MIL-OSI Europe: Debates – Tuesday, 5 October 2021 – Strasbourg – Provisional edition (multiple languages)

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Source: European Parliament 2

Debates
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Tuesday, 5 October 2021 – Strasbourg Provisional edition
   

PRESIDÊNCIA: PEDRO SILVA PEREIRA
Vice-Presidente

 
1. Opening of the sitting
 

(A sessão é aberta às 09h01.)

 
2. The future of EU-US relations (debate)
 

  Tonino Picula, rapporteur. – Mr President, this debate could not be timelier.

Last November, President Biden’s election provided much relief and optimism in the European Union. I firmly believe, then as well as today, that we need a renewed and strengthened transatlantic partnership to tackle common challenges. Some of them have been well known for decades, but some are part of the newer dynamics of the world.

I appreciate the word ‛relations’. It covers all manners of virtues and sins, doesn’t it? My impression is that this has become a more self—aware relationship, with a lot of space for cooperation, and diverging challenges that remain – in trade, data protection and attitudes towards China for example.

It is a relationship based on the US primarily doing what fits their national agenda, and sometimes not fully taking into account all those things that matter to the European Union. Take the long overdue lifting of the travel ban, for example.

We may be a newer Union, but we are also proud of our national histories and identities. Our diversity unites us. Our democratic, social and human rights standards are the most developed ones. And we should be proud of our lead to fight climate change.

It goes without saying that we should not lose the sentiment about the assistance from the United States to Europe’s development, prosperity and successful integration, nor all of the multilateral achievements.

During the past 75 years, the transatlantic partnership has stood for freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, trade, economic cooperation and security.

The European Union and the US have the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship and enjoy the most integrated economic relationship in the world.

We should also praise positive developments like the Trade and Technology Council that took place last week.

But we must stress in parallel that the European Union’s strategic autonomy should be pursued, with improved implementation of European Union foreign and defence policy priorities and principles. Also, with the European Union’s ability to act autonomously, when needed, in pursuing its legitimate interests.

Moreover, we need to explore areas of convergence and seek to enhance cooperation, better coordination and consultation between the US and the European Union to avoid transatlantic tensions such as those that followed the adoption of the trilateral AUKUS deal or the uncoordinated withdrawal from Afghanistan.

These events should remind us that the EU needs to catch up with the new reality and redefine our relationship with the US on a more equal footing. This means standing up for our interests whenever needed, but also taking greater responsibility. We must reinforce both: the European Union’s autonomy of decision and its autonomy of action, from soft power to smart power.

In concrete terms, together with the US, we should work to promote multilateral cooperation for a more equitable and healthier world, fight against inequalities, cooperate better in research and technology development, and promote ecological transformation and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

We have to enhance our parliamentary cooperation, rule-based connectivity strategies, protect and promote democracy and human rights, share best practice examples and better include our citizens in decision making.

Having said that, without any doubt, the US remains the European Union’s closest and most important strategic partner, and I believe that a strategical autonomous Union would be the best partner for the United States!

 
   
 

  Bernd Lange, Verfasser der Stellungnahme des mitberatenden Ausschusses für internationalen Handel. – Herr Präsident, Herr Kommissar, meine lieben Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich glaube, wir haben mit den Vereinigten Staaten, mit der Regierung von Präsident Biden eine gemeinsame Basis gefunden – gerade in der Handelspolitik. Wenn die Handelsvertreterin des Präsidenten sagt: „Wir stellen Arbeitnehmerrechte in den Mittelpunkt der Handelspolitik“, entspricht das unserer Vorstellung. Wir wollen sicherstellen, dass Handelspolitik auch den Menschen vor Ort dient und nicht einigen wenigen. Insofern gibt es da eine gemeinsame Basis.

Und wir haben jetzt ja auch am 29. September den Handels- und Technologierat gegründet, eine Plattform, wo wir uns über solche Fragen austauschen, wo Handelspolitik wirklich den Menschen nutzt, und wo wir auch sicherstellen können, dass es eine gemeinsame Herangehensweise gibt: zum Beispiel bei der Frage von Investitionskontrollen, bei der Frage von ausländischen Subventionen, bei der Frage von Produkten, die durch Zwangsarbeit hergestellt werden. Alles das sind Dinge, wo wir gemeinsam arbeiten können.

Aber wir wissen auch alle, dass in einer guten Beziehung der Honeymoon nicht immer Wirklichkeit ist. Es wird auch mal ernst, wenn man in einer Beziehung diskutiert: Welche Farbe hat das Sofa? Wo kommt das Sofa hin? Und in dieser Phase sind wir natürlich. Wir haben auch mit den Vereinigten Staaten Auseinandersetzungen. Die Frage der illegalen Zölle auf Stahlprodukte aus der Europäischen Union ist nach wie vor auf der Tagesordnung. Und wenn wir da keine Lösung finden, werden wir Ende November unsere Gegenmaßnahmen verdoppeln. Deswegen kann ich die amerikanische Seite nur bitten: Lasst uns, ähnlich wie bei Airbus und Boeing, hier einen Kompromiss finden.

Es gibt auch noch andere Dinge – die Auseinandersetzungen über den U-Boot-Deal waren sicherlich auch nicht dazu dienlich, die Beziehung stabiler zu machen. Insofern müssen wir daran arbeiten. Aber wir müssen auch klarmachen, dass wir als Europäerinnen und Europäer spezifische Interessen haben. Und das kann man in einer guten Beziehung auch deutlich machen.

 
   
 

  Josep Borrell Fontelles, Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, honourable Members of the European Parliament, we certainly all agree that the US remains the European Union’s closest and most important strategic partner.

It is like this and it has to continue being like this. There should be no doubt about that. This year you launch the renewed Joint Transatlantic Agenda, after a very successful European Union summit with the US, and there have been strong partnerships and engagement with the US administration, certainly much more, in a better way, than in the previous one.

Transatlantic partnership is vital and irreplaceable, but we need to place it on a stronger footing. August has been a wake—up call and there are changes in American society that have been in the making for many years that will certainly affect the role of the US in the world. After Afghanistan, the US has been sending a clear message about how they want to reorder their priorities, mainly facing China, and we should be ready to adapt to this new situation and shoulder our part of the burden to keep peace and security in the world.

I had regular discussions with Secretary Blinken during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) week, and I will travel to Washington next week to meet him again. He is in Paris today and I will be in Washington next week, so our links will be increasingly important and hopefully will deliver.

These meetings are important for our ongoing discussions on issues related to the transatlantic agenda that have to be put in the frame of the developments in the world because we have to think about how the 21st century will be.

Will the 21st century be born on Tiananmen or will it be born on the fall of the Berlin Wall? These two events – so different – mark the different paths of the future, how the future will be. We will be depending on our capacity to strengthen the trans-Atlantic relationship in order to defend democracies in the world.

I take note of the references in your report to the need to foster greater self—reliance in matters of defence. On this point of view, I’m going to jump to French.

Il faut reconnaître l’importance stratégique de l’engagement que le président Biden a pris avec le président Macron lors d’une conversation qui a été courte peut-être, mais sans doute très importante à propos de la région indo-pacifique, y compris dans le cadre stratégique que l’Union européenne vient de publier sur cette région du monde.

Dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme, les États-Unis se sont engagés à renforcer leur soutien aux opérations antiterroristes au Sahel menées par les États européens. Dans cette communication, les États-Unis ont également reconnu l’importance d’une défense européenne plus forte et plus performante, qui contribue positivement à la sécurité transatlantique, en complémentarité avec l’OTAN. Oui, l’espace euroatlantique est au cœur de l’OTAN. L’OTAN est l’outil fondamental de notre défense collective. Mais la gestion des crises dans le voisinage européen doit nous concerner nous, les Européens, en premier lieu. Cette communication ouvre la porte à des développements futurs, dont les chefs d’État ou de gouvernement vont discuter ce soir en Slovénie et qui seront suivis par la présentation de la boussole stratégique au mois de novembre.

These steps will strengthen our collective commitment to the US crisis management and enhance, as the report points out, our instruments and mechanisms.

We are working on a new joint EU—NATO statement by the end of the year to renew those of 2016 and 2018, but our dialogue with the US is not only in the framework of NATO because not all European Member States are members of NATO and there are many NATO members who are not European Union Member States. So we have to have a direct and complementary relationship and a US—EU strategic dialogue.

We discussed with Secretary Blinken in the UN General Assembly about how this dialogue and cooperation can be strengthened. We agreed on the need to put in place a system to avoid issues like the one around the AUKUS pact between Australia, the UK and the USA in the future and, as your report recommends, we must also launch a dedicated dialogue on security and defence.

Certainly, we also call for a closer transatlantic foreign policy coordination and you can rest assured that we will continue to cooperate and partner with the US in key foreign and security policy areas, mainly in front of the development of China, both from the economic, political and military point of view. But, as President Biden also said in his United Nations speech, we are not willing to restart a new cold war with China.

Also in the Western Balkans, I have to say that our cooperation with the US is much better. The recent crisis between Kosovo and Serbia has been solved thanks to the good work of our special envoy, Miroslav Lajčák. I have to say that our cooperation with the US envoy has been very positive.

We also report on the significance of the transatlantic economic relationship. We had a successful inauguration of the Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh and it is clear that we now have a framework with the potential to make joint progress on global economic and technological challenges. I think that it is very important to seize this opportunity because the world of tomorrow will be shaped around technological developments.

Who masters technology will master power, and at that moment we Europeans will need to develop our technological capacities much more quickly. This can be better done together with the US, but not without also talking about the issues on which we can disagree.

There are some difficult issues: to secure the change of supply in the field of semiconductors, to be sure that we are not going to create in the future an overcapacity, to talk about tariffs, data protection, and artificial intelligence. These are an incredibly broad set of issues that will shape the future and on which we have to engage more with the US.

A last word about COP26. We look forward to continuing our close coordination with the US to get every country to do more to fight climate change. Yesterday, I was in Saudi Arabia talking about it. It was sometimes a difficult discussion because we Europeans only have eight per cent of global emissions.

Even if we cancel them tomorrow – zero emissions – the problem would be the same. The remaining 92% would still be there. So we have to work together with the US, especially on the recently announced Global Methane Pledge, because we talk about CO2 but there are other gases which also have a strong capacity to destroy the atmosphere, and methane is one of these.

This Global Methane Pledge will be another occasion for us to cooperate with the US on climate change. In September, our Executive Vice—President Timmermans and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry co-chaired the second meeting of the High—Level Climate Action Group, which is one of the key deliverables of our EU—US summit.

Finally – and it really is finally – let me underline that the recent announcement on the lifting of travel restrictions, Croatia’s access to the visa waiver programme and the launch of the joint COVID-19 Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce, thanks to the good work of Commissioner Breton, are also positive developments linked to our joint agenda that will benefit the whole world. Because if we, the US and the EU, work together, the world will be vaccinated more quickly.

In conclusion, the recommendations that you make in your report are very timely. It is a long report that has a lot of issues in it. Our relationship with the US is certainly the stronger pillar, our freedom and prosperity. We have to continue building on it but, at the same time, we have to continue building our autonomy because our interests will not always exactly coincide.

This report is very timely. I thank the rapporteurs for that. I thank the Members in this debate for their contribution to what they can do on this very important issue.

 
   
 

  Željana Zovko, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, the European Union and the United States share a unique bond based on common values, principles and interests. At the EU—US summit in June this year, the leadership of the two blocks called for a strong transatlantic partnership – a message that we welcome and support in our report that we will vote on this week.

However, over the last weeks, we have seen some reality checks that have tested our relations in matters of foreign affairs, security and trade. The European People’s Party has proposed to create the Transatlantic Political Council as a platform to improve our communications channels and to avoid unnecessary tensions. I strongly call on Members to support this.

With the EU—US joint COVID response, we commit ourselves as technological leaders and pursue the facilitation of global vaccination platforms. I personally see this approach as the only way to fight vaccine nationalism and inequality. But one thing is clear: the transatlantic partnership would not be complete if there is no clear cooperation on foreign and security affairs.

The transatlantic alliance remains fundamental for the security and the stability of the European continent, and NATO is the foundation of our collective defence. In the search of a middle way between European strategic autonomy and total reliance on our transatlantic partners, we need to grow together into new relations that we will be more beneficial for our mutual peace and security missions based on our experiences in the Western Balkans and the Sahel.

On a personal note: invest in the Balkans! They have played a really great role, they still are, and will in the future.

To conclude, I would like to highlight the crucial role that parliamentary diplomacy can play in building bridges with our close and important transatlantic ally. Let this relationship grow based on our good communication and coordination as the anchors of stability in this volatile world.

Finally, I would like to say thank you for the granting of the visa waiver for Croatia. All those families that helped build America are going to appreciate it as well!

 
   
 

  Christel Schaldemose, for S&D-Gruppen. – Hr. formand! Verden har brug for, at alle demokratiske kræfter står sammen, og EU skal derfor holde alle, der deler vores værdier, tæt på sig. Det er ikke nu, vi skal skubbe nogen fra os. EU og USA deler historie og værdier, og der er ikke nogen tvivl om, at vi også deler fremtid. Derfor er og skal USA være EU’s tætteste handelspartner, samarbejdspartner og sikkerhedspolitiske allierede.

Men USA er ikke EU’s eneste allierede og skal heller ikke være det. Som formand for Japan-delegationen må jeg understrege, hvor vigtigt det er, at EU også styrker båndet med alle vores demokratiske allierede overalt i verden, også i Stillehavsregionen. Vi skal holde tæt kontakt med alle, der deler vores kamp for demokrati, grundlæggende menneskerettigheder og multilateralt samarbejde. Med øget europæisk strategisk autonomi kan vi sikre, at EU bliver en stærk og ligeværdig partner med alle, også med USA. De to ting går nemlig hånd i hånd, de er ikke hinandens modsætninger.

 
   
 

  Dragoş Tudorache, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, this very comprehensive report speaks to Europeans and American friends alike about our privileged relationship and about the benefits of building a world shaped by the values that unite us. As shadow rapporteur, I fully share its optimism and its level of ambition.

I am a firm believer that a technological partnership between the EU and the US based on shared democratic values is a very solid foundation on which to consolidate our transatlantic future, and our report welcomes the start of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC), its first meeting in Pittsburgh and the commitments outlined in the inaugural joint statement, highlighting the key areas of potential tech cooperation: regulatory convergence, joint work on standards, security of supply chains – this is the direction that we need to take.

But beyond the many areas of cooperation highlighted in the report, I also wish to acknowledge the elephant in the room, because friends and allies are honest with one another. First, and in the light of recent events, our American friends need to understand that trusted partners and allies consult one another before making strategic decisions. The world is no longer unipolar or bipolar, and acting alone is no longer a recipe for success.

Our American friends should also understand that in their contest with China, Europe can be a powerful ally. But Europe does not seem to take sides out of inertia or reflex. Europe has its strategic priorities, and they need to be factored into our transatlantic dialogue as well. They need to nurture our relationship and alliance.

Equally important, our American friends need to understand that our objective of strategic autonomy signifies a Europe that is strong and capable, equipped politically and technologically to defend itself, and able to look out for its priorities in its own backyard and worldwide. This is in our common interest on both sides of the Atlantic.

But the elephant, of course, has two sides. We in Europe also need to understand a few things and, most importantly, on these we can actually do something. We Europeans need to understand that we are very slow to act, if we do act at all, and we speak with 27 different voices on the world scene. We need qualified—majority voting in our foreign policy and we need to reform the way we make strategic decisions. We need to deliver a united European voice if we want to be consulted. We also need to acknowledge that there is no European strategic autonomy until this autonomy has a positive impact for all 500 million of our citizens in all of our 27 Member States. We need one another and we both need to do our part.

 
   
 

  Reinhard Bütikofer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, let me first thank Mr Picula for the report that he drafted and for the great cooperation that he offered.

Certainly, when he started his work, the high—flying hopes that we had in the renovation, the resurgence, the reinvigorating of the transatlantic relationship were not tainted with some of the more recent disappointments. But on the other hand we should not forget – and the report says so – that also the European side made mistakes, for instance by rushing the CAI just before the end of the year and just before Biden came into office.

Today we know that the new development, the renewing of the transatlantic relationship, needs realism and laborious efforts. It’s not going to be a sprint, rather a long and arduous cross—country run with up—and—down.

The rhetoric sometimes sounds better than its implementation turns out to be. Like Mr Lange, I liked the rhetoric about trade that helps the working class. But if this is just a nice phrase to cover economic nationalism, that is not all that good, and I would second you by demanding that the US move substantially, according to the Airbus—Boeing model, also with regard to steel and aluminium.

The report says we want ‘partnership in leadership’ with the US. That leadership claim also, of course, implies more responsibility. We cannot live up to that responsibility by transatlantic navel—gazing, forgetting about the rest of the world. Even though, in the conflict between democracy and authoritarianism, we know which camp we belong to, we cannot build that relationship either just as a reaction to what China does and to China’s hegemonic plans.

We have to offer a vision to the world of a better future, including climate responsibility, infrastructure development, health, solidarity, fair and open trade and peace instead of arms races. I believe in that regard – and this is my last sentence President – that the Global Gateway initiative that President von der Leyen put on the table will have to play a major role. I hope that we can cooperate on that with the US too.

 
   
 

  Marco Zanni, a nome del gruppo ID. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signor Vicepresidente Borrell, la cooperazione tra l’Unione e gli Stati Uniti è, è sempre stata, deve essere e dovrà essere anche in futuro il pilastro fondamentale a garanzia di un equilibrio democratico nel mondo.

Purtroppo ancora oggi vedo un’incapacità cronica da parte della leadership dell’Unione nel comprendere le dinamiche politiche statunitensi. Una semplificazione, a volte, e un approccio che non permettono di sfruttare appieno i benefici di una stretta collaborazione tra queste due grandi potenze. Trump non era il problema e non era un nemico prima, come non può essere e non è il problema oggi l’amministrazione Biden. Purtroppo dobbiamo comprendere che per gli americani, qualsiasi sia la loro appartenenza politica, ci sono delle linee rosse, che l’interesse nazionale viene prima di tutto, e quindi di questo noi dobbiamo essere consapevoli, senza disegnare le nostre politiche su tifoserie verso un’amministrazione o un’altra.

Quello che è successo in Afghanistan è sicuramente un campanello d’allarme, ma mette solo alla luce problematiche che vediamo da tempo, errori che vediamo da tempo. Sul tema della difesa io ho già detto che la nostra difesa europea si chiama e non può far altro che chiamarsi NATO. Tuttavia, per fare questo, per rendere funzionale ed efficiente la nostra difesa e anche l’autonomia dei nostri interessi, non serve molto, servono soldi, servono investimenti, cosa che purtroppo la maggioranza dei paesi europei oggi non ha fatto.

Nessuno ci ha impedito di mandare in Afghanistan 50 000 o 100 000 militari. Gli Stati membri avevano questa capacità. Il fatto di non averli mandati è stata una scelta politica, è stata una scelta dettata dal fatto che quella non fosse la nostra guerra. Quindi partire da questo errore per un’analisi sbagliata, dicendo che quello che è successo in Afghanistan dimostra che serve una difesa europea o che, se avessimo avuto una difesa europea in Afghanistan, la gestione del ritiro sarebbe stata diversa, è un errore, equivale a non dire la verità.

Detto questo credo che i prossimi passi siano importanti. Come ricordava il collega Bütikofer, è bene concentrarsi su quella che è la sfida geopolitica del futuro, cioè la minaccia all’equilibrio democratico rappresentata dal regime comunista cinese. In questo dobbiamo rafforzare, senza gelosie e senza conflitti, la cooperazione, non solo con gli Stati Uniti, ma guardando anche alle iniziative di valore che questo grande paese sta facendo nell’area indopacifico ed essere credibili per avere un ruolo a quel tavolo. Quella è la sfida che dobbiamo giocare, ma prima di pretendere un seggio a quel tavolo dobbiamo dimostrare di essere dei partner affidabili.

 
   
 

  Assita Kanko, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, ‘the United States are back’, said President Biden after his election. I dream of the day when the EU can say, ‘the EU is back’. I am still dreaming. Some thought that the EU would fall back romantically into America’s arms after Trump’s defeat, but they were so wrong. I would rather describe it as a terrible, terrible one-night stand. The times of multilateralism, the Obama era, seem totally over. It remains ‘America first’. Of course. We should quickly get used to this and act accordingly. Why does the EU not pick its own side right now? How can the EU become a relevant partner on the world stage but also a strong advocate of multilateralism?

These questions should be a priority for every European leader. No more embarrassment because of an Australia–United Kingdom–United States (AUKUS) affair or a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. We must defend our principles and stand up for the European people. To make that possible, the EU has to look at how to build up our strategic autonomy and regain diplomatic respect and dignity. Only then will we be able to earn a seat at any table. It’s high time to go up on the global stage. So tonight in Slovenia, the 27 Member States must deliver, and not just have dinner.

 
   
 

  Marisa Matias, em nome do Grupo The Left. – Senhor Presidente, Senhor Alto Representante, a eleição da administração Biden/Harris trouxe-nos uma oportunidade de melhorar as relações entre a União Europeia e os Estados Unidos. Relações que devem basear-se num diálogo democrático e ter como base da cooperação questões fundamentais para os problemas mais urgentes que enfrentamos nos nossos dias, como seja o combate às desigualdades, como seja a luta pela igualdade de género, a luta contra o racismo, os direitos humanos ou as alterações climáticas.

As relações futuras dos Estados Unidos e da União Europeia têm que se basear na igualdade, e por isso a União Europeia deve ter capacidades para assegurar a sua autonomia e para ter os seus próprios recursos estratégicos no âmbito dessas relações. As nossas políticas comerciais deveriam ter como elementos-base as questões da transição digital, da transição verde e também das igualdades e dos direitos de quem trabalha. Isto é o que deveria ser a base da nossa cooperação, e não uma cooperação orientada para lutar contra competidores, para se basear apenas na cooperação militar, ou para ter ainda um papel determinante em agravamentos de tensões, e não no combate às tensões da comunidade internacional.

O sucesso do nosso acordo, o sucesso das nossas relações de cooperação, deveria ser o sucesso do cumprimento de objetivos como os objetivos do desenvolvimento sustentável, por exemplo. E não é aquilo que está presente neste relatório, lamentavelmente.

Creio que podemos ser parceiros, sim, no futuro, mas não com base em ser um aliado, um braço dos Estados Unidos, e não um parceiro em igualdade de circunstâncias.

 
   
 

  Radosław Sikorski (PPE). – Mr President, as chairman of the delegation for relations between the EU and the United States, I welcome the report and I endorse every word spoken by our High Representative in his introduction. With my opposite number from the United States, Jim Costa of California, we’ve issued a statement welcoming the launch of the Trade and Technology Council. It’s in that forum – trade, technology, investments – that we are equal, because we’re equal-sized economies.

I also have to tell you I was in Washington in July, and the Americans are, for good reason, obsessed with their rivalry with China. That’s the only thing that Republicans and Democrats agree on. As the High Representative has mentioned, tensions in the Far East are rising. We’ve just seen some overflights. China, as you know, has pledged to retake Taiwan by force, if need be. If it came to something kinetic out there, I have to tell you, I worry that our ally may not be able to continue to protect us.

As a former defence minister, I have to tell you defence systems take decades to develop. Therefore, I beg you, colleagues, we need to get serious about European defence right now.

 
   
 

  Marek Belka (S&D). – Mr President, America is back. After the four dark years of Trump, this should make us relieved and focused in co—shaping the world. More, the new partnership relations with the EU also serve President Biden in implementing his global, regional and national goals.

At the same time, we should not see EU—US relations through pink glasses. While we share common values, our interests may not necessarily go in the same direction. For example take China, which by the US is perceived as a military, economic and political enemy. Our approach is not identical, even if we share many of America’s concerns. Therefore, especially in times of many uncertainties, we need to treat European strategic autonomy seriously and strive for the goals that are crucial for Europe and Europeans from an economic, political and military point of view.

This is also connected to trade issues. In a world ever more fragmented, it is the role of the US and the EU to defend and reinvigorate international institutions and a rules—based international order. Only by example can we lead others to follow in our footsteps. The first meeting of the Trade and Technology Council symbolises a right path to take. However, we still have to work on eliminating irritants which weaken our mutual relations. Finding a joint solution to steel and aluminium excess capacity from third countries and resolving the Boeing—Airbus dispute are just a few examples to name.

 
   
 

  Hilde Vautmans (Renew). – Mr President, Mr Borrell, dear colleagues, I have to tell you very honestly that I am disappointed by President Biden. He claims America is back; fair enough, but does that mean – in his perception, in his mind and in his strategic approach – that Europe is also back? No. On the contrary, he did not consult us when he withdrew from Afghanistan. He completely side—lined us in the AUKUS pact between Australia, the UK and the US. He did not even take the step to abolish American tariffs on our European steel.

Moreover, Biden arrived in Europe a few months ago at the NATO Summit – North Atlantic Treaty Organization – and he talked about what, colleagues, about what? About China. Seems to me more South Pacific than the North Atlantic.

So it’s time to get our act together. The US will not keep on paying the lion’s share in NATO. We must do our part and launch our own European defence community, our own European army, not to weaken NATO, as Stoltenberg wrongly suggested, but on the contrary, to strengthen it. With a hopefully – and I talk to the French now – re—elected French President and a new German Government, it’s time to think about our own interests, our own shared European sovereignty, and start acting, Mr Borrell, as a geopolitical Commission. We have had enough wake—up calls, Mr Borrell.

 
   
 

  Heidi Hautala (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, after the first euphoric reactions to the new opportunities, some realistic opportunities do arise. I’d like to touch on one of them, and that is the worthy fight against modern slavery and forced labour in global value chains.

Modern slavery is a part of the lives of 30 to 47 million people in the world today. The United States has had a ban on the importation of forced labour slavery products since 1930. The newest version puts an obligation on companies to prove that there is no forced labour included in the value chains of their imports. If they cannot do so, the imports will be stopped.

As the President of the Commission has recently announced, the Commission is planning a similar type of instrument in the EU, and I believe this is a distinct trade and customs policy instrument. The question of Uyghur forced labour, is of course behind a lot of these discussions, and that is a very worthy cause. I talked recently to the Customs and Border Protection authorities of the United States, and it’s now clear that the EU risks becoming a safe haven for products produced with the help of forced labour. According to their statistics, imports of Uyghur—produced cotton to the United States have decreased, while they have recently increased to the European Union. It is the same with palm oil, which is not only connected to deforestation, but also to forced labour. We have to act now.

 
   
 

  Mara Bizzotto (ID). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, difendere ad ogni costo la nostra libertà, la nostra democrazia e il mondo occidentale: questa deve essere la nostra missione di fronte alle minacce globali che ci arrivano ogni giorno da parte di dittature e regimi come la Cina comunista o l’Iran dei pasdaran islamici.

Per vincere queste sfide, oggi più che mai è necessario rilanciare con forza l’alleanza e le relazioni tra Europa e Stati Uniti d’America, che saranno sempre un faro di libertà per tutto il mondo. È tempo di riformare e rafforzare l’alleanza atlantica guidata dagli Stati Uniti. È tempo di costruire una solida e duratura alleanza con Israele. È tempo di creare una relazione speciale con la Gran Bretagna del dopo-Brexit e con tutti i paesi dell’anglosfera, che sono alleati fondamentali per la sicurezza e la difesa comune.

Benissimo hanno fatto Australia, USA e Regno Unito a siglare un patto militare contro il pericolo cinese e malissimo hanno fatto i parrucconi di Bruxelles, che hanno gridato allo scandalo.

L’Europa deve recitare un grande mea culpa per la sua colpevole latitanza. Come possono americani, inglesi e australiani fidarsi di un’Europa così ambigua e doppiogiochista? Un’Europa che fa accordi commerciali sporchi di sangue con la Cina comunista, che è titubante con le dittature comuniste di Cuba e Venezuela, che ci si dimostra codarda con i fondamentalisti dell’Iran.

Cari burocrati europei, è arrivato il momento di decidere da che parte stare, o di qua, o di là, non esistono più mezze misure o terze vie. Da una parte c’è il mondo libero delle democrazie occidentali, dall’altra parte il mondo della violenza incarnato dalle dittature comuniste e islamiste.

Noi della Lega non abbiamo dubbi: siamo e saremo sempre dalla parte dei nostri alleati americani e dell’alleanza atlantica, pronti a lottare perché la libertà vinca sulla dittatura e perché il bene trionfi sul male.

 
   
 

  Jorge Buxadé Villalba (ECR). – Señor presidente, pensaba que había venido aquí para debatir sobre las relaciones comerciales entre la Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos, pero luego leo el informe y veo que ustedes siguen con su bla, bla, bla de siempre sobre el cambio climático, la resiliencia, la ideología de género y la lucha contra la extrema derecha —curioso que nunca hablen ustedes de la extrema izquierda—. Incluso en un acuerdo sobre relaciones comerciales hablan del aborto, utilizando ese eufemismo pomposo de los derechos sexuales y reproductivos.

Llevo algo más de dos años aquí y no deja de sorprenderme la capacidad que tiene su maquinaria propagandística de meter sus narices en todas las salsas. Lo cierto es que luego nos dicen a otros antieuropeístas cuando quienes están dejando a la altura del betún a la Unión Europea y a Europa son ustedes.

China se ríe de nosotros. Turquía y Marruecos se ríen de nosotros. Las mafias de inmigración ilegal se ríen de nosotros. Las grandes corporaciones globalistas de censura en redes se ríen de nosotros. Incluso los Estados Unidos de su querido Biden se han reído de nosotros en Afganistán después de colaborar con ellos más de veinte años, para regalarle al final el país a China. Estos son los problemas reales que ocupan a los europeos. Para luchar contra todo esto, cuenten con nosotros; para luchar contra sus fantasmas ideológicos, no cuenten.

 
   
 

  Emmanuel Maurel (The Left). – Monsieur le Président, l’autonomie stratégique européenne, ce ne sont que des mots; pour passer aux actes, il faut être capable de s’émanciper de la tutelle des États-Unis. Nous en sommes loin, comme ce texte en témoigne, parce que, en dépit des faits qui se succèdent, que ce soit sous la présidence Trump ou Biden, nous ne sommes pas capables de sortir d’une sorte de subordination volontaire, au point que dans ce rapport, nous taisons ou nous minorons nos litiges, nos désaccords et nos problèmes face à des États-Unis qui défendent leurs intérêts, tandis que nous, en face, nous ne défendons pas suffisamment les nôtres. C’est vrai en matière commerciale et c’est vrai aussi pour le numérique. On annonce un sommet à Pittsburgh, mais les États-Unis vont à l’encontre des intérêts européens sur ces questions.

Ce texte ne questionne pas la stratégie de l’OTAN et ses échecs en Libye ou en Afghanistan. Il ne questionne pas la stratégie américaine qui a humilié les Français et les Européens sur l’affaire des sous-marins australiens. Depuis l’élection de Biden, nous sommes comme des lapins pris dans la lumière des phares: nous ne voyons pas qu’il y a peut-être eu un changement de conducteur, mais il n’y a pas eu de changement de direction. Donc, si nous voulons vraiment être autonomes stratégiquement, Monsieur le Commissaire, il faut en tirer les conclusions: se réveiller et être capables de s’émanciper. On en est loin.

 
   
 

  Λευτέρης Νικολάου-Αλαβάνος (NI). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η έκθεση αποτυπώνει τη σφοδρή διαπάλη ανάμεσα στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες και την Κίνα για την καπιταλιστική πρωτοκαθεδρία, με την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση να επιδιώκει συνεργασία αλλά και περιορισμό της επιρροής της Κίνας, την περικύκλωση της Ρωσίας. Υπογραμμίζει τον ανταγωνισμό Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης-ΗΠΑ για μεγαλύτερο μερίδιο της πίτας με επίκεντρο την πράσινη και ψηφιακή ανάπτυξη, όπου η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση στοχεύει στο να ενισχύσει περαιτέρω την κερδοφορία ευρωπαϊκών ομίλων. Προμοτάρει την επιθετική αυτονομία της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, τη σύμπραξη με το ΝΑΤΟ με γιγαντιαίες στρατιωτικές ασκήσεις, βάσεις, νέα κούρσα εξοπλισμών. Συνδέεται με τις επικίνδυνες για τον λαό στρατιωτικές συμφωνίες Ελλάδας-ΗΠΑ και Ελλάδας-Γαλλίας, που εμφανίζονται, δήθεν, σαν εγγυήσεις ασφάλειας και σταθερότητας. Η κυβέρνηση της Νέας Δημοκρατίας με τη στήριξη των αστικών κομμάτων μετατρέπει τη χώρα μας σε ιμπεριαλιστικό ορμητήριο. Στοχοποιείται ο λαός, στέλνει πυραύλους Patriot, στρατό στη Σαουδική Αραβία, προετοιμάζεται για το Μάλι.

Συνεπώς η υπεράσπιση της εδαφικής ακεραιότητας αποκτά πραγματικό νόημα για τον λαό, όταν συμβαδίζει με την πάλη ενάντια στους ιμπεριαλιστικούς σχεδιασμούς, για να κλείσουν οι ξένες βάσεις, για κατάργηση των επικίνδυνων αυτών συμφωνιών, για αποδέσμευση της Ελλάδας από Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και ΝΑΤΟ, με τον λαό στην εξουσία και ιδιοκτήτη του πλούτου που ο ίδιος παράγει.

 
   
 

  Michael Gahler (PPE). – Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wenn man auf eine Weltkarte schaut und die liberalen Demokratien markiert, mit denen wir gemeinsame Werte teilen, wenn wir dann die bestehenden Handelsströme ergänzen und als drittes Element die Sicherheitsarrangements, dann werden die engen Verbindungen EU-USA besonders deutlich. Damit sie auf Dauer unser wichtigster strategischer Partner bleiben, müssen wir unsere Hausaufgaben machen. Im Bereich der globalen Sicherheit müssen wir gemeinsam evaluieren, wer unsere Art, in Freiheit und Demokratie zu leben, bedroht.

Dabei müssen wir als Partner für die USA attraktiver werden, ein auch autonom handlungsfähiger Alliierter in bestimmten Weltteilen und bestimmten Situationen, der seinen Teil der Verantwortung auch wahrnehmen kann, wenn die USA mal nicht vor Ort sind. Derzeit erscheinen wir eher als hilfsbedürftiger Alliierter. Das zu bleiben, können wir uns nicht länger leisten. Im Handelsbereich müssen wir das volle Potenzial ausschöpfen, indem wir zuerst gegenseitige Sanktionen beenden, dann schauen, in welchen Bereichen gegenseitig Zölle abgeschafft, Standards gegenseitig anerkannt oder künftig harmonisiert werden. Der Handels- und Technologierat ist dazu sicher ein geeignetes Gremium. Ich wünsche mir aber in der Tat in der Perspektive in nicht allzu ferner Zukunft auch ein Freihandelsabkommen mit den USA.

Ausgehend von einer verstärkten bilateralen Zusammenarbeit in den Bereichen Sicherheit und Handel können wir dann perspektivisch gesehen globale Handels- und Sicherheitskooperationen mit den gleichgesinnten Partnern etablieren. Nur eine Allianz der Demokratien kann dauerhaft der Herausforderung eines totalitären Chinas und in Europa auch eines aggressiven Russlands begegnen.

 
   
 

  Katarina Barley (S&D). – Mr President and High Representative, when Joe Biden took over, he sent a clear message to the world: America is back. And in many ways it is true that the US is indeed back. It reaffirmed its support for NATO, it rejoined the World Health Organization, the Paris Agreement, and will re-engage with the UN Human Rights Council.

This is not only about trade and about defence. I would like to focus on something more general: on human rights, shared democratic values, combating the rise of authoritarianism and fighting racism, hate speech and discrimination – topics which are covered in our report in paragraphs 24 to 231. Because yes, the US is back. It has returned to multilateralism, but it is also pursuing its own interests beyond the Transatlantic Alliance. Therefore, the way to take is not back to the supposedly good old pre-Trump days.

We have to define concrete pathways of mutual interest, and first and foremost, this common and shared interest lies in a rules-based international order. We saw President Biden take a clear position on the attempts when the UK wanted to violate the binding Northern Ireland Protocol; we saw him take a clear stance on the recent crackdown on independent media in Poland. This shows that we do have a common ground.

We as Europeans should use this momentum and offer the US a global alliance for democracy and the rule of law. With whom else should we do this? With China, with Russia? What we need is to work together as Americans and Europeans for making the law rule.

 
   
 

  Mounir Satouri (Verts/ALE). – Monsieur le Président, l’Europe et les États-Unis doivent œuvrer ensemble pour relever de grands défis.

Le premier défi, le plus grand et le plus urgent, est la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique et le déclin de la biodiversité. Il est donc impératif que les objectifs américains et européens soient ambitieux et réalisés. Nous devons agir ensemble pour mieux vivre sur cette planète. Cela passe par une fiscalité internationale des entreprises juste et par une révision profonde des règles de l’OCDE sur l’échange de renseignements en matière fiscale. Face aux Pandora Papers, face aux bénéfices des multinationales, qu’attendons-nous pour mettre un terme ensemble à l’accaparement des richesses, nous entraider dans la transition écologique et avancer ensemble vers un monde plus juste et plus durable?

Parce que nous partageons des idéaux démocratiques et humanistes, les États-Unis et l’Europe doivent peser de tout leur poids pour soutenir les droits dans le monde. Faisons front contre les crimes commis à l’encontre des Ouïghours et contre les détentions des prisonniers politiques en Égypte. Toutefois, nous ne devons pas être aveugles face aux violations de nos propres régimes politiques. Dans l’intérêt de nos idéaux communs, il est sain que ce Parlement exhorte cette semaine le Texas à revenir sur la loi sur l’avortement. Il est sain aussi de ne pas détourner le regard lorsque l’administration américaine envisage un centre de migrants à Guantánamo.

Enfin, si les États-Unis de Trump comme de Biden ne soutiennent pas toujours les intérêts européens, ils doivent néanmoins le respect à leurs alliés. L’affaire des sous-marins est inacceptable. L’évacuation chaotique d’Afghanistan le rappelle tragiquement. Tirons des leçons pragmatiques pour que les relations transatlantiques soient plus équilibrées et construisons enfin une politique étrangère et de sécurité européenne unie et émancipée.

 
   
 

  Virginie Joron (ID). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, avant de parler de l’avenir des relations entre l’Union européenne et les États-Unis, j’aimerais tout d’abord remercier les États-Unis. En effet, grâce aux États-Unis, les Français ont pu constater le manque de loyauté de Bruxelles et de nos partenaires européens. La banque BNP a été rançonnée de 9 milliards de dollars par les États-Unis, sans réaction de Bruxelles. Alstom Énergie, pilier de notre indépendance stratégique, nous a été volé par les Américains, sans réaction de Bruxelles. D’après les révélations d’Edward Snowden, 70 millions de nos conversations privées ont été écoutées par les Américains. Les présidents Hollande, Sarkozy et Chirac ont été espionnés, sans réaction de Bruxelles. Grâce aux États-Unis, le contrat de 56 milliards d’euros avec l’Australie de construction de sous-marins par les Français nous est enlevé, sans réaction de Bruxelles.

Dans le monde animal, notamment chez la poule, on prend sa place en fonction des coups de becs donnés et reçus. Or, la France des présidents impuissants, la France de Macron, prend plein de coups de bec. Même des dirigeants maliens ou algériens, entre deux coups d’État, se permettent de nous critiquer. La France de De Gaulle ne prenait pas autant de coups et elle en rendait, mais elle ne payait pas non plus les conseils sanitaires du cabinet McKinsey.

Mais venons-en à ce rapport. Évidemment, et je le regrette, vous ne parlez pas des sous-marins australiens. En revanche, vous appelez à créer un «parlement transatlantique», un «machin» de plus, comme dirait le Général, qui s’occuperait par exemple de «couverture de santé universelle». Alors que notre système de santé finance mal la couverture des soins dentaires des Français, vous voulez que les Français payent pour le monde entier.

Enfin, vous félicitez notre coopération – 31 fois dans ce rapport qui concerne la COVID-19 – et vous déclarez que la vaccination mondiale est le seul moyen de mettre fin à la pandémie: le seul!

N’oubliez pas de féliciter l’Agence européenne des médicaments, qui vient de valider la troisième dose de Pfizer, et surtout Pfizer, qui a doublé ses ventes cette année et va empocher 34 milliards de dollars de bénéfices, notamment grâce aux contrats de Bruxelles.

 
   
 

  Roberts Zīle (ECR). – Godātais sēdes vadītāj! Mūsu valstis Eiropas Savienībā — esam ar dažādu vēsturisku pieredzi un ģeopolitisko arī skatījumu, un ir valstis tādas, kuras ir atguvušas lielā mērā savu brīvību, noārdot — lielā mērā Vašingtonas vēlmei noārdīt — Padomju Savienību, un ir arī valstis Eiropas Savienībā, kurām ir cits ģeopolitisks redzējums un cita vēsture. NATO ir tas, kas strādā, un jebkura kustība to erodēt novājina ģeopolitiski arī Eiropas Savienību, jo stratēģiskā autonomija var izveidoties labākajā gadījumā vairākas desmitgades no šodienas nākotnē. Un laikā, kad tiek runāts par jauniem iespējamiem aukstajiem kariem ar Ķīnu vai neveiksmēm Klusajā okeānā, tajā pašā laikā Krievija izmēģina, testē hibrīdieročus tepat Eiropas Savienībā, un mēs kā Eiropas Savienība neadekvāti reaģējam uz šo soli. Tāpēc mums nav cita partnera vēsturiskām saknēm, vēsturiskām vērtībām, kā tās ir Amerikas Savienotās Valstis, un mums jānovērš visi tie šķēršļi, kas mums ir tirdzniecībā, tehnoloģiju attīstībā, ko mēs spējam attiecībās ar ASV. Liels paldies!

 
   
 

  Özlem Demirel (The Left). – Herr Präsident, meine Damen und Herren! Die EU-US-Beziehungen sind widersprüchlich: zum einen geleitet von einer brutalen Konkurrenz um ökonomische Vorherrschaft und zum anderen geleitet von einem unglaublichen Pragmatismus zur Durchsetzung der jeweils eigenen Interessen – zur Not auch gemeinsam und militärisch. Und genau das sehen wir in der Indopazifikstrategie der NATO, der USA und der EU. Die inneren Widersprüche zwischen den USA und der EU sind nicht überwunden, auch nicht die Handelskriege. Aber es besteht Einigkeit, dass man die ökonomische Vorherrschaft Chinas zurückdrängen möchte und eigene Vorherrschaften sichern möchte.

Zum Schluss, liebe Kollegen, lassen Sie mich einen Satz zu Herrn Assange sagen. Es ist für mich immer wieder unglaublich festzustellen, und es ist inakzeptabel zu sehen, dass Sie immer wieder über Menschenrechte reden, aber über den Fall Assange schweigen. Dabei macht der Fall Assange deutlich, dass auch Sie und die USA tatsächlich ein instrumentelles Verhältnis zu Menschenrechten haben.

 
   
 

  Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). – Señor presidente, agradezco al ponente, señor Picula, su informe. La relación con los Estados Unidos constituye la asociación estratégica más importante para la Unión Europea, y estamos en un momento muy oportuno para reforzarla tras la salida del presidente Trump.

Tenemos ahora en Washington una Administración menos nacionalista y más dispuesta a colaborar con Europa. Los Estados Unidos siguen siendo la potencia indispensable, al menos para la Unión Europea, aunque ya desde Obama son perceptibles un cierto repliegue en su acción exterior y su priorización de Asia.

Yo celebro la reciente puesta en marcha del Consejo de Comercio y Tecnología, pero creo imprescindible también un consejo político transatlántico para reforzar la coordinación en materia de política exterior y de seguridad. Los acontecimientos recientes, como Afganistán y el acuerdo AUKUS, testimonian la necesidad de un mejor diálogo y consulta.

Hemos presentado una enmienda en este sentido, la número 9, que espero que la Cámara apoye, pues recoge su posición tradicional. Necesitamos nuevos mecanismos institucionales que nos permitan evitar el unilateralismo y los fallos de coordinación.

Me parece especialmente necesaria una actuación coordinada de la Unión Europea con los Estados Unidos en defensa de la democracia, del respeto de los derechos humanos y del Estado de Derecho en países como Venezuela y Nicaragua.

 
   
 

  Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D). – Mr President, with the challenges of today, it is so crucial that we work together with other democracies. It gives us more strength to defend our values and our safety. Climate change, technological transformation and international trade tensions are just few of the policy areas where we cannot afford to have disputes, but seek full cooperation across the Atlantic.

After some rough years, the Trade and Technology Council (TTC), held last week in Pittsburgh, is an extremely promising step towards deepening trans-Atlantic resolve on these important issues. If the TTC succeeds in finding a way to fight together for human—centric AI, like emerging disruptive technologies, to find good common standards, to set and speed up markets for green technology to cut emissions and to solve the climate crisis, we will not only have the Brussels effect, but we can have, even better, a trans-Atlantic effect for climate, for democracy, for human rights and for decent work.

I also welcome Mr Biden’s decisions to take the USA back to international organisations. That is very much needed. As the vice-chair for the Transatlantic Legislative Dialogue (TLD), I welcome here what is written in the report: to call for the establishment of a subcommittee on tech and trade within the TLD to complement the executive part of the TTC and to exercise democratic oversight in the European Parliament. We are ready to do that.

 
   
 

  Nicolae Ştefănuță (Renew). – Mr President, colleagues, I condemn the US-bashing coming from some parts of this House on this floor. The United States has no better friend in the world than the European Union. We have built a relationship based on history, on values and on interests, but now it’s time for the big game. We can no longer think regionally. NATO is the foundation for our collective defence, but America also needs a strong Europe that has strong military interoperability and mobility.

A tank cannot take a month to travel from Constanța to Riga, and then we call that mobility. That is a lame duck for me, and that is not what America needs or what Europe needs. I support what Radosław Sikorski said, namely that we make a useful ally when we are a strong ally. Only together can we respond to Russia’s threats in our region, in Ukraine, in Georgia and in Moldova. In the event of a massive global outage like the one we saw yesterday affecting social media, how do we fight fake news if not together? We might not be America’s nearest partner, but we are for sure their closest.

 
   
 

  Maximilian Krah (ID). – Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Dieser Bericht etabliert eine Weltordnung – oder fordert sie –, die darauf aufbaut, dass die Vereinigten Staaten mit der EU im Schlepptau eine Weltordnung aufbauen auf der Basis des Kampfs gegen Rassismus, des Eintretens für LGBTQ-Rechte und mit dem wichtigsten Ziel des Klimaschutzes. Das ist eine linksliberale, westliche Agenda, die wir als diejenigen, die rechts vom Präsidenten sitzen, natürlich nicht teilen werden.

Aber es ist doch auch ein erstaunliches Maß an Realitätsverleugnung. Die Welt, in die wir jetzt hineinwachsen und die wir gestalten wollen, sie ist doch eben nicht mehr nur noch geprägt von der westlichen Welt, sondern sie ist geprägt von einer Vielzahl von Akteuren mit ganz eigenen Traditionen und Agenden. Und es ist doch unsere Aufgabe, hier für einen diplomatischen Ausgleich zu sorgen, anstatt eine Art Kulturkampf zu führen, nur um die Macht des Westens zu sichern. Dass nun ausgerechnet die politische Rechte daran Interesse hat, darauf zu achten, dass wir auch mit solchen Weltgegenden Frieden haben, die eben andere Traditionen haben, ist ein Treppenwitz. Es geht darum, dass wir lernen, dass unsere Wertvorstellungen eben nicht universal sind, sondern dass wir zuhören müssen und dass wir den besten Weg für diese Erde dadurch finden, dass wir ausgleichen, dass wir verhandeln und dass wir nicht glauben, alleiniger Besitzer der Wahrheit zu sein.

Deshalb finde ich diesen Bericht furchtbar, weil er vollgestopft ist mit Ideologie. Selbst die Handelspolitik will er ideologisieren, und er will sie mit Abtreibungs- und Genderfragen kombinieren. Da gehört es aber nicht hin. Aus diesem Grund würde ich mir wünschen, dass wir unsere Beziehungen mit den USA, die sehr wichtig sind, an realen Interessen und vor allen Dingen am Interesse an Eigenständigkeit, Souveränität und Identität ausrichten. Leider haben wir hier einen rein ideologischen Bericht, der außenpolitische und außenhandelspolitische Beziehungen ideologisieren will, anstatt sie fit zu machen für eine Welt, in der es eben mehrere Pole gibt, die nicht westlich sind – was wir anerkennen sollten.

 
   
 

  Helmut Scholz (The Left). – Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Das Verhältnis zur Europäischen Union wird in Washington daran gemessen, ob die EU sich aktiv an der Eindämmungsstrategie gegenüber dem Hauptrivalen China – gerade im Wirtschaftsbereich – beteiligt. Katherine Tai hat gestern die Taktik detailliert dargestellt. Man will das Phase-1-Handelsabkommen nicht kündigen, sondern China zur Kasse bitten. Man behauptet, China habe keine öffnenden Reformen geliefert, und droht mit neuen Strafzöllen zum Schutz amerikanischer Arbeitsplätze.

Ich finde es ja gut, die Arbeiterinnen und Arbeiter ins Zentrum der Handelspolitik zu stellen, aber eben bitte dann nicht nur die eigenen. Denn diese Argumentation trifft für alle beteiligten Seiten zu, auch für die notwendigerweise auf grüne Energien umzurüstende Stahlbranche in Deutschland, in der EU und darüber hinaus. Wir sollten solche Hahnenkämpfe nicht mitdenken. Viel grundsätzlicher sind die globalen Herausforderungen. Es bleibt wenig Zeit, die Erderwärmung durch den Klimawandel aufzuhalten. Es bleiben auch nur noch neun Jahre, um die in der UNO vereinbarten Nachhaltigkeitsziele für alle Länder der Erde zu erreichen. Armutsbekämpfung, Umweltschutz, Zugang für alle zu Gesundheitsdiensten und Bildung, Abrüstung und Frieden sollten die gemeinsamen Ziele unserer Partnerschaft mit den USA sein.

Doch selbst EU und USA zusammen können diese Ziele nicht schaffen, ohne weitere Partner zu gewinnen. Kooperationen sind notwendig, auch mit China. Hier beginnt das neue Narrativ: statt Konfrontation Kooperation, statt wir jeweils first Synergien und gemeinsam Vertrauen wiederherstellen und Regeln setzen – auch aktiv in der WTO.

 
   
 

  Enikő Győri (NI). – Elnök Úr! Lassan egy éve Joe Biden az USA elnöke. Remélem, lassan felébrednek azok – jó sokan vannak –, akik azt gondolták, Trump menesztésével minden szép és jó lesz, Amerika Európa kedvét fogja keresni. Afganisztán, fennmaradó vámok, AUKUS-ügy: vegyük már észre, hogy mindig az „America first” a vezérvonal a tengerentúlon. Ezért még csak nem is hibáztatnám őket. Nekünk viszont „Europa first” alapon kellene eljárnunk, és annak mentén együttműködnünk legfontosabb szövetségesünkkel. Amerika ugyanis mestere annak, hogy saját érdekét globális jóként adja el.

Ékes példája az OECD-ben erőltetett adómegállapodás. A digitális adót az USA kilúgozta, így azt több tech cég megússza. A globális társasági minimumadó pedig azért kell Amerikának, hogy adót emelhessen otthon és magával ránthassa a világot, anélkül, hogy hátrányos helyzetbe kerülne. Az uniós jog miatt továbbá a kontinensen a globálisnál is szigorúbb társasági adópolitikát kellene bevezetnünk. Európának mindez nem érdeke. Az Unió vezetői ébredjenek fel, hagyják, hogy a tisztes adóverseny érvényre jusson, a tényleges termelést végző cégek ne terhelődjenek túl. Ezzel segítenék az Unió versenyképeségét.

 
   
 

  Traian Băsescu (PPE). – Domnule președinte, domnule Înalt Reprezentant, raportul și rezoluția pe care le vom adopta creează condiții pentru un adevărat parteneriat strategic pentru secolul XXI între Uniune și Statele Unite, generând o puternică integrare a economiilor de pe cele două maluri ale Atlanticului.

În interiorul acestui parteneriat, Uniunea Europeană are obligația să își crească contribuția la capacitatea de apărare a NATO. Uniunea vine în parteneriatul cu Statele Unite cu o puternică dependență energetică de Federația Rusă, ceea ce antrenează riscuri economice, sociale și politice.

Pentru diminuarea acestor riscuri, trebuie să dezvoltăm sisteme alternative de aprovizionare cu materii prime energetice, cum ar fi: investiții în dezvoltarea coridorului sudic de aprovizionare cu gaze din zona caspică și Orientul Mijlociu, recunoașterea energiei nucleare ca fiind o energie curată, investiții masive în producerea de energie electrică din surse regenerabile și, nu în ultimul rând, importul masiv de gaze lichefiate.

 
   
 

  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Señor presidente, señor alto representante Borrell, debatimos y votamos en este Pleno del Parlamento Europeo nada menos que una muy extensa Resolución sobre las relaciones entre la Unión Europea y los Estados Unidos. Me centraré —visto que no son lo que eran, no nos engañemos, y, en el desorden global del que venimos, difícilmente volverán a serlo pronto— en aquellas cuestiones que más importan a la Comisión de Libertades Civiles, Justicia y Asuntos de Interior que presido: en los problemas pendientes.

Uno, un nuevo data transfer agreement —después de los reveses de las sentencias del Tribunal de Justicia en el asunto Schrems—, con urgencia. Otro, la necesidad de completar la reciprocidad en materia de visados entre los Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea. Porque, después de que se hayan incorporado Polonia y, pronto, Croacia, todavía quedan pendientes las situaciones de Rumanía, Bulgaria y Chipre.

Pero, en el lado positivo, sin duda tenemos una colaboración intensa en materia de derechos humanos. Y ahí tenemos mucho que hacer en la lucha contra males que debemos confrontar juntos: el racismo y la ciberdelincuencia; aun con las diferencias que tenemos en la cuestión de la Corte Penal Internacional.

Pero hay también, sin duda, un desafío a la hora de afrontar las amenazas híbridas y las injerencias extranjeras en procesos democráticos: China y Rusia; además de, por supuesto, el esfuerzo común, en el marco de la Unión Europea y de la Organización para la Seguridad y la Cooperación en Europa, de lucha por la defensa de los derechos humanos y de la democracia.

 
   
 

  Saskia Bricmont (Verts/ALE). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, pour rétablir la confiance et redonner un sens à la mondialisation, la collaboration transatlantique doit aussi avoir lieu sur le front des droits de l’homme. C’est ce que propose le rapport Picula via l’élaboration d’une boîte à outils commune.

Il y a urgence dans ce cadre à s’atteler à l’éradication du travail des enfants. Pour la première fois en 20 ans, le travail des enfants a augmenté partout dans le monde. 160 millions d’enfants travaillaient en 2020, soit un enfant sur dix. Huit millions d’enfants supplémentaires pourraient travailler d’ici la fin de l’année prochaine en raison de la pandémie.

Les États-Unis disposent de longue date d’un arsenal de mesures pour sanctionner les entreprises coupables d’employer des enfants. L’Union européenne, qui importe pour 50 milliards d’euros de produits issus du travail des enfants, va se doter l’année prochaine d’une législation sur les responsabilités sociétales des entreprises. Alors qu’ensemble, ils représentent 30 % des importations mondiales, des sanctions commerciales et des aides aux pays où une pauvreté endémique est la cause d’un travail infantile sont urgemment nécessaires.

La Commission doit utiliser tous les leviers qu’elle a à sa disposition, dont le prochain Conseil du commerce et de la technologie, pour donner corps à la tolérance zéro annoncée il y a plus de deux ans par la présidente von der Leyen.

 
   
 

  Peter Kofod (ID). – Hr. formand! Jeg vil starte med at sige, at jeg er meget taknemmelig over det store bidrag, USA har givet til verden og i særdeleshed til Europa. Hvor havde Europa været uden det meget, meget store amerikanske bidrag under første verdenskrig, under anden verdenskrig eller under den kolde krig? Vi har uendelig meget at takke amerikanerne for. De er vores væsentligste og vigtigste partnere i verden, og ud over det er de vores gode venner. Vi hænger sammen historisk, kulturelt osv.

Derfor bed jeg også mærke i, da en af kollegaerne i Parlamentet var oppe her tidligere og sige, at vores forhold – altså underforstået Europas forhold – med USA ikke bliver lige så vigtigt som før. Det er en enormt stor skam, hvis det skulle vise sig at holde stik, for vi har brug for hinanden. Europa har brug for USA, og USA har brug for Europa i den forstand, at vi er den samme civilisation.

Vi kan sagtens diskutere denne aftale, alt muligt om plastik og abort og straffelov og skatter og internetgiganter og alt muligt andet. Men det lagt til side, det politiske indhold lagt til side, så er der én ting, der er afgørende, og det er hvilken civilisation, der skal præge verden i de kommende årtier. Skal det være Vesten, så skal vi holde sammen. Eller er vi villige til at give det førerskab videre til Kina eller alle mulige andre, som måtte have mod på den opgave? Så vi har brug for USA mere end nogensinde før, men jeg håber også, at amerikanerne trods alt har brug for os.

 
   
   

VORSITZ: OTHMAR KARAS
Vizepräsident

 
   
 

  Michiel Hoogeveen (ECR). – Mr President, the relations between the United States and the countries of Europe are under threat, and this is because we have an EU that no longer knows its place in the geopolitical arena. We have a European Commission seeking what it calls ‘strategic autonomy’.

We have a Commission President who recently proclaimed her empire, stating European military forces would be part of the solution, undermining our NATO alliance and the transatlantic partnership. We have a Commission that speaks on behalf of France when they, not us, they lose a submarine deal, compromising the relations of all EU Member States.

And we have a European Parliament that believes, according to this report, should have an opinion on internal US affairs such as gun control, the US border wall, police violence, etc.

When will the EU recognise it as part of the problem, not the solution?

 
   
 

  Paulo Rangel (PPE). – Senhor Presidente, Senhor Alto Representante, como português e como europeu tenho de dizer: os Estados Unidos são, e devem continuar a ser, o nosso parceiro prioritário. Os valores democráticos liberais, de respeito pelos direitos humanos, mas também da economia de mercado e da prosperidade, são valores ocidentais comuns à Europa e aos Estados Unidos. Não podemos cair na tentação de que a Europa, que tem de defender os seus interesses, e que deve afirmar-se no Indo-Pacífico, o faça sem estar em articulação e coordenação com os Estados Unidos. Sei que a tentação é grande de fazer da Europa uma espécie de novo movimento dos Não-Alinhados, uma terceira via, a meio da ponte, entre os Estados Unidos e a China e a Rússia. Mas não haja qualquer, qualquer dúvida: se a Europa deixar de ser um aliado preferencial dos Estados Unidos são os valores dos direitos humanos e da economia de mercado e da prosperidade que estarão em causa.

Devemos fazer tudo para ter um acordo comercial e devemos fazer tudo para ter uma parceria militar e estratégica com os Estados Unidos.

 
   
 

  Paolo De Castro (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signor Alto rappresentante, le nostre relazioni con gli Stati Uniti sono ad una svolta. Se è vero infatti che, sin dall’insediamento, l’amministrazione Biden ha spesso dimostrato la volontà di collaborare tra alleati, adesso serve un cambio di passo per stabilire una partnership capace di far fronte alle sfide che ci attendono.

Ai segnali positivi, a partire dalla soluzione della vicenda Boeing-Airbus, che tanto ingiustamente ha pesato sui nostri produttori agroalimentari, fino alla prima riunione del Consiglio per il commercio e la tecnologia, ora devono seguire azioni concrete su questioni non più rinviabili, quali il raggiungimento di soluzioni durature per il settore alluminio e acciaio. Azioni che dovranno consolidare le relazioni commerciali rafforzando il coordinamento delle nostre priorità, quali la promozione dei diritti dei lavoratori, l’azione climatica, la gestione della trasformazione tecnologica. Serve quindi un rinnovato slancio nelle relazioni transatlantiche, perché le sfide comuni possano davvero trasformarsi in opportunità per i nostri cittadini e per le nostre imprese.

 
   
 

  Nathalie Loiseau (Renew). – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Haut représentant, dans son rapport aux États-Unis, l’Europe des 27 ressemble trop souvent aux trois petits singes de la tradition chinoise.

Surtout, ne rien entendre quand trois présidents américains d’affilée, Barack Obama, Donald Trump et Joe Biden, nous parlent de pivot vers l’Asie.

Surtout, ne rien voir quand les États-Unis quittent l’Afghanistan parce qu’ils sont fatigués d’être le gendarme du monde.

Surtout ne rien dire lorsque Washington rudoie ses alliés européens, de peur qu’il les rudoie encore davantage ou, pire, qu’il s’en désintéresse.

Pourtant, ces dernières semaines, l’Europe a su faire entendre sa voix. Après Kaboul, pour en tirer les leçons et avancer vers une défense européenne, comme l’a proposé la présidente de la Commission ici même, mais aussi après la mauvaise manière faite par l’Australie et les États-Unis, non seulement à la France, mais aussi à l’Europe tout entière.

Ce qu’il nous faut aujourd’hui, c’est renforcer le pilier européen de l’OTAN et construire une défense européenne crédible. Les États-Unis s’y disent désormais favorables. À nous de cesser de fermer les yeux et de boucher nos oreilles.

 
   
 

  Christian Ehler (PPE). – Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, what you can count on if you talk about the European-American lessons in this House is the hypocrisy of the populists in this House. The Left is protecting the European defence industry in the Australian issue and fighting any defence budget, any defence industries in Europe. The Right is giving up any kind of solidarity when French companies and France are losing a contract to which they have a right. It is hypocrisy and anti-Americanism, and it serves just two purposes.

Let’s turn now a little bit to the substance. Especially in regard to the newly established cooperation, the Trade and Technology Council, we see an opportunity that could yield massive benefits for both the EU as well as the US, and we will remove barriers from trade and investment. However, the positive aspects of TTC affect not only our bilateral relations, the TTC will also allow us to set joint standards.

It’s important to understand that, if we don’t join forces with the Americans, Chinese standards will rule. We won’t see a war, but we will see the domination and the will of the Chinese to establish a rule on that, so we should work together. We have the potential to work together, and that’s an ambition we should all share.

 
   
 

  Karin Karlsbro (Renew). – Herr talman, kollegor, höga representanten! En fri regelbaserad handel är en förutsättning för tillväxt, välstånd, utveckling och innovation, men är också ett verktyg för att trygga fred och säkerhet.

När vi ser den handelspolitiska världskartan blir det uppenbart att länder som delar demokratiska värderingar och synen på frihet måste samarbeta, inte motarbeta varandra. Det ligger i EU:s och USA:s gemensamma intresse att samverka för ett WTO som fungerar, en mer hållbar handel där prissättning av koldioxid integreras, och att forma standarder och samsyn kring teknikutveckling och dataöverföring. Vi måste, tillsammans, stärka mänskliga rättigheter i handelspolitiken och räcka ut en hand till andra demokratier, som Taiwan.

”Trade needs democracy”, sade USA:s handelsminister när hon besökte oss i somras. Så sant, men jag skulle också vilja säga att demokratin behöver handeln. Nu förväntar vi oss att USA lever upp till våra och omvärldens höga förväntningar. Europa, EU, är redo.

 
   
 

  José Ramón Bauzá Díaz (Renew). – Señor presidente, señor Borrell, en política internacional hay pocas certezas, pero esta es una de ellas: el mundo es un lugar más próspero y más libre cuanto más sólida es la alianza entre los Estados Unidos y Europa.

Cuando los Estados Unidos, el Reino Unido y Australia sellaron una de las alianzas más importantes en las últimas décadas, lo hicieron a espaldas de la Unión Europea. Quedarnos fuera de las alianzas que se están configurando en pleno siglo XXI es el precio a pagar precisamente por ser más autónomos.

Algunos, en Europa, creen que con China se puede desligar la política de los negocios y eso es simplemente imposible, porque, precisamente, otros lo han intentado antes que nosotros. Es el caso de los australianos, y sus soluciones y su acercamiento a los Estados Unidos demuestran que la equidistancia con China es simplemente imposible.

Señor Borrell, deberíamos aprender de la experiencia y los resultados y los ejemplos, en lugar de cuestionar las decisiones de nuestros socios. La alianza euroatlántica ha sostenido durante setenta años la causa de la libertad en el mundo y su deber es reforzar precisamente ese pilar, no debilitarlo, no debilitar lo que ya hemos construido entre todos —repito— durante casi setenta años.

 
   
 

  Βαγγέλης Μεϊμαράκης (PPE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, αναμφισβήτητα η αλλαγή της προεδρίας στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες της Αμερικής σηματοδότησε μια νέα, πολύ πιο θετική αρχή στις ευρω-ατλαντικές σχέσεις. Μετά από μια περίοδο συστηματικής απομάκρυνσης της Αμερικής από εμβληματικούς διεθνείς οργανισμούς και συμφωνίες, η εκλογή του προέδρου Μπάιντεν έδωσε μια νέα πνοή στην αμερικανική εξωτερική πολιτική, πράγμα που φάνηκε άλλωστε και κατά την επίσκεψή του στις Βρυξέλλες. Ωστόσο, από τη σύνταξη της πρόσφατης έκθεσης του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου για τις σχέσεις ΕΕ και Αμερικής έχουν μεσολαβήσει δύο καθοριστικά γεγονότα, τα οποία προβληματίζουν την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση: από τη μία η έξοδος των αμερικανικών στρατευμάτων από το Αφγανιστάν και η κατάληψη της εξουσίας από τους Ταλιμπάν, από την άλλη η αιφνίδια συμφωνία ΗΠΑ-Αυστραλίας και Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου, η οποία υπενθύμισε κάτι που έχουμε επανειλημμένα συζητήσει σε αυτήν εδώ την αίθουσα, την ανάγκη δηλαδή μιας πραγματικά ενιαίας και συντονισμένης ευρωπαϊκής εξωτερικής πολιτικής, καθώς και την ανάγκη ανάπτυξης της αυτόνομης αμυντικής προέκτασης της Ευρώπης. Ως νομοθέτες λοιπόν οφείλουμε να διδασκόμαστε από την Ιστορία, ειδάλλως είμαστε καταδικασμένοι να την επαναλαμβάνουμε αρνητική. Και αυτή η συγκυρία, αγαπητοί συνάδελφοι, είναι πραγματικά ιστορική, όπως και η ευθύνη μας να περάσουμε από τα λόγια στις πράξεις.

 
   
 

  Marie-Pierre Vedrenne (Renew). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, accord provisoire sur le différend Airbus-Boeing, retour à la table des négociations à l’OMC, réunion du Conseil du commerce et des technologies: cela correspondrait au retour américain de la coopération. Certes, l’arrivée de Joe Biden demeure une bonne nouvelle pour le climat, pour le social, pour les défis mondiaux; mais le dialogue transatlantique nécessite de créer et de maintenir la confiance pour un partenariat ambitieux et de long terme.

Néanmoins, ne soyons pas dupes, les États-Unis restent les États-Unis. Prenons un exemple très clair, les lois extraterritoriales. L’effet des sanctions américaines contre nos entreprises date des années 1990, bien avant Donald Trump, et l’administration démocrate n’y changera peut-être rien.

Alors notre objectif à nous, Européens, doit être de nous doter d’un arsenal législatif commercial puissant afin de défendre nos intérêts, particulièrement en contrant les mesures illégales unilatérales de nos partenaires. Soyons clairs: notre autonomie stratégique ne signifie pas confrontation, mais coopération d’égal à égal avec les mêmes armes au service de nos intérêts.

 
   
 

  Angelika Niebler (PPE). – Herr Präsident, Frau Vizepräsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen, liebe Kollegen! Nach der Wahl Joe Bidens gab es hohe Erwartungen, dass sich das transatlantische Verhältnis schnell und effizient verbessern werde. Aber leider haben sich diese Erwartungen bislang nicht erfüllt: AUKUS, unkoordinierter Abzug aus Afghanistan, keine Fortschritte beim Abbau von Zöllen.

Richtig ist, dass die USA unser wichtigster strategischer Partner sind. Aber Partnerschaft setzt Vertrauen voraus. Und ich denke, sowohl wir als Europäische Union als auch die USA sind hier gefordert. Wir haben gemeinsame Interessen, und auf diese sollten wir uns gerade auch im Hinblick auf die Zusammenarbeit beim neu geschaffenen Technologie- und Handelsrat konzentrieren.

Beispielsweise in der Halbleiterproduktion: Wir haben Lücken in den Lieferketten. Ich glaube, es ist ganz, ganz wichtig, hier gemeinsam zusammenzuarbeiten, um die Lücken in der Lieferkette zu schließen, die Produktion hochzufahren. Beispiel Digitalisierung: neue Regeln gemeinsam schaffen – für KI, für die Plattformökonomie und dergleichen. Und natürlich unser Verhältnis zu China: Auch da, denke ich, müssen wir strategisch viel enger zusammenarbeiten. Last but not least – Kollege Sikorski hat es angesprochen –: Ich denke, jetzt ist die Zeit, die Stunde, um auch an einer gemeinsamen europäischen Verteidigungsunion zu arbeiten.

 
   
 

  Brando Benifei (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, gli Stati Uniti con l’elezione di Biden hanno voltato pagina, abbandonando l’unilateralismo e riportando la discussione sul piano multilaterale, seppure con un atteggiamento non uniforme, pensiamo ad esempio alla vicenda afghana, che rilancia la necessità di una autonomia strategica e di difesa europea.

Ci sono però molti temi su cui lavorare insieme. Penso alla neutralità climatica entro il 2050, un punto fondamentale su cui rifondare il nostro rapporto transatlantico. Poi penso al tema dei diritti, la recente legge contro l’aborto votata nello stato del Texas, che rappresenta un passo indietro per la libertà delle donne, un tema su cui anche in Europa stiamo portando avanti un lavoro e una battaglia. Penso poi al tema del digitale, la regolamentazione dell’intelligenza artificiale e il flusso transatlantico dei dati, un tema veramente cruciale e complesso.

Ecco, abbiamo molto, molto da fare e mi auguro che il Parlamento europeo e il Congresso americano possano collaborare insieme per disegnare un futuro più sostenibile e più giusto per il nostro pianeta.

 
   
 

  Javi López (S&D). – Señor presidente, señor vicepresidente, señora comisaria, nuestras relaciones con los Estados Unidos son un pilar central para nuestra seguridad, para la defensa de las democracias en el mundo, para articular los espacios multilaterales y para regular el comercio y la tecnología.

Y cualquier relación, para que funcione, debe estar basada en el respeto mutuo, en la autonomía y en la confianza, en la confianza mutua.

Y también cualquier relación, para que funcione, tiene que estar basada en el reconocimiento de la realidad. Y la realidad es que los Estados Unidos están tomando la decisión estratégica de retirarse de Asia Central y de Oriente Próximo; que, al mismo tiempo, están articulando una malla de alianzas en materia de seguridad más allá de la OTAN: los Cinco Ojos, el AUKUS, el Quad, para centrarse en lo que es su principal interés: la contención de China. Y que están tomando estas decisiones importantes sin nosotros.

Todo eso debería llevarnos a reforzar la relación que tenemos, sin duda, con los Estados Unidos, pero también empujarnos, cómo no, a tener capacidades propias, alianzas propias y, evidentemente, posiciones propias en el mundo para defender nuestros intereses y nuestros valores.

 
   
 

  Massimiliano Salini (PPE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, abbiamo due punti di osservazione per analizzare quello che sta succedendo nelle relazioni tra Europa e Stati Uniti.

Il primo è commerciale. Eurostat ci dice che, per la prima volta nel 2020, le relazioni con la Cina sono superiori alle relazioni con gli Stati Uniti, ma con una differenza: l’Europa esporta molto di più verso gli Stati Uniti di quanto non esporti verso la Cina . Quindi ha più vantaggio nella relazione con gli Stati Uniti.

Il secondo punto è la difesa, più volte ricordata. In Afghanistan abbiamo avuto l’evidenza di un errore condiviso, tanto è vero che la reazione degli Stati Uniti è stata quella di mettere in discussione il rapporto con noi attraverso l’accordo Aukus con Regno Unito e Australia. Ma non illudiamoci: la nostra autonomia non deriverà da una separazione ulteriore dagli Stati Uniti. La nostra autonomia, soprattutto in politica estera e di difesa, consiste in un’appartenenza matura alla NATO, non da una divisione. Confidiamo nella tradizionale famiglia che lega Unione europea e Stati Uniti d’America: questo è l’Occidente.

 
   
 

  Billy Kelleher (Renew). – Mr President, I welcome the opportunity to speak on this particular issue and I point out that there are strong historical bonds between many European nations and the United States of America, so the transatlantic alliance is significant and very important for many reasons.

Of course, we should also be mindful of the fact that we do not always agree. Ireland is a small nation, it doesn’t always agree with the foreign policy of the United States of America, and it might also not agree with foreign policy of Member States within the European Union.

The areas on which we can agree collectively would be the whole area of climate change and the need to address that with the resources of the European Union and the United States of America, ensuring that other large players, like China, Russia, India and other trading blocs come together to ensure that the climate change agenda is kept very much to the fore, and ensuring that there is real and significant action on it to ensure that citizens globally can benefit from a healthy environment in the time ahead.

To be very clear: the transatlantic alliance is important, but it must be refocused not on areas of defence, but on areas of climate change and humanitarian aid to poorer regions of the world as well.

 
   
 

  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, depois dos anos sombrios de Trump na Casa Branca, a nova administração democrata de Joe Biden representa uma nova esperança para o multilateralismo e para o relançamento da relação transatlântica.

É certo que alguns vieram aqui dizer que nada de essencial mudou, mas para isso é preciso ignorar os sinais positivos: a cimeira entre a União Europeia e os Estados Unidos, durante a Presidência portuguesa, com a reafirmação clara da Parceria Transatlântica e dos compromissos com a NATO, o que não é –, nem para eles, nem para nós –, incompatível com a valorização do Indo-Pacífico, o regresso dos Estados Unidos ao Acordo de Paris e a suspensão da guerra comercial em torno dos litígios Boeing e Airbus, Não é pouco.

Mas é verdade que houve também sinais contraditórios: a descoordenação com os aliados na retirada do Afeganistão e este estranho acordo seletivo com o Reino Unido e a Austrália para a segurança no Indo-Pacífico e os negócios de armamento.

O importante agora é dar passos concretos que permitam reforçar a confiança perdida. Acabar de vez com as tarifas aduaneiras sobre o aço e o alumínio. Aproveitar a recente iniciativa de um fórum de cooperação transatlântico para o comércio e a tecnologia, para liderarmos em conjunto os desafios da transição digital, e trabalhar, também em conjunto, para combater o trabalho forçado e o trabalho infantil nos acordos comerciais, e abrir caminho para relançar as negociações de um grande acordo comercial entre a União Europeia e os Estados Unidos.

Esta deve ser a ambição da nossa agenda com os Estados Unidos da América.

 
   
 

  Geoffroy Didier (PPE). – Monsieur le Président, la manière dont les autorités françaises se sont laissé tromper dans l’affaire du contrat des sous-marins en dit beaucoup sur la naïveté de la France et de l’Europe à l’égard des États-Unis.

Après avoir donné beaucoup de leçons à l’Amérique durant la présidence, certes turbulente, de Donald Trump, nous pensions que Joe Biden romprait avec l’America first de son prédécesseur et redeviendrait le gendarme du monde et notre ami en toutes circonstances. Oui, les États-Unis sont nos alliés et le resteront. Mais un président américain pense avant tout à son peuple, à ses soldats sur le front, à ses familles qui veulent les voir rentrer à la maison et à ses intérêts commerciaux et financiers. Qui peut lui en vouloir?

J’invite l’Union européenne à se réveiller et à renoncer à son attentisme et à sa candeur. Nous n’avons plus d’autre choix que de concevoir et de mettre en œuvre une véritable indépendance stratégique, que ce soit sur le plan militaire, commercial ou diplomatique. L’Europe d’abord, Europe first, voici ce qui devrait être une évidence, mais qui est malheureusement redevenu un combat, en plus d’être une urgence.

 
   
 

  Sven Simon (PPE). – Herr Präsident, sehr geehrte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Diese Debatte lässt einen schon teilweise ein bisschen verzweifeln. Wir diskutieren über die Beziehungen der Europäischen Union zu den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika vor dem Hintergrund aufstrebender Mächte wie China, die unsere Normen und unser Wertesystem beeinflussen wollen. Hier ist ein systemischer Rivale entstanden. Die USA sind zurück auf der Weltbühne, die Europäer sind es nicht. Das zeigt auch diese Debatte heute ganz deutlich. Wir sind kein attraktiver Partner. Auch bei dieser Entschließung stelle ich mir ein bisschen die Frage: Was soll man eigentlich als Partner daraus nehmen? Es ist ein Sammelsurium aus allem. Wir legen die Latte hoch, wollen genau eins zu eins die Standards, die wir Europäer im Klimaschutz, in gesellschaftspolitischen Fragen haben, auch von anderen sehen, insbesondere von den USA.

Aber ich frage mich: Warum geht von heute nicht die klare Botschaft aus: Wir wollen ein Handels- und Verteidigungsabkommen und ein Handelsabkommen und das Verteidigungsabkommen mit den Amerikanern erneuern! Warum sagen wir das nicht so deutlich? Ich verstehe es auch nicht. Die linke und die grüne Seite dieses Hauses legt die Latte so hoch, dass ich mir manchmal die Frage stelle: Die Chinesen sind eine Milliarde, wir noch nicht mal die Hälfte. Glauben Sie im Ernst, dass wir alleine als Europa unsere liberale Demokratie, unsere Werte erhalten können? Wir brauchen ein Handelsabkommen mit den Amerikanern. Warum bekennen Sie sich heute nicht dazu?

 
   
 

  Κώστας Μαυρίδης (S&D). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, θερμά συγχαρητήρια στον συνάδελφό μου, Tonino Picula, για την έκθεσή του για το μέλλον των σχέσεων Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης-ΗΠΑ, ένα τόσο σημαντικό και επίκαιρο θέμα. Σημαντικό, επειδή η στενή συνεργασία από το εμπόριο μέχρι την ασφάλεια βασίστηκαν στις κοινές αξίες, κοινές προτεραιότητες και κοινά συμφέροντα και έτσι πρέπει να συνεχίσει και να διευρυνθεί σε θέματα που καταγράφονται στην έκθεση, όπως την κλιματική αλλαγή, τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα, την ψηφιακή μετάβαση, την τρομοκρατία και άλλα. Ωστόσο, όπως οι ΗΠΑ προσαρμόζονται στις δικές τους προτεραιότητες, η δική μας προτεραιότητα είναι η αντιμετώπιση των απειλών που είναι υπαρκτές από τον Καύκασο μέχρι την Ανατολική Μεσόγειο. Η στρατηγική αυτονομία και η ευρωπαϊκή αμυντική ένωση, για τα οποία μιλούσαν προνοητικά κάποιοι εδώ μέσα, είναι πλέον αναγκαιότητα, επειδή τα γεγονότα στο Αφγανιστάν και στον Ειρηνικό μάς έχουν ξεπεράσει. Τέλος, πριν μερικές μέρες είχαμε την αμυντική συμφωνία Γαλλίας-Ελλάδας, η οποία μπορεί να αποτελέσει ένα βήμα σε αυτή τη μεγάλη πορεία για μια Ευρώπη με κοινή άμυνα και κοινή ασφάλεια και γεωπολιτικό ρόλο στον κόσμο.

 
   
 

  Clara Aguilera (S&D). – Señor presidente, señorías, la relación de la Unión Europea con los Estados Unidos es muy importante, sin lugar a dudas, para nosotros. Pero, señorías, ya somos mayores de edad y tenemos que apostar por nosotros mismos y tener una política exterior propia. Los objetivos principales de la Unión Europea deben ser nuestras prioridades internacionales. Necesitamos una estrategia clara.

El presidente Biden, para algunos de nosotros —creo que para la mayoría—, supuso una euforia inicial, pero pasados unos meses estamos viendo que es una gran decepción. El «America First» continúa. Por tanto, la Unión Europea no puede mostrarse expectante, sino que debemos aprovechar la oportunidad y marcar nuestro propio rumbo en política exterior, y también en política comercial y de defensa.

También, señorías, la salida del Reino Unido está teniendo su incidencia en estas relaciones.

En definitiva, debemos tener en Europa nuestros intereses propios y una estrategia clara ante la política internacional y, también, en la política transatlántica.

 
   
 

  Sunčana Glavak (PPE). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, poštovana povjerenice, kolegice i kolege, kolega Picula hvala na izvješću. Transatlantsko partnerstvo ključno je za izgradnju međunarodnog poretka temeljenog na zajedničkim vrijednostima slobode, demokracije, poštivanja ljudskih prava te očuvanja vladavine prava, no i nove izazove zelene tranzicije gdje moramo uložiti zajedničke napore.

Danas je globalna situacija promijenjena, svi to vidimo, a transatlantska veza oslabljena. Vidjeli smo to na primjerima prijašnje američke administracije, ali i nedavnih akcija Bidenove administracije koja će zacijelo imati utjecaj na naše odnose u budućnosti.

Europska unija, slažem se, treba jačati vlastite sposobnosti kako bi zadržala stratešku relevantnost u međunarodnoj sferi. No, to nećemo moći sami. Htjela bih iskoristiti prigodu na kraju kako bih istaknula nedavno ukidanje viznog režima između Sjedinjenih Američkih Država i Republike Hrvatske kao pozitivan primjer razvoja transatlantskih odnosa, očekujući da će puni vizni režim i reciprocitet uspostaviti s preostalim državama članicama Europske unije.

Naše partnerstvo najjače je kada se zajedno suočavamo s velikim izazovima, a zajednička prošlost predstavlja garanciju bliske suradnje i budućnosti.

 
   
 

  Victor Negrescu (S&D). – Domnule președinte, dragi colegi, parteneriatul cu Statele Unite este extrem de important pentru viitorul Europei și asigurarea unui climat de pace și stabilitate la nivel mondial.

Statele Unite nu sunt doar un partener, ci un aliat strategic, cu care împărtășim valori democratice comune, alături de care trebuie să găsim soluții la provocările de securitate, cele generate de pandemie sau de noile evoluții în domeniul digital sau de mediu.

Pentru asta, cooperarea cu Statele Unite și, în mod special, cu noua administrație americană, trebuie extinsă prin identificarea unor noi metode de colaborare. Dar pentru ca această dezvoltare a cooperării să fie un succes, este central ca toate statele membre să beneficieze de aceleași drepturi.

De aceea solicit din nou în Parlamentul European ca românii să poată călători în Statele Unite fără vize. Acest lucru depinde de voința politică a decidenților din ambele părți ale Atlanticului și reprezintă un drept la reciprocitate totală, garantat de fapt de mecanismele europene.

Am încredere că actualul context politic internațional poate permite acest lucru și că parteneriatul cu Statele Unite va intra într-o nouă perioadă de dezvoltare.

 
   
 

  Raphaël Glucksmann (S&D). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, vous avez beaucoup parlé de mariage, mais qu’est-ce que le secret d’un mariage heureux, sinon l’égalité entre les époux? Or, ce n’est pas le cas.

Du retrait unilatéral et chaotique de Kaboul au rapt du contrat du siècle au détriment de la France, l’administration américaine ne nous consulte pas, elle ne nous considère pas. Donald Trump n’était pas qu’un accident et America first n’était pas qu’un slogan passager: c’est le cœur de la politique américaine. Les États-Unis poursuivent leurs intérêts stratégiques et il est temps pour nous, Européens, de faire pareil, de devenir adultes, d’oser l’autonomie et la puissance.

Investissons dans nos propres capacités de défense. Menons une politique commerciale au service de nos principes et de nos intérêts. Montrons aux Américains qu’ils ont besoin d’alliés et non de vassaux. Coopérons là où nos intérêts convergent. Luttons ensemble contre le dérèglement climatique, le terrorisme international ou l’agressivité grandissante du régime chinois. Bannissons ensemble les produits de l’esclavage des Ouïgours. Combattons ensemble l’évasion fiscale mondiale. Mais donnons-nous nous-mêmes, à nous Européens, les moyens de défendre seuls nos intérêts stratégiques s’il le faut.

Chers collègues, soyons enfin respectables et nous serons respectés.

 
   
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, Europe and the United States have always been allies, but it is no secret that, under Donald Trump, with the US acting more unilaterally, this friendship became much more difficult manage. With President Biden, a man who believes in multilateral solutions, there is a renewed sense of hope for improved relations.

The US is in the process of redefining itself on the international stage, and the EU must take this new approach into consideration as we move forward, working together on areas of common interest, not just about deepening trade, but also on defending democratic principles, human rights, cooperation on cybersecurity and, of course, the planet’s greatest challenge: climate change. I agree with increased interparliamentary cooperation in particular in this regard, but we must also stand firm on matters of importance to Europeans.

Lastly, we are now entering a crucial phase with the Northern Ireland Protocol and we heard yesterday the brash words at the Tory Party conference. However, it has heartened me to hear the strong words from President Biden on the protocol. An Irishman never forgets his roots, and Joe Biden is very proud of his Irish roots. Maith thú, Joe.

 
   
 

  Christophe Hansen (PPE). – Mr President, this summer’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, followed by the formation of the AUKUS pact between Australia, the UK and the US, without due consultation between allies, we all agree were nothing short of an affront.

The lesson to be drawn from this is that as long as we lack credible political will to back our own security commitments, or as long as we cannot speak as one on foreign policy, the EU is only strong when embedded in alliances. Our open strategic autonomy is fundamentally linked to our capacity to take up leading roles in standard setting with like—minded partners.

Therefore, I am glad that last week’s first meeting of the Trade and Technology Council produced hopeful results, against all odds. I urge the EU to seize this window of opportunity for deepened bilateral collaboration, for example, to combat distortive trade practices, including in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

When the EU and the US are fighting each other, Beijing and the Kremlin rejoice. And only when the EU and the US work together on setting standards for the 21st century, the world pays attention.

 
   
 

  Ylva Johansson, Member of the Commission, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, HR/VP Borrell had to leave to speak to the Parliament’s Conference of Committee Chairs so I will close this debate on his behalf.

Your report and the debate today bear testimony to your continued interest and engagement on the future of the transatlantic relationship. The challenges facing the world at this time are significant. You mentioned a number of them, for instance on China. The EU and US are facing similar challenges related to China’s growing assertiveness. This is why HR/VP Borrell and US State Secretary Blinken launched the EU–US dialogue on China in March this year.

On trade and technology. The recent Pittsburgh meeting was an opportunity for a strategic discussion on the future of TTC, defining programmes for 10 working groups and announcing deliverables in five areas: export control, AI, semiconductors, investment screening and global trade challenges.

Stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic, and beyond, will be enhanced by our ability to work together, which is part of the EU’s strategic autonomy. Having the capacity to act autonomously when and where necessary, and with partners including the US, wherever possible. Therefore, together, we have the opportunity and a responsibility to collaborate on the key challenges of our day.

Safeguarding the health and well-being of our people, like the recent Croatia visa waiver shows, and our planet, supporting and encouraging democratic values and promoting international peace, security and economic prosperity for all. Thank you for your important contribution and your support for our work.

 
   
 

  Tonino Picula, rapporteur. – Mr President, first of all, I would like to say that I am grateful to the shadow rapporteurs for their truly constructive cooperation. I also want to thank the Committee on International Trade (INTA) for their opinion work that complemented this report very much.

I have just returned from a fact—finding mission to the United States, where I gathered the last information to prepare a report for the final vote tomorrow. The main finding from the visit is that the transatlantic relationship, as known for most of the post-Second World War period, needs reinvention.

A combination of Building Back Better at home, a shift towards more foreign policy restraint, US unpredictability due to domestic polarisation, and reorientation to China and Asia confirm that the transatlantic relationship can no longer be taken for granted. We need to redefine and rebalance a relationship that still can, and should, contribute to shaping the world, along with a full—fledged democratic alliance.

I have heard many concrete suggestions during the debate today. It’s clear that the US remains our most important strategic partner, but the time for nostalgia is shrinking. The sooner we accept the new reality, the better the chances are to reinvent this critical relationship on a more equal footing. We have to go beyond defence and trade cooperation and work together to reinforce the multilateral system, cooperate on climate change, the global response to the health crisis and the protection of democratic standards and fundamental rights.

The European Union is a union of states, whereas the United States is the United States. My main take from today is that the internal cohesion of the European Union is of crucial importance for our position and perception in the multipolar world.

Finally, throughout this mandate, we listen to the ambitions of this Commission to be a geopolitical Commission. The relationship with the US is perhaps the best test of that ambition, and we have no time to lose in fulfilling it.

 
   
 

  Der Präsident. – Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung über die Änderungsanträge findet heute, Dienstag, 5. Oktober 2021, statt. Die Schlussabstimmung findet morgen, Mittwoch, 6. Oktober 2021, statt.

 
3. The situation in Belarus after one year of protests and their violent repression (debate)
 

  Ylva Johansson, Member of the Commission, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President thank you, dear Members of the European Parliament, on behalf of HR/VP Borrell and myself, let me thank this Parliament for your relentless efforts to support the people of Belarus and for your support of our work. The EU remains united in face of the brutal repression and the continuing provocations by the Lukashenko regime and in support of the Belarusian people.

Last time Belarus was addressed in this EP plenary was on 8 June, after the Lukashenko regime forced a Ryanair flight between two EU capitals to land, in order to arrest a journalist and his companion. Less than two weeks later the Foreign Affairs Council adopted a robust package of sanctions against 78 individuals, eight entities and seven sectors of the economy.

One year after the fraudulent elections, the situation in Belarus remains dire. The Lukashenko regime continues its systematic efforts to silence all remaining independent voices in the country – independent press, human rights defenders and civil society at large.

Prominent representatives of the opposition to Lukashenko have been condemned to long prison sentences in political trials conducted behind closed doors. There are now more than 700 political prisoners in the country – a number that continues to increase.

The oppression and persecution of the Belarusian people is utterly unacceptable. So what are we doing to respond to Lukashenko?

From the very outset, the EU provided a package of emergency assistance to the victims of repression and state violence and to independent media, and we supported the legitimate quest of the Belarusian people for rule of law and free and fair elections. We continue to work for justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators. We continue to raise the human rights situation in all relevant international fora, leading international reactions against Lukashenko’s brutal and illegal actions.

We also want to send a message of hope and assurance of our continued support to the people of Belarus. Therefore, we have published a plan for a EUR 3 billion economic and investment package in support of a democratic Belarus that we will activate if and when the country changes its current course.

The state-run instrumentalisation of migrants is another worrying example of Lukashenko’s blatant disregard of international norms. People and air routes are being sourced by the regime and imported to Belarus. This year we have seen already more than 6 000 irregular arrivals coming across the Belarus—EU border, compared to barely 150 last year. People originally from Iraq, but also from Congo, Cameroon, Syria.

Belarus is not on any known migration route from these countries. Belarus is not a country under migratory pressure. People normally seek asylum from Belarus, not in Belarus. The regime is using human beings in an unprecedented way to put pressure on the European Union and making a lot of money as well.

People come in trips organised by the state tourist company Centrkurort, stay in state-approved hotels, pay a deposit of many thousand dollars, which they never get back. They lure people to Minsk, who are then transported towards the border in unmarked minivans by men in unmarked uniforms.

Lukashenko’s desperation is evidence that sanctions are hurting. Each day reinforces the impression that these are frenetic steps from a regime that can see the tide of history turning.

His goal is to destabilise the European Union, but he has gravely miscalculated. Our response has been one of unity and solidarity and action, a response that has been noted both by global partners and our allies in Minsk. Our relentless outreach to partners is working. We are observing a sharp drop in irregular arrivals from Belarus in recent weeks.

HR/VP Borrell has been key in persuading Iraq to stop all flights from Baghdad to Minsk, and now we are reaching out to other countries of origin in Africa whose citizens are being misled and victimised by Lukashenko.

We must be firm against Lukashenko and we must be clear with partner countries. One predictable element is that the weather will take a turn for the worse. People should not put themselves at risk.

In direct response to these unprecedented actions, the action plan against migrant smuggling the Commission presented last week, called this new and serious development by its name: state-sponsored migrant smuggling. And we have proposed to the council to partially suspend the visa facilitation agreement for government officials from Belarus, while keeping the benefits of visa facilitation for the people of Belarus.

The EU has shown its full solidarity with our Member States. I visited Lithuania in August. We activated our agencies emergency assistance and the Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism. Lithuanian authorities have worked very well with European partners. I thank them for their transparency, their European approach.

And last week I visited Poland, where I discussed the provocations at the border with Interior Minister Kamiński and the recent tragic deaths at the borders. I learnt a lot about the situation and my main message is, and was, we must protect our shared borders with shared EU resources based on shared values.

We must stand firm and united towards Lukashenko, and we must do it in a way that shows that we, the European Union, are based on other values, on the rule of law and in full respect of the fundamental rights. We must protect our borders and our values. We agreed in Warsaw last week that a delegation from my services arriving tomorrow will visit Poland to continue discussions.

Dear Members, let me conclude by stressing that countering disinformation from the Lukashenko regime remains key. We need to keep strengthening communication and awareness-raising efforts in parallel to our support to the Belarusian democratic forces. The European Union stands by the Belarusian people now, and we will do so in the future.

 
   
 

  Andrius Kubilius, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, Madam Commissioner, dear colleagues, all of us we know what crimes against Belarusian people Lukashenko is committing, for what international crimes he is responsible. There is no need to repeat all the list. I would like to use this opportunity to thank Commissioner for your support for the Lithuanian authorities in defence of EU borders.

But the only way out from this crisis is new, free and fair elections in Belarus, which not only Lukashenko, but also Putin are so heavily afraid of. There are three major factors, which are making influence on developments in Belarus: Belarusian peoples’ protest, Putin’s support for the brutal Lukashenko regime and western support for Belarusian people.

With the lack of clear Western leadership in resolving the Belarusian crisis, with the protests temporarily silenced by brutal force, there is the only one significant factor in the field – Putin’s support to Lukashenko, and Putin is responsible for all Lukashenko’s crimes.

This is why the EU has to make it clear that if the Kremlin continues its current policy on Belarus, the EU will have to introduce additional containment and deterrence measures on Russia.

And second what we need to do, we need to consider bringing Lukashenko crimes to the International Court of Justice immediately on the basis of the Chicago Convention, Montreal Convention and the Convention against Torture Violations. In addition, EU needs to establish a special task force to work with universal jurisdiction cases at the EU and Member States level.

the EU needs to show real leadership and to prove that it is able to resolve major political and humanitarian crisis on its borders.

And Žyvie Belarus!

 
   
 

  Pedro Marques, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, in less than a month, we’ll be celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, regrettable as it may be, new walls have been built to impede freedom to enter some countries. Sometimes they are not built with bricks and concrete: they are made out of repression and violation of fundamental freedoms. Every one of the thousands of protesters’ detentions, every violation of human rights, every unfair judicial decision is a brick in that wall.

Belarusian people deserve and expect freedom, democracy and prosperity. The regime of Lukashenko does not hesitate to deliver the opposite just to keep him in power, whatever it takes. Now he has completely crossed the boundaries of humanity, weaponing human beings by smuggling migrants beyond the Belarusian border. This is totally unacceptable.

The EU must react, strengthening and broadening the sanctions against those responsible for the state-organised smuggling and the people that continue assuring the survival of the regime. Action is needed. Additional action is clearly needed from the side of the EU and in the international community.

It is clear that Lukashenko went too far, but this by no means can justify the way all these migrants are being treated at our borders. The situation on the border between Poland and Belarus is dramatic, with migrants dying during the cold nights without adequate protection. Many, including children, are stuck in limbo for weeks, with others being pushed back.

The EU must be clear about what European values are about. Yes, saving lives. Yes, promoting democracy. Yes, promoting human rights in Belarus – but also in our own borders.

 
   
 

  Petras Auštrevičius, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, Madam Commissioner, dear colleagues, there is no single article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the Lukashenko regime has not broken. And, again, my appreciation and solidarity go to the Belarusian people, civil society and the democratic opposition, who have endured and continue the heroic struggle for a future democratic Belarus.

The Lukashenko regime is in full denial and self-solation, but courted by a neighbour in the east. After refusing cooperation with the European Union, Lukashenko is on his way to fulfil the following threats: to flood the European Union with migrants, drugs and even nuclear waste. For several months now Lithuania, Latvia and Poland have been under massive hybrid attack, as the Lukashenko regime instrumentalises irregular migrants in revenge for the EU sanctions.

Dear colleagues, Lukashenko sees no boundaries. His rule and act on behalf of the Belarusian people have no legitimacy. Lukashenko is a former president of Belarus. He has no right to bargain with the sovereignty of Belarus.

In addition to the brutal repression against the people of Belarus, Lukashenko commits acts of state terrorism, all of which fall within the definition of universal jurisdiction and require prompt decisions from the international community and the European Union in particular.

I call on the European Union to come up with next, effective and regime’s behaviour—changing sanctions to stop Lukashenko’s crackdown on Belarusian people and its hybrid attacks on neighbouring EU Member States.

Zhyve Belarus!

 
   
 

  Sergey Lagodinsky, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, just a couple of years ago, we thought we were living in the age of authoritarians. Now we know better. We live in the age of heroes. The Belarusians, the Russians and the Turks have proved to us that heroes are amongst us, the heroes of our times. But calling them heroes alone will not help them much. It will not save their lives and will not bring them back their freedom.

The European Union has made strategic mistakes during this hero journey. Too timid, too slow, too late and too weak. Those were our responses. Too little Europe on the side of Belarusians and, frankly, too many Belarusians that told us not to be on their side at the beginning of this process.

It is time to correct the past mistakes. We must use comprehensive sanctions, close the loopholes for exporters to the EU and stop financing the regime by international organisations. We must start legal proceedings against Lukashenko himself and indict him for the torture of his own citizens. The evidence is there. It’s evident.

Last but not least, the European external services must start centralising and coordinating the national policies vis-à-vis Belarus. Just like in the case of climate, our ability to act internationally will decide whether the EU will survive or implode in the coming years. Our policy vis-à-vis Belarus is a case in point.

 
   
 

  Jaak Madison, fraktsiooni ID nimel. – Aitäh esimehele, austatud proua Johansson! Kuna mul on kaks ja pool minutit aega, siis ma räägin rahulikult, et tõlgid jõuaksid ka ära tõlkida, sest tihti on tõlkega probleeme, kus osa teksti jääb kohale jõudmata.

Esiteks: Valgevene on väga kompleksne küsimus. Mis puudutab demokraatiat, siis mitmed eelkõnelejad, head Leedu kolleegid, on rõhutanud vajadust korraldada uued valimised Valgevenes, demokraatlikud valimised, ja et Lukašenka ei ole legitiimne president. Põhimõtteliselt jah, sellega võib nõustuda – jah, demokraatlikud valimised on vajalikud, aga kus ma oleksin väga ettevaatlik, on siiski see, et (me oleme) mitte ainult Euroopa Liidu riigid, vaid ka üleüldiselt lääneriigid on üritanud kuidagi kunstlikult eksportida demokraatiat kolmandatesse riikidesse, ehk me läheme õpetama mingeid riike, kuidas nad peavad oma igapäevaelu elama. Ma olin mõni aasta tagasi Valgevenes mitu päeva ametlikul visiidil rahvusparlamendi liikmetega ja loomulikult tegemist ei ole selliste valmistega nagu on Eestis või Saksamaal või mõnes muus Euroopa riigis, aga samal ajal mina ei võtaks endale seda õigust minna neile ütlema, et kuidas te peate nüüd täpselt elama, ehk ma siiski üritaksin võimalikult vähe sekkuda riikide siseasjadesse.

Teine küsimus on siiski see oht, mis lähtub nendest riikidest nagu näiteks Valgevene. Mul on ääretult hea meel, et nüüd tänu Valgevenele naljakal kombel, on ka näiteks proua Johansson korduvalt väitnud, et illegaalne immigratsioon, mida mahitab Valgevene, on vastuvõetamatu, see on kuritegelik. Ja samuti on selgelt tulnud sõnumid Euroopa Komisjonist, et üheks efektiivseks vahendiks inimkaubitsejatelt töö äravõtmiseks on füüsilised piiritõkked. Ehk siis Valgevene režiim kasutab praegu ära meie nõrkust ja meie nõrkus on see, et me näiteks viimase kahekümne või kolmekümne aasta jooksul ei ole piisavalt investeerinud omaenda välispiiride kaitsesse, ja alles nüüd me avastasime, et oih, Läti ja Valgevene või Leedu ja Valgevene piiril pole füüsilist tõket, et sealt ei saaks üle jalutada piirist – see on täiesti vastuvõetamatu. Samuti nagu on Eesti ja Venemaa piiril, [kus] pole füüsilist tõket piisavalt, seetõttu mul on väga hea meel, et suund on muutunud ja ma loodan, et ka Euroopa Komisjon kiidab heaks lõpuks selle, et Euroopa Liidu rahalisi vahendeid kulutada füüsiliste tõkete ehitamiseks. Suur aitäh teile!

 
   
 

  Anna Fotyga, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, there is unity between Russia and China in keeping usurper Lukashenko in power. In case of Russia, we see even instigation to brutal crackdown on Belarusian society by the usurper Lukashenko, as well as waging elements of hybrid war on neighbours, namely Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Also, in some cases, other countries.

I would just like to mention some cases of brutal crackdown on society. Andzelika Borys has been already 196 days in prison and Andrzej Poczobut, just two days less. Maria Kolesnikova was sentenced to 11 years in prison and Maxim Znak for 10 years in prison.

In case of hybrid war, we have to abandon naivety and clearly see the aggressor and differentiate between aggressor and victims. The activity of Lukashenko is an internationally-condemned criminal activity on this, and I see traces of misunderstanding even in this chamber when we speak about a variety of countries under pressure. Remember that Poland is one of the main defenders of the EU unity in this.

 
   
 

  Manu Pineda, en nombre del Grupo The Left. – Señor presidente, sinceramente, me va a costar hablar de la situación de los derechos humanos en Bielorrusia con la que hay liada en la frontera que tiene con Polonia, Letonia y Lituania. Tenemos tres Estados miembros de la Unión Europea incumpliendo flagrantemente el Derecho internacional y suspendiendo de facto el derecho de asilo desde el pasado verano. Han desplegado sus ejércitos, declarado los estados de emergencia y hecho devoluciones en caliente a Bielorrusia de personas solicitantes de asilo, lo que les ha costado una reprimenda del Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos.

A este despliegue se añade el de los matones de Frontex. Y, claro, uno puede pensar que están intentando que Bielorrusia sea la nueva Turquía, Marruecos o Libia, es decir, un país tapón, una frontera externalizada más.

El caso es que las personas que están intentando llegar a la Unión Europea a través de Bielorrusia vienen principalmente de Afganistán y de Irak. Convendrá conmigo, señora Johansson, en que no son paraísos precisamente. Creo que Europa debería asumir alguna vez su responsabilidad en esos conflictos. Quien siembra guerra recoge o debe recoger refugiados.

Ustedes pueden seguir hablando de guerra híbrida, azuzando a la OTAN para que presione a Bielorrusia y demás, pero la única solución es exigir a nuestros socios que respeten los derechos humanos. Hablamos de acogida digna, respeto del derecho de asilo, y de una cosa que le encanta a Polonia: reparto solidario de las personas refugiadas y migrantes. No está mal que por una vez algunos de los países más insolidarios de la Unión Europea vean qué significa para ciudades como Ceuta ser frontera exterior de la Unión Europea.

 
   
 

  Kinga Gál (NI). – Elnök Úr! Már egy éve, hogy a fehérorosz választások után a tüntetéseknek erőszakos módon vetettek véget a belorusz hatóságok. Hányan vannak azóta börtönben? A helyzet azóta drasztikusan romlott, és a belorusz kormány továbbra is elfogadhatatlan módon figyelmen kívül hagy minden nemzetközi kötelezettséget. A belorusz, lengyel, litván és lett határon kialakult migrációs helyzetet illetően teljes szolidaritással állunk Lengyelország, Litvánia, Lettország mellett. Minden segítséget meg kell adni Lengyelországnak, Litvániának, hiszen az EU külső határait védik.

Ma egyértelműnek tűnik, hogy a határzár, a kerítés megoldás az illegális tömeges migráció megfékezésére. Bezzeg a magyar kormány az országot és az EU külső határait védő kerítés építése miatt csak bírálatot és támadást kap mai napig Brüsszeltől. Magyarország megvédte a nyugat-európai tagállamokat és ezt teszi ma is a déli határon, ahogy most Lengyelország és Litvánia a keleti határszakaszon. Mindent meg kell tenni, hogy a migráció ne lehessen politikai zsaroló eszköz.

 
   
 

  Sandra Kalniete (PPE). – Mr President, the Lukashenko regime is exploiting a well-documented Russian playbook of hybrid instruments: in this case, state-sponsored illegal migration. The regime is cynically weaponising the human beings to overwhelm the asylum system of Eastern European countries and Member States, stoke political tension and undermine the EU’s ability to react to other crises. It is a true hybrid war.

Therefore, the European Commission must prepare relevant legislative proposals, providing Member States with the necessary safeguards to efficiently respond to such provocations. I also call for a swift adoption of the fifth package of sanctions, including the sanctions related to smuggling into the EU of illegal migrants.

Belarusian people deserve better men: change. They aspire for democratic changes. In the EPP resolution, we reiterate our non-recognition of Lukashenko as the President. They consider the current regime as illegitimate, illegal and criminal.

Therefore, the EU should engage further with democratic Belarus in a political dialogue and prepare a governance reform vision for Belarus after Lukashenko. The leader of democratic Belarus, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, should be invited to the Eastern Partnership summit in December 2021.

(Exclamation in Bielarusian)

 
   
 

  Robert Biedroń (S&D). – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Mija 14 miesięcy od kiedy Łukaszenka sfałszował wybory. Mija kolejna debata tutaj, w Parlamencie Europejskim, i będziemy mieli kolejną rezolucję, w której będziemy wzywali Komisję Europejską i Radę Europejską do realnego działania.

Pani Komisarz! Dzisiaj nawet na tej debacie nie ma wysokiego przedstawiciela. To pokazuje do jakiego etapu, do jakiego punktu zaszliśmy w walce z reżimem Łukaszenki. Nie ma realnych sankcji, nie ma konferencji darczyńców. Nie ma dzisiaj strategii Unii Europejskiej wobec Białorusi, o którą walczymy od miesięcy, a więźniów politycznych w więzieniach Łukaszenki każdego dnia przybywa. I to jest tak naprawdę obraz pełen tego dramatu, który mamy i na Białorusi, i jeśli chodzi o słabość Unii Europejskiej wobec reżimu Łukaszenki.

I Łukaszenka wygrywa także z nami tę wojnę – bo dzisiejsza debata to pokazuje – jeśli chodzi o destabilizację naszej wschodniej granicy Unii Europejskiej. Dzisiaj Łukaszenka się cieszy z tego, że rząd polski stał się pożytecznym idiotą – i trzeba to powiedzieć jasno i wyraźnie – Łukaszenki. Na polskiej granicy umierają ludzie, na polskiej granicy ci biedni imigranci wpadli w pułapkę reżimu Łukaszenki, wypychani są w jedną i w drugą stronę.

Dlatego, Pani Komisarz, powiedziała Pani przed chwilą, że Pani urzędnicy jadą w przyszłym tygodniu, w najbliższych dniach do Polski. Niech Pani zabierze prawników, organizacje pozarządowe, media, żeby mieć pełną transparentność tego, co się dzieje na polskiej granicy. Dzisiaj tego nie mamy. Proszę Panią w imieniu milionów Polek i Polaków, którzy szanują prawa człowieka i demokrację, żebyśmy się dowiedzieli całej prawdy o tym, co dzieje się na granicy polsko-białoruskiej, bo z ust polskiego rządu niestety nie jesteśmy w stanie się tego dowiedzieć.

 
   
   

VORSITZ: RAINER WIELAND
Vizepräsident

 
   
 

  Tineke Strik (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, one year after the fraudulent presidential elections, the situation in Belarus politically, and human rights situation has only further deteriorated. As my colleague already pointed out, the EU must step up its support of the Belarusian society, and make our sanctions and measures more effective.

But in the meantime, Lukashenko has looked for a strategy to silence or punish the EU and the Member States for rightly supporting democratic opposition. The use of migrants and refugees as a geopolitical tool at the borders is shameful and disgusting; it should be strongly condemned, and in no way become effective.

But we also need to ensure we do not play the same game as Lukashenko does, and this is actually, what we exactly see happening now. Poland, Latvia and Lithuania are keeping the borders closed for asylum seekers who ask for protection, and even refrain from giving them food, water and shelter for many weeks now. Five migrants have died at the borders, and many others, among them Afghan and Syrian refugees, are still kept in a deplorable and threatening situation. No one is allowed access to these people, despite clear instructions from the European Court of Human Rights, which are completely disregarded.

Until now, the most important measures from the message from the EU was that the EU stands behind Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Of course, we need to support those states, but at the same time, not accept that normal EU rules on Schengen and asylum are so painfully violated.

When will the High Representative and the Commission clearly speak up against instrumentalisation of migrants and refugees from both sides?

We urge you, Commission, to immediately act to ensure that no more people will die, that access to protection is guaranteed. Of course, we need to give support, but let us show real solidarity by relocating asylum seekers… (The President cut off the speaker)

 
   
 

  Peter Kofod (ID). – Hr. formand! Der er ingen tvivl om, at Lukasjenko er en udemokratisk despot. Ikke nok med, at han undertrykker sin egen befolkning, han udgør også en latent trussel rettet direkte mod Europa.

Lukasjenko, han har lært af de værste bøller derude. Han har lært af Erdogan: han har set, hvad der har virket for ham over for EU, over for Europa, og det har været at lægge pres på de ydre grænser. Erdogan har med meget stor dygtighed og succes formået at sætte dette system gevaldigt under pres, fordi man ikke vil påtage sig det ansvar, der er fuldstændig nødvendigt, nemlig at sikre de ydre grænser. Og nu har Lukasjenko tænkt sig at gøre fuldstændig det samme. Dette system reagerer ikke. Hvis det reagerer, reagerer det altid for sent. Lyspunktet i denne situation har været reaktionen fra blandt andet Polen, Litauen og Letland, der meget ambitiøst er gået i gang med at sikre deres egen grænse. Det afføder i hvert fald fra min side stor respekt og glæde, at der er nogle nationalstater, der går foran og tager teten og tager føringen i en situation, hvor EU åbenlyst ikke er sig sit ansvar bevidst.

Hvis EU skal udvise solidaritet, så skal det være solidaritet med Polen, Litauen og Letland. Så skal det være solidaritet, hvor vi sørger for, at de kan styre deres grænser og lukke den ydre EU-grænse, så vi kan få ro på denne her situation. For vi skal tage værktøjerne fra despoterne, og vi skal ikke acceptere, at folk uden for Europas grænser styrer strømmene ind i Europa. Det er fuldstændig uacceptabelt.

Der var et parlamentsmedlem fra Ungarn på talerstolen tidligere, som sagde, at alle i Bruxelles hakkede på Ungarn, når Ungarn sikrede den ydre grænse. Og der ville jeg sige til det parlamentsmedlem, at det absolut ikke er alle i Bruxelles, der hakker på Ungarn. Jeg synes, at Ungarn er et fantastisk foregangsland for sikringen af de ydre grænser, og det vil jeg gerne sige stor tak for til de ungarske kollegaer.

 
   
 

  Sandra Pereira (The Left). – Senhor Presidente, este debate insere-se na operação de ingerência e desestabilização contra a Bielorrússia que a União Europeia, as suas Instituições e, particularmente, alguns Estados-Membros tentam levar a cabo. A instrumentalização dos refugiados e requerentes de asilo, na sua maioria procedentes do Afeganistão e do Iraque, que se encontram nas fronteiras da Bielorrússia com a Polónia e a Lituânia, e que têm como destino países que integram a União Europeia, é um claro exemplo desta ação que não tem mais do que objetivos geoestratégicos e políticos, colocando em causa a vida e a segurança de milhares de pessoas que procuram uma vida melhor.

O que se exige é que a União Europeia e os Estados-Membros pautem a sua ação pelo respeito da soberania, independência e integridade territorial deste país, no cumprimento dos princípios da Carta das Nações Unidas e do Direito Internacional, respeitando o direito do povo bielorrusso, como de qualquer outro povo, a decidir do seu presente e do seu futuro.

 
   
 

  Esteban González Pons (PPE). – Señor presidente, los que salieron hace un año a las calles de Bielorrusia no eran alborotadores, ni radicales, ni extremistas, sino ciudadanos anónimos, maestros, estudiantes, abogados, amas de casa, jubilados; no eurodiputados. Y solo pedían dos cosas: libertad y democracia justa. Más de siete mil hombres y mujeres fueron perseguidos, detenidos, torturados y enviados a prisión sin juicio. Ni siquiera sabemos hoy cuántas personas siguen encarceladas por orden de Lukashenko.

Ahora el dictador bielorruso ha dado un paso más y ha empezado a emplear miles de refugiados iraquíes y afganos como armas humanas contra las democracias vecinas. Antes era la guerra híbrida de las injerencias electorales. Ahora se trata de desestabilizar nuestras fronteras orientales utilizando como proyectiles a personas que viven en suma desgracia. Putin y Lukashenko se han convertido en traficantes de personas. Putin y Lukashenko son jefes de la mafia que compra y vende personas en el este.

Las sanciones contra Lukashenko deben no solo continuar, sino incrementarse. Y nosotros no debemos descansar hasta llevar a Lukashenko a la Corte Penal Internacional.

Muchas veces desde esta tribuna he pedido solidaridad para el sur. Hoy pido solidaridad para el este. Lo mismo que España, Italia y Grecia son frontera de la Unión Europea, lo son Lituania, Letonia y Polonia.

 
   
 

  Maria Arena (S&D). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, la répression en Biélorussie n’a pas cessé et s’est même accentuée ces derniers jours. Pourtant, de nombreuses initiatives ont été prises pour traiter cette situation de non-droit, mais ce n’est pas suffisant.

Le mécanisme de sanctions imposées au régime et à ses affiliés qui le financent doit être plus fort, plus clair et plus large. L’Union européenne doit aussi impérativement renforcer son action sur la lutte contre l’impunité et soutenir tout mécanisme de collecte et de protection de preuves, pour que les crimes qui ont été commis ne restent pas impunis.

Nous devons aussi donner plus de visibilité aux personnes que nous soutenons et ainsi demander l’envoi d’une mission de haut niveau pour rendre visite à ces personnes qui sont en prison.

Enfin, il ne faut pas céder au jeu indécent de la migration. La réponse à ce jeu cynique de régimes illibéraux tels que la Turquie, la Libye ou la Biélorussie est une politique de la migration digne de ce nom, qui garantisse la protection des migrants, mais qui garantisse aussi le droit international de la protection de ceux-ci.

 
   
 

  Michal Šimečka (Renew). – Vážený pán predsedajúci, tridsaťpäťtisíc Bielorusov zažilo za posledný rok nejakú formu štátnej represie: zatknutie, uväznenie, mučenie. A to číslo ukazuje na obrovské hrdinstvo Bielorusov, ktorí zoči-voči brutalite neprestávajú bojovať za európske hodnoty, naše hodnoty slobody a demokracie, deň za dňom. To sme si naozaj pred rokom nedokázali ani predstaviť. Rovnako sme si nedokázali predstaviť, že sa Lukašenkov režim napokon stane aj bezpečnostnou hrozbou pre Európu a pre medzinárodné spoločenstvo. Uniesol lietadlo s európskymi občanmi na palube a teraz najnovšie zneužíva zúfalý osud ľudí utekajúcich pred vojnou, aby destabilizoval európske hranice a schengenský priestor. Druhá vec je, že ani Európska únia nezvláda tú situáciu tak dobre, ako by sme možno čakali. Tie sankčné balíky prichádzali neskoro a stále nezasiahli kľúčové sektory ekonomiky, ktoré držia Lukašenka pri moci, ako napríklad petrochemický priemysel. Aj tá diplomatická a praktická pomoc pre bieloruskú opozíciu a občiansku spoločnosť mohla byť a musí byť omnoho výraznejšia. A my sami sme sa tým, že ešte nemáme dokončenú reformu azylového a migračného systému, stali zraniteľnejšími voči Lukašenkovej cynickej taktike. Kolegovia, v týchto dňoch sa veľa hovorí o schopnosti Európskej únie autonómne brániť vlastné hodnoty a presadzovať vlastné záujmy. A tu máme brutálny diktátorský režim priamo v Európe, ktorý mučí vlastných občanov a destabilizuje hranice EÚ. Ak sa nedokážeme vysporiadať s takouto výzvou, tak potom skutočne neviem, ako chceme byť silný globálny hráč.

 
   
 

  Jordi Solé (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, it’s been one year since brave Belarusians took to the streets to demand democracy for their country, and the dictator is still there. He and his illegitimate regime keep suffocating the democratic revolution, whilst our response so far has failed to make much of a difference.

What is happening at the border between the EU and Belarus is completely unacceptable: the instrumentalisation of migrants by Lukashenko’s regime, but also the response of some Member States, particularly Poland. It should not overshadow the fact that in Europe, in our immediate vicinity, there are 700 political prisoners in jail for defending democracy and freedom, that human rights defenders, opposition politicians, civil society, independent journalists keep being systematically repressed, and that people live in fear and under oppression.

The question is: have we, the EU, done everything possible? To be effective, sanctions must target the economically crucial sectors and companies supporting Lukashenko. The international approach must be consistent. Is it reasonable that while we adopt more sanctions, the IMF grants Lukashenko’s regime USD 1 billion?

Stepping up our efforts may not immediately achieve the goal of a democratic Belarus, but it will show the Belarusian people that the EU, with its entire means, stands with them and with their struggle for freedom and democracy.

 
   
 

  Paolo Borchia (ID). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, c’è stata una mancanza nel dibattito di questa mattina. Mi spiego: l’Unione ha inasprito le sanzioni e le restrizioni per quanto riguarda il divieto di sorvolo dello spazio aereo e di accesso agli aeroporti europei per i vettori in Russia. Tra le conseguenze ce ne sono di drammatiche. Infatti, è compromessa la sostenibilità dei programmi di adozione, che tradizionalmente coinvolgono famiglie adottive europee e bambini bielorussi, bambini che infatti, una volta adottati, sono costretti a rimanere nel loro paese, rimanendo separati fisicamente dai genitori che non riescono a visitare questi ragazzi se non attraverso alcune visite occasionali.

È evidente che queste visite occasionali non possono sostituire il normale funzionamento dei programmi di adozione che, invece, dovrebbero permettere ai minori adottati di vivere permanentemente con la nuova famiglia. È una situazione dannosa per la stabilità di questi ragazzi che, dopo aver perso le proprie famiglie naturali, sono anche privati della possibilità di costruire un legame stabile con i nuovi genitori.

Tre settimane fa ho inviato una lettera all’Alto rappresentante Borrell e sono ancora in attesa di una risposta. Servono deroghe alle restrizioni di viaggio, questo per ristabilire un minimo di normalità sulle adozioni e sui soggiorni terapeutici e soprattutto per evitare che i bambini siano sacrificati sull’altare della politica internazionale.

 
   
 

  Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR). – Panie Przewodniczący! Szanowni Państwo! W jednej ze swoich powieści Ernest Hemingway cytował jako motto angielskiego poetę z XVI wieku, który pisał „Nie pytaj, komu bije dzwon: bije on tobie”. To, co dzieje się na Białorusi, jest elementem szerszego planu geopolitycznego. Za tym stoi Rosja. Musimy mieć tego świadomość. Dziękuję tym wszystkim posłom, którzy przede mną opowiadali się i pewnie po mnie będą opowiadać się za prawami człowieka na Białorusi, za wolnością w kraju europejskim, w kraju który jest częścią europejskiej kultury. To bardzo ważne. Natomiast my, jako politycy, musimy widzieć to w szerszym, geopolitycznym kontekście, bo rzeczywiście w cieniu tego, co się tam dzieje, w cieniu tego wszystkiego stoi pan Putin, Federacja Rosyjska, Kreml. Jest to element walki z Zachodem, a więc walki z nami, z naszymi wartościami. Warto o tym pamiętać.

 
   
 

  Michael Gahler (PPE). – Mr President, dear colleagues, the Lukashenko regime just prevented my arrested innocent friend Pavel Sieviaryniec from attending his father’s funeral. My sincere condolences to his family. Such behaviour shows the evenly Stalinist and fascist character of this regime.

We must keep the Belarus issue on the agenda. Personal sanctions must be extended to all involved in the persecution of political prisoners. They must be more effectively implemented and extended to private economic profiteers and those state industries that create income for the regime. And let’s add those Russian entities that buy industries in Belarus as we speak.

What we need is to strengthen the legitimacy of the opposition. I wish that the Commission prepares the suggested conference on the future of Belarus, which would involve the leaders of the opposition and civil society to discuss how to implement the pledged financial package for a democratic Belarus once it is emerging.

What we do not need is ambassadors from Member States who refuse to meet Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya, and I wonder whether that is an act of appeasement rather or of personal convenience not to be declared persona non grata. In both cases, not acceptable.

(Exclamation in Bielarusian)

 
   
 

  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Señor presidente, señora comisaria Johansson, los tremendos desafíos impuestos por la vecindad con la Unión Europea de Bielorrusia bajo el infame régimen de Lukashenko no se reducen, por supuesto, a las cuestiones migratorias. Pero es imposible ignorar, desde la perspectiva de la Comisión de Libertades Civiles, Justicia y Asuntos de Interior, los derechos de los potenciales demandantes de asilo ante las fronteras exteriores de la Unión, que incluyen a Lituania, Letonia y, por supuesto, Polonia.

Y es crucial asegurar transparencia y supervisión en todas las operaciones en frontera, particularmente en aquellas que cuestionan la efectividad del Sistema Europeo Común de Asilo. La Comisión es guardiana de los Tratados y debe velar por que los procedimientos de asilo y la Carta de los Derechos Fundamentales de la Unión Europea sean observados y respetados también por las agencias de la Unión Europea, también en las operaciones de Frontex.

Y, por supuesto, sería bueno que se involucrase también a la Agencia de Asilo de la Unión Europea, que para eso hemos aprobado el Reglamento que la hace crecer para ejercer supervisión sobre el respeto del Sistema Europeo Común de Asilo en todas las fronteras exteriores de la Unión, incluidas las que tocan con ese infame régimen de Lukashenko.

 
   
 

  Dragoş Tudorache (Renew). – Mr President, does anyone still remember the outrage we felt when we heard about the hijacking of a Ryanair flight? Can anyone still relate to the terror a young freedom fighter must have felt when he found out that the plane he was on would be landing in Minsk?

Our foreign affairs agenda moves on but, unfortunately, for those imprisoned in Belarus the terror is still real. The torture has been going on for months or even years, and justice has not been served. We cannot turn a blind eye. Our lack of action or reaction is what gives dictators of the world, near or far, the audacity to continue attacking the EU and the values it stands for with all the means available at their disposal. The cynical use of migrants as a political weapon is only one example of what such means can be.

We should therefore continue to hit the Belarusian regime where it hurts the most and add more sanctions, better targeting the economic interests of those oligarchs propping up Lukashenko. Moreover, we should not forget the puppeteer behind Lukashenko. We should specifically name the Kremlin regime an accomplice in this clear breach of international law.

As we talk about strategic autonomy and being geopolitical on the world scene, we have a responsibility to protect those that share, fight and suffer for the very values we promote as Europeans, particularly in our immediate neighbourhood. We must help and support the Belarusian people, we should help journalists and activists, who are being silenced by the regime, and we should do so both financially and politically.

 
   
 

  Terry Reintke (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, what is the most powerful weapon that dictators and autocrats have? It is not the tear gas they use or the water cannons, or even the machine guns of their brutal police forces. It is oblivion. People like Lukashenko want us to stop caring. They want us after months and months and months to turn a blind eye, to look away and not look at what is happening in Belarus anymore.

Maria Kolesnikova was illegally detained more than a year ago. Last month, she was illegally convicted, once again, to 11 years in prison. Maria is 39 years old. If this madness is not going to be stopped, she’s going to be 50 by the time that this sentence is over, and even if our message today cannot reach her directly right now, as she is in prison, let us make sure that it’s going to reach Lukashenko. This Parliament will not stop caring. This Parliament is not going to look away, and this Parliament is not going to forget what has happened in Belarus. We will continue to stand in solidarity with the democratic opposition in Belarus.

 
   
 

  Mick Wallace (The Left). – Mr President, the only reason we’re having this debate is because NATO has targeted Belarus for regime change. If the EU cared about human rights, we’d be addressing the plight of refugees and migrants at our borders and police brutality in places like France, Germany and Spain. Tikhanovskaya is a NATO tool: the Belarusian Guaidó. She has Atlantic Council advisers and is close to the likes of the Centre for European Policy Analysis, which is bankrolled by Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Chevron and the US Department of Defense. And much like Guaidó, Tikhanovskaya has little popularity. According to polling conducted by England’s Chatham House, no less, only 4% of Belarusians believe she’d make a good president, while 23 percent prefer Lukashenko, and Viktar Babaryka is on 25 percent. The protests didn’t start unaided. The CIA caught out: the National Endowment for Democracy admitted to having their people on the ground. This interference should stop. It’s a direct violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter.

 
   
 

  Rasa Juknevičienė (PPE). – Gerbiamas Pirmininke, gerbiama komisare, tai, ką dabar išgirdome, yra apgailėtina. Tai girdime per Kremliaus propagandos kanalus. Tai nepriimtina, ką girdime iš Europos Parlamento tribūnos. Aš turiu tai pasakyti. Nenorėtume priprasti ir neturėtume priprasti prie A. Lukašenkos žiaurumo. Jis žiaurus ne tik savo žmonėms baltarusiams. Jam žmogus gali būti kaip mina ar bomba, naudojama hibridiniam karui prieš Europos Sąjungą. Minsko režimas, palaikomas Kremliaus, renka turistus iš Irako ir kitų šalių, kad juos nuvežtų prie Europos Sąjungos sienos ir išstumtų į mūsų teritoriją. Parodėme, kad gebame atremti tokio pobūdžio atakas, tačiau grėsmės išlieka. Esminis būdas sustabdyti šį hibridinį karą – sustabdyti A. Lukašenką, tuo pačiu parodant Kremliui, kad nebandytų dar didesnių migrantų srautų. Turime sutelkti visas pajėgas įkurti tribunolą … (posėdžio pirmininkas iš kalbėtojos atima žodį)

 
   
 

  Carmen Avram (S&D). – Domnule președinte, de peste un an numărăm morții, prizonierii politici, torturații, dispăruții și exilații din ultima dictatură a Europei, iar sancțiunile împotriva Belarusului curg cu puțin efect: presa independentă a dispărut, drepturile omului se deteriorează, Europa e ținta unei amenințări hibride, iar sub pulpana lui Putin, Lukașenko își pregătește noua constituție, care să îl facă stăpân peste 9 milioane de oameni.

E nevoie urgentă de altă strategie, pentru că acesta nu e un conflict între state, ci între două lumi, una dintre ele anacronică. E necesar un nou pachet de sancțiuni împotriva lui Lukașenko, dar de această dată trebuie să acționăm împreună cu aliații noștri, coordonat, concertat, simultan și nu doar regimul de la Minsk trebuie sancționat, ci și principalul lui sponsor, tot anacronic, care îl ajută pe Lukașenko să-și acopere pierderile provocate acum de măsuri disparate.

E imperativ ca Uniunea Europeană să își asume această misiune, nu doar pentru că are un inamic periculos la graniță, ci pentru că de peste un an milioane de oameni își pun viața în pericol, așteptând ajutorul real al lumii din care și ei vor să facă parte.

 
   
 

  Engin Eroglu (Renew). – Herr Präsident, sehr geehrte Frau Kommissarin! Die Realität ist, dass die Zahlen der Flüchtlinge, die in Brandenburg über Polen ankommen, täglich steigt und auch das Aufnahmelager in Eisenhüttenstadt inzwischen überlastet ist. Das Regime organisiert Flüge aus dem Irak nach Weißrussland, um diese hybride Kriegsform gegen die Europäische Union zur Eskalation zu führen. Es nutzt dabei Migranten als Waffe gegen die Europäische Union. Leider sind auch schon Migranten dabei verstorben.

Unsere Kommissarin hat absolut recht, wenn sie jetzt zum Beispiel Polen dabei unterstützt, die europäischen Außengrenzen zu schützen. Es ist aber auch auf jeden Fall klar, dass wir den Menschen, die jetzt auf der Flucht sind, helfen müssen und sie nicht dort alleine ihrem Schicksal überlassen dürfen, wenn sie auf dieses Regime hereingefallen sind. Aber genauso ist klar, dass wir dem Regime von Lukaschenka klarmachen müssen, dass wir hier nicht tatenlos zuschauen.

Deswegen begrüße ich sehr, dass die Kommission das Visa-Abkommen bezüglich der Beamten mit dem Lukaschenka-Regime aussetzen möchte. Und ich hoffe auch sehr, Frau Kommissarin, dass Sie im Rat dafür die Mehrheit zusammenbekommen, dass wir hier weitere Sanktionen einführen.

 
   
 

  Thomas Waitz (Verts/ALE). – Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin Johansson! Ich danke Ihnen ausdrücklich dafür, dass Sie die über 700 politischen Gefangenen in Weißrussland erwähnt haben.

Ich möchte Ihnen ein Beispiel dazu geben: Ksenija Syramalot – verurteilt zu zweieinhalb Jahren dafür, dass sie eine friedliche Demonstration für freie Wahlen, für Demokratie, für Menschenrechte mitorganisiert hat. Ich habe eine Patenschaft für sie übernommen. Und ich fordere Sie alle auf, mir nachzutun, auch Patenschaften für jene Menschen zu übernehmen, die westliche Werte, die Demokratie, die freie Wahlen in Weißrussland verteidigt haben.

Und ein Zweites, an die Kommission: Wir haben jetzt Sanktionsregime. Ja, wir müssen noch dafür Sorge tragen, dass die Umgehung von diesem Sanktionsregime so nicht stattfinden kann. Und ich ersuche Sie, in Betracht zu ziehen, die Sanktionen um den Rohstoff Holz zu erweitern. Der Wald ist in Weißrussland fast zu 100 Prozent in Staatsbesitz. Das Holz wird international verkauft und bringt Devisen direkt in die Staatskasse von Lukaschenka. Und so finanzieren wir direkt weiter die Unterdrückung der Bevölkerung. Bitte ziehen Sie das in Betracht, Holz mit auf die Sanktionsliste aufzunehmen.

 
   
 

  Anna Zalewska (ECR). – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Koleżanki i Koledzy! Na granicy białoruskiej przebywają legalnie imigranci, którzy zostali przywiezieni, którzy przylecieli i zapłacili za to pieniądze. Nie mają dokumentów, nie chcą przyjąć azylu. Pomoc humanitarna stoi na granicy polsko-białoruskiej. Reżim Łukaszenki nie wpuszcza pomocy humanitarnej. Polska – przy pomocy 1800 żołnierzy i Straży Granicznej, przy pomocy 180 kilometrów muru – broni Polski i Unii Europejskiej przed kolejną drogą nielegalnej imigracji, nielegalnego handlu ludźmi.

Musimy być razem, musimy mówić jednym głosem, działać mocniej, szybciej, tak by być skutecznym i mówić tak samo. Jeden z polskich posłów użył niewłaściwych sformułowań, posługując się dezinformacją, fake newsami. Potraktujmy to jako niebezpieczny, ale jednak wyskok.

 
   
 

  Andrzej Halicki (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Wolność więźniom politycznym! Tak, wszyscy prześladowani na Białorusi muszą uzyskać wolność, w tym polski dziennikarz Andrzej Poczobut, liderka mniejszości polskiej Andżelika Borys, ale tysiące Białorusinów prześladowanych muszą być wolnymi ludźmi, bo są Europejczykami, mają do tego pełne prawo.

Ale Unia Europejska musi podjąć także kroki prawne. Skoro Aleksander Łukaszenka jest szefem mafijnej grupy przestępczej szmuglującej ludzi, łamie prawo europejskie, terroryzuje swój naród. Musimy podjąć kroki prawne. W poniedziałek w Norymberdze odbywa się konferencja prawników, która przygotowuje projekt postawienia Aleksandra Łukaszenki przed Międzynarodowym Trybunałem Sprawiedliwości. Musimy się do tego przyłączyć. Tak, Aleksander Łukaszenka musi trafić przed Trybunał. Musi być w Parlamencie Europejskim biuro informacyjne dla białoruskiej opozycji. Musimy mieć konferencję wysokiego szczebla, bo musimy działać skutecznie i potrzebny jest piąty pakiet sankcji.

Ale musimy też mówić jednym głosem o granicy i jej szczelności. Niezależnie od tego, kto rządzi w Polsce, kto będzie rządził i kto będzie rządził na Litwie, i rządzi dzisiaj. Granica musi być szczelna, a do tego potrzebna jest nasza pełna europejska współpraca. Także…

(Przewodniczący odebrał mówcy głos)

 
   
 

  Jeroen Lenaers (PPE). – Voorzitter, mevrouw de commissaris, collega’s, het is belangrijk om continu onze afschuw uit te blijven spreken over het regime van Loekasjenko. De bevolking in Belarus snakt naar vrijheid, democratie en recht, maar blijft achter met martelingen, censuur en dictatuur. Zij verdienen onze hulp. Het is dan ook cruciaal dat we als Europa alle democratische krachten in Belarus blijven ondersteunen om vrije en eerlijke verkiezingen af te dwingen. Het is goed dat de diverse sanctiepakketten zijn geactiveerd, maar het is niet genoeg. Ieder individu dat zich schuldig maakt aan repressie moet aangepakt worden, en Loekasjenko en zijn handlangers moeten ook internationaal ter verantwoording geroepen worden voor hun misdaden tegen de menselijkheid.

Daarnaast moeten we een sterke reactie hebben op de hybride oorlogsvoering van Loekasjenko tegen de EU door kwetsbare migranten te gebruiken als politieke pionnen in door de staat georganiseerde mensensmokkel. Ongezien en onacceptabel, met dodelijke gevolgen. En we moeten daartegen optreden, want als we dat niet doen, dan zullen op termijn alleen maar meer mensen in gevaar gebracht worden. We moeten onze grenzen en onze waarden verdedigen.

 
   
 

  Der Präsident. – Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Für 13.00 Uhr ist die erste Abstimmungsrunde vorgesehen.

(Die Aussprache wird unterbrochen.)

 
4. First voting session
 

  Christian Doleschal, Berichterstatter. – Sehr geehrter Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Heute ist es so weit: Wir stimmen endgültig über die Überarbeitung der Århus-Verordnung ab. Dies ist ein wichtiger Tag für die Öffentlichkeitsbeteiligung in Europa, für Transparenz und auch für die wirtschaftliche Erholung in Europa. Denn bei allem Eifer, die Anfechtung von Rechtsakten aufgrund von scheinbaren Bedrohungen für die Umwelt auszudehnen, sollten wir eines nicht vergessen: Ein Mehr an Klagebefugnissen für den Einzelnen bedeutet auch immer ein Mehr an Bürokratie. Und das bedeutet lange Genehmigungsprozesse und verzögerte Bauvorhaben. Darum bin ich stolz, dass wir uns für eine Lösung entschieden haben, die eine Balance darstellt – eine Balance zwischen Bürgerbeteiligung und wirtschaftlicher Tragbarkeit.

Unser Kompromiss ist eine klare Absage an Anfechtbarkeit um jeden Preis. Nur Unionsbürger, die nachweisen können, dass sie unmittelbar durch die Umweltbelastung betroffen sind, können klagen. Wenn wir wollen, dass sich die Wirtschaft erholt, dürfen wir staatlichen Beihilfen keine Steine in den Weg legen. Staatliche Beihilfen sind – besonders in einer Pandemie – ein Rettungsanker für bedrohte Regionen. Darum haben wir staatliche Beihilfen von der Århus-Überprüfung ausgenommen. Unser Kompromiss ist gerade deshalb so gelungen, weil er nicht blind irgendeiner Ideologie folgt. Stattdessen zieht er in Betracht, wie sich der Gesetzestext in der Praxis auf Gemeinden, die staatliche Beihilfen brauchen, auf kleine Unternehmen, deren Projekte in Gefahr sind, auswirkt.

Kurzum, dieser Kompromiss berücksichtigt die Interessen der Menschen. Bei allem Idealismus ist das etwas, das in der Politik leider oft vergessen wird.

 
   
 

  Der Präsident. – Wir kommen nun zur ersten Abstimmungsrunde des heutigen Tages. Die Dossiers, über die wir abstimmen, sind der Tagesordnung zu entnehmen. Die Abstimmungsrunde wird von jetzt bis 14.15 Uhr geöffnet sein. Es kommt dasselbe Abstimmungsverfahren zur Anwendung wie auf den letzten Tagungen.

Ich erlaube mir allerdings den Hinweis, dass die Abstimmungen über die Verlängerung der Amtszeit von Julia Laffranque als Mitglied des durch Artikel 255 des Vertrags über die Arbeitsweise der Europäischen Union eingerichteten Ausschusses und über die Ernennung des Vorsitzes der Europäischen Wertpapier- und Marktaufsichtsbehörde (ESMA) in geheimer Abstimmung stattfinden. Die Mitglieder geben ihre Stimme in herkömmlicher Weise ab, allerdings ist aus dem Stimmzettel, den sie erhalten und unterschreiben müssen, nicht ersichtlich, wie sie abgestimmt haben, sondern nur, dass sie elektronisch abgestimmt haben.

Alle übrigen Abstimmungen sind namentliche Abstimmungen. Erklärungen zur Abstimmung können schriftlich eingereicht werden. Ausnahmsweise dürfen die Erklärungen zur Abstimmung höchstens 400 Wörter umfassen.

Ich erkläre die Abstimmungsrunde für eröffnet. Sie können bis 14.15 Uhr abstimmen. Die Ergebnisse dieser Abstimmung werden um 16.30 Uhr bekannt gegeben.

 
5. The situation in Belarus after one year of protests and their violent repression (continuation of debate)
 

  Isabel Santos (S&D). – Senhor Presidente, passado um ano sobre o dia em que os bielorrussos saíram à rua em protesto soma-se uma série infindável de detenções arbitrárias, violações de direitos humanos, pessoas sujeitas a tortura e obrigadas a exilar-se no estrangeiro. A tudo isto juntamos o sequestro de um avião para deter um jornalista, somamos a ilegalização do Comité de Helsínquia, a última organização de direitos humanos a operar dentro da Bielorrússia, e um número infindável de refugiados imigrantes que estão a ser instrumentalizados e cujos direitos estão a ser violados nas nossas fronteiras.

Senhora Comissária, é preciso uma resposta rápida a estes migrantes e refugiados que respeite o Direito Internacional na sua integralidade. É preciso reforçar as sanções contra a Bielorrússia, mas as sanções, Senhora Comissária, são dirigidas a ações políticas, e do que nós estamos a falar é também de crimes, crimes cometidos pelo Sr. Lukashenko, e o Sr. Lukashenko tem que ser apresentado diante do Tribunal Penal Internacional.

 
   
 

  Joachim Stanisław Brudziński (ECR). – Panie Przewodniczący! Chciałbym rozpocząć od słów podziękowań pod adresem Pani Komisarz za to merytoryczne wsparcie, jakie Komisja udziela dzisiaj funkcjonariuszom Polskiej Straży Granicznej, funkcjonariuszom straży granicznej Litwy czy też Łotwy. To, że dzisiaj nasz wspólny europejski dom jest bezpieczny, zawdzięczamy właśnie tym funkcjonariuszom.

Dziś od Ceuty przez całe Morze Śródziemne, również wzdłuż granicy białoruskiej z państwami członkowskimi Unii mamy do czynienia z czymś, co trafnie kiedyś określił minister spraw wewnętrznych Królestwa Maroka jako inwazję, migracyjną inwazję.

Dlatego z przykrością należy odnotować te niemądre i nieodpowiedzialne ataki tych z Państwa, którzy w sposób infantylny i chyba pełny złej woli dezawuują dzisiaj działania Polskiej Straży Granicznej, która wspólnie z Fronteksem zabezpiecza nasze państwa przed prowokacjami reżimu Łukaszenki, który wykorzystując cynicznie tych, którzy w poszukiwaniu lepszego życia są gotowi narazić nawet zdrowie własnych dzieci, licząc z jednej strony na wsparcie reżimu, który umożliwił im i ułatwił dostęp do naszych granic, a z drugiej strony licząc na histerię i infantylizm opinii publicznej w Waszych państwach.

Lenin ukuł kiedyś takie powiedzenie pod adresem ówczesnych elit lewicowych europejskich полезныe идиоты, czyli useful idiots. Dziś z punktu widzenia Putina i Łukaszenki wydaje się, że to powiedzenie pozostaje cały czas aktualne.

 
   
 

  Radosław Sikorski (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Szanowni Państwo! Cieszą głosy z prawicy, które widzą to, że Unia Europejska stoi z Polską w tym kryzysie. Zgadzam się także z tymi, którzy mówią, że Łukaszenko nie robiłby tego, co robi, bez kryszy od Władimira Putina. Łukaszenko już wcześniej zabijał: Zacharczenko, Gonczar, Krasowski to nazwiska zamordowanych przez niego ludzi. Porwał Romana Protasewicza, wziął zakładników Andżelikę Borys i Andrzeja Poczobuta. Ktoś, kto morduje, porywa i terroryzuje migrantów, jest terrorystą. I mam w związku z tym trzy sugestie. Po pierwsze, zwiększmy pomoc dla białoruskich demokratów. Po drugie, wesprzyjmy proces stawiania Łukaszenki przed Międzynarodowym Trybunałem Sprawiedliwości, a w międzyczasie umieśćmy go na liście terrorystów.

 
   
 

  Juozas Olekas (S&D). – Gerbiamas Pirmininke, komisare, gerbiami kolegos, praėjus daugiau negu metams po suklastotų Baltarusijos prezidento rinkimų matome, kad dabartinis režimas, palaikomas V. Putino, nesidrovi jokių priemonių, kad išsilaikytų valdžioje. Prieš savo piliečius jis naudoja psichologinį ir fizinį smurtą. Prieš Lietuvą, Latviją, Lenkiją bei Europos Sąjungą pradėjo hibridines atakas.

Labai svarbu, kad Europos Sąjunga būtų solidari ir visomis priemonėmis palaikytų tiek paprastus Baltarusijos žmones, tiek hibridinių atakų taikiniu tapusias Europos Sąjungos valstybes nares. Nelegalios migracijos instrumentalizavimas neturi tapti ES pasienyje esančių diktatorių ginklu. Labai svarbu, kad Europos Sąjunga, atnaujindama savo pabėgėlių politiką, numatytų svertus, kuriais būtų galima užkirsti kelią migrantų naudojimui kaip politiniam įrankiui.

Naujas ES sankcijų paketas turėtų sustiprinti sankcijas ir žymiai daugiau apimti su A. Lukašenkos režimu susijusių įmonių, politikos, ekonomikos veikėjų bei jų artimųjų. Jų aktyvai ES turi būti užšaldyti, o jiems patiems uždrausta atvykti į Europos Sąjungą.

 
   
 

  Lena Düpont (PPE). – Herr Präsident, Kollegen! Nicht zum ersten Mal haben wir es mit einem Nachbarn zu tun, der vor staatlichem Menschenschmuggel nicht zurückschreckt, der menschliches Leid zynisch ausnutzt, für eigene Machtinteressen instrumentalisiert. Es ist die Vorgehensweise, die zuvor schon Erdoğan an der griechischen Grenze ausprobiert hat. Es ist der copy-paste-Moment autokratischer und diktatorischer Gehirne, geeint in dem Wunsch, die Union zu destabilisieren. Unsere Antwort darauf ist genauso wie zuvor: Ein hybrider Angriff gegen ein Mitglied der Union ist eine Attacke auf uns alle.

Doch die Vorgänge haben auch eine interne Dimension. Dass wir anfällig sind für Erpressungsversuche, ist unnötig und überflüssig. Die Vorschläge für den Pakt liegen auf dem Tisch. Sie mögen noch nicht jedem schmecken, aber genau dafür sind Verhandlungen da. Alle Mitgliedstaaten, die die Arbeiten bisher wenig ambitioniert angegangen sind, sollten ihre Positionen dringend überdenken. Es gibt eine europäische Antwort auf diese Herausforderung – mit praktischer und finanzieller Unterstützung der Union unter Einsatz unserer Agenturen und im Geiste europäischer Werte. Sonst riskieren wir, dass wir weiterhin hybriden Attacken ausgesetzt sind – in Anbetracht der empfindlichen internationalen Machtverschiebung vielleicht keine gute Idee.

 
   
 

  Thijs Reuten (S&D). – Mr President, Nikita Zolotariov, born in 2004, is a now 17—year—old boy. He was arrested and convicted to almost five years in prison after attending the protests of last year. His parents are unsure if he is still alive because he is dependent on medication. A political prisoner – a child!

There are over 700 political prisoners, and Lukashenka has still room and resources to intimidate, and worse still, abroad.

I asked in July to start preparing new sanctions, not to lose any time. We need to stop the cynical bargaining, without exceptions among the individual Member States. Instead of cynical bargaining, we need to engage more non—EU countries to achieve the most complete isolation possible.

Lukashenko is pushing vulnerable people over the border. This is unacceptable, but pushing them back and leaving them to die can never be the European answer. I urge the Polish authorities to find a solution now in cooperation with the Commission and Member States. And the latter, the Member States, should stop looking away because one Moria is already one too many. Creating many ‘Morias’ at our external borders would be a moral failure.

 
   
 

  Vladimír Bilčík (PPE). – Mr President, Madam Commissioner, colleagues, today we must pay our respect to all those who are fighting for a democratic Belarus. My thoughts are especially with those who have been detained or imprisoned for their political beliefs by the regime in Minsk.

Lukashenko is currently using two important weapons against his own people and against Europe. The first is manipulative disinformation. The regime in Minsk is conducting a thorough brainwashing disinformation war. We in the European Union must fight for the perseverance of quality news. The EU has to support actively everyone who can still report on the reality on the ground – Belarussian journalists, including those who are in exile and those who are bravely still working from their own country.

Lukashenko’s second weapon is hybrid warfare through exploitation of human tragedies connected to organised criminal enterprises disguised as managed migration. Here our answer should be clear. The EU sanctions targeting industries involved in financing the regime in Minsk must be linked to the intensity of Lukashenko’s hybrid war against EU Member States.

Dear colleagues, Belarus has a political alternative. It has an exiled government. Let us work with the government in exile in order to prepare for the moment when democratic forces are going to rule in Minsk.

(Exclamation in Bielarusian)

 
   
 

  Isabel Wiseler-Lima (PPE). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, en Biélorussie, plus d’un an après les élections qui n’en méritent pas le nom, les autorités d’Alexandre Loukachenko continuent la répression contre la population, les organisations et les journalistes qui osent marquer leur opposition pacifique. Emprisonnements, jugements injustes, mauvais traitements, tortures, disparitions, morts: cela ne peut être recouvert par le voile du temps qui passe, ni par l’habitude.

Nous avons promis au peuple biélorusse que le Parlement européen ne laisserait pas tomber leur injuste situation dans l’oubli. Nous devons continuer à dénoncer la répression en Biélorussie, tout comme nous devons dénoncer l’instrumentalisation des migrants par Loukachenko, instrumentalisation qui a pour unique fin de déstabiliser l’Union européenne. Utiliser des êtres humains, détruire des destinées humaines à des fins de contrainte politique est tout simplement méprisable. Il est impératif que l’Union européenne reste unie pour dire que ceci est inacceptable et pour condamner cette attaque hybride.

L’Union européenne doit d’ailleurs, dans ce contexte, déterminer le rôle joué par la Russie dans l’ensemble des attaques hybrides biélorusses à l’encontre de l’Union et l’Union doit y réagir de concert.

 
   
 

  Miriam Lexmann (PPE). – Mr President, for over a year now, the people of Belarus have been suffering under a worsening regime.

 

Today, there are over 700 political prisoners, including my good friend and co-Chair of the Belarusian Christian Democrats, Paval Sieviaryniec, who has now spent 10 years in and out of Lukashenko’s horrific prisons. Paval’s father has died of Covid in a hospital last week and Paval was not given the chance to see him.

The only crime that Paval and others like him have committed, is wishing to see their country sovereign, democratic and prosperous. The stories we hear every day are of fear, terror and torture.

 

Despite the fact that Lukashenko has been terrorising the people of Belarus now for almost three decades, we have kept engaging in dialogue with the authoritarian regime.  

 

Let the situation in Belarus be our lesson. It is time to ensure that our external actions are consistent with our values. We must maximise our political and economic pressure against Lukashenko and his associates, including by adopting an additional fifth package of sanctions.

(Exclamation in Bielarusian)

 
   
 

  Milan Zver (PPE). – Gospod predsednik, spoštovani gospod predsedujoči, spoštovana gospa komisarka, drage kolegice in kolegi! Aleksander Lukašenko že 27 let terorizira, izvaja svojo diktaturo z jasno podporo Kremlja in to pomeni, da tudi Moskva nosi svoj del odgovornosti.

Je diktator, ki terorizira, ne le svoje državljane, jih zapira, imamo nad 700 političnih zapornikov, nekateri so mlajši od 18 let, krši splošne človekove pravice, prireja volitve, vodi režim, ki temelji na smrtni kazni, ampak terorizira tudi Evropsko unijo. S tem ko je postal tihotapec z ljudmi, več kot 6000 jih je, smo slišali, ugrablja evropska letala in podobno.

Jaz sem vesel, da sem danes del te velike večine v hramu evropske demokracije, ki želi jasno in glasno Minsku poslati, torej ostro, enotno sporočilo, vključno s pozivom na haaško sodišče. Hvala lepa.

 
   
 

  Seán Kelly (PPE). – A Uachtaráin, i mí na Bealtaine seo caite, ghlac an tAontas Eorpach seasamh láidir i gcoinne réimeas Lukashenka nuair a ghearramar pacáiste smachtbhanna air. Anois, tá sé ag iarraidh brú a chur orainn mar dhíoltas. Bhronnamar Duais Sakharov ar an bhfreasúra daonlathach sa Bhealarúis in 2020. Tá freagracht faoi leith orainn ó thaobh bhuaiteoirí na duaise sin. Nílimid chun géilleadh do Lukashenka.

Tá muinín, teacht aniar agus díograis iontach léirithe ag lucht an fhreasúra sa Bhealarúis. Ach go háirithe, tá áit speisialta ag, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya i gcroíthe mhuintir na hÉireann. Chaith Sviatlana trí shamhradh i gContae Thiobraid Árann agus í ina déagóir, agus thug sí cuairt orainn arís an samhradh seo caite, agus í mar cheannaire ar an bhfreasúra daonlathach sa Bhealarúis.

Ba mhaith liom cás Artsiom Miadvedski, príosúnach polaitiúil a d’uchtaigh mé, a lua freisin. Ba cheart Miadvedski agus an 700 príosúnach polaitiúil eile a ligean saor.

 
   
 

  Ylva Johansson, Member of the Commission, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, honourable Members, thank you very much for this debate. Thank you for your strong commitment and clear solidarity with the Belarussian people and with the more than 700 political prisoners. It’s necessary that we stand firm and united towards Lukashenko. We must react in solidarity against the instrumentalisation of migrants transported to the EU borders under false pretences.

The EU must be united and not show weakness in the face of brutal repression and the continuing provocations by the Lukashenko regime. We must show that we are not Belarus. We are not Lukashenko. We are the European Union. We are about democracy, not autocracy. We are about transparency, not secrecy. We are about humanity, not brutality, and we must stand firm and united in protecting our external borders and our values, respecting fundamental rights and human dignity.

The EU is, and should continue to be, at the forefront of the international reactions towards Lukashenko’s brutal and illegal actions. One year since the fraudulent elections the world has seen the incredible courage and unity of Belarusian people in claiming their fundamental rights and freedoms. The world has also seen the brutal and irresponsible actions by Lukashenko and his regime. We have seen enough to draw conclusions.

There is no way back to business as usual. There is no other way than ensuring accountability for the crimes committed. We stand ready to adopt further measures in response to unacceptable actions of the regime. In the face of the brutal repression against its own citizens and the provocations by the Lukashenko regime, the EU is firmly united and continues to support a free and democratic Belarus, and I know, dear Members, that I can count on you on this.

 
   
   

PRESIDENZA: ROBERTA METSOLA
Viċi President

 
6. Resumption of the sitting
 

(Ħin tal-ftuħ tas-seduta: 15.00)

 
7. EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority: ensuring a coordinated EU approach for future health crises and the role of the European Parliament in this (debate)
 

  Gašper Dovžan, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, although there is much we can be proud of in the European Union’s response to the COVID—19 crisis, we must not ignore the fact that we, like the rest of the world, were not sufficiently prepared.

We cannot let this happen in the future, and we need to take a more proactive approach to protect our citizens. The scale of the health emergency provoked by the pandemic highlighted the need for greater cooperation among countries. The common EU vaccines strategy and the Digital Green Certificate are good examples of this successful cooperation at Union level.

Drawing lessons from the current pandemic, the European Union engaged in a process to reinforce its resilience to future cross—border health threats, and we are convinced that this was the right decision. As the Presidency, we included strengthening the resilience of the European Union as one of our main priorities. In the area of health, the Slovenian Presidency has been focusing on building a European Health Union. Together with the European Parliament, we have been working constructively on the first blocks of this union.

We have started the negotiations on strengthening the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and have progressed quite well in negotiations on the European Medicines Agency. We hope to engage soon in negotiations on the proposal regarding serious cross—border threats to health. We count on the constructive cooperation of the European Parliament so that we can conclude negotiations as soon as possible and move to the implementation of the legislation.

Stronger operational agencies and a more robust cooperation framework to face health threats are essential. The latest proposal from the Commission providing for the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) constitutes an important addition to the European Health Union. HERA can strengthen health security coordination within the EU, address strategic dependencies and bolster the global health dimension.

The Presidency shares the ambition as regards the wide tasks of HERA, including threat assessment, intelligence gathering, addressing market challenges, taking emergency measures on procurement, the manufacturing and purchasing of medical countermeasures, leveraging research and innovation plans, and distributing emergency funding.

The Commission has decided to establish HERA as an internal service, which enables it to be operational immediately, while benefiting from the regulatory, technical and organisational tools of the Commission. So far, the Council has not discussed this aspect. At the same time, the Council has just started the examination of the related proposal on a framework of measures for ensuring the supply of crisis relevant medicinal countermeasures in the event of a public health emergency at Union level. We need some time to analyse it thoroughly.

Before I conclude, let me reiterate that the Presidency is fully committed to the common goal of improving the Union’s preparedness for future crises, and we will do our best to bring the related work forward.

 
   
 

  Stella Kyriakides, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I am pleased for the opportunity to be in plenary today to discuss HERA after the debate last Monday in the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), as this really provides another opportunity to explain, to clarify and to build together with you a path forward.

I want to begin today by underlining two points which make HERA stand apart. First and foremost, its urgency. HERA is needed now, to close the gaps in our preparedness, our anticipation and our responses to health crises. For this health crisis, but also for future ones. Secondly, the fact that HERA will only succeed if it drives a consensus on health preparedness at all levels across the EU, and it is absolutely clear that the European Parliament must be part of this.

Our close cooperation throughout the COVID-19 emergency and on the European Health Union proposals has been pivotal and central to our successful response to the worst public health crisis in memory. Last Monday, I appeared before the ENVI Committee to explain that HERA is not a typical Commission structure. It is our shared resource between European institutions and Member States. It is the place where the necessary coordination between national actions and EU actions will be brought together. It is a place for fast, operational decisions, for foresight, anticipation and the coordination of preparedness and response, and to achieve this, we need an innovative set-up. Our traditional tools would not be able to meet the expectations of European citizens.

Parliament will be integrally involved in both preparedness and crisis times, through its participation in both the HERA Board and the Health Crisis Board. It is unprecedented that the European Parliament is directly involved with an internal Commission structure. The European Parliament representatives will have full access to all the information exchanged, and will help to shape the preparation and the implementation of HERA actions.

HERA’s budget of course will be subject to the scrutiny of the European Parliament as the budgetary authority. But we need to make sure that the voice of the Parliament is heard early in this process as well, and with all this in mind, I can only repeat that saying that the Parliament has been excluded, is difficult to understand if one takes all the above into account.

I have heard the voices of those saying that the Health Union proposals should be held back, should be delayed and amended to achieve a different governance structure for HERA. Honourable Members, our citizens have seen throughout this crisis the very responsible and citizen-focused stance taken and this is what they expect now. I have listened to you carefully and I continue to listen carefully and I believe we all agree on HERA’s objectives and ambition.

I believe we all agree that this pandemic is still with us and we have no time to lose. The Health Union proposals must move forward quickly and as soon as possible. Holding them back or holding HERA back, will have a significant impact on what all of us have been trying to build together. In fact we are all accountable to European citizens who expect a stronger Europe in the area of health and a stronger Europe in dealing with health crises.

I am proud to say that HERA started its work last Friday officially and will be fully up and running early next year. A small team is already in place and the first meeting of the HERA Board took place last Friday. I very much look forward to the appointment of the European Parliament’s representative on the Board.

I wish to take the opportunity to clarify one critical element here. Our proposal for a Regulation on a framework of measures to be triggered by a health crisis is separate from the set-up and governance of HERA. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to invent new instruments and to set up ad hoc solutions. We have tried to identify what could have made our response to COVID-19 more efficient. It is key to think about this in advance – every minute counts in a situation like the pandemic.

With our crisis mode proposal, our goal is to make mobilisation of extra tools and resources easier and more automatic. The legal base for a Council regulation was chosen after careful legal assessment and there was no other viable option to mobilise emergency funding.

I fully understand that Parliament sees the need to review what has been proposed and this is why we include a review clause, both for HERA and for the draft Council regulation, but to be able to review something, we need first to give it the chance and see it operate. I am fully committed to involving Parliament closely in this review process and its outcomes.

Honourable Members, HERA is our common response to a crisis and the crisis has shown what we need to do better for our citizens, and the Health Union proposals are the foundation for HERA. Delaying them will only impact on our efforts to work more closely together and to exit this pandemic. Setting up HERA as soon as possible stems from one conviction, and a conviction I believe you share with us: namely, that we must waste no time in responding to the ongoing threats of COVID-19 and other emerging public health threats. We simply must make this investment in our citizens’ health without delay and I count on your support for that.

 
   
 

  Pernille Weiss, for PPE-Gruppen. – Fru formand! Et forsvar er ikke stærkere end det svageste led. Den regel er både banal, og den er livsvigtig. Covid-19 lærte os det på den brutale måde, og det er EU’s fornemmeste opgave at tage samtlige erfaringer, vi har høstet os, og gøre noget ved dem. Vi har gjort rigtig meget rigtigt, fordi vi har instrumenterne i medlemslandene og i samarbejdet mellem EU’s institutioner og i en stærk life-science sektor. Men vi skal blive endnu bedre. Vi var nemlig ikke ordentligt klædt på. Vores kikkert var ikke skarp nok, og den så ikke langt nok heller. Vi må konstatere, at udbud og efterspørgsel af kritiske biomedicinske behov ikke hang sammen og var for tunge i gearskiftet.

Vi har derfor erkendt, at vi kan lære af USA, som på ruinerne af 11. september i 2001 gik i gang med at sikre sig, at de aldrig nogensinde skulle blive taget på sengen igen. Derfor er det afgørende, at vi vænner os til her i EU, at vi skal sove med støvlerne på. Støvlerne her hedder HERA, så de skal være dem, som sikrer, at vi er fuldt forberedte på enhver sundhedsmæssig, grænseoverskridende nødsituation, og som er klar med alle relevante og nødvendige modsvar. Derfor er det godt, at Kommissionen er gået i gang med det, der bør udvikle sig til et stærkt og selvstændigt agentur. Alt andet bliver for utydeligt og risikerer at blive genstand for mistro og manglende effektivitet og værdi. Det skal vi undgå med HERA.

Vi europæere og de mange virksomheder, der er afhængige af, at en sundhedskrise ikke smadrer hverken helbred, arbejdsplads eller EU’s sammenhængskraft og det indre marked, skal kunne sove trygt om natten i forvisning om, at HERA virkelig virker. Det kræver, at der er en anerkendelse bygget på bred demokratisk opbakning. Det betyder, naturligvis, at Europa-Parlamentet skal inddrages i designet af et HERA-agentur. Sker det ikke, så risikerer vi, at HERA bliver det uforudset svageste led i vores fælles kriseberedskab over for en ny pandemi, og den opbakning til EU kan vi ikke sætte over styr en gang til.

Derfor er EPP’s besked i dagens debat, at Kommissionen skal fortsætte sit arbejde med HERA. De foreløbige støvler skal sørme fungere, men der skal være en slutdato for, at Kommissionen kører alene videre med opgaven, og der skal fremlægges en politisk designproces, som inddrager Parlamentet som medlovgiver. Sådan gør man i demokratier, og det skal EU også vise her, at vi mestrer.

 
   
 

  Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, au nom du groupe Renew. – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, chère Stella, l’Autorité européenne de préparation et de réaction aux urgences sanitaires (HERA) est un des dispositifs clés de notre réponse à la pandémie et de notre indépendance européenne en matière de santé. Ses missions sont très attendues: anticipation, soutien à l’innovation, achat groupé, accompagnement de la production industrielle, prévention des pénuries de médicaments: tout y est. Bravo pour cette proposition!

Sur la forme, je vous ai déjà exprimé – et vous avez eu la gentillesse de l’entendre – notre déception de ne pas être associés à la construction de ce grand projet, que nous soutenons. Réduire le rôle du Parlement européen à un observateur au sein d’un comité de crise n’est pas conforme à l’esprit de coopération qui nous anime depuis le début de cette pandémie. Ce que nous avons réussi, nous l’avons réussi ensemble. Vous avez su entendre dans cet hémicycle nos appels à une réponse européenne coordonnée et à un budget santé. Nous avons uni nos efforts sur le pass sanitaire et vous avez répondu à notre demande de transparence par la création d’un groupe contact vaccins.

Le rôle du Parlement ne doit pas et ne peut pas être cantonné à l’approbation du budget d’HERA, surtout sans être associé à son élaboration. Nous souhaitons qu’HERA accorde une place aussi importante à la société civile qu’aux industriels. Nous souhaitons participer à sa gouvernance pour orienter ses actions au nom du Parlement, c’est-à-dire au nom des citoyens. Nous souhaitons qu’HERA devienne une partie intégrante du règlement sur les menaces transfrontières, auquel elle est intimement rattachée et qui permettra de ne pas perdre de temps sur sa mise en place.

En somme, nous voulons continuer à assurer la cohérence, la transparence, la coordination et l’unité de notre politique sanitaire européenne commune.

 
   
 

  Michèle Rivasi, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Madame la Présidente, chers collègues, Madame la Commissaire, je vous ai bien écoutée, mais vous n’entendez pas. J’en suis à mon troisième mandat. Nous nous sommes sans cesse battus au niveau du Parlement européen pour être toujours associés au fonctionnement de l’Europe. Nous défendons l’Union européenne et dans le cadre de cette pandémie, où nous avons tous été touchés, nous avions conscience que tout était urgent et nous nous sommes battus tous ensemble pour construire une union de la santé sur le plan européen. Nous avons fait tout notre possible avec mon collègue Buşoi pour qu’il y ait EU4Health. Nous nous sommes battus pour qu’il y ait un budget pour la santé et nous savions qu’il fallait une innovation et c’est ce qu’a proposé la Commission, en créant cette agence qu’on appelle HERA.

HERA doit être une agence, comme vous l’avez dit, de préparation et pour répondre à l’urgence. Or, maintenant, la Commission vient nous faire une proposition faisant d’HERA un service interne à la Commission, un appendice de la Commission. Et nous, colégislateurs, que ferons-nous? Il faudra voter ce budget de 6 milliards d’euros. Et puis nous aurons, comme a dit ma collègue, un poste d’observateur. Donc, un seul parlementaire pour discuter, pour savoir les orientations, le mandat et la gouvernance.

Alors, Madame la Commissaire, vous avez assisté lundi à la réunion de la commission de l’environnement, de la santé publique et de la sécurité alimentaire et vous avez vu que tous les groupes politiques n’acceptent pas votre proposition. Il faut que nous soyons associés. Vous parlez de crédibilité de l’Union européenne, mais la crédibilité se fait ensemble et ce n’est pas évident, cette agence. Il faut que nous en discutions, il faut que nous la construisions, il faut qu’elle soit transparente. Alors, Madame la Commissaire, revenez sur votre proposition.

 
   
 

  Joëlle Mélin, au nom du groupe ID. – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, le commissaire Breton réclame la fin de la naïveté en matière d’industrie et de développement de la politique industrielle européenne. Je vous demanderai, au nom de mon groupe, de faire de même en matière sanitaire. Car l’agence HERA, dont on ne sait pas encore quelle place elle aura au regard de son développement antidémocratique vis-à-vis des députés, cumule tous les paramètres d’un échec annoncé en ce qui concerne l’Europe de la santé.

Tout d’abord, son extrême naïveté, qui consiste à penser que l’on peut monter une agence civile en imitant l’agence paramilitaire américaine BARDA par un montage expéditif de différents textes civils. Tous sont redondants et partagent les mêmes préoccupations, à savoir la gestion des stocks, la gestion des pénuries et les banques de données, et tous souhaitent un financement propre. Aucun n’est chargé de donner une alerte efficace ni d’actionner les circuits les plus courts possibles entre les États et l’Union européenne.

L’HERA ne pourra être opérationnelle que lorsque l’Europe de la défense sera finalisée, et nous en sommes relativement loin. En attendant, il s’agit là d’un faux semblant laissant à penser aux Européens qu’ils seront protégés. C’est une grande insécurité qui les attend, car on a minimisé le rôle des États membres qui, jusqu’à ce jour, ont parfaitement tenu leur rôle en matière de pandémie.

 
   
 

  Kateřina Konečná, za skupinu The Left. – Paní předsedající, paní komisařko, se zřízením HERA ať už jako samostatné agentury, nebo jen oddělení v rámci Komise zásadně nesouhlasím. Domnívám se, že tento úkol měl být svěřen agentuře ECDC a zdá se mi, že HERA pouze vykrádá pravomoci ECDC. Podle návrhu by měla poskytovat hodnocení přeshraničních zdravotních hrozeb. A já se ptám: ECDC tato hodnocení neposkytuje? Není to náhodou primární důvod její existence? Co přesně je tedy přidanou hodnotou HERA? Kromě toho, odkud se vezmou zaměstnanci, kteří budou pracovat v rámci tohoto nového oddělení? Počet odborníků v této oblasti v Evropě není velký. Chystá se tedy Komise vykrást zaměstnance z vlastního GŘ SANTE nebo z ECDC či EMA?

Další skandálem je, jak Komise přistoupila ke spolupráci s Evropským parlamentem. Zřizování takto důležitého orgánu prostřednictvím nařízení Rady je velmi nešťastné, nepomáhá situaci vyjasnit ani nesvědčí o dobrých meziinstitucionálních vztazích. Bohužel tento nepromyšlený postup nás jen donutí na návrh o HERA reagovat jinak, a to změnou mandátu nařízení o přeshraničních zdravotních hrozbách. Kolegové, ano, řada našich občanů sleduje zdravotnictví, ale není možné to provozovat jako kabinetní zákonodárství.

 
   
 

  Peter Liese (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Die Europäische Union steht, was die Pandemiebekämpfung angeht, jetzt sehr gut da. Wir haben die höchste Impfrate weltweit, und wir waren gemeinsam erfolgreich.

Aber wir haben Anfang dieses Jahres drei schwere Monate erlebt. Es gab zu wenig Impfstoff und zu spät für viele Bürgerinnen und Bürger in der EU. Das lag an Exportverboten anderer Staaten. Es lag daran, dass sich die Firma Pfizer bei der Haftung quergestellt hat. Und es ist gut, dass die Kommission da hart geblieben ist.

Aber es lag auch daran, dass wir so etwas wie die HERA nicht hatten. Die Amerikaner hatten die BARDA und haben deshalb auch schneller mehr Impfstoff produzieren können. Deswegen haben wir als Parlament in großer Mehrheit gesagt: So etwas wie die US-BARDA möchten wir auch. Und wir möchten auch ausdrücklich die Zusammenarbeit von privaten Unternehmen und öffentlichen Institutionen. Der BioNTech-Impfstoff ist ein absoluter Schlager weltweit, und er bringt uns aus der Pandemie. Die EU, nationale Mittel und privates Kapital haben hierzu beigetragen, und das hätte eigentlich auch den Medizin-Nobelpreis verdient gehabt. Deswegen brauchen wir so etwas wie die Amerikaner. Und deswegen sind wir als EVP grundsätzlich für die HERA.

Wir sehen aber das Demokratiedefizit. Deswegen machen wir den Vorschlag: Ja, wir akzeptieren die HERA, aber für eine begrenzte Zeit, und wir wollen dann ein ordentliches Gesetzgebungsverfahren mit dem Parlament als Mitgesetzgeber – also keine Zeit verlieren, aber für eine demokratische Lösung kämpfen.

 
   
 

  Jytte Guteland (S&D). – Fru talman! Fru kommissionär Kyriakides! Den nya enheten för krisförberedelse, Hera, är ett viktigt steg mot en gemensam hälsounion, och EU-kommissionen tar ett steg i rätt riktning. Föregångaren, Hero-inkubatorn, har under våren spelat en otroligt viktig roll med att se till att samordna politiken, forskningen, näringslivet i arbetet mot varianter av covid-19, och på samma sätt kommer Hera nu att spela den viktiga rollen, exempelvis genom att säkra gemensamma lagerhållningar, upphandling av kritiska mediciner och så vidare.

Men samtidigt ser vi i S&D-gruppen en missad möjlighet. Hotet från nya pandemier kommer att hänga över vårt samhälle under lång tid framöver. Den tysta pandemin, antibiotikaresistens, riskerar också att snabbt förvärras. Vi behöver långsiktiga, hållbara strukturer. Där hade vi i EU-parlamentet kunnat vässa och förbättra förslaget. Därför är det mycket märkligt och skadligt för Heras legitimitet att Europaparlamentet inte är inbjudna till förhandlingsbordet. Inte minst förhandlingarna om EU:s covid-19-intyg har visat att vi kan agera både snabbt och långsiktigt.

Som jag tidigare har sagt från vår sida stöder S&D alla initiativ till att ytterligare stärka Heras mandat i förhandlingarna om gränsöverskridande hälsohot. Att stoppa pandemier är alldeles för viktigt för att lämna medborgarna utanför.

 
   
 

  Frédérique Ries (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, quinze ans, donc, après la création de la BARDA aux États-Unis, l’Europe se dote elle aussi de son arme antivirus avec la mise sur pied de cette prochaine Autorité d’urgence sanitaire (HERA) et c’est une excellente nouvelle, même si je me joins à tous mes collègues dans leur exigence de ramener le Parlement européen à la table des négociations: HERA doit être un projet commun.

Avec BARDA et «Warp speed», les États-Unis ont montré leur capacité à se déployer rapidement, même extrêmement rapidement, pour conduire les essais cliniques dans le fond, en même temps qu’ils construisaient les capacités pour développer et produire vaccins et médicaments. Et c’est ce chaînon manquant chez nous que veut combler HERA: anticiper les risques, soutenir l’innovation, développer les outils et les capacités de production. Car dans l’intérêt du patient, notre dépendance vis-à-vis de l’Asie doit cesser; c’est impératif et cela se fera uniquement en développant chez nous, en Europe, cette culture de résultats qui nous manque si souvent. Il est essentiel de donner la priorité absolue à la disponibilité des vaccins et surtout des traitements, quel qu’en soit le prix.

 
   
 

  Margrete Auken (Verts/ALE). – Fru formand! EU har brug for et stærkere samarbejde på sundhedsområdet. Spørgsmålet er derfor ikke hvorfor, men hvordan vi skal forstærke vores sundhedsunion.

Hvad har vi lært af EU’s håndtering indtil nu? Vi har lært, at EU-indkøbte vacciner virker, og tak for det. Vi har brugt milliarder af euro, men har skandaløst ringe kontrol med hvordan. Og så har vi et system, der holder hånden over industrien, med interessekonflikter og uden krav til gennemsigtighed i forhold til forsknings-, fremstillings- og forhåndsindkøbsaftaler. Ingen gennemsigtighed om offentlig finansiering af virksomheder, om vaccinepriser og salgsindtægter, omkostninger ved kliniske forsøg osv. Og så er den globale solidaritet minimal.

Men EU-Kommissionens seneste udspil om EU’s beredskabsmyndighed på sundhedsområdet er ikke svaret på de udfordringer. Og den skal ændres grundlæggende fra at være industri til at være et sundhedssamarbejde. Lad os nu tænke stort og etablere en europæisk infrastruktur til produktion af medicin og vacciner. Lad os prioritere kompetente, non-profit farmavirksomheder over kommercielle. Lad os samarbejde med ikkekommercielle forskningsinstitutioner og civilsamfund. Og lad os sikre muligheder for, at fattigere lande hurtigt får gang i i hvert fald tilstrækkelige vaccineprogrammer. Alt sammen med den højeste grad af transparens, demokratisk kontrol og krav til vores samarbejdspartnere i industrien.

Lad mig også sige til Fru Pernille Weiss, det er altså ikke et agentur. Havde det bare været det. Men det er kun en kraft, en magt inden for Kommissionen. Det sagde kommissæren i øvrigt også udtrykkeligt lige før.

 
   
 

  Vincenzo Sofo (ECR). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la necessità di istituire una nuova Agenzia europea per la strategia sanitaria certifica il clamoroso fallimento della gestione COVID da parte dell’UE.

D’altronde, l’incapacità dell’ECDC di affrontare la pandemia, la vergognosa censura dei contratti per i vaccini, l’aumento ingiustificato dei loro prezzi e i continui cambi di idea di EMA sulla loro autorizzazione sono palese dimostrazione della totale inadeguatezza e opacità delle politiche adottate.

Sia chiaro: definire finalmente una strategia sanitaria europea che ponga fine alla dipendenza da USA e Asia e che ci renda sovrani nella tutela della salute dei nostri popoli è assolutamente necessario, ma è inquietante che, nonostante gli scandali appena citati, la Commissione abbia deciso di negare ancora una volta a questo Parlamento il controllo sui fondi che saranno stanziati a società pubbliche e private.

Una scelta che puzza tanto di ennesimo favore alle lobby che, grazie agli accordi segreti stipulati con l’UE, hanno già guadagnato dal COVID decine e decine di miliardi di euro con margini di profitto enormi ai danni dei portafogli dei cittadini. Legittimo chiedersi dunque se il vostro obiettivo sia mettere le Big Pharma al servizio della salute dei popoli o meglio la salute dei popoli al servizio delle Big Pharma.

 
   
 

  Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, Monsieur le représentant du Conseil, chers collègues, le 16 septembre dernier, nous avons pris connaissance de la copie de la Commission européenne concernant la nouvelle Autorité européenne de préparation et d’intervention en cas d’urgence sanitaire (HERA). L’intérêt d’une telle structure aurait dû être double.

D’une part, comme l’indiquait la présidente Ursula von der Leyen en 2020, il aurait dû s’agir de créer une agence de recherche et de développement, comme cela existe aux États-Unis, avec une véritable coopération public-privé.

D’autre part, c’était une nouvelle occasion d’affirmer la création d’une véritable Europe de la santé, c’est-à-dire de conférer une véritable compétence de coopération et de coordination sanitaires à l’Union européenne.

Malheureusement, dans les deux cas, l’objectif n’est pas atteint. À quoi bon annoncer qu’on prend modèle sur les États-Unis, si le budget alloué est in fine deux fois moindre et s’il ne s’agit que d’un simple service interne à la Commission? À quoi bon construire une Union de la santé, si le Parlement, seule institution élue au suffrage universel direct, y est cantonné à un simple rôle d’observateur?

Madame la Commissaire, j’entends vos justifications budgétaires et opérationnelles. Pour autant, elles ne me convainquent pas. Quant à l’éviction du Parlement européen, je n’ai entendu aucune justification. Pourtant, je souhaite rappeler ici que c’est grâce au Parlement européen que le budget de l’Europe de la santé est trois fois plus élevé que celui proposé initialement par les États membres.

Alors oui, le Parlement doit être pleinement associé, nous devons continuer à travailler ensemble pour construire une Europe de la santé efficace, démocratique et transparente aux yeux de nos concitoyens.

 
   
 

  Sara Cerdas (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, Senhora Comissária, Senhor Presidente do Conselho, a pandemia levou a União Europeia a iniciar um esforço sem precedentes em prol de uma verdadeira União Europeia para a Saúde. Este esforço inclui a criação da HERA – Autoridade Europeia de Preparação e Resposta a Emergências Sanitárias, que reforça a nossa capacidade de prevenção, deteção e resposta.

Os objetivos a que todos nos propusemos só poderão ser alcançados se todos estivermos igualmente envolvidos e comprometidos na sua concretização. A Comissão não pode, assim, excluir o Parlamento Europeu deste processo, pois, além do precedente legislativo inaceitável, queremos estar envolvidos na melhoria da proposta apresentada.

Precisamos: de uma verdadeira agência e não de uma estrutura dentro da Comissão; de uma governação clara, de que o Parlamento Europeu seja parte integrante, não como observador, mas como membro de pleno direito; de um financiamento robusto, claramente definido e que não absorva a maior parte dos fundos do EU4Health; de transparência na sua relação com o setor privado; de abertura na sua relação com as associações de doentes e seus representantes; e de proximidade com os nossos cidadãos.

O Parlamento Europeu não pode limitar-se a aprovar orçamentos nem esperar até 2025 para fazer um balanço. Depois de tudo o que foi alcançado, precisamos agora de concluir a construção da União Europeia para a saúde com o mesmo espírito de colaboração inicial. Os europeus não aceitarão que seja de outra forma.

 
   
 

  Nicolae Ştefănuță (Renew). – Doamna președintă, doamnă comisar, faceți vă rog ceva! Este din ce în ce mai grav, mi-a spus astăzi un medic de la mine de acasă, din Sibiu.

Guvernul României, căzut printr-o moțiune de cenzură, a solicitat ajutorul de urgență al Uniunii Europene, pentru că astăzi avem 15 000 de noi cazuri și 254 de decese, un record absolut. Din păcate, autoritățile solicită ajutorul doar când e prea târziu, pentru că nu vor să pară slabe și incompetente în fața oamenilor.

Noi cerusem deja, aici, în Parlamentul European, de acum o săptămână acest ajutor.

Sper din tot sufletul ca solidaritatea europeană să funcționeze și de data aceasta. Sper ca toți voi, toți europenii, să ajutați România, așa cum medicii din România au ajutat Italia în primul val al crizei în 2020.

Nu putem decât să ne bucurăm pentru agenția HERA și o sprijinim din tot sufletul, însă pentru România este târziu acum. Avem nevoie ca instituțiile europene să fie prezente acasă, în spitalele de acasă, la Constanța, la Sibiu, pentru că România pierde aer în acest moment și avem nevoie de mare, mare ajutor.

 
   
 

  Tilly Metz (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I believe my colleagues have already explained well why, as Members of this Parliament, we are so worried, but also angry, about the current proposal.

We all want to strengthen the capacity of the EU to respond to health emergencies, but this process must be independent and driven only by public health interest. As foreseen now, the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) will not be an independent agency. The Commission will work directly with the industry on research, development and manufacturing of medicines. The only way to guarantee the independence of HERA will be to include strict and binding policies on conflict of interest.

We cannot afford, neither financially nor morally, that HERA become an additional channel to give pharmaceutical companies a blank cheque. We have to draw the lessons from the so far poor experience of the EU public and private partnerships. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes for the credibility of the project, but also for the credibility of the European institutions.

 
   
 

  Margarita de la Pisa Carrión (ECR). – Señora presidenta, señora comisaria, no podemos limitarnos a debatir hoy en esta Cámara sobre el papel del Parlamento Europeo en la HERA. Hay otras muchas cuestiones que son objetivamente más relevantes si se pretende que en cuatro meses esta nueva Autoridad sea efectiva, operativa y útil a la hora de gestionar cerca de 50 000 millones de euros hasta 2027.

La salud es competencia de los Estados miembros. Por eso, necesitamos conocer la estructura y funcionamiento de esta Autoridad, los mecanismos de coordinación con los Estados, los instrumentos que se van a poner al servicio de la HERA para garantizar la disponibilidad, acceso y distribución de medicamentos. ¿Cuáles son los planes de la Comisión para que no se solapen competencias con agencias cuyos mandatos acaban de ser ampliados, como la EMA o el ECDC?

En definitiva, señora comisaria, apoyaremos los esfuerzos para desarrollar una industria farmacéutica europea y mejorar nuestra capacidad de investigación y de respuesta ante emergencias sanitarias. Pero necesitamos garantías para evitar que buenas ideas se transformen en estructuras mastodónticas sin valor añadido para el ciudadano europeo y que difuminen la soberanía de las naciones.

 
   
 

  Marisa Matias (The Left). – Senhora Presidente, Senhora Comissária, precisamos de uma autoridade europeia de emergência sanitária? Muito provavelmente, sim. Mas precisamos que ela seja um gabinete privado da Comissão Europeia que possa negociar diretamente com farmacêuticas e o setor privado, sem transparência, sem democracia, sem o Parlamento? Não.

Houve lacunas na gestão da pandemia? Houve, e várias. E elas passam também pelo facto de termos desinvestido nos serviços nacionais de saúde, por ter havido cortes muitas vezes impostos pelas políticas europeias. Elas passam também por não dar o devido valor às agências que já temos, nomeadamente a Agência Europeia de Medicamentos e a ECDC. Portanto, precisamos de uma resposta articulada, seguramente, mas responder às crises sanitárias e à emergência sanitária é também reforçar os serviços nacionais de saúde, a resposta dos profissionais, e investir na investigação científica e na ciência.

Não podemos aceitar, de nenhuma forma, uma agência europeia, uma autoridade europeia que responda a estas questões sem que saibamos como nem porquê, qual é o seu papel, qual é o seu mandato, e sem que os cidadãos possam ser ouvidos.

 
   
 

  Радан Кънев (PPE). – Г-жо Председател, г-жо Комисар, колеги, отворените граници, свободното движение и свободната търговия са нашата сила и основа на нашето благосъстояние, но те пораждат и сериозни здравни рискове, което всички видяхме в сегашната пандемия.

Но тези рискове бяха налице и преди. Достатъчно е да проследим движението на случаите на хепатит, събуждането на туберкулозата, новите непознати вируси и бактерии или непрекъснато увеличаващите се инфекции с резистентни към антибиотици бактерии, които, апропо, обсъждахме на предишната си сесия. И съвсем не на последно място — връзката между тези зарази и раковите и сърдечносъдови заболявания. Отделно, здравните рискове, свързани със замърсяване, аварии и природни бедствия, също не признават държавните граници.

Всички тези рискове са общи за Съюза и справянето с тях не е по силите на отделните национални здравни системи, независимо от националната компетентност в сферата на здравеопазването. Новият орган за реакция при извънредни здравни ситуации HERA трябва да работи в тясна координация с Механизма за гражданска защита и Центъра за превенция на заболяванията ECDC, както, разбира се, и с националните здравни власти. Преди всичко трябва да имаме предвид и неговата способност да обобщи уникална база данни на база проблемите на половин милиард европейски граждани и така да допринесе за превенция на презгранични заплахи, но и за научни и технологични пробиви от световен мащаб в борбата не само със заразните болести, но и с рака и сърдечносъдовите заболявания.

 
   
 

  Christel Schaldemose (S&D). – Fru formand! Det er en alvorlig sag at ruste EU til den næste sundhedskrise. Derfor er jeg også glad for, at vi har en diskussion om HERA her i dag. Måden, vi har håndteret coronapandemien på, var jo netop reaktiv. Vi handlede i sagens natur på bagkant.

Derfor skal vi blive bedre til at se sundhedskriserne, inden de rammer. Og vi skal sikre, at vi har fornøden produktion af medicin og værnemidler osv. Alt sammen noget, vi alle sammen er enige om, og derfor er det også godt, at vi diskuterer det her i dag, for vi skal være bedre rustet, når den næste pandemi rammer.

Men – det er derfor også super ærgerligt, at Kommissionen vælger at behandle HERA som en hastesag og vælger at holde Europa-Parlamentet ude af diskussionen om, hvordan det skal indrettes. Vi har i mere end halvandet år været påvirket af dette. Det kræver tid til at finde ud af, hvad vi kan lære af det, og så kræver det også bedre løsninger. Og for at få bedre løsninger, bør Europa-Parlamentet være involveret. Det er vi ikke. Vi skylder hinanden at gøre dette på en ordentlig måde.

 
   
 

  Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, il y a un an, la présidente de la Commission nous annonçait la création d’une nouvelle agence européenne pour faire face aux futures pandémies à l’image de BARDA aux États-Unis. Cette agence prenait le nom d’HERA. Aujourd’hui, HERA l’ambitieuse se transforme en service interne à la Commission, en outil technocratique.

Mais, mes chers collègues, permettez-moi cette référence à la mythologie grecque, car aujourd’hui, je me sens trahie. Trahie comme Héra par son époux Zeus, trahie sur l’ambition et sur la méthode. Une décision sans appel a été prise et vous avez choisi d’exclure le Parlement européen. Rappelons que depuis un an et demi, ce Parlement se bat pour la santé des citoyens, plus d’ambition, plus de mesures et plus de transparence.

Madame la Commissaire, nous avons travaillé ensemble tout au long de cette crise comme partenaires. Comment expliquer qu’aujourd’hui, la présidente von der Leyen décide d’exclure les représentants des citoyens européens?

 
   
 

  Rasmus Andresen (Verts/ALE). – Frau Präsidentin! Viren machen an Ländergrenzen keinen Halt. Deshalb ist es richtig, die EU zu einer Gesundheitsunion zu machen. Wir brauchen bessere Koordinierung und klare Zuständigkeiten. Wir Grüne unterstützen deshalb grundsätzlich eine engere Koordinierung der Gesundheitspolitik und mehr Kompetenzen für die EU-Kommission. Die Pläne der Kommission aber, die jetzt auf dem Tisch liegen, sind dafür kontraproduktiv. Wir brauchen mehr demokratische Kontrolle und Transparenz.

Es ist nicht in Ordnung, dass die Kommission mehr Ressourcen und Aufgaben bekommt, ohne dass das Parlament Einfluss auf die Struktur und Ausgestaltung hat. Dass die EU-Kommission Geld aus dem Forschungs-, aus dem Gesundheitsprogramm und aus Krisenfonds nimmt, um damit ihre eigenen Strukturen zu stärken, ist falsch. Wir haben in den Haushaltsberatungen für eine Erhöhung des Gesundheitsprogramms gekämpft, um damit mehr Projekte zur Gesundheitsversorgung vor Ort zu unterstützen – nicht, damit es in die Brüsseler Verwaltung fließt.

Überarbeiten Sie den Vorschlag, der jetzt auf dem Tisch liegt, und legen Sie einen ordentlichen Gesetzgebungsvorschlag vor.

 
   
 

  Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR). – Voorzitter, collega’s, commissaris, de cruciale vraag of we überhaupt een nieuwe instelling nodig hebben, blijft onbeantwoord. Is het niet beter, of was het niet beter, om het takenpakket van EMA en ECDC verder uit te breiden? De samenwerking van HERA met deze twee instellingen is overigens nog altijd zeer onduidelijk.

Een ander prangend probleem is het budget van 50 miljard EUR, waarmee de Commissie uitpakt. Een budget van die omvang heeft een enorme impact op bestaande programma’s en op de begroting van lidstaten. Ik zie ook een reëel risico voor de gemaakte afspraken inzake het nieuwe MFK. Inspraak van alle actoren is noodzakelijk.

Ten slotte lijkt dit vooral een top-down prestigeproject waarmee de Commissie zich wil meten met de Verenigde Staten. Ze passeert daarbij zowel de lidstaten als het Parlement en van een constructieve dialoog met dit huis, het Europees Parlement, is vooralsnog geen sprake. Ik ben dus allesbehalve overtuigd. Zowel inhoudelijk, budgettair als procedureel heeft de Commissie nog heel wat uit te leggen.

 
   
 

  Bartosz Arłukowicz (PPE). – Pani Komisarz! To jest absolutnie kluczowy moment dla Europy. To, czy my jako politycy podejmiemy decyzję, że chcemy naprawdę chronić zdrowia Europejczyków, czy będziemy dalej zasłaniać się traktatami i tym, że zdrowie jest w rękach państw członkowskich. Ja uważam, że COVID tak naprawdę obnażył, pokazał to – i tysiące śmierci ludzkich pokazały to – że Europa nie była przygotowana na zderzenie z tak trudnym wyzwaniem. Ale z każdego zła zawsze musi wynikać dobro. I z tej sytuacji też trzeba wyciągać wnioski. Czy potrzebujemy specjalnej agendy do walki z zagrożeniami? Oczywiście, że potrzebujemy. Czy potrzebujemy urzędniczej, biurokratycznej struktury, która zastąpi taką agencję? Nie, takiego czegoś nie potrzebujemy.

Jeśli mamy skutecznie walczyć z zagrożeniami, prawdziwymi kryzysami zdrowotnymi, które przed nami stoją, agencja musi być silna, skuteczna, profesjonalna, dobrze wyposażona finansowo, z dobrymi kompetencjami, ale też transparentna, żeby nie zgubiła zaufania naszych obywateli. Taka agencja musi rozwiązywać kryzysy, które przyjdą, przychodzą, ale także przewidywać kryzysy.

Pani Komisarz, wielokrotnie rozmawialiśmy w czasie prac specjalnej Komisji do spraw Walki z Rakiem w Europie na temat m.in. braków leków kluczowych np. do leczenia raka. To są też kryzysy i taka agencja musi mieć kompetencje, żeby stawić czoła hochsztaplerom, którzy przy okazji pandemii bądź innych zagrożeń chcą zarobić, ale też musi ratować obywateli tych państw, w których np. leków zaczyna brakować. Powinniśmy to przewidywać i temu przeciwdziałać. W związku z tym: kompetencja, siła, profesjonalizm, pieniądze i transparentność.

 
   
 

  Jutta Paulus (Verts/ALE). – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Kommissarin, meine Damen und Herren! Fraktionsübergreifend haben hier alle Kolleginnen und Kollegen die mangelnde Einbindung des Europäischen Parlaments und die fehlende demokratische Kontrolle beklagt. Das zeigt: Dieser Gesetzesvorschlag muss unbedingt verbessert werden.

Es kann aber nicht alles sein, das Parlament jetzt mit einzubeziehen. Die Erfahrungen mit den Verträgen mit den Impfstoffherstellern, die wir gemacht haben, zeigen: Transparenz ist anscheinend ein Fremdwort in dieser Kommission. Auch die Verantwortlichkeit der Hersteller fällt im Zweifelsfall hinten runter.

Es war bei diesen Verhandlungen vollkommen klar, wer am Ende des Tages am längeren Hebel sitzt. Und ich fürchte, das wird auch so bleiben. Denn bei allen Beteuerungen, wir schaffen jetzt eine europäische BARDA mit einem Budget von gerade mal sechs Milliarden für diese Haushaltsperiode – also gerade mal eine Milliarde pro Jahr – und der Struktur als Anhängsel der Kommission, ist diese europäische BARDA weder finanziell noch fachlich in irgendeiner Weise mit der amerikanischen Behörde vergleichbar. Bitte hören Sie auf, uns hier Märchen zu erzählen.

 
   
 

  Stanislav Polčák (PPE). – Paní předsedající, paní komisařko, kvůli pandemii COVID-19 se veřejné zdraví ocitlo v popředí zájmu, koronavirová krize nás donutila změnit priority. Nepochybně jsme dospěli k závěru, že musíme mít operativní agentury, abychom čelili budoucím hrozbám.

Já jsem přivítal prohlášení předsedkyně Komise, která volá po silné zdravotní unii, v níž bude 27 členských států spolupracovat při odhalování mimořádných zdravotních událostí a při přípravě a společné reakci na tyto události. Právě proto je důležitá připravenost na krize a schopnost na ně reagovat.

Ještě než se dostanu k úřadu HERA, rád bych sdělil také svůj názor ke stávajícím agenturám, k ECDC a EMA. Myslím si, že bychom je měli rovněž posílit. A pokud jde o úřad HERA, já podporuji jeho ustavení. Myslím si, že již měl být dávno ustaven. Nepochybně máme cíle fungování tohoto úřadu společné. HERA musí modelovat rizika, řešit výrobní kapacity, iniciovat vývoj očkovacích látek, samozřejmě propojovat špičkové odborníky. To všechno máme, paní komisařko, nepochybně společné. Ovšem toho, čeho lituji, je, že nedošlo k plnému zapojení Evropského parlamentu, který má plnou demokratickou legitimitu, a také toho, že úřad HERA není konstruován jako nezávislý úřad, kde naopak hrozí evidentní střet zájmů.

Myslím si, že z této pandemie bychom se měli poučit a odvést evropským občanům lepší službu a lépe ještě zvážit ustavení úřadu HERA.

 
   
 

  Alessandra Moretti (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signora Commissaria, nonostante l’evidente successo nei suoi esiti finali della strategia europea per combattere la pandemia, abbiamo tutti ben presente le scene di estrema difficoltà delle autorità nazionali ed europee dovute principalmente alla mancanza di competenze dirette sulla sanità da parte dell’Europa.

Apprezzo dunque la proposta della Commissione sull’autorità HERA come primo passo, anche se non possiamo ritenerla sufficiente. Capiamo la difficoltà della Commissione, che si è trovata di fronte a un muro da parte di alcuni governi, che dopo aver dimostrato la loro totale inadeguatezza rimangono purtroppo ancorati a logiche nazionali rispetto a minacce globali.

Purtroppo non basta una struttura leggera, ma serve una vera autorità europea con competenze, adeguate strutture e risorse, e non è meno accettabile che il Parlamento sia tagliato fuori dalla governance di un settore così importante.

Il Parlamento dovrà rivendicare un ruolo, sia di fronte alla Commissione che di fronte ai governi nazionali, soprattutto quelli che continuano ad avere uno sguardo miope ed egoista rispetto al bene più prezioso dei nostri cittadini: la salute.

 
   
 

  Luisa Regimenti (PPE). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signora Commissaria, l’Autorità europea per la preparazione e la risposta alle emergenze sanitarie (HERA) è uno strumento centrale nel rafforzamento dell’Unione europea della sanità e un primo, importante passo verso l’Unione europea della salute, che auspichiamo da tempo.

La crisi pandemica ha mostrato a tutti i paesi dell’Unione che alle minacce sanitarie, come il COVID-19, non interessano né confini né frontiere. Per questo non posso che esprimere soddisfazione per la nascita di un’Autorità come l’HERA, che migliorerà la preparazione e la capacità di risposta dell’Unione alle gravi minacce per la salute transfrontaliere e renderà rapidamente disponibili le necessarie contromisure e la loro distribuzione.

Chiaramente è necessario che questa Autorità sia operativa nel più breve periodo, ma senza che ciò implichi una diminuzione delle prerogative del Parlamento, che ha un essenziale potere di controllo e scrutinio democratico nei confronti delle altre istituzioni.

La risposta alle minacce sanitarie, come ha dimostrato questa pandemia, deve essere corale e le istituzioni europee dovranno continuare a lavorare insieme nel più ampio spirito di collaborazione e nel rispetto dei rispettivi ruoli.

 
   
 

  Tiemo Wölken (S&D). – Frau Präsidentin, sehr geehrte Frau Kommissarin! Im September 2020 hat Ursula von der Leyen vollmundig angekündigt: „We will build a European BARDA – an agency for biomedical advanced research and development.“ Sie hat eine Agentur angekündigt. Was wir jetzt bekommen haben, ist eine weitere Dienststelle im Apparat der Kommission. Das ist nicht nur aus Sicht des Parlaments, sondern auch aus Sicht der Bürgerinnen und Bürger enttäuschend. Warum? Es gibt weniger Transparenz, weniger Kontrolle und weniger Durchschlagskraft für die EU-Gesundheitsunion, die wir eigentlich werden wollten.

Frau Kommissarin, Sie haben ein Versprechen gegeben, nachdem das Parlament bei der Beschaffung der Impfstoffe nicht beteiligt wurde, dass das Parlament – wir als gewählte Parlamentarierinnen und Parlamentarier – in Zukunft beteiligt werde, um mehr demokratische Legitimation zu gewährleisten. Das ist wieder nicht passiert. Dafür wird die Pharmaindustrie mit einem verpflichtenden Ausschuss vorgesehen. Für Patientinnen und Patienten gibt es diesen Ausschuss nicht. Ich frage mich: Wollen Sie die BARDA nicht, oder wollen es die Mitgliedstaaten?

Ich bin bereit, diesen Vorschlag zu verbessern. Es ist dringend nötig.

 
   
 

  Stella Kyriakides, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, thank you for that very, I would say, intense discussion. I will try to address as many of the questions and concerns that you have raised as possible. I started noting down each MEP to answer to every one of you by name and directly, but there was a great deal of overlap so if while answering I do not include all of your names, please excuse me for that.

Several of you raised the point of exclusion of the European Parliament. I have said it before and I will say it again: in order for the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to deliver on its mission in case of a new pandemic or a new health crisis, we needed to ensure that it had both the powers and the financial means to do so, and the only way we could do this was under Article 122 of the Treaty. Article 122 is the only legal base which allows the Union’s assistance to be granted to Member States when a Member State is in difficulty because of exceptional circumstances beyond its control, and this necessitates a proposal for a Council regulation in order to enable HERA to take a series of actions, including financial support triggered in a time of crisis. In the preparedness phase, HERA will rely on normal budgetary procedures and the European Parliament will of course be deciding on HERA’s budget but furthermore – and I have already said this – the European Parliament will have a seat on the Board of HERA. There will be an open, frank and systematic dialogue on all of HERA’s operations. I also wanted to tell you today that I have already written to the Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) inviting the nomination of the board member.

Why did we set up a Commission service and not an agency? Three reasons. Speed. Establishing of an agency would have taken too much time. It would have taken a minimum of two to three years of interinstitutional negotiations. Money. The multiannual financial framework negotiations have just been concluded and there is no specific budget line for a new agency, and by establishing HERA as an internal Commission service we were able to make use of existing budget lines such as EU4Health, and you had such a crucial part to play in this and enabled us to have this budget – Horizon Europe and the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Thirdly, agility. Because the existing models of European agencies do not allow agile decision- making by virtue of their legal character.

I also wanted to tell you here that the Commission can easily redeploy staff and mobilise funds in case of urgency and this is why, I think it was MEPs Zacharopoulou and Rivasi who raised this point. MEPs Fritzon, Guteland and others raised the point of what we wanted to achieve with HERA, whether it is falling short and more. HERA builds, I believe, and institutionalises our successful approach. It is all part of the vaccine strategy. We are proposing a complete end-to-end solution, from a very early identification of a threat to ensuring that the appropriate medical countermeasures are available for our citizens. And let’s not forget that HERA will be looking at all medical countermeasures, including therapeutics and diagnostics and even personal protective equipment. Vaccines are just one of them. HERA will finally be able to better coordinate and ensure coordination between the EU and the national initiatives on crisis preparedness and response. This is something totally new and an area in which HERA can make a real difference.

There was a question, I think from MEP Sofo, on the relationship between HERA and industry. I wanted to tell you this, and I think it is very important, HERA will be improving the Union’s development and manufacturing procurement of key medical countermeasures but to do this, HERA will need to have the preparedness mode functions as well as the capacity to take part in emergency measures so it is going to be working across all sectors – research, academia, NGOs, governments, and, of course, also with industry, because industry is a key sector in terms of medical countermeasures which are needed for health preparedness and health response.

Is it going to be a prolonged arm of the pharmaceutical industry? We will be working very closely with industry, including the pharmaceutical companies. This is inevitable. I think all of you that have worked from the very first day of this crisis know this. However, the role of HERA will be to guide industry and pharmaceutical companies into the directions that are needed to safeguard public health and HERA will ultimately, fundamentally ensure that public funds have public returns that serve to improve the health security of citizens. So, with HERA we are engaging in a new type of public-private relationships that will benefit EU citizens and the European Parliament, Member States and all the EU agencies will be very, very closely involved throughout the process.

Several MEPs raised the issue of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA): why do we need a new agency, would we not be stealing staff? No, we will not be stealing staff. We will be recruiting new staff and we will be working with Member States’ experts and a Memorandum of Understanding in terms of how to govern the cooperation/collaboration between EMA, ECDC and HERA will be signed but I wanted just again to say that HERA will be supplementing with added value to the work already conducted by ECDC and EMA, both in preparedness and in crisis times without overlaps and in full respect of the mandates of both agencies but compared to ECDC and EMA, HERA will have a stronger anticipatory and forward-looking and responsive-focused dimension in terms of threat assessments and foresight, and will be able to scan the horizon for medical countermeasures. ECDC will remain the key actor in terms of risk assessments for infectious diseases, which is at the heart of its mandate, and EMA on the scientific advice on the safety and effectiveness of high-quality medicinal products, but EMA cannot engage with the private sector on the procurement or development or medical countermeasures, so there will be a very close cooperation, but there will not be an overlap.

MEPs Trillet-Lenoir and Auken spoke about transparency, and I believe this is a word that often comes up. All meetings will be subject to the applicable EU rules on transparency, of course, and public procurement and reporting. It goes without saying that HERA’s budget and expenditure will be subject to the discharge procedure in the European Parliament, which will remain the budgetary authority. HERA will not be able to spend money without your approval, and we will maintain a privileged dialogue with the European Parliament, which has a permanent seat on both the HERA Board and the crisis board.

I apologise for taking up more time, but I want to go through as many questions as I can. How do we have a proposal for which the European Parliament has no envisaged role? First of all, I want to thank you for the support you had given at the beginning for the European Health Union proposals, for the support you had given to this project that has become HERA. But let me be clear: the HERA proposals do have a role for the European Parliament and we look forward to working very closely with you. We could not have done this without you, and the Commission will invite Parliament to propose and set up a review process to ensure that you are closely integrated in the process and agree on its outcome.

It is, though, a different structure, like I said it at the beginning, MEPs Weiss and Guteland raised it, and I want to say this: because of the need to ensure a coordinated approach at EU level, both for preparedness and response, we decided to create a special board to steer the work of HERA and monitor its implementation. This is something which is highly unusual. It is not something we normally do. We faced a number of legal constraints. Member States are responsible for their own actions. We do not intend the HERA proposal to challenge the Treaty provisions. We cannot weaken the institutional prerogatives of the Commission, nor for the implementation of the EU budget. We consider that the HERA Board should include representatives of the national administrations and a representative of the European Parliament. Parliament’s representative – your representative – will have the full capacity to contribute to all the discussions and to assure a direct link between your political and legislative work, and I believe that this is important for the success of HERA.

MEPs Weiss and Liese asked about the sunset clause and whether we could introduce it in the proposal. I have already said that a review of HERA is foreseen and the results of the assessment will be shared with Parliament and Council and if justified, a subsequent proposal for a different second generation of HERA could be elaborated, building on the experience we have already gained.

Last but not least, I want to come to the comment – I would say it was a question, but it was also a plea – from MEP Ştefănuță, on the situation in Romania. We stand by to support every single Member State in every single way we can. I cannot agree with you more that we are all in this together and we need to work together to increase the vaccination uptake. This is a challenge in many countries and we need to do this if we are going to be able to target the pandemic effectively. I will speak with the MEP again to see how we can further support to Romania and these efforts.

I want to thank you for the openness today. I listened to all your comments carefully. I hope that you were able to also hear our responses to them. I take on board and understand a little bit why we put forward the proposal of HERA the way we have. Our approach has also always stemmed from a very honest intention to respond immediately, considering the threats that surround us and the gaps that have been identified, and I can just say one thing, that we are open to change if necessary. We have a clear willingness to get this right, but we cannot afford to find ourselves at the start of the pandemic, never again, and personally I will stand in this plenary as many times as I need to, to build the level of trust and transparency that you rightfully demand and that we all believe in.

 
   
 

  Gašper Dovžan, predsedujoči Svetu. – Gospa predsednica, spoštovane poslanke, spoštovani poslanci. Gospe in gospodje. Najprej dovolite, da se vam zahvalim za to konstruktivno razpravo o aferi.

V Svetu smo ta predlog prejeli pravzaprav šele 16. 9. in celovito razpravo o tem bomo še opravili, tako da so bili vaši pogledi in pa seveda tudi pojasnila s strani Komisije izredno koristni.

Veseli smo seveda, da je v Evropskem parlamentu med vami močna podpora krepitvi zdravstvene Unije. Prav skupna prizadevanja so bistvena, ne le za premagovanje krize covid-19, ampak tudi za nadaljnjo krepitev odpornosti Evropske unije na področju zdravstvenih sistemov, kjer moramo še veliko izboljšati, da bomo na prihodnje krize bolje pripravljeni.

Predsedstvo Sveta je odločeno, da bo prispevalo k čimprejšnjemu sprejetju celotnega zakonodajnega svežnja o evropski zdravstveni Uniji. Delo napreduje tako na področju krepitve mandatov EMA in ECDC, pa tudi na področju uredbe o obvladovanju čezmejnih zdravstvenih groženj. Seveda pa ne smemo izgubljati časa. Ukrepati in sodelovati moramo, da bomo res pripravljeni, še predno izbruhne naslednja kriza. Da bomo res pripravljeni, pa seveda moramo postaviti državljane v ospredje, in se mi zdi, da ravno skrb za državljane mora biti tisto vodilo vseh institucij pri iskanju rešitev za boljšo odpornost in za boljšo zaščito zdravstvenih sistemov.

Danes smo slišali pomembna opozorila, od potrebe po demokratični legitimnosti, kar, seveda, je pomembno. Ne smemo pa pozabiti, da pomemben del demokratične legitimnosti prihaja tudi iz učinkovitosti in hitrosti rešitev, ki smo jih sposobni kot institucije ponuditi v korist državljanov. Slišali smo tudi opozorila v zvezi s transparentnostjo in pa porabo denarja in tudi pojasnila s strani Evropske komisije. Mislim, da so vsa ta vprašanja izjemno pomembna za Svet in se bomo o njih tudi še naprej temeljito pogovarjali.

Dovolite, da se še enkrat zahvalim za to razpravo in se poslovim z zagotovilom, da bomo tudi v Svetu naredili vse, da čim prej dobimo okrepljeno zdravstveno Unijo. Hvala.

 
   
 

  Edina Tóth (NI), írásban. – A koronavírus elleni harc megmutatta, hogy az “idő” fontossága még soha nem került annyira előtérbe, mint most. Az Európai Bizottság legújabb javaslata, a 2022 elején induló európai szükséghelyzet reagálási hatóság (HERA), amelynek elsődleges feladata a határon átnyúló egészségügyi veszélyhelyzetekhez kapcsolódó eszközök rendelkezésre állásának biztosítása lesz, mintaként szolgál majd ahhoz, hogy az EU hosszú távon hogyan készülhet fel a koronavírushoz hasonló esetleges egészségügyi vészhelyzetekre.

Üdvözlöm a Bizottság terveit és fontosnak tartom, hogy egy olyan szervezet jöjjön létre, amely elé megy az eseményeknek és előre látja a potenciális egészségügyi veszélyhelyzeteket, valamint prioritása lenne a tagállami hatóságok közti szoros együttműködés. Szeretném azonban felhívni a figyelmet arra, hogy a HERA feladata és munkája nem ütközhet az Európai Betegségmegelőzési és Járványvédelmi Központ, valamint az Európai Gyógyszerügynökség európai egészségügyi uniós csomagban megfogalmazott feladatköreivel.

A tagállamok már bizonyítottak: a koronavírus elleni harcban a nemzetállamok voltak képesek gyorsan és hatékonyan cselekedni, így meggyőződésem, hogy a HERA sikerességét kizárólag a tagállamok hatékony és szisztematikus bevonásával érhetjük el. Az egészségügy tagállami hatáskör és ennek így is kell maradnia.

 
   
 

  István Ujhelyi (S&D), írásban. – „Két évvel ezelőtt, amikor először kezdtünk el beszélni az Európai Egészségügyi Unió létrehozásáról, akkor nem reméltük, hogy ilyen messzire jutunk. A covid-járvány furcsán pozitív hatása, hogy az akkor megfogalmazott célok mára eredménnyé váltak. A koronavírus-járvány egyértelműen bebizonyította, hogy a globális kihívásokra csak közös megoldásokkal lehet válaszolni: ez fokozottan igaz az egészségügyre. Félrevezető állítás, hogy a tagállamok saját hatáskörben megfelelő megoldásokat képesek adni ezekre a krízisekre: a több Unió ebben az esetben jobb egészségügyet jelent.

Az Európai Bizottság által tett eddigi lépések és kezdeményezések mind fontos előrelépések, de az Európai Egészségügyi Unió megvalósításának üteme és tartalma miatt mégsem lehetünk teljesen elégedettek; egyelőre kevés figyelem jutott a közegészségügyi ellátórendszerek közötti egyenlőtlenségek mielőbbi felszámolására. Az Európai Parlament már szorgalmazta a tagállamoknál olyan stressz-tesztek végrehajtását, amelyek megmutatják az adott országok egészségügyi rendszereinek működési és minőségi hiányosságait; egyelőre azonban a tagállamok ezt nem hajtották végre.

Ezen tesztek eredménye alapján kellene az Európai Bizottságnak – a Parlament által elfogadott állásfoglalás alapján is – kezdeményeznie egy olyan egységes minőségi kritériumrendszer létrehozását, amely meghatározná az európai ellátórendszerekben biztosítani szükséges standardokat. Az Európai Egészségügyi Unió megteremtése nem pusztán a covid-járvánnyal szembeni védekezésről szól. Mivel az európai közösség a szolidaritásra épül, ezért az ellátórendszerekben meglévő egyenlőtlenségeket és igazságtalanságokat haladéktalanul fel kell számolni!”

 
8. Implementation report on the EU Trust Funds and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (debate)
 

  Janusz Lewandowski, sprawozdawca. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Sprawozdanie, o którym dzisiaj mówimy, to jest joint venture trzech komisji parlamentarnych: AFET, DEVE i budżet. Każda z nich jest uprawniona do własnego spojrzenia na tak ważne instrumenty polityki zagranicznej, jakimi są cztery fundusze powiernicze oraz Facility for Refugees in Turkey. Dzięki wspaniałej współpracy ze współsprawozdawcami György’m Hölvényi’em, Milanem Zverem, którym dziękuję. Dziękuję również shadows. Dziękuję naszym doradcom. Udało się znaleźć wspólny język i dlatego to sprawozdanie zostało przegłosowane ogromną większością głosów w połączonych komisjach.

To sprawozdanie to jest coś więcej niż spojrzenie w przeszłość. Ono zawiera bardzo istotne wskazówki dla przyszłości. My doceniamy rolę funduszy powierniczych jako narzędzia szybkiej reakcji w sytuacjach nadzwyczajnych, w sytuacjach katastrofy humanitarnej. Umożliwiają blending – umożliwiają łączenie środków z budżetu europejskiego z środkami państw członkowskich oraz innych donatorów, także spełniły swoją misję. Dlatego między innymi przedłużono ich żywot do końca tego roku, by umożliwić płynne przejście do nowego instrumentu Neighbourhood Development International Cooperation Instrument. Zgoda była warunkowa, mianowicie że nie pociąga to dodatkowych kontrybucji z budżetu Unii Europejskiej w tym roku.

Doceniając rolę funduszy powierniczych, Parlament Europejski wielokrotnie krytykował sposób ich powoływania, prolongacji, a przede wszystkim zaciąganie zobowiązań często bez konsultacji z Parlamentem Europejskim, często last minute, chociaż rodziły one poważne skutki dla budżetu Unii Europejskiej. Doskonałą ilustracją może być nowy pakiet pomocowy dla Syrii. O tym, że Syria, uchodźcy z Syrii wymagają dalej pomocy, Komisja Europejska wiedziała doskonale w grudniu zeszłego roku, w czasie tzw. konceliacji budżetowej, ale nie znalazło to żadnego odzwierciedlenia w budżecie rocznym 2021 ani w wieloletnich ramach finansowych 2021–27, ani nawet w tym nowym instrumencie NDICI, czyli najważniejszy wniosek z naszego sprawozdania brzmi następująco: nowa generacja programów, nowe instrumenty muszą być uruchamiane z włączeniem Parlamentu Europejskiego od samego początku.

Dzisiaj zamykamy, już niedługo zamykamy rozdział funduszy powierniczych w Unii Europejskiej, ale przecież wszyscy wiemy, że mogą się zdarzyć nadzwyczajne okoliczności, które będą wymagały nadzwyczajnych środków zaradczych, być może również w formie nowych funduszy powierniczych .Tylko że ich uruchomienie to jest ostateczność, musi być należycie usprawiedliwiona, a przede wszystkim musi respektować w pełni prerogatywy Parlamentu Europejskiego jako władzy budżetowej.

 
   
 

  Milan Zver, poročevalec. – Spoštovana gospa predsedujoča, spoštovani gospod komisar.

Najprej bi se rad zahvalil soporočevalcema Januszu Lewandowskemu in pa Györgyju Hölvényju in vsem poročevalcem v senci za dobro in konstruktivno sodelovanje pri pripravi poročila o izvajanju oskrbniških skladov Evropske unije in instrumenta za begunce v Turčiji.

Politično in operativno so skrbniški skladi prinesli novo kakovost sodelovanja na področju zunanjega delovanja Evropske unije. To je nedvomno. Evropski uniji, ki ji na tem področju velikokrat manjka prepoznavnost in učinkovitost. EU administracija je veliko krat deležna kritik, da je počasna in nezadostna pri zagotavljanju pomoči.

No, skrbniški skladi EU so bili ustanovljeni ravno s tem namenom, da zagotovijo možnost za hitro in učinkovito ukrepanje.

Po pregledu izvajanja skrbniških skladov bi kot eno najpomembnejših prednosti skrbniških skladov v EU izpostavil predvsem prožno, proaktivno in hitro odzivanje na dejanske potrebe na terenu in možnost sodelovanja tretjih držav članic kot donatorjev ter okrepljen politični dialog s partnerskimi državami.

Ker bodo obstoječi skrbniški skladi konec letošnjega leta prenehali obstajati, se moramo osredotočiti na številne izkušnje, pridobljene pri izvajanju skrbniških skladov, in jih uporabiti za izboljšanje izvajanja nove generacije, o tem je že govoril moj predhodnik, zunanjih finančnih instrumentov Evropske unije, zlasti NDICI – Evropa v svetu.

Naj poudarim, da je potrebno v primeru ustanovitve morebitnega novega skrbniškega sklada okrepiti nadzorne pristojnosti Evropskega parlamenta. To filozofijo smo že slišali prej pri prejšnji točki. Gre za pomemben instrument javne diplomacije, govorim o NDICI-ju, zato je pri tem ključna vloga Evropskega parlamenta v prihodnje.

Če se osredotočimo na kratek pregled skrbniških skladov Kolumbija in Madad ter instrument za begunce v Turčiji, za katere je odgovoren odbor AFET, ugotovimo, da so upravičili svojo dodano vrednost, izpolnili postavljene cilje in v veliki meri dosegli pričakovane rezultate.

Vojna v Siriji, ki je ustvarila največjo begunsko krizo v sodobni zgodovini, ima uničujoč vpliv na Sirijo in širšo soseščino. Skrbniški sklad Madad in instrument za begunce v Turčiji sta bila pomembno orodje pri zagotavljanju humanitarne in razvojne pomoči sirskim beguncem in njihovim gostiteljskim skupnostim.

Izjemno pomembno se mi zdi, da programi v okviru skladov podpirajo predvsem najbolj ranljive skupine: otroke, ženske, mladino, ter v čim večji meri ščitijo pred nasiljem, zlorabo in izkoriščanjem. Po zaslugi skrbniškega sklada EU tako lahko otroci v Jordaniji, Libanonu in Turčiji hodijo v šole in imajo dostop do varnih prostorov za neformalno izobraževanje ter do zaščite in psihosocialne oskrbe.

Sredstva iz skrbniških skladov zagotavljajo tudi boljši dostop do zdravstvenih storitev ter podporo za povečanje ekonomskih priložnosti in socialne vključenosti. Posebna pozornost je namenjena tudi poklicnemu usposabljanju, kar sirskim beguncem izboljšuje možnosti za dostop na trg dela in boljši dohodek.

Če pogledamo razmere v Kolumbiji, ugotovimo, da ostajajo še vedno zapletene. Država se sooča s številnimi krizami hkrati, ki krhajo prizadevanja mirovnega sporazuma. Nasilje je še vedno prisotno skupaj z visoko stopnjo organiziranega kriminala in resnimi kršitvami človekovih pravic.

Skrbniški sklad za Kolumbijo je sicer uspel doseči oprijemljive rezultate pri zagotavljanju razvojne podpore malim kmetom ter malim in srednjim podjetjem, s čimer je pomembno prispeval k lokalnemu razvoju v regijah, ki so bile najbolj prizadete v konfliktu.

Spoštovani! Žal so potrebe in izzivi, ki so bili razlog za ustanovitev teh skrbniških skladov v Evropski uniji, še vedno prisotni. Pandemija COVID-19 je poslabšala, mednarodno, je povzročila tudi poslabšanje mednarodnega varnostnega okolja.

Zato moramo učinkovito uporabiti celoten nabor instrumentov finančne pomoči, predvidenih v sedanjem večletnem finančnem okviru. Evropska unija mora okrepiti svoj vodilni položaj na mednarodnem parketu ter zagotoviti močnejšo, bolj avtonomno, enotnejšo in odločnejšo zunanjo in varnostno politiko za zagotavljanje hitrega reševanja kriz ter ohranjanja globalnega miru in stabilnosti.

 
   
   

Puhetta johti HEIDI HAUTALA
varapuhemies

 
   
   

(Keskustelu keskeytettiin.)

 
9. Announcement of voting results: see Minutes
10. Implementation report on the EU Trust Funds and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (continuation of debate)
 

  Sira Rego, ponente de opinión de la Comisión de Libertades Civiles, Justicia y Asuntos de Interior. – Señora presidenta, hoy debatimos sobre el uso que se ha dado a los más de diez mil millones de euros destinados, en teoría, a proyectos de ayuda al desarrollo con terceros países: acuerdo de la vergüenza con Turquía, Libia, etc. Aclaro, además, que el debate es puramente conceptual, porque en esta Cámara no tenemos ningún control sobre este dinero. Y aunque las normas de la UE sí que indican que su uso es solo para ayudar al desarrollo, ¿qué es lo que nos hemos encontrado? Pues, que son utilizados para aplicar mecanismos de control migratorio que en muchos casos vulneran los derechos humanos y, por tanto, no cumplen esta norma.

En ese sentido, quiero destacar dos de las conclusiones a las que hemos llegado en esta opinión. En primer lugar, la suspensión inmediata de la financiación a la guardia costera libia por grave vulneración de derechos humanos, tal y como señala el informe de las Naciones Unidas publicado hoy mismo. Y la revisión y, en su caso, la suspensión de los acuerdos con terceros países.

Termino con una cuestión de fondo: es imprescindible repensar el modelo de solidaridad de la UE y que los recursos se inviertan en proyectos que rescaten personas y que respeten los derechos. Y es imprescindible que haya mecanismos de control que garanticen que el dinero público no se usa para generar sufrimiento humano.

 
   
 

  Olivér Várhelyi, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, I’m happy to attend today’s debate. I would like to express our appreciation for the effort of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets of this House for this report and the continued cooperation in this field.

The Commission considers the EU Trust Funds and Facility for Refugees in Turkey as a key financial and political instrument that has allowed us to respond to the unprecedented refugee and migration crisis around Europe in an effective manner.

We think they have delivered. They permitted faster decision-making processes for leveraging additional resources and for increased coordination and impact. But even more so, they brought the practical and tangible results. The Trust Fund for Africa was designed to respond to the diverse risks of instability, irregular migration and forced displacement. Thanks to the Trust Fund for Africa, irregular arrivals to Italy and Malta have decreased from over 180 000 at the peak of this crisis to 35 600 in 2020 and around 44 000 so far this year.

We have saved many lives. The Trust Fund for Syria has mobilised over EUR 2.3 billion since 2014. On top of directly reaching 7.8 million beneficiaries, it will have a sustainable legacy in helping refugees and local hosting communities. It has been key to implement EU pledges, and it has allowed the EU to respond rapidly and flexibly to the challenges of COVID-19 and the Beirut port explosion.

The facility for refugees in Turkey is unprecedented in scale and reach. It has made a major contribution to contain the flows of irregular migration, provide basic needs to refugees and enable a faster government scale-up of health and education services.

These are just some examples, and I’m glad to see that the report shares the overall positive assessment of all these tools and recognises their added value.

Let me also address two observations that the report raises.

First, we take transparency as well as monitoring and evaluation very seriously. Since the inception of the trust fund and the facility, the Commission has kept the relevant committees of the European Parliament well informed about progress achieved in the implementation of these programmes. We have done this through annual reports and certified annual accounts, as well as through a monthly financial report on the four trust funds, produced by DG Budget.

The European Parliament was also invited as observer in the strategic boards of the trust funds and has been regularly kept informed about programmes adopted by the operational committees.

The second that I would like to touch upon, in the respect of human rights, is a clear objective of our trust fund throughout different regions and countries, which the Commission takes very seriously. We are in close coordination with the implementing partners of our programmes and external experts that are conducting regular project monitoring missions to make sure that human rights are respected in the implementation of these programmes.

To give you an example, the European Commission has put in place a rather unique third party monitoring of operations in Libya. It is paramount that we make the results of the trust funds and the facility sustainable. While the measures taken by the EU and Member States have brought down the overall number of illegal border crossings in recent years, developments on some routes give rise to concern and require vigilance and urgent action.

In order to prevent the loss of life and to reduce pressure on European borders, the EU needs to keep taking solid actions for priority countries and routes in close coordination with Member States and our partner countries. In this regard it will be essential also to secure adequate and predictable funding, as has been the case in the past six years.

The Commission remains fully committed to addressing these challenges, and I hope to count on the continued support and cooperation of the European Parliament. I look forward to discussing all these issues with you.

 
   
 

  Tomáš Zdechovský, zpravodaj Výboru pro rozpočtovou kontrolu. – Vážená paní předsedající, vážený pane komisaři, ano, to, co chceme říci touto debatou, je, že když přátelé procházejí krizí, je potřeba jim pomoci. Ne nadarmo se říká: „V nouzi poznáš přítele.“

Je velice dobré, že Evropská unie má speciální svěřenské fondy, skrze které můžeme pomoci těm, kteří jsou dneska v krizi, a těm, kteří jsou nejpotřebnější. Rozhodně se nejedná o symbolické částky. V případě Turecka jsme poslali částku kolem šesti miliard eur na pomoc uprchlíkům a byla to Evropská unie, která jedním z největších dílů pomáhala řešit syrskou uprchlickou krizi.

Ale to, co je potřeba říci, že musíme mít nad penězi dohled a kontrolu. A to je to, o co jsme se ve Výboru pro rozpočtovou kontrolu vždycky zasazovali. Není možné dát někomu peníze na talíři a neptat se, co za ně pořídil. Je potřeba s partnery jednat a ptát se našich tureckých partnerů, kde ty peníze skončily a jaký mají tyto peníze přínos, jaký mají účel a jak dál bude třeba s těmi lidmi pracováno a kdo jsou příjemci těchto peněz. Ano, řada věcí se povedla, ale je potřeba dál pokračovat a je potřeba dál tyto peníze směřovat k těm, kteří tuto naši pomoc skutečně potřebují.

A na závěr mi dovolte poděkovat těm, kteří tyto peníze využívali a pomohli je dostávat k těm nejzranitelnějším, a to byly ženy, děti a lidé v seniorském věku.

 
   
 

  José Manuel Fernandes, em nome do Grupo PPE. – Senhora Presidente, Senhor Comissário, caras e caros Colegas, os valores europeus obrigam-nos, vinculam-nos à solidariedade, a uma solidariedade de facto e à defesa intransigente da dignidade humana.

A solução para os refugiados tem de ser uma solução europeia onde todos os Estados—Membros colaborem, onde todos os Estados-Membros cooperem. Para além disso, é necessário que nos recursos financeiros que disponibilizamos haja transparência e que esses recursos estejam dentro do orçamento da União Europeia.

Lamento dizê-lo, Senhor Comissário, mas há pelo menos um Estado-Membro que recebeu fundos europeus para os refugiados, que os reteve, e que não os disponibilizou devidamente. É necessário que tal não aconteça nem se repita.

Para além disso, é necessário também que a Comissão Europeia seja mais pró-ativa. A Comissão Europeia sabia que o problema dos refugiados iria continuar, até porque seria agravado com o Afeganistão. Nas negociações do Quadro Financeiro Plurianual não apresentou nenhuma proposta para apoiar os refugiados.

E agora um ponto importante: os refugiados não são culpados. Os refugiados não podem ser utilizados como desculpa para cortar fundos, programas e políticas que são essenciais. E não podemos dar argumentos aos populistas. Os refugiados são vítimas. Os refugiados não são culpados e é nossa obrigação ajudá-los.

 
   
 

  Pierfrancesco Majorino, a nome del gruppo S&D. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, con questa relazione il Parlamento esprime la sua valutazione sull’esperienza dei fondi fiduciari e sullo strumento per i rifugiati in Turchia. Deve farlo indicando chiaramente la necessità di voltare pagina rispetto a quanto realizzato sin qui.

Nonostante questi strumenti abbiano sostenuto esperienze positive, a cui bisogna dare continuità, abbiamo assistito a un sostanziale spostamento di risorse dalle politiche di sviluppo verso l’obiettivo di riduzione dei flussi migratori.

L’assenza di una vera solidarietà europea, di una politica di accoglienza e persino di un senso di responsabilità dell’Unione e dei suoi Stati membri ha portato a un’esplicita esternalizzazione nella gestione delle frontiere. Sembra un destino ineluttabile.

A questo scopo sono state destinate diverse azioni del fondo fiduciario per l’Africa, spesso in concomitanza con casi eclatanti di violazioni dei diritti umani. La vergogna dei campi di detenzione in Libia pesa su tutti noi, sulle nostre coscienze, ed è inaccettabile che attraverso questi strumenti si finanzi a vario titolo la cosiddetta “guardia costiera libica”.

Chiediamo un monitoraggio indipendente su questi progetti, sul rispetto effettivo dei diritti umani e ciò anche per quello che riguarda la Turchia. Il Parlamento – è bene ricordarlo – è stato lasciato fuori dal processo decisionale e non ha potuto esercitare su questi fondi un pieno e vero controllo democratico, e ciò ha portato alla lesione sistematica dei diritti umani.

 
   
 

  Katalin Cseh, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, thank you, Commissioner, dear colleagues, one of the most widespread stereotypes about our beloved Union, unfortunately, concerns our inability to be an efficient foreign policy actor on the global stage. But this should not be a given. And yes it’s true that our foreign policy toolbox is imperfect. We should not delude ourselves but, colleagues, it’s there. It exists, and it is up to us to use it to its full potential.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of the EU not being taken seriously as a geopolitical player. Projects such as the EU trust funds should finally fill that purpose and meaning. Quantifiable results should be determined. Implementation has to be monitored rigorously. And above all, this House has to be front and centre in all of these efforts.

And this is exactly what I have been calling for in this report. From inception to implementation we shall be at the forefront of planning and scrutinising EU funds and Commissioner informing and involving the Parliament are two very different things in my opinion and involvement should never be retroactive. The EP has to be an integral part of the whole process from the beginning to the end – no ifs, and no buts. Because if we do not take ourselves seriously, then nobody else will.

And I am convinced that through changing our approach, we will indeed be able to deliver better results on the ground by advancing our foreign policy interests, and this is for the benefit of our entire Union.

 
   
 

  Bernhard Zimniok, im Namen der ID-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, verehrte Kollegen! Abermilliarden an Steuergeldern werden in der Entwicklungshilfe, in Trustfunds und anderen Dingen versenkt, um hier und da ein paar Jobs zu schaffen und damit angeblich Fluchtursachen zu bekämpfen oder Menschen zu helfen. Mit diesem dysfunktionalen System schafft man keinerlei Nachhaltigkeit, sondern versorgt lediglich die NGOs mit hochdotierten Jobs. Wir doktern an Problemen herum, um dann in Hase-und-Igel-Manier den Ursachen weiterhin hinterherzuhecheln.

Nennen wir das Problem endlich beim Namen: die massive Überbevölkerung Afrikas, die Überbevölkerung in anderen Teilen dieser Welt. Was bringen uns tausend, zehntausend, hunderttausend geschaffene Jobs, wenn im gleichen Atemzug aufgrund der extremen Geburtenraten Abermillionen auf den Arbeitsmarkt drängen?

Gleichzeitig wollen wir mit unserem neokolonialistischen Ansatz unser Wertesystem anderen Kulturen aufzwingen, obwohl das ganz offensichtlich nicht gewünscht wird – siehe Afghanistan. Halten wir fest: Unser Wertesystem ist kein Exportschlager.

Apropos Afghanistan. Selbst Erdoğans muslimische Türkei errichtet derzeit einen Grenzzaun zum Iran, um die Afghanen abzuwehren. Der Grund: Sie sind nicht kulturkompatibel. Während wir zehntausende Afghanen einfliegen, sehen selbst muslimische Länder die Probleme, die wir hier aus Political Correctness totschweigen.

Die Unterstützung für die Flüchtlinge in der Türkei ist ebenfalls nur ein Herumdoktern an den selbst geschaffenen Problemen. Die Ursache ist der Syrien-Konflikt. Wir reden zwar mit den Taliban, aber nicht mit Assad. Reden wir mit ihm, beseitigen wir das Erpressungspotenzial, befreien wir uns aus der Opferrolle, schaffen wir wieder Stabilität in der Region und hören wir endlich auf, unsere Moral als Maßstab aller Dinge zu sehen.

 
   
 

  Ангел Джамбазки, от името на групата ECR. – Г-жо Председател, г-н Комисар, колеги, финансирането на Ердоган с така наречените пари за приютяване на нелегалните мигранти е един от примерите за много ярката политическа некомпетентност, безотговорност, нежелание и, бих казал, политическа импотентност, и на Европейската комисия, и на Европейския парламент, и на Европейския съюз изобщо.

Милиони евро от джобовете на европейските данъкоплатци се изливат не къде да е, а в джобовете на Ердоган, за да може той да финансира своите малки незаконни мръсни войни в Сирия, в Либия, в Нагорни Карабах и където ви хрумне. И хората тук, и в Комисията се поддават на изнудване и на страх, защото диктаторът Ердоган може да направи всеки един момент каквото си иска и той го прави. Какво пише в параграф 8 на становището на бюджетната комисия? – Изразява изключителна загриженост поради факта, че при опити да осъществи мониторинг на хуманитарни проекти, Комисията е възпрепятствана от отказа на турските органи да предоставят данни, каквито и да било.

Г-н Комисар, вие давате милиони на Ердоган, той ги слага в джоба и ви казва „Гледайте си работата!“ и вие му казвате „Ами, добре“. Чудесно, браво, но това са парите на европейските данъкоплатци, не са нечии собствени пари и това е ярък признак за провал, ярко доказателство за това, че трябва да има нулева миграция и никакви отстъпки пред диктатори като Ердоган.

 
   
 

  Özlem Demirel, im Namen der Fraktion The Left. – Frau Präsidentin, Kolleginnen! Zu Recht weisen Sie in dem Bericht darauf hin, dass es bei Trustfonds massiv an Kontrolle und demokratischer Kontrolle und Transparenz mangelt. Doch genau das ist doch der Grund, warum wir diese Fonds als Schattenhaushalt haben. Wer also sagt, wir brauchen demokratische Kontrolle, wer das fordert, der muss doch dieses Instrument grundsätzlich ablehnen, statt der Kommission einen Freifahrtschein auszustellen.

Ich will es an zwei Beispielen deutlich machen: Der EUTF Afrika finanziert die libysche Küstenwache, die verantwortlich ist für schwerste Menschenrechtsverletzungen. Die Türkei-Fazilität, der EU-Türkei-Deal gibt einem antidemokratischen Regime einen Freibrief. Und es gibt ihm zudem auch noch Erpressungspotenzial. Zusammengefasst werden diese Trustfonds eingesetzt, um auch beispielsweise mit Despoten zusammenzuarbeiten, um Geflüchtete aus der EU fernzuhalten. Nun streite ich für eine humane Migrationspolitik, und ich will eine Welt, in der niemand gezwungen ist, zu fliehen. Deshalb sage ich: Stoppen Sie die Zusammenarbeit mit Despoten. Und im Türkischen gibt es eine Redewendung, die heißt: Zeige mir, wer dein Freund ist, und ich sage dir, wer du bist. Angewendet auf die EU und mit Blick auf die Trustfonds ist das eine klare Aussage.

 
   
 

  Kinga Gál (NI). – Elnök asszony! Az illegális migrációt nem a migránsok kötelező tagállami szétosztása állítja meg. A migráció kiváltó okait kell megszüntetni azzal, hogy segítjük a helyben maradást, a migránst kibocsátó országok életkörülményeinek javulását. Ehhez járulhattak hozzá az uniós vagyonkezelési segélyalapok, hiszen létfontosságú pénzügyi erőforrásokat biztosítottak számos afrikai ország egészségügyének, például vízellátásának fejlesztésére. Ezért hatékonyabbá és rugalmasabbá tételük kulcskérdés a tényleges segítésben.

A finanszírozási eszközök, különösen a számunkra lényeges Törökországot célzó rendkívüli eszköz elengedhetetlen volt, hiszen segítette a szír menekülteknek otthont adó, Szíriával szomszédos országokat. Mivel több mint négymillió menedékkérőnek ad otthont Törökország, kulcsfontosságú, hogy minden segítséget továbbra is megadjunk ennek az országnak. Ez lehetett és lehet a garanciája, hogy ne jelenjenek meg újra milliók az Unió külső határainál. Az ilyen alapok létjogosultsága bármilyen új formájában is nyilvánvaló, és bárkit óva intek, hogy ezeket kiüresítsék, hiszen értékük a gyorsaság és a hatékonyság.

 
   
 

  Hildegard Bentele (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! War und ist das EU-Engagement zur Unterstützung der Flüchtlinge in der Türkei sinnvoll und erfolgreich, ja oder nein? Mein Urteil ist eindeutig: Ja, es war und ist sinnvoll. Die EU-Gelder stabilisieren die Situation der Flüchtlinge in der Türkei, und sie ermöglichen es, verschiedene Bedarfe wie Schulbildung, Unterkunft, Gesundheitsversorgung, Integration in den Arbeitsmarkt und psychosoziale Betreuung sicherzustellen. Die EU-Gelder gehen ausschließlich an zivile Hilfsorganisationen. Damit stärken wir die Zivilgesellschaft gegenüber der autoritären türkischen Regierung und geben ihr Planungssicherheit.

Der EU-Trustfund als Instrument ist mit der Einrichtung des neuen Finanzinstruments Europa in der Welt ausgelaufen. Daher müssen wir als Parlament bei der Programmierung dieses neuen Instruments darauf achten, dass die Bedarfe für die Flüchtlingsversorgung in der Türkei ausreichend abgedeckt sind und gegebenenfalls schnell und flexibel auf neue Bedarfe reagiert werden kann. Für die EVP-Fraktion sage ich Ihnen zu, dass ich hierauf unter anderem über den geopolitischen Dialog ein genaues Auge haben werde. Denn eine heimatnahe Unterbringung birgt die größte Chance auf Rückkehr, die wir alle für die betroffenen Menschen erhoffen.

 
   
 

  Elisabetta Gualmini (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, oggi votiamo un atto fondamentale sull’utilizzo dei fondi fiduciari europei e del fondo per i rifugiati in paesi come l’Africa Centrale, la Siria e la Turchia.

Parliamo cioè del rapporto tra Europa e flussi migratori, tra Europa e diritti, tra Europa e accoglienza. Allora, se parliamo in fondo di diritti e democrazia, diciamo forte che non possiamo più accettare ricatti da paesi come la Turchia o di recente la Bielorussia, che usano i migranti come merci o come bestie da spostare o trasferire di qua o di là a seconda dei propri interessi nazionali.

Diciamo forte che non possiamo accettare che i paesi destinatari dei fondi usino l’Europa come un bancomat, che non è un optional rispettare i diritti fondamentali delle persone. Diciamo forte che non possiamo accettare che gli obiettivi di sviluppo, occupazione e istruzione siano sottomessi a logiche di potere e allo sfruttamento orrendo di esseri umani. E diciamo forte che non possiamo accettare che i fondi europei finanzino la guardia costiera libica, magari per riportare nel porto di Tripoli centinaia di migranti e mandarli in centri di detenzione dove impera il disprezzo per la vita umana.

Come Socialisti e Democratici chiediamo l’istituzione di un meccanismo di controllo indipendente per monitorare la destinazione di questi fondi. Il Parlamento non può essere tagliato fuori! I diritti non sono in vendita, “les droits ne sont pas à vendre“: l’ha detto Ursula von der Leyen, diciamolo forte anche noi!

 
   
 

  Charles Goerens (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, dans un contexte budgétaire très tendu, l’Union européenne a eu recours à des fonds fiduciaires lui permettant ainsi de répondre à des crises extrêmement graves. Cette pratique est à des années-lumière de l’orthodoxie budgétaire du Parlement européen. Si le Parlement européen s’est finalement rallié majoritairement à cette démarche, c’était en premier lieu pour permettre à l’UE de ne pas rester indifférente vis-à-vis des souffrances et de la misère auxquelles les réfugiés et les migrants étaient exposés. Ce qui constitue un pis-aller au regard des impératifs humanitaires est en fait une anomalie budgétaire. Avec le NDICI-Global Europe, notre nouvel instrument de financement de la politique extérieure de l’Union européenne et avec la politique humanitaire de l’Union pour les années à venir, nous pouvons, espérons-le, laisser derrière nous la pratique des Trust Funds dans un proche avenir. La création à l’avenir de nouveaux fonds fiduciaires devrait constituer un ultime recours.

Le cadre financier pluriannuel de l’Union européenne est un retour timide à la normale. Cependant, il faut aller plus loin. Il faut aborder les crises dans un cadre plus stratégique et il ne faut pas faire de l’exception, la règle. Si le sous financement de l’action humanitaire devait rester chronique et pour beaucoup, tout porte à croire que tel sera le cas, il faudrait doter le budget de l’Union européenne suffisamment pour répondre à des situations de détresse avec à la clé, le respect des prérogatives budgétaires de notre Parlement. En attendant la mise en œuvre des fonds fiduciaires, nous devons essayer de faire avec et d’améliorer le contrôle du Parlement européen.

 
   
 

  Susanna Ceccardi (ID). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il 7 ottobre ricorrono esattamente 450 anni da una delle più grandi battaglie della storia dell’uomo: la battaglia di Lepanto. Senza quella vittoria, oggi, l’Europa non sarebbe Europa. E forse non saremmo neanche qui a discutere sui fondi fiduciari e dello strumento dei rifugiati in Turchia.

Perché è paradossale che, dopo 450 anni, noi ora dobbiamo finanziare un impero che usa i nostri soldi per controllare i nostri confini. Un pegno oneroso e pericoloso, visto che quello stesso impero oggi, con i nostri stessi soldi, minaccia di aprire quei confini se non riceverà questo contributo. Dal 2002 ad oggi l’Unione europea ha infatti erogato oltre 15 miliardi di euro alla Turchia, un flusso di denaro che non si è arrestato nemmeno dopo la svolta islamista di Erdoğan.

C’è stato un momento, nella nostra storia di europei, dove con orgoglio e rabbia, determinazione e volontà, dietro le nostre insegne e a difesa della nostra civiltà, abbiamo difeso la nostra terra, le nostre tradizioni, il nostro sentirci Europa. Senza quell’orgoglio, senza una strategia, senza una visione che vada oltre dei fondi eccezionali e temporanei, non saremo nemmeno in grado di pretendere il rispetto per le nostre donne che, come avviene in quei paesi, sono costrette a implorare una sedia per sedersi.

Senza pretendere quel rispetto che a Lepanto, il 7 ottobre di 450 anni fa, ci siamo conquistati, non potremo mai guardare il futuro dei nostri figli in un’Europa cristiana, democratica e civile.

 
   
11. Corrigenda (Rule 241) (action taken)
12. State of EU cyber defence capabilities (debate)
   

VORSITZ: KATARINA BARLEY
Vizepräsidentin

 
   
13. Humanitarian situation in Tigray (debate)

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