Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 23 June 2016 - BrusselsFinal edition
Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EU and Lebanon (Framework Agreement) ***
 Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EU and Lebanon (2004 enlargement) ***
 Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EU and Lebanon (accession of Bulgaria and Romania) ***
 EU-Monaco agreement on the automatic exchange of financial account information *
 Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2015/012 BE/Hainaut Machinery
 Multiannual recovery plan for Bluefin tuna ***I
 Multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks ***I
 Jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes *
 Jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of the property consequences of registered partnerships *
 Massacres in eastern Congo
 Follow-up of the Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020)
 Renewable energy progress report
 Implementation report on the Energy Efficiency Directive

Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EU and Lebanon (Framework Agreement) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part, on a Framework Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Lebanon on the general principles for the participation of the Republic of Lebanon in Union programmes (16136/2014 – C8-0044/2015 – 2014/0110(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0281A8-0193/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (16136/2014),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part, on a Framework Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Lebanon on the general principles for the participation of the Republic of Lebanon in Union programmes (16135/2014),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 212 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0044/2015),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0193/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Protocol;

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


Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EU and Lebanon (2004 enlargement) ***
PDF 243kWORD 62k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic to the European Union (13349/2014 – C8-0095/2015 – 2007/0078(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0282A8-0194/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (13349/2014),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic to the European Union (11300/2007),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0095/2015),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0194/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Protocol;

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


Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement between the EU and Lebanon (accession of Bulgaria and Romania) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (13395/2014 – C8-0170/2015 – 2008/0027(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0283A8-0195/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (13395/2014),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union (13376/2014),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0170/2015),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0195/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Protocol;

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


EU-Monaco agreement on the automatic exchange of financial account information *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Amending Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and the Principality of Monaco providing for measures equivalent to those laid down in Council Directive 2003/48/EC (COM(2016)0201 – C8-0157/2016 – 2016/0109(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0284A8-0206/2016

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council decision (COM(2016)0201),

–  having regard to the draft Amending Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and the Principality of Monaco providing for measures equivalent to those laid down in Council Directive 2003/48/EC,

–  having regard to Article 115 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (b), and paragraph (8), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0157/2016),

–  having regard to Rules 59, 108(7) and 50(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0206/2016),

1.  Approves conclusion of the Amending Protocol to the Agreement;

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


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2015/012 BE/Hainaut Machinery
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 23 June 2016 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (application from Belgium - EGF/2015/012 BE/Hainaut Machinery) (COM(2016)0242 – C8-0170/2016 – 2016/2074(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0285A8-0207/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0242 – C8‑0170/2016),

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

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

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

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

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0207/2016),

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

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

C.  whereas Belgium submitted application EGF/2015/012 BE/Hainaut Machinery for a financial contribution from the EGF, following redundancies in the economic sector classified under the NACE Revision 2 Division 28 (Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c.) in the NUTS level 2 region of Hainaut (BE32), and whereas 488 redundant workers, as well as 300 young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) under the age of 25 from the Hainaut Region, are expected to participate in the measures; whereas the redundancies were made by Carwall SA, Caterpillar Belgium SA and Doosan SA;

D.  whereas, although the application does not fulfil the eligibility criteria set out in Article 4(1) of the EGF Regulation, it was submitted under the intervention criteria of Article 4(2), which allows for a derogation in respect of the number of workers made redundant;

1.  Agrees with the Commission that the intervention criteria set out in Article 4(2) of the EGF Regulation are met and that, therefore, Belgium is entitled to a financial contribution of EUR 1 824 041 under that Regulation, which represents 60 % of the total cost of EUR 3 040 069;

2.  Notes that the Commission respected the deadline of 12 weeks from the receipt of the completed application from the Belgian authorities, on 11 February 2016, until finalising its assessment on the compliance with the conditions for providing a financial contribution on 4 May 2016, and notifying it to Parliament on the same day;

3.  Notes that following the serious disruptions in recent years in trade in construction machinery on the European market, the demand for the products produced by the three enterprises covered by this application has decreased accordingly;

4.  Notes that, following the announcement of Caterpillar Belgium SA on 23 February 2013 of a collective redundancy procedure in its Gosselies plant, the majority of its 1 399 workers were the subject of EGF/2014/011 BE/Caterpillar application, and points out that the current application is a follow-up to that application, as it is part of the same redundancy procedure; underlines that Hainaut is facing a difficult labour market situation with an unemployment rate of 14,5 % (5,9 % higher than the national average), 1 236 job losses in 2013 and 1 878 in 2014 in the manufacturing sector, a drop in job offers of 13 % since 2012 and a high proportion of underqualified labour, as over half of the job seekers lack upper secondary qualifications, as well as high levels of long-term unemployment, which stands at 39,0 % of the overall unemployment in the Hainaut region;

5.  Welcomes the fact that Belgian authorities started providing the personalised services to the targeted beneficiaries on 1 January 2015, well ahead of the application for EGF support;

6.  Notes that Belgium is planning the following types of measures for redundant workers covered by this application: support/guidance/integration; facilitating job-search; integrated training; support for enterprise creation; support for collective projects, job search and training allowances;

7.  Welcomes the fact that the allowances and incentives, which Belgium confirmed are conditional on the active participation of the targeted beneficiaries in job-search or training activities (actions under point (b) of Article 7(1) of the EGF Regulation), are limited to less than 5 % of the total costs, which is far below the threshold of 35 % of the total cost of the package of personalised measures allowed by the EGF Regulation;

8.  Notes that workers in the 55 - 64 age group make up 35,9 % of the targeted beneficiaries; considers that workers in this group are at a higher risk of long-term unemployment and social exclusion and have specific needs when it comes to providing them with personalised approach in accordance with Article 7 of the EGF Regulation;

9.  Calls on the Commission to provide information on the results of ongoing support for the redundant workers of Caterpillar, as part of the current application is a follow-up to the EGF/2014/011 BE/Caterpillar application;

10.  Welcomes the fact that, in addition to the 488 workers dismissed, 300 young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs) under the age of 25 from the same region are expected to participate in the measures and receive personalised services co-financed by the EGF, which shall include: mobilisation and guidance, either to further education/training or to follow induction sessions to explore interests; specific training courses; personalised upskilling; job-search, training and mobility allowances;

11.  Welcomes the extension of the access to the EGF for NEETs; notes however that the EGF Regulation currently provides that this access may only continue until 31 December 2017; calls for the revision of the EGF Regulation, in the framework of the revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework, in order to enable the access of NEETs to continue after 2017;

12.  Welcomes the fact that the Belgian authorities are proposing special measures designed for NEETs and, in this way, targeting their needs more specifically;

13.  Notes the importance of launching an information campaign in order to reach NEETs who could be eligible under these measures; recalls its position on the need to help NEETs in a permanent and sustainable way;

14.  Welcomes the fact that the coordinated package of personalised services was established following further consultations with all stakeholders including social partners, enterprises and public employment services, who will also follow the implementation of the proposed measures through a monitoring committee;

15.  Welcomes in particular the approach of the Belgian authorities and the cooperation with social partners for granting support to collective projects for workers who consider setting up a social enterprise together as a group, as a measure with a high potential for added value;

16.  Notes that the proposed actions constitute active labour market measures within the eligible actions set out in Article 7 of the EGF Regulation and recalls that, in line with that Article, the personalised services provided are expected to anticipate future labour market perspectives and required skills and be compatible with the shift towards a resource-efficient and sustainable economy and take into account the experience gained so far in supporting the dismissed workers under EGF/2014/011 BE/Caterpillar application; notes, at the same time, that these actions do not substitute passive social protection measures;

17.  Calls on Member States to prepare, together with the social partners, strategies to anticipate projected labour market changes and to protect Union jobs and skills, especially when negotiating trade agreements, in order to ensure fair competition rules and common measures against economic, social and environmental dumping; recalls its call for a proper revision of the Union's trade defence instruments;

18.  Highlights the need to improve the employability of all workers by adapted training and expects that the training offered in the coordinated package will meet both the needs of the workers and the business environment in the region and in the neighbouring regions;

19.  Calls on the Commission to revise the rules on state aid in order to enable state intervention to enhance socially and environmentally beneficial projects, and to help SMEs and industries in difficulty by contributing to reconstructing their production capacities, which have been heavily hit by the global financial and economic crisis;

20.  Reiterates the call on the Commission to provide more details in future proposals on sectors that have prospects for growth, and therefore to hire people, as well as to gather substantiated data on the impact of EGF funding, including on the quality of jobs and the reintegration rate achieved through the EGF;

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

22.  Notes that, to date, the manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c. sector has been the subject of 14 EGF applications, 8 of which have been based on trade related globalisation and 6 on the global financial and economic crisis;

23.  Reiterates that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies by virtue of national law or collective agreements nor measures for restructuring companies or sectors;

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

25.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to assure public access to all the documents related to EGF cases;

26.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

28.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and the Commission.

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (application from Belgium - EGF/2015/012 BE/Hainaut Machinery)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2016/1145.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.


Multiannual recovery plan for Bluefin tuna ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a multiannual recovery plan for Bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean repealing Regulation (EC) No 302/2009 (COM(2015)0180 – C8-0118/2015 – 2015/0096(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0286A8-0367/2015

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0180),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0118/2015),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 1 July 2015(1),

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 13 April 2016 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0367/2015),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(2);

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 23 June 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council on a multiannual recovery plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 302/2009

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/1627.)

(1) OJ C 383, 17.11.2015, p. 100.
(2) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 19 January 2016 (Texts adopted P8_TA(2016)0003).


Multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks, amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2187/2005 and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1098/2007 (COM(2014)0614 – C8-0174/2014 – 2014/0285(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0287A8-0128/2015

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2014)0614),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0174/2014),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

—  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 10 December 2014(1),

—  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 13 April 2016 to approve Parliament's position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0128/2015),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(2);

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 23 June 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks, amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2187/2005 and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1098/2007

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/1139.)

(1) OJ C 230, 14.7.2015, p. 120.
(2) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 28 April 2015 (Texts adopted P8_TA(2015)0104).


Jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes *
PDF 239kWORD 60k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the proposal for a Council regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes (COM(2016)0106 – C8-0127/2016 – 2016/0059(CNS))
P8_TA(2016)0288A8-0209/2016

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2016)0106),

–  having regard to Article 81(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0127/2016),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0209/2016),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal;

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

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

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


Jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of the property consequences of registered partnerships *
PDF 239kWORD 60k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 23 June 2016 on the proposal for a Council regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of the property consequences of registered partnerships (COM(2016)0107 – C8-0128/2016 – 2016/0060(CNS))
P8_TA(2016)0289A8-0208/2016

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2016)0107),

–  having regard to Article 81(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0128/2016),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0208/2016),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal;

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

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

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


Massacres in eastern Congo
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European Parliament resolution of 23 June 2016 on the massacres in eastern Congo (2016/2770(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0290RC-B8-0801/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in particular those of 10 March 2016(1) and of 9 July 2015(2),

–  having regard to the resolution of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 15 June 2016 on the pre-electoral and security situation in the DRC,

–  having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), and by her spokesperson, on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

–  having regard to the statements by the EU Delegation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the situation of human rights in the country,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo of 23 May 2016,

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2014, adopted by the Council on 22 June 2015,

–  having regard to the open letter sent by civil society groups in the territories of Beni, Butembo and Lubero to the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 14 May 2016,

–  having regard to the Nairobi Declarations of December 2013,

–  having regard to the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region, signed in Addis Ababa in February 2013,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on the DRC, in particular resolutions 2198 (2015) on renewing the DRC sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts, and 2277 (2016), which renewed the mandate of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) for a year,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Group of Experts on the DRC of 23 May 2016,

–  having regard to the annual report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights and the activities of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, of 27 July 2015,

–  having regard to the decisions and orders given by the International Court of Justice,

–  having regard to the joint press statement issued on 2 September 2015 by the Team of International Envoys and Representatives for the Great Lakes Region of Africa on elections in the DRC,

–  having regard to the statement of 9 November 2015 by the President of the UN Security Council on the situation in the DRC,

–  having regard to the UN Secretary-General’s reports of 9 March 2016 on the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC and on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region,

–  having regard to the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of June 1981,

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

–  having regard to the Congolese Constitution of 18 February 2006,

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

A.  whereas the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to deteriorate in the north-eastern part of the country, where dozens of armed groups remain active, with numerous reports of massacres, of recruitment and use of children by armed groups, and of widespread sexual and gender‑based violence;

B.  whereas between October 2014 and May 2016 in the territories of Beni, Lubero and Butembo more than 1 160 people were savagely killed, more than 1 470 people disappeared, many houses, health centres and schools were burnt down and many women, men and children were victims of sexual violence;

C.  whereas many villages in these territories are now occupied by armed groups;

D.  whereas growing discontent is being voiced at the Government of DRC’s inaction and silence in the face of these atrocities, which are alleged to be perpetrated by both rebel armed groups and state military forces;

E.  whereas exceptionally violent killings were carried out, on some occasions in close proximity to positions held by the national army (FARDC) and bases of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO);

F.  whereas these massacres have been met with indifference from the international community and with media silence;

G.  whereas the President of the DRC is constitutionally entrusted to be the guarantor of national integrity, national independence, the safety of people and goods, and the regular functioning of the country’s institutions, and is the Commander-in-Chief of the country’s armed forces;

H.  whereas political tensions are high in the DRC owing to the fact that President Kabila, who has been in power since 2001, is required by the constitution to step down on 20 December 2016 and has not yet declared that he will do so;

I.  whereas the Congolese army and MONUSCO are present in the region to maintain stability, fight armed groups and protect civilians;

J.  whereas the mandate of MONUSCO has been renewed and reinforced;

K.  whereas the widespread failure to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations has resulted in the climate of impunity being encouraged and new crimes being committed;

L.  whereas a major challenge to peace has been the DRC’s faltering efforts to demobilise thousands of rebel fighters, whether by incorporating them into the national army or smoothing their transition into civilian life;

M.  whereas humanitarian actors estimate that 7,5 million people are currently in need of assistance; whereas the ongoing conflict and military operations have also caused the internal displacement of 1,5 million people, and have forced more than 400 000 people to flee the country;

N.  whereas the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported increasing kidnappings and attacks on aid workers and convoys, which have forced humanitarian organisations to delay the delivery of aid and suspend their activities;

O.  whereas the massacres in eastern Congo are the result of links between regional and national politics, instrumentalisation of ethnic tensions and exploitation of resources;

1.  Expresses its deep concern regarding the escalation of violence and the alarming and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the DRC, caused in particular by the armed conflicts in the eastern provinces, which have now been going on for more than 20 years; deplores the loss of life and expresses its sympathy with the people of the DRC;

2.  Reiterates its call for all parties to the conflict to put an immediate end to the violence, lay down their arms, release all children from their ranks and promote dialogue towards a peaceful and sustainable resolution of the conflict; calls notably for quick and active resumption of collaboration between MONUSCO and the RDC armed forces (FARDC), on the basis of the military cooperation agreement signed on 28 January 2016 in Kinshasa, in order to re-establish and consolidate peace and security in both the eastern area and the country as a whole;

3.  Recalls that the neutralisation of all armed groups in the region will strongly contribute to peace and stability, and calls for the Government of the DRC to make this a priority and to restore safety for all its citizens and stability in the territories of Beni, Lubero and Butembo;

4.  Calls as a matter of urgency for a thorough, independent and transparent investigation to be launched by the international community into the massacres, with the full collaboration of the DRC Government and MONUSCO; asks for an emergency meeting of the Team of International Envoys and Representatives for the Great Lakes region of Africa on elections in the DRC with a view to taking appropriate action in this direction, such as mobilising the UN Security Council;

5.  Insists that this situation should not prevent elections from taking place as constitutionally planned; stresses that the successful and timely holding of the elections will be crucial to the long-term stability and development of the country;

6.  Calls on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to collect information and examine the abuses with a view to determining whether an ICC investigation into alleged crimes in the Beni area is warranted;

7.  Reiterates that there can be no impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual violence against women and girls, or for those responsible for the recruitment of child soldiers; stresses that the people responsible for any such acts must be reported, identified, prosecuted and punished in accordance with national and international criminal law;

8.  Asks for an evaluation report of the actions of MONUSCO to be produced and made publicly available; welcomes UN Security Council resolution 2277 (2016), which renewed MONUSCO’s mandate and reinforced its competences in the field of civilian protection and human rights, including gender-based violence and violence against children;

9.  Urges MONUSCO to make full use of this mandate to protect the civilian population, through its ‘force transformation’, to ensure that it will be able to exercise greater operational capability to protect civilians through rapid deployment mechanisms and aerial reconnaissance in eastern Congo, including via patrols and mobile operating bases;

10.  Calls for the AU and the EU to ensure a permanent political dialogue between the countries of the Great Lakes region in order to prevent any further destabilisation; regrets that only limited progress has been made in the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement of February 2013, and calls on all parties to actively contribute to stabilisation efforts;

11.  Insists that civil society must be involved in any action to protect civilians and resolve the conflicts, and that human rights defenders must be protected and offered a platform by the Government of the DRC and the international community;

12.  Acknowledges the efforts made by the Congolese authorities in the fight against impunity and in preventing sexual violence and violence against children, but considers that progress remains slow;

13.  Reminds the EU that there must be coherence between its policies, including in arms trade and raw materials trade, and that negotiations for agreements in the region must promote peace, stability, development and human rights;

14.  Calls for the EU to consider imposing targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on those responsible for the massacres in Eastern Congo and the violent crackdown in the DRC, so as to help prevent further violence;

15.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to maintain their assistance to the people of the DRC in order to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable sections of the population, in particular the internally displaced;

16.  Condemns all attacks against humanitarian actors and impediments to humanitarian access; urges all parties to the conflict to respect the independence, neutrality and impartiality of humanitarian actors;

17.  Reaffirms that businesses’ activities must comply fully with international human rights standards; calls on the Member States, therefore, to ensure that businesses under their national jurisdictions do not disregard human rights and the international standards linked to their activities in third countries;

18.  Welcomes the Congolese authorities’ efforts to implement the legislation which forbids trading in and processing of minerals in areas where there is illegal exploitation of minerals, such as those controlled by armed groups; calls on the Congolese authorities to reinforce the implementation of the legislation and enable more thorough scrutiny regarding mining deals and the misuse of mining revenues; calls for the EU to support the DRC’s efforts in this regard through its development cooperation policies; welcomes the recently agreed European understanding concerning mandatory due diligence checks on suppliers of conflict minerals as a first step to addressing European businesses’ responsibilities in this matter, and urges the EU to translate this understanding into ambitious legislation to be adopted swiftly;

19.  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 ACP-EU Council, the Secretary‑General of the UN, the UN Human Rights Council and the President, Prime Minister and Parliament of the DRC.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0085.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0278.


Follow-up of the Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020)
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European Parliament resolution of 23 June 2016 on follow-up of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) (2015/2281(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0291A8-0176/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Articles 165 and 166 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular its Article 14,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’)(1),

–  having regard to the 2012 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), ‘Education and Training in a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe’(2),

–  having regard to the communication of 26 August 2015 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Draft 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) – New priorities for European cooperation in education and training’ (COM(2015)0408),

–  having regard to the 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) – ‘New priorities for European cooperation in education and training’(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 and 29 November 2011 on a benchmark for learning mobility(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 November 2010 on education for sustainable development(5),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 February 2014 on ‘Investing in education and training – a response to “Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” and the “2013 Annual Growth Survey”’(6),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on effective teacher education(7),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on quality assurance supporting education and training(8),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on entrepreneurship in education and training(9),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the role of early childhood education and primary education in fostering creativity, innovation and digital competence(10),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on reducing early school leaving and promoting success in school(11),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Rethinking education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes’ (COM(2012)0669),

–  having regard to the Council recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning(12),

–  having regard to Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning(13),

–  having regard to the declaration of the informal meeting of EU education ministers held on 17 March 2015 on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education (the ‘Paris Declaration’)(14),

–  having regard to the ‘Riga conclusions’, adopted on 22 June 2015 by the ministers responsible for vocational education and training(15),

–  having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 3 July 2008 entitled ‘Migration and mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems’ (COM(2008)0423),

–  having regard to the report drawn up in February 2010 for the Commission by the Expert Group on New Skills for New Jobs entitled ‘New Skills for New Jobs: Action Now’(16),

–  having regard to the recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on ‘Transnational mobility within the Community for education and training purposes: European Quality Charter for Mobility’(17),

–  having regard to the report of the Sixth University-Business Forum of March 2015(18),

–  having regard to the CEDEFOP skills forecast of 2012, ‘Future skills supply and demand in Europe’(19),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 8 September 2015 on promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training(20) and of 28 April 2015 on follow-up on the implementation of the Bologna Process(21),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2015 on education for children in emergency situations and protracted crises(22),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 entitled ‘Erasmus+ and other tools to foster mobility in VET – a lifelong learning approach’(23),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0176/2016),

A.  whereas hereinafter all references to ‘education and training’ should be taken as encompassing formal, non-formal and informal forms, given their complementary character in a transition towards a learning society and their role in addressing specific target groups, thus facilitating inclusion of people with fewer educational opportunities;

B.  whereas education and training should not be aimed solely at meeting labour market needs, but should constitute a value in themselves, since education has an equally important role in developing ethical and civic virtues and broadly understood humanist values, as enshrined in the Treaties, and in strengthening the democratic principles on which Europe is founded;

C.  whereas education should contribute to the personal development, mutual respect and growth of young people, in order to make them proactive, responsible and aware citizens with civic, social, intercultural cross-cutting competences as well as skilled professionals;

D.  whereas education should be considered a fundamental human right and a public good that should be accessible to all;

E.  whereas education and training have an important role to play in tackling poverty and social exclusion, and expanding access to lifelong learning can open up new possibilities for the low-skilled, the unemployed, people with special needs, the elderly and migrants;

F.  whereas inclusive and high-quality education and training are essential for Europe´s cultural, economic and social development;

G.  whereas education and training in Europe should make a contribution to EU strategies and initiatives, including the Europe 2020 strategy, the Digital Single Market initiative, the European Agenda on Security and the Investment Plan for Europe;

H.  whereas not all Member States face the same type and level of challenges, meaning that any recommendations proposed for education and training should be flexible and should take into consideration national and regional economic, social, demographic, cultural and other factors, while also aiming at improving the situation in the EU as a whole;

I.  whereas ET 2020 cooperation, while respecting the competence of Member States, should complement national actions and support Member States in their efforts to develop education and training systems;

J.  whereas economic development and social cohesion should be put on an equal footing through a policy mix aimed at achieving a fairer distribution of knowledge across the population in order to tackle widening income gaps that appear as a side-effect of skill-biased technological growth;

K.  whereas effective investment in quality education and training is a source of sustainable growth;

L.  whereas existing low levels of knowledge and basic skills are worrying and require primary and secondary education to deliver the necessary basis for further learning and integration in the labour market;

M.  whereas trends indicating low basic skills of adults make it necessary to reinforce adult learning, which is a tool for upskilling and reskilling;

N.  whereas in the 2014 Annual Growth Survey the Commission takes the view that in terms of expenditure, Member States need to find ways to protect or promote longer-term investment in education, research, innovation, energy and climate action, and that it is essential to invest in the modernisation of education and training systems, including lifelong learning;

O.  whereas public budgets remain under severe pressure, with several Member States having cut their education and training expenditure, and it is now necessary for further investments in this field to be made more efficient, as a decisive factor for productivity, competitiveness and growth;

P.  whereas, while there have been improvements in results associated with attaining the ET 2020 higher education targets, concerns relating to efficiency of investments in education by the Member States, primary focus on quantitative indicators, teaching conditions, quality of learning, declining academic freedom, and scepticism concerning some aspects of the Bologna process and its implementation in some countries have been reported across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA);

Q.  whereas the ET 2020 Monitor shows that the main challenge we face today is educational poverty and the poor inclusion of those with a low socio-economic background, necessitating a stronger social focus in order to reach the ET 2020 targets and improve the inclusiveness and quality of education and training systems;

The ET 2020 Strategic Framework

1.  Welcomes the ET 2020 stocktaking exercise, and underlines the need to take its conclusions into account and promptly implement them in order to increase the added value and optimise the effectiveness of the framework, strengthening country-specific relevance and mutual learning;

2.  Regrets that huge problems in terms of quality, accessibility and socio-economic discrimination still remain unsolved in education and training, and believes that more ambitious, coordinated and effective policy actions at both European and national level should be delivered;

3.  Reiterates the importance of the Declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education, adopted in Paris in March 2015;

4.  Welcomes the narrowing of the number of ET 2020 priority areas to six enumerating specific issues from which Member States can choose to fulfil accordingly their own needs and conditions, but notes that the effectiveness and the operational aspect of ET 2020 need to be enhanced and a work programme adopted;

5.  Welcomes the proposed extension of the work cycle from 3 years to 5, in order to better implement the long-term strategic goals and work on issues such as underachievement of pupils in some study fields, low participation rates in adult learning, early school leaving, social inclusion, civic engagement, gender gaps and employability rates of graduates;

6.   Welcomes the new generation of ET 2020 Working Groups, and calls on the Commission to improve the representation of different stakeholders in those groups, notably by including more education experts, youth workers, representatives of civil society, teachers and faculty members whose experience on the ground is essential to achieving the ET 2020 goals; stresses the need for better dissemination of the groups’ deliverables at local, regional, national and EU level;

7.  Welcomes the strengthening of the steering role of informal bodies within ET 2020, as well as the creation of feedback loops linking the High Level Group, the Director-General groupings and the Working Groups; acknowledges the role civil society organisations play in reaching out to local, regional and national stakeholders and citizens on European cooperation in education and training, and calls for them to receive financial support under Erasmus+ (KA3) and the European Social Fund;

8.  Calls for the setting-up of an informal coordination body which would include the Director-General of the Commission’s DG for Education and Culture (DG EAC), the Directors responsible for education in other DGs, representatives of civil society, of social partners and of Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, and would hold high-level meetings to ensure closer coordination of work, policy coherence and the follow-up of recommendations issued by formal and informal ET 2020 bodies; believes that such coordination is necessary owing to concerns about lack of genuine dialogue between the Commission and civil society organisations and division of ET 2020-related competences between several Commission DGs and Commissioners; calls for the conclusions of this work to be properly communicated, at both European and national level;

9.  Reiterates that, notwithstanding the importance of acquiring employability skills, the value, quality and practical use of knowledge and academic rigour should be upheld; emphasises that given the Member States’ different socio-economic situation and diverse educational traditions, blanket prescriptive approaches must be avoided; underlines that the forthcoming European Skills Agenda, while rightly focusing on economic and employment challenges, should equally address the importance of subject knowledge, academic performance, critical thinking and creativity; calls, at the same time, on the Member States to support initiatives in which students would be able to showcase their skills in front of the public and potential employers;

10.  Points out the risks linked with increasing radicalisation, violence, bullying and behavioural problems starting at the primary level; calls on the Commission to conduct research at EU level and present an overview of the situation in all Member States, indicating their response to such trends and whether or how Member States have included ethical, personal and social education in their curricula as an instrument that has so far proved to be successful in many schools, including support for teachers with regards to those horizontal skills; encourages the Member States to share best practices in this area;

11.  Points out the value of a community-based approach to formal, non-formal and informal education and of strong links between learning settings and families;

12.  Calls for the wider participation of all relevant actors in the work of ET 2020;

13.  Is of the opinion that learners themselves must be encouraged to actively participate in the governance of their learning structures, at all ages and in all types of learning;

14.  Encourages Member States to strengthen ties between higher education and VET, research institutions and the economic sector, and to ensure involvement of social partners and civil society; notes that this partnership will enhance the impact of ET 2020 and the relevance of learning systems to increasing Europe’s innovation capacity;

15.  Stresses that school-parent communication strategies, character education and other personal development programmes implemented in learning settings in cooperation with families and other relevant social partners can contribute to upward social convergence, promotion of active citizenship and European values as enshrined in the Treaties, and the prevention of radicalisation; underlines that a supportive home environment is crucial in shaping children’s proficiency in basic skills, and points to the value of courses for parents which can prove effective in countering educational poverty;

16.  Encourages the exchange of best practices within the ET 2020 framework;

17.  Stresses that cooperation through ET 2020 fundamentally complements national measures such as learning from one another, data gathering, working groups and exchanges of good national practices, which will be reinforced by means of improvements in their transparency and coordination and dissemination of their results;

18.  Stresses the role of external associations and NGOs in entering schools to provide children with additional skills and social competences, such as arts or manual activities, and in helping integration, better understanding of their environment, solidarity in learning and living, and easing up the learning competences of whole classes;

19.  Is concerned at the fact that the quality of teacher education and training is lagging behind in some Member States in terms of range and complexity, with regard to competences that are necessary for teaching today such as dealing with growing diversity of learners, use of innovative pedagogies and ICT tools;

20.  Encourages Member States to adapt their initial teacher training and continuous in-service development programmes, to make better use of peer-learning activities between Member States, and to promote cooperation and partnerships between teacher training colleges and schools;

21.  Welcomes the new ET 2020 priority of improving support for teachers and raising their status, which is essential for them to be able to command the necessary respect, thus making their profession more attractive; is of the opinion that fulfilment of this objective would require better preparation and training of teachers and improving their conditions of work, including increasing salaries in some Member States, given that teachers often earn less than the average wage of higher education graduates;

22.  Notes with concern that in some Member States, especially in countries that are in difficulty, teacher preparation and quality of education have deteriorated as a result of staff shortages and cuts in education;

23.  Points out that the provision of open and innovative education and training is a priority area in ET 2020; highlights the importance of developing and promoting innovation and flexibility in teaching, learning and knowledge transfer methods in which individuals are active participants;

24.  Encourages the Member States to make full use of potential offered by digitalisation, ICTs and new technologies, including open data platforms and MOOCs, in order to improve the quality and accessibility of learning and teaching; calls on the EU and the Member States to make the necessary efforts to enhance digital and ICT competences, also by means of organising specific training in the use of these instruments for teachers and students at school and university level; encourages the exchange of best practices and enhanced cross-border cooperation in this area;

25.  Applauds the attention paid by the Commission to the importance of digital skills; underlines that to equip young people for the 21st century these skills are essential;

26.  Underscores that the issue of raising learning outcomes relative to resources available should receive greater attention within the ET 2020 framework, particularly with regard to adult learning;

27.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to review the existing rules for the evaluation of education and training programmes funded by European financial instruments, focusing more on quality-based impact assessment and on results in relation to observed ET 2020 priorities;

28.  Calls on the Member States to support, through scholarships and loans, those educational and study paths whose structure would help to bridge the gap between education and practical needs;

29.  Stresses the need for better concentration of efforts in the area of education and training through merging and streamlining existing programmes and initiatives;

30.  Calls on the Commission, where appropriate, to treat minority groups as separate and discrete in order to better respond to the respective problems facing each group;

31.  Strongly believes that investing in early childhood education and care (ECEC), appropriately tailored to the sensitivity and maturity level of each target group, brings greater returns than investing in any other stage of education; points out that investing in the early years of education has been proven to reduce later costs;

32.  Believes that the success of education at all levels depends on well-trained teachers, and on their continually advancing professional training, thus requiring sufficient investment in teacher training;

Quality of education and training

33.  Calls for greater attention to be devoted to the quality of education, starting in the kindergarten and throughout life;

34.  Calls for the development of good practices in assessing qualitative progress and investment in the use of quality data with stakeholders at local, regional and national level, notwithstanding the relevance of the indicators and benchmarks used in the ET 2020 framework;

35.  Highlights the importance of teaching and learning general basic skills such as ICT, maths, critical thinking, foreign languages, mobility, etc., which will enable young people to easily adapt to the changing social and economic environment;

36.  Notes the unprecedented numbers of learners involved in formal education; expresses concern that the level of youth unemployment in the EU remains high and the employment rate of higher education graduates has decreased;

37.  Stresses that the benchmark goals concerning education and training set in the Europe 2020 strategy, including, notably, reducing the early school leaving rate to below 10 % and achieving a figure of 40 % of the younger generation with a tertiary degree, should not be met at the expense of quality in education, but, rather, should be fulfilled by taking into account the first ET 2020 goal of ‘relevant and high-quality skills and competences’; notes that one way of achieving this is through the development of dual education projects;

38.  Draws attention to the fact that standardised tests and quantitative approaches to educational accountability measure at best a narrow range of traditional competences, and may result in schools having to adapt teaching syllabi to test material, thus neglecting the intrinsic values of education; points out that education and training have an important role in developing ethical and civil virtues and humanness, whereas teachers’ work and students’ achievements in this area are overlooked by test scores; highlights in this regard the need for flexibility, innovation and creativity in educational settings which can boost learning quality and educational attainment;

39.  Stresses the need to develop basic skills in order to achieve quality education;

40.  Emphasises the importance of providing high-quality early childhood education and of its timely modernisation; emphasises the crucial role of an individual-centred approach in education and training systems which benefits the development of creativity and critical thinking while focusing on students´ personal interests, needs and abilities;

41.  Calls on the Member States to channel investment into inclusive education which responds to societal challenges with regard to ensuring equal access and opportunities for all; stresses that quality education and training, including lifelong learning opportunities and programmes to tackle all forms of discrimination, economic and social inequalities and the causes of exclusion are essential to improving social cohesion and the lives of young people who suffer from disadvantages socially and economically, as well as those from minority groups, and highlights the need for continued efforts in reducing their early school leaving;

42.  Calls for greater inclusiveness in education and training to cater for people with disabilities or with special needs, and at the same time urges that teacher training be improved so as to equip teachers with the skills to be able to include, integrate and assist students with disabilities;

43.  Highlights that the side-effects of the Bologna process and student mobility should be examined and evaluated; encourages Member States to make a greater effort to meet the objectives and to ensure the implementation of reforms agreed on within the framework of the Bologna process and mobility programmes, and to commit themselves to working together more effectively in order to correct their imperfections, so that they better reflect the needs of students and the academic community as a whole, and stimulate and support improvements to the quality of higher education;

44.  Advocates broader involvement of the university community in the ET 2020 work cycle;

45.  Notes that the Bologna process has spearheaded significant achievements, and takes the view that educational institutions should apply flexibility when using modules and the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS);

46.  Welcomes efforts to increase enrolment in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), but not at the expense of the humanities, which are indispensable in making proper use of the opportunities presented by STEM disciplines;

47.  Highlights that producing financial output should not be a prerequisite for all academic activities and in this regard calls for efforts to ensure that the humanities do not risk being wiped off the research landscape;

48.  Advocates a more holistic view which emphasises the importance of a variety of disciplines in education and research;

49.  Advocates a shift to conceiving mobility programmes in terms of qualitative outcomes that respond to priorities and serve established learning and training objectives; calls for the proper implementation of the proposals of the European Quality Charter for Mobility and for better use of all tools available to prepare students for the right type of mobility they would need; encourages Member States to fully exploit the potential of internationalisation at home in order to give students who prefer not to participate in outbound mobility an international dimension during their studies;

50.  Reaffirms the need to ensure accessibility of mobility opportunities, especially in vocational training, for disadvantaged young people and people suffering from different forms of discrimination; stresses the important role of mobility programmes such as Erasmus+ in stimulating the development of transversal skills and competences among young people; highlights the need for reinforcement of the Renewed European Agenda for adult learning;

51.  Stresses the importance of an overall framework of recognition of qualifications and diplomas as key in ensuring cross-border educational and labour mobility;

52.  Calls for greater efforts in the validation of non-formal and informal learning, including voluntary services, and for the development of recognition instruments for digitally acquired knowledge and competences;

53.  Notes that particular attention should be given to simplifying and rationalising existing EU instruments on skills and qualifications directed to the wider public, in order to strengthen outreach in line with the results of the Commission survey conducted in 2014 on the ‘European Area of Skills and Qualifications’;

Migration and education

54.  Stresses that the challenges posed to education and training systems by intra- and extra-European migration and the current refugee and humanitarian crisis should be addressed at European, national and regional level;

55.  Highlights that failure to provide migrants, refugees and asylum seekers with education and training will negatively influence their future employability, their development of knowledge of their host country’s cultural and social values, and, ultimately, their integration and contribution to society;

56.  Calls for better cooperation between EU and national authorities in order to find the right approach to swiftly, fully and sustainably integrating refugees and migrants into education and training systems;

57.  Welcomes the decision to mainstream migrant education across the work of the ET 2020 Working Groups and to hold respective peer-learning activities in their initial lifespan;

58.  Emphasises the need for Member States’ education ministries and the Commission’s DG EAC to cooperate in order to ensure equal access to high-quality education, particularly by reaching out to the most disadvantaged and to people with diverse backgrounds, including newly arrived migrants, and integrating them into a positive learning environment;

59.  Calls for measures to integrate intra- and extra- European migrant, refugee and asylum seeker children into education and training systems and to help them adjust to the curricula and learning standards of the host Member State by supporting innovative learning methods and providing children with language, and if needed, social assistance, as well as enabling them to become familiar with the host country’s culture and values whilst preserving their own cultural heritage;

60.  Encourages Member States to look at the possibilities of integrating migrant teachers and academics into European education systems and to putting their language and teaching skills and experience to good use;

61.  Recommends that Member States and educational providers offer advice and support for migrant, refugee and asylum seeker children seeking to access education services through the provision of clear information and visible contact points;

62.  Expresses its concern at the fact that half of teacher trainers in OECD countries feel that teacher training systems do not sufficiently prepare them to handle diversity effectively, and encourages the Member States concerned to guarantee ongoing professional support for teachers in this field, equipping them with the necessary pedagogical competencies on the topics of migration and acculturation and enabling them to utilise diversity as a rich source for learning in classrooms; advocates better utilisation of the potential of peer-learning activities among Member States;

63.  Supports the idea of setting up helpdesks and guidelines for teachers offering them timely support in handling various types of diversity in a positive way and promoting intercultural dialogue in the classroom, as well as guidance when confronted with students at risk of being radicalised;

64.  Calls for the creation of differentiated synergies between the ET 2020 Working Groups and networks such as the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Working Group on Education;

65.  Calls for the establishment of the relevant Expert Group as provided for in the European Union Work Plan for Youth for 2016-2018;

66.  Stresses the need for more language-based learning programmes;

67.  Calls on the Member States to make efforts to swiftly develop and implement mechanisms for improving the understanding and identification of the qualifications of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, since many entering the EU come with no proof of their formal qualifications;

68.  Calls on the Member States to examine how existing forms of recognition of professional qualification might be developed, including appropriate education background checks;

69.  Believes that non-formal and informal learning has the potential to be an effective tool for the successful integration of refugees into the labour market and society;

70.  Highlights the important role of non-formal and informal learning, as well as participation in sports and volunteer activities, in stimulating the development of civic, social and intercultural competences; emphasises the fact that some countries have made significant progress in developing relevant legal frameworks, while others have difficulties in creating comprehensive validation strategies; stresses, therefore, the need of developing comprehensive strategies to enable validation;

71.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate measures for migrant, refugee and asylum seeker students enrolling at university level, without prejudice to national rules and competences on access to education and training; welcomes the initiatives adopted in this regard by a number of European universities, and encourages the exchange of best practices in this field;

72.  Calls for the creation of ‘education corridors’ which will enable students who are refugees or come from conflict zones to enrol at European universities, including for distance learning;

73.  Calls on the Member States to facilitate enrolment of migrant students at all educational levels;

74.  Considers that the Science4Refugees programme should be evaluated and, if necessary, further developed; advocates support at EU and national level for non-profit institutions providing assistance to migrant, refugee and asylum seeker academics in science and other professional areas;

75.  Notes that the ‘brain drain’ poses risks for Member States, especially those in central/eastern and southern Europe, where an increasing number of young graduates are being driven to emigrate; expresses concern at the failure of the ET 2020 Working Groups to adequately address the concept of unbalanced mobility, and stresses the need to tackle the problem at national and EU level;

76.  Stresses the crucial role of education and training in the empowerment of women in all spheres of life; emphasises the need to tackle gender gaps and to recognise the particular needs of young women by including the gender perspective in ET 2020; stresses that, as equality between men and women is one of the EU’s founding values, there is a need for all educational institutions to endorse and implement this principle among their students, with the aim of fostering tolerance, non-discrimination, active citizenship, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 119, 28.5.2009, p. 2.
(2) OJ C 70, 8.3.2012, p. 9.
(3) OJ C 417, 15.12.2015, p. 25.
(4) OJ C 372, 20.12.2011, p. 31.
(5) OJ C 327, 4.12.2010, p. 11.
(6) OJ C 64, 5.3.2013, p. 5.
(7) OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, p. 22.
(8) OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, p. 30.
(9) OJ C 17, 20.1.2015, p. 2.
(10) OJ C 172, 27.5.2015, p. 17.
(11) OJ C 417, 15.12.2015, p. 36.
(12) OJ C 398, 22.12.2012, p. 1.
(13) OJ L 394, 30.12.2006, p. 10.
(14) http://ec.europa.eu/education/news/2015/documents/citizenship-education-declaration_en.pdf
(15) http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/vocational-policy/doc/2015-riga-conclusions_en.pdf
(16) http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/125en.pdf
(17) OJ L 394, 30.12.2006, p. 5.
(18) http://ec.europa.eu/education/tools/docs/university-business-forum-brussels_en.pdf
(19) http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/3052_en.pdf
(20) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0292.
(21) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0107.
(22) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0418.
(23) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0107.


Renewable energy progress report
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European Parliament resolution of 23 June 2016 on the renewable energy progress report (2016/2041(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0292A8-0196/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Titles XX on environment and XXI on energy thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular Titles IX on employment and XVIII on economic, social and territorial cohesion thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular its Protocol (No 26) on services of general interest and Protocol (No 28) on economic, social and territorial cohesion,

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘Renewable energy progress report’ (COM(2015)0293) and to the national plans,

–  having regard to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11) held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015, and to the Paris Agreement,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Towards an Integrated Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan: Accelerating the European Energy System Transformation’ (C(2015)6317),

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling’ (COM(2016)0051),

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

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 23-24 October 2014,

–  having regard to Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 laying down the rules for participation and dissemination in ‘Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)’ and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1906/2006(2),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/1513 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 September 2015 amending Directive 98/70/EC relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources(3),

–  having regard to the EESC study on the role of civil society in the implementation of the EU Renewable Energy Directive entitled ‘Changing the future of energy: civil society as a main player in renewable energy generation’,

–  having regard to the Sustainable Energy Action Plan of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy,

–  having regard to the Aarhus Convention of 25 June 1998 on ‘Access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 February 2014 on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 October 2015 on ‘Towards a new international climate agreement in Paris’(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2015 on achieving the 10 % electricity interconnection target – Making Europe’s electricity grid fit for 2020(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2015 on ‘Towards a European Energy Union’(7),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0196/2016),

A.  whereas the EU as a whole is on track to reach the 2020 targets for renewables, but further intensified action is required in some Member States;

B.  whereas renewable energy costs have significantly decreased in recent years, which, along with technological advances in production and storage, has made renewable energy increasingly competitive with conventional generation, offering a unique chance to create a genuine European energy policy that would boost competitiveness and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; whereas the transition towards a sustainable, forward-looking energy system must include efforts towards energy efficiency, renewable energy, best use of Europe’s energy resources, technology development and smart infrastructure; whereas a long-term, stable regulatory framework is needed in order to create economic growth and jobs and ensure that the EU retains a global leading role in these areas;

C.  whereas according to Article 194 TFEU, European energy policy must ensure the functioning of the energy market and security of energy supply, as well as promoting energy efficiency and savings, the development of renewable energy and the interconnection of energy networks; whereas binding national and EU targets, concrete planning and reporting obligations and enabling measures have been key drivers of investment certainty and the expansion of renewable energy capacity in the EU, as well as of transmission and distribution infrastructure;

D.  whereas, in line with the COP 21 Paris Agreement, the Renewable Energy Directive needs to be adapted to comply with the agreed goal of keeping the global temperature increase to 1,5 °C above pre-industrial levels; whereas an economy based on 100 % renewables can only be achieved by reducing our energy consumption, increasing energy efficiency and boosting renewable energy resources;

E.  whereas ambitious policies for renewable energy, in combination with energy efficiency, are a major driving force in reducing the EU´s imports dependency and its overall external energy bill and enhancing energy security vis-à-vis external providers; whereas the EU imports more than half of all the energy it consumes, at a cost of more than EUR 1 billion every day, accounting for over 20 % of total imports; whereas imports dependency is particularly high in the case of crude oil, natural gas and hard coal; whereas the imported fuel costs avoided as a result of the increasing use of renewable energy amount to at least EUR 30 billion a year;

F.  whereas the development of renewable energy can help to ensure energy security and sovereignty, eliminate energy poverty and foster the economic development and technological leadership of the EU while tackling climate change; whereas renewable energy sources would contribute to providing European citizens with stable, affordable, sustainable energy, with special emphasis on the most vulnerable; whereas renewable energy sources should enable citizens to benefit from self-generation and predictable energy supply;

G.  whereas the development of renewable energy should coincide with the development of a well-functioning internal electricity market; whereas the Energy Union should be based on a transition towards a sustainable, forward-looking energy system with energy efficiency and savings, renewable energy and smart infrastructure as major pillars;

H.  whereas EU companies in the renewable energy sector, many of which are SMEs, employ 1,15 million people in Europe and have a 40 % share of all world patents for renewable technologies, making the EU a global leader; whereas, according to the Commission, 20 million jobs could be created between now and 2020 in the green economy, which is also a major opportunity for job creation in rural areas; whereas projects owned by SMEs, cooperatives and individuals play an important role in innovating and developing the renewable energy sector;

I.  whereas the Commission is committed to making Europe the world number one in renewable energy, which is an industrial policy imperative; whereas China has become the worldwide front-runner in investing in renewables, while investment in Europe fell by 21 %, from EUR 54,61 billion (USD 62 billion) in 2014 to EUR 42,99 billion (USD 48,8 billion) in 2015, the lowest figure for nine years;

J.  whereas continued investment in renewables requires both ambitious public and private leadership and commitment and a long-term, stable and reliable policy framework consistent with the EU’s climate commitments arising from the Paris Climate Agreement, which holds great potential for job creation and growth in Europe;

K.  whereas ambitious and realistic goals – public participation, monitoring and supervision, clear and simple policy rules and support at local, regional, national and European level and the engagement of all relevant stakeholders, including the social partners (bringing together representatives of workers and industry) and other civil society organisations – are key, and need to be strengthened further for the successful development of renewable energy;

L.  whereas respect for ownership rights is important when promoting renewable energy;

M.  whereas renewable energy offers an opportunity for greater energy democracy in energy markets by empowering consumers to participate actively on an equal footing with other stakeholders in the energy market, to self-generate and self-consume, store and sell renewable energy produced by themselves, individually or in collective management, as well as through public and private investment, including decentralised forms of energy production launched by cities, regions and local public authorities; whereas renewable energy projects should allow greater control by citizens over their energy consumption and the energy transition and promote their direct involvement in the energy system, including through investment schemes;

N.  whereas offshore wind in the North Sea region has the potential to generate over 8 % of Europe’s power supply by 2030;

O.  whereas certain Member States are more exposed to a single supplier of fossil fuels; whereas thanks to renewables 30 billion euros’ worth of imported fossil fuels were saved, and natural gas consumption was reduced by 7 %, thus strengthening the energy independence and energy security of Europe, which remains the largest energy importer in the world;

Progress on renewables

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitments on renewable energy; considers with respect to the Renewable Energy Directive that the current combination of binding national targets, National Renewable Energy Plans and biennial monitoring has been a key driver of renewable energy capacity development in the EU; urges the Commission to ensure full implementation of the 2020 Renewable Energy Directive and to put forward an ambitious post-2020 legislative framework; stresses, in this regard, that a stable long-term regulatory framework is needed, including national and EU renewable energy targets that are consistent with the most efficient path towards the Union’s long-term climate goals (2050);

2.  While noting with satisfaction that the EU is on track to meet its 2020 target, expresses its concern at the large number of countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom) which, according to the Commission’s 2015 Renewable Progress Report 2014-2020 estimates, may have to strengthen their policies and tools to ensure they meet their 2020 objectives, while achievement thereof is also not certain in the case of Hungary and Poland; calls on Member States that are lagging behind to undertake additional measures to get back on track; welcomes the fact that some Member States have already met or will very shortly meet their 2020 targets, well ahead of time, such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Romania, Finland and Sweden;

3.  Regrets that the Commission’s Renewables Progress Report does not put forward country-specific recommendations to adjust their policies and tools to ensure they meet their 2020 objectives; stresses that access to capital is key, yet the cost of capital in the EU-28 has been diverging significantly, resulting in a North/West vs East/South divide; notes that the existence of a variety of different policies for promoting renewable energy risks further widening the competitiveness gap among EU countries; points out the need to have an EU financial mechanism aimed at reducing high risk-derived capital costs of renewable energy projects;

4.  Stresses in this respect the importance of identifying and sharing best practices in terms of national renewable energy policies and of promoting their adoption under a more convergent European model, favouring increased cooperation and coordination among Member States; calls on the Commission to maintain its role in monitoring the progress and actively supporting the development of renewable energies; highlights the importance of assessing renewables as to their competitiveness, sustainability, cost-effectiveness and contribution to geopolitical stability and climate change goals;

5.  Acknowledges the important role played by national plans and reporting obligations in the monitoring of Member States’ progress, and believes these obligations should be continued in the post-2020 period; recognises that the determination of the energy mix of Member States remains a national competence in the context of Article 194 TFEU, with each Member State promoting the development of its own renewable forms of energy, so that energy mixes remain highly diversified;

6.  Stresses the importance of simple, accessible, affordable and efficient administrative procedures;

7.  Calls on the Commission to include an evaluation of the impact of renewables on cost and prices, especially prices for households, in the future renewable energy progress reports;

8.  Highlights the importance of an EU legislative proposal on energy market rules, as a more integrated market is key to the development of renewables, and to reducing energy costs for families and industry;

9.  Stresses the importance of stable and cost-effective renewable support schemes for long-term investment that remain responsive and adaptable in the short term and are tailored to national needs and circumstances, allowing gradual phasing-out of subsidies for mature renewable technologies; welcomes the fact that a number of renewable energy technologies are rapidly becoming cost-competitive with conventional forms of generation; stresses that the energy transition hinges upon the transparency, consistency and continuity of legal, financial and regulatory frameworks with a view to strengthening investor confidence; regrets retroactive changes to renewable support schemes that alter the return on investments already made; calls on the Member States to always announce any renewable support scheme adjustments and consult stakeholders widely well in advance; calls on the Commission to check the compatibility of national support schemes with the European Commission Guidance in order to avoid any unnecessary delay in their implementation and minimise market distortions;

10.  Stresses that research and development activities play an essential role in the development of renewable energies; recalls Parliament’s target of 85 % of financing for non-fossil energy under the energy chapter of Horizon 2020; calls on the European Commission and the Member States to further facilitate the effective use of all existing funding schemes and to ensure access to capital, particularly for SMEs, and to support research and development in the fields of renewable energy, its storage and related product development with a view to making the EU renewable industry more competitive, enabling better uptake of renewables and avoiding further widening of the competitiveness gap among EU countries;

11.  Stresses that electricity storage can contribute to providing flexibility in the EU electricity system and to balancing fluctuations resulting from renewable energy production; reiterates that the current Electricity Directive 2009/72/EC does not mention storage, and stresses that the upcoming revision of the Electricity Directive takes into consideration the multiple services that energy storage can provide; considers that clarifying the position of storage would allow transmission and grid operators to invest in energy storage services;

12.  Stresses that support schemes at all levels should be focused on technologies with great potential for reducing the costs of renewables and/or increasing market uptake of renewables;

13.  Considers that future R&D strategy should focus on facilitating smart grid and smart city developments; furthermore considers that the electrification of transport, smart vehicle charging and vehicle-to-grid technology could contribute significantly to improving energy efficiency and potential uptake of renewable energy sources;

14.  Considers that the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund can contribute to meeting the targets under Directive 2009/28/EC and the 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy, as well as funding research and innovation in connection with renewable energy generation, while supporting job creation and economic growth; underlines the importance of thematic concentration within cohesion policy, since this should contribute to channelling investment towards the low-carbon economy, including renewable energies, especially in the light of the prominent role of the thematic objective ‘Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors’; calls on the Member States to increase their efforts and make best use of the funding opportunities existing for this purpose, while underlining the opportunities for local business development and job creation; recalls the common provisions in the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund supporting the eligibility of projects related to energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources in private households, public buildings and enterprises, and believes that regional renewable energy market integration, which could be achieved through such funding, would represent an important contribution of cohesion policy in this respect;

15.  Underlines the need for increased cooperation and coordination within and between Member States and regions and for an integrated approach to public investment in and financing of technical improvement, smart-grid development and implementation, grid adaptation and capacity, smart metering, storage, demand-side management, energy efficiency and innovative renewable energy production;

16.  Stresses that grids in many Member States are simply unable to receive power generated from variable renewables; stresses that modernisation of the energy grids is essential to accommodate changes in production and transmission;

17.  Calls urgently for a strengthening of transparency and public participation, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders at an early stage in the development of national plans for renewable energy; regrets the current lack of information regarding the implementation of Renewable Energy Directive provisions and stresses the need for more detailed biennial reports from Member States; calls on the Commission to strengthen its role in monitoring and supporting the progress of renewable energies; calls on the Commission to enhance transparency regarding the use of its enforcement power;

18.  Stresses the importance of involvement by all levels of administration, as well as associations, in the implementation of a European renewables-based model of energy production, consumption and self-consumption; calls on the Commission to step up its support for the Covenant of Mayors, Smart Cities and Smart Communities and the 100 % RES communities, which allows sharing of knowledge and best practice;

19.  Notes that increased regional cooperation on renewables is key to ensuring the further development of renewable energy sources;

20.  Welcomes the fact that in 2013 the use of renewable energies enabled the generation of around 388 million gross tonnes of CO2 to be avoided and led to a reduction in demand for fossil fuels in the EU of 116 Mtoe;

21.  Highlights the enormous job-creation potential of the renewable energy sector; calls on Member States to ensure that labour standards are not lowered as a result of the energy transition, which should be based on the creation of quality jobs;

Renewables for the future

22.  Stresses that the RES targets must be set in line with the climate targets agreed by 195 countries in Paris in December 2015; notes the proposal from the European Council for an at least 27 % renewable energy target for 2030; recalls Parliament’s call for binding targets of at least a 30 % share of renewable energy consumption to be implemented by means of national targets in order to ensure the necessary investor and legal certainty; believes that, in the light of the recent COP21 agreement, significantly higher ambition is desirable; insists that clear and ambitious objectives in this regard are a tool to improve certainty and to ensure a leading position for the EU at a global level; calls on the Commission to present a more ambitious climate and energy package 2030 which increases the EU target for RES to at least 30 % to be implemented by means of individual national targets;

23.  Stresses the relevance of the new renewable energy and market design legislation in creating a new framework fit for the development of renewable energies on the basis of reliable support schemes and full participation of renewable technologies in the market;

24.  Realises that tax cuts are a powerful incentive for making the shift from fossil energy to renewable energy, and urges the Commission to reform the Energy Taxation Directive and the state-aid rules, which are preventing these incentives from being used to their full potential;

25.  Stresses that the targets already agreed for 2020 must be taken as the minimum baseline when revising the Renewables Energy Directive, so that Member States cannot go below their 2020 national target after 2020; underlines that the EU 2030 renewable energy target requires collective achievement; stresses that Member States should develop their national plans in a timely fashion and that the Commission needs enhanced oversight capacities, including beyond 2020, endowed with adequate tools for effective and timely monitoring and the possibility of intervening in the event of counterproductive measures; believes that such monitoring will only be possible if the Commission determines national benchmarks for Member States against which their progress in renewable deployment can be measured;

26.  Highlights the potential for Europe in the development of renewable energy, and underlines the importance of long-term and favourable conditions for all market actors;

27.  Highlights the important contribution of renewable energy in the reduction of overall carbon emissions; stresses the importance of renewable development in achieving the objectives agreed at the COP21;

28.  Stresses that Member States should increase the justified use of provisions for statistical transfers and the development of cooperation mechanisms to meet their targets, in accordance with Article 6 of the Renewable Energy Directive; underlines the importance of cooperation among Member States, which would be beneficial to system optimisation, efficient provision and enhanced cost-saving in renewable energy; calls on the Commission to provide Member States with further incentives, information, a cost benefit analysis and guidance in this respect;

29.  Highlights the need to define a strong, robust and transparent governance system to ensure the implementation of the 2030 renewable energy target with due respect for national competences in determining the energy mix, while allowing for full democratic control and scrutiny of energy policies; calls for an intensive replication of the current successful system of national targets, national Renewable Energy Plans and biennial reports; believes that these should be embedded in the Renewable Energy Directive, which must ensure accountable, effective and transparent monitoring of Member States’ commitments and the implementation of existing European legislation, in order to lay the foundation for a well-functioning European Energy Union;

30.  Points to the importance of single binding templates for national energy and climate plans in order to ensure comparability, transparency and predictability for investors; believes that trajectories and policy planning for each Member State must continue to be broken down by sector, technology and source;

31.  Urges the European Commission to codify in legislation a grandfathering principle for renewable energy power plants to prevent retroactive changes to renewable energy support mechanisms and guarantee the economic viability of existing assets;

32.  Calls for the removal of unnecessary bureaucratic barriers and for investments that enable the achievement of the 10 % electricity interconnection target by 2020; underlines that increased regional cooperation can contribute to ensuring cost optimisation for integrating renewables and drive down costs for consumers; recalls the importance of wide public consultation and participation from an early stage in the planning of new energy infrastructure projects, while taking account of local conditions; recalls the importance of technical advice and environmental impact assessments for renewable energy generation and distribution projects;

33.  Notes the gap between available skills and the changes in labour market demands resulting from the development of renewables; underlines that active education/training and skills strategies are key in the transition to a sustainable, resource-efficient economy; stresses the importance of the social partners, as well as the public authorities in developing skills schemes and training programmes;

34.  Highlights the need for adequate financing at EU level, to be achieved inter alia by comprehensively de‑risking investments in order to incentivise broad use of renewable energy sources;

Citizen and Community Energy

35.  Believes that local authorities, communities, households and individuals should form the backbone of the energy transition and should be actively supported to help them become energy producers and suppliers on an equal footing with other players in the energy market; in this context calls for a common comprehensive definition of the concept of ‘prosumer’ at EU level;

36.  Considers it of major importance to establish a basic right to self-generation and self‑consumption, as well as the right to store and sell excess electricity at a fair price;

37.  Recalls that Member States are, on the basis of public participation, to develop a Citizen and Community Energy strategy and describe in their national action plans how they will promote small and medium-sized renewable energy projects and energy cooperatives and factor them into their legislative framework, support policies and market accessibility;

38.  Calls for the introduction of a new Citizen and Community Energy chapter under the revised Renewable Energy Directive to address the main market and administrative barriers and provide a more conducive investment environment for self-generation and self-consumption of renewable energy;

39.  Notes that appropriate licensing and administrative procedures are not yet in place for all technologies in all countries; asks Member States to supress administrative and market barriers to new self-generation capacity, to replace lengthy authorisation procedures with a simple notification requirement and to put in place efficient one-stop shops for project permits, grid access and support with financial and technical expertise, as well as guaranteeing prosumers’ access to alternative dispute-resolution mechanisms; urges the Commission to ensure full implementation and full continuity beyond 2020 of Articles 13 (administrative procedures) and 16 (access and operation of the grids) of the current Renewable Energy Directive;

40.  Highlights the importance of taking into account the differences between micro, small and large producers; notes the need to develop suitable conditions and tools for ‘prosumers’ (active energy consumers, such as households, both owners and tenants, institutions and small businesses that engage in renewable energy production either on their own or collectively through cooperatives, other social enterprises or aggregations) to contribute to energy transition and facilitate their integration into the energy market; recommends reducing to an absolute minimum the administrative barriers to new self-generation capacity, in particular by removing market and grid access restrictions; suggests shortening and simplifying authorisation procedures by moving to a simple notification requirement; suggests that the revision of the renewable energy directive could include specific provisions to remove barriers and promote community/cooperative energy schemes via ‘one-stop shops’ dealing with project permits and providing financial and technical expertise; encourages the Member States to make use of de minimis exemptions under the European Energy and Environment State Aid Guidelines, so that small and medium-sized projects continue to benefit from dynamic feed in tariffs, exempting them from complex auctioning processes;

41.  Stresses the importance of public participation from an early stage in boosting environmentally friendly renewable energy projects while taking account of local conditions;

42.  Stresses the need to strike a balance, through adequate market regulation, between the development of centralised and decentralised energy production so as to ensure that consumers who cannot afford to become ‘prosumers’ are not discriminated against; stresses the need to provide technical and administrative facilities for the collective management of energy production; underlines that self-generation and renewable sources are not the root cause of higher European energy costs;

43.  Highlights the fact that an increased focus on implementing energy efficiencies in all sectors will assist the EU in boosting its competitiveness and in the development of innovative and cost-effective energy-saving solutions;

44.  Stresses the environmental, economic and social benefits of an integrated approach to energy and the need to promote synergies between and within the electricity, the heating and cooling and the transport sectors; further calls on the Commission to assess how flexible sources of renewable energy can complement variable energy sources and how this should be taken into account in energy planning as well as in the design of support schemes;

Electricity

45.  Stresses that renewable electricity production should be integrated into the electricity distribution systems at all levels, as well as into transmission systems, given the changes towards a more flexible and decentralised model for energy production that takes account of the market;

46.  Notes that non-variable forms of renewables production, such as hydroelectric power, which can be rapidly mobilised and are environmentally responsible, offer a way of supporting the integration of variable renewables into the market;

47.  Calls for an integrated approach to energy policy that encompasses grid development and regulation, storage, demand-side management and energy efficiency improvements, as well as increasing the share of renewable energy sources; highlights the need to avoid locking in technologies that are incompatible with decarbonisation;

48.  Notes that market integration of renewable electricity generation requires flexible markets on both the supply and the demand side and that this will require the construction, modernisation and adaptation of grids and the development of new storage technologies;

49.  Stresses that electrification of both heating and cooling systems, transport and other sectors is crucial in order to ensure a fast and efficient transition to renewable energy sources;

50.  Highlights that, as long as the electricity system is inflexible, priority access and dispatch for renewable energies is needed in order to promote grid upgrades and foster the deployment of storage and demand response; calls on the Commission to make proposals for strengthening and clarifying priority access and dispatch rules for renewable energy in the post-2020 period; stresses that the possibility of a priority access and dispatch phase-out should be evaluated on the occasion of the mid-term review of the future RES Directive expected by 2024;

51.  Stresses that priority access to the grid and priority dispatch for renewable energy as stipulated in the current Renewable Energy Directive should be maintained and reinforced; calls for a post-2020 regulatory framework that ensures proper compensation for renewable electricity curtailment;

52.  Notes the Commission’s strategy to increase demand-response mechanisms; stresses that this should not create an additional burden for citizens or increase energy costs for the consumer; stresses that demand-response mechanisms could provide an opportunity for energy cost reductions, while highlighting that participating in demand-response or dynamic pricing mechanisms should always remain strictly on an opt-in basis only;

53.  Believes that developing electricity storage solutions will be an indispensable element in the development and integration of high levels of renewable energy, assisting in balancing the grid and providing a means to store excess renewable power generation; calls for a revision of the existing regulatory framework in order to promote the deployment of energy storage systems and remove existing barriers;

54.  Stresses that the issue of electricity bottlenecks continues to hamper the free flow of renewable energy across Member State borders and to slow progress on establishing a true Internal Energy Market in the European Union;

55.  Emphasises that consumers should be empowered and have the right incentives to participate in energy markets; notes that dynamic, market-based prices should be designed to elicit appropriate demand responses from consumers and activate necessary production, as well as facilitating smart and efficient consumption; recommends the Commission to further analyse their impact on various consumer groups;

56.  Stresses that certain consumers have rigid consumption patterns and may be negatively affected by enhanced price-based efficiency mechanisms; stresses in this regard the importance of energy efficiency policies in Member States that are focused on consumers in a vulnerable situation;

57.  Considers that there should be a clear EU regulatory framework for self-consumption of renewable energy and for renewable energy communities/cooperatives that takes account of all benefits when designing payment mechanisms for sales of surplus production, access and use of the grid; calls on the Commission and Member States to promote the self-production of energy and the implementation and interconnection of local renewable energy grids as a complement to their national energy policies; highlights the fact that ‘prosumers’ should be allowed to access the energy grid and market at a fair price and should not be penalised with additional taxes or charges; expresses its concern at the initiatives taken by some Member States to create obstacles to the exercise of the rights to self-consumption and self-production;

58.  Notes that consumers currently contribute little to the intended construction of new renewable energy generation capacities when they opt for electricity tariffs that are marketed with a fuel mix disclosing 100% renewable energy sources; calls for an accurate, reliable and transparent tracking mechanism so that ‘green’ claims are tied to measurable criteria regarding additional environmental benefits;

59.  Urges the Member States to make better use of geothermal-sourced heat and cooling energy;

Heating and cooling

60.  Welcomes the Commission communication of February 2016 on an EU strategy on heating and cooling , but highlights the lack of progress and low targets set for renewable use in heating and cooling, in particular in buildings; stresses the great potential for continued progress in renewable use in heating and cooling; notes that the heating and cooling sector accounts for half the EU´s final energy consumption and therefore plays a key role in achieving the EU objectives on climate and renewable energy resources; recognises the benefits of increasing renewable energy in the heating and cooling sector; stresses the increased flexibility of thermal infrastructure and storage in facilitating the integration of variable renewable sources by storing energy in the form of heat, offering excellent returns on investment and providing opportunities for enhancing quality local employment; calls on the Commission to bridge the regulatory gaps in the post-2020 renewables legislative package; reiterates that efforts in the heating and cooling sector hold great potential for increased energy security (given that 61 % of gas imported into the European Union is used in buildings, mainly for heating purposes), for example through the development of district heating/cooling networks, which are an efficient means of integrating sustainable heat into cities on a large scale, since they can simultaneously deliver heat derived from a range of sources and are not inherently dependent on any one source;

61.  Welcomes the Commission´s heating and cooling strategy communication, which emphasises the need to phase out fossil fuels, which still account for 75 % of fuel used in the sector, and to fully replace them with energy efficiency measures – our major chance of reducing use of fossil fuels – and renewables;

62.  Calls for further measures to exploit the remaining significant potential of renewable energy in the heating and cooling sectors in order to fully achieve the 2020 goals; calls on the Commission to bridge regulatory gaps in those sectors in the post-2020 renewables legislative package;

63.  Notes that biomass is the renewable energy most widely used for heating today, representing some 90 % of all renewable heating; it plays a key role in Central and Eastern Europe in particular in enhancing energy security in a sustainable manner;

64.  Stresses the need to facilitate a transition to energy-efficient renewable heating devices, while ensuring adequate support and enhanced information and assistance for energy‑poor citizens;

65.  Stresses the need for a comprehensive and effective definition of renewable cooling;

66.  Emphasises the need to renovate and enhance the performance of district heating and cooling systems, as district heating and cooling networks can use and store electricity powered by renewables and then distribute it to buildings and industrial sites, boosting the level of renewable heating and cooling;

67.  Highlights the potential of prosumer groups, including households, micro and small businesses, cooperatives and local authorities, for establishing collective energy systems such as district heating that provide cost-efficient renewable heating and cooling, as well as for the many synergies between energy efficiency and renewable energy;

68.  Considers that synergies between the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Building Directive should be reinforced in order to enhance use of renewables in heating and cooling;

69.  Notes that energy efficiency projects related to both heating and cooling are important tools for ensuring stable and predictable energy consumption patterns and combating energy poverty;

Transport

70.  Notes that the target of 10 % renewables by 2020 in the transport sector is significantly lagging behind, partly owing to the challenges for a biofuel-based renewable strategy for transport; recalls that transport is the only sector in the EU where GHG emissions have risen since 1990; points out that renewable energies are key to achieving sustainable mobility; calls on the Member States to increase their efforts to deploy sustainable measures in the transport sector such as demand reduction, a modal shift towards more sustainable modes, better efficiency and the electrification of the transport sector; calls on the Commission to develop a framework for the promotion of the use of electric vehicles fed by renewable electricity and to improve the legislative framework so that it offers prospects for biofuels with high GHG-efficiency, taking into account indirect land use change (ILUC) in the period after 2020;

71.  Calls for the partial use of CAP to be maintained and increased in order to support investment in the production and use of renewable energy in the agricultural sector;

72.  Estimates that transport represents over 30 % of final energy consumption in Europe and that 94 % of transport relies on oil products; considers, therefore, that an effort towards increased use of renewables in the transport sector must be ambitious, with a clear link to the decarbonisation of the transport sector;

73.  Asks the Commission to propose ambitious measures to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport, including through renewable fuels, increased electrification and enhanced efficiency, and to step up efforts to promote technology development and innovation in these areas;

74.  Notes the importance of the electrification of the transport sector for the decarbonisation of the economy and calls on the Commission to develop a framework for the promotion of the use of electric vehicles fed by renewable electricity, as a key to achieving the 2030 targets;

75.  Awaits the European Commission’s strategy in June 2016 for decarbonisation of the transport sector and stresses in this context that increased uptake of renewables must be promoted in order to ensure that transport contributes actively to reaching the 2020 targets;

76.  Welcomes the progress made in developing new biofuels and engines by the projects completed under the EU Clean Sky Joint Undertaking;

77.  Highlights the importance of developing the next-generation biofuels using biomass or waste;

78.  Points out the need for an improved regulatory environment and long-term conditions in order to support development for renewable energy in the aviation and shipping sectors;

79.  Stresses the need for a modal shift in the transport sector to accommodate sustainable mobility regulation and policies, including intermodality, sustainable logistic systems, mobility management and sustainable urban policies that switch the energy consumption in transport to renewable sources and/or minimise overall energy consumption, encouraging more active travel models, developing and implementing Smart Cities solutions and supporting urban eco-mobility and appropriate urban planning; calls for the Member States and the EU to promote a modal shift of passengers and cargo from road and air transport towards rail and maritime transport; calls on the Commission to assess the potential of trolley-truck technologies;

80.  Urges the EU institutions, as a way of showing their firm commitment to renewable energies, to develop renewable energy capacities of their own to cover their own buildings’ energy demand; stresses that, until such capacities are developed, the EU institutions should purchase green energy in order to meet their needs;

81.  Emphasises that a larger modal share of walking, cycling, car-sharing and car-pooling, combined with public transport systems, is crucial to reducing and avoiding EU oil dependency and thereby reducing GHG emissions;

82.  Highlights the potential of bike systems and infrastructures to improve the sustainability of transport in urban areas;

83.  Highlights the potential for reducing emissions and contributing to the low-carbon economy by increased electrification of transport systems;

Sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids

84.  Calls on the Commission, given the need for greater synergy and consistency in European policies, to lay down sustainability criteria for bioenergy, taking into account a thorough assessment of the functioning of existing EU sustainability policies and the circular economy policies; recalls that a strengthening of EU energy security should be achieved through the sustainable use of own resources, in line with the objective of improving resource efficiency;

85.  Urges caution with regard to the growing trend of use of forest biomass as a leading EU renewable energy source, which can have potentially damaging effects on climate and the environment unless sustainably sourced and properly accounted for; notes that the climate impacts of bioenergy must be accounted for in the long term, given the long periods needed to achieve parity times by harvested forests;

86.  Notes that bioenergy already accounts for 60 % of renewable energy in Europe and that its use is set to continue to grow; stresses the need to clarify, as a matter of urgency, the greenhouse impacts of the various uses of forest biomass for energy and to identify the uses that can achieve the greatest mitigation benefits within policy-relevant timeframes;

87.  Emphasises that the production of biofuels should not interfere with food production or compromise food security; believes, however, that balanced policies to promote increased European yields in feedstock crops such as wheat, maize, sugar beet and sunflowers could include provision for biofuel production, taking account of ILUC, in a way which could provide Europe’s farmers with a secure income stream, attract investment and jobs into rural areas, help address Europe’s chronic shortage of (GM-free) high-protein animal feed, make Europe less dependent on fossil fuel imports; believes that in cases of market oversupply of the agricultural products referred to, the production of biofuels and bioethanol would represent a temporary outlet which would maintain sustainable purchase prices, safeguard farmers’ incomes during crises, and serve as a market stability mechanism; stresses the need to encourage the integration of uncultivated arable land which is not being used to produce food into the production of bioenergy, with a view to meeting national and European renewable energy objectives;

88.  Believes that livestock manure can be a valuable source of biogas via the use of manure processing techniques such as fermentation, while also stressing the importance of making this an economically viable option for farmers;

89.  Encourages the Member States and the Commission to promote the importance of sustainable forest management, and hence the key role of forest biomass as one of the EU’s crucial renewable raw materials for reaching its energy targets; draws attention to the increasing demand for forest biomass, which means that sustainable forest management, in line with the EU forest strategy, should be even further strengthened and promoted, as it is crucial for biodiversity and the ecosystem function of forests, including the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere; points out the need, therefore, for balanced exploitation of resources grown in the EU and imported from third countries, bearing in mind the very long regeneration time required for wood;

o
o   o

90.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

(1) OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 16.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 81.
(3) OJ L 239, 15.9.2015, p. 1.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0094.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0359.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0445.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0444.


Implementation report on the Energy Efficiency Directive
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European Parliament resolution of 23 June 2016 on the implementation report on the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) (2015/2232(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0293A8-0199/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Articles 114 and 194 thereof,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 February 2015 entitled ‘Energy Union Package – A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy’ (COM(2015)0080),

–  having regard to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU)(1),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 23 and 24 October 2014 on the 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework,

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement of December 2015 made at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC,

–  having regard to the Third Energy Package,

–  having regard to Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2015 entitled ‘Towards a European energy union’(3),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 18 November 2015 entitled ‘Assessment of the progress made by Member States towards the national energy efficiency targets for 2020 and towards the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU as required by Article 24(3) of Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU’ (COM(2015)0574),

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

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 December 2011 entitled ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’ (COM(2011)0885),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 February 2014 on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policies(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy(5),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 February 2016 entitled ‘An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling’ (COM(2016)0051),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0199/2016),

A.  whereas increased energy efficiency and energy saving are key factors for environmental and climate protection, strengthening economic competitiveness, job creation, security of energy supply, and tackling energy poverty, and have geopolitical and democratic dimensions for the EU; whereas the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) provides an important basis in this connection; whereas the proposal from the Commission concerning the establishment of the Energy Union regards energy efficiency as an energy source in its own right;

B.  whereas the EU is making good overall progress towards its climate and energy targets for 2020, according to projections which assume full implementation of all relevant legislation by 2020 (reducing CO2 emissions, increasing the share of renewable energy sources, boosting energy efficiency), and should maintain its leading role at world level;

C.  whereas the most savings are expected from multi-sector ‘cross-cutting’ policies (44 %), followed by buildings (42 %), industry (8 %) and transport (6 %);

D.  whereas there are considerable uncertainties surrounding the reliability of the energy savings estimates provided by Member States;

E.  whereas buildings account for 40 % of final energy use and 36 % of CO2 emissions; whereas, in addition, that 50 % of final energy consumption is accounted for by heating and cooling, and 80 % is used in buildings with much of it wasted; whereas a heating and cooling energy demand indicator for buildings needs to be developed at national level; whereas 50 % of the emission cuts required to limit global temperature increase to less than 2 °C must come from energy efficiency; whereas reducing the energy demand of buildings is also the most cost-effective pathway to improving energy security and reducing CO2 emissions while contributing to the EU’s reindustrialisation goals;

F.  whereas energy efficiency needs to be considered as an energy source in its own right, representing the amount in Nw (negawatts) of the energy saved, as demonstrated beyond any doubt by recent world and European history;

G.  whereas 61 % of imported gas is destined for buildings (of which 75 % are residential buildings); whereas research has shown that with an ambitious EU-wide building renovation policy the amount of imports (used in the building sector) could be cost-effectively reduced by 60 % in the short term (i.e. over 15 years), and eliminated completely in the long term (the European building stock would consume in 2040 the equivalent of the EU’s domestic gas production in 2011);

H.  whereas it is fundamental that the EU and its Member States acknowledge the importance of including citizens-based initiatives such as cooperatives and community energy efficiency projects; whereas it is necessary to remove economic, regulatory and administrative barriers so as to allow citizens to participate actively in the energy system;

I.  whereas the Energy Efficiency Directive is a key directive which recognises the importance of energy saving as the game-changer for realising post-COP 21 ambitions while bringing the most multiple benefits; whereas job creation is triggered by investment in building renovation and other energy efficiency measures, progress in living standards through the reduction of fuel poverty, employment opportunities in the SME sector, higher property values, increased productivity, improved health and safety, improvements in air quality, an improved tax base and higher GDP;

J.  whereas increased energy efficiency, especially in the building sector, brings additional benefits through supply-side flexibility and a reduction of the overall base load and the system peak;

The Energy Efficiency Directive: inadequately implemented but provides framework for delivering energy savings

1.  Emphasises that energy efficiency is crucial for achieving our climate and energy targets, in line with the objectives endorsed in the Paris Agreement adopted at COP 21; stresses that energy efficiency is of paramount importance for reducing our dependence on energy imports, creating jobs, reducing energy poverty, enhancing comfort and health, and boosting our economy; stresses that the Energy Efficiency Directive has triggered numerous positive developments in the Member States, but that poor implementation is hindering its full potential;

2.  Stresses that it is essential to starting the transition towards a more sustainable energy system based on renewables and away from fossil fuels as soon as possible; is concerned that lower fossil fuel prices could put a brake on decarbonisation and energy efficiency policies;

3.  Calls for plans to be drawn up with a view to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and channelling financial resources into energy efficiency projects serving to achieve the EU’s goal of decarbonisation of the energy sector by 2050;

4.  Notes that up to now the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive and the 2010 Buildings Directive remain to be fully implemented by the Member States; notes that the deadline for transposition of the EED was only on 5 June 2014; considers that cutting costs and reducing energy consumption are in citizens’ and businesses’ own interest; highlights the importance of a strong regulatory framework consisting of targets and measures to incentivise and enable investment in energy efficiency and low energy consumption and costs, while supporting competitiveness and sustainability; adds that some Member States are not making appropriate use of the EU support available to promote the energy efficiency of residential buildings; notes the significant potential for creating quality employment offered by the full implementation of the energy efficiency measures, taking into account that some 900 000 jobs are linked to the supply of energy-efficient goods and services (according to 2010 data);

5.  Reiterates that energy efficiency must be understood as the most sustainable element of our obligation to reduce our energy consumption, and not as a pretext for increasing consumption;

6.  Agrees with the Commission that lower fuel prices and the prospect of economic growth could further endanger the achievement of the 20 % target; calls on the Commission and the Member States to enhance the monitoring, verification, control and compliance regime in order to ensure the right level of ambition;

7.  Acknowledges that Member States are expected to have achieved only 17,6 % of primary energy savings by 2020, and that the 20 % target is at risk unless the existing EU legislation is fully implemented, efforts are accelerated and barriers to investment are removed; notes, however, that any assessment of the implementation of the EED can at this stage offer only a partial view, given its relatively recent entry into force and deadline for transposition; urges the Member States to fully and rapidly implement the Directive; calls on the Commission to act promptly in making requests, where necessary, for national plans to be aligned with the objectives of the Directive, and to use all legal means to ensure that Member States provide up-to-date and precise information;

8.  Recalls its abovementioned resolution of 5 February 2014 and its resolutions of 26 November 2014(6) and 14 October 2015(7), which call, inter alia, for a 40 % energy efficiency target for 2030; considers that a binding overall target with individual national targets for 2030 will increase the EU’s independence from energy imports, encourage innovation, and help secure its technological leadership in the field of energy efficiency; also considers that binding requirements are vital in order to achieve a maximum degree of ambition and effort on the part of Member States, and to allow sufficient flexibility for the mix of tools and instruments to be tailored at national level;

9.  Notes that local authorities have a crucial role to play in enabling implementation of the Directive, by engaging in ambitious energy saving measures through local action plans, for example in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy; considers that data from local action plans, such as the energy efficiency policies and measures outlined in more than 5 000 Sustainable Energy Action Plans in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors, can effectively contribute in terms of co-designing and raising the ambition of national energy efficiency targets;

10.  Takes the view that the potential of local energy savings should be exploited much more, as local and regional authorities are central in driving forward energy efficiency and, overall, the energy transition; calls on the Commission to strengthen the city networks, such as the Covenant of Mayors, Smart Cities and Communities or the 100 % RES communities, which allow sharing of knowledge and best practice between cities, local authorities, regions and Member States in the areas of local bottom-up planning of the energy transition, design and implementation of energy efficiency measures and self-generation, and access to financial support;

11.  Regrets the unambitious nature of the target (a minimum 27 % improvement in energy efficiency by 2030) adopted by the European Council in 2014, which is mainly justified by an extremely unrealistic high discount rate contained in a previous impact assessment; recalls that this discount rate (17,5 %) is excessively high; calls on the Commission to move to comprehensive cost-benefit analysis taking into account the multiple benefits of energy efficiency, and to a social discount rate, in line with its own Better Regulation guidelines; asks the Commission and the Member States to review the 27 % energy efficiency target for 2030 in the light of the Paris climate change agreement, with a view to achieving the goal of limiting the increase in global warming to well below 2 °C, and to pursue efforts to limit that increase to 1,5 °C in line with the energy efficiency target adopted by Parliament; asks the Commission to set a binding energy efficiency target of 40 % for 2030 which will reflect the level of cost-effective energy efficiency potential;

12.  Stresses that a long-term strategy for reduction of energy demand should be further promoted in the EU;

13.  Stresses that in some cases the Directive’s flexibility has allowed many Member States to embark on energy efficiency measures, and believes this flexibility in alternative measures is crucial for Member States to implement energy efficiency programmes and projects in the future; demands that the loopholes in the existing Directive which are responsible for underachievement of the Directive, especially in Article 7, be removed while keeping adequate flexibility for the Member States to choose among the measures; notes that the EPRS study on the implementation of Article 7(8), which is based on figures notified by the Member States, comes to the conclusion that measures such as allowing Member States to phase in the target, to take early actions into account or to exempt the transport and ETS sectors from the calculation of their target have in almost all cases led to an annual overall energy saving target of only half (0,75 %); notes that the authors have declared that the analysis can only be as good as the data provided; insists that alternative measures under Article 7(9) must be better defined and should be easily quantifiable;

14.  Notes that phasing-in and early actions under Article 7(2) are no longer valid; recalls that Article 7 is expected to deliver more than half of the 20 % target set by the Directive;

15.  Points out that the chief weakness of the existing Directive is that most of the measures will expire in 2020 unless it is suitably amended, which means, inter alia, that its main provisions, in particular Article 7, should be extended not only up to 2030 but also beyond, and that it is in this context that the current Directive is to be assessed, with objectives to be established in line with developments (results obtained, technological and market innovations, etc.); expects that this will favour long-term measures; notes, furthermore, the necessity of introducing a mid-term review in order to guarantee that the targets will be attained in 2030;

16.  Stresses that better harmonisation of the methods of calculating additionality (capacity to promote technologies that perform above the market average) and materiality (promoting action that would not necessarily have been taken) and for the measurement and verification of energy savings could contribute to the more effective implementation of Article 7;

17.  Proposes that the title of Article 7 be changed to ‘Energy saving support schemes’ in order to emphasise the need for Member States to help consumers, including SMEs, to save energy and reduce their energy costs and put in place measures that enable such savings to be achieved by means of energy obligations schemes and other measures;

18.  Proposes that both Article 7 and, notably, the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme (EEOS) should prioritise action in the buildings sector, notably by fostering the implementation of the national long-term strategies included in Article 4, which should be devised to unlock the full potential for investment in the energy renovation of buildings;

19.  Stresses that among the challenges arising and the major barriers to the implementation of Article 7, lack of knowledge and capacity on the part of those involved plays an important role, as does the low level of awareness among final consumers regarding compulsory efficiency schemes or alternative measures and the limited timeframe (2014-2020) for achievement thereof; calls, therefore, on the EU to invest more in the implementation of information and support programmes in the individual Member States;

20.  Stresses that the absence of energy efficiency indicators, such as energy consumption per unit of GDP, prevents some Member States from incentivising citizens and businesses to achieve the political objective of climate and energy efficiency;

21.  Highlights the fact that the provision in Article 7 whereby Member States may require a share of energy efficiency measures to be implemented as a priority in households affected by energy poverty or in social housing has so far been used by only two Member States; calls for this provision to be strengthened;

22.  Takes the view that priority must be given to energy efficiency measures for vulnerable and energy-poor households, with a view to ensuring that energy costs for these households in particular can be reduced on a sustainable basis;

23.  Suggests that national energy efficiency action plans, as required under Article 24 of the current Directive, could require Member States to set objectives to make use of energy efficiency measures in order to reduce the risk of energy poverty, and to report on how they are meeting these objectives;

24.  Believes that the measures for energy-efficient renovation of existing buildings need to be prioritised among the most energy-poor; calls on the Commission to propose a target to improve the efficiency of residential building stock, alongside future minimum efficiency standards for rented housing in the context of the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive;

25.  Notes that 16 Member States have chosen to establish an energy efficiency obligation scheme (Article 7(1)), and that 24 Member States have made use to a varying degree of the possibility of alternative measures and 18 Member States have preferred alternative measures to the renovation quota (Article 5); criticises the fact that seven Member States have not established energy audits (Article 8);

26.  Stresses that some key elements of the Energy Efficiency Directive (e.g. smart meters, cogeneration and renovation plans) need more time, and that a stable post‑2020 energy efficiency framework is essential in order to give the necessary confidence and regulatory stability to investors, public authorities and enterprises to launch projects and innovations, as they have great potential to lower the consumption of energy and thus lower the cost for the consumer; notes that public demand and the market are essential drivers for these projects;

27.  Acknowledges that insufficient price signals are a main reason to undermine demand response; calls on Member States to tackle this barrier and to promote smart metering and transparent billing as a way to foster more responsive consumer behaviour with reference to energy consumption and investment in energy efficiency;

28.  Welcomes new innovative and smart solutions for balancing energy supply and demand, for better utilisation of renewable energy, and for reducing peak energy consumption; calls for research and development funding for these new solutions, especially for the SME sector;

29.  Emphasises the crucial role of consumers, citizens and distribution system operators (DSOs) in the ever more decentralised energy landscape, and the importance of their involvement for reaching the energy efficiency targets; stresses therefore that more action needs to be taken to enhance their role through, inter alia, facilitating demand response, small-scale storage, building refurbishments and district heating and cooling schemes, on both an individual and a cooperative basis;

30.  Points out that the Energy Efficiency Directive not only supports energy efficiency but also contains energy-saving elements through the binding energy-saving obligation per year in article 7; stresses the importance of a 2030 energy efficiency target in line with the climate targets agreed at COP 21 in order to achieve our climate goals and reduce our dependency on third countries; notes that buildings account for 40 % of energy use in the EU and that 50 % of this is used for heating and cooling purposes; stresses that improved energy efficiency in buildings is therefore of paramount importance in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, improving energy security, reducing energy poverty and boosting our economy; urges the Member States to initiate major investments in order to improve energy efficiency drawing on EU funding, since this would not only lead to lower energy bills but would also create large numbers of jobs and help reach the reindustrialisation goals;

31.  Underlines that 85 % of the energy consumption within a building is required for space heating and domestic hot water, and that it is therefore necessary to accelerate the modernisation of old and inefficient heating systems in Europe in order to deliver at least 20 % energy efficiency gains with available technologies, including renewable heating systems;

Competing legal provisions slow down environmental progress, create red tape and increase energy costs

32.  Notes that energy reporting obligations as part of a framework are essential to evaluate the progress and implementation of existing energy efficiency legislation; regrets, however, the excessive energy reporting obligations imposed, also by gold-plating by Member States, on businesses, energy producers, consumers and public authorities, which limit the potential for growth and innovation; stresses that reporting duties should wherever possible be simplified in order to reduce administrative burdens and costs; criticises the fact that data obtained in reporting are often not comparable across the EU due to different breakdowns, methodologies and standards; calls on the Commission to reduce, including through digital solutions, the administrative burden related to reporting obligations and to establish more guidelines on data comparability for better data evaluation; calls for aligning energy demand projections in line with cost-effective saving potential in key sectors, and believes that cutting red tape will speed up the implementation of energy efficiency measures; notes that applying the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle requires reviewing energy planning and reporting and improving policy coherence in order to ensure their mutual reinforcement, recognising that saving energy is Europe’s first and most secure source of energy; notes that energy efficiency can be the best energy ‘source’ investment, improving affordability of energy, driving down the need for additional and costly supply-side infrastructure and helping tackle climate change;

33.  Stresses that the calculation rules for energy savings and interpretations for eligible measures, as set out in the annexes to the Directive, are over-complicated and therefore impossible to follow precisely; calls on the Commission to ensure that the review of the EED will provide a radically simpler method for calculating energy efficiency, and to consider proposing new delegated acts that will simplify the calculation methods of the current Directive;

34.  Calls on the Commission to review the conversion factor for electricity in Annex IV to the Directive, in order to better reflect the ongoing transition of electricity generation;

35.  Points out that not all risks associated with energy-saving investments can be dealt with by the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), given that it covers only 45 % of EU greenhouse gas emissions; points out that the Energy Efficiency Directive is interlinked with other energy-related EU legislation and has a certain impact on the carbon footprint and the ETS system (certificate prices); calls on the Commission to assess the interrelation and ensure complementarity; notes that resulting low ETS allowances prices constitute one of several factors which reduce the incentives for industrial investment in energy saving;

36.  Stresses the importance of a proper implementation of the Market Stability Reserve, which could help improve energy efficiency by strengthening coherence between the EU ETS and low-carbon energy policies;

37.  Looks forward to the future Modernisation Fund, which will be aimed at modernising energy systems and improving energy efficiency in lower-income EU Member States, and asks the Commission to come forward with a proper governance structure, including details regarding the roles of the beneficiary Member States, the EIB and other institutions;

38.  Stresses that lack of coordination between different elements of national legislation can hinder effective energy efficiency solutions that provide the best possible results in terms of cost-effectiveness, and cancels out the price advantages obtained through energy saving; calls on the Member States and the Commission to draw up coordinating measures for the full realisation of energy efficiency potential, which would lead to more coherence between Member States without restricting their ability to tailor policy according to their local energy market and prices, available technologies and solutions and national energy mix; calls for the ETS to better account for national measures that affect the number of allowances and their price;

39.  Emphasises the need to improve the energy efficiency of the public sector, and calls for better integration of energy-saving initiatives into public procurement;

40.  Notes that energy efficiency requirements in public procurement are not fully understood by all procurement agents; calls on the Commission to provide clearer guidelines to facilitate compliance with Article 6 of the Directive, as well as better integration into the wider EU rules on public procurement;

41.  Calls on the Commission to involve local and regional institutions in order to promote energy efficiency at regional, local and grassroots levels;

42.  Points out that although European electricity retail prices for small and medium-sized industrial and business customers and private consumers are relatively high in many Member States, investing in energy efficiency can boost the competitiveness of European businesses and reduce energy costs for private consumers; stresses, however, that the electricity bill in the EU consists on average of one third of indirect, state-induced tax and levies for private households, which when applied as fixed elements on bills, can make it difficult for consumers to feel the benefits from energy saving, and contributes to energy poverty; notes that levies to finance European climate and energy policies are the smallest part of the bill; and underlines that the high energy prices in the EU result in a difference in energy prices between EU Member States and our main competitors in large parts of the world, which inhibit the competitiveness of European energy-intensive industries; notes that innovation also increases with greater investment in energy efficiency, placing EU industry in a world-leading position;

43.  Notes that energy efficiency can be the best energy ‘source’ investment, improving affordability of energy, driving down the need for additional and costly infrastructure and helping tackle climate change;

44.  Notes that the principle of ‘energy efficiency first’ allows for a cost-effective expansion of the share of renewable energy sources in the mix; stresses that saving obligations should be compatible with the development of sustainable renewable energy sources and that synergies should be strengthened for an efficient transition towards a decarbonised, resilient and smart energy system; takes the view that improved cross-regional distribution, storage systems and demand-side management provide good opportunities for the further expansion of optimal locations for wind, hydro and solar power to supply the whole of Europe; is convinced that this will have a dampening effect on energy prices;

45.  Underlines that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective measure to meet the EU’s CO2 emissions reduction commitments;

Energy legislation needs to be more coherent

46.  Calls on the Commission to uphold the principle of ‘better regulation’, to consider better means of coordination of EU energy and climate change rules in order to improve legislative efficiency and effectiveness, and to propose measures to improve current regulation; also calls on the Commission to strengthen methodologies for the comprehensive long-term assessment of energy efficiency initiatives, including all main externalities; calls for a societal perspective in the modelling and assessing of overall costs and benefits of different levels of energy efficiency ambition, and for energy efficiency to be treated as an energy source in its own right;

47.  Calls on the Commission to treat energy efficiency as an infrastructure priority, recognising that it fulfils the definition of infrastructure used by the IMF and other economic institutions(9), and to make it a crucial element and a priority consideration in future investment decisions on Europe’s energy infrastructure;

48.  Notes that energy efficiency can help increase the resilience of the energy system and therefore help the transition towards a sustainable and secure situation;

49.  Stresses that a functional internal energy market, including for energy efficiency services, will optimise the costs of energy systems, thus benefiting all consumers and significantly improving energy efficiency and competitiveness across Europe; calls, therefore, on the Member States to fully implement the third energy package in order to ensure fully functioning, competitive and interconnected energy markets;

50.  Observes that energy-intensive industries must also contribute, and that a level playing field within the EU is very important in this context;

51.  Stresses that energy efficiency forms part of the EU’s core targets and that European countries should therefore be encouraged to prevent wastage caused by consumption in industry, transport and construction, these being the sectors accounting for the largest share of consumption;

52.  Welcomes the positive impact that certification schemes or saving obligations (Article 7) are having in many Member States; considers the option of choosing alternative measures of equivalent ambition to be a major factor in guaranteeing their acceptance; notes the importance of ensuring that certified savings correspond to real‑life energy savings and are not just savings on paper; highlights the role of energy utilities in developing energy efficiency measures actively; calls for the calculation of certification schemes and energy-saving measures not to be hampered; calls on the Commission to assess whether it is possible to take into consideration primary energy savings through embedded cogeneration plants (Combined Heat and Power (CHP));

53.  Draws attention to the report produced for Parliament by the EPRS which finds that most of the established EEOS have demonstrably been important in delivering national energy efficiency improvement and have delivered cost-effective savings to large numbers of households and organisations; also highlights the report’s conclusion that EEOS are highly cost-effective and that there is evidence that well-designed and implemented EEOS can deliver up to 100 % of a country’s Article 7 savings; suggests, therefore, that the Commission should compile a list of good and bad practices and develop a set of criteria to ensure well-designed and effective EEOS;

54.  Calls for action to be taken to ensure plausible calculations of savings and efficiency, without unnecessary bureaucracy; takes the view that the Energy Efficiency Directive could also serve as framework legislation in this connection; considers that specific measures and efficiency criteria might be integrated into existing directives (e.g. the Buildings Directive) or a combined labelling requirement (energy efficiency labelling, eco-design, circular economy, CE marking);

55.  Takes the view that the EU’s climate protection and efficiency targets must be mutually reinforcing, and that binding requirements for energy efficiency are vital in achieving a maximum degree of ambition and effort in Member States, while it is also necessary to allow sufficient flexibility for the mix of tools and instruments to be tailored at national level;

56.  Calls for the revised Energy Efficiency Directive to be in line with the EU’s climate protection targets and the COP 21 agreement goal; emphasises that the continuation and an improvement of existing measures and the eradication of contradictions and loopholes must be part of the revision of the Directive in order to ensure regulatory predictability and enable investor confidence in the long term;

More energy efficiency – more jobs and growth

57.  Regrets the less-than-effective energy efficiency projects supported by the EU Structural Funds (2007 to 2013) as criticised by the Court of Auditors’ report; calls on the Commission to promptly implement the corresponding improvements with special emphasis on justification, monitoring, and shortening the payback period of projects funded; calls for improved guidelines and more intensive Commission monitoring with a view to making better use of the Structural Funds and EFSI in combination with private investments for viable energy efficiency projects, notably in buildings; considers that Structural Funds’ and EFSI funding of energy efficiency projects should target those consumers more sensitive to energy costs, such as industry at risk of carbon leakage, SMEs and households at risk of energy poverty; considers it an absolute priority to develop financing instruments, tools and innovative models to mobilise public funds and leverage private finance at local, national, regional and European level in order to support investments in key energy efficiency sectors such as the renovation of buildings, paying special attention to vulnerable groups and also due attention to the specificities of long-term investments;

58.  Calls on the Member States to promote investment in the construction sector, including more efforts to incentivise deep renovation of the poorly insulated buildings stock in the EU;

59.  Stresses that if Member States establish a levy-funded energy efficiency scheme, a minimum threshold should be targeted towards households affected by energy poverty; also stresses that Member States should demonstrate how such a levy-funded energy efficiency scheme contributes to improving the worst of the existing domestic housing stock;

60.  Highlights the importance of European financial instruments in the form of loans, guarantees and equity to leverage private funding for energy efficiency projects; stresses, however, the need for funding to be provided in the form of grants for projects in the social domain;

61.  Stresses that the EU should set itself an ambitious energy saving target and stimulate innovation with regard to investments in energy efficiency, since such investments are profitable and can be recouped fairly swiftly;

62.  Calls on the Member States to include a provision for a significant minimum percentage of measures in energy efficiency obligation schemes in order to target low-income consumers;

63.  Notes that energy efficiency projects are often small-scale and need to be bundled into larger portfolios; to this end, calls on the Commission, the EIB and the Member States to deploy more technical assistance and project development assistance so as to facilitate investments;

64.  Considers that a long-term strategy of energy efficiency in buildings and further stimulation of energy-efficient renovation of buildings are needed in order to go beyond simple and low-cost measures in the building sector;

65.  Calls for improved coordination and exchange of ideas and best practices among Member States on the saving obligations and building and renovation plans (Articles 4, 5, 6 and 7), with the aim of applying existing and new instruments (tax incentives, support programmes, model contracts and social housing investments) more quickly; believes that Article 5 should be extended to cover all public bodies where possible; calls for Commission guidelines for future national plans to ensure transparency and comparability; welcomes the technical support from the Commission for the implementation of the EED; calls for compulsory templates for national plans to ensure transparency and comparability; calls on Member States to consider innovative market-based support schemes;

66.  Notes that the least progress has been made in the residential sector, and therefore calls on Member States to use energy service companies and energy performance contracting, to implement tax schemes and loan programmes in order to increase the low renovation rates for the existing building stock in Europe, and to reward energy efficiency measures such as the uptake of energy-efficient heating and cooling;

67.  Calls on the Commission to encourage Member States to adopt and improve systems for monitoring, measuring and managing energy efficiency in buildings in order to achieve substantial gains in energy efficiency in buildings in the EU;

68.  Calls for Member States’ renovation road maps under Article 4 to outline how they will achieve, in the next iteration of the roadmaps (due in April 2017) and energy renovation of their building stock; and as a result deliver on the EU-wide vision of a nearly zero energy building (nZEB) stock by 2050;

69.  Believes that extending the exemplary role of public buildings to all levels of public administration, and not just central government, will help fully tap the cost-effective potential of buildings, since this has been proven to be the sector with the highest potential, not only for energy savings, but also for delivering other wider benefits, including increased comfort and wellbeing; considers in this respect that Member States should be required to establish an internal mechanism for sharing achievement of the 3 % renovation target between the different public administration levels, and that the flexibility to opt for other measures should be maintained and their impact quantified, as an alternative approach to paragraphs 1 and 2;

70.  Calls on the Commission to encourage Member States to do more to renovate non-residential buildings in the light of their strong potential for short-term profitability;

71.  Proposes that Article 4 of the Directive be given the title of ‘long-term strategies for the deep renovation of the national building stock, including for mobilising investment’;

72.  Calls for the necessary resources to be set aside for training those responsible for installing equipment, so as to ensure a high level of quality in renovations;

73.  Calls for a strategic approach by the Commission to increase awareness of new technical developments (in areas such as refrigerants, lighting, insulation, thermostats, metering, glazing and many others);

74.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to prioritise Article 4 of the Directive with respect to the preparation of the second version of the strategies, which is to be delivered in 2017 and should be built on proper engagement with stakeholders, following mandatory templates and including intermediate five-year targets and implementation plans, in order to achieve the nZEB goal at EU level by 2050, given also that this will be necessary to meet the COP 21 goals;

75.  Considers energy audits for businesses to be a proven means of boosting energy efficiency, and stresses their benefits for competitiveness; calls for a uniform definition and enforcement of the criteria set out in the Directive (for the definition of SMEs; for audits; no double certification for cross-border business structures) and for the creation of a uniform approach towards the de minimis threshold referred to in Article 8(4); calls for the scope of that article to be extended to cover all companies with high energy consumption; calls for an evaluation with a view to improving the effectiveness of energy audit systems; calls for the implementation of cost-effective energy audit recommendations to be required in conjunction with planned maintenance in accordance with companies’ objectives;

76.  Proposes a review of the definition of ‘SME’ applied in the Directive (Article 2(26)) so that it refers only to number of employed persons and annual turnover, such that companies which are 25 % or more controlled by a public body can still be considered as SMEs;

77.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission is working on guidelines for the implementation of Articles 9 to 11 of the EED in order to help consumers better control their energy consumption; considers technical feasibility and deployment of smart meters – taking account of cost-effectiveness and cost transparency – as important elements for energy saving; takes the view that for the sake of consistency all existing provisions relating to metering and billing should be regrouped in one place;

78.  Points out that consumers’ energy bills are still unclear and inaccurate; recommends improving the transparency and clarity of bills by establishing high-level principles for bills at EU level so that key information is available to consumers in a comparable format in order to help them adjust consumption patterns; stresses that consumers have a diverse range of preferences and of accessible tools, and that therefore the approach to information should be shaped by consumer research at national level;

79.  Believes that access to independent and reliable information and advice on suitable energy efficiency measures and financial schemes are essential, in particular for households but also for regional and local authorities, to enable them to make informed energy-conscious decisions and better manage their energy consumption, including through smart meters and individual metering of heating and cooling consumption;

80.  Calls for rigorous quality assurance standards, national training programmes and single, simplified national certification systems for energy efficiency providers, supported by joined-up and easy-to-access advice and redress frameworks; stresses that this is proposed in order to remove some of the non-financial barriers to the consumer take-up of energy efficiency products and services, e.g. by making it possible to identify trusted traders;

81.  Expects further energy saving investments resulting from compliance with the highly efficient cogeneration rules set out in Article 14;

82.  Stresses that if Member States establish a levy-funded energy efficiency scheme (Article 20), this should prioritise households affected by energy poverty; insists that the revised Energy Directive should provide Member States with a long-term stable policy environment to ensure a sustainable increase in energy efficiency investments, in particular at the local level; requires that the EU and the EIB upscale their capacity-building and technical assistance efforts to develop bankable energy efficiency projects that attract private investment from the market; calls for the EU funding programmes (e.g. Structural Funds, Juncker Plan, ELENA-EIB) to increase the proportion of funds allocated to energy efficiency capacity-building and technical assistance;

83.  Deplores the low level of public and private investment in smart electricity grids; calls on the Commission to step up the implementation of Article 15 of the Directive in order to promote the development of such grids;

84.  Calls for an obligation to perform national cost-benefit assessments of energy efficiency programmes rolled out through – or in combination with – local authorities, and for this approach to be followed through where it delivers efficiencies and cost savings for consumers;

85.  Expresses its concern at the increasing pollution caused by certain domestic heating installations fired by solid biomass, which produce large quantities of fine dust, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and dioxins that greatly detract from air quality and are therefore harmful to human health; urges the Member States, accordingly, to implement efficient and environment-friendly alternative solutions;

86.  Underlines the immediate need to deploy a more comprehensive approach to improving the energy efficiency of the entire transport system, not relying only on the technological development of vehicles or propulsion systems; urges the Commission and the Member States to take ambitious steps to introduce new measures to enhance modal shift towards the most energy-efficient modes, and to fully deploy Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in order to further improve the efficiency and usage rate of the capacity available, both of vehicles and of infrastructure, and also in logistics, aviation and maritime transport;

87.  Recalls that energy efficiency can be achieved by setting CO2 standards and informing users on the fuel consumption of their vehicles; calls on the Commission to come forward with proposals to inform users on the fuel consumption of new trucks, buses and coaches, and to set limits on their CO2 emissions;

88.  Regrets the low contribution of transport to energy saving, with a percentage of only 3 % within the overall sectoral split of savings, despite the stabilisation of passenger traffic and the fall in freight traffic between 2005-2013 owing to the economic crisis; calls on the Member States to increase the number of measures targeting the transport sector;

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89.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

(1) OJ L 153, 18.6.2010, p. 13.
(2) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 1.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0444.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0094.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0266.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0063.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0359.
(8) See Tina Fawcett and Jan Rosenow: ‘The Member States’ plans and achievements towards the implementation of Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive’, EPRS study.
(9) ‘Energy efficiency as infrastructure: leaping the investment gap’ – report by the E3G consultancy, 3 March 2016.

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