Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Non-objection to a delegated act: rules of application of the Financial Regulation
 Non-objection to a delegated act: model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies
 Extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (EBA)
 Extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)
 Extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
 Operational and strategic cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Europol *
 Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application from Ireland - EGF/2015/006 IE/PWA International
 List of invasive alien species
 Products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize NK603 × T25
 Bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies
 EU-China Relations
 Preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance
 Developing a sustainable European industry of base metals
 Situation in Hungary: follow-up to the European Parliament Resolution of 10 June 2015

Non-objection to a delegated act: rules of application of the Financial Regulation
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European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 30 October 2015 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 on the rules of application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (C(2015)07555 – 2015/2939(DEA))
P8_TA(2015)0448B8-1336/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2015)07555),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 12 November 2015 asking Parliament to declare that it will raise no objections to the delegated regulation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Budgetary Control to the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs of 27 November 2015,

–  having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union(1), and in particular Article 210 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/1929 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 October 2015 amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012(2),

–  having regard to the recommendation for a decision by the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Budgetary Control,

–  having regard to Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the fact that no objections have been raised within the period laid down in the third and fourth indents of Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure, which expired on 15 December 2015,

A.  whereas Directives 2014/23/EU(3) and 2014/24/EU(4), which Member States have until 18 April 2016 to transpose into their national law, made it necessary to modify both Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 on the rules of application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 as regards the EU institutions’ procurement procedures and contracts awarded on their own account;

B.  whereas Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 was thus modified on 28 October 2015 by Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/1929 which aligned it with the abovementioned directives and entered into force on 30 October 2015;

C.  whereas on 30 October 2015 the Commission adopted the delegated regulation (C(2015)07555) with a view to ensuring that the corresponding update of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 can apply from the beginning of the financial year, ensuring a clear-cut transition to the new rules on EU public procurement and concession contracts;

D.  whereas, pursuant to Article 210 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012, which empowers the Commission to adopt such delegated acts, the delegated regulation (C(2015)07555) may in principle enter into force only at the end of the period of scrutiny by Parliament and the Council, which runs for two months from the date of notification – i.e. until 30 December 2015 – and may be extended by a further two months;

E.  whereas, however, the Commission asked Parliament on 12 November 2015, should it not intend to object to the delegated act, to notify the Commission accordingly on 21 December 2015 at the latest, since in order to ensure its timely publication in the Official Journal before 31 December 2015 and thereby secure the entry into force of the delegated act on 1 January 2016 as envisaged, it would have to be transmitted to the Office of Publications by 21 December 2015;

1.  Declares that it has no objections to the delegated regulation;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 286, 30.10.2015, p. 1.
(3) Directive 2014/23/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the award of concession contracts (OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 1).
(4) Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC (OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 65).


Non-objection to a delegated act: model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies
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European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 30 October 2015 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 on the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (C(2015)07554 – 2015/2940(DEA))
P8_TA(2015)0449B8-1337/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2015)07554),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 12 November 2015 asking Parliament to declare that it will raise no objections to the delegated regulation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Budgetary Control to the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs of 27 November 2015,

–  having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(1), and in particular Article 210 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/1929 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 October 2015 amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012(2),

–  having regard to the recommendation for a decision by the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Budgetary Control,

–  having regard to Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the fact that no objections have been raised within the period laid down in the third and fourth indents of Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure, which expired on 15 December 2015,

A.  whereas, in the joint statement of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the separate discharge for Joint Undertakings under Article 209 of the Financial Regulation(3), the three institutions declared in particular their intention ‘to propose relevant modifications to Articles 209 and 60(7) of the Financial Regulation in the framework of the future revision of the Financial Regulation’;

B.  whereas Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 was modified on 28 October 2015 by Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/1929, which, in addition to aligning it with Directives 2014/23/EU(4) and 2014/24/EU(5) and strengthening the system of protection of the EU budget, modified Articles 209 and 60 thereof, aligning the rules on discharge, external audit and annual reporting of the bodies operating under Article 209 of the Financial Regulation with those of the bodies operating under Article 208;

C.  whereas on 30 October 2015 the Commission adopted the delegated regulation (C(2015)07554) updating Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 on the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (aligning it with the corresponding provisions of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 applying to the bodies referred to in Article 208 of the Financial Regulation) with a view to its application from the beginning of the financial year, ensuring a clear-cut transition to the new rules;

D.  whereas, pursuant to Article 210 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012, which empowers the Commission to adopt such delegated acts, the delegated regulation (C(2015)07554) may in principle enter into force only at the end of the period of scrutiny by Parliament and the Council, which runs for two months from the date of notification – i.e. until 30 December 2015 – and may be extended by a further two months;

E.  whereas, however, the Commission asked Parliament on 12 November 2015, should it not intend to object to the delegated act, to notify the Commission accordingly on 21 December 2015 at the latest, since in order to ensure its timely publication in the Official Journal before 31 December 2015 and thereby secure the entry into force of the delegated act on 1 January 2016 as envisaged, it would have to be transmitted to the Publications Office by 21 December 2015;

1.  Declares that it has no objections to the delegated regulation;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 298 of 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 286 of 30.10.2015, p. 1.
(3).OJ L 163, 29.5.2014, p. 21.
(4) Directive 2014/23/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the award of concession contracts (OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 1).
(5) Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC (OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 65).


Extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (EBA)
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European Parliament decision of 16 December 2015 on the extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Banking Authority (EBA) (C8-0313/2015 – 2015/0903(NLE))
P8_TA(2015)0450A8-0347/2015

(Approval)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal of the Board of Supervisors of the European Banking Authority (EBA) of 8 September 2015 to extend the term of office of the Chairperson of the EBA by another five-year term (C8-0313/2015),

–  having regard to Article 48(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/78/EC(1),

–  having regard to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0347/2015),

A.  whereas the first Chairperson of the EBA was appointed by the Board of Supervisors of the EBA in 2011, following an open selection procedure, for a term of office of five years, in accordance with Article 48(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010;

B.  whereas Article 48(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 provides that the Board of Supervisors of the EBA, taking into account the evaluation referred to in that provision, may extend the term of office of the Chairperson of the EBA once, subject to confirmation by the European Parliament;

C.  whereas, on 8 September 2015, the Board of Supervisors of the EBA proposed to extend the term of office of Andrea Enria, the incumbent Chairperson of the EBA, by another five-year term, and informed the European Parliament accordingly;

D.  whereas, on 17 November 2015, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs held a hearing with Andrea Enria, the incumbent Chairperson of the EBA, at which he made an opening statement and then responded to questions from the members of the Committee;

1.  Approves the proposal for the extension of the term of office of Andrea Enria as Chairperson of the EBA by another five-year term;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council, the Commission, the EBA and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 12.


Extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)
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European Parliament decision of 16 December 2015 on the extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) (C8-0314/2015 – 2015/0904(NLE))
P8_TA(2015)0451A8-0348/2015

(Approval)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal of the Board of Supervisors of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) of 30 September 2015 to extend the term of office of the Chairperson of the EIOPA by another five-year term (C8-0314/2015),

–  having regard to Article 48(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/79/EC(1),

–  having regard to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0348/2015),

A.  whereas the first Chairperson of the EIOPA was appointed by the Board of Supervisors of the EIOPA in 2011, following an open selection procedure, for a term of office of five years, in accordance with Article 48(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010;

B.  whereas Article 48(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010 provides that the Board of Supervisors of the EIOPA, taking into account the evaluation referred to in that provision, may extend the term of office of the Chairperson of the EIOPA once, subject to confirmation by the European Parliament;

C.  whereas, on 30 September 2015, the Board of Supervisors of the EIOPA proposed to extend the term of office of Gabriel Bernardino, the incumbent Chairperson of the EIOPA, by another five-year term, and informed the European Parliament accordingly;

D.  whereas, on 17 November 2015, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs held a hearing with Gabriel Bernardino, the incumbent Chairperson of the EIOPA, at which he made an opening statement and then responded to questions from the members of the Committee;

1.  Approves the proposal for the extension of the term of office of Gabriel Bernardino as Chairperson of the EIOPA by another five-year term;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council, the Commission, the EIOPA and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 48.


Extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
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European Parliament decision of 16 December 2015 on the extension of the term of office of the Chairperson of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) (C8-0315/2015 – 2015/0905(NLE))
P8_TA(2015)0452A8-0346/2015

(Approval)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal of the Board of Supervisors of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) of 24 September 2015 to extend the term of office of the Chairperson of the ESMA by another five-year term (C8-0315/2015),

–  having regard to Article 48(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Securities and Markets Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/77/EC(1),

–  having regard to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0346/2015),

A.  whereas the first Chairperson of the ESMA was appointed by the Board of Supervisors of the ESMA in 2011, following an open selection procedure, for a term of office of five years, in accordance with Article 48(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010;

B.  whereas Article 48(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 provides that the Board of Supervisors of the ESMA, taking into account the evaluation referred to in that provision, may extend the term of office of the Chairperson of the ESMA once, subject to confirmation by the European Parliament;

C.  whereas, on 24 September 2015, the Board of Supervisors of the ESMA proposed to extend the term of office of Steven Maijoor, the incumbent Chairperson of the ESMA, by another five-year term, and informed the European Parliament accordingly;

D.  whereas, on 17 November 2015, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs held a hearing with Steven Maijoor, the incumbent Chairperson of the ESMA, at which he made an opening statement and then responded to questions from the members of the Committee;

1.  Approves the proposal for the extension of the term of office of Steven Maijoor as Chairperson of the ESMA by another five-year term;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council, the Commission, the ESMA and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 84.


Operational and strategic cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Europol *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 16 December 2015 on the draft Council implementing decision approving the conclusion by the European Police Office (Europol) of the Agreement on Operational and Strategic Cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Europol (10509/2015 – C8-0276/2015 – 2015/0808(CNS))
P8_TA(2015)0453A8-0352/2015

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council draft (10509/2015),

–  having regard to Article 39(1) of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, and Article 9 of Protocol No 36 on transitional provisions, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8-0276/2015),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2009/371/JHA of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office (Europol)(1), and in particular Article 23(2) thereof,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2009/934/JHA of 30 November 2009 adopting the implementing rules governing Europol’s relations with partners, including the exchange of personal data and classified information(2), and in particular Articles 5 and 6 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2009/935/JHA of 30 November 2009 determining the list of third States and organisations with which Europol shall conclude agreements(3),

–  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 (A8-0352/2015),

1.  Approves the Council draft;

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.  Calls on the Commission to assess, after the entry into force of the new Europol Regulation (2013/0091(COD)), the provisions contained in the cooperation agreement, in particular on data protection; calls on the Commission to inform the Parliament and the Council of the outcome of this assessment and, if appropriate, to submit a recommendation for an authorisation to open international renegotiation of the agreement;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and Europol.

(1) OJ L 121, 15.5.2009, p. 37.
(2) OJ L 325, 11.12.2009, p. 6.
(3) OJ L 325, 11.12.2009, p. 12.


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application from Ireland - EGF/2015/006 IE/PWA International
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 13 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (application EGF/2015/006 - IE/PWA International, from Ireland) (COM(2015)0555 – C8-0329/2015 – 2015/2295(BUD))
P8_TA(2015)0454A8-0363/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0555 – C8‑0329/2015),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014-2020) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006(1) (EGF Regulation),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3) (IIA of 2 December 2013), and in particular point 13 thereof,

–  having regard to the trilogue procedure provided for in point 13 of the IIA of 2 December 2013,

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs,

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Regional Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0363/2015),

A.  whereas the Union has set up legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns or of the global financial and economic crisis and to assist their reintegration into the labour market;

B.  whereas the Union’s financial assistance to workers made redundant should be dynamic and made available as quickly and efficiently as possible, in accordance with the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008, and having due regard to the IIA of 2 December 2013 in respect of the adoption of decisions to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF);

C.  whereas the adoption of the EGF Regulation reflects the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council to reintroduce the crisis mobilisation criterion, to set the Union financial contribution to 60 % of the total estimated cost of proposed measures, to increase efficiency for the treatment of EGF applications in the Commission and by the Parliament and the Council by shortening the time for assessment and approval, to widen eligible actions and beneficiaries by introducing self-employed persons and young people and to finance incentives for setting up own businesses;

D.  whereas Ireland submitted application EGF/2015/006 IE/PWA International for a financial contribution from the EGF following 108 redundancies in PWA International Ltd (PWAI), operating in the NACE Rev. 2 division 33 ('Repair and installation of machinery equipment')(4) in the NUTS level 2 region of Southern and Eastern Ireland, and whereas all redundant workers are expected to participate in the measures;

E.  whereas the application does not fulfil the traditional eligibility criteria set down by the EGF Regulation in terms of number of redundancies and is submitted under the intervention criteria of Article 4(2) of that Regulation, which allows for derogation under exceptional circumstances;

1.  Agrees with the Commission that the arguments put forward by Ireland qualify as "exceptional circumstances" and that, therefore, Ireland is entitled to a financial contribution of EUR 442 293 under that Regulation;

2.  Notes that the Irish authorities submitted the application for a financial contribution from the EGF on 19 June 2015, and that its assessment was finalised by the Commission on 6 November 2015; welcomes the speedy evaluation period of less than five months;

3.  Notes that PWAI was established in 1989 in Rathcoole, Co Dublin as a joint venture between United Technologies Corporation and Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland;

4.  Notes that Ireland specialised in the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) sector in the 1990s, which served it well at that time, but made it particularly vulnerable to the recent trend to locate MRO activity near centres of global aviation expansion, i.e. Asia, and to the adverse impacts of global trade deals; considers the existence of two other Irish EGF applications in the "repair and installation of machinery and equipment" sector(5) as proof of this vulnerability; notes also that MRO activities have been seriously affected in Europe, in particular Ireland, with the closure of SR Technics in 2009 and the closure of Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland in 2014 which resulted in the loss of approximately 1520 jobs;

5.  Notes that although the South Dublin unemployment rate (11,61 %) is only slightly higher than the national average (10,83 %), these figures conceal pockets of considerable local disadvantage and that the closure of PWAI has had a serious impact on employment and on the local, regional or national economy based on the pre-existing difficult situation in the area combined with the cumulative effect of three major closures in the MRO sector within a short period;

6.  Agrees that the pre-existing difficult situation in the area, combined with the cumulative effect of three major closures in the MRO sector within a short period, and the fact that no employers in this sector remain in Ireland may justify a derogation from the threshold of 500 redundancies set out in article 4(1) of the EGF regulation; reiterates, in this regard, its recommendation to the Commission to either clarify the derogation criteria set out in Article 4(1) of the EGF Regulation, or lower the threshold of 500 workers being made redundant;

7.  Welcomes the fact that, in order to provide workers with speedy assistance, the Irish authorities decided to initiate the implementation of the personalised services to the affected workers on 22 May 2015, well ahead of the decision on the granting of EGF support for the proposed coordinated package;

8.  Further welcomes the fact that 108 young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) under the age of 25 on the date of submission of the application will also have access to personalised services co-financed by the EGF;

9.  Notes that Ireland is planning five types of measures for redundant workers covered by this application: (i) guidance and career planning and development, (ii) EGF Training Grants, (iii) Training and Further Education Programmes, (iv) Higher Education Programmes, and (v) Time Limited Allowances; recommends that this EGF programme follows a programme similar to the EGF programme for SR Technics which led to positive outcomes with 53,45 % of beneficiaries back in employment in September 2012, less than 12 months after the programme ended; notes that the expenditure for those measures will be eligible for a financial contribution from the EGF between 22 May 2014 and 19 June 2017;

10.  Welcomes the variety of training measures to be provided to the beneficiaries; notes that the enterprise and self-employment support measures will only be available to a limited number of beneficiaries;

11.  Notes that the authorities estimate that 24,81 % of the costs will be used for time limited allowances, which remains much below the maximum allowed 35 % of all costs;

12.  Notes that the coordinated package of personalised services has been drawn up in consultation with the social partners;

13.  Recalls that, in line with Article 7 of the EGF Regulation, the design of the coordinated package of personalised services supported by the EGF should anticipate future labour market perspectives and required skills and should be compatible with the shift towards a resource-efficient and sustainable economy;

14.  Recalls the importance of improving the employability of all workers by means of adapted training and the recognition of skills and competences gained throughout a worker's professional career; expects the training on offer in the coordinated package to be adapted not only to the needs of the dismissed workers but also to the actual business environment;

15.  Notes that the Irish authorities confirm that the eligible actions do not receive assistance from other Union financial instruments; reiterates its call to the Commission to present a comparative evaluation of those data in its annual reports in order to ensure full respect for existing regulations and that no duplication of Union-funded services can occur;

16.  Appreciates the improved procedure put in place by the Commission, following the Parliament's request for the accelerated release of grants; notes the time pressure that the new timetable implies and the potential impact on the effectiveness of case instruction;

17.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that trade policy decisions are examined from the perspective of their potential impact on the Union labour market;

18.  Regrets that EGF mobilisation is proposed for only 108 redundant employees who are to benefit from the instrument and points out that wider interpretation of Article 4(1) of the EGF Regulation may not be appropriate;

19.  Observes that this proposal aims to mobilise the EGF with effectively the smallest number of laid off workers proposed so far;

20.  Notes that almost 80 % of the redundant employees are aged 30-54 and therefore represent a highly employable group with lower risk of long-term unemployment;

21.  Points out that all 108 redundancies are in the economic sector classified as "repair and installation of machinery and equipment", and more specifically aviation jet engines, which renders the workers skilled and adaptable to the labour market;

22.  Underlines that the redundancies took place in Rathcoole, which is located in the vicinity of Dublin, an economic and industrial hub where decreasing unemployment, increased business activity and overall economic growth are observed;

23.  Draws attention to the fact that any reference to application EGF/2009/021 IE/SR Technics is too far reaching as the case in question dates back to 2009;

24.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

25.  Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its Annex, to the Council and the Commission.

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

(application from Ireland – EGF/2015/006 IE/PWA International)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2015/2458.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 establishing the statistical classification of economic activities NACE Revision 2 and amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 3037/90 as well as certain EC regulations on specific statistical domains (OJ L 393, 30.12.2006, p. 1).
(5) EGF/2014/016 IE/Lufthansa Technik (COM(2013)0047) and EGF/2009/021 IE/SR Technics (COM(2010)0489).


List of invasive alien species
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European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on the draft Commission implementing regulation adopting a list of invasive alien species of Union concern pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council (D041932/01 – 2015/3010(RSP))
P8_TA(2015)0455B8-1345/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Commission implementing regulation adopting a list of invasive alien species of Union concern pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council (D041932/01),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species(1), and in particular Article 4(1) thereof,

–  having regard to Article 11 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers(2),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

–  having regard to Rule 106(2) and (3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Commission is to adopt, by means of implementing acts, a list of invasive alien species of Union concern (‘the Union list’), on the basis of the criteria laid down in Article 4(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘the IAS Regulation’), and whereas those implementing acts are to be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 27(2) thereof;

B.  whereas those draft implementing acts are to be submitted to the committee referred to in Article 27(1) of the IAS Regulation by 2 January 2016 and will enter into force on the 20th day following their publication in the Official Journal;

C.  whereas the Union list is to be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States;

D.  whereas invasive alien species are numerous and it is therefore important to ensure that priority is given to addressing the subset of invasive alien species considered to be of Union concern;

E.  whereas invasive alien species should be considered to be of Union concern if the damage that they cause in affected Member States is so significant that it justifies the adoption of dedicated measures applicable across the Union, including in Member States that are not yet affected or are even unlikely to be affected;

F.  whereas ensuring that the identification of invasive alien species of Union concern remains proportionate and focuses on species whose inclusion on the Union list would effectively prevent, minimise or mitigate the adverse impact of those species in a cost‑effective manner, was recognised as paramount during the informal trilogue negotiations;

G.  whereas the criteria for inclusion on the Union list are the core instrument of application of the IAS Regulation;

H.  whereas the criteria for inclusion on the Union list should ensure that the potential invasive alien species having the most significant adverse impact are among those to be listed, so as also to ensure the effective use of resources;

I.  whereas, under recital 13 of the IAS Regulation, common criteria should be established to carry out risk assessments in order to ensure compliance with the rules under the relevant World Trade Organisation agreements, and the coherent application of that regulation;

J.  whereas recital 32 of the IAS Regulation states that in order to take into account the latest scientific developments in the environmental field, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission for setting out the common elements for the development of risk assessments;

K.  whereas recital 32 of the IAS Regulation further states that it is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that the Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to Parliament and the Council;

L.  whereas Parliament has not been appropriately informed about the setting-out of common elements for the development of risk assessments, and whereas the transmission of the relevant documents to Parliament was not simultaneous, timely and appropriate;

M.  whereas the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 29 of the IAS Regulation, to further specify the type of evidence acceptable for the purposes of point (b) of Article 4(3) of that regulation and provide a detailed description of the application of points (a) to (h) of Article 5(1) thereof, and whereas the detailed description must include the methodology to be applied in risk assessments, taking into account relevant national and international standards and the need to prioritise action against invasive alien species associated with, or that have the potential to cause, a significant adverse impact on biodiversity or related ecosystem services, as well as on human health or the economy, such adverse impact being considered as an aggravating factor;

N.  whereas the Commission did not follow the provisions of Article 4(3) of the IAS Regulation, did not further specify the type of evidence acceptable for the purposes of point (b) of Article 4(3) of the IAS Regulation, and did not provide a detailed description of the application of points (a) to (h) of Article 5(1) of that regulation, including the methodology to be applied in the risk assessments;

O.  whereas the Commission failed to ensure that the methodology to be applied in the risk assessments is carried out in the same way by all Member States when proposing the inclusion of a species on the Union list, and whereas it cannot be ensured that Member States use the same type of evidence and apply the same overall standards;

P.  whereas the reasons for listing the species on the draft Union list are not based on scientific, but rather on political criteria;

Q.  whereas the listing of the species is not based on a standardised risk assessment and methodology, but rather on the political will of the Member States;

R.  whereas the draft Union list fails to address the problem of invasive alien species in a comprehensive manner, so as to protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as to minimise and mitigate the human health or economic impacts that these species could have;

S.  whereas the IAS Regulation, as a dedicated EU legislative instrument, could tackle outstanding challenges relating to biodiversity loss, deliver results and help to achieve the goals of the biodiversity strategy, but only if correctly implemented and supported by local authorities and the general public;

T.  whereas the Commission’s initial list has been criticised by several competent national authorities, stakeholders and the general public, to the extent that they are now seriously doubting the future effectiveness of the IAS Regulation, mainly because many of the most problematic invasive alien species are not listed, while some species incapable of causing a significant negative impact on biodiversity, ecosystem services, human health or the economy, or for which the measures to be taken would result in disproportionate costs, are listed;

U.  whereas the initial list overlooks species that are among the most detrimental invasive alien species in Europe; whereas some terrestrial plant and mammal species comply with the criteria and a robust risk assessment is available, yet they are not included on the list; whereas mammal species that have been among the most rapidly expanding alien species in Europe in recent years are not listed, and whereas widespread and rapidly expanding plant species with considerable and well-documented adverse effects on human health are not listed either;

1.  Considers that the draft Commission implementing regulation exceeds the implementing powers provided for in Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014;

2.  Calls on the Commission to withdraw its draft implementing regulation and to submit a new draft to the committee;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 317, 4.11.2014, p. 35.
(2) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.


Products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize NK603 × T25
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European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/2279 of 4 December 2015 authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize NK603 × T25 (MON-ØØ6Ø3-6 × ACS-ZMØØ3-2) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (2015/3006(RSP))
P8_TA(2015)0456B8-1365/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/2279 of 4 December 2015 authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize NK603 × T25 (MON-ØØ6Ø3-6 × ACS-ZMØØ3-2) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on genetically modified food and feed(2), and in particular Articles 7(3) and 19(3) thereof,

–  having regard to Articles 11 and 13 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers(3),

–  having regard to the opinion delivered by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on 15 July 2015(4),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

–  having regard to Rule 106(2) and (3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 17 May 2010 Monsanto Europe S.A. submitted to the competent authority of the Netherlands an application in accordance with Articles 5 and 17 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 for the placing on the market of foods, food ingredients, and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from NK603 × T25 maize;

B.  whereas the genetically modified MON-ØØ6Ø3-6 × ACS-ZMØØ3-2 maize, as described in the application, expresses the CP4 EPSPS protein which confers tolerance to glyphosate herbicides and PAT protein which confers tolerance to glufosinate ammonium herbicides, and whereas the International Agency for Research on Cancer – the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organisation – classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans on 20 March 2015(5);

C.  whereas the Commission, despite the adoption on 1 December 2015 of a motion for a resolution by Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety in which it objected to the draft implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize NK603 × T25 (MON-ØØ6Ø3-6 × ACS-ZMØØ3-2), decided to disrespect the principle of sincere cooperation between EU institutions by adopting the implementing decision on 4 December 2015, which was 10 days before the opening of the first plenary sitting of Parliament where Parliament could vote on the motion for a resolution following its adoption in committee;

D.  whereas on 22 April 2015 the Commission deplored, in the explanatory memorandum of its legislative proposal amending Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, the fact that since the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 the authorisation decisions have been adopted by the Commission, in accordance with applicable legislation, without the support of the Member States’ committee opinion and that the return of the dossier to the Commission for final decision, very much the exception for the procedure as a whole, has become the norm for decision-making on genetically modified (GM) food and feed authorisations;

E.  whereas the Commission was appointed on the basis of a set of political guidelines presented to Parliament and whereas, in those guidelines, a commitment was made to review the legislation applicable to the authorisation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs);

F.  whereas the legislative proposal of 22 April 2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 was rejected by Parliament on 28 October 2015(6) because, while cultivation necessarily takes place on a Member State’s territory, GMO trade crosses borders, which means that a national ‘sales and use’ ban proposed by the Commission could be impossible to enforce without reintroducing border checks on imports;

G.  whereas the current approval system for GM food and feed is not functioning well given that, as was revealed by the French newspaper Le Monde on 14 October 2015(7), six genetically modified maize varieties have been authorised for import into the EU carrying genetic modifications that were not included in the assessment when the crops were authorised and the additional GM traits were only notified to the European Food Safety Authority and the Commission by Syngenta in July 2015 despite the varieties having been approved for import between 2008 and 2011;

H.  whereas, while rejecting the legislative proposal amending Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, Parliament called on the Commission to withdraw its proposal and to submit a new one;

1.  Considers that Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/2279 exceeds the implementing powers provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003;

2.  Considers that the Commission’s decision to proceed with the adoption of Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/2279, despite its draft having been rejected by the committee responsible before the relevant vote in plenary, is in breach of Article 13(2) of the Treaty on European Union as regards the mutual sincere cooperation between the institutions;

3.  Considers that any implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified organisms in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 in its current non-functioning version, should be suspended until a new regulation is adopted on the basis of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

4.  Considers that the Commission implementing decision is not consistent with Union law, in that it is not compatible with the aim of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and Regulation (EC) No 396/2005(8), which is, in accordance with the general principles laid down in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002(9), to provide the basis for ensuring a high level of protection of human life and health, animal health and welfare, environment and consumer interests in relation to genetically modified food and feed, whilst ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market;

5.  Calls on the Commission to repeal Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/2279;

6.  Calls on the Commission to submit a new legislative proposal on the basis of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, amending Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and taking into account often expressed national concerns which do not relate only to issues associated with the safety of GMOs for health or the environment;

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 322, 8.12.2015, p. 58.
(2) OJ L 268, 18.10.2003, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.
(4) EFSA GMO Panel (EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms), 2015. Scientific Opinion on application (EFSA-GMO-NL-2010-80) for the placing on the market of herbicide tolerant genetically modified maize NK603 x T25 for food and feed uses, import and processing under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 from Monsanto. EFSA Journal: 2015; 13(7):4165, 23 pp. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4165.
(5) IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides 20 March 2015 http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0379.
(7) http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2015/10/14/failles-dans-l-homologation-de-six-mais-ogm-en-europe_4788853_3244.html
(8) Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC (OJ L 70, 16.3.2005, p. 1).
(9) Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1).


Bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 with recommendations to the Commission on bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the Union (2015/2010(INL))
P8_TA(2015)0457A8-0349/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the draft report of the special committee on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (2015/2066(INI) (the TAXE 1 special committee)),

–  having regard to the final report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/G20 Final Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project published on 5 October 2015,

–  having regard to Rules 46 and 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0349/2015),

Key findings from LuxLeaks scandal

A.  whereas a consortium of journalists, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), on tax rulings and other harmful practices in Luxembourg (LuxLeaks) revealed in November 2014 that nearly 340 multinational companies (MNC) secured secret deals from Luxembourg that allowed many of them to slash their global tax bills to a minimum, to the detriment of Union public interest, while creating little or no economic activity within Luxembourg;

B.  whereas the revelations showed that some tax advisors have deliberately, and in a targeted fashion, helped MNC to obtain at least 548 tax rulings in Luxembourg between 2002 and 2010; whereas those secret deals feature complex financial structures designed to create substantial tax reductions;

C.  whereas, as a result of those tax rulings, a large number of companies have enjoyed effective tax rates of less than 1 % on the profits they have shifted into Luxembourg; whereas while benefiting from various public goods and services where they operate, some MNC do not pay their fair share of tax; whereas close-to-zero effective tax rates for the profits generated by some MNC can hurt the Union and other economies;

D.  whereas in many cases Luxembourg subsidiaries handling hundreds of millions of euros in business maintain little presence and conduct little economic activity in Luxembourg, with some addresses being home to more than 1 600 companies;

E.  whereas the investigations carried out under the TAXE 1 special committee revealed that the practice of tax rulings does not exclusively take place in Luxembourg but is common across the Union; whereas the practice of tax rulings can be used legitimately to provide the necessary legal certainty for business and reduce the financial risk for honest firms, but is nevertheless open to potential abuse and tax avoidance and might, in providing legal certainty only to selected actors, create some degree of inequality between companies to which rulings have been granted and companies which do not use such rulings;

F.  whereas regard is had to the report from the OECD published on 12 February 2013 entitled ‘Addressing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting’ which proposed new international standards to combat BEPS;

G.  whereas regard is also had to the Communiqué issued following the Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G20 which took place on 5 October 2015;

H.  whereas, with some laudable exceptions, national political leaders have not been sufficiently forthcoming in addressing the problem of tax avoidance in corporate taxation;

I.  whereas the European Union has made major steps towards economic integration such as the Economic and Monetary Union as well as the Banking Union and that Union-level coordination of tax policies within the limits of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union is an indispensable part of the integration process;

Corporate taxation and aggressive tax planning

J.  whereas corporate income tax revenue for the 28 Member States of the Union amounted to an average of 2,6 % of GDP in 2012(1);

K.  whereas, in a context where investment and growth are lacking, it is important to retain companies in or attract companies to the Union and whereas, therefore, it is crucial for the Union to foster its attractiveness to local and foreign businesses;

L.  whereas all tax planning should take place within the boundaries of the law and the applicable treaties;

M.  whereas aggressive tax planning consists of taking advantage of the technicalities of a tax system, or of mismatches between two or more tax systems or legal loopholes, for the purpose of reducing tax liability;

N.  whereas aggressive tax planning schemes often result in the use of a combination of international tax mismatches, very favourable specific national tax rules and the use of tax havens;

O.  whereas, unlike aggressive tax planning, tax fraud and tax evasion constitute above all an illegal activity of evading tax liabilities;

P.  whereas the most adequate response to aggressive tax planning appears to be good legislation, proper implementation thereof and international coordination as to desired outcomes;

Q.  whereas the overall loss in State revenues due to tax avoidance from corporate taxation is generally compensated for by either raising the overall level of taxation, cutting public services, or increased national borrowing, thereby damaging other taxpayers as well as the overall economy;

R.  whereas a study(2) estimates that revenue losses for the Union due to tax avoidance from corporate taxation could amount to around EUR 50-70 billion, a year, this figure representing the sum lost to profit shifting and whereas this study also estimates that revenue losses for the Union due to tax avoidance from corporate taxation could in reality amount to around EUR 160-190 billion if special tax arrangements, inefficiencies in collection and other such activities were taken into account;

S.  whereas the same study estimates corporate income tax efficiency to be 75 %, although the study also confirms that this does not represent the amounts that could be expected to be recovered by tax authorities, because a certain percentage of those sums would be excessively expensive or technically difficult to collect; whereas according to the study, if a complete solution to the problem of BEPS were available and implementable across the Union, the estimated positive impact on tax revenues for Member State governments would be 0,2 % of total tax revenues;

T.  whereas loss arising from BEPS represents a threat to the proper functioning of the internal market and to the credibility, efficiency and fairness of corporate tax systems within the Union; whereas the same study also makes clear that its calculations do not include estimates of activity within the shadow economy, and that the opacity of certain companies' structures and payments mean it is difficult to estimate the impact on tax revenues accurately, and therefore there may be a significantly larger impact than the report estimates;

U.  whereas the loss arising from BEPS also clearly demonstrates the lack of a level playing-field between those companies which operate only in one Member State, in particular SMEs, family businesses and self-employed persons, and pay their taxes there, and certain MNC which are able to shift profits from high tax to specific low tax jurisdictions and engage in aggressive tax planning, thereby reducing their overall tax base and placing additional pressure on public finances to the detriment of Union citizens and SMEs;

V.  whereas MNC use of aggressive tax planning practices conflicts with the principle of fair competition and corporate responsibility embodied in communication COM(2011)0681 since devising tax planning strategies requires resources which are only available to large firms and since this results in an absence of level playing field between SMEs and large corporations, which needs to be urgently addressed;

W.  whereas stresses further, that tax competition in the Union and vis-à-vis third countries can be in some cases harmful and can lead to a race to the bottom in terms of tax rates while improved transparency, coordination and convergence provides an effective framework to guarantee fair competition between firms in the Union and protect state budgets from adverse outcomes;

X.  whereas measures allowing aggressive tax planning are incompatible with the principle of sincere cooperation among Member States;

Y.  whereas aggressive tax planning is facilitated by increasing business complexity and by the digitalisation and globalisation of the economy, among other factors, leading to distortions of competition harmful to growth and to Union companies, in particular to SMEs;

Z.  whereas the fight against aggressive tax planning cannot be tackled by Member States individually; whereas non-transparent and uncoordinated corporate tax policies carry a risk for the fiscal policy of Member States, leading to unproductive outcomes like the increase of taxation of less mobile tax bases;

AA.  whereas the lack of coordinated action is causing many Member States to adopt unilateral national measures; whereas such measures have often proven ineffective, insufficient and in some cases even detrimental to the cause;

AB.  whereas what is needed is therefore a coordinated and multi-pronged approach at national, Union and international level;

AC.  whereas the Union has been a pioneer in the global fight against aggressive tax planning, notably in promoting progress at OECD level on the BEPS project; whereas the Union should continue to play a pioneering role as the BEPS project develops seeking to prevent the damage that BEPS can cause both to Member States and also to developing countries around the world; including ensuring action on BEPS and beyond BEPS issues of significance to developing countries such as those detailed in the report to the G20 Development Working Group in 2014;

AD.  whereas the Commission and the Member States shall ensure that the comprehensive OECD package of measures on BEPS is implemented as a minimum standard at Union level and remain ambitious; whereas it is of crucial importance that all OECD countries implement the BEPS project;

AE.  whereas the Commission should clearly set out how it will implement all 15 of the OECD/G20 BEPS project deliverables beyond and in addition to the areas for action already mentioned in this report, proposing as soon as possible an ambitious plan of legislative measures, so as to encourage other countries to follow the OECD guidelines and the Union's example in the implementation of the Action Plan; whereas the Commission should also consider the areas in which the Union should go further than the minimum standards which the OECD recommends;

AF.  whereas according to the Union treaties the power to legislate on corporate taxation is currently vested in the Member States, yet the vast majority of problems linked to aggressive tax planning are of a multinational nature;

AG.  whereas more coordination of national tax policies therefore represents the only feasible way to create a level playing field and avoid measures that favour large MNC to the detriment of SMEs;

AH.  whereas the lack of coordinated tax policies in the Union leads to significant cost and administrative burden for citizens and businesses operating in more than one Member State within the Union - even more so for SMEs - and results in unintended double taxation, double non-taxation, or facilitates aggressive tax planning and whereas such cases should be eliminated and therefore require more transparent and simpler solutions;

AI.  whereas specific attention in the design of tax rules and proportionate administrative procedures should be given to SMEs and family businesses, which are the backbone of the Union economy;

AJ.  whereas by 26 June 2017 a Union-wide register for beneficial ownership has to be operational, aiding in tracking down possible tax avoidance and profit shifting;

AK.  whereas the revelations of the LuxLeaks scandal and the work carried out by the TAXE 1 special committee clearly show the need for Union legislative measures to improve transparency, coordination and convergence within corporate tax policies in the Union;

AL.  whereas corporate taxation should be guided by the principle of taxing profits where they are generated;

AM.  whereas the European Commission and the Member States should continue to play a very active role in the international arena in order to work for the establishment of international standards based primarily on principles of transparency, exchange of information and abolition of harmful tax measures;

AN.  whereas the principle of 'Policy Coherence for Development', as set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union , requires the Union to ensure that all stages of policy-making in every field, including in relation to corporate taxation, do not militate against, and instead promote, the goal of sustainable development;

AO.  whereas a coordinated approach to corporate taxation system across the Union would enable tackling unfair competition and enhancing the competitiveness of Union companies, in particular SMEs;

AP.  whereas the Commission and Member States should further deploy electronic solutions in taxation-related procedures to reduce administrative burdens and simplify cross-border procedures;

AQ.  whereas the Commission should assess the impact of tax benefits granted to existing special economic zones in the Union; encourages, in this regard, the exchange of best practices between tax authorities;

Transparency

AR.  whereas increased transparency in the area of corporate taxation can improve tax collection, make the work of tax authorities more efficient and is crucial for ensuring an increase in public trust and confidence in tax systems and governments, and this should be an important priority;

   (i) whereas increased transparency regarding the activities of large MNC, and in particular regarding profits made, taxes on profit paid, subsidies received and tax refunds, number of employees and assets held is essential for ensuring that tax administrations tackle BEPS efficiently; whereas a right balance needs to be struck between transparency, personal data protection and commercial sensitivity, as well as considering the impact on smaller businesses; whereas one vital form for this transparency to take is country-by-country reporting; whereas any Union proposals for country-by-country reporting should in the first instance be based on the OECD template; whereas it is possible for the Union to go further than the OECD guidelines and make such country-by-country reporting mandatory and public, and the European Parliament voted in favour of full public country-by-country reporting in its amendments adopted on 8 July 2015(3) on the proposal for a revised Shareholder Rights Directive; whereas the European Commission conducted a consultation on this subject between 17 June and 9 September 2015 in order to explore different options for the implementation of country-by-country reporting(4); whereas 88 % of those who responded publicly to that consultation said that they supported public disclosure of tax-related information by enterprises;
   (ii) whereas the conduct of aggressive tax planning by corporations is incompatible with Corporate Social Responsibility; whereas some companies within the Union have already begun to demonstrate that they are fully tax compliant by applying for and promoting their ownership of a 'Fair Tax Payer' label(5) and whereas such measures can have a strong deterrent effect and change behaviours, through the reputational risk for non-compliance such a label should be based on common criteria at European level;
   (iii) whereas increased transparency would be achieved if Member States inform each other and the Commission of any new allowance, relief, exemption, incentive or similar measure that could have a material impact on their effective tax rate; whereas such notification would help Member States in identifying harmful tax practices;
   (iv) whereas, despite the Council's recent agreement on amending Council Directive 2011/16/EU(6) as regards the automatic exchange of tax rulings, there are still risks that Member States do not communicate sufficiently between themselves about the possible impact that their tax arrangements with certain companies might have on tax collection in other Member States; whereas national tax authorities should automatically exchange all tax rulings without delay after they have been issued; whereas the Commission should have access to tax rulings, through a secure central directory; whereas tax rulings signed up to by tax authorities should be subject to greater transparency, providing that confidential information and business sensitive information is preserved;
   (v) whereas customs-free ports are reported to be used to hide transactions from tax authorities;
   (vi) whereas progress in the fight against tax evasion, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning can only be monitored with a harmonised methodology that can be used to estimate the size of the direct and indirect tax gaps in all Member States, and across the Union as a whole; whereas an estimate of the tax gap should only represent the start of providing further information on tax matters;
   (vii) whereas the current Union-wide legal framework to protect whistleblowers is insufficient, and there exists significant variation between the ways in which different Member States provide protection for whistleblowers; whereas in the absence of such protection, those employees who hold vital information will understandably be reluctant to come forward and therefore that information will not be made available; whereas since whistleblowers helped to mobilise public attention on the issue of unfair taxation, Member States should consider measures that will protect such activity; whereas it would therefore be appropriate to offer Union-wide protection for whistleblowers who report suspected misconduct, wrongdoing, fraud or illegal activity to national or European authorities or, in cases of persistently unaddressed misconduct, wrongdoing, fraud or illegal activity that could affect the public interest, to the public as a whole; whereas such protection should be coherent with the overall legal system; whereas this protection should be effective against unjustified legal prosecutions, economic sanctions and discriminations;

Coordination

AS.  whereas the power to legislate on corporate taxation is vested in the Member States, yet the vast majority of problems linked to aggressive tax planning are of a multinational nature; whereas more coordination of national tax policies therefore represents the only feasible way to address the problems of BEPS and aggressive tax planning;

   (i) whereas a mandatory Union-wide Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) would be a major step towards solving those problems associated with aggressive tax planning within the Union and should be introduced as a matter of urgency; whereas the ultimate goal is a full, mandatory CCCTB possibly with a temporary exemption for SMEs which are not MNC and companies with no cross-border activity, and with a formula apportionment method based on a combination of objective variables; whereas until a full CCCTB is in place, the Commission is considering temporary measures to counteract profit shifting opportunities; whereas it is necessary to ensure that those measures, including the offsetting of cross-border losses, do not increase the risk of BEPS; whereas these measures are not a perfect substitute for consolidation and time would be necessary to make this new regime fully operational;
   (ii) whereas despite the work of the Code of Conduct Group on harmful corporate taxation, aggressive tax planning measures continue to exist throughout the Union; whereas past attempts to strengthen the governance and mandate of the Group, and to adjust and broaden the working methods and criteria set in the Code, with the aim of combating new forms of harmful tax practices within the current economic environment, have not been successful; whereas the Group's activities are characterised by a general lack of transparency and accountability; whereas therefore the efficiency and functioning of the Group need to be strongly reformed and made more effective and transparent, notably through the publishing of annual reports and minutes, including the  indication of Member States' positions; whereas the Group should be able to take positions on issues arising from tax policies in more than one Member State without a small minority of Member States blocking recommendations;
   (iii) whereas the overall principle of corporate taxation in the Union should be that taxes are paid in the countries where a company's actual economic activity and value creation take place; whereas criteria should be developed to ensure that this occurs; whereas any use of 'patent box' or other preferential tax regimes must also ensure that taxes are paid in the place where value is generated, according to the criteria defined in BEPS Action 5, while also setting common European definitions for what qualifies as R&D promotion, and what does not, and for harmonising the use of patent and innovation boxes including advancing to 30 June 2017 the abolition of the old regime;
   (iv) whereas some Member States have unilaterally introduced Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC) rules, in order to adequately ensure that profits parked in low or no tax countries are effectively taxed; whereas those rules need to be coordinated in order to prevent the diversity of national CFC rules within the Union from distorting the functioning of the internal market;
   (v) whereas Directive 2011/16/EU provides for cooperation between Member States on tax inspections and audits and encourages the exchange of best practices between tax authorities; whereas, however, the instruments provided for in that Directive are not effective enough and divergent national approaches to auditing companies contrast with the highly organised tax planning techniques of certain companies;
   (vi) whereas for automatic exchange of information in general and on tax rulings in particular to be effective, a common European Tax Identification Number regime is required; whereas the Commission should consider the setting up of a common European business register;
   (vii) whereas the Commission decided to prolong the mandate of the Platform for Tax Good Governance - which was due to expire in 2016 - as well as expand its scope and enhance its working methods; whereas the Platform can help deliver on the new Action Plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion, facilitate discussions on Member States' tax rulings in light of the proposed new information exchange rules, and provide feedback on new anti-avoidance initiatives; whereas however the Commission needs to boost the profile, broaden the membership and increase the effectiveness of the Platform for Tax Good Governance;
   (viii) whereas the Commission should analyse and request the implementation of reforms to tax administrations within the European Semester process, to enhance the tax collection capacity of national and European-level tax administrations in order for them to carry out their roles effectively and thus to foster the positive impact of effective tax collection and effective actions against tax fraud and tax evasion on Member States' revenues;

Convergence

AT.  whereas improved coordination alone will not solve fundamental problems arising from the fact that different rules regarding corporate taxation exist in different Member States; whereas part of the overall response to aggressive tax planning must involve the convergence of a limited number of national tax practices; whereas this can be achieved while still preserving the sovereignty of Member States in relation to other elements of their corporate tax systems;

   (i) whereas aggressive tax planning practices may sometimes arise from the cumulative benefits of double taxation treaties concluded by different Member States, perversely resulting in double non-taxation instead; whereas the proliferation of double tax treaties signed up to by individual Member States with third countries may lead to opportunities for new loopholes; whereas, in line with Action 15 of the OECD/G20 BEPS project, there is a need to develop a multilateral instrument for amending bilateral tax treaties; whereas the Commission should be mandated to negotiate tax agreements with third countries on behalf of the Union instead of the current practice under which bilateral negotiations are conducted, which produce sub-optimal results; whereas the Commission should ensure that such agreements contain reciprocity provisions and prohibit any adverse impact on Union citizens and businesses, in particular SMEs, resulting from the extraterritorial application of third country legislation within the jurisdiction of the Union and its Member States;
   (ii) whereas the Union should have its own up to date definition of 'tax havens';
   (iii) whereas the Union should apply counter measures towards companies who make use of such tax havens; whereas this has already been called for in the European Parliament's Report on the Annual Tax Report 2014(7), which asked for the 'introduction of strong sanctions to prevent companies breaching or dodging tax standards, by refraining from granting EU funding and access to state aid or to public procurement to fraudulent companies or companies located in tax havens or countries distorting competition with favourable tax conditions; urges MSs to recover all types of public support given to companies if they are involved in breaching EU tax standards'; whereas Member States should also be subject to counter-measures in case they refuse to act to modify their harmful preferential tax regimes undermining the existence of a level-playing field in the Union;
   (iv) whereas a new binding definition of 'permanent establishment' is needed to ensure that taxation takes place where economic activity takes place and value is created; whereas this should be accompanied by minimum binding criteria to determine whether economic activity has sufficient substance to be taxed in a Member State in order to avoid the problem of 'letterbox companies', in particular regarding the challenges posed by the digital economy;
   (v) whereas the Commission's ongoing investigations into alleged breaches of the Union state aid rules have revealed an unhelpful lack of transparency regarding the way in which those rules should be applied; whereas to rectify this, the Commission should publish state aid guidelines to clarify how it will determine instances of tax-related state aid, thereby providing more legal certainty for companies and Member States alike; whereas in the framework of modernisation of the state aid regime the Commission should ensure effective ex-post control of the legality of granted state aid;
   (vi) whereas one of the unintended effects of the Council Directive 2003/49/EC(8) is that cross-border interest and royalties income may be untaxed (or taxed at a very low level); whereas a general anti-abuse rule should be introduced in that Directive as well as in the Council Directive 2005/19/EC(9) and other relevant Union legislation;
   (vii) whereas a Union-wide withholding tax or a measure of similar effect would ensure that all profits generated within, and due to leave, the Union are taxed at least once within the Union before they leave the Union’s borders;
   (viii) whereas the current Union framework on double taxation dispute resolution between Member States does not work effectively and would benefit from clearer rules and more stringent timelines, building on the systems already in place;
   (ix) whereas tax advisors play a crucial role in facilitating aggressive tax planning, by helping companies to establish complex legal structures in order to take advantage of the mismatches and loopholes that arise from different tax systems; whereas a fundamental review of the corporate tax system cannot occur without investigating the practices of these advisory firms; whereas such an investigation must include consideration of the conflict of interest inherent in such firms, which simultaneously provide advice to national governments on setting up tax systems and advice to companies on how best to optimise their tax liabilities within such systems;

AU.  whereas the overall efficiency of tax collection, the notion of tax fairness and the credibility of national tax administrations are not undermined only by aggressive tax planning and BEPS activities; whereas the Union and Member States should take similarly decisive action to address the problems of tax evasion and tax fraud within both corporate and individual taxation as well as problems relating to the collection of taxes other than corporate taxes, in particular VAT; whereas those other elements of tax collection and administration represent a substantial part of the existing tax gap;

AV.  whereas the Commission should therefore also consider how it will address those wider issues, in particular the enforcement of VAT rules in the Member States and of their application in cross-border cases as well as the inefficiencies in the collection of VAT (which in some Member States constitutes a major source of national income), VAT-avoidance practices and also the negative consequences of some tax amnesties or non-transparent 'tax forgiveness' schemes; whereas any such new measures should involve consideration of the balance of costs and benefits;

1.  Requests the Commission to submit to Parliament by June 2016 one or more legislative proposals, following the detailed recommendations set out in the Annex hereto;

2.  Confirms that the recommendations respect fundamental rights and the principle of subsidiarity;

3.  Considers that the financial implications of the requested proposal should be covered by appropriate budgetary allocations;

4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the accompanying detailed recommendations to the Commission, the Council, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

ANNEX TO THE RESOLUTION

DETAILED RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE CONTENT OF THE PROPOSAL REQUESTED

A.  Transparency

Recommendation A1. Mandatory, public country-by-country reporting for all sectors by MNC

The European Parliament calls once again on the European Commission to take all the necessary steps to introduce by the first quarter of 2016 comprehensive and public country-by-country reporting (CBC-R) for all MNC, in all sectors.

—  This proposal should be developed on the basis of the requirements put forward by the OECD in its CBC-R data template published in September 2014 (Action 13 of the OECD/G20 BEPS project).

—  When developing the proposal, the Commission should also consider:

—  the results of the Commission's consultation into CBC-R, conducted between 17 June and 9 September 2015, which examined different options for the possible implementation of CBC-R in the Union;

—  the proposals for full public CBC-R outlined in the revised Shareholder Rights Directive as voted for by the European Parliament on 8 July 2015(10) and the outcome of the ongoing trilogues on this Directive.

Recommendation A2. A new 'Fair Tax Payer' label for companies who engage in good tax practices

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal as soon as possible on a voluntary European 'Fair Tax Payer' label.

—  The proposal should include a European framework of eligibility criteria, under which the label could be awarded by national bodies.

—  This framework of eligibility criteria should make clear that the 'Fair Tax Payer' label is only awarded to those companies that have gone above and beyond the letter of what is required of them under Union and national law.

—  Companies should be motivated by this ‘Fair Tax Payer’ label to make paying a fair share of taxes an essential part of their corporate social responsibility policy, and to report on their stance on taxation matters in their annual report.

Recommendation A3. Mandatory notification of new tax measures

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal as soon as possible on a new mechanism whereby Member States are compelled to inform other Member States and the Commission without delay if they intend to introduce a new allowance, relief, exemption, incentive or similar measure that could have a material impact on the effective tax rate in the Member State or on the tax base of another Member State.

—  These notifications by Member States shall contain spillover analyses of the material impact of the new tax measures on other Member States and developing countries, to support the action of the Code of Conduct Group in identifying harmful tax practices.

—  These new tax measures should also be included in the European Semester process, and recommendations should be made for follow-up.

—  The European Parliament should receive regular updates about such notifications and the assessment carried out by the European Commission.

—  Penalties should be envisaged with respect to Member States which fail to comply with such reporting requirements.

—  The Commission should also consider whether it would be appropriate to oblige tax advisory firms to disclose to national tax authorities when they develop and begin promoting certain tax schemes intended to help companies reduce their overall tax liability, as currently happens within some Member States; and also consider whether the sharing of such information between Member States via the Code of Conduct Group would represent an efficient tool for improvements in the area of corporate taxation in the Union.

Recommendation A4. Automatic exchange of information on tax rulings to be extended to all tax rulings and to a certain extent made public

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to complement Directive 2011/16/EU which includes elements of automatic exchange of information on tax rulings, by:

—  extending the scope of the automatic exchange of information beyond cross-border tax rulings to include all tax rulings in the corporate tax area. Information provided must be comprehensive and in a mutually agreed format to ensure that it can be efficiently used by tax authorities in relevant countries.

—  significantly increasing the transparency of tax rulings at the Union level, with due consideration given to business confidentiality and trade secrets and taking into account the current best practices applicable in some Member States by publishing, on an annual basis, a report summarising the main cases contained in the Commission's to be created secure central directory of tax rulings and advance pricing arrangements.

—  the information in the report must be provided in an agreed, standardised form in order to allow the public to use it effectively.

—  ensuring that the Commission plays a full and meaningful role in the mandatory exchange of information on tax rulings with the creation of a secure central directory accessible by the Member States and the Commission concerning all tax rulings agreed in the Union.

—  ensuring that appropriate sanctions are applied to those Member States which do not automatically exchange information on tax rulings as they should.

Recommendation A5. Transparency of customs-free ports

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal to:

—  set a maximum time limit under which goods can be sold in customs-free ports, exempted from customs and excise duties and VAT;

—  oblige customs-free ports authorities to immediately inform the relevant Member States' and third countries' tax authorities of any transaction carried out by their tax residents in customs-free ports premises.

Recommendation A6. Commission estimate of the corporate tax gap

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to:

—  create, on the basis of best practices currently used by Member States, a harmonised methodology, which should be made public and that can be used by the Member States to estimate the size of the direct and indirect corporate tax gaps, that is the difference between corporate taxes due and corporate taxes paid, in all Member States.

—  work with Member States to ensure the provision of all the necessary data to be analysed using the methodology in order to produce the most accurate figures possible.

—  use the agreed methodology and all the necessary data in order to produce and publish, biannually, an estimate of the direct and indirect corporate tax gaps across the Union.

Recommendation A7. Protection of whistleblowers

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal as follows:

—  Protect whistleblowers who act in the public interest only (and not also for money or any other personal agenda) in order to expose misconduct, wrongdoing, fraud or illegal activity in relation to corporate taxation in any Member State in the European Union. Such whistleblowers should be protected if they report suspected misconduct, wrongdoing, fraud or illegal activity to the relevant competent authority, and should also be protected if, in cases of persistently unaddressed misconduct, wrongdoing, fraud or illegal activity in relation to corporate taxation that could affect the public interest, they report their concerns to the public as a whole;

—  Ensure that the right to freedom of expression and information is preserved in the European Union;

—  Such protection should be coherent with the overall legal system and be effective against unjustified legal prosecutions, economic penalties and discriminations;

—  Such a legislative proposal should take as its basis Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council(11) and take into account any future Union legislation in this area;

—  Such a legislative proposal could also take into consideration the Council of Europe's 'Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7(12) on the protection of whistleblowers' and notably the definition of whistleblower 'as any person who reports or discloses information on a threat or harm to the public interest in the context of their work-based relationship, whether it be in the public or private sector'.

B.  Coordination

Recommendation B1. Introduction of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward as soon as possible a legislative proposal for the introduction of a common consolidated corporate tax base:

As a first step, by June 2016, a mandatory Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) in the Union, possible with a temporary exemption for small- and medium-sized enterprises which are not MNC and companies with no cross-border activity, in order to have only one set of rules for companies operating in several Member States to calculate their taxable profits.

As a second step, as soon as possible and certainly no later than the end of 2017, a mandatory CCCTB, taking into due consideration the range of different options (factoring in the costs, for example, of incorporating small- and medium-sized enterprises and companies with no cross-border activity);

The CCCTB should be based on a formula apportionment method which reflects the real economic activities of companies and does not unduly advantage certain Member States.

During the interim period between the introduction of mandatory CCTB and that of full CCCTB, a set of measures to reduce profit shifting (mainly via transfer pricing) including as a minimum a Union anti-BEPS legislative proposal. These measures should not include a temporary cross-border loss offset regime unless the Commission can guarantee that it will be transparent and will not create the possibility of misuse for aggressive tax planning.

The Commission should consider to what extent it would be necessary to produce a single set of generally accepted accounting principles in order to prepare the underlying accounting data to be used for CCCTB purposes.

Any proposal for either CCTB or full CCCTB should include an Anti-Avoidance Clause.

Recommendation B2. Strengthen the mandate and improve transparency of the Council's Code of Conduct Group (Business Taxation)

The European Parliament calls on the Commission to bring forward a proposal to incorporate the Code of Conduct Group into the Community method, as a Council Working group, with the participation of the European Commission and the European Parliament as observers.

—  The Code of Conduct group (CoC Group) shall become more transparent, more effective and more accountable, including through:

—  regular provision, updates and publication of its oversight of the extent to which Member States meet the recommendations set out by the CoC Group in its six-monthly progress report to finance ministers;

—  regular provision, updates and publication of a list every two years of harmful tax practices;

—  regular production, provision and publication of its minutes, including increased transparency in the process of drafting recommendations, notably with  an indication of representatives of Member States' positions;

—  The appointment of a political Chair by the Ministers for Finance;

—  The appointment by each Member State of a high level representative and a deputy in order to raise the profile of the body;

—  The tasks of the CoC Group shall include:

—  identifying harmful tax practices in the Union;

—  proposing measures and timelines for the elimination of harmful tax practices, and monitoring the results of the recommendations/measures proposed;

—  reviewing the reports on spillover effects of new tax measures provided by Member States as stipulated above, and assessing whether action is required;

—  proposing other initiatives focused on tax measures in the external policy of the Union;

—  improving enforcement mechanisms against those practices which facilitate aggressive tax planning.

Recommendation B3. Patent box and other preferential regimes: Linking preferential regimes to where value is generated

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to continue providing guidance to Member States on how to implement patent box regimes, in line with the "modified nexus approach" so as to ensure that they are not harmful.

—  This guidance should make clear that preferential regimes, such as patent boxes, must be based on the "modified nexus approach", as defined in the OECD BEPS Action 5, meaning that there must be a direct link between the tax benefits and the underlying research and development activities.

—  Extensive patent boxes schemas with no link to geographical origin and ‘age’ of know-how should be considered as harmful practices.

—  If, within 12 months, Member States are not applying this new approach consistently, the Commission should bring forward a binding legislative proposal.

—  The Commission should bring forward proposals for common European standards and definitions on what qualifies as the promotion of research and development, and what does not, and for harmonising the use of patent and innovation boxes including advancing to 30 June 2017 the abolition of the old regime by shortening the timing of grandfathering rules;

Recommendation B4. Controlled Foreign Corporation

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal:

—  to provide a Union coordinated framework for CFC rules, in order to ensure that profits parked in low or no tax countries are effectively taxed and to prevent the diversity of national CFC rules within the Union from distorting the functioning of the internal market. This framework should ensure full use of CFC legislation beyond situations of wholly artificial arrangements. This shall not prevent individual Member States from introducing stricter rules.

Recommendation B5. Improving Member States' coordination on tax controls

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal to amend the Directive 2011/16/EU, in order to:

—  ensure more effective simultaneous tax audits and controls where two or more national tax authorities decide to conduct controls of one or more persons of common or complementary interests;

—  ensure that a parent company and its subsidiaries located in the Union are audited by their respective tax authorities at the same period of time, under the leadership of the tax authorities of the parent company, in order to ensure efficient flows of information between tax authorities. As part of this:

—  tax authorities should regularly exchange information on their investigations in order to ensure that groups do not benefit from mismatches or loopholes in the combination of various national tax systems.

—  time limits to exchange information on ongoing audits should be reduced to a minimum.

—  tax authorities of a company should systematically inform the tax authorities of the other entities within the same group regarding the outcome of a tax control;

—  no decision regarding the outcome of a tax control by a tax authority should be taken before informing the other tax authorities concerned.

Recommendation B6. The introduction of a common European Tax Identification Number

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal for a European Tax Identification Number.

—  The proposal shall be based on the outline for a European Tax Identification Number in the Commission's Action Plan on the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion of 2012 (action 22)(13), and the outcome of the subsequent consultation of 2013(14).

C.  Convergence

Recommendation C1. A new approach to international tax arrangements

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal to allow the Union to speak with one voice in relation to international tax arrangements.

—  The Commission should be mandated to negotiate tax agreements with third countries on behalf of the Union instead of the current practice under which bilateral negotiations are conducted, which produce sub-optimal results, especially for developing countries.

—  The Commission has to ensure that such agreements contain reciprocity provisions and prohibit any adverse impact on the citizens of the Union and businesses, in particular SMEs, resulting from the extraterritorial application of third country legislation within the jurisdiction of the Union and its Member States.

—  A common Union multilateral tax agreement should be introduced to replace the multitude of bilateral tax agreements agreed between Member States themselves and with other countries.

—  All new international trade agreements concluded by the Union should include a clause on good tax governance.

—  All international tax arrangements shall foresee an enforcement mechanism.

Recommendation C2. Create a common and cogent definition of 'tax havens'

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal to establish, in cooperation with the OECD and the United Nations among others, cogent criteria to define 'tax havens'.

—  Those criteria should be based on comprehensive, transparent, robust, objectively verifiable and commonly accepted indicators, further developing the good governance principles as defined by the Commission in its communication of 2009 'Promoting Good Governance in Tax Matters'(15): Exchange of information and administrative cooperation; Fair tax competition; and transparency.

—  Those criteria should cover concepts such as banking secrecy, recording of ownership of companies, trusts and foundations, the publication of company accounts, capacity for information exchange, efficiency of tax administration, promotion of tax evasion, existence of harmful legal vehicles, prevention of money laundering, automaticity of information exchange, existence of bilateral treaties, and international transparency commitments and judicial cooperation.

—  On the basis of those criteria, the Commission should put forward a revised list of tax havens, which would replace its interim list as put forward in June 2015.

—  This list of tax havens should be linked to the relevant taxation legislation as a reference point for other policies and legislation.

—  The Commission should review the list on at least a biannual basis, or upon the justified request of a jurisdiction on the list.

Recommendation C3. Counter-measures towards companies who make use of tax havens

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal for a catalogue of counter-measures the Union and Member States should apply as shareholders and financers of public bodies, banks and funding programmes, to be applied to companies which use tax havens in order to put in place aggressive tax planning schemes and therefore do not comply with Union tax good governance standards.

—  Those counter-measures should include:

—  being banned from accessing state aid or public procurement opportunities at Union or national level

—  being banned from accessing certain Union funds

—  This should be achieved, inter alia, by:

—  amending the European Investment Bank (EIB) Statute (Protocol No. 5 annexed to the treaties) to ensure that no EIB funding can go to ultimate beneficiaries or financial intermediaries which make use of tax havens or harmful tax practices(16)

—  amending the Regulation (EU) No 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council (17)to ensure that no EFSI funds can go to such companies(18)

—  amending Regulations (EU) No 1305/2013(19), (EU) No 1306/2013(20),(EU) No 1307/2013(21) and(EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(22) to ensure that no CAP funding can go to such companies

—  continuing the process of State Aid Modernisation to ensure that Member States do not provide State Aid to any such companies(23)

—  amending the Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(24) to ensure that no money from the five European Structural and Investment Funds (European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, Cohesion Fund, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund) can go to any such companies

—  amending the Agreement Establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to ensure no EBRD funding can go to any such companies(25)

—  forbidding the conclusion of trade agreements by the Union with jurisdictions defined by the Commission as 'tax havens'

The Commission shall check whether existing trade agreements with countries identified as tax havens can be suspended or terminated.

Recommendation C4. Permanent Establishment

The European Parliament calls on to the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal to:

—  adjust the definition of ‘permanent establishment’ so that companies cannot artificially avoid having a taxable presence in Member States in which they have economic activity. This definition should also address situations in which companies which engage in fully dematerialised digital activities, are considered to have a permanent establishment in a Member State if they maintain a significant digital presence in the economy of that country;

—  introduce a Union definition of minimum "economic substance" covering also the digital economy so as to ensure that companies are genuinely creating value and adding to the economy of the Member State in which they have a taxable presence.

The foregoing two definitions should form part of a concrete ban on so-called 'letter box companies'.

Recommendation C5. Improving the Transfer Pricing framework in the EU

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal:

—  to develop, based on its experience and on analysis of the new OECD principles on transfer pricing, specific Union Guidelines setting out how the OECD principles should be applied and how they should be interpreted within the Union context, so as to:

—  reflect the economic reality of the internal market;

—  provide certainty, clarity and fairness for Member States and for companies operating within the Union;

—  reduce the risk of misuse of the rules for profit shifting purposes.

Recommendation C6. Hybrid mismatches

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal to either:

—  harmonise national definitions of debt, equity, opaque and transparent entities, harmonise the attribution of assets and liabilities to permanent establishment, and harmonise the allocation of costs and profits between different entities within the same group; or

—  prevent double non-taxation, in the event of a mismatch.

Recommendation C7. Change the Union state aid regime as it relates to tax

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal at the latest by mid-2017 for:

—  state aid guidelines that clarify how the Commission will determine instances of tax-related state aid, thereby providing more legal certainty for businesses and Member States, taking into consideration the fact that, in other sectors, such guidelines have proven to be highly effective in putting a stop to and pre-empting practices in Member States which are in conflict with Union state aid law; an effect which can only be achieved via a high degree of detail in the guidelines, including numerical thresholds.

—  publicly identifying tax policies that are not consistent with state aid policy in order to give companies and Member States guidance and improved legal certainty; for this purpose the Commission shall reallocate resources to DG Competition so that it can act effectively on any issues of illegal state aid (including selective tax advantages).

The European Parliament also calls on the European Commission in the longer term to assess the possibility of modifying the existing rules in order to prevent the amounts recovered following an infringement of Union state aid rules being returned to the Member State which granted the illegal tax-related aid, as is currently the case. As an example, the recovered state aid could be allocated to the Union budget or to the Member States which have suffered from an erosion of their tax base.

Recommendation C8. Amend Council Directives 90/435/EEC(26), 2003/49/EC and 2005/19/EC and other relevant Union legislation and introduction of a general anti-abuse rule

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal

—  Following the introduction of a General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) into Directive 90/435/EC, to proceed as soon as possible with the introduction of a GAAR into Directive 2003/49/EC and to bring forward proposals for a GAAR to be introduced into the Directive 2005/19/EC and other relevant Union legislation.

—  To include such a GAAR in any future Union legislation that covers tax matters or has tax implications.

—  In relation to Directive 2003/49/EC, in addition to the introduction of a GAAR, also remove the requirement for Member States to give beneficial treatment to interest and royalty payments if there is no effective taxation elsewhere in the Union.

—  In relation to Directive 2005/19/EC, in addition to the introduction of a GAAR, also introduce additional transparency obligations and - if these changes prove insufficient to prevent aggressive tax planning - introduce a minimum tax provision as the requirement for the use of "tax advantages" (such as, no taxation of dividends) or other measures of similar impact.

Recommendation C9. Improving cross-border taxation dispute resolution mechanisms

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal by summer 2016

—  To improve the current mechanisms to resolve cross-border taxation disputes in the Union, not only focusing on cases of double taxation but also double non-taxation. The aim is to create a coordinated Union approach to dispute resolution, with clearer rules and more stringent timelines, building on the systems already in place.

—  The work and decision of the dispute resolution mechanism should be transparent so as to reduce any uncertainty for corporations in the application of tax law.

Recommendation C10. Introduce a withholding tax or a measure of similar effect in order to avoid profits leaving the Union untaxed

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to bring forward a proposal by summer 2016 to introduce a withholding tax or a measure of similar effect, to ensure that all profits generated within the Union, and due to leave, are effectively taxed within the Union before they leave the Union’s borders.

D.  Other measures

Recommendation D1. Additional measures to address the tax gap

The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to also focus on other factors beyond aggressive tax planning and BEPS activity which contribute to the existing tax gap, including:

—  investigating sources of low efficiency regarding tax collection, including VAT collection;

—  investigating sources of tax unfairness or weak credibility of tax administrations in the areas other than corporate taxation;

—  setting principles for tax amnesties, including the circumstances in which they would be appropriate and those in which other policy options would be preferable, as well as a requirement for Member States to inform the Commission in advance of any new tax amnesty, in order to eliminate the negative consequences of these policies on future tax collection;

—  proposing a minimum level of transparency for 'tax forgiveness' schemes and discretionary tax breaks run by national governments;

—  giving Member States more freedom to consider companies’ tax compliance, and in particular systematic cases of non-compliance, as a factor when issuing procurement contracts;

—  ensuring that tax authorities have full and meaningful access to central registers of beneficial ownership for both companies and trusts, and that those registers are properly maintained and verified;

This can be achieved by Member States swiftly transposing the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, ensuring broad and simplified access to information contained in central registers of beneficial owners, including to civil society organisations, journalists and citizens.

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/taxation/gen_info/economic_analysis/tax_structures/2014/report.pdf
(2) European added value of legislative report on bringing Transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the European Union’ by Dr Benjamin Ferrett, Daniel Gravino and Silvia Merler – To be published.
(3) Texts adopted of 8.7.2015, P8_TA(2015)0257.
(4) http://ec.europa.eu/finance/consultations/2015/further-corporate-tax-transparency/index_en.htm.
(5) Such as the Fair Tax Mark: http://www.fairtaxmark.net/.
(6) Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on administrative cooperation in thefield of taxation and repealing Directive 77/799/EEC(OJ L 64, 11.3.2011, p. 1).
(7) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A8-2015-0040+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
(8) Council Directive 2003/49/EC of 3 June 2003 on a common system of taxation applicable to interest and royalty payments made between associated companies of different Member States (OJ L 157, 26.6.2003, p. 49).
(9) Council Directive 2005/19/EC of 17 February 2005 amending Directive 90/434/EEC on the common system of taxation applicable to mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States (OJ L 58, 4.3.2005, p. 19).
(10) Texts adopted of 8.7.2015, P8_TA(2015)0257.
(11) Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on market abuse (market abuse regulation) and repealing Directive 2003/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directives 2003/124/EC, 2003/125/EC and 2004/72/EC (OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 1)
(12) http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/cdcj/Whistleblowers/protecting_whistleblowers_en.asp
(13) COM(2012)0722.
(14) https://circabc.europa.eu/faces/jsp/extension/wai/navigation/container.jsp
(15) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2009:0201:FIN:EN:PDF
(16) http://www.eib.org/attachments/general/governance_of_the_eib_en.pdf
(17) Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2015 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal and amending Regulations (EU) No 1291/2013 and (EU) No 1316/2013 — the European Fund for Strategic Investments (OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, p. 1).
(18) http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/jobs-growth-investment/plan/docs/proposal_regulation_efsi_en.pdf
(19) Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 487).
(20) Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 352/78, (EC) No 165/94, (EC) No 2799/98, (EC) No 814/2000, (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 485/2008 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 549).
(21) Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 637/2008 and Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 608).
(22) Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 671).
(23) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P7-TA-2013-0026+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
(24) Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320).
(25) http://www.ebrd.com/news/publications/institutional-documents/basic-documents-of-the-ebrd.html
(26) Council Directive 90/435/EEC of 23 July 1990 on the common system of taxation applicable in the case of parent companies and subsidiaries of different Member States (OJ L 225, 20.8.1990, p. 6).


EU-China Relations
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European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on EU-China relations (2015/2003(INI))
P8_TA(2015)0458A8-0350/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and China as of 6 May 1975,

–  having regard to the EU-China Strategic Partnership launched in 2003,

–  having regard to the main legal framework for relations with China, namely the EC-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement(1), signed in May 1985, which covers economic and trade relations and the EU-China cooperation programme,

–  having regard to the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation agreed on 21 November 2013,

–  having regard to the structured EU-China political dialogue formally established in 1994 and the High‑Level Strategic Dialogue on strategic and foreign policy issues established in 2010, in particular the 5th EU-China High Level Strategic Dialogue held in Beijing on 6 May 2015,

–  having regard to the negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which have been ongoing since 2007,

–  having regard to the negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Agreement that were started in January 2014,

–  having regard to the 17th EU-China Summit, which took place in Brussels on 29 June 2015, and to the joint statement issued at its conclusion,

–  having regard to the remarks made by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, on 29 June 2015 at the joint press conference with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang following the 17th EU-China Summit, in which he expressed the EU’s ‘concerns on freedom of expression and association in China, including the situation of the persons belonging to minorities such as Tibetans and Uighurs’ and ‘encouraged China to resume a meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 24 October 2006 entitled ‘EU – China: Closer partners, growing responsibilities’ (COM(2006)0631),

–  having regard to the Council’s East Asia Policy Guidelines,

–  having regard to the General Affairs and External Relations Council conclusions of 11‑12 December 2006, entitled ‘EU-China Strategic Partnership’,

–  having regard to the Commission Strategy Paper for China 2007-2013, the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2011-2013, and the 2010 mid-term review of the Strategy Paper and review of the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2011-2013,

–  having regard to the first-ever policy paper by China on the EU, issued on 13 October 2003,

–  having regard to the adoption of the new national security law by the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress of 1 July 2015, and the publication of the second draft of a new Foreign NGO Management law on 5 May 2015,

–  having regard to the White Paper of 26 May 2015 on China’s military strategy,

–  having regard to the EU-China dialogue on human rights launched in 1995 and the 32nd round held in Beijing on 8-9 December 2014,

–  having regard to the 60 sectoral dialogues in progress between China and the EU, concerning, inter alia, the environment, regional policy, employment and social affairs and civil society,

–  having regard to the establishment in February 2012 of the EU-China High-Level People‑to-People Dialogue, which accommodates all EU-China joint initiatives in this field,

–  having regard to the scientific and technological cooperation agreement between the EC and China, which entered into force in 2000(2) and the Science and Technology Partnership Agreement signed on 20 May 2009,

–  having regard to the EU-China joint statement on Climate Change issued at the 17th EU-China Summit in June 2015, and to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by China to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 30 June 2015,

–  having regard to the EU-China Joint Declaration on Energy Security issued in Brussels on 3 May 2012, and to the Energy Dialogue between the EC and China,

–  having regard to the China-EU Round Tables,

–  having regard to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which took place from 8 to 14 November 2012, and to the leadership changes in the Politburo Standing Committee as decided at that congress,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966,

–  having regard to the outcomes of the Fourth Plenary Meeting of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Central Committee (the Fourth Plenum) held on 20-23 October 2014,

–  having regard to the chair’s statement at the 26th ASEAN Summit of 27 April 2015,

–  having regard to the statement of the Vice President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security of 6 May 2015 following her meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang,

–  having regard to the most recent EP-China interparliamentary meeting, which took place on 26 November 2013,

–  having regard to its recent resolutions on China, in particular those of 23 May 2012 on EU and China: Unbalanced Trade?(3), of 2 February 2012 on the EU foreign policy towards the BRICS and other emerging powers: objectives and strategies(4), of 14 March 2013 on nuclear threats and human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(5), of 17 April 2014 on the situation in North Korea(6), of 5 February 2014 on 2030 framework for climate and energy policies(7), and of 12 March 2015 on the Annual Report from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the European Parliament(8),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 7 September 2006 on EU-China relations(9), of 5 February 2009 on trade and economic relations with China(10), of 14 March 2013 on EU-China relations(11), of 9 October 2013 on the EU-China negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement(12), and of 9 October 2013 on EU-Taiwan trade relations(13),

–  having regard to its human rights resolutions of 26 November 2009 on China: minority rights and application of the death penalty(14), of 10 March 2011 on the situation and cultural heritage in Kashgar (Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China)(15), of 5 July 2012 on the forced abortion scandal in China(16), of 12 December 2013 on organ harvesting in China(17), and of 13 March 2014 on EU priorities for the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council(18),

–  having regard to the EU arms embargo introduced after the Tiananmen crackdown of June 1989, as supported by Parliament in its resolution of 2 February 2006 on the annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the main aspects and basic choices of CFSP(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2005 on relations between the EU, China and Taiwan and security in the Far East(20),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Tibet, in particular those of 25 November 2010 on Tibet: plans to make Chinese the main language of instruction(21), of 27 October 2011 on Tibet, in particular self-immolation by nuns and monks(22) and of 14 June 2012 on the human rights situation in Tibet(23),

–  having regard to the nine rounds of talks from 2002 to 2010 between high-ranking representatives of the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama; having regard to China’s White Paper on Tibet, entitled ‘Tibet’s Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide’ and published by China’s State Council Information Office on 15 April 2015; having regard to the 2008 Memorandum and the 2009 Note on Genuine Autonomy, both presented by the Representatives of the 14th Dalai Lama,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0350/2015),

A.  whereas 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and China; whereas the EU-China Strategic Partnership is of key importance to relations between the EU and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and to finding mutual answers to a range of global concerns and identifying common interests, such as global and regional security, counter-terrorism, the fight against organised crime, cybersecurity, weapons of mass destruction and nuclear non-proliferation, energy security, global financial and market regulation, climate change and sustainable development, as well as in creating a framework to address bilateral concerns between the EU and China;

B.  whereas China and the EU launched negotiations for a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in 2013;

C.  whereas China is a major trading partner of the EU, with a huge and expanding market; whereas the ongoing investment agreement negotiations represent one of the most important issues in EU-China bilateral economic and trade relations;

D.  whereas, under the current leadership of Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese President, China has launched a series of initiatives, including a ‘New Silk Road’ project to integrate China economically with Central Asia and, ultimately, with Europe and Africa, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and a strategically important energy deal with Russia for the supply of 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually, the construction of an oil pipeline and other joint oil exploration and exploitation projects in China; whereas in the last few years China has been pursuing increasingly active investment policies, in the EU as well as in its eastern neighbourhood;

E.  whereas President Xi Jinping has launched the ‘Chinese Dream’ initiative, which was put forward as a concept and vision aimed at realising national rejuvenation and building a moderately prosperous society across a broad spectrum of economic, social, cultural and political dimensions, and at China becoming a fully developed nation by 2049;

F.  whereas China has experienced very high levels of economic growth in the last 20 years, and 600 million Chinese citizens have been lifted out of poverty;

G.  whereas the 2015 Chinese stock market crash has impacted negatively on global financial stability, including in the EU;

H.  whereas China’s family planning policy has caused a rapid ageing process among the population since the 1980s, with over 200 million citizens now over 60 years old;

I.  whereas environmental degradation in China has taken on dramatic proportions and ever more urgent, strong and targeted government action is necessary; whereas the question of sustainable development and climate change was discussed at the recent EU-China summit and a joint statement on climate change was issued;

J.  whereas China has acknowledged the need for the threat of climate change to be addressed, and has undertaken to adopt a protocol or other legal instrument that will enable a comprehensive agreement on the issue to be reached at the Paris Climate Change Conference;

K.  whereas President Xi’s popular anti-corruption campaign, launched in 2012 and aimed at addressing governance issues by targeting Party, government, military and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption, has claimed one high-profile victim after another, exposing not only graft but also vast fortunes amassed by Chinese leaders and also revealing the infiltration of the political system by powerful criminal networks;

L.  whereas foreign NGOs have been flourishing and playing a vital role for the development of local NGOs and the opening-up of China since the reform;

M.  whereas, in the interests of national security, China has published three new draft laws this year which include provisions on cybersecurity and NGOs;

N.  whereas in 2013 and 2014 Beijing, Kunming and Urumqi were the targets of major and violent terrorist attacks, leaving 72 people dead and 356 injured; whereas China is preparing a counter-terror law, which underlines the fact that the government gives the fight against terrorism the highest priority;

O.  whereas in June 2015 the Hong Kong Legislative Council voted against a controversial proposal that would have let Hong Kong voters elect their Chief Executive, but only from a pool of candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee; whereas precisely this proposal sparked the 79-day pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of massive protests, from late September till mid-December 2014;

P.  whereas the new Chinese leadership considers the rise of the PRC as an irreversible fact resulting in a shift from ‘responsive diplomacy’ to ‘proactive diplomacy’;

Q.  whereas the new White Paper on China’s military strategy postulates that the traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned and that greater importance should be attached to managing the seas and protecting maritime rights and interests; whereas China is refusing to recognise the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in connection with the South and East China Sea disputes;

R.  whereas, in a 2002 Declaration of Conduct, China and the ASEAN countries promised to create the conditions for ‘a peaceful and durable solution’ in the South China Sea; whereas, despite this, tension is continuing to grow with neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei;

S.  whereas China is North Korea’s main political supporter and largest investor, aid donor, food and energy supplier and trade partner; whereas Chinese experts recently revealed that North Korea may already have 20 nuclear warheads;

T.  whereas in the wake of the Ukraine crisis Russia and China have stepped up their mutual relations in an unprecedented fashion;

U.  whereas on 8 May 2015 Russia and China signed a bilateral agreement on ‘information security’, which defines cyberthreats as the transmission of information that could endanger the ‘societal-political and social-economic systems, and spiritual, moral and cultural environment of states’;

V.  whereas since 2005 China has extended credit to Latin American countries to a total value of approximately USD 100 billion; whereas at present China is Brazil’s principal trading partner and the second largest for – by way of example – Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba;

W.  whereas the Chinese Government acknowledges the importance and the universality of human rights, but is lacking in tangible results as regards improving its human rights record;

X.  whereas China has officially and nominally accepted the universality of human rights and in the past three decades has opted into the international human rights framework by signing a wide range of human rights treaties, and has thus become part of the international legal and institutional human rights framework;

Y.  whereas at the beginning of 2015 President Xi publicly announced his intention of extending the rule of law throughout the country, out of a conviction that effective justice is essential for a modern economy and society in China;

Z.  whereas the CPC recognises five religions, which are ultimately controlled by the party’s own United Front Work Department; whereas this list is exclusive and other religions and cults are therefore being discriminated against;

AA.  whereas the EU and China have engaged in human rights dialogues since 1995;

AB.  whereas the EU Ombudsman in her draft recommendation adopted on 26 March 2015 criticised the absence of a human rights impact assessment in relation to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism in the negotiations for a trade and investment agreement with Vietnam; whereas this sets an important precedent for the negotiations for the EU-China Bilateral Investment Agreement;

AC.  whereas Tibetans express their cultural identity through the Lhakar (‘white Wednesday’) movement by wearing only Tibetan clothes, speaking only Tibetan and eating only Tibetan food each Wednesday; whereas, to date, more than 140 Tibetans have burned themselves to death in protest against Chinese government policy in the Tibet autonomous region; whereas the death in prison of the lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche recently gave rise to fresh tension; whereas a policy of Han settlement is being pursued in Tibet; whereas 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet autonomous region; whereas no progress has been made in the resolution of the Tibetan crisis in the last few years, as the last round of peace talks took place in 2010;

AD.  whereas the EU adheres to its ‘one China’ policy in the cross-strait relations between the PRC and Taiwan;

EU-China Strategic Partnership and Cooperation

1.  Welcomes the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and China as a source of inspiration to strengthen the Strategic Partnership, which is so necessary in a multipolar and globalised world, and to speed up the ongoing negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement based on trust, transparency and respect for human rights; underlines that both parties, in the recent EU-China Summit of 29 June 2015, reaffirmed their commitment to deepen this partnership; highlights that China is a key international power and one of the EU´s most important partners; stresses that the two sides are committed to promoting over the next decade the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which will be mutually beneficial to both the EU and China; expresses its support for the (bi)annual High Level Strategic Dialogue, the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, the High Level People-to-People Dialogue, and the more than 60 sectoral dialogues between the EU and China on a diverse array of issues; urges that these sectoral dialogues lead to confidence-building and tangible results;

2.  Welcomes the outcome of the 17th EU-China Summit of 29 June 2015 lifting bilateral relations to a new level and sending out a signal for closer political cooperation going beyond mere trade relations and towards a coordinated strategic approach to tackling common global challenges and threats; notes that both sides fully recognised the progress achieved in the implementation of the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, and that a bilateral review mechanism at the level of officials will be established to monitor follow-up; welcomes the fact that both sides agreed at the Summit on a set of priorities to reinforce their bilateral cooperation and enhance the global dimension of their strategic partnership;

3.  Stresses the need for EU Member States to speak with one voice to the Chinese Government, particularly in view of Beijing’s present diplomatic dynamism and reshaping of the global governance architecture; underlines the conclusion of the negotiations on the Articles of Agreement for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and looks forward to a close cooperation of the EU with the AIIB in the future; regrets the lack of profound debate and close coordination at EU level regarding Member States’ membership of the AIIB; stresses the importance of trade and investment policy, as the most obvious area to exert maximum leverage in the strategic relationship with China; takes note of the recently developed cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries, also known as the 16+1 group, which includes several EU Member States, but considers that this should not divide the EU or weaken its position vis-à-vis China and should also address human rights issues; calls on the European External Action Service and the Commission to submit an annual report to Parliament on the development of EU-China relations; calls for the strengthening of enforceable, rules-based trade and investment with China;

4.  Recognises that China should play a stronger role in multilateral financial institutions that better reflects the size of its economy; considers the recently founded AIIB to be an opportunity for China to engage as a responsible actor in the multilateral order; encourages the new institution to depart from the past mistakes of privileging the financing of grandiose infrastructure projects and to prioritise instead technical assistance and access to global knowledge, while balancing environmental, social, and development priorities;

5.  Considers it of vital importance that the European contribution to the participation in the AIIB should include: transparent procedures for the assessment of loans; clear standards relating to good governance, social responsibility and the environment; and concern to ensure that the debt burden remains controllable for borrowing countries;

6.  Welcomes the participation of several Member States in the AIIB; deplores nonetheless the lack of profound debate, close coordination and coordinated response and approach at EU level in reaction to the initiatives launched by the Chinese Government to build up new multilateral institutions; urges the EU institutions and Member States to see this as a wake-up call in order to avoid a similar lack of coordination in the future;

7.  Welcomes the political agreement to improve strategic infrastructure links between the EU and China; welcomes, therefore, the decision to establish a new Connectivity Platform with the aim of creating a favourable environment for sustainable and interoperable cross-border infrastructure networks in countries and regions between the EU and China; particularly commends the EU’s readiness to start this project on the European level; urges both parties to seize the opportunities given by closely interconnecting both partners, including cooperation on infrastructure investment in countries along the route of the New Silk Road and the New Maritime Silk Road;

8.  Highlights the vigorous growth of the Chinese economy in the last twenty years and underlines that EU Member States should take greater advantage of the opportunities offered by this economic development; notes the Chinese interest in strategic infrastructure investments in Europe, and underlines the need to cooperate with China and other countries in the region in this respect on projects such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the EU’s Juncker Investment Plan, including rail links, seaports and airports; urges the VP/HR and the Commission to reflect on the impact of China’s global investment policy, as well as its investment activities in the EU and its Eastern Neighbourhood; emphasises, in accordance with the previously adopted positions of Parliament and in full respect of INTA competences, the importance of the Bilateral Investment Agreement between the EU and China currently under negotiation; calls for a fully-fledged sustainable development chapter to be included in the BIT which provides for binding commitments with respect to ILO core labour standards and key Multilateral Environmental Agreements; underlines the increasing tendency of European companies to complain that they are victims of capricious regulation and discrimination; stresses the importance of a successful outcome of the ongoing investment agreement negotiations in order to further facilitate investment and implement investment protection, market access, including public procurement, and fair treatment of companies both in Europe and in China; calls for further measures and active follow-up to guarantee more balanced trade relations following the elimination of trade and investment barriers to European companies; calls on China and the EU to further enhance cooperation in order to improve access for SMEs in both market blocs; underlines the EU-China commitment to an open global economy and a fair, transparent and rules-based trade and investment environment, guaranteeing a level playing field and opposing protectionism;

9.  Takes note, in this regard, of the launch of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative aimed at constructing major energy and communication links across Central, West and South Asia as far as Europe; believes that given the geostrategic relevance of this initiative it should be pursued in a multilateral way; believes that it is of the utmost importance to develop synergies and projects in full transparency and with the involvement of all stakeholders;

10.  Calls for enhanced coordination between the EU and China in areas of strategic significance such as the G20, security and defence, counter-terrorism, illegal migration, transnational crime, nuclear non-proliferation, global and regional security, cybersecurity, weapons of mass destruction, energy security, global financial and market governance and regulation, climate change, as well as for urbanisation, development and aid programmes and sustainable development; emphasises the importance of cooperation in the field of regional development and of dialogue and exchanges with regard to the Europe 2020 strategy and China’s forthcoming thirteenth Five-Year Plan;

11.  Calls on the EEAS to ensure that human rights are high on the agenda in relations and dialogues with China;

12.  Calls for the commitments made during the March 2014 visit of President Xi to Brussels to deepen exchanges between the EU and China on human rights issues to be matched by tangible improvements in the situation on the ground;

13.  Urges the Council and the Commission to engage China further through constructive dialogue aimed at encouraging China’s transition to the rule of law and respect for human rights and supporting its integration in the world economy;

14.  Welcomes the deepening of the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership; calls for further cooperation in urban planning and design, public services, green buildings and smart transportation; encourages the launch of new joint programmes involving European and Chinese cities and companies;

15.  Welcomes the Joint Statement of the third meeting of the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue held on 15 September 2015; underlines the importance of people-to-people exchanges and facilitating exchanges for EU and Chinese citizens; supports the development of the High-Level People-to-People Dialogue to focus on joint projects and shared best practices and to promote people-to-people exchanges; stresses that exchange of experts and students between both sides should be especially promoted;

16.  Is concerned about practices of dumping and the lack of transparency with regard to Chinese government policies and subsidies through tax credits, land grants, cheap credit, subsidised raw materials and other measures;

17.  Is worried about the obstacles European businesses experience on the Chinese market, such as forced technology transfers, weak IPR enforcement and discriminatory treatment; underlines the importance of market reform in China and of the implementation of market economy principles and the elimination of discrimination and unjustified restrictions;

18.  Recognises the opportunities arising from Chinese investment in Europe in the framework of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); underlines that, while the Fund is open to investment by a number of actors, it should nonetheless remain under EU governance;

19.  Acknowledges the challenge of putting China’s economy on a truly sustainable path in the framework of the ‘New Normal’; believes that a more prominent participation of China in international economic organisations such as the IMF could positively contribute to more sustainable and balanced Chinese and global economies, as well as to the reform of those organisations; urges the Chinese authorities to provide reliable statistics and improve transparency on the state of the economy;

20.  Notes with concern that in recent months the value of Chinese share indexes has dropped by a third and there have been hundreds of suspensions of trading owing to excessive falls in share prices; expresses its concern in regard to the current financial crisis that is striking China and especially its stock markets, and recognises that this poses a threat to the global economy given the country’s prominent role in global trade and the global financial system; urges the Chinese authorities to tackle the challenge of transitioning the current economic model to a sustainable economy; notes that the recent plunges on the stock markets in China have brought the government’s control culture face to face with the inherent volatility of the financial markets;

21.  Welcomes the fact that over the last decades a considerable number of Chinese citizens have been lifted out of extreme poverty thanks to substantial economic growth and a gradual opening of the Chinese economy; voices, nonetheless, its concern that these economic improvements often cause environmental problems and great inequalities;

22.  Welcomes the fact that in the recent EU-China Joint Statement on Climate Change, adopted at the 29 June 2015 summit, both sides expressed their commitment to work together to reach an ambitious and legally binding agreement at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015; urges all parties to the conference to build on the momentum created by the EU-China and US-China climate change statements; stresses the need to cooperate in the field of energy in order to tackle jointly the multiple challenges related to energy security and global energy architecture;

Internal situation

23.  Notes that under the leadership of President Xi, the Chinese government is showing a growing assertiveness both internally and externally; points out that the country’s civil rights activists, lawyers, journalists, bloggers, academics and other representatives of civil society are now finding their freedom curbed in a way that has not been seen for years; observes that China’s human rights record remains a matter of serious concern;

24.  Expresses its deep concern at the imminent adoption of the draft Foreign NGO Management Law, as it would mean a further shrinking of space for Chinese civil society and would severely restrict freedom of association and expression in the country, including by banning ‘overseas NGOs’ that are not registered with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and provincial public security departments from funding any Chinese individual or organisation, and prohibiting Chinese groups from conducting ‘activities’ on behalf of or with the authorisation of non-registered overseas NGOs, including those based in Hong Kong and Macao; calls on the Chinese authorities to substantially revise this law in order to bring it in line with international human rights standards;

25.  Expresses its concern at the new draft law on cybersecurity, which would bolster and institutionalise the practices of cyberspace censorship and monitoring and may force European companies to include mandatory backdoors in their IT infrastructure; notes the fears of Chinese reforming lawyers and civil rights defenders that this law will further restrict freedom of expression and that self-censorship will grow; stresses the severe adverse impact of both the cybersecurity and NGO laws on the activities of European businesses and institutions in the PRC, and therefore calls on the European Council, the EEAS and the Commission to continue to complain forcefully to the Chinese authorities against these highly controversial measures; is concerned by China´s broad definition of ´national security´ and ´major threats´ in its new national security law, which includes ´harmful cultural influences´ as a threat; concludes that this law formulates China’s national security interests in so broad and vague a manner as to give the Chinese authorities virtually unrestricted powers to move against actions, persons or publications they disapprove of;

26.  Expresses its concern that, although the anti-corruption campaign launched by the Chinese leadership is a commendable effort to foster citizens’ trust in the government, it is characterised by a lack of transparency and in most cases does not follow the rule of law; observes that in some cases the campaign is being misused for internal fights and to foster the role and power of the CPC; regrets, however, that this campaign has been conducted in ways that further undermine the rule of law, with accused officials allegedly held in an unlawful detention system, deprived of basic legal protections, and often coerced to confess;

27.  Expresses its sympathy with the families and friends of the more than 173 victims of the devastating explosions in the port city of Tianjin on 12 August 2015, which displaced thousands of residents; notes the increasing number of peaceful mass environmental protests in different parts of the country; points to the illegal storage of thousands of tonnes of highly toxic chemicals at the illegal distance of less than 600 m from residential areas; regards the slow and secretive official information policy concerning the Tianjin disaster as highly counterproductive, particularly in combination with the censorship of social media reports of this major tragedy; underlines the importance of the implementation of all industrial safety standards in accordance with Chinese and international legislation, and calls on the Chinese government to raise safety and environmental standards of hazardous productions, bringing them in line with China’s own laws in the first place;

28.  Notes that the explosions on 12 August 2015 in Tianjin and on 31 August 2015 in Dongying make it urgent for China to seriously address the issue of industrial safety, in particular in relation to corruption and impunity;

29.  Underlines the urgency of further environmental protection measures, bearing in mind, for example, that in 2014 only eight out of 74 major cities reached the national standard of PM 2,5 air pollution concentration and given the fact that in China 190 million people fall ill due to contaminated water yearly; warns that the double water crisis (massive pollution combined with increased water usage) could cause major political and social instability; recalls that the cost of China’s environmental degradation is also felt in the neighbouring countries; highlights the costs of environmental degradation and hopes that the next Five-Year Plan will make the environment a priority; also stresses that a lack of environmental protection not only fails to prevent ecological damage, but is also a source of unfair competition practices; welcomes the EU-China agreement to enhance cooperation to address key environmental challenges such as air, water and soil pollution; welcomes the fact that under the new environmental protection law local cadres are accountable, also retroactively, for environmental damage caused during their tenure and that commitment to environmental protection will count stronger in the process of promotion of those local cadres; urges both national and local authorities to constructively and actively involve environmental organisations and grassroots movements as regards the monitoring, implementation and enforcement of China’s environmental policies and initiatives; points out that the June 2015 EU-China Summit also established environmental policy and climate change measures under which China is to comply with CO2 emissions limits with a view to the Paris Summit in December 2015 and in line with the objectives of the 2020 Strategic Agenda adopted in Beijing in 2013;

30.  Welcomes increased EU-China cooperation and exchange of experiences in the field of consumer rights and protection, as well as the strengthening of the Chinese government’s responsive measures in this respect, as reflected in the stricter rules on retailers’ responsibilities under the professional code of conduct in matters including return and repair obligations, potential frauds, misleading and fraudulent publicity, prepayment arrangements, and protection of consumers’ personal data, particularly in view of China’s rapidly expanding internet-based shopping sector;

31.  Observes that in recent years China’s anti-terrorism policy has evolved rapidly from a reactive ‘defence against terror’ approach to a proactive ‘war on terror’, along with permanent ‘crisis management’ entailing action to an unprecedented extent in affected regions and in society; is concerned at the draft law on counter-terrorism, which may lead to further violations of the freedoms of expression, assembly, association and religion, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang as regions with minority populations;

32.  Stands in solidarity with the people of China in their efforts to combat terrorism and extremism; expresses its concern, however, that the definition of ‘terrorist’ included in China’s draft law on counter-terrorism may, if not substantially revised, give scope for the penalisation of almost any peaceful expression of Tibetan culture, religion or identity that may differ from those of the state;

33.  Calls on China to increase internet freedom and to respect the cybersecurity of all countries;

34.  Is concerned at the fact that Xinjiang is caught in a vicious circle, given that, on the one hand, there are violent separatist and extremist groups among the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs, who do not, however, represent the vast majority, and that, on the other hand, Beijing, for the sake of stability, is increasingly responding to social unrest with repression, heightening the presence of its security apparatus in the region, alienating many Uighurs from Beijing and nourishing anti-Han-Chinese sentiments among the Uighur population; deplores the marginalisation of Uighur culture in Xinjiang, including forbidding Uighur civil servants to visit mosques and in some places to observe Ramadan; calls on the Chinese authorities to make every effort to develop a genuine dialogue with the Uighur community, and to protect the cultural identity of the Uighur population; notes with concern the travel restrictions, notably in Tibet and Xinjiang, that can be imposed upon EU citizens, particularly in the case of diplomats and journalists; notes that no such restrictions apply to Chinese citizens (including diplomats and journalists) across EU Member States; strongly urges therefore that steps be taken to enforce the principle of reciprocity;

35.  Expresses its sympathy and solidarity with the people of Hong Kong in support of democratic reforms; highlights that Hong Kong’s autonomy is guaranteed by the Basic Law; holds that the introduction of fully-fledged universal suffrage in the Special Administrative Region is fully compatible with the ‘One country, two systems’ principle; deplores the fact that the reform of the electoral law for the appointment of the Chief Executive in Hong Kong could not be completed; expresses its hope that a new reform process can be started in the near future with the aim of giving the people of Hong Kong the right to direct universal suffrage in 2017, with a genuine choice amongst diverse candidates; welcomes the Joint Report of 24 April 2015 of the European External Action Service and the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: ‘Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: Annual Report 2014’, and supports the EU’s commitment to strengthening democracy, including the rule of law, independence of the judicial system, fundamental freedoms and rights, transparency and freedom of information and expression in Hong Kong;

36.  Strongly supports ‘One country, two systems’ as a basis for good relations between the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao and mainland China;

37.  Expresses its concern at the recent political and civil unrest in Hong Kong, and calls on China to abide by its obligations to the people of Hong Kong to preserve their rights and freedoms, under the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984;

External situation

38.  Notes that since its launch President Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’ of national rejuvenation foresees a stronger and more proactive role for China in the world; encourages the VP/HR to explore the possibilities of developing a common approach to China with the US wherever this would contribute to advancing EU interests; stresses that China’s persistent rise as a global power requires a continuous and rapid reconsideration of Europe’s strategic priorities in its relations with China, as a matter of urgency; underlines the need for a world power like China to contribute, in a globalised and interdependent context and in a more active and constructive manner, to confronting global challenges and regional conflicts and to attaining a multilateral world order that respects international law, universal values and peace; considers that China should increasingly take its place among the world’s leading countries, acting according to the rules set for all;

39.  Notes the priority given by President Xi’s presidency to the relationship with the US, given his proposal for a ‘new type of major power relationship’ between China, the US and other regional actors; favours a more constructive approach to a new world order which China should help construe and integrate, one founded on the universal values of human rights, democracy and human security; calls on the EU to be more active in Asia, and to cooperate with China, the US and other regional actors for more stability in the region;

40.  Emphasises that the recent White Paper on China’s military strategy states Beijing’s intentions to further expand the Chinese navy and extend the range of its operations, shifting from ‘offshore waters defence’ to ‘open seas protection’; deplores the unilateral establishment of an air-defence identification zone and the consequent claim over navigational air control within Japanese and South Korean territory; calls for a balanced attitude, to avoid worries on the part of China’s neighbours and more tension in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and guarantee Europe’s crucial interest in freedom of navigation on the seas;

41.  Considers it regrettable that, contrary to the 2002 Declaration of Conduct, several parties are reclaiming land in the Spratly Islands, and is especially concerned about the massive scale of China’s present efforts, which include building military facilities, ports and at least one airstrip; specifically warns against the looming danger of an increased presence of and confrontation between rival naval vessels and air patrols in the area and of the possible establishment of an air defence identification zone (IDAZ) over the South China Sea;

42.  Remains alarmed at the escalating tension between parties in the South China Sea and calls, therefore, on all parties involved to avoid unilateral provocative actions in the South China Sea and stresses the importance of peaceful settlement of disputes, based on international law and with the help of impartial international mediation such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); considers it regrettable that China refuses to acknowledge the jurisdiction of both UNCLOS and the Court of Arbitration; urges China to reconsider its stance and calls on all the parties including China to respect the eventual decision of UNCLOS ; considers that a way forward for a possible peaceful resolution of the tension in the areas of the South and East China Seas is the negotiation and joint implementation of codes of conduct for the peaceful exploitation of the maritime areas in question, including the establishment of safe trade routes and quotas for fishing or attribution of areas for resource exploration; endorses the urgent call by the 26th ASEAN Summit for the speedy adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea; welcomes the agreement reached recently between China and ASEAN to speed up consultations on a Code of Conduct for the disputes in the South China Sea; takes note of Taiwan’s ‘South China Sea Peace Initiative’ aimed at reaching a consensus on a code of conduct and the establishment of a mechanism allowing all sides to cooperate in the joint exploitation of natural and marine resources in the region; supports all actions enabling the South China Sea to become a ‘Sea of Peace and Cooperation’;

43.  Calls on the VP/HR to identify the risks to peace and security in the region as well as globally should armed conflict arise in the East and South China Seas, in line with the priorities set forth in the European Maritime Security Strategy, what risks this would entail for the freedom and safety of navigation in the region, and what risks exist there to specific European interests; considers that since other actors (notably Australia) are already significantly active politically in the Pacific, the EU should rely on bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to effectively contribute to security in the region;

44.  Urges the Chinese Government to use all its levers of influence to ensure stability in the Korean peninsula and to induce North Korea to return to credible denuclearisation talks and take concrete steps to denuclearise; reminds that China remains North Korea’s most important ally, and therefore encourages the Chinese government, together with the international community, to play a constructive role in urgently addressing the dire human rights situation in North Korea, including dealing with the thousands of North Korea refugees who cross the border into China fleeing appalling conditions at home; urges the Chinese government, in accordance with its obligations as a state party to the UN Refugee Convention, not to deny these refugees their right to seek asylum or forcibly return them to North Korea, but to protect their fundamental human rights; calls on the EU to exert diplomatic pressure on the Chinese Government to that effect, in line with its global objectives of non-proliferation;

45.  Urges the Chinese government to exert influence on Pakistan to persuade that country to refrain from fuelling instability in the region;

46.  Welcomes the cooperation between the EU and China on security and defence, including the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and calls for further combined efforts to tackle global security and defence issues such as terrorism;

47.  Draws Beijing’s attention to the indispensable role of the US and the EU with regard to China’s modernisation goals; moreover, reminds Beijing of its international obligations and responsibilities in terms of contributing to peace and global security, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council; regrets, in this regard, the fact that China, in partnership with Russia, has continuously blocked UN action on Syria, where a deadly war is being waged by Bashar al Assad on the Syrian people, for over four years now;

48.  Underlines the importance of mutual trust and cooperation between China and the EU and the other key international actors to tackle global security issues; hopes that China will offer its support to the EU- and US-led initiatives aiming at ending the breaches of international law causing the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and at restoring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine after Russia’s aggression;

Human rights situation

49.  Notes that a strong contradiction exists between the official Chinese aspiration to the universality of human rights and the worsening human rights situation; notes that the recent worsening of the situation of human rights and freedoms in China started in 2013 and has intensified an already existing crackdown over the population, limiting the space for expression and peaceful advocacy for civil society even further; is deeply worried at the arrest, trial and sentencing of numerous civil rights activists, human rights defenders and government critics and at the fact that more than 100 human rights lawyers and activists have been detained or questioned by Chinese police; calls on the Chinese authorities to release those in custody and to ensure that they can exercise their profession without hindrance;

50.  Believes that strong ongoing EU-China relations must provide an effective platform for a mature, meaningful and open human rights dialogue based on mutual respect; further believes that the 40th anniversary of EU-China relations in 2015 provides a real opportunity for progress in this area;

51.  Urges the EU to continue pressing for an improvement of the human rights situation in China whenever dialogues are held at any level and to include human rights clauses in any bilateral treaty agreed with China;

52.  Welcomes the 33rd EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights of 8 and 9 December 2014; notes that the dialogue, together with pressure from other international partners, has contributed to some concrete actions; stresses that the EU has made it clear on several occasions that it wanted the dialogue to achieve more tangible improvements in the human rights situation on the ground;

53.  Recalls that the universality of human rights has always been at the heart of EU-China human rights dialogues; notes with concern that in the official Chinese view universality is questioned on grounds of cultural differences, and that this has been an important source of conceptual differences leading to lack of understanding and distrust in EU-China relations and limiting progress in the EU-China human rights dialogues; calls, therefore, on the Chinese leadership to reconsider how it approaches the question and to respect the universality of human rights consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; urges further that the EU institutions work together with the Chinese authorities in their dialogues in order to advance respect for universality;

54.  Remains highly concerned that China is currently the world’s largest executioner and continues to impose the death penalty in secret on thousands of people annually, without regard to international minimum standards on the use of the death penalty; emphasises once again that abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights;

55.  Remains concerned at the persisting severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion, as well on the activities of human rights organisations;

56.  Deplores the often discriminatory treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in China;

57.  Criticises the fact that while in China freedom of religion is not a right nominally guaranteed by the constitution, in practice the government restricts religious practices to officially approved and recognised religious organisations; supports the resistance of Chinese churches to the government’s renewed strategy of ‘sinicisation’ of Christianity; condemns, in particular, the ongoing anti-Christian campaign in the province of Zhejiang, during which dozens of churches were demolished and more than 400 crosses removed in 2014; shares the concerns of churches about other provinces where there is a strong Christian presence; condemns, moreover, the anti-Buddhism campaigns carried out via the ‘patriotic education’ approach, including measures to state-manage Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries; condemns ‘legal education’ programmes for Buddhist monks and nuns; cannot understand or accept the ban on images of the Dalai Lama in China; is concerned that China’s criminal law is being abused to persecute Tibetans and Buddhists, whose religious activities are equated with ‘separatism’, and sees its concerns confirmed as monks and nuns now account for approximately 44 % of political prisoners in Tibet; deplores the fact that the environment for practising Buddhism in Tibet has worsened significantly after the Tibetan protests of March 2008, with the Chinese government adopting a more pervasive approach to ‘patriotic education’, including measures to micromanage Tibetan Buddhist monastic affairs, for instance through unelected management committees installed in every monastery, ‘legal education’ programmes for monks and nuns to ensure that they ‘do not take part in activities of splitting up the motherland and disturbing social order’, and a ban on images of the Dalai Lama;

58.  Notes that certain commitments have been put forward by President Xi to ‘comprehensively advance ruling the country according to the law’, along with combating corruption; is, however, deeply concerned at the recent round-up of over 200 lawyers, particularly lawyers focusing on human rights cases, with many of them accused of ‘disrupting public order’ and of seeking to undermine the Party, when the authorities have claimed that such drastic measures are in fact a defence of China’s legal system; stresses that these measures contradict the authorities’ claim to advance the rule of law and undermine any effort undertaken for political reform;

59.  Recalls that in the official Chinese view socio-economic rights continue to be prioritised over individual civil and political rights, whereas in the European understanding these rights are considered fundamental and equally important and economic development and human rights go together, reflecting differences in European and Chinese perceptions of human rights that are visible in official positions; further stresses that the comprehensive protection of human rights is essential for continued economic growth in China, and therefore urges the Chinese authorities to ensure the respect of both socio-economic and civil and political rights;

60.  Criticises China’s highly restrictive media environment and tightly controlled digital domain, where foreign, including European, web content is blocked and domestic content deemed politically threatening is routinely deleted and censored; strongly protests against the high number of Chinese citizens jailed for offences involving freedom of expression, especially on the internet;

61.  Is deeply concerned that the Chinese government is continuing its hardline policies against the Tibetan people, especially by rejecting the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way Approach’ which seeks neither independence nor separation but a genuine autonomy within the framework of the Constitution of the PRC; calls for the Chinese government to re-enter into a dialogue with Tibetan representatives; protests against the marginalisation of Tibetan culture by the CPC, and urges the Chinese authorities to respect the freedoms of expression, association and religion of the Tibetan people; deplores the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Tibet, which has led to an increase in self-immolation cases; notes with concern the recently passed criminalisation measures relating to self-immolation aimed at punishing those allegedly associated with self-immolators; deplores the forceful resettlement of over 2 million Tibetan nomads and herders since 2006 in the so-called ‘New Socialist Village’, as they are cut off from medical care, education and prosperity; is equally concerned at the ongoing transfer of Han Chinese populations into Tibet; expresses its concern regarding the cases of torture, disappearance and arbitrary detention and the denial of access to medical care for prisoners, including monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and 10 other prominent Tibetan prisoners; demands a detailed investigation of all death in prison cases; is deeply concerned at the degradation of Tibet’s environment; underlines that the Tibetan plateau is warming up fast, and that this may cause the melting of Tibet’s glaciers, many of which feed the largest rivers in Asia;

62.  Urges European companies investing in China to respect international labour standards and to make commitments to go beyond Chinese labour rights, if these do not meet internationally agreed standards;

Cross-strait relations

63.  Considers that both China and Taiwan are important economic partners of the EU in Asia and the Pacific; welcomes any significant improvement of cross-strait relations; advocates negotiating a bilateral investment agreement between the EU and Taiwan, given that Taiwan is, at regional level, the best gateway and springboard to China for EU businesses and that numerous states – including the People’s Republic of China – have concluded such (de facto) agreements with Taiwan;

64.  Takes note of the Chinese government’s non-objection to Taiwan’s participation in some UN organisations (WHO, ICAO); expresses its concern at the Chinese government’s reaffirmation of the 2005 Anti-Secession Law that allows for the use of military means in the case of a declaration of independence by Taiwan; deplores the fact that there are still 1 500 long-range missiles aimed at Taiwan from southern China; takes the view that a gradual demilitarisation of the region would further facilitate the rapprochement of the parties; emphasises that all cross-Strait disputes should be settled by peaceful means on the basis of international law; stresses that the meeting on 23 May 2015 on Kinmen Island between top officials from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait was an encouraging step; notes that this meeting was the third formal meeting between the chiefs of cross-Strait affairs from China and Taiwan; supports initiatives that develop Cross-Strait relations in a peaceful way;

o
o   o

65.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the EEAS, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the accession and candidate countries, the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese National People’s Congress, the Taiwanese Government and the Taiwanese Legislative Yuan.

(1) OJ L 250, 19.9.1985, p. 2.
(2) OJ L 6, 11.1.2000, p. 40.
(3) OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 33.
(4) OJ C 239 E, 20.8.2013, p. 1.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0096.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0462.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0094.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0075.
(9) OJ C 305 E, 14.12.2006, p. 219.
(10) OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 132.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0097.
(12) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0411.
(13) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0412.
(14) OJ C 285 E, 21.10.2010, p. 80.
(15) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 185.
(16) OJ C 349 E, 29.11.2013, p. 98.
(17) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0603.
(18) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0252.
(19) OJ C 288 E, 25.11.2006, p. 59.
(20) OJ C 157 E, 6.7.2006, p. 471.
(21) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 118.
(22) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 121.
(23) OJ C 332 E, 15.11.2013, p. 185.


Preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance
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European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance (2015/2051(INI))
P8_TA(2015)0459A8-0332/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly resolution 46/182 of 19 December 1991 on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance(1),

–  having regard to the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Transformative Agenda(2),

–  having regard to the Principles of Partnership (as endorsed by the Global Humanitarian Platform) of 12 July 2007(3),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 64/290 of 9 July 2010 on the Right to Education in Emergency Situations(4) and relevant guidelines including those by UNICEF and UNESCO,

–  having regard to the UN IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action(5),

–  having regard to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 adopted at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan(6),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015 establishing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development(7),

–  having regard to the debates in preparation of the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on 8-10 December 2015 in Geneva,

–  having regard to the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2015(8),

–  having regard to the Global Humanitarian Overview of June 2015(9),

–  having regard to the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles(10),

–  having regard to the UN High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid(11),

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid of 2007 (hereafter ‘European Consensus’), a joint declaration signed by the Commission, the Council, the European Parliament and the Member States(12), and its Action Plan to be renewed,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps (‘EU Aid Volunteers initiative’)(13), and the Annual Report on the implementation of the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative in 2014(14),

–  having regard to Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism(15),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document ‘Gender in Humanitarian Aid: Different Needs, Adapted Assistance’ (SWD(2013)0290)(16),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – Annual report on the European Union’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Policies and their implementation in 2014 (COM(2015)0406)(17),

–  having regard to the Annual Activity Report 2014 by the Commission DG for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)(18),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 22 June 2015 on Common Principles for Multi-Purpose Cash-Based Assistance to Respond to Humanitarian Needs(19),

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989 and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict of 25 May 2000; having regard to the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflict (updated 2008),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 26 May 2015 on A New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015(20),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 28 May 2013 on the EU approach to resilience(21),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 5 June 2014 on the Post 2015 Hyogo Framework for Action: Managing risks to achieve resilience(22),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 16 December 2014 on a Transformative Post-2015 Agenda(23),

–  having regard to the joint communication of 9 September 2015 entitled ‘Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action’ (JOIN(2015)0040)(24),

–  having regard to the regional, thematic and global consultations in preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit(25),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 on Financing for Development(26),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2014 on the EU and the global development framework after 2015(27),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 9 July 2015 on the situation in Yemen(28); of 11 June 2015 on the situation in Nepal following the earthquakes(29); of 30 April 2015 on the situation of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria(30); of 12 March 2015 on South Sudan, including recent child abductions(31); of 12 February 2015 on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria, in particular in the IS context(32); and of 15 January 2015 on the situation in Libya(33),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 10 September 2015 on migration and refugees in Europe(34); and of 29 April 2015 on the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean and EU migration and asylum policies(35),

–  having regard to Article 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which reaffirms that the EU ‘shall ensure consistency between its policies and activities, taking all of its objectives into account’,

–  having regard to Article 208 TFEU, which stipulates that ‘the Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries’,

–  having regard to Article 214 TFEU on the Union’s operations in the field of humanitarian aid,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 September 2015 entitled ‘Towards the World Humanitarian Summit: A global partnership for principled and effective humanitarian action’ (COM(2015)0419)(36) and its accompanying Staff Working Document (SWD(2015)0166)(37),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0332/2015),

A.  whereas, in a very fragile world, we are facing an increase in the diversity, frequency and intensity of natural disasters and famines and an unprecedented escalation in the number and complexity of conflicts;

B.  whereas growing challenges, such as urbanisation, rapid population growth, demographic changes, the prevalence and increased strength of natural disasters, environmental degradation, desertification, climate change, numerous long-lasting and simultaneous conflicts with regional impact and resource scarcity, added to the consequences of poverty, inequality, migration, displacement and fragility, have consequently dramatically increased the need for humanitarian response throughout the globe;

C.  whereas the number of people in need has more than doubled since 2004 to over 100 million in 2015; whereas 250 million people are affected by humanitarian crises; whereas the number of forcibly displaced persons has reached its highest point since World War II at nearly 60 million, including almost 40 million displaced inside their own countries; whereas over half of the world’s refugees are children;

D.  whereas a billion people could be displaced because of climate change by 2050, with more than 40 % of the global population living in areas of severe water stress; whereas economic losses from natural disasters are likely to increase dramatically from the USD 300 billion currently lost annually;

E.  whereas over the past eight years the growing needs and challenges, the lack of sustained commitments and the rising cost of humanitarian assistance have contributed to the current humanitarian system reaching its limits, forcing a number of organisations to temporarily suspend food assistance, shelter and other life-saving humanitarian operations;

F.  whereas humanitarian hospitals are often targets of attacks using weapons of mass destruction; whereas threats and attacks on humanitarian personnel are increasing; whereas the security of humanitarian staff and of injured people is very often threatened; and whereas these attacks constitute a breach of international humanitarian law and a serious danger to the future of humanitarian aid;

G.  whereas humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and the basic rules of international humanitarian law and the human rights provided for by the Geneva Conventions and the additional protocols thereto, must be at the core of all humanitarian actions; whereas the protection of displaced persons must be guaranteed unconditionally, and whereas aid independence, i.e. aid that is free from any political, economic or security considerations or any type of discrimination, must prevail;

H.  whereas all parties in a conflict, including state and non-state armed parties, must guarantee humanitarian actors such access as is necessary for them to assist vulnerable, conflict-affected civilian populations;

I.  whereas women and children are not only especially vulnerable, and disproportionately exposed to risk, in disaster zones, both during and in the aftermath of emergencies, they also face exploitation, marginalisation, infections, and sexual and gender-based violence used as weapons; whereas women and children face heightened risks as a result of displacement and the breakdown of normal protection and support structures; whereas international humanitarian law requires that all necessary medical care be provided without discrimination to girls and women raped in war; whereas unsafe abortion is listed by the World Health Organisation as one of three leading causes of maternal mortality; whereas maternal health, counselling of women rape victims, and education and schooling of displaced children are major challenges at refugee camps;

J.  whereas the consolidated humanitarian appeal for 2015 reached a record high in UN history at close to EUR 19 billion; whereas, despite record contributions by donors, only a quarter of the global appeal was funded, and the EU has struggled to fund global humanitarian appeals and DG ECHO-supported operations; whereas this reinforces the need for globally coordinated, timely, predictable and flexible funding, tailored to different contexts and sustained by a new public-private partnership for innovative preparedness and delivery methods; whereas the EU has struggled to fund global humanitarian appeals and ECHO operations; whereas the renewed commitment to the 0,7 % aid target, and the timely delivery on pledges, are all the more important in such a context;

K.  whereas the majority of humanitarian crises have human-related causes; whereas 80 % of EU international humanitarian assistance is concentrated in man-made crises that require essentially political and not only humanitarian solutions; whereas poverty and vulnerability to crises are intrinsically linked, emphasising the need to address the underlying causes of crises, build resilience, reinforce capacity for adapting to natural disasters and climate change, and meet the long-term needs of affected people; whereas the consequences of humanitarian crises, such as migration and refugee challenges, will be even greater unless the root causes are addressed and there is better linkage between humanitarian and development cooperation assistance;

L.  whereas humanitarian aid and development are interlinked, especially in light of the need to strengthen resilience to disaster by mitigating risks and protecting against shocks, as a crucial means of reducing humanitarian needs and of combating disruptions to health, hygiene, education, nutrition and even basic shelter;

M.  whereas international, local and regional coordination, information-sharing and joint programming, data collection and evaluation assessments will help improve decision-making, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in aid delivery;

N.  whereas there is a need to develop greater trust and further cooperation between private sector actors, NGOs, local authorities, international organisations and governments; whereas business resources, expertise, supply chains, research and development capabilities, and logistics can serve to ensure more effective preparedness and humanitarian action;

O.  whereas funding under the EU humanitarian aid chapter, EUR 909 million in 2015, represents less than 1 % of the total EU budget; whereas improving the linkage between relief and long-term assistance is one way to reduce the current discrepancy between the extraordinary humanitarian needs and the means available;

P.  whereas NGOs and international organisations, such as the Red Cross and UN agencies, are currently the main implementers of humanitarian support, providing life-saving assistance and protection to some 120 million people per year;

Q.  whereas prevention, domestic response and domestic capacities play an important role in meeting needs in the best way, and in reducing the necessity for international aid; whereas in 2015, only 2 % of total international humanitarian assistance went directly to local and national NGOs of the affected states, even though their reactivity, knowledge of needs and ability to reach out to affected people is usually better than that of other actors; whereas there is an increasing demand to ensure accountability to crisis-affected people and communities;

R.  whereas humanitarian aid must remain based on the needs as assessed by humanitarian actors, and whereas donors should abstain from using aid as a crisis management tool;

S.  whereas the humanitarian response, and the tools used, should be tailored to jointly assessed needs, and should depend on varying contexts; whereas it is essential that all efforts be made to ensure that respect for human rights and, in particular, for the specific needs of women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, minorities and indigenous people and other vulnerable groups are integrated into humanitarian response efforts;

T.  whereas global actors are encouraged to incorporate humanitarian responses into human rights monitoring and reporting mechanisms;

U.  whereas the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), to be held in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016, should result in a reshaping of the humanitarian architecture to make it more inclusive, effective, transparent and truly global, in order that it may respond to anticipated increases in humanitarian needs linked to current and future challenges, such as food security, population growth, climate change, fragility, aid workers’ safety, forced displacement and socioeconomic development;

V.  whereas the WHS will follow a number of intergovernmental negotiations – on disaster risk reduction, financing for development, the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and climate change – that will shape the development and humanitarian landscapes for years to come, and will thus provide a unique, critical and concrete opportunity to align objectives, principles and actions, and, for the world, to address the needs, and build the resilience, of the most vulnerable in a more coherent manner;

W.  whereas the EU, as the leading donor, has the responsibility and the necessary leverage to take a leadership role in the quest for better and innovative ways to meet the needs of, and provide viable long-term solutions for, millions of people affected by conflicts and disasters;

X.  whereas the recent escalating, global acute malnutrition rates, and the regional and international spill-over of political instability in Level 3 classified countries, have brought new reminders of the need for the WHS to accelerate transformation in the humanitarian system and better serve people in need;

From global consultations to global action

1.  Welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s decision to call for the first multi-stakeholder World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the willingness of Turkey to host it; calls on the Member States to support the WHS and to reach firm Council conclusions, with specific commitments and priority areas for action, while pursuing operational efficiency, common quality standards, better coordination and partnerships with emerging donors, based on politically non-biased aid as well as on a common understanding and appliance of humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and respect for obligations under international humanitarian law;

2.  Welcomes the UN initiative to gather intelligence from all over the world in order to plot natural disasters and conflicts and to resolve how to go about saving and protecting more people from the impact of such crises; welcomes as well the organisation of eight regional consultations that also involved thematic meetings and a global consultation – with representatives from government, civil society, NGOs, volunteer networks, businesses and religious networks – and as well as the initiative of the online consultations and the establishment of a High-Level Panel for Humanitarian Financing, co-chaired by the EU;

3.  Stresses that today’s enormous humanitarian challenges require a more inclusive, diverse and truly global humanitarian system, to be strengthened at the WHS, that, at the same time, recognises the diversity in today’s humanitarian response system and the complementary roles of all actors; calls on the EU to promote a ‘Global Consensus on Humanitarian Action’ that reaffirms the principles of humanitarian aid and the obligations and entitlements under international humanitarian law (IHL), while ensuring people-centred and human rights-based protection responses, and holds governments accountable for their roles and responsibilities in protecting people; raises awareness of the negative impacts of the politicisation of humanitarian assistance, and recalls that the upholding of, and continued commitment to, core humanitarian principles is critical to ensure a humanitarian space in areas of conflict and natural disasters;

4.  Emphasises that, in order to be meaningful, the WHS outcome document should include a five-year roadmap for the development and operationalisation of the concrete political commitments undertaken, including an intergovernmental monitoring and accountability framework, an assessment of the aid organisations’ practices and an impact assessment that includes the participation of relevant stakeholders;

5.  Calls on the WHS to link the post-2015 development agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in order to enhance coherence across policies and institutions for building disaster resilience, and to request a more active role of development actors in building resilience; calls on donor governments to develop, for their national policies, a common set of targets, priorities and indicators linking these frameworks;

6.  Calls on the EU and its Member States, as the largest donors and key operational actors, to lead by active example; emphasises that all EU humanitarian actions should be guided by the principles of solidarity, responsibility and accountability, and should be designed to ensure that vulnerable people are protected, both physically and psychologically; calls for a global, comprehensive and long-term solution for the masses of people fleeing conflict regions; notes that Europe’s role and credibility on the global humanitarian scene is also at stake in the response in the EU to the current crisis;

7.  Calls for the WHS to commit to a systematic, results-based and participatory approach by establishing specific indicators and a work methodology, to be reinforced and shared by donors and implementing agencies, for affected people to take part in the whole cycle of humanitarian action; calls on the WHS to work towards the institutionalisation, better monitoring and evaluation of the UN Accountability to Affected Populations framework;

8.  Underlines that the WHS is also an opportunity for all stakeholders to reflect on the vital need for UN reform towards an inclusive, transparent and effective coordination system, with a more inclusive and operative IASC, with better engagement with partners to enhance complementarity and with the full operationalisation of the Transformative Agenda, and to strengthen the multilateral humanitarian architecture for all crisis by establishing a reliable system of needs assessments serving as a basis for joint appeals (ensuring comprehensive financial tracking), a system of cost comparison between agencies and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism;

9.  Insists that without comprehensive and substantial means, such global action will not be successful; underlines that addressing new and chronic disasters and vulnerabilities requires avoidance of parallel systems, a broadening of the funding base, long-term predictable investments, and compliance with the new sustainable development agenda, notably by promoting joint risk and needs assessment, planning and financing among humanitarian, development and climate change actors; underlines that an increased complementarity between humanitarian and development aid is needed in order to address effectiveness and the humanitarian financing gaps, and should go hand in hand with increased development aid and humanitarian funding; recalls, in this context, the longstanding international commitment to reach the target of 0,7 % of GNI;

10.  Urges the EU, as the world’s largest humanitarian aid donor, to show leadership in the WHS by calling for more flexible methods for delivering humanitarian aid, as well as for proactive and coherent measures and effective tools for preventing crises; urges the EU and other donors to stay true to their financial commitments and to develop ways to reduce the time it takes to convert financial commitments into actions on the ground; points out, in addition, the importance of human rights reporting as an early warning mechanism for crises, and encourages the WHS to take this into account when moving from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention;

Serving the needs of people in conflict

11.  Calls on the EU to place protection at the heart of humanitarian action within a needs-based response by creating a compliance system, and by mainstreaming it into programming; stresses the need for the institutionalisation of the role of protection officers, and for the development of strategic and integrated approaches with sufficient funds for protection activities also in the first phase of emergencies; urges the EU to commit more strongly to a human rights-based approach in humanitarian action to ensure that the dignity, and the needs and rights, of specific vulnerable groups – especially women, youth, migrants, people living with HIV, LGBTI persons and persons with disabilities – are respected;

12.  Calls on the EU to promote at the WHS a comprehensive agreement on practical ways to reinforce the respect and compliance of IHL, international human rights law (IHRL) and refugee law, such as through the dissemination of the rules of IHL among regional and national administrations, security forces, local authorities and community leaders, and to support the International Criminal Court role to end impunity for violation of IHL and IHRL;

13.  Stresses the need to expand the Refugee Convention and the Kampala Convention to protect and assist displaced people around the world, as well as those affected by climate change, and also to protect them from various forms of violence, such as human trafficking, gender-based violence, and urban and economic violence, since they may have a well-founded fear of persecution or be at risk of serious harm; underlines that migrants must be offered the same level of protection of their rights as guaranteed to all other groups in times of crises; calls for attention to be paid to particularly vulnerable groups, such as migrants, stateless persons and refugees, that are often neglected in the humanitarian debate; calls for a new generation of human rights protection tools to help protect these populations;

14.  Stresses the need for a fundamental shift in the support offered to refugees and to host countries and communities; supports the Synthesis report for the Global Consultation which calls on the WHS to examine a comprehensive “refugee hosting deal” that recognises host countries’ contributions, arranges longer-term, predictable and sustainable financial packages to assist them, makes refugees self-reliant by giving them access to livelihood opportunities, and creates more equitable arrangements for their resettlement in third countries;

15.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to work towards a shared global understanding and operationalisation of humanitarian principles in preparation of the WHS, and to develop jointly a wide, participatory code of conduct among current and new donors in order to share best practices, facilitate access to people in need and enhance existing commitments for good donor practices, such as those reflected in the GHD principles;

16.  Calls on the EU to advocate the inclusion of transparency and accountability as guiding principles in the WHS declaration, by using specific markers and disaggregated data (i.e. for gender and age, with specific variables for children) as the basis for programme design and evaluation, and by promoting an international humanitarian aid transparency standard initiative with the aim of ensuring a global accountability results framework for measuring progress;

17.  Underlines the need to provide nutrition, water, shelter, sanitation and medical treatment, as fundamental rights of every human being; is extremely concerned about the risks of epidemics associated with dire sanitation conditions and limited access to safe drinking water, and over the lack of access to essential medicines in humanitarian crises; calls on the EU to take a leading role in ensuring the appropriate provision of essential medicines and safe drinking water in the context of humanitarian crises;

18.  Calls on the Union and all international actors to improve, in refugee camps, techniques for providing humanitarian assistance, particularly by supplying mobile laboratories to combat infectious disease epidemics, improving methods of distributing emergency aid – taking account of the most vulnerable groups – and improving hygiene and emergency sanitary infrastructure;

19.  Stresses the need to include child protection as an integral part of humanitarian responses in order to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children; emphasises that as children are the main drivers of change, it is important to create child-friendly spaces as part of the humanitarian response;

20.  Highlights the central role that women play in conflict and post-conflict situations, given that they are the first responders in crises, holding their families and communities together; calls on donors and governments to mainstream gender equality in humanitarian programming and to support the empowerment of women and girls;

21.  Urges that the provision of humanitarian aid follows international humanitarian law, and that EU humanitarian aid not be subject to restrictions imposed by other partner donors; expresses its concerns over, and condemns, the continued use of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls as a war weapon in humanitarian emergencies; emphasises that this violence, along with its physical and psychological consequences, needs to be addressed; calls for a global commitment to ensure that women and girls are safe from the start of every emergency or crisis by addressing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, by raising awareness, by assuring the prosecution of the perpetrators of such violence, and by ensuring that women and girls have access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortions, in humanitarian crises, rather than perpetuating what amounts to inhumane treatment, as required by international humanitarian law and as foreseen in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols;

22.  Considers that all staff involved in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including police and military forces, should receive adequate gender-sensitive training, and that a strict code of conduct must be put into place to prevent them from abusing their position and to ensure gender equality;

23.  Calls on humanitarian actors to incorporate strategies to prevent and mitigate gender-based violence into all their sector-specific interventions, facilitating the identification of new EU funding instruments, and, to this end, to take stock of the revised Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action, prepared by the Global Protection Cluster; considers also that humanitarian actors (including the EU) should consult girls and boys (especially adolescent girls) at all stages of disaster preparedness and response;

24.  Calls on the respective humanitarian agencies to strengthen their coordination in order to identify and protect victims, and potential victims, of sexual exploitation and abuse;

25.  Acknowledges the value of the EU’s comprehensive approach in the coordination and coherence of its wide array of external policy instruments to invest in durable political solutions; draws attention to the specific characteristics of humanitarian aid, and stresses that it is imperative to differentiate the humanitarian response from foreign, political, security and counter-terrorism considerations through the adoption of safeguards; deplores any misuse of, or disrespect for, the principles for humanitarian action, since such misuse significantly undermines aid delivery and the security of humanitarian staff; insists that counter-terrorism measures should neither undermine nor obstruct humanitarian efforts, and invites the WHS to address this issue in an appropriate way;

Humanitarian effectiveness

26.  Condemns the consistent thwarting of attempts to deliver humanitarian aid and any action that violates the principles guarding against “non-assistance to persons in danger” and of “non-refoulement” applicable to displaced populations by any actor, whether or not it is a member of the EU; calls on governments to live up to their primary responsibilities to protect and assist civilians, and to put in place legal and policy frameworks to facilitate humanitarian access, and aid delivery, in accordance with IHL; suggests that these frameworks include humanitarian tax exemptions, cuts in transaction costs of remittances flows and simplified customs procedures; calls on donors, host governments and implementing actors to respect the provisions of humanitarian aid and assistance through all possible channels, and to fulfil their responsibilities to ensure that professional, timely, coordinated, appropriate and quality assistance reaches all populations in need, even in remote areas;

27.  Is deeply concerned, in the context of better protection for humanitarian actors, about the recurrent attacks on both humanitarian workers and infrastructures, including hospitals; emphasises that more work is needed to improve their safety, protection and freedom of movement under international law; supports the systematic inclusion of specific clauses strengthening accountability for the protection of humanitarian workers into the legislation and action plans of donors for all countries, as well as firm systematic monitoring and reporting of attacks against all aid workers;

28.  Supports the Commission’s recommendations for a comprehensive dashboard for effectiveness;

29.  Stresses the need for a continued dialogue on the complementary roles and mandates of the different humanitarian actors; considers that there must be a clear distinction between civilian humanitarian and military actors; considers that the civil humanitarian response must be prioritised; invites the WHS to explore new frameworks for better coordination amongst actors as a key element for a more efficient, effective and appropriate humanitarian response; stresses the need for better analysis of local operational capacities, and for better joint assessments of needs and accountability of humanitarian action;

30.  Calls for serious efforts to ensure, in an effective way, the right to education in protracted humanitarian crises, through the provision of the necessary financial and human resources, since the lack of education endangers the future of children and the further development of any society; highlights the importance of continuous education in safeguarding and promoting shared and universal values such as human dignity, equality, democracy and human rights;

31.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment – given the alarming number of children who are denied education, and the huge potential of education to increase people’s resilience – to increase financing for education for children in humanitarian emergencies; calls on the Council to endorse the Commission’s proposal to dedicate 4 % of the EU humanitarian aid budget to this purpose; considers that this increase should not result in less attention being paid to other primary needs;

32.  Expresses its concern about the education and schooling of children in refugee camps, and calls on the EU and all international actors to increase capacities for providing schooling in refugee camps;

33.  Acknowledges that predictability, operational flexibility and multi-year contributions are key prerequisites for efficient and effective aid delivery; calls on the EU and its Member States to reinvigorate the GHD principles in the WHS declaration;

34.  Emphasises that global action is needed to address the funding gap; calls for the establishment of a global fund for humanitarian assistance (GFHA) that supports the participation and inclusion of non-DAC donors and brings together all existing international financial mechanisms, domestic resources and pooled funds (UN emergency response funds, CERF funds, trust funds, etc.), and that is complemented by voluntary financial payments by governments, the private sector and regional organisations; suggests that payments could be used to fill gaps in humanitarian pledges for Level 3 emergencies, support preparedness, provide social protection resilience package for long-term refugees or cope with unforeseen emergencies, such as Ebola, among others;

35.  Underlines the needs for the international financial institutions to engage fully and to remodel their soft lending window focus, mainly by redefining their concessional fund eligibility criteria, in order to allow for a more flexible institutional response to fragile situations and to reflect more closely on national capacities to raise domestic resources;

36.  Urges governments, donors and their enabling environments to simplify administrative requirements for implementing partners by streamlining procedures and mapping administrative, contracting and reporting best practices while ensuring accountability, and to support initiatives that are designed to provide continuous help in strengthening the capacity and the monitoring of local actors, and to reinforce national coordination structures;

37.  Stresses that to preserve and guarantee in a better way the life and dignity of affected populations, local NGOs must have access to direct financing; urges the Member States and donors to increase substantially direct funding for local humanitarian actors that have the capacity, expertise and capabilities to act in the field while ensuring accountability;

38.  Calls on the WHS to establish a new deal for engagement with fragile states and protracted crisis with sustainable programmes, implementation plans and predictable financing for development; underlines that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda emphasises the need for investments in social protection systems, and in safety nets, in order that responses in fragile contexts may be scaled up more rapidly and effectively;

Reducing vulnerability and managing risk

39.  Emphasises the need to adapt the humanitarian response system to local, national and regional requirements, and to empower and engage regularly affected populations, including women of all ages, children, persons with disabilities, minorities and indigenous people, recognising their role as change agents by ensuring, whenever possible, feedback from and prior consultation with these populations in the programming and implementation of humanitarian action;

40.  Underlines that an international response should build on existing local or national initiatives and partnerships rather than create parallel efforts; insists on the importance of strengthening local and regional capacities for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and, if possible, of providing for inclusive processes where local authorities, civil society, the private sector and the affected populations are included in the planning process;

41.  Stresses the need for a new global model for complementarity on which to base cooperation between humanitarian and development actors – allowing them to build gradually more resilient and self-reliant societies – starting with joint analyses and programming; stresses that such a model should include, firstly, entry strategies for development actors allowing them to build bridges in the field, secondly, crisis modifiers in development programmes, and, thirdly, exit strategies for humanitarian responses, allowing for a more flexible approach, and should include as well accountable and flexible multiannual funding mechanism for responding to protracted crises; stresses the importance of cooperation with local NGOs and civil society leaders for establishing permanent structures in conflict-sensitive areas;

42.  Calls on the Commission to present an initiative to link humanitarian aid, development cooperation and resilience in a more systematic way, so as to enable the EU to be more flexible and effective in responding to growing needs, and to promote a reflection for a better link to the WHS; calls on the EU to take advantage, at the mid-term review of the current Multiannual Financial Framework, to enhance humanitarian/development linkages further;

43.  Stresses the importance of disaster risk reduction for resilience in four priority areas: 1) understanding disaster risks; 2) strengthening risk governance to manage disaster risk; 3) investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, contingency plans and early warning systems; and 4) enhance disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “build back better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction;

44.  Calls on the Member States and on other donors to strengthen and develop national legal frameworks for humanitarian action, and disaster risk reduction and management, based on international disaster response laws, rules and principles; underlines that disaster preparedness, risk reduction and resilience should systematically be incorporated into the response plans to be provided by local, regional and national administrations, industry and civil society, and should, at the same time, be supported by sufficient financing for, and increased innovation in, forecasting and risk management modelling;

45.  Calls on the WHS to give strong emphasis to the issue of climate change and humanitarian action; believes that this should include the planning for and the building of resilience to the consequences of climate change, including climate-induced displacement and migration, in all relevant policy making at regional and global level; calls on the EU and its Member States, in this regard, to continue to take courageous political decisions to combat climate change;

Transformation through innovation

46.  Stresses that innovation should draw from multiple sources and, in particular, from the knowledge of affected people, civil society and local communities in the front line of response; stresses the importance of minimum humanitarian standards to boost essential public services, such as education, nutrition, health, shelter, water and sanitation throughout humanitarian responses; believes that public-private and cross-sectorial partnerships – when both public and private sectors share values and priorities that align business goals with the EU’s development objectives, and observe international standards on development effectiveness – can be a means to complement the public response to growing humanitarian needs; notes that cash-based assistance, when properly aligned with aid effectiveness principles, is an efficient example of innovation in humanitarian assistance;

47.  Welcomes the Council Conclusions on common principles for multi-purpose, cash-based assistance in response to humanitarian needs; acknowledges that while only a small proportion of humanitarian assistance is currently cash-based, the use of cash-based assistance has significant potential as an innovative, dignifying, safe, gender sensitive, flexible and cost-efficient modality to cover the emergency basic needs of the most vulnerable; calls on the EU and its Member States to promote the common principles and the use of unconditional cash assistance based on context and response analysis, while supporting a monitoring mechanism, in the run-up to the WHS;

48.  Calls on the EU to promote and support a global humanitarian innovation alliance for the development of globally shared ethical approaches, in line with the humanitarian principles and the UN principles for innovation and technology in development to guarantee that all investment in humanitarian innovation is designed to improve outcomes for affected populations; calls for the establishment of humanitarian innovation funds at regional and national level;

49.  Recognises that innovation can play a major role in responding to new challenges, as well as in improving existing programmes, by integrating new developments in other sectors in order to conceive, scale up and develop models that allow breakthroughs in overcoming humanitarian challenges;

50.  Emphasises the role of new technologies and innovative digital tools in the organisation and delivery of the humanitarian aid, especially with regards to aid delivery and tracking, disaster surveillance, information sharing, coordination between donors and facilitating relations between aid agencies and local governments, particularly in remote areas and disaster zones; highlights that Africa, and especially sub-Saharan Africa, is currently undergoing a mobile digital revolution with a surge in mobile subscriptions (and mobile internet use), makings such tools and services crucial for putting in place early warning systems and for providing speedy information on health matters, danger areas and aid contacts;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support, while respecting humanitarian principles and ethical standards, the involvement of businesses, especially SMEs, by developing a business guide for action and promoting local and regional partnership platforms for a structured, coordinated and sustainable engagement of companies in emergencies; encourages the Member States to integrate businesses into their respective national emergency response plans and accountability mechanisms in a better way;

52.  Calls on the EU to explore and encourage partnerships with start-ups, and with insurance and technology companies, amongst others, with a view to developing tools for preparedness and deployment in emergencies; underlines the need to support and further develop the global mapping by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of available private sector assets and capacities to enhance technical cooperation for disaster response efforts;

53.  Calls on the EU and its humanitarian partners to advocate, in the context of the WHS, better engagement of young people in humanitarian preparedness and recovery processes, and to promote volunteering schemes;

54.  Highlights the important role that the EU Aid Volunteers scheme can play in putting into practice the decisions taken at the future WHS and in the context of a revised European Humanitarian Consensus; stresses that volunteers’ experience, alongside that of other humanitarian activists, can play a vital role in establishing best practices and implementation tools;

55.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to promote, at the WHS, the important role of humanitarian advocacy as this can be an effective way to strengthen protection and innovation;

56.  Underlines that the commitments taken in Istanbul must be implemented at the level of the EU and its Member States; calls, therefore, on the EU and its Member States to design, together with other humanitarian actors, an agenda for the operationalisation of the Summit outcomes after Istanbul; emphasises the need to ensure predictable and timely funding for humanitarian aid through the EU budget by ensuring that the EU’s humanitarian commitment appropriations are systematically fully funded through an equal amount of payment appropriations;

57.  Calls for a coherent and solid new action plan for the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid that guarantees an impartial and effective European humanitarian response, tailored to the local context while being age and gender specific and acting without discrimination and in proportion to needs;

o
o   o

58.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/46/a46r182.htm
(2) https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/iasc-transformative-agenda
(3) https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/ROWCA/Coordination/Principles_of_Partnership_GHP_July2007.pdf
(4) http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/64/290
(5) https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/files/guidelines-integrating-gender-based-violence-interventions-humanitarian-action
(6) http://www.preventionweb.net/files/43291_sendaiframeworkfordrren.pdf
(7) http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/69/313
(8) http://www.globalhumanitarianassistance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GHA-Report-2015_-Interactive_Online.pdf
(9) https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/system/files/documents/files/gho-status_report-final-web.pdf
(10) http://www.ghdinitiative.org/ghd/gns/principles-good-practice-of-ghd/principles-good-practice-ghd.html
(11) OJ L 163, 2.7.1996, p. 1.
(12) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV:ah0009
(13) OJ L 122, 24.4.2014, p. 1.
(14) https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2015/EN/1-2015-335-EN-F1-1.PDF
(15) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 924.
(16) http://ec.europa.eu/echo/sites/echo-site/files/Gender_SWD_2013.pdf
(17) http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2015/EN/1-2015-406-EN-F1-1.PDF
(18) http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/synthesis/aar/doc/echo_aar_2014.pdf
(19) http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9420-2015-INIT/en/pdf
(20) http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9241-2015-INIT/en/pdf
(21) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/137319.pdf
(22) http://www.preventionweb.net/files/37783_eccommunicationsdgs.pdf
(23) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/146311.pdf
(24) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=JOIN:2015:0040:FIN:EN:PDF
(25) https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/
(26) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0196.
(27) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0059.
(28) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0270.
(29) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0231.
(30) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0187.
(31) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0072.
(32) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0040.
(33) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0010.
(34) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0317.
(35) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0176.
(36) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=comnat:COM_2015_0419_FIN
(37) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1441187290883&uri=SWD:2015:166:FIN


Developing a sustainable European industry of base metals
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European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on developing a sustainable European industry of base metals (2014/2211(INI))
P8_TA(2015)0460A8-0309/2015

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Articles 147, 173, 174, 192 and 345 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1225/2009 of 30 November 2009 on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Community(1),

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 597/2009 of 11 June 2009 on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Community(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency(3), amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC,

–   having regard to Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control)(4),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC(5),

–   having regard to Directive 2004/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage(6), in particular Article 1 thereof and the corresponding recitals,

–  having regard to the consolidated version of Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC(7), and the various implementing regulations relating thereto,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 25 February 2015 entitled ‘Energy Union Package’ (COM(2015)0080),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 10 October 2012 entitled ‘A stronger European industry for growth and economic recovery’ (COM(2012)0582),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 28 May 2014 entitled ‘European Energy Security Strategy (COM(2014)0330),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 11 June 2013 entitled ‘Action Plan for a competitive and sustainable steel industry in Europe’ (COM(2013)0407) and the findings of the high-level group attached thereto,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 8 March 2011 entitled ‘A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050’ (COM(2011)0112),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 26 January 2011, entitled ‘A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 strategy’ (COM(2011)0021),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2014 on reindustrialising Europe to promote competitiveness and sustainability(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2012 on a roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2014 on the steel sector in the EU: protecting workers and industries(10),

–  having regard to the European Council Conclusions of 23 and 24 October 2014 regarding the 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework,

–  having regard to the report of 10 June 2013, commissioned by the Commission from the Centre for European Policy Studies, entitled Assessment of cumulative cost impact for the steel industry’,

–  having regard to the report of 31 October 2013, commissioned by the Commission from the Centre for European Policy Studies, entitled ‘Assessment of cumulative cost impact for the aluminium industry’,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document ‘Exploiting the employment potential of green growth’ (SWD(2012)0092),

–  having regard to the WTO Agreement, also known as ‘GATT 94’, and in particular Article XX thereof,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0309/2015),

A.  whereas base metals consist of:

   common and special steels, stainless steels, high strength steels and super alloys,
   non-ferrous metals whose reference price is given by the London futures market in (LME), namely aluminium, copper, tin, nickel, lead and zinc,
   metal alloys such as cobalt, molybdenum, magnesium and titanium,
   rare earths,

which all result from a primary production process that combines mining and metallurgical processing by pyrometallurgy or hydrometallurgy, whereas the secondary production source results from a process of recovery and recycling;

B.  whereas the European steel sector has played a historically significant role in the European integration process and forms the basis of the generation of European industrial value added and of European value chains; whereas the base metal sector plays a key role in the development of the overall economy, both technologically and in overcoming supply bottlenecks; whereas the steel sector, which has seen over 40 MT of steel production capacity close since 2008 and has lost more than 60 000 jobs directly and over 100 000 jobs indirectly, is experiencing its most serious peacetime crisis ever, resulting in greater dependency of the industrial manufacturing sectors on imports from third countries and in losses of industrial know-how, with a direct impact on millions of jobs; whereas global overcapacity is believed to be between 300 million and 400 million tonnes, mainly in China;

C.  whereas the base metals industry is facing a significant drop in demand and strong global competition, mainly from third countries without the same high standards and strict regulations as in Europe;

D.  whereas energy prices in Europe are higher than in a number of other economies, mainly due to insufficient energy market integration, rising taxes, levies and network costs, and significantly restrict the competitiveness of the European base metals industry in the global market;

E.  whereas the European base metals industry faces serious investment leakage to third countries, mainly driven by comparably high energy prices and the cost of carbon cost;

F.  whereas the successive closures of European electrolysis plants processing metals such as aluminium, copper and magnesium show that Europe is rapidly deindustrialising when it comes to this sector, not because of a decline in European demand but due mainly to the increase in and the increased volatility of electricity prices in several Member States and dumping from third countries;

G.  whereas the alloys of metals such as steel, aluminium, zinc, titanium and copper (including galvanised sheets), which are defined in this resolution as base metals, are essential to the manufacture of electronics, machinery, appliances and motor vehicles and in construction; whereas the EU base metals industry should be considered as a strategic asset for European competitiveness, in particular for other industrial sectors and for the development of existing and new infrastructure;

H.  whereas addressing the issue of competitiveness and the risk of carbon leakage should be the priority and whereas any protectionist measures must be avoided;

I.  whereas since 2009 the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has experienced a growing surplus of allowances and international credits compared to emissions which has significantly weakened the carbon price signal; whereas, in the future when emissions permits under the European ETS become more expensive, a competition crisis is likely to arise; whereas, unless a comparable effort is introduced at international or national level, namely through the introduction of a carbon market like the EU’s, a number of industrial sectors and installations in the EU will lose international competitiveness which may to some extent lead to carbon leakage; whereas there still exists significant potential for energy savings in the base metals industry which could be tapped effectively through private investments and support schemes for plant modernisation;

J.  whereas the EU base metals industry is facing a race against time in order to regain its global competitiveness and capacity to invest in Europe and hence meet the social and environmental challenges it faces and which it must overcome while remaining a reference for the world in terms of the social and environmental responsibility of its operations; whereas worldwide overcapacity and unfair subsidies and dumping by third countries have brought additional pressure to bear on the European market for base metals; whereas production innovation has a positive effect on employment growth in all phases of the business cycle of industries; whereas on the other hand a number of undertakings have been pursuing strategies focusing on short-term financial returns to the detriment of innovation, investments in R&D, employment and skills’ renewal; whereas involving workers in innovation and strategy definition is the best way to guarantee economic success; whereas fair trade in steel products can likewise only work in accordance with basic employment rights and environmental standards;

K.  whereas the exploitation of secondary metals (resulting from a process of recovery and recycling) is an imperative in an industrialised and resource-efficient economy and must be developed as a competitive and sustainable circular economy, but can by no means fully meet the base metal needs of European economies in terms either of quality or of quantity; whereas the EU’s scrap trade balance is positive and more efforts should be made to incentivise scrap recycling in Europe; whereas the base metal industry, its raw materials and auxiliary suppliers should be treated in a comprehensive and integral way;

L.  whereas this is especially true of energy transition, as base metals such as rare earths are at the heart of the new technologies needed for this to take place; whereas the EU is still very much dependent on imports of the metals needed to produce renewable energy generation equipment that offer real opportunities for the sector, namely to overcome possible difficulties in supply; whereas investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are an important driver for investments in industrial products, including copper, aluminium and steel; whereas an ambitious European renewables and energy-savings policy could drive future base metal demand in Europe and, in particular, provide an opportunity to produce high value-added products; whereas there is a lack of corporate environmental responsibility and whereas certain industrial sites are in flagrant violation of European legislation and certain abandoned sites pose a threat to human health and the environment; whereas environmental standards and circular economy principles should be fundamental to development and innovation investments in the base metals industry sector in Europe; whereas the Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 finds that decarbonisation of the energy sector and a high renewables scenario is cheaper than a continuation of current policies, and that over time nuclear and fossil fuel energy prices will continue to rise, whereas the cost of renewables will decrease;

M.  whereas the opinion of Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy on recommendations to the Commission on the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (2014/2228(INI)) underlined the importance of a chapter on energy, and at the same time stressed the disadvantage of EU energy-intensive industries and the need to safeguard their competitiveness;

N.  whereas only an ambitious innovation policy which clears the way for the development of high-quality, energy-efficient and innovative products (such as high-strength yet flexible steels) and new production processes will enable the EU to hold its own in the face of ever more severe global competition; whereas 65 % of business spending on R&D is done by the manufacturing industry, and whereas the strengthening of our industrial base is therefore essential to keeping expertise and know-how in the EU;

O.  whereas the EU base metals industry is losing its competitiveness, partly due to high regulatory and administrative burdens;

P.  whereas the aim of the Energy Union Package is to create a secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy market in order to enhance the global competitiveness of the European economy, reducing and harmonising energy prices in Europe and among Member States;

Q.  whereas the recognition of market economic status to state-run or other non-market economies without reference to their actual functioning would undermine trade defence instruments and have a severe impact in terms of competitiveness and employment on the European base metal industries, by worsening the impact of the price war conducted by the world’s largest steel producer, and of its notorious overcapacity;

R.  whereas research, development and innovation in this sector is key for European industry; whereas plant closures often result in irreversible loss of technology and know-how and unskilling of the industrial workforce;

The importance of base metals for European industry

1.  Stresses the importance of the base metal industry for a whole range of downstream industries, including the automotive industry, the aerospace industry, energy production, the construction industry and packaging;

2.  Considers that Europe, which is already heavily dependent on raw materials, cannot afford a new dependency to develop in respect of base metals, which would have a very adverse impact on the aforementioned downstream industries;

3.  Points out that, in the steel industry, the EU has a flat steel production capacity shortfall due to the massive closures of recent years and a revival of demand;

4.  Stresses that demand for non-ferrous metals such as aluminium and copper is constantly growing despite the crisis;

The overriding need to act on climate change and high energy prices

5.  Stresses that a redesign of the current ETS system is one of the most pressing issues in terms of ensuring the competitiveness of the base metals industry; notes that the Commission has made proposals which will culminate in the reform of the ETS for the fourth period 2021-2030 and calls on the co-legislators, in this connection, to ensure that the reform includes the issue of carbon leakage and promotes efficiency, industrial innovation and the optimal yields that this reform is supposed to guarantee, while considering supplementing the ETS with other innovative instruments and strategies in order genuinely to reduce emissions; calls on the Commission, when reviewing the ETS, to reward the best performers within energy-intensive industry from the point of view of producing goods while achieving lower emissions;

6.  Notes the establishment of the market stability reserve in 2019 and is consideringthe Commission’s proposals for post-2020 structural reform of the ETS, which will be the subject of specific and separate scrutiny in Parliament;

7.  Calls for energy-intensive industries to continue their efforts to optimise recycling arrangements and cut CO2 emissions with a view to ensuring future industrial competitiveness and meeting the EU’s established binding reduction targets; stresses, in this connection, that industrial competitiveness, resource efficiency and emissions cuts are becoming complementary objectives since, if European production becomes carbon-virtuous, preservation of its share of the European and world markets is an effective means of contributing to an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of industrial origin; adds that the same applies to the production of imported goods which meet the equivalent energy efficiency and emissions standards as to that of goods produced in the EU; stresses that undertakings in third countries that form part of the value chain must also act in line with the EU’s climate and energy targets and take account of progress on energy efficiency in particular;

Carbon border adjustment – a temporary and flexible measure of international dimension in line with the WTO

8.  Emphasises firmly that, ever since the creation of the International Negotiating Committee that prepared the Rio Convention in 1992, the EU has been seeking to negotiate with third countries an international agreement aimed at protecting against climate change, but so far without success, despite the growing urgency highlighted by a virtually unanimous scientific consensus; calls for the continued leadership of the EU and highlights the crucial need to ensure that a global binding agreement is concluded at the Paris Convention, with a full commitment by all parties to effectively averting dangerous climate change; emphasises that these negotiations must lead to a legally binding agreement with economy-wide targets for all parties, respecting the agreed objective of limiting global warming to below 2 °C; stresses that a comprehensive international agreement will level the playing field for industry and reduce the risk of carbon leakage from the EU;

9.  Highlights that international climate action is the best recipe to prevent carbon leakage; highlights the fact that an ambitious international agreement on combating climate change that creates a level-playing field for all countries prepared to cooperate at multilateral level and forge a coherent global environmental regime to reduce carbon emissions would be the most positive way of dealing with global emissions; underlines the fact that such an agreement would allow for fair competition for all base metal producers and would render considerations of border adjustments unnecessary provided that its implementation was subject to effective monitoring and any adjustments that were required; points to the fact that such an international agreement must necessarily include reliable commitments by the strongest emitting countries; also points to the need for compliance with social and environmental standards in this connection, in order to create a level playing field;

10.  Notes that, by taking both imports and exports into account, the border carbon adjustment mechanism incorporates into European regulation an emissions reduction model also encompassing a consumption‑based territorial approach and that this kind of bottom-up approach has the advantage of offering a universal solution that enables each state to decide in a sovereign manner how ambitious its climate policy is to be, subject to a careful impact assessment of the consequences; calls on the Commission to ensure that future trade agreements include provisions which significantly improve export opportunities and market access for European base metals products; reiterates that the Commission should include prohibition of distortive raw materials practices (dual pricing, export restrictions) in regional, bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements;

11.  Stresses that any measures affecting trade must respect international trade agreements; maintains that the climate policy objectives of protecting the life and health of humans, animals and plants, and of the conservation of finite natural resources, if applied in a non-discriminatory manner and not as a disguised restriction, are consonant with the exceptions set out in Article XX of the GATT Agreement; specifies that climate change, given its global nature, should receive legal attention; considers the fact that an atmosphere with a low carbon content (clean air) is already viewed as a natural resource that can be exhausted, and should therefore be considered a public good; specifies, moreover, that retaliatory measures could not be implemented as a result of the border carbon adjustment measures (BCAs) without violating the rules of international trade and without risk of conviction; reiterates that the purpose is by no means to protect European industries, but to place them on an equal footing with their foreign competitors;

12.  Points out that it would be desirable to envisage partial reallocation of the revenue derived from auctions to environmental protection initiatives and measures to combat climate change, such as the Green Fund provided for in the Cancún Agreements and other international climate finance instruments;

13.  Notes that agreed standards on the calculation of the carbon content and the life-cycle emissions of products increase transparency and can facilitate the promotion of sustainable production and consumption, including in the metals industry;

Compensation for indirect emissions

14.  Regrets that the state aid-based compensation regime for indirect costs has created a new source of unfair competition on the EU single market among producers in electricity-intensive sectors, some of whom receive financial support from the authorities in their countries; urges that this compensation be harmonised and, if justified, be granted at European level in order to ensure a level playing field with global competitors and among European producers and ensure effective carbon leakage protection; notes that this is especially true for the six non-ferrous metals that are traded against prices determined by global demand and supply, mostly set by the London Stock Exchange; understands, therefore, that base metal producers are ‘price-takers’, which are unable to pass cost increases on to their customers; reaches the conclusion that it is imperative to keep compensations on indirect emissions in place; refers to the agreement on the establishment and operation of a market stability reserve which states that ‘in pursuing the goal of a level playing field, that review should also consider harmonised arrangements to compensate for indirect costs at the Union level’(11); refers in this connection to Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty(12) and to Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; calls on the Commission to review the impact of various energy support schemes on the retail prices of energy which indirectly influence competitiveness of energy-intensive industries in individual Member States;

15.  Considers that the differentiated carbon impact on electricity prices arising from the energy mix of each supplier is a factor in competitiveness and depends inter alia on the choices made by each sovereign state; welcomes the Commission proposal on the European Energy Union; believes that a well-functioning internal energy market that delivers secure and sustainable energy and ensures adequate interconnections of Member States will help to lower energy prices for European industry and consumers; considers that the ETS is an EU harmonised measure to reduce industry emissions and that its impacts should therefore be addressed through a harmonised system;

Support for investing in the production of low carbon metals

16.  Urges that free allowances for the most efficient installations in the carbon-leakage sectors be allocated on the basis of programmes for investment in new equipment, R&D (including the capture, storage (CCS) and use of carbon (CCU)) and the training of workers, as soon as possible and at all events starting 2018 and during the fourth stage, covering the period 2021-2030 in order to meet high standards of climate and environmental protection and employment rights; stresses the absolute need for investment in research and development to enable Europe to remain a centre of excellence for the production of base metals; recalls that industries which invest are the ones which survive crises most successfully; calls for ETS auction revenues to be used to finance climate action inside the EU and in developing countries, including for investments into renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in industrial sectors; supports the plans under the 2030 climate and energy framework to establish a facility (NER400) for carbon capture and storage, innovative renewables and low carbon innovation in industrial sectors as laid down in the conclusions of the European Council of 23 October 2014; proposes that pilot and demonstration projects relating to carbon capture, utilisation and storage should be part of programmes for the funding of low-carbon technologies promoted by the Commission along the lines of NER 300 and the future NER 400, with the financial risk being shared between the financier and the operator; recalls the importance of public investment and, in the European context, of Horizon 2020 funds, in improving the environmental and energy efficiency of the base-metal industry, including the achievement of lower carbon emissions in line with Europe 2020 targets; regards the training of workers in the application of low-carbon technologies and practices in industry as a strategic investment which ought to be fully incorporated into programmes promoted by the Commission to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy;

Financial accounting and transparency

17.  Suggests that CO2 allowances be made public on publication of companies’ annual accounts and that the European Union encourage the resumption of work on an international accounting standard in this field;

18.  Underlines the importance of transparency in the use of allocation revenues by Member States; refers in this connection to the obligation on Member States to inform the Commission as to the use of ETS revenues; underlines the fact that increased transparency would help citizens see how ETS revenues are being used by national authorities;

19.  Emphasises that installations and companies must respect all legal requirements on social responsibility and reporting in order to ensure equal and effective implementation of environmental regulations and ensure that competent authorities and stakeholders, including workers’ representatives and representatives of civil society and local communities, have access to all relevant information; underlines the right of access to information in environmental matters as laid down in the Aarhus Convention and implemented in EU and national legislation, including Directive 2003/87/EC; suggests that any facility classified as subject to the ETS should make comprehensive information available every year, including in respect of combating climate change and compliance with EU directives in the field of environment, safety and health at work, and that this information should be accessible to workers’ representatives and to the representatives of civil society from local communities in the vicinity of the facility;

The issue of electricity supply contracts

20.  Highlights the importance to the competitiveness of Europe’s base metal sector of the possibility of concluding long-term contracts, under certain conditions to be clarified by the Commission, which must be compatible with a return on investment, the duration of which must be no less than 15 years in the case of highly capital-intensive industries; recalls the need felt by industrialists for their investments to be secured by means of predictable prices and a clear legal framework; stresses that, rather than annual electricity auctions, preference ought to be assigned to long-term stability of electricity supply contracts; expresses concern for market regulations allowing, in some Member States, for a structural gap between electricity prices and generation costs; calls on the Commission to fight against windfall profits of private oligopolies in the energy market;

21.  Expresses concern at market regulations which allow for a structural gap between electricity prices and generation costs;

Transfer of skills

22.  Calls for the transfer of skills between generations of workers to be organised in all plants which have unsatisfactory age pyramids for all highly skilled production posts; favours the promotion of the skills of young employees in businesses by means of a structural apprenticeship policy to develop the collective skills of employees; emphasises the importance of the skills and qualifications of workers in the base metal sector; calls for active employment and industrial policies ensuring that this knowledge is developed and recognised as an important asset of the European base metal industry; asks that the maintenance of industrial know-how and a skilled workforce be considered in assessing the viability of production in any particular plant;

Supply of raw materials

23.  Calls for European diplomatic action relating to raw materials for metal production based on strategic partnerships to share added valued between European countries and countries producing raw materials in such a way as to promote the development of skilled employment throughout the value chain; asks the Commission to establish an in-depth steel market analysis instrument that can provide precise information on the European and global steel supply-demand balance, distinguishing between structural and cyclical components of development of these markets; believes that monitoring primary and secondary base metals markets could provide valuable inputs to corrective and proactive measures which are inevitable due to the cyclical nature of these steel industries; welcomes the report by the European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON)(13); calls on the Commission to continue its actions under ERECON to develop a diversified and sustainable rare earths (REE) supply chain for Europe and, in particular, implement the policy recommendations and provide support for substitution solutions and greater recycling;

European trade protection measures in respect of base metals: prevention rather than a belated cure

24.  Exhorts the Council to conclude the revision of the two regulations on trade defence instruments (TDI), in order to streamline, reinforce and speed up these instruments, ensuring that they are not weakened; suggests a preliminary investigation phase of a maximum of one month for an initial review of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy complaints, following which, on the basis of the initial evidence, preventive correction measures may be announced and a thorough investigation conducted; deplores the fact that the legislative proposal on the modernisation of TDI is at a standstill in the Council despite the strong support which Parliament has expressed for tougher measures against unfair imports from third countries; calls on the Council to press ahead quickly with the modernisation of TDI, in order to ensure that an appropriate response to unfair practices can finally be put in place and that the European market can be protected against dumping, thereby ensuring a level playing field and full enjoyment of the opportunities afforded by the energy transition;

25.  Adopts the aim of making rapid progress in the recycling of rare earths and critical metals consumed in the Union;

26.  Emphasises that all base metals, including stainless steels and aluminium, are subject to global competition; considers it urgent for the Commission, in its analysis and comparisons, when defining relevant geographic markets, to take the global market as a reference and not to limit its analysis simply to the internal market; calls for an impact assessment of production capacities, which should consider, inter alia, plant and jobs, to be performed before any decisions are taken by the Commission’s DG Competition, and for its conclusions to be incorporated in the final publicity afforded to stakeholders; calls for a revision of competition policy and state aid rules in order to facilitate public intervention, with the aim of maintaining social and regional cohesion, improving environmental standards and addressing public health concerns;

27.  Supports the creation of local information and consultation committees for industrial risk prevention, which should include all stakeholders with powers to conduct monitoring and issue alerts; stresses the recognised expertise of employees’ representatives with regard to a business’s strategic choices and decision-making;

The role of base metals in the circular economy

28.  Highlights in this context the positive impact of secondary metals, which help to significantly reduce energy and raw material input; calls therefore on the Commission to facilitate the development and functioning of secondary metal markets; encourages the establishment of a circular economy at every base metals production plant in order to link the exploitation of by-products and recycled metals with the aim of increasing their competitiveness; calls for it to be made mandatory to establish a circular economy at every base metals production plant in order to link the exploitation of by-products and recycled metals with the aim of increasing their competitiveness; adopts the aim of making rapid progress in the recycling of rare earths and critical metals consumed in the Union; calls for the development of strong links between the base metal recycling sector and other industries in order to strengthen the size and resilience of the industrial base, in particular in regions affected by deindustrialisation; emphasises in this context the large potential of product and material substitution and increasing the use of scrap metal inter alia in steel and aluminium production; stresses that most base metals can be recycled many times for a fraction of the energy used for primary production; is concerned by the large energy loss for Europe caused by the legal and illegal export of aluminium and copper to countries such as China and India, states which have established aluminium export bans themselves; believes that high environmental standards and circular economy principles should be fundamental to development and innovation investments in the base metals industry sector in Europe; calls on the Commission to develop economic incentives for recycling metals, including currently uneconomical critical raw materials such as rare earths, to investigate how markets for recycled materials can be supported by inter alia green certificates for recycled materials, eco-design requirements and fiscal incentives, and to ensure that cohesion policy and European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) budgets are also leveraged to promote resource efficiency and recycling; believes that waste legislation should be improved to sustain the functioning of the EU scrap metals market through, for instance, a revision of the End-of Life Vehicles Directive and other waste legislation; suggests that measures be taken to set collection targets, strengthen producer’s responsibility and widen the scope of end-of-life legislation, for instance relating to lorries, buses and motorcycles; stresses the need for qualified and skilled people to cope with the transition towards more sustainable production processes and products, and calls for a European training and education strategy supporting companies, research institutes and the social partners in the efforts to jointly investigate skills needs for environmental sustainability;

o
o   o

29.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 51.
(2) OJ L 188, 18.7.2009, p. 93.
(3) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17.
(5) OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 16.
(6) OJ L 143, 30.4.2004, p. 56.
(7) OJ L 275, 25.10.2003, p. 32.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0032.
(9) OJ C 251 E, 31.8.2013, p. 75.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0104.
(11) See recital 9 of Decision (EU) 2015/1814 (OJ L 264, 9.10.2015, p. 1).
(12) OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1.
(13) http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/raw-materials/specific-interest/erecon/index_en.htm


Situation in Hungary: follow-up to the European Parliament Resolution of 10 June 2015
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European Parliament resolution of 16 December 2015 on the situation in Hungary (2015/2935(RSP))
P8_TA(2015)0461RC-B8-1351/2015

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, 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 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 10 June 2015 on the situation in Hungary(1), of 3 July 2013 on the situation of fundamental rights: standards and practice in Hungary(2), of 16 February 2012 on the recent political developments in Hungary(3) and of 10 March 2011 on media law in Hungary(4),

–  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 Council’s first annual rule of law dialogue, held on 17 November 2015,

–  having regard to the statement of 27 November 2015 by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights following his visit to Hungary,

–  having regard to Act CXL of 2015 adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on mass immigration,

–  having regard to Act CXLII of 2015 adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on the efficient protection of Hungary’s borders and on mass immigration,

–  having regard to resolution 36/2015 of the Hungarian Parliament on a message to the leaders of the European Union, adopted on 22 September 2015,

–  having regard to the oral question to the Commission on behalf of the committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the situation in Hungary: follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of 10 June 2015 (O-000140/2015 – B8-1110/2015),

–  having regard to the Commission’s reply of 5 November 2015, following Parliament’s resolution of 10 June 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission statement presented at the plenary debate held in Parliament on 2 December 2015 on the situation in Hungary,

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(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 people belonging to minorities, and whereas these values are universal and common to the Member States (Article 2 TEU); whereas a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU would trigger the ‘Article 7’ procedure;

B.  whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is part of EU primary law and prohibits discrimination based on any grounds 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 way the rule of law is implemented at national level plays a key role in ensuring trust towards Member States’ legal and administrative systems; whereas the EU’s justifiable intransigence concerning the values of respect for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights is key to ensuring the credibility of the Union both internally and on the international stage;

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 sound public spending and the protection of the financial interests of the EU should be key elements of the EU’s policy to increase the confidence of citizens by ensuring that their money is used properly, efficiently and effectively;

F.  whereas recent developments, and initiatives and measures taken over the past few years in Hungary have led to a serious systemic deterioration in the situation as regards the rule of law and fundamental rights, inter alia freedom of expression, including academic freedom, the human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, freedom of assembly and association, restrictions and obstructions to the activities of civil society organisations, the right to equal treatment, the rights of people belonging to minorities, including Roma, Jews and LGBTI people, social rights, the functioning of the constitutional system, the independence of the judiciary and of other institutions and many worrying allegations of corruption and conflicts of interest;

G.  whereas in July and September 2015 the Hungarian Parliament adopted a number of amendments, relating in particular to the law on asylum, the penal code, the law on criminal procedure, the law on the border, the law on the police and the law on national defence; whereas the Commission’s preliminary assessment revealed a number of serious concerns and questions regarding compatibility with the asylum and borders acquis and the Charter of Fundamental Rights; whereas on 6 October 2015 the Commission sent an administrative letter to the Hungarian Government; whereas the Hungarian Government responded to that letter; whereas on 10 December 2015 the Commission opened an infringement procedure against Hungary;

H.  whereas the Commission failed to respond to Parliament’s request to undertake an in‑depth monitoring process on the situation of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary; whereas in its statement presented at the plenary debate held in the European Parliament on 2 December 2015 the Commission declared that it was ready to use all the means at its disposal, including infringement proceedings, to ensure that Hungary – and any other Member State – complies with its obligations under EU law and respects the values of the Union as enshrined in Article 2 TEU; whereas the Commission considers that the conditions to activate the Rule of Law Framework regarding Hungary are at this stage not met;

1.  Reiterates its position expressed in its resolution of 10 June 2015 on the situation in Hungary;

2.  Voices serious concerns regarding the series of swift legislative measures taken in recent months that have rendered access to international protection extremely difficult and have unjustifiably criminalised refugees, migrants and asylum seekers; stresses its concerns regarding respect for the principle of non-refoulement, the increasing recourse to the detention, including of minors, and the use of xenophobic rhetoric linking migrants to social problems or security risks, in particular through government-led communication campaigns and national consultation, thereby making integration problematic; urges the Hungarian Government to return to normal procedures and repeal emergency measures;

3.  Believes that all Member States must comply fully with EU law in their legislative and administrative practice, and that all legislation must reflect and be in accordance with basic European values, namely democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights;

4.  Stresses that Parliament has repeatedly called upon the Council to react to worrying developments in Hungary; urges the Council of the European Union and the European Council, as soon as possible, to hold a discussion and adopt conclusions on the situation in Hungary; believes that by not considering or responding adequately to Parliament’s concerns repeatedly expressed by the majority of its Members, the Council and the Commission undermine the principle of mutual sincere cooperation between the institutions laid down in Article 13(2) TEU;

5.  Believes that Hungary is a test for the EU to prove its capacity and political willingness to react to threats and breaches of its own founding values by a Member State; deplores the existence of similar developments in some other Member States and considers that the inaction of the EU may have contributed to such developments, which show worrying signs, similar to those in Hungary, of the rule of law being undermined; believes that this raises serious concerns as to the ability of the Union to ensure continuing respect for the political Copenhagen criteria once a Member State has acceded to the Union;

6.  Recalls the role of the Commission as guardian of the Treaties in ensuring that national legislation is in conformity with democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights; stresses the importance of any evaluation and analysis carried out by the Commission and the Parliament as to the situation in individual Member States being fact-based and objective; invites the Hungarian Government and the Commission to work closely and cooperatively together on any issues which they feel may require further evaluation or analysis; notes with satisfaction the opening of the infringement procedure against Hungary concerning asylum acquis;

7.  Regrets that the current approach taken by the Commission focuses mainly on marginal, technical aspects of the legislation while ignoring the trends, patterns and combined effect of the measures on the rule of law and fundamental rights; believes that infringement proceedings, in particular, have failed in most cases to lead to real changes and to address the situation more broadly;

8.  Reiterates the call on 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, including the combined impact of a number of measures, and evaluating the emergence of a systemic threat in that Member State which could develop into a clear risk of a serious breach within the meaning of Article 7 TEU;

9.  Calls on the Commission to continue all investigations and the use of all existing legislative tools to their full extent, in order to ensure the transparent and proper use of EU funds in Hungary on the basis of EU law; notes the Commission’s decision of 14 July 2015 to suspend several contracts across eight EU funding programmes due to the use of an excessively restrictive selection criterion in public procurement procedures in Hungary;

10.  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, P8_TA(2015)0227.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0315.
(3) OJ C 249 E, 30.8.2013, p. 27.
(4) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 154.

Legal notice