3-001 SITTING OF WEDNESDAY, 14 JANUARY 2004 ___________________________ to an effective Union which is successful and which 3-002 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 3-005 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 3-006 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 3-286 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 3-297 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 3-298 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 3-316 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. 3-318 3-320 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. 3-321 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.