15/05/2017 European Parliament


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15/05/2017

Live coverage of debates on the annual report on the protection of the EU's financial interests, the European Qualifications framework for lifelong learning, and food safety.


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TRANSLATION: Handing over to Mr Lundgren, go ahead. Mr President, I

:02:41.:03:54.

would like to make a point of order, concerning article 11 about a

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manifestation that took place in 27th April in Brussels. A

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demonstration of one of our Swedish colleague, who showed solidarity to

:04:08.:04:11.

a Palestinian terrorist, a man who is convicted of three terror attacks

:04:12.:04:16.

in which five persons were murdered, including a mother of two children.

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Also, attempted murder, membership in a terror organisation and

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conspiring to commit a crime. He was acquitted of 33 other murders, which

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he was charged for because of a lack of evidence. In this house, we

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cannot accept a manifestation of showing solidarity with convicted

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terrorists. I demand that you, as the president of the European

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Parliament, will take a responsibility seriously and look

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into this matter. Thank you. APPLAUSE

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TRANSLATION: Thank you very much president. I'm turning towards you

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and to colleagues in the chamber to say that the council and seven

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member states have been blocking aid to the areas in central Italy struck

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by the earthquake. I'd like to denounce this fact and so I'd like

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to call on all colleagues, seven months after the disaster, still

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most of the people affected still live in tents and there's no hope

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for a normal life to resume at the moment. So please, if we really do

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want to change things, we've got to show our solidarity. Let's do

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something as quickly as possible, we need to be building houses for these

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people as soon as possible. TRANSLATION: Of course, the Speaker

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will be representing the position of the Parliament during the trial log.

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Our position as a Parliament has been extremely clear on this, so I

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would refer you to the representative of that particular

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issue. We know our issues and our views on this. So I would refer you

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to that. We hold that as a very important issue in our hearts. Thank

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you Mr President. On 14th February in this very chamber one of the

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members of this Parliament referred to Israel as a terrorist state. I

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objected to that at the time during the foreign affairs debate. I

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understand it was referred to the bureau. I will be writing to you

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personally Mr President asking why no action has been taken, thank you.

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TRANSLATION: I'd like to be very clear on this and on other issues, I

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do not intend to suffocate any kind of political debate within this

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chamber, but if everybody starts to ask for sanctions to be put in place

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everybody time they disagree with something somebody has said, I mean

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we have to look at whether our values as a European Parliament are

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being trampled on or not. I do not want to sensor any debate. I will

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not be doing that otherwise we will never get to the end of this kind of

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thing. If somebody is criticising somebody else or attacking a state,

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if these are just political attacks, verbal attacks, I don't think

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intervention is required. By way of sanctions. This applies to what

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you've just said, Sir, but on other issues as well, whether people

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pronounce vulgar accusations or statements, things that will flout

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the values of the European Union, that is different, otherwise coming

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in with sanctions every time somebody disagrees with what

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somebody else has said, I think that would be going too far. Go ahead.

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TRANSLATION: Thank you very much indeed president. I have

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unfortunately to say that Greece and Cyprus, two member states of the

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European Union have been victims of expansionist threats by Turkey and

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there have been violations of airspace and maritime spaces and

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there's been a blockade placed on a member of the European Union. There

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have also been questions raised regarding damages incurred by

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European companies who are trying to prospect for gas resources. Our

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sovereign rights are being violated but also the rights of the European

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Union. And we believe that it is necessary for action to be taken and

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the European Parliament and European Union have to react, just as is the

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case whenever there are other cases in the member states of the European

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Union, where threats have been experienced. You cannot just have a

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country like Turkey using this rhetoric and not do anything,

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because there are now real dangers in this part of the world. We're

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asking for your solidarity and we're asking for a real reaction. We're

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asking for measures to be taken against a country that is

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jeopardising the stability of the region and which is violating the

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principles and values of the European Union.

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TRANSLATION: Thank you very much. The Minutes and texts of the

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sittings adopted are available. Any comments? They've been distributed.

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No. In that case The Minutes are approved.

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With regard to the composition of political groups, Renato Soro will

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officially be a member of the SND group as of tomorrow. I have

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received a request from the non-attached for a change in the

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modification of a commission. That modification within in The Minutes

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of this meetings. If there's nobody to objects to that it will be

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considered adopted. In relation to the decision by several committees

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to enter into institutional negotiations pursuit to rule 69 C

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paragraph one announce the opening of the sitting 26th April 2017 I

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have received no request in Parliament. The committees were able

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to start negotiations after the expiry of the deadline laid down in

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rule 69 C paragraph two. Various committees have decided to enter

:11:15.:11:20.

into institutional negotiations pursuant to rule 69 C. The reports

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which constitution the mandates for those negotiations are available on

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the web page. And their titles will be published in the minutes of the

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sitting. Pursuant to rule 69 C paragraph two members or political

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groups reaching a medium threshold may request in writing by tomorrow

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Tuesday 26th May at midnight that decision to enter into negotiations

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be put to the vote. If no request for a vote in Parliament on the

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decision toner into negotiations is made within the aforementioned

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deadline the committees may start the negotiations. I would like to

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inform you that on Wednesday, together with the president of the

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Council, I shall sign 12 acts adopted under the ordinary

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legislationive procedure in accordance with rule 78. The titles

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of the acts will be published in The Minutes of this sitting. We now come

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to the order of business, the final draft agenda as adopted by the

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conference of presidents on May 11, pursuant to rule 149 has been

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distributed. I have received no request for changes to the final

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agenda. So the agenda is deemed adopted. So the first item on the

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agenda is a report, the annual report 2015 on the protection of the

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EU's financial interests, fight against fraud.

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TRANSLATION: Thank you, president. Financial fraud and all ports of

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illegal activities that is detrimental to the European budget

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must be efficiently eliminated. That is only possible if we have the

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proper tool kit and the choice of tools at hand is only possible if

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you know what's actually happening. The EU budget. We started the debate

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for the reports. Please those who would like to leave should do so in

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silence. OK.

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TRANSLATION: My request is that you restart the clock, president, please

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reset the clock, president, because I have been unable to say anything.

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TRANSLATION: You can go from the beginning please, take it from the

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top. TRANSLATION: Financial fraud and all

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kinds of illegal activities that is detrimental to the yew budget should

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be efficiently eliminated, that's only possible if you use the proper

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tools. And the selection of tools at hand is possible if you know what

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actually happening. The EU budget is aimed at improving circumstances in

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all areas of life. And any damage to the EU budget are detrimental to

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achieving that objective. According to the report for 2015, on

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the protection of EU financial interests, the volume of fraud

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amounts to 640 million euros per aNam. One can assume that the actual

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volume of fraud is even higher. Because, not all cases are detected

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or reported. We must efficiently defend our taxpayers' money. But

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there are different hindrances on that road. Among those is

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insufficient co-operation at different levels and another problem

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is such that no member states implement regulations on time. We

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are lacking a common system of collecting comparable data from

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member states. The report we are talking about today points to a

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number of issues. Let me point out those that are most relevant. Such

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as, income lost because of gap in regulations on VAT and

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intracommunity fraud on VAT. Also only two member states have been

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gathering and providing information on losses incurred in income,

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because of transborder VAT fraud. It is worrying that the number of cases

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has been on the increase in three farming funds for example there has

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been an increase over the last five years. Also there is a sharp

:16:49.:16:54.

increase in the number of irregularities in fisheries. What is

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also worrying is high irregularities in cohesion funds. If you look at

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the analysis of member states and of the commission, you could consued we

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should put a stop to these worrying tendencies. Also investigation is

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needed on a large number of problems with respect to research and

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development and innovation in entrepreneurship. Among the problems

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found, the most important are lack of common rules for reporting for

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all member states. It is the reason why we can't see the picture

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properly and another problem is that we are a lacking information

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interchange system for relevant institutions to fight transnational

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crime. We also should supervise any exemptions from procedures while

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using funds to assist people who come to Europe. Of course, export

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controls are use chl, because we can discover many new Ig regularities.

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One should point out that prevention is important. Prevention is easier

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than recovering the money after wards. We should welcome the fact

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that directive has come into force where is it now a crime to put into

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circulation counter fit money. One should point out the role of whistle

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blowers and protection of whistle blowers. We should point out that

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relevant regulations have been put in put in EU institutions. It is

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important to protect investigative journalists. The report includes a

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lot of information on o' its reports so far. The time of court actions

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that are being conducted. Thank you for your attention. And I wait to

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hear your replies. Thank you. Thank you, I would now like to ask the

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commissioner to take the floor, please. Mr President, members, I'm

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grateful for this opportunity to participate in this debate on the

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Parliament's yearly resolution on the protection of the EU's finance

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ideal interests. The fight against fraud is of utmost importance for

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the commission, as it is for the Parliament. Protection of the

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European budget is all the more important at a time when the trust

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of citizens in the European project and in its capability to bring

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security and prosperity is at risk. I would like to take this

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opportunity to thank the members of the committee on budgetary control

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and in particular the reporter for the excellent work on this motion

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for a resolution. The result is a comprehensive and we structured

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report. It is thanks to the political pressure exercised by the

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European Parliament that several issues highlighted in the commission

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reports have been addressed and progress has been made at European

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and at member states level. Over the last five years, together, we have

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significantly reinforced the framework for the protection of the

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union's financial interest. Let me recall the most important measures.

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We have adopted several important acts, modernising the legal

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framework for the protection of the financial interests of the EU like

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the public procurement directives and the four delegated and for

:21:25.:21:29.

implementing acts on irregularity reporting. The legal framework for

:21:30.:21:37.

the programming period 14-20 for the first time refers explicitly to the

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obligation from member states to put in place proportionate and effective

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antifraud measures. On the revenue side, the revised regulation on

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assistance in the customs area and into force creating new databases to

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fight better customs fraud. The last and not the least of these legal

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achievements is the the directive on the protection of the union's

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financial interests by means of criminal law for which a political

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agreement was finally reached, also thanks to persistence of the

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Parliament. But there are also important ongoing legal initiatives.

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The negotiations of the European public prosecutors office have moved

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forward very fast and we have seen 17 member states willing to

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establish the EPPO and enhanced co-operation and a few more making

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preparations to join it. Like the Parliament, the commission supports

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establishing a strong and efficient EPPO with as many member stapts as

:22:54.:22:59.

possible and with the necessary means to effectively fight crimes.

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We are convinced that the EPPO has significant potential to improve the

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current situation as regards the low level of prosecutions for crimes

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affecting the union's financial interests. Olaf will continue to

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play a key role as regard none fraudulent and fraudulent

:23:24.:23:28.

irregularities. It will complement and support the work of the EPPO.

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Beyond the protection of financial interests it will continue

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investigations effects by members of institution and staff likely to lead

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to disciplinary or criminal proshe'dings. The commission is

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determined to maintain a strong Olaf to play a crucial role to make sure

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an adequate protection of the budget. Members of Parliament over

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the five last years, we have also made progress on concrete actions

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and measures. I will mention three examples for which the Parliament's

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support reiterated in the report is once more important and particularly

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welcome. The first is the embedding of antifraud measures in national

:24:29.:24:34.

antifraud strategies. The second is to extend the use of IT tools by all

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member states to strengthen the fight against fraud. And the third

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is the accomplishment of harmonised and qualityive reporting of the

:24:47.:24:52.

detected Ig regularities and frauds -- Ig regularities and frauds. The

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commission acknowledges that data is not fully comparable and takes notes

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of the requests of the Parliament to improve the situation. New

:25:05.:25:09.

guidelines are being prepared in co-operation with national experts

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to address the most important issues to reduce the disparities and

:25:15.:25:20.

standardise the process. The document is expected to be finalised

:25:21.:25:27.

this year. It is by analysing such data that we can understand whether

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the measures we have adopted really make a difference. However, still

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is, there is still much to do. The commission will keep on fulfilling

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its role of supporting and assisting member state when needed and of

:25:49.:25:53.

facilitating the exchange of best practices and know how. President,

:25:54.:25:59.

members of Parliament, I would like to close my intervention, stressing

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once more the importance of the Parliament's resolution. It is by

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acting together to wards the same target that we have achieved all

:26:10.:26:13.

these improvements. But we are aware that we cannot rest on our laurels.

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We can count on you to keep -- we count on you to keep encouraging and

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also cite criticising when necessary the commission and the member states

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in their fulfilment of treaty obligation to protect the union's

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financial interests from irregularities and from fraud. I

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thank you for your attention. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much

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indeed. I would now like to ask somebody else to take the floor. You

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have three minutes. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much. I would like to

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thank the commissioner for her words and also to thank the reporter for

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this excellent piece of work. In the report on the protection of the EU's

:27:11.:27:19.

financial interests, it shois again that there has been an increase in

:27:20.:27:24.

fraudulent Ig regularities. That will have a negative impact on the

:27:25.:27:34.

EU's budget. The directive is an extremely important tool, as the

:27:35.:27:38.

prosecutor's office n terms of fighting fraud. That goes against

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the interest of the EU's financial interests. And also to fight

:27:44.:27:47.

terrorism and organised crime, because a lot of times these kinds

:27:48.:27:54.

of illegal activity are funding exactly that crime. So these things

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are interlinked. We need to ensure that the national control

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authorities is enhanced and there needs to be better co-operation and

:28:04.:28:08.

good co-operation with Olaf as well, because today, a third of the alerts

:28:09.:28:15.

have not actually been followed up. By the national authorities. And

:28:16.:28:22.

also co-ordination in various sectors needs to be stepped up.

:28:23.:28:30.

There is a lack of mutual assistance sometimes, because this could

:28:31.:28:34.

improve exchange of information when it xoms to structural -- comes to

:28:35.:28:39.

structural funds. I have flagged up the need to do this. But in fact two

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years later my suggestions have not been followed up. I think today more

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than ever they are necessary. And Olaf has reiterated and corroborated

:28:52.:28:59.

this view. Another point is the #1r5ib89 of having -- availability

:29:00.:29:05.

of having common actions that. That is important. The EU has experience

:29:06.:29:12.

when it comes to judicial co-operation in penal matters. I

:29:13.:29:19.

think we could copy that kind of co-operation and transfer it to this

:29:20.:29:24.

area as well, because that will lead to a great deal of value added. Also

:29:25.:29:30.

the reinforced co-operation procedures can be looked at. We need

:29:31.:29:38.

co-ordinated action between the different authorities and

:29:39.:29:42.

investigative bodies. So we have got to fight cross border fraud as well.

:29:43.:29:47.

That is important. And what about whistle blowers? They're crucial in

:29:48.:29:52.

this. And so we need to ensure that there is a European and national

:29:53.:29:57.

legal framework to protect these people. I think the commission

:29:58.:30:06.

should... Ensure that there is a stepping up of legislative

:30:07.:30:09.

initiatives on that front. We need this. We have got to protect the

:30:10.:30:15.

international, the EU's interests. Thank you. TRANSLATION: Thank you.

:30:16.:30:29.

The reporter raises many programmes, questions, we are dealing with how

:30:30.:30:36.

good the control and notification systems for fraud are. If you look

:30:37.:30:45.

at the report, it is shocking. The number of regulations has doubled.

:30:46.:30:47.

80% more. The number of fraud cases has gone

:30:48.:31:00.

down by 26%. I don't believe that. It's a question of where we're

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looking. Commissioner, you said the commission seems this is strange and

:31:04.:31:08.

is concerned because of the low number of notifications. How can we

:31:09.:31:14.

get over the conflict of interest of the member states, if fraud is still

:31:15.:31:20.

defined by member states, they have to pay back the money. The figures

:31:21.:31:27.

that we have that leaves me no other conclusion than we're closing our

:31:28.:31:34.

eyes. Different interpretations of notification practice leads to

:31:35.:31:38.

different interpretations of what is fraud and irregularities. The

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commission must be much further ahead and they must be deerling with

:31:42.:31:46.

the harm onnisation of notification systems more urgently. I'm struck

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that every year we look at figures and nobody's interested in what

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happens to these figures. This year it will be different and we'll make

:31:54.:31:58.

sure there's follow-up. How efficient is OLEF? If you look at

:31:59.:32:02.

the situations, the cases with recommendations haven't changed over

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many years as long as the supervisionory authority can deal

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with the efficienciy nothing will come of it. There's a lot of work to

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be done. It would be good if the commission were to do something. I'm

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concerned about something else. 75% of all fraud cases are revealed by

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administrative controls. That's not a success. 25% not by administrative

:32:32.:32:38.

controls, but chance. So here again, here too action is urge lently

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needed thank you. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much.

:32:43.:32:49.

TRANSLATION: Thank you very much, president. As regards the report, I

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think it's a very interesting report but I have to say that we believe

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that part of the solution has to come from a European tax body and

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when we have enhanced cooperation between a certain number of member

:33:14.:33:17.

states in place, then we hope that quickly we'll be able to create a

:33:18.:33:21.

legal framework and provide resources and means for there could

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be a proper European public prosecutor in place, so that we can

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properly fight against this problem with all of the guarantees and

:33:30.:33:37.

resources in place. Then we also have to recall that the current

:33:38.:33:45.

situation means that we're dealing with the multiannual budgetary

:33:46.:33:49.

framework, which means there are cycles for all of the funds and so

:33:50.:33:54.

on. We have to bear in mind that the crisis brought a lot of these

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programmes to a halt. As a result, as was said, in many member states,

:34:04.:34:14.

the reporting of irregularities, errors or fraud has been quite

:34:15.:34:18.

chaotic as a result of all of this. I think we have to make an effort to

:34:19.:34:25.

make sure that the time tables of all the different member states are

:34:26.:34:31.

properly harm Nilesed so you can -- harmonised so you can compare then.

:34:32.:34:36.

Then you have a situation whereby we have a contradictory application of

:34:37.:34:40.

the name and shame principle, because whilst the figures seem very

:34:41.:34:48.

high and this has been commented on, you have to then look to the member

:34:49.:34:55.

states, where they came from, but then also, we're criticising certain

:34:56.:34:58.

member states because of the low rate of the figures, so I think

:34:59.:35:04.

somewhere we have to draw the line and say you know, what these figures

:35:05.:35:09.

mean, what harmonisation will give us and what we can do to improve

:35:10.:35:16.

things. And also, think about how we can move away from these disasters,

:35:17.:35:20.

even though as you said, you know, progress has been made. It has to be

:35:21.:35:28.

made clearer. Now we are talking about this 80% figure for the

:35:29.:35:32.

irregularities for the shared EU budget. But we also need other

:35:33.:35:42.

assessments of the budget whether increasing funds, earmarked, I'm

:35:43.:35:46.

thinking here of the horizon 2020 programme and the FC programme.

:35:47.:35:52.

There too there are worrying results. Recently, for example,

:35:53.:35:57.

we've seen a lot of talk about the programme in Spain in the context of

:35:58.:36:03.

the FC programme. Thank you very much, one-and-a-half minutes,

:36:04.:36:05.

please. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much.

:36:06.:36:16.

Fight against fraud of the European Union's budget that needs to be, of

:36:17.:36:26.

course, stepped up. Illegal activities, I mean, 75% of fraud

:36:27.:36:36.

affects trade in goods, for example, tobacco, electronic goods, steel,

:36:37.:36:44.

iron, and particularly products from the United Arab Emirates and the

:36:45.:36:52.

Ukraine as well. Falsification of products, counterfeiting products

:36:53.:36:55.

come a great deal from China. Actually Turkey as wasle. -- as

:36:56.:37:04.

well. We feed to ensure that illicit trade in these products is fought as

:37:05.:37:09.

much as illicit trait in tobacco products. There are activities that

:37:10.:37:14.

actually follow on and a knock off on effect further down-the-line.

:37:15.:37:16.

It's very important to tackle these things at source. What about all the

:37:17.:37:29.

funds used for immigration matters? Some of these funds go missing. They

:37:30.:37:34.

don't actually reach the refugees that need them. There are problems

:37:35.:37:42.

in the Aegean areas who can't receive any more migrants.

:37:43.:37:48.

TRANSLATION: Two minutes. Thank you Mr Chair, dear colleagues, first of

:37:49.:37:55.

all I would like to congratulate you for the comprehensive report and the

:37:56.:37:57.

commissioner for her statement. We are struggling overcome the effect

:37:58.:38:05.

of the recent financial and economy crisis in of the associates of the

:38:06.:38:11.

degree. This increasingly, increases dramatically the role of protection

:38:12.:38:14.

of union's financial interests one of the most relevant to us to

:38:15.:38:20.

restore its attractiveness. In the relevant annual report 2015 there

:38:21.:38:24.

are aspects that are utmost importance for the main goal of the

:38:25.:38:28.

protection of the EU financial interests. Firstly, the total number

:38:29.:38:32.

of irregularities detected both by the commission and member states is

:38:33.:38:37.

increasing for a second consecutive year. There could be difference

:38:38.:38:41.

reasons for this fact, including better control, increased level of

:38:42.:38:44.

spending or simply a rise of fraudulent activities. We need a

:38:45.:38:48.

better preventive work of the institutions. Secondly, the

:38:49.:38:53.

antifraud measures undertaken by the EU institutions and member states

:38:54.:38:57.

should tackle the expenditure sides of the budget. The final goal is to

:38:58.:39:05.

secure better revenuer mitting implementation of policies and that

:39:06.:39:08.

increases the credibility of the institutions. Thirdly, from

:39:09.:39:12.

managerial point of view, we need a full implementation of budget

:39:13.:39:16.

focussed results strategy in. The process of designing and

:39:17.:39:19.

implementing management and control system should be pursued cost

:39:20.:39:25.

effectiveness. This means that the control strategies should target

:39:26.:39:30.

predominantly the areas with high risk and error rates. Does the

:39:31.:39:37.

control not impose a burden on beneficiaries. I would like to

:39:38.:39:41.

underline again the importance of efforts of European Commission and

:39:42.:39:45.

member states in the protection of EU's financial interest. All of the

:39:46.:39:55.

fraudulent cases damages the reputation of the union. Adequate

:39:56.:39:58.

action taken by the commission services to protect the EU budget

:39:59.:40:03.

are indispensable in achieving major results against fraud. Thank you.

:40:04.:40:08.

TRANSLATION: Two-and-a-half minutes please. Thank you, chair. Dear

:40:09.:40:13.

colleagues, first of all, I would like to say thank you. We had really

:40:14.:40:20.

an excellent cooperation during the whole discussion period. I think

:40:21.:40:25.

that finally the outcome of this discussion is really an excellent

:40:26.:40:28.

report which I commented to the Parliament to support. It's also

:40:29.:40:35.

important that in the committee there was a consensus on the report

:40:36.:40:39.

and it's a good sign that the different political groups coming

:40:40.:40:42.

with different political backgrounds could agree on the most important

:40:43.:40:46.

issues regarding the protection of the financial interests of the

:40:47.:40:49.

European Union. There are several points in the report and I would

:40:50.:40:54.

like to point out only four important issues from my

:40:55.:40:56.

perspective. First and it was already mentioned, the question of

:40:57.:41:01.

the EPP, the European public prosecutors office. I agree it's an

:41:02.:41:05.

important progress and development that finally we could agree and

:41:06.:41:11.

enhance cooperation. It could start its work within two or three years.

:41:12.:41:15.

On the other hand, we have to keep in mind that this enhanced

:41:16.:41:18.

cooperation, at the moment, consists of 17 member states and some of

:41:19.:41:23.

those member states who are the most critical from the point of view of

:41:24.:41:27.

the expanding of the EU funds are not part of the EPPO and this raises

:41:28.:41:33.

the issue - how can we put pressure on those member states, where we can

:41:34.:41:37.

experience a high level of corruption. If they are not part of

:41:38.:41:42.

the EPPO. And from this perspective I believe that the strengthening of

:41:43.:41:47.

competencies is something we have to do to have the rights and the

:41:48.:41:52.

competences to better control the expanding of the EU funds in the

:41:53.:41:56.

member states. The second issue is the anticorruption report of the

:41:57.:42:02.

European Union. This was published three years ago and it was promised

:42:03.:42:10.

in every two years we will see anticorruption report. Now the

:42:11.:42:13.

commission Sheffield this report. I think this is exactly the wrong

:42:14.:42:18.

message we can certained to the member states and those who are in

:42:19.:42:25.

the corruption business, if the European Commission is not doing its

:42:26.:42:31.

best to mop up corruption in the European Union. Third issue is the

:42:32.:42:36.

whistle-blower protection. It was already mentioned that

:42:37.:42:40.

whistle-blowers can contribute a lot to protect the financial interests

:42:41.:42:44.

of the European Union and we have to help them and to protect them on the

:42:45.:42:49.

European level, not only the member state level to do so. This is my

:42:50.:42:54.

last word, if the investigative journalism in parallel with

:42:55.:42:59.

whistle-blowers can do a lot. Thank you to support this idea. I think we

:43:00.:43:05.

need to support and protect investigative journalism in the EU.

:43:06.:43:10.

TRANSLATION: Thank you, president. I too would like to thank the

:43:11.:43:16.

representative for this report. As far as our point of view is

:43:17.:43:23.

concerned, we want transparency when it comes to, when comes to... Public

:43:24.:43:28.

tenders. That's extremely important, when it comes to public procurement.

:43:29.:43:34.

And also cross-border fraud. We can see how easy it is to get round

:43:35.:43:41.

controls, when they use certain measures, which are easy to

:43:42.:43:47.

implement. So this is all interlinked and also, the

:43:48.:43:52.

legislation we have on organised crime. Italy plays a very important

:43:53.:44:01.

role here. It's very easy to get hold of the data that you need. It's

:44:02.:44:09.

important to see that there is illicit trade in cigarettes from

:44:10.:44:15.

areas where the rules are more stringent and also where the ones

:44:16.:44:24.

that aren't so stringent. TRANSLATION: Thank you president.

:44:25.:44:27.

Madam commissioner, the report about the protection of the EU's financial

:44:28.:44:32.

interests raises very interesting questions and challenges when it

:44:33.:44:39.

comes to tax fraud. It was said already, tax fraud and fighting

:44:40.:44:44.

fraud can only be done if the problem is clearly identified and

:44:45.:44:51.

the problem is tackled efficiently. The route of travel is to make sure

:44:52.:44:56.

that we can re-establish the confidence of citizens. A big

:44:57.:45:01.

problem in tax fraud is the problem of VAT fraud. It's been pointed out.

:45:02.:45:06.

VAT is the biggest source of income of the member states.

:45:07.:45:19.

50 billion euros has to do with carousel fraud. And also organised

:45:20.:45:33.

crime. A the cap means VAT avoidance strategies at the tax avoidance are

:45:34.:45:42.

something we know from other areas. Aggressive tax planning and tax

:45:43.:45:47.

avoidance strategies cause 60 billion euros of losses in budgets.

:45:48.:45:54.

There are two member states and the EU which have statistics for all of

:45:55.:45:58.

income because of cross-border VAT fraud. We have the special report

:45:59.:46:08.

which shows the EU system is not as efficient and the lack of data leads

:46:09.:46:17.

to losses for the EU. Member states have instruments to fight VAT fraud

:46:18.:46:22.

available to them. The lack of account controls between tax and

:46:23.:46:32.

customs, exchange of data between member states and lack of

:46:33.:46:37.

cooperation between prosecution and law enforcement authorities and the

:46:38.:46:43.

notifications of irregularities have gone up by one third from 2014 and

:46:44.:46:52.

15. The notifications of fraud cases have gone down by 11% over the same

:46:53.:46:56.

period and I agree with the previous speaker that we have to make added

:46:57.:47:02.

efforts, and we should also be concerned that 52% of these

:47:03.:47:07.

fraudulent cases are in the agricultural area and we need to pay

:47:08.:47:10.

attention to that. We need more transparency, more cooperation is so

:47:11.:47:19.

that the EU can get its funds back. One minute and a half, please. Thank

:47:20.:47:28.

you very much indeed, President. Fighting against fraud is vital if

:47:29.:47:32.

we want to defend the interests of the European Union said this is

:47:33.:47:39.

incumbent upon all member states. One of the areas we need to fight

:47:40.:47:49.

against fraud concerns the smuggling of tobacco -based products. This is

:47:50.:47:55.

a very important smuggling activity globally, countless cigarette

:47:56.:48:04.

smuggling operations are ongoing, and this accounts for a considerable

:48:05.:48:07.

loss of revenue for the member states. There is also a health risk

:48:08.:48:16.

concerning our consumers. It seems we're not making quick pros Gress

:48:17.:48:23.

regarding this. In June 2016, a law was adopted to implement a technical

:48:24.:48:36.

instrument which would allow for better monitoring of tobacco

:48:37.:48:42.

smuggling, but this was not properly followed up, and now in our country,

:48:43.:48:53.

we are forcing the vendors to refuse bank card payments, and the banks

:48:54.:49:02.

are actually making 1% commission on this. This means that people are

:49:03.:49:08.

being forced into buying illicit products, counterfeit cigarettes,

:49:09.:49:11.

and there is a risk for public health and we have to do something.

:49:12.:49:19.

Thank you, President. Ladies and gentlemen, the European Union today

:49:20.:49:27.

is facing a huge amount of mistrust on the side of our European

:49:28.:49:32.

citizens, and that is why it is so important today that we really care

:49:33.:49:40.

about transparency and our voters and the European citizens and to

:49:41.:49:45.

renew trust, not only in the European institutions but also an

:49:46.:49:50.

member states of the European Union. In many member states, the European

:49:51.:49:57.

Union has lost this trust. Commissioner, at the beginning, we

:49:58.:50:04.

were applauding courage to change something of the status quo but,

:50:05.:50:08.

based on the report, the European Commission has not done or has not

:50:09.:50:15.

changed that much in the past few months or the past few years. That

:50:16.:50:20.

is why we have to concentrate on these real and very necessary

:50:21.:50:24.

changes because this report clearly identifies what is wrong and what is

:50:25.:50:29.

not functioning well in the European Union. It is our task as politicians

:50:30.:50:37.

to renew trust. To protect the financial interests of the European

:50:38.:50:42.

Union should be our utmost priority. The European citizens should not

:50:43.:50:45.

consider benefits of the European Union as an opportunity to fraud.

:50:46.:50:53.

Some high representatives of the member states are reporting that and

:50:54.:50:57.

the Czech Republic is also one of them. Unfortunately, based on that,

:50:58.:51:07.

that is the cause of this mistrust, and this is basically costing us a

:51:08.:51:10.

hundred of thousands of millions per year. That is why I am disappointed

:51:11.:51:20.

that the steps of the European Commission and I hope, based on our

:51:21.:51:24.

arguments, you will change your steps. Two minutes. Thank you,

:51:25.:51:39.

President. The report we talking about now and the discussion we are

:51:40.:51:48.

having here reflects the fact that we have criminals in the European

:51:49.:51:52.

Union on the one hand and on the other hand authorities and

:51:53.:51:55.

governments at member state level that are fighting against those

:51:56.:52:02.

fraudsters. Hopefully, we will find a solution to hold sway against

:52:03.:52:09.

those fraudsters. But what I'm missing here is, what happens of the

:52:10.:52:13.

government of the member state or authority of the member state is

:52:14.:52:26.

hampered here? If a system is being built up the taxes that ultimately

:52:27.:52:33.

leads to a situation whereby this government actually is involved in

:52:34.:52:38.

criminal activities itself, there is a lot of legislation that implicates

:52:39.:52:51.

the family and the circle of friends of Mr Orban, and nobody gets access

:52:52.:52:58.

to those funds often, apart from him. There are governments that are

:52:59.:53:11.

against the EP PO because they will probably... They want to solve legal

:53:12.:53:17.

problems from this philosophical point of view, but it is very

:53:18.:53:21.

important to actually achieve that. On the other hand, some states will

:53:22.:53:27.

be against that because there will be negatively impacted on. The other

:53:28.:53:32.

once themselves involved in criminal activities. So we need to sometimes

:53:33.:53:36.

unravel all these different relationships. Thank you. One

:53:37.:53:44.

minute. Thank you very much, President. In this report, there are

:53:45.:53:52.

many shocking figures and facts, but that should not be cause for us to

:53:53.:53:56.

say we need more and stricter controls but should reflect, how can

:53:57.:54:01.

come about? On very good approach to avoid errors and to prevent fraud is

:54:02.:54:07.

to consider what the EU is responsible for. Should it be

:54:08.:54:16.

responsible for everything? Do the rules make sense? Rules we do not

:54:17.:54:21.

need cannot be exceeded so we shall have to think, cannot we have more

:54:22.:54:28.

subsidiarity is more rules would be unnecessary? It makes no sense, we

:54:29.:54:37.

think, in the EC group, I do not think that would lead to more

:54:38.:54:42.

transparency. It also would not mean that more procedures would be

:54:43.:54:48.

opened. What we would see is a prosecutor would have great problems

:54:49.:54:54.

of limitations. Thank you very much indeed. One and a half minutes,

:54:55.:55:03.

please. Thank you very much indeed, President. I would like to thank the

:55:04.:55:07.

raptor for the work done on this I would like to focus my intervention

:55:08.:55:12.

on three issues. The first issue concerns the need that has been

:55:13.:55:18.

expressed by this Parliament for establishing an anti-corruption code

:55:19.:55:22.

which allows us to create a system of transparent indicators, publish

:55:23.:55:27.

the progress made to eradicate corruption and also presenting an

:55:28.:55:32.

annual report on dealing with this problem at the European level. Far

:55:33.:55:38.

from dealing with this, the report announced the actions to stop

:55:39.:55:41.

publishing comparative data, and this has not been communicated to

:55:42.:55:46.

this House and is a cruel disregard of the European Parliament agreement

:55:47.:55:52.

set out in article 148 on the report of the human rights and the union in

:55:53.:55:57.

September 20 15. The second issue concerns channelling the

:55:58.:56:02.

simplification of cutting red tape. When projects have been completed,

:56:03.:56:07.

such as the European employment portal, the coordinator of the

:56:08.:56:12.

project is asked to repay sums were erroneously pledged to members of

:56:13.:56:16.

the consortium, which for reasons outside the project's control, has

:56:17.:56:21.

gone bust. The commission cannot resolve these problems acting

:56:22.:56:25.

against another user and in this case that is the coordinator.

:56:26.:56:29.

Finally, we have to improve procedures for interchange of data

:56:30.:56:33.

between member states and homogenise the criteria for following up

:56:34.:56:37.

possible infringement and we have to communicate is better because there

:56:38.:56:41.

are too many differences in terms of reporting of corruption between the

:56:42.:56:43.

member states and that is all the more reasons for us to do something

:56:44.:56:46.

very concrete to improve the situation. Thank you very much

:56:47.:56:54.

indeed. There are eye watering levels of fraudulent activity

:56:55.:56:59.

costing member state of the European Union 637 million euros in 2015.

:57:00.:57:04.

When you add irregularities that are not fraudulent, the total amount of

:57:05.:57:08.

money involved goes to over 3 billion euros. That of course is

:57:09.:57:16.

known fraud at irregularities but, by definition, there must be more

:57:17.:57:20.

that is not detected. And that is before even asking the fundamental

:57:21.:57:24.

question as to whether taxpayers got value for money from the cash that

:57:25.:57:31.

was spent. But this report beautifully illustrates the European

:57:32.:57:35.

project as a whole because whenever you have no European error areas, it

:57:36.:57:41.

will result in areas implementing across 28 countries. And the

:57:42.:57:45.

European Union will inevitably have the have more harmonisation as that

:57:46.:57:54.

answer. You get responses like a prosecutor's office because the

:57:55.:57:59.

system will fail to function without it and responses including imposing

:58:00.:58:03.

rules across all 28 member states. This is the very essence. Once power

:58:04.:58:09.

moves from a nation state of the European Union in one area, it

:58:10.:58:15.

follows that powers must continue to flow in that same direction. That is

:58:16.:58:19.

how the European Union is set up. So really, there can only be too honest

:58:20.:58:27.

position Taia. You either support a European superstate with all that

:58:28.:58:31.

entails with the loss of sovereignty and identity, and that view is

:58:32.:58:39.

logically consistent, however much I disagree with it, I respect those

:58:40.:58:44.

who hold that view. The other position is to recognise that the

:58:45.:58:47.

alternative is to leave the European Union and to get off the train

:58:48.:58:52.

before it reassures destination superstate. That is what we in the

:58:53.:58:58.

UK are doing. If only the European Union had remained as a trading

:58:59.:59:02.

organisation rather than a political monolith, I am sure we would not be

:59:03.:59:14.

in this position today. The minutes, please. Thank you for the floor, Mr

:59:15.:59:22.

President. I would like to congratulate her on that report. We

:59:23.:59:26.

live in times when the trust of citizens in the EU and institutions

:59:27.:59:33.

is eroding. It falls on us to restore that confidence. Transparent

:59:34.:59:38.

use of EU funds and effective fighting fraud form an important

:59:39.:59:45.

aspect of our work. In 2014, due to the VAT cut, we lost almost 160

:59:46.:59:50.

billion euros of revenue and 50 billion euros were lost due to VAT

:59:51.:59:57.

fraud within the community. This is a tremendous loss. We could've

:59:58.:00:02.

channelled these funds into fostering economic growth and jobs.

:00:03.:00:07.

Instead of seizing the numerous opportunities for quick action in

:00:08.:00:12.

the fight against fraud, we still see unreliable data being reported

:00:13.:00:17.

by member states. This is the consequence of an efficient

:00:18.:00:20.

cooperation with the European Commission. There are also numerous

:00:21.:00:25.

other gaps in cooperation between member states. They should exchange

:00:26.:00:31.

information better and they should exchange best practice as well. We

:00:32.:00:35.

need a strong and independent EP PO and it needs to have enough power is

:00:36.:00:39.

said that can act quickly and efficiently in order to protect the

:00:40.:00:44.

financial interests of the EU. If it is not given enough responsibilities

:00:45.:00:51.

and powers, if they are not independent and therefore not

:00:52.:00:54.

legitimate, then this will be a great opportunity lost in terms of

:00:55.:01:00.

being able to fight fraud effectively at a supranational

:01:01.:01:03.

level. Only if we act in a coordinated manner at an EU level

:01:04.:01:08.

can we protect the financial interests of the EU.

:01:09.:01:15.

TRANSLATION: President, Madam commissioner, dear colleagues, if we

:01:16.:01:25.

look at the data today then the number of financial irregularities

:01:26.:01:30.

has increased to an alarming degree, about 30% increase between 2015 and

:01:31.:01:33.

2016. We need to look at this carefully and come up with concrete

:01:34.:01:37.

measures. I support this report and I hope after we adopt the report

:01:38.:01:41.

we'll improve cooperation between the commission and the member

:01:42.:01:44.

states. At the same time, we also have to improve cooperation between

:01:45.:01:48.

the relevant bodies at the member state level and we have seen a

:01:49.:01:54.

massive loss of revenues in VAT for the member states. If you look at

:01:55.:01:59.

cross-border transactions, commissioner, that's a real weak

:02:00.:02:02.

point. I think we have to focus our efforts on where the biggest

:02:03.:02:06.

vulnerabilities lie. Here we have to cooperate closely and loyally

:02:07.:02:09.

between the member states to eliminate the kind of carousel fraud

:02:10.:02:14.

that we have to deal with. Customs problems are also very important

:02:15.:02:18.

when it comes to detecting fraud and we haven't done enough to resolve

:02:19.:02:23.

these issues. I think we need to improve the control procedures that

:02:24.:02:29.

exist for those goods which are often subject to counterfeiting.

:02:30.:02:36.

About 75% of these goods, we're talking about tobacco, alcohol and

:02:37.:02:41.

electronic goods, these are subject to counterfeiting, we have to check

:02:42.:02:47.

them more closely. We need to detect any irregularities so we can avoid

:02:48.:02:52.

them in the future. We have to strengthen these measures too. I

:02:53.:02:54.

would like to ask the commission to look into the possibility of using

:02:55.:03:01.

mandatory risk assessment tools that we should impose on the member

:03:02.:03:06.

states. We also have to look at efficiency here. It's not just about

:03:07.:03:10.

the that titical number of checks carried out but the effectiveness

:03:11.:03:15.

and efficienciy of these checks. Here I have a proposal. We should

:03:16.:03:19.

increase the sanctions at play here, because then we can really correct

:03:20.:03:23.

the errors, but use sanctions to help that happen. We also have to

:03:24.:03:30.

make sure that we haven't forgotten about citizens here. This is

:03:31.:03:33.

taxpayers money we're talking about. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much.

:03:34.:03:44.

One minute-and-a-half. TRANSLATION: Thank you president.

:03:45.:03:50.

Commissioner, colleagues, an effective fight against fraught

:03:51.:03:53.

needs to take a two pronged approach. We need to ensure that the

:03:54.:04:00.

legal systems are were ereformed, particularly in the countries that

:04:01.:04:05.

had dictatorship in their past. Their legal system needs to be

:04:06.:04:11.

adapted to modern forms of crime. The legal systems there need to be

:04:12.:04:17.

made more democratic. And we also need to be courageous, tone sure

:04:18.:04:22.

that deep seated reforms at European level are also undertaken. We need

:04:23.:04:35.

to ensure that we have crimes that can be looked at at EU level and

:04:36.:04:40.

courts will be able to look at that at EU level. If there's fraud

:04:41.:04:47.

against the EU's financial interests, it can't be left up to

:04:48.:04:51.

the member states' courts to look at those, 27 different ones. We need an

:04:52.:04:55.

EU court to look at that, an EU prosecution office to look at that.

:04:56.:05:01.

We need to ensure that we fight corruption in an efficient way. We

:05:02.:05:07.

also need political, a political fight against corruption. Because

:05:08.:05:12.

it's detrimental to the European Union's image as a whole, of course.

:05:13.:05:17.

It undermines the faith of the citizens in us. Of course, it's

:05:18.:05:23.

extremely important to use the taxpayers' monies. The leadership of

:05:24.:05:27.

the European Union needs to ensure that investment is done very well.

:05:28.:05:38.

TRANSLATION: Commissioner talking today about fraud with EU resources,

:05:39.:05:44.

we're talking about 22 thousand irregularities and 3 billion euros.

:05:45.:05:48.

Irregularities have increased by about 6,000 cases, more tan a third.

:05:49.:05:52.

The commission says that the number of irregularities has gone up

:05:53.:05:56.

because the EU's budget has also increased. Now the commission, the

:05:57.:06:02.

Parliament, and some member states, including Germany, want to have a

:06:03.:06:07.

European public prosecutors office to fight fraud. Public prosecutor

:06:08.:06:11.

for a state that doesn't exist and we one we don't want. My solution is

:06:12.:06:18.

better and simpler. Less redistribution, less irregularities,

:06:19.:06:22.

less fraud and we should cut the EU's budget and cut it down to what

:06:23.:06:29.

things that can be done by EU. For example, the mutual assistance with

:06:30.:06:34.

national, with natural disasters, no distribution and no subsidies.

:06:35.:06:36.

TRANSLATION: Thank you very much indeed. Now we move onto the catch

:06:37.:06:46.

the eye procedure. And I have two colleagues on my Speaker's list. You

:06:47.:06:51.

have the floor first, please. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much.

:06:52.:06:58.

Protection of the EU's financial interest should be one of the main

:06:59.:07:03.

pillars for the European Union, because that will help to enhance

:07:04.:07:09.

faith of the, of European citizens in us. We need to ensure that there

:07:10.:07:17.

is a reduction in fraud. That 11% decrease, for example, is very

:07:18.:07:22.

important. However, there's also been an increase by 12% so we've got

:07:23.:07:26.

decreases on the one hand, increases on the other hand. It's up to the -

:07:27.:07:34.

we have to ensure that we, ensure that there is a reduction across the

:07:35.:07:38.

board. And of course, national authorities are responsible for 80%

:07:39.:07:42.

of the funds and checking those funds. Here we need to tighten up

:07:43.:07:50.

procedures. We need to ensure that proof is obtained why it is needed

:07:51.:07:58.

to prove or refute fraud, so the measures need to be tightened, legal

:07:59.:08:02.

measures need to be tightened up to make sure they are more efficient.

:08:03.:08:07.

We also need to ensure that cooperation is enhanced.

:08:08.:08:21.

TRANSLATION: President, fighting against corruption that is the duty

:08:22.:08:34.

of states, but Brussels is going further. They're cooperating with

:08:35.:08:44.

international elites at the moment. We have a group which maintains the

:08:45.:08:58.

situation with a lack of law. Macron is in power in France, but he worked

:08:59.:09:09.

in a bank. And a lot of political leaders are in the same boat,

:09:10.:09:20.

including in Greece. But people will say no to Macron.

:09:21.:09:23.

TRANSLATION: Thank you very much indeed. Commissioner, you have the

:09:24.:09:29.

floor. Thank you, Mr President, thank you honourable members. This

:09:30.:09:36.

debate shows once more how the need for an adequate protection of the

:09:37.:09:42.

union's financial interests is. It also indicates that continuous

:09:43.:09:45.

improvements and enhancements are necessary to bring the fight against

:09:46.:09:49.

fraud and irregularities in line with the expectations of the

:09:50.:09:54.

European citizens. Please rest assured that the commission is fully

:09:55.:09:58.

committed to continue to strengthen the protection of the European

:09:59.:10:03.

Union's financial interests and to reinforce our efforts in this area.

:10:04.:10:09.

To ensure the European budget is delivering its optimal impact and

:10:10.:10:12.

value for money, the commission and the member states have the duty to

:10:13.:10:19.

make every effort to prevent that public money is defrauded. On your

:10:20.:10:26.

question or on your consultation also that the total number of

:10:27.:10:29.

irregularities detected by the commission and the member states is

:10:30.:10:34.

rising again and what reason is for this, I can only tell you that there

:10:35.:10:39.

is no straight answer to this question. Identifying the main

:10:40.:10:43.

reasons behind increases and decreases in the number of

:10:44.:10:48.

irregularities is always, as you know, a complex exercise. Several

:10:49.:10:55.

factors may contribute to this in relation to 2015, increased spending

:10:56.:11:00.

changes in control strategies, and the delayed reporting have played a

:11:01.:11:05.

role. I may kindly refer you to certain paragraphs in the report

:11:06.:11:12.

about this. On fraudulent irregularities, there we see that

:11:13.:11:16.

the number of fraudulent irregularities have been decreasing.

:11:17.:11:21.

I want to tell you here that interpreting the true meaning of the

:11:22.:11:27.

fluctuations in the number of this kind of irregularities reported and

:11:28.:11:32.

in their related financial value, it is always difficult and could easily

:11:33.:11:39.

be misleading. As observers, we tend to associate a positive judgment to

:11:40.:11:45.

decreases and a negative one to increases of detected fraudulent

:11:46.:11:47.

activities. However we should never forget that we are looking at the

:11:48.:11:52.

member states' capacity to prevent and detect fraud. It is the

:11:53.:11:58.

detection efficiency of member states that counts. Of course, as

:11:59.:12:04.

you told many of you told money lost due to fraud is money we could use

:12:05.:12:09.

better. We could invest it in useful proinjects. -- projects. We should

:12:10.:12:18.

know that reporting of irregularities does not always mean

:12:19.:12:23.

that the budget lost the amounts member states and the commission

:12:24.:12:28.

recover. Often the amounts, let's not forget about that. Of course, we

:12:29.:12:33.

recognise that there is a conflict of interest, but let me tell you

:12:34.:12:38.

that we also address this conflict of interest among others in the

:12:39.:12:43.

public procurement directive of 2014, where definition of conflict

:12:44.:12:48.

of interest is introduced and also, I can also tell you that the

:12:49.:12:53.

commission prepared guidelines with member states experts on conflict of

:12:54.:12:59.

interests. And then a member asked me why the commission decided to

:13:00.:13:04.

discontinue the anticorruption report. Well, an effective fight

:13:05.:13:11.

against corruption within the European Union remains essential

:13:12.:13:14.

delivered through the right vehicle. Fighting corruption has become a key

:13:15.:13:18.

element of the European semester process. I want to underline that.

:13:19.:13:24.

The commission will take up anticorruption measures in the

:13:25.:13:28.

context of its main economic policy dialogue between the member states

:13:29.:13:31.

and the European institutions. This is in line with the general approach

:13:32.:13:37.

of this commission to stream line processes and focus on key issues in

:13:38.:13:43.

the relevant forum. There was also a question, Mr President, on the

:13:44.:13:47.

whistle-blowers and about the state of play on initiatives of the

:13:48.:13:50.

commission on protection of whistle-blowers. There I can tell

:13:51.:13:56.

you that the commission is assessing the feasability and scope for

:13:57.:13:59.

European action to strengthen the protection of whistle-blowers. We

:14:00.:14:06.

are carrying out an impact assessment, has launched a public

:14:07.:14:11.

consultation in March and is about to launch a targeted consultation.

:14:12.:14:15.

The commission should decide in July of this year what action to propose

:14:16.:14:21.

before the end of the year, before December. Dear members of

:14:22.:14:29.

Parliament, I can, yes, despite my efforts, I have probably not

:14:30.:14:33.

addressed completely certain specific or certain technical issues

:14:34.:14:38.

in my introduction or in my reply to your questions. But can I tell you

:14:39.:14:47.

that the commissioner will meet representative in the beginning of

:14:48.:14:50.

June in order to continue the discussion on how further improved

:14:51.:14:55.

the protection of the European Union financial interests. Thank you for

:14:56.:14:58.

your attention. And I can tell you that the commission Council and

:14:59.:15:02.

European Parliament's continuous support, thank you.

:15:03.:15:06.

TRANSLATION: Thank you very much indeed. I'd like to ask you to take

:15:07.:15:11.

the floor. Thank you very much, President. I

:15:12.:15:25.

want to thank the commissioner and all the colleagues who participated

:15:26.:15:32.

in this debate. I have to say that, taking into account the complexity

:15:33.:15:37.

of the issue and the fact that it raises a lot of concerns, I am full

:15:38.:15:45.

of hope because, independently from our political differences, this

:15:46.:15:57.

concern for the Budget, for the efficiency in fighting all the

:15:58.:16:03.

negative elements, is something we share, and it always gives us hope

:16:04.:16:09.

that we will be able to fight efficiently everything that is

:16:10.:16:14.

detrimental to the correct functioning. And I agree, when it

:16:15.:16:19.

comes to the importance of the issues here, the accounting systems,

:16:20.:16:37.

the issue of European... European persecution services, as well as

:16:38.:16:48.

cooperation, we will be able to fight fraud and irregularities, and

:16:49.:16:55.

this is crucial for the European institutions and politicians. At the

:16:56.:17:00.

very end, I wanted to thank all the Shadow raconteurs who really made it

:17:01.:17:09.

possible for our work on this report to be fruitful, interesting. Thank

:17:10.:17:18.

you very much indeed. That concludes this item on our agenda and there

:17:19.:17:22.

will be a vote on the site tomorrow. We're now moving on to our next item

:17:23.:17:34.

on the agenda. Namely, a European qualifications framework for

:17:35.:17:39.

lifelong learning. This is an oral question addressed to the

:17:40.:17:44.

commission. So I would like to begin by giving the floor to the author,

:17:45.:17:55.

please. Thank you, chair, and thank you for being here. The European

:17:56.:18:06.

qualifications framework is a European wide qualification

:18:07.:18:10.

framework which joins the qualifications of different EU

:18:11.:18:15.

members together. In a way, it is a translation of different

:18:16.:18:21.

qualifications which make qualifications in different EU

:18:22.:18:27.

countries easier to understand. As such, it is of key importance for a

:18:28.:18:31.

well functioning European integration ability. According to

:18:32.:18:37.

the commission, the upcoming review of the EQ F or make it even easier

:18:38.:18:44.

to compare qualifications across countries, it will help learners,

:18:45.:18:50.

workers and employers to better understand what a job applicant

:18:51.:18:59.

knows and is capable of doing. The revised EQ F is also supposed to

:19:00.:19:04.

facilitate the comparison and understanding of qualifications of

:19:05.:19:07.

the third country nationals. These are important goals. Nonetheless,

:19:08.:19:20.

the Parliament has adopted a question, or questions, which read

:19:21.:19:26.

as follows, qualifications differ across the European Union and that

:19:27.:19:30.

makes it difficult to assess the knowledge and capabilities of

:19:31.:19:37.

workers and learners. In 2008, Parliament and the Council adopted a

:19:38.:19:42.

recommendation on the establishment of a European qualifications

:19:43.:19:46.

framework for lifelong learning with the aim of improving the

:19:47.:19:52.

transparency, compatibility and transferability of qualifications in

:19:53.:19:57.

Europe. The EQ F's objectives have not yet been fully achieved. As part

:19:58.:20:03.

of its new skills agenda therefore the commission is proposing to

:20:04.:20:07.

revise the system so that a new Council recommendation. Question

:20:08.:20:14.

one, how will the proposed recommendation facilitate equal

:20:15.:20:19.

opportunities in the knowledge-based society and a better permeability

:20:20.:20:23.

between the education and training system? How will it help to match

:20:24.:20:28.

the supply and demand of skills in the labour market? Question two, why

:20:29.:20:41.

would they revised EQ F work better? Despite the current framework being

:20:42.:20:45.

only partially implemented and member states' calls to focus on

:20:46.:20:52.

this? Question three, how was the framework contributing to informal

:20:53.:20:58.

and non-formal learning? How is the new relationship between ECT S

:20:59.:21:08.

expected to work? Question for, how will be commission support a

:21:09.:21:12.

consistent implementation of EQ F across member states, its use and

:21:13.:21:15.

involvement by all relevant stakeholders as well as its better

:21:16.:21:22.

visibility? Question five, by using the EQ F as the meta framework, how

:21:23.:21:28.

would the commission ensure that the specific features of national

:21:29.:21:32.

training and education systems can be recognised and understood in the

:21:33.:21:38.

other member states? Question six, the growing migration flows to and

:21:39.:21:44.

from the EU highlight the need for better understanding of

:21:45.:21:47.

qualifications awarded outside the EU and of the recognition in order

:21:48.:21:52.

to help migrants and refugees integrate into EU labour markets.

:21:53.:21:59.

How does the commission intend to support the development and

:22:00.:22:03.

application of mechanisms to enable the comparison and recognition of

:22:04.:22:10.

third country qualifications? In the resolution that will be voted by

:22:11.:22:15.

Parliament on Wednesday, it is also highlighted that relevant

:22:16.:22:20.

stakeholders, such as public employment services, social

:22:21.:22:23.

partners, education and training providers, should be further

:22:24.:22:30.

involved in close corporation in the creation, implementation, promotion

:22:31.:22:34.

and monitoring of the EQ F at an EU and national level in order to

:22:35.:22:40.

ensure its broader support. We have also highlighted the importance of

:22:41.:22:43.

member state commitment and involvement so far only the

:22:44.:22:49.

Netherlands and Sweden have specific procedures put in place within the

:22:50.:22:55.

plans for the inclusion of non-formal qualifications. No member

:22:56.:23:01.

state has specific procedures for informal learning within the

:23:02.:23:10.

National qualifications frames. This is an unnecessary barrier to the

:23:11.:23:17.

labour market. We should always respected national competence and

:23:18.:23:19.

guarantee that the distinctive crates of the education system of

:23:20.:23:23.

member states are safeguarded. But at the same time, many member states

:23:24.:23:32.

are still in the early stages of implementing the National

:23:33.:23:36.

qualification systems. This is too slow if qualifications are the

:23:37.:23:40.

Beacon parable across Europe, we have to see improvement here. If the

:23:41.:23:45.

fully functional EQ F is to be achieved, we need to make sure that

:23:46.:23:50.

employers know how to use the system so that it can truly be the tool

:23:51.:23:55.

that we all want it to be. Improving the EQ F is key in achieving our own

:23:56.:24:01.

goals and our common goal. That is to say that people are in jobs, not

:24:02.:24:10.

jobless, and that people do not end up in desperate situations with high

:24:11.:24:17.

and employment rates. So please, Commissioner, we look forward to

:24:18.:24:22.

hear your answers to all these questions. Thank you. Thank you, Mr

:24:23.:24:37.

President. Honourable members let me start by welcoming your engagement

:24:38.:24:42.

and contribution to working on the new skills agenda for Europe. I know

:24:43.:24:46.

you are currently working on a reboot on the skills agenda, and I

:24:47.:24:51.

look forward to reading this. Your question today on the EQ F comes at

:24:52.:24:57.

the right moment as, in one week's time, the council will adopt the new

:24:58.:25:02.

recommendation. Let me now address the issues raised in your question.

:25:03.:25:07.

Firstly, I want to stress that the EQ F is a success story. In almost

:25:08.:25:15.

ten years since it was established, it has helped make qualifications

:25:16.:25:19.

more transparent and therefore more can parable across Europe. 24 of our

:25:20.:25:26.

member states have National qualification frameworks in place

:25:27.:25:32.

and have completed the referencing process of the EQ F. Others will

:25:33.:25:38.

follow this year. Citizens across Europe are already benefiting from

:25:39.:25:46.

the level on the diplomas and certificates. This makes it easier

:25:47.:25:49.

for the qualifications to be understood in other member states.

:25:50.:25:59.

This is why phase two represents an evolution and not a revolution.

:26:00.:26:09.

Compared to the 2008 text, the key principle remains, this is a

:26:10.:26:16.

transparency tool, not a recognition tool, EQ F levels will feature an

:26:17.:26:22.

individual diplomas and certificates, and member states

:26:23.:26:25.

participating countries and social partners, indeed also social

:26:26.:26:30.

partners, will continue to meet at a European level to agreed the correct

:26:31.:26:34.

referencing of each qualification framework. But the world of

:26:35.:26:40.

qualifications does not stay still. People are increasingly learning in

:26:41.:26:45.

different settings and are rightly demanding that this learning and

:26:46.:26:50.

experience is better recognise. This will happen even more on the future.

:26:51.:26:56.

Qualifications and National qualifications framework at

:26:57.:27:05.

adapting. This is why the new EQ F recommendation proposes a continuous

:27:06.:27:09.

updating of the referencing process. In order to ensure that this keeps

:27:10.:27:16.

pace and the referencing remains valid. A Member of Parliament is

:27:17.:27:25.

highlighted in your question in motion for resolution of the EQ F

:27:26.:27:30.

equal opportunities and permeability should be stringent. This is valid

:27:31.:27:37.

both within systems, for example to make progress from the location of

:27:38.:27:44.

the higher education easier, as well as between different systems and

:27:45.:27:49.

countries. I am sure that Parliament will welcome therefore that our

:27:50.:27:55.

proposed revision puts a greater emphasis on credit systems to

:27:56.:28:01.

support flexible learning countries including setting our principles for

:28:02.:28:09.

credit systems in a dedicated annex. And, of course, linked to this, a

:28:10.:28:14.

goal for the recognition and validation of non-formal and

:28:15.:28:18.

informal learning in line with the dedicated Council recommendation of

:28:19.:28:24.

2012. Member states are invited by the EQ F to incorporate this

:28:25.:28:29.

validation in the National qualification frameworks. Indeed,

:28:30.:28:34.

for the EQ F, what counts are the outcomes of learning and not the

:28:35.:28:39.

duration or the institution where the La Quinta place. Ensuring the

:28:40.:28:48.

consistency of EQ F implementation is a task of the EQ advisory group,

:28:49.:28:55.

this group was created in 2009 and has proven its value in building

:28:56.:29:00.

trust between member states, and its work will continue. We will continue

:29:01.:29:05.

our work together with the advisory group to better communicate about

:29:06.:29:09.

the EQ F and to improve its outreach to citizens and employers. We will

:29:10.:29:19.

also report closely on the ground through peer learning activities,

:29:20.:29:21.

studies. All this should also help to make it

:29:22.:29:38.

more visible. Dear Members of Parliament, you know that the EQ F

:29:39.:29:47.

serves as a translation grid between different training systems. It helps

:29:48.:29:54.

to better understand and compare qualifications that are part of the

:29:55.:30:01.

systems. The EQ F therefore fully respects and protects each national

:30:02.:30:06.

educational training system. The goal is transparency in

:30:07.:30:07.

understanding, not harmonisation. Regarding better understanding of

:30:08.:30:23.

qualifications, it includes a recommendation on exploring such

:30:24.:30:26.

comparisons. We should not have illusions. The reference includes

:30:27.:30:33.

the EQF to have mature qualification systems. They have been done by New

:30:34.:30:42.

Zealand, by Australia and Hong Kong but this is not done in isolation,

:30:43.:30:49.

migrants and refugees need our help now. Other actions of the new skills

:30:50.:30:57.

agenda for Europe focus on practical actions for a better understanding

:30:58.:31:01.

of the skills of third country nationals. Next month I were

:31:02.:31:06.

launched a skills profile tool for this purpose. It will be done on the

:31:07.:31:14.

20th of June and this will coincide with the world refugee Day. The new

:31:15.:31:20.

EQF brings new clarity on international qualifications such as

:31:21.:31:27.

industry qualifications. This will be achieved by expert and peer

:31:28.:31:31.

support to member states for the levelling. Honourable members of

:31:32.:31:37.

Parliament, the EQF has been a successful tool to improve the

:31:38.:31:42.

transparency of qualifications. Across Europe it has stimulated

:31:43.:31:48.

member states to introduce national qualifications frameworks and if

:31:49.:31:55.

there is a tool which is used for individuals and employers and they

:31:56.:32:01.

are beginning to refer to EQF levels in their CV 's. I hope soon to

:32:02.:32:09.

include adverts. The new EQF will build a bond. It looks to the future

:32:10.:32:16.

to keep pace with changes in qualifications and continue to be at

:32:17.:32:21.

the forefront of skilled transparency. Together with the nine

:32:22.:32:25.

other actions of the skills agenda for Europe, we aim for a joined up

:32:26.:32:29.

approach which promotes better skills in Europe. Thank you very

:32:30.:32:36.

much. TRANSLATION: We would like to to give the floor to another for two

:32:37.:32:44.

minutes play -- two minutes, please. I want to welcome the outcome of the

:32:45.:32:49.

use of the European qualifications process. This has become a source of

:32:50.:32:55.

reference and inspiration. Enabling the development of a qualification

:32:56.:32:59.

framework within Europe and globally despite this progress. Studies have

:33:00.:33:07.

shown that there are shortcomings that are hampering the main aim of

:33:08.:33:13.

the EQF. That is transparency and comparability within the EU. This

:33:14.:33:20.

initiative should accompany the policies that are underlined in the

:33:21.:33:24.

skills agenda for advanced mobility. This promotes skills that are

:33:25.:33:30.

relevant to a modern economy and a functional economy. It also

:33:31.:33:34.

complements a lifelong learning initiative together with

:33:35.:33:38.

transparency and a recognition of qualifications around the EU. Whilst

:33:39.:33:48.

we recognise that action on a level is necessary, this has to fall

:33:49.:33:56.

within the treaty parameters. We would stand to gain a lot more if we

:33:57.:34:01.

had broader cooperation and information mechanisms,

:34:02.:34:07.

transparency, comparability and cooperation. This will help support

:34:08.:34:13.

worker's mobility and that of Apprentices, enabling them to work

:34:14.:34:17.

to attain their lifelong learning objective and in-turn improving

:34:18.:34:24.

their employability. I have contribution towards the better use

:34:25.:34:28.

of skills and qualifications would make it easier for companies to

:34:29.:34:35.

employ them and to fill job vacancies available that are often

:34:36.:34:39.

difficult to fill because of the death in skilled candidates. We have

:34:40.:34:48.

to build upon what we have achieved so far and remove obstacles to

:34:49.:34:56.

mobility take to trust and recognition of qualifications

:34:57.:34:58.

irrespective of where they were obtained. We should do this to the

:34:59.:35:10.

benefit of the individual and enable the market and the economy. The next

:35:11.:35:30.

speaker for the European Parliament. It is a good opportunity to talk

:35:31.:35:33.

about qualifications and the revision that the council is going

:35:34.:35:38.

to be adopting in the next few days in the context of the EQF. In the

:35:39.:35:43.

context of the objections that were set out over the last few years by

:35:44.:35:47.

the European Commission, it is an important issue. Apprenticeships and

:35:48.:35:55.

a recognition of those were whether they are informal or informal

:35:56.:35:58.

throughout a career. This is important because of the changes

:35:59.:36:02.

occurring in the labour market where workers are more and more

:36:03.:36:06.

vulnerable. They have more short-term contracts and high levels

:36:07.:36:11.

of unemployment existing in many member states. Secondly, this is

:36:12.:36:14.

important because of the changes in the labour market forcing us to move

:36:15.:36:20.

towards these transitions because of digitalisation. We have new groups

:36:21.:36:25.

of vulnerability. People who have come here as refugees to Europe and

:36:26.:36:31.

they want to be able to access the labour market. It is a good thing we

:36:32.:36:35.

are talking about this and working on this but there are issues on the

:36:36.:36:42.

table. If we are going to be able to ensure this revision is properly

:36:43.:36:48.

adhered to, that is one issue. In the past, a number of member states

:36:49.:36:52.

have gone very far with this but not all of them. Some of them have been

:36:53.:36:57.

performing very differently. We have to guarantee access for all groups,

:36:58.:37:02.

particularly those risk groups. They have to access the labour market

:37:03.:37:09.

freely and easily. Thirdly, we have to be able to listen to the

:37:10.:37:14.

parliament because people haven't been listening to Parliament's views

:37:15.:37:17.

on this subject area will stop we have to make sure that we are aware

:37:18.:37:25.

of the fact that when it comes to supply and demand and the quality of

:37:26.:37:31.

the work, those are separate issues because demand is very important. We

:37:32.:37:35.

have massive issues to deal with an employment. Thank you. For the

:37:36.:37:41.

European Conservatives and reforms group now. TRANSLATION: Thank you

:37:42.:37:52.

very much. The possibility to acquire new knowledge or skills is

:37:53.:37:57.

no longer limited only to classical schools at the place of your

:37:58.:38:02.

residence. We have the Internet, distance learning, travelling per

:38:03.:38:06.

studies and working as a volunteer. All these are ways of how

:38:07.:38:11.

individuals can enhance their qualifications either at a young age

:38:12.:38:19.

or later in life. This is a way of acquiring skills and brings about

:38:20.:38:24.

the need to understand, evaluate and recognise these skills in order to

:38:25.:38:30.

improve the job prospects for the individual and to communicate to the

:38:31.:38:34.

potential employer what skills the potential employee has available.

:38:35.:38:41.

The EQF is a tool for the member states to better understand and

:38:42.:38:44.

recognise skills acquired in the education system is in other

:38:45.:38:52.

countries. Even though the relevant recommendation was adopted in 2008,

:38:53.:39:00.

we still have not implemented its goals, transparency and

:39:01.:39:04.

transferability of qualifications. It is therefore necessary to make

:39:05.:39:08.

this instrument more efficient in order to facilitate the situation

:39:09.:39:13.

for employers, workers and lawyers to understand a national and

:39:14.:39:18.

international qualification from third countries. Member states need

:39:19.:39:25.

to increase their effort to acknowledge and recognise

:39:26.:39:27.

qualifications and diplomas more quickly and more efficiently and

:39:28.:39:34.

also to reference the levels in the EQF. The result of referencing

:39:35.:39:40.

should be available at national and European level. We have to emphasise

:39:41.:39:48.

that it is an incompetence of member states to take care of the quality

:39:49.:39:53.

of education and the European qualification frame and that it

:39:54.:39:55.

doesn't interfere in any way. Thank you. TRANSLATION: For the group of

:39:56.:40:04.

the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, two minutes

:40:05.:40:10.

and 30 seconds. We are living in a world that changes everywhere. Our

:40:11.:40:18.

face changes. There is the development of knowledge, skills and

:40:19.:40:20.

competence. Both the private and public sector requires skills that

:40:21.:40:27.

are almost inconceivable 30 years ago and adapting to these changes,

:40:28.:40:30.

we should no longer follow the old school ways when it comes to

:40:31.:40:36.

education. Our education and training systems lag behind these

:40:37.:40:42.

dynamic limiting the recognition of non-formal and informal learning

:40:43.:40:47.

including the skills are a volunteer activity.

:40:48.:41:01.

There is the challenges that we face ahead and we have to look at them

:41:02.:41:07.

with open mind and confidence. Greater flexibility in skill's

:41:08.:41:12.

recognition is beneficial to the European citizens but can also lead

:41:13.:41:16.

to a better economic and social integration for migrant and refugee

:41:17.:41:21.

's and responding to another challenge of the EU. At the same

:41:22.:41:26.

time, to structure dialogues with EU neighbourhood countries, especially

:41:27.:41:31.

the ones that have an association agreement with the EU, we should aim

:41:32.:41:35.

at referencing their national qualification frameworks to the EQF.

:41:36.:41:42.

If sooner or later this these -- these countries will become EU

:41:43.:41:45.

members, their citizens will be ready from day one to cope with the

:41:46.:41:49.

demands of the European market and labour. EU support through Dover --

:41:50.:41:57.

development aid should be directed to the third countries in order to

:41:58.:42:03.

offer assistance in the national qualifications frameworks. The

:42:04.:42:07.

revision of EQF should result in a framework that responds to all these

:42:08.:42:14.

existing challenges but also things ahead and anticipate potential

:42:15.:42:25.

problems. Thank you. For the convertible group of the European

:42:26.:42:45.

left the. We are focused on migrants from other member states and from

:42:46.:42:56.

the countries. This has the fundamental tool to facilitate

:42:57.:43:01.

recognition of skills that workers have when they are regularly

:43:02.:43:07.

discriminating against. This can contribute to national creations of

:43:08.:43:10.

public policies put --. It only looks at

:43:11.:43:29.

the economic potential of candidates will stop as such we are asking the

:43:30.:43:32.

commission to strengthen its cooperation with member states and

:43:33.:43:37.

with social stakeholders and with public employment services. Thank

:43:38.:43:48.

you. Have a group of freedom and I met democracy. I think that I can

:43:49.:43:56.

share a lot of the things that people have talked about and a lot

:43:57.:44:02.

of the good initiatives but there are two main things. I think the

:44:03.:44:10.

problem is we need to ensure that we are keeping pace with globalisation

:44:11.:44:20.

and the whole system of the education system. We need to make

:44:21.:44:26.

sure we are not levelling it out because there is a point in time

:44:27.:44:29.

where young people need to have personal development and training

:44:30.:44:35.

but what we are doing is creating a system that will destroy all of

:44:36.:44:44.

this. It will mean we have a one size fits all approach. Instead of

:44:45.:44:48.

keeping pace with the developments, we are going to be excluding a lot

:44:49.:44:53.

of people. Not everyone can adapt to that kind of thing. Sometimes were

:44:54.:45:05.

using the wrong approach. Instead of tackling the real problem of a lack

:45:06.:45:10.

of qualifications in the EU, the problem is because of an employment.

:45:11.:45:14.

Unemployment is the real problem. Putting a sticking plaster on this

:45:15.:45:18.

is not the way to go. We need to tackle the roots of the problem of

:45:19.:45:23.

unemployment. There are better ways of achieving this. Anything else we

:45:24.:45:29.

do will not be efficient if we don't do that. We don't create jobs. If we

:45:30.:45:36.

don't come measures to boost employment, then we are not going to

:45:37.:45:43.

get anywhere. We can talk about all kinds of wonderful qualification

:45:44.:45:45.

frameworks but there will be no point of this. We need to talk about

:45:46.:45:47.

mobility. Last year, 110,000 young people in

:45:48.:45:59.

Italy left my country, they left their own country because they did

:46:00.:46:02.

not see any prospect for them staying in Italy. And those people

:46:03.:46:07.

who left actually had qualifications, they had

:46:08.:46:10.

capabilities, but they didn't find the country, their own country, but

:46:11.:46:16.

was able to value their achievements, and they left. So, we

:46:17.:46:24.

need to ensure that we are not building a house by starting with

:46:25.:46:27.

the roof and not looking at the foundations. TRANSLATION: Madam

:46:28.:46:41.

President, dear colleagues, the EU wants to put in place in the

:46:42.:46:45.

European framework for qualifications for lifelong

:46:46.:46:55.

learning. The project is to ensure a better match between the available

:46:56.:46:59.

qualifications and those needed in the labour market. We have to take

:47:00.:47:03.

account of what the three levels of knowledge are, knowledge and skills,

:47:04.:47:09.

which can be acquired formally and informally. Unfortunately, the

:47:10.:47:19.

proposal, it has a full paragraph on the inclusion of migrants, and we

:47:20.:47:23.

are very much against this policy, taking into account the 25 million

:47:24.:47:35.

unemployed in Europe. This will devalue our education and

:47:36.:47:42.

qualifications systems. It puts the larger question of mobility, better

:47:43.:47:47.

equivalence of codification is, as a pretext to develop mobility of

:47:48.:47:55.

workers, fostering the source of greater security. The EU has tried

:47:56.:48:03.

in the past to have education without success. This new provision

:48:04.:48:09.

is not destined for any greater success. For all these reasons, we

:48:10.:48:16.

will vote against this text, and will be putting down amendments so

:48:17.:48:19.

that this framework is not mandatory. Member states should be

:48:20.:48:28.

able to remain free, of igniting formal and informal convocation is,

:48:29.:48:32.

given their own conditions and needs. We have got the wrong target,

:48:33.:48:40.

we should have a new regulation to preserve fair competition and not

:48:41.:48:45.

fostering unfair competition between east and west. That is to say,

:48:46.:48:54.

competition between migrants and European persons. Thank you very

:48:55.:48:59.

much for your attention. Next Speaker.

:49:00.:49:22.

TRANSLATION: This has been in place for about ten years now, and the aim

:49:23.:49:36.

was to provide staffing levels, with the requisite qualifications. For

:49:37.:49:46.

people who have the right level of qualifications, to enable them to be

:49:47.:49:51.

able to change jobs throughout their working lives. This is something

:49:52.:50:03.

that was supposed to give the best available profiles to the capitalist

:50:04.:50:10.

system. And now they are seeking to completely exploit the migrants as

:50:11.:50:17.

well. The line of the Greek government, when it comes to

:50:18.:50:26.

imposing massive sacrifices on people, in the context of the fourth

:50:27.:50:32.

memorandum, the line of the Greek woman is fine in this direction now.

:50:33.:50:42.

The people have to rise up and fight back, this is the only solution. We

:50:43.:50:48.

are launching an appeal so that everybody can participate in a

:50:49.:50:52.

general strike against the line of the government in the big capitals.

:50:53.:51:04.

The European qualifications framework is the main tool for

:51:05.:51:11.

sophistication of mobility of employees and greater comparability

:51:12.:51:18.

of the verification systems. Qualifications differ across the

:51:19.:51:22.

European Union, which makes it difficult to assess skills by

:51:23.:51:27.

employers. The European qualifications framework should

:51:28.:51:32.

Felicity opportunities in a knowledge-based society and ensure a

:51:33.:51:43.

better comparability between the systems and education programmes.

:51:44.:51:50.

The commission proposes to revise the system, as Mrs commissioner has

:51:51.:51:59.

just presented. I would like to emphasise that the commission should

:52:00.:52:04.

focus more on implementation of the current framework, because the

:52:05.:52:11.

current framework has not been fully introduced yet by member states. So,

:52:12.:52:16.

we have new proposals on the table, but implementing them should create

:52:17.:52:23.

an effective system implemented by all stakeholders. It is also very

:52:24.:52:27.

important that the commission supports a mechanism to enable

:52:28.:52:33.

comparison of qualifications and the validation of informal learning. We

:52:34.:52:41.

have asked relevant questions to the commission in our oral question. I

:52:42.:52:57.

am looking forward to fruitful debate and co-operation on the loo

:52:58.:53:03.

legislation. Thank you very much. -- on the new legislation. Thank you,

:53:04.:53:18.

President. Of course, in our current gender, achieving employment for our

:53:19.:53:21.

citizens is something that has got to be a priority. And what we've got

:53:22.:53:30.

to do is ensure that skills and knowledge that the people have, and

:53:31.:53:35.

capabilities that the people have, is given its true worth, because it

:53:36.:53:42.

is extremely viable. This is extremely important in an economy

:53:43.:53:48.

which is changing all the time, to explore new avenues. It's very

:53:49.:53:52.

important to ensure that supplies and demand of work tellies. Look at

:53:53.:54:01.

the labour market today. It requires flexibility. -- tallies. Constant

:54:02.:54:10.

updating and constant training is required. And I think training and

:54:11.:54:22.

vocational training needs to ensure that there is mobility guaranteed

:54:23.:54:33.

for workers. Migratory flows are such now that there is a challenge

:54:34.:54:39.

to integrate people, newcomers. And it is important to realise that.

:54:40.:54:44.

People coming from third countries, too. So, we've got to try and

:54:45.:54:50.

integrate all these problems. Transference of skills is extremely

:54:51.:54:56.

important, from one state to the other, to sustain the demand and

:54:57.:55:04.

also to boost employment. The best response I think to the challenges

:55:05.:55:11.

facing us today, demographic and technological, is to ensure that we

:55:12.:55:18.

make sure that we have equal opportunities and that we emphasise

:55:19.:55:28.

new skills. TRANSLATION: Thank you, Madam President. This is an

:55:29.:55:38.

ambitious instrument which promotes efficient mobility among member

:55:39.:55:42.

states and facilitates lifelong learning. The stress is put on the

:55:43.:55:49.

results, knowledge, capacity and competence. The new priorities

:55:50.:55:59.

within the framework, by 2020, enable those learning and working to

:56:00.:56:06.

better present their abilities and skills toddle regardless of where

:56:07.:56:09.

they were acquired. But the devil is in the details as always. What about

:56:10.:56:18.

qualifications from third countries? How should this interact with points

:56:19.:56:28.

system and Deacon elation of points from other systems, where

:56:29.:56:34.

competencies are required. How to best describe the term on patents.

:56:35.:56:40.

This is very difficult, we cannot interfere with competence in the

:56:41.:56:41.

mistakes with respect to education. TRANSLATION: The European framework

:56:42.:57:01.

of vocational qualifications for lifelong learning took seven words

:57:02.:57:11.

that shows that this has a link to reality. And this is being praised.

:57:12.:57:23.

Full employment has been pretty much forgotten, even though we are in

:57:24.:57:31.

favour of this. There are experienced workers and young

:57:32.:57:38.

people, with qualifications, have been unemployed for years and have

:57:39.:57:43.

the feeling that they are not needed. We should change our

:57:44.:57:51.

priorities. First of all, we should have new arrangements for

:57:52.:57:55.

employment, otherwise things like this qualifications framework will

:57:56.:58:02.

actually increase the number of unemployed people. Thank you. Thank

:58:03.:58:10.

you, commissioner. Thank you for this important tool that is

:58:11.:58:15.

available to us, telling us about the kind of Europe that we would

:58:16.:58:19.

like to see in the area of education. The role of the European

:58:20.:58:22.

Union is to build, which is between different actors and different

:58:23.:58:27.

policies are social, economic, youth policy or education policy, to show

:58:28.:58:32.

that there is a pathway which we can embark upon, and ways to create

:58:33.:58:38.

syndication which fit into the European framework, ensuring

:58:39.:58:42.

portability of skills in order to meet with realities and trends in

:58:43.:58:49.

society. The framework is crucial to improve employability and mobility.

:58:50.:58:54.

There are many different educational pathways, as many as there are

:58:55.:59:00.

individuals, and we need to make training accessible to all. Mobility

:59:01.:59:12.

is important, particularly for young people, and young people living near

:59:13.:59:18.

the border is at stake when it comes to this recognition of diplomas and

:59:19.:59:26.

skills. This will make the connection throughout the EU between

:59:27.:59:30.

those qualifications in different member states. It will ensure that

:59:31.:59:40.

there is no mismatch between the skills which are out there and the

:59:41.:59:42.

skills which are needed on the labour market.

:59:43.:59:49.

Are you TRANSLATION: A lifelong learning is necessary if you want to

:59:50.:59:59.

be successful in the labour market when it comes to new technologies,

:00:00.:00:06.

or to my reservation, new IT and so on. Since the crisis, we have

:00:07.:00:12.

introduced a number of support programmes for education and the new

:00:13.:00:20.

posts of work. It turns out that the unemployment rate continues to be

:00:21.:00:26.

very high. Even though in many countries we have many positions not

:00:27.:00:36.

covered because we don't have the people with the right qualifications

:00:37.:00:42.

and skills for them. When the framework was created, lifelong

:00:43.:00:46.

learning was an important pillar of this. We know the systems of

:00:47.:00:56.

education are... Big qualifications framework was supposed to enable an

:00:57.:01:03.

exchange between the member states so that we do not have these

:01:04.:01:13.

obstacles in the area. The targets of the original EQF were not totally

:01:14.:01:22.

fulfilled so I agree with the commission that the revised

:01:23.:01:27.

framework should work better because it was only implemented partially. I

:01:28.:01:34.

agree with the member states and with the questions that were asked

:01:35.:01:39.

and I expect and says to those questions from the commission. Thank

:01:40.:01:41.

you. Thank you. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much.

:01:42.:02:05.

The main thing is that this can be exercised and that entails

:02:06.:02:10.

recognition is of qualifications, professional, formal or informal.

:02:11.:02:21.

That is something that benefits the workers or potential workers

:02:22.:02:26.

themselves but employers also have to help with this. On the other

:02:27.:02:33.

hand, there are disadvantages for the employers because they can

:02:34.:02:41.

employ people on lower wages. The report focuses on recognising the

:02:42.:02:48.

qualifications of refugees and migrants. Surely this is another way

:02:49.:02:53.

of generating another flood of workers which will only keep wages

:02:54.:03:04.

in the European lower. The new commission's proposals are business

:03:05.:03:11.

as usual. They lead to no good results. We need to review the

:03:12.:03:22.

framework. This does not bring growth or reduction of unemployment.

:03:23.:03:34.

Policies need to cover both education and training of workers

:03:35.:03:44.

and create new jobs. Our states pay for apprenticeships but this is not

:03:45.:03:48.

a strategic choice. This is just help to increase the profits of

:03:49.:03:55.

businesses. We cannot port all burden on the shoulders of workers.

:03:56.:04:04.

Migration, expanding skills, mobility not a solution. On the

:04:05.:04:12.

contrary, they pressure for more social dumping. Thank you.

:04:13.:04:23.

Lifelong learning and this framework is an important instrument to ensure

:04:24.:04:32.

mobility of students and employees. In 2006, I was able to ensure that

:04:33.:04:38.

equal quality between vocational training and academical training was

:04:39.:04:43.

recognised. We want Copenhagen to have the same value as the loan --

:04:44.:04:50.

Bologna. We need to improve the recognition of such skills. There

:04:51.:04:57.

are different educational levels covering the entire range of

:04:58.:05:00.

education. Unfortunately we don't have all of the pathways in the

:05:01.:05:05.

member states. We quite rightly asks the European Commission to what

:05:06.:05:09.

extent we can make this qualification framework more of a

:05:10.:05:15.

reality. In many cases, improved cooperation can result between those

:05:16.:05:18.

offering education and national authorities. It is important to --

:05:19.:05:24.

that the unique characteristics of national systems can be maintained.

:05:25.:05:30.

We have a system that is ready for the future and the real value in the

:05:31.:05:36.

internal market can be achieved over decades. In the reform that we are

:05:37.:05:46.

working towards, the instrument of the EQF can be simplified, unified

:05:47.:05:51.

and improved. Reducing the red tape and increasing the flexibility. We

:05:52.:05:58.

are working in education to see a real added value in Europe and

:05:59.:06:06.

inspiration. TRANSLATION: Madam President, I support the European

:06:07.:06:12.

connotation -- qualification framework because I believe this

:06:13.:06:18.

would lead to transparency and a level of comparability between

:06:19.:06:20.

qualifications in different member states. Technology is evolving

:06:21.:06:26.

rapidly and as is the labour market. The EU needs a whole range of skills

:06:27.:06:33.

which will help us to make more progress. However, skills and

:06:34.:06:41.

confidence that has been acquired outside of official systems are

:06:42.:06:49.

still underestimated. This is a hindrance to European citizens

:06:50.:06:52.

because sometimes it means they can't get jobs or promotions. The

:06:53.:06:58.

review of the framework should lead to better visibility the skills that

:06:59.:07:01.

people have gained outside of classrooms. Only Sweden and the

:07:02.:07:08.

Netherlands have introduced systems to recognise the formal

:07:09.:07:11.

qualifications and I would call upon member states to give more

:07:12.:07:17.

visibility to informal studies as well as volunteering and voluntary

:07:18.:07:23.

work in the national frameworks. It will improve chances for young

:07:24.:07:32.

people. Thank you. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much. First of all I

:07:33.:07:38.

would like to thank the commission for taking the initiative to revise

:07:39.:07:48.

the European framework which hasn't been fully implemented although they

:07:49.:07:56.

were adopted six years ago. Why? The European framework was formed in

:07:57.:08:03.

response to the need to equalise and make comparable the diplomas and

:08:04.:08:07.

qualifications. If such an important goal is not implemented, there must

:08:08.:08:12.

be a cause and it has to do with the instrument. We have seen what

:08:13.:08:20.

difficulties this European framework was implemented international

:08:21.:08:26.

systems. It seems the framework is insufficient and there are new

:08:27.:08:30.

challenges. There is education outside the formal system. We have

:08:31.:08:38.

high-class IT experts who obtain skills outside the formal

:08:39.:08:44.

frameworks. We need to understand what diplomas and certificates of

:08:45.:08:51.

persons coming to the EU from third countries are worth. Some kind of

:08:52.:09:01.

system is required. There is a need to determine what is the level of

:09:02.:09:05.

the European qualifications framework to make it more popular

:09:06.:09:13.

and more recognised by both citizens and employers. It is also important

:09:14.:09:22.

to take into the account, this proposition of the agenda for

:09:23.:09:26.

qualifications to assure comparable to those skills. To compare national

:09:27.:09:33.

systems and to exchange good practices. Thank you.

:09:34.:09:46.

The diversity of educational pathways represents an opportunity

:09:47.:09:52.

for sustainable economic development as well as personal development of

:09:53.:09:57.

learners and citizens. I know from personal experience that lifelong

:09:58.:10:02.

learning develops creative and critical thinking, helping us to

:10:03.:10:07.

gain in soft confidence to become a problem solvers, entrepreneurs and

:10:08.:10:12.

responsible citizens and to acquire the intercultural, social and

:10:13.:10:15.

transversal skills needed to achieve more inclusive, open and tolerant

:10:16.:10:21.

communities. We are often asked to equip learners with skills and

:10:22.:10:25.

competences for a world that does not yet exist. Therefore, probably

:10:26.:10:32.

including lifelong learning in our education policy is key and

:10:33.:10:35.

promoting EU collaboration and harmonisation across member states

:10:36.:10:41.

is important. In the context of democratic changes, flexible

:10:42.:10:46.

economies and uncertain job Martin is characterised by increasing

:10:47.:10:48.

digitisation, Robitaille 's Asian and automation of production, we

:10:49.:10:55.

must embrace the concept of occupational literacy, promoting

:10:56.:10:59.

active engagement in arts, citizenship and sport. Furthermore,

:11:00.:11:04.

we must include refugees as they have much to offer and they arrive

:11:05.:11:07.

with skills and desire to contribute. Furthermore, we must

:11:08.:11:15.

include refugees as they have much to offer and they arrive with skills

:11:16.:11:22.

and a desire to contribute. Sun-macro the other day about the

:11:23.:11:24.

framework is a very fine idea. It is linked to the labour market. I

:11:25.:11:36.

support all the efforts to recognise informal and non-formal learning and

:11:37.:11:44.

skills. If we want to shape the uniform of the market and the single

:11:45.:11:53.

market, then we also need to recognise this skills obtained

:11:54.:11:55.

elsewhere. The free flow of learning and it is one of the key actions.

:11:56.:12:04.

This is not fully implemented will stop only a few people use the

:12:05.:12:10.

possibility to migrate and should the European qualifications

:12:11.:12:14.

framework be amended, then this would encourage the workforce

:12:15.:12:19.

mobility which will have long-standing effects on the

:12:20.:12:24.

economy. People looking for jobs abroad face difficulties,

:12:25.:12:26.

particularly when their qualifications need to be

:12:27.:12:31.

recognised. It is not only them who are facing challenges. The employers

:12:32.:12:36.

had to recognise the skills that these people are bringing with them.

:12:37.:12:42.

Therefore I believe that it would be necessary to introduce a type of

:12:43.:12:49.

certificated and so that we would apply uniformed criteria so as to

:12:50.:12:53.

know who is offering what in the market. This will be good for all.

:12:54.:13:06.

Thank you. TRANSLATION: Thank you. Free circulation of people is one of

:13:07.:13:15.

the rights of our citizens. It is a pillar on which the internal market

:13:16.:13:23.

is founded. However, despite this lack of comparability and mutual

:13:24.:13:27.

recognition of diplomas is a major obstacle which prevents a lot of

:13:28.:13:31.

Europeans from finding jobs outside their borders. Achieving some kind

:13:32.:13:40.

of convergence between such diverse systems will be a very positive step

:13:41.:13:46.

towards achieving our objective. We have got to continue down this track

:13:47.:13:50.

and we have got to fully commend the European qualifications framework

:13:51.:13:55.

and do so in a way that fits in with the other systems. This will mean

:13:56.:14:02.

that supply and demand could be matched better in the labour market

:14:03.:14:10.

and companies would be an easier position to interpret qualifications

:14:11.:14:13.

and the abilities of candidates. This would lead to greater mobility

:14:14.:14:17.

between countries and at the end of the day, it will help generate jobs.

:14:18.:14:23.

Mobistine are adapting their national frameworks to the European

:14:24.:14:28.

framework. -- member states. A lot of them are still in the initial

:14:29.:14:34.

stages of this. I'm asking, why are you planning to renew this framework

:14:35.:14:38.

which has not yet been fully implemented and which we haven't yet

:14:39.:14:50.

been able to assess? TRANSLATION: Colleagues, with regards to the

:14:51.:14:57.

questions to the commission, I have to point to the fact that we have to

:14:58.:15:04.

measure how our environment reflects the knowledge ability of our

:15:05.:15:11.

qualifications. Let us know that there are quite a few problems and

:15:12.:15:16.

faults but still the European Union is developing fast. Why is this

:15:17.:15:17.

important? Why is this important? People who

:15:18.:15:26.

come from outside the borders of the European Union, the migrants, are

:15:27.:15:31.

quite often having very low skills, quite often catching up needs as

:15:32.:15:40.

long as the decade. To us just think about the lack of knowledge of

:15:41.:15:45.

languages come if a technician living in the north of Africa learns

:15:46.:15:54.

his skills on machines that are very obsolete now, his skills now cannot

:15:55.:16:04.

be equal, cannot be acknowledged, cannot be equal to those of a

:16:05.:16:08.

technician here in Europe. Technology develops fast, therefore,

:16:09.:16:12.

these questions are quite pertinent. Let us not turn this into a

:16:13.:16:17.

political problem, a political question, that's why I support all

:16:18.:16:27.

the motions that protect the high-quality skills. This is a basic

:16:28.:16:34.

value. We need to strengthen the European Union.

:16:35.:16:46.

Thank you, Madam President. First of all, let me say that any sensible

:16:47.:16:55.

citizen, or indeed employer, in Europe, is in favour of supporting

:16:56.:17:01.

and improving qualifications and realises that this is a necessity,

:17:02.:17:06.

as is the need to have comparability between formal and informal

:17:07.:17:11.

training. Some objectives have been set, but they are still to be

:17:12.:17:19.

achieved. Now, that problem is up to the memo states, because they simply

:17:20.:17:23.

have not implemented the objectives properly. That is a big problem,

:17:24.:17:31.

particularly in terms of the rules, and if the EU isn't really working

:17:32.:17:40.

on these issues, such as basic rules which underpins the single market,

:17:41.:17:47.

then I think we are in serious difficulty. It is a serious problem.

:17:48.:17:53.

And I think that means we've got to get rid of any administrative

:17:54.:17:58.

hurdles, for instance in the acknowledgement and recognition of

:17:59.:18:00.

qualifications. And I think that's what the EU needs to do. Make this

:18:01.:18:06.

easier, get rid of the hurdles, and in a few years, when we come back to

:18:07.:18:11.

looking at this framework, we hope that our successors won't be saying

:18:12.:18:17.

that objectives and hopes have not been delivered on. So, I sincerely

:18:18.:18:22.

hope that this will be implemented properly. Thank you. We move now to

:18:23.:18:36.

the Catch The Eye procedure. This framework has been a significant

:18:37.:18:46.

driver of reforms. Not all of the objectives of the recommendation

:18:47.:18:51.

from 2008 well recognised. This is why, if we take European

:18:52.:18:57.

cross-border mobility of learners and lifelong learning seriously, it

:18:58.:19:00.

is important that we make qualifications more transparent and

:19:01.:19:05.

understandable across front countries and different educational

:19:06.:19:10.

systems. One of the greatest challenges is posed by the changes

:19:11.:19:15.

over time in revocation systems. This makes it necessary to keep

:19:16.:19:22.

referencing things and up-to-date, especially considering the

:19:23.:19:26.

increasing proliferation of industry based training and certifications. I

:19:27.:19:31.

would especially welcome if the commission could provide more

:19:32.:19:34.

details on this. Thank you very much.

:19:35.:19:46.

I asked for the floor because I would like to add a couple of things

:19:47.:19:54.

to this debate. First of all, yes, of course I agree with one of the

:19:55.:20:00.

objectives, which is the harmonisation of diplomas. But, dear

:20:01.:20:07.

colleagues one of the other issues we should explore is the

:20:08.:20:12.

commercialisation of education. You study three years, and then again

:20:13.:20:18.

and again, total nine years, and then you're jobless. This is the

:20:19.:20:24.

main problem. I would like to put this to the session. Someone said, I

:20:25.:20:31.

was fine with my education until I went to school. In other words, what

:20:32.:20:36.

we are lacking is education with a humanitarian background, with a

:20:37.:20:40.

human face. Education, well, that's human face. Education, well, that's

:20:41.:20:47.

easy, but we need education that makes our citizens more human. Thank

:20:48.:20:59.

you. Thank you for the floor, Madam Chair. I would like to congratulate

:21:00.:21:07.

you for attacking this very important work of amending the

:21:08.:21:15.

European convocations framework. I recall March 2008, when we finally

:21:16.:21:18.

adopted the first document with this title. Back then, I was chairing, I

:21:19.:21:27.

was actually the minister responsible for education in the

:21:28.:21:30.

country which was holding this item for the European Union, and I was

:21:31.:21:35.

signing this document, which I deemed a special privilege. So, it

:21:36.:21:39.

has been ten years and I am not really satisfied with the

:21:40.:21:42.

fermentation of this document in member states. But as you have

:21:43.:21:45.

mentioned, practically all member states will this year weather all

:21:46.:21:52.

key elements of this framework. In this respect, I will call it a

:21:53.:21:56.

success nonetheless, and I'm especially glad that you decided to

:21:57.:22:00.

upgrade the basic document. We need to establish that we are not talking

:22:01.:22:06.

about the recognition of qualifications, but rather about the

:22:07.:22:09.

transparency and comparability of convocations. If we are unable to

:22:10.:22:14.

compare educational results twin member states, then the European

:22:15.:22:20.

educational systems would continue to go the wrong way. And I believe

:22:21.:22:26.

that this document enables a type of harmonisation between convocations.

:22:27.:22:38.

Thank you very much. Thank you, one minute. TRANSLATION: Ladies and

:22:39.:22:46.

gentlemen, the European convocations framework for lifelong learning is

:22:47.:22:53.

an important step towards greater transparency and recognition of

:22:54.:22:59.

skills, facilitating mobility within the Common Market. The proposal of

:23:00.:23:07.

new guidelines of the council shows that the framework is used in all

:23:08.:23:15.

member states, but convergence of descriptions of similar convocations

:23:16.:23:22.

has not been achieved, which is an obstacle to their mutual

:23:23.:23:26.

recognition. So, memo states should still seek harmonisation of

:23:27.:23:31.

qualifications, in line with European standards. It is important

:23:32.:23:37.

to apply them in education and training institutions and employment

:23:38.:23:44.

agencies, to ensure their application and to make them a

:23:45.:23:50.

the new recommendations of the the new recommendations of the

:23:51.:23:52.

council will be useful in this regard. Thank you. Thank you. This

:23:53.:24:02.

brings us to the end of the debate. And now, for the replies to the

:24:03.:24:06.

numerous questions and the very valid discussion, I handover. Thank

:24:07.:24:16.

you very much, Madam President. Dear members of Parliament, I would like

:24:17.:24:22.

to thank you for the todays' debate which shows the accordance attached

:24:23.:24:28.

to this framework. I will not go into the detail of all of your

:24:29.:24:37.

questions but I would like to stress that the EQF is a tool to make

:24:38.:24:44.

convocations more transparent and it is not about harmonisation of

:24:45.:24:46.

qualifications. Secondly, it builds on the achievements of the

:24:47.:24:54.

recommendation of 2008, and it will make EQF a more effective tool,

:24:55.:25:01.

relevant to the reality of today and to the evolving nature of

:25:02.:25:03.

qualifications. And finally, the future success of the EQF is in the

:25:04.:25:10.

hands of member states and stakeholders who were in charge of

:25:11.:25:14.

fermentation. The commission's role will be one of support. Dear members

:25:15.:25:20.

of Parliament, I count on your continuous support for the EQF and

:25:21.:25:24.

for other initiatives within the European skills agenda. It is indeed

:25:25.:25:29.

our joint responsibility to offer citizens are necessary tools to

:25:30.:25:35.

develop their skills and find the jobs that is right for them. Of

:25:36.:25:42.

course, this counts especially for the more than 19 million unemployed

:25:43.:25:50.

people in our union. Skills are of utmost importance for them, so we

:25:51.:25:55.

work on it. Also by improving the EQF. And as you know, this is only

:25:56.:26:01.

one of our actions to create more jobs, more growth and fairness in

:26:02.:26:12.

our union. Thank you very much. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much,

:26:13.:26:17.

commissioner, for those replies. That brings us to the end of that

:26:18.:26:25.

debate. The motion for resolution from the committee on employment and

:26:26.:26:28.

social affairs will be voted on tomorrow. On Wednesday, I stand

:26:29.:26:37.

corrected. Thank you once again. We move on now to the following night

:26:38.:26:43.

on the agenda. Next on our agenda, we have the report on resource

:26:44.:26:44.

efficiency...

:26:45.:26:52.

Live coverage of debates in the European Parliament on the annual report on the protection of the EU's financial interests, the European Qualifications framework for lifelong learning, and food safety.