Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-134"

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". Mr President, I should like to thank Mr Zingaretti for his cooperation. We have spent many hours discussing this issue, which is, after all, a sensitive one. According to the OECD, counterfeit goods account for an annual amount of approximately EUR 600 billion worldwide, and it is mainly criminal organisations, operating on a worldwide scale, who are responsible for this. Counterfeiting represents a major drain on tax revenue in government tax departments, because legitimate businesses do, after all, among other things, pay taxes and employ staff, and governments put those taxes to very good use. Levels of employment are good, and we seem to lack the courage to intervene sufficiently in imposing real criminal sanctions and tackling the problem head on. These criminal sanctions, however, should also, of course, be backed up by the raising of public awareness. Customs should be able, in future, to put better and more effective controls in place, thus preventing sea-going vessels, such as the one in Hamburg that was loaded with three million pairs of shoes – all counterfeits from China – from slipping through customs without anyone noticing. I think we should do something about this. By the same token, the consumer must gain considerably more awareness, and this is why I have tabled an amendment to introduce the concept of the intentional handling of counterfeit products, which means that if a consumer deliberately buys products that are too cheap, they should know that they are buying counterfeit products and by doing so, prevent our society from working properly, and also hamper our economy. It is unfortunate that we wish to spare consumers too much, because the funny thing is that in France and Italy, handling and buying counterfeit goods is a punishable offence and is counselled against on huge billboards. Regrettably, we did not dare go this far. It is also unfortunate, to my mind, that intellectual property in Europe is still being insufficiently protected, that there is insufficient awareness, because at this rate, we will never achieve the Lisbon objectives to become the world’s most competitive, knowledge-based economy; I hope that we will carry on supporting customs and improving legislation. In this respect, I would argue in favour of identical definitions worldwide. If this is achieved, I will be satisfied; if it is not, we in Europe will become isolated, to the detriment of our economy and employment."@en1

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