Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 12 May 2016 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Crimean Tatars
 Gambia
 Djibouti
 Mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation *
 Traceability of fishery and aquaculture products in restaurants and retail
 China’s market economy status
 Follow-up and state of play of the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals
 Mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for certain foods
 Framework Agreement on parental leave
 Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings

Crimean Tatars
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on the Crimean Tatars (2016/2692(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0218RC-B8-0582/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Eastern Partnership (EaP), Ukraine and the Russian Federation,

–  having regard to the reports of the Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea conducted by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM),

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),

–  having regard to the European Council decisions of 21 March, 27 June and 16 July 2014 imposing sanctions on the Russian Federation as a follow-up to the illegal annexation of Crimea,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly resolution 68/262 of 27 March 2014 entitled ‘Territorial integrity of Ukraine’,

–  having regard to the Freedom House report ‘Freedom in the World 2016’, which assesses the state of political and civic freedoms in illegally annexed Crimea as ‘not free’,

–  having regard to the ruling of the so-called Crimean Supreme Court of 26 April 2016, which found the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People to be an extremist organisation and banned its activity in the Crimean peninsula,

–  having regard to the statements of the spokesperson for the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 14 April 2016 on suspension of Mejlis activities of the Crimean Tatars and of 26 April 2016 on the decision of the ‘Supreme Court’ of Crimea to ban Mejlis activities,

–  having regard to the statement of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe of 26 April 2016 urging a reversal of the ban on the Mejlis, and to the statement of the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe of 26 April 2016 that the ban of Mejlis risked targeting the Crimean Tatar community as a whole,

–  having regard to the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 and the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 on the implementation of a 12-point peace plan,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Russian Federation has illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol and is therefore an occupying state which has violated international law, including the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine;

B.  whereas the European Union and the international community have repeatedly voiced their concern over the situation of human rights in the occupied territories and the systematic persecution of those who do not recognise the new authorities; whereas these so-called authorities have targeted the indigenous community of Crimean Tatars, a majority of whom oppose the Russian takeover of the peninsula and boycotted the so‑called referendum on 16 March 2014; whereas Crimean Tatar institutions and organisations are increasingly branded as ‘extremists’ and prominent members of the Crimean Tatar community are, or risk, being arrested as ‘terrorists’; whereas the abuses against Tatars include abduction, forced disappearance, violence, torture and extrajudicial killings that the de facto authorities have failed to investigate and prosecute, as well as systemic legal problems over property rights and registration;

C.  whereas Crimean Tatar leaders, including Mustafa Dzhemilev and Rafat Chubarov, have previously been banned from entering Crimea, and are now allowed to do so but under threat of arrest – thus sharing the same fate as numerous other members of the Mejlis and Crimean Tatar activists and displaced people; whereas more than 20 000 Crimean Tatars have had to leave occupied Crimea and move to mainland Ukraine, according to data provided by the Government of Ukraine;

D.  whereas the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, Mustafa Dzhemilev, who earlier spent 15 years in Soviet prisons, has published a list of 14 Crimean Tatars who are political prisoners of the so-called Russian authorities of Crimea, including Ahtem Çiygoz, the First Deputy Chair of the Mejlis, who is being detained in Simferopol pending trial; calls for particular attention to the state of his health and underlines the importance of his trial being public and being monitored by the Council of Europe and other international organisations;

E.  whereas the Russian Federation has been restricting access to Crimea for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the UN and the Council of Europe, not to mention human rights NGOs and independent journalists; whereas the lack of access makes human rights monitoring and reporting in Crimea very difficult;

F.  whereas the entire population of Crimean Tatars, an indigenous people of Crimea, was forcibly deported to other parts of the then USSR in 1944, with no right to return until 1989; whereas on 12 November 2015 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a resolution in which it recognised the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944 as genocide and established 18 May as a Day of Remembrance;

G.  whereas on 26 April 2016 the so-called Supreme Court of Crimea ruled in favour of a request by the so-called Prosecutor-General of Crimea, Natalia Poklonskaya, accusing the Mejlis, which had been the representative body of the Crimean Tatars since its establishment in 1991 and had enjoyed full legal status since May 1999, of extremism, terrorism, human rights violations, illegal actions and acts of sabotage against the authorities;

H.  whereas the Mejlis has now been declared an extremist organisation and included in the Russian Justice Ministry’s list of NGOs whose activities must be suspended; whereas the activities of the Mejlis have consequently been banned in Crimea and in Russia; whereas this ban could apply to more than 2 500 members of 250 village and town mejlises in Crimea;

I.  whereas the decision of the so-called Prosecutor-General and so-called Supreme Court of Crimea are intrinsic parts of the policy of repression and intimidation on the part of the Russian Federation, which is punishing this minority for its loyalty towards the Ukrainian state during the illegal annexation of the peninsula two years ago;

J.  whereas there is a clear breach of international humanitarian law (including the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and Additional Protocol I thereto of 1977), under which an occupying power cannot prosecute civilians for crimes occurring before the occupation and the penal laws of the occupied territory shall remain in force;

1.  Strongly condemns the decision of the so-called Supreme Court of Crimea to ban the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, and demands its immediate reversal; considers this decision to constitute systemic and targeted persecution of the Crimean Tatars, and to be a politically motivated action aimed at further intimidating the legitimate representatives of the Tatar community; stresses the importance of this democratically elected decision‑making body representing the Crimean Tatar people;

2.  Points out that the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, which is the legitimate and recognised representative body of the indigenous people of Crimea, will provide fertile ground for stigmatising the Crimean Tatars, further discriminating against them and violating their human rights and basic civil liberties, and is an attempt to expel them from Crimea, which is their historical motherland; is concerned that the branding of the Mejlis as an extremist organisation may lead to additional charges in accordance with provisions of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation;

3.  Recalls that the banning of the Mejlis means that it will be prohibited from convening, publishing its views in the mass media, holding public events or using bank accounts; calls for the EU to provide financial support for the activities of the Mejlis while it is in exile; calls for increased financing for human rights organisations working on behalf of Crimea;

4.  Recalls the sad second anniversary of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation on 20 February 2014; recalls its severe condemnation of that act, which was in breach of international law; expresses its strong commitment to the policy of non‑recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and to the sanctions imposed in the aftermath thereof, and calls for consideration to be given to extending the list of people targeted by EU sanctions in relation to the banning of the Mejlis; calls on all Member States to adhere strictly to that list; regrets the visits to Crimea – organised without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities – by some politicians from EU Member States, including members of their national parliaments and of the European Parliament, and calls on parliamentarians to refrain from such visits in the future;

5.  Reconfirms its full commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and its free and sovereign choice to pursue a European path; calls on all parties to immediately pursue peaceful reintegration of the occupied Crimean peninsula into the Ukrainian legal order through political dialogue and in full compliance with international law; believes that the restoration of Ukrainian control over the peninsula is fundamental for the reestablishment of cooperative relations with the Russian Federation, including the suspension of Crimea‑related sanctions;

6.  Condemns the severe restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including at traditional commemorative events such as the anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin’s totalitarian Soviet Union regime and at cultural gatherings of the Crimean Tatars;

7.  Condemns restrictions on free media in Crimea, in particular the withdrawal of the licence of the largest Crimean Tatar television channel, ATR; calls for the reopening of that channel and of the children’s television channel Lale and the radio station Meydan; considers that these acts deprive the Crimean Tatar people of a vital instrument for maintaining their cultural and linguistic identity; notes the establishment of the new station TV Millet, and calls for its full editorial independence to be ensured;

8.  Strongly regrets the systematic restrictions on freedom of expression on the pretext of extremism, and the monitoring of social media with the aim of identifying activists who do not recognise the new order and who criticise the validity of the ‘referendum’ held on 16 March 2014; recalls that a hundred UN General Assembly member states took the same stance with the adoption of resolution 68/262;

9.  Recalls that the indigenous Crimean Tatar people have suffered historic injustices which led to their massive deportation by Soviet authorities and to the dispossession of their lands and resources; regrets the fact that discriminatory policies applied by the so-called authorities are preventing the return of these properties and resources, or are being used as an instrument to buy support;

10.  Urges the Russian Federation, which under international humanitarian law bears ultimate responsibility as the occupying state in Crimea, to uphold the legal order in Crimea and protect citizens from arbitrary judicial or administrative measures and rulings, thus fulfilling its own commitments as a member of the Council of Europe, and to conduct independent international investigations of any violations of international law or human rights committed by the occupying forces and the so-called local authorities; calls for the reactivation of the contact group for the families of disappeared persons;

11.  Calls for permanent and unimpeded access to Crimea for the relevant international human rights bodies, with the aim of monitoring the human rights situation;

12.  Welcomes the Ukrainian initiative to establish an international negotiation mechanism in the ‘Geneva Plus’ format for the re-establishment of Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea, which should include direct engagement by the EU; calls on the Russian Federation to start negotiations with Ukraine and other parties on the de-occupation of Crimea, to lift trade and energy embargos and to revoke the state of emergency in Crimea;

13.  Calls for the preservation of the historical and traditional multicultural environment of Crimea and for full respect for Ukrainian, Tatar and other minority languages and distinctive cultures; condemns legal pressure on Crimean Tatar cultural and educational organisations, including those dealing with Crimean Tatar children;

14.  Calls on the Russian Federation to investigate all cases of torture of prisoners illegally apprehended in Crimea, including Ahtem Çiygoz, the First Deputy Chair of the Mejlis, Mustafa Degermendzhi and Ali Asanov, who were arrested in Crimea by the so-called local authorities for their peaceful protest against the occupation, and to guarantee their safe return to Ukraine; reiterates its call for the release of Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko; urges the Russian Federation to end the politically motivated prosecution of dissidents and civic activists; condemns their subsequent transfer to the Russian Federation and the forcible attribution of Russian citizenship; calls on the Russian Federation to cooperate closely with the Council of Europe and the OSCE in the abovementioned cases;

15.  Calls on the European External Action Service and the Council to strengthen pressure on the Russian Federation to allow international organisations access to Crimea for the purpose of monitoring the human rights situation in view of the ongoing gross violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights in the peninsula, and of establishing permanent international monitoring and convention-based mechanisms; stresses that any international presence on the ground should be well coordinated, agreed with Ukraine and supported by the major international human rights organisations;

16.  Reiterates its grave concern regarding the situation of LGBTI people in Crimea, which has substantially worsened following the Russian annexation;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the President, Government and Parliament of Ukraine, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People.


Gambia
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on The Gambia (2016/2693(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0219RC-B8-0591/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on The Gambia,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2015 on the EU’s priorities for the UN Human Rights Council in 2015(1),

–  having regard to several parliamentary questions regarding the situation in The Gambia,

–  having regard to the European External Action Service (EEAS) statement of 17 April 2016 on the human rights situation in The Gambia,

–  having regard to several statements made by the EU Delegation to The Gambia,

–  having regard to the African Union Commission’s resolution of 28 February 2015 on the human rights situation in the Republic of The Gambia,

–  having regard to the statement made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 17 April 2016,

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Addendum: Mission to The Gambia, of 2 March 2015,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on The Gambia of 11 May 2015,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on The Gambia of 24 December 2014,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement signed in June 2000,

–  having regard to the Gambian Constitution,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief of 1981,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Yahya Jammeh took power in The Gambia in a military coup in 1994; whereas he was elected president in 1996 and has since been re-elected three times, under disputed circumstances;

B.  whereas presidential elections are scheduled to be held on 1 December 2016 and legislative elections on 6 April 2017; whereas the last presidential elections, held in 2011, were condemned by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as lacking legitimacy and being accompanied by repression and intimidation of the opposition parties and their electorate;

C.  whereas a peaceful protest, held on 14 April 2016 in Serekunda, a suburb of the capital Banjul, calling for electoral reform led to violent reactions by the Gambian security forces and arbitrary detention of protestors, among them several members of the United Democratic Party (UDP); whereas Solo Sandeng, the opposition leader and a member of the UDP, died in detention shortly after his arrest in suspicious circumstances;

D.  whereas members of the UDP gathered again on 16 April 2016 to demand justice for Mr Sandeng’s death and the release of other members of their party; whereas police fired tear gas at the demonstrators and arrested a number of people;

E.  whereas another opposition leader, Ousainou Darboe, and other senior party officials were arrested and remain in state custody, reportedly suffering from serious injuries;

F.  whereas Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the managing director of the independent radio station Teranga FM, who was arrested on 2 July 2015 by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), has been denied bail three times despite his poor state of health;

G.  whereas in March 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention released an opinion, adopted during its last session in December 2015, stressing that Mr Ceesay had been arbitrarily deprived of liberty and calling on The Gambia to release him and drop all charges against him;

H.  whereas human rights defenders and journalists in The Gambia are victims of abusive practices and repressive legislation and constantly face harassment and intimidation, arrest and detention, and enforced disappearance or being forced into exile;

I.  whereas torture and other forms of ill-treatment are regularly used in The Gambia; whereas people are reported to have been routinely brutally tortured or otherwise ill-treated in order to extract ‘confessions’, which are then used in court, as evidenced in the report drawn up following the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to The Gambia in 2014;

J.  whereas arbitrary detentions by the NIA and the police are routinely carried out, such as in the case of the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Ousman Jammeh, and Islamic scholars Sheikh Omar Colley, Imam Ousman Sawaneh and Imam Cherno Gassama, and individuals are often held without charge and beyond the 72-hour time limit within which a suspect must be brought before a court, in violation of the constitution;

K.  whereas the current anti-homosexuality legislation in The Gambia provides for long prison terms and hefty fines for ‘aggravated homosexuality’; whereas LGBTI people are often victims of attacks, threats or arbitrary arrests by security forces and some of them have been forced to leave the country for their own safety;

L.  whereas The Gambia is one of the fifteen poorest countries in the world with close to a quarter of the population facing chronic food insecurity; whereas the country is highly dependent on international aid; whereas 14 475 Gambians have applied for asylum in the EU since 2015;

M.  whereas the situation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in The Gambia raises real concerns; whereas the EU has been addressing these issues in a dialogue under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement since the end of 2009, but with little concrete progress;

N.  whereas, following concerns over the human rights situation, the EU drastically reduced its aid to The Gambia, although it remains the country’s largest aid donor with a total of EUR 33 million allocated for the 2015-2016 national indicative programme (NIP) period; whereas following this reduction in aid, President Jammeh abruptly expelled the EU’s Chargé d’Affaires to The Gambia, Agnes Guillard, in June 2015;

O.  whereas the NIP for The Gambia for 2015-2016 provides for investments in agriculture and food security, as well as in the transport sector, but no funds are allocated to civil society development, democratic governance or the promotion of human rights and the rule of law;

P.  whereas The Gambia is a member of ECOWAS; whereas in July 2014 an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was concluded between the EU and ECOWAS, which will be ratified in 2016; whereas EPAs shall strengthen not only fair trade but also human rights and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals;

Q.  whereas The Gambia is a Member State of the African Union (AU), a State Party to the African Charter and a signatory to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;

R.  whereas the 2015 Election Amendment Act prices out opposition parties, making The Gambia one of the most expensive countries in which to vie for public office and curtailing the rights of citizens in the process;

1.  Expresses its deepest concern regarding the rapidly worsening security and human rights situation in The Gambia and deplores the attacks of 14 and 16 April 2016 against peaceful demonstrators;

2.  Calls for the immediate release of all protestors arrested in relation to the 14 and 16 April 2016 protests; requests that the Government of the Republic of The Gambia ensure due process for any suspects detained on allegations of participating in the attempted unconstitutional change of government; calls on the authorities of The Gambia to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of these suspects in all circumstances and to secure medical treatment for those injured without delay; expresses its concern regarding the testimonies of torture and ill-treatment of other prisoners;

3.  Urges the Gambian authorities to conduct a swift and independent investigation into these events, and in particular expresses grave concern about the reported death in custody of opposition activist Solo Sandeng;

4.  Strongly condemns the forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and other human rights violations targeted at voices of dissent, including journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and critics, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, under the government of President Yahya Jammeh; calls for any prisoners detained incommunicado to be either brought to trial or released;

5.  Calls on the EU and the AU to work with The Gambia to put in place safeguards against torture, ensure independent access to prisoners and reform all legislation interfering with the rights of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including the offences of sedition, criminal libel and ‘spreading false information’ in the Criminal Code and the amendment of the Information and Communication Act of 2013, which includes censorship of online expression;

6.  Calls on The Gambia to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

7.  Calls on the Government of The Gambia to investigate the evidence on the NIA’s human rights violations, to develop legislation that addresses equal rights for citizens, including inequality issues, and to continue with plans to establish a National Human Rights Commission, in line with the Paris Principles on human rights institutions, to investigate and monitor alleged human rights abuses;

8.  Urges the Government of The Gambia and the regional authorities to take all necessary measures to stop the discrimination against, and attacks and criminalisation of, LGBTI people and to guarantee their right to freedom of expression, including the removal of provisions criminalising LGBTI people from the Gambian Criminal Code;

9.  Calls on the Gambian authorities to prevent any religious discrimination and to encourage and act in favour of a peaceful and inclusive dialogue between all communities;

10.  Calls on ECOWAS and the AU to remain engaged towards the ongoing human rights violations committed by the Gambian regime; recalls that security and stabilisation remain great challenges in the West African region and insists on the need for the AU and ECOWAS to closely monitor the situation in The Gambia and maintain a permanent political dialogue with the Gambian authorities on the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law;

11.  Urges the Government of the Republic of The Gambia to ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in advance of the presidential elections scheduled for December 2016;

12.  Calls on the Government of The Gambia to engage in genuine dialogue with all opposition political parties on legislative and policy reforms that will ensure a free and fair election and guarantee respect for freedom of association and assembly, in line with The Gambia’s international obligations; recalls that the full participation of the opposition and independent civil society in the independent and free national elections is an important factor for the success of these elections;

13.  Encourages the international community, including local human rights organisations and NGOs, as well as the EU Delegation to The Gambia and other relevant international institutions, to actively monitor the electoral procedure, with special regard to securing public respect for freedom of association and assembly;

14.  Calls on the Government of The Gambia to take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, full respect of freedom of expression and freedom of the press; calls, in this regard, for the reform of the provisions of the Information and Communication Act in order to bring the national legislation into line with international standards;

15.  Is concerned that the 2015-2016 NIP for The Gambia does not provide for any support or funding for civil society or for democratic governance, promotion of the rule of law and human rights protection; calls on the Commission to ensure that democratic governance, the rule of law and human rights protection are the focal sectors of any future development cooperation agreements to be considered between the EU and The Gambia;

16.  Calls on the EU Delegation to the Gambia to use all tools at its disposal, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, to actively monitor detention conditions in The Gambia, and to accompany and monitor investigations into the government’s suppression of the protests of 14 and 16 April 2016 and the treatment of protestors in detention, and to further step up efforts to engage with political opposition members, student leaders, journalists, human rights defenders, trade union officials and LGBTI leaders;

17.  Urges the EU and its Member States to conduct a public consultation under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, and to consider freezing all non-humanitarian assistance to the Government of The Gambia and imposing travel bans or other targeted sanctions on officials responsible for serious human rights abuses;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the African Union, the governments of the member countries of the Economic Community of West African States, the Government and Parliament of The Gambia, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council and the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0079.


Djibouti
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on Djibouti (2016/2694(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0220RC-B8-0594/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Djibouti, including those of 4 July 2013 on the situation in Djibouti(1) and of 15 January 2009 on the situation in the Horn of Africa(2),

–  having regard to the National Indicative Programme for Djibouti under the 11th European Development Fund of 19 June 2014,

–  having regard to the statements of 12 April 2016 and 23 December 2015 by the European External Action Service spokesperson,

–  having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2016,

–  having regard to the EU’s regional political partnership for peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Djibouti has ratified,

–  having regard to the actions and communications by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) concerning Djibouti,

–  having regard to the preliminary conclusions of 10 April 2016 of the African Union election observation mission which monitored the presidential elections,

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, to which Djibouti has been a State Party since 2003,

–  having regard to a framework agreement signed on 30 December 2014 between the UMP (Union for the Presidential Majority), the coalition in power, and the USN (Union for National Salvation), the coalition of opposition parties, aimed at promoting ‘peaceful and democratic national politics’,

–  having regard to Decree No 2015-3016 PR/PM of 24 November 2015, adopted by the Djibouti Council of Ministers, establishing exceptional security measures following the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement signed on 23 June 2000 and revised on 22 June 2010,

–  having regard to the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Djibouti, which recognises fundamental liberties and basic principles of good governance,

–  having regard to the Guidelines for African Union Electoral Observation and Monitoring Missions,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Ismail Omar Guelleh has been the President of Djibouti since 1999, having enjoyed a landslide victory in the April 2016 elections with 87,1 % of the vote that was criticised by opposition parties and rights groups as having been obtained by political repression; whereas some opposition candidates boycotted the elections of 2005, 2011 and 2016; whereas President Guelleh persuaded the National Assembly to amend the Constitution in 2010 after announcing that he would not stand again for election in 2016, thereby making it possible for him to stand for a third term in 2011; whereas the ensuing civil society protests were quashed;

B.  whereas Djibouti’s prime location in the Gulf of Aden has made it strategically important for foreign military bases and it is considered as a hub for combating piracy and terrorism;

C.  whereas ten Djiboutian women went on hunger strike in Paris to demand an international inquiry into the rape of Djiboutian women, with four of the hunger-strikers claiming to have been raped themselves, while another, Fatou Ambassa, 30, fasted in memory of her cousin, Halima, who was allegedly fatally gang-raped in 2003 at the age of 16; whereas eight of these women continued their protests for nineteen days from 25 March to 12 April 2016, and ten more women followed suit in Brussels; whereas the Djiboutian authorities dispute their claims; whereas women have been taken hostage in the conflict between the Djibouti army and FRUD-armé; whereas the Djiboutian Women’s Committee (Comité des Femmes Djiboutiennes Contre le Viol et l’Impunité (COFEDVI)), which was established in 1993, has recorded 246 cases of rape by soldiers gathered from around 20 complaints filed;

D.  whereas no EU electoral observation mission was invited to monitor the elections and whereas the electoral experts mission offered by the EU was turned down by the Djibouti authorities; whereas the African Union election observation mission recommends the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission to be put in charge of the electoral process, including the announcement of provisional results;

E.  whereas three opposition candidates, Omar Elmi Khaireh, Mohamed Moussa Ali and Djama Abdourahman Djama, contested the April 2016 election results as lacking transparency and not showing the will of the Djiboutian people; whereas local human rights organisations have not recognised the results; whereas political space for the opposition remains very narrow, with limited freedom of expression; whereas police forces and security services have tight control of the country, and the judiciary is weak and close to the government; whereas opposition leaders were constantly subjected to imprisonment and harassment and there have been allegations of torture; whereas it is alleged that the army was ordered to remove opposition representatives from some polling stations so that the ballot boxes could be stuffed, while other districts such as Ali-Sabieh were put under military control; whereas President Guelleh hosted a party allegedly to reward the army for its contribution to the election before the official results were even released; whereas the African Union has deplored a number of irregularities (the lack of records, the failure to post results and the fact that the votes were not counted in public);

F.  whereas on 31 December 2015, following the exclusion of opposition members of parliament, a law imposing the state of emergency introduced in November 2015 was used to restrict individual liberties and repress opposition activists, human rights defenders, trade unionists and journalists;

G.  whereas on 30 December 2014 the ruling coalition, the UMP, signed a framework agreement with the opposition coalition, the USN, which made provision for a reform of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante), the creation of a joint parliamentary commission, and short and medium-term reforms; whereas the Joint Parliamentary Commission was established in February 2015, but none of the most important draft laws (such as the law on the creation of an independent joint electoral commission and the law on the rights and obligations of political parties) have been submitted; whereas on 26 August 2015 the Djiboutian authorities announced that the electoral commission would not be reformed;

H.  whereas there are no private television or radio stations in Djibouti, with the authorities closely monitoring opposition websites and regularly blocking human rights organisations’ websites and social media; whereas the government owns the main newspaper, La Nation, and the national broadcaster, Radiodiffusion-Télévision de Djibouti, which practise self-censorship; whereas in 2015 Freedom House declared that the press in Djibouti was not free; whereas Djibouti is ranked 170th (out of 180 countries) in the worldwide index of press freedoms 2015 compiled by Reporters Without Borders; whereas, throughout the UMP coalition’s rule, opposition parties and activists have continually been repressed and many party activists and journalists, including a BBC reporter during the 2016 presidential election campaign, have been subjected to legal proceedings; whereas on 19 January 2016 the main opposition newspaper, L’Aurore, was shut down by court order; whereas the National Communication Commission, which was supposed to be set up in 1993, has not yet been created;

I.  whereas, in 2012 especially, the region of Mablas saw a wave of arbitrary arrests of suspected FRUD-armé members;

J.  whereas it has been alleged that at least 27 people were killed and more than 150 wounded by the authorities at a cultural celebration in Buldugo on 21 December 2015, although the Djiboutian Government insists that the death toll was as low as seven; whereas police also later invaded the premises at which opposition leaders were meeting, injured a number of opposition leaders and imprisoned two prominent opposition leaders (Abdourahman Mohammed Guelleh, Secretary-General of the USN, and Hamoud Abdi Souldan) without bringing any charges against them; whereas both were released just a few days before the presidential elections, with the former facing criminal charges; whereas a trade union leader and human rights defender, Omar Ali Ewado, was detained incommunicado from 29 December 2015 to 14 February 2016 for publishing a list of the victims of the massacre and those still missing; whereas his lawyer was also detained at the airport; whereas Said Houssein Robleh, an opposition member and Secretary-General of the LDDH, was injured by Djiboutian police bullets and is currently in exile in Europe;

K.  whereas detention conditions in Djibouti’s prisons are extremely worrying;

L.  whereas, following the Paris terrorist attacks of 13 November 2015, the Djibouti Council of Ministers adopted Decree No 2015-3016 PR/PM on 24 November 2015, banning assembly and gatherings in public areas, as a counterterrorism measure;

M.  whereas there is no legislation against domestic violence and spousal rape in Djibouti; whereas the authorities have informed the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that they are aware of shortcomings in their attempts to tackle gender-based violence; whereas, despite being illegal since 2005, various forms of female genital mutilation have been carried out on 98 % of females in Djibouti;

N.  whereas, according to the World Bank, more than 23 % of Djiboutians live in extreme poverty, with 74 % living on less than USD 3 a day; whereas the food insecurity in Djibouti has been exacerbated by high food prices, water scarcity, climate change and reduced pasture; whereas Djibouti is a beneficiary of the EU’s EUR 79 million aid package for Great Horn of Africa nations affected by El Niño;

O.  whereas respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law are the very foundation of the ACP-EU partnership and constitute essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement; whereas the EU should intensify without delay the regular political dialogue with Djibouti under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement;

P.  whereas Djibouti is currently receiving EUR 105 million in bilateral EU funds, primarily for water and sanitation and food and nutrition security, as part of the EU’s National Indicative Programme, under the 11th European Development Fund; whereas from 2013 to 2017, Djibouti will have received EUR 14 million as part of the EU’s Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience initiative, which aims to empower communities to withstand recurrent droughts;

Q.  whereas Djibouti is currently hosting more than 15 000 refugees from Somalia and Eritrea and about 8 000 more from Yemen; whereas women and girls in refugee camps are at risk of gender-based violence; whereas the Commission is providing assistance, such as life-saving services, and financial aid to the communities hosting refugee camps;

1.  Expresses concern regarding the stalled democratisation process in Djibouti, which was worsened by the parliament making amendments to the provisions of the Djiboutian constitution on the limitation of presidential terms, and the claims that members of the opposition were harassed and excluded from many polling stations; emphasises the importance of fair elections, free from intimidation;

2.  Calls for a thorough investigation into the transparency of the electoral process and the 2016 elections in Djibouti; repeats the EU’s call for the results from each polling station in both the 2013 and 2016 elections to be published;

3.  Strongly denounces the rapes allegedly committed by Djiboutian soldiers against civilians and reported by various NGOs, as highlighted by the hunger strike cases, and calls on the Djiboutian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the actions of the military in particular and bring an end to impunity; calls on the UN to investigate the human rights situation in Djibouti, in particular the situation of women in the country; expresses its strong solidarity with the Djiboutian women currently on hunger strike in France and Belgium;

4.  Denounces military and police interference in democratic processes and reiterates that a thorough and transparent investigation into the election process is essential; raises concerns about the apparent willingness of the President to prematurely celebrate his victory in the April 2016 elections; reminds Djibouti that it is a party to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and that Article 16 of the Djiboutian Constitution stipulates that ‘no one shall be subjected to torture or ill-treatment or cruel, inhuman, degrading or humiliating acts’; calls on Djibouti to thoroughly investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, and that the victims are adequately compensated, and to establish an independent mechanism to investigate allegations of misconduct;

5.  Regrets the decision of the Djiboutian authorities not to reform the National Electoral Commission as envisaged by the Framework Agreement signed on 30 December 2014, and urges them to work closely with the opposition to produce a fairer and more transparent electoral process;

6.  Reminds the Djiboutian authorities of their commitment, under the Guidelines for African Union Electoral Observation and Monitoring Missions, to protect journalists, condemns the way in which journalists have been treated and reminds the Djiboutian authorities of the importance of freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial; demands a reasoned explanation from the Djiboutian authorities about the treatment of journalists; firmly condemns the harassment and imprisonment without charges of opposition leaders, journalists and independent human rights activists in the run-up to the presidential elections; calls on the Djiboutian authorities to put an end to the repression of political opponents and journalists and to release all those who are being detained on political grounds or for exercising media freedom; calls on the Djiboutian authorities to review the country’s state of emergency legislation in order to bring it fully into line with international law;

7.  Condemns the lack of an independent press in Djibouti and the monitoring and censorship of websites critical of the government; regrets the practice of self-censorship conducted by the state-owned media; calls on the Djiboutian Government to grant FM broadcasting licences to any independent media bodies that so request; calls on the government to grant foreign journalists free access to the country to enable them to engage in their work safely and objectively; calls on the Djiboutian Government to put in place the national communication commission and to authorise independent and private broadcasting;

8.  Deplores the killings carried out at the cultural ceremony on 21 December 2015 and the ensuing detentions and acts of harassment of human rights defenders and opposition members; expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and demands a full and independent inquiry with a view to identifying and bringing to justice those responsible; reiterates its condemnation of arbitrary detention and calls for the rights of the defence to be respected;

9.  Calls on the Djiboutian authorities to guarantee respect for the human rights recognised in the national and international agreements which Djibouti has signed and to safeguard civil and political rights and freedoms, including the right to demonstrate peacefully and freedom of the media;

10.  Urges the government to continue to provide training to police and other officials for the purposes of applying the Human Trafficking Act, to step up efforts to bring human traffickers to justice and to raise awareness of the issue of trafficking among the judicial, legislative and administrative authorities, civil society and non-governmental organisations operating in the country, as well as the general public;

11.  Demands that women and men be treated equally before the law in Djibouti and reminds the authorities that they are a party to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women;

12.  Welcomes the Djiboutian Government’s interventions in the widespread practice of female genital mutilation, but would like to see more improvements made;

13.  Calls on the authorities to grant NGOs access to the Obock, Tadjoural and Dikhil districts;

14.  Asks the civilian and military authorities to show maximum restraint during police and army operations in the north of the country, and in particular not to use any kind of violence against civilian populations nor to utilise these populations as a shield around military camps;

15.  States its willingness to monitor the situation in Djibouti closely and to propose restrictive measures in the event of a breach of the Cotonou Agreement (2000), and in particular Articles 8 and 9 thereof; calls on the Commission likewise to monitor the situation closely;

16.  Urges the European External Action Service, the Commission and their partners to work with the Djiboutians on long-term political reform, which should be particularly facilitated by the strong relationship that already exists, given that Djibouti has been a key component of the fight against terrorism and piracy in the region, as well as hosting a military base and contributing to stability in the region;

17.  Calls on the Commission to provide further support for independent organisations and civil society, in particular by opening a call for tenders as soon as possible in the framework of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government of Djibouti, the institutions of the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Member States and the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) OJ C 75, 26.2.2016, p. 160.
(2) OJ C 46 E, 24.2.2010, p. 102.


Mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 May 2016 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation (COM(2016)0025 – C8-0030/2016 – 2016/0010(CNS))
P8_TA(2016)0221A8-0157/2016

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2016)0025),

–  having regard to Articles 113 and 115 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0030/2016),

–  having regard to the reasoned opinion submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Swedish Parliament, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0157/2016),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, in accordance with Article 293(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

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

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to substantially amend the Commission proposal;

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a directive
Recital 1
(1)  In recent years, the challenge posed by tax fraud and tax evasion has increased considerably and has become a major focus of concern within the Union and at global level. The automatic exchange of information constitutes an important tool in this regard and the Commission in its Communication of 6 December 2012 containing an Action plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion highlighted the need to promote vigorously the automatic exchange of information as the future European and international standard for transparency and exchange of information in tax matters. The European Council in its conclusions of 22 May 2013 requested the extension of automatic information exchange at Union and global levels with a view to combatting tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning.
(1)  In recent years, the challenge posed by tax fraud, tax avoidance and tax evasion has increased considerably and has become a major focus of concern within the Union and at global level. The automatic exchange of information constitutes an important tool in this regard and the Commission in its Communication of 6 December 2012 containing an Action plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion highlighted the need to promote vigorously the automatic exchange of information as the future European and international standard for transparency and exchange of information in tax matters. The European Council in its conclusions of 22 May 2013 requested the extension of automatic information exchange at Union and global levels with a view to combatting tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a directive
Recital 2
(2)  As Multi National Enterprise (MNE) Groups are active in different countries, they have the possibility of engaging in aggressive tax planning practices that are not available for domestic companies. When MNEs do so, purely domestic companies, normally small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be particularly affected as their tax burden is higher than that of MNE Groups. On the other hand, all Member States may suffer revenue losses and there is the risk of competition to attract MNE Groups by offering them further tax benefits. There is therefore a problem for the proper functioning of the Internal Market.
(2)  As Multi National Enterprise (MNE) Groups are active in different countries, they have the possibility of engaging in aggressive tax planning practices that are not available for domestic companies. When MNEs do so, purely domestic companies, normally small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be particularly affected as they usually pay an effective rate of tax that is much closer to statutory rates than MNEs, resulting in distortions to, and malfunctions of, the Internal Market as well as distortion of competition to the detriment of SMEs. To avoid distortion of competition, domestic companies should not face disadvantages due to their size or lack of cross-border trade. Furthermore, all Member States may suffer revenue losses and there is the risk of unfair competition between them to attract MNE Groups by offering them further tax benefits. There is therefore a problem for the proper functioning of the Internal Market. In this respect, it should be emphasised that it is the Commission that is in charge of the proper functioning of the Internal Market.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a directive
Recital 2 a (new)
(2a)  It is of vital importance for the Union that tax rules are designed not to impair growth or investments, put Union companies at a competitive disadvantage, nor increase the risk of double taxation and that they are designed to minimise costs and administrative burdens for companies.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a directive
Recital 3
(3)  Union tax authorities need comprehensive and relevant information on MNE Groups regarding their structure, transfer pricing policy and internal transactions in and outside the EU. That information will enable the tax authorities to react to harmful tax practices through changes in the legislation or adequate risk assessments and tax audits, and to identify whether companies have engaged in practices that have the effect of artificially shifting substantial amounts of income into tax-advantaged environments.
(3)  Member States' tax authorities need comprehensive and relevant information on MNE Groups regarding their structure, transfer pricing policy, tax settlements, tax credits and internal transactions in and outside the Union. That information will enable the tax authorities to react to harmful tax practices through changes in the legislation or adequate risk assessments and tax audits, and to identify whether companies have engaged in practices that have the effect of artificially shifting substantial amounts of income into tax-advantaged environments. The Commission should also have access to the information exchanged between Member States' tax authorities in order to ensure compliance with the relevant competition rules. The Commission should treat the information as confidential and take all appropriate measures to protect that information.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a directive
Recital 4
(4)   Increased transparency towards tax authorities could have the effect of giving MNE Groups an incentive to abandon certain practices and pay their fair share of tax in the country where profits are made. Enhancing transparency for MNE Groups is therefore an essential part of tackling base erosion and profit shifting.
(4)   An adequate level of information provided to and exchanged between Member States' tax authorities as well as the Commission could have the effect of giving MNE Groups an incentive to abandon certain practices and pay their tax due in the country where the value is created. It would also increase the 'peer pressure' between Member States and would focus the attention of financial markets on the fiscal accountability of MNEs. Enhancing transparency for MNE Groups, without hampering the Union's competitiveness, is therefore an essential part of tackling base erosion and profit shifting and, ultimately, tax avoidance.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a directive
Recital 6
(6)  In the country-by-country report, MNEs Groups should provide annually and for each tax jurisdiction in which they do business the amount of revenue, profit before income tax and income tax paid and accrued. MNE Groups should also report number of their employees, stated capital, retained earnings and tangible assets in each tax jurisdiction. Finally, MNE Groups should identify each entity within the group doing business in a particular tax jurisdiction and should provide an indication of the business activities each entity engages in.
(6)  In the country-by-country report, MNEs Groups should provide annually and for each tax jurisdiction in which they do business the amount of revenue, profit before income tax and income tax paid and accrued, as well as tax credits. MNE Groups should also report number of their employees, stated capital, retained earnings and tangible assets in each tax jurisdiction. Finally, MNE Groups should identify each entity within the group doing business in a particular tax jurisdiction and should provide an indication of the business activities each entity engages in.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a directive
Recital 8
(8)  To ensure the proper functioning of the Internal Market, the EU has to provide for fair competition between EU MNE Groups and non-EU MNE Groups for which one or several of their entities are located in the EU. Both of them should therefore be subject to the reporting obligation.
(8)  To ensure the proper functioning of the Internal Market, the Union has to provide for fair competition between EU MNE Groups and non-EU MNE Groups for which one or several of their entities are located in the Union Both of them should therefore be subject to the reporting obligation. Member States, in this respect, should be responsible for enforcing the reporting obligation of the MNEs through, for instance, introducing steps to penalise MNEs in the event of non-reporting.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a directive
Recital 9 a (new)
(9a)  Member States should ensure that they maintain or increase the level of human, technical and financial resources dedicated to the automatic exchange of information between tax administrations and to data processing within tax administrations.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a directive
Recital 11
(11)  As regards exchange of information between Member States, Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation and repealing Directive 77/799/EEC already provides for the mandatory automatic exchange of information in a number of fields. Its scope should be enlarged to provide for the mandatory automatic exchange of country-by-country reports between Member States.
(11)  As regards exchange of information between Member States, Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation and repealing Directive 77/799/EEC already provides for the mandatory automatic exchange of information in a number of fields. Its scope should be enlarged to provide for the mandatory automatic exchange of country-by-country reports between Member States, and the communication of such reports to the Commission. Moreover, the Commission should make use of the country-by-country reports to assess the compliance of Member States with Union State aid rules, as there is also a State aid dimension to unfair tax practices in the field of corporate taxation.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a directive
Recital 12
(12)  The mandatory automatic exchange of country-by-country reports between Member States should in each case include the communication of a defined set of basic information that would be accessible to those Member States in which, on the basis of the information in the country-by-country report, one or more entities of the MNE Group are either resident for tax purposes, or are subject to tax with respect to the business carried out through a permanent establishment of an MNE Group.
(12)  The mandatory automatic exchange of country-by-country reports between Member States and with the Commission should in each case include the communication of a defined set of basic information which should be based on uniform definitions and which would be accessible to those Member States in which, on the basis of the information in the country-by-country report, one or more entities of the MNE Group are either resident for tax purposes, or are subject to tax with respect to the business carried out through a permanent establishment of an MNE Group.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a directive
Recital 16
(16)  It is necessary to specify linguistic requirements for the exchange of information between Member States on country-by-country report. It is also necessary to adopt the practical arrangements necessary for the upgrading of CCN network. In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of Articles 20(6) and 21(7), implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
(16)  It is necessary to specify linguistic requirements for the exchange of information between Member States and the communication of such information to the Commission on country-by-country report. It is also necessary to adopt the practical arrangements necessary for the upgrading of CCN network and to make sure that the duplication of standards resulting in an increase in administrative costs for business operators is avoided. In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of Articles 20(6) and 21(7), implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a directive
Recital 18 a (new)
(18a)  Member States' yearly reports to the Commission under this Directive, should detail the extent of filing under Article 8aa and Point 1, Section II, Annex III of this Directive and contain a list of any jurisdictions where ultimate parent entities of Union-based constituent entities are resident, but full reports have not been filed or exchanged.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a directive
Recital 18 b (new)
(18b)  It should be possible for information not to be exchanged under this Directive where such exchange would lead to the disclosure of a commercial, industrial or professional secret or of a commercial process, or of information the disclosure of which would be contrary to public policy.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a directive
Recital 18 c (new)
(18c)  Regard should be given to the European Parliament's resolution of 25 November 2015 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect, the report of Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2007/36/EC as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement and Directive 2013/34/EU as regards certain elements of the corporate governance statement, as well as its resolution of 16 December 2015 with recommendations to the Commission on bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the Union.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a directive
Recital 20
(20)  Since the objective of this Directive, namely the efficient administrative cooperation between Member States under conditions compatible with the proper functioning of the internal market, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the uniformity and effectiveness required, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.
(20)  Since the objective of this Directive, namely the efficient administrative cooperation between Member States and with the Commission under conditions compatible with the proper functioning of the internal market, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the uniformity and effectiveness required, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point -1 (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 1 – paragraph 1
(-1)  Article 1(1) is replaced by the following:
1.  This Directive lays down the rules and procedures under which the Member States shall cooperate with each other with a view to exchanging information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the Member States concerning the taxes referred to in Article 2.
‘1. This Directive lays down the rules and procedures under which the Member States shall cooperate with each other and with the Commission with a view to exchanging information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the Member States concerning the taxes referred to in Article 2.’
Amendment 17
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 – point -a (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 3 – point 2
(-a)  Article 3(2) is replaced by the following:
(2)  ‘central liaison office’ means the office which has been designated as such with principal responsibility for contacts with other Member States in the field of administrative cooperation;
‘(2) ‘central liaison office’ means the office which has been designated as such with principal responsibility for contacts with other Member States and with the Commission in the field of administrative cooperation;’
Amendment 18
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 – point a
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 3 – point 9 – point a
(a)  for the purposes of Article 8(1) and Articles 8a and 8aa, the systematic communication of predefined information to another Member State, without prior request, at pre-established regular intervals; for the purposes of Article 8(1), reference to available information relates to information in the tax files of the Member State communicating the information, which is retrievable in accordance with the procedures for gathering and processing information in that Member State.
(a)  for the purposes of Article 8(1) and Articles 8a and 8aa, the systematic communication of predefined information to another Member State and the Commission, without prior request, at pre-established regular intervals; for the purposes of Article 8(1), reference to available information relates to information in the tax files of the Member State communicating the information, which is retrievable in accordance with the procedures for gathering and processing information in that Member State.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 a (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 4 – paragraph 6
(1a)  Article 4(6) is replaced by the following:
6.  Where a liaison department or a competent official sends or receives a request or a reply to a request for cooperation, it shall inform the central liaison office of its Member State under the procedures laid down by that Member State.
‘6. Where a liaison department or a competent official sends or receives a request or a reply to a request for cooperation, it shall inform the central liaison office of its Member State and the Commission under the procedures laid down by that Member State.’
Amendment 20
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 b (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 6 – paragraph 2
(1b)  Article 6(2) is replaced by the following:
2.  The request referred to in Article 5 may contain a reasoned request for a specific administrative enquiry. If the requested authority takes the view that no administrative enquiry is necessary, it shall immediately inform the requesting authority of the reasons thereof.
‘2. The request referred to in Article 5 may contain a reasoned request for a specific administrative enquiry. If the requested authority takes the view that no administrative enquiry is necessary, it shall immediately inform the requesting authority and the Commission of the reasons thereof.’
Amendment 21
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 c (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 8 – paragraph 1 – point e a (new)
(1c)  In Article 8(1), the following point is added:
‘(ea) country-by-country reports,’
Amendment 22
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 8aa – paragraph 2
2.  The competent authority of a Member State where the Country-by-Country Report was received pursuant to paragraph 1 shall, by means of automatic exchange, communicate the report to any other Member State in which, on the basis of the information in the country-by-country report, one or more Constituent Entities of the MNE Group of the Reporting Entity are either resident for tax purposes, or are subject to tax with respect to the business carried out through a permanent establishment within the deadline laid down in paragraph 4.
2.  The competent authority of a Member State where the Country-by-Country Report was received pursuant to paragraph 1 shall, by means of automatic exchange, as soon as possible communicate the report to any other Member State in which, on the basis of the information in the country-by-country report, one or more Constituent Entities of the MNE Group of the Reporting Entity are either resident for tax purposes, or are subject to tax with respect to the business carried out through a permanent establishment within the deadline laid down in paragraph 4. The competent authority of the Member State concerned shall also communicate the country-by-country report to the Commission, which is responsible for the centralised register of country-by-country reports, available to its competent services.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 8aa – paragraph 3 – point a
(a)  aggregate information relating to the amount of revenue, profit (loss) before income tax, income tax paid, income tax accrued, stated capital, accumulated earnings, number of employees, and tangible assets other than cash or cash equivalents with regard to each jurisdiction in which the MNE Group operates;
(a)  aggregate information relating to the amount of revenue, profit (loss) before income tax, income tax paid, income tax accrued, stated capital, accumulated earnings, number of employees, tangible assets other than cash or cash equivalents with regard to each jurisdiction in which the MNE Group operates, public subsidies received, the value of assets and annual cost of maintaining them, and sales and purchases made by the Group;
Amendment 24
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 8aa – paragraph 3 – point b a (new)
(ba)  the future European tax identification number (TIN) of the MNE Group referred to in the Commission's 2012 Action Plan to strengthen the fight against fraud and tax evasion.
Amendment 37
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 8aa – paragraph 4 a (new)
4a.  In order to enhance transparency for citizens, the Commission shall publish an aggregated summary of the country-by-country reports, based on the information contained in the centralised register of country-by-country reports. In so doing, the Commission shall comply with the provisions of Article 23a on confidentiality.
Amendment 26
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2 a (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 9 – paragraph 1 - introductory part
(2a)  The introductory part of Article 9(1) is replaced by the following:
1.  The competent authority of each Member State shall communicate the information referred to in Article 1(1) to the competent authority of any other Member State concerned, in any of the following circumstances:
‘1. The competent authority of each Member State shall communicate the information referred to in Article 1(1) to the competent authority of any other Member State concerned and to the Commission, in any of the following circumstances:’
Amendment 27
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2 b (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 9 – paragraph 2
(2b)  Article 9(2) is replaced by the following:
2.  The competent authorities of each Member State may communicate, by spontaneous exchange, to the competent authorities of the other Member States any information of which they are aware and which may be useful to the competent authorities of the other Member States.
‘2. The competent authorities of each Member State may communicate, by spontaneous exchange, to the competent authorities of the other Member States and to the Commission any information of which they are aware and which may be useful to the competent authorities of the other Member States.’
Amendment 28
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 4 a (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 23 – paragraph 2
(4a)  Article 23(2) is replaced by the following:
2.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission any relevant information necessary for the evaluation of the effectiveness of administrative cooperation in accordance with this Directive in combating tax evasion and tax avoidance.
‘2. Member States shall communicate to the Commission any relevant information necessary for the evaluation of the effectiveness of administrative cooperation in accordance with this Directive in combating tax avoidance, tax evasion and tax fraud.’
Amendment 29
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 5
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 23 – paragraph 3
3.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission a yearly assessment of the effectiveness of the automatic exchange of information referred to in Article 8, Article 8a and 8aa as well as the practical results achieved. The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt the form and the conditions of communication of that yearly assessment. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 26(2).
3.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission a yearly assessment of the effectiveness of the automatic exchange of information referred to in Article 8, Article 8a and 8aa as well as the practical results achieved. The Commission shall inform the European Parliament and the Council about those results in an appropriate manner, such as an annual consolidated report where the outcome and output of the reporting procedure are discussed. The Commission shall, by means of implementing acts, adopt the form and the conditions of communication of that yearly assessment. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 26(2).
Amendment 30
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 5 a (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 23 – paragraph 3 a (new)
(5a)  In Article 23, the following paragraph is inserted:
'3a. The Commission shall submit a yearly consolidated report to the European Parliament and the Council concerning the Member States' yearly assessments of the effectiveness of the automatic exchange of information, as well as the practical results achieved.'
Amendment 31
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 5 b (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 23 – paragraph 3 b (new)
(5b)  In Article 23, the following paragraph is inserted:
'3b. In the event that the Commission's impact assessment on the consequences of public disclosure of country-by-country information determines that there are no negative consequences for MNE Groups, the Commission shall promptly propose legislation to make the information publicly available.'
Amendment 32
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 5 c (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 24 – paragraph 1
(5c)  Article 24(1) is replaced by the following:
1.  Where the competent authority of a Member State receives from a third country information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of that Member State concerning the taxes referred to in Article 2, that authority may, in so far as this is allowed pursuant to an agreement with that third country, provide that information to the competent authorities of Member States for which that information might be useful and to any requesting authorities.
'1. Where the competent authority of a Member State receives from a third country information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of that Member State concerning the taxes referred to in Article 2, that authority may, in so far as this is allowed pursuant to an agreement with that third country, provide that information to the competent authorities of Member States for which that information might be useful and to any requesting authorities, and to the Commission.'
Amendment 33
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7 a (new)
Directive 2011/16/EU
Article 27 a (new)
(7a)  The following Article is inserted:
'Article 27a
Review
The Commission shall review the effectiveness of this Directive by...three years after the date of entry into force of this Directive].'
Amendment 34
Proposal for a directive
Annex – Annex III – Section II – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 2
Where there are more than one Constituent Entities of the same MNE Group that are resident for tax purposes in the Union and one or more of the conditions set out in point (b) apply, the MNE Group may designate one of such Constituent Entities to file the country-by-country report conforming to the requirements of Article 8aa(1) with respect to any Reporting Fiscal Year within the deadline specified in Article 8aa(1) and to notify the Member State that the filing is intended to satisfy the filing requirement of all the Constituent Entities of such MNE Group that are resident for tax purposes in the Union. That Member State shall, pursuant to Article 8aa(2), communicate the country-by-country report received to any other Member State in which, on the basis of the information in the country-by-country Report, one or more Constituent Entities of the MNE Group of the Reporting Entity are either resident for tax purposes, or are subject to tax with respect to the business carried out through a permanent establishment.
Where there are more than one Constituent Entities of the same MNE Group that are resident for tax purposes in the Union and one or more of the conditions set out in point (b) apply, the MNE Group may designate one of such Constituent Entities, preferably the one with the highest turnover, to file the country-by-country report conforming to the requirements of Article 8aa(1) with respect to any Reporting Fiscal Year within the deadline specified in Article 8aa(1) and to notify the Member State that the filing is intended to satisfy the filing requirement of all the Constituent Entities of such MNE Group that are resident for tax purposes in the Union. That Member State shall, pursuant to Article 8aa(2), communicate the country-by-country report received to any other Member State in which, on the basis of the information in the country-by-country Report, one or more Constituent Entities of the MNE Group of the Reporting Entity are either resident for tax purposes, or are subject to tax with respect to the business carried out through a permanent establishment.

Traceability of fishery and aquaculture products in restaurants and retail
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on traceability of fishery and aquaculture products in restaurants and retail (2016/2532(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0222B8-0581/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1184/2006 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000(1),

–  having regard to 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(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, amending Regulations (EC) No 847/96, (EC) No 2371/2002, (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 2115/2005, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007, (EC) No 676/2007, (EC) No 1098/2007, (EC) No 1300/2008, (EC) No 1342/2008 and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and (EC) No 1966/2006(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 January 2014 on the food crisis, fraud in the food chain and the control thereof(6),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on Fisheries,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on traceability of fishery and aquaculture products in restaurants and retail (O-000052/2016 – B8‑0365/2016),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU is the world’s largest seafood market, which is supplied by both the EU fisheries sector and imports from third countries;

B.  whereas consumers have a right to information expressed in understandable terms, including coastal and geographical information on the capture zones, and should be able to fully rely on the whole chain that provides fishery products in the EU market; whereas the EU and the Member States have a duty to protect EU citizens from fraudulent acts; whereas all imported products must comply with EU rules and standards;

C.  whereas the Commission is preparing a detailed and exhaustive inventory of voluntary claims associated with fishery and aquaculture products which are marketed in the EU; whereas the Commission’s findings could lead to the setting-up of an external structure certifying voluntary claims for fishery and aquaculture products on the EU market;

D.  whereas the Commission’s 2015 EU control plan(7) assessing the prevalence on the market of white fish mislabelled with regard to its declared species found that the declared species was confirmed in 94 % of the samples taken; whereas, however, for certain species non-compliance levels were very high, and the rate of 6 % is considered relatively low compared with other more limited studies in Member States;

E.  whereas Article 36 of Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 required the Commission to submit to Parliament and the Council by 1 January 2015 a feasibility report on options for an eco-label scheme for fishery and aquaculture products;

F.  whereas the common organisation of the markets (CMO) should guarantee fair competition and income for producers of fishery products sold or bought in the EU;

1.  Expresses its serious concern and discontent at the results of various studies showing significant levels of mislabelling on fish products sold on the EU market, including in the restaurants of the EU institutions; reaffirms that the intentional and fraudulent mislabelling of fish species is a breach of EU regulations, including the Common Fisheries Policy, and may constitute a criminal offence under national law;

2.  Calls on the Member States to strengthen national controls, including on non-processed fish for restaurants and the catering sector, in an effort to tackle fraud and identify the stage in the supply chain where fish is mislabelled; is concerned by the substitution of high-quality species with lower-quality counterparts; calls on the Commission and the Member States to study what measures could be put in place to improve the traceability of fishery and aquaculture products; supports the creation of a working group to harmonise the implementation of traceability in all Member States and the setting-up of an external structure enabling the certification of voluntary claims for fishery and aquaculture products on the EU market;

3.  Supports a strong traceability system, from landing to consumption, which would give confidence to consumers and, in turn, decrease commercial dependency on imported fishery and aquaculture products, thereby strengthening the EU market; calls on the Commission to exploit the potential of DNA barcoding, which could assist in the identification of species by DNA sequencing, in order to enhance traceability;

4.  Welcomes the new framework of the CMO and urges the Commission, in accordance with Article 36 of Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013, to submit a feasibility report on options for an eco-label scheme for fishery and aquaculture products; highlights the need to establish minimum standards for ecolabelling; considers that the key elements of the labelling system must ensure transparency, independence and credibility of the certification process; asks for an in-depth analysis of the benefits of setting up an EU‑wide labelling system;

5.  Calls on the Commission to monitor on a regular basis the extent to which the required information appears on labels; stresses that labelling must provide understandable, verifiable and accurate information; encourages the Member States, in the context of voluntary labelling, to state all available information that enables the consumer to make an informed choice; urges the Commission and the Member States to strengthen awareness-raising campaigns on labelling requirements for fishery and aquaculture products;

6.  Stresses that a sound European label policy in the fisheries sector would be a key factor in boosting the economic development of coastal communities, in recognising the best practices of fishermen and in underlining the quality of the products they supply to consumers;

7.  Calls on the Commission, in the interest of guaranteeing consumers’ right to accurate, reliable and comprehensible information, to adopt measures to remedy the confusion caused by the current labelling requirements based on Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) areas and sub-areas, which is particularly serious in the case of catches in some sub-areas of area 27, where inter alia Galicia and the Gulf of Cádiz are labelled as ‘Portuguese Waters’, Wales as ‘Irish Sea’ and Brittany as ‘Bay of Biscay’;

8.  Draws attention to the need to include information on the origin of fishery products in a transparent and clear manner;

9.  Highlights the need to ensure that any future Union-wide ecolabel and third-party seafood ecolabelling and certification schemes are consistent with the FAO’s Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries;

10.  Considers that an EU-wide ecolabel for fisheries and aquaculture products, whose criteria should be further discussed at EU level, could contribute to strengthening traceability and the provision of transparent information to consumers; believes that the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) may fund such a label;

11.  Notes that some commercial fish denominations in force in the Member States vary among them owing to national practices that could lead to a degree of confusion; welcomes the work undertaken by the Commission to launch a pilot project, as adopted by Parliament, aimed at introducing a public database which will provide information on commercial denominations in all the EU official languages;

12.  Encourages the Commission to publicise more effectively its work in protecting marine resources and combating illegal fishing;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission.

(1) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18.
(4) OJ L 165, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0011.
(7) http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/official_controls/food_fraud/fish_substitution/index_en.htm?subweb=343&lang=en


China’s market economy status
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on China’s market economy status (2016/2667(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0223RC-B8-0607/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the EU’s anti-dumping legislation (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 China’s Accession Protocol to the World Trade Organisation (WTO),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on EU-China trade relations,

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

A.  whereas the European Union and China are two of the biggest traders in the world, with China being the EU’s second biggest trading partner and the EU being China’s biggest trading partner, and with daily trade flows of well over EUR 1 billion between them;

B.  whereas in 2015 investment from China into the EU for the first time exceeded investment from the EU into China; whereas the Chinese market has been the main engine of profitability for a number of EU industries and brands;

C.  whereas, when China joined the WTO, an arrangement for this accession allowed for a specific methodology for the calculation of dumping, which was introduced in Section 15 of the Accession Protocol and serves as a basis for different treatment for Chinese imports;

D.  whereas any decision on how to deal with imports from China after December 2016 must ensure compliance of EU law with WTO rules;

E.  whereas the provisions of Section 15 of China’s Accession Protocol to the WTO that remain in force after 2016 provide a basis for the application of a non-standard methodology to imports from China after 2016;

F.  whereas, given the current level of state influence on the Chinese economy, firms’ decisions on prices, costs, outputs and inputs do not respond to market signals reflecting supply and demand;

G.  whereas, in its Accession Protocol, China has committed, inter alia, to allowing all its prices to be determined by market forces, and whereas the EU must ensure that China complies fully with its WTO obligations;

H.  whereas China’s overcapacity is already having strong social, economic and environmental consequences in the EU, as demonstrated by its recent detrimental impact on the EU steel sector, in particular in the United Kingdom, and whereas the social impact on EU jobs of granting market economy status (MES) to China could be substantial;

I.  whereas 56 of the 73 anti-dumping measures currently in force in the EU apply to Chinese imports;

J.  whereas the recently concluded public consultation on the possible granting of MES to China could provide additional information which may be useful in addressing the issue;

K.  whereas the Commission communication of 10 October 2012 entitled ‘A stronger European industry for growth and economic recovery’ (COM(2012)0582) sets the objective of raising industry’s share of EU GDP to 20 % by 2020;

1.  Reiterates the importance of the EU partnership with China, in which free and fair trade and investment play an important role;

2.  Stresses that China is not a market economy and that the five criteria established by the EU to define market economies have not yet been fulfilled;

3.  Urges the Commission to coordinate with the EU’s major trading partners, including in the context of the upcoming G7 and G20 summits, on how best to ensure that all provisions of Section 15 of China’s Accession Protocol to the WTO that remain in force after 2016 are given full legal meaning under their domestic procedures, and to oppose any unilateral granting of MES to China;

4.  Stresses that, in the upcoming EU-China summit, the issues surrounding MES should be discussed;

5.  Calls on the Commission to take due account of the concerns expressed by EU industry, trade unions and other stakeholders as to the consequences for EU jobs, the environment, standards and sustainable economic growth in all the manufacturing sectors affected and for EU industry as a whole, and ensure, in this context, that EU jobs are defended;

6.  Is convinced that, until China meets all five EU criteria required to qualify as a market economy, the EU should use a non-standard methodology in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese imports in determining price comparability, in accordance with and giving full effect to those parts of Section 15 of China’s Accession Protocol which provide room for the application of a non-standard methodology; calls on the Commission to make a proposal in line with this principle;

7.  In parallel, stresses the imminent need for a general reform of the EU’s trade defence instruments in order to guarantee a level playing field for EU industry with China and other trading partners in full compliance with WTO rules; calls on the Council to rapidly seek agreement with Parliament on the modernisation of the Union’s trade defence instruments;

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

(1) OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 51.


Follow-up and state of play of the Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on the follow-up to and review of the 2030 Agenda (2016/2696(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0224B8-0583/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the document entitled ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, in New York,

–  having regard to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa on 13-16 July 2015,

–  having regard to the report by the Inter-Agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG), published on 17 December 2015 and adopted at the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2016,

–  having regard to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) High-Level Segment to be held on 18-22 July 2016 under the theme ‘Implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 on Financing for Development(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2014 on the EU and the global development framework after 2015(2),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris on 12 December 2015,

–  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 the ongoing development of the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which will guide the European Union’s global actions,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2015 on the role of the EU within the UN – how to better achieve EU foreign policy goals(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 October 2015 on Policy coherence for development,

–  having regard to the revision of the Europe 2020 Strategy – ‘The New Approach beyond 2020’,

–  having regard to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action and the declaration and action plan adopted at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan in December 2011,

–  having regard to the European Consensus for Development and its upcoming revision,

–  having regard to Article 208 of the TFEU, which requires the principle of policy coherence for development to be taken into account in all EU external policies,

–  having regard to the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23-24 May 2016,

–  having regard to the letter of 29 March 2016 from its Committee on Development to the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development on the issue of the follow-up to and review of the Sustainable Development Goals,

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

A.  whereas UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 calls for the goals and targets to be followed up and reviewed using a set of global indicators; whereas the UN Secretary-General has been mandated to produce an annual Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) progress report in order to provide support for the follow-up and review at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF); whereas the SDG progress report is to be based on data produced by national statistical systems and information collected at different levels;

B.  whereas, at its 46th session (3-6 March 2015), the Statistical Commission endorsed the roadmap for the development and implementation of a global indicator framework;

C.  whereas the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDG), tasked with fully developing a proposal for the indicator framework for the monitoring of the goals and targets of the post-2015 Development Agenda, proposed indicators for the review of the 2030 Agenda, which were agreed at the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2016;

D.  whereas the proposed set of 230 Sustainable Development Goal indicators represents a good starting point and robust framework for the follow-up to and review of progress towards achieving the 17 SDGs;

E.  whereas several of the indicators are not yet finalised, while at the same time the signatory member states will have to develop their national indicators in line with global indicators, tailored to their national circumstances;

F.  whereas the global indicator framework should be agreed to by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July 2016 and by the General Assembly in September 2016;

G.  whereas the Foreign Affairs Council in its development component will meet on 12 May 2016 and should prepare the EU position for the HLPF meeting in July 2016 and determine in what context a thematic discussion on trade and development, focusing on the EU’s contribution to the private sector in implementing the 2030 Agenda, will take place;

H.  whereas system-wide strategic planning, implementation and reporting are necessary in order to ensure coherent and integrated support for the implementation of the new Agenda by the UN development system;

I.  whereas the new universal framework for sustainable development calls for more coherence between different policy areas and EU actors, requiring further coordination, dialogue and joint work at all levels within and between EU institutions to ensure the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development (environmental, economic, and social) in EU internal and external policies;

J.  whereas the HLPF meeting in July 2016 will include voluntary reviews of 22 countries including four European countries – Estonia, Finland, France and Germany – and thematic reviews of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, including cross-cutting issues, supported by reviews by the ECOSOC functional commissions and other intergovernmental bodies and forums;

1.  Calls on the Foreign Affairs Council in its development component to adopt, ahead of the HLPF’s July 2016 meeting, a coherent and common EU position, taking into account Parliament’s position, as expressed in this resolution; believes that it is crucial to the EU’s credibility and leadership position to present a common position; is concerned that the Commission has not published a communication on the follow-up to and review of the Agenda 2030 ahead of the HLPF meeting, as requested by the members of the Committee on Development, that would serve as a basis for the common EU position;

2.  Welcomes the report of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the SDG indicators; believes that it represents a remarkable achievement and a good basis for negotiations since the proposed indicators draw attention to a far more diverse set of structural concerns;

3.  Welcomes the separate chapter on data disaggregation and the importance given to strengthening national statistical capacities;

4.  Recognises the critical role of the HLPF in the review of the implementation of the SDGs; stresses that this body must ensure a coordinated and efficient assessment of needs and the adoption of the roadmaps needed for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda;

5.  Stresses that the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs represent a renewed international commitment to eradicating poverty, to redefining and modernising our development strategies for the next 15 years and to making sure that we deliver;

6.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for an overarching Sustainable Development Strategy encompassing all relevant internal and external policy areas, with a detailed timeline up to 2030, a mid-term review and a specific procedure ensuring Parliament’s full involvement, including a concrete implementation plan coordinating the achievement of the 17 goals, 169 targets and 230 global indicators and ensuring consistency with, and delivery of, the Paris Agreement goals; stresses the importance of the universality of the goals, and the fact that the EU and its Member States have made a commitment to implementing all the goals and targets fully, in practice and in spirit;

7.  Insists that the new EU Sustainable Development Strategy and associated implementation policies should be subject to a broad consultation with all stakeholders, including national parliaments, local authorities and civil society, through an inclusive process;

8.  Calls for a Commission communication on the follow-up to and review of the 2030 Agenda, with clear information on the implementation structure of the Agenda at EU and Member State level; underlines the fact that all relevant Commission Directorates-General and the European External Action Service (EEAS) should be fully engaged in the integration of the 2030 Agenda in the forthcoming review of the Europe 2020 strategy and the forthcoming EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, ensuring strong policy coherence for sustainable development;

9.  Emphasises that the review of the European Consensus for Development must fully reflect the new 2030 Agenda, which includes a paradigm shift and a fully fledged transformation of EU development policy; recalls that appropriate and targeted aid programming within development cooperation, with due respect for the principles of aid effectiveness, is essential for the achievement of the goals and associated targets;

10.  Stresses that the EU must take full advantage of the upcoming mid-term review of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) in order to ensure that funding mechanisms and budgetary lines reflect all 2030 Agenda commitments agreed to by the EU; calls for the EU and its Member States to recommit without delay to the 0,7 % of GNI target for ODA and to submit a timeline on how to gradually increase ODA in order to reach the 0,7 %;

11.  Calls for regular dialogue between the HLPF and the Commission on the progress made, with regular reporting to Parliament, in accordance with the principles of transparency and mutual accountability; insists on the need for an enhanced dialogue between the Commission and Parliament on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in particular when it comes to development policy and policy coherence for development;

12.  Invites the Commission and the EEAS, in close consultation with other partners, to present concrete proposals on how to more effectively integrate policy coherence for development into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and calls for this new approach to be mainstreamed across all EU institutions in order to ensure effective cooperation and overcome the ‘silo’ approach;

13.  Stresses the importance of incorporating the concept of policy coherence for development; invites the Commission and the EEAS, in close consultation with other partners, to present concrete proposals on how to more effectively integrate PCD into the EU approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and calls for this new approach to be mainstreamed across the EU institutions;

14.  Urges the Commission to develop effective monitoring, review and accountability mechanisms for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and to report back to Parliament on a regular basis; recalls, in this connection, the need to increase democratic scrutiny by Parliament, possibly through a binding interinstitutional agreement, under Article 295 of the TFEU;

15.  Invites the Commission and the UN specialised agencies, funds and programmes to establish a high-level dialogue on the implementation of the SDGs, with a view to coordinating the policies, programmes and operations of the EU, the UN and other donors; underlines the importance of disaggregated and accessible data for monitoring progress and evaluating results;

16.  Calls on UN agencies and bodies to strengthen policy coherence for development within the UN working structures, in order to effectively integrate all dimensions of sustainable development;

17.  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 the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0196.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0059.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0403.


Mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for certain foods
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for certain foods (2016/2583(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0225B8-0545/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004(1) (the ‘Food Information to Consumers Regulation’), and in particular Article 26(5) and (7) thereof,

–  having regard to the reports of 20 May 2015 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry meat (COM(2015)0205) and regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50 % of a food (COM(2015)0204),

–  having regard to the report of 17 December 2013 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for meat used as an ingredient (COM(2013)0755), and the accompanying Commission Staff Working document of 17 December 2013 on origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient: consumers’ attitudes, feasibility of possible scenarios and impacts (SWD(2013)0437),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 February 2015 on country of origin labelling for meat in processed food(2), and the formal response of the Commission adopted on 6 May 2015,

–  having regard to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013 of 13 December 2013 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2014(4) on the above mentioned Commission implementing Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013 of 13 December 2013,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 January 2014 on the food crisis, fraud in the food chain and the control thereof(5),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for certain foods (O-000031/2016 – B8‑0363/2016),

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

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Article 26(5) of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation requires the Commission to submit reports to the European Parliament and Council by 13 December 2014 regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry meat, milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products, unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50 % of a food;

B.  whereas Article 26(8) of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation requires the Commission to adopt implementing acts concerning the application of paragraph 3 of that Article by 13 December 2013;

C.  whereas origin labelling rules are already in place and operate effectively for many other food products including unprocessed meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables, fish, honey, extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, wine and spirit drinks;

D.  whereas Article 26(7) of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation provides that the reports must, inter alia, take into account the need for the consumer to be informed, the feasibility of providing the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance and an analysis of the costs and benefits of the introduction of such measures; whereas it provides further that the reports may be accompanied by proposals to modify relevant provisions of EU legislation;

E.  whereas Article 26(2) of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation stresses that the indication of the country of origin or the place of provenance shall be mandatory where failure to indicate this might mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin or place of provenance of the food, in particular if the information accompanying the food or the label as a whole would otherwise imply that the food has a different country of origin or place of provenance;

F.  whereas on 20 May 2015 the Commission published its report on the mandatory indication of the country of origin for milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry meat (‘report on milk and other meat’) and its report on the mandatory indication of the country of origin for unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50 % of a food;

G.  whereas, according to Commission report COM(2013)0755, the more complex the cutting and processing stages within the meat sector and the more advanced the level of processing, the more complex traceability becomes for the purpose of origin labelling;

H.  whereas the food supply chain is often long and complex, involving many food business operators and other parties; whereas consumers are increasingly unaware of how their food is produced and individual food business operators do not always have an overview of the entire product chain;

I.  whereas consumers’ overall willingness to pay (WTP) for origin information appears to be modest although consumer surveys(6) on WTP indicate that consumers are largely willing to pay more for origin information;

J.  whereas, in its resolution of 11 February 2015, Parliament urged the Commission to follow up its report of 17 December 2013 with legislative proposals making the indication of the origin of meat in processed foods mandatory in order to ensure greater transparency throughout the food chain and to better inform European consumers, while taking into account its impact assessments and avoiding excessive costs and administrative burdens; whereas the Commission has yet to make any follow-up legislative proposals;

K.  whereas strict specifications exist only for voluntary quality schemes, such as protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI), or traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) schemes, while the criteria used in voluntary labelling schemes for foodstuffs covered by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 may vary considerably;

Drinking milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products

1.  Points out that Recital 32 of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation states that milk is one of the products for which an indication of origin is considered of particular interest;

2.  Emphasises that, according to the Eurobarometer survey 2013, 84 % of EU citizens consider it necessary to indicate the origin of milk, whether sold as such or used as an ingredient in dairy products; notes that this is one of several factors that may influence consumer behaviour;

3.  Points out that the mandatory indication of the origin of milk, sold as such or used as an ingredient in dairy products, is a useful measure to protect the quality of dairy products and protect employment in a sector which is going through a severe crisis;

4.  Notes that, according to the survey accompanying the Commission’s report on milk and other meat, the costs of mandatory origin labelling for milk and milk used as an ingredient increase as the complexity of the production process grows; notes that the same survey suggests that businesses in certain Member States had overstated the impact of mandatory origin labelling on their competitive position, as the survey could find no clear explanation for the high cost estimates given by such businesses, but stated that it may be a signal of strong opposition per se to origin labelling;

5.  Calls for the establishment of a Commission Working Group to further evaluate the Commission’s report, published on 20 May 2015, in order to determine which costs can be reduced to an acceptable level if further mandatory country of origin labelling proposals are limited to dairy and lightly processed dairy products;

6.  Appreciates the survey’s analysis of the costs and benefits of the introduction of mandatory origin labelling for milk and milk used as an ingredient, but considers that the Commission in its conclusions does not sufficiently take into account the positive aspects of country of origin labelling for such products, such as greater consumer information; notes that consumers can feel misled when information on mandatory origin labelling is not available and other food labels, such as national flags, are used;

7.  Stresses the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises in the processing chain;

8.  Takes the view that the Commission should take into account and analyse the economic impact of compulsory origin labelling on SMEs in the agricultural and food sectors concerned;

9.  Considers that the Commission’s conclusion in relation to milk and milk used as an ingredient possibly overstates the costs of country of origin labelling to business as all dairy products are considered together;

10.  Notes that the Commission concludes that the costs of country of origin labelling for milk would be modest;

Other types of meat

11.  Stresses that, according to the Eurobarometer survey 2013, 88 % of EU citizens consider it necessary to indicate the origin of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry meat;

12.  Notes that the horsemeat scandal showed the need for greater transparency in the horsemeat supply chain;

13.  Notes that the Commission’s report found that the operating costs of mandatory country of origin labelling for the meats under its remit would be relatively minor;

Processed meat

14.  Highlights that the Commission’s report of 17 December 2013 regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for meat used as an ingredient recognises that more than 90 % of consumer respondents consider it important that meat origin be labelled on processed food products;

15.  Considers that consumers, like many professionals, are in favour of the mandatory labelling of meat in processed products and that such a measure would make it possible to maintain consumer confidence in food products by introducing greater transparency into the supply chain;

16.  Emphasises that it is in the interest of the European consumer to have mandatory origin labelling on all food products;

17.  Points out that labelling in itself does not provide a safeguard against fraud, and highlights the need for a cost efficient control system in order to ensure consumer trust;

18.  Recalls that voluntary labelling schemes, where appropriately implemented in various Member States, have been successful for both consumer information and for producers;

19.  Is of the view that the failure to adopt implementing acts pursuant to Article 26(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 means that the Article cannot be properly enforced;

20.  Notes that protected designations of origin already exist for many processed meat and dairy products (e.g. ham and cheese), according to which the origin of the meat used is laid down in the production criteria and increased traceability applies; calls, therefore, on the Commission to promote the development of products with ‘protected designation of origin’ (PDO), ‘protected geographical indication’ (PGI), or ‘traditional speciality guaranteed’ (TSG) pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012(7) and thereby to ensure that consumers have access to high-quality products of safe provenance;

21.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that any current EU country-of-origin labelling regulations are not weakened in any ongoing trade negotiations such as TTIP, and that the right to propose further additional country-of-origin labelling regulations in the future for other food products is not impeded;

Conclusions

22.  Calls on the Commission to implement the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance for all kinds of drinking milk, dairy products and meat products, and to consider extending the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance to other single-ingredient foods or those with one main ingredient, by making legislative proposals in these areas;

23.  Urges the Commission to submit legislative proposals making the indication of the origin of meat in processed foods mandatory in order to ensure greater transparency throughout the food chain and to better inform European consumers in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other cases of food fraud; points out in, addition, that mandatory labelling requirements should take into account the principle of proportionality and the administrative burden for food business operators and enforcement authorities;

24.  Considers that the aim of mandatory food origin labelling is to restore consumer confidence in food products; calls on the Commission to make a proposal to this end while taking into account the transparency of the information and its legibility for consumers, the economic viability of European businesses and the purchasing power of consumers;

25.  Highlights the importance of a level playing field on the internal market and implores the Commission to take this into account when discussing rules regarding mandatory origin labelling;

26.  Calls on the Commission to support labelling schemes relating to animal welfare during cultivation, transport and slaughter;

27.  Deplores the fact that the Commission has still not made any move to include eggs and egg products in the list of foods for which indication of the country of origin or place of provenance is mandatory, even though cheap egg products made from liquid or dried eggs which are primarily used in processed foods are being imported into the EU market from third countries and are clearly circumventing the EU ban on cage rearing; takes the view, therefore, that in this context the mandatory labelling of egg products and foods containing eggs to indicate origin and rearing method could improve transparency and protection, and calls on the Commission to submit a market analysis and, if necessary, to draw up appropriate legislative proposals;

28.  Believes that country of origin labelling for drinking milk, lightly processed dairy products (such as cheese and cream) and lightly processed meat products (such as bacon and sausages) would have significantly reduced associated costs, and that this labelling should be explored as a priority;

29.  Considers that origin labelling as such does not prevent fraud; advocates, in this connection, that a resolute course should be taken to step up monitoring, improve enforcement of existing legislation and impose more stringent penalties;

30.  Calls on the Commission to take the necessary action to combat fraud in relation to rules on the voluntary labelling of origin for foodstuffs;

31.  Invites the Commission to support the existing quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs covered by Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, and asks for European promotion campaigns on those products to be stepped up;

32.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to fulfil its legal obligation to adopt, by 13 December 2013, the implementing acts necessary for the proper enforcement of Article 26(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, so that the national authorities can impose the relevant penalties;

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

(1) OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0034.
(3) OJ L 335, 14.12.2013, p. 19.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0096.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0011.
(6) http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/docs/labelling_legislation_final_report_ew_02_15_284_en.pdf, p. 50.
(7) OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, p. 1.


Framework Agreement on parental leave
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on the application of Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC (2015/2097(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0226A8-0076/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3(3) and 5 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 8, 10, 153(1)(i) and 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 7, 9, 23, 24 and 33 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010, implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2013/62/EU of 17 December 2013 amending Directive 2010/18/EU implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC, following the amendment of the status of Mayotte with regard to the European Union,

–  having regard to the Presidency conclusions of the European Council held in Brussels on 23‑24 March 2006 (777751/1/06 REV 1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘A better work-life balance: stronger support for reconciling professional, private and family life’ (COM(2008)0635),

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage’ (C(2013)0778),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2015 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: employment and social aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2015(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post-2015(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2015 on maternity leave(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2015 on the application of Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation(4),

–  having regard to the European Parliamentary Research Service study of May 2015 entitled ‘Gender equality in employment and occupation – Directive 2006/54/EC: European Implementation Assessment’,

–  having regard to the European Parliament Directorate-General for Internal Policies of the Union study entitled ‘Maternity, Paternity and Parental Leave: Data Related to Duration and Compensation Rates in the European Union’,

–  having regard to the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions study entitled ‘Promoting parental and paternity leave among fathers’,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report entitled ‘Maternity leave provisions in the EU Member States: Duration and allowances’ (Eurofound, 2015),

–  having regard to the 2015 Eurofound report entitled ‘Promoting uptake of parental and paternity leave among fathers in the European Union’,

–  having regard to the Commission study of February 2015 entitled ‘The Implementation of Parental Leave Directive 2010/18 in 33 European Countries’,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0076/2016),

A.  whereas there is little chance of the 75 % employment rate target set in the Europe 2020 strategy being achieved for women (it currently stands at 63,5 %) by 2020; whereas, moreover, there is a need for proactive policies designed to help women enter and stay in the job market, and to safeguard and support their return as mothers to the job market with the objective of achieving stable and decent work, on equal conditions to men, especially policies that promote a better work-life balance for all parents;

B.  whereas the job performed by parents in the family and in raising children represents a measurable contribution to the economy, which is furthermore of great importance in view of demographic developments in Europe;

C.  whereas Directive 96/34/EC recognises the reconciliation of professional and private life as a separate topic, while Directive 2010/18/EU stipulates that all employees have a right to four months’ unpaid parental leave, and that one of those months must be granted on a non-transferable basis; whereas the principle of gender equality in employment is now established in EU legislation; whereas career equality for men and women, including through the parental leave instrument, would help to achieve the 75 % employment rate target set out in the Europe 2020 strategy, and to resolve the problem of women faced with impoverishment being far more vulnerable, but also represents a measurable contribution to the economy, which is furthermore of great importance in view of demographic developments in Europe;

D.  whereas available data confirms that unpaid or poorly paid family leave results in low participation rates, and that fathers make use of very few of their parental leave rights; whereas entirely or partially non-transferable, properly paid parental leave is used in a more balanced way by both parents, and helps to reduce discrimination against women in the labour market;

E.  whereas a mixed model composed of both maternity and paternity leave and common leave, i.e. parental leave, allows both parents to properly co-decide how they can manage their leave entitlements, in the best interest of their children and considering their job specificities;

F.  whereas parental leave has long-term benefits for children’s development; whereas, within the framework of public policies in force on the matter, fathers’ participation rate in parental leave in the EU Member States is rising but remains low, with only 10 % of fathers taking at least one day of leave; whereas, in contrast, 97 % of women use the parental leave that is available for both parents;

G.  whereas Eurofound studies have illustrated aspects that influence fathers’ take-up rate of parental leave, which include the level of compensation, the flexibility of the leave system, the availability of information, the availability and flexibility of childcare facilities and the extent to which workers fear isolation from the labour market when taking leave; whereas numerous researchers(5) suggest, however, that fathers who take parental leave build a better relationship with their children and are more likely to take an active role in future childcare tasks; whereas, these issues therefore need to be addressed;

H.  whereas the EU as a whole is facing a serious demographic challenge, as birth rates are decreasing in most Member States, and whereas family policies that are fair to men and women should improve women’s prospects on the job market, improve work-life balance and reduce gender gaps as regards pay, pensions and life-long earnings and have a positive impact on demographic processes;

I.  whereas, according to Eurostat the number of people who took parental leave in 2010 was 3 518 600, and of those only 94 800 (2,7 %) were men; whereas, according to Eurofound(6) research, the gender gap in employment participation leads to serious losses for European economies, which amounted in 2013 to around EUR 370 billion;

J.  whereas the Commission, together with the Member States, should launch specific measures to foster a new kind of organisation of work, through more flexible models which, through work-life balance instruments, enable parents to exercise their right to parenthood effectively; whereas these measures could help to reduce the discrimination against women and help them to enter, stay in and return to the job market without any economic and social pressure;

K.  whereas, besides ensuring gender equality and women’s access to employment, parental leave should enable parents to fulfil their responsibilities towards their children;

L.  whereas it is vital to ensure that women have the right to combine jobs with rights and the right to motherhood without being penalised for it, since women continue to be worst affected and suffer most discrimination; whereas examples of this discrimination include pressure from employers on women attending job interviews at which they are asked whether they have children and how old they are, with the aim of influencing women’s decisions and opting for childless workers who are ‘more available’, along with growing economic and work-related pressure on female employees not to take maternity leave;

M.  whereas one of the issues restricting women from entering the labour market, and staying there, is their responsibility to care for children with disabilities, who are not self-sufficient and are thus dependent and/or belong to disadvantaged categories and groups;

N.  whereas where there are no provisions for leave, or where existing ones are considered to be insufficient, social partners, through collective agreements, may have an important role to play in establishing new provisions or updating current ones for maternity, paternity and parental leave;

O.  whereas a work-life balance is a fundamental right which should be fully incorporated into every EU text that might have an impact on the matter; whereas, more generally, the importance of having family-friendly working environments should be highlighted;

P.  whereas most EU Member States already comply with the minimum requirements of the Parental Leave Directive (2010/18/EU) and in many Member States national provisions go beyond these requirements;

Q.  whereas Member States should promote, in both the public and private sectors, business welfare models which require respect for the right to a work-life balance;

R.  whereas the differences in men’s and women’s uptake of maternity, paternity and parental leave manifest gender discrimination as regards childcare and female labour market participation; whereas, in many Member States, the measures taken to encourage men to assume an equal share of family responsibilities have not led to satisfactory results;

S.  whereas adequate, individual, compensated parental leave is crucial for same-sex parenting couples to be able to achieve a work-life balance;

T.  whereas women who exercise their right to a work-life balance by taking parental leave are faced with a stigma when they return to the labour market, which results in less favourable working conditions and precarious contracts;

Transposition of the directive

1.  Stresses that the provisions necessary for the transposition of Directive 2010/18/EU take different forms in the various Member States; believes that the transposition should therefore comply fully with legislation in force in the area of collective bargaining between social partners;

2.  Believes that, since not all Member States have followed the EU’s separate or sequential approach to maternity and parental leave, classifying the different types of leave at EU level is difficult;

3.  Recalls that gold-plating by Member States can add to the complexity of regulation and in effect reduce compliance; calls on the Member States to avoid adding administrative burdens when transposing EU legislation;

4.  Encourages the Member States that have not yet done so to provide the Commission within a reasonable time with correspondence tables between the provisions of the directive and the transposition measures; considers it is crucial for Member States to ensure that the necessary inspection resources are in place to verify that legislation protecting parents’ rights is being complied with; urges the Commission to monitor carefully the implementation of the directive in the Member States, so as to ensure that the adaptability offered by it is not carried to excess; considers the principle of sharing good practices to be a useful means of achieving these objectives;

5.  Considers it regrettable that there are disparities between the transposition measures of the directive in the field of application, thus creating systems that benefit workers to varying degrees depending, for example, on their employment sector (more protection is provided for in the public sector across the EU than in the private sector, thus it has a pioneering role in the field) and the length of their contract; recommends, to that end, that all possible measures be taken to enable the directive to be correctly implemented, in a uniform manner, in both the public and private sector; stresses that everyone, without regard to gender, should be guaranteed the right to parental leave without discrimination, regardless of the employment sector or the type of contract under which working fathers and mothers are employed;

6.  Welcomes the fact that some Member States have transposed the provisions of the directive beyond the minimum scope of application, enabling freelance workers, apprentices, same-sex couples and parents of adopted children to benefit;

7.  Firmly believes that the provision of social welfare is a Member State competence;

8.  Calls for the Member States to adopt family-oriented social policies which provide for the application of all the benefits included in the directive in the event of a prolonged stay abroad by parents seeking to complete an international adoption procedure;

9.  Notes that, more than a decade after the Member States transposed directive 96/34/EC, the gender imbalance in taking parental leaves persists; notes also the great disparity between Member States regarding the maximum duration, statutory form of parental leave and systems regarding pay during the leave period; believes that the issue of pay during leave is crucial to ensure that low-income parents and single parents benefit on an equal footing with all other parents; welcomes the various measures adopted to encourage fathers to use their parental leave; recognises the value of the EU as a means to focus Member States’ attention on the need for action and for brokering exchanges of advice and assistance for those Member States that need it, particularly in the field of social welfare rights; believes that the Commission should propose measures that encourage fathers to take more parental leave and that Member States should promote a more effective sharing of best practices in this field;

10.  Notes the decision taken by some Member States to only provide access to social welfare rights for a shorter duration than the maximum duration of parental leave, thus reducing the number of parents who actually use this maximum duration;

11.  Calls on the Member States, together with the Commission, to guarantee that family rights assigned by public policies, including parental leave, are equal in terms of individual rights and equally accessible for both parents, so as to encourage them to achieve a better work-life balance and in the best interest of their children; stresses that those rights should be individualised as far as possible to help achieve the 75 % employment rate targets for women and men set in the Europe 2020 strategy and to promote gender equality; believes that a certain flexibility should be given to parents in the use of the parental leave, and that it should in no case constitute an obstacle to reaching the 75 % employment rate targets for women and men set in the 2020 strategy; considers that the system adopted by the social partners should promote the solution whereby a significant part of the leave remains non-transferable; underlines that both parents have to be treated in the same way in terms of rights to income and the duration of the parental leave;

12.  Emphasises that families with children and parents taking a career break to raise them have to bear not only a loss of income but also higher expenditure and far too low a valuation of their parental role;

13.  Notes the flexibility that the directive grants the Member States to define forms of parental leave – part-time or full-time – and the working and notice periods established as conditions for granting parental leave; notes that, in some Member States, workers on non-standard contracts such as fixed-term contracts(7) and zero-hour contracts(8) are not always included in these measures and is concerned about abuse of these types of work contracts; notes the initiatives introduced by the Member States to give workers as much flexibility as possible in this area, ensuring that parental leave ties in with their professional and personal circumstances, but believes that all arrangements should have the aim of increasing the taking of parental leave;

14.  Notes that the return to work after parental leave can be a difficult and stressful situation for both a parent and a child; calls on the Member States to adopt family policies facilitating a smooth and gradual return to work and an overall optimal work-life balance, while also considering the promotion of teleworking, home working and smart working, in a way that such policies do not impose an additional burden on employees;

15.  Calls on the Member States, when making their arrangements, to ensure that enterprises can plan with certainty, and to pay particular attention to the needs of the smallest and small and medium-sized enterprises in this regard;

16.  Calls on the Commission to improve and strengthen the provisions of Directive 2010/18/EU regarding the conditions of eligibility and detailed rules for granting parental leave to those who have children with a disability or serious or long-term incapacitating illness, taking account also of best practice in the Member States (extension of the age limit of the child regarding eligibility for parental or childcare leave, easier access to part-time work arrangements on return, extension of leave duration, etc.);

17.  Stresses the need to guarantee favourable conditions for the return to work of those who have benefited from parental leave, especially concerning reinstatement to the same post or an equivalent or similar post, in accordance with the contract or terms of employment, changes to working hours and/or routines on their return to work (including the need for the employer to justify any refusal) to benefit from training periods, from protection against dismissal and less favourable treatment as a result of applying for or taking parental leave, and a protection period after their return so that they can readjust to their job;

Towards an effective directive to address the challenges of a work-life balance

18.  Notes the Commission’s withdrawal of the draft maternity leave directive, and the fact that, in the context of the roadmap ‘New start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families’, the Commission does not at this stage intend to publish a final report on the implementation of the directive on parental leave; calls on the Commission, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity, to return with an ambitious proposal that will effectively enable a better work-life balance;

19.  Believes that political discussions should also focus on a range of non-legislative initiatives with a view to joint action with Member States and civil society to emphasise the role that parents play and to promote a work-life balance;

20.  Believes that consideration should be given to a broad non-legislative initiative to promote the reconciliation of work and family life in the Member States;

21.  Believes, in view of the overlapping nature of the different types of family leave, that coherence among the various texts is required at EU level with the involvement of social partners in order to provide families with life-cycle leave perspectives to promote a more equal share of care responsibilities between women and men; urges the Commission to consider activating the review clause in EU legislation on parental leave for that purpose; believes that more clearly worded legislation that removes complexity, improves compliance and protects workers is necessary;

22.  Calls on the social partners, on the basis of the Commission report published in February 2015, to address the shortcomings of the Parental Leave Directive in fully achieving its objectives in terms of work-life balance, female labour market participation, demographic challenges and men’s share of family tasks, including the care of children and other dependants; considers that more effective measures should be taken to encourage a more equal sharing of family responsibilities between men and women;

23.  Stresses that satisfactory parental leave arrangements are closely linked to adequate pay; notes that where there are no provisions for leave, or where existing ones are considered to be insufficient, social partners, through collective agreements, may have an important role to play in establishing new provisions or updating current ones for maternity, paternity and parental leave; calls on the Member States, in agreement with the social partners, to reconsider their system of financial compensation for parental leave with a view to reaching a level that would act as an incentive for an adequate and decent level of income replacement, which also encourages men to take parental leave beyond the minimum time period guaranteed by the directive;

24.  Believes that the promotion of individualisation of the right to leave and of positive action aimed at the promotion of the role of fathers is essential in helping to achieve a gender-balanced reconciliation of work and private life;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the social partners to consider offering an appropriate extension of the minimum duration of parental leave from four to at least six months to improve work-life balance;

26.  Stresses that improved coordination, coherence and accessibility in the Member States’ leave systems (maternity, paternity and parental leave) increases participation levels and overall efficiency; stresses in that regard that an EU directive on a minimum two-week paternity leave is essential and urgent;

27.  Stresses the need to extend the period in which both parents can exercise their right to take parental leave; calls on the Commission and the social partners to increase the age of the child for which parental leave can be taken, and also to take into account that the possibility of parental leave for parents of children with disabilities or long-term illnesses should be extended beyond the statutory age of the child provided for in the directive;

28.  Calls on the Member States and social partners to tackle the many obstacles to the return to work after a period of long parental leave, so as to stop this leave from becoming a trap of exclusion from the labour market; recalls in this context that equality between men and women can only be achieved through a fair redistribution of paid and unpaid work as well as of work, family and care responsibilities;

29.  Calls on the Member States to continue their efforts towards greater convergence as regards the exchange of best practices in the area of work-life balance, paying particular attention to policies that help mothers to enter, stay in and return to the job market and fathers to participate in family life and that increase the participation of fathers in parental leave; encourages the Commission, together with Member States, to monitor and promote these actions;

30.  Believes that, with a view to meeting the Barcelona objectives, alongside legislative measures to promote a work-life balance, the Member States, with the financial backing of the various EU instruments, should focus on introducing high-quality, inclusive, affordable and accessible public or private childcare, available from the moment a parent returns to the job market, with special attention to families that are poor and at risk of social exclusion;

31.  Invites the Member States to raise parents’ awareness of the benefits of participation in early childhood education and care programmes for their children and themselves; calls on the Member States to adapt the design and eligibility criteria of high-quality, inclusive early childhood education and care services to increasingly diverse working patterns, thereby helping parents maintain their work commitments or find a job, while keeping a strong focus on the child’s best interests;

32.  Believes that an integrated approach to gender equality – including policies for overcoming stereotyped gender roles – and work-life balance in all future EU initiatives would bring coherence and transparency to the process and would help ensure the promotion of a gender-balanced work-life balance; calls on the Commission and the Member States to raise awareness among society of the rights and legal action regarding work-life balance;

33.  Calls on the Commission to gauge the positive influence of initiatives on improving work-life balance with a view to redistributing family, care and domestic responsibilities, and to extend the particular responsibilities of those caring for children with disabilities, in a position of dependency and/or belonging to disadvantaged categories and groups;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0068.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0218.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0207.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0351.
(5) http://www.oecd.org/gender/parental-leave-where-are-the-fathers.pdf
(6) https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/news/news-articles/social-policies/international-womens-day-2016-the-campaign-for-equality-continues
(7) Peter Moss in the 10th International Review of Leave Policies and Related Research 2014, June 2014, p. 39.
(8) https://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/zero-hours-contracts_2013-myth-reality.pdf


Preventing and combating trafficking in human beings
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European Parliament resolution of 12 May 2016 on implementation of the Directive 2011/36/EU of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims from a gender perspective (2015/2118(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0227A8-0144/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 and Article 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Articles 8, 79 and 83 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Articles 3, 5 and 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), in particular to Article 6, which seeks to combat all forms of traffic in women and the exploitation of the prostitution of women,

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),

–  having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the 1949 UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others,

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995 and to the subsequent outcome documents adopted at the United Nations Beijing +5 (2000), Beijing +10 (2005) and Beijing +15 (2010) special sessions and at the Beijing +20 review conference,

–  having regard to the 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and in particular the internationally agreed definition of trafficking in human beings (THB) therein, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime,

–  having regard to the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and to the European Parliament resolution of 27 November 2014 on the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child(1),

–  having regard to the Oviedo Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine,

–  having regard to the Hague Adoption Convention,

–  having regard the Joint UN Commentary on the EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting victims, which demands that international protection be provided to victims of human trafficking in a gender-sensitive manner,

–  having regard to ILO Convention No 29 on forced or compulsory labour, Article 2 of which defines forced labour,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and to the Council of Europe’s recommendations in this field,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2015/2219 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) and replacing and repealing Council Decision 2005/681/JHA(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA(3),

–  having regard to Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA(4),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 providing for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals(5),

–  having regard to Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals(6),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2004/81/EC of 29 April 2004 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities(7),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016’ (COM(2012)0286),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled ‘Mid-term report on the implementation of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings’ (SWD(2014)0318),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘The European Agenda on Security’ (COM(2015)0185),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled ‘Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019’ (SWD(2015)0278),

–  having regard to the Europol Situation Report: Trafficking in human beings in the EU (February 2016),

–  having regard to the Eurostat report ‘Trafficking in human beings’, 2015 edition,

–  having regard to the EPRS European Implementation Assessment of Directive 2011/36/EU, produced by the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services,

–  having regard to the study on the gender dimension of trafficking in human beings, commissioned by the Commission, 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2014 with recommendations to the Commission on combating Violence Against Women(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 February 2014 on sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015(10),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0144/2016),

A.  whereas trafficking in human beings (THB) is a terrible violation of fundamental rights, as outlined in Article 5(3) of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights, and a violation of human dignity and of the victims’ physical and psychological integrity, causing severe damage that often affects them for the rest of their lives, as well as a serious form of, mostly organised, crime driven by high demand and profits, estimated at some USD 150 billion a year(11), which undermines the rule of law; whereas differences between legislation in Member States greatly facilitate the activities of organised crime, there is still too low a risk of prosecution, and the sanctions applied to deter this crime are inadequate in comparison with the potentially high profits;

B.  whereas THB is defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or reception of persons, including the exchange or transfer of control over those persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation; whereas exploitation includes, as a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, including begging, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the exploitation of criminal activities, or the removal of organs;

C.  whereas THB takes many different forms, and victims of THB are found in different legal and illegal activities, including, but not limited to, agriculture, food processing, the sex industry, domestic work, manufacturing, care, cleaning, other industries (particularly the service industries), begging, criminality, forced marriage, sexual exploitation of children online, illegal adoptions and the trade in human organs;

D.  whereas, as stated by the Joint UN Commentary on the EU Directive – A Human Rights-Based Approach (2011), several UN agencies recall that ‘trafficking in both men and women should be acknowledged, and the similarities and differences in the experiences of women and men in relation to vulnerabilities and violations should be addressed’;

E.  whereas the current refugee crisis has shown up the lack of proper tools at a European level for jointly combating THB, especially when its aim is the sexual exploitation of women and children;

F.  whereas a ‘one size fits all’ strategy is not efficient and whereas the different forms of trafficking, such as trafficking for sexual exploitation, trafficking for labour exploitation and child trafficking, need to be addressed with specific and tailored policy measures;

G.  whereas Directive 2011/36/EU (‘the Directive’) should be commended for its human‑rights and victim-centred approach, whereby victims of THB are entitled to certain rights and services under international law, regardless of their willingness or ability to take part in criminal proceedings (under Article 11.3 of the Directive);

H.  whereas all support services for victims of trafficking must be made truly non‑conditional and ensure that there is no further victimisation;

I.  whereas THB is, on the one hand, the result of global economic and social inequalities and, on the other, is exacerbated by economic, societal and education and training inequality between women and men;

J.  whereas recent statistics show that most of the victims of THB are women; whereas gender itself does not inherently create vulnerability, and there are many contributing factors to create a situation of vulnerability for women and girls, including poverty, social exclusion, sexism and discrimination;

K.  whereas women and girls make up 80 % of registered victims of THB(12), and this can be attributed partly to structural violence and discrimination against women and girls;

L.  whereas the demand for women, girls, men and boys in the prostitution industries is a decisive pull factor for THB for sexual exploitation; and whereas the demand for cheap labour and incapacity to uphold labour rights are pull factors for THB for labour exploitation;

M.  whereas societal tolerance of gender inequality and violence against women and girls and the lack of public awareness of the issues surrounding THB perpetuate a permissive environment for THB;

N.  whereas the types of prostitution where victims of THB are most likely to be found, such as street prostitution, have decreased in countries that have criminalised the purchase of sex and activities generating profits from the prostitution of others;

O.  whereas trafficking in women, girls, men and boys for sexual exploitation has decreased in countries that have criminalised demand, including both pimping and the buying of sexual services;

P.  whereas minority and immigrant groups such as Roma people make up a disproportionate number of victims of THB as a result of being socially and economically marginalised;

Q.  whereas gender expectations and discrimination are harmful to everyone, with men less likely to admit that they have been the victims of exploitation;

R.  whereas economic and social empowerment of women and minority groups would reduce their vulnerability to becoming victims of THB;

S.  whereas identification of victims remains a challenge, and whereas, in order to help victims of trafficking and to prosecute and convict traffickers, victim support and protection needs to be reinforced, including the right of the victim to legally reside and work in the Member State to which the victim has been trafficked, as well as improving victims’ access to justice and compensation;

T.  whereas children make up approximately 16 %(13) of registered victims of THB, with girls representing to 13 %(14), and whereas they are particularly vulnerable, with child victims facing severe and lasting physical, psychological and emotional harm;

U.  whereas 70 % of the identified victims of THB and 70 % of suspected traffickers in the EU are EU nationals, and the most reported victims for the purpose of sexual exploitation are female EU nationals from Central and Eastern Europe(15); whereas statistical information must be taken into account when developing identification systems in order to better identify all victims of THB;

V.  whereas the majority of the registered victims are women and girls trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, together comprising up to 95 % of the victims trafficked for sexual exploitation(16); whereas trafficking is a form of violence against women and girls;

W.  whereas THB is a complex transnational phenomenon that can be tackled effectively only if the EU institutions and Member States work together in a coordinated manner in order to prevent ‘forum shopping’ by criminal groups and individuals, but with the focus being placed on identifying and protecting potential and actual victims with an integrated intersectional perspective; whereas there is a clear distinction between THB and human smuggling, but particular attention should be given to asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and other vulnerable groups, especially children, unaccompanied minors and women as they face multiple risks and are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and further victimisation;

X.  whereas THB is often perceived as being carried out only by organised criminal groups, but in fact can also be carried out by the victim’s family members, friends, relatives, romantic partners and ordinary employers;

Y.  whereas the majority (70 %) of suspected, prosecuted and convicted traffickers are male, although female perpetrators form a sizeable minority (29 %) and can play a significant role in the process of THB(17), especially in the case of child trafficking;

Z.  whereas in order to be effective any legislation to combat trafficking must be accompanied by a clear cultural shift from a culture of impunity to a culture of zero tolerance of trafficking;

AA.  whereas victims often lack information about their rights and how to exercise them effectively;

AB.  whereas THB as a concept is distinct from slavery and broader discussions of exploitation; whereas not all types of exploitation would qualify as THB;

General assessment of measures taken to address the gender dimension of THB in the implementation of the directive

1.  Notes that Directive 2011/36/EU was due to be transposed into Member States’ national laws by 6 April 2013, and that all Member States except one have notified the Commission of the transposition of this directive into national law;

2.  Calls on the Member States to speed up the full and correct enforcement of Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims;

3.  Emphasises that the EU’s legal and political framework recognises that trafficking is a gender-specific phenomenon, and calls on Member States to adopt gender-specific measures(18); recalls that Article 1 of the Directive stresses the need to adopt a gender-sensitive approach to THB; highlights that women and men, girls and boys are vulnerable in different ways, and are often trafficked for different purposes, and that prevention, assistance and support measures must therefore be gender-specific; points out, further, that the EU strategy identifies violence against women and gender inequalities as being among the root causes of trafficking, and lays down a series of measures to address the gender dimension of trafficking;

4.  Notes that the Commission is required to publish a number of reports in relation to the various aspects of implementation of the directive; expresses deep concern that these reports will be delivered late as this sends a worrying signal regarding their priorities on enforcement; calls on the Commission to meet the reporting obligations and timetable as outlined in the directive;

5.  Recalls the Commission´s obligation under Article 23, paragraph 1, of Directive 2011/36/EU to submit in April 2015 a report to the Parliament and Council with an assessment of the extent to which Member States have taken the necessary measures to comply with the Directive; underlines that this reporting task has not been completed on schedule;

6.  Stresses that the gender dimension must be consistently monitored in the implementation of EU anti-trafficking legislation, and urges the Commission to continue to monitor this in its assessment of Member States’ compliance and implementation of the Directive;

7.  Commends the good work done by the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator in developing knowledge and evidence on the various aspects of THB, including research into the gender dimension and the particular vulnerability of children; is, however, of the view that in order to accelerate the EU’s response to THB, the mandate of the EU Anti‑Trafficking Coordinator could be extended;

8.  Regrets that Europol’s capabilities are not fully utilised among Member State law enforcement authorities in order to increase information sharing with Europol so that links can be made between investigations in different Member States and a broader intelligence picture on the most threatening organised crime networks active in the EU can be drawn;

9.  Welcomes the Commission’s creation of a webpage against trafficking that contains a database of EU-funded projects in the EU and elsewhere, up-to-date information on EU legal and political instruments, measures to combat people trafficking in the Member States, funding possibilities and EU initiatives;

10.  Highlights the importance of having clear, consistent information for victims and for frontline staff who may come into contact with victims, security forces, judicial authorities, police and social services, including information on rights with regard to emergency assistance, medical treatment and healthcare, residence permits, employment rights, access to the courts and to a lawyer, the possibilities for seeking redress, the specific rights of children, etc.;

11.  Emphasises that it is also important to pay greater attention to labour market intermediaries, contractors, subcontractors and employment agencies, especially in high-risk sectors, as a way of preventing people trafficking, particularly for the purpose of labour exploitation but also for the purpose of sexual exploitation concealed behind what purport to be contracts for services in the hotel and catering industry and personal care services;

12.  Emphasises that the EU’s legal and political framework on THB combines the internal and external dimensions, recognising that action to combat trafficking, which is a serious human rights violation, constitutes a clear objective of the EU’s external action; emphasises, likewise, that countries outside the EU are often the countries of origin and transit for trafficking within the EU and that trafficking, as an illegal cross-border activity, is an important area for cooperation with non-Community countries; welcomes, in this connection, the fact that, at the request of the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service have put together a package of information on activities carried out to combat people trafficking in priority countries and regions, as well as a list of the tools and instruments available to the EU and Member States, including external policies that deal with trafficking, and projects funded by the EU and Member States in this field; calls on Member States to cooperate with the Commission and the EEAS in combating people trafficking;

13.  Considers that asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and that special attention should be given to the trafficking of women, children and other vulnerable groups; calls on the Commission and the Member States to investigate the link between the increasing numbers of refugees arriving and THB; calls on Member States to increase cooperation, including in the hotspots, to identify potential victims and to use all means to combat traffickers and smugglers, including by improving data collection and ensuring compliance with existing protection standards; recalls the role of EU agencies and networks in the early identification of victims at EU borders and the fight against THB, and in this context underlines the need for greater cooperation between Europol, Eurojust, national authorities and third countries, and through the use of ECRIS; calls for more resources for the JHA agencies to enable the appointment of gender-trained agency officers, especially in those Member States faced with increased mixed migratory flows; emphasises that the new ‘hotspot’ approach outlined in the Agenda for Migration should not be limited to quick processing and clearing of backlogs, but should include a proportionate anti-trafficking component geared towards the effective referral of potential victims;

14.  Calls on the Member States to critically assess their registration of refugees and the relevant services and care structures, as this group, particularly unaccompanied minors, are very vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs and subsequent trafficking in human beings;

15.  Considers that greater consideration should be paid to the situation of transgender victims, who often experience discrimination, stigmatisation and threats of violence because of their gender identity; is of the opinion that transgender people should be considered to be a vulnerable group, as they are particularly at risk of falling into the hands of traffickers; believes that this vulnerability factor should be taken into account when Member States conduct individual risk assessments, so as to ensure that victims of trafficking receive appropriate protection and care; calls on the Member States to provide officials likely to come into contact with victims or potential victims of trafficking in human beings with adequate training on the specificities of transgender victims, so as to be able to identify them more proactively and adapt assistance services to meet their needs;

Gender perspective in the prevention of THB

16.  Underlines that under Article 11 of the Directive, Member States have an obligation to establish mechanisms to ensure the early identification of, assistance to, and support for victims, in cooperation with the relevant support organisations; stresses the need for an approach based on four key strategies: prevention, prosecution, victim protection and multi-level partnership;

17.  Calls on the Member States to combat impunity, criminalise trafficking and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and that sanctions are strengthened; urges the Member States, therefore, to ratify all relevant international instruments, agreements and legal obligations which will make the efforts to combat trafficking in human beings more effective, coordinated and coherent, including the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings;

18.  Calls for a consistent approach to prosecution of offences related to human trafficking, and for the Member States to step up their investigations and prosecutions; calls, in that regard, for the Member States to increase cross-border cooperation and collaboration with the relevant EU agencies;

19.  Recalls that women and children may be compelled to exchange sex for protection, in order to survive, in order to advance along their migratory route, and for basic sustenance; underlines that women and children engaging in survival sex are not considered trafficking victims, and thus cannot receive the required assistance;

20.  Stresses that, in order to prevent THB and people smuggling, it is important to create safe legal migration channels for women and children (such as humanitarian visas); points out that it is also important for destination countries to ensure that women migrants who have been granted legal residency in the destination countries have access to language teaching and other means of social integration, education and training in particular, with the aim of enabling them to exercise their rights as citizens;

21.  Calls on the Member States to make use of properly structured victim interview techniques to help achieve a precise reconstruction of events without at the same time placing psychological pressure on victims who are already frightened and confused;

22.  Stresses that all counter-trafficking efforts must balance the focus on prosecution with a responsibility to protect victims; notes that support for victims plays an important role in prevention of THB, as victims who are well supported are more able to recover from the trauma of their experience and to assist in the prosecution of offenders, preparation of prevention programmes and informed policy making, as well as to avoid being re‑trafficked;

23.  Stresses that the internet plays a key role in facilitating THB, thereby adding to the challenges in combating this serious form of organised crime; denounces the fact that, the internet is being used more and more for the recruitment of victims both within and outside the EU through false job offers, with advertising services provided by exploited victims, and for the exchange of information among criminal networks; calls on the Member States to ensure that their respective anti-trafficking policies take account of this, and that law enforcement efforts addressing cyber technologies have the gender expertise needed to prevent and efficiently fight against all forms of this crime, particularly in relation to THB for the purposes of sexual exploitation; stresses that new technologies, social media and the internet should also be used to disseminate good practices to fight THB and to raise awareness and alert potential victims on the risks of trafficking; in this context calls on the Commission to investigate further the role of the internet in THB and to keep Parliament duly informed;

24.  Regrets that the identification of victims remains one of the most difficult and incomplete aspects of implementation, but stresses that this does not diminish the responsibility of the Member States to protect these vulnerable people; highlights that owing to the coercive and deceptive nature of the crime, victims may be unable to recognise their own vulnerability; stresses that the actions that victims of THB are compelled to perform are criminal acts in some Member States, which in some cases impairs trust between victims and the authorities; notes that Directive 2011/36/EU prohibits the criminalisation of victims of THB; calls on Member States to implement Articles 11 to 17 of the Directive concerning protection and support of victims with a gender-sensitive approach (in particular by increasing the number of shelters for victims and by strengthening programmes for victims’ reintegration into society) and to fully apply Directive 2012/29/EU on establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime in order to ensure proper support and assistance for victims of THB, including as regards the right to reside in and access the labour market of the Member State to which the victim has been trafficked; stresses that these provisions should not be conditional on victims lodging complaints or cooperating in criminal investigations; calls on the Commission to strengthen the exchange of best practices on the protection of victims;

25.  Stresses that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals working to protect and help victims of THB should not be held responsible for any crime;

26.  Is strongly critical of the fact that it is not already a criminal offence to use the services of trafficked persons across all Member States, but acknowledges the difficulty of proving knowledge in a judicial context, and considers that this would be an important step towards recognising the seriousness of this crime, ensuring a real framework for the prevention of THB and for stopping the culture of impunity;

27.  Calls on the Member States to put in place strong criminal penalties for crimes of human trafficking, modern slavery and exploitation; and to establish as a criminal offence the act of knowingly using the services of victims of human trafficking, including victims of trafficking in prostitution, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, including begging, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the exploitation of criminal activities or the removal of organs; notes the low number of prosecutions and convictions for the crime of trafficking at a national level;

28.  Notes that the principal source of information for the registration of victims is the police, pointing to the need for sufficient human and financial resources, including targeted and specialist training for law enforcement authorities, and for a greater gender balance among staff; highlights the fact that the registration of victims of THB through prisons and detention centres in some Member States shows gaps in the system and in the knowledge of the professionals involved; insists that EU Member States must apply legislation against THB effectively, and stresses, likewise, that in order to improve the identification of victims and develop understanding of subtle means of trafficking, the criminal justice system should focus more on the dynamics of exploitation and the application of the law; notes in this context that according to Regulation (EU) 2015/2219, CEPOL should promote common respect for and understanding of fundamental rights in law enforcement, including the rights, support and protection of victims;

29.  Calls for greater priority and resourcing to be given by Europol and national police forces to the prosecution of those facilitating human trafficking, paying special attention to raising awareness among police forces and the general public alike about new forms of human trafficking;

30.  Calls on Europol and the Member States to strengthen their action against recruiters, whether via a proactive approach or on the basis of a victim’s testimony, in accordance with Article 9 of Directive 2011/36/EU; stresses that recruiters use a variety of channels, including social networks and internet sites (online recruitment agencies); calls on the Commission to expand the mandate of Europol’s EU Internet Referral Unit (IRU) in the fight against trafficking in human beings;

31.  Calls on the Commission to assess the effectiveness of cooperation between the Member States and Europol in combating trafficking in human beings; stresses the importance of systematic exchange of data and of all Member States contributing to the European databases used for this purpose, including the Europol databases Focal Point Phoenix and Focal Point Twins; stresses the need for border guards and coast guards to have access to Europol databases;

32.  Notes that victims experience exploitation differently, and that a method of identification using a ‘check list’ of indicators can hinder formal identification and thereby have an impact on victims’ access to services, help and protection;

33.  Stresses that, to encourage victims of trafficking to report these crimes to the authorities and thus facilitate the early identification of victims, the law must be amended to recognise victims of trafficking as rights-holders in the eyes of the law; takes the view that victims of trafficking should be entitled to assistance and protection; stresses the need to give more power to social workers, medical staff and immigration services to determine what constitutes trafficking and who is to be provided with assistance and protection by law;

34.  Calls for better implementation and monitoring of Article 8 of Directive 2011/36/EU, so as to ensure the non-prosecution of and non-application of sanctions or penalties to victims of THB, and emphasises that this includes the non-application of sanctions or penalties to people in prostitution and non-punishment for irregular entry or residence in countries of transit and destination;

35.  Notes with concern the evidence of some of the victims of THB being subject to arrest and deportation rather than being allowed and aided to access their rights as victims and the necessary help, as they should be under Directive 2004/81/EC;

36.  Calls on the Commission to develop guidelines based on best practices to develop and mainstream gender expertise into the activities of law enforcement authorities across EU;

37.  Calls on the Member States to cooperate in better developing guidelines on identifying victims of trafficking in human beings, which would help consular services and border guards in this task;

38.  Stresses the importance of ‘following the money’ as a key strategy for investigating and prosecuting the organised crime networks that profit from THB, and calls on Europol and Eurojust to reinforce their capacities in the field of combating THB; calls for the Member States to work closely with Europol and each other in order to investigate the financial aspects and the laundering of money in human trafficking cases; stresses that Member States should strength en cooperation in freezing and confiscating the assets of individuals involved in trafficking, as this could be an effective means of changing THB from a ‘low risk-high profit’ business into a ‘high risk-low profit’ one; calls on the Member States, in this context, to use more efficiently all existing tools available such as mutual recognition of court judgments, joint investigation teams and the European investigation order; believes that the confiscated assets of people convicted of trafficking offences should be used to support and compensate victims of trafficking; also notes that the huge funds raised by human trafficking and exploitation fund other kinds of serious crime;

39.  Calls on Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) agencies such as Eurojust, Europol, the FRA, Frontex, CEPOL and the EASO to develop a sustained programme of improving gender balance in decision-making relevant to trafficking; calls for figures on the gender composition of their management boards and staff to be released, followed by discussions with Member States on the benefits of equitable recruitment and promotion in law and border enforcement services; calls likewise for programmes such as Europol’s Female Factor to be rolled out across the most male-dominated JHA agencies on a periodic, rather than a one-off, basis;

40.  Recalls that training of practitioners and officials is crucial for the early identification of potential victims and the prevention of crime; calls on the Member States, therefore, to fully apply Article 18(3) of Directive 2011/36/EU and to share best practices, in particular when creating gender-sensitive training programmes for those coming into contact with victims of THB in an official capacity, including police officers and other security forces, border officers, judges, magistrates, lawyers and other judicial authorities, front-line medical staff, social workers and psychological counsellors; stresses that training should include the development of understanding of gender-based violence and exploitation, the detection of victims, the formal identification process and appropriate, gender-specific assistance for victims;

41.  Calls for the wider development and dissemination of awareness-raising publications aimed at improving the knowledge within professions, such as the ‘Handbook for consular and diplomatic staff on how to assist and protect victims of human trafficking’(19);

42.  Recognises the importance of developing long-term relationships between law enforcement, service providers, various stakeholders and victims in order to build trust and sensitively address the needs of the latter; stresses that support organisations require sufficient funding for projects, and expresses concern that many, especially women’s organisations, are struggling because of funding cuts;

43.  Stresses that funding from the Commission and the Member States should be targeted to the most suitable service provider, based on the needs of the victims, including gender- and child-specific requirements, the expertise of the provider and scope for the provider to engage in far-reaching and long-term assistance and care;

44.  Calls on the Member States to actively include social partners, the private sector, trade unions and civil society, particularly NGOs working to combat trafficking and provide assistance to victims, in their initiatives to prevent THB, particularly in the field of labour exploitation, including as regards the identification of victims and awareness-raising activities;

45.  Notes that while sexual exploitation is illegal in all Member States, this does not prevent trafficking for sexual exploitation; calls on the Member States to fully implement Directive 2011/92/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography and to step up their police and judicial cooperation to prevent and combat child sexual exploitation; calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to examine how the demand for sexual services drives THB, including child trafficking, and how best to reduce demand; in this regard, recalls the obligation of Member States to pay special attention to child victims of trafficking, including unaccompanied minors coming from third countries, and to provide special protection to children in criminal procedures, with the best interests of the child being considered paramount at all times;

46.  Notes that data collection on child trafficking should be based on a common definition of this criminal phenomenon; notes likewise that some Member States consider child trafficking to be a separate form of exploitation and others include child victims with adults, hindering the possibility of creating a comprehensive intelligence picture and of defining the best investigative responses at EU level;

47.  Underlines the Commission’s obligation under Article 23, paragraph 2, of the Directive to come forward, by 2016, with a report assessing the impact of existing national laws on the criminalisation of the knowing use of the services of a victim of THB, and the need for further action; stresses that the Commission should not rely solely on the reporting of a Member State, but should also assess compliance through engagement with civil society and other relevant bodies, such as GRETA and the country reports produced by the OSCE Special Representative on Human Trafficking and the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking and Contemporary Forms of Slavery;

48.  Notes the lack of a common understanding among the Member States about what constitutes demand for exploitation, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to propose guidelines on the punishment of the client based on the Nordic Model, while raising awareness about all forms of THB, especially sexual exploitation, and making other forms of exploitation like domestic servitude visible;

49.  Notes that the increased vulnerability of certain groups of people puts them at particular risk of falling victim to trafficking; deplores, however, the fact that trafficking takes place as a result of the high demand for products and services dependent upon the exploitation of human beings, which is a very profitable form of organised crime;

50.  Emphasises the data which confirm the deterrent effect that criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services has had in Sweden; highlights the normative effect of this model of regulation and its potential to change social attitudes in order to reduce overall demand for the services of victims of THB;

51.  Calls on the Member States to fully implement Article 18(4) of the Directive and to develop specific strategies for reducing demand for trafficking for sexual exploitation, such as exit programmes and schemes to empower and protect the rights of those in prostitution and reduce their vulnerability to exploitation, and campaigns to discourage demand for the sexual services of trafficked persons, while also noting that the regulation of prostitution is a competence of the Member States; calls on the Commission to further examine any links between demand for sexual services and THB; believes that demand reduction can be achieved through legislation that shifts the criminal burden onto those who purchase the sexual services of trafficked persons rather than onto those who sell it;

52.  Calls for the EU to pay attention to and make visible the new forms of trafficking and exploitation of human beings, including reproductive exploitation and trafficking in new-born children;

53.  Notes with concern that very few Member States have clearly defined demand reduction programmes, and that, generally speaking, these have been focussed on trafficking for sexual exploitation; calls on the Member States to develop demand reduction programmes for all types of THB;

54.  Notes that sham marriages can qualify as THB under certain circumstances if there is a forced or exploitative element, and that women and girls are more likely to become victims;

55.  Stresses that efforts to improve gender equality contribute to the prevention of THB, and should contain strategies for education and empowerment programmes for women and girls in order to strengthen their position in society and make them less vulnerable to trafficking; calls on Member States to take more proactive preventative actions such as information and awareness-raising campaigns, training specifically designed for men, targeted workshops with vulnerable groups and education activities in schools, including promoting equality, combating sexist stereotypes and gender-based violence, as equal treatment should be an objective of the whole of society;

56.  Highlights the effectiveness of awareness-raising schemes in educating consumers to select products from corporations that ensure a slavery-free supply chain, but notes that this in itself is not enough to reduce demand for THB;

57.  Notes that it is already illegal under Directive 2009/52/EC for employers to use the work or services of third-country nationals with no legal residency status in the EU with the knowledge that they are victims of THB; acknowledges that EU nationals who are victims of THB are not included under this legislation; calls on the Member States to ensure that in their national legislation EU nationals who are victims of trafficking are protected from labour exploitation, and relevant sanctions are put in place;

58.  Recalls that, according to Europol, about 10 000 unaccompanied children have disappeared after arriving in the EU in 2015, and that these children could be victims of trafficking and exposed to all kinds of exploitation and abuse; calls on the Member States to fully implement the asylum package and register children upon their arrival in order to ensure their inclusion in child protection systems; calls on the Member States to increase information sharing in order to better protect migrant children in Europe;

59.  Expresses concern about the lack of data regarding Romani women and children at risk of being trafficked for forced labour or services, which include begging; calls on the Commission to provide data regarding Romani women and children recognised as trafficking victims, how many have received victim assistance and in which countries;

60.  Stresses that forced marriage can be regarded as a form of trafficking in human beings if it contains an element of exploitation of the victim, and calls on all Member States to include this dimension; stresses that exploitation may be sexual (marital rape, forced prostitution or pornography) or economic (domestic work or forced begging), and that the ultimate aim of trafficking can be forced marriage (selling a victim as a spouse or entering a marriage under duress); stresses that it is difficult for the authorities to detect such trafficking, as it takes place in private; calls on the Member States to provide appropriate refuge services for these victims; calls on the Commission to strengthen the exchange of best practices in this regard;

61.  Is concerned at the growing phenomenon of sexual grooming; points out that the victims are often in a state of emotional dependence, which hinders investigative work, as they are less easily identified as victims of trafficking in human beings and often refuse to testify against the people grooming them; calls on the Commission to strengthen the exchange of best practices in this regard; calls on the Member States to provide a specific refuge for these victims and to ensure that law enforcement and judicial services recognise their status as victims, in particular if they are minors, so as to avoid stigmatising them for ‘deviant behaviour’;

The gender dimension of assistance and support to, and protection of, victims

62.  Expresses concern that not all victims are able to access services easily or have knowledge of them; stresses that there must be no discrimination in access to services;

63.  Notes that victims of THB require specialised services, including access to safe short- and long-term accommodation, witness protection schemes, healthcare and counselling, translation and interpretation services, legal redress, compensation, access to education and training, including teaching of the language of their country of residence, job placement, (re)integration, family mediation and resettlement assistance, and that these services should be further individualised case by case, with specific consideration given to the issue of gender;

64.  Stresses that the gender dimension of THB entails an obligation for Member States to address it as a form of violence against women and girls; highlights the fact that more attention must be paid to the exploitative dynamic and the long-term emotional and psychological harm that is associated with this; asks the Commission to come forward with a European strategy for combating gender violence, containing a legislative proposal on violence against women that includes THB;

65.  Highlights the good work done by a number of government services and civil society in identifying victims of human trafficking and providing assistance and support to victims, although this work is not carried out consistently across Member States or with respect to the different types of THB;

66.  Underlines the need to ensure adequate funding for independent NGOs and gender-specific refuges to adequately meet needs at all points of the victim pathway in destination countries and to work preventatively in relevant source, transit and destination countries;

67.  Calls on the Member States to establish hotlines which victims of human trafficking and exploitation can call to seek assistance and advice; notes that such hotlines have proved to be successful in other areas such as radicalisation and child abduction;

68.  Urges the Member States to ensure gender-specific provision of services to victims of THB that is appropriate to their needs, recognising any needs that may be specific to the form of trafficking to which they have been subjected; highlights that while a majority of victims are women and girls, there should be specialised services for victims of all genders;

69.  Stresses that many victims of sexual exploitation are drugged for the purpose of keeping them in a state of physical and psychological dependence; calls, therefore, on the Member States to provide specialised support programmes for these victims and to recognise this as an aggravating circumstance in their criminal justice response to trafficking in human beings;

70.  Stresses that the cumulative effect of different types of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity makes LGBTI people particularly vulnerable to trafficking in human beings; calls on the Member States to address the unique needs of LGBTI people; calls on the Commission to promote the exchange of best practices in this regard;

71.  Underlines the importance for all Member States to recognise systematically the right to access to safe abortion services for female victims of THB whose pregnancy is a result of their exploitation;

72.  Takes the view that Article 11(5) of Directive 2011/36/EU should be expanded to introduce aid for future integration (language learning, familiarisation with the culture and community, etc.) where the victims’ circumstances allow them to opt for a residence permit;

73.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that EU and third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking are entitled to residence permits;

74.  Notes that irregular legal residence status does not preclude one from being a victim of THB, and that such victims should therefore have the same rights as others; calls on the Member States not to conflate the issues of migration and THB, highlighting the principle of unconditionality of assistance set out in the directive;

75.  Calls on all Member States to effectively guarantee the rights of victims and calls for the implementation of Directive 2011/36/EU to be analysed in the light of the provisions of Directive 2012/29/EU; calls on the Member States to provide free legal aid, including legal assistance and representation, psychological and medical support, and information on the rights to assistance and health care, including the right to an abortion for victims of sexual exploitation, to all of those who either self-identify, or meet an adequate number of the criteria for identification, as victims of THB, to help them access their rights, compensation and/or legal redress; stresses that self-identification should never be the only requirement in order to access victims’ rights and services;

76.  Calls on the Member States to make legal aid available to victims of trafficking not only in criminal proceedings, but also in any civil, labour or immigration/asylum proceedings in which they are involved;

77.  Calls on the Member States to recognise the longer time needed to recover from the harm of trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, as compared with the time needed to recover from other forms of trafficking, when deciding on limits to victim support; calls for protection measures offered to victims trafficked for sexual exploitation to be extended, in order to minimise harm, prevent re-trafficking and secondary victimisation and cater in every case for individual needs;

Assessment of other gender-sensitive measures taken in the implementation of the Directive

78.  Stresses that any obligation for victims to take part in the prosecution of traffickers can be harmful; highlights that in a human rights-based approach, such an obligation should not be a condition for access to services;

79.  Underlines that all victims of THB should be systematically informed of the possibility of benefiting from a recovery and reflection period, and should actually be granted such a period; regrets that in some Member States these rights have only been transposed into migration laws and therefore do not apply to all victims of THB, but only to those in an irregular situation; recalls that these rights must be granted to all THB victims;

80.  Recalls that, according to Directive 2004/81/EC, Member States are obliged to allow a period of reflection and recovery for victims of trafficking in human beings; calls on the Member States, when determining the duration of such a period, to take into account Article 13 of the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings and to extend the minimum 30-day recovery and reflection period included in this convention for victims trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, given the significant and sustained harm caused by this form of violence;

81.  Notes that the current EU Strategy towards the Eradication of THB comes to an end in 2016, and calls on the Commission to evaluate the current strategy and to introduce a new one that follows a human-rights-based approach, focusing on victims, includes a clear gender dimension and contains concrete actions in this regard, adequately and effectively addresses prevention, and continues to discourage the demand that fosters all forms of trafficking; calls for this strategy to be integrated and made coherent with other policy areas, with a view to ensuring effective implementation of anti-trafficking measures, including, but not limited to, security, gender equality, migration, cybersecurity and law enforcement;

82.  Commends those Member States that have established effective national reporting mechanisms and national rapporteurs, and calls on them to ensure that these measures are adequately resourced and independent, in order that they fulfil their tasks in the best way possible;

83.  Calls on Member States to appoint, with a view to assessing their strategies and activities and improving efforts to combat trafficking, an independent national rapporteur with the legal right to appear before the national parliament and make recommendations on how best to combat THB;

84.  Calls on the Member States to collect more detailed and up-to-date data by compiling reliable statistical information gathered from all the main actors, by ensuring that the data is homogeneous and disaggregated by gender, age, type of exploitation (within the subsets of types of THB), country of origin and destination, and by including internally trafficked people, in order to better identify potential victims and prevent crime; calls on the Member States to increase data sharing in order to better assess the gender dimension and recent trends in THB and combat trafficking more effectively; calls on the Members States to ensure that national rapporteurs play a more significant role in the coordination of data collection initiatives, in close cooperation with relevant civil society organisations active in this field;

85.  Notes that despite the clear definition of THB given in the Directive, a number of different definitions have been adopted in Member States’ national legislation; calls on the Commission to conduct research on this and to report on what these differences in definition mean in practical terms for the application of the Directive; stresses the importance of conceptual clarity in order to avoid conflation with other related but separate issues;

86.  Notes that stakeholders generally confirm that the vast majority of victims of THB go undetected; recognises that the trafficking of certain vulnerable groups such as (homeless) youth, children, and disabled and LGBTI people, has been somewhat overlooked; stresses the importance of improved data collection to enhance victim identification efforts with regard to these groups and developing best practice in dealing with the specific needs of these victims;

87.  Stresses that, to improve efforts to combat THB in the European Union, the EU institutions must carefully assess the implementation of EU legislation in the Member States, and take further legislative and other measures, if necessary;

88.  Calls on the Commission to develop standardised guidelines, including data protection, for data collection for the relevant bodies, such as law enforcement, border and immigration services, social services, local authorities, prisons, NGOs and other contributors;

89.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that anti-trafficking is given greater priority in the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2015)0240), so as to facilitate the engagement of victims in the prosecution of traffickers;

90.  Calls on the Commission to address the abuse of self-employment in the employment of migrant labour in some EU Member States in order to avoid local labour standards and employment obligations, recognising that bogus self-employment is often used in the migrant labour domains most prone to trafficking;

91.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to strengthen regional cooperation on trafficking in human beings along known routes, such as from the East to the EU, by using the Instrument for Stability and the ongoing continuing responsibilities of candidate countries;

92.  Calls for the EU to provide, through Eurostat, estimates on the number of victims of trafficking in human beings, registered or otherwise, in line with the general pattern followed by organisations such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO);

93.  Calls on the Member States to include the principle of non-refoulement in their anti-trafficking directives, following the example of the UN Trafficking Protocol and the Council of Europe Trafficking Convention, and in accordance with states’ obligations under international refugee law and international human rights law;

94.  Encourages the EU and the Member States to conduct research into the newest trends and forms of THB, including the influence that the current migration crisis could have on THB, in order to address the new developments with an adequate and targeted response;

95.  Asks that the Commission produce an analysis of the links between different types of trafficking and the routes between them in the upcoming report on the Implementation of Directive 2011/36/EU, as victims are often exploited in different ways simultaneously or move from one type of trafficking to another; and that it promote continued research into the main causes of THB and their impact on gender equality;

96.  Calls on the Commission to assess the need to review the mandate of the future European Public Prosecutor’s Office to include powers, once established, to tackle trafficking in beings;

97.  Urges the European Commission, taking into account that the Istanbul Convention is an effective tool to prevent and combat violence against women, including trafficking, and to protect and assist the victims, to promote the Member States’ ratification of the Convention;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0070.
(2) OJ L 319, 4.12.2015, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.
(4) OJ L 101, 15.4.2011, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 168, 30.6.2009, p. 24.
(6) OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, p. 98.
(7) OJ L 261, 6.8.2004, p. 19.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0126.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0162.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0218.
(11) ILO estimates, 2014, Profits and poverty the economics of forced labour.
(12) Eurostat report, ‘Trafficking in human beings’, 2015 edition.
(13) Idem.
(14) Idem.
(15) Europol, Situation Report: Trafficking in human beings in the EU (February 2016).
(16) 2015 Eurostat report.
(17) Idem.
(18) ‘Mid-term report on the implementation of the EU strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings’ (SWD(2014)0318), p. 9.
(19) https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/publications/handbook-consular-and-diplomatic-staff-how-assist-and-protect-victims-human-trafficking_en.

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