,
With regard to the Constitution, I would like to note,         according to which the Council will have to propose the
firstly, the decisive attitude of the Irish Presidency, a      candidate to the Presidency of the Commission after the
prudent but firm attitude – festina lente, as the Latins       European elections. As far as that we are all in
said, (we must press forward slowly and prudently) –           agreement and I hope that the Irish Presidency will
and I hope that you can present us with proposals in           comply with it.
March. I do not want to enter into controversial territory,
I believe that Parliament’s position has also been             With regard to the European elections, the issue is open,
prudent, firm and serious and I hope that with the Irish       nobody has won them and I would like to ask my
Presidency we manage to unravel this extremely                 distinguished colleague, the chairman of the technical
important issue. Because a Constitution is absolutely          group of European conservatives, to explain to me what
essential to us if we are to consolidate an enlarged           you have in common with the British Conservatives in
Europe and make it work in a democratic manner.                relation to Europe. There are no majorities here.
                                                               Majorities, in European democratic systems, when there
I have taken good note, Mr President, of the Taoiseach’s       are no absolute majorities, are created on the basis of
comments on the Members’ Statute, which my group               programme agreements. I accept that you advocate a
sees as a question of constitutional dignity.                  conservative programme, and we advocate a progressive
                                                               programme, but everything is open and we are all going
The second important challenge is economic. The                to win the elections, or at least we will also be winners.
President has talked about an issue which is very
important, and in relation to which Ireland offers an          (Applause)
example to the current Union and to the enlarged Union,
                                                               3-009
which is the implementation of the Lisbon strategy. In
                                                               Watson (ELDR). – Mr President, President-in-Office, at
other words, achieving, as we Socialists believe, full
                                                               the beginning of the last century, a disgruntled writer
employment, gender equality – I would like to welcome
                                                               from Dublin went to live in Italy. He wrote a famous
the fact that the Irish Government has been the first to
                                                               novel in Trieste, a city that some years after his death
appoint a female Ambassador to Coreper, thereby
                                                               came to mark the southern end of a line which divided
entering into the most sexist realm of the Union, I
                                                               our continent for half a century. This year, under this
congratulate it – social cohesion and technological
                                                               Irish presidency, that line will finally be erased. History,
development.
                                                               as Stephen Daedelus reminded us in James Joyce's
                                                               Ulysses, is a nightmare from which we are trying to
You can also set a good example in terms of solidarity,
                                                               awake.
because we are now going to begin to renegotiate the
14/01/2004                                                                                                         13

                                                             My Group welcomes the presidency's political
The Irish presidency is right to focus on enlargement. It    commitment to take the Statute for Members forward.
is an historic moment: the final act of the revolutions of   That commitment must now be carried through into
1989. It is appropriate that a country which speaks for      reform by both Parliament and the Council so that the
the transformative power of the European Union should        statute can enter into force after the elections.
oversee that process. But we should not be tempted to
believe that we can separate enlargement from                Mr President-in-Office, your work programme is a
agreement on the instrument designed to make that step       worthy one. If my Group could offer you a slogan for it,
possible. Integrating the new Member States into the         it would be 'restoring belief'. Deliver a deal on the
Lisbon process and Schengen cannot hide the fact that        Constitution and see in enlargement and you will have
without the additional framework of a new constitutional     done Europe, and Ireland, proud. Carry that spirit
settlement we are simply changing the oil in a Union         through to the European elections in June, to a pan-
which needs a new engine. Liberals in this House             European campaign with a continental consciousness
welcome the Taoiseach's strong commitment to                 rather than 25 national campaigns, and history will give
advancing the work of the IGC. December's tempers            you rich reward.
have cooled. Europe's destiny is in an altogether safer
pair of hands. This time, Europe's leaders must choose to    (Applause)
succeed.
                                                             3-010
                                                             Wurtz (GUE/NGL). – (FR) Mr President, Mr
My Group also welcomes the presidency's intention to
                                                             President-in-Office of the Council, Mr President of the
sustain the momentum of enlargement by concluding
                                                             Commission, when observers talk about the difficulties
accession talks with Romania and Bulgaria and by
                                                             that the Irish Presidency is going to face, they all stress
responding to the request from Croatia. We, too, see this
                                                             the fact that the constitutional process is deadlocked. I
as the moment to achieve an historic settlement with
                                                             fear that this will mean that we will not see the wood for
Cyprus.
                                                             the trees. To my mind, what happened at the Brussels
                                                             summit and its conclusion were only symptoms of a
The presidency also rightly focuses, too, on the Lisbon
                                                             deeper problem: the lack of a common plan, or in any
Agenda in what can only be called its hour of need.
                                                             case of a plan with which Europeans can identify.
Most of the structural problems identified at Lisbon
remain obstacles to wealth creation. The political will
                                                             The challenge that we now have to meet is more
needed to undertake reform and give the eurozone
                                                             ambitious, much more ambitious than seeking a
credibility has not yet clearly been summoned. The
                                                             compromise of power between two black sheep in the
Celtic tiger has long stood for the benefits of
                                                             European Council. It is to dare to go beyond what is left
competitiveness and economic discipline. Now it is time
                                                             unsaid, the soothing proposals, the Community
for you to roar in the Council. We welcome the
                                                             hangover, and dare to call a spade a spade and a crisis a
commitments on the Framework Directive on Services,
                                                             crisis. Being critical is a rare commodity in both the
published by the Commission yesterday, and on the
                                                             Council and the Commission.
Financial Services Action Plan. We welcome the
commitment to work with the European Parliament to
                                                             This is why I am convinced that our fellow citizens
secure the adoption of the Trans-European Networks
                                                             would appreciate the major change of talking truthfully
proposals. But your modesty about what you can achieve
                                                             and responsibly about what is not working properly in
must not obscure the need to resurrect the Growth and
                                                             the Union and calling for changes. There are currently
Stability Pact in some form under this presidency.
                                                             numerous examples of such taboos that need to be lifted.
                                                             I will just mention three of them that are particularly
The presidency's assessment of our agenda abroad is
                                                             fundamental.
also sound. We welcome the focus on African issues, on
the holocaust of AIDS and poverty and hunger. We
                                                             First of all, there are the crises of the euro and the
accept the need to work constructively with Russia,
                                                             stability pact, because the two problems are linked. The
although we expect hard words on Chechnya and on
                                                             creation of the European currency was supposed to
Russia's vanishing political pluralism. We welcome the
                                                             stimulate growth, promote employment and strengthen
attempts to rebuild bridges in our transatlantic
                                                             the Union in relation to its main competitors. What has
friendships. But here the Council's loyalty to European
                                                             happened so far? The economy is sluggish, there is
values means that Guantanamo Bay must be on the
                                                             massive unemployment and the euro zone is
agenda of the EU-US Summit. The EU must act together
                                                             unflinchingly     enduring    Washington’s     predatory
to demand conscionable treatment for all detainees in
                                                             monetary policy. This must change. The solutions to this
Camp Delta, including the Europeans who have now
                                                             that have been put forward do not seem to be credible to
been held for two years without charge. I welcome, Mr
                                                             me or seem to be no longer credible. We are also being
President-in-Office, your commitment to review justice
                                                             told that the Lisbon strategy is going to have new
and home affairs in the Union. I hope you will not
                                                             momentum. But where has all the momentum that we
overlook the worrying Amnesty International report on
                                                             have had for nearly four years got us to in terms of
human rights within some of our own member countries.
                                                             growth and employment?
14                                                                                                         14/01/2004

Great importance is also attached to major projects.           wall, stone by stone, is giving rise only to tentative
There is no doubt that they correspond to very real            statements. What are we doing to protect the Palestinian
needs, but by mainly using private capital, the scope of       people? What are we doing to support the courageous
them is being significantly limited. The President of the      efforts of Israeli and Palestinian figures who are
EIB, Philippe Maystadt, acknowledges that the private          unprecedentedly working to restart dialogue and
sector (and I quote) ‘is interested as long as the projects    negotiations? What are we doing to speed up the
are sufficiently profitable’, there is no secret about that.   international conference planned in the route map? To
He goes on to say, to quote him again, that ‘the               be honest, we are doing very little. This must change.
expression ‘growth initiative’ can lead to confusion. It is
in no way a measure for trying to encourage a restart in       My group sees all of these expectations of Europe that
the short term’.                                               are being expressed in different regions of the world as
                                                               an excellent opportunity that we should grasp. I am
These are the circumstances under which the stability          thinking of Latin America, where democracy is
pact is supposed to continue as if there were no negative      emerging, which is standing up to the hegemonic
effects on public spending, as if it were to be aimed, as      designs of the White House and is seeking genuine
we would like, at renovating hospitals for example or          partners who respect its identity and sovereignty. I am
developing research. Commissioner Solbes is going to           thinking of the most heavily indebted countries which,
bring before the ECJ those States that have committed          given the obvious failure of initiatives from international
the crime, of – and I quote, ‘replacing a system based on      financial institutions, are suffocating, with no concern
respecting rules with a system based on political              from the international community. I am thinking of our
decisions’ – as if this crisis in the EU were not forcing      partners who were disappointed in the Barcelona
us to review the rules and launch into detailed political      process, whose grievances we need to listen to so that
discussions. This must change.                                 we can restart Euro-Mediterranean and, more generally
                                                               speaking, Euro-Arab relations.
(Applause)
                                                               May the Irish Presidency, An Taoiseach, take strong
The second example of a crisis, which is quite                 action in these different areas that can bring to life the
significant, is that of the financial perspectives, and        image of a Europe that listens more to the criticism it
therefore of the solidarity policy at the time of              receives and the hopes that it raises. This is what I see as
enlargement. It was the Commission that, several               your greatest task.
months ago, triggered the former. On the basis of the
                                                               3-011
famous Sapir report, drawn up at its request, it took
                                                               Cohn-Bendit (Verts/ALE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr
responsibility for accrediting the unacceptable idea of a
                                                               President-in-Office, Mr President of the Commission,
reduction in the Structural Funds after 2006.
                                                               ladies and gentlemen, we have to ask ourselves a very
                                                               simple question: is Europe as a whole sustainable?
More recently, the shameful initiative of the six richest
                                                               When I say ‘we’, I mean the Council, the Commission,
countries in the EU drove the nail in: freezing the budget
                                                               Parliament. I have heard some astounding things in this
at 1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product from 2007, at a
                                                               Chamber. I hear that Europe is a success story – how
time when we are preparing to welcome ten new
                                                               nice – and that we have an historical opportunity – how
countries whose income per inhabitant is lower than half
                                                               nice. Then, Mr President-in-Office, you said how
the average for the Fifteen. As there is no possibility in
                                                               wonderful it is that the Convention has done excellent
their minds of calling into question, the principle of the
                                                               work. To which my response is: take it, if it is so good.
UK style refund, extracted twenty years ago by the ‘Iron
                                                               Do not bother about the 82 outstanding Italian
Lady’, it is the solidarity funds that will provide the
                                                               Presidency points – an illusion, forget them! Then you
adjustment variable. Will we discuss this matter on 1
                                                               can say: forget Mr Blair’s ‘red lines’. The Convention
May, at the enlargement celebrations? If we want to
                                                               has done an excellent job, so let us get on with it. Next,
make a success of this major project, this too is a factor
                                                               along comes Mr Poettering and says we have to
that needs to be changed.
                                                               compromise. Of course there will have to be
                                                               compromises – but based on what? Based on self-
Finally, there is well and truly a crisis in terms of the
                                                               interest, thereby making Europe unsustainable? The
EU’s external action. One year after the major clash of
                                                               principle of double majority is not a mythical creature.
choices at world level regarding Iraq, we have gained a
                                                               We have to decide for once and for all whether Europe
great deal of experience. We now know that a State lied
                                                               will be capable of taking decisions in the future. If
about weapons of mass destruction. We now know that a
                                                               individual states have the power to block decisions,
major power can win a war alone but is powerless to win
                                                               making them will no longer be viable. If you want
peace. We also know that the occupation of Iraq is in
                                                               applause from the Spaniards, perhaps you could explain
fact feeding the terrorism that it was supposed to
                                                               to me how Europe can have an effective decision-
overcome. Everyone now knows all of this, but the
                                                               making process using approaches such as those
Union is incapable of saying so and of learning lessons
                                                               suggested by Mr Aznar. His proposal will not allow
from it. This must change.
                                                               effective decision-making. That must be acknowledged
                                                               now, or else there is little point in continuing.
In the Middle East, which is urgently appealing for us to
reinvigorate Europe’s role, the building of the annexing
14/01/2004                                                                                                            15

(Applause)                                                     weapons dealer and to work towards increasing the
                                                               number of uranium treatment facilities. These comments
The discussions in the Chamber did not end there. Mr           are also aimed at Mr Brok, whose party in the Bundestag
President-in-Office, you spoke of Lisbon, of being             supports the move, and at Mr Schröder. The list goes on:
prepared for the future, of social cohesion – all excellent.   we also have to be honest with Iran. Giving money
Then we read a letter from a Mr Schröder, a Mr Blair, a        towards destruction – as is being done in Iran at the
Mr Chirac, and someone else, a Dutch Prime Minister,           moment – is a political disaster for democracy. We have
which says that Europe is expanding, but will have less        to tell Iran that. Then, if we really do support the rule of
money. That is the most creative economics I have ever         law and democracy, let us simply follow the Brazilians’
seen! If you expand, you pay less: how is that for logical     example. In Brazil, they have decided that if their
reasoning? And yes, I will tell Mr Fischer so.                 citizens have to have their photograph and fingerprints
Mr Poettering, perhaps you could ask your own                  taken when they travel to the United States, then all US
ministers, Mr Schäuble and Mr Lamers, who thought up           citizens who come to Brazil will have to do the same.
this two-speed Europe? It was not some stupid Social           That means that if Americans come to Europe,
Democrat or Communist: it was your very own Mr
Schäuble, potentially the next Federal President of            (Applause)
Germany, and he did it in order to keep Spain and Italy
out of the euro. That is the true history of two-speed         they will also have to have their fingerprints and
Europe.                                                        photograph taken. Equality all round! Only then will we
                                                               be partners worthy of respect.
(Applause)
                                                               To close, I would like to touch on the Stability Pact and
Your own Helmut Kohl also did his bit, with the                the Commission. President Prodi, it was heroic to
Schäuble/Lamers paper. You seem to rewrite history as          declare this Stability Pact a load of nonsense. Your
it suits you. While I have the floor, let me add the           decision to take legal action against the Council was
following: Mr Poettering, you stood up in this House           foolish, because you were unable to reform the Stability
and said, ‘we will not allow it’. You will have to accept      Pact even though it is not working. It is just as stupid to
whatever the majority in this House votes for. Either          defend a rule that does not work as to defend a stupid
                                                               rule. We all have to acknowledge the fact. Thank you.
(Applause)
                                                               (Laughter and applause)
you will have the majority or we will, and the President
                                                               3-012
of the Commission will be appointed accordingly. You
                                                               Collins (UEN). – Mr President, it is a very great
may be the largest group, but you are far from being the
                                                               pleasure for me and my Irish UEN colleagues to
majority. Mr Barón Crespo is right: go ahead and form a
                                                               welcome here the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, our political
majority with the British Conservatives, and I will be
                                                               party leader, as President-in-Office of the Council.
interested to see what kind of President you get for the
Commission. That is something I would like to see.
                                                               Europe is very fortunate at this particular time to have
                                                               the presidency held by a Prime Minister who is one of
(Laughter and applause)
                                                               the longest-serving heads of government in any of our
                                                               Member States. In fact, the President-in-Office and
There is something else I would like to say: let me add
                                                               myself are co-signatories to the Maastricht Treaty.
something else. You stand up here and announce what
you do and do not want. Tell us for once and for all, and
                                                               With regard to the IGC, the failure to reach agreement at
tell the Presidency. Either we want Europe to be based
                                                               the December Brussels Summit is, undoubtedly, a
on human rights and the rule of law, in which case there
                                                               serious setback for the European Union, but it is not a
is one road open to us, namely, to be honest. We agree
                                                               crisis. The Union will continue to function on the basis
on this, that we have to tell Mr Putin the truth about
                                                               of the existing Treaties and the process of enlargement,
Chechnya, and that is what the Presidency should be
                                                               with the accession of ten new countries on 1 May 2004.
doing. We have to tell it straight to China: that is what
                                                               However, a hastily reconvened summit and a second
Mr Schröder ought to do. Not only is it folly to lift the
                                                               failure to reach agreement on a constitutional treaty
arms embargo – in view of human rights in China, of
                                                               would quickly plunge the European Union into crisis.
their policy on Taiwan, of their policy on Tibet,
                                                               After the summit failure, the immediate need was for a
                                                               period of calm reflection by Member State governments
(Applause)
                                                               and EU institutions. I am delighted that the Irish
                                                               presidency has already embarked on an intensive
it is criminal. We have to tell them so. Then we need to
                                                               programme of consultations with fellow Member State
talk straight to Iran.
                                                               governments during the first working week of its
                                                               presidency.
(Protests)
                                                               I am also pleased to note that the Irish Government is
Then there is Hanau: we have to be straight with China
                                                               most diligent in seeking clarification on the results of the
about this Hanau nonsense. It is foolish to operate as a
16                                                                                                        14/01/2004

bilateral meetings which took place at the end of the last     sufficient to provide for a continuation of existing EU
presidency. It is important – indeed essential – to            programmes in an expanded Union of 25.
determine the exact position in which we find ourselves
at the earliest possible opportunity. It is now time for all   A related issue concerns the budgetary powers of this
those involved in EU decision-making to demonstrate            Parliament, where different suggestions have been tabled
the necessary discipline and patience to avoid further         to increase and decrease the role of Parliament in this
failures and to await the report of the presidency to the      area. I support Parliament's view in insisting on
Spring Summit.                                                 maintaining its existing powers over the budget.

All of us must avoid inflaming the debate by raising           In external relations, as with previous presidencies, the
issues which could be interpreted as threatening in many       Middle East will once again be a priority issue. I am
national capitals. It is not helpful at this time to have      pleased to note that this week Minister Cowen, as
some Member States threatening to reduce the size of           President-in-Office, is making an official visit to the
the European Union budget. Nor is it helpful to have           Middle East, where I am confident he will make every
Member States floating the idea of a two-speed Europe.         effort to move forward the peace process in that region.
The European Commission, as guardian of the Treaties,          The Irish presidency should concentrate its efforts on
must do everything possible to ensure that the idea of a       implementing the roadmap and ensuring that its partners
two-speed Europe does not gather momentum. If some             in the quartet are committed to this goal. Only the
Member States wish to move forward at a faster pace on         roadmap provides the basis on which progress can be
specific issues, then the enhanced cooperation                 made towards a just and lasting two-state solution.
mechanism already exists to enable them to do so.
Already some, but not all, Member States are involved          The priority that the presidency is giving to US relations
in the eurozone and the Schengen Agreement. These              is to be welcomed. The US is our biggest trading partner
methods could be applied to other sectors or issues if         and is a country with which Europe has strong cultural
necessary.                                                     and historical links. We have had political differences in
                                                               the recent past but the time has now come to put these
However, the suggestion that a small group of Member           problems behind us. Indeed, I am of the view that the
States could forge ahead, creating a two-speed Europe,         transatlantic relationship has not yet adapted fully to the
is vastly different in scope. It is a highly destructive       new set of circumstances which exist following the
proposal, which could put at risk the effectiveness and        collapse of the Iron Curtain, the effective removal of a
even the very existence of the European Union. The             security threat to Europe from the East and the
debate on the IGC and treaty reform should be                  emergence of the United States as the world's only
characterised by caution and by mature reflection. It is       superpower. Ireland is particularly well placed to
far more important to obtain a good result than an early       improve relations with our American friends and I hope
result.                                                        that the Irish presidency will further strengthen and
                                                               deepen relations between the Eruopean Union and the
The Spring Summit will also focus on the Lisbon                United States.
Agenda and I welcome the presidency's proposal to give
renewed impetus to the reform goals agreed at Lisbon. It       (Applause)
is in all our interests that the objective of making Europe
                                                               3-013
the world's most competitive knowledge-based economy
                                                               Bonde (EDD). – (DA) Mr President, before Christmas,
by 2010 be achieved. Some progress has been made and
                                                               the group chairmen were in Dublin to negotiate with the
we are still a long way from achieving the agreed
                                                               Irish Presidency. We spent some useful hours with
targets. We must focus on polices which will improve
                                                               Bertie and Dick and were able to welcome them. In this
European competitiveness and productivity, while
                                                               House, I shall welcome Mr Ahern and Mr Roche on a
investing more on research and new product
                                                               more official basis. I am certain that, as a small country,
development. This is one area where the European
                                                               Ireland will deliver an outstanding Presidency.
Union can have a practical effect on citizens' lives by
improving living standards and increasing environment
                                                               I myself come from a small country in which we are on
opportunities.
                                                               first-name terms with the prime minister and his closest
                                                               rivals for the job. My friends in Dublin sometimes meet
It is regrettable that some Member States are now
                                                               Bertie Ahern at the local pub. That closeness to the
advocating a reduction in the size of the EU budget. At a
                                                               electorate is something to which I would ask the Irish
time when the European Union is expanding to include
                                                               Presidency to draw attention at the next European
ten new countries and when these countries are making
                                                               Council. How do we put the people at the centre of the
stringent efforts to encourage economic growth, we have
                                                               debates concerning the Treaty? How do we make the
a duty at least to give these countries access to resources,
                                                               voters into those who decide, in the EU too? Do not get
which the existing fifteen have had access to in the past.
                                                               involved in the present fight concerning the weighting of
It is in all our interests to encourage these countries to
                                                               votes in the Council of Ministers. Do not breach an
reach their maximum potential as soon as possible. The
                                                               agreement entered into with Poland. Look at the
Commission will shortly bring forward proposals on the
                                                               minority statement from the Convention which, in actual
next financial perspectives. The Commission should
                                                               fact, contains the key to the future.
ensure that the resources in future EU budgets are
14/01/2004                                                                                                           17

                                                               the Dublin Government, but insists that we tolerate them
We propose, as the main rule, that decisions must be           if we are to have a government in Northern Ireland as
made by 75% of the countries in the Council of                 part of the United Kingdom. I trust he will learn over the
Ministers, with all the countries being equal and having       next six months to become consistent and no longer tell
one vote each. The 75% must also represent half of the         us to accept something that he would not tolerate.
voters. This is out of particular consideration for the
most populous countries, but we also propose that              I well understand his forced optimism today regarding
special account be taken of all the electorates: all the EU    the new constitutional proposal but agree with the last
countries, both large and small, should have the right of      speaker that the Union should decide on this
veto on really vital matters.                                  democratically, with every part of that Union holding a
                                                               referendum to decide on the issue so that the people can
We accept that majority decisions are the point of             voice their opinion. This would constitute a step towards
departure. It should be possible to use the right of veto if   stability and progress.
this is agreed to at a public meeting in the national
parliament and if the prime minister is prepared to            Realistically, I do not think there can be a mighty leap
defend its use at the next EU summit. This is a                forward in the six months of this presidency. There are
sustainable compromise which combines the democratic           many things that need to be attended to. The President-
principle that the voters always have the last word with       in-Office made a few remarks about human rights,
efficient international decision-making. Without the           which I think are a very important part of our agenda.
right of veto on vital issues, no efficiency is achieved.      On that subject, the matter of paedophile priests and
There are merely permanent battles and confusion where         their victims, which affects the whole of the European
the Member States do not administer the common                 Union, is one of very serious consequence to us all. I
decisions.                                                     trust that this matter, which the President-in-Office
                                                               knows something about as it affects the country of which
Look, however, at the statistics for the implementation        he is Prime Minister, will be attended to. There must be
of EU legislation. That is the reality. Parliamentary          no cover-up and the problem must be addressed directly
democracy must not be ignored. Without majority                by this Parliament and the European Union.
decisions, however, the result is permanent discussions
of practical issues too, in relation to which all the          There are also other matters, like agriculture and
countries have a common interest in its being possible,        fisheries, to deal with. The people whom I represent in
as a general rule, for them to vote their way to solutions.    this House were sadly disappointed and very angry at the
We need to take both considerations equally seriously.         attitude the government headed by the President-in-
                                                               Office has shown to the fishing industry. He will see the
The draft Convention has neglected to satisfy                  impact of that disappointment and anger in the days to
parliamentary democracy in our Member States, and it           come.
will, therefore, scarcely be possible to agree to such
democracy in the form of fair referendums, with full           As for agriculture, we know that this is an industry
information supplied. Let it come down to a test,              which needs all the help it can get in both parts of
however. Instead of organising a second referendum in          Ireland. There is no use talking about helping Poland
Ireland if the electorate votes no, you should involve the     into a position of power when that could be disastrous
other countries in the demand that the draft Constitution      for the agriculture interests of other parts of the Union.
be voted on in referendums in all the countries and,           These are matters which the President-in-Office of the
preferably, on the same day throughout the EU.                 Council and this House need to consider thoroughly.
                                                               3-015
Dear Irish Presidency, we look forward to cooperating
                                                               Doyle (PPE-DE). – Mr President, that last contribution
with you and will offer our affectionate, critical,
                                                               is a sad reminder that the doctrine of bigotry is alive and
constructive and democratic opposition.
                                                               well in certain parts of this Union. We still have a lot of
3-014                                                          work to do in that area.
Paisley (NI). – Mr President, the President-in-Office of
the Council may find it strange that I should be               (Applause)
welcoming the Irish Republic's presidency today, but I
know that he will understand my intention because he is        Taoiseach, Minister Roche, Ambassador Anderson, I
going to be so busy over the next six months that we will      join colleagues in welcoming you here this morning,
not have to tolerate his presence at meetings in Northern      particularly on behalf of my Irish colleagues in the
Ireland. We will be able to get on with our business, as       PPE-DE Group. Our presence here, as well as yours, Mr
so overwhelmingly decided by the electorate, and he can        President, in the chair of this august assembly, sends a
get on with his. We wish him a fair wind only as regards       huge signal to all small Member States that the systems
that particular issue.                                         and the processes in Europe allow the smallest of nations
                                                               to come to the top in the right circumstances. I am
We in Northern Ireland have problems. The new                  extremely proud of your presence in the chair and of the
President-in-Office of the Council has said that he would      Taoiseach's presence here as President of the Council of
not tolerate having any members of the IRA/Sinn Fein in        the European Union for the coming six months. I thank
18                                                                                                        14/01/2004

you for the honour you bring to our country in that            framework which encourages entrepreneurship and
regard.                                                        reduces this bureaucracy and red tape.

Taoiseach, there are those who contend that the only           If you are sincere in what you are saying in advocating
truly important issue to be tackled under the sixth Irish      for the rest of Europe a knowledge-based economy,
presidency of the European Union is that of the                perhaps you could start by ensuring that our Irish
completion of the IGC, the issue of the Constitution.          universities and third-level institutions are adequately
Over the past few weeks you have been playing down             funded to allow access to the greatest possible number of
your chances of delivering on this, certainly on the           young people.
domestic scene. However, having listened to you here
this morning, I feel that this might have been merely a        I should like to ask you to put the ratification of Kyoto,
political stratagem, dampening down expectations               which is essential for progress and for all our futures,
perhaps, and from what you have said – I hope I am             way up there at the top of the agenda at the EU-Russia
right in my interpretation – this is right up there at the     summit.
top of your agenda and you have all our support in that
regard.                                                        Finally, given the well-publicised claim by members of
                                                               your government that Ireland is closer to Boston than
Again we hear the Lisbon Strategy being trotted out: the       Berlin – a claim from which I dissociate myself – could
mantra of Lisbon. Quite frankly, at this stage most            you at least turn that now to an advantage with your
businesses think that time is running out for Lisbon, if       plans to re-establish close transatlantic links given the
indeed it has not already run out. We need concrete            rift that has ensued following the invasion of Iraq?
action, not just repetitions of wish lists and words. What
exactly are we going to do in relation to Lisbon? What         Again, Taoiseach, I welcome you here this morning and
are we going to do in relation to deregulation to allow        you have my sincere good wishes for a very successful
businesses to flourish, to allow innovation? Facts please,     term at the helm of Europe.
Taoiseach, specifics please, no more wish lists, because
                                                               3-016
this is the eighth time I have sat here listening to this at
                                                               President.  I do not like to irritate colleagues by
the start of a presidency and I find it very hard at the end
                                                               interrupting them, but I must appeal for your support.
of every presidency to see what difference has actually
                                                               There are 40 speakers still to speak in this debate and the
been made in relation to the Lisbon Strategy. Please tell
                                                               vote is due to take place at noon. We will not be finished
us before you go today exactly what you intend to do to
                                                               in time if speaking times are not respected.
make the Lisbon goals a reality during your watch.
                                                               3-017
Of particular note is the fact that the growth of the US       De Rossa (PSE). – Mr President, I would like to
economy, which has outperformed Europe's economy               welcome the Taoiseach, Minister Roach and
since Lisbon – the gap has grown, not lessened – is            Ambassador Anderson this morning. I welcome the
driven by its superior research and development. In fact,      wide-ranging speech that the Taoiseach made to the
the gap in wealth is stretching every year. It is time we      House, which covered many key issues with which this
acted. The Irish presidency must concentrate on a sound        House is concerned. I wish you and the Irish
framework for European research and innovation. I ask          Government well with the very onerous agenda which it
you particularly to look at the seventh EU framework           falls to you to push forward. I have no doubt that you
programme and to deliver as best you can.                      will carry out your responsibilities with efficiency.

I would like to acknowledge the historic period of             The most important issue, as you, Taoiseach, and every
enlargement which will happen under your watch and             other speaker emphasised, is the draft Constitution. We
welcome into the Community our ten new Member                  all wish the IGC could have concluded in December.
States with their considerable scientific enterprise and       That it did not reflects badly on those who blocked the
research skills, which must be harnessed and developed         conclusion, and I include not only Poland and Spain in
to full capacity.                                              that criticism. The most important objective is to ensure
                                                               that there is momentum on this issue. Europe needs this
We must place emphasis on overall economic growth,             constitution, which would make the Union more
but our priority must be to promote employment, more           democratic, more socially engaged and more
and better jobs in our European Union. In the interests of     comprehensible to its citizens and would enable us to
equity, productivity and social stability, we must address     play a more positive role on the world stage. But be
the serious issue of Europe's greying population and so        warned, Parliament will not accept any old outcome.
we must create the optimum conditions for jobs.                The constitution produced by the Convention must
                                                               remain largely intact. The values, the objectives and the
Two-thirds of Europe's workforce are currently                 rights of citizens must not be diluted. Nor must the
employed in enterprises employing less than 250 people.        budgetary powers of this Parliament be diluted in any
As such, these SMEs are the driving force of European          way.
job creation. We must focus on simplifying and
establishing a supportive regulatory-environment               Another key issue is the Lisbon process. Europe must
                                                               advance with social progress hand in hand with
14/01/2004                                                                                                        19

economic progress. There is no time to go into detail on    It is with the primary purpose of giving new impetus to
that issue, but it will be an example of a serious          the grand design for Europe that I should like to raise
commitment by the Irish Government if it were to drop       two points about your programme of work. The first is
its opposition to the Temporary Agency Workers              the scant attention paid to cohesion policies, and the
Directive, which will help to develop a flexible and        second is the urgent need to develop true physical
adaptable workforce if we address this issue in the         integration for Europe, promoting mobility everywhere
correct way. It affects millions of workers right across    within its area through the implementation of the
the European Union.                                         European transport network. The cohesion of the whole
                                                            of Europe and the involvement of all the regions in the
Finally, I urge you to take up the issue of debt            sustainable European process are an expression of that
cancellation for developing countries. Servicing debt       solidarity which I believe is fundamental if European
costs the poorest countries more than they receive in       citizens are to identify with the process that we are
development aid. A human development approach to            carrying forward.
debt sustainability with highly indebted countries would
mean that the first call on poor countries' government      (Applause)
resources would be expenditures needed to meet the
                                                            3-019
Millennium Development Goals. For the poorest
                                                            Sjöstedt (GUE/NGL).  (SV) Mr President, the Irish
countries, this will require 100% cancellation of their
                                                            Presidency is very welcome. We have high expectations,
debts. I know the Irish Government is committed to that
                                                            because we know that small countries such as Ireland are
issue as a government adopting the Irish approach, but I
                                                            usually able to provide effective and energetic
would ask you to put that onto the agenda for the other
                                                            Presidencies. It is also important in view of the fact that
Member States in Europe and seek to ensure progress is
                                                            the previous Italian Presidency was so very poor. You
made on it during your six months in office.
                                                            have not only your own problems to deal with, but also
                                                            some of the problems created by the previous
There are many other issues I would like to raise,
                                                            Presidency. Some of them are in the area of foreign
including the Guantanamo prisoners and the appalling
                                                            policy. I want to mention two of these.
suffering of the Palestinian people, but time does not
permit me to do so.
                                                            The Italian Presidency neglected to criticise the
3-018                                                       enormous human rights violations taking place in
Costa, Paolo (ELDR). – (IT) Mr President-in-Office,         Chechnya. Now, we expect some plain speaking to be
the priorities you have proposed here today deserve a       directed to Russia on this fundamental issue of human
general welcome and just a couple of comments that I        rights for the civilian population of Chechnya.
shall make. Your varied and complex programme
indicates that there is now a programmatic acquis for       Where Palestine was concerned, there was also another
Europe, a common heritage of ideas and objectives that      Italian misadventure. They tried to pursue a more pro-
will increasingly make the Union a necessary institution    Israeli policy and had a unilateral meeting with
for Europe and the whole world. First of all, this          Mr Sharon. In the case of Palestine, the reality on the
programmatic acquis requires that we should have the        ground is, however, that, by building the wall and
rules and institutions that will enable us to achieve our   expanding its settlements, Israel is on the way to
common objectives and, even before that, it requires that   destroying a possible two-State solution and destroying
trust should be restored in the grand design for the        the Palestinians’ prospects of leading normal lives. Here
integration of Europe. In recent months we have seen        too, there is a need for plain language on the part of the
too many signs of a selfish attitude towards the            EU. In the very last few days, Israel has also introduced
European adventure, reducing the Union to a self-service    a kind of visa requirement applicable to the occupied
institution in which each country periodically reassesses   territories, something that also affects EU citizens, aid
its membership on the basis of its own short-term goals.    workers, journalists and others. We expect the EU to
The breach of the Stability and Growth Pact by France       protest.
and Germany, which ECOFIN permitted on 25
November, or the vetoes from all sides that prevented       When it comes to the environmental sphere, which is my
the European constitution from being adopted are just       own speciality, I think, however, that the Presidency’s
the most blatant examples of a kind of Euro-selfishness     programme is rather thin and not sufficiently practical.
that must be firmly stamped upon straight away, before      You would have done well to have gone a little further
everything becomes more difficult in the Europe of 25.      in this area. For example, you could have mentioned the
                                                            importance of quickly obtaining sound chemicals
Mr President-in-Office, please make every effort for the    legislation and of cooperating with Parliament on this
Intergovernmental Conference to conclude its work by        issue. The importance of giving more impetus to the
approving the Constitution during this Presidency. I am     climate negotiations is, in itself, referred to, but the EU
sure I can say that Parliament is with you in wanting to    has an enormous task in this area over the next six
achieve this Constitution, based to a great extent on the   months when the Kyoto Protocol is in danger of
work of the Convention, as soon as possible. It is an       collapsing. Other major issues are the Carthagena
event that all sincere pro-Europeans are waiting for.       Protocol and the biodiversity conference in Kuala
                                                            Lumpur, where important decisions are going to be
20                                                                                                         14/01/2004

taken on trade involving genetically engineered                Abitbol (EDD). – (FR) Mr President, Mr President-in-
products. This has been the EU’s pet area of concern for       Office of the Council, you are inheriting a European
a long time, and care needs to be taken over it.               Union that is in quite a pitiful state, which has,
                                                               throughout 2003, shown itself to be fundamentally
There is another sphere I also think has been rather           incapable of responding to the major external and
neglected in this programme, which is otherwise sound.         internal challenges faced by the people of Europe.
I mean the crisis for the currency union. It is time to stop
pretending. The currency union and the Stability and           Under these circumstances, it would have been quite
Growth Pact face a serious economic and political crisis.      premature, to say the least, to give this Europe of 25 –
This was apparent as recently as yesterday when the            which is what it is – a constitution, this being the symbol
Commission chose to bring a case at the EC Court of            of a people’s political and democratic maturity. We are
Justice against the Council’s decision. The crisis consists    far from reaching that point. You said just now, Mr
of the fact that unrealistic rules have been devised.          President-in-Office of the Council, that we were the
When reality and the rules collide, a political crisis such    elected representatives of the people. We are not; we are
as this arises, and there can only be one solution: to         the elected representatives of the European peoples, until
review the Stability and Growth Pact as it stands at           there is evidence to the contrary.
present.
                                                               So, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, make more
3-020
                                                               speed with less haste. The top priority is not what
Maes (Verts/ALE). – (NL) Mr President, our welcome
                                                               Mr Poettering is loudly demanding, which is all that his
to the Irish Presidency is very sincere, for we know it to
                                                               supporters can see. The people of Europe do not have
be an opportunity for Europe when a small country like
                                                               the same priorities as the Group of the European
yours sets to work in full awareness of its European and
                                                               People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European
global task. You are also an example to the new Member
                                                               Democrats, and they do not care about the political
States, in that you made a success of your own
                                                               leanings of the Commissioners. The people of Europe do
accession, both for your own people and for the whole of
                                                               not need a constitution, which is a matter for institutions.
Europe. As regionalists and representatives of stateless
                                                               They need growth; they need jobs. I think that you could
peoples, we expect from Ireland more understanding for
                                                               make your Presidency a great deal more useful by taking
our aspirations towards autonomy and maintaining our
                                                               the Union down that road, rather than getting lost in the
own identity, as towards direct participation in European
                                                               maze of this supposed constitution. In order to restore
decision-making. Whether we are Scotland, Wales, the
                                                               growth and employment, there needs to be a change of
Basque country, Catalonia, Galicia or Flanders, we
                                                               policy. The policy followed since the Maastricht Treaty
expect the same level of respect from the EU as the
                                                               has failed. Europe, and specifically the euro zone, is
Baltic States or the Scandinavian countries.
                                                               dropping a growth point every year solely due to the
                                                               restrictive, Malthusian and ultimately somewhat sadistic
You can expect our wholehearted support for your
                                                               policy of the European Central Bank, which means that
prioritisation of a sound European Constitution and for
                                                               we now have a largely overvalued currency. Are we
your ambition to make Europe a more effective player at
                                                               going to accept the European economy being mortgaged
world level for the benefit of peace and sustainable
                                                               for much longer by the ghosts of those whom General
development. We therefore hope that you will, for
                                                               de Gaulle would have called ‘the gnomes of Frankfurt’?
example, continue to curb the arms trade and will ensure
that the rules of the code of conduct are observed in the
                                                               The greatest danger for Europe, Mr President, for the
process.
                                                               Lisbon process and for growth and employment, I am
                                                               sorry to say, is my former compatriot, Mr Trichet. Your
Ireland boasts long experience in the dialogue with the
                                                               Presidency will be judged not on the Constitution, you
peoples of the Middle East and as a donor and partner of
                                                               can be sure, but on your ability to make the European
the countries in Africa, but the millennium agenda
                                                               currency work for the European economy.
should be incorporated more effectively in our day-to-
day goals, also as a European Union. It is no small feat       3-022
to have the ambition to halve, by 2015, the number of          Berthu (NI). – (FR) Mr President, Mr President-in-
poor who have to survive on less than 1 dollar a day.          Office of the Council, the Irish Presidency is today
How much progress have we made on this score? I                taking on the onerous task of continuing with the
could, however, also mention the other objectives.             Intergovernmental Conference and trying to bring
                                                               together positions that do not simply differ on technical
I should like to make a specific appeal with regard to         points, but also due to reasons associated with the
debt reduction, because many poor countries have to            concept of sovereignty.
swim along in this global world sea with a millstone of
debt around their necks. Finally, I hope that sustainable      You said just now, Mr President-in-Office of the
development will not remain an empty shell where it            Council, that the new Constitution should meet the
involves our own European policy on sugar, cotton or           expectations of citizens and enable the EU to play a
rice, for that is what we will be judged on.                   more coherent role in the world. If that were all it meant,
                                                               everyone would be in complete agreement. However,
3-021
                                                               there is another fundamental issue that is much more
14/01/2004                                                                                                            21

difficult: how can we cooperate while preserving               the Union's agenda in the months ahead to promote real
democracy? Do we need to move towards removing the             and lasting economic reform. If he sets the agenda, he
independence of national sovereignty through majority          will have our full and enthusiastic support.
votes, according to the draft constitution, or, as we
believe, should we preserve sovereignty and therefore          On the question of the draft Constitution, which came to
the national democracies of the Member States?                 grief at Brussels last December, I would simply say this:
                                                               our view has always been that the draft Constitution was
We need to explain this issue clearly to citizens and,         moving the EU in the wrong direction. The aspirations
with this in mind, we urge the Irish Presidency to start       of the Laeken Summit two years ago, when the Heads of
doing this, to publicly and accurately set out the IGC’s       Government expressed the hope that the Convention
points of agreement and disagreement. Of course, this          would bring the Union closer to its citizens, has
would not prejudge the outcome, as we are well aware           singularly failed to materialise.
that there is no agreement on anything as long as there is
not agreement on everything, but it would at least allow       I would in any case like to ask the Taoiseach, in the light
us to begin a genuine debate and seriously inform              of the collapse of the talks, to answer one very specific
citizens.                                                      question. In recent correspondence I have had with
                                                               Mr Peter Hain, the British Government's main
We also hope that the governments are going to use the         representative on the Convention, he refers to the
coming months to better evaluate the consequences of           ‘Treaty that we agreed at the European Council ...’. Does
the plan. For example, we read in the priorities of the        the presidency recognise that a treaty was ‘agreed’, or is
Irish Presidency, published by the website, ‘Sources           it the case, as has been said before, that nothing is agreed
d'Europe’, that you ‘would hope’, I said, ‘you would           until everything is agreed? We all need to have urgent
hope’ that the accession negotiations with Turkey could        clarification on that.
begin at the end of 2004. Could you therefore tell us
                                                               3-024
what Turkey’s place would be in the institutions of the
                                                               Hänsch (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, we can fully
future constitution, which would be made to last, as
                                                               endorse two remarks about the draft Constitution and the
everyone is always telling us? What would its place be
                                                               Intergovernmental Conference made by the President-in-
in the Council in forty years time? What would its place
                                                               Office of the Council. You spoke, Mr President-in-
be in the European Parliament? What would its place be
                                                               Office of the Council, of the excellent work done by the
in the new majority decision-making process? Mr
                                                               Convention. Mr Cohn-Bendit mocked your comments. I
President-in-Office of the Council, your answers would
                                                               will take them seriously and at face value. Your words
really fuel the debate.
                                                               indicate that you will not allow your colleagues at the
3-023                                                          IGC to destroy that excellent work and again leave it in
Evans, Jonathan (PPE-DE). – Mr President,                      tatters. We know that the IGC will not adopt the draft
Taoiseach, I should like to begin by wishing the Irish         text exactly as it stands. Nevertheless, the draft
presidency success in its work over the coming six             Constitution is more than just a starting point – it is
months. You have set out a number of important                 balanced, fair, and contains all the key elements for a
priorities for action in the period ahead, not least that of   solution. In a Union of states and citizens, Mr
kick-starting the Lisbon agenda on economic reform and         Poettering, the double majority system forms part of that
competitiveness.                                               essential factor: balance. That is why it is included in the
                                                               draft Constitution, and not to give any Member State an
I want to concentrate today on the issue of the draft          edge.
Constitution and the situation following the failure of the
Brussels Summit in December. However, as we have               Your second comment, Mr President-in-Office, was that
made clear on a number of occasions, the Union must            you want to move ahead swiftly. You want to report
also get to grips with advancing the stalled Lisbon            back in March and we fully support that aim. On this
process. Ireland has made great economic strides in            point, Mr Poettering, I agree with you for once. The
recent years, but throughout the Union there remains a         rumours and prognostications about a two-tier or two-
reluctance to embrace genuine economic reform.                 speed system, about centres of gravity and so forth must
                                                               stop, and the best way to do that is by providing a
I was pleased to note in the press this week that the          European Constitution, and fast.
Commission wishes to take forward the liberalisation of
the internal market in services. Such issues are worth         (Applause)
tackling in the short to medium term but, as regards the
long term, EU Member States need to be more ambitious          Mr President-in-Office, you expressed your conviction
in their approach. However, my enthusiasm is tempered          that the European Union needs a Constitution.
by the reality that liberalisation in areas such as            Obviously, we share that view. However, we do not
medicine, legal and fiscal advice and employment               need any old Constitution; we need the Convention’s
agencies, whilst worthy, is essentially a distraction from     proposed text. What is more, we need it now, not just in
the big picture of further liberalisation in the               two or three years’ time. The world and the new
telecommunications, energy and financial services              challenges it brings is not going to wait for Europe. If I
sectors. I urge the Taoiseach to exert his influence over      may, I would also like to address Mr Poettering.
22                                                                                                       14/01/2004

Mr Poettering, you called for the results of the elections    shown to be out of step with economic and social reality.
to be taken into account when the next President of the       We all know that it is an instrument for which the
Commission is appointed. I am very happy to hear you          criteria are stupid, which penalises economic growth,
speak out so clearly in favour of a Commission President      jobs and public investment, and which ought to be
from the ranks of the social democrats.                       scrapped. Simply making it flexible will not solve the
                                                              problem. Debate is ongoing regarding the evaluation of
(Applause)                                                    current economic and monetary policies, especially the
                                                              introduction of the single currency and the over-
3-025
                                                              valuation of the euro, while the current economic
Duff (ELDR). – Mr President, the tone of the debate in
                                                              climate amply illustrates the structural shortcomings of
this House is clear: most of us want to assist the Irish
                                                              the policy that has been pursued and the need for a root
presidency to reach a quick settlement on the
                                                              and branch review. It is also essential that we amend
Constitution through our political contacts, and with our
                                                              what is known as the Lisbon Strategy, in order to
experience of these questions we can provide both
                                                              achieve high-quality public services and to foster
practical and moral support. The scheduling of the work
                                                              effective social inclusion. Finally, with regard to the
of the IGC is extremely important because, if it is
                                                              Intergovernmental Conference for revising the Treaties,
scheduled and programmed properly, pressure will grow
                                                              my suggestion is that you ignore the current draft.
on the Member States to take more seriously their
collective duty to provide leadership for the European        3-027
Union. Why not pencil into the calendar an IGC summit         McKenna (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, I would like to
meeting before 1 May?                                         welcome the Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern, and his
                                                              colleagues here today. The Irish presidency should not
The manner in which the new Commission President is           allow itself to be hijacked or bullied and pressurised into
chosen will serve as a further way of restoring political     ensuring that an EU constitution is pushed through
faith in Europe. This is a function of the presidency on      during its six-month term. Failure to reach a final
which the Taoiseach was curiously discreet. How that          agreement on the controversial Constitution will not
person is chosen will be a factor in the fight to restore     mean failure for the Irish presidency – unless of course
and strengthen the political authority of the Commission.     the government is foolish enough to give the impression
It is not simply a question of finding a single candidate.    that such an agreement could somehow be reached.
All the party political groups should find their own
champion, and the procedure provided for by the               You may believe that if the Constitution were adopted
Convention could easily and simply be brought into            during the Irish presidency, it would have a better
early use by us all in June and July.                         chance of success in an Irish referendum. That will not
                                                              be the case since those concerned about the issues will
3-026
                                                              not be swayed to support it simply because it was
Figueiredo (GUE/NGL). – (PT) Mr President, ladies
                                                              finalised during that presidency. As you yourself know,
and gentlemen, the Irish Presidency faces a number of
                                                              Taoiseach, those in Ireland who are critical of the EU are
challenges. I shall highlight three, beginning with the
                                                              so mainly because of the military implications of this
negotiations of the financial perspective for the post-
                                                              Constitution.
2006 period and proposals for the future of cohesion
policy. The context in which these are to be tabled does
                                                              If the Constitution is to become a priority, then some key
not bode well for much-needed economic and social
                                                              issues must be addressed. These relate in particular to
cohesion in the EU. Straightaway, we find ourselves,
                                                              military aspects, including structured cooperation, but
unacceptably, blackmailed by the so-called ‘Gang of
                                                              also to the issue of the Euratom Treaty, which clearly
Six’, which aims to limit the Community budget to 1%
                                                              must come to an end, especially for a country which is
of the Community’s gross national product, following
                                                              anti-nuclear.
the lack of agreement at the Brussels Summit on the new
Draft Constitutional Treaty. Given that the debate within
                                                              Much more time is needed to address the Constitution
the Commission currently fluctuates between
                                                              and the monumental decisions it entails, and the more
maintaining the current limit of the financial perspective,
                                                              time allowed the better. This would also give ordinary
1.24% of Gross National Product, and reducing it to
                                                              people throughout the European Union time to lobby for
1.15% – despite the accession of countries with revenues
                                                              referenda on this issue. It would be a terrible blow to the
of less than 50% of the Community average, and despite
                                                              democratic process if the people of Europe were not
the increase in social inequality and of national and
                                                              asked their opinion on this matter. The privilege we have
regional disparities in the EU. There is a danger that the
                                                              in Ireland should be extended to all Member States.
new financial perspective will undermine what ought to
be urgent priorities, such as jobs with rights, the fight
                                                              Your party colleague, Mr Gerard Collins, was correct in
against poverty and social exclusion, and cooperation
                                                              saying that everything can continue under the existing
and development with developing countries. The
                                                              rules. We were told that the Treaty of Nice was essential
fundamental issue is, therefore, to increase the financial
                                                              for enlargement. Now we are told it is insufficient. Let
perspective.
                                                              the Irish presidency be a constructive and positive one.
                                                              Let the issues that really matter to the people take
The second challenge I wish to highlight is the much-
                                                              priority, such as the Irish Government's support for
needed review of the Stability Pact, which has been
14/01/2004                                                                                                         23

100% debt cancellation for the world's poorest countries.     Very briefly, Mr President-in-Office: pay close attention
This initiative has widespread support, so let us take this   to reform, which is now international; pay close
opportunity to push for its realisation.                      attention – and I am also addressing the President of the
                                                              Commission – to that community of democracies
You briefly mentioned environmental issues and you            towards whom the European Union has shown itself to
should take this opportunity to ensure that all the           be either indifferent or blindly hostile. In Geneva – we
outstanding complaints against Ireland in relation to         shall talk about it again this afternoon – there is the
breaches of EU law are addressed and resolved.                Commission on Human Rights. Mr President-in-Office,
                                                              President of the Commission, change your tack! We are
On the issue of the EU-Russia summit, which you also          asking you to give a decisive speech on this issue, as we
mentioned, it is essential that the major issue of            did with Mrs Bonino, as we also did a few days ago with
Chechnya be raised with the Russians. The issue of the        a brilliant speech by Mr Cox at Sana’a in Yemen, with
arms embargo to China is also one of major concern to         that charter and declaration of human rights drawn up by
those worried about the arms trade.                           predominantly Arab countries, which I hope we will not
                                                              have to go on taking forward for very long as a
Regarding the Middle East, I would urge Minister              temporary measure with regard to the European Union
Cowen, who is going there today, to raise the concerns        and our own countries.
of many Members of this Parliament. Members who
have just returned from Palestine say that the situation      My best wishes, then, but please choose the road
there is absolutely appalling. The walls which have been      towards a Europe of freedom and reform and not the one
built there completely defy any kind of international         towards counter-reform and obscurantism!
logic or law.
                                                              3-030
3-028                                                         Tajani (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, Mr President-in-
Farage (EDD). – Mr President, so, the Irish presidency        Office of the Council, Mr President of the Commission,
is handed the political hot potato of the draft European      we are delighted to welcome the Irish decision to
Constitution. No doubt reconciling the egos of so many        endeavour to build a safer Europe, one which is ever
aged male leaders is going to prove quite a challenge;        closer to the citizens and which at last has its first
increasing public opposition to the Constitution will not     constitution, the fruit of the Convention’s labours. You,
help either.                                                  Mr President-in-Office, will have our staunch support to
                                                              reach these goals. Ireland has the task of bringing the
I simply do not know whether a deal is possible in the        good work of the Italian Presidency to a conclusion, as
course of the next few months. However, it is clear from      you pointed out this morning.
the Irish programme that with or without the
Constitution, this presidency intends to pursue a deeply      Mr President of the Commission, for the coming term to
integrationist agenda. Yet more agencies are to be            be successful a major political problem needs to be
established, all without democratic accountability and all    settled: what will the role of the Community’s executive
adding to remote, bureaucratic control. This new form of      power be? To answer this question we need to know
government simply does not work! From the common              what the President of the Commission intends to do.
fisheries policy to the Stability and Growth Pact, the        When, at the beginning of this year, you attacked the
whole system is mired in failure. Sadly, the Irish            Italian Presidency, although you had praised it in your
antidote to all this appears to be 'more of the same'.        official speeches, you confirmed your intention of taking
                                                              part yourself in the Italian election campaign. We should
3-029
                                                              like you to give us some clarification, a clear answer to
Pannella (NI). – (IT) Mr President, President-in-Office
                                                              the vital question that Parliament is asking you: do you
of the Council, President of the Commission, if I may
                                                              intend to continue as head of the executive, or have you
make a personal comment, I should like to offer the Irish
                                                              decided to stand in the forthcoming European elections?
Presidency my very best wishes. We have in common
                                                              It is your duty to decide, as Mr Poettering and Mr Barón
much more than we might have imagined in the past,
                                                              Crespo have reminded you more than once. For this
perhaps because a large part of the Europe present here
                                                              presidential term and the next, Europe needs a
today is of Italian or Irish extraction. In New York and
                                                              Commission with a full-time head. The Council and
America we took our chance to find peace and our daily
                                                              Parliament need a Commission that will perform its role
bread, freedom and work. We had to go and look for it
                                                              as the promoter of legislative initiatives even more
there and, moreover, Ireland and Italy also have to
                                                              thoroughly than it has done up to now. The procedures
choose between Counter-Reformation papism, which
                                                              for choosing commissioners from the enlargement
still hangs over both our societies, and a Europe of
                                                              countries, the opinion on Turkey, the submission of the
freedoms and of political, civil and economic reform.
                                                              Union’s financial perspective and the support you have
That is what I wanted to recall and place in context. Be
                                                              announced for the signing of the constitutional treaty all
careful, Mr President-in-Office! With the Vatican-
                                                              require stability and a President whose commitments lie
inspired vetoes on research freedom, Europe is again
                                                              only in Brussels and Strasbourg.
threatened with losing an extremely dangerous amount
of our countries’ culture, industry and civilisation.         3-031
                                                              Hume (PSE). – Mr President, Mr President-in-Office
                                                              and Mr President, I am very pleased that the Taoiseach
24                                                                                                        14/01/2004

and his ministers are here today and that they hold the        Shortly before the Intergovernmental Conference, the
presidency of Europe at this particularly crucial time.        Italian Presidency came up with a proposal to add – and
Because of the failure to establish agreement on the new       I quote – ‘the principle of equality between men and
European Constitution during the previous presidency,          women’ to Article 2 of the constitutional Treaty.
their first main task is to reach that agreement. I hope       Equality between men and women is not merely a
they will, because there is a clear need for a long-term       principle. It is, and must continue to be, a fundamental
constitutional framework for the new Europe of 25              value in the EU, just as the other values – human
countries, which may well become even larger during            dignity, democracy etc – are not merely principles but
this decade.                                                   fundamental values.

The principles of the European Union have served us            At the extraordinary meeting for previous Convention
very well and must be preserved in the new Constitution:       members, the Italian Foreign Ministers promised to take
full representation of each Member State in all the            the following proposal further: after ‘equality’ in the
institutions – institutions which respect our different        first clause are to be added the words ‘including equality
identities, and where we can work together in our              between men and women’. I shall produce the proposal
common interest.                                               for you, in writing and in English.
                                                               3-033
I am confident that the Irish presidency will work hard
                                                               Galeote Quecedo (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, Mr
to secure an agreement capable of winning the support
                                                               President-in-Office of the Council, I would like to begin
of all the peoples of the European Union, in which all
                                                               by congratulating the Commission on fulfilling its
citizens and all Member States have equal rights, there is
                                                               responsibility with regard to judicially demanding
no second-class membership and we all make progress
                                                               compliance with the Stability Pact. Rules must apply
together. A two-speed or a two-tier Europe will not
                                                               equally to everybody, because otherwise we will not be
succeed in meeting the aspirations of our peoples.
                                                               able to say that we live within the Rule of Law.
Mr President-in-Office, the work you and your
                                                               Nevertheless, I regret that certain members of the
government have done, and are still doing, for peace in
                                                               Commission have made statements referring to a two-
Northern Ireland is outstanding. The European Union is
                                                               speed Europe, that is, dividing Europe up just when we
the best example in the history of the world of conflict
                                                               are about to reunify. That is not the way for the
resolution: the first half of the last century was the worst
                                                               Commission to carry out one of its essential functions;
in the history of the world – 50 million dead. Who, then,
                                                               guardian of the Treaties. And, incidentally, it is
could have dreamt that, in the second half of that
                                                               reasonable, in a democratic system, that the head of the
century, those same peoples would unite? The principles
                                                               executive power be asked to respond to a parliamentary
at the heart of the European Union can therefore solve
                                                               majority.
conflict anywhere in the world because those three
principles are also at the heart of our agreement in
                                                               I would like to praise the Irish Presidency for the clarity
Northern Ireland. Accordingly, given our history of
                                                               with which it has given its opinion on a two-speed
success in conflict resolution in Europe, would it not be
                                                               Europe. Mr President-in-Office of the Council, we
a very good thing if, during the Irish presidency, you
                                                               expect a lot from the next six months and fully agree
were to persuade the Commission to set up a special
                                                               with the political priorities set and your commitment,
department of peace and reconciliation so that, instead of
                                                               which you have repeated this morning, to the European
sending armies to areas of conflict, a team of people
                                                               Constitution. We believe it is necessary to confront a
equipped with the European Union's philosophy and
                                                               process of reforms for the economic and social
principles is dispatched to those areas, since today we
                                                               modernisation of the Union, to guarantee freedom,
are in a stronger position to shape the world?
                                                               security and justice for the people who live or reside in
                                                               it, and finally, to define more profound relations with the
Technology, telecommunications and transport have
                                                               United States, in order to combat the new threats to our
made the world a much smaller place. The European
                                                               democracies and our fundamental rights more
Union could therefore play a major role in ensuring there
                                                               effectively.
will be no conflict or war in the world. The way to do
that is to transport the philosophy of the European Union
                                                               Ireland is a good example of what solidarity in the
to areas of conflict: dialogue developed there will enable
                                                               Union should be, and that solidarity is best expressed
agreement to be reached accordingly.
                                                               through our policy of economic and social cohesion. My
3-032                                                          country, Spain, also aspires to achieving real
Dybkjær (ELDR). – (DA) Mr President-in-Office of the           convergence with the European Union average because,
Council, you face major challenges over the next six           according to our political philosophy, the aim is not to
months, partly in connection with the constitutional           create permanently subsidised societies, but that our
Treaty. I have high hopes of you and would make a              level of development must contribute to the internal
special proposal to which I believe that many European         economic balance of the Union.
women, and not a few men, will attach importance.
                                                               We wish the Irish Presidency every success over the
                                                               coming months.
14/01/2004                                                                                                            25
3-034
                                                                the Catalan Government and Parliament cannot address
Titley (PSE). – Mr President, I also wish to welcome            the Court of Justice in Catalan on issues relating to the
the President-in-Office. It is certainly nice to see the        application of European Union law, which makes up
professionals back in charge of the shop.                       80% of our legislation.
The real challenge for this presidency, of course, is to        My request, therefore, since you have a particular
deliver enlargement, and the difficulties that remain           understanding of what it means to defend the identity of
should not be underestimated. The new countries must            a people and a country in Europe, is that the European
be pressured by this presidency to continue the reforms         Constitution, which you have committed yourself to
necessary for their successful integration into the Union.      promoting, should take account of the rights of these
We must continue our clear commitment to Romania,               peoples, their languages, their cultures and also the
Bulgaria and Turkey to ensure that the enlargement              constitutional regions. There are many references for it
process proceeds. Enlargement is the challenge of the           and many reasons to defend it.
decade. It is not just a question of delivering
enlargement, but also of making it work. Enlargement            3-036

could make or break the European Union. Frankly,                Sudre (PPE-DE). – (FR) Mr President-in-Office of the
without a reform of our decision-making structures,             Council, Mr President of the Commission, in the six
enlargement will break the Union – it is as simple as           month period starting now, during which Ireland is
that. Therefore, we must have a constitutional treaty.          taking over the Presidency of the Council, there are two
                                                                important events: the historic unification of Europe with
I fear that many colleagues here today have                     the accession of ten new countries on 1 May and the
underestimated the vested interests there are in some           European elections next June in our twenty-five Member
governments not to have an agreement, at least for the          States. The events of the next six months will surely be
time being. How else do you explain voting                      dominated by the continuance of the Intergovernmental
arrangements that do not come into effect until 2009            Conference, which is responsible for preparing a new
causing the collapse of the IGC? It defies belief that was      constitution for Europe after the failure of the Brussels
the only reason.                                                summit in December.

The real tragedy of this debacle is that it is distracting us   It is clear that the European Union will be in a better
from even more important work. The Constitution is              position to welcome these new members if it already has
about how we do things, when our attention should be            a constitution. You were pragmatic, Mr President-in-
focused on what we do. Key to that is the Lisbon                Office of the Council, when you recently spoke out
process, which is running out of steam, hamstrung as it         against the idea of setting a final deadline for reaching
is by a surfeit of generalities, a lack of specific targets,    an agreement on the future constitutional treaty.
and by the Member States' failure to implement what             However, you were also wise in warning against
they have agreed to.                                            extending the IGC too much.

In particular, this presidency must take forward the            Like you, I think that the longer the negotiations go on,
report by Wim Kok. We must have more and better jobs;           the smaller the chances will be of reaching an
we must make work pay; we must have a more dynamic              agreement. I have therefore quite understood your desire
social model aimed at getting more people into work –           to make every effort to encourage the decision-making
particularly those traditionally excluded; we must avoid        process, because institutional confusion should not cause
having a two-tier workforce and we need a more                  us to forget the historic event of the ten new Member
productive workforce. To do this we have to set every           States joining the EU, countries that have largely proved
government clear targets to be achieved. The new                themselves worthy of joining a Community of value and
Member States are used to annual scrutiny. We have to           freedom. Let us ensure that the indecision that we have
extend that discipline to the existing states. Let us do        been guilty of does not paralyse the entire European
more to put countries on the spot.                              plan.

My question to the President-in-Office is very specific:        In less than six months, the citizens of the united Europe
how do you intend to take forward Wim Kok's very                will be called upon, in the European elections, to decide
important report? Because, more than anything else, if          together on the future of our continent. Traditionally,
you deliver on more jobs you will earn the eternal              and unfortunately, the electorate is not interested in this
gratitude of our voters.                                        vote, because what is at stake seems to be too distant or
                                                                obscure to them. I hope that the Irish Presidency and all
3-035
                                                                the Member States of the EU will tackle this problem
Gasòliba i Böhm (ELDR). – (ES) Mr President, Mr                 and try to mobilise citizens by organising a European
President-in-Office of the Council, Taoiseach, Bertie           debate giving them a real choice between the different
Ahern, Mr President of the Commission, ladies and               options available to Europe.
gentlemen, the President-in-Office of the Council began
his speech in his own language, Gaelic; you also did so,        3-037

President Cox, at your investiture, as well as the              Schulz (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, ladies and
President of Ireland. However, I cannot use mine,               gentlemen, my first remarks are addressed to an absent
Catalan, spoken by more than seven million people, and          colleague, which I am sure is due to his packed
26                                                                                                       14/01/2004

schedule. I actually wanted to respond to Mr Poettering.      fault of many Member States. For this reason, then, I
He is not in the Chamber at the moment, but he will           also ask you to be the President-in-Office who finally
undoubtedly hear what I have to say.                          takes this issue seriously. Because if we want to
                                                              implement Tampere, we need the European arrest
In the course of today’s discussion about the Irish           warrant. I would be very grateful if you could come back
Presidency we have heard yet again from Mr Poettering,        to this point in your reply.
who always comes back to the same subject, namely the
question of who will be the next Commission President.        (Applause)
As far as he is concerned, it is obvious that the next
                                                              3-038
Commission President will be proposed by the Group of
                                                              Maaten (ELDR). – (NL) Mr President, last year was a
the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and
                                                              miserable year for Europe, and the challenge is now to
European Democrats. First of all, let me say that the
                                                              restore the confidence in the institutions and in the
European elections take place on 13 June. It is not up to
                                                              agreements that they have concluded. This confidence
Mr Poettering in plenary to determine which group will
                                                              will also be reflected in the turnout for the European
be strongest in this House after those elections, but
                                                              Parliament elections in June.
rather it will be decided by European voters. We still
intend to do a lot of campaigning. I am not certain that
                                                              One way of restoring this confidence is more
the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian
                                                              transparency and democracy. We are looking for a new
Democrats) and European Democrats will be the
                                                              President of the Commission, and we are looking for an
strongest group in the House after the elections. It may
                                                              independent, energetic person with the backing of a
be, Mr Poettering, that the unifying forces at work
                                                              majority in the new Parliament. I would therefore ask
within this group will actually fail between now and
                                                              the President of the Council to consider involving
then. I am thinking of the British Conservative Party,
                                                              Parliament in the nominations of candidates, by, for
and others, who no longer want to sit in this group, but it
                                                              example, having the political families put forward
may be that a couple more will join them. Maybe
                                                              names. We should in any event get away from back-
Mr Fini – we do not know. It is a dynamic process after
                                                              room decisions taken in the middle of the night.
all.
                                                              Secondly, confidence can be restored by effective
Whoever becomes the next Commission President,
                                                              intervention in cross-border problems. This is what the
however, will need broad support in this House and will
                                                              public expect from us. Major epidemics are a case in
only receive broad support in this House if he, or she,
                                                              point. The fact that SARS has passed us by during
has the Group of the Party of European Socialists on his,
                                                              previous epidemic crises is more down to luck than good
or her, side. Our conservative colleagues would
                                                              judgment. A new SARS epidemic is looming and I am
therefore be well advised to pursue an inclusive
                                                              asking the presidency to take the initiative to ensure that
approach in the Chamber, rather than electioneering
                                                              the Public Health Ministers grant the Commission – in
here.
                                                              this case, Commissioner Byrne – far-reaching powers to
                                                              take crisis management measures, such as uniform
Allow me to make a further comment. This criticism
                                                              controls at airports, should this prove necessary.
applies to everyone who refers to the domestic political
situation in a particular Member State. I am thinking of
                                                              In any case, I am confident that this presidency can
the previous presidency, which taught me a hard lesson.
                                                              restore confidence in the institutions, and your inspired
For the moment, however, let it be noted with no further
                                                              speech of today only encourages me in this.
comment that every Forza Italia MEP in this House
exploits the office of the Commission President for           3-039
domestic campaigning purposes. In my opinion, this is         Bodrato (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, I too am
something that should be rejected vigorously in the           delighted that the Irish Presidency is prioritising the
interests of the European institutions.                       objective of reuniting the peoples of Europe, after
                                                              divergences on key points of the Convention’s proposal
(Applause)                                                    led to its collapse in Brussels. The June elections must
                                                              not be allowed to widen the split in the Union, but must
Mr President-in-Office, I would like to ask you the same      instead give a new democratic boost to pro-European
question that I also put to your predecessor, and I hope      feeling.
we will not end up with flights of cinematographic
fancy. What do you intend to do to ensure the rapid           Parliament wants to get back on course towards a
introduction of the European arrest warrant? I put the        constitution straight away, and appreciates the
same question to each presidency. If in your comments,        commitment to reconvene the Intergovernmental
you suggest that the Tampere process should be                Conference and to act transparently, for the sake of
reviewed, then let me remind you once again that the          closer and closer relations between the Union’s
European arrest warrant was a key component of the            institutions and its citizens. We also share the
Tampere Conclusions and did not – despite the                 multilateral position for a common foreign and defence
commitments made at Tampere – enter into force on 1           policy, for a solid partnership with the United States, for
January. Let me repeat a point I made in our last debate:     the reaffirmation of the United Nations and for the
this is not the fault of one Member State, but rather the     resumption of international trade talks.
14/01/2004                                                                                                           27

                                                               democratic Europe. Taoiseach Ahern, do you support
Public opinion is, however, concerned about the future.        this programme and will you do so in April?
The spring Council will report the successes that have
been achieved, but there is also the risk that the social      For the rest, I would urge you to support the European
model will be weakened without Europe’s economy                Commission to maintain the rules at the Court, but also
becoming any more competitive in the world. We have            in the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact in order to
to think carefully about the choices we need to make to        bring about more European growth despite the hard
relaunch the Lisbon strategy and also about the Union’s        euro. I would ask you to support the proposals by Wim
financial perspective: that is, the resources that Europe      Kok, and support the proposals for debt relief coupled to
can call on to face the challenges that were clearly spelt     the millennium objectives for developing countries. Do
out by Mr Prodi. These challenges concern, first of all,       you intend to take an initiative on this score and do you
the enlargement of the Union and also, especially in the       support the troika for Ethiopia and Eritrea where another
long-term, the future of our continent’s younger               war is threatening to break out?
generations.
                                                               The Naples agreement is an important step along the
3-040
                                                               way towards a broad European safety policy. All studies
Van den Berg (PSE). – (NL) Mr President, Taoiseach, I
                                                               have shown that all our citizens regard this as a priority,
urge you to tackle the language and culture of
                                                               so I would urge you to be ready to bring about the
bureaucracy. Citizens' organisations despair when they
                                                               Convention's Constitution. Enlargement by the addition
read forms and subsidy applications in a Eurospeak that
                                                               of ten countries in the absence of a Constitution is an
alienates citizens. All credit to the Irish Presidency for
                                                               insult to the European citizens, for they must be central
wanting to simplify forms, regulations and texts and
                                                               in this year of rejoicing for Europe – and the way in
make them citizen-friendly. The attack on this
                                                               which you have worded your work programme leads me
bureaucratic language and culture could consist of
                                                               to have complete confidence in you.
abolishing bureaucratic forms and replacing texts of
regulations by modern, understandable and citizen-             3-041
friendly text. Secondly, we could use an action network        Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr
of national public organisations and national MPs as a         President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, I
contribution to the Irish conference in April in order to      would like to wish the Irish Presidency luck and
bring language and culture closer to the citizen. Thirdly,     congratulate it on the slogan it has chosen, ‘Europeans –
over the next few months, we ought to use TV                   Working Together’, which is what we really need in
commercials as a means of explaining, in                       order to confront the problems we are faced with.
straightforward language, to citizens in all European
countries what the core message of Europe is: safety on        We must welcome the Irish Presidency’s active
the streets, global safety, protection of the environment,     approach to the institutional confusion. Europe needs
more democracy and less bureaucracy. Europe begins             and wants a Constitution which reflects the aspirations
with the citizens in their own regions. Fourthly, we           of all the citizens of the European Union.
should support measures for proper governance. We
need to bring down the number of pages of regulations          It is clear, Mr President, that we must recover the path of
from 80 000 to 50 000 and reduce the number of types           sustainable growth and job creation. The Irish
of decisions from 23 to 6 in a bid to achieve clear, result-   Presidency is very well situated, given the
oriented and democratic governance. Accordingly, the           competitiveness the European Union requires, to take
European Constitution is of the highest priority and we        the path of the Lisbon Summit. At the same time, I
should not get back to ‘business as usual’ until it is in      believe it would be important – and it seems that the
place.                                                         Presidency has not considered this – to schedule a debate
                                                               on the financial perspectives which President Prodi
The Heads of Government have failed in their                   announced this morning. It is clear that one problem we
negotiations on the Constitution in Brussels. Without a        will have to face is the coherent decision taken by the
Constitution, it is not possible to conceive of any further    Commission yesterday to bring proceedings before the
enlargement and any serious discussion about the               Court of Justice as a result of the decision taken by the
financial perspectives. Also, there is no scope for any        Ecofin Council. The European Union is a Community of
further political integration as long as democratic control    law, and the rules only make sense if they are
by the European Parliament is lacking. Fifthly, we             accompanied by the obligation for everybody, large and
should support Parliament’s proposals for a citizens' test     small, to comply with them.
of all those EU proposals that we will be receiving in the
foreseeable future. In this case, prevention is better than    We are very pleased with the Presidency-in-Office of the
cure. Sixthly, we should back Parliament's subsidiarity        Council’s assessment of the area of freedom, security
proposal. Let us keep low what can be kept low and             and justice and the progress made since the Tampere
small-scale what can be done on a small scale, with the        Summit. We believe that it is also very well situated to
national parliaments as watchdogs.                             confront relations between the European Union and
                                                               United States, and in order to try to somehow transform
These are our proposals in order to tackle a treacly           the discord of the past into the harmony of the present
bureaucratic Europe for the benefit of another,                and future.
28                                                                                                       14/01/2004

                                                              already announced that they do not intend to increase
I would like to point out, because I believe it is            their contribution, the Europe of the 25 will need more
significant, that yesterday saw the close of the Summit       than a minimal level of solidarity if it is to develop.
of the Americas – not in the best possible circumstances
– and to say to the Presidency-in-Office that a very          It would be a good idea for the Presidency to propose
important area is being opened up allowing the                new own resources, for example a European tax on
European Union decisively to make this a priority for the     carbon dioxide emissions, or a tax at source on savings
next European Union/Latin America Summit of Heads             products rather than the bureaucratic system envisaged
of State or Government, in Mexico.                            in Feira. A European tax of just one single cent per litre
                                                              of fuel sold in Europe would fund the trans-European
I will end, Mr President, by regretting the fact that         networks. That would create more growth while
Mr Schulz is not with us. What the President, Mr              unburdening national budgets. Policy without financial
Poettering, has said very clearly is that we must not         resources is just an empty gesture.
proceed in a hurried fashion. There have been a series of
premature candidatures. The ballot box will determine         Bring Europe out of its rut, Mr President-in-Office of the
how majorities will be made up and it is clear that, in his   Council, dare to do it!
proposal, the President of the Commission will have to
                                                              3-043
take account of the results of the European elections.
                                                              (DE) Perhaps I could also say a few words about
That is what this Parliament voted for. Our group is
                                                              Mr Poettering’s speech. The Group of the European
clearly the majority group and it is destined to continue
                                                              People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European
to be so during the next legislature.
                                                              Democrats wants a Commission President from within
3-042                                                         its ranks. That is all very well. In that case, however,
Goebbels (PSE). – (FR) Mr President, Dear Taoiseach,          Mr Poettering needs to name names before the election.
there is an Irish saying to the effect that God invented      He cannot expect the citizens of Europe to buy a pig in a
whiskey in order to prevent the Irish from dominating         poke.
the world.
                                                              (Applause)
Mr President-in-Office of the Council, the Irish are
                                                              3-044
serious Europeans, however. My political group saw this
                                                              Karas (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr President-
when we visited Dublin. You are going to tackle the
                                                              in-Office of the Council, Mr President of the
EU’s real problems, quietly but with determination.
                                                              Commission, ladies and gentlemen, an exciting six
After Mr Berlusconi’s clowning around and dubious
                                                              months lie ahead of you, with enlargement, the
jokes, it is comforting to have people at the helm of
                                                              Constitution and the Spring Summit. However, I think
Europe who do not have swollen heads and have their
                                                              there is more for you to do. As President-in-Office of the
feet firmly on the ground. Unfortunately, the reality of
                                                              Council, you are going to have to decide what course to
Europe is cruel. Growth has broken down in the Union.
                                                              take with many policies and to shape the Council’s
Unemployment is rising. European ambition is setting
                                                              work. I hope that the Christmas period, the presidency
the pace, from the draft constitution to the Lisbon
                                                              handover and the start of a new year have been used as
process. The necessary stability is set up as orthodoxy,
                                                              an opportunity to take stock, have given you insight, and
while the United States are recovering growth through
                                                              that you are ready to move away from a veto-happy
entirely unorthodox methods. One of your ministers,
                                                              intergovernmental two-speed Europe towards a stronger
Dick Roche, compared the Lisbon process to some sort
                                                              community-focused Europe; from failure to respect
of Christmas tree on which the successive presidencies
                                                              Community law – notably the Stability and Growth Pact
have hung their favourite decorations. This image
                                                              – to active implementation of Community rules and
perfectly illustrates the seasonal ritual that this major
                                                              rulings – we welcome the Commission’s lawsuit; from
ambition from 2000 has become.
                                                              the nationalisation of European policies towards more
                                                              Europe-focused domestic policy; away from a culture of
The Irish Presidency is now proposing going back to
                                                              blaming the EU to a willingness to share responsibilities;
basics. The spring summit should concentrate on the
                                                              from the end of the moratorium on human embryo
fundamental issues, growth and employment, which
                                                              research to an agreement on the limits; away from the
should become the EU’s prime ambitions. However,
                                                              system of dodging issues and procrastinating towards
there is a nagging question still to be answered: where is
                                                              taking decisions about the directives on the agenda (I am
the money, where are the budgets to give Europe the
                                                              thinking of the Transparency Directive, the Directive on
resources to fulfil its ambition?
                                                              competition in public services, the Takeovers Directive,
                                                              President-in-Office); away from continuing the new
The Union’s budget is negligible. It amounts to less than
                                                              populist debate on the Statute of Members to a decision.
1% of the gross European product. In 2003, the
                                                              You still have 30 hours to reply to the European
Commission did not even manage to spend these meagre
                                                              Parliament’s request for a timetable. Move away from
funds. In order to fund the Union after 2006, the
                                                              the negative atmosphere that often prevails between the
Commission will propose using the entire budgetary
                                                              Council, Commission and Parliament towards
margin that is currently possible, that is, 1.24% of the
                                                              establishing discussions and public relations which are
gross European product. Even though six countries have
                                                              citizen-friendly, optimistic, honest, which make use of
14/01/2004                                                                                                             29

the opportunities offered by enlargement,               the   for creating a Europe of individual alliances, and
Constitution, growth and employment, stability,         the   gradually returning to the situation that existed in 1914.
internal market, competition and subsidiarity. I ask   you    For this reason, Mr President-in-Office, I think you hold
to make this about-turn, and in doing so, give         our    a great deal of responsibility.
priorities a new direction.
                                                              Whatever happens, we cannot allow the decision-making
3-045
                                                              mechanisms in the Council to exceed the thresholds
Napoletano (PSE). – (IT) Mr President-in-Office, I
                                                              established at Nice. Indeed, we must stay below that
should first of all like to express my greatest respect for
                                                              threshold at all stages of the negotiations, because our
the difficult task that your Presidency has ahead of it.
                                                              ability to act must be preserved and cannot be allowed to
We all realise how difficult it will be to carry the
                                                              end in a half-hearted compromise. We also need an
Intergovernmental Conference through to a successful
                                                              appropriate balance between large and small states. I
conclusion, given that it foundered in Brussels only a
                                                              think that the large states of Spain and Poland, which are
few weeks ago. Therefore, the message we should like
                                                              so important to the European Union, must be treated
you to pass on to all the governments in Europe is both
                                                              with proper consideration, but they must also be made
simple and clear: accept the responsibility for giving
                                                              aware that they share responsibility for ensuring that the
Europe a constitution before the European elections. It is
                                                              European Union continues to develop. I trust your
increasingly true that what we do is closely linked to
                                                              diplomatic skills will produce an appropriate response
how we function: you must strive to overcome the
                                                              from these countries.
disputes that have led to this breakdown, for the sake of
the greater good.
                                                              (Applause)
The fact that the Convention succeeded in drawing up a        3-047
constitutional text that was also widely supported by this    Thorning-Schmidt (PSE). – Mr President-in-Office,
Parliament shows that political and geographical              there are two issues I would like to raise. Firstly, it is
differences are not an insurmountable obstacle. You           good to hear that the IGC has the highest priority for
must vigorously oppose the antihistorical conflict            you. I am a bit puzzled by this, however, because you
between national interests and Europe, because that is a      thanked the Italians for their good work but at the same
disease that can rot away the strongest reasons for our       time we understand from the press that you have not
staying together.                                             been given any notes or any indication as to where
                                                              agreement was reached. At the same time the Italians
One last question, Mr President-in-Office: in the             flatter themselves that they reached agreement on 95%
concluding debate of the Italian term of office,              of the issues. If that is true, I urge you to find those notes
Mr Berlusconi mentioned an agreement reached in the           in Brussels, finalise the 95% and use your time to make
IGC on 85 points and an acquis, which would leave just        up the last 5%. I urge you to bear in mind that this not
one point unsettled. Can you please tell us, Mr               only involves consultation and reporting back in March,
President-in-Office, what exactly the Italian Presidency      but will also require firm deadlines to be set for
has passed on to you? I am asking because Parliament          reconvening the summit in May, and a very hard line to
has so far been asking the Council about this in vain.        be taken on this, otherwise there will be no chance of
                                                              concluding the IGC before the elections.
3-046
Brok (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-
                                                              The other issue is the Statute for Members. Without a
Office of the Council, Mr President of the Commission,
                                                              doubt, there will be a populist campaign against the
ladies and gentlemen, if I have understood the President-
                                                              statute over the next few weeks. The main argument will
in-Office’s speech correctly, I think I perceive a vision
                                                              be that the salary is too high. It is high, I agree, but it is
behind it which allows us to preserve the momentum
                                                              vital to remember the price paid for this salary:
from the Intergovernmental Conference. I think we have
                                                              agreement on the travel expenses rules, which presently
to see whether there is indeed still a chance of reaching a
                                                              allow Members to pocket, tax-free, tens of thousands of
decision before the European elections. It will be very
                                                              euros a year under a very questionable system. We must
difficult to sustain public awareness of what has been
                                                              be mindful of the link between the travel expenses rules
agreed by the Convention and the Intergovernmental
                                                              and salary. I wish you the best of luck in your efforts.
Conference thus far, but not been formally recorded,
until December of this year.                                  3-048
                                                              Cushnahan (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I would like to
We have to be aware that if there is no Constitution,         wish the President-in-Office and his government
there will also be no Charter of Fundamental Rights.          colleagues every success during the Irish presidency.
Consequently, citizens will not be voting for the             While I acknowledge that the Irish presidency has to
Commission President in the European elections, there         tread sensitively in pursuing progress on the draft
will be no such mandate given and no participation for        Constitution, I support Commissioner Prodi's warning
the national parliaments. Instead, a defence union will be    that failure to reach agreement will inevitably lead to the
formed outside the framework of the European Union,           creation of a two-speed Europe. If unanimous agreement
with all that entails for NATO, the transatlantic alliance    on the Constitutional Treaty cannot be achieved, then the
and access for all European Member States of the              only alternative is the creation of a two-speed Europe.
European Union. I think that would put us back on track
30                                                                                                       14/01/2004

To do otherwise would be to give the power of veto to         of opportunities in the area have been missed. In view of
any eurosceptic Member State.                                 this, I would urge you to try everything in order for the
                                                              association agreement with Syria, which is already
A two-speed Europe already exists in at least two areas:      almost ready to be signed, might still be concluded. I
namely the Schengen Agreement and the single                  understand that the Commission has put in some very
currency. Schengen allowed for full implementation in         good work, but the Council or certain Council members
the countries subscribing to the Single Act, especially as    have protested and vetoed it. Whatever the particulars
regards the free movement of persons. The decision by         may be, I think we need this kind of agreement with
the United Kingdom and Ireland to opt out – although in       Syria so that we can put pressure on her to negotiate
our case this was for unavoidable reasons because of the      with Israel and to further the peace process. I think it is
UK position – did not prevent this from happening.            essential that we actually take advantage of the modest
                                                              signs of an improved relationship between Israel and
Additionally, the decision by the United Kingdom,             Syria.
Sweden and Denmark to opt out of the single currency
did not prevent its establishment, which, given the           More generally speaking, however, rather than simply
magnitude of the technical problems involved, was a           ignoring this trouble spot, the European Union needs to
massive achievement by the Commission. Its                    do more on both sides to drive the peace process
implementation was a momentous, historic development,         forward. Just a little while ago, we did see the Geneva
representing the largest quantum leap towards political       plan, which also caused a certain amount of positive
union.                                                        unease in Israel because those in favour of peace now
                                                              also have something on which to build. To close, let me
Given these experiences, we should not be alarmed at          also add that in a long, very inflammatory piece for Die
the prospect of taking similar decisions in other areas       Zeit newspaper, the former Israeli ambassador to
rather than face paralysis and stagnation at the hands of     Germany, Avi Primor, called upon the European Union
eurosceptic Member States. Fundamental to the dream           to do more to establish peace in Palestine and Israel. I
of the founding fathers of our Union, 50 years ago, was       also ask you, Taoiseach, to do more to involve the
the imperative to cede national sovereignty in exchange       European Union in this very important peace process.
for the greater sovereignty of a united continent. The
proposed Constitution is the fulfilment of that dream, to     (Applause)
be pursued, if necessary, without those states where
                                                              3-050
nationalistic chauvinism still rules.
                                                              Matikainen-Kallström (PPE-DE). – (FI) Mr President,
                                                              the Irish Presidency marks the start of a new, more
President-in-Office, your challenge is to ensure that the
                                                              liberal period after the South European presidential term.
debate on the Constitution is concluded over the next six
                                                              The northernmost Member States have been genuinely
months; this is a difficult task, but let me wish you every
                                                              in favour of both the Internal Market and enlargement.
success in this particularly historic task.
                                                              Sometimes it seems that the further we move away from
3-049                                                         the EU’s heartland towards its geographical outer
Swoboda (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, Taoiseach, first          periphery the more sincere the Community spirit and
let me say a few words about Lisbon before I go into the      greater the imagination for building a common Europe.
question of external relations. I agree with you and wish
you well in your attempt to revitalise the Lisbon             Promoting economic growth and keeping on top of the
Agenda. At the same time, however, I think we need to         Lisbon Agenda will be the most important issues during
be aware that Lisbon is not only about economic reform.       Ireland’s presidential term. Year in year out, the
It also involves investing more in training and further       European Union continues to lag far behind the United
training for individuals. If we expect the European           States of America. America’s figure for growth in GNP
workforce to be more mobile, we must also provide             for this year is very much in a class of is own: 3.9%. The
them with a certain amount of stability and social            objectives of the Lisbon Agenda are slipping away and I
security in return. This is the only way that people will     believe that the entire strategy for competition is
be willing to contribute to the social side of this process   petering out. All the projects agreed at EU level are
of economic modernisation.                                    ready, but the Member States have still not internalised
                                                              the need for the structural changes the strategy calls for.
Let me come on to the subject of external relations,          The Stability and Growth Pact is beginning to creak.
however. My colleague Mr van den Berg has already
referred to the critical situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea.   It is especially important to enhance the work of the
We could add Kashmir, another place where the                 Competitiveness Council. It must become more active,
European Union is being asked to support what appears         taking greater responsibility for the basic question that
to be limited rapprochement between India and                 has been put to it: what is each legislative project’s
Pakistan. However, I particularly want to focus on the        impact on EU competitiveness? For example, how
Middle East. I think that it is up to your Presidency,        significant will the EU chemicals package and the
Taoiseach, to seek to do more in order to ensure the          reappraisal of Kyoto be for EU competitiveness? With
European Union has a profile in the Middle East.              these projects the EU is very much in danger of sawing
Unfortunately over the last six months, a great number
14/01/2004                                                                                                             31

off the branch it is sitting on and risking its                yourself in favour of multilateralism. You have called
competitiveness and prosperity.                                for the United Nations to be strengthened and mentioned
                                                               the UN General Secretary’s visit to the European
If the country holding the presidency had difficulties         Parliament, which is scheduled for the end of the month.
finding points to get to grips with in the Competitiveness     I do not think many presidents-in-office have begun by
Council earlier on, here they are now on a plate.              speaking out so clearly in favour of multilateralism and
                                                               the United Nations in this House. Moreover, I believe
3-051
                                                               that the challenges we will be discussing in great detail
Van Orden (PPE-DE). – Mr President, Mr President-
                                                               over the coming weeks – international terrorism,
in-Office, you have rightly placed emphasis on meeting
                                                               weapons of mass destruction, disintegrating states, drug
the expectations of our peoples. I can tell you that the
                                                               trafficking, trafficking in human beings – are too much
people of Essex and other parts of the east of England
                                                               for even the world’s strongest nation to tackle alone. It is
that I represent would like less interference in their lives
                                                               multilateral solutions we need.
by the European Union. They want to run their own
affairs.
                                                               Mr President-in-Office, I think this is another reason
                                                               why we need the Constitution, however. The European
Our businesses want to sharpen their ability to compete
                                                               Union is not ready to put up a united front against the
in global markets, not to be weighed down by
                                                               United Nations system. There are too many
unnecessary red tape and socialist regulation, much of
                                                               stakeholders. The European Union is a member of the
which originates in Brussels and is then gold plated by
                                                               FAO, with a seat and a vote. As yet the European Union
our own Labour Government. In particular they want a
                                                               has no legal status in external relations. We have a
fair crack of the whip.
                                                               Commission office in New York. We have a Council
                                                               office in New York. We need this Constitution to enable
The one aspect of the European Union for which there is
                                                               the European Union to obtain this legal status and act in
any enthusiasm is the single market, but British farmers
                                                               this sphere as well. Consequently, both for the purposes
and businessmen have always suspected that the odds
                                                               of external relations and in terms of working within the
were deliberately stacked against them because certain
                                                               United Nations system, where the European Union is the
Member States simply ignored the rules. Now the
                                                               greatest contributor, we need to increase our political
Commission has confirmed that suspicion with its
                                                               influence and express our political strength together.
announcement on Monday that France, Belgium and
                                                               That is why we need to have a Constitution very soon,
Germany, those great EU enthusiasts, are bottom of the
                                                               and I ask you to take that into account during your
league for implementing internal market rules, and
                                                               consultations. If Europe wants influence, there is no
France tops the list of infringement cases. I think
                                                               place for division. The only way is to act as a
immediately of the long-running and illegal ban on
                                                               community, and your declaration in favour of
British beef.
                                                               multilateralism is a very significant starting point.
You said you wanted to focus on the Lisbon Agenda. To          3-053
give yourself a bit of breathing space, I suggest that the     Lisi (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President-in-Office,
first thing you should do is kick the proposed                 practically all the Members have expressed this
Constitution firmly into touch. The notion that the            Parliament’s hopes that you will succeed in bringing this
Constitution was essential for an enlarged Union is            extraordinary task – the Intergovernmental Conference
clearly a myth. It was just a vehicle for further political    and the constitution – to a successful conclusion. Good
integration and that is something that our citizens simply     luck, we are right behind you!
do not want. Similarly, they do not want European
Union involvement in military matters, complicating and        Together with these extraordinary tasks, however, you
duplicating Nato and creating additional tensions with         will also have ordinary tasks to deal with, to which I
our vital transatlantic allies. The reality is that defence    should like to draw your attention. I shall just mention
budgets are being slashed across continental Europe and        the main headings: the first is research, which was
even the superb British armed forces are desperately           brought up again by Mr Prodi and which we all agree
overstretched and under-equipped. European Union               on. There is also, however, an ethical component in the
politicians playing bureaucratic games in Brussels will        financing of such research – my colleague Mr Liese will
not help this situation.                                       be speaking about it – and we should like you to give us
                                                               your response on this, leaving aside the woolly
Finally, Mr President-in-Office, you rightly emphasise         obscurantism that Mr Pannella mentioned, which does
your intention to focus on practical human rights issues.      not actually exist.
One of the first decisions you will need to push through
Council is the renewal of targeted sanctions against the       There are two other issues dear to my heart that I should
ZANU-PF regime in Zimbabwe. I would ask you to                 like to bring to your attention: air transport safety and air
respond to Parliament's demands on this matter.                passengers’ rights. Unfortunately it took the tragedy of
                                                               Sharm el-Sheikh to show just how strongly the public
3-052
                                                               feels about this and how much we need to finalise a
Laschet (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr President
                                                               measure that has been inexplicably stuck in the Council
of the Commission, Mr President-in-Office of the
                                                               since October last year. Just as inexplicably stuck, Mr
Council, today you have unambiguously declared
32                                                                                                       14/01/2004

President-in-Office, is a measure that this Parliament       secure the adoption of a Constitution which is as close as
approved by an overwhelming majority: greater                possible to the Convention proposal.
protection for air passengers if they are denied boarding
or in the event of cancellations or delays. One              (Heckling)
government – the German Government – has
inexplicably changed its mind, perhaps because it is         I believe that in December we explicitly agreed to ask
more sensitive to Lufthansa’s arguments than to the          you to produce a consolidated text. Enlargement and the
passengers’. I am aware that your government, Mr             elections are both scheduled for this year, and both will
President-in-Office, was opposed to this measure, but I      suffer if we do not begin them with a clear message on
cannot criticise that because you have always held a         this subject.
consistent position; I am referring instead to those
strange, last-minute changes of mind.                        Mr President-in-Office, you mentioned research policy,
                                                             which is a very important subject. We have to do more
I am sure that, in your new garb as President-in-Office      on this front, especially in comparison to the United
of the Council, you will be able to further these            States. The disparity is particularly striking in the fields
measures and bring them to a conclusion, because they        of biotechnology and medicine. In the US, NIHs
are in the interests of the European public and our fellow   (National Institutes of Health) receive USD 28 billion
citizens are awaiting them.                                  every year for medical and biotechnology research. The
                                                             EU is spending EUR 2.25 billion over four years under
3-054
                                                             the Sixth Framework Programme, and even adding in
Bowis (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I now raise a different
                                                             everything done in the Member States, the figures are a
point for the Taoiseach. I want to follow the theme that
                                                             great deal lower. This is the main reason why young
he raised on safety, particularly with relation to health
                                                             medics and researchers are still migrating to the United
and consumer policies.
                                                             States.
First, Taoiseach, I look forward to working with
                                                             That said, we do also need a clear ethical framework for
Minister Martin on the European Centre for Disease
                                                             research, and I know that within your own country, as in
Prevention and Control, which is crucially important at a
                                                             the European Parliament, opinions vary: on the question
time of global disease threats and the threat of
                                                             of whether the European Union should support research
bioterrorism.
                                                             on human embryos, for example. Unfortunately, no
                                                             agreement was reached on the subject under the Italian
Second, I look forward to working with your presidency
                                                             Presidency. Commissioner Busquin’s behaviour was
on the implementation of patient mobility. Sadly, in the
                                                             also somewhat ambiguous. I think it is now up to you to
United Kingdom, as a result of the failure of the British
                                                             pick up the ball and run with it. It is your responsibility
Government's health policies, hundreds of thousands of
                                                             to work with your Minister for Research and devise a
people are waiting unacceptably long times for
                                                             solution that is acceptable to all sides. We cannot allow
operations and treatments. This measure will give them
                                                             this matter to be resolved behind closed doors under the
some new hope of earlier treatment.
                                                             comitology procedure. The political responsibility lies
                                                             with the Council of Ministers, and I call on you to
Third, in your speech you referred to people in Sub-
                                                             respect this.
Saharan Africa: 30 million with HIV/AIDS, and
291 million living below the poverty line. I remind you      3-056
of the inextricable link between health and poverty and      Arvidsson     (PPE-DE).         (SV)    Mr President,
urge you to ensure renewed momentum on health and            Mr President-in-Office of the Council, speaking as a
clean water policies, and on debt relief.                    Swedish Conservative, I welcome the Irish Presidency.
                                                             It is a new European Union that, in six months’ time,
Fourth, Taoiseach, allow me take you down a long lane        you will hand over to the next country to hold the
in the county of Meath, to a small business situated there   Presidency. With enlargement occurring during your
which is known as the Food and Veterinary Office. That       Presidency, the EU will increase in importance and its
office controls and inspects the food, feed, animal          words will count for more.
welfare and plant health of the European Union: of
Member States, Accession States and countries across         Ireland has great confidence in the work for peace. You
the world from French Polynesia to the Falklands. It is      took the initiative, helped find a solution to the
fundamental to the health and safety of our people. It has   protracted internal conflict in Ireland and helped
just 90 inspectors covering the globe and I ask the          normalise the situation there. In spite of what was said at
presidency to look carefully at that to see how this         the last EU-Russia summit, I now appeal to you and the
corner of Ireland, with its EU-wide implications, can be     Irish Presidency to make use of the confidence you
made more effective.                                         enjoy and to exploit the European Union’s growing
                                                             importance by taking the initiative to promote a genuine
3-055
Liese (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Mr President-in-        peace dialogue between the parties involved in the war
Office of the Council, Mr President of the Commission,       in Chechnya with a view to bringing the atrocities to an
ladies and gentlemen, I agree with all those who have        end. The war in Chechnya is a focus for the spread of
said that the Irish Presidency’s most important task is to   terrorism. It is an abomination for both Russia and
14/01/2004                                                                                                           33

Europe, and the war may have far-reaching                      restore belief, build solidarity, tell the truth and act in
consequences for peace in our part of the world.               unity. I shall try to do all of that to the very best of my
                                                               ability.
Mr President-in-Office of the Council, what you can
bring about in terms of peace and freedom in Europe            I want to put on record today that these are values that
will be greeted with endless gratitude on the part of the      we share and that we will gear our presidency towards 
peoples of the European Union.                                 values that are not only important in themselves and
                                                               fundamental to the vision of Europe, but also essential to
3-057
                                                               the successful functioning of the Union. We might not
Ahern, Bertie, Council.  Mr President, I shall try to
                                                               always succeed in meeting the high standards we have
respond to a number of issues as quickly as I can. I
                                                               set ourselves, but I want to pledge to you that these
should like to thank the honourable Members for their
comments on the Irish presidency programme, and for            values  respect, belief, solidarity, honesty and unity 
their support and good wishes for the success of the Irish     are good values, and I certainly will remember them and
presidency. I have listened closely to the speeches by         repeat them to my colleagues, who will be speaking here
over 40 Members in today's debate and they confirm my          over the next six months.
belief not only that this is a challenging time for the
Union, but also that if Member States and the                  I want to thank President Prodi for his promise of
institutions work together it ought to be a time of great      support for the presidency. I can say that, as far as we
opportunity for the Union.                                     are concerned, the work of President Prodi and his
                                                               colleagues in preparing for the presidency over many
Our presidency focus, as far as internal policies are          months has been extremely important to us. I would like
concerned, will be to advance work on a range of fronts        to take this opportunity to thank him for that.
and make life better for the citizens of Europe; as many
of you pointed out, that is what we should be doing.           Mr Barón Crespo, Mr Poettering and others raised the
                                                               issue of the appointment of the new President of the
We will be unstinting in our efforts to make progress on       Commission. I have carefully noted all their comments
a new constitutional treaty. Perhaps I will come back to       and can assure you that the views of Parliament will be
that at the end of my speech. If we feel that there is a       borne firmly in mind. This is only the 14th day of the
real prospect of agreement, we will spare no effort to         Irish presidency, but already one thing of which I am
facilitate the earliest possible agreement, and the support    certain is that I will not be short of advice on that
of Parliament will be of particular importance.                particular appointment. I would like to thank everyone
                                                               for that.
I have a few remarks on what Members have said. We
welcome the new Member States to the Union. We look            Mr Watson recalled that one Irish writer once wrote that
forward to completing our work with President Prodi by         'history is a nightmare from which we are trying to
1 May, and I hope the success of the wider enlargement         awake'. I should like to recall a phrase about history
process will be carried forward as well. We are                from the most recent Irish Nobel Prize winner for
continuing to press ahead with the necessary reforms to        literature, Seamus Heaney. Working together during the
make the European economy more competitive and                 Irish presidency and beyond, Parliament, the Council
capable of providing more and better jobs. We will also        and the Commission 'can look forward to a time when
be working to ensure a safer Europe that will carry            hope and history rhyme'.
forward the Union's agenda in the area of freedom,
security and justice. I went into that in some detail at the   I fully agree with Mr Watson on the importance of
outset.                                                        restoring belief in the Union and its potentials. We will
                                                               work with Parliament to achieve those potentials over
I have noted carefully the many points raised by               the next six months.
Members and I would like to thank my Irish colleagues
in particular for the important points they raised. I          Mr Bonde referred to the position of small countries in
greatly appreciate the opportunity this occasion has           the European Union. I am delighted, in that regard, to
allowed me to ensure that the presidency is made aware         appear before you at a time when both the President of
of issues and concerns. I can assure you that we will          Parliament and the President of the Council come from
reflect on all of them as we take our presidency work          small countries.
forward. My colleague, Mr Roche, will be talking about
human rights later on and he will also be taking some of       My colleague, Mr Collins, said that failure by Europe,
the questions on issues that have been raised today.           including the IGC, cannot be countenanced. The next
                                                               time the European Council is called upon to agree a
I would like to reflect on the advice given to me by           constitution for Europe it is essential for there to be a
many of the leaders of the Groups at the outset. I have        successful outcome. We have now embarked upon that
carefully noted what was said – not necessarily in order       process of consultation and assessment and my dearest
or by whom, though that has also been noted elsewhere.         wish is to bring the IGC to a successful conclusion. Let
However, they should all recognise their own words.            me assure Parliament once again that the Irish
They said that we should insist on mutual respect,             presidency will spare no effort in trying to facilitate a
                                                               consensus.
34                                                                                                          14/01/2004

                                                              African peacekeeping capabilities and this presidency
I would like to thank Mr Paisley for his genuine and          will press for early EU action on implementing the
warm  if slightly conditional  welcome.                     commitments made by Member States, with a view to
                                                              meeting the millennium goals.
(Laughter)
                                                              I noted when looking at tomorrow's draft agenda that a
I have some bad news for him, in that I have learnt a bit     joint motion for a resolution on the assassination of
from him over the years. I have always greatly admired        Archbishop Courtney, an Irishman, is to be considered. I
him and told him as much on the one occasion we met.          would like to thank Parliament for according attention to
He has managed very successfully to combine                   this matter.
membership of the Assembly at Westminster with
membership of the European Parliament, so it should be        He was a man who worked hard in many countries but in
possible for me to do my job at home and be here at the       his latest role, as Papal Nuncio to Burundi, he really
same time, to help you out as best I can.                     believed in the peace process there. I want to thank you
                                                              for remembering him in the European Parliament.
(Applause)
                                                              (Applause)
I genuinely admire Mr Paisley and respect the mandate
he has received. It would be very unfair if I did not         A number of Members have raised the issue of debt
acknowledge that. He made a strong point about                relief. I think you know what the Irish position is on
democracy in Europe, saying that when we draw up              that; but, to reiterate, the Irish presidency position is that
constitutions we should put them to the people to secure      the European Union has been an enormously generous
a popular mandate. He stressed that point several times       donor for debt relief purposes. It has contributed over
in his contribution. All I can say in reply is that we        USD 900 million to the World Bank Trust Fund for debt
always do that in the Republic. That is obviously a           relief. In addition, the Commission is committed to
further reason why he feels so dearly about my country.       writing off bilateral debts owed to it by countries
                                                              qualifying for debt relief.
(Laughter and applause)
                                                              This is a considerable success and we will use whatever
Mr Wurtz and Mr Collins, in particular, emphasised the        opportunities arise during our presidency to promote
need for the Union to actively promote progress in the        debt relief. We have a particular position, and
Middle East, through implementation of the roadmap.           accordingly we can do many things.
Parliament can rely on the Irish presidency to do
precisely that. The Union will continue, during our           I should like to move quickly on to the issue of human
presidency, to express serious concern at the building of     rights, because many speakers and all the leaders
the so-called 'security fence'. The Irish Minister for        mentioned it, and many Members made strong and
Foreign Affairs, in his presidency capacity, will be in the   moving pleas for Europe to place human rights at the
Middle East tonight, engaged in discussions.                  centre of its external policies. This plea resonates
                                                              strongly with the presidency because the presidency has
I have noted what was said by Mr Poettering,                  made effective promotion of human rights a central
Mr Watson, Mr Cohn-Bendit and others about                    objective. We shall make every effort to move forward
Chechnya. Again, these are issues that we will be             the human rights agenda across the broad range of the
addressing.                                                   Union's external policy, including the 60th session of the
                                                              United Nations Commission on Human Rights in
I was asked very particularly by Mr Schulz about the          Geneva. As I said, my colleague Mr Roche will be
European arrest warrant. I should like to make it clear       making a statement later today on behalf of the
that during its presidency, Ireland will arrange meetings     presidency.
to review the current state of implementation of the
arrest warrant across the European Union and issues           I was asked by a number of speakers to be precise about
related to this. Ireland, along with seven other countries    the Lisbon Strategy. I shall say three things about that
has in fact been in a position to put the European arrest     strategy. Clearly, because of the economic situation in
warrant into operation since 1 January 2004. We must          Europe and elsewhere in the world, progress on
now try to complete the process.                              implementing the strategy has not been possible to the
                                                              extent hoped for by António Guterres four years ago
The human rights situation in many parts of Africa will       when he was here. Each year, we have tried to highlight
continue to give cause for concern and will receive our       issues and highlight what we need to do in Europe. The
continued attention. Indeed, this presidency will work        Irish presidency is determined to focus on the
for a greater commitment to conflict prevention in            implementation of the core objectives of sustainable
Africa. There are many facets to this since the causes of     growth and employment: they are the two issues we
conflict in Africa and elsewhere are diverse. The recent      have singled out from what is admittedly a long list.
agreement in the Council on the African peace facility is
an important step forward in Europe's engagement with         This is not to say that we should have employment and
that continent. We will assist in the development of          growth at any cost. We are not saying that. Such an
14/01/2004                                                                                                                35

approach would be both short-sighted and                          I did not say in my opening remarks, contrary to what
counterproductive. To those Members who mentioned                 was picked up by some, that the work of the Italian
social inclusion, I say that this is one of the issues dear       presidency in connection with the Brussels summit was
to my heart that we are not in any way sacrificing.               not useful. It is pointless for me to go back to
                                                                  compromises that were never on the table. The work
We are committed to policies that decouple growth and             done by the European Convention last summer, which
the use of resources, and to the European social model. I         you can all rightly feel proud of, and the post-Naples
am very committed to the European social model. I am              work concluded towards the end of November and in
reminded that the Social Charter was brought in 14 years          early December represents the initial position of the Irish
ago when I was President of the Social Affairs Council.           presidency. On other issues agreement has not yet been
We have provided continual follow-up since then, with a           reached, so that will be our starting point.
successful outcome.
                                                                  I urge Parliament to do whatever it can, and provide
The second point I want to make is that the report by             whatever support it can give, to prompt people to take
Wim Kok is in my view excellent. He focuses on four               decisions sooner rather than later. Mr President, I say to
specific areas to which we are committed. Many                    you and to President Prodi that, otherwise, that there will
conference seminars and initiatives are taking place, not         be a new presidency – which is not a problem, as
only in Ireland, but elsewhere in Europe, other Member            presidencies come and go – but there will also be a new
States having established a tripartite social conference          Parliament, a new Commission and a new set of
with the social partners – employers and trade unions –           circumstances. Many of the individuals who negotiated
to try to build on the Wim Kok report. We shall do our            the Convention may or may not be around to continue
best to implement it.                                             the process. People are at least clear about many of the
                                                                  issues on which agreement has almost been reached, if
I shall say a final few words. Everyone except two                not in full; in a year's time they will not be so clear. It
speakers spoke on the IGC. The two who did not spoke              will be far more difficult to finalise the Constitution.
on the Food and Veterinary Office in Meath, which I
opened. I very much take to heart what you said. Food             I will do my best; I cannot do it on my own. If we work
safety is an enormously important issue today, and that           together – Parliament, the Commission and the Irish
objective will be pursued by our ministerial colleague            presidency – and try to get people to shift their positions
Mr Martin.                                                        sooner rather than later, we can complete this task. If we
                                                                  do not, it will become a long, drawn-out issue.
Everyone else spoke on the European Convention.
Admittedly, a minority of those who spoke would like              Go raibh maith agaibh.
me to forget about it altogether, but about 95% took the
opposing view. The reason I am not overstating what the           (Loud and sustained applause)
Irish presidency can do is that I cannot carry this through
                                                                  3-058
alone. I do not want to come back to the newly elected
                                                                  Prodi, President of the Commission. – (IT) Mr
Parliament in July and make excuses about not having
                                                                  President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, ladies
achieved X, Y or Z.
                                                                  and gentlemen, the speech Bertie has made makes my
                                                                  job much easier, because the Presidency and the
I am fully committed to trying to finalise the
                                                                  Commission are in complete agreement. The Dublin
constitution. I will do all I can to finalise it. I will follow
                                                                  meeting laid the foundations for close cooperation and
the mandate given to me by the European Council,
                                                                  the essential points he has put forward are shared by the
which is to consult, make an assessment and report back
                                                                  Commission.
in March. If we can move on from that to an IGC, I will
act accordingly; if I believe that it is not possible to
                                                                  In the very few minutes available to me I should like to
reach a consensus, I will not, because I think a second
                                                                  recall a number of aspects that are of the greatest
failure will only make life more difficult for the future. I
                                                                  political significance: first, an appeal for a general effort
passionately believe that making progress in the shorter
                                                                  to support political pluralism. The speech made about
term would be better and safer. I share that view with
                                                                  the United Nations and the role it should have and the
both the President of Parliament and Mr Prodi. We need
                                                                  urgent call for human rights must be the basis for our
the help of Parliament. We need the help of Member
                                                                  future work; on this we agree. It was also extremely
States, and of the European Council, so that people shift
                                                                  important to mention the strong, positive relationship
their positions.
                                                                  between the United States and Europe, and it is
                                                                  interesting that the whole of Parliament accepted that,
The facts are simple. I said to the leaders in Dublin on
                                                                  while adding that the relationship should be on an equal
19 December that if all parties maintain their present
                                                                  footing. Remember, however, that an equal footing is
positions there is no hope that I can bring this matter to a
                                                                  not something that is given lightly: we can only gain an
conclusion. I do not want to mention any particular
                                                                  equal footing if we succeed in building a strong Europe
country because it is not fair to do so and matters are not
                                                                  that can make decisions, a Europe that is truly able to
so simple.
                                                                  negotiate on an equal footing. This is the task that we,
                                                                  together with the Irish Presidency, must carry forward.
36                                                                                                         14/01/2004

                                                               The most competitive society in the world does not
With regard to enlargement, and in response to several         come about all by itself, as you are well aware, and here
Members’ queries, I can assure Parliament that we are          we come up against a serious contradiction. On several
moving with the utmost speed on the appointment of the         occasions – in my speech a moment ago and at other
new Commissioners. I repeat, by the end of February,           times – I have proposed that major laboratories should
after I have been round all the capitals and shortlisted all   be set up; we have even included this item in the
the Commissioners, I will bring you their names here.          financial perspective; we have also talked about the
You must be aware that these Commissioners – you are           European Science Foundation to be able to coordinate
well aware of this – will only be here for a few months        cutting-edge research, for otherwise this research will
because after that they will have to be nominated. I have,     not achieve the results we want. It is quite clear that we
however, asked the Heads of State or Government of the         really have to do this, but we cannot do it when letters
new Member States to put forward the names of strong           arrive proposing cuts in the European budget, as if
candidates, people who will be able to stay on, so that        money spent at a European level were money down the
there can be continuity in political action, so that the       drain, as if this money did not in fact achieve greater
continuity of the Commissioners that they nominate can         synergies and have a greater effect on development than
make up for the fact that these countries are only now         money spent at a national level.
joining the Union. In answer to Mr Poettering, you will
be able to see the political balance as well as the            (Applause)
personal abilities of these new Commissioners during
their interviews. I can assure you that the results so far     Until we get rid of this idea, and of course choose the
have been quite flattering: the governments of the             fields in which money spent in Europe is most effective
various states have been sending us people who have            – although there is no doubt at all that research is an area
held or still hold the highest political offices in their      where it is most effective – we shall not be able to have
countries. I believe this will also be imitated by the         a truly great Europe.
current Member States when the time comes to nominate
their new Commissioners, because the Commission is             Lastly, a final observation on the Stability and Growth
becoming an increasingly political body with ever              Pact: Mr Cohn-Bendit, with his forceful and youthful
greater political responsibilities.                            vehemence

On the subject of the constitution, there has been a           (Amused protests)
widespread call that we have to acknowledge:
Convention, Convention, Convention! Any attempt to             – or rather, with his forceful and formerly youthful
move in a different direction is doomed to failure,            vehemence – made a speech on the implementation of
doomed to produce no results, and I believe the way in         the Stability and Growth Pact and criticised the
which Bertie Ahern has approached this challenge is the        Commission for its decision. I must tell you all that this
best we can hope for and is the most likely to succeed.        was a painful decision that I found difficult to make. I
We are all too aware, Mr President, that no success is         am well aware that making decisions like this one has its
assured and that the situation is difficult but, by looking    consequences. I had to make it for a simple reason: rules
carefully at our current difficulties and the great result     have to be obeyed, even if it does not make me happy to
that the Commission has given us, we will surely get           do so.
good results.
                                                               (Applause)
Lastly, I should like to mention the matter of Lisbon. I
take on board Mr Doyle’s impassioned appeal, when he           This is a democratic principle, and so it was the
put his finger on the spot and quite rightly said that we      Commission’s duty to call for the rule to be obeyed, but
have talked a lot about Lisbon but achieved very little.       at the same time it has also been the Commission’s duty
Unfortunately, this is true. We have been talking about        to prepare the changes needed for the future. I have very
Lisbon now for four years, and so, once again, I am            often been generous in this direction, ladies and
going to make appeal: let us direct every possible effort      gentlemen – perhaps too much so – but the finance
towards human resources. We need human resources at            ministers have never given me any leeway in the matter.
all levels: at a national level in compulsory and              I therefore call on you to help the Commission – or
university education, and at European Union level in           rather I call on us to help each other – to submit
top-level research. We need a joint effort. We cannot          proposals that can truly bring new development and new
achieve the results outlined in Lisbon when we realise         energy to Europe’s economic policy.
that 400 000 European researchers are currently working
in the United States – I repeat, 400 000 European              (Applause)
researchers are currently working in the United States –
                                                               3-059
and when we realise that, if we want to achieve the
                                                               President.  That concludes the debate.
Lisbon objectives, we will have to raise the number of
our researchers by 700 000 over ten years, or we shall
                                                                       WRITTEN STATEMENTS (RULE 120)
not achieve the Lisbon objectives.
                                                               3-060
14/01/2004                                                                                                         37

Ahern, Nuala (Verts/ALE), in writing. – I wish to draw        President.  I will do that.
the attention of the presidency to the Euratom Treaty.
                                                              3-065
This Treaty has been part of the EC since 1957. After 50
years this Treaty promoting nuclear energy is obsolete.                                  Vote
However it, together with any new constitutional treaty,
                                                              3-066
will be the de facto Treaty of the EU. Many citizens will
not accept this as the constitution of the EU and if          President.  The next item is the vote.
referenda are held, as they must be in some states, I
believe there will be no majority for a constitution          Report (A5-0412/2003) by Daniel Varela Suanzes-
promoting nuclear technology.                                 Carpegna, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries,
                                                              on the tuna fleet and industry: situation and future
I would like to thank you particularly Mr Ahern,              prospects in the EU and world-wide (2003/2017(INI))
President-in-Office of the Council, for joining with
Austria and proposing a new convention on Euratom to          (Parliament adopted the text)
review this treaty. I wish you success, as I am sure that
the future of this new constitution depends on this                                      ***
happening. I regret that the Convention avoided this
issue, and particularly regret that the delegate from the     Recommendation for second reading (A5-0455/2003)
Verts/ALE Group, Johannes Voggenhuber, neglected to           by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health
make progress on it, being drawn instead by a grand           and Consumer Policy, on the Council common
design for a new constitution. However, it is not too late:   position with a view to adopting a European
Austria and Ireland have led the way where others must        Parliament and Council regulation on detergents
follow.                                                       (10595/3/2003 – C5-0521/2003 – 2002/0216(COD))
                                                              (rapporteur: Mauro Nobilia)
3-061
Hudghton (Verts/ALE), in writing. – The Irish                 (The President declared the common position approved
presidency, viewed from a Scottish point of view,             as amended)
demonstrates very clearly why Scotland would be better
off independent.                                                                         ***

Ireland, a smaller country than Scotland, will be setting     Report (A5-0484/2003) by Philippe A.R. Herzog, on
the agenda and leading the EU decision-making process,        behalf of the Committee on Economic and Monetary
while Scotland does not even have a vote in the Council       Affairs, on the Green Paper on services of general
of Ministers.                                                 interest (COM(2003) 270 – 2003/2152(INI))

Ireland will lead the process of welcoming ten new            Before the vote:
member states – many smaller than Scotland – into the
                                                              3-067
EU. These new members will have full rights of
participation including votes on Fisheries Policy, while      Herzog (GUE/NGL), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President,
Scotland is a mere observer.                                  given the complexity of the case and its very political
                                                              nature, I will ask for a break between the vote on all of
I wish Ireland success in its presidency and look forward     the amendments and articles and the final vote. The
to the day when an independent Scotland takes its             Rules of Procedure allow for this.
rightful place in the world – better off independent!         3-068

3-062
                                                              President.  We will deal with the amendments and
        IN THE CHAIR: MR DAVID MARTIN                         then deal with the other reports so you have time to
                  Vice-President                              consider the outcome.

President. – I do not know whether Sir Robert Atkins          Before the vote on Amendment No 21:
wishes to make his traditional point – which I would          3-069
fully support – at this juncture, but if so he may!           Herzog (GUE/NGL), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President,
3-063
                                                              I propose that the Socialist Party modifies its
Atkins (PPE-DE). – Mr President, since you invite me –        terminology in order to be consistent with a previous
and I have been provoked by colleagues – what is the          vote on legal framework. I propose substituting legal
point in running an assembly which indicates that votes       framework for framework directive in order to be
are due to take place at 12 noon, but which then start at     consistent with the previous vote and in order to give the
12.40 p.m.? Surely we should be able to manage our            chance of a positive vote in favour of the text of the
affairs efficiently. Would you please carry that concern      constitutional treaty.
back to the Presidency of Parliament.                         3-070
                                                              (Parliament refused to accept the oral amendment)
(Applause)
3-064
                                                              Before the vote on Amendment No 103:
38                                                                                                       14/01/2004
3-071
                                                              whether he feels that the voting procedure we have
Herzog (GUE/NGL), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President,            undertaken is in conformity with the new Rules of
on this issue of the liberalisation of the water market, we   Procedure we drew up for this House to try and simplify
have a contradiction in the French text. The French           voting.
version is written in such a way that it seems that
Amendment No 48 says that the water market needs to           The amendments relating to Mr Nobilia's report, drawn
be liberalised without taking into account regional           up on behalf of the Committee on the Environment,
characteristics, while the English version says the           Public Health and Consumer Policy, were voted in
opposite. I would like to point out that we worked first      blocks. However, we are now having a very contentious,
of all in English. Those who wish to reject the               long vote on a report drawn up on behalf of the
liberalisation of the water market therefore vote for the     Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, which I
original text, if they do not accept Amendment No 103.        believe is not in conformity with the Rules of Procedure.
They first have to vote on Amendment No 103, which            Now you are asking us to delay the final vote. Under
rejects the liberalisation of the water market, and if        which Rule are you doing that, Mr President?
Amendment No 103 is not passed, there remains the
original text of Amendment No 48, the first part of           3-078

which also rejects liberalisation.                            President.  There are provisions in the Rules of
                                                              Procedure for a delay. That is why I asked if there were
3-072
                                                              any objections. I will not give the floor to Mr Corbett
President.  The services have noted the discrepancy          because I will not have him chairing the plenary from
and I can confirm that the English version is correct.        the floor. Of course we have complied with the Rules of
                                                              Procedure, otherwise I would not have proceeded.
After the vote on Amendment No 109:
3-073                                                                                    ***
Langen (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, now that we
have voted on all the amendments to item 51, I would          Report (A5-0355/2003) by Proinsias De Rossa, on
like to return to Amendment No 36. Our group has asked        behalf of the Commission on Petitions, on Petition
that this be voted on in two parts; we have just voted        461/2000 concerning the protection and conservation
only on the first. I therefore ask you to proceed with the    of Great Apes and other species endangered by the
vote on the second half of Amendment No 36, in                illegal trade in bushmeat (2003/2078 (INI))
accordance with the request that we submitted.
                                                              Before the vote:
3-074
President.  The services are checking on that, but I         3-079

have not received any request for a split vote.               De Rossa (PSE), rapporteur. – Mr President, this report
                                                              arose from a petition to the European Parliament signed
After the adoption of Recital U/2:                            by 1.9 million citizens of Europe. The organisation
                                                              which organised that petition, the European Association
President. – Bono will be pleased.                            of Zoos and Aquaria, is represented in the gallery today
                                                              and I want to thank it very much for the effort it has put
(Laughter)                                                    in to bringing this issue before the House.

After the vote on the amendments:                             (Applause)
3-075                                                         3-080

Langen (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, I rise to ask           (Parliament adopted the resolution)
again whether you have finished checking the split vote
on Amendment No 36. You were going to check it and                                       ***
announce the result. My group asked for a separate vote       3-081
on Amendment No 36. You have voted only on the first          Poettering (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, we are not
part. I would like you to vote on Part 2 now.                 being difficult about the final vote on Mr Herzog’s
3-076                                                         report, but I do ask you to have the vote now, because
President.  I did not put Part I to the vote. I put 36 to    many Members are already leaving.
the vote. I have received no request for a split vote. We
have voted on 36. Every other group has one vote, but         (Applause)
the PPE-DE Group seems to have two votes on this.             3-082
                                                              Cohn-Bendit (Verts/ALE). – (DE) Mr President, with
We will now wait with the vote on the motion for a            all respect to Mr Poettering, who wants his lunch, this is
resolution for a short time unless there are any              so complicated that we can vote on the other
objections.                                                   amendments first and then let Mr Herzog say what he
3-077
                                                              has to say. I regard these tactics as unworthy of a
Provan (PPE-DE). – Mr President, as we seem to be             parliament. If you have difficulties, people get the idea
having a bit of a breather, I should like to ask Mr Corbett   that ...
14/01/2004                                                                                                         39

                                                               Mrs Boudjenah’s amendment inserting the word ‘Notes’
(Heckling)                                                     at the beginning: ‘Notes that the Action Plan for Africa
                                                               announced by the G8 in 2002 has still not been reflected
Well, life is like that! We will carry on debating until he    by precise commitments; calls on the G8 and the EU
has given his opinion. That is how it is? Do you not have      swiftly to help to make the necessary resources available
anything else to say? Well, you should!                        so as to help achieve the aims set by NEPAD’.
                                                               3-089
(Heckling)
                                                               (Parliament agreed to the oral amendment)
3-083
President.  Colleagues, the Rules of Procedure are            (Parliament adopted the resolution)
clear. The rapporteur is entitled to ask for a delay unless
there are objections. As there now clearly are objections,                               ***
I shall give the floor to the rapporteur and then proceed
to the vote on the resolution.                                 Report (A5-0477/2003) by Christa Prets, on behalf of
                                                               the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the
3-084
                                                               Media and Sport, on preserving and promoting
Herzog (GUE/NGL), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President,
                                                               cultural diversity: the role of the European regions
although in my view there are still many negative points
                                                               and international organisations such as UNESCO
regarding the substance of the text, I consider that we are
                                                               and the Council of Europe (2002/2269(INI))
enabling the discussion process on this important subject
to continue with a legislative act, with the rejection of
                                                               (Parliament adopted the resolution)
the Commission procedure without codecision, and with
very clear signals regarding the rejection of liberalisation
                                                                                         ***
in some sectors and we are introducing a sound
evaluation process, so I am voting in favour.
                                                               Report (A5-0481/2003) by Joke Swiebel, on behalf of
3-085                                                          the Committee on Women's Rights and Equal
(Parliament adopted the resolution)                            Opportunities, on Equal Opportunities for Women
                                                               and Men in the European Union (2003/2011(INI))
                            ***
                                                               (Parliament adopted the resolution)
Report (A5-0474/2003) by Ulla Margrethe Sandbæk,
on behalf of the Committee on Development and                                            ***
Cooperation, on the Commission communication on
the update of the EC Programme for Action:                     President. – That concludes the vote.
accelerated action on HIV/AIDS, malaria and
tuberculosis in the context of poverty reduction;                           EXPLANATIONS OF VOTE
outstanding policy issues and future challenges
                                                               3-090
(COM(2003) 93 – 2003/2146(INI))
                                                               Report: Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (A5-0412/2003)
Before the vote on Recital L:                                  3-091
                                                               Bordes, Cauquil and Laguiller (GUE/NGL), in
3-086
                                                               writing. – (FR) The purpose of this report is to protect
Corrie (PPE-DE). – Mr President, Mrs Sandbæk, the
                                                               fisheries and the European Union tuna processing
rapporteur, has agreed to change 'working' to 'being
                                                               industry against competition from elsewhere. This
exploited', meaning that the wording would now be: 'this
                                                               concern is even more disputable given that the
must extend to women being exploited'.
                                                               Community tuna fleet is already the largest in the world
3-087                                                          and is using the whole world’s fish resources, including
(Parliament agreed to the oral amendment)                      those of many poor countries.

(Parliament adopted the resolution)                            Moreover, the competition often comes from fleets
                                                               which, even though they operate under the flags of other
                            ***                                countries, belong to investors from the European
                                                               Community.
Report (A5-0329/2003) by Jean-Pierre Bébéar, on
behalf of the Committee on Development and                     The report is right to express concern about the
Cooperation, on the New Partnership for Africa's               reduction in tuna resources. Competition, which causes
Development (NEPAD) (2003/2106 (INI))                          waste and crises in all sectors of the economy, has even
                                                               more disastrous consequences in the case of natural
Before the vote on Amendment No 5:                             resources, which can be completely exhausted by fierce
                                                               and irrational competition.
3-088
Bébéar (PPE-DE), rapporteur. – (FR) Mr President, I
would just like to table an oral amendment to
40                                                                                                        14/01/2004

The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from this        international fishing agreements are imbalanced,
report is that a system based on competition is damaging       safeguarding as they do the rights of the strong.
and that the only sound way of managing natural
resources would be to manage them collectively, in a           The report's acceptance of subsidies to renew the fleet,
planned manner. This management should be done at              export subsidies and duty on and technocratic obstacles
global level and not with the sole aim of protecting           to   imports     provocatively     strengthens    certain
European Union production, as tuna have the annoying           businessmen and makes the international division of
habit of not respecting borders and territorial waters.        labour even more unfair here, at the expense of poor and
                                                               developing countries.
We abstained.
                                                               We wish to point out that, in the report, subsidies for
3-092
                                                               withdrawing large vessels from the tuna fleet are
Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (PT) Community
                                                               described, and rightly so, as counterproductive and
fleets account for over 20% of the world tuna catch and
                                                               catastrophic, which is why it proposes that they be
are among the main sources of raw material supplies to
                                                               abolished and redirected towards renewing the fleet.
the tinned fish industry. Portugal accounts for 6% of EU
                                                               However, the same subsidies for withdrawing small and
tinned tuna production, which in turn represents around
                                                               medium-sized coastal and short-haul fishing vessels are
40% of Portuguese tinned fish production. This
                                                               put forward by the ΕU as structural funds allegedly to
illustrates the importance of the tuna fleet and industry
                                                               restructure the corresponding sectors. This contradiction
based in less developed, outlying regions that are highly
                                                               again confirms the class policy of the ruling circles of
dependent on the fisheries sector. The sector has lost
                                                               the ΕU at the expense of small and medium-sized
competitiveness in the face of pressure from foreign
                                                               fisheries for the benefit of the large capitalist fishing
imports, as a result of bilateral and multilateral
                                                               companies.
commercial agreements, and has also been adversely
affected by the last reform of the common fisheries            3-094
policy, which took place in December 2002.                     Ribeiro e Castro (UEN), in writing.  (PT) Given that
                                                               tuna is the most commercially successful fishery
I therefore endorse the main idea underpinning this            resource in the world, I congratulate the rapporteur and
report, namely that the Commission draw up a study on          the Committee on Fisheries for this own-initiative report
the state of tuna resources, the fleet and the industry as a   on the tuna fleet and processing industry.
whole, and subsequently present an action plan for the
tuna sector that provides a global framework of                The report concludes that Member States stand only to
structural aid and a plan to protect the sector against        benefit if the EU decides to do more for this sector of the
competition from third countries.                              fishing industry. It is impossible to argue with such a
                                                               conclusion, in view of the Community tuna fleet and
We have always advocated the need for compensation or          industry’s loss of competitiveness, along with the major
consumption subsidies to support the canning sector and        contribution of these areas to the EU – the canning
for monitoring imports, in order to ensure that imported       industry provides around 40 000 jobs in the EU and tuna
fish meets the same criteria for food safety and quality       accounts for almost 60% of total tinned fish production.
as products from the Community industry.
                                                               I endorse the suggestion that the Commission should
3-092-500
                                                               draw up a specific action plan and an overall structural
Malmström, Paulsen and Olle Schmidt (ELDR), in
                                                               support framework for the tuna sector.
writing.  (SV) In spite of some sound efforts, current
fisheries policy still means that the EU is buying the
                                                               I acknowledge the importance of the EU’s making
right to misuse the natural resources of the poor. It is a
                                                               absolutely sure that, within the Regional Fisheries
modern form of colonialism. What is required is genuine
                                                               Organisations, the fleet is adapted to available resources,
reform of fisheries policy and a totally altered view of
                                                               which will, where possible, ensure stability and renewal.
our relations with poor countries. I have therefore
                                                               This adaptation must involve combating the over-fishing
chosen to vote against the aforesaid report in its entirety.
                                                               practised by illegal vessels flying flags of convenience,
3-093                                                          and this might entail, as envisaged in the report, drawing
Patakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) The aim of the           up a list of those vessels that comply with the relevant
report is to strengthen the few large fishing companies        rules and will be allowed in the fisheries, and imposing
through economic and institutional measures in order to        trade sanctions for vessels that do not comply.
improve their competitiveness. As excuses for this
                                                               3-095
strengthening, the rapporteur cites the indisputably high
                                                               Souchet (NI), in writing. – (FR) Everything should be
nutritional value of the product, its economic value,
                                                               smiling on the Community fisheries and tuna industry.
employment, maintaining stocks etc.
                                                               They have enterprising professionals of high quality,
                                                               particularly in France and Spain, and are offering
These excuses conceal the fact that this activity concerns
                                                               healthy, natural food, for which there is high and
a few large companies in the ΕU and that the developed
                                                               growing demand. However, even though the
countries overexploit the world's marine wealth at the
                                                               Commission claims to be the sole embodiment of the
expense of poor and developing countries, in that the
14/01/2004                                                                                                         41

‘common European good’, it is itself weakening               Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (NL) What is
European competitiveness.                                    negative about this proposal is that it gives priority to
                                                             eliminating barriers to free movement. On a positive
The draconian and constantly increasing constraints of       note, though, Member States that have, for the protection
Community legislation particularly affect security,          of their environment, already put legislation in place that
monitoring, the health conditions of production, the         is stricter than this regulation will not be hindered in
protection of the environment and social protection,         enforcing it. The reason for this regulation is that by
resulting in much higher costs for the Community fleet       washing and cleaning, not only are contaminations
and its producers than those of their competitors.           added to clean water, but also components of soap and
                                                             other surfactants. For many years, attempts have been
The ideology of systematic and complete opening up of        made to encourage the production of phosphate-free
the market that drives the Commission is being applied       detergents. This proposal now also tries to discourage
to marine produce, with the permanent extension of the       animal tests, the addition of substances that break down
list of the countries benefiting from tariff preferences,    with difficulty, toxic chemical substances and substances
with a particularly opaque system of certificates of         with hormone-disruptive characteristics. The disclosure
origin, and the tuna loins quota and canned tuna quota       of the composition of detergents is indeed a major step
opened for Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. Our      forward. Attempts are being made to that effect by
rapporteur highlights ‘…the opening of the Community         requiring manufacturers to inform the government of
market to foreign products with less strict requirements     their products' composition and by obliging them to list
and insufficient monitoring, which is damaging the           the actual content of preservatives, colour-protection
competitiveness of Community products.’                      products and aromatic substances on the packaging.
                                                             Openness with regard to harmfulness is to be welcomed,
It is time to put a stop to this discrimination imposed by   and so we should try to convince the Council of this, but
the Commission to the detriment of our economies and         a general ban on harmful substances would be
jobs.                                                        preferable. The proposed adaptations to the regulation in
                                                             the longer term may be able to contribute to this.
3-096
Recommendation       for   second     reading:    Nobilia    Manufacturers may protest, but stricter measures are
(A5-0455/2003)                                               unavoidable.
                                                             3-099
3-097
                                                             Report: De Rossa (A5-0355/2003)
Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (PT) This
regulation is aimed at updating the current Community        3-100
legislative framework relating to detergents, which dates    Ebner (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, I would just
back to the beginning of the 1970s and has been spread       like to say that I voted in favour of Mr De Rossa’s report
across a number of legislative instruments. Despite          out of my conviction that apes and other exotic species
certain limitations and the fact that it does not go far     are among our planet’s valuable resources and that any
enough, the regulation does contain some excellent           modern and highly-developed system of protection for
proposals aimed at preserving the environment, such as       nature and the environment should protect and maintain
monitoring biodegradability, and aimed at protecting         these resources for the sake of future generations. I
consumers, who must be guaranteed information on the         regard Mr De Rossa’s report as an excellent piece of
composition of products, lists of ingredients and            work towards this end, one that will contribute to the
effective labelling. We therefore support the                protection and maintenance of endangered species. It
compromise amendments tabled to the report before us         also draws attention to the need to protect such species
and endorsed by seven parliamentary groups.                  and raises popular awareness of that need.

We regret, however, that labels are not required to carry    It was good that Amendment No 2 was adopted; I had
explicit warnings of the risks, especially to children, of   hoped that the two other amendments would be as well.
ingesting detergents, and that the use of images that may    That has not happened, but, as what we have here is in
be misleading, such as images of fruit, are not banned.      any case a workable solution, I have voted in favour of
                                                             it.
Let us not forget that behind regulatory harmonisations
                                                             3-101
there are always ulterior political motives towards
                                                             Bordes, Cauquil and Laguiller (GUE/NGL), in
greater market integration and the elimination of
                                                             writing. – (FR) Who could disagree with the general
obstacles to the free movement of goods. This leads us
                                                             idea of protecting wild animal species, some of which
to have strong reservations, as it may undermine the
                                                             are in danger of extinction? The report, though, marks
right of Member States to legislate effectively on crucial
                                                             out the limits of its own proposals by rightly stating that
questions such as the protection of human health, of the
                                                             the ‘issue of bushmeat hunting and its threat to
environment or of consumers’ rights, by imposing
                                                             endangered species, notably the great apes, must be
restrictions on products that do not comply with such
                                                             addressed in the context of overall development strategy
rules.
                                                             and poverty alleviation’.
3-098
42                                                                                                        14/01/2004

No proposals are made in this respect, however. How            only scant attention to the issue, as highlighted by the
can proposals be made without calling into question the        rapporteur.
existing economic and social system, a system that is
starving millions of human beings for whom bushmeat is         On 12 July 2000, the Committee on Petitions received a
often the only source of animal protein, particularly in       petition on the protection of species endangered by
tropical areas?                                                illegal hunting and trade, as part of a campaign against
                                                               bushmeat.
Under these circumstances, the methods of monitoring
or retaliation proposed will be entirely ineffective in the    By voting in favour, I am simply expressing my
majority of cases, particularly against organised gangs        agreement that developing countries do indeed need
who carry out mass hunts, often for Western markets,           greater support to ensure that, while local traditions are
and will affect only a few starving people.                    respected and particular account is taken of the shortage
                                                               of food, we see greater rigour ...
We abstained on this report.
                                                               (Explanation of vote abbreviated in accordance with
3-102
                                                               Rule 137(1) of the Rules of Procedure)
Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (NL) This topic
would not have found its way onto the agenda had it not        3-104
been for a petition signed by nearly 2 million people and      Sacrédeus (PPE-DE), in writing.  (SV) I voted in
had it not been for the Committee on Petitions, which          favour of the report as soon as Parliament adopted
took the decision, a year ago, to draft a report on the        Amendment No 2, in which bushmeat is defined as meat
subject. The 'bush meat' phenomenon is already enjoying        from ‘wild animals in tropical areas’.
wide public attention in Great Britain, but not yet
elsewhere. Despite this, it is important for development       Otherwise, an unfortunate situation would have arisen in
cooperation, public health and the environment that            which hunting restrictions and animal protection would
awareness of this phenomenon should increase in                have applied to meat from all wild animals, including
Europe and that a policy on it should actually be              Swedish species such as elk.
adopted. The population in the developing countries is
growing fast, while scope for trade and transport is also      Swedish elk stocks are stable, while hunting is carried
increasing. In the past, small groups of people used to        on in such a way that the species is not in decline, still
hunt wild animals living in the jungle for their own meat      less threatened with extinction.
consumption. These days, this meat of monkeys, reptiles
and snakes is not only consumed by poor local residents,       Regulated Swedish elk hunting and the illegal hunting of
but is also sold in African towns and even exported to         apes and other wild animals threatened with extinction
Europe as a delicacy for the rich. The commercial hunt         occupy quite separate worlds.
of animals and the felling of tropical forests result in the
                                                               3-105
rapid extinction of animal species, including gorillas and
                                                               Report: Herzog (A5-0484/2003)
chimpanzees. Scarcely-controllable animal diseases,
such as Ebola, are spread among people. Development            3-106
cooperation on the part of the EU takes no account of          Berthu (NI), in writing. – (FR) By adopting the Herzog
this destruction or of the environment in general. I           report, the European Parliament has adopted some
support proposals for eco-tourism, protection, education       excellent statements on ‘the fundamental importance of
and legislation, even though they probably leave               the subsidiarity principle’ and on the need to respect the
something to be desired.                                       free choice of the Member States in terms of the
                                                               missions, organisation and financing arrangements of
3-103
                                                               services of general interest at national level (see
Ribeiro e Castro (UEN), in writing.  (PT) In spite of         paragraph 18).
the potentially ambiguous nature of the word ‘bushmeat’
and of evidence that hunting is not solely responsible for     At the same time, however, it has left the way open for a
decimating wild animal populations – in Europe this is         European regulation process which, if developed, would
often a factor in protection and in stabilising numbers – I    violate that subsidiarity and once again lead to protests
voted in favour.                                               in a few years’ time against intervention from Brussels.
The term ‘bushmeat’, or wild animal meat, describes the        As I said during the debate, I regret having to say that
food product of wild animals, the trade in which has had       the previous French Presidency was behind the idea of a
a devastating effect on the African Great Ape                  European legal framework. The current French
population.                                                    Government appears to have gone back to a more
                                                               cautious position as, although it is still calling for a
The effect of the illegal trade in bushmeat has attracted      ‘cross-border legal instrument’, it wants to limit the
worldwide attention. UNEP and UNESCO established               content to a sharing of responsibilities between the
GrASP (Great Apes Survival Project) and there are              Member States of the EU, authorised financing and
many other organisations working to find ways to               monitoring procedures.
address the problem. The EU has so far, however, paid
14/01/2004                                                                                                            43

This is still too much, and the Commission will still find    commitment made by Parliament as a whole in
arguments for infiltrating and wanting to regulate            November 2001 when it adopted the Langen report. We
everything. In our view, it is sufficient to state that       want a democratic and pluralist evaluation of the social
services of general interest fall under the competence of     consequences of free competition to be conducted before
the Member States, who choose their missions, their           there is any further liberalisation.
organisation and their limits.
                                                              This is an urgent issue judging by the flurry of texts
3-107
                                                              submitted to the European Parliament in order to speed
Bordes, Cauquil and Laguiller (GUE/NGL), in
                                                              up liberalisation all over the place, in particular in
writing. – (FR) Despite all the concessions made by the
                                                              transport, postal services, energy, the water market,
author of the report to the reactionary political forces
                                                              waste treatment.
working for the privatisation of public services, he now
seems to have been overcome by those whose support he
                                                              (Explanation of vote abbreviated in accordance with
wished to obtain. Amended or not, the Herzog report
                                                              Article 137(1) of the Rules of Procedure)
legislates for the disappearance of the public services,
including their name, which has changed to ‘services of       3-109
general interest’.                                            Caudron (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) The trend of
                                                              the votes on the recitals, paragraphs and amendments of
We are opposed to this report and, of course, to the          the Herzog report is a perfect illustration, even a
amendments that make it worse. Education, health,             caricature, of the weight of liberalism and the single
public transport, postal services, telecommunications,        market, and of their precedence over all other
water and energy supplies, electricity and waste disposal     considerations in modern-day Europe.
should remain or be restored as public services that are
separate from the stupid and inhuman laws of the              Paraphrasing Jean de la Fontaine, it could be said of the
market, not to produce private profit but to satisfy          large parties and political forces of the European
collective needs.                                             Parliament, that ‘nobody died from them, but they
                                                              affected everyone ‘
Moreover, the process set out in the report translates into
drastic reductions in staff, in other words a social          For a large majority in Parliament, and therefore much
catastrophe. On the pretext of harmonising practices          of institutional Europe, public service is at best a
between the different countries that make up the              commodity like any other when it is not ‘a barrier’ to the
European Union, its authorities are creating a serious        happiness money brings. I therefore voted against this
social decline. Nevertheless, harmonisation could be          report without any uncertainty or hesitation.
done on the basis of development of the public services
                                                              3-110
and expanding them, especially by building social
                                                              Darras (PSE), in writing. – (FR) Introducing high-
housing, if the European institutions and the Member
                                                              performance and efficient services of general interest for
States were serving collective, rather than private,
                                                              all, that is to say services which play a full role in social
interests.
                                                              and territorial cohesion, means not only acknowledging
                                                              and asserting that these services of general interest are
We therefore voted against this report.
                                                              an essential goal of Member States’ economic and social
3-108                                                         policies and among the fundamental elements of our
Carlotti (PSE), in writing. – (FR) Driven by the              European model of society, but also that we adopt and
socialist and social democrat political family, the notion    defend the basic principles that serve as the operational
of services of general economic interest was enshrined        basis of these services of general interest, namely the
in the Treaty of Amsterdam (Article 16) at the heart of       universality of services, continuity, affordability and
the principles on which the European Union is based.          quality.

As a step further, the European socialists resolutely         Without the adoption of certain amendments, including
committed themselves to defending and promoting               those relating to the framework directive, it is these
services of general interest, as a fundamental aspect of      principles themselves that are likely to fall by the
our shared values and of our European social model.           wayside; there is a risk of the drift toward ultraliberalism
                                                              caused by sectoral directives becoming the norm. I do
Upon this concept, democratic and social guarantees for       not wish to take such a risk. Without voting on these
European citizens are founded: equal access for all,          amendments on the requirement of a framework
information, consultation and participation for users and     directive, I rejected the text at the final vote.
employees, quality and universality and financial
                                                              3-111
viability while respecting employment and collective
                                                              De Keyser (PSE), in writing. – (FR) The Herzog report
guarantees.
                                                              attempted to reconcile the irreconcilable, championing
                                                              liberalisation and defending services of general interest
Our battle lines have been drawn; our demands are clear.
                                                              at the same time; hence the discordant voting. Must we
We are asking for the missions, organisation and
                                                              support this ‘hybrid’ product which ‘highlights the fact
financing arrangements for services of general interest to
                                                              that liberalisation has not been to the detriment of the
be guaranteed and laid down in a framework directive, a
44                                                                                                       14/01/2004

provision of universal service’, which ‘considers the
liberalisation to date in the gas market insufficient’        The report is fundamentally biased against the public
while considering that the problems encountered in the        sector and against the role of the State in the economy,
liberalisation of certain sectors make it necessary to        as it is based on the false premise that it is ownership
assess the impact on employment in a pluralist and open       that determines good management. The clear aim is to
manner?                                                       feed the most lucrative sectors and public services to the
                                                              greed of the major economic and financial groups.
The rapporteur, faced with his mutilated draft and
having taken the ultraliberal forces of Parliament            The report endorses and encourages the process of
hostage, thought that, all considered, it was worth           liberalisation/privatisation in various key sectors and
supporting.                                                   abjectly glosses over the economic and social
                                                              consequences, from quality and access to public
As for me, along with all those who have not succumbed        services, to job losses in the targeted sectors.
to Stockholm syndrome, I have kept a cool head. The
amended text is indefensible and I therefore voted            We all know that the expression ‘services of general
against it.                                                   interest’ was not chosen by accident. Its clear aim is to
                                                              put an end to the concept of public service and, in so
3-112
                                                              doing, to alleviate the State’s burden of responsibility.
Ferreira (PSE), in writing. – (FR) I voted against the
motion for a resolution on services of general interest       3-114
since the voting trends of the majority of MEPs do not        Krivine and Vachetta (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR)
give an objective picture of the consequences of the          We voted against the Herzog report, which shows once
liberalisation undertaken to date. Furthermore, they pave     again that this Parliament is no more in favour of
the way for the liberalisation of other sectors.              progress than are the Commission or the Council of the
                                                              European Union. The ultraliberal majority in Parliament
Today, as we have already asked in the past, we must          introduced this report as a paean to the destruction of
hold a serious, pluralist and open assessment of              public services. To quote only one point from ten or
liberalisation policy and make the conclusions public.        twenty articles which are along the same lines, we read
                                                              that Parliament ‘welcomes the liberalisation in the fields
We must re-examine the liberalisation that has taken          of telecommunications, postal services, transport and
place, in order to make the adoption of a framework           energy, which has led to modernisation, interconnection
directive as effective as possible. Furthermore, it is high   and integration of the sectors, has led to price reductions
time we definitively excluded some sectors from the           through increased competition, and has led to the
prevailing competition policy at Community level. This        creation of nearly one million jobs across the European
applies particularly to health, education and social          Union’. And it wants to speed things up.
services, including social housing. Finally, we must
guarantee the subsidiarity under which local or territorial   What we see at work here is a mendacious dogmatism
powers are exercised.                                         that collides head-on with the wishes of the European
                                                              people. It is regrettable that the rapporteur, like a
This motion does not establish European services of           significant proportion of European socialists, chose to
general interest as an added value of the European            vote for this report because it opens up the prospect of a
structure but as a means of achieving the EU’s                framework directive on services of general interest. But
territorial, economic, ecological and social cohesion         must we do it on such a liberal basis? In this setting,
goals. Services of general interest are an essential          only street-level activism on the largest scale can create
element of our social model, which we must defend and         a positive outlook in the face of the destruction of public
promote.                                                      services.
3-113                                                         3-115
Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (PT) We voted             Lang (NI), in writing. – (FR) This report is political
against the Herzog report in the final vote, because we       trickery pure and simple because, in spite of the tragic
considered it fell short of what was required, having         comedy played out in this Chamber, right and left are
been watered down by proposals from the Group of the          basically on the same track, which is to say: destroy
European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and             public services by forever subjecting them to
European Democrats and the Group of the European              Community competition law, a law which, as everyone
Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party, within the                knows, has always been the least discriminate
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs. The odd           instrument of the free market.
improvement was made to the report in plenary, but the
amendments that had been tabled did not change it             French MEPs belonging to the UMP party, bound by the
significantly. The final result illustrates the               decisions of their ultraliberal parliamentary group, voted
aggressiveness of the neo-liberal and conservative            against France’s better interests by approving a text
offensive currently sweeping through the EU, in the           containing numerous provisions that plainly doom the
wake of rushed-through privatisations enshrined in the        existence of public services in France.
‘Lisbon Strategy’ and attempts to enshrine these in the
Constitution last December.
14/01/2004                                                                                                             45

As for the socialist-communist left, it has, in the name of      contrast, the liberalisation of public transport and energy
blind European federalism, never ceased to call for the          has proved highly detrimental to the inhabitants. Despite
adoption of a ‘framework directive’ on public services, a        what the Green Paper claims, they have become more
text that would inevitably involve Member States’                expensive. The provision of services has gone down and
competences being transferred to the European                    employment is in the balance. My party advocates a
Commission.                                                      course that is entirely different from the one described
                                                                 here and will therefore be voting against this proposal.
Resolutely opposed to the euroglobalist ideology that
                                                                 3-118
inspired this report, and which is itself a product of the
                                                                 Miller (PSE), in writing.  I welcome this Report on the
shameful alliance of political federalism and economic
                                                                 Green Paper on services of general interest. It gives
ultraliberalism, the members of the Front National were
                                                                 Parliament the opportunity to outline the future for
the only French members to clearly and coherently state
                                                                 public services. This should not involve unbridled
their rejection of this new antinational and antisocial
                                                                 liberalisation; it should involve a careful reflection on
offensive against our public services.
                                                                 what has gone before and on what has and has not
3-116                                                            worked.
Martinez (NI), in writing. – (FR) Trains used to run,
planes used to fly, the post used to arrive, healthcare          There are some areas where I differ from my colleagues
used to exist, schools used to teach and there was light,        in the Socialist Group. I believe that public radio and
all thanks to national public services. But the                  television broadcasters who play a major role in
Commission of Brussels wants to privatise them, flying           preserving cultural diversity and identity should be
in the face of reason, fact and social concerns.                 exempted from the competition rules.

Intelligence takes a back seat as we slip from the               The same should be the case for charitable organisations
glorious notion of services provided to the public, in the       which carry out a public service.
name of the common good and the res publica, to the
wretched concept of services provided by general                 The last point I wish to make is that, when the
interest. Market integrationism flies in the face of facts       legislation comes back to Parliament, there must be full
when it refuses to see that private trains in Britain are        engagement of that institution and that means
derailing, that electricity in California is cutting out, that   codecision.
the planes of private airlines such as Flash Airlines are
                                                                 3-119
crashing and that American commercial schools are
                                                                 Pasqua (UEN), in writing. – (FR) While not without its
leaving souls helpless. Social concerns are sacrificed
                                                                 critics, Community competition law does not preclude
because with liberalisation, there is two-tier access to
                                                                 maintaining public services. This compatibility is
healthcare, university, transport or even water: services
                                                                 established in Article 295 of the EC Treaty, and set out
for the rich and services for the poor.
                                                                 so that public services must respect rules of competition.
                                                                 Although there have been corporatist protests from the
All this is led by Mr Herzog, the communist rapporteur
                                                                 eternal supporters of the status quo who, under the
who has become ‘party to the rout’ of economic and
                                                                 pretext of defending public service, only want to
social democracy.
                                                                 preserve their statutory privileges, we must also note that
3-117                                                            opening public services up to competition is ultimately a
Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (NL) I am an                     vehicle for modernisation and competitiveness.
advocate of a Europe in which the economy is gradually
brought more under democratic control. This requires an          The real problem here concerns the sharing of
entirely different course than that currently being              competences between the EU and the Member States. In
pursued with the Green Paper on services of general              this regard, however, a ‘framework directive’ defining
interest, which makes Europe even more neo-liberal.              ‘good government in the area (…) of services of general
The Stability Pact is used as a big stick to compel              interest’, a motion backed by the Left in this House, is
Member States to liberalise and privatise important              absolutely unacceptable to the real defenders of public
sectors of their economy, at the expense of democratic           service: those who reject the pervading demagogy and
say and control over the social and public sectors.              support a Europe of nations, because it would end up
Despite the acknowledgment that certain services must            communising public services.
be accessible and affordable for everyone because social
coherence and solidarity depend upon them, there is              The vital point in this matter is that competences relating
hardly any part of the public sector that is sacrosanct. In      to the organisation and functioning of public services
fact, opportunities are being offered to place higher            remain the sole preserve of the sovereign States.
education, public health, social services and the
                                                                 3-120
provision of drinking water in private hands. In addition,
                                                                 Ribeiro e Castro (UEN), in writing.  (PT) The
old sectoral liberalisation plans are strictly adhered to for
                                                                 creation and maintenance of services of general interest
postal services, gas, electricity and public transport. The
                                                                 represents one of the pillars of the ‘European model’ of
results of past liberalisation programmes are being
                                                                 development, as it guarantees that, within a market
extolled, mistakenly so, as shown by the experience of
                                                                 economy framework – or rather, a social market
the Netherlands and of other countries, where, quite in
46                                                                                                        14/01/2004

economy framework – certain fundamental rights are             one from providing these services when they think it
sacrosanct. The individual citizen holds rights, and is not    justified to do so.
merely a unit of production or a pawn of the free market.
                                                               It is unfortunate that the incoherent and contradictory
I agree with the rapporteur that special attention must be     text resulting from the vote on the Herzog report will not
paid to rural and socially disadvantaged areas, with           clarify the debate. While it does have its good points,
emphasis on the outermost regions. I also endorse his          such as reiterating the ‘fundamental importance of the
view that social services of general interest that carry out   subsidiarity principle, in accordance with which the
social security and social inclusion functions should          competent authorities of the Member State are free to
remain exempt from competition rules.                          make their choice of missions, organisation and
                                                               financing arrangements for services of general interest’,
I support the idea that, in accordance with the Treaties       at the same time it leaves open the possibility of
and with the necessary respect for the principle of            imposing a uniform European definition of these
subsidiarity, the Community must be neutral in relation        services, which would deprive States of their regulatory
to Member States’ options on forms of property.                power and would necessarily be inspired by a majority
                                                               to whom the notion of public service is alien. This is
The proposed clarification of the concept of services of       why I abstained from voting on the final text.
general economic interest and of criteria for
                                                               3-123
distinguishing between categories of services of general
                                                               Thorning-Schmidt (PSE), in writing.  (DA) I have
interest must not be allowed to lead to greater
                                                               today voted in favour of Mr Herzog’s report on services
centralisation or to artificial standardisation. It is
                                                               of general interest and have, in that connection, also
essential that the public authorities responsible for such
                                                               supported a list of amendments that support the idea of a
services should enjoy freedom of choice.
                                                               framework directive in this area.
In light of the vote in plenary on the matter before us
                                                               In this connection, it must be made clear that we only
and given that proposals for a framework directive were
                                                               want a framework directive that respects the principle of
not passed, I voted in favour.
                                                               subsidiarity and that is confined to regulating services of
3-121                                                          a general economic character and does not therefore
Skinner (PSE), in writing.  Because the British               seek to regulate areas such as education, public health
experience of liberalisation has generally been a positive     and services of general social interest.
one, albeit one with unequal benefits for consumers and
                                                               3-124
the economy, the EPLP concurs with the general
                                                               Report: Sandbaek (A5-0474/2003)
approach of the Commission. However, the EPLP
believes there is a need for universality of service and       3-125
for the protection of workers' rights and other social,        Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (PT) HIV/AIDS,
environmental and economic benefits, both at the               tuberculosis and malaria kill around 20 000 people every
individual and the collective level. To this end the EPLP      day, and thousands more new clinical cases are
has voted to support those amendments which focused            diagnosed. These diseases are particularly prevalent in
on those areas.                                                developing countries, especially in the least developed
                                                               countries ravaged by war, poverty, economic decline and
Rather than a framework directive as called for by the         the collapse of essential public services, especially
rapporteur, the EPLP believes these issues should be           health care systems.
decided on a sector-by-sector basis.
                                                               The harsh reality is that ‘millions of people in
The EPLP does not want to halt liberalisation, nor does        developing countries continue to die each year from
it wish to prejudice competition laws and regulations.         infectious diseases, most of which can be prevented and
These are necessary in order for market reform to              cured by medicine’. This is the profit-driven approach,
complete the single market and to achieve the Lisbon           an approach that commercialises health, adopted by the
goals.                                                         large pharmaceutical multinationals which are primarily
                                                               based in developed countries. Patents on medicines and
3-122
                                                               lack of investment in the production of local medicines
Souchet (NI), in writing. – (FR) As a former pupil of the
                                                               are thus significant hurdles that must be overcome. Any
‘Public Service’ department of the Institute of Political
                                                               minor progress in the framework of the WTO continues
Studies in Paris, and as a local councillor specifically
                                                               to come up against formidable financial interests.
responsible for maintaining local public services, I do
not think that the best way to preserve the notion of
                                                               The EU programme currently under discussion, aimed at
public service is to adopt a European framework
                                                               combating these diseases, is to be welcomed, yet does
directive, which would affect the freedom of Member
                                                               not go far enough. The efforts of the international
States to define the tasks they intend to entrust to public
                                                               community must focus especially on strengthening the
services, in accordance with the wishes of their people.
                                                               human, institutional and infrastructural resources of
It is not for countries that have historically lacked a
                                                               developing countries, particularly in order to restore
public service culture to prevent those which do possess
14/01/2004                                                                                                         47

public services and basic health care systems and to          'abortion'. Until this is clarified by the Commission, I
ensure that medicine can be produced independently.           cannot support this ambiguous terminology.
3-126                                                         3-128
Ribeiro e Castro (UEN), in writing.  (PT) The                Report: Bébéar (A5-0329/2003)
Commission’s Programme for Action entitled
                                                              3-129
‘accelerated action on HIV/AIDS, malaria and                  Bordes, Cauquil and Laguiller (GUE/NGL), in
tuberculosis in the context of poverty reduction;             writing. – (FR) We voted against this report, which takes
outstanding policy issues and future challenges’ was          a cynically paternalistic attitude towards African
based on three approaches: improving effectiveness,           countries. For example, how dare it state that these
making medicines more affordable and increasing R&D           countries ‘should devote resources to establishing a
(Research and Development).                                   strategy of sustainable, equitable and viable
                                                              development opening the way to genuine employment of
I endorse the rapporteur’s proposal to encourage patent-      the right to food, health, education, housing and other
holder companies to grant licences that allow other           necessities for African peoples’? Even in rich western
companies to manufacture their products at lower cost;        countries, the dominant class deprives a large proportion
using safeguards in international trade agreements that       of the population of these rights!
can help governments to expand access to medicines and
protect public health.                                        African peoples have to bear, however, in addition to
                                                              those of their own privileged class, the far more
We need to see more R&D and new medicines and                 considerable impositions of industrial and financial
instruments of diagnosis that are easier to use, more         groups of imperialist countries. From the time of the
effective and more affordable. Similarly, particular          slave trade to the present day, where these countries are
emphasis must be given to disseminating routine child         bled dry by the global banking system, through the
and maternal health care, so as to reduce mortality rates.    pillaging of the colonial era, western capitalism has
The EU must not remain indifferent to such issues and         never stopped impoverishing this continent.
its financial contribution must increase accordingly.
                                                              Today, the European Parliament, the parliament of the
I voted in favour, as I feel that the problems arising from   countries whose leaders can be blamed for reducing
poverty-linked disease are so serious that only by            African countries to misery, gracefully leave these
establishing a broad range of far-reaching policies and       countries to repair the damage done to them over the
strategies will we be able to solve them in all their         centuries themselves! It is deplorable.
aspects.
                                                              3-130
3-127
                                                              Boudjenah (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR) The subject
Scallon (PPE-DE), in writing.  The OECD emphasises           is much debated, in as much as the very neoliberal
that 'Investment in health is an important means of           tendencies of NEPAD raise legitimate questions among
economic development and substantially improved               all those who dream of finally seeing Africa emerge
health outcomes are a prerequisite for developing             from under-development. I also support the criticisms
countries to break out of the cycle of poverty. If the        made by the report, particularly with regard to the
health of poor people is to improve, a ‘pro-poor’ health      absence of democratic consultation of ‘civil society’, of
approach is needed. This goes beyond the health sector        unions and even of national parliaments. Conducting an
and includes policies in areas that disproportionately        independent study on NEPAD’s impact on social rights,
affect the health and economic security of the poor, such     food safety, access to raw materials and protection of the
as education, nutrition, water and sanitation.'               environment is undoubtedly the greatest encouragement
                                                              to emerge.
HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are direct causes
and consequences of poverty, which particularly expose        The fact remains that the responsibilities of the EU and
women and children. I welcome the goodwill of the             of the G8 must not be relinquished, whether this means
international community and I urge our governments to         it is necessary to cancel the debt – which continues to
enhance respectful partnership, specifically in the field     drastically and unjustly suffocate budgets – or a reform
of health.                                                    and increase of public aid for development.
Nevertheless, I must abstain: the means proposed to           It is estimated that 64 billion dollars are required per
fight the 'very high and rising' number of HIV/AIDS-          year to achieve the goals set by NEPAD. Fund providers
infected women, is to provide 'appropriate sexual and         must face up to their responsibilities. Welcoming the
reproductive health information and services', to protect     Heads of State that established NEPAD to the G8 with
against, inter alia 'unwanted pregnancies'. Pregnancy is      great pomp is one thing, backing up words with actions
not an illness: children are a richness in developing         is quite another.
countries. This reveals another agenda which interprets
reproductive health to include abortion.                      Finally, the drafting of a legally restrictive framework
                                                              accompanied by sanctions for businesses that contribute
However, this is not the position of the Council, which
has clarified that 'reproductive health' does NOT include
48                                                                                                        14/01/2004

to conflicts would also be appropriate in preventing           perspective of fraternity and solidarity towards a brother
conflicts that are often murderous.                            Continent.
3-131                                                          3-133
Krivine and Vachetta (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (FR)             Report: Prets (A5-0477/2003)
NEPAD is without doubt a development project
                                                               3-134
conceived and adopted by the African states, but it
                                                               Gobbo (NI). – (IT) Mr President, Mr President-in-Office
should not be looked upon as a project that will
                                                               of the Council, Mr President of the Commission, ladies
emancipate the African people. Indeed, it is increasingly
                                                               and gentlemen, as a citizen of Venice who has therefore
denounced, like the Cotonou Agreement, the WTO and
                                                               inherited a strong historical, cultural and linguistic
the IMF’s structural adjustment policies, by sectors of
                                                               identity – I recall the Most Serene Venetian Republic – I
civil society such as the Addis Ababa African Social
                                                               hope that all the countries in the European Union will
Forum and the People’s Forum held in Siby in Mali in
                                                               adopt policies aimed at devolving the competences of
2003. In fact, it is part of a neo-liberal logic, the actual
                                                               the state to the regions, especially policies on state-
consequences of which run counter to the objectives laid
                                                               sector education, culture and the protection of cultural
down.
                                                               assets. We believe that it is precisely our cultural
                                                               diversity and cultural identities that form the major
There can be no appropriation of development at either
                                                               attraction of this Europe, which should not try to
national or regional level while the Washington
                                                               centralise but should leave room for the regionalisms
Consensus, imposed on the current African leaders to
                                                               and identities of all the peoples it embraces. I therefore
later be taken over, provides for the private
                                                               want to underline the need to refocus on these identities
appropriation of the most profitable economic heritage
                                                               in their own local areas, so that the great cultural
by the multinationals. Thus, the social rights and
                                                               heritage that unites all the peoples of Europe can be an
freedoms acquired over the last three decades of
                                                               example of democracy and especially of the great
independence are being dismantled through the revision
                                                               strength of our diversity in this our European identity.
of national labour and investment codes. The fact that
NEPAD consulted the multinationals and the G8 rather           3-135
than the African people says a lot about its idea of           Borghezio (NI). – (IT) As the report states, it is
democracy. As a result, we cannot vote for a resolution        necessary to arrive at a legal framework under
that merely criticises the lack of consultation while          international law for the right to cultural diversity. In
concealing the fundamental, harmful logic underpinning         addition – something that is very important from the
NEPAD.                                                         point of view of the independence and regionalist
                                                               movements such as the one I represent in this
3-132
                                                               Parliament, the Lega Nord – the report quite rightly
Ribeiro e Castro (UEN), in writing.  (PT) This report         underlines the need for vigilance concerning the
on the New Partnership for Africa's Development                treatment of minority populations and languages,
(NEPAD), a political initiative of major importance            especially including indigenous languages, within the
undertaken by five African Heads of State, as part of an       context of an enlarged Europe. With regard to the
ambitious project known as ‘African Renaissance’,              protection of the languages of minority populations, the
places emphasis on conflict prevention and on                  Member States are invited, where appropriate, to pay
implementing support mechanisms for restoring and              particular attention to the conservation of monuments,
maintaining peace, action against corruption, which is         buildings and everyday implements, which form the
essential for good governance. The initiative is further       material history of these cultures. There is a need,
underscored by the African Peer Review Mechanism               however, for a much broader and more thorough
(APRM), which I also endorse.                                  measure to protect everything that makes up the
                                                               immense cultural heritage of minority languages and
I agree, furthermore, that it is essential to encourage the    peoples: literature, art, folklore, books and manuscripts,
participation of members of civil society, including           which are in danger of disappearing. Within Padania, for
human rights organisations. The role of women in               instance, there is an immense linguistic cultural heritage,
African society must also be brought to the fore in            ranging from Piedmontese to the Venetian language, as
development projects.                                          mentioned by Mr Gobbo, to Lombard, Ladin and a host
                                                               of endangered minority languages. For them, it is vital
Notwithstanding the occasional criticisms made of              that the devolution policy sponsored by the current
NEPAD for its top-down approach, I feel that we must           Italian Government should be adopted.
give the initiative our wholehearted support and must
contribute towards improving its effective human and           3-136
social impact. We must help to remove hundreds of              O'Toole (PSE). – Mr President, we are committed to
people from the mire of underdevelopment and play an           safeguarding cultural diversity in the Union and to
active role in combating the corruption and tyranny            promoting a pluralistic media. However, we abstained
endemic in large parts of the African continent.               on the proposals set out simply because we believe that
                                                               they are largely inoperable and that other instruments
I therefore voted in favour. I particularly welcome this       can be used in order to achieve our objectives.
report, as I have striven for a new perspective on Africa,
a new perspective on a forgotten continent and a
14/01/2004                                                                                                              49

Overall, we concur with the rapporteur on the                   the use and recognition of minority languages within
desirability of linguistic diversity, the definition of         states.
cultural goods as a public good, the desirability of public
                                                                3-139
sector broadcasting and the undesirability of media
                                                                Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (PT) I broadly
concentration. However, paragraphs 23, 24, 26, 29, 31,
                                                                welcome this own-initiative report by the Committee on
32 and 33 unnecessarily pre-empt the UNESCO
                                                                Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport on
conclusions to be drawn in 2005, let alone inhibiting, as
                                                                preserving and encouraging cultural diversity, especially
they do, the room for manoeuvre on cultural areas in the
                                                                so during a fresh round of WTO talks.
negotiations in Cancun.
3-137                                                           Unesco therefore took the initiative, at its conference of
Gorostiaga Atxalandabaso (NI). – Mr President, like             17 October 2003, to begin work on producing a draft
the majority in this House I have voted in favour of the        Convention on cultural diversity, with the aim of
excellent report by Mrs Prets on this very sensitive issue.     creating an international legal instrument that will
The problem is that whenever stateless nations of the           protect and promote cultural diversity. The report before
European Union, such as the Basque country, try to              us makes a positive contribution towards this aim, with a
implement approved guidelines, the French and Spanish           series of recommendations to Member States and the
authorities adopt a thoroughly contemptuous attitude.           Commission regarding Unesco’s work, such as
                                                                consolidating cultural rights, fostering the development
Last week in Bayonne, people were ejected from a court          of public cultural policies in each State and committing
of law and sprayed with tear gas because they had dared         all the parties involved to international cooperation.
to speak in Basque and promote the use of the Basque
language in public services. Members of this House will         Among other points in the report, I welcome its
shortly receive full information on this regrettable            reaffirmation of the principle of preserving and
incident.                                                       promoting cultural diversity and access to culture, as a
                                                                contribution towards mutual understanding between
I must point out that the opinion of the Committee on           people and towards peace. I endorse the report’s position
Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and              that States have the right to define their own cultural
Defence Policy, attached to this report, states that            policies. I also welcome the reaffirmation – as advocated
cooperation policy in the European Union is                     by Unesco – that culture is not ‘merchandise’ and that it
'unthinkable without respect for and promotion of               must be excluded from any process of liberalisation, be
cultural diversity as an integral part of the identity of the   it multilateral or bilateral, as well as the reaffirmation of
political entities and communities involved.'                   the role of public services.
3-138
Cappato (NI), in writing. – (IT) The Radical Members            I therefore voted in favour.
voted against the report not only because it opposes the        3-139-500
liberalisation of international trade and surrenders to         Malmström, Paulsen and Olle Schmidt (ELDR), in
cultural relativism, as well as protectionism, but also         writing.  (SV) We fully share the view that cultural
because it does not seem to understand the dangers of           diversity should be recognised as a fundamental right,
cultural and linguistic annihilation at the hands of            and we therefore choose to support Mrs Prets report on
nationalists and proponents of state control.                   cultural diversity. The EU is, and must remain, a mosaic
                                                                of minorities and cultures. As liberals, we always put the
National policies that undermine linguistic diversity in        private individual at the centre of all political decisions.
the teaching of foreign languages – that is, the de facto       We therefore believe it to be of the greatest importance
obligation to learn just one foreign language, English –        both to confirm in international law that every state or
are dominant in both the European Union and the                 group of states has a legitimate right freely to decide
acceding countries. The European institutions                   what cultural policy they wish to pursue, and to
themselves are often mono- or bilingual. The resolution         strengthen the policy of international cooperation and
lacks any reference to innovative solutions to                  solidarity on cultural issues. Linguistic diversity must
communication requirements on a non-discriminatory              also be retained within the EU.
basis, for instance by envisaging the use of neutral
languages like the international language Esperanto. It         We are, however, dubious about the idea of the EU
also lacks any reference to the little protection afforded      being legally entitled to take measures within the area of
to the languages of indigenous populations and                  culture and the media in order to preserve and promote
immigrants and to sign language.                                cultural diversity. We do not therefore wish to support
                                                                the EU’s developing a legal instrument for cultural
Of the concrete proposals that have already found a             diversity.
certain consensus at an international level, I should like
                                                                3-140
to mention the proposal by the Esperanto Radical
Association for the Language Policy Observatory, which          Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (NL) The EU is doing
was also recently recommended by UNESCO’s 32nd                  a great deal in order to involve a young generation in
General Conference. There is indeed a need for an up-to-        projects intended to link European unity and ideas about
date picture of language practices and legislation and of       progress. These projects may end up verging on being
50                                                                                                        14/01/2004

propaganda rather than education. In channelling money        drawn up by Unesco, and the Council of Europe’s
to cultural organisations that propagate 'the European        Declaration on Cultural Diversity appeared. These
idea' by pursuing a general European interest, the EU’s       declarations succeeded in going beyond mere trade
objective is to create a more uniform European elite. In      aspects of educational and cultural services and cultural
the worst-case scenario, the EU will eventually evolve        goods, by encompassing specific objectives such as the
into a power centre, with the power ending up in the          development of viable local cultural industries and
hands of a Europe-wide English-speaking elite, putting        improving the worldwide distribution of cultural works.
anyone who does not speak this language at home or has        The respect for and protection of cultural diversity are of
an insufficient command of it at a disadvantage at work,      crucial importance, from the point of view not only of
and in terms of their ability to participate, and have a      collective awareness, but also of hopefully sustainable
say, in politics. Deviating national and regional customs     development. Cultural diversity is, in turn, in harmony
are then treated as a form of handicap. That is why it is     with the world around us and is something that each
positive that we should now finally set to defending          generation inherits and then passes down.
cultural diversity against commerce and centralistic
governance. I completely share the view of Mrs Prets,         I believe that the EU must take a pro-active role in the
the rapporteur, that cultural services and products, and      discussion and emergence of new instruments at the next
certainly the diversity of opinions, are not consumer         Unesco General Conference, capable of addressing the
goods capable of simply being handed over to the              needs of a new world in which Europe must foster, with
market. I support her ambition to exclude everything that     steadfast determination, the promotion of cultural
pertains to this from trade liberalisation by WTO/GATT        diversity, make a contribution towards cultural dialogue
and to have it protected by a convention to be concluded      and promote mutual understanding and respect. 3-142-500
in the framework of UNESCO.                                   Saint-Josse (EDD), in writing. – (FR) As well as
                                                              providing an excellent discussion of the importance and
3-141
                                                              the richness of cultural diversity, the report expressly
Patakis (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (EL) We agree with
                                                              calls for the rule of unanimity to be applied. This is not a
several points in the report at debate. For reasons of
                                                              blocking tactic, a charge all too frequently levelled, but
principle, we agree with the need to safeguard the right
                                                              the best guarantee of obtaining the consent of States and
of cultural self-determination and the cultural diversity
                                                              of the citizens. Another reason for us to be satisfied is
of the peoples of Europe and the whole world. The
                                                              the most compelling case the report makes for the need
report partially formulates correctly certain of the causes
                                                              for the principle of subsidiarity to be respected and for
of gradual cultural homogenisation and the
                                                              ‘the right for the Member State, the regions and sub-
commercialisation of culture (pressure from the WTO,
                                                              state entities where appropriate to define, implement and
internal rivalries both between the USA and the EU and
                                                              adapt cultural policies’ before emphasising that ‘services
within the ΕU itself, inability of UNESCO to play its
                                                              and cultural products and education are not
role etc.).
                                                              merchandise… and must therefore be made subject to
                                                              special conditions… [which] must take account of the
Because we firmly believe in cultural diversity, as one of
                                                              fact that the market cannot be the measure of all things,
the last bastions defending the historic existence and
                                                              and must guarantee in particular diversity of opinion and
continuing identity of peoples and as an historic
                                                              pluralism’. The Members of the Chasse-Pêche-Nature-
necessity (as the report also recognises), we consider the
                                                              Traditions delegation to the Group for a Europe of
proposed measures to be completely inadequate. The
                                                              Democracies and Diversities have no alternative
problem cannot be resolved within the framework of
                                                              proposal. We support the concept of public service and
organisations such as UNESCO or the Council of
                                                              reject the liberalisation of these sectors under the
Europe, let alone the ΕU. The only way to check and
                                                              General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It is
reverse this preplanned and culturally catastrophic
                                                              regrettable and worrying that these guidelines should not
advance is for the peoples to take the matter into their
                                                              have been extended to all services of general interest in
own hands, to fight against the logic and practices of the
                                                              the vote on the Herzog report, but we give our
laws of the market dictated by imperialist globalisation
                                                              unreserved support to the resolution on preserving and
and to demand respect for the values of their culture.
                                                              promoting cultural diversity in association with
                                                              UNESCO.
For these reasons, the Communist Party of Greece did
not support the report and abstained from the final vote.
                                                              3-143
3-142
                                                              Turco (NI), in writing. – (IT) Following on from
Ribeiro e Castro (UEN), in writing.  (PT) As our
                                                              Mr Cappato’s explanation of vote, I must underline the
rapporteur (and the draftsman of our opinion) so
                                                              importance of the OSCE, the Organization for Security
eloquently expressed, ‘preserving the cultural heritage as
                                                              and Co-operation in Europe. The OSCE promotes
the common heritage of mankind is a central concern of
                                                              security in all ways other than direct armed intervention,
our civil society, and the preservation and
                                                              and therefore makes every effort to promote respect for
encouragement of cultural diversity helps to ensure
                                                              cultural and linguistic diversity. Two institutions operate
peace, security, stability and development’.
                                                              within the OSCE to achieve this: the High
                                                              Commissioner on National Minorities and the
This preservation requires specific actions. It was in this
                                                              Representative on Freedom of the Media, who have
light that the Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity
14/01/2004                                                                                                            51

continually been directing their attention to the subject     the lack of coherence between UN policy – as defined in
of languages. Recently, at their meeting in Maastricht in     the Beijing Platform for Action – and EU policy on
December 2003, the foreign ministers of the OSCE              equal opportunities. I also welcome the fact that it points
countries adopted a decision on tolerance – Decision          out the lack of information with regard to the execution
4/03. Article 10 refers to the High Commissioner on           of a number of Community programmes, and when it
National Minorities and his recommendations on                expresses disappointment that the 2003 work
education and languages, including in radio and               programme, relating to priority actions, does no more
television broadcasting. The decision also refers to the      than reiterate previous intentions. I also agree with the
recommendations on this subject by the Representative         rapporteur when she underlines the need for a report
on Freedom of the Media, the text of which can be found       summarising the 1995 Platform for Action in Member
at www.osce.org. In 2002 and 2003 he carried out a            States, to be tabled before the end of this legislative
thorough study on the media in multilingual societies,        period. Unfortunately, good intentions have not been
taking five countries as examples: Luxembourg,                translated into reality. In the neo-liberal offensive
Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of                  against workers’ rights, social rights and other social
Macedonia, Moldova and Serbia-Montenegro.                     gains, the first to be affected are always women, who
                                                              face unemployment and unequal pay.
On 13 and 14 September the OSCE is organising a
                                                              3-147
conference on racism and xenophobia, to be held in
                                                              Lulling (PPE-DE), in writing.  (DE) The Commission
Brussels, during which I hope the subject of linguistic
                                                              is required to provide us with annual reports on the
diversity will be addressed.
                                                              current situation as regards equal opportunities for
3-144                                                         women and men in the European Union. Today, we are
Report: Swiebel (A5-0481/2003)                                to state our position on the annual report for 2002, a
                                                              good practice that permits us to assess how things stand
3-145
                                                              when it comes to implementing the fine European
Bastos (PPE-DE), in writing.  (PT) The 2002 annual
                                                              directives and programmes that are meant to guarantee
report on equal opportunities is relevant to the EU’s
                                                              equal treatment and equal opportunities to women and
objectives. We have noted, however, a number of
                                                              men.
shortcomings in the report.
                                                              We all know that, where this is concerned, not all that
As draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on
                                                              glisters is gold in the Member States or in the accession
Employment and Social Affairs, I believe it is essential
                                                              countries, and that this House should and must denounce
to take a two-pronged approach, with the aim of
                                                              this is not a matter of dispute. There are, however, some
ensuring equal treatment and equal pay, and genuine
                                                              passages in this otherwise astonishingly sensible motion
political mainstreaming of gender issues. Given that the
                                                              for a resolution from the Committee on Women’s Rights
growth of employment, particularly of women, is
                                                              and Equal Opportunities that have to be modified.
directly linked to whether it is possible to combine work
                                                              Various Members of this House have objected to the
with family life, the employment strategy must include
                                                              requirement that Member States and accession countries
references to funding and setting up facilities to care for
                                                              should, by 2010 provide good and affordable childcare
children and dependents, and access to paid parental
                                                              facilities for at least 90% of children between three years
leave. It must also include targeted support measures to
                                                              of age and school age and for 33% of children under the
assist women in returning to work after raising a family.
                                                              age of three. They wonder whether that is either
                                                              desirable or realistic, that is to say, affordable.
Every effort must be made to encompass areas as diverse
as social security, training, enterprise initiatives, the
                                                              (Explanation of vote abbreviated in accordance with
inclusion of women in the decision-making process,
                                                              Rule 137(1) of the Rules of Procedure)
extending working life, domestic violence and the
trafficking of women.                                         3-148
                                                              Meijer (GUE/NGL), in writing. – (NL) On average,
3-146
                                                              women in the EU earn 84% of what a man does, and the
Figueiredo (GUE/NGL), in writing.  (PT) The own-
                                                              average unemployment rate for women in 2001 was
initiative report by the Committee on Women’s Rights
                                                              2.3% higher than for men. In the Explanatory Statement,
and Equal Opportunities rightly draws attention to
                                                              the rapporteur demonstrates incisively that the many fine
important aspects of the framework strategy and to
                                                              words about equal opportunities for men and women are,
annual work programmes and reports on equal
                                                              in practice, leading to little action, partly owing to a lack
opportunities between men and women in the EU. These
                                                              of measurable results. No clear objectives were set
include the fact that the aims for the strategy have yet to
                                                              beforehand, and the assessment criteria laid down by the
be defined in measurable terms and that the annual
                                                              European Commission in its Framework Strategy for the
reports do not manage to combine addressing the
                                                              period 2001-2005 do not reappear in its Annual Report
political aims that I have highlighted and a thorough
                                                              for 2002. It is thus unclear what has been done or not
analysis and evaluation of the current situation.
                                                              been done, and what the results are. Furthermore, the
                                                              Commission and the Council are working independently
Although it contains certain aspects that I consider
                                                              of each other. During the Finnish Presidency in late
contradictory, I agree with the report when it highlights
                                                              1999, the Council established nine indicators with regard
52                                                                                                             14/01/2004
                                                                    3-153
to women in responsible and decision-making jobs, to
which were then added French indicators for the                     President. – The next item is the Council and
reconciliation of work and family life, Belgian indicators          Commission statements on preparations for the 60th
for unequal pay and Danish indicators for domestic                  session of the United Nations Commission on Human
violence against women. These are all nice things for               Rights.
ministers to tell their grass-roots support back home. No           3-154
further mention of them is to be found in the annual                Roche, Council.  Mr President, as a former United
reports, and the underlying documents remained                      Nations human rights fellow and indeed as a former
confidential. It is a shame that the motion for a                   chairman of the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace,
resolution adopted unanimously in the Committee on                  I am particularly pleased that my first address to
Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities lacks the                    Parliament should be on the European Union's
firmness of the clear Explanatory Statement. I fear that,           preparations for the forthcoming session of the United
once again, little will change there.                               Nations Commission on Human Rights. The General
3-149
                                                                    Affairs and External Relations Council conclusions of
Ribeiro e Castro (UEN), in writing.  (PT) I feel that              10 December 2002 contain concrete recommendations
equality between men and women is of the utmost                     as to how the Council and the European Parliament can
importance, and have always condemned sex                           work more closely to achieve openness and transparency
discrimination.                                                     in the European Union's human rights policy. The
                                                                    Council is committed to putting those recommendations
I am forced, however, to disagree with the rapporteur’s             into practice.
position, which, rather than fight for equality, seeks to
impose egalitarian extremism.                                       Enhancing the dialogue between Parliament and the
                                                                    Council on human rights issues is an important focus for
In order to make equality a reality it is not necessary to          the Irish presidency. Today's debate is a valuable part of
have the exact same number of men and women doing a                 that discourse. This is an area where we can make real
particular job, it is much more important first to ensure           progress if we work together.
that there is equal access to opportunities.
                                                                    The European Union has always been determined to
The egalitarianism in the report before us is an absurd             assume its international responsibilities. The Union's
imposition, which offers a superficial impression of                size, wealth, history and geography all point to our
equality and would only reflect true representation, if at          Union playing a prominent role in the period ahead.
all, by coincidence.
                                                                    Human rights will remain at the heart of that role. A
I do feel that many of the rapporteur’s ideas, in terms of          concern for human rights is at the core of European
EU law, could not be implemented in the EU, as they                 integration. We are much more than an economic area
fall within the competences of Member States.                       and an alliance of convenience. Ours is a Union which is
                                                                    based and built on values. Those values are essential
I nonetheless endorse some of the points made in this               conditions for membership. They are a compass that
own-initiative report, which do not, in any case, pertain           helps guide our external relations. We are committed to
exclusively to equality between men and women. I                    the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for
agree, for example, with the rapporteur’s criticism of the          universal and indivisible human rights, fundamental
lack of transparency of decisions made within the                   freedoms and the rule of law. There can be no
Council, which prevents Parliament and the citizens                 compromise on or denial of these principles.
from making a proper evaluation of its activities and its
decisions.                                                          Europe has been at the fore in developing the concept of
                                                                    universal human rights. It was on our continent, Europe,
I voted against.                                                    that the idea of protecting human rights via written
                                                                    norms was first elaborated: the Magna Carta of 1215, the
3-150                                                               Bill of Rights of 1689 and the Declaration of the Rights
President.  That concludes the explanations of vote.               of Man of 1789 are all landmarks, but they are not the
                                                                    only landmarks.
(The sitting was suspended at 1.40 p.m. and resumed at
3 p.m.)                                                             The attachment of Europe to human rights is not an
                                                                    abstract one: it was forged in the bitter experiences of
3-151
                 IN THE CHAIR: MR ONESTA                            European history – our common history. We need only
                        Vice-President1                             look back to our own history to understand why the
                                                                    Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers in the
3-152                                                               starkest language to: 'disregard and contempt for human
         Preparations for the 60th session of the UN                rights that have resulted in barbarous acts which have
              Commission on Human Rights                            outraged the conscience of mankind.' That sense of
                                                                    outrage has been used positively in the past half century
                                                                    to construct a new Europe that has learned from and not
1
    Approval of the Minutes of the previous sitting: see Minutes.   forgotten its history.
14/01/2004                                                                                                        53

                                                             significant improvement on the atmosphere of 2002.
This presidency believes strongly that human rights have     There was a more positive approach by all groups on a
a strategic part to play in confronting the major            number of issues which had previously caused serious
challenges of our time. There is no need to emphasise        difficulties, most notably the follow-up to the Durban
the close relationship between peace, security and           World Conference against Racism and on the rights of
stability on the one hand, and respect for human rights,     the child.
fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law,
on the other. Our presidency will reflect the central        The return of the United States to the Human Rights
importance of human rights in all our external actions.      Commission was another positive and welcome
                                                             development. The European Union played a positive
Our Union can, rightly, be proud of the achievements of      role at the Human Rights Commission. On individual
the last 50 years. We must never, however, become            country situations, the Union successfully tabled
complacent. There is no part of the globe which is           resolutions on the human rights situations in Burma
absolutely free from human rights abuses of one form or      (Myanmar), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq,
another. None of us in Europe, for example, is without       Turkmenistan and North Korea. The Human Rights
fault: acts of racism, xenophobia and intolerance have       Commission adopted a resolution on Israeli settlements
not disappeared from our own societies. Believing in         in the occupied Arab territories. The European Union
human rights means being ready to accept criticisms and      also agreed a Chair's Statement on Colombia. However,
working every day to strengthen respect for the              initiatives from the European Union on Chechnya and
freedoms that we all hold dear. We must remind               Sudan were defeated and our resolution on Zimbabwe
ourselves, each and every day, that human rights are not     fell to a no-action motion.
for export only.
                                                             A number of important EU initiatives fell in 2003. This
If human rights within the Union are respected               was in significant part due to the composition of the
absolutely, unquestionably and visibly, our foreign          Human Rights Commission. It also reflects the
policy will be more effective and more persuasive. We        unwillingness of some regional groups to accept any
will be in a position to demand respect for basic            condemnation of their members. It also reflects the very
principles and values – upon which all individual            large number of proposals coming forward from the
integrity and human decency are founded – from the           European Union.
international community only when those principles and
values apply without equivocation in our Union.              Turning to thematic resolutions, the EU initiatives on the
                                                             death penalty and the rights of the child were adopted by
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has            the Human Rights Commission. One of the more
played a pivotal role in the promotion and protection of     emotive issues addressed by the Commission, a
human rights. It has been the standard-setter establishing   Brazilian resolution on human rights and sexual
monitoring mechanisms. The international community           orientation, co-sponsored by the Union, ran into
should rightly take pride in the Commission's unique         vigorous objection, in particular from the Organisation
contribution to this process and to the progress that has    of Islamic Conferences. This issue was remitted to the
been achieved since the proclamation of the Universal        60th session of the Commission and it is likely to be
Declaration of Human Rights.                                 very sensitive in the upcoming session.

While much has been achieved, more remains to be             Before turning to the EU's preparations for the
done. The European Union remains committed to                forthcoming Commission, I wish to mention the decision
cooperating with the High Commissioner for Human             by the African Group in Geneva to challenge the
Rights, the United Nations human rights mechanisms,          nomination of Australia as Chair of the session. In line
special rapporteurs and representatives as well as with      with the current system of geographical rotation, the
Treaty bodies. The European Union will reinforce its         Western Group has nominated Australia as its candidate
efforts towards achieving the United Nations Secretary-      for Chair of the next session of the Commission on
General's goal that the rights of all men, women and         Human Rights. The African Group in Geneva has
children must be 'at the heart of every aspect of UN         indicated that it intends to call for a vote. We are very
work'.                                                       concerned about this development and its negative
                                                             impact on the Commission on Human Rights. Australia
Before addressing the preparations for this year's           enjoys the full support and the endorsement of the
Commission on Human Rights, I would like briefly to          European Union and of all other members of the
address the outcome of last year's session, because it is    Western Group. Accordingly, the European Union has
indicative of the challenges that we face next March and     called on the African Group to reflect on its decision in
April in Geneva.                                             advance of the election, due on 19 January 2004.

The 2003 session of the Commission was challenging.          I hope that the African Group can be dissuaded from
The beginning of the session was overshadowed by the         calling for a vote on the Chair of the Commission. In
looming war in Iraq. The war started during the              making this call, I am guided by the need to work
Commission's second week yet, and quite remarkably,          constructively with the African Group at the
the atmosphere, while occasionally fractious, was a          forthcoming session of the Commission on Human
54                                                                                                           14/01/2004

Rights and to improve relations with the Group                 child, contemporary forms of slavery and human rights
generally in that forum. The President of the Council has      defenders. This list is by no means exhaustive. It does,
already made our anxiety clear to move Africa up the           however, give you some indication of the very thorough
agenda of the EU, so there is no question as to our            engagement which is envisaged by the European Union
goodwill on this issue.                                        in this year's Commission on Human Rights.

Against the background outlined above, I would like to         The timing of this session for Parliament is very
give you as much information as I can about the current        welcome because it means that the Human Rights
state of the Council's preparations for the Commission         Working Group will be in a position to take into account
on Human Rights. Time does not permit me to touch on           the deliberations of this Parliament in framing the
every aspect of the Commission's work. However, I wish         Union's priorities for the Commission. The European
to share with this Parliament the essence of our approach      Parliament's suggestions for initiatives are most
as a presidency.                                               welcome and I will be very attentive to any suggestions
                                                               that come forward here today.
At a general level, the Human Rights Working Group,
COHOM, has been working since last autumn on                   A major aim of our presidency is to achieve a fruitful
improving the Union's performance, based on our                and an effective session of the Commission. The climate
experience from last year's session. The first meeting of      of confrontation, which increasingly characterises
the Human Rights Working Group of the Irish                    debates in the Commission on Human Rights, is a
presidency will take place on 21 January. In advance of        problem which we will address with our partners. It is a
that meeting, the various Common Foreign and Security          problem that must be resolved, a distraction that the
Policy geographical working groups have been asked to          Commission on Human Rights does not need.
present their priorities and their recommendations for
action this year. With the help of this input, the Human       The actions of the European Union in the field of human
Rights Working Group meeting on 21 January will                rights are clearly perceived by part of the international
identify countries which may have formed the subject of        community, for some reason, as being suspect.
EU initiatives at this year's Commission. COHOM is             Unfortunately, the very principle of universality of
also likely to request detailed reports from EU heads of       human rights and the conviction that they cannot be
mission on human rights situations in these countries.         constrained or limited by any social, economic or
                                                               cultural exception are being called into question. Ireland
I should stress that no final decision on any initiative has   will work very hard to counter this perception of the EU
as yet been taken. The Human Rights Working Group              stance during our presidency.
will take a final decision at a further meeting to be held
on 4 February. If there are any particularly controversial     I would like to conclude by reiterating the important and
issues outstanding, these will be considered by the            central position of the question of human rights and
Political and Security Committee and, if necessary, be         fundamental freedoms in the Union's external relations
decided by the Council at Council level.                       policies. Peace, security and international stability are
                                                               founded on full respect for human rights. This is not
The expressions of the Union's concern in regard to the        empty rhetoric; it reflects the objective recognition of a
human rights situations in countries will not be confined      reality that should be clear to all. It is also a reality that
to formal resolutions. In the traditional statement under      is destined to have an ever more decisive influence on
agenda item 9 – human rights situations in various parts       governments' external policy choices. It must also
of the world – the EU will refer to a number of country        inform the strategies of international organisations.
situations in the context of the thematic approach. The
presidency intends to keep this draft as concise and as        In conclusion, I wish to thank Parliament for the
targeted as possible. We believe that by doing so we will      opportunity to outline the Council's preparations for the
have the maximum impact. Another effective approach            60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights
is the type of human rights dialogue that the Union has        and to look forward to further developing the dialogue
entered into, for example with China and in the EU-Iran        between the Council and Parliament in this vital area,
dialogue.                                                      which is so close to the heart of all democrats.
                                                               3-155
As regards thematic resolutions, again no final decision
                                                               Vitorino, Commission.  Mr President, the Commission
has been taken. However, the European Union is again
                                                               welcomes this opportunity to exchange views with
likely to table resolutions on the death penalty and on
                                                               Parliament on the forthcoming session of the UN
children's rights.
                                                               Commission on Human Rights. I subscribe
                                                               wholeheartedly to the statement that has just been made
Preparations have also begun for a number of EU
                                                               by Minister Roche. We need to fully guarantee the
statements, including one on the follow-up to the World
                                                               coherence between respect for human rights internally in
Conference on Human Rights and others on racism,
                                                               the European Union and the central role that human
racial discrimination, xenophobia, the right to
                                                               rights play in our own external policy. The Commission
development, economic, social and cultural rights, civil
                                                               would like to contribute to this debate on the basis of
and political rights, integration of the human rights of
                                                               some of its specific points of view.
women and the gender perspective, the rights of the
14/01/2004                                                                                                           55

                                                              the international community’s preoccupation with a
As Mr Roche just mentioned, the Commission on                 particular country’s human rights record; they provide
Human Rights of the United Nations is no stranger to          the basis for the work of country and thematic
controversy. In the statement on the CHR preparations         rapporteurs, charged with the investigation of human
delivered on behalf of the Commission to Parliament last      rights concerns. It is a mark of the lightness with which
year, Commissioner Nielson noted that Eleanor                 certain members of the Commission on Human Rights
Roosevelt, the first Chairman of the CHR in 1946,             carry their responsibility to the institution that 35 of the
would be turning in her grave at the election of a Libyan     53 state members have failed to extend a standing
Chair. To that sorry saga we must now add the African         invitation to those rapporteurs and other visiting
Group’s provocative indication that they will request a       mechanisms. We must make every endeavour in our
vote, and vote against, the Western Group’s nominated         dialogue and cooperation with such countries to prompt
candidate for Chair – Australian Ambassador Mike              a more acceptable approach.
Smith – which can only serve to embitter the atmosphere
in Geneva ahead of the 60th session. Even by the              That is entirely in line with the EU’s determination to
standards of an increasingly politicised CHR – a body         draw on the work of the Commission on Human Rights
which saw fit to reject last year’s EU resolutions on         as an important element of our relations with third
Zimbabwe, Chechnya and Sudan – this is an                     countries, to ensure that the approach we take
unprecedented move. The Commission supports the               throughout the year is consistent with what goes on in
swift efforts of the Irish presidency to mobilise a           international human rights fora and to ensure that the
concerted EU and Western Group response, with a series        mainstreaming of human rights in external relations is a
of démarches in African and Asian capitals.                   meaningful process.

A final decision on the European Union’s country and          The Commission therefore welcomes this debate. We
thematic initiatives has not yet been taken and               consider it an important contribution to the building-up
consultations continue between the Council Working            of the EU position in the forthcoming session. I shall
Group on Human Rights and geographical working                conclude by underlining the Commission’s intention to
groups. As the European Parliament’s Annual Report on         extend every assistance to the Irish presidency during
Human Rights noted last year, the European Union is           what will undoubtedly be a challenging year for the EU
one of the most active players at the Commission on           in the Commission on Human Rights.
Human Rights. The EU cannot carry that burden alone,
                                                              3-156
and the search for goodwill and burden-sharing with
                                                              Gahler (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner,
members of the Western and other groups is vital. The
                                                              Mr President-in-Office of the Council, every year, we
EU must make best use of the revitalisation of the
                                                              have this human rights debate immediately before the
United States' interest in both the General Assembly
                                                              UN Commission on Human Rights meets in Geneva,
Third Committee and the Commission on Human
                                                              and every year we are able, in fact, wholeheartedly to
Rights.
                                                              endorse what the Commission and the Council have to
                                                              say. The fact is that the principles that we proclaim are
Whilst acknowledging that EU and US views diverge
                                                              common to us all and there is no doubt in anybody’s
sharply on several issues, the successful cooperation on
                                                              mind that we give them our full support.
the resolution on Turkmenistan last year shows that
playing to the strengths of our relationship with the
                                                              The President-in-Office of the Council has quite rightly
United States can pay dividends. Cooperation with Latin
                                                              said that human rights are an indispensable requirement
American countries – not least on the omnibus
                                                              if peace, stability and prosperity are to be secured. That,
resolution on the rights of the child – stands as a good
                                                              though, brings us on very quickly to the deficits, and the
example of partnership with other groups.
                                                              Commissioner has stressed that the Human Rights
                                                              Commission does not really use its opportunities in the
Moreover, Brazil’s courageous, and inevitably
                                                              way that it could.
controversial, decision to table a resolution on sexual
orientation – an issue which will be re-visited this year –
                                                              I believe that the Irish presidency does honestly want to
also demonstrates the value of encouraging important
                                                              make action for human rights a keynote of its
human rights initiatives from other players.
                                                              presidency. This is something for which Ireland has a
                                                              very good record; it has produced such outstanding
The potential success or failure of draft resolutions
                                                              figures as Mary Robinson, who have distinguished
cannot, of course, constitute the primary factor in
                                                              themselves in this area.
decisions on EU action. The very act of tabling a
resolution sends a strong signal of concern and the
                                                              With reference to something else – the Constitutional
situation of human rights on the ground must be a
                                                              Treaty – your Prime Minister said today that he wants to
pivotal consideration.
                                                              do his best, but that he is not alone. Where human rights
                                                              are concerned, Mr President-in-Office of the Council,
That said, in rejecting entirely justified resolutions, the
                                                              you are indeed, unfortunately, not alone. The chairman
Commission on Human Rights is falling far short of
                                                              of my group said something on this subject this morning,
fulfilling its mandate to promote and protect human
                                                              to the effect that it would be a good thing if action for
rights. Such resolutions do not only stand as a mark of
56                                                                                                        14/01/2004

human rights in major States were to be given some             international conventions on the abolition of the death
substantial expression, that is, in joint communiqués.         penalty, torture and antipersonnel mines. It has regretted
According to the old Prussian principle of administration      and strongly criticised the pressure the United States has
that ‘government is done in writing’, that which is not on     exerted on certain countries to force them not to ratify
file does not exist, and if, in your dealings with Russia or   the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
China, you discuss things behind closed doors without          Moreover, it has emphasised specific topics such as
mentioning them in a communiqué, then – politically            violence against women and children in particular,
speaking – nothing has happened.                               which you mentioned as one of the thematic issues.

I therefore ask you, when you represent the European           The third concern is that condemning terrorism and
Union at meetings of the UN Commission on Human                countries that shelter terrorists must go hand in hand
Rights, to support resolutions on China, on Russia and         with condemning all of the abuses and violations of
also on Iran. I am the rapporteur on Iran and believe that     human rights perpetrated today in many countries in the
the present situation makes it necessary that we do this.      name of the fight against terrorism. This fight is
Let me draw on a proposal by the House dating back             certainly important, but it must not flout international
some years and advise you not to concentrate on our 15         law nor infringe upon human rights. This concern of the
or 25 Member States, but to act in concert with all the        European Parliament, highlighted in its resolution of
democracies that sit on this Commission, consulting            January 2003, will be clearly reflected in the 2003 report
with all the functioning democracies around the world          on human rights in the world, for which I am rapporteur.
and coming to agreements on what your common
concerns are.                                                  The fourth issue, the right to reproductive health, which
                                                               covers all of the services relating to sexual and
Turning to the Africans, one cannot but wonder what            reproductive life, was also given priority in that same
they actually want: appreciation on the one hand for the       report. I need not remind you that maternal and infant
way in which they are establishing high standards under        mortality, epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases and
NEPAD, the new programme for African development,              deaths following illegal abortions are the cause of more
and for even establishing the peer review mechanism            deaths today than any armed conflict. These tragic and
that we spent yesterday evening discussing, but when it        unnecessary deaths continue to be the lot of the
comes to getting practical, they shy away, even                Developing World, and Africa in particular. We hope
objecting to Australia assuming the presidency –               that the Council and the Commission will give a very
probably because Australia has taken a high-profile line       firm commitment in relation to this right to reproductive
on Zimbabwe. I regard all that as highly dubious, and we       health.
have to ask ourselves what we are going to do with the
Africans. I said yesterday that I am very much in favour       Fifthly and finally, the European Parliament welcomes
of us supporting those who do something practical in           the coordination between the Commission and the
defence of human rights, but, contrariwise, that also          Council and hopes that this will continue. As in 2003, it
means that we have to impose sanctions on those who do         would like an ad hoc delegation to be able to attend the
not.                                                           next session in Geneva.
3-157                                                          3-158
De Keyser (PSE). – (FR) Mr President, the European             Vallvé (ELDR). – (ES) Mr President, Mr President-in-
Parliament is naturally very pleased to see that the           Office of the Council, representative of the Commission,
Council and the Commission are taking its opinion into         I believe that it is a pleasure for this Parliament to be
account before the Geneva session. During this term, it        able to hold this debate on the preparation of the 60 th
has expressed several concerns that it hopes will be           session of the United Nations Commission on Human
reflected at the session, and I would just like to mention     Rights.
five of them.
                                                               Human rights are a priority issue, which must be applied
The first is ensuring that human rights are not subject to     in a universal and indivisible manner, regardless of the
double standards. A failure to condemn flagrant                cultures on which each country is founded.
violations of human rights in major powers such as
China – torture, disappearances and the death penalty –        I was extremely pleased to hear the President-in-Office
Russia – with Chechnya – and the United States – with          of the Council say that human rights were going to be a
Guantánamo – would be unacceptable to the public.              key element in the Irish Presidency’s work. I am also
Large and small must be in the same boat.                      pleased to hear that the European Union must not just
                                                               defend human rights with a view to exporting them, but
The second issue relates to the European Union’s               that there must also be work to ensure that human rights
decisions: its votes must reflect the concerns that            are always protected and respected in the various States
Parliament has expressed in its annual reports and its         of the European Union.
resolutions, in particular with regard to strengthening
international law as a guarantor of human rights in the        In this regard, loutish acts of racism and xenophobia, or
world. Parliament has on many occasions highlighted            those associations that advocate certain cultural
the importance of ensuring that every country adopts the       identities, must be completely outlawed. I would also
14/01/2004                                                                                                          57

point out that, since the European Union is a continent      by Tunisian human rights defenders shows that the
with a significant amount of immigration, it is possible     Tunisian regime has not made progress, despite the
that some of these actions will be directed at immigrant     shocking statements to the contrary made by the French
groups.                                                      President, Mr Chirac, in Tunis in December.

Since I cannot naturally refer to all the points that I      On the contrary, freedoms as fundamental as the
believe must be argued at this session in Geneva, I will     freedoms of expression, of opinion, of association and of
just refer to three specific ones: firstly, the issue of     assembly continue to be violated every day, treating the
Cuba, where illegal detentions are taking place,             European Parliament’s repeated requests with disdain.
specifically for crimes of opinion; in this regard,          This assessment is also shared by Mrs Hina Jilani, the
guaranteeing freedom of expression, of association and       Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-
of meeting is a priority issue. The European Parliament      General on Human Rights Defenders. In my view, the
awarded the Sakharov prize to Oswaldo José Payá in           European institutions, the Council and the Commission,
2002 and I believe this is an issue that we must be          must shilly-shally no longer and must, at the session of
concerned about.                                             the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and
                                                             in general, assert an unambiguous position regarding this
Secondly, on that very island of Cuba there is               regime and use their influence to demand respect for all
Guantánamo. I am not going to go too far into this, but      freedoms. The credibility of the EU-Tunisia links must
there are 700 people there, awaiting trial in a situation    measure up to this requirement.
which is legally indefensible. Finally, there are also
other countries such as North Korea where people are         We welcome the very recent release of political
being imprisoned in situations that we can only              prisoners in Morocco, and in particular that of the
condemn.                                                     journalist Ali Lmrabet and several Sahrawi prisoners
                                                             who had been in jail for many years. Their release is
I myself have lived for many years in a country in which     proof of the importance of international solidarity. I
human rights were not guaranteed and I believe that the      would like to take the opportunity provided by this
European Union must be committed to defending these          debate and by the forthcoming visit by Kofi Annan to
rights here and throughout the world.                        Brussels to receive the Sakharov Prize to reiterate
                                                             demands that have already been stated here but which
3-159
                                                             are still relevant.
Boudjenah (GUE/NGL). – (FR) Mr President, here at
the beginning of 2004 the climate of obsession with
                                                             I would like to talk about the issue of Western Sahara
security has become more pronounced. The fight against
                                                             and to call on the governments of the Member States to
terrorism is now held up to justify any repressive,
                                                             give their full support to the current efforts of the United
authoritarian or discriminatory measure. Freedom of
                                                             Nations. As the deadline has been set for 31 January,
expression and freedom of movement, indeed all
                                                             there is an urgent need to put pressure on Morocco to
democratic rights at times, are suffering in many
                                                             accept, as did the Polisario Front so courageously, and to
countries,     including    under      George  Bush’s
                                                             implement without any further delay the UN peace plan,
administration, which has just established a specific
                                                             which at last provides for the self-determination of the
procedure for officials of airline companies from 10
                                                             Sahrawi people through a free and democratic
countries to enter American territory.
                                                             referendum. The Council and the Commission have the
                                                             resources to help bring this about.
Throughout the world, there are also numerous examples
of an offensive against those men and women who
                                                             Finally, I would like to mention the situation in
campaign tirelessly for human rights. In anticipation of
                                                             Palestine. The people of Palestine have had enough.
the next session of the United Nations Commission on
                                                             Every gesture of goodwill, like the Geneva peace
Human Rights, I would like to mention a few of them.
                                                             initiative adopted by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, is
                                                             immediately scorned, to say the least, by Sharon.
I am thinking of Sihem Bensedrine, a writer, journalist
                                                             Accusations of treason, the circulation of black lists,
and former spokesperson for the National Council for
                                                             fatal shootings by the Israeli army in the Occupied
Liberties in Tunisia, who was attacked in the middle of
                                                             Territories and the sentencing of young, refusenik
the street a few days ago in Tunis on her way home. A
                                                             soldiers are just some of the blows to the very idea of
group of 15 lawyers lodged a complaint on her behalf
                                                             peace in the Middle East. The escalation continues to be
and Sihem Bensedrine blamed, and I quote, ‘the political
                                                             dangerous and bloody. In this respect, I can only
police’. As usual, the Tunisian authorities rushed to deny
                                                             welcome the beginning of the next session of the Court
the existence of any such police.
                                                             in The Hague, which is due to give a ruling on the
                                                             legitimacy of the ‘wall of shame’. However, as regards
The many recent interventions by this courageous and
                                                             condemning breaches of rights, the United Nations
passionate campaigner to denounce breaches of human
                                                             Commission on Human Rights and the European Union
rights in her country in the European media, before a
                                                             must assume their responsibilities.
parliamentary committee in Germany or even when her
last book came out have certainly not seemed to please       3-160
the Ben Ali regime. The harassment suffered every day
58                                                                                                       14/01/2004

Wuori (Verts/ALE). – (FI) Mr President, 2003 was an          Muscardini (UEN). – (IT) Mr President, as Mr Ahern
exceptionally gloomy year for international human            reminded us this morning, respect for human rights lies
rights. The year began for me in South Africa, where I       at the core of European politics. Despite all the Union’s
was working for the Truth and Reconciliation                 efforts, however, human rights are still being violated in
Commission which had been investigating the legacy of        too many areas, not only in the rest of the world but even
apartheid, and I would not want to see inequality, racism    within the EU itself.
or discrimination on anything like the same scale ever
again anywhere. We are now, however – real or                Trafficking in human beings, trafficking in organs, new
imagined terrorism having become a factor in any             forms of slavery that demand our attention in the third
analysis of the world order – in real danger of sliding      millennium, the unregulated use of the Internet that all
towards global apartheid.                                    too often breaches our countries’ laws and becomes a
                                                             vehicle for paedophilia, for the trade in human beings
As we happily swear by the notion of multilateral            and for spreading information among terrorists who have
security based on cooperation, the European Union, as a      no respect for human life and dignity – these are just a
Community of values and in its human rights work,            few of the many examples we could give.
which has a key impact on security, has been a
disappointment in terms of practical work in this area.      We must call on the United Nations to ensure that rights
Amnesty International published a report this week           that are violated in so many countries today are
called Human Rights begin at Home, in which EU               respected. The children that are forced to work or
human rights policy came in for some heavy criticism.        become guerrilla fighters in order to survive are also
Amnesty complains, for example, that the governments         those children who in our rich societies see their images
of the Union’s Member States often do not even take the      and their bodies used for commercial activities, in
trouble to reply when it contacts them.                      violation of the rights that their age confers on them.

We, too, however, have experienced the same sort of          Too many words and statements have been uttered in
frustration in relations between the European Parliament     reaction to urgent situations which actually require
and the Council. Major violators of human rights, such       strong political decisions, such as the decision to stop
as China and Russia, just get away with it year after        the use of children to advertise or promote income-
year. Parliament’s expressions of concern have in these      generating activities, and the decision to make certain
cases, as in many others, come to nothing on account of      economic relationships with third countries conditional
the passive attitude of Member States, differences of        on respect for human rights. Those countries that do not
opinion between them, and the commercial and other           have a secular system but one based on enforcing the
sordid interests they have lurking in the background.        sharia, with everything that that religious law entails in
Good intentions, both in the thematic and geographical       violation of human rights, should be made to face clear
sense, therefore often remain inexcusably empty, futile      decisions by the Union and the international community.
gestures. What is needed is muscle and effect: I refer       Although cooperation remains a way of getting closer to
here for example to statements on human rights and           the population, maintaining normal economic relations
democracy.                                                   with governments that breach the principle of human
                                                             rights would be wrong and would clearly contradict all
The country holding the presidency, Italy, at any rate       the fine words we have uttered in recent years. We ask
chose children’s rights as its theme for its human rights    the Irish Presidency, with the support of Parliament, to
forum. With respect to these, one nevertheless fears that    put forward the need for stronger and more political
the guidelines for children and armed conflicts agreed in    statements at its next meeting with the United Nations.
December will not be effectively implemented, as was
                                                             3-162
the case with the action programme against torture
                                                             Belder (EDD). – (NL) Mr President, I welcome the
before it in 2001. The new European security strategy
                                                             opportunity presented by this debate to ask the Council
will, meanwhile, remain without any sustainable content
                                                             and the Commission to put the situation in Vietnam on
unless it is anchored to a consistent, coherent and
                                                             the agenda for the coming 60th session of the UN
credible human rights policy which the Council also
                                                             Commission on Human Rights. A picture of growing
wholeheartedly embraces.
                                                             government repression in Vietnam emerges from several
                                                             reliable sources, some local and this applies even more
All eyes turn now to Ireland. Unless there is a wind of
                                                             to the second half of last year, 2003. To illustrate this, I
change both in our bilateral relations and in the United
                                                             should like to give some details of the national situation.
Nations we will have to prepare, not just for a
combination of virtual farce and disaster, such as we saw
                                                             Even official figures show a doubling in the number of
at the fifty-ninth sitting of the Commission on Human
                                                             death sentences in 2003 compared to 2002, particularly
Rights, but also for the fact that we will be wasting what
                                                             for drugs and economic crimes. In addition, citizens are
is historically a golden opportunity right now when our
                                                             being arrested on allegations of spying or criticising the
work could have crucial, not to say epoch-making,
                                                             government on the Internet.
importance.
3-161                                                        The Protestants in Vietnam’s central highlands are
                                                             undergoing particular suffering. They are subject to
14/01/2004                                                                                                          59

constant ethnic and religious persecution, including the
ultimate government sanction of deprivation of their         Lastly a proposal: I do not believe we can make any
livelihood, their land. Incidentally, Hanoi has strictly     further progress with simple, albeit necessary, criticisms
forbidden these hill tribes to maintain contact with the     towards various countries, from Tunisia to Vietnam, and
outside world. Gatherings of more than two people are        we could add a whole list of names. I believe the
also prohibited. It is no wonder that these people, known    problem is to strengthen the institutions responsible and
as Montagnards, are attempting to flee their heavily         thus the policies. For instance, I still do not understand –
militarised territory, which is resulting in a refugee       and I have been asking this since 1995 – why the
crisis. All in all, we are seeing shocking breaches of       European Commission does not have a Commissioner
human rights here.                                           for human rights. It is a complete mystery to me, and
                                                             nobody has ever given me an answer.
Council and Commission, I trust that you will call the
Vietnamese authorities to account for these matters via      Finally, I believe that the episode of the Australian
the global forum of the UN Commission on Human               candidacy itself reinforces the need to create a
Rights. It is of practical importance that the United        community of democracy and of democracies within the
Nations demand that Hanoi grant their special                United Nations. Only a strengthening of the institutions
rapporteurs for freedom of religion or belief and for        can make a policy progress from words to deeds; so far
refugees access to the central highlands. The Council        there have been plenty of words but certainly very few
and the Commission should push for this promptly in          deeds.
Geneva too.
                                                             3-164
3-163                                                        Ferrer (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, respecting,
Bonino (NI). – (IT) Mr President, Minister,                  promoting and safeguarding human rights is one of the
Commissioner, I am grateful for the information, but I       cornerstones of European integration. The Union
should like to ask a question, make a comment and            therefore has the moral obligation and responsibility to
lastly, perhaps, make a proposal. The question is this: do   defend and promote fundamental rights and freedoms.
we agree that, when we speak of ‘human rights’, we also      Consequently, we have the obligation and responsibility
mean civil and political rights? In other words, do we       to improve the operation of the United Nations
agree with the position of Kofi Annan, who recently          Commission on Human Rights and to make it the
declared that democracy is a human right in itself, as can   world’s political conscience, and I am pleased with what
be inferred from Article 21 and others of the Universal      has been said here in this regard.
Declaration? The question I am asking is a very
important one, and one that also arose from a conference     It also has the obligation and responsibility, however, to
on democracy and human rights held in Yemen a few            condemn with great clarity and courage the violations of
days ago, organised by No Peace Without Justice, at          these rights which are taking place, wherever they
which fifty countries from the Arab world released a         happen and regardless of the economic or foreign
statement that very clearly affirms this.                    interests existing between the European Union and the
                                                             countries where these violations take place or the
The second point is a comment: the Commission on             motivations leading to the violation or jeopardising of
Human Rights in Geneva is, of course, not only a recent      fundamental freedoms and the principles of the Rule of
instrument – it was founded in 1993 – but also a very        Law.
weak one, and precisely because of its weakness it has
become extremely politicised. It is a body that never has    Not to do so means covering them up, becoming
sufficient, clearly defined financial means, not to          accomplices in them, accomplices in what is happening
mention institutional powers or human resources. In          in Chechnya, in Guantanamo, in Cuba, in Tibet or in
short, it is at best a whistle-blowing body, but one which   Iran. In this way, the Union would also be clearly
even in these terms has never done its job properly,         contradicting the principles and values on which it is
precisely because it is composed of opposing blocs in        based and would lose all credibility, and without
which everyone protects the members of their own             credibility it will not have the authority necessary to
regional group.                                              promote and demand from others respect for the
                                                             principles we claim to defend.
Commissioner, while it is quite right to be concerned
about the African Group’s questioning of Australia’s         It is not sufficient, however, to condemn. We must also
nomination as Chair, it must be added that it is also true   implement the recommendations of the United Nations
that last year Europe abstained on a call for a vote         Commission on Human Rights and ensure that others
against the nomination of Libya as Chair on regional         implement them. Otherwise, our commitment will be
grounds. Perhaps it is worth remembering this,               purely rhetorical, and through rhetoric alone, however
Commissioner and Minister, because if we had adopted         long the list of declarations adopted may be, it will be
a clearer position last year – not as regards the Chair’s    difficult for us to make a more humane world a reality
country of origin but as regards the standard of             for everyone.
application of human rights in that country – perhaps
today we might have some extra cards in our hand with        This morning, the Irish Prime Minister, on presenting
which to support the Australian candidate.                   the programme of the Irish Presidency of the Council,
60                                                                                                         14/01/2004

made a particular reference to the issue of human rights.       and taking broadcasts off the air; unfortunately, these are
The Geneva session offers an excellent opportunity to           practices that have also recently found a place here in
demonstrate that the words spoken this morning, which           our countries, including my own country.
we have all applauded, truly respond to the will to
ensure that the Union actively fulfils its commitment to        In this respect we want to call on the Presidency to
the world to defend the fundamental freedoms which              exercise a rigorous and courageous mandate, a political
form the basis of the Community edifice.                        undertaking that I should like to try and define in the
                                                                matter of human rights with just two words, which are
I am convinced, having heard what you have said, Mr             the words Parliament has always sought to convey to the
President-in-Office of the Council, that that will be the       Commission and the Presidency: on human rights we
case.                                                           will not tolerate any exceptions or any omissions.
3-165                                                           3-166
Fava (PSE). – (IT) Mr President, we welcome the                 Buitenweg (Verts/ALE). – (NL) Mr President, the
statement by the President-in-Office of the Council that        Treaty of Amsterdam provided the European Union with
there can be no compromises on the subject of human             a legal basis for taking action to combat discrimination
rights. Unfortunately, the experience of the European           on grounds of sexual orientation. That led to the
institutions shows that the reality is often quite the          adoption here a few years ago of a directive against
opposite.                                                       discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in
                                                                employment and elsewhere.
I should like to say a few words on two subjects on
which I believe Europe should summon up all its                 In the course of the enlargement process, we have
political prestige and use it in Geneva. The first is the       consistently and successfully insisted that penalising
death penalty. The Italian Presidency’s about-turn on the       sexual contact between persons of the same sex be
resolution for a moratorium on the death penalty at the         abolished before a country could join the European
United Nations General Assembly, which was                      Union. In this House, we have also repeatedly reminded
announced by the Presidency but never tabled, is a              countries such as Zimbabwe and Egypt, with which the
serious occurrence that has left the European Union             European Union has concluded agreements, that they
exposed and, above all, has eroded some of its political        should put an end to discrimination and punishment of
authority. This shows that even on a subject apparently         sexual contact between adults of the same sex.
as widely agreed on and as precious as human rights and
the abolition of the death penalty as a judicial solution       We make ourselves very clear on this point every year in
we are held hostage to many governments’ petty self-            our reports on human rights in the world and within the
interest. This is a battle that must be fought at a political   European Union. It is only logical, therefore, that we
level, starting in Geneva.                                      also raise this policy at the United Nations. As has
                                                                already been said, last year, Brazil presented the UN
In China last year 3 138 executions were recorded; there        Commission on Human Rights with an initiative to
were also plenty of executions in many so-called liberal        include combating discrimination on grounds of sexual
democracies, from Taiwan to Thailand, from Japan to             orientation in the human rights policy of the United
India to the United States. We cannot address a matter          Nations.
like this on the slippery slope of political convenience
and, above all, we cannot expect it to be a battle based        This year, that proposal will be further elaborated and
purely on principle and evidence, because it is not like        then raised again. This elaboration will probably include
that. This is shown by the fact that the Governor of            mention of discrimination on grounds of sexual identity.
Illinois recently decided to commute 167 death                  That is a subject on which the European Court of Justice
sentences, and I believe it was because he felt the             passed a landmark judgment just last week. My group
impetus and pressure of international public opinion.           hopes, therefore, that the EU delegation will support this
                                                                Brazilian initiative in full – every last part of it – and
Another important point, Mr President, concerns                 also cooperate on elaborating it further. All further
journalists; in other words, the right to speak out and not     attempts to destroy this initiative by countries minded to
to remain silent, which is a fair indicator of the real         do so must be prevented, in cooperation with at least the
quality of a democracy. In the last ten years more than         EU Member States that are members of the UN
400 journalists have been killed, and for very few of           Commission on Human Rights.
these do we have any legal certainty. In the last six
                                                                3-167
months there have been 228 arrests and 250 unjustified
                                                                Isler Béguin (Verts/ALE). – (FR) Mr President, I too
trials, many of which were in countries that belong to the
                                                                am pleased that we are holding this debate on the
so-called group of western democracies; the latest case
                                                                preparations for the next session of the UN Commission
emerged only two days ago and involves Turkey.
                                                                on Human Rights. At long last it gives me an
Among other things, we believe that the forces of
                                                                opportunity to remind our European Parliament of its
repression against journalists and press freedoms have
                                                                commitments on the question of indigenous peoples and
learnt to use more underhand methods. Violence against
                                                                in particular on our institution’s dialogue with those too-
the freedom to speak out and not remain silent is
                                                                neglected peoples and its representation to them.
committed and consummated also by gagging, censoring
14/01/2004                                                                                                       61

It is my duty, Mr President – and you know what I am         not least because we owe it to the memory of the
talking about – to remind you again of our 1994              distinguished incumbent who was cut down in Baghdad,
resolution on action required internationally to provide     a man who did so much for the cause of human rights.
effective protection for indigenous peoples, which in
fact called for the setting-up of an interparliamentary      I would like to end by again thanking the Members who
delegation composed of Members of this Parliament and        have made contributions today. I can assure them that
representatives of indigenous peoples.                       their contributions will be taken on board.
                                                             3-169
After ten years’ hard work, the indigenous peoples have
                                                             Vitorino, Commission.  Mr President, I would also like
for their part succeeded in creating and organising
                                                             to thank Parliament for its contribution to the
themselves in an Indigenous Peoples’ Forum. On the
                                                             preparation of the European Union's position. A Member
Union’s side, however, we are more than discreet; I
                                                             of Parliament raised the issue of the fight against
would even go so far as to say we are not present. The
                                                             terrorism and its impact on human rights. I would like to
proof is that neither the Council nor the Commission
                                                             reiterate that the Commission is of the opinion that the
have made any reference to indigenous peoples and
                                                             European Union should support the Mexican resolution
Parliament itself has still not arranged its delegation.
                                                             on protecting human rights in the context of the fight
                                                             against terrorism, in the 60th session of the UN
We must remedy this lack of consideration for a
                                                             Commission on Human Rights.
question that nonetheless affects peoples on five
continents. I shall therefore be proposing that the Union
                                                             Concerning Tunisia I would like to draw the attention of
invest its resources and its will in organising the next
                                                             the House to the fact that the Commission has recently
Indigenous Peoples’ Forum jointly with the UN here in
                                                             published a communication on human rights in the
this place and in ensuring that the rights of these
                                                             Mediterranean, in which we clarified our position on the
populations also remain among our priorities.
                                                             human rights situation in Tunisia.
3-168
Roche, Council.  Mr President, it is very hard to know      Third, I would like to associate myself with Mr Roche's
where to begin. This has been a superb debate, and what      remarks as he paid homage to Mr Vieira de Mello, the
has struck me listening to it has been the extraordinary     former High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was
range of issues addressed. As I mentioned at the outset,     tragically killed in Baghdad.
this debate is greatly appreciated by the presidency: it
provides a timely reminder and an opportunity to             My last comments concern Mrs Bonino's remarks. I
exchange views with Parliament some two months               could even go as far as to say that I share her view. As
before the 60th session of the UN Commission on              you know, the Commission said last year that it would
Human Rights opens in Geneva. Members of Parliament          be a dangerous precedent to change the way the
– including the last speaker – have, in making their         President of the Commission is chosen by replacing the
meaningful and fruitful contributions, highlighted areas     concertation and acclamation procedure with a vote.
in which there is still much work to do.                     Therefore we are prepared to support the efforts of the
                                                             Irish presidency in avoiding making such a choice a
I would like to thank all the Members who contributed        source of conflict. Such a conflict cannot but undermine
to this debate and to assure them that the Irish             the credibility and role of the Commission on Human
presidency will see to it that the points they have raised   Rights, which is important for us.
will be brought to the attention of the appropriate
Council instance as we prepare for Geneva. Members           Finally, Mrs Bonino, I would like to draw your attention
have cited a considerable number of country-specific         to the fact that last December the European Council
issues, as well as several thematic issues, which need to    decided to hand the European Monitoring Centre on
be worked on. It would be invidious of me to select          Racism and Xenophobia, based in Vienna, a specific
specific issues from among all those which have been         competence concerning the guarantee of fundamental
commented on today.                                          rights in the European Union, therefore creating the
                                                             basis for what one could call an agency for fundamental
Let me simply say that my colleagues and I have been         rights in the European Union.
very careful to note the contributions and will ensure
that we go through the record methodically.                  When it comes to fundamental rights outside the Union,
                                                             the responsibility lies with my colleague, Mr Patten,
I would, however, like to refer to one point made by         whom I am replacing today. When it comes to the
Mrs Bonino. The Union has been a strong supporter of         internal policy of the European Union, I am sorry to
the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human             disappoint you, but I am the Commissioner responsible
Rights since its establishment over a decade ago.            for human rights!
Secretary-General Annan has yet to appoint a successor
                                                             3-170
to High Commissioner Sergio Vieira de Mello following
                                                               IN THE CHAIR: MR VIDAL-QUADRAS ROCA
his tragic death in Iraq. Let me assure you that this
                                                                             Vice-President
presidency will provide broad and strong support for the
Office of High Commissioner at the Geneva meeting,
                                                             President. – Thank you very much, Commissioner.
62                                                                                                          14/01/2004


The debate is closed.                                          We should be proud in this House that for settled ethnic
                                                               minority communities, we now have – through
The vote will take place on 10 February 2004.                  Article 13     of    the      Amsterdam      Treaty     –
                                                               anti-discrimination legislation. There is so much in this
3-171
                                                               report to commend to the House; it is difficult to name
        Immigration, integration and employment                just one integration measure – there are so many. I urge
                                                               the House and my colleagues across the House to look
3-172
                                                               very positively at those integration measures for what
President.  The next item is the debate on the report
                                                               they are.
(A5-0445/2003) by Mr Moraes, on behalf of the
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, on the
                                                               Where we look at more sensitive issues – for example
Communication from the Commission on immigration,
                                                               partnerships between the European Union Member
integration and employment (COM(2003) 336 –
                                                               States and developing countries; family unity and
2003/2147(INI)).
                                                               immigration – I have also been very sensitive in this
3-173                                                          report. I have tried to bring together the whole House in
Moraes (PSE), rapporteur. – Mr President, I am very            agreement that Member States very often have the
proud to be presenting this report today. This report is       primary responsibility in these issues but that we should
unique in that it comes from the employment and social         share best practice. That is vital because we are dealing
affairs side of this House and which for the first time        with some issues which we know are politically charged
tries the joined-up approach pioneered at the Tampere          and politically sensitive.
Summit. I am proud to be presenting it because it joins
up the issues of immigration, integration, employment          The key achievement, I hope, in this report and the key
and partnership with third countries: many of the most         achievement of the Commission communication was not
sensitive issues that we deal with in the European Union,      to deal with these issues separately, or to pretend that
but also issues with which we must deal in a                   they could be dealt with separately. It was to take a firm
comprehensive way. Very often in this House we have            hold on the Tampere agenda, bring it back to this House,
dealt with these issues separately and they have been          use the progress of the Greek presidency which took
sensitive separately. Indeed, they are sensitive issues        many of these issues forward, and try to create what I
together.                                                      would call a positive agenda.

In this report I have tried to ensure the joined-up            I know that there will be some problems for some
approach and have approached the whole task by trying          Members in this report. I have tried very hard to bring
to unify colleagues in this House around some key              all parties together because this is a politically sensitive
points. It is a key point that the demographic challenge       issue. Integration is something that should be the duty of
that we face in the European Union of the future is one        all of us to move forward. For that reason, I realise there
where immigration may be one solution, but not the only        are some sticking points. I have done everything I can –
solution.                                                      for example on paragraph 32 and the right to vote – to
                                                               bring the House together on these issues. Unfortunately,
We have some amazing statistics. In the 25 Member              not all issues will be to the satisfaction of everyone, but I
States, the working-age population is set to shrink from       urge colleagues to look at the result of the vote in the
303 million to 297 million by 2020, then to 280 million        Committee on Employment and Social Affairs: 27 votes
by 2030, almost doubling the old-age dependency ratio.         to 1, with 3 abstentions. There was a general consensus
It is the duty of this House to deal with these kinds of       around many of these issues and in the way they were
statistics. We cannot plan for the future and expect that      approached. I urge colleagues to vote positively and to
immigration is not one of those solutions. If immigration      think of the people who will be affected by this report,
is to be a solution, it must be joined up with the vital       people who we represent: both new migrants who will
issue of integration. Integration is often an issue which is   perhaps become European citizens, but also people like
misrepresented. It is a vital issue.                           myself who are now European citizens but look to being
                                                               represented properly in a report which is moderate,
We are dealing in this report not just with new                comprehensive and should appeal to all sides of the
immigrants. People coming to the European Union for            House.
the first time to work may stay temporarily or they may
                                                               3-174
stay forever. We are dealing in this report in a joined-up
                                                               Vitorino, Commission.  Mr President, I am pleased to
way with those ethnic minority communities in the
                                                               be here today to present the main aspects of the
European Union – people like myself and my family –
                                                               Commission communication on immigration, integration
who are settled in the European Union but who also ask
                                                               and employment, and would like to begin by
Member States for solutions to discrimination to ensure
                                                               congratulating the rapporteur, Mr Moraes, on the
that full integration really takes place. This involves the
                                                               excellent quality of his report.
issues of citizenship requirements, language and a
plethora of other issues relating to new immigrant
                                                               This very important Commission communication
communities, as well as settled ethnic minority
                                                               completes our response to the Tampere mandate and
communities.
14/01/2004                                                                                                          63

fulfils the pledge to examine the role of immigration in     A key condition for the successful implementation of an
relation to the Lisbon strategy. The communication           holistic approach of this type is that there should be
carries two key messages. The first – which has already      improved overall policy coherence and synergies
been expressed in the Commission communication of            between immigration, integration and employment
November 2000 – is that, in the context of demographic       policies at all levels and across all disciplines and
ageing and decline, sustained immigration flows are          between all relevant actors, bearing in mind that prime
likely and necessary if the European Union is to meet        responsibility for successful integration ultimately lies
the Lisbon goals.                                            with the Member States.

Secondly, the full potential of immigration and its          Finally, I would like to stress that I fully agree with, and
contribution to economic development can only be             welcome, the rapporteur's suggestion to establish
realised if immigrants are fully integrated both into the    programmes for the initial reception of persons arriving
labour market and into society in general. Given the         in an EU Member State. We are currently implementing
estimated speed of population decline from 2010              the pilot projects in support of the integration of
onwards and the results of the national survey conducted     migrants. There has been enormous interest in these pilot
by the Commission, there is an urgent need to strengthen     projects and the programme has been oversubscribed to
integration policies, as was called for by the European      a factor of ten. We allocated EUR 4 million and
Council in Tampere and more recently at the European         applications have been made for more than EUR 41
Council in Thessaloniki.                                     million.

The Commission is pleased that the rapporteur has laid       Let me end by saying that I believe, and hope, that this
the emphasis on the potential which migrants bring with      communication on immigration, integration and
them. It fully agrees that integration is a matter for       employment will provide a basis for strengthening
society as a whole and that it is a two-way process,         integration policy for immigrants, which will be crucial
based on mutual rights and corresponding obligations,        both for the development of the EU economy and for the
which implies that both the immigrant and the host           promotion of social cohesion in the next few decades.
society must adapt.
                                                             3-175
                                                             Paciotti (PSE), draftsman of the opinion of the
I would also like to emphasise that we fully agree that
                                                             Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice
we must ensure a European legal framework for the
                                                             and Home Affairs. – (IT) Mr President, I am standing in
admission of economic migrants and that Member States
                                                             for the draftsman Mrs Terrón i Cusí, who had to return
must keep to the promises made in Tampere.
                                                             to Spain on a matter of urgency.
The Commission has taken note of the difficulties
                                                             The speech by Mr Vitorino and the report by Mr Moraes
encountered when negotiating in the Council the
                                                             both seem to me to be fully acceptable, in view of the
directive on admission for employment purposes, and is
                                                             opinion adopted by the Committee on Citizens’
currently considering how best to approach bringing
                                                             Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, which
forward this politically sensitive issue. A Green Paper,
                                                             underlines the following points: the Council’s delay in
followed by an extensive consultation procedure, is
                                                             adopting the legislative instruments presented by the
envisaged and we are also undertaking a study on the
                                                             Commission to implement the Tampere programme, a
links between illegal and legal migration, which may
                                                             delay which, fortunately, was partly made up for in
provide pointers for the future development of a more
                                                             December with the adoption of the important directive
coherent legal framework for the admission of migrants
                                                             on long-term residents; the need to retain a global view
for employment purposes.
                                                             of immigration policy linked to employment policy and
                                                             social integration policy; the usefulness of agreements
Adoption of the directive on the admission of
                                                             with the countries of origin in order to guarantee the
researchers is also envisaged for the very near future.
                                                             transfer of social security entitlements; the need to
Negotiations on the directive on the admission of
                                                             combat illegal immigration with repressive measures
students is now entering the core phase and I am
                                                             directed not against the illegal immigrants but against
convinced that this proposal too will shortly be adopted.
                                                             the traffickers who profit from them, and to combat
                                                             illegal employment without discriminating against
The communication considers that, in order to ensure
                                                             immigrant citizens; the usefulness of facilitating legal
successful integration, there is a need for an holistic
                                                             access for immigrants to the labour market so as to
approach that takes into account not only economic and
                                                             reduce demand and supply on the hidden market; the
social aspects – these are very important – but also
                                                             suitability of fighting discrimination and paying
issues relating to cultural and religious diversity, civic
                                                             particular attention to the precarious situation of
citizenship, participation and political rights. The
                                                             immigrant women.
Commission is therefore pleased to note the specific
attention paid in the report to the concept we put forward
                                                             The opinion underlines in particular the usefulness of
of civic citizenship and the need to promote a sense of
                                                             creating the form of citizenship known as ‘civic
belonging.
                                                             citizenship’, which enables third country nationals
                                                             legally resident in the European Union to have
64                                                                                                          14/01/2004

economic, social and political rights and duties,              managers to be able to incorporate feminine values into
including the right to vote in local and European              their management styles.
elections, as the European Parliament has often
                                                               3-177
requested. Only in this way will all workers and
                                                               Sbarbati (ELDR), draftsman of the opinion of the
residents be able to feel that they are participants and
                                                               Committee on Petitions. – (IT) Mr President, I fully
jointly responsible for the future of the Community,
                                                               agree with Mr Vitorino’s statement that immigration is a
sharing its values and contributing to its growth and to
                                                               two-way process which involves both rights and duties
living together in peace and solidarity.
                                                               that have to be accepted.
3-176
Dybkjær (ELDR), draftsman of the opinion of the                There are also other facets to this problem, amongst
Committee on Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities.           which we should certainly examine the issues of entry,
– (DA) Mr President, I would thank the Commission for          housing and civil liberties; in short, integration into our
using its communications constantly to provoke                 European society. I believe it is a question, in this case at
discussion of immigration as part of the EU’s response         least, of turning these guest workers into citizens. What
to the ageing population and the ever shrinking                image of Europe are we projecting to the outside world,
workforce, over and above the other aspects of Europe’s        Commissioner, if, at the point of entry into the Union,
encounter with other cultures. These are controversial         the Schengen system, instead of helping to create an area
subjects in all the nation states, but it is high time we      of freedom, security and justice, is often gradually
obtained analyses of the problems and challenges and           turning into a formidable instrument of electronic data
proposals for common European solutions.                       collection and control?

I should next like to congratulate Mr Moraes on the            Then there are the problems of housing, the head-in-the-
report. It is a particularly relevant and necessary report     sand attitude, the tendency – helped by the media – to
right now. I am grateful for Mr Moraes’ having                 focus our fears and turn them into spectres that have
integrated the opinions of the Committee on Women’s            much to do with highly misunderstood aspects of the
Rights and Equal Opportunities on the need to apply a          cultural identity of our societies. Thus we often have a
gender perspective to immigration and integration              reductionist image. The report, with which I fully agree,
policy. If this is not perceived as discriminatory, I also     should perhaps in my opinion have developed certain
believe that this is due to Mr Moraes' particular              aspects which are plainly set out in the Commission’s
background.                                                    communication: civic citizenship; guaranteed core rights
                                                               and obligations; respect for diversity; action to combat
If we are to succeed in creating a successful immigration      discrimination; women; family; civic, cultural and
and integration policy at European level too, it is            political life; participation; education; and, not least,
absolutely necessary for a gender perspective to be            religion.
applied at all levels. That is something of which I should
like to remind the combined Commission once again. I           I believe these varied aspects have to be taken into
am aware that Mrs Diamantopoulou and her Directorate-          account, particularly in view of the legal tradition and
General are working hard on this, but it is necessary for      the humanistic values which form the heritage that is
you, Mr Vitorino, as her colleague, to do so too. Quite        still shared by our society. Commissioner, Mr Moraes,
honestly, I find it just a little bit wearisome having to go   we must reject the reductionist tendency of seeing
on picking up the pieces of the Commission’s initiatives       immigrants merely as man- or woman-power, from a
and ploughing the same old furrows.                            purely economic point of view. This attitude must be
                                                               utterly rejected: these people must be regarded as human
The headscarf debate is in full swing in many places in        beings who enrich our society, not just in terms of their
Europe at the moment. Should we not, however, be               ability to create growth and well-being but above all as
looking, rather, at a number of other areas such as better     people who embody values and a human, spiritual and
integration, the ways in which we enter into dialogue          cultural identity.
and the ways in which we give the women concerned
                                                               3-178
power over their own lives. It might then be that the
                                                               Pérez Álvarez (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, Mr
headscarf debate would solve itself.
                                                               President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, ladies
                                                               and gentlemen. I would like to begin by congratulating
It is important that immigrant women who, as such, are
                                                               the rapporteur, Mr Moraes, on his efforts and the good
bearers of a culture also be given opportunities without
                                                               work he has done on a report on immigration,
being totally disowned by their families because they
                                                               integration and employment, which I believe deserves to
want both to embrace their own culture and a European
                                                               be viewed favourably. These are issues that provide
attitude of gender equality in society. If the women are
                                                               fertile ground for personal feelings and opinions, as well
not integrated, there is a danger of their sons or
                                                               as for political temptations, and for that reason I wish to
daughters not being so either and of their, in that way,
                                                               refer to the content of the Communication.
being stuck in outdated gender roles which, in the
Europe of today, are of no use in terms either of family
                                                               Immigration is a reality that needs to be regulated, and
life or of the labour market. Think of the emphasis that
                                                               we must not bury our heads in the sand or look the other
is now being placed upon the need today also for male
                                                               way. In Europe, particularly in the countries with the
14/01/2004                                                                                                          65

lowest birth rate (Spain and Italy, amongst others),         The report by Mr Moraes describes situations and
immigration is a necessary remedy.                           proposes measures which are generally acceptable in
                                                             view of the situation of immigrants who are frequently
If the estimated population of the European Union of 25,     disadvantaged in terms of pay, health and safety
as the rapporteur has said, is going to drop from            conditions at work, hours and illegal employment. In
303 million to 297 million by 2020 and to continue to        summary, often, in more cases than we would like, and
drop to 280 million in accordance with the estimate for      we would like there to be no such cases, we are talking
2030, the reduction in employment could have negative        about exploitation.
effects on economic growth, given that growth results
from increased employment and productivity. For this         We said that the first means of integration was
very reason, immigration must not be seen as a problem,      employment, naturally followed by cultural integration,
but as an opportunity.                                       but we must not forget that Article 1 of the European
                                                             Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights tells us that,
This is of course an opportunity, however, that raises       ‘Human dignity is inviolable. It must be protected and
certain problems which we must resolve. Without being        respected’, and talks about the dignity of all human
exhaustive, I would point out the problem of the             beings.
integration of foreign children, children of immigrants,
                                                             3-179
into schools; that of inter-cultural coexistence in
                                                             Karamanou (PSE). – (EL) Mr President, on behalf of
communities and workplaces; that of family
                                                             the Socialist Group of the European Parliament, I should
reunification, with all the problems raised by the very
                                                             like to start by emphasising that my group expresses its
concept of reunification in a broad sense or in a narrow
                                                             full support for the text of the report that we are debating
sense; of the regulation of people without
                                                             today. The Moraes report has remained precisely within
documentation; the fight against illegal immigration and
                                                             the spirit and letter of the decisions taken at Tampere,
the mafias which exploit it; in particular, the problem of
                                                             expressly calling for a more dynamic policy to integrate
the specific situation of women immigrants.
                                                             immigrants, in the aim of granting rights and obligations
                                                             similar to those which apply to the citizens of Europe.
In conclusion, immigrants are necessary, but how many
can we accept? Everybody who wants to come? I think
                                                             Of course, immigration policy cannot mean just
that is impossible. It would be like transferring the
                                                             guarding borders, it cannot only be identified with
problems of the countries of the immigrants are trying to
                                                             repressive measures, repatriation and readmission. The
leave to some of the Member States.
                                                             Europe of human rights and the Rule of Law needs to
                                                             recognise the basic labour and political rights of
Bearing in mind that in the countries with very low birth
                                                             immigrants, to recognise what they have to offer, their
rates, without immigration, the ratio between active and
                                                             valuable contribution to the economic development of
passive workers would become unsustainable in the
                                                             Europe.
medium term, I believe that the best approach is to
integrate them. They represent workforce, but, above all,
                                                             Of course, social integration makes no sense without
they are human beings who the Member States need.
                                                             recognition of political rights and obligations, in other
The Tampere proposals are therefore still valid:
                                                             words the right to vote and to be elected. I think that a
cooperation with countries of origin, a common
                                                             huge moral issue is in the making with the position of
European asylum system, management of migratory
                                                             numerous conservative Members, who gladly accept the
flows, fair treatment of third-country nationals.
                                                             exploitation of the manpower of immigrants, especially
                                                             in jobs which Europeans have abandoned, and at the
For those who each State can legally receive and with a
                                                             same time see them as a solution to the demographic
view to their integration, I believe that the European
                                                             problem, but who say nothing about recognising their
Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights offers us the
                                                             political rights. Equally immoral is the stance of those
course to follow in its Articles 4, 5 and 14, or, which
                                                             who, with opportunistic and expedient positions and
comes to the same thing, the prohibition of inhumane or
                                                             practices, feed xenophobia and racism in Europe in an
degrading treatment; the prohibition of forced labour and
                                                             endeavour to raise new Berlin walls in people's minds
the right to education.
                                                             and conscience.
Since we are placing considerable emphasis on the idea
                                                             Over the last ten years, my political group has been
of employment, more specifically, Article 15 states that
                                                             fighting for a more humanitarian approach to the
the third-country nationals authorised to work in the
                                                             problems caused by large waves of immigrants and
territory of the Member States have the right to the same
                                                             refugees and we are fighting for a pluralist and
conditions as nationals.
                                                             multicultural Europe, for unity within our differences,
                                                             where everyone will have their place and rights without
Article 20 lays down equality for people before the law.
                                                             discrimination and without notional walls between us.
Article 21 prohibits all discrimination on other grounds,
including on grounds of nationality; Article 23
                                                             European integration, social cohesion and the Lisbon
guarantees equality between men and women in all
                                                             strategy will be unattainable objectives, as you too
areas, including employment, work and pay.
                                                             stressed Commissioner, without the full safeguarding
66                                                                                                       14/01/2004

and application of all the human and political rights
which European governments have promised to                   Finally, I would like to thank Mr Moraes for the work he
guarantee. I should like to express my satisfaction,          has done to produce such a worthwhile report and
because I heard Mr Ahern this morning confirming that         express the hope that it gets the support it so much
the promotion of human rights is one of the priorities of     deserves.
the Irish Presidency. Only if their rights are respected
                                                              3-181
will people of different origins and cultures feel part of
                                                              Figueiredo (GUE/NGL). – (PT) Mr President,
the society in which they legally live and work, bearers
                                                              Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, as a follow-up to
of rights and obligations with their say on their everyday
                                                              the conclusions of the Tampere European Council of
life, work, education, language learning, housing, health
                                                              October 1999, the Commission has drawn up various
services, social services, their cultural environment and
                                                              proposals to control migratory flows and to combat
their political activities. Parliament has repeatedly
                                                              illegal immigration. The fact is, however, that the image
proposed full recognition of the political rights of
                                                              of Fortress Europe that the European Union has
anyone who has been resident in the European Union for
                                                              generated, as a result of its profoundly restrictive
five years.
                                                              immigration policies, stands in stark contrast to the real
                                                              economic need for immigrant labour.
I should also be obliged, Mr President, if you would
allow me, as chairman of the Committee on Women's
                                                              This is why this Commission proposal presents
Rights and Equal Opportunities, to call for something
                                                              immigration as part of the solution to the ageing of
which is missing from the Commission communication:
                                                              Europe’s population and to the decline in its active
the integration of the gender aspect in all policies
                                                              population. I deplore the fact that the Commission
relating to immigrants' rights. Women are the most
                                                              attaches greater importance to the economic and
vulnerable group and often the first victims of economic
                                                              demographic aspects that lead to immigration than to the
and sexual exploitation. That is why special measures
                                                              social and human aspects or to improving the living and
need to be taken to combat discrimination and facilitate
                                                              working conditions of immigrants in the various
their integration into social and professional life. Such
                                                              countries of the European Union.
measures might be vocational training, childcare
facilities, individualisation of their rights, counselling,
                                                              The fight against illegal immigration and the trafficking
specialist research etc.
                                                              of human beings cannot result in a repressive policy that
3-180                                                         targets illegal immigrants. It must instead target the
Attwooll (ELDR). – Mr President, anyone who has ever          traffickers and employers who exploit this situation.
lived or worked in a different country or even in a town      This is why we have presented a set of what we believe
or city distant from home will have experienced some of       to be important proposals to improve the Moraes report,
the difficulties that may be encountered in moving from       in the hope that they will be adopted. These include
one environment to another. Such difficulties become          opposing the content of the Council directive on family
even more important when the change in linguistic and         reunification, which contravenes the fundamental right
cultural context is a major one. Yet history tells us too     to live in a family and contains an unacceptable proposal
just how mutually beneficial migration may be, provided       to subject all immigrant children of at least two years of
that it is appropriately managed.                             age to a test, before deciding whether they can join their
                                                              parents. I would also highlight our appeal to Member
The Moraes Report tackles the issues in a way that is at      States to ratify the International Convention on the
once realistic, sensitive and robust. It makes practical      Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and
suggestions. Experience in Canada has already shown a         Members of their Families, adopted by United Nations
number of these to be effective in achieving desired          General Assembly Resolution No 45158 of
outcomes. I am particularly grateful for the extent to        18 December 1990. In addition, however, the
which the report identifies problems for migrant women        overwhelming majority of immigrant workers who do
and measures to assist in resolving these.                    not have residence permits but who do pay taxes and
                                                              social security contributions in their host country should
I am speaking too on behalf of our shadow rapporteur,         be automatically legalised. We also hope that account is
Mrs Boogerd-Quaak. Unfortunately she cannot be here           taken of the fact that the overwhelming majority of
today, but she would like me to express her thanks for        immigrants are citizens of third countries who emigrate
the support that her amendments received in committee.        to European Union countries to flee situations of
We rather regret that, given the degree of consensus the      extreme poverty in their country of origin and who must,
report achieved there, it has been opened up for              therefore, be treated as victims and not as potential
amendments in plenary. That said, we can support the          criminals. Lastly, I am sorry that the European People’s
majority of them, either in whole or in part. We              Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats
particularly support Amendment No 10, which makes             seeks to use the Moraes report to call into question
the report more positive to enlargement, and                  established political rights, specifically the right of
Amendments Nos 7 and 12 on family reunification. We           immigrant workers to vote in local elections to the
do, however, have major difficulties with Amendment           European Parliament. Immigrants must not be viewed as
No 4, which backtracks on the commitment already              disposable workers who can be thrown away after use.
made in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.                    Immigrants, and women in particular, should be deemed
14/01/2004                                                                                                          67

worthy of reception conditions that respect human             It is important that he emphasised that this issue is
rights, fundamental freedoms and equal economic, social       within the competence of the Member States and that it
and cultural rights.                                          is through cooperation and coordination, rather than
                                                              direction and enforcement of individual acts of
3-182
                                                              legislation, that the best results can be achieved. We are
Lambert (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, I too should like
                                                              all presented with a common challenge on how best to
to thank the rapporteur for his work on this very rich
                                                              manage migration flows and integration policies.
report, which covers a very wide area. Part of the
problem that we see in the European Union is that
                                                              We in the European Union are on the threshold of our
certain Member States now see themselves moving from
                                                              largest enlargement ever, when we open our doors to ten
countries of emigration to countries of migration, and
                                                              new countries and ensure that this European Union can
other countries are coming face to face with the fact that
                                                              continue to give benefit to the peoples of Central and
they have made a very bad job in terms of using the
                                                              Eastern Europe. They have suffered for so long from
talents and skills of many long-term migrants and,
                                                              lack of opportunity, lack of economic development and
indeed, second and third generation nationals, as they
                                                              lack of political freedom and skills. We are also, as the
are now in some countries.
                                                              Irish presidency announced today, emphasising the
                                                              Lisbon Process to make Europe work to ensure that the
In an ideal world migration should be a matter of free
                                                              people who get jobs get proper returns and protection for
choice, not forced by circumstance, so we welcome the
                                                              the jobs they are in.
recognition in this report of the need to reduce the
causes of forced migration. Whether people wish, by
                                                              That brings us to the point which many Members have
choice, to come and help us out with out labour
                                                              already discussed here today, that is, how best we ensure
shortages and our demographic problems will depend on
                                                              that those who are emigrating into the European Union
the circumstances of their welcome and the treatment
                                                              are given the protection and opportunities to benefit
that they receive here when they are resident. I welcome
                                                              from any economic growth or any social rights that are
Mr Pérez Álvarez's reference to the Charter of
                                                              there.
Fundamental Rights and the positive position of many
other speakers this afternoon.
                                                              This is not an immediate process. This cannot happen all
                                                              at once. Demographic changes are taking place in the
There are a number of issues concerning, in particular,
                                                              Union at the present time which require us to get people
the labour market and equal treatment, which form part
                                                              from elsewhere. This idea of managed migration is an
of this will to come and work in the European Union.
                                                              important response to the demographic and economic
The Article 13 directives tackling the racism and
                                                              changes which are taking place. It is only by our acting
discrimination faced by many migrant workers are
                                                              in cooperation and coordination with those third
extremely important, as are the issues surrounding
                                                              countries – and I am delighted that the rapporteur was
access to the market itself and equal pay and working
                                                              able to take on board my amendment on this – that we
conditions – rather than the exploitation of cheap
                                                              can ensure there is no cherry-picking of the best
migrant workers.
                                                              individuals from those third countries, that there is not a
                                                              brain drain and that there is also benefit to the European
There is evidence in quite a number of European
                                                              Union.
countries that certain industries rely very heavily on
migrant workers whose status is often in doubt. We need
                                                              Despite what some Members may say in this Chamber
to be very careful that the demands of our economy do
                                                              here today, this is not an open door policy and should
not encourage the proliferation of poor working
                                                              not be an open door policy. We have seen that where
practices and the trafficking of workers.
                                                              there is a lack of controls and where there is a lack of
                                                              decision-making within Member States, we have
On the question of civic citizenship, we very much agree
                                                              problems with regard to racism. Most individuals fear
with that as it stands in the report. We support the
                                                              change that occurs on a massive scale.
current text, including voting rights. The UK experience,
for example, is that a number of our local councils
                                                              With regard to women's issues, particularly protection
benefit greatly from the representation of first generation
                                                              for women who are illegally trafficked, each of us has a
migrants.
                                                              responsibility to stamp this out wherever it takes place.
3-183                                                         Wherever the illegal exploitation of immigrant workers
Crowley (UEN). – Mr President, I too would like to join       takes place, it should be stamped out, highlighted and
with my colleagues in congratulating Mr Moraes in             individuals should be named and shamed for the very
showing tremendous skilful diplomacy and good-                negative impact it has.
humoured tact in dealing with what could be a very
controversial and divisive issue, and finding common          My last point is that tonight we will be discussing the
ground and a consensus between Members from the               employment and service sector, which is linked to this
different political groups within this Parliament in an       issue of protecting individuals.
effort to move towards these common goals.
                                                              3-184
68                                                                                                       14/01/2004

Blokland (EDD). – (NL) Mr President, as the son of            In our opinion, as democrats, there can be no harm in
immigrants, I, too, realise only too well that attention      stopping to think about this and taking it into
must be paid to the different facets of immigration: to       consideration. After all, what legitimacy does a
the problems that have been highlighted, but also to the      European Union have that takes decisions that are
opportunities it presents.                                    diametrically opposed to the will of the people? The
                                                              discussion on rights without obligations that
On the whole, I can endorse the report by Mr Moraes. I        unfortunately also finds expression in this report, has
should, however, like to draw attention to the connection     had its day. It has been superseded, and it is urgently in
between the three vital issues that the rapporteur            need of comprehensive evaluation. In the Netherlands,
mentions in recital 1: the need for migration to the          for example, a commission of inquiry has been set up to
European Union, improved integration, and cooperation         look into the current integration policy, and two
with countries of origin.                                     governing parties have already come to the conclusion
                                                              that the policy of cosseting has been a failure.
First of all, I do not see that migration to the European
Union is needed as a result of the ageing of the              The report does not say a single word about the socio-
population. Whilst there are still labour reserves in the     economic or social problems that currently exist. In
European Union, at all events, the recruitment of             Flanders, for example, unemployment among people of
migrant workers cannot constitute a solution.                 North African origin is four to five times that of the
                                                              indigenous population, in relative terms, so that the
I should like to comment on the second issue, too. It is      question arises as to who actually has an interest in a
true that we need improvements in integration. In the         new form of immigration. Also, what about the
Netherlands, the debate on this is in full swing.             indigenous people who no longer feel at home in their
However, as the rapporteur rightly says, integration is       own town, their own street, as it is? What about the rise
connected with a whole range of domestic factors.             of Islam and the deliberate unwillingness to integrate?
Examples are the social context, education and                None of this is mentioned, and therefore this report is, I
command of the language. Precisely because of this            fear, yet another waste of time and resources.
observation, a European policy cannot be effective, and
                                                              3-186
labour migration and integration should be a national
                                                              Smet (PPE-DE). – (NL) Mr President, I should like to
priority.
                                                              begin by congratulating both the European Commission
                                                              and Mr Moraes. It is time that Europe stopped focusing
Paragraph 28 calls for attention to the problems that can
                                                              exclusively on ways to limit flows of refugees and
be an issue in the field of general and reproductive
                                                              started making positive noises for once. Positive noises
health. I recognise the need for this. I must emphasise,
                                                              are necessary, because we already have a great many
however, that the promotion of abortion is out of the
                                                              migrants in our countries.
question. I should be pleased to hear what the rapporteur
was aiming at with this section. I am also of the opinion
                                                              The last speaker rightly pointed out the extremely high
that extending the definition of ‘family’ in this context
                                                              unemployment among migrants. Looking at the EU
would not be conducive to the promotion of integration.
                                                              figures for 2002, I see that the unemployment rate
This would increase the problem of integration instead
                                                              among citizens of the European Union is 7.1%, but is
of solving it. These comments do not detract from the
                                                              more than double that for non-EU citizens living in the
need for cooperation with countries of origin, however,
                                                              EU: almost 16%. If I then look at my own country, the
or for consultations among the Member States of the
                                                              figure is 33.5%. That means that a third of immigrants
European Union. The need to improve the situation of
                                                              are out of work.
immigrants and their place in the labour market is clear.
3-185                                                         Looking at the government of those countries – and here
Claeys, Philip (NI). – (NL) Mr President, the report that     it is not my intention to enter into controversy, but I
we are now discussing catalogues Utopian views, which,        should just like to say it, because the other side
like all Utopian views, will prove unworkable in              frequently enters into controversy – I see that countries
practice. To begin with, migratory flows are not an           with a left-wing government are by no means doing any
inescapable reality, as the rapporteur says. Just because     better than those with a right-wing government.
he and his political allies want it does not mean that        Incidentally, the same goes for the right to vote. I am
immigration is an inescapable disaster. On the contrary,      always dumbfounded by the ideology that some people
until further notice, Member States still have the right to   propagate in this Parliament, whilst in their own country,
determine for themselves who enters the country, when         where they hold administrative power, they are unable to
and under what conditions. Also, the fact that most           translate that same ideology into policy. The right to
governments are extremely lax in applying their own           vote is not granted in any of those countries: you can put
immigration and integration legislation does not mean         it in your memoranda or your documents as much as you
that the population is in agreement. For example, there is    want, but your governments do not want to grant the
by no means a popular democratic majority in favour of        right to vote and nor do your parties. It is very easy,
foreign nationals having the right to vote or in favour of    therefore, to come here and advocate it, no strings
new waves of immigration, as the report argues.               attached. I say this because I have tried, in a moderate
                                                              way, to ensure that reference is made in the text to
14/01/2004                                                                                                             69

political rights without making a direct link with the          must develop the refugee policy together, and it must be
right to vote. That is evidently still not enough for a         based upon international conventions. Europe must be a
large number of people whose countries have left-wing           refuge for people being persecuted and in danger of
governments, although they cannot push it through in            being killed in other countries. We must have a humane
their own countries.                                            refugee policy for which we take joint responsibility.

Why am I now speaking specifically about employment?            Immigration policy is something else. It concerns people
I am doing so because work is the best means of                 who are not in danger of being killed in their own
integration. All the rest follows from this. I think that the   countries but who would like to come to Europe, both to
European Union and our countries are paying too little          obtain a better life for themselves and to contribute to
attention to this. Those with a job have an income, can         our societies, as they, in actual fact, do. It is something
seek better accommodation and usually obtain legal              they do already, and there will be a greater need for
status. They learn the language at work and can put their       them to do so in the future. We know how demographic
children through the education system in these countries        developments look, and we need growth, employment
in the normal way. Work is thus one of the most                 and prosperity in Europe. We need to increase
important possibilities for integration. Sadly, we note         employment in the future, and we need people to employ
that the European Union is defaulting in that regard.           if we are to be able to cope with health care and the care
                                                                of the elderly. We need people, including people from
I support the solution that is being proposed for the           other countries, together with those who are already
future, that is to say, that we manage migration on the         here. Unfortunately, the fact is that people who at
basis of the work we are able to offer. That implies, of        present come from other countries become, in large
course, also giving the present migrants work and               measure, unemployed, and that is something we
gearing this management not only towards future                 naturally should do something about.
migrants. Looking at the EU figures, much remains to be
done in this respect.                                           I am convinced that we need an immigration policy.
                                                                Immigrants must be integrated as soon as possible.
I should also like to draw attention to another point.          Integration policy is important, and employment comes
When it comes to highly qualified migrants – and here I         with education. That applies especially to women, as
am not especially talking about migrants from African           Mrs Dybkjaer mentioned. It is important both for
countries, but those from the United States, for example        women’s own sake and in order that the next generation
– we never ask that they speak our language, because            might be integrated into society.
they end up in companies where the language of
communication is English. That is so easy: it is assumed        Allow me also to say one thing about the issue that has
that highly trained people will know the language of the        created some kerfuffle, namely voting rights. I have
company. We make a great many requirements of less-             experience of the euro vote in Sweden where we applied
skilled workers – soon they will have to take exams, too        the same rules as in local elections; that is to say, people
– making things very difficult for them.                        from other countries were allowed to vote. They went to
                                                                the polls in very large numbers. If they had been able to
3-187
                                                                decide the outcome of the Swedish vote, Sweden would
Andersson (PSE).  (SV) Mr President, I wish to begin
                                                                today have had the euro as a currency. They were
by congratulating both the Commission and the
                                                                supporters of the euro and were more European than
rapporteur on a really excellent report on a very
                                                                other Swedes. Thank you.
important subject.
                                                                3-188
Without doubt, there is a lot of xenophobia and racism in       Ludford (ELDR). – Mr President, I welcome this very
our societies or, in any case, a fear of that which comes       good report and congratulate the rapporteur. I will say,
from outside. There is extensive mistrust. It is believed       however  and I do not say this to reproach Mr Moraes,
that people from other countries will come and take our         or as a 'turf' issue  that it is a sad comment on the
jobs when, in reality, the situation is quite the opposite.     perceived definition of justice and home affairs in the
Those who come from other countries have, to the                EU institutions – that is, law enforcement and tough
greatest degree, contributed, and go on contributing, to        borders – that it is the social affairs side which is given
the prosperity we enjoy. I can speak from my own                the full lead on issues of citizenship and
experience. I was born after the war and grew up on a           non-discrimination. We must place these human rights
housing estate whose residents mainly came from                 issues within the justice framework, as well as the social
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. Approximately           policy framework.
half of my neighbours had arrived as immigrants from
other countries. They contributed to Swedish prosperity,        The insistence on local and European voting rights for
just like everyone else. We should not have had the             legal immigrants is a key issue. How can we possibly
prosperity we enjoy today if these people, together with        expect them to integrate if they are denied civic and
the rest of us, had not contributed to it.                      political participation? An active approach to integration
                                                                is overdue. The controversies over the wearing of the
We are now in another position. We have, firstly, a             hijab, the Muslim headscarf – or la voile, as the French
refugee policy and, secondly, an immigration policy. We         rather confusingly say – show how acute the arguments
70                                                                                                        14/01/2004

can be. The fascinating difference between, for example,       who are only illegal because the authorities refuse to
French and British attitudes shows that there is no one        grant them papers.
definition of integration. What we should be clear about
is that it does not mean assimilation. Integration is surely   (Applause)
a two-way street in which all parties have to adjust to a
                                                               3-190
dynamic and changing society. It is not a soft option;
                                                               Borghezio (NI). – (IT) Mr President, the Moraes report
hard effort is needed not only from immigrants
                                                               on the Commission communication on integration and
themselves – such as language learning and equality –
                                                               employment is an example of how good policies can
but also from indigenous communities in accepting and
                                                               never be built on the basis of good intentions alone; a
learning from differences.
                                                               certain Machiavelli taught us that. In this case the good
                                                               intentions are to move the integration issue forward
Finally, I hope all of us here  and I know Mr Moraes          along the lines laid down at the Tampere European
does his best  will try to persuade our national              Council. The report thus contains statements of intent
governments to stop populist and mean measures that            that certainly make good sense, for instance when it
only collude with media hysteria. For instance, if asylum      suggests that the all too common and uncontrolled
seekers were allowed to work, they could escape the jibe       illegal employment of illegal and hidden immigrants is a
of being welfare scroungers, which is unfairly thrown at       direct incentive to illegal immigration.
them and which gives such a bad start to their eventual
integration if they get legal status.                          It then goes so far as to state, however, in these very
3-189                                                          words, that the current political climate regarding
Laguiller (GUE/NGL). – (FR) Mr President, since the            asylum and illegal immigration may be – just think of it!
economic system based on paid work became                      – a possible obstacle to creating cooperation on managed
widespread, emigration has always served to provide the        migration and integration policies. This is clearly a
enterprises of the developed countries with labour. That       contradiction, which can only be accounted for by a
is how US power was built. France, Great Britain and           highly ideological view of the migration issue, and we
other countries would not have developed without the           have had some pretty obvious examples of this in earlier
contribution of immigrants from their colonial empires         speeches. This view can only lead to statements that lack
or from poorer countries of Eastern Europe.                    any objectivity and any connection with reality, as for
                                                               instance when the idea is put forward that combating
Unlike the slave trade, these population movements             illegal immigration and the trafficking of human beings
were free; migrants were not chained or whipped. The           results in a repressive policy against immigrants. If
hunger and poverty of their places of origin were enough       anything, it is this partisan, ideological, misleading view
to drive them to emigrate. Where that emigration was           that may lead to the distortion of the increasingly clear
regulated, it was done to serve the interests of the           and well-defined objectives that have recently been
capitalist enterprises, in other words, the big employers      identified and pursued by the European Union,
of the host country. In other words, this report is not        especially during the Italian Presidency.
dazzling in its originality. True, it proposes that modern
wage slaves should be well integrated, and it even             I cannot agree with a view of civil citizenship that
proposes positive measures for women, but their main           includes the right to vote in local and even European
purpose is to control them and adapt them to the needs         elections, through which the European Union should
of the labour market.                                          somehow take the place of the individual Member States
                                                               in recognising one of the rights – the right to be part of
What is new in this report, on the other hand, is the          the electorate – on which, in my opinion, in a true
proposal for temporary immigration, which will allow           democracy only the people of Europe, and not the
big western capital to benefit from a workforce already        internationalist   bureaucratic      and      technocratic
trained elsewhere and therefore trained free of charge         superpower, can decide.
and to get rid of it once it thinks it no longer needs it.     3-191
Well, that is an inhuman system because it is the market       Hernández Mollar (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President,
that decides instead of people and that situation will         Commissioner, I believe it is important that, for the first
continue so long as the present economic system exists.        time in this legislature – though a little late – we are
                                                               holding a debate on the phenomenon of migration linked
What, however, the workers can and must be given in            to two relevant and important issues: the integration of
order to safeguard their collective interests, whether they    immigrants residing legally in the European Union – and
are citizens or migrants, is a strict equality of rights so    I would stress the aspect of legality in the reception
that the employers cannot set one against the other by         society – and the way this relates to employment
introducing a competition that will be harmful to all.         opportunities, as an essential element of economic
That is why we are calling for complete equality of civil      immigration.
and political rights for all who live and work on the
Union’s soil, including the right to move freely, to leave     We are dealing with the important issue of determining
and to return. We call, moreover, for the legalisation of      the reception capacity of the Member States according to
the situation of all so-called illegal immigrant workers,      the needs of their labour markets, and we are doing so
                                                               from two points of view: quantitative and qualitative. It
14/01/2004                                                                                                          71
                                                               3-192
is therefore crucial for governments to make realistic
offers which are as far as possible in line with available     Berthu (NI). – (FR) Mr President, the Commission’s
jobs, temporary or permanent, which can be filled by           communication on immigration, integration and
means of migratory flows, which ultimately have the            employment starts with a hymn to immigration and goes
effect of balancing the European Union's demographic           on to describe all kinds of measures to encourage
deficit. This would be of benefit to the Member States         integration without ever asking whether any of it is
and the immigrants’ countries of origin.                       materially possible and, in particular, what the overall
                                                               cost will be for our societies.
Furthermore, the problem is currently arising – with
tragic results in many cases, as we are seeing – of the        It is because of reports like this that the governments of
emergence of a hidden economy in sectors such as               the countries of Europe have for decades allowed
agriculture, domestic service and construction; an             themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security and
economy which is fed partly by illegal immigration and         they are now waking up to an enormous failure and a
which leads to subhuman situations and conditions both         terrible mess. The Commission will bear its share of
from a strictly employment point of view and from a            responsibility, which will be heavy.
social point of view. This leads to the establishment of
ghettos and communities which are entirely fragmented          I would therefore like to ask you, Commissioner, how a
and that face serious problems in surviving in the host        communication or document of this kind comes to be
countries.                                                     written in the Commission. Who contributes the ideas?
                                                               Are the national parliaments consulted? Who, moreover,
Having said this, Commissioner, Mr President, we can           does the actual drafting? Is it the offices of the
spend every day holding seminars and meetings, and             Commission, or is some of the work subcontracted,
applying all our attention to multiculturalism and             which I dare not imagine?
integration from a religious point of view, and other
issues, which lead us nowhere unless we establish              These are vital questions because the Commission’s
crystal clear conditions for legal and ordered entry           powers will soon be increased by virtue of the Nice and
which guarantee immigrants a job in the European               Amsterdam Treaties. Work should be done transparently
Union and facilitate their reception and social, cultural      so that people are not deceived.
and political integration. In short, Mr President, from a      3-193
human point of view.                                           Mann, Thomas (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, the
                                                               number of people in gainful employment in the EU will
With regard to the political aspect of integration, which      decrease from 303 million to 280 million by 2030. As
has been subject to much debate today, I believe that our      the birth rate is continuing to decline, while the number
Group’s Amendment No 4 must be given particular                of pensioners increases, it is probable that there will be
attention by the other political groups. For example, how      adverse effects, and not only on economic growth. Will
can we ask for the right to vote in European elections for     increased immigration from third countries help here?
immigrants residing legally – I imagine – in the Union,        Which workers to accept is for the Member States to
when they cannot vote, for logical and constitutional          decide, and that is also in the interests of the countries
reasons, in the legislative elections of the State they live   from which they come, who often lose significant
in? That is, they cannot elect the governments of the          potential. Controlled immigration makes it possible to
Member States but they can elect that of the European          see who is coming onto the labour markets. There must
Union.                                                         be great sensitivity in approximating conditions of entry
                                                               at EU level, and this must be done only progressively,
Ladies and gentlemen of the Left, allow me to say that         using together tried and tested procedures in recruitment
this is a crazy proposal, and that the Groups supporting it    and admissions policies, as is stated in one of the
must seriously reconsider. On voting issues, ladies and        amendments tabled by the Group of the European
gentlemen of the Left, there must be no room for               People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European
demagoguery.                                                   Democrats. On this I am in absolute agreement with Mr
                                                               Hernández Mollar. There is a need for dialogue with the
In any event, we can do nothing if we restrict ourselves       social partners, as well as with the authorities that are
to wishing to resolve this problem by making the               responsible for the local labour market.
European Union solely responsible, without demanding
that countries of origin co-operate very actively in the       The Member States must act with far more agreement
ordered flow of their own immigrants, which would              and far greater decisiveness if legitimate employment is
mean these countries having the necessary                      to be permitted and illegal employment prevented. The
administrative structures to organise their migratory          fact is that the latter compels many workers to accept
flows, also making it more attractive for their own            intolerable pay and living conditions. Immigration alone,
workers to return and, naturally, preventing mass              of course, will not safeguard our social security systems.
exoduses, as is currently the case in certain border           If, for example, there is to be any marked increase in the
countries or, also – let us not forget – from countries on     birth rate, both mothers and fathers need far better legal
the other side of the Atlantic, as a result of their           safeguards. All in all, we all need society to be more
economic, political and social instability.                    family-friendly. Better-qualified workers and an increase
                                                               in the number of jobs are dependent on the labour
72                                                                                                           14/01/2004

markets and the education and training systems being              The rapporteur has shown that he is aware of that. He
reformed. Although our rapporteur, Mr Moraes, was                 has also shown that he is trying to prevent that.
willing to find consensus, and incorporated many of my            Unfortunately, however, there are still some people in
amendments into compromises that promise to gain                  his own party – and in some other parties – who copy
majorities, the new amendments originating from our               those aristocrats of old who believed that everyone
PPE-DE Group appear not to be supported by a majority             should simply be given rights but who were not
in his own group.                                                 themselves prepared to accept the logical consequences
                                                                  of this and, instead, left others to deal with them. That
As a number of Members have said, one key point is that           exacerbates the misery, as we can see in the United
each Member State is itself responsible for making its            States, and we want to avoid that. There is absolutely no
own local election rules. That must continue to be the            need for any talk of this.
case in future. Only citizens of the EU may vote in the
elections to the European Parliament. Let us beware of            Finally, on the subject of European citizenship, the rules
eccentricities that amount to defamation. If there is no          on this are laid down in the Treaty, and it is indeed
support for this position, some of us will find it very           strange to include this subject here in a couple of words.
difficult to vote for the report as a whole.                      That would need a Treaty amendment. We have,
                                                                  however, declared ourselves in agreement with the
(Applause)                                                        Convention, which does not provide for this. It would be
                                                                  very strange, then, if we were to simply go and lay down
3-194
                                                                  rules on the subject here in this report.
Pronk (PPE-DE). – (NL) Mr President, I should like to
offer the rapporteur my sincere thanks. It is customary           3-195
practice to do this anyway, but I think that it is                Bastos (PPE-DE). – (PT) Mr President, Commissioner
particularly fitting in this case.                                Vitorino, ladies and gentlemen, the report we are now
                                                                  discussing,     on    immigration,      integration   and
The reason is that the rapporteur has really tried to             employment, clearly delineates a multifaceted and
concern himself in particular with the position of                topical set of problems that is not being addressed in the
migrants in the labour market. I believe that he has              European Union or in any of the Member States.
succeeded in this, but unfortunately not entirely, because
others have presented all kinds of distracting                    The Treaty of Amsterdam and the Tampere European
amendments. I should like to mention Amendment                    Council laid the foundations for immigration policy in
No 13 in particular, which more or less states that               the Union. Today, more than ever, greater priority must
anyone who has paid even a small amount of tax                    be attached to this issue, mainly due to the significant
anywhere should have an automatic right to a residence            increase in the flow of immigrants to Europe in recent
permit. I think that it is impossible to speak about any          years, to the need to maintain Europe’s level of
part of this topic without taking as one’s point of               economic development given the growing demographic
departure that Europe, with 450 million inhabitants,              deficit, to the shrinking labour force and to enlargement
cannot be a reception centre for ten times as many                and the changes to the dynamics of migration that this
people living outside Europe. That is not possible, and if        will bring.
we refuse to accept this fact, things become very
difficult. The rapporteur has of course accepted it, and          By way of illustration, Italy will need an annual influx of
hence speaks about ‘managing migration’. That                     more than 6500 immigrants per million inhabitants,
automatically implies doing something about it, keeping           according to the United Nations. My country, Portugal,
the situation in hand. I think that that is very good, in         currently receives 400 000 immigrants, which represents
itself. If people keep to it, this is a splendid report. I have   8% of the working population and in the next 50 years
a fundamental difference of opinion, therefore, with              could see a 17% fall in its total population. Immigrants,
those behind me who have said that it is nothing but              therefore, represent a resource for the labour market.
nonsense and flights of fancy. That is not true.                  This is not their only purpose, however. Their rights
                                                                  cannot be separated from fundamental human rights.
The dangerous flights of fancy are to be found on the             Each Member State must consequently, in coordination
other side of this House, where people are seeking to             with the Union, set limits for migratory flows that match
grant rights that cannot be fulfilled. If we cannot provide       the needs of their labour markets and also provide a
employment, there is no sense in granting rights. This            supportive, humane and integrated response to receiving
would make us like the rich people of old who had a               those who seek us out in order to improve their living
beautiful view from their windows and cared nothing               conditions.
that the poor people had to live in slums, because that is
where they went, after all. Anyone who wants that                 The Member States, therefore, face a common
should say so. They must also come out and say that we            challenge; that of improving the management of
should indeed take in everyone and only then look at the          migratory flows by improving integration policies
consequences. That is the problem that we have here in            towards new and established migrants, in an ongoing
the background.                                                   partnership with the countries of origin. Lastly, as
                                                                  regards the rights associated with citizenship, which
                                                                  must always be considered in this matter, we take the
14/01/2004                                                                                                           73

view that it would be premature and possibly going too        speak but was called back to Italy on a matter of
far to grant immigrants the right to vote in European         urgency.
elections. Even in local elections, each Member State
must retain the prerogative as to whether or not it gives     The dynamics of immigration in the European Union
its immigrants the right to vote.                             should be seen as part of a framework that takes account
                                                              of the benefits this brings to all the parties involved. The
3-196
                                                              Irish Presidency also mentioned this point this morning.
Hermange (PPE-DE). – (FR) Mr President, I would
                                                              Migratory flows must be managed so that they serve the
like first to thank Mr Moraes, who has managed to
                                                              interests of both the host country and the country of
address such sensitive issues as immigration and
                                                              origin. Management of these flows may in fact be a
integration by drawing up what is, over all, a satisfactory
                                                              response, as has already been said, to the democratic and
report. In view of the new demographic challenges that
                                                              economic development of the Union. We now need to
the European Union will have to confront in a few years’
                                                              improve the integration of the immigrants – legal
time, the Commission and the rapporteur are right to
                                                              immigrants – who represent a resource, but the
present immigration as part, but only part, of the answer
                                                              immigrant populations must in turn respect the
for Europe.
                                                              fundamental values of their host countries. A proposal
                                                              has been mentioned to guarantee citizens of third
In view of the economic and social consequences of the
                                                              countries legally residing in the Union the opportunity to
ageing of the population, it is clear today that managed
                                                              vote in local and European elections. It is clear to
immigration will without a doubt avoid a slowing down
                                                              everyone that such a question should remain a matter of
in economic growth and a decline in our fellow citizens’
                                                              the strictest subsidiarity.
quality of life. However, I doubt that such managed
immigration can take place, because obviously everyone
                                                              I thank the rapporteur in particular for the compromise
aspires to a change of scenery and a better standard of
                                                              reached with the Member State governments on setting
living. Moreover, we sometimes encourage such flows
                                                              up a quota system for legal entry into their countries, and
by our votes; I am thinking in particular of
                                                              thus into Europe, to be offered to the countries of origin
Mrs Lambert’s report, report 1481, which extends our
                                                              and of transit as one of the main incentives for
entire social security system to refugees and immigrants.
                                                              negotiation and agreement on readmission. It is very
                                                              important to get this kind of collaboration.
That being the case, we need a number of measures to
facilitate and improve the reception and integration of
                                                              In any case, this complex issue, together with
aliens without penalising either the host country or the
                                                              preparation of policy on the management of migratory
aliens who are moving lawfully on the territory of the
                                                              flows, must obviously be dealt with at European level as
European Union. One of the necessary conditions for
                                                              quickly as possible. The rights of migrants must be
successful integration is that immigrants should have
                                                              recognised, but only alongside a policy to regulate these
access to the European Union’s employment market and
                                                              flows, which has to be a strict one.
we are all agreed on that.
                                                              In conclusion, Italy has the second highest number of
It seems to me premature, however, in the context of a
                                                              immigrants in Europe and is the only country in Europe
report on employment and integration, to give third
                                                              to have very long external borders to the east and to the
country nationals the right to vote in local and European
                                                              south. The whole of Europe must take stock of the size
elections. As my fellow Member, the chairman of the
                                                              and complexity of this enormous migratory and social
Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice
                                                              pressure, because the real problem starts in Italy but is
and Home Affairs, said, how can we imagine third
                                                              immediately and automatically transferred to all the
country nationals voting in European elections when
                                                              other Community countries.
they do not have the right to vote in general elections in
our countries? As for local elections, each of the Union’s    3-198
15 countries currently has its own practice in the matter     Coelho (PPE-DE). – (PT) Mr President, ladies and
of voting rights – nationality based on parentage or place    gentlemen, Commissioner Vitorino, I wish to take this
of birth – and it is unthinkable today to imagine that the    opportunity to wish you a happy birthday. We are seeing
same legislation could be applied to all 15 countries of      an increase in illegal migratory flows, generally
the Union by a vote taken so stealthily.                      controlled by criminal networks that give misleading
                                                              information to potential migrants, who end up forced to
That is why I shall be voting for Amendment No 4,             work in conditions completely different to those they
which notes that third country nationals have the right to    were promised, which might even include physical and
vote in local elections in some countries but does not        or mental abuse and breaches of their human rights.
oblige the other Member States to do the same.
                                                              This is, therefore, an extremely welcome initiative and I
3-197
                                                              congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Moraes, because he
Santini (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, I should like to
                                                              provides a balanced analysis of three fundamental and
thank the rapporteur, Mr Moraes, for having made
                                                              interlinked issues. Firstly, managing migratory flows.
himself so available and for his willingness to work
                                                              We must have a common immigration policy with
together, and I should also like to thank him on behalf of
                                                              common conditions and rules for the entry and residence
Mr Mantovani, who would have liked to be here and
74                                                                                                               14/01/2004

of migrant workers, which must always take account of         immigrants to their countries of origin as agents for the
each Member State’s real labour and economic needs. It        development and growth of their own countries. Down
must be left to each Member State to assess and to            in third placeI put the need for Old Europe,
decide whether it should increase its labour force, in        impoverished by low birth rates and few workers, to see
what quantity, in what sector, bearing in mind its real       migration as a benefit to our countries. Having said that,
needs and its capacity to receive and integrate these         there is no doubt that we should have control
immigrants. We must fight against illegal migratory           mechanisms to enable us to combat illegal immigration
flows, allowing economic migrants to take advantage of        and, within the Member States, to combat breaches of
clearly defined and transparent legal channels, in order      the host country’s rules.
to compensate for possible labour shortages in each
                                                              3-200
Member State. The proposal for a directive on the
                                                              President.  Thank you, Mrs Sartori.
admission of third country nationals for the purpose of
employment must help to explain to potential
                                                              The debate is closed.
immigrants the legal ways of obtaining the right to
reside in the Union. It must also strengthen the fight
                                                              The vote will take place tomorrow at noon.
against illegal employment and penalise in particular
those that profit from it.                                    3-201
                                                                           IN THE CHAIR: MR PUERTA
Secondly, improving the integration of immigrants into                            Vice-President
the European Union. There must be a common approach
                                                              3-202
that ensures the integration of third-country nationals
into our societies, guaranteeing rights and obligations as                       Question Time (Council)
regards residency, access to education and employment
                                                              3-203
and ensuring that they are not subject to discrimination
                                                              President.  A very good afternoon to you, ladies and
at the economic, social and cultural levels.
                                                              gentlemen.
My third and final point concerns the need for
                                                              We welcome the Presidency-in-Office of the Council,
cooperation with the countries of origin, in order to
                                                              represented by Mr Roche. I can assure you that
increase their capacity for managing migration, which
                                                              Parliament will cooperate fully with you and I hope that
will also require agreements to be negotiated on
                                                              in turn you will cooperate by replying to the questions of
readmission and programmes to aid return.
                                                              the honourable Members, who attach great importance
3-199                                                         to this opportunity to communicate with the Council.
Sartori (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, I too am
pleased with the attention with which this Parliament         The next item is Question Time (B5-0002/2004).
and the Commission have begun to examine a subject
that now affects all the countries in the European Union.     We will take a series of questions to the Council.
                                                              3-204
Emigrating has always been a necessity and often a
hope, but seldom a choice. I say this as I come from a        President.  Question No 1 by Patricia McKenna (H-
country that has had first-hand experience of the             0800/03):
emigration problem for a great many decades. In recent
                                                                      Subject:     Welfare and transport of greyhounds
years the subject of migration into many European
countries has taken on bitter and often dramatic                      Under the Irish Presidency, what measures will be taken to
connotations. I believe it is both necessary and useful for           ensure better respect of EU laws relating to animal welfare,
                                                                      particularly with regard to the issue of treatment of
the various Member States to share a common position
                                                                      greyhounds? Greyhounds raised for racing in Ireland are
on this subject, because I cannot envisage any positive               frequently exported to Spain once they have come to the end
scenarios unless they are regulated by all the countries in           of their racing career, where they are treated appallingly and
the Union. I also think, however, that this is one of the             with scant regard for their welfare from the Spanish
                                                                      authorities. Until 2002 a certain amount of EU money went
most sensitive issues, one of those issues that, more than
                                                                      towards the funding of greyhound breeding in Ireland.
any other perhaps, needs to be managed; and managing
it means addressing matters of visas, employment,                     What measures are now being taken to ensure the welfare of
health, citizens’ rights and duties, and citizenship. I               these greyhounds whose breeding was financed partially by
                                                                      the EU? How many of these greyhounds financed by the EU
believe the right to vote, at a local and not just a
                                                                      were exported from Ireland to Spain and under what
European level, should be a consequence of these rights               conditions?
and not a precondition, as seems to have been suggested
at times in some debates in recent years.                     3-205
                                                              Roche, Council.  The Council regards animal welfare
In our eagerness for integration we must not forget that      as a priority and has already adopted, on proposals from
our first duty, in my opinion, is to create the means for     the Commission, a number of Community rules in this
making a living in developing countries, so that              area, notably in relation to the transport of animals and
everyone can find it possible to stay in their own home       the use of animals, and in particular dogs, for the
country. Our second duty is to facilitate the return of       purposes of research.
14/01/2004                                                                                                                      75

However, the conditions under which dogs such as               which was also the subject of a question to the
greyhounds are bred and take part in races in Member           Commission.
States are not regulated by Community legislation.
                                                               3-208
Under the protocol on protection and welfare of animals
                                                               Dhaene (Verts/ALE). – (NL) Mr President, in my
annexed to the EC Treaty, the Community and the
                                                               country, too, there is a group of people that is very
Member States are required, in formulating and
                                                               concerned about these practices, and they want to put an
implementing the Community's agriculture, transport,
                                                               end to them. They take it to the extent that they adopt
internal market and research policies, to pay full regard
                                                               these dogs and pay EUR 150 to do so. In Spain, there is
to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting
                                                               a refuge as an intermediate point. The Council must
the legislative and administrative provisions and
                                                               ultimately go knocking on the door of the Member State
customs of the Member States relating in particular to
                                                               that is accused of this, however, because we are indeed
religious rights, cultural traditions and regional heritage.
                                                               talking about mistreatment; it is not just a case of the
                                                               transportation of these dogs. I think that the Council
It is therefore up to each Member State to find a solution
                                                               must take a position on this and make clear that animal
to this problem, and all the Council can do is to call on
                                                               rights apply throughout the EU. These dogs, which later
the competent authorities to combat the mistreatment
                                                               become pets in my country, deserve a fair chance,
described by the honourable Member.
                                                               respect and good treatment.
3-206
                                                               3-209
McKenna (Verts/ALE). – It is nice to be the first Irish
                                                               Roche, Council.  It seems to me that we would all
person to ask the Irish presidency a question. I have just
                                                               share the concern that any animal, irrespective of the
come from the animal welfare intergroup, where they are
                                                               country it is in, be treated properly and appropriately. It
also hoping that animal welfare will be a big issue,
                                                               again illustrates that this is a matter for domestic
especially the transport of animals. Commissioner Byrne
                                                               legislation and rules in the individual Member States,
said that this issue was not the EU's responsibility and is
                                                               rather than a matter for the Council. However, I take
not regulated under EU legislation.
                                                               note of the initiative that is mentioned, which is a very
                                                               worthwhile and welcome one.
At one stage or another, EU subsidies contributed to the
breeding of many of the greyhounds in Ireland. That has        3-210
stopped now, but it is up to each Member State, as you         President.  Question No 2 by Nuala Ahern
said. It is up to the Irish Government to introduce rules      (H-0803/03):
on breeding and proper controls, and also to ensure that
the owners of the animals are responsible for them, not                Subject:     Sellafield endangering lives in Britain and
just for the racing period but to the end of their life. In            Ireland
Ireland, when greyhounds reach about two years of age,                 Will the Presidency establish an investigation in collaboration
the vast majority of them are considered by the Irish race             with the Commission and Euratom into recent findings by
industry to be burned out. They are sold off for next to               researchers at Dundee University in Scotland and the British
nothing to Spain, where they are raced to death. They                  Government's Committee Examining Radiation Risks from
                                                                       Internal Emitters (CERRIE) suggesting that plutonium
are subjected to appalling cruelty.                                    pollution from Sellafield is endangering the health of people
                                                                       in Britain and Ireland?
Religious rights do not come into this. It is really an
                                                               3-211
issue of animal welfare, and the Irish Government
should introduce something to control the breeding of          Roche, Council.  The Council is not aware of the
greyhounds and to ensure that the people who breed             findings to which the honourable Member of Parliament
them are responsible for them up to the end of their           is referring. However, I could add that the Council
lives. Some sort of identification mechanism, such as a        restates that it is very much concerned about nuclear
tagging system, would also make it much easier to              safety and gives all its support for attaining a high level
identify them.                                                 of nuclear safety throughout the European Union.

I have just spoken to someone who has just come back           As the honourable Member will know, Sellafield, like all
from Spain. They visited an illegal race track where they      reactors, is supposed to operate as long as it fulfils the
saw nine Irish dogs racing. So we must take                    requirements of a high level of nuclear safety. The
responsibility for these animals, regardless of whether        existing Community legislation related to the safety of
they are in our country or have been exported.                 nuclear installations is mainly based on Chapter 3 of
                                                               Title II of the Euratom Treaty. Council Directive
3-207                                                          96/29/Euratom laying down basic safety standards for
Roche, Council.  I thank the honourable Member. In            the protection of the health of workers and the general
some respects I think the points that she made in the          public against the dangers arising from ionising radiation
latter part of her supplementary question are matters that     provides the basic radiation protection obligations which
should be put to the domestic administrations both in          must be complied with.
Ireland and perhaps in Spain. I fully understand her
                                                               3-212
concerns and, as she knows, we have actually discussed
                                                               Ahern, Nuala (Verts/ALE). – While I appreciate the
it. I have outlined the Council's position on the issue,
                                                               constraints on the Council presidency, I really have to
76                                                                                                             14/01/2004

say that people in Britain and Ireland and, indeed,            to make the point that labelling genuine concerns as
throughout the European Union will find that response          scaremongering is not helpful.
to their concerns completely inadequate.
                                                               3-216
                                                               Wynn (PSE). – I would like to ask the President-in-
I want to say once again that the UK Public Health
                                                               Office if he would agree that the original question tabled
Minister, Melanie Johnson, has revealed that a study by
                                                               is actually factually incorrect when it talks about
the UK Department of Health discovered that the closer
                                                               endangering the health of people in Britain and Ireland.
children lived to Sellafield the higher the level of
                                                               In the report Melanie Johnson quoted from – and as
plutonium found in their teeth. This is one of the most
                                                               Mr Atkins has just commented – the authors actually
dangerous substances known to human life – and not
                                                               state that there is no health risk whatsoever: there is no
only human life. Ms Johnson has said that analysis
                                                               correlation whatsoever here with the original question.
indicated that concentrations of plutonium decreased
                                                               In fact, some of the highest readings taken were 260
with increasing distance from the West Cumbrian coast
                                                               miles away from Sellafield and some of the lowest were
and its Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant,
                                                               50 miles away from Sellafield.
suggesting that this plant is the source of plutonium
contamination in the wider population. This comes from
                                                               It seems ironic that these comments are being made
the UK Public Health Minister.
                                                               when the UK department's own report stated that the
                                                               levels were a thousand times smaller than those of other
I would like the Irish presidency to convene a special
                                                               radioactive substances present as a result of natural
meeting of EC experts, along with national and other
                                                               sources. Would the President-in-Office not agree that the
experts, to assess the implications of this. That is the
                                                               question was factually incorrect and put purely for
least that citizens will expect. I could go into the
                                                               scaremongering reasons, as Sir Robert Atkins
scientific data at length – reputable scientists are
                                                               mentioned?
involved – but I shall refrain from doing so. I insist that
we need a proper response from the Minister out of             3-217
concern for the people involved.                               Roche, Council.  I really have nothing to add, and can
                                                               only repeat what I have already said, which is that the
3-213
                                                               Council is not familiar with the details and that I cannot
Roche, Council.  From our private conversations over
                                                               make an adjudication one way or the other. I certainly
the years the honourable Member will be aware that I
                                                               would not wish to make an adjudication as to the bona
share many of her concerns in this particular regard. I
                                                               fides of a question raised by a Member of this House.
am answering here in the capacity of President-in-Office
of the Council. I will certainly take note of the              3-218
suggestion that she made. It is a disturbing reality that      President.  This is not a time for debate, ladies and
we face. I accept that. I will certainly take note of her      gentlemen. The questioner has put a supplementary
last proposition.                                              question and there are two further supplementary
                                                               questions. Opinions differ, naturally. All of you would
3-214
                                                               like to speak, but the Rules of Procedure do not allow
Atkins (PPE-DE). – Is the Minister aware that even the
                                                               for this.
authors of this report acknowledge that levels are so low
as to be insignificant to health; that levels are a thousand
                                                               Mrs Ahern, for a personal statement, you have 15
times less than other radioactive substances naturally
                                                               seconds to reply.
present in teeth; that most of the highest results were
recorded over 250 miles from Sellafield; that this             3-219
material is more likely to be fallout from weapons             Ahern, Nuala (Verts/ALE). – My position has been
testing, which has been present throughout the Northern        traduced. I am asking for experts to assess the
Hemisphere for some years; that respected scientific and       implications. I am not saying that I am the expert. Can
academic opinion in Northern Ireland – for which I was         we please have a civil debate on Sellafield for once in
the minister responsible for a couple of years – as well       this Parliament? Let us protect our people. That is the
as in his own country, contradicts many of the assertions      bottom line I am asking for.
of the Irish anti-Sellafield lobby; and that when all is
                                                               3-220
said and done, this is little more than political
                                                               President.  Mr Fitzsimons, there cannot be more than
scaremongering designed to wreck thousands of the jobs
                                                               two supplementary questions. I have allowed them in the
of my constituents in north-west England and to damage
                                                               chronological order in which they were requested. You
the livelihoods of those many communities dependent
                                                               may put other questions during the next sitting if you see
upon this vital and valuable recycling operation?
                                                               fit. You know that you have that right. But today only
3-215                                                          two Members may speak. I must comply with the Rules
Roche, Council.  I am not sure that labelling a genuine       of Procedure, and I would ask you to respect it as well.
concern as scaremongering is helpful. As I said at the
outset, the Council is not aware of the findings that the      Question No 3 by Josu Ortuondo Larrea (H-0806/03):
honourable Member has drawn to Parliament's attention.
Therefore, I am in no better position to respond to the                Subject:   Breach of the principles of Article 6(1) of the
                                                                       EU Treaty?
supplementary question than to the original one, except
14/01/2004                                                                                                                        77
        Article 7(1) of the EU Treaty states that ‘the Council … may        remind him that this is not a decision by the Spanish
        determine the existence of the serious and persistent breach by
                                                                            Government, but that it is the Spanish Constitution itself
        a Member State of principles mentioned in Article 6(1)’ and
        make appropriate recommendations to that State.                     which prevents an autonomous community from holding
                                                                            a referendum unilaterally and requires that any
        The leader of the main Spanish opposition party (PSOE) has          referendum be called by the King, on the proposal of the
        publicly denounced as ‘inopportune, wrong-headed,
                                                                            President of the Government, following authorisation
        imprudent, carried out clandestinely and in breach of basic
        legislative principles’ the Spanish Government’s ad hoc             from the Congress of Deputies.
        reform of the penal code by means of an amendment in the
        Senate to the Law on Arbitration, to punish the possible            That is what our Constitution says. I believe that the
        holding of a consultation of the public by the Basque
                                                                            question Mr Ortuondo should have asked – although you
        Government on the reform of the Basque Country’s
        autonomous statute. The Coordinator of Izquierda Unida has          probably would not answer it either – is whether a
        stated that this reform ‘reintroduces political crime into          person failing to comply with a law can be subject to
        Spanish democracy’, just as under the Franco dictatorship.          penalty, which is what the Spanish authority has said or,
                                                                            in this case, the reform of the Spanish Penal Code.
        Does the Council believe that imposing prison sentences for
        the crime of consulting the public respects and conforms to         3-225
        the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human
        rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law,                President.  Ladies and gentlemen – in this case,
        principles shared by all the Member States? Does it not             Mr Oreja – I do not believe that this is a supplementary
        believe that the best way of solving historic political conflicts   question and, naturally, the President-in-Office of the
        like those in Palestine, Ireland or the Basque Country is to        Council is not obliged to reply, but he has the floor if he
        encourage dialogue and debate, and allow citizens themselves
        to be consulted so that they can reach a free and democratic        wishes to say anything.
        decision, when the proposals put to them are fully respectful
                                                                            3-226
        of human rights
                                                                            Roche, Council.  I really have nothing to add to the
3-221                                                                       point I made in answer to the original question. Neither
Roche, Council.  As the honourable Member knows,                           of the exchanges suggests that I should do so.
the Council does not comment on media reports, nor is it
                                                                            3-227
the Council's practice to express its views on domestic
political matters in Member States.                                         President.  Mr MacCormick, the Mr President-in-
                                                                            Office of the Council’s reply was very clear: it does not
3-222                                                                       leave room for supplementary questions. In any event,
Ortuondo Larrea (Verts/ALE). – (ES) Mr President,                           you have the floor, and I hope you will use it with your
my question referred to the articles of the Treaty which                    usual wisdom.
oblige all of us – the Council, Parliament, the
Governments and also the Presidency-in-Office of the                        3-228

Council and the Commission – to ensure compliance                           MacCormick (Verts/ALE). – I wanted to suggest to Mr
with human rights.                                                          Roche – and it is a great pleasure to see him here after
                                                                            many exchanges at the Convention – that the issue Mr
You do not wish to give me an answer, but I would like                      Ortuondo Larrea raised, and with which we are dealing
to remind you of something which I imagine you will                         here, is a profound one. It is about the role and place of
know much better than me. If I remember rightly, in                         countries within Member States. The Irish presidency,
Ireland, before you achieved independence, you had a                        not least because of its interest in the problems of
provisional status, which led to a great conflict within                    Northern Ireland, but for other reasons as well, ought to
your society between radicals and moderates. You                            give its mind and invite its colleagues to give their
resolved that situation by consulting the Irish citizens,                   minds to the issue of the adequate and improved
that is, by means of a referendum.                                          representation of countries of that kind.
                                                                            3-229
We have a situation in the Basque Country which is also                     President.  Mr Ortuondo, since you will most probably
difficult and worrying, and which is creating great                         not make a point of order – I do not know if you wish to
tension and violence. We are asking that it be the                          make a personal statement – you may speak for fifteen
citizens who can give their opinion and decide, but the                     seconds and I would ask you not to cause any further
Spanish Government is preventing this. It is also                           personal statements, please. We must not spoil Question
threatening and changing the laws in order to imprison                      Time with other debates which should take place in the
those who advocate this referendum: a consultation of                       relevant setting, in this case in Spain.
the citizens, which is the most democratic thing
imaginable.                                                                 3-230
                                                                            Ortuondo Larrea (Verts/ALE). – (ES) Mr President, I
3-223                                                                       wish to make a personal statement. If what I have raised
President.  Mr Ortuondo, I would remind you that this                      is laid down in the Spanish Constitution, why is the
is a time for supplementary questions and not a time for                    Peoples’ Party, the government of Mr Aznar, at night
political statements.                                                       and taking advantage of a law ...
3-224
Oreja Arburúa (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, I                              (The President cut off the speaker)
would like to supplement Mr Ortuondo’s question, and                        3-231
78                                                                                                                          14/01/2004

President.  I would ask you to take this debate to the                   3-235

Basque Parliament and the Spanish Congress of                             Roche, Council.  The Member has raised the
Deputies, but it is not appropriate to continue debating                  fundamental question of whether an annual budget of
this issue here. You know that I ignore the fact that I am                EUR 3.4 million or EUR 5.7 million would be
also elected in a Spanish constituency and that I am                      appropriate. That is the key issue.
Spanish and, as I usually say to you, I am going to act as
if I were, for example, Finnish or Irish.                                 Much of the effort to date as regards the Natura 2000
                                                                          network of sites, habitats and bird directives has been
3-232                                                                     devoted to the initial designation of sites; the purely
President.  Question No 4 by Paulo Casaca (H-                            mechanical side of it. It is very difficult at this early
0809/03):                                                                 stage to estimate the likely costs of conserving those
                                                                          sites in future years.
        Subject:     Financing of the Natura 2000 network

        The Commission, exercising its right of initiative, has
                                                                          I understand that the Commission has been examining
        submitted a proposal for the amendment of the Regulation          this question further in preparing its communication on
        concerning the Financial Instrument for the Environment           financing Natura 2000.
        (LIFE) (COM(2003)0402/final).

        The proposed amendment is concerned with comitology
                                                                          To summarise, the work has been on the designation of
        issues which are of little or no interest to the general public   sites. Until that phase of the work is completed, it is
        and whose relationship with nature conservation is dubious,       difficult to see what the overall cost is likely to be, but I
        but it does, of course, provide an opportunity for discussing     would nevertheless compliment and thank the Member
        major substantive issues on which the Regulation has nothing
        to say.
                                                                          for raising this issue.
                                                                          3-236
        Is the Council intending to take advantage of this revision of
        the financial instrument concerned in order to incorporate the    President.  As the author is not present, Question No 5
        essential amendments stemming from the final report on the        lapses.
        financing of the Natura 2000 network which has been drawn
        up by the Working Party referred to in Article 8 of the
        Commission's Directive on habitats, one of whose conclusions
                                                                                  Question No 6 by Glenys Kinnock (H-0816/03):
        is that an annual budget of between EUR 3400 and 5700
        million is required just for the running of the Natura 2000
                                                                                  Subject:     Zimbabwe
        network?

3-233
                                                                                  In view of the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, what
                                                                                  measures does the Council anticipate can be put in place in
Roche, Council.  The Commission recently made a                                  the Common Position that would be likely to send a clear and
proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 1655/2000                                    strong message to President Mugabe?
concerning the Financial Instrument for the Environment
– LIFE – mainly in two aspects. The first concerns only                   3-237

comitology. However, the second provides for the                          Roche, Council.  In conformity with the common
extension of the LIFE regime for a further two years to                   position concerning restrictive measures against
bridge the gap between the current regime and the new                     Zimbabwe, the Council has kept the situation in
Financial Perspectives for 2007 onwards. On                               Zimbabwe under review. On 28 November 2003 the
22 December 2003 the Council held an exchange of                          presidency, on behalf of the European Union, issued a
views on this second aspect and on the options for                        statement on the current situation in Zimbabwe,
financing the EU's environmental policies from 2007                       expressing its continued concern regarding the climate
onwards. In addition, the Council adopted conclusions                     of tension in Zimbabwe and calling on its government to
on biodiversity in which it looked forward to the                         respect the internationally-guaranteed rights of all
submission     of     the   forthcoming     Commission                    Zimbabwean people.
communication on financing Natura 2000. When
received, this will provide a further opportunity for                     The question of Zimbabwe was raised in the EU-Africa
discussions on this very important issue.                                 dialogue during the ministerial troika meeting in Rome
                                                                          on 10 November 2003, where the European Union again
3-234                                                                     reaffirmed its readiness to engage in dialogue with the
Casaca (PSE). – (PT) Mr President, I wish to thank the                    government in Harare on the basis of established
Irish Presidency for the clarity with which it has                        benchmarks. An identical message was passed directly
attempted to answer my question. I must, however, insist                  to Zimbabwe and other SADC countries during the
on an issue that I believe to be crucial: I should like to                meeting of the EU-SADC senior officials in Brussels,
know whether the Council will give due consideration to                   held on 12 and 13 November 2003, and was again
the conclusions of the working party appointed by the                     transmitted to South Africa during the political dialogue
Commission itself, which suggested that the costs of                      meeting in Pretoria on 8 December 2003.
maintaining this ‘Natura’ network would exceed
EUR 3.4 billion per year. I should also like to know                      The common position, as adopted on 18 February 2002,
whether the Council thinks that our financial                             expresses the Council's serious concern about the
perspectives will match the commitments given by the                      situation in Zimbabwe, in particular the recent escalation
European institutions? This is the very specific issue that               in violence and intimidation of political opponents and
I would like the Council to clarify.                                      the harassment of the independent press.
14/01/2004                                                                                                                   79

                                                             numbers? Does the President-in-Office have a view on
When reviewed in 2003, the common position noted that        this, given the new presidency, the escalation of violence
there has been further degradation in the situation in       and the inevitable increase in numbers of refugees and
Zimbabwe, where serious violations of human rights and       asylum seekers from Zimbabwe to EU Member States?
of the freedom of opinion, of association and of peaceful
                                                             3-241
assembly continue to occur.
                                                             Roche, Council.  The direct answer to the question is
                                                             yes, the presidency is obviously aware that any form of
As already noted, the European Union has remained
                                                             violence or action against civilian populations inevitably
extremely concerned about the further degradation of the
                                                             drives people out. We are also concerned about and
situation in Zimbabwe since then. The common position
                                                             aware of the impact that sanctions can have on
is up for review on 18 February 2004. In this context,
                                                             populations.
preparatory work on recommendations to be submitted
to the Council has begun within the relevant Council
                                                             With regard to the specifics, I would refer back to the
departments. These recommendations will be submitted
                                                             earlier answer that I gave directly to Mrs Kinnock:
to the Council for discussion at that time.
                                                             where do we go from here? The next stage is a matter
3-238                                                        for current discussion and I do not want to anticipate that
Kinnock, Glenys (PSE). – I should like to thank the          discussion by going further than I already have.
President-in-Office for his answer. I am reasonably
                                                             3-242
familiar with, and approve of, the Irish Government's
strong position on Zimbabwe.                                 President.  I note that the honourable Members put a
                                                             lot of trust in their cruising speed when taking their lifts,
My question is about the rollover of the common              and this could lead to a standstill if we apply the Rules
position. I wonder whether the presidency anticipates        of Procedure. If anybody is listening to me from their
any difficulties in securing the rollover of the existing    offices, I would ask them to come down to the chamber,
sanctions against Zimbabwe. Am I right to understand         because at one point none of the Members due to ask
that there are Member States – and one in particular –       questions were here.
which have a problem with the rollover that the
presidency and others in the Council would like to see?      Question No          7    by    Rodi      Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou
Therefore, I am asking if you can tell me whether            (H-0824/03):
Member States are likely to be of one mind on the
rollover.
                                                                     Subject:     Syria-EU Association Agreement

Second, would the President-in-Office consider it                    On 9 December 2003, the Commission and Syria reached an
appropriate for the Council to now press for the                     accord on an Association Agreement between Syria and the
                                                                     EU modelled on the agreements with the other Mediterranean
extension of the list of banned individuals – a list of
                                                                     partnerships, including a political chapter, an economic and
people who have sanctions against them and are not                   financial chapter, and a social and cultural chapter.
given visas – to include family members, people who
have died or changed office and so on? In my view and                In the Council's view, what prospects does the agreement hold
                                                                     out for the two parties? Does the Council believe that the
in Parliament's view – it is in our resolution on the
                                                                     signing of this agreement in the near future will facilitate
subject – the list should be extended and reviewed. I                regional integration, the creation of a positive climate in
should very much like your opinion on this. It is                    which to resolve the political problem of the Arab-Israeli
something of great importance to the European                        conflict and the democratisation of Syria?
Parliament and I look forward to your response.
                                                                     What is its view of the diametrically opposed positions of the
3-239
                                                                     USA which saw Congress and President Bush (only a few
                                                                     days ago) pass a law which provides for economic and
Roche, Council.  My colleagues and I appreciate Mrs                 diplomatic sanctions and restrictions on Syria, and does the
Kinnock's continued keen interest in this particular                 Council sympathise with the reasons adduced by the USA for
matter. Discussions are ongoing. It would be premature               adopting this policy against Syria?
at this stage for us to say where those discussions will     3-243
lead. There will, however, be a review of the list and       Roche, Council.  The Council confirms to the
there may be some extension to it.                           honourable Member that on 9 December 2003 the
3-240                                                        European Commission and Syria reached an
Moraes (PSE). – I should like to ask a very brief            understanding at technical level on all remaining issues
supplementary question to Mrs Kinnock's question. One        in the negotiations on the Euromed Association
aspect of her campaigning – which is increasingly            Agreement. When it enters into force, this agreement
affecting Member States, including the United Kingdom        will replace the existing 1977 Cooperation Agreement
and possibly Ireland as well – is that with the escalation   which, as part of the global Mediterranean approach,
of violence an increasing number of refugees and             currently links the two sides. The items of the future
asylum seekers are coming to the European Union. What        agreement will now have to be politically approved by
is the Irish presidency's view of this, given the increase   both sides, paving the way for ratification by both sides.
in numbers and that these people clearly have asylum
claims and are in distress, but are also arriving in great
80                                                                                                       14/01/2004

The Council underlines that on the political side the draft   within the Euro-Mediterranean framework, and, finally,
agreement intends to provide a framework to conduct           to promote cooperation in economic, social, cultural and
regular political dialogue on international issues and        financial fields. The point about this agreement is that it
mutual interest, fostering mutual understanding and           emphasises very much the European ethos, the European
promoting the convergence of views. In particular it          view of the way forward. It is a very positive
includes essential provisions on respect for the              development, certainly a development that the Irish
democratic principles on fundamental rights enshrined in      presidency welcomes and will work towards.
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; cooperation
to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass               There is no point in our making negative comparisons
destruction and their means of delivery in line with the      with anybody else – with the United States approach, for
conclusions of the External Relations Council in              example. We have a dialogue with the United States on
November 2003; and the exchange of information and            many levels, including the highest level. The Middle
joint efforts to prevent and fight against terrorism,         East issue, the issue of the entire region and peace in the
including the implementation of the relevant United           region, is obviously an important part of that dialogue.
Nations resolutions.                                          The matter of Syria's place in the peace process will
                                                              feature in the dialogue.
With regard to the second element in the honourable
Member's question on the Middle East peace process in         Again, I thank the Member for a very searching and
general, the Council invites the honourable Member to         deep question which provides an opportunity to cover a
refer to the Presidency Conclusions of the European           significant number of important areas.
Council meeting held in Brussels on 12 December 2003.
                                                              3-246
In paragraph 61 the European Council recalled that a
                                                              Tannock (PPE-DE). – Mr President-in-Office, could I
comprehensive peace in the Middle East must also
                                                              press you a little further on this? You briefly alluded to
include Syria and, of course, Lebanon.
                                                              the issue of weapons of mass destruction, which, rather
                                                              surprisingly, on 6 January 2004, President Assad
Finally, there was a third element in the question. The
                                                              effectively admitted to possessing. Could you tell me
Council has not commented on positions taken on this
                                                              what kind of mandate you will give the Commission to
matter by the United States, nor does the Council intend
                                                              incorporate clauses that are specifically salient and
to do so at this stage.
                                                              relevant to the issue of Syria's biological and chemical
3-244                                                         weapons stock, and whether the Syrians will be
Kratsa-Τsagaropoulou (PPE-DE). – (EL) Thank you,              encouraged strongly within these clauses to effectively
Mr President-in-Office, for your reply. I feel that I         dismantle them and avoid any proliferation of such
cannot insist that you reply to me on the element on          dangerous weapons?
which you clearly stated that you did not intend to
                                                              3-247
comment, even though I believe that an open dialogue
                                                              Roche, Council.  The precise details in that regard will
which highlights the common points and the different
                                                              have to be considered by the Council, but there is a
approaches between the European Union and the United
                                                              specific reference to countering the proliferation of
States is not negative; it is positive in making us aware
                                                              weapons of mass destruction and their means of
of the situation and our joint action.
                                                              delivery. That is in accordance with the decisions taken
                                                              in the External Relations Council in November 2003.
Perhaps you could tell me more specifically, please, how
                                                              You can rest assured that the presidency and the Council
this agreement with Syria, which we hope will be signed
                                                              have in mind the positive elements of this particular
and will be put into practice, specifically serves the
                                                              agreement in the context of the region and in the context
political and economic interests of the European Union
                                                              of weapons of mass destruction in general.
in the area? What is the particular role, the position, the
influence of Syria in the Barcelona process? Does it          3-248
have anything to do with Lebanon and the objectives of        Purvis (PPE-DE). – It is interesting that you mention
the European Union through the agreement with                 that you collude with or discuss with the US how you
Lebanon?                                                      are dealing with Syria and yet your policies are in such
                                                              contrast. Is that a sort of 'nice cop, nasty cop' approach
3-245
                                                              to Syria?
Roche, Council.  I thank the Member for that. I agree
with her that there is no point in making negative
                                                              I should like to ask, in particular, about Lebanon. Syria
comparisons between our approach and that of, for
                                                              is in occupation of large parts of Lebanon, its
example, the United States.
                                                              neighbouring country. What attitude do you take to this
                                                              position as regards any furtherance of this agreement?
It is a very fine agreement and I am sure the Member has
had the opportunity to read it. Let us consider its aims:     3-249
to provide an appropriate framework for political             Roche, Council.  I would take exception to the world
dialogue; to establish the conditions for progressive         'collude'. There is a dialogue between Europe and the
liberalisation of trade in goods, services and capital; to    United States, which is quite appropriate. Issues relating
enhance prosperity and economic and social                    to Lebanon and Syria are obviously going to be part of
development in Syria and to encourage cooperation             that dialogue. It is certainly not a question of 'good cop,
14/01/2004                                                                                                                      81

bad cop'. Europe has its view as to how it does its                   stressed the need to enhance law enforcement capacity
business and the United States has its view as to how it              in the Western Balkans.
does its business. Those views are informed by our own
different backgrounds. The point I am making about this               On the general issue of the Western Balkans, the Irish
agreement is that it is a very positive indication of the             presidency will do anything that it can to assist
European approach to this particular matter.                          governments in that region – which face significant
                                                                      challenges – and to involve them as much as we possibly
3-250
                                                                      can.
President.  Question No 8 by Bill Newton Dunn (H-
0827/03):                                                             3-252
                                                                      Newton Dunn (ELDR). – Thank you very much for that
        Subject:    Albanian drug crime                               full, helpful and informative reply. I should like to add
                                                                      my congratulations to the Irish for the leadership they
        The outgoing Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers
        recommended to the Council's Working Party on Drugs that      are showing on this difficult question. I attended the
        police from Member States should be posted in Albania. As     conference on organised crime in Dublin before
        the Council must know, Albanian gangs are increasingly        Christmas, it was excellent and the Irish showed great
        involved in growing and smuggling tonnes of locally-grown     leadership. I congratulate you very much on the
        cannabis into the Union but are also becoming implicated in
        trading 'hard' drugs such as heroin and cocaine which are     initiative you are showing.
        produced outside Albania.
                                                                      Is there a chain of command for these liaison officers
        Are Member State police in Albania yet? If not, when will     from the EU who are going to be posted in Albania?
        they arrive there? Who is in command of them?
                                                                      Who do they report to? Do they each report to their own
3-251                                                                 national capital? Do they report to Europol in The
Roche, Council.  The Council remains concerned at the                Hague? Is there somebody in charge? How is it
issue of organised crime and drug trafficking in Albania.             organised? The great problem here with policing – as
In the conclusions of the last Council meeting on                     you must know even better than I – is that individual
external relations on 9 December 2003, the Council                    nationalities and forces are reluctant to cooperate. They
expressed concern over the slow process of reform in                  each try to keep the information they have to
Albania and urged the Albanian Government to intensify                themselves. What we need is much more coordination
its efforts, particularly in its fight against organised              and cooperation, even between EU police forces. Can
crime. Helping the Albanian Government to fight drug                  you give me any assurance that this is happening? Who
trafficking has been an integral part of EU efforts to                is in charge? Who liaises with whom?
contribute to the fight against organised crime in
                                                                      3-253
Albania. Police forces and experts from the European
                                                                      Roche, Council.  On the matter of liaison officers, I
Union and Member States have consistently been
                                                                      agree with the Member that there is no point in people
present in Albania, particularly since the 1997 crisis, to
                                                                      being posted individually. There must be some form of
help the Albanian Government in various ways,
                                                                      coordination and certainly some form of exchange of
including specific operations, to build capacity and fight
                                                                      information at a very basic level. I refer the Member to
organised crime, including drug production and drug
                                                                      what I said in my previous response, which was that the
trafficking.
                                                                      resolution envisages the setting-up of a coordination
                                                                      mechanism among liaison officers to ensure a constant
As regards drugs, major initiatives were taken under the
                                                                      exchange of information.
Greek and Italian presidencies in 2003 to enhance the
fight against drug trafficking in the Balkan region in
                                                                      The point that the Member has put his finger on is
general and in Albania in particular. In June 2003 a
                                                                      absolutely correct: there is no point in intelligence
comprehensive action plan on drugs was agreed between
                                                                      gathering if the information is not shared. This is a new
the European Union and the Western Balkan States. A
                                                                      departure. We are at the point of establishing this
large part of this plan was devoted to the fight against
                                                                      coordination mechanism. I am sure that the Member's
drugs trafficking. A very fruitful follow-up meeting was
                                                                      observations will be helpful in that specific regard.
held on 2 December 2003 in Brussels. As regards
Albania in particular, the Council adopted in November                3-254
2003 a resolution on the posting of liaison officers with             President.  Question No 9 by Richard Howitt
particular expertise in drugs in Albania. This resolution             (H-0834/03):
envisages the setting up of a coordination mechanism
among the liaison officers in order to ensure a constant                      Subject:       Multi-annual strategic Programme for EU
exchange of information on drugs-related activities and                       external relations
also to foster common understanding.                                          Could the President-in-Office comment on how his
                                                                              Presidency programme is assisted by the recently agreed
On a more general level, a meeting between ministers of                       multi-annual strategic programmes?
the EU Member States and ministers of the Western                     3-255
Balkan countries was held on 27 November 2003 on the                  Roche, Council.  The Council recalls that, as foreseen
sidelines of the Justice and Home Affairs Council. The                by the Presidency Conclusions from the European
common conclusions resulting from that meeting                        Council in Seville of 21 and 22 June 2002, the European
82                                                                                                                    14/01/2004

Council of 12 and 13 December 2003 adopted the first             worked through. It is in all those regards  and I think
Multiannual Strategic Programme for the three years to           that is what the Member has in mind  clearly a much
come. The programme covers the period 2004 to 2006. It           better approach than that which preceded it.
has been prepared jointly by the six presidencies 
                                                                 3-258
Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United
                                                                 President.  Question No 10 by Proinsias De Rossa (H-
Kingdom, Austria and Finland  which in turn will
                                                                 0838/03):
assume stewardship of the Council over that period.
                                                                         Subject:     Temporary Workers directive
They are collectively vested with responsibility for
ensuring that the Council delivers on its agreed priorities              What steps does the Council propose to take to find a
up to 2006 effectively and on time. The presidency                       common political position on the Temporary/Agency Workers
                                                                         Directive, given the importance of this legislation for progress
found the recently agreed Multiannual Strategic                          on the Lisbon Agenda?
Programme to be a very useful basis for the preparation
of both the Annual Operating Programme and the Irish             3-259

Presidency Programme.                                            Roche, Council.  The Council invites the honourable
                                                                 Member to refer to the answers already given to a
The presidency considers it increasingly important that a        question by Claude Moraes in July 2003 and a question
longer term perspective be taken, with regard to the             raised by you last November on the same issue, in which
work of the Council, beyond the six-month term of each           the Council confirmed its commitment to reaching a
presidency. In that respect the Multiannual Strategic            common political position on this complex and
Programme and the Annual Operational Programme are               politically sensitive dossier.
essentially tools in guiding the preparation of the
Presidency Programme. This is a new departure and it is          During the first semester in 2003 the presidency put
a very worthwhile and welcome departure. It gives a              together a compromise package covering the key
more structured basis for the on-going Community                 outstanding issues which were discussed by the Council
relationships with the rest of the world.                        in a public session which was held on 3 June 2003.
                                                                 However, the proposed solution is not acceptable to all
3-256
                                                                 delegations. During the second semester, various high-
Howitt (PSE). – I agree with what the President-in-              level discussions were held but, in the absence of new
Office has said about the value of these tools and place         elements allowing the situation to be unblocked, the
on the record my welcome for the Irish presidency                matter was not discussed at the Council meeting of 1
programme in this respect. However, when he says that            December 2003 as had been initially envisaged and
it is a useful basis, it would be instructive for all of us to   hoped.
learn what that means in practice. Otherwise, is this yet
another piece of bureaucracy with no real purpose or real        As the Member knows – because the Member has raised
difference? What is it in the Irish presidency programme         this matter in different fora – the Irish presidency
that is different because of the multiannual approach            attaches great importance to the success of the Lisbon
with the six presidencies together? Has there been an            Strategy, and will of course reflect on how this dossier
area where special emphasis has been placed that                 can be finalised in that context. The Council has
perhaps would not have been otherwise?                           consistently given a confirmed commitment to reaching
                                                                 the Lisbon goals of increasing employment and
I wonder, in relation to Ireland, for example – being a          providing better jobs, and intends to work for a fair and
neutral country and not part of Nato – whether the               practical solution which takes into account all legitimate
advancement of the security strategy, the planned                concerns – and there are many of them.
intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Defence
Capabilities Agency are areas on which you will be               To this end, the presidency intends to reflect on the
putting extra emphasis. I would be genuinely interested          different possible tracks to be followed in this dossier
to hear your views on those points.                              and will remain alert to any new developments which
3-257                                                            could help in resolving the outstanding areas of
Roche, Council.  The honourable Member will                     difficulty.
appreciate that this really is the first time we have been
into this particular process and it will take a little time      I should like to add that, thanks to the good work of
for this process to bed down. Nonetheless, a multiannual         Mr De Rossa, the presidency had a very good exchange
approach is clearly logical and is a better approach to          with members of his Group last week in Dublin. This
that which preceded it. It is very helpful to incoming           issue was raised at that stage. There was a very full and
presidencies to have a role to play so that they can             helpful exchange on the issue so, again, I compliment
interlink all the issues.                                        the Member. I am fully aware of his concerns on the
                                                                 issue and the presidency is also fully aware of his
I cannot be more specific other than to say that the             concerns. As the Member knows, we will work on this
Multiannual Strategic Programme is helpful. It will              dossier within the context of the general work we are
certainly give us a much stronger framework and a better         doing on the Lisbon agenda issues.
time allowance. It will mean that there can be more              3-260
reasonable anticipation that programmes will be fully
14/01/2004                                                                                                          83

De Rossa (PSE). – I wish to thank the President-in-           In Ireland we have had some experience in recent years
Office of the Council for his comprehensive and               of the tremendous progress that can be made
welcome reply. He has indicated a willingness to              economically by having an inclusive approach to it. I
progress this dossier, which an important one in the          accept the point that the Member made. It is a complex
context of the Lisbon Agenda.                                 issue. There are different views on this, both within this
                                                              House and within Europe. However, in general, it would
I know that the presidency sees the Lisbon Agenda as a        be a fallacy for us to think that we have to build in
comprehensive vehicle for achieving both social and           flexibility, adaptability or progress at a cost to workers.
economic progress, and this directive, which would instil     That should not be the basis on which we make our
some order into the issue of temporary agency workers,        progress. I am sure that is not what the Member has in
would improve the quality of work and also relieve            mind.
many anxieties of both permanent workers and
                                                              3-264
temporary agency workers. We know that this particular
                                                              Crowley (UEN). – I should like to join my colleagues in
form of employment is, in certain circumstances, being
                                                              welcoming the President-in-Office, Mr Roche, to the
abused. I would appreciate it, therefore, if the President-
                                                              House and wishing him luck for the next six months.
in-Office of the Council would actively pursue this
matter. I have no wish to make party political points
                                                              Mr Bushill-Matthews, Mr De Rossa and myself work on
here, but given that the Irish Government has serious
                                                              the same committee, so we know some of the difficulties
concerns about this issue, you are in an ideal position to
                                                              here. But is the presidency aware of the different
find solutions to it.
                                                              definitions of agency workers in different Member
3-261                                                         States, and how this creates a difficulty as regards
Roche, Council.  I thank Mr De Rossa and I very much         drawing up harmonised regulations or directives, the
recognise the importance of securing an agreement on          purpose of which is to protect workers and actually to
proposals to improve the rights of workers. I also            improve their position within employment?
understand precisely where Mr De Rossa is coming from
in this particular regard. The point he is making is that     Secondly, with regard to Mr Bushill-Matthews'
one tries to raise everybody's position upward, rather        comments on the Lisbon agenda, individual workers
than trying to create a downward movement. I accept the       should have the freedom of choice, because in some
sincerity of his cause and I think he also understands the    situations temporary agency workers actually earn more
views of the presidency in that regard.                       money and have more flexibility than they would if they
                                                              were in contract-based employment.
3-262
Bushill-Matthews (PPE-DE). – Thank you, President-            3-265
in-Office, for your full reply. Are you aware that whilst     Roche, Council.  I accept the final point the Member
the Council is clearly divided on this issue, this House is   made, which illustrates something of the complexity of
also divided? There are different views, as my good           this issue. There are specific cases that come to mind.
friend Mr De Rossa is also aware. The fact that here you      Young medical graduates, for example, may well choose
have a UK Conservative MEP speaking in support of the         to work on an agency basis because it is more flexible
UK Labour Government and against the opinions of UK           and suits them better. We are aware of that.
Labour MEPs shows that this issue is sensitive and
rather complicated.                                           The second point that Mr Crowley touched on was the
                                                              general question of the rights of contract workers. I
I welcome your comment that you are going to reflect,         recognise the importance of securing agreement on
but I urge you to reflect also on the phrases that you        proposals that improve the rights of workers, including
have put into this excellent document – the programme         temporary agency workers, but which at the same time
of your presidency – which I particularly welcome. On         do not force anybody to operate in a way they would not
page 16 you mention the key challenges you are                wish to.
committed to pursuing: encouraging greater adaptability
and flexibility on the part of workers and companies and      As I have said, the presidency sees this as an important
removing disincentives to employment. My own view is          issue, not least within the context of the Lisbon strategy.
that the directive, as drafted, would have done exactly       The Member will be aware that we are committed to
the opposite and cut across the possibility of achieving      achieving the Lisbon goals of increasing employment
the Lisbon agenda. Can I have your reassurance that the       and providing better jobs, and that includes more choices
fulfilment of the Lisbon agenda will indeed colour your       for workers. The point raised in the original question
entire presidency, as I am confident it will? Good luck,      was that this should not be achieved on the backs of the
Sir!                                                          workers; that is the core issue of concern to Mr De
                                                              Rossa.
3-263
Roche, Council.  I thank the Member for that. I do not
                                                              The point has been made that this is a complex matter.
believe that adaptability and flexibility naturally
                                                              There are different views on the issue and as the last
enhancing or supporting the rights of workers need ever
                                                              supplementary question illustrates, there may be
necessarily be in contradiction to each other.
                                                              circumstances in which workers wish to benefit from
                                                              this more flexible approach. Clearly their right to choose
84                                                                                                                    14/01/2004

should not be interfered with in a way that would                          is no appropriate role for the Council. I am sorry I
diminish that right.                                                       cannot expand on this.
3-266                                                                      3-270
President.  Question No 11 by Alexandros Alavanos                         President.  That concludes Question Time to the
(H-0840/03):                                                               Council2.

           Subject:     Prohibitive conditions for family reunification    (The sitting was adjourned at 6.32 p.m. and resumed at
                                                                     1     9 p.m.)
           Under Article 4(1)(d) of Council Directive 2003/86/EC on
           the right to family reunification a Member State may, where a   3-272
           child is aged over 12 years, before authorising entry and                       IN THE CHAIR: MR PROVAN
           residence under the directive, verify whether he or she meets
           the necessary conditions. Since the children in question come
                                                                                                  Vice-President
           from less developed areas and are unable to cope with the
                                                                           3-273
           demands of the verification procedure, does the Council not
           consider that in practice it undermines the right to                 Illegal immigration, smuggling and trafficking of
           reunification?                                                                         human beings
3-267
                                                                           3-274
Roche, Council.  My reply will be very brief. The
                                                                           President.  The next item is the report (A5-0419/2003)
honourable Member's attention is drawn to the fact that
                                                                           by Hubert Pirker, on behalf of the Committee on
under the Treaty, it is not for the Council to comment on
                                                                           Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home
the interpretation of Community legislative acts.
                                                                           Affairs, on the communication from the Commission to
3-268                                                                      the European Parliament and the Council, in view of the
Alavanos (GUE/NGL). – (EL) Mr President, the                               European Council of Thessaloniki, on the development
President-in-Office does not need to be that brief. This is                of a common policy on illegal immigration, smuggling
the last question and we have half an hour at our                          and trafficking of human beings, external borders and
disposal. I am not asking him to comment on something                      the return of illegal residents (COM(2003) 323 –
foreign, I am asking him to talk to us about a directive                   2003/2156(INI)).
which the Council approved, on which the President of
                                                                           3-275
the European Parliament has taken steps in connection
                                                                           Pirker (PPE-DE), rapporteur. – (DE) Mr President,
with referral to the Court of Justice, on which non-
                                                                           ladies and gentlemen, Mr Ahern, the President-in-Office
governmental organisations have taken steps and which
                                                                           of the Council, said today that the Irish Presidency
makes provision for children of 12 years of age and
                                                                           aimed for greater security and prosperity for all citizens
upwards – just think if it were our daughter, or your
                                                                           of the European Union. At the same time as backing him
daughter, or the daughter of an honourable Member or
                                                                           up 100% on that, I would also propose that it would be
the daughter of someone who works here – to pass
                                                                           in the interests of our security if the package of measures
examinations in order to be united with their family. We
                                                                           that this House expects were to be implemented during
cannot deal with this matter with this sort of technocracy
                                                                           the term of the Irish Presidency and also during the
and without a sensitive reply by the President-in-Office
                                                                           Dutch Presidency that will follow it. The House
of the Council and I call for a material response.
                                                                           proposes this package of measures in the spheres of
3-269                                                                      illegal immigration, the smuggling and trafficking of
Roche, Council.  I do not like off-the-cuff or                            human beings, the securing of our external borders and
technocratic answers either and I wish I could give you a                  the return of illegal residents in the European Union.
more substantial answer, but the point is that the only
institution which, with regard to the Treaty, has the                      I was commissioned to draft an own-initiative report for
power actually to interpret Community legislation is                       Parliament, and I am extremely pleased to note the
ultimately the Court of Justice, but the Member is aware                   excellent negotiations that we have had, with good
of this and does not need me to lecture him in this                        results, and the fact that we have been able to achieve a
regard.                                                                    broad consensus in the Committee, receiving also the
                                                                           support of the Council and the Commission. Let me
However, it should be recalled that the Court of Justice                   express my gratitude to all those who played their part in
has been called upon to give a ruling on the directive on                  producing this report.
the right to family reunification, adopted in September
2003, insofar as a direct action has been brought before                   On what does this report focus? It basically appears to
it for its annulment.                                                      me that, although Parliament is able wholeheartedly to
                                                                           endorse the priorities set down in Thessaloniki, we do
The point I am making – and the core issue in the reply –                  see it as important that particular attention be given to
is not intended to be in any way discourteous to the                       some of them, and I would now like to present six
Member or to diminish his question; rather, I am simply                    priorities for your consideration.
making the point that on the issue of interpretation there

                                                                           2
                                                                               See Annex 'Question Time'.
1
    OJ L 251, 3.10.2003, p. 12.
14/01/2004                                                                                                           85

The first priority has to do with securing external
borders. Especially on the new external borders, we will     Finally, there are the financial aspects; we have already
need, in future, the same high standards of security         announced that increased funds will, by 2006, be made
everywhere. It necessarily follows that we will have to      available for the visa information system, for the return
train the border guards in accordance with one single        plan and for border controls, provided that Parliament is
training plan, and that we should establish a European       given an appropriate say in the matter.
college in which senior officials can be promptly and
speedily trained.                                            Ambitious though all these measures are, we hope that
                                                             they can be implemented during the term of this
Also connected with the external borders is the creation     Presidency, thus enabling us to guarantee our citizens a
of a corps of border guards. This does not, however,         secure Europe.
mean that we can take competences away from the
                                                             3-276
Member States, but rather, on the contrary, that
                                                             Santini (PPE-DE). – (IT) Mr President, this long-
competence to secure the borders must remain with
                                                             awaited report is most timely for the preparation of
them, whilst the European Union will provide, for fixed
                                                             strategies in view of the European Council of
periods of time, on high-risk stretches of the border, and
                                                             Thessaloniki on the development of a common policy on
at the Member States’ request, special units financed by
                                                             illegal immigration, smuggling and trafficking of human
the Community in order to guarantee security there
                                                             beings, external borders and the return of illegal
when there are temporary and special threats. That is
                                                             residents.
what is meant by a corps of border guards, and we
believe that it is possible.
                                                             The Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights,
                                                             Justice and Home Affairs has adopted a position on
We of course want this to result in the Schengen
                                                             illegal immigration policy by adopting this own-
standards being met as quickly as possible on all the new
                                                             initiative report by Mr Pirker, whom I congratulate on
external borders, which means that the new Member
                                                             the results he has achieved. We all agree to support the
States have the task – in which they will have the
                                                             creation of a European corps of border guards funded at
European Union’s support – of efficiently and speedily
                                                             Community level, the creation of which will require a
implementing as many of the measures as possible.
                                                             new legal basis. With the proposal of this solution, the
                                                             proposal to set up an independent agency to control our
The second priority is the standardised collection of
                                                             borders automatically lapses. Furthermore, it is a shared
data. If we want to exchange detailed information
                                                             opinion that the Community’s borders should remain
accurately between one Member State and another,
                                                             open to people fleeing forms of repression who then
between the Member States and the Commission and
                                                             apply for asylum in the Member States of the Union. We
with third states, we need data in standard formats, and
                                                             also all agree in acknowledging that it is an exclusive
to take appropriate steps towards having a standardised
                                                             right of the Member States, deriving from the principle
data system at our disposal. We also urgently need the
                                                             of subsidiarity, to establish the nature and scale of legal
means to exchange this information with countries of
                                                             immigration, but a common social integration policy is
origin and with transit countries.
                                                             now essential in an area of security, common policy,
                                                             social relations and economic justice.
Thirdly, we need to implement a common asylum
policy, common immigration policy measures and a
                                                             Lastly, it is worth noting that the debate in the
return policy. Our expectation is that the Treaty will be
                                                             Committee on Citizen’s Freedoms and Rights, Justice
adhered to and that the Irish Presidency will indeed
                                                             and Home Affairs came to the conclusion that bilateral
manage, by May 2004 to decide on and adopt the
                                                             readmission agreements between Member States and
necessary items of asylum legislation, so that we can
                                                             countries of origin and transit should, if possible, be
comply with the Treaty and take the necessary political
                                                             replaced with truly Community-wide agreements,
action to get a common asylum law. That will mean
                                                             perhaps recognised by all the Member States without
speedy decision-making on our part if refugees are to be
                                                             exception – in other words, without any opting-out.
helped and action taken. That is the second aspect of
controlled and legal immigration.
                                                             Finally, in this common area of European commitment
                                                             on immigration, I am pleased to recall – as the
As our next priority, we should introduce documents that
                                                             rapporteur also did when closing his speech – an
are difficult to counterfeit or falsify. I welcome the new
                                                             initiative that complements this effort to combat illegal
requirement for biometric data to be included on visas
                                                             immigration. This is the regulation that came into force
and residence permits. We should also be working
                                                             on 1 January this year – just a few days ago – that will
towards forgery-proof passports and towards the legal
                                                             spend EUR 250 million over five years financing the
framework and technical equipment for the visa
                                                             efforts of third countries to combat illegal immigration
information system, which we need.
                                                             at source. The aim of this initiative is first to inform, and
                                                             then to instruct and help to give people who intend to
Fifthly – and then I will finish – there is a need for
                                                             emigrate a thorough understanding of the value of legal
information to be provided in the countries of origin, in
                                                             emigration and all the risks involved in illegal
order that suitable instruments may be used against
                                                             immigration.
people-smugglers.
86                                                                                                       14/01/2004
3-277
                                                             Parliament. Other future proposals in this field, such as
Diamantopoulou, Commission.  Mr President, with             the one on European Union passports, must be guided by
regard to the report by Mr Pirker, Mr Santini has already    the coherent approach  in particular with respect to the
referred to the social inclusion issue, which was
                                                             biometric identifiers chosen  which was defended in
endorsed in December. The Commission welcomes the
                                                             our communication and endorsed by the European
support that the Pirker Report gives to the Commission
                                                             Council.
communication.
                                                             3-278
The main policy recommendations put forward in the           Roure (PSE). – (FR) Mr President, I would like to say
communication were endorsed by the European Council          to Mr Pirker that this is a good report, even if,
in Thessaloniki and further developed at its meeting in      personally, I would have liked to go further.
Brussels in October 2003.
                                                             The aim of managing migratory flows is in fact rooted in
A major boost was therefore given in 2003 towards            the illusion of strict regulation, something which has
completing the policy framework for common                   proved impossible in the last several years. Few
management of migratory flows. Nevertheless, these           countries have admitted to the limitations, let alone the
positive developments must be complemented by                failure, of the programmes they intended putting in
substantial progress in other areas of migration policy,     place. Those programmes are no match for the problems
and in particular legal migration and asylum.                posed by the complexity and diversity of the flows,
                                                             which encompass traditional movements of labour,
The Commission has proved to be capable of delivering        people fleeing poverty and asylum seekers. National
what was announced in the communication and                  traditions, cultural peculiarities, massive or residual
requested by the Council in Thessaloniki, and moreover       xenophobia and a greater or lesser openness to the
within very tight deadlines in some cases. I could refer     claims of minorities explain the differences between the
to the Agency for the Management of Operational              Member States’ immigration policies.
Cooperation at the External Borders. Other proposals,
such as visa information systems, a financial instrument     Refugee status is particularly attractive when
for return management and a proposal for a directive on      immigration or staying in a country legally has become
minimum standards for return procedures, will follow         virtually impossible, and it is in fact the only door that
soon.                                                        stands ajar for entry to many of our countries. The many
                                                             attempts to take advantage of it by persons not strictly
Following political agreement on the main elements           covered by the Geneva Convention but who fall into the
regarding the External Borders Agency, it is now             much wider category of economic migrants, attempts
important that the Council  armed with the opinion of       which are sometimes exploited by organised crime, have
the European Parliament  formally adopt the proposal        cast suspicion on all applicants and provided a pretext
as soon as possible. This would allow the Commission         for considerable restrictions on the right to asylum,
to start the preparatory work for setting up the agency in   which is appalling. Having on our territory people with
the spring of this year, with the target of having the       no rights, with absolutely no security, in fear of being
agency operational by January 2005.                          reported to the authorities, reduced to feeding the
                                                             profitable illegal labour market or resorting to petty
The creation of a visa information system is another         crime, but who nevertheless prefer that situation to the
important development. The need for such a system was        risk of being returned to their countries of origin, in fact
mentioned in our communication on illegal immigration        raises inevitable social, moral and legal questions.
in 2001. The Thessaloniki European Council asked the
Council and the Commission to focus on the legal and         Undoubtedly, this problem needs to be tackled as one
technical arrangements for the development of the VIS.       affecting all Europeans. It is also clear that we cannot
                                                             arrive at a rational policy by being guided by narrow
The Council is expected to agree very soon on the basic      national interests alone. With rising populism
elements of the system, including its architecture and       symptomatic of xenophobia, many fear seeing the
functions, taking into account financial aspects and the     common treatment of the immigration issue take on a
choice of biometric identifiers.                             dangerously repressive hue, although we know full well
                                                             that such a policy is no answer to the problems but that,
The Commission intends to present the first instrument       quite the contrary, it risks enflaming them.
for the development of the VIS in the coming weeks.
                                                             I want to conclude by saying that stepping up the fight
Regarding biometrics, the Commission has already             against terrorism must not be allowed to affect the
submitted two proposals to amend the uniform format          integrity of our immigration and asylum policies and in
applying to visas and residence permits for third-country    particular the substantial development of our national
nationals so that biometric identifiers for such             integration policies. Immigration is a reality and we will
documents can be taken into account in future.               always have to deal with flows of migrants into Europe
                                                             seeking work or fleeing persecution. Illegal immigration
The Council has arrived at a common approach to these        will not be eliminated simply by opening channels for
proposals, pending the opinion of the European               legal immigration, that is true, but legal immigration
14/01/2004                                                                                                             87

may help to give a positive direction to our society’s         Boumediene-Thiery (Verts/ALE). – (FR) Mr
development. Migration is a phenomenon of the                  President, I note our rapporteur’s concern to strike a
contemporary world. We cannot evade our                        balance between secure borders and respect for basic
responsibilities as rich nations.                              rights and I welcome our committee’s work to give this
                                                               report a more humanitarian face. I also welcome the
3-279
                                                               European Commission’s efforts to develop genuine
Sørensen (ELDR). – (DA) Mr President, Mr Pirker’s
                                                               European policies on immigration and asylum. Despite
report has a long title, suggesting a multiplicity of
                                                               all these efforts, the Tampere agenda will not, however,
subjects. To an extent, the mix of subjects renders the
                                                               be kept to. Many of the Commission’s proposals are at
report impractical and difficult to place in relation to the
                                                               present pending before the Council. The few measures
real world, but that is in no way Mr Pirker’s fault.
                                                               that have been taken come in for regular criticism and
                                                               the directive on family reunification is still the subject of
In general, I am able to support the report’s overall
                                                               an appeal by our Parliament before the Court of Justice.
objective of strengthening cooperation and coordination
                                                               For some time now, we have noted with regret that the
within the EU in these essential and cross-border areas
                                                               driving force behind immigration and asylum policy has
of policy. The report nonetheless contains a proposal
                                                               been the security of the Member States above all. In
that I find too far-reaching: that of establishing a federal
                                                               reality, this results in an intensive and often
European corps of border guards which – in contrast to,
                                                               disproportionate struggle against illegal immigration,
for example, Europol – would have extensive
                                                               which is considered a threat, a source of terrorism and a
operational authority to use its powers. I am opposed to
                                                               destabilising factor.
the creation of a federal corps of border guards.
                                                               That is therefore the vision of the Council and the
With regard to the principle of subsidiarity, I do not
                                                               Member States, a highly security-conscious, repressive
think that the Commission is able to document either the
                                                               and utilitarian vision geared to their own needs and
effect of, or the operational need for, a federal corps of
                                                               disregarding the needs of others. The proliferation of
border guards. Secondly, I think it is too early to
                                                               border control authorities is an illustration of this. While
establish such a corps. We still do not know what would
                                                               it is legitimate for the Union to want to protect its
be the effects of the many sensible proposals, such as
                                                               residents and its interests, the Member States must be
those for increased cooperation and coordination
                                                               aware that only an overall, integrated approach will
between the Member States’ customs and border
                                                               produce an effective European policy. For that, such an
authorities. In particular, no account has been taken of
                                                               approach must at one and the same time include a
the encouraging fact that we are now working towards a
                                                               management of migratory flows that allows legal
better distribution of the financial burden. Thirdly, there
                                                               immigration, the socio-economic, cultural and political
is simply no legal basis in the existing Treaties for a
                                                               integration of third country nationals and cooperation
federal corps of border guards and, even if the
                                                               with third countries in a Community framework.
Convention’s proposals for new Treaty wordings were
                                                               Fighting illegal immigration means above all protecting
adopted, it is doubtful if there would be a legal basis for
                                                               its victims, in particular fighting the trafficking in human
such a corps.
                                                               beings and the networks of unscrupulous smugglers. To
                                                               this end, we call on the Member States to ratify the
I recognise that, in its present form, the proposal to
                                                               Palermo Convention. To date, only Denmark, France
introduce an EU corps of border guards simply proposes
                                                               and Spain have done so.
a model according to which the Member States might
voluntarily make use of this force. At the same time, it is
                                                               Illegal immigration will not dry up so long as there are
clear, however, that, if the introduction of a corps of
                                                               still such yawning economic and political gaps between
border guards were to have any meaning at all, the
                                                               North and South. People are right to want to flee
Commission would, in the long term, plan to delegate a
                                                               horrendous situations. All too often, the democratic
number of EU tasks to that body. In other words, the
                                                               deficit goes hand in hand with the social and
common corps of border guards would, to an increasing
                                                               humanitarian deficit. We must not, however, bury our
degree, come under general EU legislation, and the
                                                               heads in the sand: illegal immigration is also a necessity
voluntary element would thus quickly become illusory.
                                                               for our economy. Today, all liberal policies argue for a
With regard to the proposals concerning the biometric
                                                               return to a measure of specific immigration. Thus, the
data, I do not wish to comment in more detail upon these
                                                               countries of the North are allowed to transform the
at the present time. I am myself rapporteur for the report
                                                               South into a manpower supermarket to meet the needs of
on which Parliament is to adopt a position, and it will
                                                               its enterprises for a specific period. This effectively
not be long before we have a debate on it.
                                                               plunders the productive forces of the South.
To sum up, I recommend, on behalf of the Group of the
                                                               The Union’s policy for fighting illegal immigration will
European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party, that we
                                                               not be credible without measures to combat
vote in favour of the motion for a resolution in the
                                                               moonlighting, but instead of penalising those who come
report. At the same time, it is, however, crucial for me to
                                                               to our countries looking for hope, we should be
emphasise that what I want is a common policy in this
                                                               penalising employers who shamelessly exploit
area and not a common police force.
                                                               immigrants who have no papers. On the other hand, such
3-280                                                          a policy must regularise those immigrants’ situations,
88                                                                                                         14/01/2004
                                                                3-282
recognise them, give them rights, give them the means to
fight against discrimination and exclusion and make             Blokland (EDD). – (NL) Mr President, in this
them our equals.                                                communication, the Commission assesses the progress
                                                                made in combating illegal immigration. The
Any returning of people whose situation is irregular            Commission explains what has happened to date and
must fully respect their human rights and comply with           aims to set out guidelines for the future. In so doing, it
international conventions, including the right to seek          focuses on a number of points that it considers essential
asylum. The European Parliament will shortly be                 in bringing about an effective policy. I should like to
deciding on the Italian initiative which seeks to               give a few examples of these.
coordinate expulsions of aliens by using joint European
charters. We clearly condemn such a project, which              The first is visa policy, where the Commission rightly
neither complies with our international commitments nor         advocates the prompt establishment of the Visa
respects basic rights. Readmission agreements can be an         Information System (VIS). Making documents
adequate framework for a return policy only if they take        unforgeable is vitally important to a secure system, and,
sufficient account both of the interests of the third           therefore, there is a need for a clear choice of one or
countries and the wishes and plans of the person                more biometric identifiers that will be stored in the
concerned. For that to happen, they must be given               system.
genuine assisted returns so that they can be fully
reintegrated both socially and economically.                    Then there is external borders policy, within which the
                                                                Commission proposes a European Corps of Border
(The President cut off the speaker)                             Guards under its own aegis. As far as we are concerned,
                                                                that is going too far. I agree with Mr Sørensen in that
3-281                                                           regard. The protection of external borders remains, in
Angelilli (UEN). – (IT) Mr President, the report by Mr          principle, a national concern. Cooperation is necessary,
Pirker – whom I congratulate – clearly sets out the need        but this cooperation can also take a less far-reaching
finally to create a common policy at European level             form than the Commission is proposing. The
against illegal immigration and trafficking in human            Commission rightly emphasises the importance of a
beings. While the Member States must specifically               common return policy to the credibility of European
retain their competences regarding the security of their        immigration and asylum policy, but I cannot see the
external borders and the establishment of domestic              connection that seems to be made between permitting
immigration quotas, it is equally necessary and urgent to       legal immigration on the one hand, and a direct decrease
set up effective transnational cooperation to create a          in asylum seekers and illegal immigration on the other. I
common modus operandi on visas, border control and              wish to join the rapporteur, Mr Pirker, in emphasising
repatriation, as the rapporteur has underlined.                 that the Member States have an exclusive right to lay
                                                                down provisions governing whether or not to permit
An effective coordination policy, the harmonisation of          legal immigration. I am not yet convinced by the
certain procedures and the prompt exchange of                   Council’s proposal to agree legal immigration quotas,
information would make it possible to combat illegal            particularly if this is done in order to achieve a better
immigration more effectively, as well as many other             outcome of negotiations on readmission agreements with
criminal activities that are linked to it: drug trafficking     third countries. Individual Member States must at all
and trafficking in human beings, to give just a couple of       events retain the option of prohibiting all legal
examples. It is worth recalling that an intransigent policy     immigration.
of combating illegal immigration would not only give
Europe’s citizens greater confidence and security but           Finally, I fully support the Commission’s wish that the
would also allow all legal immigrants to enjoy their            budgetary dimension of the solidarity principle be
rights and opportunities to the full.                           recognised in the field of immigration and border
                                                                controls, provided that this principle is also recognised
In any case, it should be underlined that the European          in other fields, such as asylum policy and the reception
Union should strengthen its external relations with all         of refugees.
those non-Community countries that want to collaborate
                                                                3-283
effectively in combating illegal immigration and should
also promote the so-called special quota policy for such        Coelho (PPE-DE). – (PT) Mr President, Commissioner,
countries.                                                      ladies and gentlemen, the European Union faces a
                                                                growing problem of illegal immigration. An integrated
I do not believe it is mere rhetoric, then, to recall that we   and global approach must be developed, in order to
must direct our greatest efforts to a strong cooperation        prevent and eradicate this phenomenon and to combat its
and development policy, which will in general help most         underlying causes. The Tampere Council called for a
to contain immigration and stop the outflow of people           common asylum and immigration policy; at Laeken and
and hence of manpower, as well as the brain drain, from         Seville the need was confirmed to effectively combat
the countries of origin, not only to avoid draining the         illegal immigration and an initial balance sheet was
developing countries of human resources but also to             drawn up of the progress that has been made in this field
avoid condemning them to certain, irreversible economic         in the framework of the Thessaloniki decisions, which
and social decline.                                             lay behind this initiative. I wish to congratulate Mr
                                                                Pirker on the excellent report he has presented to us. I
14/01/2004                                                                                                         89

agree with him when he emphasises the need for a             Mr Pirker and others have highlighted particular aspects
universal and coherent approach. There are eight points      and it would be easy to draw attention to them. Indeed,
that I wish to highlight:                                    there is a lot to concentrate on, but I do hope that this
                                                             report is seen as part of a wider package and that we do
- firstly, the existence of legal channels of immigration    not lose sight of our overall aim of moving towards not
that enable the citizens of third countries to enter the     only a common European policy on asylum but also, in
European Union on the basis of each Member State’s           parallel, a separate and equally important common
capacity to receive people, This will require closer         European policy on legal immigration. This is reinforced
cooperation with the countries of origin;                    in points 16 and 17.

- secondly, integrating legal immigrants who live and        I turn now to the aspect of external borders – points 2, 3,
work in the European Union by means of a common              4 and 5, etc. – and cooperation amongst Member States.
social integration policy that strikes a balance between     I take issue with Mr Blokland and Mr Sørensen, who
the rights and the corresponding obligations of these        claim this is entirely a subsidiarity question. Everyone is
citizens and the host societies;                             affected by external borders, even in countries that do
                                                             not have them. The very nature of migration is such that
- thirdly, the joint management of migratory flows, in       people do not stay in the first country they get to; they
particular visa policy, because agreement must be            move around. So it is very important for all countries to
reached as swiftly as possible on the necessary legal,       cooperate and work together, especially, as Mr Pirker
technical and financial bases of the visa information        has highlighted, in an enlarged European Union of 25
system (VIS);                                                Member States.

- fourthly, improving controls at the external borders,      As we ponder all these issues, it is equally important that
which means creating a European border guard;                we look further afield to those countries just outside the
                                                             European Union and bear in mind their situation, as well
- fifthly, the much-trumpeted European asylum system;        as that of countries further afield which are less
                                                             prosperous and from which people, for a whole variety
- in sixth place, negotiating readmission agreements,        of reasons, try to move away. This picks up on a point
with a common policy for returning persons in an illegal     also alluded to by Mrs Roure.
situation, with minimum rules for return procedures and
the mutual recognition of these decisions, and with the      If priorities and finances were directed towards helping
co-financing of projects for cooperation under a             these less-developed countries and those in internal
programme of aid for return;                                 conflict, we might be doing as much to address the
                                                             challenges of migration as we are in all the post-Seville
- in seventh place, combating trafficking in human           and Thessaloniki projects that have been put into
beings, calling to account those who profit from this        operation.
business and providing support for the victims of
trafficking. It is worth highlighting the importance of      I welcome this report. It is a move in the right direction
increasing operational support for Europol in preventing     and I hope very much that it commands the support of
and combating this type of trafficking;                      Parliament tomorrow.

- my eighth and final point is the fight against illegal     My final point is linguistic and I have made it before. I
immigration, which means investing in information on         hope we can in future move away from the term 'burden-
prospects for legal immigration that provide a genuine       sharing' and adopt the term 'responsibility-sharing',
alternative.                                                 because that, and cooperation, is what is involved here.
3-284                                                        3-285
Evans, Robert J.E. (PSE). – Mr President, as is              Ludford (ELDR). – Mr President, Members such as
customary I would like to begin my remarks by                myself have complained over the last five years that
congratulating the rapporteur. This is done with a bit       when the Council holds debates, purportedly about
more sincerity than is sometimes the case as I can give      asylum and immigration as a whole, it only ever talks
great credit to Mr Pirker. If he had asked me whether it     about combating illegal immigration. I am pleased to say
was possible to draft a report on immigration or asylum      that Mr Pirker's report turns that tendency on its head. In
for our committee and win almost unanimous support           a report responding to a Commission communication
for it, or bring it to plenary and find that with a few      specifically on illegal immigration, he pays a great deal
exceptions it was voted through, I would have said that      of attention to how opening up legal migration channels
would have been impossible. However, by sleight of           can help combat smuggling and trafficking. Indeed, in
hand and various other tactics, he seems to have             his report, on which I also congratulate him, there are 15
managed to present something that is going to command        references to illegal immigration. That is nearly matched
support across Parliament. He deserves credit for that, as   by 11 references to legal migration. This is truly
do the Commission and the Council for the way it has         welcome.
been presented and brought forward.
90                                                                                                      14/01/2004

Like Mr Sørensen, I cannot share Mr Pirker's enthusiasm      Queiró (UEN). – (PT) Mr President, a Community
for a European corps of border guards. No-one seems to       policy on the movement of third country nationals must
be clear what this means. Mr Pirker says it would just be    be innovative and responsible. Innovative, as the report
a unit in support of national border guards and not a        states, in the close interaction between, on the one hand,
supranational body replacing them, but some                  enhanced measures against illegal immigration and, on
Commission documents suggest that the ultimate aim is        the other, a policy in the field of legal immigration that
indeed some sort of supranational force with power over      is geared towards Member States’ capacities and needs.
national authorities. It is dangerous to start going down    Promoting common asylum and return policies and
this route without having a clear idea about the final       introducing more secure documents or undertaking
destination. Obviously we need to have maximum               awareness-raising campaigns in the countries of transit
coordination and exchanges to provide a more uniform         and of origin of illegal immigration are areas in which
level of security at external borders, but there is plenty   innovation can be demonstrated.
more we can do about that before rushing into a
centrally managed EU body that would raise all kinds of      What, furthermore, do we understand by the term
legal difficulties regarding border guards exercising        ‘responsible policy? It does not necessarily mean
power outside their own jurisdiction.                        consolidating our external borders, turning the Union
                                                             into a fortress, but nor does it mean opening up these
There could be very practical problems. Imagine, for         borders willy-nilly, leaving to their fate the individuals
example, the case of Euro-guards stationed on a border       who are anxious to enter our countries. Reality has
where local pay rates were lower than elsewhere, and the     shown that neither of these methods is up to the task and
resentment that would create among lower-paid local          we therefore want to see rules of entry that enable us to
staff. We are already seeing that sort of thing in the       be generous in integrating immigrants.
Balkans.
                                                             This is where our social concerns arise. We do not want
Finally, I urge the British Government to recognise the      these people to live in our countries without being
contradictions in its own approach. It constantly lectures   integrated, without participating, benefiting or having
other Member States on the need to strengthen external       obligations towards the Community that they are
border controls, but refuses to make any constructive        joining. It is this dialogue between rights and
contribution to Schengen or to support the common            obligations, defining the way people function within
immigration policy. This ambivalence cannot continue.        society, that we want to maintain. Realistically speaking,
                                                             reception implies a mutual benefit for the individual and
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                                                             for the host State. This common policy will, however, be
McKenna (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, I congratulate
                                                             less efficient if supported by only one of the parties
Mr Pirker on his report. There are some interesting
                                                             involved and we therefore welcome the cooperation
aspects in it that I can support, but the issue of the
                                                             agreements with the countries of origin and of transit
creation of border guards with police powers is a
                                                             that have just been concluded. We cannot agree in the
disturbing development. One of the issues that has not
                                                             same way, however, to the planned creation of a
really been taken into account is the control and
                                                             European Corps of Border Guards, which needs to be
accountability of these police guards. This is the wrong
                                                             discussed at greater length.
direction to take.
                                                             We do welcome, though, the option to include in these
In general there is too much emphasis on turning this
                                                             agreements economic or commercial measures, which
matter into a criminal issue. I listened to the speaker
                                                             would only enter into force if the agreements were
from the UEN Group, who lumped illegal immigrants in
                                                             complied with. This is a question of honouring
with drugs traffickers, but there is a big difference
                                                             commitments that have been given. I will conclude by
between the two. Illegal immigrants may be illegal, but
                                                             congratulating the rapporteur on the excellent
they are still just ordinary people and not criminals. All
                                                             contribution he has made to promoting a responsible,
they are doing is desperately trying to find somewhere to
                                                             tough and generous Community policy on the movement
live.
                                                             of people, with the participation of all the parties
                                                             involved.
The whole emphasis on keeping people out has to be
addressed. We should in fact be addressing the issue of      3-288
why people want to enter the European Union, instead of      President.  The debate is closed.
building our barricades higher. More and more people
are being driven into the hands of people traffickers and,   The vote will be tomorrow at noon.
as my colleague has said, the whole issue of work
                                                             3-289
practices and exploitation needs to be tackled. We have
to examine, with regard to illegal immigration, the root               Job creation by the service sector
cause of why people have to leave their own country,
                                                             3-290
and this is a human rights issue rather than a criminal
issue.                                                       President.  The next item is the report (A5-0479/2003)
                                                             by Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, on behalf of the
3-287                                                        Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, on the
14/01/2004                                                                                                            91

development of the services sector for job creation          provision of services. However, the Member States also
(2003/2132(INI)).                                            need to restrict their bureaucratic procedures, both for
                                                             the start-up and for the operation of services.
3-291
Kratsa-Τsagaropoulou (PPE-DE), rapporteur. – (EL)
                                                             An appropriate framework of conditions needs to
Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the
                                                             created, with regulatory and financial provisions and
initiative to draft this report derives from our common
                                                             provisions on fair competition; new forms of
conviction of the need to speed up the Barcelona process
                                                             employment in the services sector, such as part-time
and, specifically, the need to strengthen the European
                                                             work, teleworking and temporary work, need to be
economy and the European job market by creating new,
                                                             strengthened; conditions need to be created for an
high-quality jobs.
                                                             appropriate, flexible and productive workforce that
                                                             receives ongoing training; safe and healthy working
The services sector includes a wide range of services in
                                                             conditions need to be created and undeclared work
the public and private sectors. It is the fastest growing
                                                             which, apart from debasing employment and workers, is
and developing sector in the European economy. Over
                                                             a source of distortion of competition, needs to be
the last 20 years, around 2/3 of the growth in the gross
                                                             combated. Investment is also needed in innovation in the
domestic product of the European Union has come from
                                                             services sector, because at the moment industry has the
the services sector, while the greatest increase in the
                                                             greatest interest in investment in innovation. We
employment rate has again been in this sector. Today,
                                                             therefore need, both in the private sector and in the
services account for approximately 69% of total
                                                             public sector, which is lagging well behind, to invest in
employment. The aim of our policy must be to increase
                                                             innovation and research and to link our policy on
this percentage and it is worth mentioning that, in the
                                                             services with policy to strengthen small and medium-
United States, the corresponding figure is 80%. At the
                                                             sized enterprises and the industrial sector in general,
same time, we must pay attention to the fact that the
                                                             because industry and services are interdependent. We
situation in the development of the services sector
                                                             need to develop entrepreneurship in young people and
differs from one Member State to another in the
                                                             promote self-employment, because the development of
European Union. The countries with the most serious
                                                             new activities in services calls for daring, imagination
structural problems, such as Greece and Portugal, have
                                                             and innovation.
the lowest employment rates in services. The rates are
equally low, with the exception of Cyprus, in the new        3-292
Member States.                                               Diamantopoulou, Commission.  (EL) Mr President, I
                                                             should like to thank Mrs Kratsa personally for her
Our policy, at both European and national level, must        initiative in drafting this particular report, because it is a
play a significant role in the development of services.      fact that the development of the services sector and
Successful regulation of the services markets is             combating the problem of unemployment, in other
genuinely important for protecting consumer interests,       words job creation, are directly related.
ensuring quality and guaranteeing fair competition.
There are still very inflexible regulations, however,        As Mrs Kratsa said, there is a close connection between
which are stifling economic activity. As a matter of         the development of an economy and the percentage of
urgency, accurately targeted measures must be drawn up       employment in the services sector. If we bear in mind
and implemented to guarantee a satisfactory level of         that we need to create 22 million jobs by 2010, in order
protection in such a way that service providers and          to meet the Lisbon target, and that, on the basis of the
services themselves can establish themselves throughout      information which we have, 67% of jobs are being
Community territory.                                         created in services, we can understand how important
                                                             the question of developing services is to attaining the
Similarly, without modern, low-cost infrastructures,         objective of full employment.
Europe cannot hope to meet the challenges in store for it,
given the fact that international competitiveness in         The proposals contained in the report are in keeping to a
services is constantly increasing throughout the world.      large extent with the objectives of the European strategy
The completion of this infrastructure depends upon the       on employment, as incorporated in the guidelines on
liberalisation of the energy and telecommunications          employment in 2003, which were approved last July and
markets, so that we have easy and cheap access to them,      which we have debated repeatedly both in the
and on the trans-European networks programme, in             Committee on Employment and in Plenary.
order to increase the potential of the market.
                                                             I should like to refer to certain issues in the guidelines
The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls         which basically coincide with the proposals in the report.
on the European Commission to publish a White Paper,         I would remind you that guideline 2 refers very
proposing separate employment policies for each sector,      specifically to entrepreneurship, to the link between
so that we soon see the completion of a successful           creating jobs and entrepreneurship, and the Member
European market. The Committee also calls on the             States are called on to encourage innovation in
European Commission to propose a directive on services       entrepreneurship, the ability to invest and a favourable
within the framework of the internal market, in order to     business environment for all businesses. Of course, there
deal with obstacles to the movement of workers and the       is a link between these individual sectors and
92                                                                                                        14/01/2004

adaptability, by which we mean how specific                    development of the job market, especially the services
undertakings, how the public sector in question could          market, and with policies against exclusion.
change how it is organised, promote lifelong learning,
promote the question of gender equality, so that it is         As we all know, the future of the internal market and the
easier to move from the manufacturing sector to the            essential benefit to consumers will depend on the degree
services sector. One important section of the proposals is     to which cross-border trade develops. However, the
therefore addressed in the guidelines on employment.           cross-border provision of services is still failing to
                                                               progress. Consequently, one of our first concerns is to
A second category of Commission initiatives and                remove the obstacles to the cross-border development of
proposals concerns investment in human resources. We           services, limit the problems which still exist in free
cannot develop services if we do not invest in human           movement and establishment and further facilitate the
resources. Here we have Commission proposals on                recognition of professional qualifications, without
research, training, lifelong learning and the specific         clinging to the shackles of the past which, unfortunately,
objectives set in the Member States in relation to their       numerous associations of the liberal professions still
education systems, be they in connection with the first        persist in doing.
stages of children leaving school or support for families
and social infrastructures.                                    Furthermore, in order to strengthen the cross-border
                                                               provision of services, both with the direct provision of
The third important Commission initiative is that              services to consumers and with business-to-business
yesterday it approved a proposal for a directive on            services, we need to look at strengthening e-commerce
services within the framework of the internal market.          and, from that perspective, to promote and develop the
This will give this sector additional dynamism, with           new standards of consumption which produce services
beneficial results for employment.                             and, of course, guarantee consumer confidence.

So, taking account of these three sectors: first, the          Given, moreover, that the charter for small and medium-
specific guidelines in the strategy on employment which        sized enterprises already constitutes an initiative in
essentially and to a large extent relate to the need to        which we have invested a great many expectations, we
develop services; secondly, the need for investment in         need to look at the possibilities, either through funding
human resources and, thirdly, the directive on services        or by guaranteeing the insurance rights and
within the framework of the internal market, I think that,     strengthening the initiative of young people who want to
on the part of the European Union, there is an important       break into the services sector in the form of self-
framework which could help the Member States to                employment or by setting up small undertakings.
implement their individual national policies.
                                                               I should also like to remind you that the services sector
I should like to emphasise that it is also clear in the        is the sector par excellence for taking up people with
report by Mrs Kratsa that she is calling not for the           disabilities and keeping elderly people as active
creation of additional means, but for greater                  members in the market. We also all know that a
specialisation in the existing strategy on employment, to      significant part of all services which are provided to a
take account of the special characteristics of the services    society are taken up by services of general interest.
sector. I absolutely agree with her and, of course, this
debate will also continue in the European Parliament for       The policy on services of general economic interest to
some time to come.                                             date has, according to the evaluations, brought about
                                                               positive results. However, we do not have a complete
3-293
                                                               picture of the exact impact it has had on the question of
Koukiadis (PSE), draftsman of the opinion of the
                                                               employment, which is why, in view also of today's
Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market. –
                                                               motion on the Green Paper on services of general
(EL) Mr President, the development of the services
                                                               interest, the Commission should proceed to make a
sector constitutes the great hope of the young
                                                               systematic inventory of the repercussions of the
generations for their integration into the new economy.
                                                               liberalisation of these services on employment, in
There is no sector of the economy which does not
                                                               conjunction of course with the degree to which the needs
require services, including the private sector, or in which
                                                               of society as a whole are served.
the services provided are not acquiring greater and
greater interest. It is therefore correct that there must be
                                                               Consequently, the report is an excellent opportunity for a
mobilisation on a broader front for the prospects which
                                                               renewed horizontal reading of the individual policies of
are opening up with services and I should like to
                                                               the European Union, in light of their contribution to the
congratulate my honourable friend, Mrs Kratsa, for
                                                               development of services.
taking the initiative and drafting this report.
                                                               3-294
As a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the          Bastos (PPE-DE). – (PT) Mr President, Commissioner,
Internal Market, which did me the honour of appointing         ladies and gentlemen, I wish to start by congratulating
me to draft our opinion, I should like to refer to certain     Mrs Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou on drafting this report, which
aspects which link the internal market with the                demonstrates the importance of formulating practical
                                                               policies at Community level for the services sector. This
14/01/2004                                                                                                            93

sector is, in fact, a catalyst for job creation and, as such,   since, in terms of jobs, it is and will be increasingly
must be given due attention. Consequently, if we wish to        difficult to compensate for the disappearance of
achieve the objectives set out at Lisbon, we must act and       industrial jobs by jobs in the service sector.
act swiftly. The situation of the various Member States
as regards the services sector is extremely diverse:            Having said that and pointed it out, it is very important
Portugal, for example, has enormous potential to create         to note, as you did, Mrs Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, the
jobs in this field, especially intensive knowledge-based        importance of this service sector, just as it is important
services to be supplied to businesses and other                 to identify the potential and the conditions for job
institutions, family support services and tourism and           creation. It is even more necessary for us to say what the
associated activities.                                          real needs for services are. It is obvious in the matter of
                                                                care, for children and infants, for the disabled and the
Given the crucial role of the services sector in improving      elderly. For these, the service sector is essential for
the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy and in            maintaining full citizenship irrespective of age, physical
creating more and better jobs, Portugal has paid                condition or health.
particular attention to this field in its national
employment plan for the period 2003 to 2006. Even so,           But at this stage I want to say equally clearly that there
Portugal, together with Greece, has the European                is a need for legal, legislative or contractual controls in
Union’s lowest employment rate in the services sector,          order to avoid abuses that result in precariousness such
as the rapporteur pointed out a few moments ago.                as exists in the US system. That is why we must upgrade
                                                                the existing professions in the service sector in order to
A boost needs to be given, therefore, at Community              offer quality jobs with correct remuneration and working
level and hence our support for the rapporteur’s request        conditions. We must increase the quality of this new
for the Commission to draw up a White Paper on                  form of employment, part-time working as it happens,
completing a successful European services market. The           ensuring that the same high level of protection and job
Member States have a crucial role to play in this matter,       security is guaranteed to all workers and improving the
since it is they, together with the social partners, who        working conditions of women. We must close the pay
must develop a clear and effective framework for the            gap between men and women and the differences in the
services sector. It also falls to the Member States to          level of access to employment and job promotion.
ensure that the appropriate policies are implemented and        Finally, we must increase cooperation in the fight
to invest in training and qualifications for the work           against undeclared work.
force.
                                                                Our rapporteur and the members of our committees have
Furthermore, the administrative barriers obstructing the        worked well. And while, like the majority of my group, I
free movement of workers and the cross-border                   do not think that the implementation of these measures
provision of services must be removed. Lastly, I wish to        will solve all the fundamental problems of work and
underline the need for the Commission and the Member            employment, I am, Mr President, personally in favour of
States to promote an open method of coordination for            every form of improvement, provided those
national employment policies in the services sector, with       improvements are real.
the aim of exchanging information and best practice.
                                                                3-296
3-295                                                           Lambert (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, I too would like
Caudron (GUE/NGL). – (FR) Mr President,                         to convey my thanks to the rapporteur. Her report has
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to             looked at both the possibilities and the challenges of the
begin by personally congratulating the rapporteur on her        developing service sector. It is a highly complex area,
work and the exhaustive nature of her proposals in the          not least because there is a divide between services that
job-creating service sector. Some of those proposals may        are geographically fixed, either owing to where the
of course find greater support than others. As a whole,         clientele is or where the resources are, and those that are
however, they will remain for me a major contribution to        far more moveable. One of the future challenges
the matter at a time when a large number of people are          concerns the way in which those services do not
hard hit by unemployment and when insecure jobs and             necessarily move within one Member State or across
contracts are proliferating.                                    borders, but indeed out of the European Union
                                                                altogether. This type of mobility, which we might not
For all that, to make things clear, after those personal        have sought quite so anxiously, will be a future
congratulations, as spokesman for the Confederal Group          challenge for us.
of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, I have
to express our reservations about the constant reference        I am very pleased about the attention paid to women in
to competition, the market and its rules and also our           this report. As the rapporteur pointed out in the report,
disagreement with an over-strict application of the             women are overwhelmingly employed in the service
principle of mutual recognition in a sector that also           sector. Indeed certain jobs are very heavily gendered,
covers public services and services of the social               particularly in the public and care services. Many of
economy. Neither must it be forgotten, and I will be            these sectors also have a significant number of migrant,
brief on this point today, that we do not consider the de-      black and ethnic minority workers, so they are important
industrialisation of Europe to be inevitable, especially        in terms of integration and social inclusion.
94                                                                                                       14/01/2004

                                                             Pérez Álvarez (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President,
We welcome the emphasis placed on the specific               Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to
training needs required if we are going to provide quality   join in warmly congratulating the rapporteur on the
employment. However, we need to look very carefully at       quality of her report.
how we avoid this huge divide that currently exists in
the services sector between high value, highly-paid jobs     If we were to analyse the changes in employment figures
and those which are poorly paid under intense cost           in the various economic sectors, we would soon see a
pressure; how we allow people in those sectors to            rapid and significant reduction in the number of people
develop their talents and to find mobility is going to be    carrying out their activities in the agricultural sector, a
extremely important.                                         different trend towards job losses in the industrial sector
                                                             and, in contrast, a clear positive increase in the numbers
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                                                             of people working in the services sector. Perhaps,
Sacrédeus       (PPE-DE).         (SV)     Mr President,
                                                             amongst other things, as a result of the skill and the
Commissioner, I wish sincerely to thank the rapporteur,
                                                             technical, professional and intellectual capacity of the
Mrs Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou for her forward-looking
                                                             people who carry out their activity in the services sector.
report on developing the service sector in such a way as
to create new and, I would emphasise, important future
                                                             Furthermore, the range of services is extremely broad,
jobs. I wish at the same time to express my pleasure and
                                                             from transport to education, from commerce to hotels
satisfaction at the fact that Mrs Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou,
                                                             and catering, from tourism to leisure activities and,
as rapporteur, and the committee as a whole have so
                                                             furthermore, the services are greatly affected by
kindly dealt with the many amendments I put forward. I
                                                             demographic changes in society. Activities relating to
would mention a number of them in this House, item by
                                                             care of the elderly, or those stemming from the need to
item.
                                                             reconcile professional and family life are clear
                                                             examples.
Firstly, undeclared, or ‘black’, work must be converted
into regular work within the service sector in order to
                                                             At the same time, this sector creates the conditions for
improve the general business climate and taxpayer
                                                             the others, including agriculture and, also in the
morale and to create competition under equal conditions.
                                                             knowledge and information-based economy, the skill of
The EU must step up cooperation in combating ‘black’
                                                             the service provider generates new jobs.
work.
                                                             It is necessary to stress the possibilities arising from the
Secondly, the European Parliament should call upon the
                                                             whole, from cooperation between the different
Member States to develop and stimulate the support and
                                                             administrations, since local administration – the closest
household-related service sector in order to make it
                                                             – has the best knowledge of the needs of potential job
easier to combine working life and family life, especially
                                                             seekers and the means to satisfy them. Furthermore, I
in the light of the European Union’s having identified
                                                             believe it appropriate to ‘horizontalise’ policies such as
the demographic challenge as one of its most important
                                                             health and safety at work, equality for women and non-
issues for the future.
                                                             discrimination, as laid down in Articles 20 and 21 of our
                                                             Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Thirdly, the European Parliament should make the
Member States aware that demographic developments in
                                                             Mr President, we must not forget ongoing training,
the majority of Member States are such that work in the
                                                             since, as the rapporteur says, a services sector with low
area of care for the elderly should be accorded higher
                                                             salaries means a low level of quality, qualifications and
status, especially among young people. I want to
                                                             productivity, and that means a reduction in the
emphasise that.
                                                             economy’s capacity to generate innovation, sustainable
                                                             wealth and social cohesion.
Fourthly, the European Parliament should emphasise to
the Member States the urgent importance of increasing        3-299
opportunities for disabled people and immigrants to have     President.  The debate is closed.
access to the labour market in the service sector. Such
improvements are necessary in the light of future needs      The vote will be tomorrow at noon.
in, for example, the health and health care sectors, as
                                                             3-300
well as in order to increase these groups’ participation
and integration in the labour market and in the social               Implementation of Directive 96/71/EC
community.
                                                             3-301
                                                             President.  The next item is the report (A5-0448/2003)
I would also emphasise the need for the report to signal
                                                             by Anne-Karin Glase, on behalf of the Committee on
the value of entrepreneurship and the spirit of new
                                                             Employment and Social Affairs, on the implementation
enterprise in the service sector, as well as the evolution
                                                             of Directive 96/71/EC in the Member States
of a dynamic and creatively developed cooperative
                                                             (COM(2003) 458 – 2003/2168(INI)).
service and business sector.
                                                             3-302
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14/01/2004                                                                                                         95

Glase (PPE-DE), rapporteur. – (DE) Mr President,             prevent the improper posting of workers, which is a
ladies and gentlemen, the Posting of Workers Directive       consequence of unfair competition and social dumping.
was enacted in 1996 with the aim of eliminating
obstacles and uncertainties concerning the posting of        We also call on the Commission to examine the
workers in the framework of the provision of services. It    provisions regulating liability in the case of
did this by providing greater legal certainty and making     subcontracting in with the Posting of Workers Directive.
it possible to identify the working conditions that apply    There is a need for comprehensive enquiries and surveys
to workers temporarily working in a Member State other       in the 15 – soon to be 25 – Member States if we are to
than the State whose legislation governs the employment      have an exact picture of the situation that makes
relationship.                                                comparison possible. The Committee also believes that
                                                             the Commission should support the group of experts and
As provided for in Article 8 of Directive 96/71/EC, in       that this work should involve the collective bargaining
the current communication the Commission summarises          partners, the European Parliament, the governments and
the results of its review of the implementation of the       parliaments of the Member States and the social
Directive in the 15 Member States and of its practical       partners.
application, in order to decide whether the Directive
needs to be revised. The communication shows that            The Committee calls upon the Commission to cooperate
implementation of the Directive has, generally speaking,     closely with the social partners in detailed research with
been satisfactory, although it should be noted that the      the aim to producing proposals for the improvement and
United Kingdom and Ireland have no specific                  simplification of the present Directive, which must give
implementing provisions and that Luxembourg was the          especial priority to the effects of EU enlargement. As the
last Member State to complete transposition, which it        large number of demands made upon the Commission
did only 13 months ago.                                      and the Member States makes any delay undesirable, my
                                                             view, as rapporteur, is that the demand made of the
I would like to reiterate that five years of highly          Commission by the Group of the Party of European
problematic debates were needed before the Posting of        Socialists, that it submit a second report on the
Workers Directive was adopted in 1996. It has now been       implementation of the Directive by the end of this year
shown that difficulties have arisen, in that the directive   is not one that the Commission will be able to comply
requires the businesses to which it applies to comply        with.
with the laws of a State other than that in which they are
established, laws which are sometimes not readily            Although, for this reason, I am unable to endorse
accessible or comprehensible. These problems need to         Amendment No 1, I do want to put the case for the
be resolved at national level, as they are problems          Amendment No 4 from the Group of the
related to the transposition of the Directive into Member    Greens/European Free Alliance, and to thank all the
States’ legislation, which can result in difficulties in     shadow rapporteurs for their good cooperation.
monitoring compliance with it.
                                                             (Applause)
In its communication, the Commission summarises the
                                                             3-303
problems involved in transposing and applying the
                                                             Diamantopoulou, Commission.  I thank Parliament for
Directive, which are more practical than legal in nature.
                                                             the interest it has shown in the Posted Workers Directive
It has, in consequence, set up a group of experts – made
                                                             and in the Commission's communication. It was clearly
up of civil servants from the Member States – with the
                                                             visible in the draft report on the implementation of that
objective of finding solutions to the problems described,
                                                             directive and was indeed highlighted in the discussions
such as ways of improving access to, and exchange of,
                                                             that led to its adoption in the Committee on Employment
information on national rules and legislation or of
                                                             and Social Affairs. The Commission clearly shares this
collecting required information in a standard form. The
                                                             interest and agrees with Parliament that this directive
Committee is still of the opinion that this directive is a
                                                             continues to be an essential element for companies and
necessary one, and expresses the hope that the problems
                                                             workers alike.
brought to light may be speedily removed, particularly in
view of the fact that, on 1 May this year, 10 new
                                                             As regards the practical operation of the directive and its
countries will be covered by the Directive. We have to
                                                             implementing legislation, we all agree that it is
ensure legal certainty for the workers posted by
                                                             necessary to improve cooperation between the
enterprises participating in the internal market.
                                                             administration of the Member States on the one hand,
                                                             and the dissemination of information on the applicable
Furthermore, the Committee wishes to point out that it is
                                                             terms and employment conditions for workers and
essential that the implementation of the Directive be
                                                             service providers on the other hand.
monitored in order to assess the effectiveness of the
legislation, and that this will be made even more
important by EU enlargement. It also calls upon the          My services will evaluate the existing difficulties  there
Commission to submit better and more concrete data on        will be cooperation between my services, a group of
the implications of implementation at national level, to     government experts and social partners. We will discuss
lay down clear definitions of such things as the status of   it in the liaison forum, which has been scheduled for 10
employees, minimum wages and overtime and to
96                                                                                                          14/01/2004

February, and will try to find practical solutions to           of obligatory minimum standards for all cases and as a
political problems.                                             minimum guarantee, below which the working condition
                                                                or the provision of services is illegal when the legislation
As far as the accession countries are concerned  and the       of the State in which the service is provided offers less
rapporteur has already underlined the importance of the         protection than that of the place of origin of the posting.
implementation of this directive in these countries  they
have to transpose and implement this directive by 1             Without a guarantee of this kind, in the territory in
May. The Commission will prepare a report on the                which it may take place, I believe that the possibility of
implementation of this directive in the course of this          abuse and fraud are within reach of irresponsible
year; we hope to present it by the end of 2005.                 employers. What is worse, we could be inviting them to
                                                                commit this fraud or abuse.
With regard to the need for legislative action, I am aware      3-305
that some of you do not share the view held by the              Weiler (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner,
Member States' experts and the Commission that                  ladies and gentlemen, we are somewhat surprised by the
amendment of the directive is not necessary at this stage.      difficulty that the Commission sometimes has with
Even though I am not convinced that substantial                 complex social policy legislation like the Posting of
amendment of the text of the directive is necessary at          Workers Directive, with evaluating them, reforming
this stage, I can assure you that my services will pay          them where necessary, with reports to Parliament and
close attention to the arguments raised by national             also with new concepts. That happened, unfortunately,
administrations and the social partners in their respective     with the European Works Council, and it is, equally
contacts. Also within that context, the Commission will         unfortunately, happening with the Posting of Workers
take the necessary initiatives to ensure thorough               Directive now. This is astonishing, for both of these acts
consideration – together with the Member States' experts        to which I have referred send out messages to workers
and the social partners – of the issues raised by the           and the public, signalling that we do in fact have such a
European Parliament.                                            thing as a European social model. That is what makes it
3-304                                                           regrettable.
Pérez Álvarez (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President,
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I warmly                    When the Committee was debating this, the Commission
congratulate Mrs Glase on the good work she has done.           even sought to persuade us that all the problems with the
                                                                Directive had nothing to do with Europe, but largely
Within the context of the free movement of people, the          resulted from defects in transposition at national level.
report focuses on the posting of workers in three               We do not believe that to be the case. The way in which
possible circumstances: posting within the framework of         the Directive is implemented can hardly be described as
a contract signed between the company of origin and the         satisfactory when there are hundreds of appeals pending
receiver of the services; secondly, the possible posting of     before national and regional labour and social security
workers to a workplace or company which belongs to              tribunals. Even though these are national courts, it goes
the same group; and thirdly, the posting of workers from        to show that there is something lacking in the Directive
a temporary work agency based in a Member State                 itself and that there is inadequate legal certainty. Rare
which provides them for a employer acting in a Member           though it is for us to criticise the Commission for this, it
State other than that of the provider.                          is for this reason that we believe that your report
                                                                oversimplifies matters, and the same criticism can, alas,
Any of these circumstances can cause a variety of               be levelled at the rapporteur. Nevertheless, Mrs Glase,
problems for posted workers: probably the first to spring       there was outstanding cooperation, and I cannot be other
to mind concerns their working conditions; hence the            than grateful to you for having accepted nine out of the
importance of Directive 96/71/EC, which is a catalogue          ten amendments that I tabled on behalf of the Group of
of minimum rules for Community law protection,                  the Party of European Socialists.
although it is insufficient, since it does not cover rules or
aspects such as Social Security.                                I also want to agree with Mr Pérez Álvarez, who pointed
                                                                out that abuses persist and that employers are still
I believe the rapporteur has identified the problems            exploiting workers, and, extraordinarily enough, we see
correctly: unfair competition, differences in social            not only in Germany but also in other countries how
protection and, therefore, harm for workers, the need for       very creative employers can be when it comes to getting
a clear definition of the Workers’ Statute. We should,          round the law. What that means is that the only thing
however, and this has also been mentioned, add possible         this House wants to argue about is the timescale, and I
abuse in posting and the problems stemming from                 can be quite frank in telling you that we are not talking
subcontracting and generally from new forms of                  about giving the Commission one month more or less to
externalisation, decentralisation or deconcentration of         draft a new and thorough report. We have learned from
production or, if you like, from the new forms of               experience, though, that if we give you 14 months
productive organisation.                                        instead of 12, it will take you 22 or 26, and so, as we
                                                                need to exert a certain amount of pressure, we have
In summary, Commissioner, I believe we are faced with           decided to ask for 12 months. This is regrettable, as we
an opportunity, or perhaps the need, for a common core          otherwise agree, but I will conclude by saying that I am
14/01/2004                                                                                                            97

convinced that this is a deadline you can meet if, in         past to find the answer to this question. There have been
carrying out the analysis, you join with the social           two important periods. There was the period in which a
partners and the European trades unions, who already          good few people from the United Kingdom, in
have the necessary data, with details of the deficits and     particular, came to work on the continent; and there was
abuses, ready to hand.                                        the period in which a good few people, chiefly from
                                                              Eastern Europe, came here to work. Both periods gave
3-306
                                                              rise to a good few problems. At that time, Germany still
Schroedter (Verts/ALE). – (DE) Mr President,
                                                              had a genuine social policy. I have the impression that
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, Mrs Glase is right
                                                              that has now been somewhat diluted, but at that time it
to state in her report that the Posting of Workers
                                                              was still being conducted. It was then that the legislation
Directive may well have been in place since 1996, but
                                                              on posted workers was conceived, and this matter at
that, in practice, workers have no legal certainty in the
                                                              European level evolved from that.
workplace and that their employment relationships are
often unfair. I know from my conversations over the past
                                                              I agree that the practical implementation is far from
years on the largest building site in the centre of Berlin
                                                              ideal, but we must recognise that this is ultimately a
that the people we are dealing with here are the working
                                                              matter for national governments. We can urge them to
poor. Building workers from the United Kingdom,
                                                              do much better – and it is also my opinion that the
Portugal and many other European States have built a
                                                              priority accorded to this matter is completely inadequate
railway station and office buildings for businesses and
                                                              – but I should also like to sound a note of caution.
the government without having a regulated working day,
                                                              Recently, I happened to be on a mission in the east of the
on unequal pay in comparison to their German fellow-
                                                              Netherlands, and we saw that the new enlargement will
workers, not to mention not having sickness and
                                                              cause new problems there, to which implementation of
accident insurance.
                                                              the idea and principles of this Directive would present an
                                                              eminently suitable solution. If we fail to implement
Is it the case, then, that the Posting of Workers Directive
                                                              these, we can indeed expect a problem or two; not
is the wrong instrument, or is it just used wrongly? The
                                                              because people want that, but because there are always
Glase Report gives that question a clear answer: the
                                                              people who are on the lookout for loopholes in
Directive is the proper instrument for guaranteeing equal
                                                              legislation and perhaps go on to exploit these, and that
pay for equal work at the same place of work, but the
                                                              then produces all manner of undesirable repercussions. I
way in which the Member States apply it is atrocious. I
                                                              think, therefore, that we have to be extremely careful
believe that this is primarily the result of the lack of
                                                              over the next two years. I think that the Member States
effective sanctions. Even if it is found that a Portuguese
                                                              must improve the practical implementation of the
company’s workers do not enjoy the same pay and
                                                              existing Directive, but I also think that the Commission
conditions as those of the German firm next door, and
                                                              – and we, too – must advocate that this matter be well
this is confirmed by the Labour Office’s inspections,
                                                              organised, because otherwise we shall endanger the
nothing happens. In a matter of a few weeks, the
                                                              actual, practical implementation of enlargement in the
company is back in Portugal, where the imposition of a
                                                              sphere of labour markets. We must not forget this,
fine in Germany is of interest to nobody. This is where
                                                              because it is a serious risk.
businesses make a net profit by circumventing the law,
and so fines must be enforced on a Europe-wide basis;
                                                              This problem is being grossly underestimated, and that
the Council decision to this effect is long overdue. We
                                                              worries me. The failure to implement these types of rule
thank the rapporteur for adding her support to this
                                                              is not considered terribly important in the long term, but
amendment. It must no longer pay to circumvent the
                                                              it leads to the decline of social systems. It also results in
rules; black sheep must be branded. Only thus can the
                                                              a general waning of respect for the law, because people
public lose their fear of eastward enlargement and of the
                                                              will think that if it is possible to make a mockery of the
social dumping that they believe will result from it.
                                                              rules in this sphere, this can be done elsewhere, too. This
3-307                                                         is dangerous ground, therefore, and it is clear that we
Pronk (PPE-DE). – (NL) Mr President, my sincere               must pursue this topic.
thanks to the rapporteur and the others who have
                                                              3-308
contributed to this report.
                                                              President.  The debate is closed.
I believe that it is very significant that we have
concluded that further research is needed. I think it a       The vote will be tomorrow at noon.
shame in itself that this further research was not carried    3-309
out in parallel with the discussions that were held with                   Harassment at the workplace
the Member States, because that might have saved some
time. Now that it is like this, however, I do think that      3-310
Mrs Glase is quite right when she says that that is not to    President.  The next item is the oral question to the
be expected with the proposed amendment. Therefore, I         Commission (O-0076/2003 – B5-0417/2003), by
think that it is simply not possible.                         Stephen Hughes, Proinsias de Rossa and Jan Andersson
                                                              on behalf of the PSE Group, on harassment at the
What we are dealing with here is a very important             workplace.
directive. Why is it so important? We must look into the
98                                                                                                       14/01/2004
3-311
                                                             Community instrument on psychological harassment and
Hughes (PSE). – Mr President, the question has been          violence at work'. Well, we are still waiting. The work
circulated and I would put it to you and to the              programme for this year mentions an instrument on
Commissioner that action in this area is long overdue.       violence but not on psychological harassment.
We talk of psycho-social occupational health and safety      My final point is this: I have heard it said that it is
risks, which would include violence at work,                 difficult to legislate in this field for the problem is too
harassment, bullying, stress and anxiety, as new             complex, diffuse or subjective. Two Member States
emerging risks. I am beginning to wonder how long we         already have legislation in this field: Sweden and
can carry on describing them as 'new emerging risks'. I      Belgium. What that means is that it is clearly possible to
was looking back through some of my old papers               legislate and that some EU workers have legal
recently and I saw that the group of trade union health      protection, while the vast majority do not. That is the
and safety officers I was working with at that time, in      clearest justification for EU-level legislative action.
the late 1980s, was already using that description then.     These risks are causing tremendous suffering and
Here we are, 15 years later, still using the same phrase     anguish among workers within the European Union. It is
and little, if anything, has been done at EU level to        high time that the Commission acted.
tackle these risks directly.
                                                             3-312

I also realise on rereading our question that at least one   Diamantopoulou, Commission.  (EL) Mr President,
element of it looks a little silly, namely the part that     first I should like to thank Mr Hughes, Mr De Rossa and
asks: 'Does the Commission intend to act rapidly in this     Mr Andersson for their interest in the question of
field?' The answer is clearly 'no'. The excellent report     harassment at the workplace, which clearly helps the
produced by Mr Andersson and adopted in 2001 made            Commission.
two calls for action. It called on the Commission to
publish a Green Paper and action plan no later than the      I must say that I do not accept Mr Hughes' overall
end of 2002. We are still awaiting a response.               criticism; I understand Parliament's reaction on this
                                                             specific matter which, as Mr Hughes also admitted, is
Secondly, the report called on the Commission either to      extremely complex and difficult, because the situation
extend the scope of the Framework Directive on Health        differs considerably from one country to another.
and Safety, or to draft a new directive to combat            Legislation on and the definition of questions of bullying
harassment at the workplace. Again, we are still waiting     are an extremely difficult issue, but to say that nothing is
for a response. We would like to know what action, if        being done on health and safety is, I would say, a
any, the Commission intends to take in this field.           negative exaggeration. I should like to remind
                                                             Mr Hughes that, during the last six Presidencies, there
The truth is that many Members of this House are             has not, I think, been one single Presidency during
becoming increasingly angry and frustrated at the            which legislation on health and safety was not adopted. I
disgraceful way in which work by the Commission on           would remind you that the programme of the Irish
health and safety matters has ground to a complete halt      Presidency contains 2 directives: one is being completed
in recent years. The Commission's Health and Safety          and for the other, which concerns problems in the field
Strategy for the 2002-2006 period is proving to be the       of optical radiation, a dialogue is due to start with the
sham I suspected it would be. When I produced                social partners, as is the first seminar of the Irish
Parliament's report on that strategy, I was seriously        Presidency. Consequently, it is clear that the
considering recommending its rejection unless it was         Commission has moved forward, especially on
accompanied by a detailed action plan. We received           legislation which is both innovative, given that there is
certain assurances from Commissioner Diamantopoulou          none in most Member States, and also very difficult to
and, as a result, we adopted a report which was critical     agree on, given that, as you know, the social partners do
but fell short of rejection. I now recognise that it was a   not generally agree.
bad mistake. Exactly the sort of drift, devoid of action,
which I feared has ensued. I do not blame Commissioner       I take your criticism about this specific area as very
Diamantopoulou herself, but it is clear there are high-      positive, but I would ask you not to generalise, given
level officials in DG-Employment that take a different       that, as you know, health and safety were Commission
view. This policy area is completely sidelined.              priorities during this period. The Commission presented
                                                             a communication with a White Paper on health and
The strategy itself touched on risks in this area. Under     safety for the years up to 2006, which clearly states that
the heading 'Taking account of new risks', it says, 'The     the Commission will examine the suitability and
increase in psycho-social problems and illnesses is          advisability of a Community measure on psychological
posing a new challenge to health and safety at work and      harassment and violence at work.
is compromising moves to improve well-being at work.
The various forms of psychological harassment and            At this specific stage, the Commission services are
violence at work likewise pose a special problem             working on this particular problem, collecting and
nowadays, requiring legislative action'. On the next page    analysing the information available in all the countries.
under the heading 'The Commission will', it says,            This analysis takes account, among other things, of the
'examine the appropriateness and the scope of a              legislative and regulatory initiatives which are being
14/01/2004                                                                                                          99

approved or planned in each Member State, together            extent of making people seriously ill. It has an effect
with the results from and difficulties in implementing        even on people’s private lives, is a burden on social
them.                                                         security funds and hampers general economic
                                                              performance. Combating this problem is an extremely
I must say that, within this framework, the resolution by     difficult undertaking. It will scarcely be possible to come
the European Parliament on harassment at the                  up with a standard definition of the phenomenon. It was
workplace, to which Mr Hughes referred, the motion by         the Commission that was given the task of bringing to
Mr Andersson and the opinion on violence at work              light other factors that encourage harassment; only when
approved by the Advisory Committee for Safety,                we have a clear picture of the true extent of the problem
Hygiene and Protection at Work are closely related texts,     will we be able to take appropriate action to deal with it.
which are being studied carefully and will support our
efforts.                                                      Is the Commission able to comply with this request
                                                              within the foreseeable future? It is my conviction that
Mr Hughes asked for a timetable. I must therefore say         combating harassment at work is a matter for the
that the Commission will be starting its consultations on     Member States. The social partners, legislators at
Community action in this sector with the social partners      national level, educational institutions and associations
in 2004, in accordance with Article 138 of the Treaty         need especial support in their efforts to combat it. It
and, as you know, these consultations are included in the     would make sense for there to be a European publicity
Commission's programme of work for 2004, which has            campaign to put this problem centre stage and rouse the
been announced. I should point out here that, depending       public in the EU. That might put a stop to their
on the reactions of the social partners to these              indifference. Harassment, whether sexual or not, is not a
consultations, the choice of specific Community               trifling offence; it is a crime the war on which must start
legislation with the aim of preventing all forms of           where the crime is committed. This means that it is
violence at work is one but not always the only action.       doubtful that any European directive would be effective,
                                                              but can the Commission put forward proposals as to how
In fact, the new Community health and safety at work          individual efforts in the Member States might be
strategy for 2002-2006 refers to the possibility of using a   supported?
combination of the means available, both legislative and
                                                              3-314
non-legislative. Thus, in the aim of achieving efficient
                                                              Andersson (PSE).  (SV) Mr President, I must begin by
prevention of all forms of violence at work, other non-
                                                              gently drawing attention to what we said in 2001 in the
binding measures, such as recommendations or other
                                                              report for which I was responsible. We know that this is
non-legislative initiatives, such as guidelines,
                                                              a major problem. It is present in all the Member States
information and awareness-raising campaigns and
                                                              and probably to approximately the same degree, as
enhanced training activities for employers and
                                                              indicated by the studies conducted by the European
employees, may be complementary rather than mutually
                                                              Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working
exclusive actions, in conjunction, of course, with a
                                                              Conditions (the Dublin Foundation), which calculated a
legislative text.
                                                              figure of eight per cent. This may be compared with the
                                                              figure of four per cent for violence in the workplace and
Finally, the Commission considers that bullying and
                                                              two per cent for sexual harassment. Overall, this type of
harassment are specific forms of violence at work. I
                                                              harassment – outright violence, psychological violence
must say that sexual harassment is also a form of
                                                              and sexual harassment – is a major problem.
violence, on which legislation was passed two years ago.
That is why the aforementioned consultations with the
                                                              We may also assume that this is a growing problem.
social partners will cover every form of violence which
                                                              Why may we do so? Because there was a clear link
undermines the health, physical and psychological
                                                              between this problem and stress and tension in the
integrity and dignity of employees.
                                                              workplace. We know how the labour market is changing
3-313                                                         at present. The labour market is changing, and working
Glase (PPE-DE). – (DE) Commissioner, Mr President,            conditions have become uncertain. Job security also
the report on harassment at the workplace was adopted         used to be very important. We now see a change when it
almost three years ago. Anyone who, like Mr Andersson         comes to the organisation of working life. We have
and myself, has concerned themselves with this issue,         insecurity and less certainty in the workplace, which also
will have discovered the depths to which people can sink      means that this problem is probably becoming more
in their dealings with one another. Of all workers in the     serious.
EU, 8% say that they themselves have been affected by
harassment. That is what is officially recorded; the true     On the earlier occasion, we demanded, firstly, an
figure may well be many times higher. The report              analysis in the form of a Green Paper providing us with
discusses in depth the causes and effects of bullying and     a more detailed picture of the situation and, secondly,
sexual harassment in the workplace and the                    possible legislation too, but those were not the only
circumstances that lead to it. The extent to which            instruments. So imagine, then, our frustration when we
violence and harassment occur in the workplace amounts        now perceive that nothing has happened.
to an extremely serious problem. As the report describes,
they result in extreme physical and mental stress, to the
100                                                                                                        14/01/2004

Commissioner, I share your view when you say that it is        Weiler (PSE). – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner,
now important to make contact with both sides of               ladies and gentlemen, there have indeed been many
industry. It is also true that it is important to use a wide   initiatives, including in the Member States, aimed at
range of instruments, because the legal instrument is not      stopping harassment and taking preventive action
enough. We probably have to work on issues relating to         against it. I still recall – as I think we all can – the
influence and the organisation of work and to review           initiative launched in Germany 30 years ago, which
how matters operate out in the workplace, but we also          aimed to humanise the working environment and our
need legal instruments. Now that measures are to be            recent discussion of a communication from the
proposed and implemented to combat violence in the             Commission on modernising the organisation of work.
workplace, this is an excellent opportunity also to take       We also remember how the Belgian Presidency took an
account of psychological violence, including                   initiative to improve the quality of work, but all that was
harassment, in the workplace. This is an opportunity to        not enough.
do just that. Legal instruments and best practice are
required in relation to work organisation issues at            I can understand you when you say, Commissioner, that
European level. Nothing very much has happened at              the Member States assess and evaluate these things
Member State level. In Sweden, we already had                  differently, but we cannot fail to see that all
legislation, and Belgium has introduced legislation, but       industrialised nations have the same problem. I agree
otherwise nothing very much has happened. Because              with Mr Andersson when he says that this is not about
this is a Community area, involving health and safety in       the 8% of workers investigated by Eurofound in Dublin
the workplace, we and the Commission have a                    – amounting in any case to 12 million employees – but,
responsibility in this area.                                   unfortunately, about the way in which this phenomenon
                                                               is on the increase and the figures are rising. The fact that
3-315
                                                               people are working under greater pressure in many
Bushill-Matthews (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I would
                                                               sectors, including the services sector, makes harassment
like to make a few remarks in response to Mr Hughes'
                                                               a bigger and more difficult problem. I therefore agree
observations. I would agree, as I hope all sides of the
                                                               with all my fellow-members of the Group of the Party of
House would agree, that harassment is a serious problem
                                                               European Socialists on the need for a legal framework.
wherever it occurs. It may only occur on some
                                                               Necessary though they are – I am in agreement with that
occasions, in some companies, with some people, but
                                                               – awareness campaigns are not enough!
whenever it does occur it is a serious problem for those
people and must be deplored and indeed addressed.
                                                               Commissioner, we know how bold you are when it
                                                               comes to dealing with the inertia of certain Member
By harassment at the 'workplace' we do not just mean at
                                                               States. We know that it will be more difficult to submit
the traditional workplace, between employee and
                                                               legislation on this than on such things as a ban on
employee, or employer and employee, but also at places
                                                               asbestos or protection against noise. We know, too, that
such as schools, between pupils and teachers, where
                                                               many major companies have their own rules already – I
cases of harassment and bullying are increasingly
                                                               know that Volkswagen does, and so do others. There are
common. However, in all those circumstances I
                                                               many of them, but most have nothing yet, and the
fundamentally disagree with Mr Hughes on his key point
                                                               majority of employers have not yet recognised how
that wherever there is a problem the solution always has
                                                               many euros they are losing as a result of time lost
to be legislation, and that wherever there has to be
                                                               because workers are off sick, because of reduced
legislation the solution is always legislation at EU level.
                                                               motivation, because people become resigned to their lot,
                                                               because they become less enthusiastic about work or
We need better management and we need to pay closer
                                                               lose their enthusiasm altogether – all of this caused by
attention to the issue, but that does not mean we need a
                                                               harassment. The fact is that if employers were to
legalistic approach. We need a commonsense approach
                                                               acknowledge this, we would not be having these
rather than EU law. I agree with the Commissioner and
                                                               problems. Since we do, though, we need to create a legal
think she is right to reject the criticism that was made of
                                                               framework, and the protection of workers from
her and should continue to do so. It is true, as
                                                               occupational hazards is Europe’s responsibility. The task
Mr Hughes said, that some officials in DG-Employment
                                                               is ours, and we should get on with it.
take a different view. There are many people and, I
hope, an increasingly large group of people who will           3-317
take a different view.                                         Pérez Álvarez (PPE-DE). – (ES) Mr President, while it
                                                               is difficult to reach agreement amongst all the States, in
Finally, and perhaps in a lighter vein, Mr Hughes talks        this case it is even more so, because I do not believe we
about psychological harassment at the workplace. I face        even agree – and I say this so that we may reflect on it –
constant psychological harassment at my workplace,             on the definition of harassment.
which is the Committee on Employment and Social
Affairs, mainly because I constantly have to address           Essentially, we can say that amongst the basic elements
reports by Mr Hughes. I suspect that legislation is not        of this conduct appear the intention to do harm –
going to stop that from occurring!                             whether by an employer, by managers or by work
                                                               colleagues – the causing of harm within the sphere of the
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14/01/2004                                                                                                          101

most essential personal rights and its complex,                healthy pattern in the rest of Europe. Let us not rule out
continued, predetermined and systematic nature.                that way, because it has still not been tried in very many
                                                               countries. Hand on heart, is it really the case that, as a
True harassment means hostile conduct against the              result of European legislation, this issue would be dealt
personal dignity of the victim, insults, gibes, mockery,       with closer to workplaces and employees? Would
criticism, ridicule; these are hostile forms of conduct        European legislation make for a more effective solution
against their professionalism, which are manifested in         to the problem? I am afraid that we would be distancing
monotonous, unnecessary, denigrating, abusive and              the whole problem and, instead of finding a solution to
disproportionate tasks. From time to time, we see in the       it, removing it too far from our workplaces. Let us try
media – and not just the sensationalist media – situations     the route of national legislation in this area.
of this type, situations which, furthermore, occur directly
                                                               3-319
or indirectly, that is to say, the creation of situations of
                                                               Hughes (PSE). – Mr President, I am pleased to hear
ambiguity, the over-emphasis of errors and underplaying
                                                               such sensible words emanating from the PPE-DE Group.
of achievements. These are situations that sometimes
take the form of an externalised conflict and that on
                                                               I must take issue with the Commissioner. She says that
other occasions create or maintain a latent conflict, with
                                                               my assertion that this policy area is sidelined is not true
repercussions for the person psychologically harassed,
                                                               and then gives a number of examples of recent progress.
their family and their friends.
                                                               I would remind the Commissioner that the dossiers on
                                                               optical radiation fields and waves, vibration and noise all
The existence of these situations is always difficult to
                                                               date back ten years. They were part of the original
prove or demonstrate, and often difficult to classify from
                                                               physical agents proposal. I am glad that there has been
a legal point of view or as an administrative offence.
                                                               movement in Council, but these are very old proposals.
Article 31(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights lays
down that ‘Every worker has the right to working
                                                               I would say to Mr Bushill-Matthews that there are new
conditions which respect his or her health, safety and
                                                               and emerging risks in the health and safety field. In my
dignity’, and, according to Article 1, ‘Human dignity is
                                                               report on the strategy I said that guidance, training,
inviolable. It must be respected and protected’.
                                                               information and a whole range of options could be
                                                               adopted as a response, but I believe that legislation also
Commissioner, I believe that a great deal has been done
                                                               has to be considered as part of the mix.
during this legislature in the field of health and safety in
the workplace, but the situation I have described,
                                                               Finally, it looks as though I am probably in line for a
fortunately or otherwise, warrants our getting to work,
                                                               mention in his next book as well, so I would just give
because, just as on other occasions we have referred to
                                                               these words of comfort to Mr Bushill-Matthews: I am
the protection of dignity and the right to health and
                                                               sure that if you simply agreed with me more often, the
safety, in this case we must clearly confront the need to
                                                               feeling of stress in the Committee on Employment and
protect human dignity.
                                                               Social Affairs would evaporate.
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Sacrédeus       (PPE-DE).           (SV)   Mr President,
                                                               Diamantopoulou, Commission.  Mr President, first of
Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I firstly wish
                                                               all, I believe this discussion is very positive and
sincerely to thank Mr Hughes and Mr Andersson for
                                                               contributes to the need for awareness, not only on the
raising this issue. I believe that the moral and psycho-
                                                               part of the public, but also on the part of politicians,
social working environment, indeed the spirit of the
                                                               international parliaments and the social partners. I would
workplace, are fundamental values that are deeply
                                                               thus like to thank the Members.
undervalued in the perhaps unduly soulless societies that
our European welfare states have become. I believe it is
                                                               I do not accept Mr Hughes' last comment. Yes, it was a
completely inexcusable for employees to be harassed in
                                                               very difficult directive, but it has been endorsed. It was
their workplaces and not to be seen as employees and as
                                                               not at all easy and the negotiations were a real marathon,
the human beings they are, and to be fully valued as
                                                               but now it is a fact. We have already agreed on the
such. How we behave towards each other is a question
                                                               Vibration Directive and now we are starting discussions
of decency. It is also, ultimately, a question of
                                                               on an optical radiation directive. Do you know many
civilisation and a question of how we see each other as
                                                               Member States that have legislation on optical radiation?
people. I wish to thank you for being so positive in
                                                               With the combined efforts of Parliament, the
emphasising this important matter of the working
                                                               Commission and the social partners, we have started to
environment. I believe, as previous debaters have said –
                                                               address the matter at European level.
and we are agreed about this here in the House – that
this is an extremely important and undervalued area.
                                                               Mr Hughes said that nothing has been done and that the
                                                               Commission has done nothing either. We all agree that it
Moving on, now, to your request, Mr Andersson and
                                                               is a very complicated issue in terms of defining the
Mr Hughes, you seriously doubt that there is sufficient
                                                               problem, in terms of legislating and in terms of
protection in national legislation. Are we certain of that?
                                                               achieving an agreement between the Member States,
We can in fact have confidence that Swedish legislation,
                                                               because there are huge differences involved. I will not
followed by Belgian legislation, can set a sound and
102                                                             14/01/2004

refer to the social partners here because consultation in
that regard will start later in 2004.

Let us consider what is needed and what we have
actually done over the years, particularly since the
Andersson Report, which triggered many discussions
and decisions. The European Agency for Safety and
Health at Work in Bilbao has made it one of its main
priorities. A study is already underway, the first part of
which is about preventing violence and harassment in
the workplace. A second research project has been
commissioned. After much discussion and analysis and
many studies involving experts, no real approach has
emerged that suggests that the problems in question can
be solved by legislation.

In 2003 a campaign on bullying and violence at work
was launched here at Parliament. There are websites for
each issue, and on them you will find contributions from
analysts, academics, national agencies and the social
partners, each with very different approaches. It is not an
easy issue at all. It is not only complicated, it is very
controversial. Different trade unions, analysts and
scientists all have different approaches. The Commission
cannot just come forward with a proposal for a directive
without taking all these analyses into account. And,
moreover, there is not a great deal of scientific analysis
on these issues.

After all these years of work and data collection, and
after working with studies, I do not accept, Mr Hughes,
that nothing has happened. We have put the matter on
the agenda for 2004 and we will launch this consultation
with the social partners. One of the major issues of the
discussion is the legislative approach. At the same time,
we are going to work with all the other options,
including recommendations, guidelines and an
awareness-raising campaign.

I thank Parliament. You are always the locomotive on
this issue and that really helps the work of the
Commission. However, please take into account the
complexity of the issue. It is not only a matter of
disagreements between the Member States: it is very
complex and we have to take all the relevant issues into
account.
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President.  I should like to thank the Commissioner
and all colleagues for their participation in this debate. It
is not often that, in Parliament, we get close to a real
debate. I think we just about got there tonight.

The debate is closed.

(The sitting was closed at 11.05 p.m.)1




1
    Agenda for the next sitting: see Minutes.