Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2011-02-02-Speech-3-245-000"

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". Madam President, Mrs Balzani, ladies and gentlement, I would like to thank you very much for having given the Presidency-in-Office of the Council and the Council the opportunity to speak on this issue, which is important both from the point of view of international trade and from the point of view of solidarity and development. I hope to be able to reply to the questions asked by Mr Moreira and to address the misgivings and concerns which Mrs Balzani has mentioned. If I may, I will now continue in Hungarian. As regards the livelihood of banana producers in the EU and in ACP countries, the Council is aware that banana production is of fundamental social and economic importance to the banana-growing regions of the EU. The draft regulation stipulates that the Banana Accompanying Measures programme must be evaluated 18 months prior to the programme’s expiry. However, ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware, the preparation of this evaluation report and any further proposals falls within the competence of the Commission, and not the Council, but I am sure that Commissioner Cioloş will elaborate on this. The same applies to the impact assessments referred to in the question for oral answer. The implementation of the Banana Accompanying Measures covering the ACP countries requires an amendment of the regulations on the EU’s set of foreign relations instruments. In the interest of the beneficiary countries, the Council is counting on the constructive cooperation of the European Parliament in resolving the institutional issues that are currently delaying the adoption of the required provisions. As regards the distribution of resources allocated to the Banana Accompanying Measures between the beneficiary countries, the Council, in its position adopted in the first reading, expressed support for the draft regulation on the Banana Accompanying Measures, which lays down unambiguous indicators and criteria for distribution. These indicators are the following: the volume of banana trade with the EU, the importance of banana exports to the economy of the ACP country concerned, and the level of development of the country. Concerning the POSEI programme, the Commission submitted a draft regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on 24 September 2010, which lays down individual agricultural measures for the outermost regions of the EU. The proposal is currently being examined by the preparatory bodies of the Council. As regards the banana duties discussed under the free trade agreements to be concluded by the Commission with Columbia, Peru and Central America, I would like to stress that the Council has not yet formed an opinion on these agreements, and I therefore cannot relay its official position to you at this point. The EU began negotiations with the entire Andean Community with a view to creating an interregional association agreement. The talks were suspended in June 2008, because the Andean countries could not agree on the objectives and content of the chapter on trade. New negotiations began in January 2009 with the willing Andean countries, namely Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, in order to reach a multilateral free trade agreement. After Ecuador suspended its participation in July 2009, talks continued with Peru and Columbia. The European Commission closed its negotiations with Peru and Columbia on 1 March 2010. The multilateral agreement negotiated with these two countries is open for other members of the Andean Community, including Ecuador, to join. In the past months, Ecuador has also indicated officially that it is ready to resume negotiations and join the multilateral agreement. The Council welcomes this decision. If negotiations with Ecuador continue, the level of ambition of obligations in the field of market opening must reflect the level of ambition of the obligations negotiated with Columbia and Peru. In conclusion, I therefore ask the honourable Members to give their consent to the conclusion of the banana agreement, and also to vote tomorrow for the proposal to repeal the regulation establishing banana duties. I am counting on your cooperation and would like to thank you for your attention."@en1

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