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Official Journal of the European Communities Debates of the European Parliament 1997/98 Session. Report of proceedings from 25 to 26 June 1997

92 pages
ISSN 0378-5041 Annex Official Journal of the European Communities No 4-503 English edition Debates of the European Parliament 1997/98 Session Report of proceedings from 25 to 26 June 1997 Espace Leopold Building, Brussels General contents Sitting of Wednesday, 25 June 1997 1. Resumption of the session, p. 2 - 2. Approval of the Minutes, p. 2 -3. Welcome, p. 2 - 4. Urgent political matters, p. 2 - 5. Takeover bids, p. 8 -6. Dangerous preparations, p. 12 - 7. 1998 estimate for EP and Ombudsman, p. 17 - 8. The information society, p. 21 - 9. Imports of hormone-treated meat, p. 33 - 10. Cohesion Fund - structural funds, p. 37 - 11. Agreement with Kyrgyz Republic, p. 47-12. PHARE programme, p. 48 Sitting of Thursday, 26 June 1997 54 1. Welcome, p. 54 - 2. European Council of 16/17 June - Dutch presidency, p. 54 - 3. Votes, p. 76 - 4. Adjournment of the session, p. 87 NOTE TO READER Parallel editions will also be appearing in the following official languages of the Union: Danish, German, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Finnish and Swedish. The English edition contains the original texts of the interventions in English and an English translation, provided by freelance translators, of those made in other languages.
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ISSN 0378-5041
Annex Official Journal
of the
European Communities
No 4-503
English edition Debates of the European Parliament
1997/98 Session
Report of proceedings
from 25 to 26 June 1997
Espace Leopold Building, Brussels
General contents Sitting of Wednesday, 25 June 1997
1. Resumption of the session, p. 2 - 2. Approval of the Minutes, p. 2 -
3. Welcome, p. 2 - 4. Urgent political matters, p. 2 - 5. Takeover bids, p. 8 -
6. Dangerous preparations, p. 12 - 7. 1998 estimate for EP and Ombudsman,
p. 17 - 8. The information society, p. 21 - 9. Imports of hormone-treated meat,
p. 33 - 10. Cohesion Fund - structural funds, p. 37 - 11. Agreement with Kyrgyz
Republic, p. 47-12. PHARE programme, p. 48
Sitting of Thursday, 26 June 1997 54
1. Welcome, p. 54 - 2. European Council of 16/17 June - Dutch presidency,
p. 54 - 3. Votes, p. 76 - 4. Adjournment of the session, p. 87 NOTE TO READER
Parallel editions will also be appearing in the following official languages of the Union:
Danish, German, Greek, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Finnish and
Swedish. The English edition contains the original texts of the interventions in English
and an English translation, provided by freelance translators, of those made in other
languages. In these cases, the following letters appear in brackets after the name of the
speaker- to indicate the language spoken: (DA) for Danish, (DE) for German, (EL) for
Greek, (ES) for Spanish, (FR) for French, (IT) for Italian, (NL) for Dutch, (PT) for
Portuguese, (FI) for Finnish and (SV) for Swedish.
The original texts of these interventions appear in the edition published in the language
Abbreviations used for Political Groups as shown following the name of the speaker
(PSE) Group of the Party of the European Socialists
(PPE)p of the European People's Party (Christian-Democratic Group)
(UPE)p of the Union for Europe
(ELDR) Group of the European Liberal Democratic and Reformist Party
(GUE / NGL) Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left
(V) Green Group in the European Parliament
(ARE) Group of the European Radical Alliance
(I-EDN)p of Independents for a Europe of Nations
(NI) Non-attached Members
Resolutions adopted at the sitting of 25-26.6.1997 appear in the Official Journal of the
European Communities C 222, 21.7.1997. Debates of the European Parliament 25.6.97 No 4-503/1
1. Resumption of the session 2
2. Approval of the Minutes
Posselt, Florio, Schwaiger
3. Welcome
4. Urgent political matters
de Silguy (Commission), Seillier, de Silguy, Boogerd-Quaak, de Silguy, Katiforis, de
Silguy, Rübig, de Silguy, Arroni, de Randzio-Plath, de Hautala, de Provan, de Féret, de Silguy, Scarbonchi, de Silguy, Fayot, de Silguy,
Mulder, de Silguy
5. Takeover bids
Florio, Medina Ortega, Fontaine, Verde i Aldea, Mosiek-Urbahn, Florio, Thors,
Falconer, Palacio Vallelersundi, Cassidy, Monti (Commission) 8
6. Dangerous preparations
Baldi, Hulthén, Schleicher, Eisma, Sjöstedt, Bowe, Trakatellis, Graenitz, Flemming,
Myller, Blak, Bangemann (Commission) 13
7. 1998 estimate for EP and Ombudsman
Tomlinson, Fabra Valles, Haarder, Svensson, Müller, Vanhecke, Elles, Florio, Virranko­
ski, Hautala 17
8. The information society
Hendrick, Boogerd-Quaak, Rübig, Ahlqvist, Berger, T. Mann, Holm, Haarder, Hautala,
Glante, Malerba, Ryynänen, Pailler, Scarbonchi, Lukas, Paasilinna, Herman, Plooij-
Van Gorsel, Ribeiro, Wibe, Günther, Thors, Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Bangemann (Commis­
sion), Plooij-Van Gorsel 21
9. Imports of hormone-treated meat
Bangemann (Commission), Roth-Behrendt, Provan, Rosado Fernandes, Mulder, Quer-
bes, Graefe zu Baringdorf, Vandemeulebroucke, des Places, Happart, Gillis, E. Mann 33
10. Cohesion Fund - structural funds
Novo, Novo Belenguer, Eisma, Vallvé, McCartin, Lindqvist, Langenhagen, Karamanou,
Costa Neves, G. Collins, Ephremidis, Schroedter, Moretti, Bosch, Hatzidakis, Van
Bladel, Botz, Rack, Berend, Wulf-Mathies (Commission) 37
11. Agreement with Kyrgyz Republic
Chesa, Schwaiger, Schroedter, Wulf-Mathies (Commission), Schroedter 4
12. PHARE programme
Wiersma, Swoboda, Schwaiger, Van Bladel, Plooij-Van Gorsel, Schroedter, Van der
Waal, Elchlepp, Rübig, Krehl, Linser, Wulf-Mathies (Commission) 48 25.6.97 Debates of the European Parliament No 4-503/2
President. - Thank you very much, Mr Schwaiger. As I IN THE CHAIR: MR. GIL-ROBLES
said to Mr Posselt, I shall find out what has happened and
give you an answer.
(The Minutes were approved) (')
(The sitting was opened at 3.05 p.m.)
3. Welcome
1. Resumption of the session
President. -1 should like to inform Honourable Members
President. - I declare resumed the session of the Euro­ that a parliamentary delegation from Central America is
pean Parliament adjourned on Friday, 13 June 1997. present in the House and I should like to extend the
European Parliament's greetings and welcome to them.
2. Approval of the Minutes
I call upon Mrs Seillier.
President. - The Minutes of the sitting of 13 June 1997
have been distributed.
4. Urgent political matters
Are there any comments?
President. - The next item on the agenda is a communi­
Posselt (PPE). - (DE) Mr President, Friday's Minutes cation by the Commission on the economic agenda of the
correctly record my protest that the plenary did not discuss Amsterdam European Council and the Denver Summit.
financial aid for Bulgaria and Macedonia. The President
also told me that according to her information that was the I call upon Mr Commissioner de Silguy.
decision of the Committee on External Economic Rela­
De Silguy, Member of the Commission - (FR) Mr tions. Let me make it quite clear that the Committee on
President, ladies and gentlemen, President Santer has External Economic Relations unanimously decided the
asked me to report to you on the economic results of the contrary! After all, this was an urgency, which we ap­
European Council in Amsterdam and the G7 meeting held proved on Tuesday morning. The committee met on
last weekend in Denver, Colorado. Tuesday evening in Strasbourg and decided unanimously
that its chairman or a representative would present an oral
There are three principal messages emerging from these
report; and then suddenly, on Friday morning, we heard
two international meetings. The euro is now an established
that there would not be a debate. I am absolutely in favour
reality, which is a good thing for Europe and a good thing
of accelerated procedures, but to find that an important
for the world; the economic climate is developing satisfac­
political question, involving a lot of money, is not dis­
torily, and employment has become the first economic
cussed either in committee or in plenary is quite contrary
priority of the national governments.
to parliamentary procedure and our Rules of Procedure!
First, the euro. The G7 summit ratified the results of the
President. - Mr Posselt, I shall find out exactly what Amsterdam Council. The euro is here to stay. All the
happened and let you know. evidence I need is the completion of the preparatory work
associated with its introduction, and the acknowledgement
Florio (UPE). - (LT) Mr President, I want to speak on a
of its international dimension. The European Council in
point of procedure. In February I put a question to the
Amsterdam definitively adopted the legal framework for
Office of the Presidency on the building work in Stras­
the euro, which, I should remind you, comprises three
bourg. Well, four months have gone by and I have
essential elements: the resolution on the new form of the
received no reply whatsoever. This is no way for Parlia­
European Monetary System; the two Regulations creating
ment to operate! I demand an urgent reply to my question,
the legal status of the euro, in other words the monetary
and to questions from other Members who are having to
law of Europe for the year 2000; and the two Regulations
wait too long in contempt of the Rules of Procedure.
- one preventive, one deterrent - which together with the
Amsterdam resolution make up the Pact for Stability and
President. - Mr Florio, the draft reply to your question
Growth. This framework, which is necessary for the
was put before the Bureau this morning. The Bureau
proper functioning of economic and monetary union, has
considered that a fuller answer was required, so the
been devised in close co-operation with this House. It will
question is still pending and due for approval on 10 July
encourage growth and employment while preventing or
in order to give you a fuller reply.
correcting excessive public spending deficits.
Schwaiger (PPE). - (DE) Mr President, following on
The European Council in Amsterdam also gave a specific
from what Mr Posselt said, let me point out that the
mandate to the Commission, the Council and the Euro­
Commission decided on financial aid for Bulgaria as early
pean Monetary Institute on the work needed to place the
as mid-May, that the documents were available and that
international role of the euro on a clear and solid basis.
the Commission could have consulted us in the usual way
Furthermore, in Denver, the coming of the euro was
via the Council. That did not happen either. As I pointed
internationally recognized. The G7, in its communiqué,
out in Strasbourg on Friday: in future different procedures
should be introduced, not just at Parliament level but also
in relation to the consultation procedure applied by the ') Verification of credentials - Membership of Parliament - Membership
Commission and the Council vis à vis the Committee on of committees - Written declarations - Documents received - Texts of
agreements forwarded by the Council - Decisions on petitions - Action External Economic Relations. Otherwise we will not be
taken on Parliament's opinions and resolutions - Referrals to commit­
able to carry out our important duties. tees: see Minutes 25.6.97 Debates of the European Parliament No 4­503/3
De Silguy
emphasized for the first time that economic and monetary this context, the European Council recalls that sound
union, based on sound economic policies and structural macroeconomic and budgetary policies go hand­in­hand
reforms, would ­make a valuable contribution to the stabil­ with strong, sustainable growth in terms of output and
ity of the international monetary system. employment.
Secondly, the economic situation. As well as a favourable Very symbolically, the European Council put both the
economic climate, the need for structural adjustments was resolution on the implementation of the Pact for Stability
confirmed in both Amsterdam and Denver. Regarding the and Growth and the resolution on growth and employment
economic climate, the Denver summit offered an opportu­ under a single political umbrella: 'Stability, growth and
nity to compare the situation in Europe with that in the employment'. The European Council adopted two guiding
United States, in particular. Over and above the traditional principles to strengthen the place of employment at the
contrast between the American and European models, a heart of economic policy.
very largely artificial contrast in my view, it became
The first was the development of the economic pillar of clearly apparent that the major difference between the two
economic and monetary union. According to Articles 102a continents was the confidence the Americans felt in the
and 103 of the Treaty, the broad guidelines will be power of their economy ­ a confidence which, sadly, is
extended to cover competitiveness, the employment mar­still lacking in Europe.
ket, technological innovation, education, training and
taxation, with a view to harnessing all economic policy in And yet the European economy today is undergoing a
the interests of employment. In practice, the Council, genuine recovery, sustained by the efforts of the Member
acting on a proposal by the Commission, will be able to States to meet the convergence criteria as they prepare for
issue specific recommendations on these matters to the economic and monetary union. The growth of the Com­
Member States. This is a significant advance along the munity GDP ­ which was 1.6 % in 1996 ­ should reach
2.4 % in 1997 and 2.8 % in 1998. This return to a higher lines of better co­ordination of economic policies such às
rate of growth should allow a net increase of two million this House regularly demands.
in the number of jobs in Europe over the two years 1997
The second guiding principle is the early implementation and 1998.
of the 'employment' chapter of the Amsterdam Treaty,
Apart from the return of growth, a substantial reduction in without even waiting for it to be ratified. In this way, the
European unemployment from its present intolerable, de­ Council will be able to make recommendations on em­
moralizing level will be achieved through structural re­ ployment policy. Finally, it will have a legal basis for
forms ­ especially those affecting the employment market, making practical decisions to promote employment. The
education and research ­ and through improving the Commission will of course take full account of these two
competitiveness of business. To be effective, however, guiding principles in preparing the broad guidelines of
those reforms are going to have to be universal, ambitious, economic policy for 1998.
socially sustainable and politically presentable.
However, in order to be able to implement these European
Council recommendations without delay, the Commission Incidentally, an interesting new fact that emerged in
means to give concrete form to this new stimulus to Denver was the link that exists between demographics,
employment, beginning with the extraordinary meeting of social systems and budget deficits because of the irrevers­
ible problem of the ageing population, especially in the European Council in Luxembourg devoted to this
Europe. This ageing is significant. A single figure proves subject. This l will decide on the concrete form to
the point: the ratio of the non­working to the working be taken by the new initiatives for employment adopted in
population is expected to increase from 25 % to 51 % Amsterdam. A particular priority here will be extending
between 1995 and 2040. In the absence of any change in the role and activities of the EIB. Another will be the
policy, this trend will result in a long­term deterioration of ECSC, where it has been suggested that a reserve fund
public finances, and pension costs could increase from 3 should be set up to use the proceeds of the income
to 4 % of GDP between now and 2030. available from 2002 to speed up research in sectors linked
to the coal and steel industry.
So there is no escaping the need to continue the policy of
The Commission and Council have been invited to pre­budgetary adjustment. The budgetary framework intro­
duced by economic and monetary union, designed to pare, jointly with the ΕΓΒ, a report on all these matters ­
re­establish the balance of public spending in the medium and on many others, too, especially the SMEs ­ for this
term, will release room for manoeuvre. And that can be special European Council. Parliament will, of course, be
utilized to finance welfare and pension systems. Over and involved in our work. This new stimulus to employment
above that, however, the need for progressive structural that has been decided on here in Europe will go hand­
reforms was emphasized by the G7, especially as regards inhand with similar initiatives on a global scale ­ that
the reform of the pension systems and the role delegated decision was taken in Denver. For example, we have the
to the pension funds. That, in essence, is one of the strong forthcoming meeting at Kobe in November 1997, fol­
messages sent out both by the European Council in lowed by the 'employment' G7 early in 1998 at the
Amsterdam and by the G7 meeting in Denver. initiative of the British Prime Minister.
In conclusion, may I emphasize the fact that both the Thirdly, we come to employment and the co­ordination of
Amsterdam Council and the G7 summit in Denver have economic policies. At the initiative of President Santer, the
sent out a message of optimism to Europe, a message that European Council in Amsterdam adopted a resolution on
will help restore its self­confidence. The European Union growth and employment, whereby the Member States, the
Commission and the Council have given a firm commit­ faced a more difficult initial situation than its American
ment to make employment a top priority concern of the counterpart, but Europe today is pushing ahead on the
Union and a priority aim of their economic policies. In path to economic progress and structural reform. The first 25.6.97 No 4-503/4 Debates of the European Parliament
De Silguy
pensions. If I may, I should like to differ from the encouraging results are already apparent. The prospects
Commissioner in regard to the fact of it being impossible for growth in Europe have not been so favourable for
to fund pensions in the future. It is much more a question some years, and their effects should soon be felt in terms
of making a start at the appropriate time and of applying of competitiveness and employment. Finally, I should add
the correct system. In the past I asked for this question of that the impending introduction of the euro, in accordance
pensions, including supplementary pensions, private pen­with the conditions and timetable laid down in the Treaty,
sions and government pensions, to be placed on the will provide a further boost to the recovery of economic
agenda of the European Commission. Subsidiarity had activity in Europe.
previously applied in this area. My specific question to the
(Applause) Commission is therefore: With a view to the employment
summit can this become a matter for both the Commission
Seillier (I-EDN). - (FR) Commissioner, you have referred and the national governments?
to the irreversible problem of an ageing population in
Europe, and you have also referred very frequently to the de Silguy. - (FR) I entirely agree with Mrs Boogerd-
need for essential reforms. Quaak: we need to act before it is too late and take
precautions to deal with this matter, though I must add
So let me ask you a few questions: do you not think that
that the problem is made worse by the fact that an ageing
one very important reform, intellectually, would be to
population means increasing expenditure on health. After
review the excessively narrow concept of economic crite­
all, it is clear that more and more elderly people are often
ria that are accepted at these conferences, and that it might
in need of care which is proving more and more costly. In
be high time to take account of a suggestion made by the
financial terms, then, the problem is complicated by the
World Summit on Social Development held in Copenha­
existence of a link between an ageing population and
gen in 1995 which called for the child-rearing tasks
increasing expenditure on pensions and health care.
performed within the family to be included in economic
The Commission is of course taking a close interest in this
matter, which is why, in my oral presentation, I made a
Do you not think that, since family policies in all Euro­
point of stressing this problem of ageing. At the discus­
pean countries are recording a reduction in family pur­
sions that took place in Denver, the Commission's contri­
chasing power, that the time has surely come to reform
bution on this subject was particularly extensive and much
our economic programmes and take account, at long last,
appreciated. I can also tell Mrs Boogerd-Quaak that this
of the wishes of those European couples, those European
question is primarily of concern to the Member States
women, who would like to have children but are unable to
because, in view of the principle of subsidiarity and as the
do so because of economic constraints?
Treaty stands, we cannot act for the Member States. But
this problem does indisputably have a Community dimen­Might not the best way to revitalize the economy in
sion - a European dimension. Europe be a process of demographic revitalization, which
is a matter of political will and intellectual reform?
For this reason, and especially as we prepare for the
extraordinary meeting of the European Council in Luxem­(Applause)
bourg before the end of this year, the proposals and
de Silguy. - (FR) For my part, I see no incompatibility recommendations that the Commission will make will
between demographic revitalization, an intellectual reform take careful account of your suggestion. The Commission
and a straightforward recognition of economic realities. will take steps to ensure that these questions are perceived
Like it or not, Mrs Seillier, we are currently in a situation by the Member States in a co-ordinated way, and in
where the 'baby boom' generation still forms part of the particular that they exchange information on the measures
active population, but from 2010 onwards we shall have implemented by each of them. I would add that very
an extremely serious demographic shortfall in Europe. special attention will be paid to the problem of pension
The question that faces governments today is whether they
may not already be able to address the problem, in Katiforis (PSE). - (EL) Mr President, I have two short
political terms, to prevent today's working generations questions for the Commissioner:
from facing retirement with pensions that are not sufficient
to enable them to live. The issue today, Mrs Seillier, is to The first is: at the Summit Conference in Luxembourg will
pursue our endeavours in the field of economic policy that the Commission contribute to discussions concerning cer­
are specifically designed to bring back to our national tain additional financial items to support employment
economies sufficiënt budgetary room to manoeuvre to policy? Because from Essen we know thatt
enable them to bear the increasingly heavy burden of policy cannot be made effective, or at least, jobs cannot be
social spending in future years. created, by words alone.
Of course, that is no obstacle at all to efforts to develop The second question is: I heard a Minister for Economics
and strengthen the role of the family, in the context of - one of those who took part in Amsterdam - saying at a
child-rearing and family policy, though as far as that is public meeting that it is conceivable that the Euro's
concerned, I believe that personal considerations are often beginning might be postponed for a year. I know you will
more important than purely economic ones. deny this, but I would like to hear you repeat it emphati­
Boogerd-Quaak (ELDR). - (NL) Mr President, I was
appointed on behalf of this House as rapporteur on the de Silguy. - (FR) I can answer your second question
demographic situation in Europe. It is not so long ago that immediately. I was there, from start to finish: I was at the
this report was adopted by Parliament, on which occasion Council of Finance Ministers in Luxembourg early this
much attention was rightly paid to the ability to pay month, I was at the European Council and I was at the 25.6.97 Debates of the European Parliament No 4-503/5
de Silguy
Denver summit, and I never heard anyone mention the the Council, but some of them have been blocked at that
possibility of postponing the euro. Indeed, on each occa­ level, and I deplore that. Even so, it will not prevent us, as
sion I found that all the participants - European and we prepare for the special European Council in Luxem­
non-European, including the Americans - were firmly bourg, from attaching particular importance to the SMEs
committed to complying with the timetable. And that and to their role in the campaign against the structural
determination was reflected in the communiqués, deci­ causes of unemployment; and, of course, within that
sions and official comments that were issued. framework, very special attention will be paid to questions
of training.
Secondly, and dealing more specifically with that Euro­
pean Council, I should perhaps add to what I said earlier: Arroni (UPE). - (IT) Mr Commissioner, today you have
among the initiatives adopted in Amsterdam there is one mentioned that the economic environment is favourable to
that relates specifically to extending the role of the EIB, in improving the economic position of the Member States.
three ways. Firstly, by establishing a special facility to The Italian papers have certainly emphasized the points
finance projects by high-technology SMEs; secondly by you made about Italy from the statements you made
broadening the scope of the bank's interventions to educa­ yesterday. And we all remember the snapshot of Italy you
tion, health, the urban environment and environmental gave us in this Chamber a couple of months ago.
protection; and lastly by easing the repayment period for
I now want to ask you two questions. Taking advantage of loans to the trans-European networks.
your presence here today, I would like to hear from your
I also said just now that funds would be released from the own lips your view of the situation in Italy and your
ECSC reserves, especially with a view to creating a opinion of Italy's chances of meeting the criteria. And
research fund for research in sectors linked to the coal and secondly, what is the main reason for this change in the
steel industry. I can also tell you that the Council will Italian position?
study initiatives to look into the possibilities of creating
de Silguy. - (FR) In reply to your second question, Mr ¿obs for SMEs on the basis of a new report by the
Arroni, I would say that the political intent is certainly Advisory Committee on Competitiveness. Finally, the
that of the Italian Government. What I said about Italy Council will also study good practice in each Member
yesterday was the result of an analysis, a finding that State in employment policy.
shows that Italy is currently achieving highly impressive
On all these matters, I believe that the mandate is advances when it comes to economic convergence. And if
sufficiently detailed and sufficiently substantial to enable Italy achieves the ambitions that its government has
to Commission to present specific proposals to the Euro­ adopted, it will this year have achieved the greatest
pean Council - proposals capable of bringing at least a reduction in public indebtednessd by any Euro­
partial answer to the present problems of unemployment. pean country in the last 15 years.
Rübig (PPE). - (DE) Mr President, thank you for taking Otherwise, as the government has not yet officially dis­
up the question of small and medium-sized enterprises. closed its convergence programme, I could not offer any
We have seen over recent decades that most jobs have precise assessment of it in public. Having said that, and
come from small firms, that new enterprises can create a bearing in mind the facts known to me, I did say that the
great many jobs and that the SLIM initiatives in particular objectives put forward, especially in the Italian 'Economic
are designed to relieve the burden on these firms and can and financial planning document', are sound. Moreover,
therefore also produce greater competitiveness. the areas singled out by the government for budgetary
reform are appropriate: pensions, social security, the civil
What do you think the chances are in Luxembourg of
service and the broadening of the tax base.
making use of the training programmes, by increasing the
appropriations for this area? For I believe that training is I also added, and this may have received less coverage in
the only means of really efficient job-creation. the press, that the moment of truth would come in
September when the government presents specific meas­
de Silguy. - (FR) There are two different answers to your
ures designed to give concrete form to these objectives,
question. First, training is a critical requirement of SMEs.
measures which, I believe, will be included in the 1998
That is undeniable, it is clear, and we are working on it.
budget. So it is out of the question at this stage to launch a
But training is also one of the essential aspects to be
premature examination, to make the Member States un­
implemented in the context of the ambitious Europe-wide
dergo a qualification test. The examination will take place
structural policies which we must pursue in order to
in March 1998, based on the real results for 1997. What I
remedy the structural causes of unemployment.
can say today is that there is no doubt that the situation in
Italy is developing along the right lines. That is encourag­Secondly, bearing in mind the importance of the contribu­
ing, and it suggests to me that, if countries have the tion made by the SMEs in terms of employment, the
necessary political will comply with the timetables and emphasis placed on these enterprises goes well beyond the
conditions set out in the Maastricht Treaty for joining the aspect of training alone. In particular, the new approach
single currency, they will succeed in doing so. being asked of the EIB - that it should release resources
to enable SMEs, especially those working in leading-edge
Randzio-Plath (PSE). - (DE) Mr President, measures to sectors which, by definition, are the ones that create jobs -
get Europe back to work, that was the Commissioner's should enable more resources to be made available to the
message to us today from Amsterdam. And we listened to SMEs.
it and certainly see it as a positive step. But I would like
the Commission to tell me what action it is now taking to I would add, on this point, that the Commission has
define the basic economic policy measures the Commu­already tabled a number of proposals and made a number
nity and the Member States should take. If you, the of recommendations which are, or have been, under
consideration by Parliament. They are now in the hands of Commission, and if the European Council took the recom-25.6.97 No 4-503/6 Debates of the European Parliament
how long dual circulation should continue, etc. Following mendations by this House seriously and incorporated them
that round table, we organized and are now holding a in your own proposals, we might have different economic
number of workshops with consumers, banks and busi­and employment policy results from those we have seen in
nesses, subject by subject. My objective would be to the past following from your recommendations. Please tell
us how this can be changed, for what the EU ministers of arrange two general meetings on these issues - one in
finance proposed in the past was not enough to really get autumn and the other in March - to see what solutions we
Europe back to work. can find to these problems, bearing in mind that it would
be preferable to avoid resorting to regulation if possible.
My second question, Commissioner, is as follows: I fully
appreciate that you are also concerned with the interna­ Our European Union already suffers from paralysis
tional role of the euro. But I would like to know one thing: brought about by excessive regulation, and I would prefer
are you also thinking of the consumer, of consumer it to err on the side of dynamism and consensus. At this
protection? When will we finally have a regulation to stage, then, our work is geared to a quest for consensus,
ensure that EU consumers do not bear the costs of the objective being of course to enable us, when we make
conversion? When will we finally have a regulation that public the decision on the list of countries joining the euro
also ensures that no dual pricing system will be intro­
in late April or early May 1998, at the same time to give
specific answers to consumers on the specific questions
'they ask. What I can promise you now is that these
de Silguy. - (FR) First, Mrs Randzio-Plath, if you
practical matters are one of the essential areas on which carefully study the conclusions of the European Council in
the Commission is currently working. Amsterdam - something I am not going to do here,
though I am willing to go through them with you in
Hautala (V). - (FI) Mr President, the European Parlia­
person - you will find that the concerns of the European
ment has called for the whole economic cycle of a
Parliament, especially those expressed in its resolutions on
Member State's economy to be considered when deter­
the Pact for Stability and Growth, have been extensively
mining whether it has an excessive deficit. This is wise, so taken into consideration. Not only that, but I personally
as to ensure that a Member State which finds itself in have taken the trouble, during recent discussions, to try to
difficulties is not driven ever deeper into the economic
persuade the Council to adopt as many as possible of the
mire. However, the conclusions of the Amsterdam summit ideas put forward by Parliament.
concerning the Agreement on Stability and Growth con­
tain a direct reference to the Council declaration, which in Secondly, you ask what initiative we are going to take. In
my speech just now I spoke in general terms about the turn stresses adherence to very strict, automatic proce­
approaches that have been selected, both in terms of dures for assessing excessive deficits. They are to lead
co-ordination of economic policy and in terms of employ­ quite directly to fines. Is this not extremely unwise? How
ment policy, and what we were going to do to follow them is this to be reconciled with your efforts to promote
through. Confining myself to essentials, I think the first employment, or was the declaration on employment
thing to do is to ensure that the content of Articles 102a needed purely to enable the French to reti/rn home in
and 103 is more oriented towards employment. That is safety?
why the broad guidelines of economic policy are going to
be widened - as you will see when we present them next de Silguy. - (FR) My first answer to that is that the
year - to take more account of competitiveness, the Stability Pact is absolutely and completely consistent with
employment market, technological innovation, education, the Maastricht Treaty. I would refer you to Article 104c of
training and taxation. the Treaty, which states that the Council may resolve upon
sanctions if certain conditions are present. In the present
That may not be the end of it, because we shall, if case, the Pact for Stability and Growth preserves the
appropriate, pursuant to Article 103(4) of the Treaty, autonomy of the Commission intact in terms of its power
propose to the Council that it makes recommendations on of initiative, and preserves the autonomy of the Council
these matters to the Member States. In other words, there intact in terms of its normal powers of decision granted to
is a parallel between the powers of recommendation we it by the Treaty. The Pact for Stability and Growth is a
have exercised so far in budgetary matters and those that code of conduct, a guide to behaviour, which is intended
we can extend into the economic field. to specify the conditions and timetable for the necessary
action to restore budgetary equilibrium.
Secondly, as far as employment is concerned, I think I
answered your question earlier when I said that we were
I can tell you, Mrs Hautala, that as far as I know public
going to take maximum advantage of the fact that the
deficits do not create jobs. I see this equally in the United
'employment' chapter of the Amsterdam Treaty will be
States and the European Union - I am not talking about
implemented even before that Treaty has been ratified,
France, have no fear - and in the other European coun­
thus providing a legal basis for more specific action. All
tries. In recent years, those countries which have done
these points are currently the subject of in-depth examina­
most to reduce their public deficits have also seen the tion and analysis. I look forward to reporting back to you
strongest growth and created the most jobs. I am looking very soon, once the Commission's services have made
here especially at the Dutch presidency. This is no obsta­
progress with this work, and I can assure you that I shall
cle to undertaking structural reforms, but, both in Denver
keep you closely informed of the way our ideas are
and in Amsterdam, the Heads of State and Government of
developing on this matter.
every country did indeed stress the fact that there is a link
of compatibility, I would even call it a synergistic effect, Regarding the consumer aspect, we organized a round
between the pursuit of a sound economic policy, the table discussion on 15 May which enabled us to identify a
reduction of the public deficit, the stimulation of growth number of specific, practical problems including dual
and the creation of jobs. · pricing or labelling, the date of issue of the banknotes, 25.6.97 Debates of the European Parliament No 4­503/7
Provan (PPE). ­ I wonder if you would care to comment way of providing the necessary stimulus and will to
on the use of the Euro by international companies in the succeed is by encouraging the people, not discouraging
European Union. In those countries which have the right them.
to opt out, or which may not be eligible at the start of
Secondly, the introduction of the euro will form an monetary union, do you foresee large international compa­
integral part of the solution to the problem of unemploy­nies using the Euro in practice and for accountancy needs,
ment, because the euro will bring Europe greater growth. thus allowing the Euro to evolve in those countries as a
It will also enable Europe to eliminate the monetary recognized currency? Will the Commission be making
fluctuations ­ 'competitive devaluations' as they were sure there is a legal base for that to happen?
once known in certain quarters in France ­ι which cost
de Silguy. ­ (FR) Let me reassure Mr Provan. Of course Europe a million and a half additional people unemployed
international companies, even if they are not based in a in a two year period, 1995 to 19.96.1 believe, then, that the
euro country, will be able to use the euro. At present, the contribution made by the euro to growth in Europe will
regulations adopted on the legal status of the euro are also be a valuable contribution to the struggle against
specifically designed to provide sufficient legal guarantees unemployment.
to ensure that the euro can be used by every enterprise in
the world that wishes to use it. But the majority of unemployment 'is structural, and so
structural reforms must be our primary aim, now more
Secondly, I can pass on the news that the Commission has than ever. That means reducing the; burden on the low
been working with, among others, those responsible for paid, it means giving flexibility to the employment mar­
the finance markets on extremely technical matters of ket, it means education, it means learning, training, all
financial conventions and denominations, with a view to those fields of endeavour where perseverance and determi­
trying to lay down rules, at the request of the financial nation are required.
operators themselves, to ensure that the euro can be used
on a harmonious basis. Once again, on returning from the United States after
seeing the Americans and talking to them, I realized that
My third comment is this: clearly, if the euro is a good
Europe was certainly no weaker than the United States but
currency, in other words a stable currency, it will be an
that we had one flaw ­ we don't believe in ourselves. And
alternative to the dollar and it will be in demand among
I believe that the role of politicians, of whatever party,
investors wanting to diversify their portfolios. So the euro
today is to give back Europe's citizens that confidence in
is bound to grow and its use is bound to become more
widespread as a trading currency and a payment currency
and, also, a reserve currency. Scarbonchi (ARE). ­ (FR) Mr President, there is a rather
unusual, not to say original, question I should like to put Féret (NT). ­ (FR) Commissioner, I should like to take
to the European Commissioner. another brief look at the specific proposals to boost
employment which the Commission believes it can imple­
At the G8 meeting in Denver, which was notable for the
ment as a direct outcome of the European Council resolu­
lack of any positive decisions as far as Europe was
tion in Amsterdam.
concerned, a notable event was a cowboy evening paying
homage to the American world order. The President of the Does the Commission believe that that resolution, the new
European Commission, Mr Santer, like most of the lead­chapter on employment and the integration of the social
ing figures present with the exception of Mr Blair, who protocol amount to a sufficiently ambitious and explicit
refused, received a present in the form of a gold watch of political commitment to enable the Union, between now
very considerable value. and the implementation of the single currency, effectively
to address the crucial and dominant problem of unemploy­
Commissioner, might not this gift be an opportunity for ment in Europe, and to respond to the urgent need and
the Commission and Parliament to set up a museum to sometimes desperate anxiety of the social groups affected
store and exhibit all the gifts received in the course of by it?
their official duties by European Union dignitaries ­
Or is the Commission perhaps inclined to consider, with Parliament, Council and Commission alike?
sadness, that the conclusions of the European Council as
I feel that this would be the best way to demonstrate to summarized in the resolution on growth and employment
European public opinion, to the citizens of Europe, the merely encompass a few generalities suitable for firstyear
keen interest which we all share in the preservation of students of political economy, bearing witness to the timid
integrity and transparency. and often inconsistent vision of a minimalist Europe
capitulating in the face of some of the serious difficulties
President. ­ Do you wish to reply, Mr Commissioner? that confront it ­ the social problem in this case?
de Silguy. ­ (FR) I have taken careful note of the To summarize, Commissioner, I doubt whether your ap­
Honourable Member's suggestion. Personally, I have not parent optimism is shared by our eighteen million unem­
received any such gifts. As for museums, let's have ployed.
museums by all means, but do we want to bury Europe in
de Silguy. ­ (FR) First, let me say that I quite agree that museums?
jobs cannot be created with documents and treaties. Nor
can we give Europe back the confidence it needs to Fayot (PSE). ­ (FR) To get back to employment policy,
rediscover its drive and create new jobs if we are con­ Commissioner, among the means available you mentioned
stantly going to throw in the towel and adopt the pessimis­ recourse to broad economic guidelines, the extension of
tic view. Today, when Europe has the necessary know­ those guidelines and the Council's recommendations on
how and is rediscovering the secret of growth, the best employment. In particular, you also talked about extend­25.6.97 Debates of the European Parliament No 4-503/8
Secondly, there will still be a problem to be sorted out ing the role of the European Investment Bank and making
with the non-euro States that are members of the European use of ECSC funds.
Union. The technical aspects of these matters are currently
under consideration, and I can assure you that all the I wonder if you could tell us what effects these two
eminently practical ideas can be expected to have on arrangements will be made to ensure that, as soon as the
employment. After all, as the Vice-President of the Euro­ euro comes into existence, any difficulties that may still
pean Investment Bank, Mr Roth, has said, the Bank persist will be eliminated.
already takes account of employment problems in the
President. - Thank you very much, Mr Commissioner. investment projects it finances. On the other hand, the
ECSC funds are not disposable funds - they are funds that
The debate is closed.
come from industry and they cannot simply be appropri­
ated and put to work for a Keynesian project.
5. Takeover bids
I should like to ask the Commissioner what the European
Council had in mind when it settled on these two very President. - The next item on the agenda is the report,
practical ideas. drawn up by Mrs Fontaine on behalf of the Committee on
Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights, on the proposal for a
de Silguy. - (FR) Thank you for that question, Mr Fayot. thirteenth European Parliament and Council Directive on
I could spend two hours answering it, because it is company law concerning takeover bids (COM(95)0655 -
technically complex. To keep things as simple as I can, C4-0107/96-95/0341 (COD)) (A4-0204/97).
what we are asking of the EIB is first that it should give
easier, quicker access to credit, and secondly that it should I have received a request from the UPE group pursuant to
reduce the cost of that credit to small- and mediumsized Rule 129 of the Rules of Procedure for the report to be
enterprises operating in high technology areas. So what referred back to committee.
we are talking about are specific, targeted schemes that
I call upon Mr Florio to move this request. will enable the EIB out of its own resources - out of its
reserves, if I can put it that way - to provide easier access
Florio (UPE). - (IT) Mr President, we have made this
to borrowing for enterprises which need loans in order to
request because we believe the issue needs to be examined
expand, and this idea holds out promise for the future
more deeply. We would point out that this proposal from
because the sectors concerned are the developing sectors
the Commission began life as a proposal for a recommen­
of so-called high technology.
dation and then made enormous strides, turning into a
proposal for a directive. The consultations were geared to
As for the ECSC, as you know, it holds substantial the proposal for a recommendation and not to the proposal
reserves which it is obliged to retain because it has to for a directive it has transformed itself into on its travels.
cover the loans it has made to industry. The ECSC will Now in the light of these considerations, the determination
cease to exist on 23 July 2002. A number of loans will still and the conviction has grown in my group that it is right
remain active, will still have a few years to run. So, as to go further into the matter in committee and also,
long as those loans need to be covered, the reserves will
perhaps, to deal in parallel with the imminent - or almost
remain. The interesting point is that the European Council
imminent - discussion of the directive on the European
said that since those reserves were set up on the basis of a
limited company. So, on behalf of my group, I support the
levy on the coal and steel industries, then when those
request for reference back to committee.
reserves can be released they must be given to a fund
which will enable research to be promoted in the indus­ Medina Ortega (PSE). - (ES) Mr President, on behalf of
tries connected with that sector. the Group of the European Socialists I should like to tell
the House that the matter was debated at length in the
So, instead of ending up with this money being handed Committee for Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights, taking
over to some unspecified recipient, we can feel certain that account of all considerations and all aspects. It seems to
it will be appropriated and used to best effect to facilitate me that there is no point in referring it back to committee
research, because research stimulates employment and now. I therefore suggest that we keep it on the agenda.
because not enoughh is being done in Europe.
President. - I put the request to refer the report back to
Mulder (ELDR). - (NL) Mr President, now that it is committee to the vote.
becoming increasingly likely or almost certain that we
(Parliament rejected the request) will have the euro, I should like to ask the Commissioner
what will happen to Europe's green currency system? Will
I call upon the rapporteur, Mrs Fontaine.
there soon be a green euro or when does the Commission
envisage making concrete proposals in this area so that Fontaine, rapporteur. - (FR) Mr President, the report on
Europe will also have a single euro in the field of takeover bids which I have the honour of presenting to
agriculture? this House on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs
and Citizens' Rights cannot be considered outside its
de Silguy. - (FR) That is a very good question. We are
historical context, and I hope you will allow me to say a
already giving thought to that. What I can say is that the
few words on that subjects.
euro will simplify the situation, at least for the countries in
the euro zone. Consequently, in agri-monetary matters, the It was in 1989 that the Commission, noting the prolifera­
difficulties that have arisen as a result of changes in tion of takeover bids, both friendly and hostile, in the
exchange rates, and which have had agri-monetary reper­ European private sector, took the initiative of proposing
cussions, will disappear. So that will simplify the situa­ the adoption at Community level of a number of joint
tion. provisions governing these practices. In actual fact, the

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