Updated statement on SSI Redcar

“The SSI plant in Redcar has been an integral part of the local community for many, many years.  Not only will these 1,700 jobs now be lost with all the uncertainty that redundancy creates, there will be a secondary impact on many other local companies associated with the steel industry.

Redcar already has a high level of unemployment, so the impact upon the local community cannot be overestimated.  I am deeply disappointed that our government did not fight harder to keep SSI open – and in the part played by EU state aid rules and British energy policy.  Whilst I welcome the £80 million government package to help redundant workers, could that money not have been better spent to keep the plant open in the first place?
The tragic part is that the plant could have been profitable in the long term; raw materials will not always be so expensive, the pound will not always be so strong and Chinese dumping is not permanent so steel prices will rise.  My thoughts turn now to the future; is it still possible that it be mothballed in such a way that the door is left ajar for re-opening this plant – probably under new ownership – when economic conditions change?”

Commission Questions – Kosovo’s failure to amend its Constitution

Question for written answer E-011528/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Kosovo’s failure to amend its Constitution

Kosovo recently failed to achieve a two-thirds majority in its Parliament to amend its Constitution with a view to allowing the creation of a special court to handle war crimes.

In light of the human rights conditionalities associated with EU membership, what impact does the above decision have on Kosovo’s accession negotiations with the European Union?

EN

E-011528/2015

Answer given by Mr Hahn

on behalf of the Commission

(29.9.2015)

On 3 August, after the Honourable Member had tabled his question, the Kosovo1Assembly adopted the relevant constitutional amendments and the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, allowing for the establishment of the Specialist Chambers.

1  “This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence”

Commission Question – Minting euro coins

Question for written answer E-010267/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Minting euro coins

There has been a recent row between France and Belgium over the minting of 2.5-euro coins marking Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. Could the Commission please clarify the powers of Member States to mint euro coinage of both standard and non-standard denominations?

EN

E-010267/2015

Answer given by Mr Moscovici

on behalf of the Commission

(28.9.2015)

Member States of the euro-area are responsible for the issuance of euro coins. These coins are legal tender in all euro-area Member States. As the coins circulate throughout the entire euro-area, the Member States consult each other of new national designs of euro coins to avoid that a design is likely to create adverse reactions amongst citizens in other euro-area Member States. The power to approve the new designs is conferred on the Council.

Euro-area Members States can also issue euro collector coins. The face value and image of collector coins are different from those used for euro circulation coins and their colour, diameter and weight differ from circulation coins for at least two of these characteristics. Euro collector coins are not intended for circulation and they are legal tender only on the territory of the issuing country. Therefore, the designs of euro collector coins are approved at national level.

Commission Question – Funding of agricultural projects in Georgia

Question for written answer E-008853/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD) and Julia Reid (EFDD)

Subject: Funding of agricultural projects in Georgia

EUR 4 612 447 has been given to a project in Georgia to strengthen farmers’ cooperatives in rural municipalities. Is there any concrete benefit to the Member States?

EN

E-008853/2015

Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini

on behalf of the Commission

(24.9.2015)

Under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Rural Development in Georgia (ENPARD), with a total budget of EUR 40,000,000, the EU is funding not a one stand-alone project but a set of measures aiming to strengthen business oriented small farmers’ cooperatives. The amount of the EU funding to these grants schemes is EUR 15,000,000. Also as part of ENPARD, the EU is providing direct technical assistance and budget support to the Government on agri-coops development. Thanks to these efforts, 1,040 agriculture cooperatives have been established. The main objective of this support is to improve the living conditions of the small farmers in Georgia. There are several positive effects for the EU Member States too:

(1)  By supporting coops, the EU is aiming at alleviating rural poverty, which ultimately should enhance social cohesion and stability in Georgia, and also reduce the migration rate from rural areas. A more prosperous and more stable Georgia is in EU’s and its Member States interest.

(2)  Investors from the EU Member States, such as European exporting companies and retailers operating in Georgia are already benefiting from economy of scale production by the smaller farmers.

Commission Question – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Question for written answer E-008840/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

In light of recent human rights abuses in Russia, and the questions raised over the Russian bid, does the Commission intend to apply any diplomatic pressure regarding the host nation of the FIFA World Cup 2018?

EN

E-008840/2015

Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini

on behalf of the Commission

(24.9.2015)

The High Representative/Vice-President would like to refer the Honourable Member to the answer she provided to a similar question E-008912/20141.

The decision to award the organization of the 2018 World Cup to Russia belongs to the executive committee of the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).

1  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=E-2014-008912&language=EN

Commission Question – Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)

Question for written answer E-008844/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)

The funding allocation for the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) for 2014-2010 is EUR 15.4 billion. Does the Commission accept that, at a time of austerity, this figure is far too high, and that taxpayers’ money should instead have greater focus on the Member States?

EN

E-008844/2015

Answer given by Mr Hahn

on behalf of the Commission

(24.9.2015)

 

The Commission does not agree with the honourable Member because it believes that the funding earmarked under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) from 2014 to 2020 is in the mutual interest of the Member States and the partner countries.

The Commission would like to point out to the Honourable Member that the Council and the European Parliament adopted on 11 March 2014 the ENI regulation (EU No 232/2014) which sets out the indicative ENI budget for the period 2014-2020.

Commission Question – Funding of agricultural projects in Azerbaijan

Question for written answer E-008854/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD) and Julia Reid (EFDD)

Subject: Funding of agricultural projects in Azerbaijan

Why is the EU funding agricultural projects in central Azerbaijan that develop an enabling environment for strawberry and vegetable value chains?

EN

E-008854/2015

Answer given by Mr Hahn

on behalf of the Commission

(22.9.2015)

The project referred to by the Honourable Members has set out to help develop commercially viable value-chains in the vegetable and strawberry sectors to increase the household income of vulnerable women and men who hold small-scale farms in five rural districts of central Azerbaijan. The project was awarded the grant following a call for proposals for civil society organisations, in view of supporting more than 20,000 very low income persons from 25 rural regions to improve their quality of life and thus contributing to the country’s sustainable development.

Regional and rural development is one of the three priority areas for EU assistance to Azerbaijan over 2014-2017. The aim is to support Government’s efforts to diversify the economy and promote balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth, while reducing disparities between urban and rural areas.

While Azerbaijan is classified by the OECD-DAC as an upper-middle income country following strong growth fuelled mainly by oil and gas revenues, the country faces many challenges in view of diversifying its economy and addressing socio-economic disparities. Agriculture provides income for 37% of the employed population but accounts for only 5.3% of GDP1. The sector is viewed as key for the development of the rural regions, including central Azerbaijan.

1  2014 data.

Commission Question – Foreign dignitaries banned from EU

Question for written answer E-009120/2015

to the Council

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Foreign dignitaries banned from EU

Does the Council possess a list of non-EU politicians and dignitaries banned from entering EU Member States either under EU law or the law of the Member States? If so, can it provide details?

EN

E-009120/2015

Reply

(16.9.2015)

The lists of individuals to whom travel restrictions apply are set out in the appropriate annexes of the legal acts imposing EU CFSP restrictive measures. The restrictive measures in force can be accessed at http://eeas.europa.eu/cfsp/sanctions/docs/measures_en.pdf.

The Council does not possess any information on Member States’ legislation.

Commission Question – BBC funding and impartiality

Question for written answer E-008852/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD) and Julia Reid (EFDD)

Subject: BBC funding and impartiality

The BBC has received EUR 4 975 000 for media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region. What are the specific aims of this project?

Is there any requirement for the European Union or its values to be promoted as part of this project, and, if so, how does this fit in with the BBC’s charter requirement to impartiality?

EN

E-008852/2015

Answer given by Mr Hahn

on behalf of the Commission

(21.9.2015)

In January 2014, the European Commission launched the MedMedia project with a value of EUR 4 975 000. The service contract was awarded to a consortium led by BBC Media Action including as partners the International Federation of Journalists, IREX Europe, Blanquerna Communications School, the Federation of Arab Journalists and the Jordan Media Institute. The tendering procedure was an open procedure. Candidates were free to form the consortia which seemed the most appropriate and to apply with a project proposal in line with the Terms of Reference, proposing the methodology most appropriate considering their skills, competences and resources in order to reach the set objectives.

The overall aim of the project is to reinforce the role of media as vector for democratisation and contribute to the development of a more public service oriented media landscape in the southern Mediterranean as well as contribute to the creation and development of public sphere in the region.

The specific objectives are:

·     To accompany the process of restructuring the media sector in the ENP South countries and to develop the capacities in the media sector based on a bottom up approach so that they could fulfil their role as independent and professional watchdogs.

·     To improve level of contacts between media practitioners from the region facilitating their work at local and regional level.

·     To make available the overview of the media sector to relevant decision makers and media practitioners.

The consortium has to respect the visibility guidelines of the European Commission when implementing this project. These visibility guidelines ensure that the EU can be identified as the donor.