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Despite the fact that he is no longer certified to work as a medical doctor in the Netherlands having renounced his licence , he was employed as a medical doctor by hospitals across the border in Germany. While Member States are entitled to ask other Member States for background information on professional qualifications of medical personnel, to date there is no obligation to automatically notify other Member States in the event of an annulment of licence to practise or a conviction.
Competent authorities of Member States would be required to notify the competent authorities of all other Member States about persons who have been banned by an authority or a court from exercising their profession. With a view to implementing the new directive, how does the Commission intend to enforce the exchange of information by the competent authorities of the home Member States so as to warn the competent authorities of all the other Member States about persons who have been banned by an authority or a court from exercising their profession?
How will the Commission make sure this information reaches all the other Member States in time? Does the Commission agree that a European central blacklist is needed in which annulments of medical licences and convictions are registered, combined with an automatic system that would prevent those medical professionals whose licence has been annulled from obtaining a new licence in another Member State?
Would the Commission be able and willing to propose the introduction of such a European central blacklist of persons who have been banned by an authority or a court from exercising their profession? Furthermore, does the Commission consider it necessary to oblige Member States to inform each other of pending criminal procedures against medical personnel by exchanging information on pending cases?
The modalities and scope of this cooperation are left to the Member States. In the context of the modernisation of the directive, the Commission has proposed to supplement this general cooperation obligation with a proactive EU-wide alert system, which would also apply to medical doctors. Under this system, the competent authority of a Member State would have to communicate the name of the doctor banned by national courts or authorities from pursuing the professional activity in that Member State to all the other Member States and the Commission.
The proposed alert system would also cover temporary prohibitions. Member States would be required to send the alert within three days from the adoption of the relevant prohibition decision. Furthermore, the proposal does not envisage the drawing up of a European central blacklist of banned professionals. In any event, the general cooperation obligation between Member States would continue to apply. Last December, the Bolivian government decided to expropriate four electricity subsidiaries operated by the Spanish company Iberdrola. Spanish, Argentinian and American shareholders were among those affected by the takeover.
The subsidiary companies in question provided a public electricity distribution services and had never been under Bolivian state ownership before. This is the first time that the Bolivian government has nationalised a company that had been a private entity since its creation, in contrast to previous state takeovers, which President Evo Morales has been ordering since he came to power in This is the second time in eight months that a Spanish company has been targeted for state takeover in Bolivia.
In response to these actions, the Spanish Government has stated its determination to ensure that valuation of the expropriated subsidiary companies satisfies objectivity criteria, thereby ensuring that fair compensation is secured for the affected shareholders. If the Bolivian government were found to have breached these guarantees of legal certainty, what action would the Commission take to rectify the situation? The expropriation of the four electricity subsidiaries operated by the Spanish company Iberdrola is in line with the Bolivian Government's stated policy to control strategic assets including in electricity generation, transport and distribution.
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According to Bolivia, the expropriation comes after four months of negotiations with the companies in question on the price of electricity for rural populations. The European Commission agrees with the Honourable Member's view that the respect for legal certainty of investments is of paramount importance. Indeed, President Morales confirmed that his administration would offer financial compensation to Iberdrola on the basis of the conclusions of an independent assessment.
The European Commission will continue to closely follow this issue and reaffirm our position as and when appropriate. Deelt u mijn mening dat, nu Griekenland tientallen miljarden van de Europese belastingbetaler ontvangt, het ongepast is dat Griekenland enige inbreng blijft houden in beraadslagingen binnen de Europese Raad? Bent u bereid om onderzoek te doen naar de mogelijkheden om het stemrecht van Griekenland binnen de Europese Raad op te schorten? Deelname aan de beraadslagingen en de stemmingen in de Europese Raad en de Raad is een recht van de leden van die instellingen.
If not, why not? Participation in the deliberations and voting of the European Council and Council constitutes a right of the members of those Institutions. The fact that a Member State is beneficiary of financial assistance under the current stability mechanisms does not in itself, under any circumstances, lead to its exclusion from the deliberations of the European Council or of the Council or to the suspension of its voting rights. Tales requisitos parecen deberse a decisiones comerciales. The Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Trade has just published the results of surveys on the difficulties and obstacles that Spanish businesses encounter in their trade relations with other European Union countries.
The conclusions clearly show that there are still many administrative barriers, regulations which vary from country to country and other obstacles that prevent a genuine European internal market from existing. For example, the main French and German supermarket chains require that meat used in sausages is sourced nationally, and biomass pellets must comply with separate regulations in each of the Member States.
Is the Commission aware of the numerous remaining obstacles in the European internal market? Has the Commission looked into the protectionist regulations for selling sausage meat that are in place in France and Germany? Would the Commission consider it useful to set basic rules on biomass pellets, in order to break down the barriers that pose difficulties for the free movement of these goods? The requirements set by French and German supermarket chains regarding the meat used in sausages do not constitute regulatory barriers.
These requirements seem to be the consequence of commercial choices. As to biomass pellets, the Commission is assessing whether existing or planned national sustainability criteria for biomass pellets create regulatory barriers to the smooth functioning of the internal market, and whether additional EU actions are required. In general, the Commission is aware that the internal market for products is not yet fully completed. Updating and simplifying the rules for the circulation of products in the single market as well as the identification of gaps still hindering free circulation are issues that are being looked into.
Specific attention will be paid to those barriers that mostly hinder SMEs. The death of a year-old student who had been assaulted and gang-raped by six men on a bus in India has justifiably provoked a wave of revulsion and protest throughout India. The recent gang-rape of a year-old Indian student on a New Delhi bus has once more focused attention on the harsh realities of everyday life for women in India, particularly in the capital, New Delhi, where the situation is made much worse by the problem of rape in particular.
While some of these crimes have claimed prominent victims, for example a Swiss diplomat a few years ago, in most cases those targeted, many of them underage, belong to the Dalit caste Untouchables at the lowest level of India's stratified society. While official figures point to around rapes in New Delhi in , according to the authorities the actual figure is much higher, since most rapes go unreported, either because the victims do not trust the police or because they fear for their lives.
Notwithstanding greater public awareness and increased efforts by the authorities, no solution to the problem is in sight and, following the latest incident which has shaken the country to its roots, the situation is spiralling out of control with the media referring to a wave of terror, while many politicians are calling for tougher action and sterner penalties in a bid to get to grips with problem.
Will the Commission focus on this problem more closely at the next round of talks with its Indian partners? Will it seek to strengthen civil society and uphold the rights of women in the context of strategic cooperation with a view to preventing more extreme acts of this nature and any accompanying backlash?
An ongoing project aims at empowering women leaders from local governance institutions to promote women's rights. This Institute plays an important role in the sensitisation and mobilisation of grassroots communities to help reduce gender-based violence in India. Turkish nationals — illegal settlers residing in the occupied territories of Cyprus — have been avoiding controls to enter the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus, often attempting to travel with false passports purchased for thousands of euros in Turkey , despite the prohibitions of the Republic of Cyprus.
The Commission reports each year on the implementation of the regulation, including on the question of irregular migration across the Green Line. The Commission has not received any representation from the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus on the issue raised by the Honourable Member. The issue raised by the Honourable Member once again underlines the need for a rapid comprehensive settlement in Cyprus between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities under the auspices of the United Nations.
To which agency is the Troika accountable and who evaluates the soundness and effectiveness of the strict austerity policies it is imposing with harsh conditions on Greece and other southern European countries? The Commission exercises its surveillance of programme countries in order to assess compliance with Council decisions, on the one hand, and on behalf of the Lending Member States, on the other hand.
Council decisions are adopted as part of the coordination of the economic policies of the euro area Member States. The Vice-President for economic and monetary affairs and for the Euro regularly participates in the Economic Dialogue with the economic and monetary affairs committee of the European Parliament.
Also, members of the Troika have appeared before the competent Committee of the European Parliament at the invitation of that Committee. Furthermore, programmes have been negotiated with sovereign Governments which are fully accountable before the national parliaments and institutions. Does the Troika have the right to demand that pay and pension cuts be imposed on less fortunate citizens in southern European countries Greece, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus , thereby infringing European principles, collective agreements and established labour rights?
The alternative to failing to undertake these efforts could result in a more acute fiscal crisis and much more disastrous effects on investment and employment. For this reason, despite the very varied situations of the Member States listed by the Honourable Member, most countries that accumulated macroeconomic and fiscal imbalances, irrespective of a possible presence of financial assistance programmes, have been dovetailing efforts to put public finances on a sustainable track, while improving competitiveness and enhancing the capacity of wages to adjust in line with productivity and unemployment developments.
When taking those efforts, equity considerations are taken into account with a view to sparing those who are more vulnerable and to avoiding adverse distributional effects. The Memoranda of Understanding MoU linked to financial assistance programmes are the outcomes of discussions and negotiations between the concerned Member State, on the one hand, and the IMF, and the Commission in liaison with the ECB — acting on behalf of the euro area Member States — on the other hand.
The content of the MoU is mutually agreed and signed by Member States authorities, under their political responsibility. The global financial crisis in , turned into a sovereign debt crisis in Europe and into a crisis of confidence threatening the financial stability and integrity of the euro area. Insufficiently ambitious fiscal policies in good times, an erosion of competitiveness ahead of the crisis, as well as growing macroeconomic imbalances made some countries more vulnerable.
Some Member States needed exceptional financial assistance which was provided under strict conditionality. Credible fiscal consolidation is a necessary condition to restoring confidence and re-establishing fiscal solvency. Currently Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Romania are under financial assistance programmes.
Financial assistance is also available to non-euro area Member States. Much was achieved as a result of the implementation of measures adopted at both national and European levels to contain the crisis. These efforts were complemented by the ECB's actions. I am writing on behalf of a constituent who has raised concerns over the trials in Ukraine of two brothers — Dmitri and Sergei Pavlichenko — who were convicted of the murder of a judge despite eye-witness reports to the contrary, and despite that fact that the evidence presented by the police was criticised by forensic experts.
Has this issue been raised with the Ukrainian authorities? What steps are being taken in EU-Ukraine talks to promote fair trials and transparent judicial processes? The cases are pending consideration by domestic appeal proceedings. It has been brought to our attention that the practice of breeding and racing greyhounds in Ireland results in thousands of dogs each year either being killed due to injury or as a result of an excess number of dogs, or being abandoned once they have outlived their racing life.
Would the Commission consider banning greyhound breeding, as an unsustainable practice, from receiving funding under the future Rural Development Fund for ? Can the Commission outline the action it intends to take to strengthen animal rights for greyhound dogs? The Commission would like to inform the Honourable member of the European Parliament that no mention of support for greyhound breeding is made in the Irish Rural Development Programme for This rule remains in place also for the next programming period In the European Union Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals a study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices is foreseen for the year Betreft: Turkije gaat door met import van gas uit Iran — ondanks Europese sancties.
Wat vindt de Commissie ervan dat Turkije zich niets aantrekt van de Europese sancties jegens Iran en de import van gas uit dat land simpelweg voortzet? Verwerpt de Commissie dit? Deelt de Commissie de mening dat Turkije zich hiermee, zeker in het kader van de toetredingsonderhandelingen, onconstructief en zelfs on-Europees opstelt? Deelt de Commissie de mening dat Turkije, als kandidaat-EU-lidstaat, de Europese sancties ondermijnt?
Veroordeelt de Commissie dit? Welke gevolgen heeft dit voor de toetredingsonderhandelingen met Turkije? Turkije onderschrijft de wens van de internationale gemeenschap om via onderhandelingen een oplossing te vinden voor de kernwapenkwestie. Volgens het onderhandelingskader is Turkije in de periode voorafgaand aan de toetreding verplicht om zijn beleid ten aanzien van derde landen en zijn standpunten binnen internationale organisaties geleidelijk af te stemmen op het beleid en de standpunten van de Europese Unie.
How does it view the fact that Turkey is ignoring EU sanctions against Iran and is simply continuing to import gas from that country? Does it condemn this? Is it prepared to call Turkey to account on this? How will this affect the accession negotiations with Turkey? Is the Commission prepared to terminate them? Turkey supports the international community's commitment towards seeking a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear question.
According to the Negotiating Framework, in the period up to accession, Turkey is required to progressively align its policies towards third countries and its positions within international organisations with the policies and positions adopted by the European Union. These requirements also demand a progressive alignment to the policy of EU sanctions, including sanctions against Iran. It is important that Turkish Government progressively aligns with the concerned EU measures, to ensure their maximum effect.
The single patent will be an essential instrument for deepening the European single market, since it will make it possible for entrepreneurs and innovators to protect their intellectual property rights simultaneously in 25 EU States through a single procedural step. Considering that small and medium businesses may benefit the most from this system, given the associated reduction in costs:. Does the Commission have any estimates of the effect that the simplified application procedure could have on the number of patent applications filed? This will in particular benefit SMEs.
Such a figure would. Given that the introduction of the Unitary Patent System is unprecedented in any other jurisdiction, it is difficult to predict its impact on the number of patent applications. The Commission is convinced that the new tool will be attractive for innovative companies in Europe. De ervaring is juist omgekeerd in verschillende lidstaten, waar de gevestigde politiek lange tijd elk debat over het immigratiebeleid heeft willen vermijden. Pas dankzij de electorale opkomst van nieuwe, meestal rechts-nationalistische partijen is er een debat over de gevolgen van het gevoerde immigratiebeleid tot stand gekomen.
De conclusies van de studies waarnaar de commissaris verwijst, zijn dus uiterst verrassend. Kan de commissaris de exacte referenties van deze studies meedelen? Daarbij werden zowel bewegingen tegen immigratie als bewegingen tegen racisme onder de loep genomen. In de meeste landen wordt de politisering van bovenaf gedreven door politieke partijen, terwijl in sommige andere landen het eerder een bottom-up proces is met meer ruimte voor de actoren van het maatschappelijk middenveld en de pers. De commissaris verwees in het interview ook naar de Eurobarometer over de integratie van migranten , waaruit blijkt dat het onderscheid tussen legale en illegale migranten niet goed wordt begrepen.
Deze verwarring heeft waarschijnlijk een invloed op de standpunten van de respondenten. They demand more information and they have the feeling that those of certain persuasions are manipulating reality. The same studies confirm, incidentally, that immigration is a subject which is often more important in political circles than to voters. Experience suggests quite the opposite in various Member States where for a long time the established political parties sought to avoid any debate on immigration policy.
It is only thanks to the electoral success of new, generally right-wing nationalist, parties that a debate on the consequences of the immigration policy pursued has come about. The conclusions of the studies to which the Commissioner refers are therefore extremely surprising. Can the Commissioner provide exact references to these studies?
The project focused on the role of four types of actors — the state, political parties, movements, and the media — in politicizing, or depoliticizing, the issue of immigration in seven receiving countries: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. The project concludes that country specific factors affect polarisation and salience of migration. In all countries analysed, politicisation of migration is a mixture of political leadership or initiative and circumstances that provide opportunities to influence politics.
In most of the countries, politicisation is top-down driven by political parties while in some others the process tends to be initiated bottom-up with more room for civil society actors and journalists. The Commissioner in her interview also referred to the Eurobarometer on migrant integration which shows a lack of understanding of the distinction between regular and irregular migrants, and it is likely that this confusion has an impact on the views of the respondents.
No cover is provided for uninsured persons except very old uninsured persons with the Agricultural Insurance Organisation, OGA. There is no provision for priority to be given to people with the most severe disabilities. Resources are finite. No move has been made to grant incentives for creating Social Care Cooperatives. How does it view the restrictions applied to the participation of potential beneficiaries and the definition of the lower income scale, provided in each case for the provision of the social solidarity benefit EKAS which probably includes the disability allowance , as the maximum overall income and criterion for exclusion from this benefit?
Does it intend to collaborate with the Greek authorities in order to implement in Greece a generalised system of home help for the elderly and persons with disability, regardless of their insurance history? How does it view the involvement of Social Care Cooperatives in the current system? Long-term care provision, including the provision of support services to people cared at home, is a responsibility of Member States. These have, however, agreed a set of legally not binding common objectives on the accessibility, quality and financial sustainability of long-term care in the context of their cooperation in the Social Protection Committee.
The programme was at the time eligible for co-financing by the ESF because it would facilitate access to employment for jobseekers especially women. As from the beginning of , following an agreement between the Commission and the Greek authorities, Greece developed their national sustainable programme without ESF support.
The Commission is not in a position to assess the adequacy of this new programme. The Commission supports Member States in their efforts to provide accessible, quality and sustainable long-term care systems. To this end, the Commission organises each year peer reviews with Member States allowing for mutual learning. In a recent report, the French newspaper Le Monde states that European ports have quietly become areas with a very high toxic risk. The presence of gas is due both to the use of chemicals in containers to combat mould and rodents and to the chemical composition of the products themselves, which release toxic gases and other harmful substances.
Particular reference should be made to clothing imported from Asia, and especially China, which contains benzene and toluene, i. According to this report, the situation is deemed so serious that the competent authorities in France, the Netherlands and Belgium have already taken action to address the problem. Is it aware of the risks in question that threaten the health of European workers and consumers?
Will it make recommendations and take practical steps to safeguard the health of European citizens so as to assist the national authorities responsible for market surveillance? The Commission is aware of the issue raised by the Honourable Member. Chemicals in consumer products are regulated by EU legislation which is enforced by Member States with the assistance of the Commission through coordination and promotion of coherence in the assessment. Under REACH Regulation a Member State or the Commission may propose to restrict a substance, if it considers that it poses a risk to human health or environment which needs to be addressed at EU level.
It should be noted though that neither benzene nor toluene are biocidal products. The risk emerging from fumigated containers is of particular concern for the workers dealing with them, notably dockers and customs officials carrying out controls. Best working practices to protect workers are being discussed in the appropriate fora with the support of experts.
However, volunteer-based mountain rescue teams are required to pay VAT, although they may receive a grant from the government by way of part compensation. Does the Commission have the authority to grant exemptions from VAT requirements for such bodies? That provision does not, however, provide for an exemption from VAT for every activity performed in the public interest, but only for those which are listed and described in great detail therein.
An explicit exemption for mountain rescue services is not provided for in that provision. Any economic activity performed by mountain rescue teams which meets the requirements of that provision shall therefore be exempted by the respective Member State. Member States have however some small room for manoeuvre when authorising bodies eligible to supply VAT exempt services, provided that the overall principles of VAT, such as the principle of fiscal neutrality, are duly respected.
It is in the competence of the Member States to make sure that the abovementioned EU legislation is duly transposed and applied within their territory. According to the legislative rules of procedure at EU level in the field of VAT, any modification of this legal situation would need the unanimous adoption of a respective legal act by the Council, based on a corresponding proposal of the Commission. The Commission does not have competence to grant VAT exemptions to particular taxable persons. With regard to the Work Programme for , could the Commission give me examples of how, to date, the competitiveness and efficiency of the defence sector have been improved through the consistent and integrated use of EU policies?
As these two main Directives have only just been transposed, it is too early to assess their impact. In view of the impact of the financial crisis and defence budget cuts, the Commission has announced that it will prepare strategy for enhancing the competitiveness of the defence industry.
This will take the form of a communication, which has been included in the Work Programme of It is expected to be finalised by late spring These are the reductions needed to meet the objective of a maximum temperature rise of 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as agreed at the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun in Betreft: Turken vernietigen Grieks-Cypriotisch erfgoed.
Turkse bezetters hebben het merendeel van de Grieks-Cyprioten in het noordelijk deel van EU-lidstaat Cyprus verdreven. Bovendien maken de Turken zich schuldig aan het structureel vernietigen van het Cypriotisch cultureel erfgoed aldaar. Wat vindt de Commissie ervan dat dit — nota bene in een EU-lidstaat — plaatsvindt?
Deelt de Commissie de mening dat de Turkse bezetters niets op Cyprus te zoeken hebben en het eiland direct dienen te verlaten? De Commissie betreurt alle schade aan het religieuze en culturele erfgoed in Cyprus en neemt nota van de zorgen van het geachte Parlementslid. Moreover, the Turks are carrying out the structural destruction of Cypriot cultural heritage there. Is the Commission aware of the expulsion and repression of Greek Cypriots by the Turkish occupiers? How does it view the fact that this is happening in an EU Member State? Is the Commission aware of the structural destruction of Cypriot cultural heritage by the Turkish occupiers?
Does it intend to speak out on this issue, loud and clear, in favour of Greek Cypriots? Does it agree that the Turkish occupiers have no business being in Cyprus and that they must leave the island immediately? The Commission deplores any damage to religious and cultural heritage in Cyprus and takes note of the concerns of the Honourable Member. The Commission attributes great importance to the preservation of cultural heritage in Cyprus. The issues raised by the Honourable Member once again underline the need for a rapid comprehensive settlement in Cyprus between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities under the auspices of the United Nations.
Volgens de Duitse krant Die Welt heeft Ryanair foutieve informatie doorgegeven over het startgewicht van zijn toestellen. Ryanair doet de berichtgeving in de krant af als speculaties. Volgens Die Welt heeft de kwestie geen impact op de veiligheid van de passagiers. Hoe evalueert de Commissie deze kwestie, zowel in het licht van eerlijke concurrentie als van veiligheid? Hoe zal de Commissie deze zaak verder opvolgen?
De Commissie is op de hoogte van de door het geachte Parlementslid beschreven situatie. Uit de informatie van het Central Route Charges Office CRCO van Eurocontrol, dat namens de Eurocontrol-lidstaten de heffingen int, blijkt dat verschillende luchtvaartmaatschappijen maximale startgewichten MTOW — maximum take-off weights hebben opgegeven die in strijd zijn met de geldende regelgeving.
Dit betekent dat de mogelijke aangifte van foutieve waarden in het kader van deze verordening geen impact op de veiligheid heeft. De Commissie vindt het belangrijk dat de concurrentievoorwaarden voor alle gebruikers van het luchtruim identiek zijn. Zij zal het probleem onder de aandacht van de lidstaten brengen en hen verzoeken erop toe te zien dat aan het CRCO correcte MTOW-waarden worden meegedeeld. De Commissie pleegt overleg met het CRCO van Eurcontrol om een beeld te krijgen van de oorzaken en de omvang van het probleem.
De lidstaten worden verzocht binnen het gemeenschappelijk stelsel van. Op basis van de resultaten van dit proces zal de Commissie bekijken of verdere maatregelen op EU-niveau nodig zijn. Ryanair dismisses the Die Welt report as speculation. According to the newspaper, this issue has no impact on passenger safety. What is its view on this issue, both with regard to fair competition and to safety? How will it proceed on this issue? What measures is it considering in this regard? The Commission is aware of the situation described by the Honourable Member.
Based on information received from Eurocontrol's Central Route Charges Office CRCO , which has the responsibility to collect charges on behalf of Eurocontrol's Member States, it seems that several airlines would have declared maximum take-off weights MTOW values which are not consistent with the applicable rules. Therefore, there is no impact on safety in respect to the possible declaration of inconsistent values under this regulation. For the Commission it is important that a level playing field between airspace users is guaranteed. The matter of underpayment by certain users is on the agenda of the relevant Committee of Eurocontrol in March.
Member States are invited to find a solution within the route charges system. Two divergent points of view regarding the scope of this concept have been put forward by experts. According to one point of view, the network character of rail transport would only be violated to a legally unacceptable degree in the event that the client disregarded the network character of rail transport, did not act to ensure the continuity of connections, or did not address the issue of the technical maintenance of the operational stock. The fact that the client may maintain tariff integration is not important, given that the services are provided by a national carrier and that such tariff integration is thus guaranteed.
The Commission fully recognises that the efficiency of rail transport, and its attractiveness to end-users, depends on its network characteristics.
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So the economic performance and social value of each leg cannot be assessed entirely separately from the others. Therefore, the Commission cannot provide a legal definition. With reference to the liberalisation of the market for the provision of public passenger rail transport services, a question has arisen concerning the acquisition of new rolling stock.
However, not all of the competing carriers are subject to this requirement. However, in the Czech Republic, carriers are operating which are not contracting authorities and which are participating in tendering procedures. These carriers are not obliged to purchase or otherwise acquire their rolling stock through legally prescribed procedures.
This applies not only to private carriers with no connections to any body governed by public law, but also to subsidiaries of the national carriers of other EU Member States. It is, therefore, clear that there are two separate groups of competitors involved in public passenger rail transport in the Czech Republic, and that they are facing conditions that differ for no justifiable reason. The regulation sets the conditions for awarding public service contracts for public passenger transport services by rail and by road to public or private entities.
It does not regulate the way these entities have to conduct their procurements, including the acquisition of new rolling stock. As regards acquisition of the new rolling stock the Commission agrees that different entities operating rail transport can be subject to different obligations regarding their procurements.
This is also the case if such an entity operates in a field with private competition such as national railway transport. Private entities without any special or exclusive right are not subject to public procurement rules. They are operating freely under market conditions. The Commission does not consider this situation to be discriminating or distorting the market, as these rules are commonly and uniformly applicable in all Member States.
This led to reports that the IMF will change the way that it evaluates the need for austerity in developed economies, such as those in Europe, where consolidation is not achieving the expected results in some crisis-hit countries. The IMF, however, is only one of three contracting parties that concluded the memorandum, which enabled the financing plan to be established under certain conditions.
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Does it recognise that the inaccuracy of previous forecasts made by the Troika may result in Portugal and other bailed-out countries being unable to achieve the goals, terms, conditions and deadlines laid down in the Memoranda of Understanding? Although Portugal has been exemplary in fulfilling its obligations, is it essential that the austerity measures be sustainable in terms of the demands placed on taxpayers, workers and businesses and that they correspond, at least roughly, to the forecasts that justified the memorandum itself.
Does the Commission therefore not believe that it is appropriate and wise to reconsider some of its terms and targets? However, the findings reported in the working paper have been subject to debate: analysis conducted by Commission services shows that the underestimation is not robust and in particular in most EU countries undertaking fiscal consolidation, the results do not point to any significant underestimation see European Economic Forecast Autumn , Box I. Notwithstanding this debate, it should be kept in mind that short-term effects of fiscal policy on economic activity are only one of the many factors that need to be considered in determining the appropriate size and pace of fiscal consolidation for any single economy.
In particular, restoring sound public finances is imperative in countries with high debt burden and limited access to financial markets such as Portugal. The Commission acknowledges the considerable achievements in terms of structural reforms and fiscal consolidation undertaken in Portugal over the past year and a half. Circumstances in individual countries are important and the Commission is ready to react to unexpected developments. While the recent successful bond issuance signals increasing confidence in the success of the programme, the public debt ratio remains very high and it remains paramount that Portugal continues to implement bold structural reforms with a view to raising the growth potential of the economy.
Ak napr. They then take out patents, and the people responsible for the discovery are no longer able to use the plants unless they pay significant sums to the pharmaceutical companies. Thus, the indigenous population is paradoxically unable to make use of the resources that they themselves discovered.
What steps will the Commission take to protect developing countries and to help them maintain their access to biological resources? Would it not be justifiable in this case to modify the legislation on the granting of patents in order to make it possible for the benefits to be shared? Currently, this new dedicated instrument is in the process of being implemented in the Union.
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The Protocol's objective is that benefits must be granted to the provider country in exchange for access to genetic resources GR and traditional knowledge. Users need to obtain prior informed consent before access and to negotiate a benefit sharing agreement. The Commission's proposal for implementing the Nagoya Protocol will not modify existing patent law, but focuses on creating conditions to maximise legal access to GR thus helping innovation and benefit sharing.
The Commission actively participates in the ongoing negotiations at the World Intellectual Property Organisation WIPO regarding the connection between patent applications and genetic resources.
WIPO members are in the process of assessing whether patent legislation could be modified at global level in order to create a level playing field. In this regard, in , the European Commission and Member States submitted at WIPO and WTO an EU common position setting out a new requirement for disclosure of source of GR in patent applications, which could enable benefit sharing with inter alia developing countries or indigenous populations.
In recent weeks, finance ministers have been trying to reach an agreement on bringing Greek debt down to sustainable levels. Greece was given two years to achieve its budget targets. In the Commission's opinion, will it be possible to reach an agreement on the issue of releasing the frozen assistance to Greece in spite of this opposition?
We have been marking this occasion every year since People may be affected by physical, mental or psychological problems, health problems or mental illness. Such problems and illnesses may be chronic or temporary. They are very closely associated with the loss or reduction of opportunities to participate in society on an equal footing with others. The needs of every individual and of all people are equally important.
These needs must always be taken into account during planning processes, and all resources must be used in such a way as to ensure that every individual has an equal opportunity to integrate. What steps has the Commission taken towards satisfying disabled people's needs by making it easier for them to integrate and to participate in society on an equal footing? The Commission is conscious of the importance of raising awareness on equal opportunities for persons with disabilities. The Commission encourages Members States to use European funds, including EU structural funds, to improve accessibility, combat discrimination and promote equal opportunities.
The Commission also carries out awareness raising actions such as the European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference and the annual Access City Award aiming at facilitating the establishment of contacts between cities that want to learn from one another to develop and design cities without barriers. For instance, contractual terms were not available to consult, or contact details were often either missing or misleading.
How does the Commission intend to put a stop to such practices? Is it reasonable to assume that imposing sanctions on websites would oblige them to put greater effort into adhering to current rules on consumer protection? National enforcement authorities are primarily responsible for investigating activities of companies active on their domestic market in the light of EU consumer legislation, including supervision of compliance with the applicable provisions of the E-commerce Directive, and, if necessary, follow-up with enforcement action, which can take the form of sanctions, such as fines.
In a sweep, national enforcement authorities check simultaneously, under the coordination of the Commission, a sample of websites for compliance with consumer law. In a second phase, the national authorities take enforcement action, where needed, on the basis of their national legislation. The Commission will report on the results of the second phase of the sweep on digital content in autumn It is vital that the Member States undertake efforts to ensure that minors are protected in the digital world, including by supporting all forms of supervision of the digital world.
How precisely does it intend to monitor the online security of minors and young people? The proposed actions to give children the digital skills and tools they need to benefit fully and safely from the digital world are to be undertaken jointly by the Commission, Member States and industry. Among the aims of the strategy is to give both parents and children the technical tools necessary for ensuring the online protection of children and to scale up awareness raising.
In the implementation of this strategy relies on the existing Safer Internet Programme From , the creation of an EU-wide interoperable service infrastructure to support the Safer Internet Centres, which provide online safety information, is foreseen subject to the adoption of Connecting Europe Facility. For on demand services, programmes which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors shall only be made available in such a way as to ensure that minors will not normally hear or see such on-demand services.
Major corporations and software companies are calling for laws relating to the distribution of films, music, games, applications and associated copyrights to be strengthened. Although ACTA was not passed, the issue of copyright protection must still be dealt with in a suitable manner through legislation. How does the Commission plan to modify current legislation in order to prevent copyright violation? This strategy has two parallel tracks of action. This process will seek to exploit the potential and explore the possible limits of innovative licensing and technological solutions to help achieving a functioning Digital Single Market which work on the ground for the benefit of all.
It is expected to complete its work by this autumn. The College will then take stock of the outcome of the dialogue. The result of that consultation will be made public and will allow for the appropriate assessment to be made. Regrettably, computer threats and attacks are on the increase, and they represent a major threat to the security, defence, stability and competitiveness of countries. Is the Commission planning on playing a role in developing a comprehensive and coordinated approach to this issue at EU level?
The Commission is now planning to step up its activities to provide a more comprehensive vision in this multifaceted domain. It presents concrete policy actions to ensure a safe and resilient digital environment and step up the fight against cybercrime, while respecting and promoting fundamental rights and EU core values.
The strategy explores synergies among prevention and resilience, law enforcement, international cooperation and cyber defence. The proposal aims to strengthen national preparedness; reinforce EU-level cooperation; and impose network and information security obligations on market operators which are critical for the economy and society and public administrations. This will ensure better prevention and response to attacks as well as to incidents caused by outages, human mistakes, or natural events.
Human rights activists and lawyers are being imprisoned and treated in an inhumane manner solely because they are fighting to ensure that human rights are respected in Iran. The situation is becoming increasingly bleak. Fundamental human rights are being violated in Iran with increasing severity. Therefore, the black list should be expanded. Furthermore, it is vitally important that we focus all restrictions and sanctions on weakening the Iranian Government without harming the rights of ordinary citizens. Would the Commission consider taking part in a discussion with Iran focusing on respect for human rights?
What specific measures is the Commission competent to take, with a view to ensuring that the difficult situation facing Iranians changes for the better? Moreover, the European External Action Service has made several demarches highlighting the repression of Iranian human rights defenders, which have been carried out both by the local EU representation in Tehran and to the Iranian ambassador in Brussels.
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It is vital that the European institutions cooperate more closely with NGOs and with disabled people. In what specific ways can the Commission help to protect and strengthen the rights of disabled people? Will it put greater effort into making its cooperation more effective and raising awareness among the general public of disabled issues? This is done i. Skin tumours are some of the most commonly occurring malignant tumours. What measures are available to the Commission to combat the increasing incidence of skin cancers? Will the Commission take steps in the foreseeable future with a view to raising awareness and helping to prevent skin cancer?
It is specifically important to protect children and adolescents. The Health Programme has supported two projects. In the framework of the FP6 Programme for Research, the Commission has also funded the project EUROSKIN European network of skin cancer prevention on primary prevention in children, on European certification standard for solaria, on Epidermal stem cells and carcinoma and on Screening of skin cancer identification of high risk groups. Widespread implementation of the recommendations of these projects in Member States' national Cancer Plans could lead to a reduction in skin cancers incidence, as it has been demonstrated in other parts of the world e.
It is right to support further EU enlargement, but we must also consolidate the existing ties between current Member States. Does the Commission also see enlargement and increasing the number of Member States as a form of successful foreign policy? How does it intend to strengthen the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in an expanding Europe and ensure that these rights are respected?
The Commission also sees the enlargement process, which aims at preparing aspirant countries for EU membership, as a very successful foreign policy instrument. At a time when the European Union faces major challenges, the enlargement process continues to contribute to peace, security and prosperity in Europe and allows the European Union to be better positioned to address global challenges and pursue its strategic interests. The prospect of accession drives political and economic reforms, transforming societies and consolidating the rule of law in those European countries aspiring to join the European Union, creating new opportunities for citizens and business.
The enlargement process thus has a transformative and stabilising effect to the benefit of both the European Union and the European countries aspiring to join. The European Union is committed to protecting human rights, including the religious rights of citizens, as well as the rights of persons belonging to minorities. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and any discrimination on grounds of, inter alia , religion, race or association with a national minority is prohibited.
To ensure that these rights are also respected in an expanding Europe, these principles are part of the criteria that a country has to meet in order to join the European Union. The Commission and the OECD have released a report which shows that expenditure on healthcare fell by approximately 0. What action is the Commission prepared to take to prevent cuts to healthcare expenditure from taking place? The economic situation is indeed leading some Member States to reduce spending on healthcare. It is evident that such budget reductions should ideally be underpinned by efficiency gains in order to ensure continued patient access to healthcare.
This is also reflected in those country-specific recommendations that address healthcare system reform within the frame of the European Semester. Consequently, the Commission supports all measures by Member States fostering a more efficient use of public resources as well as access to high quality healthcare. Academics are becoming concerned by the cuts in funding in this area. They argue that cuts in the area of science may have a significant impact of economic growth.
The UK is attempting to push forward a proposal which stipulates that two votes should take place before any final decision is reached; one vote would involve states inside the banking union, and the other would involve states outside the banking union. For three years, piecemeal measures and decisions have been adopted at various levels. In what way can the Commission play a role in helping to promote a consensus on the banking union e. The SSM is a first step towards a banking union and a pre-condition for direct recapitalisation of banks by the ESM and will thus contribute to putting an end to the negative feedback loops between banks and sovereigns.
As mentioned by the Honourable Member, there will be safeguards for non-eurozone Member States by means of double majority voting requirements, which ensure that decisions are backed by both a majority of the participating and the non-participating Member States. In its role as a facilitator the Commission is actively involved in the trilogue negotiations on the SSM in order to reach an agreement as soon as possible. What stands out is the use of legal psychotropic substances that have similar effects to controlled drugs. The chemical compositions of those stimulants are, however, altered.
As a result, they are not subject to any existing control mechanisms. Owing to the ongoing crisis, a number of Member States do not have the financial resources to resolve this difficult situation in an appropriate and effective manner. Can we expect the Commission to take action in the near future to help reduce demand for drugs on the one hand, and to limit their supply and availability on the other?
The Commission will continue supporting Member States' action in addressing illicit drug trafficking, including through the funding of cross-border cooperation projects, under EU financial programmes. The main purpose of this day is to call for increased awareness of this pernicious disease and to shed light on the issues associated with it. There are currently It is sad that those infected are often stigmatised and discriminated against. They are often ostracised from their communities. It is vital that we take appropriate measures to prevent such injustices from occurring.
We must also ensure that the general public is aware of prevention methods, risks and infection pathways, as well as the treatment options that are available worldwide. Has the Commission adopted measures to prevent people from being infected by this disease? How does the Commission protect the rights of those already infected, with a view to ensuring that they do not suffer from discrimination?
In accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Member States are responsible for the definition of their health policy and the delivery of health services and medical care. This is why the European Commission action is aimed at supporting Member States in their efforts.
Shale gas has been ascribed a significant strategic role, as it could help Europe to reduce its dependence on energy imports from Russia. It is important to monitor regulatory regimes and practices globally. The Commission and the relevant national authorities should conduct further research on the possible impact of shale gas extraction on the environment and provide the public with information based on verified scientific data, all while maintaining the maximum levels of transparency.
Does the Commission not think that it is valid and necessary to weigh up all the risks and benefits associated with shale gas extraction? The Commission agrees that it is necessary to weigh up all the risks and benefits associated with shale gas extraction. Without expressing an opinion on the current debate on shale gas, the Commission is clearly communicating facts as well as our policy approach towards shale gas, which focuses on three main aspects:. Relevant risks and benefits will be further looked at by the Commission in the context of its initiative, aiming at an environmental, climate and energy assessment framework to enable safe and secure unconventional hydrocarbon extraction.