Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the Commission. We need to see it in the wider context of the work on completing economic and monetary union. Further deepening of EMU should be built on the existing instruments, notably the European Semester, putting more flesh on its bones and strengthening its credibility and effectiveness. The idea of the convergence code, creating a more binding framework for economic policy coordination around key economic competitiveness and social targets, would go in that direction.
Also any further refinement of our economic and monetary union must fully respect the provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact. Only then will we have the stability and credibility we need for more ambitious designs. The existing instruments, the European Stability Mechanism, and previously European Financial Stability Facility, and the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism have been successful in overcoming the most difficult part of the crisis. The financial system has been reinforced too through the establishment of the banking union. Its aim would be to deal with major shocks, when national stabilisation systems prove insufficient even if the country hit by the problems has been following all the rules.
The main ideas being discussed are all around boosting investment and supporting unemployment benefits, possibly via a reinsurance scheme. Such mechanisms could and should be set up in a way that does not lead to permanent transfers among countries or undermine incentives for sound policy-making at national level. As the report was adopted in committee only last night, we are not in a position today to give you a point by point, or line by line, commentary.
But we will study the recommendations Parliament adopts this week very closely. Our common goal is a more resilient and prosperous economic and monetary union. It is clear that the institutional, political and legal challenges are substantial but it is vital that we overcome them. It will take into account the very valuable suggestions in the three important reports before us today, which I know are the outcome of long hours of negotiation. In the weeks and months to come we will continue to work closely with Parliament and the Council in this area.
There are no easy solutions, no simple answers to such complex issues. First of all, I think that the Commission could react. Fiscal capacity for the euro area has been on the table for two years now and then the Commission comes and says that they have to examine it. But that is another point. I have heard three fundamental criticisms. The first is that this is too institutional, then that you are creating more — and a bigger — Europe and people do not want that, and that it is too visionary.
Those are the three criticisms that I have heard this morning. Firstly, on institutions, it is not the case that we produce a report on institutions because we like institutions and want to create them. No, we do this because they are the only way to tackle the problems we are facing today. We have been talking about, for example, cleaning up the banks. You need funds to clean up these banks at the European level. On refugee flows, you need a border and coast guard to tackle that problem. In the future, on terrorist threats, you will need an investigation and intelligence capacity at European level.
So we are pleading for a number of institutional reforms, not because we like institutions, but because this is the only way to tackle at a European level the challenges we are facing today. The second thing is that this is only a bigger Europe. No, in the report it is about a smaller Commission, and less regulation but more policies — that is what we need — and also social policies and tax policies.
And then, finally, it is too visionary. Well I think that in Europe we need a vision and a project again. It is only when we show the way forward and a vision for the future, rather than just concentrating on day-to-day politics, that people and citizens can again be converted to the new European ideals.
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For the rest, I am very encouraged that a big majority of the House has supported the report instead of the extremes on the left and the right. Aber jetzt zur Debatte selbst. Sie hatte mindestens so viel Arbeit an diesem Bericht wie ich. Ich glaube, das sollte deutlich zum Ausdruck kommen und ich hoffe, dass sie bald wieder hier sein kann, um mit uns zusammenzuarbeiten. Wir brauchen auch einen fairen Wettbewerb, einen Wettbewerb in der Steuerpolitik. Wir haben ein Europa der mehreren Geschwindigkeiten. Und in der Eurozone brauchen wir ein Instrument, das diese Zone wetterfest macht.
Auch da gibt es manchmal einen gewissen Nachholbedarf. Lorenzo Cesa PPE , per iscritto. Nessun nuovo strumento e nessuna ulteriore sovrastruttura sono necessari per un cambio di passo della nostra Europa. Dobbiamo saper rispondere alle emergenze economiche finanziarie, migratorie e di sicurezza. Questo il senso delle tre relazioni che ci accingiamo convintamente a sostenere. Europa luta i nema odgovor. Unia bezpieczna to Unia zjednoczona w walce z terroryzmem i radykalizmem. Eva Maydell PPE , in writing.
Back then, the founding fathers had a vision for a united Europe and they believed in it with all their being. Today, Europe faces more challenges than ever before. This is why it is very important to remember the legacy of Rome and shape our new vision for the European Union. This discussion should not only be in the corridors of the EU Institutions; we need to get on the ground and listen to the people — the majority of them wants European-wide solutions for the challenges we face nationally.
The resolutions for the future of Europe are a good base to start this discussion, yet they outline solutions only to the problems we have today. We have to be visionaries and define what the problems of the future are, then provide a safety net. The fundamental problem facing the eurozone is not its design, though this needs to be considered; it is the lack of a political will to accept that the growing divergences within the eurozone have to be first of all recognised and corrected through a new political agreement.
Eurozone rules automatically advantage the stronger members to the detriment of the weaker. Such a situation can only be corrected though political action, not through the addition of new rules to the system. Though technically insightful, the budgetary capacity additions being proposed will indeed serve to enhance divergences, not reduce them, in the absence of a new political agreement. Unfortunately, the current exercise amounts to one in which the cart is being put before the horse. I cannot support it. Avoiding the traps of easy solutions professed by radicals on right and left, and building on the strength of our open economy and multi-level democracy, we must fix what is not working, and push forward for stronger and bolder policies and swifter decision-making processes.
The Union is the best vehicle our continent has devised in order to be able to shape our economic, social and environmental, and security situation in the world, but it is not perfect: it can and it should be improved. As we prepare to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, I count on Austria to play a key role towards delivering a stronger and more effective Europe.
Thank you, Mr President, for giving me this opportunity to talk to you. It was, and is, important for me to give my first speech outside the borders of Austria here at the European Parliament. I thought it would be a good signal, and I am happy to see that the signal got across. I am addressing you, but I am also addressing the million citizens of Europe, so I will switch between addressing you directly and talking to the people of Europe. Now let me continue in German. Seine Familie, also seine Vorfahren, waren im Ich — ich lasse jetzt die ganze Geschichte des Jahrhunderts weg — bin in Wien geboren und in einem Dorf in den Tiroler Bergen aufgewachsen.
Und deswegen spreche ich ungern von einem Dialekt. Leider ist es dieser Tage notwendig, sich hin und wieder daran zu erinnern. Im Gegenteil, meine ich: Es bedingt einander, wir bedingen einander, wir brauchen einander. Im Gegenteil: Man schafft neue. Man schafft neue. Jahrhunderts — Erfahrungen, aus denen wir unsere Lehren gezogen haben oder zumindest haben sollten. Glauben wir das, oder glauben wir das nicht? In wenigen Tagen feiern wir den Geburtstag unserer heutigen Union. Wir haben diesen Frieden in Europa aus purer Einsicht — aus purer Einsicht — hergestellt durch Kooperation und gegenseitigen Respekt.
Ich komme jetzt zu einem wichtigen Punkt, den man im Deutschen den Kampf gegen die Verzwergung nennt. Wenn wir auf diese einfache Wahrheit vergessen, setzen wir vieles, wenn nicht alles, aufs Spiel, was dieses westliche Europa ausmacht. Dieses Gold tauscht er gegen ein Pferd, das gegen eine Kuh, gegen eine Ziege, gegen ein Huhn und so weiter. Zum Schluss endet er mit einem schlichten Stein. Jetzt kann man sagen: Das ist nicht sehr klug von ihm. Das erinnert mich an Auseinandersetzungen mit Microsoft, neuerdings mit Apple und anderen Firmen, die ich in keiner Weise kritisiere.
Meine Damen und Herren! Ich glaube es einfach, dass diese Entwicklung der letzten 50, 60, 70 Jahre insgesamt gesehen dieses Vorbild sein kann. So wird dieses Europa bestehen. Lassen wir uns also unsere Zuversicht nicht nehmen. Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude with a somewhat sentimental anecdote. Believe it or not, reading that it suddenly came to my mind: these are the stars of the European flag.
Thank you for your attention. This is a good start. In the next year, the European Parliament and your country will cooperate to make a better Europe and to do good work for European citizens. Daniel Caspary PPE. This proposal that was handed in has just been dropped. I ask you to do what the Rules of Procedure ask you to do: please make sure that this request is immediately handed to the Conference of Presidents. It is Members. Prego onorevole. The Ukrainian service is about to be closed, as are the Arabic and Farsi satellite platforms, so that only the digital platforms will stay, which are of course prone to government control.
What is going on with Euronews is outrageous, with an Egyptian billionaire as the main shareholder, American NBC taking editorial control and the EU, which is putting in money through the Commission, not having a say in guaranteeing the editorial independence of Euronews. This is a very important strategic question for Europe in the age of information, disinformation and alternative facts. This is not a matter to be dealt with only by DG Connect from a technical or financial perspective, but is a matter that requires strategic intervention by President Juncker, High Representative Mogherini and the European Parliament through the President and the relevant committees.
Per i risultati delle votazioni e altri dettagli che le riguardano: vedasi processo verbale. Norbert Neuser, rapporteur. Gli emendamenti orali sui paragrafi 5 e 79 sono accolti. Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, ponente. Ha sido un verdadero privilegio trabajar juntos para cumplir nuestro mandato. Y yo les dedico el voto. Monica Macovei ECR. Ha az L. Il bene pubblico europeo e gli interessi finanziari dell'Unione hanno bisogno di altre garanzie, garanzie europee.
Lasciare gli informatori in balia del sistema nazionale di riferimento vuol dire di fatto scoraggiare la collaborazione. La paura di ritorsione costituisce il primo deterrente. Ecco allora dove e come incidere ancora. In fact I personally know a whistle—blower who has lost his livelihood through exposing a scheme where there is significant over—claiming of VAT under the EU flat—rate VAT scheme in Ireland.
We know that this has been happening in the poultry sector — or part of it — for over 10 years and of course a relevant question now is whether there is any similar scheme in other sectors. On foot of a complaint made by the whistle—blower and myself to the Commission, Ireland has amended its legislation to allow the Minister for Finance to stop this practice. However, it is quite clear that there is significant foot-dragging in dealing with this issue.
This means that those who are benefiting from over—claiming VAT will continue to do so, while those who do not overclaim VAT will be at a hugely significant competitive disadvantage, both in the poultry sector and in other sectors — beef, lamb, pigs, etc. I believe there is a golden circle in certain agricultural sectors where some over—claim flat—rate VAT to the detriment of other farmers and processors who are outside that circle. In fact I am referring the case to Commissioner Vestager to investigate whether this is a case of illegal state aid.
But this Parliament is standing up for citizens. We want them to reveal information of public importance about corruption or illegal activity by the state or private corporations. Today Parliament expresses our solidarity with all whistle—blowers and our impatience for an EU-wide law to protect all those who share information in the public interest. Urszula Krupa ECR. Jednak sprawozdanie wykracza poza kompetencje Unii Europejskiej.
L'Europa dovrebbe accelerare la realizzazione di linee guida a livello europeo su questa problematica. Da donna tarantina, che dal primo momento ha partecipato alla battaglia con il comitato, non posso che votare a favore. Preto som hlasoval proti tomuto uzneseniu. Statusu Kobiet. Marek Jurek ECR. La seduta, sospesa alle Ian Borg, President-in-Office of the Council. Let me start by saying a few words on the process.
Basically, in line with the EU provisions on adjustment programmes, the institutions — that is the Commission, in liaison with the ECB, ESM and IMF — are entrusted with the negotiation of a programme and the policy conditionality with the authorities. They are also responsible for the monitoring of programme implementation. The Eurogroup is regularly informed of the state of play of the adjustment programme by the institutions and the authorities.
On occasion, the Eurogroup provides political guidance on open issues, and the state of play of the Greek programme is on the agenda of the next Eurogroup meeting on 20 February. The Council, however, does not intervene in adjustment programmes. I can hence confirm that it has not discussed the issue at hand, neither in January nor at earlier meetings, and therefore I guess that Vice-President Dombrovskis is much better placed to provide you with information on the subject than I am.
Therefore I thank you very much for giving me the floor in order to intervene at the beginning of this item on your agenda. Significant structural changes are being made across all areas of the economy. Importantly too, implementation is taking place with the establishment of the independent revenue agency and the operationalisation of the new privatisation and investment fund, to name just two examples of big undertakings. Economic data now point to several positive points. Growth returned in the second half of the past year and is gathering pace.
Indeed Greece has outperformed expectations in terms of GDP growth for and is expected to grow strongly this year by 2. Unemployment also continues to decrease, though absolute levels remain unacceptably high, so this is one challenge that must be closely monitored and addressed. As regards fiscal developments, in Greece is estimated to substantially surpass its primary surplus target of 0. Consequently, Greece is also on track to meet its fiscal target primary surplus of 1. This represents strong progress and shows that Greece has come a long way.
The completion of the second programme review is at a critical stage and must proceed without undue delay in order to underpin the progress we have seen in the last 18 months. A staff level agreement should be within reach provided that all partners work actively towards bridging the remaining gaps. Implementation of the structural reforms has also progressed well over the past months and many actions required for the completion of the second review are close to adoption. In November and December the Greek authorities passed several important pieces of legislation through Parliament and the technical work necessary for the finalisation of the remaining elements has continued.
At the same time, there is no room for complacency. As we all know, implementation has been the Achilles heel of the Greek programmes. The authorities have to work hard on the measures to be implemented by the second review and avoid backtracking on politically difficult issues. Ensuring good governance is also key, especially to ensure the efficient functioning of the Greek state, but I have to note that we have seen consistency from the authorities under the ESM programme and a lot of progress has been made since the August agreement.
I would highlight that, since its inception, the Greek authorities have made nearly measures and sub-measures to comply with the reform commitments. This effort needs to be recognised. Our structural reform support service has furthermore provided technical support in the design and implementation of many of these reforms, for example, in the areas of public administration, renewable energy, privatisation, revenue administration, bank governance and others.
In general, cooperation with the Greek authorities has been constructive. With this in mind, it is crucial that all partners now live up to that commitments so that an overall policy package can be reached as soon as possible. This is not the time to call our resolve into question or jeopardise the positive economic signals but to underpin confidence and help jobs, growth and investment to return to Greece. The overall package should encompass programme conditionality, including with a view to the IMF coming on board with an arrangement, but also reflections on the post—programme fiscal path.
We will continue to work constructively and urge our partners to do the same. These measures are essential and contribute significantly to contain growth financing needs and smooth the Greek debt obligation over the maturity horizon, but they are part of the broader package agreed in May whose further elaboration we will continue to support in line with the agreement reached.
To conclude, the Commission will continue to work actively and constructively to ensure that the second review is concluded as soon as possible and that a balanced agreement is reached. It is important that all parties involved show political will. By keeping the programme on track, we will help to build on the current economic recovery in Greece, allowing it to return to sustainable growth and job creation. Sie haben gute Zahlen vorgetragen. Sie haben eine gute Bilanz vorgetragen.
Unsere Fraktion ist allerdings besorgt. Denn wenn wir positive Ergebnisse haben, wenn wir auf einem guten Weg sind — jedenfalls auf einem besseren, als wir lange Zeit waren —, warum haben wir dann wieder Stimmen in den Mitgliedstaaten, die von einem bevorstehenden Grexit sprechen? Was konkret steht dem im Wege, das am Februar vorzunehmen? Wir hatten vor vier Jahren eben eine ganz andere Situation.
Wir hatten vor zwei Jahren eine ganz andere Situation. Je voudrais donc faire plusieurs remarques. Jetzt geht es endlich nach vorne. Ich bin dankbar, dass die Kommission hier viel nuanciertere Worte gefunden hat. Gleichzeitig werden von Griechenland Reformen abverlangt; das ist auch richtig. Aber welche Reformen? Und gleichzeitig soll das Rentensystem umgebaut werden, obwohl es nach wie vor keine Grundsicherung in Griechenland gibt, die im Memorandum aber vorgesehen war.
Well the eurozone is rather like that. Whatever the pain, whatever the anguish, whatever the hardship, whatever the austerity imposed on the Greek people, Greece is never going to be permitted to leave the eurozone. But the inconvenient truth is that Greece is wholly unable to pay its debts. Whatever the International Monetary Fund may or may not say, whatever the posturing of the Commission and the Council — which, sadly, we heard earlier — Greece cannot pay its debts, and what should happen is that the lenders must admit and accept that the money they have lent to Greece simply will not be paid back.
In consequence, the lenders must forgive some or all of these loans. But unfortunately, there is absolutely no sign of this happening. It is not often that I agree with a Marxist. First of all, not one cent of one euro in the bail-out packages went to the Greek people.
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The money all went to the lenders. And secondly, the Troika was, and is, playing a game — a comedy, a masquerade — with the Greek Government and the Greek people, but this is very much for real. Greece has defaulted on its debts at least seven times since it became an independent country. When lenders lend to Greece, they cannot expect their loans to be bailed out as of right, and certainly not at the expense of the well-being of the Greek people and the Greek economy.
You shall not crucify them upon the cross of the euro. Laut der gestern vorliegenden Winterprognose der Kommission sind die Konjunkturaussichten in Griechenland gut. Das ist aber das wenig Gute, was aktuell zu sagen ist. Schuldenschnitt macht sich aber nicht gut, wenn in Deutschland und in den Niederlanden Wahlen bevorstehen. Eine richtige Meinung, finde ich. Wir debattieren nun zum wiederholten Male zu Griechenland.
Viele Kollegen im Saal werden mir sicherlich zustimmen, dass wir immer wieder auf das gleiche Problem zu sprechen kommen: den fehlenden Fortschritt in der Umsetzung der Reformagenda. Das muss endlich ein Ende haben. Also, ich traue mir eine Menge zu. Aber so viele Fragen in 30 Sekunden zu beantworten, das schaffe selbst ich nicht, lieber Kollege Papadimoulis. Denn in der Tat gibt es gerade bei den Steuerthemen auch viel Ungerechtigkeit in Ihrem Land, und das muss angegangen werden. Das ist die eine Seite des Angebots. Im vierten Quartal ist das Wachstum wieder negativ gewesen.
En ese escenario, yo creo que E con quali risultati? Mara Bizzotto ENF. Paesi massacrati da una moneta sbagliata, l'euro, che ha arricchito pochissime persone, impoverendo la stragrande maggioranza dei cittadini europei. Io, noi lo diciamo da anni. Oggi sono in tanti a darci ragione in Europa e fuori dall'Europa. Uno degli artefici del disastro euro fu Romano Prodi, un personaggio odiato dal popolo italiano, ma molto amato a Bruxelles e a Berlino. Fu lui, quando era Presidente della Commissione UE, a piegarsi ai diktat tedeschi, fu Prodi ad approvare il cambio assassino tra lira ed euro.
I costi umani e sociali, dopo quindici anni di moneta unica, sono altissimi. Usciamo dall'euro per fermare questa carneficina sociale targata Europa. Torniamo padroni della nostra moneta e torneremo finalmente a creare lavoro e speranza per la nostra gente. Next week, the Eurogroup and creditor institutions must take a significant decision in the general interest of Greece and of the whole eurozone.
We expect a swift, positive conclusion of the second review, taking into account the encouraging results that you are seeing in the Greek economy and also the very challenging global, political and economic context, which requires that Europe shows resilience and unity. As Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis pointed out, thanks to the implementation of the programme, Greece is outperforming its targets, including in the primary surplus. These positive results should not be jeopardised on the basis of dogmatic and short-sighted positions or internal politics.
We are not interested in internal politics. We are interested in the future of the Greek people and of Europe. It is now time for all parties to enhance their efforts and to go one step further. The Greek Government should continue its reforms, including effective labour market reform in line with EU best practices, and speed up their implementation, safeguarding the agreed targets after , including through a possible contingency mechanism. Furthermore, debt relief measures must be better defined, recognising that the primary surplus of 3.
There is no room for further delay, and this Parliament will not accept jeopardising the integrity of the euro area and the future of the Greek people. Setzen wir dem endlich ein Ende! Lassen wir die Griechen aus dem Euro heraus, befreien wir Griechenland und die Griechen von ihren Schulden: Man nennt das Staatsinsolvenz. Das ist ein Desaster. Den Menschen geht es schlecht. Aber der Grund ist der Euro.
Jeder schiebt die Schuld dem anderen zu: Das kann so nicht sein, das ist absolut untragbar. Aber nur ohne den Euro bleibt das auch so. Griechenland muss aus dem Euro austreten. Sie sind sowieso weg, wir werden das Geld nie wiedersehen. Genau das wollte ich. Nicolas Bay ENF. Sinds is de Griekse economie met ongeveer 25 procent gekrompen, net als het welvaartsniveau. Privatisering heeft veel minder opgeleverd dan eigenlijk gepland was. En er zijn bedrijven waar het loonniveau met meer dan 40 procent is gedaald.
En ja, er zijn nieuwe cijfers die hoopvol stemmen, maar er is ook onzekerheid over de uitbetaling van de nieuwe noodlening en dat komt deels door de oproep van de trojka voor een verdere flexibilisering van de arbeidsmarkt, zoals gemakkelijker collectief ontslag en het decentraliseren van cao-onderhandelingen. Collectief ontslag gemakkelijker maken bij een werkloosheid van 23 procent lijkt mij onzinnig, maar het verbieden van cao—onderhandelingen tussen sociale partners over minimumlonen is onacceptabel. Ik zeg ja, we moeten goede afspraken maken, maar het is schandalig als we afspraken proberen te maken met Griekenland die indruisen tegen het Europees Sociaal Handvest of bestaande ILO-conventies.
Zeker in tijden waarin er enorme behoefte is aan waardegedreven politiek in plaats van waardevrije feiten, moeten we duidelijk zijn dat er over geld te onderhandelen valt, maar niet over onze Europese waarden. Maar ik vond het vanuit mijn positie ook belangrijk om te zeggen: ook al moeten er afspraken gemaakt worden met de Grieken en de Griekse regering, geen afspraken die indruisen tegen sociale basisrechten zoals wij die in Europa kennen en waar ik trots op ben. Ik ben trots op het Europees Sociaal Handvest. Peter van Dalen ECR. Hij bedraagt nu procent van het bruto nationaal product.
En hij gaat straks naar meer dan procent van het bruto nationaal product. De Griekse schuld, dat heeft het IMF duidelijk gezegd, is onhoudbaar. Het beleid van pappen en nat houden dat tot nu toe gevoerd is, werkt dus niet. Ik begrijp dus de heer Dijsselbloem volkomen. Ik zou hier ook niet durven te verschijnen om dat beleid nog te verdedigen.
Wat is nodig voor Griekenland? Een echt sociaal beleid. Het sociale beleid van Griekenland omvat een exit uit de eurozone. Want met hun eigen drachme kunnen ze na devaluatie weer economisch groeien. Twee, een echt sociaal beleid voor Griekenland betekent schuldafschrijving. En een echt sociaal beleid voor Griekenland betekent in de EU blijven want dan kunnen ze van de EU-fondsen blijven profiteren. Dat is de oplossing. Firstly, I want to say that the people of Greece deserve our respect and our solidarity. I listened to other colleagues telling the Greek people that they should leave the eurozone, that they should leave Europe, giving them advice.
We should listen to the people of Greece and, as I understand it, despite the differences that exist between the political parties in Greece, the great majority of Greek people want to remain in the eurozone and in Europe — and they need our support. They are the people we should listen to rather than the ideology on either side of me here.
Yes, we can do more, and yes, the Greek Government needs to do more. There is a future for the Greek economy in the eurozone. Having come through the crisis of the last seven years, it is important that we resolve this outstanding issue before June so that there is some certainty for the Greek people as they come to the next phase of implementation.
I am sick and tired of hearing that there has been no change in EU policy: there has been change in maturities, and on interest rate policy. There has been no change from the International Monetary Fund over the course of the past seven years. Had they shown the same flexibility that we in the eurozone have shown, Greece would be in a better place now. The issue in my opinion is much broader. It is a European problem based on the structure of the euro area.
Everybody admits that; still nobody takes the responsibility to say that clearly and nobody seems to have the stamina or the capacity to try at least to reform it. The discussion this morning on the future of Europe proves to me that the unemployed will remain at the same status in years to come. Talking for Greece, and I end with that, the only solution is the radical debt haircut. There is no other solution. The question raised by Mr Bullmann and reiterated by several other colleagues is this: what exactly prevents us from doing so right now?
I would say that there are some elements. First, agreement is clearly within reach, so if all sides make the final push, we can do it in a short time. On the fiscal pass: as I said, Greece has overperformed on the fiscal targets and is on track to meet the target of 1. A small gap remains as regards reaching a 3. On structural reform implementation, once again substantial progress has been made. There are some outstanding issues, but certainly with a push from the Greek authorities, those can be closed very quickly.
So we are also working to bridge that gap, but once again, if there is a push and a constructive attitude from all sides, it is certainly doable.
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With the current state of affairs with the Greek economy finally recovering, and with quite a strong rebound expected in the economy this year, it would be a shame now not to make this final push and keep the programme on track. So the Commission will continue to work to ensure that the programme is on track, that we reach an agreement, and that we can ensure that the Greek economy is finally returning to sustainable economic growth and job creation.
El presidente. Let me stress from the outset that all the European Union institutions are focusing constantly on the situation in Ukraine. Presidents Juncker and Tusk met last week with Prime Minister Groysman and Commissioner Stylianides will travel next week to the eastern part of the country. Ukraine remains at the top of our agenda, because the illegal annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine challenge the foundations of our international system and the security of our continent.
But also and foremost because we must urgently stop the suffering of our Ukrainian friends. The deaths of innocent civilians trapped in a conflict area are unacceptable. And the upsurge in fighting in the Avdiivka area has claimed the lives of numerous people on both sides. Hundreds of civilians have been forced to leave their homes. Critical infrastructure ensuring the delivery of water, electricity, heating and gas has been affected and many civilian homes have been damaged. The dire humanitarian situation has been worsened by the current harsh winter conditions.
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Today, the level of fighting has decreased somewhat. The citizens and the authorities of Ukraine have mobilised, together with humanitarian actors. This has helped prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. Tens of thousands have been injured and over 3. Next week Commissioner Stylianides will travel close to the contact line and deliver a strong message of European support to the local population. We should all put pressure on all the relevant actors to respect the ceasefire, grant access for humanitarian actors to the areas not under the control of the Government and ensure the free movement of people and goods across the contact line.
They have our constant and full support, along with our support to the efforts undertaken within the Normandy four format. After two-and-a-half years we still see that the Minsk Agreements have not been fully implemented. There are still many hostages and illegally detained persons awaiting release.
A reverse positive trend is needed. The granting of full, safe and unhindered access for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and then ensuring full humanitarian access in accordance with international humanitarian principles must be a priority. We have said this and will continue to underline it.
Russia bears a direct responsibility in helping to achieve a solution to the crisis. We will continue to call on Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet the Minsk-related commitments in full. We also remain deeply concerned about information on the presence of Russian military equipment and personnel in separatist held areas.
We do not see sanctions as an objective but as a tool. We have repeated time and again that when the Minsk Agreements are fully implemented the related sanctions will be removed. This also means that as long as the agreements are not implemented the sanctions will remain in place. Consequently, the High Representative also discussed with her American interlocutors how to best support the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. The European Union stands ready to step up its support for the implementation and we have increased our financial and technical support to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.
We are preparing a substantial new programme for government controlled areas near the contact line and we want to support economic development, social cohesion and job creation. This will be followed up in the financial assistance programme to prepare the ground for larger reconstruction efforts once the conditions allow for them. At the same time we consider the new government action plan for citizens in non-government-controlled areas as a major step forward.
The people of Ukraine need the European Union to be at their side to help end the conflict, of course, but also to show that a better country is already in the making with tangible improvements, better services and a better and brighter future for all of Ukraine. Therefore, we have a vital interest in stopping Putin before he moves on to other countries in Europe.
Without them, our policies would lose all credibility and efficiency. If Russian aggression escalates we should prolong and further increase them. We think that only the full implementation of the Minsk agreements can settle this conflict. We had Minsk 1, Minsk 2 and all the attempts under the Normandy format, with the support of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, yet, after years and thousands of casualties, we are still seeing regular violations of the ceasefire and very little progress.
We urge both sides — Ukraine and the so-called separatists — immediately and once and for all, to respect the ceasefire. We hope Russia will finally show a sense of responsibility and exercise its influence over the separatists to make them respect the Minsk agreement. We call for the humanitarian crisis in the contact area to be addressed, for heavy weapons to be withdrawn immediately and for all prisoners to be handed over.
Ukraine must regain full control over its territory and its borders, and the OSCE monitors must be allowed throughout the territory. This will permit decentralisation finally to take place, as well as the official elections in eastern Ukraine that were provided for by the Minsk agreement. Despite our efforts, the Putin regime tends to continue its vicious game.
The situation both in Crimea and the eastern part tends to deteriorate. Russia is still occupying parts of eastern Ukraine and it still has the Crimea annexed and it is speeding up its military intervention in the east of Ukraine. So unfortunately, what is new? Can we accept it? We have sanctions, they should be continued, but it is also possible that if Russia goes on in this way we will increase the sanctions and have more smart sanctions against Russia.
Russia is active not only in Ukraine, as we know, but also in Georgia. It is active in a cyber way in the Baltic States, so this is the Russian policy. Happily, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, the new Ambassador, was quite strong in her condemnation when she was inaugurated in the Security Council. This policy by Russia is wrong and it should be redressed. Secondly, we need the Association Agreement and I am happy that the Dutch Government recently tabled again the introductory bill for the Association Agreement in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament and after that it will be sent to the Senate.
So I hope that this will be completed in the foreseeable future, which means maybe two or three months. We need this Association Agreement. And again, we have to be tough because Russia has to know that there is no alternative for it but to withdraw from Ukraine, to give up Crimea and to engage with us in a normal way, and I hope that the United States is at our side. So I hope that representatives of Parliament, of the Commission, of the Council will also visit Washington DC because this cooperation is, I think, vital. We are getting many signs and signals from Washington.
Let us see what the real signal is. I hope that it is that of the Ambassador to the United Nations. Diese freiwillige Arbeit, diese freiwillig gesuchte Front, die wird eben trotz Krieg und Besatzung durch Russland geleistet. Diese Menschen sind tot, weil Wladimir Putin die Ukraine aus dem postsowjetischen, oder soll ich sagen neosowjetischen Macht- und Einflussraum nicht entlassen will. Awdijiwka ist der Name einer kleinen Stadt, den viele von Ihnen ja noch gar nicht kannten.
Es war Romano Prodi, der sich auf eine besonders schrille Art in diesen Chor eingemischt hat. Er hat aufgefordert: Lasst uns Trump zuvorkommen und die Sanktionen gegen Russland streichen. Minsk sollte die Abwesenheit von Krieg erreichen. Also eine ehrliche Bilanz von Minsk ist das, was wir den Ukrainern schuldig sind.
Denglisch and the natives. - Language lab: English ⇔ German Forums - uketerinucuz.tk
Nous sommes dans le collapse politique, les scandales de corruption. La primera: usted reclama que los oradores, los miembros cumplan su tiempo; usted se ha excedido de su tiempo en cuarenta segundos. Let us call things as they are. The escalation in fighting would not be possible without the military support and strategic direction that Russia provides. This is evident. Ukrainians have reacted to this difficult period with exceptional dignity, courage and devotion to their national values.
I salute them for it and welcome the fact that the government in Kiev continues to press forward with the necessary reforms, despite this very fragile security situation. We remain united in our response to Russian action in this country. This means the EU will maintain sanctions against Russia until there is a full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
Immer und immer wieder stellen wir das Gleiche fest: Russland hat internationales Recht gebrochen. Wo sind unsere Initiativen, etwas mehr zu tun, damit Minsk vielleicht verwirklicht werden kann? Charles Tannock ECR. Sadly, the populists now seek common ground and accommodation with President Putin, who shares, for very different reasons, their same animosity and is only too pleased to exploit it, as we now see from what is going on in the French elections.
The EU must therefore remain united in its position and its resolve that Ukraine — now, I am glad to say, growing well economically under the EU Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade agreement — cannot become a precedent for territorial annexation with impunity, and of course the Minsk agreements must be fully implemented. Ir taip daryti tol, kol agresorius nebus nuramintas. The more we hesitate the further Russia goes; that is new. I want to congratulate the European External Action Service, our diplomacy, who said, by the mouth of our ambassador Mr Mingarelli in Kiev today, that it is not a civil war; it is external aggression.
It is necessary to leave the harmful fiction of separatists and civil war. Conclusions should be drawn. Second, there is a false perception of Minsk, where Russia is not party to the peace process but an aggressor. And Ukraine is a victim, that should be made clear. We need a revision of the Minsk paradigm that should lead to the following actions in seven points. Stop futile appeals to Russia to influence their militants under their command. Demand Russia to stop the invasion and occupation and withdraw from Ukraine. Russia should abstain from participating and voting in the UN Security Council, where it is party to aggression.
We should review the approach so far by the Normandy format. Five, we should return to the Geneva format with the EU as such and America. We should revive the spirit, if not the letter, of the Budapest Memorandum on security guarantees. Odgovor Unije, tj. Insofern werde ich sie Ihnen nicht geben. Un tas nav labi mums visiem. Renewed attacks by Russian regular and proxy troops against the Ukrainian military and civilians in the Avdiivka region have cost many human lives, caused significant material damage and represent yet another blatant violation of the Minsk Agreements.
Secondly, we should call on the European Council to prolong the existing sanctions on Russia and to consider their further extension and widening in order to show that there can be no tolerance for aggression for war in Europe. Michael Gahler PPE. Was sollten wir jetzt tun? Die Ukraine hat ihren Teil erledigt. Die sind alle bekannt, und entsprechend sollten wir sie auf die Sanktionsliste nehmen. Tunne Kelam PPE. Our resolve, unity and ability to resist such a disruptive policy is crucial to stabilise the situation. We ask Russia to fulfil the Minsk Agreements.
The Kremlin is also following the current debate here. If our message is hesitant, and if we are even unable to agree on a firm resolution, it will send a signal that the sanctions are more of a problem for the EU than they are for Russia. Our task is the opposite. The current crisis is an additional argument not just to continue with the sanctions, but to expand them further. By the way, if we are serious about Minsk, let us follow the advice of Russian democrats. If we clamp down decisively on the bank accounts of Putin and his proxies in western banks and freeze their dirty and bloody money, tangible results will be forthcoming.
The most recent case is in Adviivka, where thousands of people have been left in the cold, without water, electricity or heating, many killed and injured. I had an opportunity to visit refugee camps in Ukraine, I have seen what it is about. Ukrainian leaders have appealed to the democratic world, asking for help to stop the aggression and to provide humanitarian assistance.
The Russian war in Ukraine and against Ukraine, what Russian regular and proxy troops are doing there, is a war crime. We should achieve that a permanent international observation mission works in eastern Ukraine; OSCE offices should be established in Donetsk and Luhansk. It is necessary not only to prolong but also to increase political pressure on Russia for their malevolent violation of the Minsk Agreements and sanctions should remain in place until Russia ceases its invasion in the east of Ukraine and withdraws from Crimea.
I think we should remember that Ukraine is a litmus test for our Union and our unity. Twenty-one people have been killed and wounded in only the last two weeks. Thousands are in need of aid, and access for humanitarian convoys and OSCE observers is still hampered by Russian-backed rebels. With the new US administration, we are at the crossroads. It is our moment of truth. Europe should not let down the people of Ukraine. We must stand strong and united with Ukraine, intensify political and economic support for the association agreements pending their adoption by the Netherlands, for free trade and the reform process, for granting visa-free travel and for denouncing fake news, and we must stand firm behind an extension of the sanctions until the Minsk agreement has been fully implemented and Crimea has been returned to Ukraine.
Pero los ucranianos necesitan mirar al cielo y respirar. It is not effective, and we all know that. I fully support the view that we, with the whole European Union, need to raise our profile and our role in the peace process, and in the process of rebuilding eastern Ukraine. We should give this part of Ukraine a real plan to restore the region and show them that they can count on the European Union as the best solution and best friend. To do that, we need proper information.
Europe is full of Russian fake news about Ukraine, but only yesterday we heard that Euronews is planning to withdraw its correspondent in Ukraine, so we will not have even that meagre information. One world leader wants to make his country great again. Yet another one wants to make a country big enough at the expense of territories of others. And he is not really limited in his actions. But, colleagues, the chief of command is sitting in the Kremlin and continues to play according to his aims.
With this in mind, I call yet again on the European Union to consider deployment of the fully-fledged Common Security and Defence Policy CSDP mission in the east of Ukraine as an important instrument for preventing the aggression. I think we should give our full support — political, and by all instruments — to Ukrainians.
They deserve it. Manca solo il boia, mi verrebbe da dire. Taas kord kannatasid tsiviilelanikud ja purustati infrastruktuur. Behalve dat er vele burgerslachtoffers zijn gevallen, zitten momenteel tienduizenden huishoudens in het dorpje Avdiivka zonder elektriciteit, stromend water en verwarming, en dat terwijl de temperatuur ver onder het vriespunt ligt. De Russische agressie vormt een terugkerende belemmering in de uitvoering van vredesakkoord Minsk II. Het is nu aan de Europese regeringsleiders om hierin een proactieve houding aan te nemen en te blijven wijzen op de akkoorden.
Dat betekent tevens dat er niet gesproken kan worden over het opheffen van de sancties tegen Rusland, zolang het land zich niet aan het Minsk II-akkoord houdt. De zware wapens en troepen moeten worden weggehaald van de frontlijn en humanitaire hulp mag niet langer belemmerd worden. We can reiterate again and again in Brussels that we condemn, and that we are concerned and so on, but unless we through personal connections and influence and pure will push it forward, then there will be no change.
If there is no change, the situation will deteriorate until the Russian threat has reached the very heart of the European Union. Thank you for focusing your attention once again on the situation in the West Bank and particularly on settlements. We still believe that the only possible solution is the two-state solution, and we still believe that the current settlement policy, including the regularisation law, threatens the viability of the two states. We still believe in what the Middle East Quartet wrote last summer, that the two-state solution is in great danger, and urgent action is needed to stop and reverse the current trends.
The Quartet identified three major threats against the viability of the two states. First, continued settlement expansion, demolitions and the denial of Palestinian development. Second, violence and incitement to violence which inflict terrible suffering and deepen the mistrust between the communities, and third, the dire situation in Gaza, the continued militant activity and the lack of Palestinian unity.
It is very clear that the situation is not improving and on some issues it is deteriorating. Consistent with this position, at the beginning of February we condemned the new Israeli settlement announcements and the adoption of the regularisation law by the Knesset. With this new law, the Israeli Parliament has legislated on the legal status of land within the occupied Palestinian Territory, which is an issue that remains beyond its jurisdiction. Should it be implemented, the law would further entrench a one-state reality, a reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation and conflict.
For these reasons, the High Representative has called on Israel to refrain from implementing the law. She told him that the European Union will continue to work with the two parties, but also with international and regional partners, on the two-state solution.
This is the only way to end the conflict and move the peace process forward. In fact, as we face such a difficult situation on the ground, it is essential to preserve international unity both on the fundamental coordinates of the two-state solution and on the way to get there. International unity has led the UN Security Council Resolution last December, which condemned the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory and reaffirmed that the lines can only be modified through an agreement between the parties.
Resolution also condemned all acts of incitement, violence and terror and called on both sides to take steps to advance the two-state solution on the ground in line with the recommendations of the Quartet report. Just days ago, High Representative Mogherini headed to the United States for a first round of meetings with the new administration. With all of them the High Representative stressed that the Quartet report must continue to be the bedrock of international action concerning the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
She also stressed very clearly, in line with the messages conveyed also by leaders from the region, that any move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem could have a very negative and destabilising impact in the entire Middle East at a time when the region needs all the stability it can get. She confirmed that the European Union stands by the international consensus on Jerusalem embodied in United Nations Security Council Resolution of It is clear that the new US administration is still in the process of defining its foreign policy.
We have a duty then to engage with them on the basis of our values and our interests, working to preserve international unity and to avoid any inflammatory moves. The situation in the region is incredibly delicate and fragile. A peaceful solution to this conflict, or even progress in that direction, could set a whole new paradigm for cooperation in the region, including on security.
So our regional partners can play a major role in promoting a solution. The Arab peace initiatives provide key elements for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict, and we hope that we can develop even further the cooperation between the European Union and the Arab League, and between the Quartet and the Arab states. The current lack of a peace process is no excuse for not trying.
There are things that both sides can do today independently of each other that would advance a peaceful two-state reality on the ground. So it is essential to say loud and clear that we do not give up. The European Union and the world do not give up on peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We simply cannot afford for tensions to rise again.
Ensuite, parce que ma conviction profonde est que nous faisons fausse route. Given the unprecedented steps to accelerate settlement construction whilst destruction of EU humanitarian assistance continues unabated, do you not think that holding a meeting in this sort of climate is likely to be perceived by the Israeli Government as supportive of the current status quo? There are things that both sides can do today, independently of one another, that would advance the peaceful two-state reality on the ground.
There is no doubt that we need to communicate with Israel and Palestine. We have to influence the processes and ensure that the Middle East process remains credible for the sake of the whole region. We need to be firm, critical when needed, and, most of all, constructive. So it is essential to say, loud and clear, today that the European Union and the world will not give up on the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The two-state solution, with the state of Israel and the state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security, and mutual recognition of the borders with the mutually agreed land swaps and Jerusalem as a capital of both states, remains the only hope for peace and the cornerstone of our political position and action. This is our priority. On settlement construction, this is a clear violation of international law. This law goes against the vision of a just and lasting peace and against the values of our partnership with Israel.
Daarmee gaat Brussel niet alleen in tegen geldend recht, maar brengt de EU ook nog eens een keer de veiligheid van de Joodse staat in gevaar. The Catalan process for secession, or independence, began in a political sense in , though its root causes are much deeper. Read more: Catalonia's cultural struggle against Madrid goes back centuries. Opinion polls aside, there has never been a majority support for independence in any regional election held since , leading to a questionable legitimacy. The Spanish authorities, the main political parties and the government have repeatedly declared that the separation of a part of Spain from the national territory is illegal.
From and with more intensity from , Catalan institutions embarked on an intense international lobbying campaign to obtain international support and achieve the aim of becoming a new member state of the European Union. These three elements, ambivalent social and political support, a state explicitly hostile to any attempt at separation and a complete absence of international support, have led to the almost complete defeat for Catalan independence.
The capture and imprisonment of Puigdemont symbolically closes this phase. Between and , the Catalan movement for independence displayed extraordinary capacity for mobilisation, managing to bring a million people onto the streets of Barcelona almost every year. The movement was peaceful, optimistic and celebratory, confident that separation from Spain was eminently achievable and imminent.
However, this relentlessly upbeat outlook seemed to prevent recognition of hard political reality. In spite of public statements from a range of international leaders, including the European Union, supporting the continued unity of Spain, the movement told itself that when the time came, recognition for Catalonia was inevitable.
While arguably it had little choice, the EU has backed Spain in the Catalan dispute. One consequence has been a eurosceptic turn within the Catalan independence movement over perceived betrayal by Brussels. The Catalan movement for independence, as well as a number of internal and strategic errors, seriously misjudged the interest and willingness of the EU to countenance the break up of Spain.
Yet, the EU is an alliance of states. The EU has been through repeated crises since and it seems astonishing that the leaders of Catalan independence thought the bloc might be supportive of further disruption. While accommodation might have been made for Scotland, this was because the British state was prepared to accept the separation of 5m Scots from a Britain of almost 65m should they vote for it in a referendum. Read more: Why independence movements in Scotland and elsewhere are tongue-tied over Catalonia. With Spain hostile, any separation of Catalonia could only be highly destabilising, with potential knock on effects in a Europe gradually recovering from the financial crisis.