BETA

11 Written explanations of Marcel KOLAJA

Foreign electoral interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes (B9-0108/2019, B9-0111/2019)

The Pirate Delegation considers foreign electoral interference a critical problem that is becoming increasingly dangerous to our democratic institutions as the basis for peace and prosperity. Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of the European Union. Particularly, media pluralism, civic education, critical thinking, protection of privacy and freedom of speech are key to defending ourselves against foreign interference. However, our core principles of freedom of speech and the freedom of the internet are being challenged by paragraph 28 of the resolution, which calls on the Commission to ‘close down accounts of persons engaging in illegal activities aimed at the disruption of democratic processes or at instigating hate speech’. Closing down accounts could lead to the distortion of elections by excessive censorship. Free access to information is an essential prerequisite in countering disinformation and foreign electoral interference. Illegal content should be removed and, where applicable, those responsible prosecuted. Closing down accounts, however, would introduce a new type of sanction that could exclude citizens from communication channels needed for work, education and/or personal life. Restricting access to accounts would hamper the right to anonymous and free speech. We cannot support a policing of social media as it would create a dangerous precedent to any following legislative proposals.
2019/10/10
The Turkish military operation in northeast Syria and its consequences (RC-B9-0123/2019, B9-0123/2019, B9-0125/2019, B9-0126/2019, B9-0127/2019, B9-0128/2019, B9-0129/2019, B9-0133/2019)

It is our common position that Turkey cannot remain a credible candidate for joining the European Union as long as the Turkish Government maintains its unilateral intervention in North East Syria, which constitutes a grave violation of international law. We, however, strongly condemn the parts of this amendment that state that Turkey is not a European country. A great number of Turkish citizens have shown their enthusiasm for joining the EU on the basis of peace, rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. We therefore abstained on this amendment.
2019/10/24
Measures to strengthen administrative cooperation in order to combat VAT fraud (A9-0047/2019 - Lídia Pereira)

The delegation of the European Pirates considers VAT fraud an important topic that needs to be addressed. In this regard, we are grateful that it is being worked on. However, we cannot support the way the issue is being handled. The whole concept of retaining huge amounts of data without any clear selection of what really is needed and what is stored unnecessarily is problematic. At this moment, just 25 cross—border payments quarterly, including offline payments with credit cards, are enough to store payees’ data – including credit card numbers – for up to five years. This would create huge amounts of data that would flow with little restriction through databases, seriously lowering privacy and incurring infrastructure costs for such databases. Mainly, this whole solution is completely unproportional to real VAT fraud threats. Yes, we need to use modern technologies to help fight tax fraud. However, in this case, we are using a needlessly massive tool that is well capable of causing much more harm than good.
2019/12/17
The illegal trade in companion animals in the EU (B9-0088/2020)

. – Animal welfare is a crucial issue for us and we do see the positive idea behind this resolution. We do welcome fair treatment of companion animals and we do not, under any circumstances, support any unfair or illegal trade of those animals.However, there should be a balance between the aim of protecting animals and the right of individuals to respect for privacy. It is not necessary and proportionate to register the personal data of everyone who ever played a part in the life of an animal in a centralised register, as envisaged by this resolution. Likewise, Pirates are opposed to mandatory identification of users of online platforms, including where advertising pets for sale online. It is not justified to discriminate against users of digital marketplaces in comparison to real-life trading.Taking into consideration the relevant language in this resolution, we decided to abstain.
2020/02/12
The EU priorities for the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (B9-0093/2020, B9-0095/2020)

. – We Pirates endorsed the Resolution on the Status of Women. We strive for gender equality and support many of the proposals in the resolution, such as the call to urgently conclude the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, to do more to close the gender pay and pension gap, to eliminate any gender biases in taxation systems or to include a gender perspective in the fight against climate change.However, we voted against point v on quotas. In our opinion, quotas do not constitute the right approach and may discriminate better qualified men and women. We believe skills and knowledge are the key aspects of qualification and they do not belong exclusively to one sex or the other. Every person should have equal access to positions according to their qualification without discrimination because of their gender, age, origin, religion etc.Instead of quotas, we stress the need to introduce other measures to enhance qualification-based representation in decision-making. To increase the participation of women therein and in the labour market in general, we advocate for gender pay transparency, investments in accessibility and affordability of childcare, suitable working environments and flexible working arrangements as some of the key preconditions.
2020/02/13
Framework of ethical aspects of artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies (A9-0186/2020 - Ibán García Del Blanco)

. ‒ The European Pirates advocate new technology and see a great potential in the application of artificial intelligence, robotics, and related technology, from which society as a whole should benefit. We, therefore, support the report in defining important safeguards for the development of these technologies and a future regulatory framework, including risk assessment, security features, transparency and liability. However, it is also our job to define ethical limits for the use of new technologies. We cannot support the acceptance of remote biometric surveillance technologies used by public authorities in public spaces in this report. No safeguards can make indiscriminate mass surveillance and the chilling effect that comes with it acceptable. The report fails to clearly reject these policies and therefore we cannot support it.
2020/10/20
Civil liability regime for artificial intelligence (A9-0178/2020 - Axel Voss)

. ‒ The European Pirates support a future-oriented civil liability legal framework that provides confidence in the safety, reliability and consistency of AI products and services. The report provides positive points on attempting to clarify the definition of AI, calling for the inclusion of both material and immaterial harm in the scope of future legislation and introducing a high-level compensation system for victims of a high-risk AI system, without having to prove the fault (strict liability).However, the future framework has to strike a balance between efficiently and fairly protecting potential victims of harm or damage and, at the same time provide enough levy for all types of development of new technologies. Legal certainty has to be provided also for innovation in free and open source technologies that are not commercialised, but that are often used as a basis for transformed products and services commercialised at a later stage.Therefore, we insist on enabling all affected persons to bring forward liability claims throughout the commercial chain of producers. Thus, we oppose any vague definition of backend operators that doesn’t exclude non-commercial backend operators, and compensation provisions without limitation to the commercial chain.
2020/10/20
Intellectual property rights for the development of artificial intelligence technologies (A9-0176/2020 - Stéphane Séjourné)

In order to unlock the potential of AI technologies, it is necessary to remove unnecessary legal barriers on IPR so as not to hamper innovation in the Union. Therefore, the European Pirates support the call for an impact assessment with regard to the protection of IPRs in the context of the development of AI technologies. However, the objective should not be to add new layers of IP rights and should not call for additional protection, so that AI ‘made in Europe’ can really happen, as called for by the Commission. Furthermore, IPR protection should not be granted for AI to the detriment of open innovation and knowledge sharing. Therefore, we can’t support the report that over-emphasises the role of patent protection as the primary way to incentivise AI inventions and to promote their dissemination, as well as the key role of standard essential patents. Aggressive patent litigation by patent trolls is increasing and constitutes a threat especially for European SMEs. Finally, calling for mandatory IPR protection for creations generated by AI is not just out of the scope of the report but also disrespects the current rules of IPR.
2020/10/20
Addressing product safety in the single market (A9-0207/2020 - Marion Walsmann)

. ‒ The European Pirates agree that it is necessary to ensure that consumers are not exposed to unsafe products in market places, especially medical protective equipment. However, this cannot be achieved merely by increasing the responsibility of private companies and by obliging them to use automated technologies to tackle misleading practices and disinformation. Such technologies are inefficient as they make errors, leaving misleading practices online, while sometimes removing completely legitimate products. They fail to tackle disinformation or any other context-dependent speech even more often, as demonstrated by repeated mistakes made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020/11/25
Reducing inequalities with a special focus on in-work poverty (A9-0006/2021 - Özlem Demirel)

. ‒ Tackling in-work poverty is a critical issue and we support the majority of this report’s proposals. The reason why we abstained is the stance the report takes on sex work, labelling it a serious form of violence and exploitation. This perspective completely disregards situations in which prostitution is legal. Pirates are in favour of decriminalising and regulating sex work, with clear rules that protect the sex workers’ rights. We underline that they should always have the right and means to leave sex work and should be supported to have a real choice.On the other hand, we wish to highlight some of the important measures advocated by the report, such as strengthening investments in digital technology in rural areas. We need more available coverage, but also quality and efficiency that can sustain new modes of work and service delivery for remote regions. This can go a long way in reducing inequalities and increasing employment, as well as investments in lifelong learning and developing the digital skills necessary for the job market.
2021/02/09
Challenges ahead for women’s rights: more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (B9-0114/2021)

This resolution highlighted many areas in which we need to make progress in order to achieve gender equality, such as pay transparency, stepping up the fight against gender-based violence, the role of education and zero tolerance for discrimination, access to safe and legal abortion, etc.However, it included two problematic points, which led to our abstention on the final vote. First, we do not support the introduction of binding quotas in elected bodies. We of course stand behind the representation of women, but quotas are not the right way to achieve it. On the contrary, they limit the free choice of voters, conflict with constitutional law, and could result in a discrimination vis-a-vis other groups, creating a system with no choice and not based on capabilities.Secondly, the resolution is calling for any actions to be used to eradicate hate speech and online harassment. As much as we might fight against these phenomena, we consider the use of ‘any’ means to be disproportionate and with the risk of opening the door to solutions we strongly oppose, such as error-prone automatic filters.
2021/02/11