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Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I, first of all, thank the European Parliament for organising this conference.
Could I also commend the efforts of all the MEPs who have worked on this matter:
Christel SCHALDEMOSE and Jürgen CREUTZMANN, authors of reports on this subject
which have attracted a great deal of attention, and also – to mention just a few – Heide
RÜHLE, Damien ABAD, Cornelis DE JONG and Ashley FOX.
The resolution of 15 November 2011 demonstrated that, broadly speaking, Parliament
shares the Commission's view. Parliament calls in the resolution for specific measures at
European level, whilst respecting the principle of subsidiarity.
The public consultation was a great success; we can be pleased that the debate was
calm and dispassionate, and that today's discussion is focusing on analysing the facts
and the issues rather than on emotional reactions.
We have had the consultation and the ensuing discussion. Now is the time for action.
I promised to do just that when I spoke at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
What can we, what must we do at European level? Help the Member States to effectively
regulate online gaming, in line with their own national traditions but also in compliance
with the Treaty.
Why? To effectively protect consumers and all citizens, whilst responding to the
legitimate expectations of online betting and gambling operators. It should be
remembered that the latter are responding to a demand for these new services.
Is there European added value in protecting our citizens, whilst respecting the principle
of subsidiarity? Yes, because no Member State can deal alone with all the risks
associated with this activity.
However, this added value can take different forms:
• more effectively clamping down on the many illegal websites, often hosted in
• developing – where this is allowed – a legal alternative which is attractive enough
to permanently undermine any clandestine and therefore unregulated offers;
• it can – and must – also take the form of support measures to prevent any
undesirable drift that could stem from an uncontrolled development of online
betting and gambling.
We need to tackle these challenges together. This is why I will be proposing to the
Commission in the autumn that we adopt a plan of action to effectively regulate and
supervise online betting and gambling.
This plan should offer detailed responses to challenges identified ( I ) and a methodology
for action ( II ).