Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-23-Speech-1-189"

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"Mr President, I should like to thank all the speakers for their excellent comments. Before I touch on the matter of the amendments, I should like to reply on the question of the Barnier report and to say that the Commission has already started work on many of the issues connected with this report, the most important, of course, being the development of civil protection modules. Meetings have been held with specialists from the Member States in order to ascertain what types of modules should be available in each case and the specific terms and conditions for each type of module. Finally, the Commission would point out that a series of amendments relates to aspects of existing legislation. The Commission supports some of these amendments in essence. However, the interinstitutional agreement on the use of the recast technique does not allow the Commission to accept them, unless they are of vital importance to the application of the new provisions contained in the proposal or derive directly from the new provisions. However, the Commission will bear the issues in question in mind within the framework of the development of our policy in this sector. These are the main issues on which the Commission's position differs from that taken in the European Parliament report. However, I wish to stress that these differences of opinion do not overshadow our common objectives. We agree fully with the ambition of the European Parliament to develop a very strong European intervention capability in the field of civil protection, both inside and outside the European Union, and we thank you for your support. I shall send the European Parliament secretariat a full list of the Commission's positions on the amendments. I should like once again to congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Papadimoulis, on his excellent work. A second field of work relates to exercises and, despite the fact that no provision is made for the creation of a European institute in accordance with the Barnier report, we do nonetheless propose that a network of centres should be developed which will extend the existing exercise programme. We also agree that the Monitoring and Information Centre should be reinforced. We have already requested an increase in the number of employees, of officers, to be employed at the centre. We have also asked the Member States to give us the opportunity next year to use certain specialists at the MIC. Finally, the Commission has two legislative proposals, one for the means of financing and one for the recast of the 2001 decision, which will give us the possibility of working in another sector, the transport sector, about which I spoke earlier. Now, as far as the amendments are concerned, the European Parliament has presented a series of important amendments with a view to strengthening civil protection capabilities at European level. The amendments relate to the need to safeguard prompt transportation of civil protection aid, the importance of early warning and alert systems, the interoperability of civil protection modules and the role which the mechanism can play in helping the citizens of the European Union. The Commission can accept most of the proposed amendments. However, there are some which cause problems and cannot be adopted as they stand. I refer to those relating to the provision of measures relating to prevention, public health and deliberate maritime pollution. As regards the measures relating to prevention, the Commission wishes to emphasise that the proposal for the means of financing civil protection will cover actions in this sector. The Community civil protection mechanism is designed to cover actions in the sectors of preparedness and intervention only. Nonetheless, the Commission agrees with the European Parliament about the importance of actions in the field of prevention and has promised to promote them within an appropriate framework. As regards the inclusion of public health, the Commission recognises that civil protection actions very often aim to protect public health. However, the civil protection mechanism set up at European Union level does not form part of public health policy, which is covered by other existing Community mechanisms, such as the Community action programme in the health sector. As far as deliberate or intentional maritime pollution is concerned, the Commission fully supports the proposal whereby it must be possible for the civil protection mechanism to intervene in cases of extensive maritime pollution caused either accidentally or deliberately. The proposal by the European Commission to extend the scope so that it also covers man-made disasters covers this possibility. However, the term 'intentional, deliberate' maritime pollution usually refers to the jettisoning of small quantities of oil from ships and the Commission wishes to avoid the interpretation that the scope of the regulation covers jettisoning to such a minor degree. It would be practically impossible for the Commission to mobilise the mechanism – nor, as I said earlier, does it have the staff – and this sort of minor jettisoning should be dealt with by the means available to each country. That is why the corresponding amendments were not accepted."@en1

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