Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Conclusion of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol ***
 EU-Iceland agreement on Iceland participation in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ***
 Accession of Croatia to the Convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters *
 Accession of Croatia to the Convention on the fight against corruption involving EC officials or officials of Member States *
 State of EU-Russia relations
 OLAF Supervisory Committee's annual report 2014
 Situation in Hungary
 2014 Progress Report on Turkey

Conclusion of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 June 2015 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder (10400/2014 – C8-0029/2015 – 2013/0376(NLE))
P8_TA(2015)0221A8-0167/2015

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10400/2014),

–  having regard to the Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol adopted at the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, held in Doha, Qatar in December 2012 (Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol),

—  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 192(1) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0029/2015),

—  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy,

—  having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2), and Rule 108(7) of its Rule of Procedures,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0167/2015),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and to the United Nations.


EU-Iceland agreement on Iceland participation in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 June 2015 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Iceland, of the other part, concerning Iceland's participation in the joint fulfilment of commitments of the European Union, its Member States and Iceland for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (10883/2014 – C8-0088/2015 – 2014/0151(NLE))
P8_TA(2015)0222A8-0166/2015

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10883/2014),

–  having regard to the Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Iceland, of the other part, concerning Iceland's participation in the joint fulfilment of commitments of the European Union, its Member States and Iceland for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (10941/2014),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 192(1) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0088/2015),

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2), and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0166/2015),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Republic of Iceland.


Accession of Croatia to the Convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 June 2015 on the recommendation for a Council decision on the accession of Croatia to the Convention of 29 May 2000, established by the Council in accordance with Article 34 of the Treaty on European Union, on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union and its Protocol of 16 October 2001 (COM(2014)0685 – C8-0275/2014 – 2014/0321(NLE))
P8_TA(2015)0223A8-0156/2015

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation to the Council (COM(2014)0685),

–  having regard to Article 3(4) and (5) of the Act of Accession of Croatia, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0275/2014),

–  having regard to Rule 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0156/2015),

1.  Approves the Commission recommendation;

2.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

3.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to substantially amend the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and to the Commission.


Accession of Croatia to the Convention on the fight against corruption involving EC officials or officials of Member States *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 10 June 2015 on the recommendation for a Council decision concerning the accession of Croatia to the Convention of 26 May 1997, drawn up on the basis of Article K.3(2)(c) of the Treaty on European Union, on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union (COM(2014)0661 – C8-0274/2014 – 2014/0322(NLE))
P8_TA(2015)0224A8-0157/2015

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation to the Council (COM(2014)0661),

–  having regard to Article 3(4) and (5) of the Act of Accession of Croatia, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8-0274/2014),

–  having regard to Rule 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0157/2015),

1.  Approves the Commission recommendation;

2.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

3.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to substantially amend the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and to the Commission.


State of EU-Russia relations
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European Parliament resolution of 10 June 2015 on the state of EU-Russia relations (2015/2001(INI))
P8_TA(2015)0225A8-0162/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 13 December 2012 containing the European Parliament’s recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service on the negotiations of the new EU-Russia Agreement(1), of 12 September 2013 on the pressure exerted by Russia on Eastern Partnership countries (in the context of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius)(2), of 6 February 2014 on the EU-Russia summit(3), of 18 September 2014 on the situation in Ukraine and the state of play of EU-Russia relations(4) and of 12 March 2015 on the murder of the Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the state of democracy in Russia(5),

–  having regard to the conclusions and statements of the European Council, of the Foreign Affairs Council and of the G7 leaders over the past 18 months on the situation in Ukraine and on relations with Russia,

–  having regard to the agreements reached in Minsk on 5 and 19 September 2014 and on 12 February 2015(6),

–  having regard to the Wales NATO Summit Declaration of 5 September 2014,

–  having regard to the resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 27 March 2014(7) and by the United Nations Security Council on 17 February 2015(8),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0162/2015),

A.  whereas the EU has for many years striven to build a mutually beneficial strategic partnership with Russia based on shared values and principles, such as democracy and rule of law, and on common interests; whereas the EU remains open to such a relationship and to dialogue leading to it, and wishes to return to a cooperative relation with Russia, should the Russian authorities meet their international and legal obligations;

B.  whereas, in reaction to and despite Russia’s violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity in 2008, the ongoing occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and the non-fulfilment by Russia of all its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, the EU opted for an increased cooperation model as a way to continue the engagement with Russia, for their mutual benefit; whereas, rather than taking restrictive measures, a series of initiatives for deeper cooperation – such as the common spaces, the Partnership for Modernisation, the negotiations on a New EU-Russia Agreement, and the Human Rights dialogue – have been launched or deepened;

C.  whereas Russia has – by illegally annexing Crimea, an action which was strongly condemned by the EU and which will not be recognised, and waging an armed conflict against Ukraine, with the direct and indirect participation of military and security services, and by deliberately destabilising this neighbouring sovereign and independent country – profoundly damaged its relationship with the EU by jeopardising the basic principles of Europe’s security by not respecting borders and by breaking its international commitments, notably the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Budapest Memorandum, the 1990 Paris Charter for a New Europe and the bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership; whereas the humanitarian situation in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine has considerably deteriorated, with a death toll of several thousand;

D.  whereas Russia is directly or indirectly, involved in a number of 'frozen conflicts' in its neighbourhood – in Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhasia and Nagorno Karabakh – that constitute serious impediments to the development and stability of the neighbouring countries concerned and to their rapprochement with the European Union;

E.  whereas the Russian Federation has blacklisted 89 EU politicians – among them current and former Members of the European Parliament – and officials and is denying them access to Russia;

F.  whereas Russia – against the spirit of good neighbourly relations and in breach of international law, rules and standards – has, on the basis of a doctrine under which it considers itself to have the right to protect Russian compatriots abroad, taken deliberate actions aimed at destabilising its neighbours through illegal trade embargos or the conclusion of integration treaties with separatist and breakaway regions;

G.  whereas, in reaction to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the hybrid war launched against Ukraine by Russia, the EU has adopted a stage-by-stage series of restrictive measures; whereas similar sanctions have been adopted by a number of other countries in reaction to Russia’s aggression;

H.  whereas a constructive relationship between the EU and Russia must be sought in the long run, in the interest of both parties and with a view to facing common global challenges, such as climate change, new technological developments and the fight against terrorism, extremism and organised crime; whereas EU-Russia cooperation has positive outcomes in some fields such as the Northern dimension and cross-border cooperation; whereas Russia has been constructive in the recent Iran negotiations;

I.  whereas these restrictive targeted measures are not directed against the Russian people but against certain individuals and enterprises connected to the Russian leadership, who are taking direct advantage of the current stand-off with Ukraine, in the economic and defence sectors, and aim at stimulating a change in the policies of the Russian government towards, and actions in, the common neighbourhood; whereas the sanctions related to the destabilisation in Eastern Ukraine should be lifted once Russia has fully implemented the provisions of the Minsk Agreements; whereas these sanctions should be strengthened should Russia choose to continue directly or indirectly to destabilise Ukraine and to harm its territorial integrity; whereas the sanctions related to the illegal annexation of Crimea will remain until the peninsula is returned to Ukraine;

J.  whereas the Russian Federation, as a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has committed itself to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights; whereas the EU has firmly supported Russia’s accession to, and participation in, different international organisations and fora, such as the G8, the G20 and the WTO; whereas inclusion of Russia in these bodies has created tensions owing to Russia's repeated violation of rules, e.g. its non-compliance with WTO standards and obligations (by introducing a number of discriminatory measures against individual EU Member States and other countries in its neighbourhood), and its failure to implement more than a thousand judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and to guarantee basic human rights; whereas the EU-Russia Human Rights consultations have not been conclusive or brought concrete results;

K.  whereas the rule of law, as one of the fundamental principles of the EU, implies not only respect for democracy and human rights, but also compliance with international law, the assurance that the law is fairly enforced and applied, as well as the independence and impartiality of the judiciary; whereas these conditions are not met in Russia, where the authorities fail to uphold the rule of law and to respect fundamental rights, and where political rights, civil liberties and media freedom have deteriorated in recent years; whereas legislation has recently been passed with ambiguous provisions that are used to place further restrictions on opposition and civil-society actors; whereas the recent adoption of the law criminalising so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’ has led to an increase in homophobic and anti-LGBTI violence and hate speech, which the authorities have failed to address; whereas, following the illegal annexation of Crimea, respect for human rights, including freedom of expression, assembly and association, has suffered a serious deterioration in the peninsula, the Crimean Tartar community being particularly affected;

L.  whereas Alexey Navalny, a prominent opposition leader, has been charged and condemned on the basis of forged evidence, and is subject to continued intimidation and harassment, including through the imprisonment of his brother; whereas the Progress Party he chairs is being prevented from participating in the next parliamentary elections; whereas Nadia Savchenko, a Member of the Ukrainian Rada, is being illegally detained in Russia, in breach of international law;

M.  whereas the Corruption Perceptions Index ranks the Russian Federation at 136 out of 175 making Russia a serious concern with regard to international corruption and money laundering, which is a threat to European economies and their integrity;

N.  whereas Russia actively uses hybrid warfare, deliberately blurring the lines between military/paramilitary activity and political activism;

O.  whereas the World Media Freedom Index 2014 ranks the Russian Federation at 148 out of 180; whereas the financing of state-controlled media outlets has been significantly widened and increased; whereas the initiatives and activities of human rights defenders, independent civil society organisations, political opponents, independent media and ordinary citizens are often restricted or hindered; whereas the space for expression of independent and pluralistic opinions has narrowed and is continuously under threat; whereas the European Endowment for Democracy is targeting the issue of plurality of the Russian media, and whereas, together with its partners, it is invited to develop new media initiatives;

P.  whereas the irresponsible actions of Russian jet fighters near the airspace of EU and NATO Member States are jeopardising the safety of civilian flights and could be a threat to European airspace security; whereas provocative large-scale military manoeuvres have been conducted by Russia in the immediate vicinity of the EU, while threats of Russian military and even nuclear attacks have been made public; whereas Russia has suspended its participation in negotiations on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, and violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty;

Q.  whereas energy, which plays a central and strategic role in EU-Russia relations, is a key instrument of Russian foreign policy; whereas the EU's resilience to external pressures can be achieved through diversification of energy supply and a decrease in dependence on Russia; whereas the EU must speak with one voice and show strong internal solidarity when it comes to its energy security;

R.  whereas the Russian Federation has actively promoted the Eurasian Economic Union; whereas this project of economic integration should not be seen as competing with the European Union;

1.  Reiterates that Russia's direct and indirect involvement in the armed conflict in Ukraine and its illegal annexation of Crimea, together with its violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia, and economic coercion and political destabilisation of its European neighbours constitute a deliberate violation of democratic principles and fundamental values and of international law; in this context, the EU cannot envisage a return to 'business as usual' and has no choice but to conduct a critical re-assessment of its relations with Russia, which includes the drafting, as promptly as possible, of a soft-power contingency plan to counter the aggressive and divisive policies conducted by Russia, and a comprehensive plan on its future relations with that country and with its Eastern European partners; underlines that the resolution of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine can only be political in nature;

2.  Stresses that at this point Russia, because of its actions in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine, can no longer be treated as, or considered, a ‘strategic partner’; points out that strategic partnerships must be based on mutual trust and respect for international law, which is based on democracy, state sovereignty and the freedom to choose internal constitutional order and foreign policy orientations, territorial integrity of the State, and respect for the rule of law, human rights, and the principles of international diplomacy and trade;

3.  Is deeply concerned by the fact that Russia now openly positions itself and acts as a challenger of the international democratic community and its law-based order, not least by seeking to redraw by force borders within Europe; is alarmed by the growing atmosphere of hatred directed against opposition activists, human rights defenders, minorities and neighbouring nations, and the deterioration in the situation of human rights and rule of law in Russia; condemns the intimidation of critical voices through violence, trials, imprisonments and other measures used by the state;

4.  Condemns the arbitrary measure of banning EU politicians and officials from access to Russian territory, and stresses that the Russian leadership is repeatedly trespassing against international law and is violating universal standards and impeding transparency; considers this act to be counterproductive and detrimental to the already weak channels of communication between the European Union and Russia; stresses that the targeted EU politicians and officials should be informed of the motives for their being denied access to Russian territory and should have the right to appeal such a decision before an independent court;

5.  Is of the opinion that, in the long run, a constructive and predictable relationship between the EU and Russia is possible and desirable for their mutual benefit, especially in view of the existing political, trade, transport and energy relations, people-to-people contacts including through Erasmus+ and the Common Steps(9), cross-border cooperation, climate change, environment, and sectorial cooperation, bearing in mind that reciprocal sanctions are harmful to both economies, that common challenges and interests on the world scene must be addressed, and that the divisive nature of the perception of security in Europe can be overcome by increased dialogue; welcomes, in that regard, the positive outcome of EU-Russia cooperation in various areas such as the fight against terrorism, extremism and organised crime, the Northern dimension partnership, the nuclear talks with Iran, and in the Middle East Peace Process; calls on Russia to participate constructively in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria;

6.  Underlines that EU-Russia relations must henceforth be based on respect for international law and a dialogue, whereby the EU would be ready to re-engage and relaunch cooperation with the authorities in Moscow in a number of specific fields of common interest; underlines that a resumption of cooperation would be envisaged on the condition that Russia respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, including Crimea, fully implements the Minsk Agreements (which include full control of the border by the Ukrainian authorities, the unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops and weapons, and an immediate halt to the provision of assistance to rebel groups), and stops destabilising military and security activities at the EU Member States' borders; stresses that the OSCE has shown itself to be a structure capable of making a contribution to crisis resolution; stresses that such potentially renewed cooperation must not be conducted at the expense of international principles, European values, standards and international commitments; stresses that the EU must clearly define both its expectations of Russia, especially as regards respecting international law and contractual commitments and acting as a predictable partner, and the measures it will take after 31 December 2015, should Russia fail to honour its commitments (or before that date if there are serious developments on the ground), and the resumption of cooperation it would be ready to offer in the event of compliance; stresses that such cooperation should adhere fully to international human rights standards;

7.  Commends the solidarity and unity demonstrated by the Member States in the context of Russia´s illegal annexation of Crimea and direct involvement in the war in Ukraine, allowing the adoption and further extension of responsive measures, and their linkage to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements; calls on the Member States to regard as an absolute priority the preservation of this unity and to abstain from bilateral relations and agreements which could harm this unity or be interpreted as such; reiterates that unity of action and solidarity amongst the Member States and with candidate countries is essential for ensuring the credibility, legitimacy and effectiveness of the EU´s policies and its ability to withstand external challenges and pressures, while at the same time fostering a more profound and cooperative relation with the Eastern Partnership countries;

8.  Underlines, in this regard, that the deepening of EU integration and coherence between its internal and external policies is the key to a more coherent, effective and successful EU external and security policy, including vis-à-vis Russia; calls, therefore, on the Member States to carry on with, and intensify their efforts towards, the effective elimination of decision-making bottlenecks and, also with candidate countries, the consolidation of common policies, in particular in the areas of trade, financial services and transactions, migration, energy, external borders management, information and cyber security;

9.  Reiterates its call on the EU and its Member States to make full use of the provisions and instruments of the Lisbon Treaty, with a view to reinforcing the forward-looking and strategic nature of the European common foreign and security policy; is furthermore of the firm conviction that the central role of human rights in every aspect of the external action of the EU is a prerequisite for ensuring its respected and credible role as a global actor;

10.  Reiterates its conviction that energy policy is a significant element of EU external policy; firmly supports, therefore, the swift creation of a robust European Energy Union, specifically the interconnection of national energy networks in order to reduce considerably the dependence of individual Member States on external energy suppliers, particularly Russia; is of the firm conviction that the challenges to, and vulnerability of, European solidarity, and the exposure of individual Member States and candidate countries, to the use of energy as a political and diplomatic bargaining chip can only be combated effectively through the full application of EU energy legislation, and in particular the implementation of the Third Energy package and the completion of a free, transparent, integrated, synchronised, energy-efficient – with an adequate proportion of renewables – and resilient European internal energy market with diversified supply, and to which competition legislation must apply unequivocally; calls on the EU to provide adequate support to the Contracting Parties of the Energy Community that have committed to the implementation of the EU energy acquis, with a view to enhancing their negotiating positions vis-à-vis external energy suppliers;

11.  Stresses the necessity and relevance of the suspension of cooperation with Russia in the defence sector in view of its aggressive attitude, and calls on the Member States and candidate countries to refrain from taking any decisions that could jeopardise this united position; is therefore of the view that, notwithstanding their bilateral nature, agreements in the field of defence cooperation with Russia should be assessed carefully at EU level, with a view to defining an appropriate and consistent approach; notes the importance of the cooperation between the EU and NATO in that regard;

12.  Is deeply concerned by the ever-growing restrictions on media and internet freedom, the tightening of online media control, the use of coercion to curb impartial reporting and the erosion of journalistic standards in Russia, as well as the increasing monopoly on the information available to Russian-language audiences abroad by state-owned media outlets; condemns the ban on broadcasting of Ukrainian and Tatar TV channels in Crimea;

13.  Renews its call for the development of strengthened analytical and monitoring capabilities of Russian propaganda, especially in the Russian language, in order to be able to identify, and respond swiftly and appropriately to, deliberately biased information spread in various EU languages; calls on the Commission to earmark without delay adequate funding for concrete projects aimed at countering Russian propaganda and misinformation within the EU and abroad, and at providing objective information to the general public in Eastern partner countries, and to develop the appropriate instruments for strategic communication; welcomes, in that regard, the conclusions of the European Council of 20 March 2015 on an action plan to counter disinformation campaigns; calls on the Commission and the Member States to also devise a coordinated mechanism for transparency of and for the collection, monitoring and reporting of financial, political or technical assistance provided by Russia to political parties and other organisations within the EU, with a view to assessing its involvement in, and influence over, political life and public opinion in the EU and its Eastern neighbours, and to take appropriate measures;

14.  Is deeply concerned at the recent tendency of the Russian state-controlled media to rewrite and reinterpret historical events of the twentieth century, such as the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its secret protocols, as well as the selective use of historical narrative for current political propaganda;

15.  Is deeply concerned at the ever more intensive contacts and cooperation, tolerated by the Russian leadership, between European populist, fascist and extreme right-wing parties on the one hand and nationalist groups in Russia on the other; recognises that this represents a danger to democratic values and the rule of law in the EU; calls in this connection on the EU institutions and Member States to take action against this threat of an emerging ‘Nationalist International’;

16.  Is deeply concerned with Russia´s support for and financing of radical and extremist parties in the EU Member States; considers a recent meeting in St Petersburg of the far right parties an insult to the memory of millions of Russians who sacrificed their lives to save the world from Nazism;

17.  Calls on the EU to provide support to projects aimed at promoting and developing high journalistic standards, freedom of the media, and unbiased and trustworthy information in Russia, and at deconstructing propaganda within the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries; calls on the Commission to make available adequate funding for initiatives developing Russian-language media alternatives to Russian state-controlled media, in order to provide Russian-speaking audiences with credible and independent sources of information;

18.  Reiterates that uncompromising respect for the rule of law is a core and founding principle of the EU and calls for its strict, swift and unconditional application in the event of any breach of the rules; calls on the Commission to apply with the same determination the principle of free and fair competition in the Single Market, including in the proceedings against Gazprom; takes the view that the EU and its Member States have to put a stronger emphasis on the need for Russia to approach constructively its WTO membership and to comply fully with subsequent commitments, including by ending unjustified trade restrictions and providing non-discriminatory access to its market;

19.  Calls on Russia to cooperate fully with the international community on the investigation into the downing of flight MH17, and condemns any attempt or decision to grant amnesty or delay prosecution for those identified as responsible; reiterates its call on Russia to return immediately the wreckage and all of the black boxes of the Polish Government plane which crashed in Smolensk; calls on all the EU Institutions to raise these requests in any bilateral contact with the Russian authorities;

20.  Calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to acknowledge the scope and gravity of the problem of violence and harassment against LGBTI people in Russia, and to commit to taking steps to end these abuses and to repeal the provisions of Law No. 135-FZ of June 29, 2013 (the ‘gay propaganda’ law) banning distribution of information about LGBTI relationships; calls on the EEAS, the Commission and the EU Member States to raise the issue of homophobia and violence against LGBTI people and activists in meetings with relevant Russian officials, including at the highest level; calls on the EEAS, the Commission and the EU Member States – in line with the June 2013 EU guidelines – to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI people, to contribute to combating any form of anti-LGBTI violence by seeking assistance and redress for victims of such violence and by supporting civil society and governmental initiatives to monitor cases of violence, and by educating law enforcement personnel;

21.  Bearing in mind the enrichment of a society through the development of genuine and independent civil society, expresses its deep concern at the deteriorating state of human rights, including the rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly and the rights of LGBTI people, and the rule of law in Russia and in Crimea following its illegal annexation; strongly condemns the government's continued crackdown on dissent by targeting independent NGOs through the so-called "foreign agents law" and the persistent and multiform repression of activists, political opponents and critics of the regime; draws particular attention to the assassinations of Anna Politkovskaya, Natalya Estemirova, Boris Nemtsov, Sergey Magnitsky, Alexander Litvinenko and others; demands that all assassinations of political activists, journalists and whistleblowers be investigated properly and independently, that those responsible be brought to justice as a sign of the uncompromising fight against impunity, and that targeted restrictive measures be considered if the investigations carried out are not in line with international standards; reiterates its call on the Council to deliver on its commitment to defend these principles, and to adopt, upon a proposal which should be submitted without delay by the VP/HR, restrictive measures for the officials involved in the well-documented Magnitsky case; underlines that the obligation for Russia to comply with human rights and the rule of law standards proceeds directly from its membership of the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE;

22.  Stresses the importance of continued political and financial support for independent civil society activists, human rights defenders, bloggers, independent media, outspoken academics and public figures and NGOs, with a view to promoting democratic values, fundamental freedoms and human rights in Russia and in occupied Crimea; calls on the Commission to programme more ambitious financial assistance to Russian civil society from the existing external financial instruments; encourages the EU to reach out to Russian officials and civil society organisations that are inclined to develop a vision of political and diplomatic relations with the EU based on partnership and cooperation; underlines the need to promote, as much as possible, people-to-people contacts and to maintain, despite the current state of relations, strong dialogue and cooperation between EU and Russian students and researchers, between civil societies and between local authorities, with a view to diffusing tension and improving mutual understanding;

23.  Calls on the Commission to propose legislation ensuring the full transparency of political funding and financing of political parties in the EU in line with the recommendation of the Council of Europe with regard, in particular, to political or economic stakeholders outside the EU;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, and the Governments and Parliaments of the Eastern Partnership countries.

(1)1 Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0505.
(2)2 Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0383.
(3)3 Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0101.
(4)4 Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0025.
(5)5 Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0074.
(6) ‘Protocol on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group’, signed on 5 September 2014, and ’Package of measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements’, adopted on 12 February 2015.
(7) UNGA Resolution A/RES/68/262 on Territorial integrity of Ukraine.
(8) UNSC Resolution S/RES/2202(2015).
(9) Common steps towards visa-free short-term travel of Russian and EU citizens.


OLAF Supervisory Committee's annual report 2014
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European Parliament resolution of 10 June 2015 on the OLAF Supervisory Committee’s annual report 2014 (2015/2699(RSP))
P8_TA(2015)0226RC-B8-0539/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999(1),

–  having regard to its decision of 29 April 2015 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section III – Commission and executive agencies(2),

–  having regard to its decision of 3 April 2014 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2012, Section III – Commission and executive agencies(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2013 on the Annual Report 2011 on the protection of the EU’s financial interests – Fight against fraud(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2015 on the Annual Report 2013 on the protection of the EU’s financial interests – Fight against fraud(5),

–  having regard to the 2014 Annual Activity Report of the OLAF Supervisory Committee (hereinafter ‘the SC’),

–  having regard to Opinion No 4/2014 of the SC, entitled ‘Control of the duration of investigations conducted by the European Anti-fraud Office’,

–  having regard to OLAF’s response to Opinion No 4/2014 of the SC,

–  having regard to Opinion No 5/2014 of the SC, entitled ‘OLAF external reporting on the duration of investigations’,

–  having regard to OLAF’s response to Opinion No 5/2014 of the SC,

–  having regard to Report No 1/2014 of the SC, entitled ‘Safeguarding OLAF’s investigative independence’,

–  having regard to Report No 2/2014 of the SC, entitled ‘Implementation by OLAF of the Supervisory Committee’s recommendations’,

–  having regard to Report No 3/2014 of the SC, entitled ‘Opening of cases in OLAF in 2012’,

–  having regard to OLAF’s response to Report No 3/2014 of the SC,

–  having regard to the SC’s Note on the Supervisory Committee’s Analysis of the OLAF Draft IPPs for 2015,

–  having regard to the SC’s 2013 Annual Activity Report,

–  having regard to Opinion No 2/2013 of the SC, entitled ‘Establishing an internal OLAF procedure for complaints’,

–  having regard to Opinion No 1/2014 of the SC, entitled ‘OLAF Investigation Policy Priorities’,

–  having regard to Opinion No 2/2014 of the SC, entitled ‘Case selection in OLAF’,

–  having regard to the SC’s observations on investigation procedures in OLAF,

–  having regard to the SC’s 2012 Recommendations,

–  having regard to the SC paper entitled ‘Mission, competences and objectives of the Supervisory Committee of the European Anti-Fraud Office – Mid-term strategy (2014‑2015)’,

–  having regard to the SC’s Working Arrangements with OLAF,

–  having regard to the questions to the Commission and to the Council on the OLAF Supervisory Committee’s annual report 2014 (O-000060/2015 – B8‑0553/2015, O‑000061/2015 – B8‑0554/2015 and O-000066/2015 – B8‑0555/2015),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in its Annual Activity Report 2014 the OLAF Supervisory Committee (SC) noted that at the time of the reorganisation of OLAF (1 February 2012), 423 cases were opened on the same day by a single decision of the Director-General of OLAF (OLAF DG); whereas, on the basis of its analysis, the SC concluded that (i) OLAF did not conduct any appropriate assessment of the incoming information for any of the cases analysed by the SC, (ii) for the vast majority of cases there was not even a trace of any assessment activity, and (iii) the OLAF DG opened all the cases in question without establishing beforehand the existence of a sufficiently serious suspicion that there had been fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union – which is in contradiction with the legal requirement for opening an OLAF investigation in force at that time;

B.  whereas the SC, in its communications to the EU institutions, has pointed out that in spite of a clear obligation set out in Article 17(5) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013, the OLAF DG did not report to the SC in 2014 on those OLAF recommendations which were not implemented;

C.  whereas in the first half of its mandate the SC issued 50 recommendations to OLAF, of which only eight were fully implemented, six were partially implemented, one is pending and 20 were not implemented, and whereas in 15 cases the SC was not able to verify implementation owing to insufficient substantive information;

D.  whereas the SC – in its note on the OLAF draft Investigation Policy Priorities (IPPs) for 2015 – observed that OLAF had not taken into account the three recommendations made in the SC’s Opinion No 1/2014: (i) the OLAF DG had not issued guidelines on the application of the selection principles arising from Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 (efficient use of resources, proportionality/subsidiarity, added value) and, instead of reviewing the financial indicators to adapt them to the reality of spending programmes, had abolished them completely; (ii) the draft IPPs for 2015 appeared to take into consideration several documents from stakeholders, but no dialogue with the stakeholders seemed to have taken place with regard to financial indicators and to possible follow-up of the cases showing sufficient suspicion of fraud, but which had been dismissed on the basis of the IPPs or the selection principles; (iii) the OLAF DG had not forwarded to the SC an assessment of the application of the previous IPPs or a summary of the feedback provided by stakeholders, despite a previous commitment to do so;

E.  whereas the SC had constantly pointed out its inability to supervise OLAF’s independence, its investigative function, the application of procedural guarantees and the duration of investigations, on account of the lack of access to necessary information;

F.  whereas the SC has stated that the core of the problem with regard to the effectiveness of its supervisory role is not poor implementation of the Working Arrangements, but a fundamental difference of views between the SC and the OLAF DG in their perceptions of the SC’s role;

G.  whereas Parliament, in its aforementioned resolutions on the Annual Reports 2011 and 2013 on the protection of the EU’s financial interests – Fight against fraud, called for an improvement in the SC’s ability to fulfil its role;

H.  whereas the SC has on several occasions called on the EU institutions either to reinforce its competences, in particular through full access to OLAF case files, or to take other measures to ensure OLAF’s accountability;

I.  whereas in March 2014 the OLAF DG committed to report to the SC once a year on the number of complaints received, the timeliness of their processing and their classification as either justified or not; whereas, however, the SC reports that it has not received any such information;

J.  whereas Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 reinforced the SC’s role in monitoring the duration of OLAF’s investigations; whereas, notwithstanding OLAF’s formal compliance with its obligation to report regularly to the SC on investigations lasting more than 12 months, the SC concluded, in its Opinion No 4/2014 entitled ‘Control of the duration of investigations conducted by OLAF’, that the information provided to it had been insufficient to enable it to properly and effectively monitor the duration of OLAF’s investigations;

K.  whereas, in its Opinion No 5/2014 entitled ‘OLAF external reporting on the duration of investigations’, the SC concluded that the reporting on the duration of investigations by OLAF had not provided a comprehensive view of its investigative performance; whereas, while OLAF stated in its annual report that ‘investigations are being completed in less time’, the SC concluded that the improvement in the results of OLAF investigations was due to the introduction of new calculation methods;

L.  whereas, in its Report No 1/2014 entitled ‘Safeguarding OLAF’s independence’, the SC called for clarification of OLAF’s role in the implementation of the Commission’s anti‑fraud policy in the cigarette sector;

M.  whereas for two years in a row the SC has expressed, in its Annual Activity Report, its concerns about the lack of transparency regarding OLAF’s participation in the Commission ‘Clearing House’ meetings and the inherent risks with regard to OLAF’s investigative independence;

N.  whereas the SC has drawn the EU institutions’ attention to the need to implement the requirements of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 concerning the independent functioning of the SC Secretariat;

O.  whereas the SC has identified four basic conditions to ensure the independent functioning of the Secretariat: (i) recruitment, appraisal and promotion of the Head of the Secretariat on the basis of the SC’s decisions; (ii) reclassification of the Head of the Secretariat as a senior manager; (iii) recruitment, appraisal and promotion of the staff of the Secretariat by its Head; (iv) sub-delegation of the Secretariat’s budget implementation to its Head;

P.  whereas Parliament has considered OLAF’s responses to the SC reports and opinions that were delivered to Parliament;

1.  Strongly emphasises OLAF’s responsibility to comply with the legal requirements for opening an investigation; recalls that, as regards the 423 cases opened on the same day, only 8,4 % of those that were closed resulted in recommendations; calls on the SC to follow up compliance with the legal requirements on a regular basis;

2.  Refers to its aforementioned resolution of 29 April 2015 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, and urges OLAF, without undue delay, to provide justification for the cases in which it has not implemented the SC’s recommendations;

3.  Considers it regrettable that the SC found it impossible to conclude whether the IPPs had been identified correctly and whether their application had positive or negative consequences for the fight against fraud and corruption;

4.  Deplores the fact that the SC is not able to implement its mandate fully; refers to its aforementioned resolutions on the Annual Reports 2011 and 2013 on the protection of the EU’s financial interests – Fight against fraud, and asks the Commission to take measures to improve the SC’s ability to supervise OLAF’s independence, its investigative function, the application of procedural guarantees and the duration of investigations, without, however, putting OLAF’s independence at risk;

5.  Urges the Commission to facilitate the negotiations between OLAF and the SC by drawing up an action plan by 31 December 2015 with a view to amending the Working Arrangements to create a working environment in which the SC can fulfil its mandate; takes the view that the amended Working Arrangements should clarify the SC’s role to all the parties concerned; notes that the secretariat of the supervisory body is under the (administrative) control of the supervised body;

6.  Calls for the fulfilment of the OLAF DG’s commitment to provide the SC with the number of complaints received, the timeliness of their processing and their classification as either justified or not;

7.  Urges OLAF to comply with the legal requirements to enable the SC to fulfil one of its core functions with regard to supervising the duration of OLAF’s investigations;

8.  Welcomes, however, the fact that OLAF and the SC have started to work together to improve the information OLAF provides to the SC and to enrich the content of the reports on investigations lasting more than 12 months;

9.  Notes that out of 134 investigators at the end of 2014, 13 (10 %) were assigned to the tobacco and counterfeit unit, and 44 (33 %) to the units for agricultural and structural funds, which accounted for 86 % of the financial interests at stake (EUR 1,9 billion); recommends, therefore, that OLAF reconsider the allocation of its resources;

10.  Expresses concerns about the transparency of OLAF’s participation in the Commission ‘Clearing House’ meetings;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the national parliaments and the OLAF Supervisory Committee.

(1) OJ L 248, 18.9.2013, p. 1.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0118.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0287.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0318.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0062.


Situation in Hungary
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European Parliament resolution of 10 June 2015 on the situation in Hungary (2015/2700(RSP))
P8_TA(2015)0227RC-B8-0532/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the preamble to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular the second and the fourth to seventh recitals thereof,

–  having regard in particular to Article 2, the second subparagraph of Article 3(3), Article 6 and Article 7 of the TEU, and to the articles of the TEU and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) relating to respect for, and the promotion and protection of, fundamental rights in the EU,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 7 December 2000, which was proclaimed on 12 December 2007 in Strasbourg and entered into force with the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009,

–  having regard to Articles 1, 2 and 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Protocol No 13 to the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances,

–  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and the conventions, recommendations, resolutions and reports of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers, the Human Rights Commissioner and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2013 on the situation of fundamental rights: standards and practices in Hungary (pursuant to the European Parliament resolution of 16 February 2012)(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union (2012)(2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2014 entitled ‘A new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law’ (COM(2014)0158),

–  having regard to the report of 16 December 2014 by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights following his visit to Hungary from 1 to 4 July 2014,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Council of the European Union and the Member States meeting within the Council of 16 December 2014 on ensuring respect for the rule of law,

–  having regard to the hearing on the situation of human rights in Hungary held on 22 January 2015 by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

–  having regard to the Council and Commission statements presented at the plenary debate held in the European Parliament on 11 February 2015 on an EU framework for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights,

–  having regard to the exchange of views further to the Conference of Presidents’ decision of 30 April 2015 on the possible effects, including on its rights and status as a member of the European Union, if a Member State decided to reintroduce the death penalty, held on 7 May 2015 by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

–  having regard to the Council and Commission statements presented at the plenary debate held in the European Parliament on 19 May 2015 on the situation in Hungary,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and whereas these values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail (Article 2 TEU);

B.  whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation;

C.  whereas the abolition of the death penalty is a precondition for membership of the EU, with the EU holding a strong and principled position against the death penalty, the abolition of which is a key objective of its human rights policy;

D.  whereas the right to asylum is guaranteed, with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol thereto of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees, and in accordance with the TEU and the TFEU;

E.  whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights have been fully incorporated into the Hungarian constitution; whereas recent developments in Hungary have, however, led to concerns over the situation in the country;

F.  whereas on 28 April 2015 following recent events in Hungary, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, made a statement concerning the need for public debate on the death penalty; whereas on 30 April 2015 the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, issued a press release stating that Viktor Orbán had assured him that the Hungarian Government has no plans to take any steps to reintroduce the death penalty and will comply with and honour all European treaties and legislation; whereas Viktor Orbán reiterated similar statements on 1 May 2015, however, during an interview on national public radio, adding that the decision to reintroduce the death penalty should fall under the sole competence of the Member States, thus deviating from the provisions of the EU Treaties;

G.  whereas in May 2015 the Hungarian Government launched a public consultation on migration, having held a number of similar consultations in the past on other issues; whereas public consultation can be an important and valuable tool for governments to develop policies that can count on the support of the population; whereas the questions have received criticism regarding their leading and rhetorical nature, establishing a direct link between migratory phenomena and security threats;

H.  whereas during the exchange of views in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs the majority of the political groups shared the view that the reintroduction of the death penalty and the questions asked in the public consultation were unacceptable;

I.  whereas, in its statement presented at the plenary debate held in the European Parliament on 19 May 2015 on the situation in Hungary, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union declared that the Council had not discussed the situation in Hungary and therefore not adopted any formal position on that matter;

J.  whereas efforts to address the current situation in Hungary should not aim to single out a particular Member State or government but fulfil a collective obligation on all the EU institutions, and in particular the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, to ensure the application of, and compliance with, the Treaties and the Charter across the Union and in every Member State;

1.  Insists that the death penalty is incompatible with the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights on which the Union is founded, and that any Member State reintroducing the death penalty would therefore be in violation of the Treaties and of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; reaffirms in the most adamant manner that the abolition of the death penalty constitutes a milestone in the development of fundamental rights in Europe;

2.  Recalls that a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU would trigger the ‘Article 7’ procedure;

3.  Condemns the repeated statements made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán instigating a debate on a potential re-establishment of the death penalty in Hungary, thus institutionalising and fuelling a concept which is in breach of the values on which the Union is founded; notes, therefore, the statement made by Viktor Orbán not to reintroduce capital punishment in Hungary, and underlines the responsibility of a prime minister as head of government to promote EU values and to lead by example;

4.  Notes that Member States have the sovereign right to launch national consultations; recalls, however, that consultations should reflect the readiness of governments to exercise responsible governance aimed at securing democratic political solutions and respect for fundamental European values;

5.  Denounces the public consultation on migration and the related country-wide billboard campaign initiated by the Hungarian Government, and stresses that the content and language used in the particular consultation launched in Hungary, on immigration and terrorism, are highly misleading, biased and unbalanced, establishing a biased and direct link between migratory phenomena and security threats; points out that replies to the online questionnaire are to be complemented by personal data, thus revealing one’s political opinions in violation of data protection rules; calls, therefore, for this consultation to be withdrawn;

6.  Regrets the fact that the public consultation casts blame on the EU institutions and their policies without also acknowledging the responsibility of the Member States in these areas; recalls that the Member States are fully involved in the EU legislative process;

7.  Invites all Member States to participate in a constructive manner in the current discussion on the European Agenda on Migration, which affects equally internal, external and development policies that have to be implemented in the EU;

8.  Believes that all Member States have to comply fully with EU law in their legislative and administrative practice, and that all legislation, including the primary law of any Member State or candidate country, has to reflect and be in accordance with basic European values, namely democratic principles, the rule of law and fundamental rights;

9.  Deplores the absence of a reaction from the Council to the most recent developments in Hungary and denounces the lack of commitment by Member States to ensuring respect for the rule of law as specified in the Conclusions of the Council of the European Union of 16 December 2014; urges the Council of the European Union and the European Council to hold a discussion and adopt conclusions on the situation in Hungary;

10.  Notes that these recent developments have led to concerns regarding the principles of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in Hungary over the past year, which, taken together, could represent an emerging systemic threat to the rule of law in this Member State;

11.  Urges the Commission to activate the first stage of the EU framework to strengthen the rule of law, and therefore to initiate immediately an in-depth monitoring process concerning the situation of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary, assessing a potential systemic serious breach of the values on which the Union is founded as per Article 2 TEU, including the combined impact of a number of measures exacerbating the state of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, and evaluating the emergence of a systemic threat to the rule of law in that Member State that could develop into a clear risk of a serious breach within the meaning of Article 7 TEU; asks the Commission to report back on this matter to Parliament and the Council before September 2015;

12.  Calls on the Commission to present a proposal for the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, as a tool for compliance with and enforcement of the Charter and Treaties as signed by all Member States, relying on common and objective indicators, and to carry out an impartial, yearly assessment on the situation of fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law in all Member States, indiscriminately and on an equal basis, involving an evaluation by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, together with appropriate binding and corrective mechanisms, in order to fill existing gaps and to allow for an automatic and gradual response to breaches of the rule of law and fundamental rights at Member State level; instructs its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to contribute to the development and elaboration of this proposal in the form of a legislative own-initiative report to be adopted by the end of the year;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the President, Government and Parliament of Hungary, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the candidate countries, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0315.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0173.


2014 Progress Report on Turkey
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European Parliament resolution of 10 June 2015 on the 2014 Commission Progress Report on Turkey (2014/2953(RSP))
P8_TA(2015)0228B8-0455/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the 2014 Commission Progress Report on Turkey (SWD(2014)0307),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 8 October 2014 entitled ‘Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2014-15’ (COM(2014)0700),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular those of 10 February 2010 on Turkey’s progress report 2009(1), 9 March 2011 on Turkey’s 2010 progress report(2), 29 March 2012 on the 2011 Progress Report on Turkey(3), 18 April 2013 on the 2012 Progress Report on Turkey(4), 13 June 2013 on the situation in Turkey(5), 12 March 2014 on the 2013 progress report on Turkey(6), 13 November 2014 on Turkish actions creating tensions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus(7) and 15 January 2015 on freedom of expression in Turkey(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 April 2015 on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide(9),

–  having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2008/157/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey(10) (‘the Accession Partnership’), and to the previous Council decisions of 2001, 2003 and 2006 on the Accession Partnership,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 December 2010, 5 December 2011, 11 December 2012, 25 June 2013, 24 October 2014 and 16 December 2014,

–  having regard to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which states that the contracting parties undertake to abide by the final judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in any case to which they are parties,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the World Bank report of 28 March 2014 entitled ‘Evaluation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union’,

–  having regard to the Commission report on progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap (COM(2014)0646),

–  having regard to the work of Kati Piri as the standing rapporteur on Turkey of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas accession negotiations with Turkey were opened on 3 October 2005 and the opening of such negotiations is the starting point for a long-lasting and open-ended process based on fair and rigorous conditionality and a commitment to reform;

B.  whereas the EU remains committed to further enlargement as a key policy to promote peace, democracy, security and prosperity in Europe; whereas each candidate country will be judged on its own merits and, on this basis, the Commission does not foresee any new accession to the EU in this legislative term;

C.  whereas Turkey has committed itself to the fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria, adequate and effective reforms, good neighbourly relations and progressive alignment with the EU; whereas these efforts should be viewed as an opportunity for Turkey to strengthen its institutions and continue its process of democratisation and modernisation;

D.  whereas, according to the Freedom House ranking of press and media freedoms, Turkey is now ranked as not having a free press and as having only partial internet freedom;

E.  whereas Reporters Without Borders classified Turkey in 2014 as one of the countries where journalists suffered the most threats and physical attacks;

F.  whereas the EU should remain the benchmark for reforms in Turkey;

G.  whereas full compliance with the Copenhagen criteria and the EU’s integration capacity, in accordance with the conclusions of the December 2006 European Council meeting, remains the basis for accession to the EU;

H.  whereas the rule of law in the negotiation process – including, in particular, the separation of powers, the fight against corruption and organised crime, freedom of assembly and peaceful protest, freedom of expression and the media, the rights of women, freedom of religion, the rights of persons belonging to (national) minorities, and tackling discrimination against vulnerable groups such as the Roma and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons – is of central importance;

I.  whereas in its communication entitled ‘Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2014-15’ the Commission concluded that Turkey is a strategic partner for the EU, in economic and energy security terms, and that cooperation on foreign policy issues with Turkey is crucial; whereas in the same communication, the Commission expressed its concerns regarding the protection of fundamental rights, the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, and the right to assembly and freedom of expression;

J.  whereas, for the ninth consecutive year, Turkey has still not implemented the provisions stemming from the EC-Turkey Association Agreement and the Additional Protocol thereto; whereas this refusal continues to have a profound negative effect on the negotiation process;

K.  whereas, with a view to enhancing stability and promoting good neighbourly relations, Turkey needs to step up efforts to resolve outstanding bilateral issues, including unsettled legal obligations and disputes with its immediate neighbours over land and maritime borders and airspace, in accordance with the provisions of the UN Charter and with international law;

L.  whereas the Turkish authorities did not agree to the reopening of the Orthodox seminary on the island of Heybeliada;

The state of play in EU-Turkey relations

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s 2014 progress report on Turkey, and shares its conclusion that Turkey is a key strategic partner for the EU and that active and credible negotiations would provide a suitable framework for exploiting the full potential of EU-Turkey relations; stresses that the reform process in the context of negotiations with the EU could present a significant opportunity for Turkey to develop a strong pluralistic democratic system, with solid institutions, for the benefit of all citizens of Turkey, and for closer relations with the EU; asks the Commission to make a reassessment of the way in which negotiations have been conducted so far and how EU-Turkey relations and cooperation could be improved and intensified;

2.  Underlines that an effective and functioning relationship, based on dialogue, closer cooperation, mutual commitment and negotiations between the EU and Turkey – considering their geographical proximity, their historical links, the large Turkish community living in the EU, the close economic ties and common strategic interests – is to the benefit of both parties; calls on Turkey to place the reform process at the centre of its domestic policy choices; takes the view that the EU should seize this opportunity to become the main anchor of the process of further democratisation in Turkey by promoting universal values and European regulatory standards as benchmarks for the reform process, and by supporting Turkey in developing solid, democratic institutions and effective legislation based on the respect for fundamental freedoms, human rights and the rule of law and representing and defending the interests of all sectors of Turkey’s society;

3.  Encourages the Government of Turkey to accelerate the pace of negotiations and urges it to commit itself unequivocally to respecting democratic values and principles, which are at the heart of the EU; supports the new Commission in its efforts to step up engagement with Turkey on the basis of shared interests and common challenges; notes the opening of negotiations on Chapter 22 (Regional Policy) in November 2013;

4.  Welcomes the election of the most inclusive and representative parliament in Turkish modern history, reflecting the country’s diversity; commends the resilience of Turkish democracy and the democratic spirit of its citizens, as proven by the very high voter turnout and the impressive participation of civil society volunteers on election day; calls on all political parties to work towards the establishment of a stable and inclusive government with the aim of reinvigorating Turkey’s democratisation process and reform dialogue with the EU;

5.  Underlines the importance of investing more efforts in people-to-people contacts in order to create a favourable environment of cooperation between Turkey and the EU; stresses, therefore, that in the interest of closer links between the EU and Turkey concrete progress should be made on visa liberalisation, based on the fulfilment of the requirements set out in the roadmap towards a visa-free regime with Turkey; stresses that in the interim period, the EU should make it easier for business people to obtain visas, and that student and academic exchange programmes and access opportunities for civil society should be actively promoted; believes that enhanced access opportunities to the EU would provide further support to the reform process in Turkey;

Rule of law and democracy

6.  Notes that Turkey has continued to implement the reforms from previous years; welcomes, in this regard, the changes to the legal framework regarding political parties and election campaigns, which now permits political campaigning in languages other than Turkish, legalises party co-chairmanship and eases the rules governing the local organisation of political parties; reiterates the importance of lowering the 10 % electoral threshold, which would give all components of Turkey’s society opportunities for political participation;

7.  Stresses that a new constitution based on provisions promoting a pluralistic, inclusive and tolerant society would underpin the reform process and provide a solid base for fundamental freedoms and the rule of law; commends the work done by the constitutional conciliation committee, which reached consensus on 60 constitutional amendments before being dissolved; reiterates its call for the constitutional reform process to continue and underlines the need for a new constitution to be based on widespread consensus across the political spectrum and in society as a whole; encourages Turkey to consult with the Venice Commission in the framework of the constitutional reform process;

8.  Welcomes the new strategy devised by the Government of Turkey to channel all new legislation through the EU Affairs Ministry, aiming at increasing the Ministry’s coordination role and enhancing compliance of draft legislation with EU standards; recommends, in this regard, whenever possible, close consultation with the Venice Commission and a more intensive dialogue with the European Commission on new legislation under preparation and on the implementation of existing laws, in order to ensure compatibility with the EU acquis;

9.  Stresses the importance of adequate consultation of civil society in the legislative process; recommends, therefore, that structured civil society consultation mechanisms should be developed as part of the legislative and policymaking processes and in the implementation process of new legislation; praises the vibrant civil society in Turkey; underlines that consistent reforms are urgently needed to guarantee freedom of association and expression, to allow civil society organisations to operate freely without restrictions and to improve their access to funding;

10.  Strongly supports and encourages efforts by the Government of Turkey and all other stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable conclusion to the peace process with the Kurdish community on the basis of negotiations with PKK, which is on the EU’s list of terrorist organisations, and a process of socio-economic and political integration of the Kurdish community; strongly supports the announcement by the HDP of an extraordinary congress of the PKK to lay down arms and promote democratic politics as a method; strongly encourages the Government to continue to give priority to and enhance the social, cultural and political rights and equal treatment of citizens of Kurdish origin; welcomes the law ‘to bring a stronger legal foundation to the settlement process’, adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 11 June 2014, which encompasses measures to eliminate terrorism, strengthen social inclusion, reintegrate those who leave the PKK and lay down their arms, and prepare public opinion for the return of former fighters; takes the view that a successful resolution of the Kurdish issue is of primary importance and would make a substantial positive contribution to democracy, peace, stability and the protection of human rights in Turkey; therefore encourages all political parties to support this process; calls on the Commission to provide technical support and to dedicate resources available under the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA), inter alia, to programmes of socio-economic integration and education in the south-east of Turkey as a way to reinforce the Kurdish settlement process; notes that negotiations on Chapter 22 (Regional Policy) could assist Turkey in defining an effective programme of cohesion for the south-east;

11.  Regrets the decision by the Turkish State Hydraulic Works to continue works on the Ilisu Dam, which will have devastating social, environmental and political effects; recalls that this particular region is mainly inhabited by Kurds and that the construction will have severe effects on the Kurdish population and culture;

12.  Expresses concern at the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International on 3 December 2014, which points to a perceived stark increase in corruption in Turkey during the past year and now ranks Turkey as 64th in the index; regrets deeply the way in which the Turkish Government and the Turkish Parliament reacted to the allegations of corruption, including against former members of government, made in December 2013 and the fact that there was no follow-up to the very serious corruption investigations; expresses concern at the criminal prosecution of investigative journalists who followed the corruption cases; calls for a transparent and independent investigation into the accusations made in December 2013; stresses the need for greater political will to develop an adequate legal framework for the fight against corruption, which not only erodes the democratic functioning of institutions and people’s trust in democracy, but can also harm economic development and a favourable investment climate;

13.  Expresses concern at the recent amendments to the Law on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HCJP) and the subsequent numerous reassignments and dismissals of judges and prosecutors, and at the arrests, reassignments and dismissals of police officers, which raised serious and justified concerns about the independence, impartiality and efficiency of the judiciary, the separation of powers and the respect for the principle of the rule of law, which remain the core of the Copenhagen political criteria; is concerned at the frequent changes made to key legislation without due consultation of relevant stakeholders; welcomes the abolition of Article 10 of the anti-terror law; is concerned, however, that very broad definitions make the scope of the anti-terror law still excessive and allow for exceptionally broad interpretations; recalls the need to reform Article 314 of the Criminal Code, so that only those who are members of or contribute to the activities of a terrorist or armed organisation can be prosecuted; calls for a judicial reform strategy in line with EU standards to be adopted in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders; welcomes the initial step taken towards the reduction of the maximum length of pre-trial detention from 10 to 5 years, but strongly emphasises that further reduction is needed to avoid pre-trial detention becoming a de facto punishment; underlines the importance of setting up regional courts of appeal and adopting all relevant measures to ensure due process; encourages Turkey to further the reform of the justice system and to ensure fair and effective access to justice for all children;

14.  Expresses serious concern at Law 6532, which came into force on 26 April 2014 and which dramatically increases the powers of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), undermining the freedom of the media, freedom of expression and the right to access information of public interest, rendering the staff of the Agency virtually immune to legal proceedings and violating privacy rules by making it possible for the Agency to procure personal data without a court order; considers that these provisions violate Turkey’s obligations in respect of international humanitarian law and its own national laws;

15.  Welcomes a number of important decisions taken by the Constitutional Court of Turkey protecting the rule of law and fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, which has illustrated the resilience of the constitutional system; notes, in addition, that the Constitutional Court’s rulings highlighted the mishandling of the investigations and subsequent trials in the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer cases; welcomes the fact that the Constitutional Court continues to receive individual applications; expresses concern at the amendments to the Criminal Code, and particularly the use of the term ‘reasonable suspicion’, which opens the door to arbitrary attacks on the opposition; points out that these amendments were adopted without the Commission being consulted, contrary to what was agreed during the negotiations;

16.  Expresses serious concerns about the high degree of political polarisation in Turkey; recalls that pluralism should be at the core of any democratic regime; urges, therefore, the promotion of dialogue across the Turkish political spectrum; stresses that as regards key, long-term reform processes, a new constitution and the Kurdish settlement talks, such a dialogue is indispensable; calls on the ruling party and the opposition to strive to cooperate and reach consensus, and to actively include civil society in decision-making processes;

Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

17.  Welcomes the adoption in March 2014 of the Action Plan for the Prevention of Violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as a significant step towards aligning Turkey’s legal framework with the jurisprudence of the ECtHR, and expects the Government to take further steps to implement its recommendations; underlines that Turkey’s membership of the Council of Europe commits Turkey to pursuing high political and legal standards and asks Turkey to engage fully with the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission on its reform process; recalls that progress in the negotiations depends on respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights;

18.  Notes with concern that most investigations into the events that occurred in Gezi Park in May and June 2013 and allegations about the disproportionate use of force and police abuse are still pending, and that little progress has been made in identifying the alleged perpetrators; underlines that, following a number of complaints received on the use of force by police officers during the Gezi protests, the Ombudsman issued a report in which it found the use of force to be disproportionate; calls on the Turkish authorities to make amends to all those victims who were non-violent protesters, or who were not amongst the protesters but were only accidentally on the site of the events; calls for the completion of effective and impartial investigations into all cases of alleged ill-treatment by state officials and for those responsible to be brought to justice; underlines the need for subsequent adoption of clear rules on the use of force and the role of the police in line with international standards; strongly urges the lifting of restrictions on peaceful assembly and stresses that other laws, such as anti-terrorism legislation, should not be used to prevent people from exercising their right to peacefully protest and that peaceful demonstrations should not be a reason for arrest; calls on the Turkish Government to provide for adequate, objective and transparent checks and balances on the power of law enforcement agencies; recommends that the Turkish authorities set up an independent and effective police complaints mechanism; expresses deep concern at the domestic security package, which goes against the principle of judicial oversight of police activities and is excessive in scope;

19.  Underlines the need to revise the law on the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) of Turkey in order to make it an independent body which is adequately resourced and accountable to the public and which includes the participation of civil society groups; takes note of the recommendations in the report issued by the Ombudsman, including the demand for the gradual and proportionate use of force by police, and only as a last resort and under supervision; stresses the importance of reinforcing the right of initiative of the Ombudsman, its capacity to conduct on-the-spot checks, and guarantees for adequate follow-up to the Ombudsman’s decisions;

20.  Commends Turkey on a growing Roma civil society; hopes that the new Roma organisations will be given support and time to enable them to take a meaningful part in cooperation initiatives to devise and implement measures at local and national level; recommends that the government combine existing accommodation projects with social and long-term aspects such as healthcare and education; welcomes general action plans to combat discrimination, which could give Roma people greater access to the labour market;

21.  Urges the Government of Turkey to guarantee media freedom as a matter of priority and to provide an adequate legal framework guaranteeing pluralism in line with international standards; condemns the efforts made by the Turkish Government to ban access to social media and websites or close down the latter without a court order, its restrictive approach to freedom of expression and the pressure put on media outlets and journalists, which often results in the intimidation, dismissal or arrest of journalists and widespread self-censorship; points out that violations of freedom of expression increased after the corruption scandal of December 2013; considers it necessary for a legal framework to be established to enable full transparency on media group ownership; reiterates the EU’s commitment to freedom of expression in all its forms and calls on the EU Delegation to Turkey to continue to monitor trials of journalists and human right defenders;

22.  Condemns the recent police raids and the detention of a number of journalists and media representatives on 14 December 2014; recalls that a free and pluralistic press is the core principle of any democracy, as are due process and judicial independence; stresses, therefore, the need, in all cases, (i) to provide ample and transparent information on the allegations against the defendants, (ii) to grant the defendants full access to the incriminating evidence and full defence rights, and (iii) to ensure the proper handling of the cases in order to verify the veracity of the accusations without delay and beyond reasonable doubt; calls on the authorities of Turkey to review and address these cases as soon as possible and to adhere to international due process standards in cases where it insists on pursuing the proceedings;

23.  Asserts that the Turkish Government’s recent action against freedom of the press and plurality of opinion is incompatible with the fundamental rights of the EU and thus conflicts with the spirit of the negotiation process;

24.  Takes the view that, in keeping with the EU commitment to the rule of law and fundamental values, reforms in the areas of the judiciary and fundamental rights and of justice, freedom and security are urgently needed in Turkey; believes, furthermore, that delivering the official opening benchmarks for Chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and 24 (justice, freedom and security) is an important step to promote truly effective reforms and to ensure that the reform process in Turkey is shaped on the basis of EU values and standards; reiterates its call for the Council, as soon as the set criteria have been fulfilled, to start negotiations on the judiciary and fundamental rights and on justice, freedom and security; calls on Turkey to cooperate as much as possible to this end; calls on the Commission to promote without delay further dialogue and cooperation with Turkey in the fields covered by chapters 23 and 24 to promote a common understanding on the reforms needed;

25.  Welcomes the decision that reforms related to the rule of law and fundamental rights, home affairs and civil society are to receive increased funding under the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) II for the period 2014-2020; points out that the promotion of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental freedoms are key principles governing pre-accession support; reiterates the Council’s December 2014 conclusion that enhanced coherence between financial assistance and the overall progress made in the implementation of the pre-accession strategy, including full respect of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, will be introduced; calls, in addition, on the Commission to closely monitor the implementation of IPA II in all candidate countries and to dedicate resources available under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) to supporting freedom of expression, including media freedom, media pluralism, freedom of association and assembly, trade union related rights and freedom of thought;

26.  Takes note of the fact that Turkey contributed to the coming into force on 1 August 2014 of the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention); expresses concern, however, at the persistent high levels of violence against women and the lack of implementation of domestic law protections to prevent violence against women; calls on the Turkish authorities to provide sufficient shelters for the protection of women and minors who are victims of violence; recommends that the Government promote gender equality in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field; calls on the Government of Turkey, in cooperation with civil society and relevant business associations, to facilitate women entrepreneurships and reduce obstacles to women’s access to economic activities, and urges the Government of Turkey, in this regard, to set itself an ambitious target regarding women’s access to employment; points out that Turkey ranked 125th out of 142 countries in the 2014 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap report; regrets deeply the remarks made by certain officials and government representatives about the role of women in Turkish society and stresses the importance of combating stereotypes and biases in society against women;

27.  Stresses the importance of continuing the process of reform in the area of freedom of thought, conscience and religion by enabling religious communities to obtain legal personality, by eliminating all restrictions on the training, appointment, legal residence and succession of the clergy, and by ensuring adequate implementation of all relevant ECtHR rulings and the recommendations of the Venice Commission; stresses, in this regard, the need to promote dialogue with the Alevi community, to give proper recognition to Cem houses as places of worship, to allow the reopening of the Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary and lift all obstacles to its proper functioning, and to allow the official use of the ecclesiastical title of the Ecumenical Patriarch; asks Turkey’s relevant authorities to address all outstanding issues related to the restitution of land belonging to the Mor Gabriel monastery and other Syriac church land claims; recalls the importance of adequately implementing the Venice Commission recommendations on Imbros and Tenedos with regard to the protection of property and educational rights; underlines the need to fully respect, in line with EU values, the right to different lifestyles, both secular and faith-based, and to maintain the separation of state and religion; underlines the importance of protecting the rights of minorities; expresses regret about the fact that, after the abolition of the previous law two years ago and due to the existing legal vacuum, it is not possible for non-Muslim charitable foundations to elect their governing bodies;

28.  Stresses the need to recognise the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service;

29.  Calls on Turkey to undertake serious efforts to protect the rights of the LGBTI community, and takes the view that the creation of a specific body to combat discrimination, hate speech, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance would reinforce individual rights in Turkey; calls on Turkey to enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, including the prohibition of discrimination and hate speech on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, and to include the prohibition of such discrimination in a new constitution; expresses concern at the frequent attacks on transgender persons and the lack of protection provided to LGBTI persons against acts of violence; strongly regrets that hate crime against LGBTI people often remains unpunished or that offenders’ sentences are reduced for the victim’s ‘unjust provocation’; reiterates its call on the Government of Turkey to instruct the Turkish Armed Forces to end their classification of homosexuality and transsexuality as a ‘psychosexual illness’;

30.  Expresses regret over the loss of many lives in the Soma and Ermenek mine disasters; welcomes the ratification by Turkey of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on safety and health in mines and calls for its swift implementation; stresses the importance of addressing the issues of occupational health and safety in all sectors and urges the Turkish authorities to make the monitoring of fatal workplace accidents more transparent; takes the view that trade union freedom, social dialogue and the involvement of social partners are vital to the development of a prosperous and pluralistic society, and underlines the importance of further progress in the areas of social policy and employment, based on adequate and timely implementation of the conventions of the ILO; takes note of legislative shortcomings on labour and trade union rights; stresses that the right to organise, the right to enter into collective bargaining and the right to strike for private sector employees and civil servants will have to be aligned with the EU acquis and international standards; urges the Government of Turkey to prepare a roadmap to improve legislation and bring it into line with ILO standards; stresses the importance of Turkey meeting the opening benchmarks on social policy and employment; calls on the Commission to provide adequate technical assistance to Turkey in the field of labour reform and promote EU standards;

31.  Calls on Turkey to legislate on the working conditions of part-time workers, for example, who are currently subjected to substandard conditions, lack of job security and problems with joining trade unions; notes that the mining and construction sectors are the most dangerous industries in Turkey and calls for transparent investigations into fatal accidents at work;

32.  Calls upon the Turkish Government to halt its plans for the construction of the Akkuyuy nuclear power plant; points out that the envisaged site is located in a region prone to severe earthquakes, hence posing a major threat not only to Turkey but to the Mediterranean region; accordingly, requests that the Turkish Government join the Espoo Convention, which commits parties to notifying and consulting each other on major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries; to this end, asks the Turkish Government to involve, or at least consult, the governments of its neighbouring countries, such as Greece and Cyprus, during any further developments in the Akkuyu venture;

Shared interests and common challenges

33.  Underlines the important benefits of the Customs Union (CU) between the EU and Turkey; recalls that, since the start of the CU in 1996, the value of bilateral trade between Turkey and the EU has increased more than fourfold, with a parallel significant rise in foreign direct investment from the EU to Turkey and deeper integration between Turkish and European firms for the benefit of both sides; stresses in this connection, however, that any increase in the positive impact of the CU is closely linked to compliance with its rules and requirements, and is therefore greatly concerned by the growing problems for European companies trading with Turkey; points to the recent evaluation of the CU by the World Bank, which stresses the need to introduce a number of reforms to maintain an environment conducive to close economic cooperation, including in the future; points, in particular, to the need (i) to extend the scope of the CU to agricultural products, services and public procurement, (ii) to create favourable conditions for continued growth in trade, including the facilitation of visas for business travellers, and (iii) for consultations between the EU and Turkey on the impact on Turkey of Free Trade Agreements signed by the EU with third countries to be intensively pursued;

34.  Takes the view that political dialogue between Turkey and the EU should be complemented by a regular, structured high-level economic dialogue on issues of common concern, including trade relationships with third countries; underlines, in this regard, the interaction between the proper functioning of the rule of law and economic development; believes in the importance of developing and reinforcing Turkey’s economic, institutional and legal framework in the area of economic and monetary policy, with particular regard to the independence of the Central Bank, and believes that this could contribute to Turkey’s alignment with the acquis; notes that economic cooperation would be greatly enhanced by Turkey complying sufficiently with EU standards on public procurement, competition and employment and social policy;

35.  Reaffirms its support for the readmission agreement with the EU, which entered into force on 1 October 2014; encourages the Commission to continue to monitor progress by Turkey in fulfilling the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap; welcomes the effective efforts made to meet the criteria identified in the visa liberalisation roadmap; recalls that the visa liberalisation dialogue is a merit-based process and that Turkey should meet all the requirements set out in the visa roadmap, including, particularly, the full and effective implementation of all provisions of the readmission agreement; reiterates Turkey’s obligation to fully and effectively implement the readmission agreement and the visa liberalisation vis-à-vis all Member States, including non-discriminatory visa-free access to the Turkish territory for the citizens of all EU Member States; calls on Turkey to implement the existing bilateral readmission agreements fully and effectively; recalls that Turkey is one of the key transit countries for irregular migration to the EU and calls for the improvement of Turkey’s cross-border cooperation with neighbouring EU Member States in this respect; welcomes the entry into force of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection and the establishment of the General Directorate for Migration Management (GDMM) in April 2014 as substantial steps towards alignment with EU standards on international protection of regular and irregular migrants; notes that cooperation between Turkey and all EU Member States, aiming in particular at reinforcing the management of the common borders with all EU Member States, needs to be increased; emphasises the need for Turkey to further strengthen border security in order to combat irregular migration to EU countries;

36.  Recalls Turkey’s strategic importance for the EU’s energy security and regards Turkey as an important partner in the energy sector; points to the three Southern Gas Corridor projects approved at the end of 2013, which will enhance the security of gas supply for Turkey and access to the EU as the main energy market; takes the view that in a context of increasingly competing energy markets and the need for diversified energy sources and supply routes, Turkey, with its huge potential of renewables, could provide an important contribution to the EU’s energy security and its ambitions regarding energy diversification in line with international law; is concerned about closer energy cooperation between Turkey and Russia and therefore believes that the EU should speed up the negotiations on energy;

37.  Recalls Turkey’s strategic position as a partner of the EU and a member of NATO, and therefore its crucial geopolitical importance and its relevance for a comprehensive strategy seeking to address security and stability in its eastern and southern neighbourhoods, with particular reference to Syria and Iraq; points to the fact that the very serious developments in the region and the attacks carried out on European soil make it crucial that dialogue and cooperation with the EU on foreign policy issues is increased within the framework of EU-Turkey political dialogue; calls on Turkey to play an active role in the international coalition against terrorist groups such as ISIL, and to use all the resources at its disposal to this end; calls on Turkey to increase measures to prevent so-called foreign fighters, money or equipment from reaching ISIL and other extremist groups via its territory; stresses the need to continue and strengthen the regular EU-Turkey counterterrorism dialogue and to take concrete measures and action as part of our common efforts to fight terrorism in all its forms; calls on Turkey to ensure effective border control while continuing to provide the necessary assistance through humanitarian aid means to refugees entering from Syria and to ensure the safety of the victims of the Syrian civil war; underlines the importance of more frequent high-level dialogue and consultation between the EU and Turkey on foreign and security policy issues in order to ensure that our policies complement one another and that Turkey progressively aligns its foreign policy with that of the EU;

38.  Is of the opinion that the Turkish Foreign Minister should be invited to attend Foreign Affairs Council meetings whenever relevant; is of the opinion that a framework for structured dialogue, cooperation and coordination on foreign, security and defence policy issues is needed;

39.  Regrets the fact that the casus belli threat declared by the Turkish Grand National Assembly against Greece has not yet been withdrawn, despite a good track record of dialogue and cooperation between Greece and Turkey;

40.  Praises Turkey for its continued assistance to the estimated 1,6 million refugees from Iraq and Syria, and for maintaining an open border policy for humanitarian purposes; welcomes the Temporary Protection Directive adopted in October 2014, granting a secure legal status for refugees and enabling them to receive identity cards and access the labour market; calls on the EU to continue its financial support for humanitarian aid to Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Turkey; points out that refugee camps have attained their maximum capacity and that having to find a dwelling puts a tremendous strain on refugees’ lives and resources; takes the view that the EU should provide active support to the Government of Turkey in defining long-term assistance programmes for refugees and to promote access to education, health care and (legal) employment; calls on the Commission to increase the resources available under IPA II and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) to help provide adequate assistance to the local communities affected by the large inflows of refugees; calls also on the Member States to provide (temporary) resettlement places for the most vulnerable refugees, in the spirit of genuine responsibility-sharing;

41.  Calls on Turkey, with the technical and financial support of its partners, to provide access to education for the growing number of Syrian children living in Turkey;

Building good neighbourly relations

42.  Urges the Turkish Government to end the repeated violations of Greek airspace and territorial waters, as well as Turkish military aircraft flights over Greek islands;

43.  Calls on the Turkish Government to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which has been signed and ratified by the EU and its 28 Member States, without further delay, and underlines the Republic of Cyprus’ lawful right to enter into bilateral agreements concerning its exclusive economic zone; reiterates its calls on Turkey to respect the sovereign rights of all Member States, including those relating to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources when in line with the EU acquis and international law; calls on Turkey to refrain from any action damaging good neighbourly relations and a climate conducive to the peaceful settlement of bilateral disputes;

44.  Deplores Turkey’s refusal to fulfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement vis-à-vis all Member States; recalls that this refusal continues to have a profound effect on the negotiation process;

45.  Reiterates its strong support for the reunification of Cyprus, on the basis of a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement for both communities, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the values and principles on which the EU is founded, for a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with single sovereignty, single international legal personality and single citizenship, with political equality between the two communities and equal opportunities for all its citizens; welcomes the announcement by the UN Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide that the leaders of both communities are to resume negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General at the earliest convenience, and expresses its strong support for the efforts made by the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus to create the conditions for the resumption of talks; expresses hope that the message of reunification and reconciliation by the recently elected Turkish Cypriot leader will open a new window of opportunity in the negotiation process; calls on Turkey and all parties concerned to actively support the negotiations on reunification and to take the necessary steps towards the normalisation of relations with Cyprus; calls on Turkey to begin to withdraw its troops from Cyprus and to transfer the sealed-off area of Famagusta to the UN in accordance with UNSC Resolution 550(1984); calls, in parallel, on the Republic of Cyprus to open the port of Famagusta under EU customs supervision, in order to promote a positive climate conducive to the successful resolution of the ongoing reunification negotiations, and to allow Turkish Cypriots to trade with the EU in a legal manner that is acceptable to all;

46.  Reiterates relevant ECtHR decisions and calls on the Turkish Government to immediately stop the violation of the human rights of the Cypriot citizens and stop depriving them of the enjoyment and exercise of their property, religious and other human rights stemming from the constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus and the acquis communautaire, as well as the fundamental principles and values of the EU;

47.  Deplores Turkey’s policy of settlement and calls on Turkey to refrain from further settlement of Turkish citizens in the occupied areas of Cyprus, which is contrary to the Geneva Convention and the principles of international law; urges Turkey to terminate all actions that alter the demographic balance on the island thus impeding a future solution;

48.  Calls on Turkey to allow the Committee on Missing Persons full access to all relevant archives and military zones in the northern part of Cyprus for exhumation and to provide all relevant information that will lead to the discovery of relocated remains; calls for special consideration for the work done by the Committee on Missing Persons;

49.  Urges Turkey and Armenia to proceed to a normalisation of their relations by ratifying, without preconditions, the protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations, by opening the border and by actively improving their relations, with particular reference to cross-border cooperation and economic integration; welcomes the ongoing dialogue between Turkey and Armenia;

o
o   o

50.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.

(1) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 59.
(2) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 98.
(3) OJ C 257 E, 6.9.2013, p. 38.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0184.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0277.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0235.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0052.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0014.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0094.
(10) OJ L 51, 26.2.2008, p. 4.

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