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This is for people who want more information on actual reports/legislation going through the Parliament.

Summary of Strasbourg Session 22nd - 25th September 2003)

Sterckx Report (A5-0278/03) - Sea pollution: Prestige accident, improving safety at sea

This Report examines a Commission Communication on improving safety at sea in response to the Prestige accident. The Communication notes the considerable progress that has already been made since the Erika disaster, but indicates that the measures in question must be applied in full by the Member States if they are to be truly effective. It also examines the rapid practical measures that could be taken in order to improve maritime safety and which could be rendered operational rapidly, including the publication of a black list of very dangerous ships, a ban on the transport of heavy fuel oil in single-hull oil tankers, the early and accelerated application of European legislation and the establishment of a European Maritime Safety Agency.

Mombaur Report (A5-0295/03) - Energy: natural gas, security of supply

This Report is based on an initial proposal to establishes measures aimed at ensuring the proper functioning of the EU internal market for gas by safeguarding security of gas supply. Over 70% of EU oil consumption and 40% of EU natural gas consumption is at present imported. Projections indicate that these figures could rise to 90% and 70% respectively in 2020. In order to manage the EU's energy dependence as effectively as possible, this proposal presents a series of harmonisation measures which will guarantee joint and coordinated action with regard to security of supply. It would establish a common framework within which Member States shall define general, transparent and nondiscriminatory security of supply policies compatible with the requirements of a competitive single EU market for gas; clarify the general roles and responsibilities of the different market actors and implement specific non-discriminatory procedures to safeguard security of gas supply. Under the Commission proposal, Member States would define a general policy and standards for the security of gas supply based on a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of the various market players.

Karlsson Report (A5-0297/03) - Energy: petroleum products, security of supply

This Report is based on an initial proposal to encourage greater harmonisation and coordination of national measures regarding security of oil supplies, thereby helping to ensure that the internal market functions properly. Over 70% of EU oil consumption and 40% of EU natural gas consumption is at present imported. Projections indicate that these figures could rise to 90% and 70% respectively in 2020. In order to manage the EU's energy dependence as effectively as possible, this proposal aims to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market in petroleum products. For this purpose, it provides for the alignment of the provisions of the Member States with regard to oil stocks and crisis measures and coordinated action between the Member States in the event of a supply crisis.

It aims to provide the European Union with the means to act in a unified, credible manner when oil supply difficulties are disrupting, or threaten to disrupt, the functioning of the economy and society. Under the Commission proposal all Member States would set up a public oil stockholding body, which will eventually own stocks representing at least 40 days' consumption. This will help to improve the functioning of the internal market by establishing rules which will ensure healthy competition between economic operators. It will also guarantee effective and efficient mobilisation of oil stocks in a crisis. In an energy crisis, the EU will in future be able to adopt a common strategy. The Commission would be authorised to take the requisite measures as a matter of urgency, assisted by a committee of Member State representatives.

Karlsson Report (A5-0293/03) - Energy : stocks of crude oil and petroleum products (repeal. direct. 68/414/EEC, 98/93/EC, 73/238/EEC)

This Report is based on an initial proposal to repeal Council Directives 68/414/EEC and 98/93/EC imposing an obligation on Member States of the EEC to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products, and Council Directive 73/238/EEC on measures to mitigate the effects of difficulties in the supply of crude oil and petroleum products. The Commission has put forward a proposal for a new Directive concerning the alignment of measures with regard to security of supply for petroleum products. This proposal for a Directive provides for Member States' provisions on oil stocks and crisis measures to be more closely aligned with each other, and for coordinated action between the Member States in the event of a supply crisis. In this situation, existing legislation on this subject is no longer relevant. The aim of this proposal for a Directive is therefore to repeal some of the texts concerned.

Lange Report (A5-0296/03) - Air pollution: compression ignition engines by non-road mobile machinery (amend. direct. 97/68/EC)

This Report is based on an initial proposal to amend Directive 97/68/EC in order to improve air quality. Requirements concerning emissions of air pollutants from compression ignition (CI) engines intended for use in non-road mobile machinery and with an engine power of 18-560 kW are covered by Directive 97/68/EC. The Directive includes two stages of emission standards. Stage I standards have already entered into force for all power bands and Stage II standards will enter into force between 31st December 2000 and 31st December 2003 depending on the power band. In December 2000, the Commission presented a proposal to include small (19 kW or below) spark-ignition (petrol) engines within its scope. Furthermore, in accordance with Directive 97/68/EC, this proposal provides for a tightening of the emission standards for compression ignition engines.

The Commission should submit a proposal for a further reduction in limit values based on the techniques generally available for controlling polluting emissions and the air quality situation. According to the conclusions of the Auto-Oil programme, additional measures should be taken to address ozone formation (the emission of nitrogen oxides, NOx, and volatile organic compounds, VOCs,) and particulate emissions. The proposed legislation will also help support the promotion of inland waterway shipping and railways as environmentally friendly modes of transport;. It should also ensure that all future diesel engines are equipped with particulate filters; define a reference fuel that reflects the fuel market situation; introduce durability requirements to avoid deterioration of emission performance; introduce special arrangements for equipment manufacturers to give them time to design their products and to handle small series production.

Sacconi Report (A5-0290/03) - Community greenhouse gas emissions and the Kyoto Protocol

This Report is based on an initial proposal to replace Council Decision 93/389/EEC and to establish a monitoring mechanism for Community Greenhouse gas emissions and the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. The aims of the proposed revision of Decision 93/389/EEC are to reflect in the monitoring mechanism reporting obligations and guidelines for the implementation of the UN Framework convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, to provide for further information on emission forecasts at Member State and Community-level, and harmonisation of these emission forecasts, in the light of experience with the current Monitoring Mechanism, and to address reporting requirements and implementation relating to the burden-sharing between the Community and its Member States.

Lisi Report (A5-0292/03) - Air pollution: volatile organic compounds due to organic solvents, programme CAFE (amend. direct. 1999/13/EC)

This Report presents a new proposal to reduce the content of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in a series of decorative paints and varnishes. The proposal aims to reduce VOCs emissions by setting the maximum values for the VOC content in certain categories of decorative paints and vehicle refinishing products, limits that have to be respected for the marketing of these products within the EU. However, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, some flexibility is provided, for example by allowing Member States discretion in the development and implementation of market surveillance systems.

The proposal will for the first time set EU-wide limits on solvent content in paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products to come into effect in two phases: 2007 and 2010. More specifically, as regards a two-phase approach, this will give the sectors affected adequate time to adapt without compromising the long-term environmental benefits. The first phase will apply from 1 January 2007 while the second will apply from 1st January 2010. For vehicle refinishing products, there will be only one phase, which will apply from 1st January 2007.

Randzio-Plath Report (A5-0307/03) - Appointment of Mr. Trichet as President of the ECB

This Report proposes the appointment of Mr. Jean-Claude Trichet as the next President of the European Central Bank following a hearing in the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 11th September 2003.

McCarthy Report (A5-0238/03) - Software patentability

This Report is based on an initial proposal to lay down rules relating to the patentability of computer-implemented inventions. The European Commission has presented a proposal for a Directive which would harmonise the way in which national patent laws deal with inventions using software. Such inventions can already be patented by applying to either the European Patent Office (EPO) or the national patent offices of the Member States, but the detailed conditions for patentability may vary. The Commission's proposal takes as its basis the concept of "technical contribution" as an essential requirement of any patentable invention.

This approach is consistent with the case law developed over the years in the EPO and the Member States. It implies that a computer-implemented invention which makes a "technical contribution" to the state of the art, which would not be obvious to a person of normal skill in the field concerned, is more than just a computer program "as such" and can therefore be patented. The proposal thus addresses concerns that EU patent law might in future be extended to cover fields of human endeavour which have up to now been excluded, in particular business methods and mathematical entities or logical constructs having no relation to the physical world. The proposal would require the Commission to monitor the impact of computer-implemented inventions and to report to the Parliament and the Council on the operation of the Directive within three years of its implementation by Member States. This provides an important safeguard which would allow any necessary adjustments to be made. The Directive would have no direct legal effect on the European Patent Office.

Whitehead Report (A5-0232/03) - Consumers: financing Community actions 2004-2007, general framework

This Report is based on an initial proposal to establish a general Framework for Community actions in support of consumer policy for the period 2004 to 2007. This proposal establishes a direct link between the objectives and priorities of the Consumer Policy Strategy 2002-2006 and the actions to be financed under the proposed Decision. The Strategy establishes the following objectives: a high level of consumer protection through the establishment of consumer protection rules and practices and the integration of consumer interests into other Community policies, the effective enforcement of consumer protection rules, through market surveillance, administrative and enforcement cooperation and consumer access to resolution of complaints and disputes, and the proper involvement of consumer organisations in Community policies affecting consumer interests.

Andersson Report (A5-0259/03) - Social protection: pensions and retirement, joint report for the 2003 Spring European Council

This own-initiative Report examines a joint Council-Commission report on pensions and retirement. The Report states that the fundamental responsibility for pensions policy and financing remained with the Member States but that this in no way diminished the value of the European contribution. It therefore welcomes the close cooperation between the Member States in the area of pensions through the open method of cooperation. The Report stresses the need, when looking at pensions policy, to strike a balance between social and financial concerns. Any analysis must therefore focus clearly on the extent to which pensions systems contribute to intra- and inter-generational solidarity. It concludes that public pensions schemes, due to their inherently strong redistributional effects, remained vital in providing for a socially acceptable allocation and distribution of income for pensioners. The Report adds that full employment, with quality jobs in a healthy and safe working environment, was the best way to ensure the sustainability of pensions.

Jonckheer Report (A5-0302/03) - Environment taxes: taxation of energy products and electricity

This Report is based on a Commission proposal for a new Community system for the taxation of energy products. The Commission proposals leave the Member States free to apply the taxes of their choice to energy products. The total charge levied in respect of all indirect taxes covered by the proposal on an energy product is taken into account in order to assess compliance with Community minimum levels. Above these minimum levels, and provided that the Member States comply with Community competition rules, they may differentiate the rates applicable to a product, on the basis of quality criteria or in relation to the user. No authorization is necessary in order to do this. In an effort to strengthen the internal market, the scope is extended beyond mineral oils to all energy products. Energy products should be taxed provided that they are used as motor fuels or heating fuels. Those used for other purposes should be exempted by the Member States.

Villiers Report (A5-0287/03) - Investment Services Directive

This Report is based on an initial proposal for a new Driective on investment services and regulated markets. The current Investment Services Directive (ISD), adopted in 1993, sought to establish the conditions in which authorised firms and banks could provide specified services in other Member States on the basis of home country authorisation and supervision. Services eligible for a passport under the present ISD include brokerage, dealing, individual portfolio management, transmission of investor orders and underwriting/placing activities. The existing ISD no longer provides an effective framework for undertaking investment business on a cross-border basis in the EU.

Coelho Report (A5-0288/03) - Schengen: Sirene manual, decision on procedures for amending

This Report is based on an initial proposal to present a draft Regulation o procedures for amending the Sirene Manual. In the context of the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the exchange of data between the national sections of the Member States, the Sirene manual is a set of instructions to operators in the Sirene offices of each of the Member States which describes in detail the rules and procedures governing the bilateral or multilateral exchange of such supplementary information which is required for implementing certain provisions of the Schengen Convention correctly in an integrated manner.

Souchet Report (A5-0289/03) - EC/Mauritius Fisheries agreement

This Report presents a proposal for a Regulation on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters concerning the extension of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Agreement between the Community and the Government of Mauritius on fishing in Mauritian waters for the period 3rd December 2002 to 2nd December 2003.

Ettl Report (A5-0282/03) - Employment: candidate countries' policy, joint assessment papers

This own-initiative Report examines a Commission paper on the implementation of the Joint Assessment Papers on employment policies in candidate countries. The Report notes that special efforts were needed to enable the candidate countries to achieve a stable employment policy and calls on the Commission to make it easier for them to have access to funding from the various support programmes, for example, by eliminating red tape. The Report also calles for an additional aid instrument to prevent regions from becoming impoverished as a result of industrial restructuring. The candidate countries, for their part, are urged to draw up employment strategies for particular crisis regions in order to avert further emigration and impoverishment.

Färm Report (A5-/03) - Amending budget 4/2003

This Report presents the preliminary draft amending budget No. 4 for the 2003 budget (General Statement of Revenue). The present Preliminary Draft Amending Budget (PDAB) aims at budgeting the surplus resulting from the implementation of the budget year 2002.

Berenguer Fuster Report (A5-0236/03) - Community trade mark (amend. regul. 40/94/EC)

This Report is based on an initial proposal to amend certain provisions in Regulation 94/40/EC on the Community trade mark. The regulation instituted a unitary system of protection of the mark throughout the Member States via Community registration. This system has generally been satisfactory in fulfilling users' expectations. The functioning of the system has made it possible to identify other aspects which could clarify and further supplement it. The following changes are therefore proposed: Proprietors - Under current provisions, proprietorship of a mark is allowed to certain persons under certain conditions. This is now changed so that the definition of proprietor is now open to any natural or legal person or authority established under public law.

However, the rules on the priority of an earlier trade mark will continue to apply so as not to damage the rights of proprietors who are nationals of the Member States. Search: The purpose of the searching system is to identify conflicts with other prior rights which might be invoked via the opposition procedure and might prevent the registration of the Community trade mark applied for. Having identified several drawbacks of the system, the proposal is to abolish the searching system. Representation: The wording of Article 89(2)(c) has been adapted so that it suffices to be resident in any EU Member State to be able to deal with the Office. Changing one's place of residence or employment within the territory of the various Member States would no longer have any implications for representation at the Office.

Gil-Robles Gil-Delgado / Tsatsos Report (A5-0299/03) - Parliament's Opinion on the Draft Constitutional Treaty ahead of the IGC

This Report examines the Draft Treaty on the European Constitution and the convocation of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). The Report calls on the IGC due to be held in October 2003 not to challenge the consensus achieved by the Convention and to approve the draft treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe "without altering its basic balance while aiming at reinforcing its coherence". The Report calls on Parliament's plenary to give the green light for the IGC to start in very early October and it supports the Italian Presidency's intention of winding up the proceedings by December 2003. The Report welcomes the idea that the new treaty to be signed by the 25 Member States on 9 May 2004, which is also "Europe Day". If their constitutions allow, the Report calls for all Member States to then hold a referendum, if possible on the same day as the European elections.

The Report welcomes the progress achieved with the drafting of the Constitution for Europe and welcomes the inclusion of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the simplification of EU acts, the abolition of the pillar structure, the wider use of the codecision procedure and of qualified majority voting, the election of the President of the Commission by Parliament, the introduction of the citizen's right of legislative initiative, the possibility of structural cooperation in security and defence policy "while respecting Alliance commitments", and the separation of the Euratom Treaty from the legal structure of the future Constitution. The Report also lists certain aspects "requiring further monitoring", including the election of the President of the European Council, whose role should be strictly limited to chairing proceedings in order to avoid any conflicts with the President of the Commission or the EU Foreign Minister. The Report believes that the Foreign Minister should be supported by a joint Council-Commission administration. The Report also calls for a more prominent role for Parliament in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and defence policy.

van Velzen Report (A50284-/03) - Information market: re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector documents

This Report is based on an initial proposal to establish a minimum set of rules governing the commercial and non-commercial exploitation of existing documents held by public sector bodies of the Member States which are generally accessible. One of the principal aims of the establishment of the internal market is the creation of conditions to promote the development of Community-wide services. Public sector information is an important primary material for digital content products and services and will become an even more important content resource with the development of wireless content services. There are considerable differences in the rules in the Member States relating to the exploitation of public sector information resources, which constitute barriers to bringing out the full economic potential of this key information resource. This proposal involves a minimum harmonisation of national rules on the re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector information.

Read Report (A5-0269/03) - Information society, eEurope: good practices and network security, MODINIS programme 2003-2005

The Report is based on an initial proposal to adopt a multi-annual programme (2003-2005) for the monitoring of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan, dissemination of good practices and improvement of network and information security (MODINIS). This programme will contribute substantially to the Lisbon strategy and have the following objectives: i) to monitor performance of and within Member States. ii) to support efforts made by Member States in the framework of eEurope at national or regional level. iii) to analyse the economic and societal consequences of the Information Society with a view to appropriate policy responses iv) to enhance national and European efforts for improving network and information security and to foster the development of broadband rollout.

Kirkhope Report (A5-0291/03) - Third countries nationals: removal by air, assistance in cases of transit

This Report presents an initiative with a view to adopting a Directive on assistance on cases of transit for the purposes of removal by air. This initiative is presented keeping in mind the Council recommendation of 22 December 1995 on concerted action and cooperation in carrying out removal measures and to the Decision of the Schengen Executive Committee of 21 April 1998 on cooperation between the contracting parties in returning third-country nationals by air. Mutual assistance for the purposes of removal takes into consideration the common objective of ending the illegal residence of third-country nations who are the subject of removal orders. Rules binding on all the Member States contribute furthermore to legal certainty and standardisation of procedures.

Removal by air is increasingly gaining in importance for the purpose of terminating the residence of third-country nationals. Despite the efforts of the Members States to give priority to using direct flights, it may be necessary, from an economic viewpoint or insufficient availability of direct flights to use flight connections via airports of transit of other Member States. More specifically, the Directive shall cover measures enabling the competent authorities a European Union airports of transit to assist with unescorted and escorted removals. In cases in which removal to a transit State or State of destination is unsuccessful, requested Member State shall also assist with the readmission of the third-country national to the requesting State under this Directive.

Cashman Report (A5-0298/03) - Documents of the European Parliament, Council and Commission: public access (implem. regul. 1049/2001/EC)

This own-initiative Report examines public access to Parliament, Council and Commission documents. It said that although real progress had been made by the EU institutions in the first year of full application of Regulation 1049/2001 on public access to documents, there were still a number of shortcomings as regards transparency. The Report concludes that the situation was still unsatisfactory in many ways and urged the Council and Commission to give direct access to documents more often. In particular, it wanted the positions of national delegations to be identified when decisions are taken, arguing that such information is crucial for scrutinising national governments' positions. It also criticises the Council for refusing applications for documents on anti-terrorism measures and for ceasing to record certain meetings to avoid having to provide the tapes on request.

Schmidt Report (A5-0210/03) - Asylum: List of safe third states

This Report presents an initiative which aims to adopt a Regulation establishing the criteria for determining the States which qualify as safe third States for the purpose of taking the responsibility of asylum applications lodged in a Member State by a third-country nationals. The proposal aims to establish criteria for determining the States, which qualify as safe third States and to draw up a list of European safe third States, in respect of the which it can be assumed that they provide an adequate level of protection to refugees and asylum seekers against refoulement to their countries of origin, and by which such persons are to be received. The third States listed in the Annex are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

The draft Regulation shall not apply to Romania and Bulgaria but the Council shall take a decision in respect of these states at a later date. The Commission shall submit a first report to the Council not later than 30 June 2003. This list shall be reviewed on the basis of an examination and evaluation of criteria based on the application and observation of standards established under international law for the protection and of basic human rights. Moreover, as soon as States included in this list become Member States of the European Union, they are no longer to be considered as third States for the purposes of this Regulation, since then being subject to the Dublin regime. The UK and Ireland have notified their wish to take part in the adoption and application of this Regulation whereas Denmark shall not take part in the adoption of the proposed Regulation and is not bound by it or subject to its application.

Stockton Report (A5-0229/03) - European Ombudsman. 2002 annual report

This Report presents the European Ombudsman's 2002 Annual Report. The Report analyses the complaints to the Ombudsman and discusses the decisions made following enquiries. During 2002, the process of examining complaints to see if they are within the mandate of the Ombudsman, meet the criteria of admissibility and provide grounds to open an enquiry was completed in 97% of cases. The Report states that 331 met the admissibility criteria, but 109 did not appear to provide grounds for an enquiry. Inquiries were therefore begun in 222 cases. 75% of cases that led to an enquiry were against the European Commission. As the Commission is the main Community organ that makes decisions having a direct impact on citizens, it is to be expected that it should be the principal object of citizens complaints.

Perry Report (A5-0203/03) - "Lloyd's" petitions

This Report examines "Lloyd's" petitions on the implementation of the directive 73/239/EEC (First Non-Life Insurance Directive). The Report examines whether the British Government properly transposed into British law and then consistently applied Council Directive 73/239/EEC.

von Wogau Report (A5-0244/2003) - Arms: code of conduct on exports

This own-initiative Report examines the Council's annual report on the implementation of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. The Report calls for a clear and efficient common arms export policy in order to develop the European Security and Defence Policy as well as to strengthen the common foreign policy approach by Member States. As regards the implementation of the code, and in particular the compilation of data on export licences, the Report welcomes the greater harmonisation of statistical data but calls for more detailed information on, for example, the type and quantity of arms supplied, the number of licences refused and the reasons for refusal, the country of destination, the classification of end-users, etc.

It also called for a register and authorisation system to be introduced for the brokering of arms transactions, which should also apply to EU citizens and companies outside EU territory. The Report also calls for a verification and post-export monitoring system to be set up, with provision for penalties, and urges Member States to consider establishing a European arms export control agency. The Report urges future new Member States to tighten up their national legislation and their arms export practices on the basis of the Code and to compile and publish national annual reports, and suggestes that the new neighbours of the enlarged EU and countries with which the EU had concluded, or intended to conclude, stabilisation and association agreements should also be asked to observe the EU Code of Conduct.

Plenary Highlights 1-4 September 2003
Plenary Highlights 30 June - 3 July 2003
Plenary Highlights 2-5 June 2003
Plenary Highlights 12-15 May 2003
Plenary Highlights 7-10 April 2003
"Mini" Plenary Highlights 26-27 March 2003
Plenary Highlights 10-13 March 2003
Plenary Highlights 10-13 February 2003
Plenary Highlights 13-16 January 2003
Plenary Highlights 17-20 December 2002
Plenary Highlights 18-21 November 2002
"Mini" Plenary Highlights 6-7 November 2002
Plenary Highlights 21-24 October 2002
Plenary Highlights 23-26 September 2002
Plenary Highlights 2-7 September 2002