• Alfred   SANT  

Alfred SANT : Pisne obrazložitve glasovanja - 8. zakonodajno obdobje 

Poslanci lahko na plenarnem zasedanju predložijo pisno obrazložitev svojega glasovanja. Člen 194

Izvrševanje in financiranje splošnega proračuna EU za leto 2019 v zvezi z izstopom Združenega kraljestva iz Unije (A8-0197/2019 - Jean Arthuis) EN  
 

It is obvious that the EU should be fully prepared for the different possible scenarios describing future relations between the United Kingdom and the EU. Not least from the budgetary side of things.
The contingency measures contemplated in this document are particularly important to minimise the damage that would ensue if a no deal scenario prevails.
Problems would go beyond those arising from a possible budget shortfall when and if the UK’s payments into the 2019 budget dry up.
Just as importantly, there would be problems for private individuals and corporate entities established in the UK and currently benefiting from EU funding. They need to maintain their eligibility for such funding the case of a no-deal.
The same applies for non-UK based persons who have entered into funding projects involving UK entities.
The text provides ways and means by which deleterious consequences are contained and compensated for.
It sends a strong signal that the EU is prepared to stand four square with commitments it has made to interested parties in terms of the relationship sustained over the years with the UK.
For the above reasons, I voted in favour of giving Parliament’s consent to this Commission proposal.

Boj proti razširjanju terorističnih spletnih vsebin (A8-0193/2019 - Daniel Dalton) EN  
 

I have voted in favour of this report, dealing with the dissemination of terrorist content online.
Europe has been facing an evolving terrorist threat over the past years.
According to a report by the High-Level Commission Expert Group on Radicalisation (May 2018), internet featured in almost every 2017 attack. It is being used to disseminate instructions before attacks and to spread propaganda before and after attacks. Terrorist groups recruit many members online.
This text aims at reducing extremist content online by providing for duties of care to be applied by any hosting service providers in the EU while taking action against such content. Member States will need to ensure that competent authorities have sufficient capability and resources to enforce the removal orders. The report endorses cooperation among the national authorities, to avoid duplicating work and interference with ongoing investigations.
I welcome these consultation and cooperation procedures between the competent national authorities that take into account special circumstances for a removal order affecting the fundamental interests of a Member State.
Finally, feasibility of the delay for the removal of objectionable content on small platforms has been questioned. However, at no moment, should any fine tuning of measures being undertaken give the impression that we are being soft on terrorism.

Kapitalske zahteve (direktiva) (A8-0243/2018 - Peter Simon) EN  
 

After more than two years of work on the banking reform, we have finally reached the final stage with the EP plenary session’s approval of the compromise agreements reached with the Council and the Commission on the Capital Requirements Regulation and Directive.
I voted in favour of the compromise agreements because I believe that the new rules strike the right balance between the enhancing of the prudential requirement framework without adding excessive burden for banks.
In particular, I welcome the inclusion of the Malta Development Bank in the list of banks excluded from the application of these capital requirements.
The Malta Development Bank was created after the adoption of the initial Commission proposal and therefore it was not included in the text.
The application of these capital requirements to the Malta Development Bank would have had a counterproductive effect on its activities, due to unnecessary administrative burden and additional cost.
The compromise text reached by the EU Institutions makes sure that the Malta Development Bank receives the same treatment as the other National Promotional Banks in Europe.
In this way it will be able to fulfil its primary socio-economic objectives of public interest by supporting investments in Malta.

Smernice za politike zaposlovanja držav članic (A8-0177/2019 - Miroslavs Mitrofanovs) EN  
 

. ‒ In Europe, we have had the strongest economic growth in a decade and the highest employment rate.
Yet the number of EU workers in poverty has kept rising since the financial crisis.
One in six workers in part-time jobs was at risk of poverty in 2017. Too many have not benefited from the recent economic growth.
The dependence on structural reforms to introduce flexibility in labour markets has brought negative social consequences.
It has cut living standards and brought work insecurity, while failing to sufficiently reduce unemployment.
Labour rights have been seriously eroded while precarious employment flourished.
In 2018, the European Pillar of Social Rights was highlighted as the way for the EU to regain its social conscience.
The Pillar was meant to help drive socially-oriented reforms at a national level, thereby promoting convergence across Europe.
However, boosting socially meaningful reforms in labour markets will depend among others, on incentivising those who produce and enhancing opportunities brought by the digitalisation of our economy.
Such reforms should reinforce labour security, ensuring for example that the process of contracting out production processes does not worsen working conditions, and that self-employed workers enjoy the same social protection than other workers.
All these considerations defined my vote on the text.

Evropski sklad za pomorstvo in ribištvo (A8-0176/2019 - Gabriel Mato) EN  
 

. ‒ The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) supports the livelihood and cultural heritage of coastal communities across the EU and should be continued.
In particular, one cannot but endorse all funding that is specifically dedicated to young fishermen wishing to achieve their first acquisition of a fishing vessel. I also agree with the position to amend the original Commission proposal on aquaculture investments, by adding the possibility of support for such investments through direct grants, and not only through financial leverage. Furthermore, Parliament’s stance favouring the small-scale fishing sector is commendable.
Yet, it is disappointing that preferential treatment granted to small-scale fishermen in the EU’s outermost regions is not fully extended to those coming from small island environments. Small-scale fishermen in peripheral islands suffer from disadvantages similar to those experienced in the outermost regions. Their needs should not be sidelined.
Therefore, my vote in favour is conditioned by this objection: still not enough is being proposed to enable fishing communities in peripheral island regions to benefit from the current structure of the EU’s common fisheries policy.

Vseevropski osebni pokojninski produkt (A8-0278/2018 - Sophia in 't Veld) EN  
 

. ‒ Whilst basic pension systems need first to be dealt with at a national level, before they can realistically be dealt with on a European basis, the idea of creating a complementary and voluntary pension pillar at European level is a good idea.
This would address demographic challenges and the fact that national security systems are not well adjusted to labour mobility and migration among Member States. It could also be seen as a more remunerative long-term savings tool. Quite likely too, it could constitute a platform on which to eventually ground further developments towards a pan-European personal insurance and pensions framework.
The compromise agreement on the pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) reached by Parliament and the Council further strengthens the original Commission proposal by including additional safeguards for consumers, a cap to costs and fees, as well as a reference to the environmental, social and governance factors for pension product providers.
It meshes well with the S&D agenda for the development of a capital markets union, sustainable finance and the social pillar without disrupting national pension systems. For all these reasons, I voted in favour of the final agreement reached by the Institutions.

Vzpostavitev programa Ustvarjalna Evropa (2021–2027) (A8-0156/2019 - Silvia Costa) EN  
 

Cultural and creative sectors in Europe are a significant element of the EU’s economy: they represent around 4.5% of its GDP, with a significant share of the digital economy.
Further, European culture stands as one of the age-old bonds that has connected European communities throughout the centuries.
Yet, both public and private investment in the sector have been for decades falling back when compared to those in other economic blocks globally. On many levels, arts in the United Sates continue to take over the lead. Other economic powers are also investing heavily in these sectors.
The New European Agenda for Culture accompanied by a proposed increase in EU funding through this programme is welcomed.
Nevertheless, further investment needs to be mobilised. In our education systems, in our cities, and directly in the sector, so that first, culture and arts are accessible to all, and second, that they are in a more favourable position to compete globally.
For the above stated reasons, while I have voted in favour of this Report, I believe that the proposed funding is not enough to reverse the situation and create the needed drive for the cultural and the creative scenes in Europe.

Vzpostavitev okvira za spodbujanje trajnostnih naložb (A8-0175/2019 - Bas Eickhout, Sirpa Pietikäinen) EN  
 

It is true that there is a growing market in which investors prioritise environmental concerns; however, it is still relatively a small market. This is why public policy measures, at national or EU level are needed.
The Commission has given a good start to the process with this Regulation on a future European framework for determining environmentally sustainable investment. I understand the spirit that has motivated this proposal, to create a unified classification system on what can be considered an environmentally sustainable economic activity in Europe.
However, the Parliament text seeks to widen the scope of the Commission proposal to cover all financial products, whether or not they carry investments with a targeted sustainable impact. I disagree with this approach, which could penalise other investments. I believe the Commission intended to provide a tool for directing investors to select sustainable investments, which would increase the demand for these activities, without jeopardising the take up of other traditional assets. I also have in mind the additional costs for investors and burdens this will imply for small and medium sized firms. One must remember that a significant part of the EU’s financial services are intermediated by SMEs. Therefore, I voted against the proposal of the Parliament to broaden the scope.

Evropski sklad za regionalni razvoj in Kohezijski sklad  (A8-0094/2019 - Andrea Cozzolino) EN  
 

I voted in favour of this Report because the funds at issue will be essential to sustain the development of many regions in Europe. The Report puts as a priority the reduction of disparities between levels of development of EU regions. It states that the ERDF should address the specific difficulties encountered by certain islands.
However, the Report stops short of considering advantageous treatment to EU islands other than those classified as Outermost Regions. Unfortunately, the difficulties that small peripheral islands face are still being ignored. For them to achieve social cohesion, supplementary funding must be made available in order to:
- assist traditional businesses needing modernisation;
- provide special assistance to traditional economic players who are being squeezed by large-scale operators;
- improve transport connections.
The prevailing constraints punish hardest those islands suffering from dual geographical insularity such as the island of Gozo. Since Malta, of which Gozo forms part, became a member of EU territory, economic and social outcomes in Gozo have actually fallen behind those of the EU as a whole and those of other peripheral European islands. This is not acceptable.
Without appropriate investment funding, the EU’s periphery will continue to have problems in not falling further behind the rest of the EU.

Razkritje davčnih informacij v zvezi z dohodki s strani nekaterih podjetij in podružnic (A8-0227/2017 - Hugues Bayet, Evelyn Regner) EN  
 

Tax transparency is key to allow for a healthy tax competition within the EU and to ensure that all tax authorities exchange the relevant information and cooperate. On this basis, Member States can develop robust and fraud-proof tax systems.
However, disclosure of tax-related information should not be done in a way that puts EU companies at a competitive disadvantage with their non-European counterparts. Giving the latter up-to-date information about the profit and loss outcomes of EU firms in the absence of reciprocity is less than a good idea, as deleterious effects on future investment and job creation in Europe would ensue.
To prevent this, the European Union should push for changes towards further disclosure within the remit of the OECD, as has been done with the EU Directive on the exchange of information among tax authorities.
Recent developments in the area of taxation policy have shown that the OECD is increasingly successful in swiftly putting in place collaborative mechanisms to combat tax abuse.
The EU should be at the forefront of high transparency standards on taxation, but should not let this stand serve to boost opportunities for outside competitors. The report does not give sufficient weight to this important consideration. I have therefore voted against it.

Avtorske pravice na enotnem digitalnem trgu (A8-0245/2018 - Axel Voss) EN  
 

. ‒ I have voted in favour of this reform while being well aware of certain concerns.
Internet freedom is key for our citizens but also for the European digital single market.
The last reform of copyright rules dates back to the first decade of the public internet.
The EU needs modern rules fit for the digital age and this reform constitutes a reasonable way forward.
Internet giants are capturing the work of creators, often through advertising activities, without giving them a fair remuneration.
Such a situation needs to be regulated or we risk endangering the European creative environment because of growing disincentives for creative work.
The proposed directive on copyrights offers a flexible solution guaranteeing economic transparency, plus a safety net for content-creators in case of abuses, while retaining the legal foundations of copyright use.
At no moment does it aim to prevent users from communicating among themselves, commenting or reviewing information online.
Guarantees for creators shall not modify the way content is shared on the Internet but shall ensure that a clear link is made between European writers, artists and European users through rules incentivising quality-content.

Skupne določbe o Evropskem skladu za regionalni razvoj, Evropskem socialnem skladu plus, Kohezijskem skladu in Evropskem skladu za pomorstvo in ribištvo in o finančnih pravilih zanje (A8-0043/2019 - Andrey Novakov, Constanze Krehl) EN  
 

This report requests that the EU continue to finance up to 85 per cent of support projects approved (by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund) for less developed regions, and up to 65 per cent in so-called transition regions.
By contrast, the Commission had proposed much lower targets. If its proposal were followed, many projects would not be getting EU funding.
Equally important: Parliament has rejected the macroeconomic conditionalities set by the Commission. If they had to be followed, countries with governments which are found to be at fault under eurozone rules would face cancellation of their funds for approved projects. Thus, project beneficiaries, including regional authorities, would be punished for decisions taken by national governments.
The Commission proposal is unfair. More than that, it puts in peril the reputation for surety of finalisation and payment that approved EU-funded projects have acquired.
Amendments to the report proposed including the European Investment Bank in the programming aspects of projects, thus increasing the administrative costs burdening them. I voted against them, but for the reasons mentioned above, I voted in favour of the resolution as a whole.

Program za enotni trg, konkurenčnost podjetij in evropsko statistiko (A8-0052/2019 - Nicola Danti) EN  
 

As the S&D rapporteur for the ECON Opinion on the Single Market Programme, I had the opportunity to follow and argue for an improved targeting of funding under this programme. This objective has been achieved. As it stands, the European Parliament resolution gives all EU citizens further priority over other economic interests that have a stake in the single market programme. Indeed, the programme will now be strengthening protection for consumers while enabling Europe’s SMEs to take better advantage of the single market. Further, the resolution states that funding for the collection of statistics on issues that affect the internal market, such as trade and migration, should be easily available, thereby increasing transparency in its operations. It makes a stronger emphasis than the Commission’s original proposal on the need to support tourism, financial services, and the digital economy. Finally, the EP is endorsing the idea that when addressing market barriers, the programme should also address geographical barriers, underlining the need to empower SMEs from all EU regions to benefit equally from the internal market.
I have therefore voted in favour of the EP resolution on the Single Market Programme.

DDV: dokončni sistem za obdavčevanje trgovine med državami članicami (A8-0028/2019 - Fulvio Martusciello) EN  
 

This definitive VAT system of taxation of trade aims to boost efforts to reduce the VAT gap. It introduces simplifications that reduce companies’ administrative costs. By replacing the current system by a single procedure, it could facilitate B2B transactions. Moreover, by introducing the concept of ‘Certified Taxable Person’, it establishes the status of a reliable taxable person, ultimately facilitating trade and making life easier for companies operating cross-border. These are highly desirable outcomes.
However, such reforms should be carefully framed. Member States need to be sure that, where applicable, they retain existing guarantees to apply zero rates on food and pharmaceuticals even after the introduction of the definitive VAT system. Any subsequent price increases that might then follow in the wake of the definitive system would be totally unacceptable. In addition, the reform should by no means weaken the measures by which taxes are collected or the incentives and safeguards that make for a robust VAT system. Also, by shifting the responsibility for tax reporting on the supplier in another Member State, the definitive system risks removing a tool from the hands of Member States in their quest to collect taxes due to them.
For these reasons, I have abstained on the final vote.

Izvajanje določb Pogodbe glede pristojnosti Parlamenta za politični nadzor nad Komisijo (A8-0033/2019 - Mercedes Bresso) EN  
 

. ‒ Despite the fact that the Treaty of Lisbon has increased the powers of the European Parliament, democratic scrutiny of the Commission’s initiatives is still weak and flawed. Parliament remains the least effective EU institution for a number of reasons, which the report highlights. They relate mostly to the power tandem constituted by the Commission and the Council that ends up driving most initiatives.
Parliament is supposed to be the main direct link with EU citizens but this is not really the case. So the report rightly emphasises the need for greater activism on the part of national parliaments, alongside that of the European Parliament, to inject transparency and accountability into EU decision making.
However, the problem is two sided and cannot be blamed entirely on the Council and Commission. Too frequently, Parliament behaves like an academic discussion group, or like a gathering that pontificates widely on EU and world matters well outside its remit. Conclusions on such matters are then reached on purely partisan grounds, and this saps Parliament’s credibility.
We need a radical debate on all these and other issues. I voted for the resolution because it might lead to such a debate.

Celovita evropska industrijska politika na področju umetne inteligence in robotike (A8-0019/2019 - Ashley Fox) EN  
 

. ‒ Many citizens look at innovation and technology developments with worry, in particular about the negative impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on jobs, but we can’t avoid dealing with these issues because, like it or not, they already impact on our daily lives. It is best to face these challenges and turn them into opportunities.
In an era of intensifying global competition for innovative solutions, Europe is lagging behind the USA and China on artificial intelligence and robotics, and within the Union these sectors are highly fragmented. The capacity to innovate is fundamental to Europe’s ability to attract and retain high-quality, high-productivity jobs and take to forward the digital transformation that is needed across all sectors to ensure we can compete successfully in the global economy. But innovation is not limited to productivity and growth: it also implies new social challenges. For this reason, I voted in favour of the resolution, which paves the way for a comprehensive European industrial policy on artificial intelligence and robotics, addressing all sectors, as well as the implications for citizens. This should be one of the main legislative priorities for the next Commission.

Spremembe Poslovnika (A8-0462/2018 - Richard Corbett) EN  
 

Increasing transparency of the EU Institutions will strengthen their accountability, will make European citizens more committed to them, and help to close the gap that exists with our constituents.
Since I joined the Parliament, I included this requirement in the organisation of my daily activities and requested my staff to implement what today has become a rule for everyone.
The new rules will provide more transparency when it comes to finding out which lobbyists MEPs are in touch with and encourage them to publish online all scheduled meetings with special interest representatives as defined by the transparency register.
The EPP was not united on the new transparency provisions. They requested to hold a secret ballot to hide those members who voted against such rules. Happily, their tactics failed and those who were for more transparency won.
The new rules also require the adoption of a gender action plan aimed at incorporating a gender perspective in all Parliament’s activities, at all levels and stages. Amazingly, the EPP Maltese Members voted against this provision, following a divided EPP Group. I supported this provision because transparency enhances equality, and the European Parliament should lead on gender balance.
Therefore, I voted in favour of the Resolution.

Razmere v Venezueli (B8-0082/2019, B8-0083/2019, B8-0084/2019, B8-0085/2019, B8-0086/2019, B8-0087/2019) EN  
 

The European Parliament has no legal standing to recognise or not the sovereign and diplomatic status of governments.
Nor should it seek to achieve such a standing, despite the empty claim that it will have been the first EU institution to take a definitive stand on Venezuela. It is meaningless for this Parliament to express definitive judgements on a situation as complex as in that country.
The current Venezuelan regime descends from the first democratic government of Hugo Chavez that introduced social and economic reforms against a no-holds-barred opposition from right wing forces, all out to defend their vested interests. During the resulting struggle, the Chavez and then Maduro governments committed huge mistakes, became unacceptably authoritarian, delivered for a while on their social promises, but ran the market-based economy into the ground. Allegations of corruption abound.
I cannot endorse such an administration. Neither, though, can I bless an opposition that has been, over the years, thoroughly intransigent, ready to sabotage the actions of a legitimate government, and now openly trades with President Trump for his help to take over the state. Given this absurd vote that is uncalled for, to recognise the Venezuelan opposition as the rightful government, I abstain.

Letno poročilo o politiki konkurence (A8-0474/2018 - Michel Reimon) EN  
 

I voted in favour of the Annual Competition Report in view of the inclusion of various amendments dedicated to the need of a special treatment when it comes to state aid control for the provision of services of general economic interest in isolated, remote or peripheral regions.
This comes with an important added reference to Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Further, the Report stresses the importance of protecting those in weak consumer positions when applying EU competition law. In this context, the insertion of the amendment asking for special attention to small farmers is very crucial, especially when designating aid to Maltese farming. Nonetheless, one cannot condone non-factual references on taxation. On the same line, one cannot support Parliament’s requests that are non-Treaty based, and that too often go against the interests of small jurisdictions at Europe’s periphery.
Small states in the EU need to have the flexibility to provide non-discriminatory tax incentives and thus be in a position to attract investment in their territory. An EU-level tax system would act against such interest. Consequently, calls for a CCCTB, also present in this Report, must be resisted at all levels.

Zaščita proračuna Unije v primeru splošnih pomanjkljivosti v zvezi z načelom pravne države v državah članicah (A8-0469/2018 - Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Petri Sarvamaa) EN  
 

The procedure being suggested would allow restricting access to EU funding proportionately to the scope of the rule of law deficiencies within a Member State. However, I have abstained on the following grounds.
Firstly, widening the scope to include tax competition as harmful is irrelevant to the topic. Furthermore, this goes against the principle of tax sovereignty. I could have been in favour of enlarging the scope to tax evasion if this would not eventually be exploited to achieve tax harmonisation.
Secondly, assessing whether rule of law is deficient should depend on a procedure that is transparent and based on an objective analysis of facts, presumably by impartial legal experts. The approach that has been too frequently followed, as when the case of Malta was under review, has proven to be politically partisan, prejudiced and based on a tit-for-tat approach.
The risk remains high that allegations of breaches of the rule of law are instrumentalised for political reasons.
I would ultimately support a transparently-designed procedure for the proper identification of generalised deficiencies regarding the rule of law, so long as it is objective, fair, transparent and careful in linking the rule of law with the EU’s financial interests.