Commission Question – Subject: Gender-selective abortion 1. Does the Commission condemn the practice of gender-selective abortion? 2. If so, what measures are in place to ensure that no EU money is spent on such abortions, or given to facilities which provide them?

Question to the Commission for written answer E-000253/2015

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Gender-selective abortion

  1. Does the Commission condemn the practice of gender-selective abortion?
  2. If so, what measures are in place to ensure that no EU money is spent on such abortions, or given to facilities which provide them?

 

 

 

Answer on behalf of the Commission given by Mr Mimica E-000253/2015

 

Gender-selective abortions constitute a serious violation of human rights, in particular of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Gender-selective abortion is an indication of social, cultural, political and economic injustice against women.

The EU is fully committed to eliminating the root causes of the preference for sons, which results in harmful and unethical practices such as female infanticide and prenatal sex selection. The EU has adopted a comprehensive approach focused on the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment and on contributing to the shifting of the social norms that allow such practices.

The EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment foresees strengthening EU support to partner countries in combating gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination against women and girls. Further, gender issues are mainstreamed into the EU’s development cooperation activities through education and health-related programmes and/or the support to civil society organisations, carried out in close cooperation with local authorities.

The EU does not fund private health facilities that carry out gender- selective abortions.

 

 

Commission Question – I have recently been contacted by a constituent who expressed grave concern about the continued detention of members of the Sikh community in India over matters which were political, and not criminal, in nature. What discussions has the EU had with the Indian Government on the continued detainment of Sikh political prisoners who have served their sentences, and what steps are being taken to ensure their release?

Question to the Commission for written answer P-001122/2015

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: VP/HR – Sikh political prisoners

I have recently been contacted by a constituent who expressed grave concern about the continued detention of members of the Sikh community in India over matters which were political, and not criminal, in nature. What discussions has the EU had with the Indian Government on the continued detainment of Sikh political prisoners who have served their sentences, and what steps are being taken to ensure their release?

Answer given by High Representative/Vice President Mogherini (25.3.2015) E-001122/2015

The EU is closely following the situation of religious minorities in India and holds regular contacts with their representatives, including the Sikh Community.

Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights we support access to justice. Recently, the EU has been funding two projects in India (including Punjab) aimed at strengthening national human rights institutions and achieving effective justice in order to empower human rights defenders and bring relief to prisoners in conflict states. The EU regularly holds a Human Rights Dialogue with India and the situation of religious minorities is also addressed in that context.

Commission Question – Subject: VAT mini one-stop shop (MOSS) rules The new VAT mini one-stop shop (MOSS) rules that came into force on 1 January 2015 may be well-intentioned in terms of ensuring that multinational companies pay their fair share of taxation. However, small businesses which trade throughout Europe will now find that their costs are dramatically higher. Some of my constituents in the North East of England (the area with the highest unemployment anywhere in the UK) advise me that this is so serious that they are likely to go out of business. One of the key problems is that businesses below the UK VAT threshold will now become subject to VAT, making them uncompetitive when trading in other Member States of the European Union. 1. Would the Commission please review these rules as a matter of extreme urgency? 2. Would the Commission consider a proposal to exempt businesses with an annual turnover of less than EUR 1 million from these rules?

Question to the Commission  for written answer E-000254/2015

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: VAT mini one-stop shop (MOSS) rules

The new VAT mini one-stop shop (MOSS) rules that came into force on 1 January 2015 may be well-intentioned in terms of ensuring that multinational companies pay their fair share of taxation. However, small businesses which trade throughout Europe will now find that their costs are dramatically higher. Some of my constituents in the North East of England (the area with the highest unemployment anywhere in the UK) advise me that this is so serious that they are likely to go out of business. One of the key problems is that businesses below the UK VAT threshold will now become subject to VAT, making them uncompetitive when trading in other Member States of the European Union.

  1. Would the Commission please review these rules as a matter of extreme urgency?
  2. Would the Commission consider a proposal to exempt businesses with an annual turnover of less than EUR 1 million from these rules?

 

Answer given by Mr Moscovici on behalf of the Commission (26.2.2015) E-000254/2015:

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answers to written questions E-10405/2014 and P-000460/2015.

 

 

Commission Question – Page 17 of the ‘EU Audit in Brief’ document for 2013 states that the Commission has fully or partially implemented 79 % of the Court of Auditors’ recommendations from 2012. This means that 21 % have not been implemented at all. Does the Commission consider this to be acceptable?

Question to the Commission for written answer E-009222/2014 by Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Court of Auditors recommendations

 

Page 17 of the ‘EU Audit in Brief’ document for 2013 states that the Commission has fully or partially implemented 79 % of the Court of Auditors’ recommendations from 2012. This means that 21 % have not been implemented at all.

Does the Commission consider this to be acceptable?

 

E-009222/2014 Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Vice-President Georgieva (9.12.2014)

 

The Commission would like to stress that the cited report of the Court of Auditors1 observe that “79% of recommendations were either fully or mostly implemented” and that this figure relates to eight special reports in the period 2007-2010.

For recommendations where the Commission shares the view of the Court of Auditors on both the concerns it raises and the remedial action it proposes, the Commission Services are instructed to undertake the implementation of the necessary measures without unjustified delay. Some recommendations are, however, inherently of a multiannual nature where the full implementation period and/or the time for the results to show may expand over a number of years. Also, some of them in the shared management spending areas are addressed fully and/or primarily to Member States.

The Court of Auditors’ practice of presenting recommendations with a multitude of sub-recommendations means that a recommendation may remain partially implemented in the statistics. To facilitate the follow-up process the Commission has recently introduced the practice of splitting combined recommendations in its monitoring system which is expected to bear a favourable impact on the follow-up statistics.

The Commission is currently undertaking a reflection on the follow-up actions through its Audit Progress Committee and with the planned involvement of the European Court of Auditors in order to further strengthen and streamline the process of implementing recommendation.

1  http://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/AB_2013/AB_2013_EN.pdf.

 

 

Commission Question – Under UK law, it is a fundamental principle that no Parliament may legally bind its successor. Consequently, all international treaties are signed only to the extent allowed by this principle. The UK could, as an alternative to invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, opt for the more direct approach of repealing the European Communities Act 1972. What would be the consequences of such a decision for the negotiation of a free trade deal between the United Kingdom and the EU?

Question to the Commission for written answer E-009220/2014   by Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Repeal of European Communities Act 1972

 

Under UK law, it is a fundamental principle that no Parliament may legally bind its successor. Consequently, all international treaties are signed only to the extent allowed by this principle. The UK could, as an alternative to invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, opt for the more direct approach of repealing the European Communities Act 1972.

What would be the consequences of such a decision for the negotiation of a free trade deal between the United Kingdom and the EU?

 

E-009220/2014 Answer given by President Junckeron behalf of the Commission (11.12.2014)

 

 

In line with the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which all Member States have ratified, a Member State can only withdraw from the European Union in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 50 TEU.

Commission Question – Could the Commission please confirm the number of current Jean Monnet professors and Chairs in North East England?

Question to the Commission for  written answer P-007979/2014

Could the Commission please confirm the number of current Jean Monnet professors and Chairs in North East England?

In the interests of transparency, could the Commission also please confirm their names and the academic institutions with which they are associated?

 

 

E-007979/2014
Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Mr Navracsics

No scholar in the universities of North East England is currently receiving financial support within the context of Jean Monnet activities.

In the interest of transparency and as Jean Monnet beneficiaries continue to hold their title of “Jean Monnet Professors/Chairs” even after their contractual commitments with the Commission has ended, the Honourable Member may want to note the following earlier involvement of North East England’s universities in Jean Monnet activities:

Newcastle University:  Prof Ian Ward (1992), Prof Ella Ritchie (1999, 2000) and Prof D. Barlow (1999);

Durham University: Prof. Holly Cullen (1992);

Northumbria Univeristy: Dr Sarah Mercer (1991).

Commission Question – I am receiving a significant number of complaints from members of the public concerning EU subsidies for bullfighting (i.e. CAP payments to farmers breeding for bullfighting)1. Constituents share my view that bullfighting is a barbaric practice. As a child I was taken to a bullfight as part of an organised school trip; I clearly recall the stench of blood and my horror at people taking such pleasure in the suffering of animals. British taxpayers’ money should not be subsidising bullfights. I refer the Commission to its answer to Written Question E-000605/2013, which states that ‘the majority of these potential beneficiaries do not focus exclusively on the activities relating to bullfighting’. This answer is open to interpretation – could the Commission please confirm the following: Do subsidies (whether focused exclusively on bullfighting or not) help to prop up bullfighting, particularly in Spain? Do any subsidies go to farms which do focus exclusively on activities relating to bullfighting? Finally, can the Commission please comment on the claim that such subsidies amount to EUR 129.6 million annually?

Question to the Commission for written answer E-007990/2014 by Jonathan Arnott 

Subject: Bullfighting subsidies

 

I am receiving a significant number of complaints from members of the public concerning EU subsidies for bullfighting (i.e. CAP payments to farmers breeding for bullfighting)1.

Constituents share my view that bullfighting is a barbaric practice. As a child I was taken to a bullfight as part of an organised school trip; I clearly recall the stench of blood and my horror at people taking such pleasure in the suffering of animals. British taxpayers’ money should not be subsidising bullfights.

I refer the Commission to its answer to Written Question E-000605/2013, which states that ‘the majority of these potential beneficiaries do not focus exclusively on the activities relating to bullfighting’.

This answer is open to interpretation – could the Commission please confirm the following:

Do subsidies (whether focused exclusively on bullfighting or not) help to prop up bullfighting, particularly in Spain?

Do any subsidies go to farms which do focus exclusively on activities relating to bullfighting?

Finally, can the Commission please comment on the claim that such subsidies amount to EUR 129.6 million annually?

 

E-007990/2014 Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Mr Hogan (2.12.2014)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to the answer to written question E-000994/2014 by Ms Marlene Mizzy.

Regarding the claim that agricultural direct support subsidies going to farms which do focus exclusively on activities relating to bullfighting could amount to EUR 129.6 million annually, this amount appears to have been calculated taking into account the hectares dedicated to fighting bull pastures in Spain and the EU average amount of direct payments/hectare.

However, this figure is not relevant since most direct payments are decoupled from production.

1  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/10059944/Britain-funding-Spanish-bullfighting-via-EU-subsidies.html

 

Commission Question: Could the Commission provide details of the composition of working groups which advise it on legislation?

Question to the Commission for written answer E-007757/2014:

Could the Commission provide details of the composition of working groups which advise it on legislation?

 

Answer given by Mr Barroso on behalf of the Commission:

The Register of Commission expert groups and other similar entities (http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm) provides for information on the composition of each entity published therein. Individual groups can be easily identified via both a quick and advanced search facility.

Commission Question – Can the Commission please explain why redundancy payments for former parliamentary staff are so generous compared with the private sector?

Question to the Commission for written answer :

Can the Commission please explain why redundancy payments for former parliamentary staff are so generous compared with the private sector1?

  • See ‘Unemployed MEP assistants line up for big benefits’, Euractiv, 8 July 2014.

 

Answer given by Mr Šefčovič on behalf of the Commission:

 

In 2009 the legislator decided1 that the accredited parliamentary assistants shall be employed by way of direct contracts with the European Parliament and shall be covered against the risk of unemployment by the Special Unemployment Fund set under the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the EU to which they contribute to during their period of employment. The legislator also took account of the particular circumstances of the accredited parliamentary assistants who are, as a general rule, expatriates and work in multilingual and multicultural environment, the particular tasks they are called on to perform and the specific duties and obligations they have to fulfil vis-à-vis the Members of the European Parliament.

As for the amount of the unemployment benefit it is calculated as a percentage decreasing from 60% to 30% of the last basic salary. The payment is subject to EU tax and it is capped after the 6th month. The period during which the allowance is payable may not exceed the equivalent of 1/3 of the actual length of the service completed. To be eligible the beneficiaries must be registered as seeking employment with the national unemployment authorities. Benefits received from a national scheme are deducted from the unemployment allowance.

 

1  Council Regulation (EC) No 160/2009 of 23 February 2009 amending the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Communities.

 

Commission Question – Can the Commission please explain what the consequences would be for the UK’s budget rebate from the EU in the event that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGAF) were mobilised in support of a project within the borders of the UK?

Question to the Council for written answer:

Can the Commission please explain what the consequences would be for the UK’s budget rebate from the EU in the event that the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGAF) were mobilised in support of a project within the borders of the UK?

 

Answer given by Mr Andor on behalf of the Commission (27.10.2014):

As a general rule, the UK correction returns to the UK two thirds of the difference between the amounts paid in from its national budget to the EU budget and the amounts that are allocated to UK beneficiaries from the EU budget during its execution. Payments to the UK from the EGF increase the latter and as such decrease the UK rebate.