Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-114"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, ladies and gentlemen, we should be clear in our own minds about the fact that all those who have given their attention to this regulation want to help patients; Mr Mikolášik is a doctor, and so am I. Even though we may take a different line on some amendments, you should not take that as indicating any opposition to helping the sick. Speaking personally, I do agree with Mr Mikolášik and with the amendments from the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market that have now been brought back in by Mr Gargani, Mr Morillon, Mrs Auken and others, which – and this is something you need to know, too – represent the position taken by the overwhelming majority of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats, as determined by a vote we took last Wednesday. I would like to turn to a subject that has not featured in this debate so far, but is very important if we want to know how we can create the right conditions for the companies that want to help patients. There is at present a whole array of small and medium-sized enterprises that are already carrying out treatments in hospitals, whether the people treated are in-patients or outpatients. Quite some time ago, these firms came to me and told me that, if the regulation goes through unamended and without easier arrangements for small and medium-sized businesses under national licensing schemes, they would no longer be able to offer those services. That, rather than this or that promise of miracle cures, is what we need to bear in mind – the real live businesses that are there today helping patients and who say that the proposal for a Commission regulation is not as good as it is made out to be. Nor does the so-called compromise package offer the small and medium-sized businesses a proper solution for their problem. Amendment 127 provides for SMEs working in tandem with a hospital to be exempted from the requirement for a European license. SMEs working outside hospitals, though, and facing fewer risks, are obliged to go to London to get their licences, incurring many charges and having a complicated process to go through. As one Member of this House always says, there are times when consensus becomes nonsensical, and this is one of them, thanks to those who cobbled together this so-called compromise. Commissioner Verheugen said that we are not talking about ethics. He went on to say that the principle that the human body must not become a commodity has been complied with. What now, then? Are we going to talk about it or are we not? If the principle has been taken into account, then a European regulation on the subject exists, and, that being so, we have to examine whether or not it is any good. Having been a rapporteur on this, I know that this House wanted more stringent regulation, but, back then, the Commission said no, citing the legal basis. The legal basis has now changed, and so you ought at the least to think up a proper justification, rather than simply saying that the matter has been taken care of. We need this regulation; I am all for us getting it, and have been so for the past five years. For three of them, it was on ice in the Commission – not, admittedly, on Commissioner Verheugen’s watch, but the Commission does nevertheless bear responsibility for this three-year delay. Mrs Roth-Behrendt, Mrs Ries and others bear responsibility for another six months’ delay, having rejected the report back in September. Now you are giving us another month in which this House has to talk the matter through in proper parliamentary fashion."@en1

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