Interventie in comisia PETI
Intervenţia a avut loc cu ocazia dezbaterii raportului Hammerstein privind activităţile Comisiei de petiţii a PE pe anul 2007, aprobat marţi de plenul Parlamentului European, dosar în care raportorul socialiştilor europeni este Victor Boştinaru.
Victor Boştinaru, on behalf of the PSE Group. – Mr President, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on the excellent work he has done and for his concrete proposals. The text we have today reflects the need for his report to be more than a simple enumeration of the main activities carried out by the Committee on Petitions on 2007.
I am glad to see that the points we insisted on are in the report. Petitions are about bringing to light the wrong or non application of Community legislation. Petitions are about guaranteeing the rights that the European Union confers on its citizens. However, I cannot avoid sharing with you the feeling that this unique institutional instrument is not always effective, or at least not as much as it could be or it should be. As rapporteur, Mr Hammerstein has rightly underlined some shortcomings and deficiencies which exist, and these must be addressed.
Firstly, it is hardly disputable that the number of petitions coming before the committee is constantly increasing. Petitioners sometimes face substantial delays before receiving a response or seeing the effects of proceedings. The instruments for exerting pressure on Member States are not always satisfactory. I am wondering what we can do to be more efficient. How can we ensure both effectiveness and a prompt response? We need better rules and more stringent time frames. We need to enhance the committee’s own independent investigatory facilities, and for this we need more resources and legal expertise for its secretariat. The number of petitioners is increasing steadily. This is the voice of the European people and we cannot afford to ignore it.
Secondly, the institutionalised channels of communication with national authorities are insufficient. The number of inadmissible petitions is significant. We need to establish additional coordination structures with the relevant authorities at a national parliamentary and government level.
I again congratulate the rapporteur on his work, and thank him and the colleagues from the other groups for their valuable cooperation. Petitions are about citizens fighting for their rights, their European rights. We must be here, ready to defend them. That is the committee’s institutional role and duty. That is what we owe our fellow European citizens, and I am sure you will agree that there could be no better time to show our commitment to meeting their expectations.
Commissioner, this Committee is not just about visibility and making itself more effective in the eyes of the European media. I wish to refer here – even if this is not about the 2007 report – to the very successful way in which the Committee on Petitions and the European Commissioner, László Kovács, have been working together to defend the rights of European citizens in my country of origin, Romania, and I wish to thank him.
Victor Boştinaru (PSE) – Madam President, today’s vote was an important moment for citizens fighting for their rights, their European rights. National governments at times abandon their citizens and reject their legitimate claims. Through petitions European citizens can raise their voice, can hold their government accountable. Ultimately they can have the justice they deserve. But this is not an important moment only for the European people: it is a crucial time for the European Parliament too.
Today the European Parliament, by voting in favour of the Hammerstein report, shows its commitment to defend and protect European citizens. Today the European Parliament has the opportunity to regain at least part of the confidence and trust that some in Europe have lost. Many of our fellow citizens have worked hard to be in the EU, but membership is not only about duties – it is also about rights. We are here today to show our commitment to the Europe which our citizens expect from us.