Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-23-Speech-2-278"

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"Mr President, President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, I am pleased to note the common ground – there is actually a great deal – that has emerged in the debate so far. Our French Council representative, our friend, has said he is of the opinion that we shall still be able to reach agreement by the end of the year. Yes indeed, let us reach that agreement! I should also like to thank the Vice-Presidents for the support of the Commission during the discussions between the rapporteurs and the French Council Presidency. President-in-Office, we wish to acknowledge that you and your colleagues have already made great progress in the individual discussions on the six dossiers. We are very much on the right track but – and I also say this to you to support your reluctant colleagues in the Council – there is either one package or no package. I therefore hope that you will make progress in the two dossiers that are still unresolved at the next Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council meeting on 9 November. These are not unimportant dossiers. I do not wish to delve into the details of the civil liability of shipowners, but I do consider it particularly important in the case of the flag States. It is evident, however, that, despite all their professions to have maritime safety and the safety of seafarers, of passengers and of coastal waters in mind at all times, Member States are shying away from ratifying and implementing very specific obligations or even just the IMO resolutions on maritime protection. If we want these flag State obligations to become established, if we – Parliament and the Commission – want to be able to put pressure on the Member States – in court if necessary – to fulfil their obligations under the IMO Convention on maritime protection and the protection of coastal populations, the Member States recoil. Although there are good people who fulfil their flag State obligations, there are some who are very reluctant to comply with the inspection by Parliament and the Commission to ensure they are fulfilling their flag State obligations. This is unacceptable. We had the disasters of the and the and my fellow Members have also pointed out the disasters of recent times. We are beholden to people and to the natural environment to ensure that flag States, in particular, fulfil their obligations. It is bizarre. In Mrs Vlasto’s sound report, we talk about port State control, which, in theory, is our way of checking the safety of third-country ships anchoring at our shores. We therefore inspect ships from third countries, but the Member States fear being subjected to the obligation to be checked to ensure they as flag States are fulfilling their duties with regard to ships’ safety. This is unacceptable. In this respect, I should like to encourage the President-in-Office effectively to win the majority over on 9 October. I say ‘majority’, President-in-Office, because it could be, if I am not completely wrong, that majority decisions are possible in the transport dossier. You may perhaps have to break through the in the Council – if an individual is reluctant, the others will not push him – because this concerns the safety of the natural environment and people and we shall have to reach a majority decision if need be. I appeal to you to carry on. We are proud of you – you have fought well in the Council to date. Please pass on the following message to the Council: we are behind you, and we are ready and willing to achieve good results together with the French Presidency. However, some do need to budge – including the German Government. Let us all fight together on this!"@en1

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