MIL-OSI Europe: Debates – Monday, 15 January 2024 – Strasbourg – Provisional edition

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Source: European Parliament

Verbatim report of proceedings
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Monday, 15 January 2024 – Strasbourg Provisional edition
   

IN THE CHAIR: ROBERTA METSOLA
President

 
1. Resumption of the session
 

  President. –  I declare resumed the session of the European Parliament adjourned on Thursday, 14 December 2023.

 
2. Opening of the sitting
 

(La séance est ouverte à 17h03)

 
3. Commemoration of Jacques Delors
 

  La Présidente. – Chers collègues, le 27 décembre 2023, l’Europe a perdu un géant politique, un visionnaire, un pionnier. C’est en tant que nouveau président de la Commission européenne que Jacques Delors s’est présenté devant cette assemblée en janvier 1985. Mais notre hémicycle n’était pas nouveau pour lui. En 1979, lors des premières élections européennes, il a été élu membre du Parlement européen, où il a présidé pendant deux ans la commission des affaires économiques et monétaires. Après avoir été ministre des Finances en France entre 1981 et 1984, Jacques Delors revient en Europe à un moment de grande instabilité géopolitique.

Conscient des défis à relever, il y voit une opportunité pour l’Europe de s’unir dans la paix et la démocratie. Jacques Delors croyait en une Europe fondée sur une concurrence qui stimule, une coopération qui renforce et une solidarité qui rassemble. C’était un visionnaire européen doté d’un fort esprit pragmatique et d’un sens aigu du détail. L’histoire retiendra Jacques Delors comme le principal architecte de cette extraordinaire décennie d’intégration européenne. On ne peut parler de l’Union européenne d’aujourd’hui sans tenir compte de l’immense impact qu’il a eu sur elle.

Aujourd’hui, l’Union européenne se trouve à nouveau à un moment décisif de renouvellement, de changement et de réformes. Le relais nous a été transmis. Puisse la vision de Jacques Delors continuer à nous guider dans notre quête d’une Union pacifique, démocratique, prospère et toujours plus proche. Honorons sa mémoire en préservant son héritage. Chers collègues, en hommage à la vie et à l’héritage extraordinaires du Président Jacques Delors, je vous invite à observer une minute de silence.

(L’Assemblée, debout, observe une minute de silence)

Je vous remercie.

 
   
 

  Siegfried Mureşan, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, dear colleagues, today we are looking back at the life and legacy of Jacques Delors, an honorary citizen of Europe. Almost a century of life, a century in Europe, a century in which Europe has fundamentally changed – for the better, I say – and Jacques Delors had a big role to play in this.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, Jacques Delors witnessed how the founding fathers of the European Union have given their hands and understood that hope over hate and fear, unity over division, and peace over war are the solutions for a better life in Europe. This is what Jacques Delors also believed in – witnessing himself the first steps of European integration. Staying on the shoulders of the founding fathers, he took Europe to the next stage of integration.

We owe him the freedoms of movement, of people, of goods, of services and of capital in the European Union – what we call today the single market, the internal market. This was a flagship project of Commission President Jacques Delors, and it allows us all to live wherever we want in Europe, to work wherever we want in Europe, and it allows young people to study wherever they want in Europe. We owe to him the Erasmus programme.

We also owe to him the organisation of the budget of the European Union in seven-year programmes, giving predictability and meaning to European policies. And he also created cohesion policy as we know it today. And we owe to him a lot of decisive steps towards the creation of the euro. All these make Europe more tangible.

The legacy of Jacques Delors is bringing Europe closer to the individual, closer to the citizen. The legacy is making Europe relevant for each of us. A Europe that matters, that improves our lives; a Europe that is concrete; a Europe that we can witness and feel every day. It is a big legacy. For this, he was made an honorary citizen of Europe.

This is a legacy that we all have the duty to preserve and to protect and to further develop, as Jacques Delors did himself with Europe – further develop it. We shall make sure that we create a European Union that is relevant for the next generations, as he created a European Union that is relevant and helpful for our generation. May he rest in peace and may his legacy be preserved and remembered over centuries.

(Applause)

 
   
 

  Iratxe García Pérez, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señora presidenta, la Unión en la que vivimos es la Unión de Jacques Delors. Nunca un presidente de la Comisión Europea ha dejado una huella tan profunda en la construcción del proyecto europeo.

Jacques Delors es el hombre comprometido con la paz, porque siempre tuvo presente a su padre, herido grave en la Primera Guerra Mundial; el socialdemócrata convencido de ampliar nuestra Unión y de garantizar la cohesión y una distribución de la riqueza justa entre los pueblos europeos; el visionario que quería más Europa porque creía en la democracia, en los ideales de justicia e igualdad y en nuestro poder cuando actuamos unidos. Es el líder que afrontó con valentía cada desafío: de la crisis del petróleo al mercado interior, de las turbulencias monetarias al euro y de la caída del muro a la reunificación alemana y continental.

Señorías, la mejor manera de rendir homenaje a Jacques Delors no es solo recordar sus logros. Ahora que hay amenazas que ponen en peligro su legado, debemos explicar a nuestros ciudadanos por qué somos europeístas y por qué Europa es nuestra esperanza, nuestro futuro y nuestro destino.

Somos europeístas porque nuestra larga historia de guerras salvajes nos ha enseñado que los conflictos deben resolverse pacíficamente, lo que es indispensable en un mundo sin paz. Somos europeístas porque compartimos los valores de la democracia, el Estado de derecho, la igualdad de género y la protección de las minorías. Somos europeístas porque nuestra economía social de mercado, que garantiza crecimiento económico y cohesión social, es la mejor fuente de progreso. Somos europeístas porque queremos que nuestros países hagan valer su poder frente a retos como el cambio climático, la transformación digital, la evasión fiscal o las ansias imperiales del criminal Putin.

En definitiva, somos europeístas porque la historia nos demuestra que, después de cada crisis, nuestra Unión sale más integrada y unida. Somos europeístas y debemos serlo más en el futuro, porque, como nos decía Jacques Delors, «Europa es una construcción que hay que reinventar constantemente».

 
   
 

  Malik Azmani, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, dear colleagues, my political family was deeply touched by the death of Jacques Delors. On behalf of the Renew Europe Group, I send my condolences to his family. Jacques Delors was a great European and one of the most important founding fathers of today’s European Union. Like President Macron said, he was l’architecte de l’Europe unie. Jacques Delors was a firm believer in a united Europe, in a Europe where our common future is key to the well-being of us all. He also advocated strongly for personal responsibility, a value close to the hearts of my Group.

Europe is us. We need to continue Delors’ legacy. His vision ensured the free movement of people, goods and services within the European Union – a huge achievement. Building on his legacy means deepening the single market and completing it. The European Union has many successes, but the single market remains the biggest so far. Mr Delors also believed that Europe needed a soul and a human face. Today, people feel insecure and a loss of control. Europe must listen to their concerns and act upon it – on migration, on the economy. We honour its legacy by delivering solutions for European citizens. Jacques Delors said ‘Europe is its people’. In this vital election year, may his truly European spirit guide us in the weeks and months to come. We thank you, Jack Delors. We will make you proud so that you can rest assured your legacy continues. May you rest in peace.

 
   
 

  Terry Reintke, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Madame la Présidente, chers collègues, c’est pour un grand bâtisseur de l’Europe que je prononce aujourd’hui mon premier discours en français dans cet hémicycle. Jacques Delors était un homme politique visionnaire et un Européen convaincu. Il a permis la construction de nouvelles étapes pour avancer vers une Europe unie, une Europe plus juste et plus démocratique. Nous vivons dans un moment historique où l’unité de l’Europe est menacée. Elle est pourtant plus indispensable que jamais pour répondre aux défis de notre époque.

On a parfois l’impression qu’à Berlin, mais aussi à Paris ou depuis d’autres capitales européennes, il n’y a que des mots sur cette unité. Mais c’est dans les actes, comme Jacques Delors l’a fait, que l’on peut construire l’Europe de demain. Je suis sûre qu’une Europe forte et unie est aujourd’hui la meilleure stratégie pour notre sécurité, et probablement la seule qui soit durable, pour la protection de notre démocratie, de nos droits fondamentaux ou encore pour faire face au dérèglement climatique. La capacité d’agir ensemble sur ces grands chantiers est le grand défi de notre temps. En nous inspirant de la clairvoyance et de l’engagement de Jacques Delors, nous pouvons y parvenir.

Und lassen Sie mich noch auf Deutsch sagen:

Ich bin jetzt seit zehn Jahren in diesem Parlament, und in der Europäischen Union scheint es mir immer so, dass Dinge unmöglich sind, bis sie dann irgendwann getan werden.

Genauso hat Jacques Delors Politik gemacht. Genauso hat er die Europäische Union und den europäischen Integrationsprozess vorangebracht. Ich wünsche mir, dass genau das der Spirit ist, mit dem auch wir in den nächsten Monaten und nächsten Jahren in der Europäischen Union Politik machen werden.

Merci, Jacques Delors. Danke, Jacques Delors. Thank you very much. Rest in peace.

 
   
 

  Nicola Procaccini, a nome del gruppo ECR. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, tra coloro che oggi prendono la parola per commemorare Jacques Delors, io sono probabilmente uno dei più distanti politicamente da lui, ma ciò non mi impedisce di tributargli il giusto rispetto umano, né mi impedisce di valutare positivamente alcuni tratti della sua esperienza politica sul piano europeo e nazionale.

Prima di tutto mi piace sottolineare l’ancoraggio del suo impegno pubblico ad una dimensione spirituale, religiosa, cristiana. Un aspetto, questo della fede, che era ben presente trasversalmente tra tutti i padri fondatori dell’Unione europea, ma che invece oggi viene bandito dal discorso pubblico, soprattutto tra i socialisti, consentitemelo. Come se essere sinceramente cristiani possa essere di ostacolo alla laicità delle istituzioni o al rispetto di qualunque altra confessione religiosa.

Ci sono risultati preziosi della sua attività politica che mi piace evidenziare come la creazione del mercato unico, la libera circolazione di beni e persone all’interno del nostro continente, il lancio del programma studentesco Erasmus, o la particolare attenzione alla politica agricola ed energetica comune.

D’altra parte, c’è un elemento nella sua visione che fa da spartiacque rispetto alla nostra visione: l’Unione europea come una Federazione di Stati nazionali. Secondo noi si tratta di un evidente ossimoro, implicitamente ammesso dallo stesso Delors quando ha definito questo Parlamento come “il primo e unico Parlamento multinazionale al mondo”.

Ciò detto, resta intatta la possibilità per il nostro gruppo politico di convergere sulla necessità, più volte ribadita dallo stesso Delors, di riempire quest’Europa con un’anima, altrimenti sarà solo un insieme di uffici e di regole, distante dalla gente e dalla storia.

 
   
 

  Eric Minardi, au nom du groupe ID. – Madame la Présidente, mes chers collègues, ce Parlement oublie trop souvent les racines de notre culture européenne. Le génie romain, par exemple, nous a légué cette formule pleine de sagesse: de mortuis nil nisi bonum, c’est à dire «des morts, rien que du bien». Les rêves de Jacques Delors n’étaient pas les nôtres. Là où il voyait une économie libérée, nous craignons des marchés en danger. Ce qu’il appelait le «projet européen» conduisait pour nous immanquablement à l’effacement des nations. Enfin, là où il envisageait la fluidité des déplacements des Européens avec un Schengen, nous alertons sur les périls de la réduction des frontières.

Ces antagonismes sont pourtant autant d’hommages à un homme qui a façonné l’Union européenne. L’Union européenne dans laquelle nous vivons, qu’on l’apprécie ou qu’on la critique, a été largement façonnée par celui qui fut le président de la Commission pendant dix ans. Lauréat du prix Charlemagne, il fut couronné par ses pairs qui saluèrent en lui l’ouvrier industrieux d’un projet nouveau. C’est peu dire que les Français, quelle que soit leur orientation politique, ont les pires difficultés du monde à apprendre la grammaire des institutions européennes. Nous pouvons tous reconnaître que Jacques Delors en assimila le langage, les codes et la psychologie avec une acuité qui force l’admiration.

N’oublions pas que, jeune collaborateur de Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Jacques Delors travailla au projet de la nouvelle société. Il défendit – et c’est tout à son honneur – l’idée d’une Europe sociale à la fin de son engagement européen. La cohérence d’un homme, quelles que soient ses convictions, mérite le respect de ceux qui l’ont combattu. Jacques Delors a quitté ce monde et n’appartient donc plus à l’arène européenne. Il a rejoint la longue cohorte des Français qui ont marqué l’histoire de notre continent. La loyauté à sa mémoire s’impose désormais à tous. L’ancien syndicaliste nous demandait certainement de veiller à ce qu’aucune de nos décisions n’oublie ceux qui ploient sous les souffrances économiques. Ce sera la meilleure manière pour ses anciens adversaires, comme ses nombreux amis, d’honorer sa mémoire.

 
   
 

  Leila Chaibi, au nom du groupe The Left. – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, ce moment de commémoration est l’occasion de revenir sur les décisions qui ont été prises pendant tout le temps où Jacques Delors a présidé la Commission européenne entre 1985 et 1995, car ces décisions façonnent l’architecture de l’Europe d’aujourd’hui. Jacques Delors estimait, comme la grande majorité des dirigeants politiques de l’époque, que la relance de la construction européenne devait passer avant tout par l’approfondissement des logiques de marché et que, certes, le social était important, mais que l’harmonisation sociale adviendrait naturellement une fois l’allégeance faite au dogme de la concurrence.

Au lieu de l’Europe sociale, on a eu droit à l’Europe brutale, l’Europe qui fait mal: austérité, libre-échange, acte unique et pensée unique, Maastricht, toujours plus de sacro-sainte concurrence, délocalisations en pagaille. L’expérience nous a montré que le social n’a pas découlé spontanément du marché et que, si nous voulons du social en Europe, il faut de la volonté politique, il faut des décisions concrètes en la matière.

Mais alors, certains, parmi les plus fervents défenseurs du libéralisme, paniquent dès qu’ils se retrouvent face à un texte européen qui pourrait améliorer la vie des travailleurs. Ce sont d’ailleurs les mêmes qui se revendiquent les héritiers de Jacques Delors dans la volonté de relancer une construction européenne et qui font obstacle aux textes qui améliorent la vie des travailleurs au niveau européen. Pour le dire clairement, je rage d’entendre des dirigeants comme Emmanuel Macron se positionner sur la scène nationale en grand défenseur d’une Europe qui protège et en même temps de voir ce même Emmanuel Macron, ici, au niveau européen, s’acharner à faire tomber une directive qui devrait donner quelques droits aux travailleurs des plateformes, tout cela pour ne pas heurter les intérêts d’Uber.

Dans quelques mois auront lieu les élections européennes. Croyez-moi, nous allons faire en sorte que les citoyens européens sachent que ceux qui se vantent d’être les plus pro-Europe sont en réalité ceux qui bloquent les avancées qui pourraient améliorer la vie de millions d’Européens. Aux défenseurs les plus zélés de la construction européenne, je le dis: en reprenant les dogmes de l’Europe brutale, c’est la destruction européenne que vous obtiendrez.

 
   
 

  President. – That concludes the item.

 
4. Statements by the President
 

  President. – First of all, dear colleagues, it is with a deep sense of pride and honour that I inform you that on Saturday I was in Vilnius to receive on behalf of all MEPs and the European Parliament, the Freedom Prize from the Republic of Lithuania.

It was a moving and emotional moment and I was glad to be there in your name to witness it.

This prize is for all of you and your work in support of peace, democracy, human rights and freedom. It is in recognition of what our Parliament does. May it serve to continue to inspire our actions.

(Applause)

Dear colleagues, in the spirit of defending freedom, I need to refer again to what is happening in Belarus, still controlled by Europe’s last dictator. Activists, innocent people are still being detained arbitrarily. The number of political prisoners continues to grow. We cannot allow it to fall off the top of our agenda.

That is why I have met with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya last week and promised to do what we can to support political prisoners and urge their release. For that reason I have agreed to join their campaign and became a so-called ‘godparent’ of Palina Sharenda-Panasyuk, a mother, an activist, sentenced in 2021 and then in 2022 by Lukashenko’s regime to four years in prison on trumped‑up charges. Palina has been beaten, placed in a punishment cell, and refused medicines and access to her family or a lawyer.

My appeal to all of you who have not yet done so is to join the campaign and consider adding your voice too.

Dear colleagues, last year, you will recall, the European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize to Jina Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement. However, a few days before they were scheduled to receive their award, the Iranian regime placed Ms Mahsa Amini’s family under a travel ban – a stark example of the type of treatment that the people of Iran are faced with every day.

On 12 December, this House welcomed Mr Saleh Nikbakht, the Amini family lawyer, to receive the Sakharov Prize on their behalf. Shortly after his return to Iran, Mr Saleh Nikbakht was arrested and the award was confiscated. According to our information, Mr Saleh Nikbakht has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for allegedly engaging in ‘propaganda against the system’. It is a false charge. It is unacceptable. It is inexcusable, and this House condemns it.

I want to recognise that bravery and commitment by Mr Saleh Nikbakht. He spoke eloquently and courageously.

On behalf of the European Parliament, I call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Saleh Nikbakht. I will also take this opportunity to reiterate our unwavering support to Mahsa Amini’s family and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement in their ceaseless fight for liberty, justice and human rights. You are not alone.

Dear colleagues, on 21 December 2023 we witnessed a horrific – the worst – mass shooting in Czechia when a gunman in Prague shot dead 14 people at the Charles University and injured many more. It pains us to think of the many families that were forced to mourn their loved ones at a time of peace and togetherness. My thoughts are with them and with the victims of these brutal attacks, who are still recovering.

Evropa stojí při Česku.

***

Before we move to the approval of the minutes of the previous sitting, is there a point of order?

 
   
 

  President. – Ms Miranda, this is not a point of order. Please use this moment to really make points that are ones that add to the value of the debate at this point.

 
5. Approval of the minutes of the previous sitting
 

  Dolors Montserrat (PPE). – Señora presidenta, señora Miranda, defender el mar y trabajar frente a los pélets que llegan a las playas españolas es lo que hace la Xunta de Galicia. Lo que hace usted aquí hoy es miseria política para rascar votos y para hacer electoralización de esta crisis. Esta crisis le compete a todo el mundo, empezando por el Gobierno de España, que tiene que recoger los sacos de pélets del mar. Por tanto, el jueves vamos a debatir eso, porque ustedes quieren electoralizar y politizar esta crisis que compete a todo el mundo.

 
6. Composition of Parliament
 

  President. – Following the appointment of Nicola Beer to the European Investment Bank, Parliament takes note of the vacancy of her seat from 1 January 2024, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.

Following the appointment of Stéphane Séjourné to the French Government, Parliament takes note of the vacancy of his seat from 12 January 2024.

The competent authorities of Spain have notified me of the election of Esther Sanz Selva to the European Parliament, replacing Sira Rego with effect from 21 December 2023.

The competent authorities of Germany have notified me of the election of Michael Kauch to the European Parliament, replacing Nicola Beer with effect from 1 January 2024.

The competent authorities of Poland have notified me of the election of Krzysztof Brejza to the European Parliament, replacing Radosław Sikorski with effect from 3 January 2024.

I wish to welcome all these new colleagues and recall that you take your seats in Parliament and its bodies in full enjoyment of your rights pending the verification of your credentials.

 
7. Composition of Parliament’s political bodies
 

  President. – Following the appointment of Nicola Beer to the European Investment Bank, we will also proceed tomorrow to the election of a new Vice-President of the European Parliament.

I remind you that the deadline for submitting nominations is today at 19.00. The nominations should be handed in to the Office of the Deputy Secretary-General in the open-space area of the Plenary Services, and include the candidate’s acceptance. The election will take place tomorrow at noon.

 
8. Request for waiver of immunity
 

  President. – I have received a request from the competent authorities in Hungary for the parliamentary immunity of Anna Júlia Donáth to be waived.

This request is referred to the Committee on Legal Affairs.

 
9. Composition of committees and delegations
 

  President. – The EPP, Renew Europe, Greens/EFA and The Left groups have notified me of decisions relating to changes to appointments within committees and delegations. These decisions will be set out in the minutes of today’s sitting and take effect on the date of this announcement.

 
10. Negotiations ahead of Parliament’s first reading (Rule 71)
 

  President. – The ECON and EMPL committees have decided to enter into interinstitutional negotiations pursuant to Rule 71(1) of our Rules. The reports, which constitute the mandate for the negotiations, are available on the plenary web page, and their titles will be published in the minutes of the sitting.

Pursuant to Rule 71(2), Members or political groups reaching at least the medium threshold may request in writing by tomorrow, 16 January at midnight, that the decisions be put to the vote. If no request for a vote in Parliament is made within the deadline, the committee may start the negotiations.

 
11. Proposal for a Union act
 

  President. – Pursuant to Rule 47(2) of the Rules of Procedure, I have declared admissible a proposal for a Union Act on the need to amend the regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, submitted by Jorge Buxadé Villalba and three other Members.

This proposal is referred to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, as the committee responsible, and to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as to the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, for opinion.

 
12. Order of business
 

  President. – We now come to the order of business.

The final draft agenda as adopted by the Conference of Presidents on 10 January pursuant to Rule 157 has been distributed.

I’d like to inform you that I have received one request for urgent procedure from the Council pursuant to Rule 163 on the following legislative file: ‘targets for fixing fishing opportunities’. The vote on this request will be taken tomorrow, and if adopted, the vote will be held on Thursday.

We now move to changes requested by political groups. With the agreement of the political groups, I wish to put to the House the following proposal for changes to the final draft agenda: the objection pursuant to Rule 112(2), (3) and Rule 112(4)(c): ‘Maximum residue levels for thiacloprid’, is added to the Wednesday votes.

For Monday, today, the EPP Group has requested that a Commission statement on ‘the need for an EU and international response to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea’ be added as the third point in the afternoon, after the joint debate on markets in financial instruments regulations.

I give the floor first to Michael Gahler to move the request.

 
   
 

  President. – So we will put the request of the EPP Group, with the addition of the reference to continued support to the Yemeni peace process, to a vote by roll call.

(Parliament approved the request)

Therefore the Commission statement will be added and the sitting will be extended to 23.00.

Also for today, the ECR Group has requested a Commission statement on ‘ensuring that justice is fully upheld for the crimes of political terrorism that remain unpunished, so that the memory of the victims can finally become a moment of collective remembrance’. This would be added before the Commission statement on ‘Revision of the European Labour Authority mandate’.

I give the floor to Vincenzo Sofo to move the request on behalf of the ECR Group.

 
   
 

  Vincenzo Sofo, a nome del gruppo ECR. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, poiché, nonostante tutte le emergenze che l’Europa dovrebbe affrontare, la sinistra ha deciso di far perdere tempo a quest’Aula sulla commemorazione della strage di Acca Larentia, vogliamo proporre un dibattito che abbia almeno un’utilità.

Perché, vedete, il pericolo per i nostri cittadini non proviene certo da chi ogni anno commemora eccidi efferati come quello di Acca Larentia, ma anche di Primavalle, di Sergio Ramelli e di Fausto e Iaio e di tante altre vittime a destra e a sinistra degli anni di piombo.

Il vero pericolo proviene semmai dai loro assassini, che in questi 40 anni hanno continuato e continuano a circolare impunemente per le nostre strade, talvolta anche con la protezione di governi stranieri. Ecco perché, se vogliamo che il passato smetta di essere fonte di divisioni e rancori, dobbiamo impegnarci innanzitutto affinché a queste vittime e alle loro famiglie sia data finalmente piena giustizia.

Dunque, invece di fare propaganda su inesistenti allarmi neofascisti in Europa, chiediamo di aggiungere le dichiarazioni del Consiglio e della Commissione su come, ed è questo il titolo del dibattito che proponiamo, garantire piena giustizia sui delitti ancora impuniti compiuti dal terrorismo politico, affinché il ricordo delle vittime possa finalmente diventare un momento di memoria condivisa.

 
   
 

  President. – Does anybody want to speak against?

I don’t see that to be the case and therefore we put the request of the ECR Group to a vote by roll call.

(Parliament rejected the request)

For Tuesday, the ECR Group has requested that Council and Commission statements on ‘recent attacks on Christian villages in Nigeria’ be added as the eighth item on the afternoon after the Council and Commission statements on the state of emergency in Ecuador.

I give the floor to Bert-Jan Ruissen to move the request.

 
   
 

  Michael Gahler (PPE). – Madam President, yes, not to speak against, but looking at our agenda that we have got this week and that we have added already, I’m afraid that we are overloaded. We would agree to have a debate, but if we could have it in February – unfortunately, probably, the attacks will be ongoing, so it will not be a done deal by February. So if the ECR could agree to have it in February, in order not to overload this week’s agenda, then we could agree.

 
   
 

  Silvia Modig, on behalf of The Left Group. – Madam President, on behalf of The Left Group, I would like to request to add a debate with the following title to the agenda: ‘Commission statement: Norway’s recent decision to advance seabed mining in the Arctic’, with a resolution. This should be added to the agenda on Wednesday afternoon after the topical debate. Consequently, the session should be extended until 23.00.

And why? Because Norway’s decision to advance seabed mining in the Arctic is very destructive for the vulnerable Arctic environment, even at the exploration phase. This kind of activity could potentially start a global race to mine the ocean floor, which it is essential to contain. The deep sea is the most extensive habitat on our planet, and it supports high biodiversity.

The position of the EU is clear: the precautionary principle must apply and we need an international moratorium on seabed mining. This is why it is very important to have this debate on the agenda of this plenary and, in that way, send a clear message to the Norwegian Parliament.

 
   
 

  President. – OK, so we will vote on the request by The Left Group to have a debate on this issue this week.

(Parliament approved the request)

So the debate is introduced.

For Wednesday, the ID Group has requested that a Commission statement on rural unrest and farmers’ protests in the aftermath of the Green Deal be added as the second item in the afternoon, after the topical debate. The sitting would be extended to 23.00.

I give the floor to Jean-Paul Garraud to move the request on behalf of the ID Group.

 
   
 

  Jean-Paul Garraud, au nom du groupe ID. – Madame la Présidente, partout en Europe les agriculteurs font entendre leur voix. Ils manifestent en masse car ils souffrent. Ils ne veulent pas disparaître. Ils refusent le Pacte vert et son cortège d’obligations et ses objectifs de décroissance. L’Union européenne est directement responsable. Par l’imposition de normes environnementales hors sol, par la baisse imposée des rendements, par les accords de libre-échange signés avec le monde entier, par la fin des exploitations familiales traditionnelles, par l’augmentation de nos importations, elle met à mort notre agriculture.

Le message des agriculteurs et des éleveurs est simple: ils sont passionnés par leur métier, leurs terres, leurs animaux, leurs exploitations. Mais ils sont à bout, face à l’accumulation des normes européennes et à la concurrence déloyale. Tous les deux jours, un agriculteur français se suicide, un chiffre jamais atteint jusqu’à présent. Il est vital de débattre, chers collègues, de l’avenir de notre agriculture et de notre souveraineté alimentaire face à l’idéologie et à la politique mondialiste de cette Union européenne. C’est un sujet de première importance, c’est pourquoi mon groupe demande cet ajout à l’ordre du jour et c’est une demande urgente.

 
   
 

  President. – I have received three alternative proposals, which I will read out. First of all, from the Greens Group, to add Council and Commission statements on ‘improving the socio-economic situation of farmers and rural areas, ensuring fair incomes as well as a just transition’. The proposal from the EPP Group would be to add Council and Commission statements on ‘improving the socio-economic situation of farmers and rural areas, ensuring fair incomes’. The alternative proposal by the S&D Group would be to add such statements on ‘improving the socio-economic situation of farmers and rural areas, ensuring fair incomes through a just transition and improving Europe’s food security’.

I give the floor first to any colleague who would like to speak against having such a debate. That does not seem to be the case, and therefore, Mr Garraud, do you agree with any of the alternative proposals – the Greens’ proposal, the EPP proposal or the S&D proposal?

 
   
 

   (Parliament rejected the ID Group’s proposal)

President. – I understand there is a compromise title that would be supported by the EPP, S&D, Renew and the Greens Group, which I will read out: ‘Council and Commission statements on improving the socio-economic situation of farmers and rural areas, ensuring fair incomes, food security, as well as a just transition’. So I will put this compromise proposal to a vote by roll call.

(Parliament approved the compromise proposal)

Everybody wants that debate and agrees, except one person.

For Wednesday, The Left and Renew groups have requested that Council and Commission statements on ‘the rule of law and media freedom in Greece’ be wound up with a resolution to be voted in the February part-session. I give the floor to Ms in ‘t Veld to move the request.

 
   
 

  Andreas Schieder, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, dear colleagues, as you all know, on 17 December there have been another early elections in Serbia, in national and also in the capital of Belgrade, and other municipalities. This also we know: we are plagued by irregularities, like phantom voters, like pressure on voters, as well as decisive involvement of the President and the ruling party’s systemic advantage, and which undermined the electoral process.

When international election observers, like from the European Parliament and like myself, also raised this issue, the Government of Serbia and the President himself attacked these international observers.

So, therefore, I am happy that a majority of the groups and of this House has the plan now and agreed to have a debate during this plenary. I’m also looking forward that we will have a resolution which we also support as the S&D Group.

 
   
 

  President. – So we will first vote on the request by the S&D, Renew, Greens and The Left Group to have a debate.

(Parliament approved the request)

So the debate is in. But now we will check whether we will wind up the debate with a resolution at the next part-session. Do you still have that request, to the Greens Group?

OK, so we vote on whether to have a resolution on this next part-session.

(Parliament approved the request)

Colleagues, the agenda is adopted and the order of business is thus established. Have a good week.

(The sitting was suspended for a few moments)

 
   
   

PREDSEDÁ: MARTIN HOJSÍK
podpredseda

 
13. Resumption of the sitting
 

(Rokovanie pokračovalo od 17.59 h.)

 
14. Ozone depleting substances – Fluorinated gases regulation (joint debate – Gas emissions)
 

  Predsedajúci. – Ďalším bodom programu je rozprava o:

– o správe Emisie plynov, ktorú predkladá Jessica Polfjärd v mene Výboru pre životné prostredie, verejné zdravie a bezpečnosť potravín, o návrhu nariadenia Európskeho parlamentu a Rady o látkach, ktoré poškodzujú ozónovú vrstvu, a o zrušení nariadenia (ES) č. 1005/2009 (COM(2022)0151 C9-0143/2022 – 2022/0100(COD)) (A9-0050/2023), a

– o správe, ktorú predkladá Bas Eickhout v mene Výboru pre životné prostredie, verejné zdravie a bezpečnosť potravín, o návrhu nariadenia Európskeho parlamentu a Rady o fluórovaných skleníkových plynoch, ktorým sa mení smernica (EÚ) 2019/1937 a zrušuje nariadenie (EÚ) č. 517/2014 (COM(2022)0150 – C9-0142/2022 – 2022/0099(COD)) (A9-0048/2023).

 
   
 

  Peter Liese, stellvertretender Berichterstatter. – Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, Herr Präsident, sehr geehrter Herr Kommissar! Umwelt- und Klimaschutz durch moderne Technik und in Zusammenarbeit mit den Betroffenen – so würde ich die Arbeit überschreiben, die wir bei den beiden vorliegenden Berichten gemacht haben.

Ich vertrete heute die Berichterstatterin Jessica Polfjärd und möchte ihr gratulieren zu einem Bericht, der ohne große Kontroversen durch den Umweltausschuss und das Plenum und durch den Trilog gegangen ist. Danke an alle Beteiligten, die dabei geholfen haben.

Bei dem Bericht Polfjärd geht es um ozonzerstörende Substanzen. Wir hatten ein Riesenproblem mit dem Ozonloch in den 80ern. Als Arzt weiß ich, dass Hautkrebs durch das Ozonloch sehr, sehr stark zugenommen hat. Wir haben das Problem mittlerweile sehr gut im Griff durch ein internationales Abkommen und durch den Ersatz dieser Stoffe, die das Ozonloch verursachen.

Es gibt jetzt noch wenige Bereiche, in denen diese Substanzen noch erlaubt sind: in der Medizin zum Beispiel. Hier sieht das Abkommen stärkere Kontrolle vor, und wir wollen eine sichere Rückgewinnung und Verwertung dieser Stoffe. Bei Baumaterialien, auch beim Abriss von Gebäuden, muss stärker darauf geachtet werden, dass die Substanzen nicht in die Atmosphäre kommen. Und auch die Leaks müssen besser kontrolliert werden.

Ich denke, bei beiden Berichten – und ich werde jetzt auch noch mal etwas zum F-Gas- Bericht sagen – haben wir es geschafft, moderne Technik zu unterstützen, die uns helfen kann bei der Bekämpfung von Umweltproblemen. F-Gase sind bis zu 25 000 Mal klimaschädlicher als CO2, und deswegen haben wir hier eine Baustelle. Die Verordnung zu den F-Gasen ermöglicht es uns, so viel CO2 einzusparen – 40 Millionen Tonnen CO2-Äquivalent–, wie Irland, Portugal und Schweden jährlich emittieren oder auch eine Anzahl von sehr, sehr vielen PKW. Das ist für den Klimaschutz schon ein ganz, ganz wichtiger Schritt.

Viele EU Firmen haben die alternativen natürlichen Kältemittel, die wir brauchen, um die Funktion weiter darzustellen. Und deswegen ist das auch für große Teile der Industrie eine gute Lösung.

Wir hatten aber eine Baustelle: Nach dem Beschluss des Umweltausschusses hat sich zu Recht das Handwerk beschwert. Ich sage es hier ganz klar: Wir müssen auf die Interessen des Handwerks Rücksicht nehmen. Ohne Handwerk gibt es keine Energiewende.

Das Problem war, dass wir bei der Reparatur von Geräten und beim Thema Ersatzteile beispielsweise oder bei der Frage, wenn ein bestehendes Gerät nicht mehr funktioniert und man F-Gase hineinbringen muss, damit es wieder funktioniert, eine viel zu kurze Übergangsfrist im Umweltausschuss gehabt haben. 2024 sollte da schon ein Verbot greifen – wir sind schon in 2024. Deswegen bin ich sehr dankbar, dass das Plenum die Änderungsanträge – einen von der EVP mit der Renew zusammen und einen nur von der EVP – zu diesem Thema angenommen hat, sodass das Handwerk Planungssicherheit hat und bestehende Anlagen nicht wertlos werden.

Ich glaube, am Ende ist das ein gutes Ergebnis – Klima- und Umweltschutz mit dem Handwerk und mit der Industrie.

 
   
 

  Bas Eickhout, rapporteur. – Mr President, we are tomorrow going to vote on the revision of the F-Gas Regulation, which indeed I think is a very good example of a regulation that is improving our circumstances for our environment, but at the same time improving European competitiveness and European industry. First of all, I really would like to thank all the shadows for their negotiations and their support, and of course also the Council and the Commission for all their work in achieving this compromise.

The F-Gas Regulation is existing, of course. The current one was already reducing our F-gas emissions and, just reminding, F-gases are very potent greenhouse gases. So, in the number of molecules we don’t emit as much CO2, but some of those have an impact on the global warming potential, even up to 24 000. So that means one molecule has 24 000 times more of an impact on global warming than one molecule of CO2. So, this is the low-hanging fruit that we need to achieve. Already the existing regulation is reducing the use and the emissions of F-gases – and more or less two thirds of that is being reduced – with this regulation and achieving zero emissions by 2050, it means that all the F-gases will be out of our economy and will be replaced by natural alternatives, and that is a very clear prospect for all the investors from now on. If you are working on heat pumps and conditioning cooling systems, you know where to go to. You need to invest in the natural alternatives, and that is the very clear point to go to.

This is also one of the first sectors that is then really achieving zero emissions that we have promised to achieve for the entire economy by 2050. In that sense, I think it’s another good example of how this law can work. Of course, there were considerations and concerns about the heat pumps, which of course also demands a fast acceleration. I think, thanks to the negotiations with Council and my colleagues and the Commission, we have had a good compromise that is giving a clear signal also for the market, certainly for the heat pumps for consumers, but at the same time also making sure that this acceleration of expansion of heat pumps can be achieved.

Also part of the concern was that if we are moving from F-gases with lower potential, we could be moving to chemicals that fall under the category of PFAs. I think that also gives you another very clear example, that  moving to the natural alternatives in some of these applications is very important.

Maybe a very last point. This sector is having innovation mainly within Europe. If we are looking at the use of F-gases, it is mainly done by non-European industrial players. It’s the European industrial players that are investing in the natural alternatives and are ahead of the game. So this regulation and this revision of the regulation is a support for European innovation, for achieving natural alternatives. And that not only makes this a very good environmental law, but it also makes it a very strong law for European competitiveness. I think that is a very important message to give, that environmental legislation can go hand in hand with good economic regulation.

So with that, I would like to thank everyone, and I hope for a good approval tomorrow in the plenary. I’m looking forward to then the implementation by the Commission, to move as fast as possible to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and in this sector to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, indeed today we discuss the compromises reached on two very important climate regulations, as it has just been eloquently pointed out. I thank the two rapporteurs for their work on making this agreement possible. It is an ambitious agreement that will decisively contribute to our climate objectives.

On F-gases, the new rules before you today will strongly reduce F-gas emissions. This high ambition is great news in view of our climate targets for 2030 and reaching climate neutrality by 2050. In particular, the use of the most important group of F-gases, the HFCs, will be phased out by 2050, and we will strongly reduce other relevant F-gases such as SF6, the strongest known greenhouse gas.

This will transform a number of sectors of our economy, including the air conditioning and heat pump sector, the electricity sector using electrical switchgear and the medical sector of asthma sprays, so that they are no longer depending on the highly-warming greenhouse gases. I perfectly join what has been said on how you can combine Europe’s competitiveness, industrial competitiveness by improving our environmental approach and also by achieving our objectives.

As Parliament demanded, the agreed review ensures that a number of sectors where alternatives are feasible will eventually completely avoid the use of substances that may produce PFAS in the medium term. This is the case of smaller heat pumps. Business as usual is no longer possible, and the European industry has an opportunity to become the first to supply these low-carbon and climate-neutral solutions globally. Already today, we are witnessing that the offer of fully climate-friendly heat pumps and switchgear on the EU market is increasing by the day, and many of these types of equipment are produced here in Europe, with a number of large new plants that have opened in recent months.

Not least, this transition will bring significant financial benefits for citizens to with, for instance, more energy savings and less operation costs for many types of equipment, including heat pumps.

Turning to the ozone-depleting substances regulation. Going ahead with the successful phase out of ozone-depleting substances is also essential for our climate agenda. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, we can expect that the ozone hole will recover by approximately 2070 and prevent a major impact in global warming. Up to one degree of climate warming will be prevented by mid-century because of the global elimination of ozone-depleting substances. But these effects are ensured only if there is no backsliding. The EU must continue to lead by example and inspire others in the world to be ambitious. The EU will now be able to capture the large potential to save emissions from old insulation foams in houses for renovation or demolition, a measure that will certainly stimulate the recycling sector.

But the compromise goes further, thanks to your efforts, in particular regarding the more hands-on approach to reduce feedstock use in chemical production, the main remaining use of ozone-depleting substances in the EU.

In summary, on both files, the political agreement is excellent, representing a key step forward towards limiting global temperature increase and respecting the Paris Agreement. For this reason, I ask all distinguished Members here today to strongly endorse these compromises so that we can move on to implementation and make sure these emissions savings and other benefits can be achieved as quickly as possible.

 
   
 

  Ivan Štefanec, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. – Mr President, dear colleagues, the deal reached on the new F-Gas Regulation sets us on the path towards the ambitious goal of reducing emissions by the equivalent of 40 million tonnes CO2 in the next six years, and achieving a full phase-out by 2050.

Standing here on behalf of Sara Skyttedal, rapporteur for the ITRE opinion, I have to say that this path is not only ambitious, but also realistic. Thanks to the balanced phase-down in the first decade, in a way that will not jeopardise neither the repair of existing equipment nor the REPowerEU goals of a much-needed heat-pump deployment.

The groups to the left in this House tend to view climate legislation in an astonishingly naive and short-sighted way, where the highest bidder has the most climate-friendly policy.

I’m really happy that the new F-Gas Regulation instead follows the long-term balanced prescription of the centre-right: a climate policy that sets ambitious targets, but also delivers on them on account of securing the competitiveness of European industry.

I’d like to thank Sara for her great work.

 
   
 

  Stelios Kympouropoulos, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, dear colleagues, this is yet another historic moment for the EU. We are once again demonstrating the EU’s commitment to further reduce emissions into the atmosphere by completely phasing out HFCs by 2050. In that way, we are contributing to our efforts towards limiting the global temperature increase. For example, banning certain types of fluorinated gases in heat pumps as of 2032 alone will reduce the global temperature by 0.1°C.

With this agreement, we are also putting into practice the REPowerEU goals for an energy-efficient and independent EU that leads the world in the clean energy transition. At the same time, we manage to do it in an innovation-friendly way by giving a clear direction to our industries. We reward innovation. We decarbonise, we don’t deindustrialise. We work with the budget, not against it, and we do it safely. And we also do it by making sure that we have enough trained and certified personnel who carry out activities involving fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Thank you once again to the rapporteur, Bas Eickhout, and all the other shadows for the very positive outcome. And thank you to my colleague Jessica for the good work on the ozone-depleting substances file. And let us vote in favour of the agreement and make this legislation a reality.

 
   
 

  Günther Sidl, im Namen der S&D-Fraktion. – Sehr geehrter Herr Präsident, geschätzter Herr Kommissar, Kolleginnen und Kollegen! F-Gase werden in einer Vielzahl an Alltagsprodukten wie Kühlschränken, Klimaanlagen, Wärmepumpen, Asthmasprays, Feuerlöschern – um nur einige zu nennen – eingesetzt. Auch in der Bauwirtschaft oder in Schaltanlagen unserer Stromversorgungssysteme spielen Kältemittel eine wichtige Rolle. Diese synthetischen Kältemittel, die sogenannten F-Gase, besitzen ein alarmierend hohes Treibhauspotenzial, das bis zu 25 000 Mal klimaschädlicher ist als CO2. Daher müssen diese Stoffe drastisch reduziert und mit natürlichen Kältemitteln ersetzt werden, wenn wir den Klimawandel ernsthaft bekämpfen wollen.

Mit dem Dossier für F-Gase ist auch die Ozonverordnung eng verknüpft. Gerade bei Ozon haben wir in der Vergangenheit gesehen, dass mit klaren, verbindlichen Regelungen hervorragende Ergebnisse erzielt werden können. Mit dem erfolgreichen Abschluss der interinstitutionellen Verhandlungen stärken wir den Green Deal.

In meiner Rolle als Schattenberichterstatter zur Überarbeitung der F-Gas-Verordnung freue ich mich daher, heute berichten zu können, dass wir diesen wichtigen Paradigmenwechsel erfolgreich in Angriff genommen haben.

Ein großes Dankeschön an alle Kolleginnen und Kollegen für die wirklich gute und konstruktive Zusammenarbeit, ganz besonders an den Berichterstatter Bas Eickhout. Sowohl die Herstellung als auch der Verbrauch werden nach einem strengen Zeitplan mit abnehmenden Quotenzuweisungen schrittweise reduziert. Was die Quotenzuteilung für den Verbrauch betrifft, werden diese bis 2050 sogar vollständig eingestellt.

Der zur Abstimmung vorliegende Text ist ein wichtiger Beitrag zum Klimaschutz und zur Erreichung der Ziele des Pariser Abkommens. Zudem stärkt die überarbeitete Verordnung die führende Rolle europäischer Unternehmen auf den Weltmärkten für klimafreundliche Technologien und macht uns unabhängig von hauptsächlich in den USA und Asien hergestellten F-Gasen. Wir stärken den Industriestandort Europa und sichern heute bereits die Arbeitsplätze von morgen.

Berechnungen zufolge würden rund 80 % der F-Gas-Emissionen des Jahres 2050 aus stationären und mobilen Kälte- und Klimaanlagen stammen. Diese Emissionen sind vermeidbar, da sie durch klimafreundliche natürliche Kältemittel ersetzt werden können und auch ersetzt werden. Durch die strengere Regulierung der F-Gas-Verordnung und der ebenfalls zur Abstimmung stehenden Ozonverordnung werden bis 2050 insgesamt 500 Millionen Tonnen CO2 eingespart.

Ein wirklich großartiger Erfolg!

 
   
 

  Ondřej Knotek, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, Commissioner, colleagues, for ozone-depleting substances I think we have reached a very good deal. We will protect more the ozone layer, which is perfect, and I would like to thank the rapporteur, Jessica Polfjärd.

On fluorinated gases, I would also like to start by thanking the rapporteur, Bas Eickhout. We are known from time to time to have different positions, but Bas has always remained constructive and from time to time even inclusively democratic. So, Bas, many thanks for it.

But now, seriously, I was not happy, and I would even say I was a little shocked, when I saw the proposal from the European Commission, which was mainly driven by ideology and ambitions. In fact, it was imposing a risk on the availability of asthma medical inhalers, and the availability of heat pumps at a time of growing demand and a project called REPowerEU, and also some risk for the electricity grid. So it was not a good situation. I was even more shocked when some colleagues from the European Parliament wanted to go even further, just to be, let’s say, more ambitious than the European Commission, without seeing the full picture.

But in the end, I must say that I’m happy with the final proposal, because I think we have succeeded, finally, to balance and to protect European citizens and businesses from, let’s say, unrealistic ambitions. And we strike a balance that’s very important between existing and emerging, more sustainable technologies.

So it’s a good proposal in the end. We don’t impose a major risk on the energy and healthcare sectors within the EU, and I’m happy for this.

 
   
 

  Pär Holmgren, för Verts/ALE-gruppen. – Herr talman! När vi tittar tillbaka på sent 80-tal, när vi började förstå problemet med ett allt tunnare ozonlager, det som vi ofta vid polerna i alla fall brukar beskriva som ett ozonhål. Det vi gjorde då, det brukar ofta lyftas fram som ett gott exempel på hur politik verkligen kan lyssna på vetenskap och ta in de larmrapporter som fanns då. Det som hände var att världens länder kom överens om att vi behövde fasa ut de här farliga ämnena som bryter ned ozonet högt upp i stratosfären många mil upp i atmosfären.

Den gången lyssnade vi verkligen på forskningen och tog de här larmrapporterna på fullt allvar. Men vi har mycket att lära av det arbetet, det som hände då. Det är precis den typen av process som vi borde ha i andra miljö- och natur- och klimatfrågor också. Arbetet med Montrealprotokollet som landade sent 80-tal, det är ju inte över, för det är fortfarande en del utsläpp av ämnen som inte regleras, och det kommer in nya ämnen som inte fanns på den tiden.

Och det finns dessutom, som några andra talare har sagt också, tydliga kopplingar mellan de här ämnena som bryter ned ozonlagret och klimatfrågan. Dels har vi en del av de här ämnena som är extremt potenta växthusgaser: de kan vara tusentals, upp till 22 000 gånger värre per molekyl än vad koldioxiden är. Men dessutom har vi den stora problematiken att när växthuseffekten förstärks, blir det varmare här nere vid markytan men samtidigt kallare uppe i stratosfären där ozonskiktet finns.

Och fortsätter den avkylningen, finns det en stor risk att läkningen av ozonlagret kommer att ta mycket, mycket längre tid. Därför, om vi vill ta ozonproblematiken på fullt allvar, måste vi också ta klimatfrågan på ännu större allvar och lära oss av de ambitioner som vi trots allt har gjort fram tills nu när det gäller ozonlagret och göra samma i andra frågor.

 
   
 

  Danilo Oscar Lancini, a nome del gruppo ID. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il trilogo è stato lungo ma alla fine ha prevalso la ragione su posizioni troppo ideologiche.

Nessuno nega l’attenzione alla tutela ambientale, né critichiamo la ricerca in tecnologie alternative, anzi: le perplessità ancora presenti derivano da molti confronti avuti con gli attori del settore F-Gas.

Ribadisco: ridurre i gas serra e cercare soluzioni più sostenibili e naturali nel settore della refrigerazione e delle pompe di calore è la nostra visione. Il problema è l’integralismo proprio di alcune anime di questo Parlamento. Come è possibile chiedere di eliminare gli F-Gas passando a tecnologie più pericolose come i gas infiammabili? Perché alcuni vogliono imporre divieti e scadenze troppo vicine se non ci sono soluzioni tecnologiche disponibili?

Per fortuna il Consiglio ha riportato equilibrio rispetto alle previsioni iniziali. Sarà decisivo valutare nel prossimo mandato se questa normativa sarà all’altezza delle aspettative di operatori, attori e ambiente.

Due considerazioni. La prima, nell’Unione europea siamo all’avanguardia nella refrigerazione; vogliamo che scelte ideologiche affrettate colpiscano un comparto di eccellenza? Non pensiamo che imprese e lavoratori abbiano bisogno di normative stabili, chiare, che difendano l’ambiente senza tralasciare di difendere il loro business?

La seconda: allarghiamo lo sguardo. Pensate veramente che con normative così stringenti e slegate dal contesto tecnologico saremo competitivi nello scenario internazionale? Ci sono già abbastanza pratiche commerciali aggressive intorno a noi; come sostenere produzione e ricerca delle nostre imprese se non creiamo le condizioni idonee?

Concludo. Mancano pochi mesi alle elezioni europee, i cittadini ci chiedono sempre più di usare ragione e ponderazione nelle scelte, soprattutto in quelle che toccano la quotidianità. Sostituiamo quindi alle varie ideologie un approccio pragmatico che tuteli imprese, lavoratori e le nostre produzioni.

 
   
 

  Hildegard Bentele (PPE). – Herr Präsident! Das fluorierte Treibhausgas SF6 ist 25 000 Mal schädlicher für die Umwelt als CO2, wenn es in die Atmosphäre gelangt. Allein in unseren europäischen Mittelspannungsnetzen stecken 8 600 Tonnen dieses Gases. Umgerechnet entspricht das dem jährlichen CO2-Ausstoß der Niederlande. Schon 2016 haben wir als EU einen Zusatz zum Montreal-Abkommen unterschrieben, die Produktion und die Anwendung dieser hochklimaschädlichen Gase zu reduzieren.

Es ist also höchste Zeit, regulatorisch zu handeln. Es ist auch industriepolitisch klug, denn wir haben in Europa dank unserer Innovationskraft in den letzten Jahren eine Technologie entwickelt, die in der Lage ist, dieses schädliche Gas in den Schaltanlagen unserer Energienetze durch eine nachhaltige Alternative vollständig zu ersetzen. Diese Alternative aus natürlichen Gasen ist ungiftig, patentfrei, wird von mehreren Anbietern in Europa zur Verfügung gestellt und kann ohne großen Aufwand eingesetzt werden.

Und am Siemens-Standort Berlin, meine Damen und Herren, wurde das mit am frühesten erkannt, und deshalb ist bei uns die Heimat von SF6-freien Schaltanlagen. In Berlin wurde dank unermüdlicher Forschung und Weiterentwicklung über Jahrzehnte hinweg schlussendlich Geschichte für umweltfreundliche Industrieproduktion geschrieben. Und da die Berliner Technologie auch sofort einsatzbereit ist, hätten wir aus meiner Sicht auch im Hochspannungsbereich und im Zeitplan bei der Abschaffung des SF6-Gases ambitionierter bleiben können.

Aber unter dem Strich zählt, dass wir jetzt insgesamt den Weg dafür ebnen, dass diese technologische Erfolgsgeschichte nun auf die EU übertragen werden und die Massenproduktion der Teile mit den neuen, klimaunschädlichen Ersatzgasen beginnen kann.

Ein großes Dankeschön an alle Visionäre am Standort Berlin und an alle Kolleginnen und Kollegen in Kommission, Rat und Parlament, die an diesem wichtigen Baustein für ein klimaneutrales Europa mitgewirkt haben!

 
   
 

  Patrizia Toia (S&D). – Signor Presidente, signor Commissario, onorevoli colleghi, vorrei illustrare brevemente alcuni degli obiettivi del contributo che abbiamo dato come commissione per l’industria, sempre lavorando, così io ho lavorato, nella convinzione che le politiche di tutela ambientale che stiamo perseguendo non solo sono compatibili con la competitività, ma possono spingere anche la competitività del nostro sistema produttivo.

Il primo obiettivo è stato quello di favorire e sostenere l’innovazione nei numerosi processi in cui vengono utilizzati gli F-Gas già oggi: per esempio il settore farmaceutico e quello delle tecnologie per il freddo commerciale e industriale si sono dimostrati già fortemente innovativi e sono oggi in grado di raggiungere livelli di performance superiori anche a quelli indicati dalla Commissione nella sua originaria proposta. Soluzioni tecnologiche anche con minore impatto sono disponibili o lo saranno presto.

Il secondo punto è stato quello di lavorare per evitare strozzature di mercato, che ci sono già o si stanno profilando, e restrizioni al mercato unico e alla libera circolazione delle merci. Pensiamo che si debba allargare il campo delle alternative disponibili e delle applicazioni per evitare soluzioni monopolistiche, come già ci sono nel settore dei commutatori elettrici.

Potrei parlare anche dei pezzi di ricambio, dove noi abbiamo auspicato una maggiore cautela e attenzione perché c’è un problema di disponibilità finanziaria delle famiglie, ma chiudo dicendo che, sebbene non tutte le nostre osservazioni siano state recepite, siamo convinti che questo è un buon provvedimento e lo sosteniamo.

 
   
 

  Eugen Jurzyca (ECR). – Pán predsedajúci, obmedzenie používania fluórovaných uhľovodíkov je pekný príklad efektívneho opatrenia v boji proti klimatickej zmene.

Podľa posúdenia vplyvu k tomuto návrhu a podľa nezávislých štúdií sú totiž náklady na odstránenie jednej tony CO2 ekvivalentu takýmto obmedzením ešte nižšie, než je systém Európskej únie pre obchodovanie s emisiami ETS.

ETS pritom patrí medzi najlacnejšie spôsoby znižovania emisií v atmosfére.

Nie všetci politici však rozmýšľajú takýmto spôsobom a ešte menej z nich, z nás, na základe dát aj koná. Príliš často sa prispôsobujú verejnej mienke s cieľom zabezpečiť si popularitu. V oblasti klímy to vidno napríklad pri bývalých absurdných dotáciách na spaľovanie dreva, tzv. biomasaker, či pri podpore drahších obnoviteľných zdrojov namiesto lacnejšej a bezpečnej, ale nepopulárnej jadrovej energie.

Najnovšie sa Parlament dokonca snaží podporiť elektrifikáciu leteckej dopravy, čo je mimochodom jeden z najdrahších, a teda najhorších spôsobov boja proti klimatickej zmene.

Je veľmi ťažké bojovať proti populárnym reformám tými nepopulárnymi, aj keď nám prinesú dlhodobý prospech. Je to však nevyhnutné. Musíme sa viac riadiť dátami, menej emóciami. Inak nás to vyjde veľmi draho.

 
   
 

  Aurélia Beigneux (ID). – Monsieur le Président, depuis le débat sur la couche d’ozone dans les années 90, l’Union européenne a demandé aux professionnels d’abandonner progressivement tout un tas de gaz fluorés. Ce remplacement par des alternatives plus ou moins fiables a été un véritable calvaire car ils sont indispensables pour les équipements de chaleur, les unités frigorifiques ou encore les aérosols.

Mais reconnaissons le résultat, ces politiques ont fonctionné. Les gaz fluorés à base de chlore, ces gaz inefficaces et polluants ont été supprimés pour passer à des gaz sans chlore plus efficaces et bien plus propres. La dégradation de la couche d’ozone s’est aussi largement réduite. Nous avions donc un équilibre en Europe: nous utilisions des gaz sans chlore, favorisant autant l’environnement que les ménages. De plus, ces gaz sans chlore sont particulièrement performants dans un continent qui a grandement besoin de sécurité énergétique.

Mais cet équilibre, vous souhaitez le détruire. Vous demandez aujourd’hui d’interdire totalement ces gaz sans chlore pour atteindre votre utopie permanente de la pollution zéro. Une logique qui ne profitera ni à l’environnement ni aux citoyens. Vous avez pris cette décision sans étudier les impacts, ce qui est encore une fois la preuve de votre ignorance des réalités industrielles de notre continent. Les professionnels vous alertent pourtant sur l’absence d’alternative sérieuse, mais vous faites la sourde oreille. Alors quelles solutions avez-vous pour les pompes à chaleur, pour le chauffage, le refroidissement, le transport frigorifique et tout le reste? Évidemment rien. Une fois de plus, ce sont les professionnels et les usagers qui paieront le prix de cette transition.

La fin du mandat arrive à grands pas, alors certains groupes politiques sont dans la précipitation et l’acharnement pour faire passer encore leurs dernières mesures antisociales et anti-industrielles le plus vite possible. Cette obsession est bien la preuve que ce système d’entre-soi vit ses derniers mois et c’est tant mieux.

 
   
 

  Maria Spyraki (PPE). – Mr President, honourable Commissioner, dear colleagues, the scientific evidence have already confirmed fluorinated gas and ozone-depleting substances which are used in everyday-life appliances, like refrigerators and air conditioners, are highly potent human-made greenhouse gases, with some of the worst global-warming potential, often several thousand times stronger than CO2.

By strengthening rules to massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fluorinated gas and ozone-depleting substances by regulation, we prevent almost 500 million tonnes of further emissions by 2050, and it is much more than the equivalent emissions from the Netherlands.

The regulations we conclude today will provide the European market and citizens incentives to use climate-friendly alternatives, and also contribute to further stimulation of the global market in order to accelerate this path of transition in third countries.

It is also important to underline that the implementation of both pieces of this legislation has to facilitate customs and the surveillance authorities to control imports and exports, and to crack down on the illegal trade of gases and related equipment.

There is a need for a comprehensive and efficient approach that will cover a broad range of substances and activities, and improve the procedure of reporting and verifying data. We have also to make climate-friendly technologies more widely available to accelerate the replacement of these substances with alternatives.

We all know that this year hundreds of thousands of Europeans died prematurely, and many more suffer from heart and lung diseases or pollution-induced cancers. The longer we wait to reduce air and atmosphere pollution, the higher the cost to society.

We need urgently to adopt more effective, efficient and immediately applicable measures to improve and protect the quality of our life and the environment.

 
   
 

  Tudor Ciuhodaru (S&D). – Domnule președinte, domnule comisar, domnule raportor, eu voi muta discuția în seara asta mai mult pe viața oamenilor și știință, pentru că eu sunt medic, medic de urgență în Iași, România, la Spitalul Clinic de Urgență Nicolae Oblu și vă pot spune că vin din cel mai poluat oraș din România, pe statisticile europene ale Agenției Europene pentru Medicamente.

Noi, ieșenii, inhalăm otravă și respirăm cancer, așa că eu cred că este momentul să intervenim până când nu este prea târziu, pentru că viața oamenilor este cea mai importantă.

Domnule președinte, domnule comisar, sper să susținem cu toții acest demers, pentru că dacă sănătate nu e, nimic nu e, iar toate aceste demersuri pe care le ducem dincolo de ideologie, dincolo de economie, ar trebui să fie pentru viața oamenilor.

Sper să înțelegem odată și odată că noi, aici, în Parlamentul European, putem face bine și Uniunea Europeană, și poate veniți și la Iași, orașul meu natal. Lucrez de peste 25 de ani în serviciul de urgență și continui să lucrez în Spitalul Clinic de Urgență Nicolae Oblu și să știți că eu consider că a fi medic înseamnă mai mult de a trata pacienți, înseamnă să începi să tratezi și lumea, și sănătatea, și ceea ce se întâmplă în acest moment în Uniunea Europeană și sper să susțineți cu toții acest demers, pentru că singura opțiune sănătoasă rămâne sănătatea.

 
   
 

  Ljudmila Novak (PPE). – Spoštovani predsednik, gospod komisar, kolegice in kolegi!

Zeleni dogovor je naša strategija za zmanjšanje škodljivih vplivov na okolje, na podnebne spremembe in tudi na ozonsko plast, ki varuje zemljo pred škodljivim sevanjem.

Kemikalije, ki zmanjšujejo ozonsko plast, lahko zmanjšamo na različnih področjih našega življenja in delovanja. Dobra novica je tudi ta, da se stanje ozonskega plašča z dobrimi ukrepi lahko izboljša. Mnogi ukrepi, ki smo jih sprejeli v okviru zelenega dogovora, so dobri, učinkoviti in tudi smiselni.

Na težave pa naletimo takrat, ko našim državljanom nikakor ne uspemo razložiti smiselnosti določenih ukrepov, ki nam otežijo in tudi podražijo življenje. Med takšne ukrepe sodi omejevanje ali celo prepoved kurjenja na drva oziroma biomaso.

V državi, ki je 60 odstotno pokrita z gozdom, je za mnoge to najprimernejša in tudi ekonomsko najbolj vzdržna rešitev. Seveda ob uporabi novejših kurilnih naprav z manj izpustov. Enako velja tudi za toplotne črpalke.

Še posebej skrbno pa moramo sprejemati ukrepe, ki so povezani s kmetovanjem in proizvodnjo hrane. Zdrava in lokalno pridelana hrana je najboljša rešitev za zmanjšanje emisij.

Naši ukrepi bodo izvedljivi in učinkoviti, če bodo tudi smiselni in uravnoteženi.

 
   
 

  Christian Doleschal (PPE). – Herr Präsident, meine Damen und Herren! Ja, wir müssen den Klimawandel bekämpfen. Deswegen ist es richtig, dass wir bis 2050 keine fluorierten Treibhausgase mehr einsetzen. Diese sogenannten F-Gase schädigen das Klima, und genau das wollen wir verhindern. Aber Schaltanlagen, Feuerlöschmittel, Kälteanlagen und Wärmepumpen benötigen F-Gase. Gute Alternativen sind meistens noch in der Entwicklung. Darum können wir den Einsatz von F-Gasen nur Schritt für Schritt verringern.

Zu Recht gab es einen Aufschrei von unseren Metzgern, Bäckern, Bierbrauern und Landwirten. Sie hatten alle Sorge vor einem Totalverbot. Schließlich können sie nicht von heute auf morgen alles umstellen. Wäre es nach dem Vorschlag der Kommission oder unserer grünen Kollegen gegangen, hätte sogar die Wartung von Bestandsgeräten verboten werden sollen. Das muss man sich vorstellen, wenn ein Metzgerbetrieb kurz vor diesem Verbot eine nigelnagelneue Kühlanlage gekauft hätte und sie kaputt gegangen wäre, dann hätte er sie nicht mehr reparieren dürfen.

Wir als CDU/CSU wollen die Kreislaufwirtschaft. Dazu gehört, dass defekte Bestandsanlagen repariert und nicht sofort ersetzt werden müssen. Gut, dass wir uns durchsetzen konnten: Eine Reparatur bleibt erhalten. Das ist gut für unsere Betriebe und gut für die Kreislaufwirtschaft. So sehen vernünftige Kompromisse aus.

 
   
 

Vystúpenia podľa postupu prihlásenia sa o slovo zdvihnutím ruky

 
   
 

(Ukončenie postupu prihlásenia sa o slovo zdvihnutím ruky)

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, thank you very much for this very constructive debate. Indeed, the compromises we discussed today together could bring about a total additional reduction in the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions of roughly 500 million tonnes by 2050. This is a significant number, almost as high as the total annual greenhouse gas emissions of France and Belgium together.

It is fundamental that we remain united in the fight against climate change, and that we do not close our eyes to the realities we see every time all over the world, including also in Europe – and also do not close our eyes to science.

These rules will be the most ambitious in the world. This will allow others that start to reduce their consumption of F-gases to put in place ambitious policy. Important is the signal we put in place aimed at phasing out the use of these gases. With such legislation in place, we will be in an excellent position to advocate more ambitious measures on F-gases, on ODS under the Montreal Protocol.

With your vote tomorrow, you can ensure that we can continue this success story of European environmental policy, a prime example of ambitious climate measures combined with the promotion of green technologies made in Europe.

 
   
 

  Peter Liese, Berichterstatter. – Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Erst mal im Namen von Jessica Polfjärd ein Dankeschön für die große Unterstützung bei ihrem Bericht zu den ozonabbauenden Substanzen. Da gab es Gott sei Dank keine Kontroverse. Beim Thema F-Gase haben wir sehr gerungen und ich glaube, wir haben ein gutes Ergebnis erzielt. Es ist weniger ambitioniert, als der Umweltausschuss das wollte, aber es ist trotzdem ein großer Fortschritt für das Klima.

Es gibt noch Kritik. Ich glaube, außerhalb der Kritik, die rein populistisch, rein antieuropäisch begründet ist, müssen wir uns ein Thema genau anschauen, Herr Kommissar, und das ist auch eine Bitte an die Mitgliedstaaten: Natürlich werden irgendwann auch keine neuen F-Gase mehr auf den Markt kommen, und da mag es das eine oder andere Kühlgerät geben, das noch in einer Bäckerei, einer Metzgerei, in einer Brauerei steht und das dann trotzdem noch repariert werden muss. Und da ist es aus meiner Sicht ganz besonders wichtig, dass wir das Recycling von F-Gasen jetzt massiv fördern – Kommission, Mitgliedstaaten – Ausbildung zur Verfügung stellen, Programme zur Verfügung stellen.

Denn was passiert mit diesen F-Gasen, wenn sie nicht recycelt werden? Wenn alte Kühlgeräte entsorgt werden und man holt da das Gas nicht raus? Dann geht es in die Atmosphäre.

Es ist also sowohl für die Wirtschaft als auch für das Klima ganz, ganz wichtig, dass wir das Recycling im großen Stil vorantreiben.

Dann haben wir Revisionsklauseln. Ich hoffe, dass wir die nicht nutzen müssen. Wenn es nicht anders geht, müssen wir die nutzen. Aber am besten wäre es, wenn wir dann zu Beginn der Revision feststellen: Wir haben so viel recyceltes F-Gas, das läuft jetzt. Kommission und Mitgliedstaaten haben gute Arbeit geleistet, sodass wir dann wirklich keine neuen Gase mehr auf den Markt bringen müssen.

 
   
 

  Bas Eickhout, rapporteur. – Mr President, first of all I would like to thank everyone for contributing to the debate. It seems we have a solid majority for the vote tomorrow, and I’m really very thankful to the shadows and all the colleagues who contributed. So thanks very much for that.

I just have to say that some colleagues expressed some criticism, but I had the feeling that this was more for their own YouTube channel than it was based on the facts of the legislation. Maybe I just want to explain that, and maybe they can add this element then to their YouTube channel – which they probably will not do, but nevertheless you always have to try.

First of all, to Mr Nissinen from the ECR and Sweden. He was very much concerned about what is going to happen with all the people that have already bought heat pumps – uh, nothing, because this is about new equipment. So later on when you buy a heat pump, it will not contain those damaging gases. The ones you bought, you can use and you will use – you know that very well, but of course it didn’t fit your story.

Some of the ID colleagues were very much concerned that we are not looking at the market. Well I would say, Mr Lancini, that it is you who are not looking at the market. First of all, at this moment, the new monoblocs of heat pumps coming on the market already are without F-Gases. So the market is already there. The deadline we have is 2032, although they can deliver already now. So if we add them eight more years and they can deliver already and you are concerned they count, maybe you should catch up with the developments in the market. The same goes for split systems. The innovation is ongoing. They are delivering already now, they are available not so much yet, and that’s why therefore the date is 2035. We even give them ten years. I think that is looking at the market. It is also looking at where the innovation is happening and that is European industry. So from an ID Group I would expect support for the European industry, but apparently they prefer to support the American and Japanese industry. We take note.

 
   
 

  Predsedajúci. – Spoločná rozprava sa skončila a hlasovanie k tomuto bodu sa uskutoční zajtra.

 
15. Amendments to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) – Amendments to the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) (joint debate – Markets in financial instruments regulations)
 

  Danuta Maria Hübner, rapporteur. – Mr President, I was running the last kilometre but I hope I will be able to do it, so thank you very much for this opportunity to remind us about the MiFIR and MiFID. Tomorrow we will vote to endorse the interinstitutional agreement on the review of the Regulation and Directive on the Markets in Financial Infrastructure. The changes to both MiFIR and MiFID modify the rulebook governing participation in European capital markets, which play a fundamental role in channelling capital to the real economy. We need to ensure that our economy grows strong and remains competitive as there are long term challenges around. Europe requires more than EUR 500 billion of additional investment funding annually to ensure its sustainable competitiveness and resilience. This is not a mere financial challenge. It is a strategic imperative. Yet we remain dependent on bank-based financing while our capital markets are lagging behind. They are fragmented, which contributes to the inefficient allocation of capital. The once vibrant landscape of initial public offerings – IPOs – now stands at less than half the size of the US new listings. The US stock market’s value relative to GDP is nearly twice that of the EU.

Many in this House will remember that we embarked on building the Capital Markets Union back in 2015, but the project was tailored to the EU of 28 Member States with a major financial centre across the channel, and the focus was on national capital markets rather than on the removal of cross-border barriers. We need urgently to move away from fragmented capital markets and towards the idea of a capital market union. Advancing towards a truly single and vibrant capital market union is of fundamental importance for European open strategic autonomy. This context to the MiFIR and MiFID review, which had four key objectives: to reduce market fragmentation and market data costs; to harmonise and simplify the transparency rules; to enhance the levels of investor protection; and to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of EU markets. I can proudly say that the text that we will vote on tomorrow achieves all these objectives. Thanks to the assertiveness of our House, for the first time, Europe will have a consolidated tape, a database designed to democratise access to market data and improve data quality by providing a continuous electronic live data stream on prices and trading volumes, consolidating the information obtained from multiple trading venues across the EU. It will reduce the fragmentation and cost of market data, will empower financial institutions and retail investors to observe in a single place the price and volumes for shares, ETFs, bonds or derivatives in the Union.

The discussions on the consolidated tape were the most difficult part of the package, due to divergent views on the exact features that this new market infrastructure should have. In the review, we have also taken a careful look at the functioning of the market transparency rules in the Union, as well as in other jurisdictions. We put forward changes that seek to increase the competitiveness of EU firms, supported by the simplification and harmonisation of the transparency rules applicable across Europe. We have introduced greater flexibility in the framework by empowering the European Securities and Market Authority to set the thresholds and limits applicable to market transparency, and to oversee market developments, intervening when required.

The harmonisation and simplification of transparency rules should strengthen the level playing field between all market participants and increase the overall transparency of European market structure. The report also mandates the Commission to carry out a holistic assessment of the financial markets legislation with respect to commodity derivatives, in light of the learnings from the energy crisis. To conclude, thanks to the efforts of the negotiating team, to whom I am really grateful for the openness, the final text contains many of the elements that the Parliament was calling for throughout the negotiations, and I believe that the final compromise represents a great victory not only for the Parliament, but for all those who care about the importance of the European Capital Markets Union. 

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, this debate on the reform of MiFIR and MiFID is of the highest importance, as just now outlined by the rapporteur. I thank you very much for your presentation.

Reforming our market structure is essential to keep European capital markets both competitive and attractive. Creating consolidated tapes of prices for shares, bonds and certain derivatives is an essential tool for the capital markets union we absolutely need in order to shoulder the enormous investments Europe has to make.

They will collate pricing data that European and international investors need to make informed investment decisions. This is especially important for smaller investors, who currently don’t have the same sort of access to this data as large institutional investors do.

We are very grateful for the efforts of Parliament, and we look forward to your vote tomorrow. You have contributed towards an ambitious outcome. After nearly two years of intense discussions, the result strikes a good balance. In no small part this is thanks to the efforts of Parliament’s negotiating team, and in particular your merit, Ms Hübner, who steered these talks.

To mention some of the specific topics included in this review: first, on the consolidated tapes, the result is more ambitious than the original proposal. Some pre-trade information will be added straightaway to the consolidated tape for equity. This is thanks to the efforts of Parliament. This will undoubtedly reinforce the competitiveness of our capital markets.

I also want to mention payment for order flow. This has been a contentious topic and a very important one for Parliament. Negotiations resulted in a full ban on this practice.

On commodity derivative markets, Parliament introduced review clauses in MiFID that will allow us to assess their functioning also in light of the recent energy crisis.

But it is important to keep in mind that a lot of work is still to come. The next step is implementing the new rules. Various technical measures will be developed in the coming months, so that the framework works in practice. The Commission, together with ESMA, is already working hard in this regard.

Next year, ESMA will launch the first selection procedure for the consolidated tape for bonds. This will be followed by selection procedures for shares and exchange-traded funds, and later for over-the-counter derivatives. The Commission services have already started work on selecting the right identifier for over-the-counter derivatives.

 
   
 

  Christian Doleschal, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wenn wir heute das Dossier Märkte für Finanzinstrumente diskutieren, kommen wir nicht um das drohende Verbot von payment for order flow herum. Diese Rückvergütung war das Fundament für Geschäftsmodelle zahlreicher deutscher und europäischer Start-ups. Erst dadurch hat das provisionsfreie Sparen am Kapitalmarkt Fahrt aufgenommen. Payment for order flow jetzt zu verbieten, halte ich für falsch und lehne ich ab. Es gefährdet das Aufstiegsversprechen einer ganzen Generation.

Lassen Sie mich kurz auf drei Punkte eingehen:

Wir leben in einer Zeit, in der es, dank innovativer Start-ups, nie einfacher war, in Sekundenschnelle einen kostenfreien ETF-Sparplan zur Altersvorsorge aufzusetzen. Payment for order flow haben zu einer wachsenden Aktienkultur beigetragen, und das ist gut so. Diese Aktienkultur ist ein zartes Pflänzchen. 8 von 10 Europäern legen nicht am Kapitalmarkt an, und wir stehen vor einer großen Rentenlücke. Wenn der deutsche Bundeskanzler bei hoher Inflation vor allem aufs Sparbuch setzt, ist das seine Sache, aber wir dürfen nicht durch Verbote in Europa dazu beitragen, dass der Kapitalmarkt unattraktiver wird. Für uns ist Aktienkultur Teil von Vermögensaufbau, Altersvorsorge und Aufstiegsversprechen.

Das Verbot von payment for order flow soll einen Interessenkonflikt beim Aktienhandel verhindern, so heißt es. Doch wenn das Verbot kommt, dann sehe ich vor allem die Interessen von Kunden, Kleinanlegern und jungen Menschen betroffen. Wer im Monat 20, 30 oder 40 Euro einsetzt, kann sich keine großen Abgaben leisten. Hier geht es nicht um Zockerei, sondern darum, früh anzufangen und den eigenen Aufstieg zu ermöglichen.

 
   
 

  Eero Heinäluoma, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, I would like to thank the rapporteur, Professor Hübner, and her team for leading the work on this important piece of legislation. This MiFID review is a key reform for two main reasons. Firstly, thanks to the newly created consolidated tape, investors will get clarity around where to find the best deal in the European Union. This is how a European market should work.

Secondly, thanks to the push of also my group, we get rid of the harmful practice of payment for order flows. This is absolutely necessary as this regime generates the worst outcomes for their clients.

Of course, this MiFID review is only the first step towards a capital markets union which serves investors. The next big test lies in the retail investment strategy, which is being negotiated right now. If we really want to create a well-functioning capital markets union which can finance all the challenges ahead of us, let’s follow the logic of the MiFID review with the ban on payments for order flows, which is one type of inducement.

Indeed let’s put the interest of retail investors in the centre and let’s go for a full ban on inducements. All independent studies demonstrate that a full ban on inducements leads to better deals for retail investors. Overall costs for products that carry inducements are nowadays around 25% higher than those products which do not carry inducements.

Colleagues, EU citizens want to get a fair deal, and rightly so. Let’s stop financing unsustainable business models. Tomorrow I hope we get rid of payments for order flows. Next I hope we can get rid of all inducements.

 
   
   

VORSITZ: EVELYN REGNER
Vizepräsidentin

 
   
 

  Moritz Körner, im Namen der Renew-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich bin heute Abend richtig sauer, weil wir hier gerade einen Angriff auf die Aktienkultur in Europa unternehmen.

Gerade seit der Pandemie haben insbesondere junge Menschen investiert, mit kleinen Beträgen: der Student oder der Azubi, der mal was zur Seite legt und investiert, ganz einfach über Neobroker am Aktienmarkt – und das sehr, sehr günstig. Statt da jetzt noch mehr zu tun, die Aktienkultur noch mehr zu stärken, legen wir jetzt einen Riegel vor mit dem Verbot von payment for order flow.

Statt jetzt mit einem pauschalen Verbot ranzugehen, könnten wir doch mit Transparenz arbeiten, den Kundinnen und Kunden die Vor- und Nachteile zeigen – statt jetzt einfach alles zu verbieten, so wie das hier ist.

Das wird nicht dazu führen, dass unsere Unternehmen, die Neobroker, innovativer sind. Es sorgt dafür, dass wir dort den Riegel vorschieben. Es wird auch dazu führen, dass die Aktienkultur in Europa zusammenbricht. Das ist genau das Europa, das wir nicht brauchen. Es ist ein zukunftsfeindliches, es ist ein bürokratisierendes Europa. Es ist kein Europa, das jungen Menschen und Aktiensparern eine Chance gibt.

 
   
 

  Karima Delli, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, mes chers collègues, les textes dont nous débattons aujourd’hui, aussi techniques soient-ils, sont des exemples très concrets de batailles politiques et des victoires ayant un réel impact sur le porte-monnaie des citoyennes et des citoyens de l’Union européenne.

En effet, comme l’ont souligné plusieurs études académiques au cours des deux dernières années, l’envolée des prix de l’énergie et des denrées alimentaires ayant entraîné l’inflation qu’on connaît n’est pas seulement la résultante de l’agression russe en Ukraine, mais également d’une spéculation excessive et de la manipulation de marchés par des investisseurs peu soucieux des impacts réels sur la vie quotidienne des citoyennes et des citoyens de l’Union européenne.

Quelles ont été les conséquences concrètes de cette inflation? Des factures d’énergie aberrantes, des ménages ne pouvant faire face à certaines mensualités et devant se restreindre pour vivre convenablement ou, je dirais même, juste survivre. Grâce à l’action de notre groupe, grâce aux amendements que j’ai déposés et grâce à la volonté politique que nous avons eue lors des négociations, notamment face au Conseil et aux États membres, nous avons obtenu des victoires clés dans ces domaines.

Ainsi, en cas de flambée des prix des matières premières et énergétiques sur les marchés financiers, désormais les autorités de marché auront la pleine capacité pour suspendre les transactions sur ceux-ci, ce qui permet d’éviter une inflation exponentielle soudaine sur des produits de première nécessité. De même, on peut se féliciter des revenus cette année et l’année prochaine par la Commission européenne des règles applicables aux activités financières accessoires des grands groupes non financiers et des limites de position.

Nous connaissons les conséquences néfastes d’une spéculation excessive sur les marchés qui enrichit davantage les plus riches, mais qui appauvrit davantage les plus pauvres. Par ailleurs, notre groupe s’est battu depuis des années pour accroître la transparence sur les marchés financiers, condition sine qua non de leur bon fonctionnement, en créant un système consolidé de publications mettant les données de marché à disposition de tous les acteurs et accessible gratuitement par les particuliers, les ONG, les universitaires. 

Et je termine en disant que, oui, le texte n’est pas parfait, tant s’en faut, mais nous espérons initialement, Madame la rapporteure, que ce texte aura des avancées concrètes pour le porte-monnaie de nos concitoyens et nos concitoyens.

 
   
 

  Eugen Jurzyca, za skupinu ECR. – Pani predsedajúca, vítam zvýšenie transparentnosti a dostupnosti údajov o cenách na kapitálových trhoch, ktorú tento návrh prináša.

 

Zvýšenie transparentnosti je dôležité kvôli zvýšeniu dôveryhodnosti obchodovania na kapitálových trhoch pre všetky kategórie investorov. To povedie k intenzívnejšej hospodárskej súťaži, a teda aj k jednoduchšiemu získavaniu finančných prostriedkov z kapitálových trhov.

Veľkým problémom, ktorý na kapitálových trhoch v Európskej únii ale naďalej pretrváva, sú aj vyššie náklady investovania pre retailových investorov oproti iným krajinám. Jednou z príčin týchto rozdielov sú aj samotné regulačné náklady. Podľa viacerých štúdií spôsobila právna úprava MiFID II zúženie ponuky investičných produktov a služieb, zníženie ziskovosti investičných spoločností kvôli vysokým nákladom regulácie a v konečnom dôsledku viac bariér pre vstup, ako aj zlúčenia a akvizície pre malé investičné spoločnosti v tomto regióne.

 

Príliš veľa povinností a byrokratických postupov môže byť prekážkou pre spotrebiteľov aj podniky zároveň. Naším cieľom by malo byť zvyšovanie celkového blahobytu, a nie zvyšovanie počtu práv spotrebiteľov za každú cenu bez ohľadu na to, či sa nakoniec ukážu ako užitočné.

 

Bolo by preto vhodné, aby Komisia zanalyzovala aj regulačné náklady regulácie a jej dopady na ceny. 

 
   
 

  José Gusmão, em nome do Grupo The Left. – Senhora Presidente, este relatório é um bom exemplo do hábito, que se tem desenvolvido, de sub—regular o sistema financeiro, fazendo o suficiente para se estar a fazer alguma coisa e não fazendo o suficiente para ser eficaz. É o que acontece no caso dos derivados da energia – um setor que já tinha impactos nos preços da energia e na carteira das pessoas, mas que teve impactos agravados no contexto da guerra na Ucrânia.

Apesar de terem sido aprovadas algumas propostas positivas a este nível, elas são propostas de emergência, que não resolvem o problema estrutural no mercado dos derivados da energia, que teve impactos muito negativos no aumento dos preços da energia e, portanto, no orçamento das famílias. E é pena que a regulação do sistema financeiro e, particularmente, dos derivados fique sempre aquém daquilo que é necessário, criando um jogo de gato e rato entre regulador e regulados, em que quem tem como objetivo defender o interesse público está sempre a correr muito atrás.

É também verdade que foram resolvidos conflitos de interesse nos pagamentos aos corretores e isso é positivo, embora o que existia antes – convenhamos – fosse bastante grotesco. E é também verdade que foram introduzidas normas de transparência nestes mercados. Mas tudo isto é muito pouco, sobretudo em face dos custos que os cidadãos tiveram que suportar por causa da desregulação destes mercados.

 
   
 

  Enikő Győri (NI). – Tisztelt Elnök Asszony! Üdítő végre egy olyan témában felszólalni, melyben a józan ész talaján állunk. A pénzügyi eszközök piacairól szóló jogszabályok felülvizsgálatával erősödik a befektetők helyzete, és a vállalkozások is könnyebben juthatnak majd forráshoz a tőkepiacról. A cégek finanszírozása nagyrészt banki hitelezésen keresztül történik Európában, a tőkepiacok gyengébbek, mint Amerikában, és ez versenyhátrányt jelent. A digitális és zöld átállás beruházásai ugyanakkor hatalmas összegeket igényelnek, amihez elengedhetetlen a magántőke bevonása. A mostani javaslat ezt segíti. A tárgyalások során kulcsfontosságú volt, hogy a tőzsdei információkhoz való könnyebb hozzáférés ne veszélyeztesse a kisebb tőzsdék működését.

A Bizottság indító javaslata érthetetlen módon a nagy, akár Európán kívüli tulajdonban levő szolgáltatóknak kedvezett, s a kis, független európai tőzsdék létét veszélyeztette. Szerencsére a Tanács és a Parlament ezt kiigazította. Köszönjük a rapportőrnek is. Így mindenki számára előnyös megoldás született. Emellett az átláthatóság is javul annak a tilalomnak köszönhetően, miszerint a brókerek nem kaphatnak pénzt azért, hogy az ügyfelektől kapott megbízásokat bizonyos kereskedési platformokra irányítják. Fontos lépést teszünk tehát az átláthatóbb és hozzáférhetőbb tőkepiacok felé, de bőven maradt tennivalónk a tőkepiaci unió mélyítése érdekében.

 
   
 

  Jonás Fernández (S&D). – Señora presidenta, señor comisario, iniciábamos este Pleno, hace apenas unas horas, homenajeando a Jacques Delors y entre sus haberes, entre sus activos, está haber impulsado el mercado único en la Unión Europea.

Simplemente por respetar su legado, tenemos que reconocer que continúa habiendo mercados concretos en la Unión que siguen sin estar suficientemente consolidados: uno de ellos es el mercado de capitales.

Quiero felicitar a Danuta Hübner por su trabajo, que ha llevado a que hoy aprobemos dos Reglamentos para impulsar esa unión de los mercados de capitales, tanto desde el punto de vista minorista —para que los ahorradores tengan más y mejor información y, además, se prohíban algunas actividades, que generaban costes y apenas aportaban ningún valor— como una propuesta legislativa que aborda cómo debemos mejorar ese mercado de capitales desde la perspectiva mayorista.

Pero, aun celebrando estos acuerdos, tenemos que reconocer el trabajo que todavía nos queda por delante. La próxima legislatura tiene que ser una legislatura clave para la unión de los mercados de capitales, porque necesitamos mucha más financiación para sostener la transición verde, la transición digital y seguir haciendo esfuerzos para mejorar esta Unión, que nos venía a la memoria al recordar hoy a Jacques Delors.

 
   
 

  Claude Gruffat (Verts/ALE). – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, derrière ces noms et acronymes de MiFIR et MiFID se cachent des enjeux bien réels et majeurs pour la vie des gens aux quatre coins de l’Europe. Comme l’a dit ma collègue Karima, rapporteure fictive dans ce délicat dossier, les textes qui en sont sortis auront en effet un impact très concret sur le porte-monnaie de nos concitoyens et concitoyennes, et nous pouvons nous féliciter des victoires portées par la famille des écologistes, ici.

Dans mon travail au sein de la commission ECON de notre institution, depuis plusieurs mois, j’ai lu et entendu des propos d’experts et d’expertes pointant le rôle de la spéculation sans limite et des manipulations de marché dans des hausses extrêmes de prix que nous avons connus depuis le 24 février 2022 et le déclenchement de cette guerre par Poutine en Ukraine.

Combien de millions de personnes parmi les plus vulnérables ont été dans l’obligation de demander un échelonnement des factures et ont été dans l’obligation de ne pas se chauffer ou de procéder à des coupes dans leur budget quotidien, pour pouvoir régler leurs factures de chauffage, d’électricité comme l’hiver dernier et l’hiver en cours. Selon le rapport annuel d’Oxfam sur les inégalités qui vient de paraître aujourd’hui, 99 % de la population européenne s’est appauvrie ces trois dernières années. Oui, 99 % de la population européenne s’est appauvrie ces trois dernières années.

Non, la spéculation financière n’est pas l’unique cause de cette inflation, mais oui, elle a joué un rôle que personne ne peut sérieusement nier. Et pourtant, ce facteur a été complètement négligé par la Commission européenne et a été tout bonnement ignoré par les groupes de droite de cet hémicycle, trop occupés à défendre les intérêts des grandes entreprises. La disposition que mon groupe a portée dans le coupe-circuit, cette capacité donnée aux autorités de marché de suspendre les opérations sur des produits donnés en cas de volatilité conséquente, permet d’atténuer, à défaut d’annihiler complètement, ce problème de façon significative.

Le sujet est cependant loin d’être clos et beaucoup reste à faire. Lors de notre prochain mandat, nous serons là pour nous assurer que les grandes entreprises non financières qui agissent comme des spéculateurs sans scrupules soient bel et bien soumises aux mêmes règles que les traders. Dès 2025, nous nous battrons pour ériger de véritables barrières contre la spéculation sur les matières premières. À l’instar de ma collègue Karima je vous appelle donc à appuyer ce texte.

 
   
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
   
 

  Mick Wallace (The Left). – Madam President, in the last 20 years, beginning in the year 2000, there’s been a gradual deregulation of the financial markets worldwide, beginning with the United States, with the rest of the world, including the EU, following suit. This deregulation has continued at pace, notwithstanding the global financial crisis of 2008.

The gradual encroachment of financial speculators into new domains, such as food, water and housing, and the financialisation of these areas has had a serious negative impact on society and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, with regulation now required.

We are in this position because we have let hedge funds invest and speculate on the human rights of our citizens. Grain, for example, can be sold 60 times on the market, and more sometimes, before it’s eventually used by people. In Ireland, US vulture funds have garnered huge control of the housing supply at a terrible cost to the Irish people, because the neoliberal Irish Government let them do so.

This directive of the European Parliament is a start, but we’ve a long way to go.

 
   
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, first, thank you for this constructive debate and the different contributions.

We may have just concluded this file, but we should keep discussing how the EU can best contribute to efficient market structures, especially as we set up the consolidated tapes. We can only ask you to keep monitoring developments on all aspects around the competitiveness and stability of Europe’s securities markets. Together, we can make sure that the review, in a couple of years, of the design of the consolidated tape for equity will lead to even more ambition in terms of pre-trade information, as proposed in the ECON report.

Finally, market participants and investors will get access to consolidated data on price and volumes. This will make EU capital markets more visible towards EU investors and international investors. In turn, EU listed companies will be more attractive towards investors and the EU markets will become more efficient. As we debate how to make the EU economy more competitive, it’s clear that these measures will make a real contribution.

 
   
 

  Danuta Maria Hübner, rapporteur. – Madam President, I would like to thank all the colleagues for their remarks, and I would also like to thank all the shadows for their work, which was not easy, if you remember, and for their cooperation throughout the negotiations on this important file, and also for building a compromise which I believe is good for Europe. 

Let me say again that the MiFID review comes at a critical time for the Union, and the consolidated tape will be a key element of our efforts to ensure that private investment is channelled into the economy efficiently. We also hope we will have an attractive ecosystem for new listings and a more efficient trading landscape. I expect it will boost investment activity, making the Union’s markets easier to navigate and more attractive, including for small investors. Tomorrow’s vote marks the beginning of the work for the implementation of the regulation. ESMA has already announced that by the end of this year, it will launch the public tender for the first consolidated tape for bonds, which will become operational as of 2025, and the Commission – as Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said – has begun already its work to make the reference data for derivatives more transparent and meaningful.

So the work at level two will then continue for the next couple of years. The CMU for quite some time has been a key political project aimed at reducing dependence on bank funding and overcoming national differences, but it was a project that too often lacked the political will and momentum to drive the vision of a robust and integrated capital market union forward. But it was not the case in this review where, thanks to the strong support of all political groups in Parliament and of the Commission, we were able to secure an agreement that is a great success for the Parliament.

This House has shown once more that we continue to show the ambition to push towards the creation of a truly single capital market union for the benefit of all European citizens. Given the positive outcome and the strong endorsement at the ECON Committee level, there were only two abstentions. There was no negative vote and nobody was against. I would like to invite all the colleagues to vote in favour of the Interinstitutional Agreement tomorrow.

 
   
 

  President. – The debate is closed. The vote will be held tomorrow.

 
16. The need for an EU and international response to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and for continued support to the Yemeni peace process (debate)
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, we are now here to discuss the repeated and unacceptable Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, which violate international law, threaten maritime security and peace in the region, and disrupt global trade.

Until today, 28 attacks were carried out by the Houthis since mid-November. The Houthis are presenting their repeated attacks as a support to the Palestinian people, and they have launched some missiles toward Israel. The Houthis, together with Hezbollah and some Iraqi and Syrian militias, are aligned with Hamas.

The EU has continuously condemned those acts and underlined that they must stop, notably through the EU spokesperson’s statements of 5 and 13 December, and through our latest EU 27 statement of 12 January.

The EU also called for the immediate release of the Galaxy Leader vessel and its 25-member crew, illegally seized on 19 November. EU services are also following closely the joint military response of the UK and US, members of the Prosperity Guardian Operation, to repeated Houthi attacks against maritime vessels.

The US and UK have carried out joint strikes on 11 and 12 January on over 60 targets at 16 sites in Yemen, with the support of Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, as a response to repeated and escalating Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, notably the complex attack of 9 January, following repeated messages from the international community.

The EU continues actively engaging and coordinating with partners in all diplomatic fora to counter the Houthi threats to commercial vessels and find effective solutions. The High Representative, on behalf of the EU and its Member States issued a joint statement, published last Friday, welcoming the 10 January UN Security Council Resolution 2722. The UN Security Resolution recognises that states are entitled to defend themselves against the attack against their vessels in perfect contradiction, by the way, of international law.

The EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta shares maritime awareness with the multi-nation Operation Prosperity Guardian from its operations in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Further options will be discussed at the level of the European Council concerning the EU maritime response.

However, it is unlikely that the Houthis will be deterred immediately, given the international visibility they have enjoyed with these actions. Houthi leaders have already indicated they will continue their attacks as long as the situation in Gaza remains. They have already resumed attacks, with a missile fired towards US forces on 14 January.

The last point of concern is the impact these developments in the Red Sea can have on peace efforts in Yemen, which had reached a new positive phase on 23 December with the UN’s takeover of the peace process following a year of Saudi-Houthi backchannel talks.

 
   
 

  Радан Кънев, от името на групата PPE. – Г-жо Председател, този дебат може да се води най-малко от две, дори три перспективи. На първо място, перспективата на международната сигурност и сигурността на международната търговия, като знаем, че огромна част от световния търговски трафик преминава през Червено море. И тук трябва да заявим съвсем ясно каква е ситуацията. Така наречената „групировка на хутите“ е терористична група, която се занимава с пиратска дейност в морските територии на най-интензивен световен търговски трафик, най-интензивно световно мореплаване. От тази гледна точка, макар и ограниченият, но военен отговор на тези пиратски действия не подлежи на съмнение като вярна и адекватна мярка. Това е винаги адекватната мярка срещу пиратски действия, застрашаващи световната сигурност и световното търговско мореплаване.

Аз съм шокиран да чуя, между другото, и то неведнъж от хора, които политически оценявам като руски активи, това, че нанасянето на удари срещу военните способности на тази пиратска групировка е проблем за търговския трафик, а не за нейната пиратска дейност. Няма съмнение обаче, че трябва да гледаме на тази криза и от нейната хуманитарна гледна точка, от гледна точка на живота и правата на цивилното население в Йемен. И тук отново трябва да отбележим, че тъй наречените „хути“ са групировка, пряко спонсорирана, изцяло обезпечена от ислямисткия терористичен режим в Иран, която носи огромна отговорност за продължаващата вече над 10 години гражданска война и за стотиците хиляди жертви – цивилни, мирни йеменски граждани, и за покъртителния глад, последица от тази гражданска война в Йемен.

 
   
 

  Pedro Marques, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, Commissioner, colleagues, let me be crystal clear. We totally condemn the ongoing attacks on maritime activities in the Red Sea from these Houthi-controlled territories in Yemen with the support of Iran.

The Houthi attacks threaten the international navigation and the maritime security in grave disrespect from international law, and they endanger the lives of the civilian crews, some of them already abducted, and create serious environmental and obvious economic risks.

Contrary to what the Houthi leaders say, the attacks are of no help in addressing the war in Gaza. In fact, they further destabilise the region and create increased risks for the populations. They also destabilise the world commerce, with effects that are already being felt in many regions in the world. We don’t need another factor to fuel a possible economic crisis.

We therefore urge the Houthis to immediately stop the attacks, and call on all parties to avoid further escalation in the region. We particularly want to tell directly to the Iran regime: be on the right side for once, on the side of stability in your own region.

We call on the Member States to be meaningful and take immediate and concerted efforts to address these attacks if the Houthis, of course, do not stop immediately.

We need an effective operation in the Red Sea, with an executive mandate to ensure the naval security in the region. This should be built from close cooperation with the regional actors, but also with our international parties, many of them which are already acting on the ground.

There is no more time for ambiguities. Europe is a commercial stronghold in the world, but that also means we must protect our trade capacities. Europe and the world are already suffering from the consequences of successive wars, and the spike on energy prices and inflation that came with it. People are dying by the thousands because of these wars. We cannot add the death or the abduction of the crews in the Red Sea, the destruction of our vessels, and the health of a good part of the world commerce to all the tragedies already taking place in front of us.

The EU is a world player and should act as such, including, as the High Representative referred recently, by enforcing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2722, which reiterates that the states have the right to defend their vessels against these attacks in accordance to international law.

Let us show that we can act. We will act when threats to the international law arise, no matter where or by whom these threats come to reality.

 
   
 

  Hannah Neumann, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, dear colleagues, it is crucial that we have a joint European response to the Houthi attacks in the Red sea, but at the same time, it is our duty to safeguard the progress that peace efforts have made in Yemen recently. The European Union indeed needs to play its part to secure a safe passage for commercial ships, to prevent a further increase in commodity prices in the region, and to ensure that the merchant vessel Galaxy Leader is freed, including its crew, among them EU citizens.

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that it took the Council so long to come up with the proposal for an EU mission and hopefully a positive decision will be taken soon.

But Commissioner, I was also surprised that you were not sharing any information on this with us here today. So do we really need to rely on political leaks to get the information? What is planned, what the process is, when the mission will be happening. So, maybe in your concluding remarks you could share some more information.

At the same time, we have to make sure that the Yemeni people, who have been suffering from war, massive violence, escalation and a humanitarian crisis for 10 years will also be seen and will also be important in our response. I was in Yemen in December as the head of a delegation of this Parliament, and I can tell you, Yemenis want nothing more than this catastrophe to end. And we need to make sure that their voices are also heard in the ongoing debate, that their needs are taken into account when setting up our joint EU response, because otherwise the long-term effects of our policy in the region would be detrimental.

Colleagues, allow me to make one more additional remark. All the drones and missiles that are being fired at merchant ships, or in the direction of Saudi Arabia, or even trying to target Israel, they were manufactured in Iran, they were transferred to the Houthis by the Revolutionary Guards, and no one will be able to bring peace to this region unless we finally dare to revise our Iran policy, to take a stance, to revise our relations with this brutal regime and to take a clear stance against the Revolutionary Guards. We must call them and treat them as what they are: a terrorist organisation terrorising its own citizens and the whole region.

 
   
 

  Marc Botenga, on behalf of The Left Group. – Madam President, Mr Commissioner, so following the Israeli attack on Gaza, Yemen has indeed been attacking ships, the Houthi groups, and denying freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. This has an impact on world trade. It also has an impact on factories in Belgium. It is, of course, remarkable, first of all, that those that are now calling for action against Yemen are the same ones that never called for action against Israel, protecting trade routes for some in this Chamber is clearly more important than protecting the lives of Palestinians.

Now, we need to be clear, because those colleagues that say we need action seem to forget that there’s already been action. Last week, the United States, with a number of European countries, bombed Yemen, bombed cities in Yemen. This was not the first time. Barack Obama bombed Yemen. Donald Trump bombed Yemen. Joe Biden now bombed Yemen. Saudi Arabia bombed Yemen for years. And none of these interventions brought peace or security to the region.

Rather, on the contrary, as these attacks were not covered by the Security Council resolution, which spoke about protecting vessels, not about bombing Yemen, this might actually deteriorate the image of Europe and the West in the world further. What we need is now a critical assessment of this policy and clearly look at the consequences and alternatives. And, of course, we need a ceasefire in Palestine as soon as possible.

 
   
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
   
 

  Mick Wallace (The Left). – Madam President, the Houthis have made a humanitarian intervention in the Red Sea in an effort to bring the genocide in Gaza to an end. The Houthis have killed nobody while disrupting shipping in the Red Sea, ships which were facilitating the Israeli genocide.

 

The Israeli regime has killed over 23 000 civilians. Over 10 000 of them are children. So who do the US and the UK attack? No, they didn’t attack the Israeli regime – because they’re supporting the genocide. They attacked the Houthis instead, killing at least six people. So Western powers are prepared to kill people to protect the movement of goods, but the same Western powers kill thousands with sanctions in Iran, in Syria, in Venezuela, preventing the movement of some goods.

 

The Houthis are showing solidarity with the Palestinian people, just like South Africa did in The Hague. But sadly the EU solidarity is with US empire and designers. Shame on the EU!

 
   
 

  Clare Daly (The Left). – Madam President, every day now the mask falls further. On the very same day that the West’s pet bulldog, Israel, was hauled into The Hague to face the charge of genocide in which EU countries are complicit, our so-called like minded partners, the US and Britain, flout the UN charter to commit their latest crime of aggression: illegal, unprovoked, unjustified airstrikes on Yemen, lawless barbarous acts to inflame the region and to make worse the catastrophic cost of living crisis being experienced by millions of Europeans.

And now some of you actually want to join them! Seriously, with a straight face, people have come in here and said they want to do that in order to uphold international law – the very same international law that a horrified world has watched being trampled into the ruins of Gaza, while the EU hands Israel more weapons and cheers on the genocide.

The Yemenis have killed no one and yet 25 000 Palestinians are dead, and all you’re enraged about is international shipping! It’s over. The EU has no moral authority. If you want to sort the situation out, end the genocide!

 
   
 

  Özlem Demirel (The Left). – Frau Präsidentin! Ja, natürlich sind die Angriffe der Huthi-Milizen auf Handelsschiffe im Roten Meer zu kritisieren.

Doch wer das scharf kritisiert und gleichzeitig zu den Verbrechen Israels in Gaza schweigt, der betreibt ein heuchlerisches Spiel und der trägt nicht zu einer nachhaltigen Lösung in der Region bei.

Und die USA blockierten im UN-Sicherheitsrat sogar die Forderung nach einem Waffenstillstand in Gaza. Das ist inakzeptabel!

Die aktuelle Eskalation im Jemen ist eine Bedrohung für die Menschen dort. Und das sagt nicht etwa nur eine linke Abgeordnete, Özlem Demirel, sondern auch das IRC.

Ja, wir reden über Jemen – ein Land, in dem Menschen leben, die schon seit neun Jahren vom Krieg gebeutelt sind, in dem eine humanitäre Katastrophe existiert. Und diese humanitäre Katastrophe wurde auch mit Waffen made in der EU vorangebracht.

Und jetzt sagt die Bundesregierung in Deutschland, sie will auch noch Eurofighter an Saudi-Arabien liefern. Nein, wir brauchen Deeskalation! Was gerade dort im Nahen Osten passiert, ist genau das Falsche. Es widerspricht den Interessen der Völker weltweit.

 
   
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, dear Members, the debate today illustrates the importance and the complexity of the situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf region as a whole, and the challenges that the EU faces, indeed, in relation to this conflict, but also to other conflicts.

The EU is actively working on solutions to restore maritime security in the Red Sea. This is an international problem that requires an international solution, and coordination. As you asked me about what the EU is preparing in relation to the EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta, further options concerning the EU maritime response will be discussed at Council level, based on a proposal presented by the High Representative.

The EU is engaging with partners in different diplomatic fora, and to protect navigational freedoms and maritime security, the EU considers ways to enhance its presence, assets and capacity of actions in the Red Sea and beyond.

It is too early to evaluate the impact of the Houthi’s attack and US/UK retaliation on the discussions concerning an internal ceasefire in Yemen. The EU will continue to support UN Special Envoy Grundberg’s work and the UN-steered peace process leading to a final, comprehensive and inclusive peace deal, including a permanent nationwide ceasefire.

Just one personal remark. I’m a bit surprised that those who are bombing every night civilians, killing civilians, destroying infrastructures, houses, apartments, that they are in the forefront to condemn what, finally, is a military operation against terrorist attacks against peaceful vessels.

 
   
 

  President. – Thank you very much, Commissioner. The debate is closed, and before we come to our next item, I would like to indicate a very small break – a technical break of just five minutes – and then we will continue.

(The sitting was suspended at 19.52)

 
17. Resumption of the sitting
 

(The sitting resumed at 20.02)

 
18. Revision of the European Labour Authority mandate (debate)
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, dear Members, I would like to thank the European Parliament for adding this very timely debate on the revision of the ELA mandate, and for the suggestions put forward with its resolution.

The European Labour Authority is still a young agency, with high expectations attached to it. Living up to these expectations takes time and might require adjustments. ELA has already come a long way and its actions are making a real difference to ensure EU labour mobility. ELA is here to support, directly and indirectly, the millions of Europeans who live or work in another Member State, as well as businesses operating across EU borders. It offers practical support in cross-border employment via its network, helping jobseekers and employers find each other. It analyses labour mobility, providing us with intelligence, so we understand the latest trends and get the data we need. It tackles undeclared work, which deprives workers of social protection, distorts competition between businesses and leads to huge gaps in public finances.

One of the European Labour Authority’s main tasks is to improve access to information for mobile workers and their employers. It is not enough to have rules and regulations for social protection; workers need to understand them and employers need to assume responsibility for them. Europe should be the beacon, the gold standard when it comes to labour market conditions, regardless of where the worker comes from. ELA plays a central role in this endeavour.

 

Since it was created five years ago, ELA has supported more than 100 cross-border, joint and concerted inspections and has provided substantial support for the Member States, working to develop cooperation programmes, including on posting of workers. The Commission is currently in the process of evaluating the first five years of ELA’s operation. Your resolution is extremely important in this context, together with the contribution from the Belgian Presidency via a conference organised at the end of January, which will contribute to the evaluation.

When considering a possible revision of the mandate of ELA, we should take two points into account. First, we have to analyse carefully which parts of ELA’s functioning could be improved eventually without such a revision. Second, it is important to see the final results of the evaluation and to draw the adequate conclusions.

The mission of ELA is to improve enforcement of the fair mobility EU legislation. This needs to remain at the core while we address remaining challenges. For example, one of these challenges relates to the entry, employment and working conditions of third-country nationals. We recently had particularly worrisome situations with third-country nationals in the transport sector. ELA has been active and here is a need to evaluate if its means are sufficient and appropriate.

The set-up of ELA allows a close involvement of social partners, but there is still scope for additional engagement. The suggestion that ELA should be able to bring detected breaches in front of a court of the concerned Member States will require a sound legal analysis. With regard to social security coordination and its digitalisation, a pilot project of the European Social Security Pass is ongoing. The support of ELA in this field will remain crucial, for instance, by facilitating the regular exchange of experiences between national authorities. There should be synergies between the work of different agencies for achieving efficiency gains and avoiding overlaps. This is particularly important when it comes to tackling skills mismatches, since other agencies, such as Cedefop, are also working on this matter.

I am confident the European Parliament will continue to be our close partner to tackle these important challenges in the field of fair mobility. I thank the Members for their valuable input into the future of ELA. We share a common goal establishing a well-functioning and efficient labour authority that continues to strengthen fairness and trust in the internal market.

 
   
 

  Dennis Radtke, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Frau Vizepräsidentin, Herr Kommissar, liebe Agnes, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Mit der hier vorgelegten Stellungnahme machen wir als Europäisches Parlament unsere Erwartungshaltung in Richtung Europäische Kommission, was das neue ELA-Mandat angeht, deutlich. Und man muss sagen – der Herr Kommissar hat ja auch darauf hingewiesen – der Start von ELA war gut, bei allen Geburtsschwierigkeiten, die eine neue Behörde immer mit sich bringt.

Aber jetzt geht es darum, dem Tiger auch Zähne zu geben. Und ich glaube, das Beispiel der Lkw-Fahrer in Gräfenhausen, die zweimal im letzten Jahr gestreikt haben, macht deutlich, warum das mehr als überfällig ist. Denn die Frage von nicht gezahlten Löhnen und auch die Frage, wie gehen wir mit Beschäftigten aus Drittstaaten um, die müssen in das Portfolio der ELA mit aufgenommen werden. Das hat Gräfenhausen mehr als deutlich gezeigt.

Und es geht bei dem neuen Mandat aus meiner Sicht um zwei Dinge, die ganz wesentlich sind:

Zum einen natürlich, dass wir als Europäische Union einen aktiven Beitrag dazu leisten, Beschäftigte vor Ausbeutung zu schützen und Beschäftigten den Rücken zu stärken, wenn es um die Durchsetzung ihrer Rechte geht. Das ist das eine.

Aber das andere ist – und das ist fast genauso wichtig: Wenn wir vom Binnenmarkt als Herzstück der Europäischen Union sprechen, dann müssen wir auch sicherstellen, dass die Regeln, die für den Binnenmarkt gelten, auch eingehalten werden. Denn wir können hier Gesetzgebung ohne Ende – wie, um bei dem Beispiel zu bleiben, das Mobilitätspaket – auf den Weg bringen. Aber wenn keine Durchsetzung stattfindet, wenn – wie im Fall von Gräfenhausen – Behörden sich gegenseitig die Verantwortung zuschieben und die ELA nicht mal ein Recht hat, initiativ tätig zu werden, dann zeigt das die Probleme.

Die haben wir in unserem Bericht, in unserer Stellungnahme adressiert, in der Hoffnung, dass die Kommission den Ball auch aufnimmt.

 
   
 

  Agnes Jongerius, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, Commissioner, dear Dennis, when the doorbell rings, do you open the door if you know your house is a little bit of a mess? I must say, I would be hesitant. I think most people would try to stall having guests over or at least try quickly to cover the biggest mess in some kind of cupboard. I think the same is true for Member States: if they know there are cases of labour exploitation, they might not be keen to invite the newest European agency over, the ELA. At the moment, the ELA is only allowed to have inspections when they are invited, thereby limiting their powers, and I think it’s essential that the Commission be giving the ELA a bigger mandate after evaluation later this year.

But workers need more than that. Because if only all European employers would be holier than the Pope, then we didn’t need this agency, but sadly they are not. Some have not only exploitation of European workers on their hands, they also didn’t seem to have a problem with exploiting non-European workers. And then, as already mentioned, the example of Grafenhausen, where lorry drivers went on strike at a rest stop for weeks in a row because they have not been paid for months in a row and the ELA was not able to intervene. When an EU-based employer is not paying its workers or is treating them badly, this should be investigated and prosecuted by the ELA, no matter if the workers are Europeans or non-Europeans.

The Belgians are keen to get to work with the evaluation, and I understand from the contribution of the Commission that the Commission will join their efforts to finally ensure fair mobility in our Union, and that would be great.

 
   
 

  Dragoş Pîslaru, în numele grupului Renew. – Doamnă președintă, domnule comisar Nicolas Schmit, dragi colegi, întrebarea este cum ne asigurăm că mobilitatea forței de muncă în cadrul Uniunii Europene este eficientă, garantând în același timp respectarea drepturilor lucrătorilor și un mediu de competiție sănătos.

Autoritatea Europeană a Muncii (ELA) a fost înființată tocmai pentru acest obiectiv. Într-un timp extrem de scurt, cu un management excelent, a devenit funcțională, preluându-și atribuțiile. Cu toate acestea, este evident că aceasta nu și-a atins încă întregul potențial. Întrebarea este de ce? Caracterul voluntar al cooperării între statele membre, competențele limitate și cadrul juridic rigid i-au pus piedici.

ELA ar trebui să aibă puterea să inițieze și să desfășoare investigații de una singură, mai ales atunci când autoritățile naționale nu fac nimic sau chiar ajung să protejeze politic guvernele. ELA este autoritatea la care trebuie să apelăm atunci când angajatorul nu își respectă regulile contractuale și ne trezim cu salarii neplătite, iar instituțiile statului nu fac nimic să ajute.

ELA este autoritatea la care apelăm când suntem victima unui abuz la locul de muncă și nu ni se face dreptate. Asta așteaptă cetățenii europeni: așteaptă să vadă cum regulile la nivel european sunt îndeplinite. Trebuie să recunoaștem impactul pe care ELA îl poate avea și să-i oferim resursele și accesul necesar, să asigurăm un spațiu de colaborare, astfel încât ELA să urmărească cu vigilență cazurile aduse în atenție și să acționeze unde e necesar. O Europă în care cetățenii se pot bucura de dreptul la mobilitate în piața muncii.

 
   
 

  Mounir Satouri, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, derrière ces noms et acronymes de MiFIR et MiFID se cachent des enjeux bien réels et majeurs pour la vie des gens aux quatre coins de l’Europe. Comme l’a dit ma collègue Karima, rapporteure fictive dans ce délicat dossier, les textes qui en sont sortis auront en effet un impact très concret sur le porte-monnaie de nos concitoyens et concitoyennes, et nous pouvons nous féliciter des victoires portées par la famille des écologistes, ici.

Dans mon travail au sein de la commission ECON de notre institution, depuis plusieurs mois, j’ai lu et entendu des propos d’experts et d’expertes pointant le rôle de la spéculation sans limite et des manipulations de marché dans des hausses extrêmes de prix que nous avons connus depuis le 24 février 2022 et le déclenchement de cette guerre par Poutine en Ukraine.

Combien de millions de personnes parmi les plus vulnérables ont été dans l’obligation de demander un échelonnement des factures et ont été dans l’obligation de ne pas se chauffer ou de procéder à des coupes dans leur budget quotidien, pour pouvoir régler leurs factures de chauffage, d’électricité comme l’hiver dernier et l’hiver en cours. Selon le rapport annuel d’Oxfam sur les inégalités qui vient de paraître aujourd’hui, 99 % de la population européenne s’est appauvrie ces trois dernières années. Oui, 99 % de la population européenne s’est appauvrie ces trois dernières années.

Non, la spéculation financière n’est pas l’unique cause de cette inflation, mais oui, elle a joué un rôle que personne ne peut sérieusement nier. Et pourtant, ce facteur a été complètement négligé par la Commission européenne et a été tout bonnement ignoré par les groupes de droite de cet hémicycle, trop occupés à défendre les intérêts des grandes entreprises. La disposition que mon groupe a portée dans le coupe-circuit, cette capacité donnée aux autorités de marché de suspendre les opérations sur des produits donnés en cas de volatilité conséquente, permet d’atténuer, à défaut d’annihiler complètement, ce problème de façon significative.

Le sujet est cependant loin d’être clos et beaucoup reste à faire. Lors de notre prochain mandat, nous serons là pour nous assurer que les grandes entreprises non financières qui agissent comme des spéculateurs sans scrupules soient bel et bien soumises aux mêmes règles que les traders. Dès 2025, nous nous battrons pour ériger de véritables barrières contre la spéculation sur les matières premières. À l’instar de ma collègue Karima je vous appelle donc à appuyer ce texte.

 
   
 

  Özlem Demirel, im Namen der Fraktion The Left. – Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Grenzüberschreitende Arbeit wird allzu oft missbraucht, und zwar für Lohndumping. Und es herrschen auch sehr oft – Herr Kommissar, das wissen Sie auch – unhaltbare Arbeitsbedingungen hier.

Die Spitze des Eisbergs waren wahrscheinlich die Lkw-Fahrer aus Gräfenhausen. Aber wir haben es auch gesehen in der Pandemie bei den Spargelarbeitern in Deutschland. Da, wo Recht missbraucht wird und nicht eingehalten wird, da muss es Kontrolle geben. Wir müssen zweierlei schaffen: einmal klarere Regeln für Menschen, die auch grenzüberschreitend arbeiten, aber auch die Kontrolle durchsetzen. Ja, es gibt die ELA. Aber die ELA konnte in den beiden Beispielen, die ich gerade genannt habe, eigentlich nichts machen.

Und Herr Kommissar, es geht jetzt darum, dass diese Rechtlosigkeit nicht mehr existiert. Arbeiterinnen und Arbeiter haben Rechte und das unabhängig davon, ob sie die Grenze überschreiten oder nicht, ob sie einen Migrationshintergrund haben oder nicht oder ob sie Europäer sind oder nicht. Auch Drittstaatler haben das. Und das genau fordern wir mit dieser Entschließung.

 
   
 

  Λευτέρης Νικολάου-Αλαβάνος (NI). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, Η Ευρωπαϊκή Αρχή Εργασίας είναι άλλος ένας αντεργατικός μηχανισμός της ΕΕ που υπερασπίζεται την «ευελιξία, την κινητικότητα, την εφαρμογή ευρωενωσιακών κανόνων προς όφελος ιδιωτών κι επιχειρήσεων». Είναι το «πρότυπο» για τη μετατροπή του Σώματος Επιθεωρητών Εργασίας σε δήθεν «ανεξάρτητη αρχή» με τον Νόμο Χατζηδάκη. Έτσι, το ΣΕΠΕ αποψιλώθηκε από τους ήδη ελάχιστους επιθεωρητές που υπήρχαν, οι έλεγχοι πλέον είναι λιγότεροι από σταγόνα στον ωκεανό, ενισχύοντας την ασυδοσία του κεφαλαίου. Το 2023 135 εργαζόμενοι δεν γύρισαν σπίτι από το μεροκάματο τρόμου. Το 2024 έκανε ποδαρικό με ατύχημα στις προβλήτες της COSCO. Να τα αποτελέσματα της ευρωενωσιακής στρατηγικής που υλοποίησαν ΝΔ, ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, ΠΑΣΟΚ και υπερασπίζεται η ΕΑΕ: εντατικοποίηση της εργασίας, ως και 13 ώρες τη μέρα, ανύπαρκτα μέτρα προστασίας των εργαζομένων προς όφελος της καπιταλιστικής κερδοφορίας και της μείωσης του κόστους εργασίας. Στην επικίνδυνη αυτή κατάσταση αντιπαρατίθεται το εργατικό κίνημα με την πάλη του, απαιτώντας συλλογικές συμβάσεις με τα απαραίτητα μέτρα προστασίας, Επιτροπές Υγιεινής και ασφάλειας, πλήρη κάλυψη των εργαζομένων από επαγγελματικούς κινδύνους με ευθύνη του κράτους και με επιβάρυνση του κεφαλαίου στελεχωμένα κρατικά σώματα επιθεώρησης εργασίας.

 
   
 

  Jeroen Lenaers (PPE). – Voorzitter, geachte commissaris, beste collega’s. Een jaar of vijf geleden stond ik hier als een trotse rapporteur voor de oprichting van de Europese Arbeidsautoriteit (ELA). Een historische stap voor de Europese Unie om ervoor te zorgen dat onze gemeenschappelijke, interne markt niet alleen vrij, maar ook eerlijk is. Om ervoor te zorgen dat vrij verkeer van personen niet alleen vrij, maar ook eerlijk is.

In de Europese Unie mag er geen ruimte zijn voor schijnzelfstandigheid, sociale dumping of oneerlijke concurrentie op de arbeidsmarkt. Er mag geen ruimte zijn voor uitbuiting van mensen via schandalige werk- of woonomstandigheden, geen race to the bottom als het gaat om arbeidsvoorwaarden. Geen ruimte, kortom, voor onmenselijke situaties. Toch zien we daar helaas nog steeds te veel van.

Vijf jaar geleden hebben wij als Europees Parlement met vereende krachten van links tot rechts geprobeerd om de bevoegdheden van de Europese Arbeidsautoriteit zo sterk mogelijk te maken, tegen de protesten van enkele lidstaten in. Nu ELA zich in de afgelopen jaren zo goed ontwikkeld heeft en ook in de praktijk laat zien wat voor een potentie daarvan uitgaat, is het absoluut tijd om naar de toekomst te kijken en de bevoegdheden van ELA zo snel mogelijk fors uit te breiden. Het belangrijkste is, en dat wil ik hier heel graag benadrukken, dat ELA meer bevoegdheden krijgt om haar taken uit te voeren, ook ten aanzien van werknemers van buiten Europa. We zien meer en meer schijnzelfstandigen uit derde landen die actief zijn op de Europese arbeidsmarkt en dat leidt tot grote problemen. Het is een grensoverschrijdende uitdaging die ook grensoverschrijdend via ELA bij de horens gevat moet worden.

Een sterkere autoriteit is absoluut nodig om deze en andere misstanden op de Europese arbeidsmarkt echt aan te pakken. Iedereen die gelooft in het belang van een echte eerlijke Europese arbeidsmarkt, moet zich daar in het nieuwe mandaat van dit Parlement keihard voor inzetten.

 
   
 

  Ádám Kósa (NI). – Tisztelt Elnök Asszony! Elég volt a lopakodó jogalkotásból, az európai uniós szerződések megcsúfolásából. A foglalkoztatáspolitika a nemzetállamok kizárólagos hatásköre. Tehát kedves kollégák, kérem, hogy olvassák el végre a Szerződéseket! Emlékeztetem Önöket, hogy az ELA, az Európai Munkaügyi Hatóság jogköre az alapító rendeletben említett uniós jogi aktusokra korlátozódik. A jog talaján állva nem lehet támogatni az ELA megbízásának kiterjesztését harmadik országok munkavállalóira, sem az ELA saját vélekedése alapján jogsértés vizsgálatára sem. Ez teljes mértékben ellentétes a jogbiztonság elveivel. Azt is ellenzem, hogy a szociális partnerek bármikor szaladhatnak az ELA-hoz, hogy határokon átnyúló vizsgálatokat kezdeményezzenek.

Nem, kollégák, ez nem jó. A jog által igényelt, tehát a nemzeti jog által igényelt jogorvoslattal kell először élniük. Nem késő észbe kapni. És a Szerződések szellemében eljárni. És megálljt parancsolni ennek az egésznek.

 
   
 

  Cindy Franssen (PPE). – Voorzitter, commissaris, collega’s, arbeidsmobiliteit is alomtegenwoordig: 10 miljoen EU-burgers werken in een andere lidstaat en evenveel niet EU-burgers werken in de EU. Dit biedt kansen, maar het mag geen vrijgeleide zijn voor misbruik en sociale dumping. Daarom werd de Europese Arbeidsautoriteit (ELA) opgericht voor het faciliteren van goed functionerende arbeidsmarkten, voor de ondersteuning van socialezekerheidsstelsels en voor het waarborgen van eerlijke concurrentie op de interne markt.

Zo faciliteerde ELA in 2022 37 inspecties die betrekking hadden op 2700 werknemers in verschillende sectoren, zoals vervoer, bouw, distributie, landbouw en vleesindustrie. Er werden in totaal 1762 inbreuken vastgesteld, maar de activiteiten van ELA worden beperkt door het vrijwillige karakter van de samenwerking en de deelname van de lidstaten.

Daarom pleiten we voor een grondige herziening en uitbreiding van het ELA-mandaat, zodat de Autoriteit zelf vermeende inbreuken kan onderzoeken en inspecties organiseren. Daarom pleiten we ook voor meer nationale arbeids- en socialezekerheidsinspecties en een verhoging van de middelen voor ELA zelf. We pleiten voor meer betrokkenheid van de sociale partners en voor meer samenwerking tussen de lidstaten en, zoals al door veel collega’s aangehaald, om de toepassing uit te breiden naar niet EU-onderdanen. De uitbreiding van het ELA-mandaat moet leiden tot een socialer Europa dat werknemersrechten waarborgt en sociale fraude, misbruik en dumping effectief aanpakt.

 
   
 

  Gabriele Bischoff (S&D). – Frau Vorsitzende, Herr Kommissar, Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Die ELA, das haben viele unterstrichen, war wirklich wichtig, um das Vertrauen zu schaffen, dass wir wirklich eine faire Mobilität wollen und sie auch hinkriegen und dass wir dafür auch grenzüberschreitende Institutionen haben.

Ich möchte den beiden Berichterstattern wirklich danken für diesen Vorschlag, für dieses Dokument. Zwei Punkte möchte ich unterstreichen und dabei auch auf Herrn Kósa eingehen:

Wenn wir gerade jetzt mehr Drittstaatsangehörige nach Europa holen wollen, weil wir ein Fachkräfteproblem haben, und gleichzeitig aber nichts tun, dass wir in bestimmten Sektoren Wildwestmethoden haben, Ausbeutung – Gräfenhausen ist hier genannt worden –, dann geht das nicht zusammen.

Außerdem haben wir inzwischen tatsächlich digitale Instrumente, um sicherzustellen, dass wir wirklich viel stärker identifizieren können: Wo sind die kritischen Sektoren? Wo sind auch Unternehmen, die systematisch zum Beispiel ausbeuten, wie es bei Mazur in Polen ja der Fall war?

Dazu können wir künstliche Intelligenz nutzen. All das bringt nur was, wenn wir der ELA die Instrumente in die Hand geben, die sie braucht, um faire Mobilität mit zu unterstützen.

 
   
 

  Lukas Mandl (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin Regner, liebe Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Die Europäische Arbeitsbehörde ist wichtig, wenn sie das Richtige tut. Wir erleben, dass viel zu tun ist auf dem Kontinent Europa, in unseren Mitgliedstaaten, und dass es viele Hände braucht, um die Arbeit zu erledigen, besonders in Zeiten wirtschaftlicher Krisen, sogar einer Rezession in manchen Teilen Europas. Gleichzeitig erleben wir Arbeitskräftemangel. Es gibt nicht eine singuläre Lösung, sondern es braucht viele Lösungen, um dem Arbeitskräftemangel zu begegnen. Dazu gehört ganz sicher, die Arbeitsbedingungen für Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer zu verbessern, in jeder Hinsicht – in finanzieller Hinsicht, aber auch in struktureller Hinsicht, auch in Sachen Kinderbetreuung, auch in Sachen Pflege, im Umfeld insgesamt.

Dazu gehört selbstverständlich auch ein Zurückschrauben der irregulären Migration und die Chance für eine legale Arbeitsmigration für Menschen, die sich in unsere Gesellschaften integrieren wollen und können und die anpacken können auf unseren Arbeitsmärkten. Die internationale Situation zeigt, dass der Wettbewerb mit anderen Teilen der Welt, wo zweifellos hart gearbeitet wird, immer größer wird, immer stärker wird. Die demografische Entwicklung, die Bevölkerungsentwicklung verlangt, dass das, was möglich ist in Europa – unseren Wohlstand aufrechtzuerhalten, auch für kommende Generationen den Wohlstand zu erhalten, dadurch auch Sozialsysteme erhalten zu können, die typisch sind für Europa im weltweiten Vergleich – dass diese Chancen auch genützt werden. Wenn die Agentur für Arbeit dazu beiträgt, dann hat sie nicht nur einen festen Platz in der Europäischen Union, sondern dann ist sie eine wichtige Säule für jetzt und für die Zukunft. Wenn sie zum Bürokratie-Apparat wird, durch Überregulierung und vielleicht Verbotspolitik, dann ist es gefährlich. Und dann müssen wir, gerade als Parlament, dem einen Riegel vorschieben.

 
   
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
   
 

  Clare Daly (The Left). – Madam President, I think that the creation of the European Labour Authority (ELA) in 2019, as we know, was intended to ensure that the EU rules on labour mobility and social security coordination would be applied fairly, simply and effectively. And while it’s still a relatively new organisation, I think we can say that that didn’t happen. And in some ways, it can’t really happen fully as long as neoliberalism remains as the dominant economic approach. I mean, you only have to look at sectors of our economy, such as aviation, where we know that the trade unions continue to be absolutely frustrated with the total inaction of the European Commission, which is systematically refusing to assume its responsibility in this area and instead hiding behind national authorities denouncing complex labour market systems involving undeclared work, bogus self-employment, abuse of subcontracting letterbox companies and so on. We need cross-border cooperation. We need a stronger ELA.

 
   
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, membre de la Commission. – Madame la Présidente, je crois que la journée est bien choisie pour avoir un débat sur l’Autorité européenne du travail. Nous avons, au début de cette session, rendu hommage à Jacques Delors, à sa mémoire, mais surtout à son action. Pour lui, le marché intérieur, qui a été beaucoup cité, et la libre circulation n’étaient pas une fin en soi. Il est clair que pour lui il ne pouvait y avoir marché intérieur et libre circulation sans une forte dimension sociale, sans un niveau élevé de protection sociale de tous les travailleurs. C’était son souhait.

J’avoue que les progrès, et il l’a considéré également de cette manière, que les progrès ont été parfois trop lents. Mais on a réussi à faire des progrès, je rappelle simplement, par exemple, la directive sur le détachement. Mais nous savons tous que les directives sont utiles, importantes, parfois décisives, mais ce qui compte vraiment c’est leur mise en œuvre. Et ce n’est pas la mise en œuvre après des mois et des années de cas devant les juridictions – et je ne diminue pas l’importance des juridictions. Mais quand les travailleurs sont confrontés, comme cela a été le cas précis – mais il y a d’autres, beaucoup d’autres cas – à des situations de dumping social, d’exploitation, de refus de voir leurs salaires payés, de conditions de travail inacceptables, etc., ce qu’ils demandent, c’est une mise en œuvre immédiate, c’est une réaction immédiate, c’est pouvoir compter sur une instance qui les protège. C’est l’objectif de l’AET.

Je dois dire – c’était la Commission précédente présidée par mon compatriote – que l’AET a apporté des changements. Aujourd’hui, on peut discuter: si la protection sociale doit s’appliquer à des ressortissants de pays tiers qui viennent en Europe pour travailler, si on peut remettre en cause leur protection, les mêmes droits auxquels ils ont droit, ce n’est pas dans l’esprit européen, ce n’est pas l’esprit de Delors, ce n’est d’ailleurs pas l’esprit des traités européens. Et donc d’ailleurs, ne pas protéger les travailleurs ressortissants de pays tiers, c’est exposer tous les travailleurs, tous les travailleurs à toute forme d’exploitation, à toute forme de «dumping social». Parce qu’on sait très bien que, si on ne protège pas les travailleurs des pays tiers, eh bien les niveaux de protection pour les autres ne vont pas augmenter, bien au contraire, ils vont également baisser. Donc il ne peut pas y avoir dans cette Europe une place pour le dumping social.

Et c’est pour cela que ce débat est important. C’est pour cela qu’il faut réfléchir dans quelle mesure et sous quelle forme on doit renforcer le rôle de l’AET. Et, fort de votre résolution, fort aussi du travail que fait la présidence belge, mais aussi sur la base du rapport d’évaluation que la Commission est en train de préparer et qui sera disponible au début du mois d’août, nous aurons clairement des indications sur quels moyens supplémentaires, juridiques et autres, doivent être donnés à l’AET pour qu’elle puisse correctement et encore mieux exercer sa fonction.

 
   
 

  President. – Thank you very much, Commissioner. I have received one motion for a resolution to wind up the debate. The debate is closed. The vote will be held on Thursday.

 
19. The role of social award criteria in public procurement in strengthening social rights, good working conditions and inclusive labour markets (debate)
 

  Dragoş Pîslaru, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. – Madam President, dear Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, the Public Procurement Directive has the potential to promote fair competition and inclusive labour markets, and it should do that. It could also be an essential instrument for increasing collective bargaining coverage in accordance with the Minimum Wage Directive.

However, evidence shows that public authorities face legal challenges and uncertainty when trying to apply mandatory social award criteria and sustainable award criteria.

The European Parliament Committee of Employment and Social Affairs has analysed rigorously this matter. In 2023, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee commissioned a study – DG IPOL has delivered the study – with the key findings of where we are. What is the status quo?

On 25 October last year, we held a public hearing on the social impact of public procurement. Both activities pointed out the same issue: legal challenges and uncertainty.

If we are to look at the dimension of public procurement in Europe, the source of wealth, the source that we can actually put together there for improving our markets is enormous – we are talking more than EUR 500 billion.

Experts, representatives of local municipal authorities and of the social partners, stressed, in the hearing that we had, that the role of public procurement should be key in strengthening collective bargaining and social progress in the EU, and they pointed out the legal uncertainties of the current EU legislative framework on public procurement.

Solutions that have been discussed in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee with our colleagues involved, first of all, revising the Public Procurement Directive so that there is an explicit push by public authorities to have no public contract without a collective agreement, clarifying that the promotion of collective bargaining with binding labour clauses does not violate EU law – and we had a big debate on that – revising the Public Procurement Directive to include mandatory social criteria, such as collective agreements, among others.

It is therefore clear that the potential of socially responsible public procurement remains largely unexploited, and that the current voluntary approach is not sufficient, and that further work at EU level is necessary.

Therefore, dear Commissioner Schmit, the questions to start this debate are the following. First of all, will the Commission consider revising the Directive to ensure legal certainty; in particular, to ensure that collective agreements and social criteria are not considered a discriminatory measure in public contracts?

Second, will the Commission consider revising the Annex 10 of the Public Procurement Directive in order to update the ILO Conventions listed, especially with regard to ILO Convention 94?

Furthermore, will the Commission take the necessary measure to ensure that the non-respect for fundamental ILO Conventions 98 and 87 become an exclusion criteria in the context of public procurement?

The fourth question is: will the Commission promote joint and several liability in subcontracting chains?

Fifth, will the Commission ensure social conditionalities in Union funding related to public procurement? This is very important. We should start negotiating the next multiannual financial framework soon, and we need to look at that.

Six, will the Commission ensure that the public procurement plays a role in promoting upskilling and reskilling of workers, especially in the view of the new technologies arising from the green and digital transition?

Seven, last but not least, will the Commission strengthen data collection on the volume and the value of socially responsible public procurement, as well as the exchange of knowledge and best practices in the EU?

Together with my colleagues in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, and based both on the research that we’ve done, and the hearing that we had with experts and representatives of local authorities and stakeholders, social partners, we believe that tapping on this important resource, on public procurement and providing social work criteria, is just the right step towards a social Europe, towards the model that we would like to build together.

For that we need, again, the cooperation of all the institutions. The Parliament has initiated right now the process of this particular debate, and we are waiting and looking forward for how to push forward for this to happen.

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, I would like to thank the Employment Committee for formulating these questions because, as you said now, the importance and the size of EU public procurement market is significant – 14 % of the EU GDP is spent every year by over 250 000 public authorities and entities to purchase goods and services, and to construct. 

This economic significance also means that public procurement is a powerful leveraging tool for spurring innovation and developing social and environmentally friendly solutions. Public procurement is also increasingly recognised as an important strategic economic policy tool to pursue policies, including in the sphere of social responsibility, and to shape our internal market and make it more efficient but also fair. The EU Public Procurement Directive, adopted in 2014, aimed at transforming public procurement from a process driven legalistic exercise to a genuinely relevant physical for delivering change in Europe. Our procurement rules do provide public buyers with greater flexibility to use public procurement as a strategic tool. Yet it is a reality that more contracts could be awarded based on quality criteria, supporting the green and social transition, and not only based on the lowest price. And recently, by the way, the Commission has recommended that in the field of green technologies, in the face of foreign competition that does not always respect all the rules, this is precisely the approach that has to be applied. This underlines not only the social aspect, but also the industrial and strategic aspect that has to be fully taken into account.

Now, on your first question, the current EU public procurement directives do allow public authorities to ensure decent working conditions for the staff executing the contract in line with EU labour law. They also require economic operators to comply with all applicable EU or national labour obligations, including on collective agreements and bargaining during the performance of the contracts. The Commission has also developed several actions to provide guidance to the public authorities, in particular the Commission’s Buying Social Guide, published in May 2021, provides public buyers with clear and concrete guidance on how to make their procurement more socially responsible and to ensure compliance with labour law. And this also applies, by the way, to social enterprises, to give social enterprises also the possibility to be part of public procurement. The Commission has also launched the Big Buyers Working Together project to support collaboration between public buyers and to promote the wider use of strategic public procurement. This new project includes, inter alia, activities specifically relating to social procurement. It aims to build better understanding of the social, labour and ethical impact of public contracts, and how to use public procurement to achieve a positive impact in these areas.

As to your second question, the ILO Convention No 94 is indeed not yet added to the list of ILO conventions in Annex X of Directive 2014/24 on public procurement. The reason for this is that the ILO conventions listed in this annex are part of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and they have already been ratified by all EU Member States. The fundamental principles and rights at work have to be realised, respected and promoted by all members of the ILO. Grounds for amending the list in the annex are set out in Article 56 of the directive to add new international agreements that have been ratified by all Member States. However, as mentioned, Convention No 94 is not yet, hopefully, currently ratified by all Member States. In relation to measures to ensure compliance with the fundamental ILO conventions, the Directive on Public Procurement sets out that Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that in the performance of public contracts economic operators comply with applicable obligations in the fields of environmental, social and labour law established by Union law, national law, collective agreements or by the international environmental, social and labour law provisions listed in Annex X. I also want to refer that finally, it’s due to the European Parliament that there is a social clause in the Procurement Directive, and that also when we discussed about the Adequate Minimum Wage Directive, Parliament insisted on an as strong as possible Article 9 on the linkage between collective bargaining and especially adequate minimum wages and public procurement as a leverage finally to respect these provisions, but also to create a fair and level playing field because if some respect minimum wages or collective bargaining and others not, this is also finally falsifying competition when we are talking about public procurement.

As to your third question on joint and several liability in subcontracting chains, the public procurement directives are not the sole legal framework relevant to the issue of strengthening social rights, good working conditions and inclusive labour markets. The proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability, due diligence, on which co-legislators recently achieved a political agreement, is relevant here. It will set obligations for large companies to address the actual and potentially adverse impacts on human rights and the environment, also with respect to the operations of their subsidiaries and those carried out by their business partners. The directive will also lay down conditions for triggering on penalties and civil liability for infringing those obligations.

With regard to your fourth question on funding, the Commission has taken steps to ensure that Union funding promotes socially responsible procurement procedures. The financial regulation provides for a number of measures that secure the promotion of socially responsible public procurement by EU institutions. On this basis, social aspects, for example, related to social and professional inclusion and equality and gender-related considerations are taken into account in procurement procedures.

As far as question five is concerned, public authorities have several means to support the upskilling and reskilling of workers. They can ask in the clauses related to contract execution to require upskilling and reskilling of workers when it is related to the subject matter of the contract. They can also include upskilling and reskilling of workers as a key performance indicator as part of the award criteria. The bid of the economic operator offering higher upskilling or reskilling would get a higher score and better position to win the tender. 

Finally, it is important to mention the ability of the Commission to monitor the procurement with social impact and to disseminate best practices to establish peer-to-peer learning. The Commission has launched important projects in this context. The new standard forms for uploading public procurement notices in the tender daily database will allow for better collection of procurement data on social procurement. With the public procurement data space, which will be operational this year, national governments will share information on procurement of lower value that are currently registered at a national level only. This will no doubt improve the quality of the data available.

To conclude, public procurement in general is a powerful tool that can foster a more inclusive and equitable society and safeguard the rights of workers in public contracts. By using public procurement in a strategic way, public authorities can incentivise economic operators to adopt practices that preserve fundamental rights, enhance working conditions, promote upskilling, and foster inclusivity in the labour market. The European Commission has therefore supported and promoted this strategic approach to socially responsible public procurement through several initiatives that emphasise the integration of social considerations within public procurement practices across Member States. 

 
   
 

  Dennis Radtke, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Frau Vizepräsidentin, Herr Kommissar, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wenn man sich den Instrumentenkasten des Europäischen Parlaments einmal ansieht, wie wir mit der Europäischen Kommission so umgehen können und Dinge ins Rollen bringen können, da ist die mündliche Anfrage ganz sicherlich nicht der dicke Hammer, sondern vielleicht mehr so ein kleiner Nagel oder eine Reißzwecke. Aber wer sich schon mal auf so eine Reißzwecke gesetzt hat, der weiß ja auch, dass die durchaus auch ihren Effekt haben kann.

Und deswegen finde ich es richtig, dass wir heute bei dieser wichtigen Frage der öffentlichen Auftragsvergabe durchaus mal diese Reißzwecke hier auf den Stuhl des Kommissars legen. Nicht weil ich der Meinung bin, er hätte es persönlich verdient, sondern weil ich der Meinung bin, es für ein Versäumnis halte, dass die Europäische Kommission in dieser Legislaturperiode das Thema öffentliche Auftragsvergabe nicht angepackt hat – gleich aus zwei Gründen:

Das eine ist natürlich der soziale Aspekt, gar keine Frage. Wir haben den europäischen Mindestlohn hier beschlossen, vorangebracht. Und natürlich ist die Frage Verknüpfung, Tarifbindung und öffentliche Auftragsvergabe ein ganz wesentliches Element, um für mehr Tarifbindung zu sorgen. Denn wir reden ja hier über öffentliche Gelder. Und natürlich ist es gerechtfertigt zu sagen – auch gerade in einer sozialen Marktwirtschaft: Wir wollen öffentliche Gelder in erster Linie an diejenigen vergeben, die sich auch an die Spielregeln der sozialen Marktwirtschaft halten.

Aber der zweite Punkt, warum ich es für ein großes Versäumnis halte, ist die Frage der Nachhaltigkeit. Ich komme aus einem Stahlstandort im Ruhrgebiet, und wir haben oft die Diskussion: Wieso haben wir chinesischen Stahl in deutschen Autobahnbrücken und keinen Stahl aus Duisburg? Und die Antwort ist ganz einfach: Weil Stand heute Nachhaltigkeitsfragen dort keine Rolle spielen. Und ich finde, eine Institution wie die EU-Kommission, die den Grünen Deal so hoch aufgehangen hat, die muss auch dafür Sorge tragen, dass das bei der öffentlichen Auftragsvergabe in Zukunft eine Rolle spielt.

 
   
 

  Agnes Jongerius, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, dear Commissioner, I think the holes in the EU’s public procurement rules are too well known, because study after study shows that the voluntary nature of social public procurement is not really making enough of a difference. We still see this race to the bottom. Public contracts are most often awarded socially based on the cheapest offer, and too often to companies that violate labour rights. Secondly, the companies prioritise cost over quality of service and fair labour practices. And third, and in the end, it’s the workers that suffer from the system because it leads to exploitation, underpayment and violations of their basic rights.

The message of this debate today is we can no longer allow companies to lower their standards while maximising their profits at the expense of workers. Public spending must be conditional on social requirements, respect for collective agreements, for working conditions and for ILO Conventions.

Finally, the Commissioner also mentioned the Minimum Wage Directive. We, in this directive, put the threshold of the minimum amount of people covered by collective agreements at 80%. How can we strengthen social, collective bargaining while, on the other hand, maintaining the existing public procurement rules, which limit the push for a higher coverage rate of collective bargaining? I think it’s clear it’s time for change.

 
   
 

  Kim Van Sparrentak, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, go for the cheapest option. Ask any public authority what the European rules for buying goods and services dictate, and they think that’s what they have to do. And we are talking about 250 000 public authorities in the EU who spend around EUR 2 trillion per year through public procurement. That’s a two and then 12 zeros. It’s EUR 2000 billion. And we could use this money, which is 14 % of the EU GDP in a strategic way.

We could try to achieve our social and environmental ambitions through public procurement. But in more than one third of Member States, up to 95 % of tenders are awarded solely on the basis of the lowest price. And this is because social award criteria are voluntary, and using them is considered a legal risk by many, many authorities. But we cannot accept that public money is being spent on cheap tenders and just let workers pay the price. Cleaners, call center workers, nursing home workers, security guards and other essential workers are employed with precarious working conditions with our public money. And because these are huge contracts, they’re impacting entire sectors.

Our national and local governments are fueling a race to the bottom on wages and working conditions. But we can set strong social objectives in Europe. But then if social dumping is government sponsored, a true social Europe is very far from being realised. If the Commission is serious about promoting a social market economy, it should value social progress as much as the functioning of the internal market. So let us use all the tools we have in our toolbox to end precarious work and not stick to the voluntary approach for social conditionalities in procurement, which is doing the opposite.

I call on the Commission to start preparing a revision of the Public Procurement Directive now, and present it early in the next mandate. We need to ensure that there will be no more public contracts granted to companies that have no collective agreements with their workers. And meanwhile, while we change the Public Procurement Directive, maybe we can also stop government sponsoring of the climate catastrophe. 

 
   
 

  Nikolaj Villumsen, for The Left-Gruppen. – Hr. Formand! Hvert år bruger offentlige institutioner i EU omkring 15 billioner kroner på offentlige indkøb. Desværre viser det sig igen og igen, at virksomhederne, som vinder disse udbud, ikke overholder grundlæggende arbejdstagerrettigheder. Det kan lade sig gøre, fordi EU reglerne i dag er totalt uklare på, hvad lokale myndigheder må stille af sociale og miljømæssige krav. Til gengæld er EU reglerne krystalklare om, at offentlige kontrakter skal tildeles efter laveste pris. Man skal ikke være et geni for at regne ud, at laveste pris uden klare sociale krav selvfølgelig skaber et ræs mod bunden på løn og arbejdsvilkår og en unfair konkurrence. Det er simpelt hen noget svineri. Offentlige midler skal ikke finansiere skattesvindel, social dumping og arbejdsmarkedskriminalitet. Det er derfor, at vi i Enhedslisten og venstrefløjsgruppen i EU-Parlamentet har taget initiativ til denne debat. Det er helt afgørende, at vi får revideret reglerne hurtigst muligt. Ingen skattekroner skal gå til arbejdsgivere uden overenskomst. Derfor er mit spørgsmål hr. Kommissær: Hvornår fremsætter Kommissionen et forslag til en revision af udbudsdirektivet, så fuskerselskaber kan blive valgt fra?

 
   
   

IN THE CHAIR: PEDRO SILVA PEREIRA
Vice-President

 
   
 

  Radan Kanev (PPE). – Mr President, dear Commissioner, a lot has been said during this debate about the benefits of social criteria in public procurements and reasonable arguments we’ve heard, and a lot has been already done to grant such award criteria. So I will focus on the risks they raise because there is no perfect solution in the economy, neither are social award criteria a perfect solution.

First, it is the risk of discrimination against companies from less wealthy Member States or Member States with lower levels of trade union coverage of social bargaining. Second, I must reiterate, any non-price criteria has a higher, often much, much higher corruption potential. And here, once again, we put at risk countries with less stable rule of law in our Union, and we know from all our debates that such countries exist in in the European Union and maybe more now than a few years ago.

And by far the most and important risk that I would like to point out: often, not always, but often, social award criteria in public procurement have quite a high inflation potential. So they might end up providing better income for few and higher prices for many, at the expense of fair competition on the market. And here I must reiterate, finally, that one thing we as a union and our economy, now and in the years to come, at least in the couple of years to come, what we cannot afford is pro-inflation measures, because we have taken many such measures during this and previous terms, and we are facing a huge crisis of the purchasing power of our population, with all its political impact.

 
   
 

  Milan Brglez (S&D). – Gospod predsednik, spoštovani komisar, kolegice in kolegi!

Vsi posamezniki in še posebej država, ki je skrbnica socialnih politik ter upravlja z javnim denarjem, lahko in moramo s svojo potrošnjo vplivati na obnašanje podjetij.

Socialno naravnano in družbeno odgovorno gospodarstvo, v katerem veljajo dobri delovni pogoji, dostojne minimalne in druge plače, ter se spodbujajo kolektivna pogajanja, se ne bo izgradilo samo od sebe.

Dokler bo edini ter glavni kriterij pri oddaji javnih naročil čim nižja cena, bomo spremljali tekmo do dna glede delovnih pogojev ter vrednotenja dela prek glavnih dobaviteljev in izvajalcev navzdol po dobavni verigi.

Krepitev socialnih pravic na enotnem evropskem trgu zahteva enoten evropski pristop ter jasna pravila, ki jih bodo države samozavestno uporabljale pri socialnem pogojevanju vseh javnih naročil.

Ena izmed prvih nalog prihodnje Komisije mora zato biti predlog revizije Direktive 2014/24 glede javnega naročanja, da se v njej končno odrazijo zahteve zelene, digitalne, v prvi vrsti pa socialne preobrazbe Evrope.

Torej mora vsako javno naročanje tako v Evropski uniji in državah članicah kot po vsej dobavni verigi obvezno upoštevati socialna in trajnostna merila.

 
   
 

  Eugenia Rodríguez Palop (The Left). – Señor presidente, diez años después de la aprobación de la Directiva sobre contratación pública, sabemos que prácticamente la mitad de los procedimientos de licitación en la Unión Europea se siguen resolviendo exclusivamente sobre la base del precio.

Cuando se introducen criterios de sostenibilidad, su contenido está limitado por la interpretación que se hace de la libre competencia y, además, como tienen que estar vinculados al objeto del contrato, se excluyen cláusulas generales sobre derechos humanos, derechos de los trabajadores o de las mujeres.

Vaya…, que es fácil boicotear la Directiva por la puerta de atrás, obviando que el dumping social también es una forma de competencia desleal.

Hablamos de un instrumento que representa casi el 15 % del PIB europeo, así que ya va siendo hora de asumir la necesidad de su reforma, señor comisario, y de reconocer que, sin la imposición de obligaciones, no va a cambiar nada y que muchos otros objetivos de esa Europa social que con tanto boato se pregona —como la tasa de cobertura de la negociación colectiva, por ejemplo— no son más que eslóganes vacíos si no contamos con instrumentos que los hagan efectivos.

 
   
 

  Marc Tarabella (NI). – Monsieur le Président, j’ai eu l’immense honneur, mais aussi la lourde tâche, d’être en charge de la refonte de la législation des marchés publics il y a tout juste dix ans, puisqu’ils furent votés le 15 janvier 2014. Notre but à l’époque était clairement de lutter contre le dumping social et la concurrence déloyale dans les marchés de travaux, mais aussi d’augmenter la qualité et l’efficacité des services aux citoyens, faciliter l’accès des marchés aux PME, garantir le respect des bonnes conditions de travail et des critères environnementaux.

Après un long combat politique, le texte établissait notamment de manière claire que le critère pour les achats publics soit basé essentiellement sur la qualité et non plus systématiquement sur le prix le plus bas. C’est essentiel en matière de lutte contre le dumping social, mais bien sûr aussi en matière de conditions de travail, tout en garantissant aux citoyens un ouvrage bien effectué.

Mais comme vous, j’ai lu les conclusions de la récente étude du Parlement européen sur l’impact social des marchés publics et constate avec beaucoup d’amertume qu’aujourd’hui encore, les pouvoirs publics sont confrontés à des obstacles juridiques et à des incertitudes lorsqu’ils tentent d’appliquer les critères d’attribution sociaux et environnementaux. Ce n’est pas tolérable et je demande instamment à la Commission européenne de régler cette situation qui va totalement à l’encontre de ce qu’a voulu le législateur et à l’encontre de l’intérêt général.

 
   
 

  Daniela Rondinelli (S&D). – Signor Presidente, signor Commissario Schmit, onorevoli colleghi, io vorrei porre la questione della condizionalità sociale negli appalti pubblici, che è una condizione ineludibile per garantire non soltanto le norme europee e nazionali del diritto del lavoro, ma anche una concorrenza leale nell’ambito del mercato interno tra imprese europee e tra queste ultime e le aziende dei paesi terzi che operano nel nostro continente.

È assurdo che proprio le forze politiche che si dichiarano difensore dell’interesse nazionale non sostengano questa misura – infatti non stanno neanche partecipando al dibattito – permettendo così alle aziende non europee, che fanno del dumping sociale il loro principale strumento di competitività, di beneficiare dei nostri soldi pubblici facendo quindi concorrenza sleale e mettendo fuori gioco le imprese europee, quelle sane, oneste e rispettose della legge.

È fondamentale ribadire la connessione evidente tra piccoli appalti pubblici e la loro maggiore capacità di controllo da parte degli enti pubblici rispetto ai mega-appalti, nei quali spesso si annidano, dietro il fumoso strumento del subappalto, le peggiori forme di abuso se non addirittura di infiltrazione della criminalità organizzata.

L’accesso ad appalti pubblici di importi ridotti, infatti, sostengono le piccole imprese e gli artigiani del territorio, creando un legame forte con i cittadini e le comunità locali e diventando così benessere, prosperità e valore aggiunto per tutti.

Da qui, quindi, nasce la nostra richiesta di rivedere la direttiva sugli appalti pubblici del 2014, perché solo così avremo uno strumento utile per la crescita dell’economia reale e una reale esigibilità delle tutele sociali e del lavoro.

 
   
 

  Alex Agius Saliba (S&D). – Sur President, huwa importanti ħafna li l-Ewropa tkun post eċċellenti fejn wieħed jgħix, fejn wieħed jaħdem, fejn trabbi lil uliedek, tieħu ħsieb il-maħbubin tiegħek, u anke tirtira u tixjieħ. Ewropa li tattwa l-Pilastru Ewropew tad-Drittijiet Soċjali fil-prattika. Ewropa li verament tappoġġja lill-ħaddiema u lit-trade unions u li tkun waħda bbażata fuq paga ġusta, xogħol ta’ kwalità, sigurtà u rispett għad-drittijiet fundamentali tal-ħaddiema tagħna.

Ir-regoli tal-UE dwar il-flus u l-akkwist pubbliku huma kruċjali sabiex inkunu nistgħu niksbu dan kollu. Il-flus pubbliċi jridu jappoġġjaw il-ħolqien ta’ impjiegi ta’ kwalità u jappoġġjaw in-negozjar kollettiv. Il-flus pubbliċi jridu jmorru għal operaturi ekonomiċi li jirrispettaw lill-ħaddiema u d-drittijiet tat-trade unions, li jinnegozjaw mat-trade unions, u l-ħaddiema tagħhom (inklużi ħaddiema tas-sottokuntratturi tagħhom) li għandhom ikunu wkoll koperti minn ftehimiet kollettivi.

Għal dan il-għan, irridu nirrevedu r-regoli Ewropej dwar l-akkwist pubbliku u nintroduċu kundizzjonalità soċjali b’saħħitha marbuta ma’ kull forma ta’ għajnuna mill-Istat, finanzjament pubbliku, investimenti, u appoġġi għan-negozji tagħna. Ir-regoli tal-akkwist pubbliku jeħtieġ li jiggarantixxu li l-offerti jappoġġaw il-ħolqien ta’ impjiegi ta’ kwalità u jippromwovu negozjar kollettiv, kundizzjonijiet tax-xogħol imtejba, u taħriġ ta’ kwalità.

Kundizzjonalitajiet soċjali b’saħħithom għandhom jidhru fir-regoli finanzjarji kollha li jirregolaw l-użu tal-fondi tal-Unjoni Ewropea, kemm mill-baġit tal-Unjoni Ewropea u kif ukoll dawk iġġenerati minn barra l-baġit. Il-flus pubbliċi m’għandhomx jibqgħu joħolqu tellieqa sal-qiegħ iżda minflok, jintużaw biex jiġi attwat il-Pilastru Ewropew tad-Drittijiet Soċjali.

 
   
 

  Estrella Durá Ferrandis (S&D). – Señor presidente, señor comisario, a la vista de las transiciones verdes y digitales que está experimentando el mercado laboral, la responsabilidad social debe ser una prioridad fundamental para asegurar condiciones laborales justas y dignas y para ser coherentes con el nuevo plan de economía social. La Administración pública no puede ser la excepción.

Algunos grupos políticos argumentan que la eficiencia y la eficacia deben ser los únicos criterios que considerar al adjudicar contratos públicos. Desde mi grupo político, sin embargo, creemos que la eficiencia y la equidad no son conceptos mutuamente excluyentes. La condicionalidad social en la adjudicación de contratos públicos garantiza la creación de empleo digno, el respeto a los derechos laborales y la inclusión de sectores desfavorecidos.

Es necesaria, por tanto, la revisión de la Directiva sobre contratación pública actual para dar mayor seguridad jurídica a los criterios sociales en la adjudicación de contratos públicos. Esta cláusula puede funcionar como un instrumento eficaz, tal y como ya se ha señalado, para aumentar la cobertura de la negociación colectiva de acuerdo con la Directiva europea sobre salarios mínimos.

¿Considera la Comisión, por lo tanto, una revisión de la actual Directiva? ¿Prevé reforzar aún más la cláusula social de la Directiva para garantizar su cumplimiento? Es verdad que se han hecho cosas, pero necesitamos cosas más eficaces.

 
   
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
   
 

  Mick Wallace (The Left). – Mr President, the EU public procurement directives allow contracting authorities to promote social inclusion, the protection of the environment, and look to ensure the compliance of tender awards with social, labour and environmental legislation. However, even with these directives incorporated into law in the various Member States, a public procurement process can result in disaster.

In 2019, in the Irish Parliament, I highlighted several problems with the procurement process for the National Children’s Hospital. I showed how the costs were going to escalate off the Richter scale. The hospital wouldn’t be built for 2.2 billion when it should have cost about half that, and that’s what’s happening. The government could have revisited the contract, but it refused for political reasons, at great cost to the Irish people, I might say. The big contractor has robbed the people blind and it is just down to the incompetence of the politicians involved.

 
   
 

  Clare Daly (The Left). – Mr President, I think the title of this debate in some ways really sounds somewhat like a bit of a deluded fantasy when we all know that across Europe, social rights and workers’ conditions are under assault like never before, and public procurement, far from being the great leveller, is actually a contributing factor to this inequality. It’s legitimised theft on a phenomenal scale.

It’s not only that jobs are priced on the basis of bleeding workers dry, but also the projects themselves end up costing phenomenally more than they should do. Contracts under EU rules mean driving out the small suppliers; the big boys move in, price the job too cheaply, and then add in clauses where they can ratchet up the costs later on. And as a result, as my colleague has said, we’ve a children’s hospital in Ireland which is about to become the most expensive in Europe, well over EUR 2 billion, a MetroLink project, 300 million without a track being laid. Is it any wonder that the results came out today, that 1 % of the population own a third of the wealth, while the working poor continue to slave on?

 
   
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
   
 

  Nicolas Schmit, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, dear Members, I must say it was a very rich and very constructive and important debate because, indeed, it’s about billions and billions which are at stake. There are issues of corruption, and this is another issue we obviously have to fight and to find the right rules to prevent and to fight and to condemn those who are responsible for corruption. That’s clear. But does this mean that the price is the only indicator? Can our economies just function on the basis of price?

You know, I was a labour minister and I was confronted several times with major labour work accidents. Probably these companies always were the best offering, lowest price. But then about working conditions. Well, they did not really respect them. Sometimes it went well and sometimes some workers just died or were hurt. And that’s why we cannot just base the spending of public money on one single criteria, which is price, because price is not a guarantee, as it was said for competition, at least not when we say fair competition. Because if you’re cheating, if you are not respecting labour rights, if you are not respecting protection of your workers, well, you will have the lowest price. But at what price? For whom?

That’s why we have really to think how we create this balance, how we defend better the issue of social criteria. Environmental criteria is another one. If you spend money precisely to recycle your stuff, if you spend money to respect the environmental criteria, yes, this has a cost. And then if you have decided to do that, you may be excluded from any tender from any market. And that’s why, in this much more complex world, you just cannot base the spending of billions on one single indicator, which is price, because precisely, you never know who is paying at the end this price. 

I think that this is a debate which should have some follow up, some consequence where we have to reflect how we integrate these criteria better in our public procurement in a way where, finally, those who decide get more security, more legal security, because sometimes there is the issue, well, if I integrate some other criteria that might be legal cases coming up and so on. So we have to reflect how better to integrate this in order to make sure that social considerations or environmental considerations have or can be fully taken into account. I agree that the issue of people with a disability is an important one. If you employ many people with a disability or some people with a disability, you may be less competitive and your price may be higher. But what you are giving back to society is also a value. And this is a value which has to be recognised absolutely, especially when it is about public money.

Therefore I think that the Commission is committed to looking at whether further specific actions are needed, even of a legislative nature, which means that we have to look at the present texts, we need to combine the objectives of simplification of the public procurement procedures with measures to align public procurement with the strategic objectives and also among the strategic objectives. This includes, absolutely, the social considerations which have an impact on our society, on the prosperity of our society as well as the environmental dimension as we talk about the green transition. 

 
   
 

  President. – Thank you very much, Commissioner. The debate is now closed.

 
20. One-minute speeches on matters of political importance
 

  Dennis Radtke (PPE). – Herr Vizepräsident, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ich finde es schön, dass wir uns heute mit einigen Kollegen hier verabredet haben, um eine one-minute speech zu halten, auch wenn der Anlass dafür ein sehr trauriger ist: das Ableben einer Grünen-Kollegin, das noch einmal deutlich gemacht hat, wie kompliziert die Situation für Mitarbeiter eines Abgeordneten hier sein können.

Es kann einfach nicht unser Ernst sein, dass wir Mitarbeiter in eine Situation bringen, dass ein Abgeordneter zwei Tage vor Monatsende – aus welchen Gründen auch immer, hier durch Tod, aber von mir aus auch durch freiwilligen Rücktritt – sein Mandat aufgibt und die Mitarbeiter dann nach zwei Tagen arbeitslos sind, keinen Zugang mehr zum Haus haben, keinen Zugang mehr zu ihrem E-Mail-Account haben.

Das kann und darf so nicht bleiben, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen. Da muss die Verwaltung, da muss das Präsidium einen anderen Vorschlag machen. Wir brauchen vernünftige Übergangsfristen, auch gestaffelt nach Dienstjahren. Drei Monate müssen aus meiner Sicht das Minimum sein. Die Leute dürfen wir nicht von heute auf morgen in die Arbeitslosigkeit entlassen. Wir brauchen Planungssicherheit für die Beschäftigten. Dafür sollten wir uns alle gemeinsam einsetzen.

 
   
 

  Christophe Clergeau (S&D). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, le 29 novembre la Commission européenne a prononcé la réautorisation du glyphosate. Cette décision, la Commission l’a prise sur la base d’une évaluation incomplète des risques et avec des informations elles-mêmes incomplètes. Elle l’a fait seule parce que le Conseil était dans l’incapacité de se prononcer, et elle l’a fait sans respecter la jurisprudence européenne, l’arrêt Blaise, qui dit qu’il faut absolument une évaluation complète des coformulants d’un produit comme le glyphosate.

Ce Parlement avait la possibilité de s’y opposer et de demander d’engager un recours. Il ne l’a pas fait. Mais ce combat continue, nous ne laisserons pas l’Europe condamnée à dix ans supplémentaires de glyphosate. Ce que le Parlement n’a pas su faire, j’espère que la société civile européenne, les ONG et les citoyens vont le faire et je serai, avec mes collègues du groupe socialiste engagé à leurs côtés pour faire stopper en Europe l’usage du glyphosate le plus rapidement possible.

 
   
 

  Γεώργιος Κύρτσος (Renew). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κατά την περίοδο της έξαρσης της πανδημίας στην Ελλάδα, όπως και σε άλλες ευρωπαϊκές χώρες, παρατηρήθηκε μεγάλη αύξηση στις γυναικοκτονίες (femicides). Πρόκειται για ένα σύνθετο κοινωνικό φαινόμενο που αναλύεται συνεχώς από τους ειδικούς, δεν υπάρχει όμως αμφιβολία ότι η έμφυλη βία και η πιο ακραία έκφρασή της, οι γυναικοκτονίες, τείνουν να γίνουν μέρος μιας νέας στρεβλής κανονικότητας. Πώς μπορούμε να αντιδράσουμε; Νομίζω ότι πρέπει να αναπτύξουμε, εννοείται και να χρηματοδοτήσουμε, μία ευρωπαϊκή καμπάνια ενημέρωσης για τα βασικά αίτια και τις διαστάσεις του φαινομένου. Επίσης, πρέπει να προωθήσουμε νομοθετικές αλλαγές, έναν νομοθετικό εναρμονισμό σε ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο, με βάση το καλό παράδειγμα κρατών μελών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, των οποίων ο Ποινικός Κώδικας περιλαμβάνει ορισμό της γυναικοκτονίας και αυστηρότερη δικαστική μεταχείριση. Ας ξεκινήσουμε να αντιμετωπίζουμε τη μεγάλη πρόκληση βήμα-βήμα σε ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο.

 
   
 

  Gilles Lebreton (ID). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, le 8 janvier, en Allemagne, les agriculteurs ont exprimé leur révolte en bloquant leur pays. Ils entendent ainsi protester contre la décision du gouvernement de supprimer la subvention diesel dont ils bénéficiaient jusque-là. Mais leur malaise est beaucoup plus profond. Ce qu’ils remettent en cause, au-delà de cette suppression, c’est la politique de l’Union européenne de libre-échange qui met leur activité en péril. Cette dimension européenne explique que les agriculteurs alsaciens leur aient apporté leur soutien. Elle explique aussi pourquoi, partout en France, les agriculteurs ont mis les panneaux des villes à l’envers depuis plusieurs semaines. C’est une bonne façon de signifier que l’Europe marche sur la tête.

Trois reproches majeurs sont adressés à l’Union: sa politique de décroissance agricole, initiée par le programme de la ferme à la fourchette, ses traités de libre échange qui faussent la concurrence et ses exigences bureaucratiques déraisonnables. Pour avoir moi-même protesté depuis plusieurs années contre ces trois dérives, je relaye aujourd’hui le message des agriculteurs et leur exprime ma solidarité.

 
   
 

  Kateřina Konečná (The Left). – Pane předsedající, dovolte mi vás informovat o situaci v huti Liberty Ostrava, která je od prosince mimo provoz. Výrobce oceli u nás přímo zaměstnává šest tisíc lidí a nepřímo zajišťuje práci desítkám tisíc. Podnik sžírají finanční problémy způsobené prováděním nesmyslného Green Dealu, drahými energiemi a konkurenčním bojem vycházejícím ze zpackaného prodeje huti posvěceného Komisí, na jehož základě dostali přímí konkurenti huti Liberty Ostrava do rukou jeho hlavního a jediného dodavatele energií. Před lety, když GFG kupovala ostravskou huť od koncernu ArcelorMittal, řada odborníků upozorňovala, že vyjmutí jediného dodavatele energií Tameh a ponechání jej v rukou původního vlastníka je velmi špatný nápad, který ohrozí budoucnost české hutě. I přesto Komise tento prodej schválila. Dnes se vyplnily ty nejhorší scénáře a energie pro zásobování české huti se staly hlavním nástrojem konkurenčního boje dvou znesvářených koncernů. Uprostřed zůstal zaměstnanec. A já se ptám: Jak se hodlá Komise k této situaci, za kterou nese odpovědnost, postavit?

 
   
 

  Martin Sonneborn (NI). – Herr Präsident! Kanzler Scholz hat am Wochenende seinen Sonntagstee mit korrupten Bankern abgesagt, Außenministerin Baerbock ihre Termine mit Visagist und Logopädin. Beide sind lieber für den Kampf gegen Rechts auf die Straße gegangen. Lol. Dabei ist die Ampelregierung doch die eigentliche Geheimwaffe der AfD: Gasumlage, Heizungsgesetz, Kerosinsteuer, Bauernopfer – in Berlin regiert bornierter Unverstand zulasten derjenigen, die es sich am wenigsten leisten können. Selbstverständlich bin ich dafür, die dämliche AfD in Deutschland zu verbieten.

Aus Gründen der Demokratiepflege fordere ich aber ein gleichzeitiges Verbot von Grünen, CDU, SPD, CSU und FDP, insbesondere von Frau Strack-Rheinmetall. Am dringlichsten wäre natürlich das europaweite Verbot von Kommissionspräsidentin von der M. Leyen. Mit immer irrwitzigeren Schachzügen und ohne Rücksicht auf demokratische Verfahren oder internationale Rechtsgrundsätze hat sie die Europäische Union in den wirtschaftlichen, geopolitischen und moralphilosophischen Ruin getrieben. Wir fordern ihre Remigration aufs Altenteil, und zwar flott. Vielen Dank fürs Überziehen lassen.

 
   
 

  Ελισσάβετ Βόζεμπεργκ-Βρυωνίδη (PPE). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, τα τελευταία χρόνια, και ιδιαίτερα μετά τη λήξη των περιορισμών από την πανδημία, σε όλη την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση παρουσιάστηκε ανησυχητική αύξηση φαινομένων παιδικής παραβατικότητας και στη χώρα μου, την Ελλάδα, απανωτά κρούσματα βίας με πρωταγωνιστές ανήλικους σε ρόλο θύματος ή θύτη εντυπωσιάζουν αρνητικά. Δεν αναφερόμαστε μόνο σε σχολικό εκβιασμό, αλλά και σε αξιόποινες πράξεις, ακόμη και κακουργήματα και πληθώρα εγκλημάτων μίσους. Οι ειδικοί εστιάζουν σε γονεϊκό ή εκπαιδευτικό έλλειμμα, αλλά κυρίως στον καταλυτικό ρόλο του διαδικτύου, διότι παιδιά και έφηβοι αδυνατούν να διαχειριστούν ποικιλία ερεθισμάτων και σε πολλές περιπτώσεις ταυτίζονται με δράστες. Η στρατηγική της Ένωσης για τη νεολαία και η οδηγία δικονομικών εγγυήσεων για ύποπτους ή κατηγορούμενους ανηλίκους δεν αρκεί. Είναι επιτακτική ανάγκη σήμερα, με εκστρατείες ενημέρωσης, προβολή υγιών προτύπων και ανταλλαγή πληροφοριών και τεχνογνωσίας, να υπάρξει άμεσα οργανωμένη ευρωπαϊκή πολιτική πρόληψης της παιδικής παραβατικότητας. Οφείλουμε να ελέγξουμε αποτελεσματικά το φαινόμενο πριν προσλάβει ανεξέλεγκτες διαστάσεις.

 
   
 

  Michael Kauch (Renew). – Herr Vizepräsident, meine Damen und Herren! Lassen Sie mich mit einem unsäglichen Zitat beginnen, das lautet: „Ich persönlich denke, wenn wir solche Menschen in Burundi sehen, sollten wir sie in ein Stadion stecken und steinigen.“ Diese Hetzrede über Lesben und Schwule hielt Burundis Präsident in einer vom Fernsehen übertragenen öffentlichen Veranstaltung.

Und er fügte hinzu: Homosexualität sei wie die Wahl zwischen Satan und Gott – wer sich für den Satan entscheide, der solle doch in die Länder des Westens gehen.

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen, die Menschenrechtssituation für Lesben, Schwule und Transgender verschlechtert sich gerade rapide in vielen Teilen Afrikas, wie zuletzt auch Amnesty International berichtete.

Burundi ist ein weiteres extremes Beispiel der Volksverhetzung, und dazu darf die Europäische Union nicht schweigen. Anders als von den USA habe ich von den Europäischen Institutionen hierzu nichts gehört. Erst vor zwei Jahren hat die EU die Entwicklungszusammenarbeit mit Burundi wieder aufgenommen. Das muss überdacht werden.

Wer die Geldgeber als Orte des Satans verteufelt, wer Menschenrechte mit Füßen tritt, der hat sein Anrecht auf Unterstützung mit unseren Steuergeldern verwirkt.

Die EU muss jetzt handeln!

 
   
 

  Grace O’Sullivan (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, millions have taken to the streets in Ireland and all over the world in solidarity with the people of Gaza, but here, in the European Parliament and across the EU, we see nothing but hypocrisy.

We are supposed to stand for human dignity, but where is the dignity in allowing strike after strike on innocent children? We debate European values of peace and democracy, while European countries are still sending weapons to Israel. The EU dares to speak as an authority on international justice, while supporting an Israeli government that says ‘No one will stop us, not even The Hague’.

It is time for sanctions. It is time that the EU’s agreements with Israel are considered, and to stop the bloodshed that has taken 30 000 human lives so far, and to demand a permanent ceasefire in the name of humanity and dignity.

 
   
 

  Isabella Tovaglieri (ID). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, le nostre auto sono in pericolo ben prima del 2035 e della conversione forzata all’elettrico, che tanto piace qui in Europa.

Con la nuova proposta di regolamento della Commissione europea sul fine vita dei veicoli, infatti, si continua a voler complicare la vita alla gente comune che, a differenza vostra, non può permettersi di cambiare un’auto a stagione per vantarsi di essere più green.

In base all’articolo 26 di questo regolamento è previsto l’obbligo per il proprietario di un veicolo di rottamarlo qualora la sua riparazione dovesse risultare antieconomica, così come è scritto nero su bianco nell’allegato 1, articolo 2, pena l’applicazione di sanzioni.

Secondo la vostra miope mentalità è quindi più sostenibile economicamente, e anche ambientalmente, acquistare un’auto nuova, magari elettrica, piuttosto che riparare quella vecchia.

E allora, prima di spegnere i motori delle nostre auto, mettetevi una mano sulla coscienza e chiedetevi a quale prezzo state svendendo il nostro futuro all’elettrico cinese.

 
   
 

  Delara Burkhardt (S&D). – Herr Präsident! Hallo an die AfD und andere Rechte. Mein Name ist Delara. Mein Vater ist deutsch, meine Mutter ist aus dem Iran. Ich bin Sozialdemokratin und feiere neben Nouruz auch noch Weihnachten. Bin ich deutsch genug oder würdet ihr mich zusammen mit 12 Millionen anderen Menschen in Deutschland abschieben? „Remigrieren“ nennt ihr das.

Die Correctiv-Recherche hat uns gezeigt: Die Rechte ist extrem gut vernetzt, sie steigt nicht nur in den Umfragen, sondern übernimmt Regierungen, wird Bürgermeister und bildet Mehrheiten in Parlamenten überall in Europa. In den sozialen Netzwerken, im Nachbarschaftsgrillen oder auch in Parlamentsreden: Sie hetzen gegen Minderheiten, gegen freie Presse, schleifen den Sozialstaat und preisen Faschisten. So hat es auch damals angefangen, sagte die Holocaust-Überlebende Margot Friedmann vor einigen Tagen. Und sie hat recht: Nie wieder ist jetzt.

Und es gibt Hoffnung. In wenigen Stunden sind über 10 000 Menschen in meiner Heimatstadt Kiel zusammengekommen, parteiübergreifend, Gewerkschaften, Zivilgesellschaft. Und so muss es weitergehen. Ob auf den Straßen, in den Kommentarspalten oder in den Parlamenten: Kein Fußbreit den Faschisten!

 
   
 

  Илхан Кючюк (Renew). – Г-н Председател, приемането на България и Румъния в Шенгенското пространство по въздух и вода беше прието с различни чувства. Едни български граждани и политици най-вече го определяха като голям успех, други – като огромен провал. Аз бях сред онези, които казват, че това е стъпка напред, давайки си ясната сметка, че не за това сме работили и че не това е справедливото решение за българските и румънските граждани, защото от 2011-та година чакаме и изпълняваме всички критерии, и получаваме оценката на Съвета, на Европейската комисия и на това място тук, в Европейския парламент, с все по-силни и по-силни резолюции.

Ето обаче през последните няколко дни виждаме и последствията от частичните решения на Европейския съвет. Границата между България и Румъния не може да се премине за 12 – 14 часа. Автомобилите, и по-точно тежкотоварните превозни средства, изпитват огромни затруднения. Това ли е европейската интеграция? Австрийски политици от най-високо ниво казват „бръкнахме в раната“. В коя рана? В достойнството, в честта на тези хора, които години наред изпълняват всички решения на европейските институции. Време е тази несправедливост да се коригира. През 2024 г. да се вземе решение и в крайна сметка правилата да важат за всички европейски граждани. 

 
   
 

  Malte Gallée (Verts/ALE). – Herr Präsident! Am 25. November haben sich in einem Hotel in Potsdam rechtsradikale Neonazis, völkisches Gedankengut – diese Menschen haben sich versammelt und Pläne geschmiedet, wie Millionen von Menschen aus Deutschland vertrieben werden.

Und genau dieses Gedankengut hat Struktur überall in Europa. Es sind die einfachen, die zu kurzen Antworten, die dazu führen, dass genau solche menschenverachtenden Ideen wieder Fuß fassen.

Wir merken es nicht nur bei uns. Wir merken es überall auf dem Planeten, überall dort, wo autokratische Regime am Werk sind, da wird auf Minderheiten gehetzt, und es ist unsere Verantwortung, genau gegen so etwas aufzustehen!

Wir stehen hier im Zentrum dieser wunderbaren Kraft der Europäischen Union. Es ist unsere Aufgabe, genau diese Freiheiten zu verteidigen und dafür zu sorgen, dass es eine Remigration von genau diesem Gedankengut zurück ins letzte Jahrtausend gibt.

 
   
 

  Milan Brglez (S&D). – Gospod predsednik!

Ni samo moja službena, temveč tudi moralna dolžnost, da se pridružim kolegicam in kolegom, ki opozarjajo ta plenum, na nedopustnost, nesorazmernost in nesmiselnost nekaterih predpisanih delovnih pogojev za naše osebje.

Asistentke, asistenti v pisarnah evropskih poslank in poslancev so steber in gonilna sila našega delovanja ter nenadomestljiva podpora pri uresničevanju naših političnih ambicij.

Če poslanci ali poslanke iz katerega koli razloga in še posebej zaradi nepredvidljivih in izrednih okoliščin, kot je na primer smrt, končamo z mandatom, je nedopustno, da se našemu osebju izteče pogodba o delovnem razmerju takoj, zadnji dan v tekočem mesecu.

Vedno bom odločno stal za zahtevami po pravičnih delovnih pogojih, ne samo mojih asistentk in asistentov, temveč tudi pripravnic in pripravnikov tako v Bruslju kot doma.

Zato pričakujem, da bodo pristojne službe čimprej naslovile to sistemsko anomalijo in jo tudi odpravile ter osebju v poslanskih pisarnah omogočile dostojen in pravičen prehod ob prenehanju delovnega razmerja.

 
   
 

  Vlad-Marius Botoş (Renew). – Domnule președinte, la sfârșitul lui decembrie, Consiliul Uniunii Europene a decis ca România și Bulgaria să intre parțial în spațiul Schengen. Deși toate condițiile sunt îndeplinite de mai bine de zece ani, cele două țări să fie membre depline, sunt oprite de un guvern care a pus condiții noi statelor noastre.

Dragi colegi, domnule comisar, reticența de a respecta tratatele europene este îngrijorătoare. Teama de alte state membre este naționalism pur, foarte periculos pentru dezvoltarea noastră, a Uniunii Europene. Sunt convins că România și Bulgaria vor îndeplini și noile condiții, însă noi, Parlamentul European și Comisia Europeană, trebuie să ne asigurăm că atunci când aceste noi condiții vor fi îndeplinite, România și Bulgaria vor primi votul pozitiv imediat pentru a intra și în spațiul terestru, în spațiul Schengen.

Uniunea Europeană trebuie să crească, să se dezvolte și nu trebuie să permitem să fie oprită în aceste vremuri de naționalism, de populism și de individualism.

 
   
 

  Nicolae Ştefănuță (Verts/ALE). – Domnule Președinte, medicii de familie din România nu sunt nici respectați, nici plătiți. Jumătate din cei 10 000 de medici de familie au peste 60 de ani, iar tot așteptând să se elibereze un post, peste 4 000 de medici de familie din România au plecat în străinătate. Și cine îi poate condamna?

Medicii de familie sunt în prima linie, la ei mergem când tușim, cum o faceți mulți din sala asta, și când avem răceli și altele, acum, în mijlocul iernii. Sănătatea e mai scumpă decât toate, dar se pare că guvernul spune că e scumpă la bani. Au tăiat bugetul, așa că trebuie să ai noroc să te tratezi. Au creat o cotă practic pentru cei care scapă și pentru cei care nu scapă. Pentru că la bani mai puțini nu poți să tratezi tot atâția oameni.

Sunt solidar cu medicii de familie și cer guvernului să-i respecte, să-i plătească. Ei sunt atunci când suferim, inclusiv noaptea, când sunăm la telefon. Domnule Ciolacu, să nu răciți cumva, că s-ar putea să nu răspundă nimeni la telefon!

 
   
 

  Patricia Chagnon (ID). – Monsieur le Président, «Il n’est rien de plus puissant qu’une idée dont l’heure est venue» affirmait Victor Hugo. Aujourd’hui, cette idée est incarnée par la révolte agricole et populaire qui secoue l’Europe. En 2023, déjà, en Hollande, les agriculteurs ont renversé le gouvernement de votre ami Mark Rutte, exposant au grand jour sa trahison. En Allemagne, après des manifestations incessantes depuis des mois, les agriculteurs ont fait reculer Olaf Scholz, également porte-parole de votre sinistre politique agricole.

En France, la révolte grogne et s’organise sur tout le territoire national. Cette révolte, née dans nos campagnes, est la réaction à votre politique prétendument verte qui, sous couvert d’écologie, anéantit notre agriculture, porte atteinte à notre souveraineté et menace la qualité des aliments dans nos assiettes. Les agriculteurs, piliers de nos nations, sont désormais à l’avant-garde de la défense de nos intérêts vitaux. Leur combat est le nôtre. L’heure de la révolution rurale est venue et vous le savez. Elle est inarrêtable. Notre soutien aux agriculteurs est total.

 
   
 

  Gabriele Bischoff (S&D). – Herr Präsident! Heute sind hier eine ganze Reihe Kollegen, die sich Gedanken darüber gemacht haben, wie es sein kann, dass wir, die wir so für gute Arbeit und gute Arbeitsbedingungen überall in Europa stehen, so eine Lücke in unseren Regelungen haben, dass Assistenten, wenn ihre Abgeordneten versterben, innerhalb von drei Tagen ihr Büro räumen müssen, dass sie keinen Zugang mehr haben zu ihren E-Mails, dass es keine Übergangsregelung gibt.

Ich weiß nicht, aus welcher Zeit diese Regelung stammt, aber ich plädiere wirklich dafür, dass wir das ändern. Dass wir es schaffen, auch in diesem Haus eine vernünftige Übergangszeit hinzubekommen für Menschen, damit sie wissen, dass sie in Sicherheit auch tatsächlich sich einen neuen Job suchen können.

Ich weiß, jeder denkt, man hat die Serie Parlament gesehen, die sind alle gut abgesichert. Aber das hier ist ein Element, das wirklich das Gegenteil von guter Arbeit ist, dass die Menschen in dem Moment ins Bodenfreie fallen.

Und deshalb sollte man hier eine vernünftige Regelung finden. Wir sind auch immer bereit, zu gucken, wie so eine Lösung aussehen kann. Es geht hier nicht darum, dass man etwas haben will, was unangemessen ist, sondern dass die Regeln, die überall im Berufsleben gelten, auch im Parlament für Assistenten gelten.

 
   
 

  Estrella Durá Ferrandis (S&D). – Señor presidente, quiero enfatizar una vez más, como han hecho muchos de mis compañeros y mis compañeras, la necesidad de mejorar las condiciones laborales de los asistentes. Es verdad que, recientemente, se han conseguido introducir avances importantes, que equiparan sus condiciones laborales a los del resto del personal.

No obstante, persisten ciertas injusticias en sus contratos, como se ha señalado ya, como la terminación inminente por cesación del eurodiputado. Esto se traduce en una inestabilidad latente y una incoherencia en cuanto al margen de preaviso.

Esta institución debe dar ejemplo, ofreciendo igualdad de derechos y calidad en el empleo. No olvidemos que los asistentes son personal contratado por esta institución y realizan tareas clave para el buen funcionamiento de este engranaje parlamentario.

Debemos tomar responsabilidad y garantizar que cuenten con mayor estabilidad laboral y unas condiciones justas e igualitarias.

 
   
 

  Victor Negrescu (S&D). – Domnule președinte, domnule comisar, dragi colegi, după 13 ani de așteptare, aderarea efectivă la Spațiul Schengen a României va începe în luna martie a acestui an. Procesul va demara mai întâi cu căile aeriene și maritime, precum și cu mecanismele consulare. Practic, începând cu luna martie, vom putea călători cu avionul fără ca documentele de identitate să fie controlate. Mărfurile vor putea circula pe căile maritime fără filtre suplimentare și România urmează să emită vize Schengen.

Italia, Austria și Grecia au intrat și ele tot în două etape. Fiind parte din procesul decizional al zonei de liberă circulație, România intră astfel într-un proces ireversibil de aderare la spațiul Schengen. Solicit partenerilor europeni continuarea eforturilor comune pentru ca aderarea totală a României la spațiul Schengen să fie realizată conform celor agreate, în cel mai scurt timp.

Salut eforturile făcute de premierul Marcel Ciolacu pentru realizarea acestui obiectiv și le mulțumesc colegilor mei din PES activists România pentru tot ce au făcut în ultimii ani, pentru a convinge statele membre că românii merită în Schengen.

 
   
 

  President. – That concludes the item.

 
21. Agenda of the next sitting
 

  President. – Now I’ve got good news: we’ve come to the end of our agenda today. The next session will take place tomorrow at 9.00. The agenda for tomorrow is published and available.

 
22. Approval of the minutes of the sitting
 

  President. – The minutes of this sitting will be submitted to Parliament for its approval tomorrow early afternoon.

 
23. Closure of the sitting
 

(The sitting closed at 22.05)

 

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