Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 6 July 2016 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Participation of Azerbaijan in Union programmes ***
 Draft amending budget No 2/2016: Surplus from 2015
 High common level of security of network and information systems across the Union ***II
 Energy efficiency labelling ***I
 European Border and Coast Guard ***I
 European Maritime Safety Agency ***I
 Community Fisheries Control Agency ***I
 Secretariat of the OLAF Supervisory Committee ***I
 Preparation of the post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014-2020: Parliament’s input ahead of the Commission’s proposal
 Tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (TAXE 2)
 Synergies between structural funds and Horizon 2020
 Preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2017
 Japan’s decision to resume whaling in the 2015-2016 season

Participation of Azerbaijan in Union programmes ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 July 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Azerbaijan, of the other part, on a Framework Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the general principles for the participation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Union programmes (05616/2014 – C8-0043/2014 – 2013/0420(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0301A8-0210/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (05616/2014),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Azerbaijan, of the other part, on a Framework Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the general principles for the participation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Union programmes (05618/2014),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 212 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0043/2014),

–  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 (A8-0210/2016),

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 Azerbaijan.


Draft amending budget No 2/2016: Surplus from 2015
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European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2016 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 2/2016 of the European Union for the financial year 2016: Entering the surplus of the financial year 2015 (09586/2016 – C8-0225/2016 – 2016/2051(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0302A8-0212/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(1), and in particular Article 41 thereof,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016, as definitively adopted on 25 November 2015(2),

–  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(3),

–  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(4),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2007/436/EC, Euratom of 7 June 2007 on the system of the European Communities' own resources(5),

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 2/2016, which the Commission adopted on 15 April 2016 (COM(2016)0227),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 2/2016 which the Council adopted on 17 June 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (09586/2016 – C8‑0225/2016),

–  having regard to Rules 88 and 91 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0212/2016),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 2/2016 aims to enter in the 2016 budget the surplus from the 2015 financial year, amounting to EUR 1 349 million;

B.  whereas the main components of that surplus are a positive outturn on income of EUR 980 million, an under-spending in expenditure of EUR 187 million, and exchange rate differences amounting to EUR 182 million;

C.  whereas on the revenue side, the two main components are interest on late payments and fines (EUR 180 million) and a positive outturn on own resources (EUR 1 071 million), from which a negative outturn on surpluses, balances and adjustments is deducted (-EUR 537 million);

D.  whereas on the expenditure side, the under-implementation for Section III is relatively low with EUR 78 million for 2015 and EUR 14 million for 2014 carryovers, while it amounts to EUR 94 million for the other institutions;

E.  whereas the high rate of implementation in Section III underlines the pressure on payment appropriations which still represented a key challenge in 2015 and which is expected to reappear in the last years of the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF);

1.  Takes note of Draft amending budget No 2/2016, as submitted by the Commission, which is devoted solely to the budgeting of the 2015 surplus, for an amount of EUR 1 349 million, in accordance with Article 18 of the Financial Regulation, and of the Council's position on that Draft amending budget;

2.  Observes that the adoption of Draft amending budget No 2/2016 will reduce the share of GNI contributions from Member States to the Union budget in 2016 by EUR 1 349 million; urges, once again, the Member States to use the opportunity of such a reflow to honour their pledges in relation to the refugee crisis and to match the Union contribution to the two dedicated Union Trust Funds; notes with concern that in spring 2016 Member States only contributed EUR 82 million to the Africa Trust Fund and EUR 69 million to the Madad Trust Fund on the Syrian crisis, while the Union's contributions stand at EUR 1,8 billion and more than EUR 500 million respectively;

3.  Insists that, instead of adjusting the GNI contribution, the Union budget should be enabled to reuse any surplus resulting from under-implementation of appropriations or from fines imposed on companies for breaching Union competition law in order to deal with its financing needs, especially in the context of payment shortages; expects this matter to be settled as part of the revision of the MFF;

4.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 2/2016;

5.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 2/2016 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Auditors and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 48, 24.2.2016.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(4) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 163, 23.6.2007, p. 17.


High common level of security of network and information systems across the Union ***II
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 July 2016 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union (05581/1/2016 – C8-0188/2016 – 2013/0027(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0303A8-0211/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council position at first reading (05581/1/2016 – C8‑0188/2016),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 22 May 2013(1),

–  having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0048),

–  having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rule 76 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0211/2016),

1.  Approves the Council position at first reading;

2.  Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the Council position;

3.  Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council, in accordance with Article 297(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

4.  Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

(1) OJ C 271, 19.9.2013, p. 133.
(2) Texts adopted of 13.3.2014, P7_TA(2014)0244.


Energy efficiency labelling ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 6 July 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting a framework for energy efficiency labelling and repealing Directive 2010/30/EU (COM(2015)0341 – C8-0189/2015 – 2015/0149(COD)) (1)
P8_TA(2016)0304A8-0213/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  The European Union is committed to building an Energy Union with a forward looking climate policy. Energy efficiency is a crucial element of the European Union's 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework and is key to moderate energy demand.
(1)  The European Union is committed to building an Energy Union with a forward looking energy and climate policy. Energy efficiency is a crucial element of the European Union's 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework and is key to moderate energy demand and to limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  Energy efficiency labelling allows consumers to make informed choices with regard to energy consumption of products and thereby promotes innovation.
(2)  Energy efficiency labelling allows consumers to make informed choices with regard to efficient and sustainable energy-related products and thereby makes a significant contribution to energy savings and to reducing energy bills, while at the same time promoting innovation and investments into the production of more energy efficient products.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4
(4)  It is appropriate to replace Directive 2010/30/EU by a Regulation which maintains the same scope, but modifies and enhances some of its provisions in order to clarify and update their content. A Regulation is the appropriate legal instrument as it imposes clear and detailed rules which do not give room for divergent transposition by Member States and ensures thus a higher degree of harmonisation across the Union. A harmonised regulatory framework at Union rather than at Member State level brings down costs for manufacturers and ensures a level playing field. Harmonisation across the Union ensures the free movement of goods across the Single Market.
(4)  It is appropriate to replace Directive 2010/30/EU by a Regulation which maintains the same scope, but modifies and enhances some of its provisions in order to clarify and update their content taking into account the rapid technological progress for energy efficiency in products achieved over recent years. A Regulation is the appropriate legal instrument as it imposes clear and detailed rules which do not give room for divergent transposition by Member States and ensures thus a higher degree of harmonisation across the Union. A harmonised regulatory framework at Union rather than at Member State level brings down costs for manufacturers over the entire value chain and ensures a level playing field. Harmonisation across the Union ensures the free movement of goods across the Single Market.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4 a (new)
(4a)  It is appropriate to exempt second-hand products from this Regulation, which includes all those products that have been put into service before being made available on the market for a second or additional time.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4 b (new)
(4b)  Since the energy consumption of means of transport for persons or goods is directly or indirectly regulated by other Union law and policies, it is appropriate to continue to exclude them from the scope of this Regulation. That exclusion includes means of transport the motor of which remains in the same location during operation, such as elevators, escalators and conveyor belts.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  Improving the efficiency of energy-related products through informed consumer choice benefits the Union economy overall, drives innovation and will contribute to the achievement of the Union's 2020 and 2030 energy efficiency targets. It will also allow consumers to save money.
(7)  Improving the efficiency of energy-related products through informed consumer choice and enhanced societal awareness benefits the Union economy overall, reduces energy demand and saves money on energy bills. It also contributes to energy security, provides an incentive for research, innovation and investments into energy efficiency, and allows industries which develop and produce the most energy efficient products to gain a competitive advantage. It will also contribute to the achievement of the Union's 2020 and 2030 energy efficiency targets, as well as to the Union's environmental and climate goals.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  The conclusions of the European Council of 23 and 24 October 2014 set an indicative target at Union level of at least 27% for improving energy efficiency in 2030 compared to projections of future energy consumption. This target will be reviewed by 2020 having in mind an Union level of 30%. They also set a binding EU target of at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, including a 30% reduction of emissions in non-ETS sectors.
deleted
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9
(9)  The provision of accurate, relevant and comparable information on the specific energy consumption of energy-related products facilitates the customer's choice in favour of those products which consume less energy and other essential resources during use. A standardised mandatory label is an effective mean to provide potential customers with comparable information on the energy consumption of energy-related products. It should be supplemented with a product information sheet. The label should be easily recognisable, simple and concise. To this end the existing dark green to red colour scale of the label should be retained as the basis to inform customers about the energy efficiency of products. A classification using letters from A to G has shown to be most effective for customers. In situations where because of ecodesign measures under Directive 2009/125/EC products can no longer fall into classes 'F' or 'G', those classes should not be shown on the label. For exceptional cases this should also be extended to the 'D' and 'E' classes, although this situation is unlikely to occur given that the label would be rescaled once a majority of product models falls into the top two classes.
(9)  The provision of accurate, relevant, verifiable and comparable information on the specific energy consumption of energy-related products facilitates the customer's choice in favour of those products which consume less energy and other essential resources during use in order to achieve a certain performance, therefore having reduced life-cycle costs. A standardised mandatory label is an effective mean to provide potential customers with comparable information on the energy efficiency and absolute energy consumption of energy-related products. It should be supplemented with a product information sheet, referred to as a 'product fiche' in the delegated acts adopted pursuant to Directive 2010/30/EU, which may be made available electronically. The label should be concise, based on proper measurement and calculation methodology, and easily recognisable and understandable. To this end the established set of colours of the label, dark green to red, should be retained as the basis to inform customers about the energy efficiency of products. The known classification using letters from A to G has shown to be most effective for customers. Its uniform application across products groups should raise transparency and understanding among customers. In situations where because of ecodesign measures under Directive 2009/125/EC1a products can no longer fall into classes 'F' or 'G', those classes should nonetheless be shown on the label in dark grey, in order to maintain a unified scale from A to G for all product groups. In that context, the dark green to red colour scale of the label should be retained for the remaining upper classes and should only apply to new product units placed on the market.
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1a Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10).
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  Advances in digital technology allow for alternative ways of delivering and displaying labels electronically, such as on the internet, but also on electronic displays in shops. In order to take advantage of such advances, this Regulation should allow the use of electronic labels as replacement of or complementary to the physical energy label. In cases where it is not feasible to display the energy label, such as certain forms of distance selling and in advertisements and technical promotional material, potential customers should be provided at least with the energy class of the product.
(10)  Advances in digital technology allow for alternative ways of delivering and displaying labels electronically, such as on the internet, but also on electronic displays in shops. In order to take advantage of such advances, this Regulation should allow the use of electronic labels complementary to the printed energy label. This does not affect the duty of the supplier to accompany each unit of a product with a printed label for the dealer. In cases where it is not feasible to display the energy label, potential customers should be provided at least with the energy class of the product model. The delegated acts for specific product groups could also establish alternative provisions for displaying the label for small-sized products, and when identical products are displayed together in large quantity.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  Manufacturers respond to the energy label by creating ever more efficient products. This technological development leads to products populating mainly the highest classes of the energy label. Further product differentiation may be necessary to allow customers a proper comparison, leading to the need to rescale labels. For the frequency of such rescaling a timescale of approximately ten years would be appropriate, taking into account the need to avoid over burdening manufacturers. This Regulation should therefore lay down detailed arrangements for rescaling in order to maximise legal certainty for suppliers and dealers. A newly rescaled label should have empty top classes to encourage technological progress and enable ever more efficient products to be developed and recognised. When a label is rescaled, confusion to customers should be avoided by replacing all energy labels within a short timeframe.
(11)  Manufacturers respond to the energy label by developing and placing on the market ever more efficient products. In parallel, they discontinue the production of less efficient products, stimulated to do so by Union law relating to ecodesign. This technological development leads to product models populating mainly the highest classes of the energy label. Further product differentiation may be necessary to allow customers a proper comparison, leading to the need to rescale labels. For the frequency of such rescaling a timescale of approximately ten years would be desirable, taking into account the need to avoid over burdening manufacturers and dealers, with a special consideration for small businesses. Such an approach should avoid unnecessary or inefficient rescaling that would damage both manufacturers and consumers. This Regulation should therefore lay down detailed arrangements for rescaling, in order to maximise legal certainty for suppliers and dealers. Before any rescaling, the Commission should carry out a thorough preparatory study. Depending on the product group and based on a detailed assessment of its potential, a newly rescaled label should have empty space at the top of the scale to encourage technological progress and enable ever more efficient product models to be developed and recognised. When a label is rescaled, confusion to customers should be avoided by replacing all energy labels within a short and feasible timeframe, and by making the visual appearance of the rescaled label easily distinguishable from the old label, together with adequate consumer information campaigns clearly indicating that a new version has been introduced resulting in an improved appliance classification.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11 a (new)
(11a)  The current evolution of labels established by delegated acts adopted pursuant to Directive 2010/30/EU gives rise to the need for an initial rescaling of existing labels, in order to ensure a homogeneous A to G scale, adapting them to the requirements of this Regulation.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14
(14)  In order for customers to retain trust in the energy label, other labels that mimic the energy label should not be allowed to be used for energy-related products. Additional labels, marks, symbols or inscriptions that are likely to mislead or confuse customers with respect to the consumption of energy should not be allowed either.
(14)  In order for customers to retain trust in the energy label, the use of other labels that mimic the energy label should not be allowed to be used for energy-related products. Additional labels, marks, symbols or inscriptions that are not clearly differentiated from the energy efficiency label and could mislead or confuse customers with respect to the consumption of energy or any other characteristics covered by the relevant delegated act, should not be allowed either.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15
(15)  In order to ensure legal certainty, it is necessary to clarify that rules on Union market surveillance and control of products entering the Union market provided for in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council21 apply to energy-related products. Given the principle of free movement of goods, it is imperative that the market surveillance authorities of the Member States cooperate with each other effectively. Such cooperation on energy labelling should be reinforced through support by the Commission.
(15)  In order to ensure legal certainty, it is necessary to clarify that rules on Union market surveillance and control of products entering the Union market provided for in Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council21 apply to energy-related products. Given the principle of free movement of goods, it is imperative that the market surveillance authorities of the Member States cooperate with each other effectively, through ongoing exchanges of information, particularly regarding the outcome of product conformity assessments and their consequences. Furthermore, custom authorities of the Member States should be involved in the exchange of information on energy-related imported products from third countries into the Union. The Administrative Co-operation ('ADCO') Working Groups on Ecodesign and Energy Labelling should be reinforced and enhanced by the Commission as framework for the cooperation of market surveillance authorities.
__________________
__________________
21 OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30.
21 OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15 a (new)
(15a)  In order to ensure more effective surveillance and fair competition in the Union market, and to use scarce resources in the most efficient way, national market surveillance authorities should perform compliance monitoring also through physical product testing, and the Information and Communication System on Market Surveillance (ICSMS) to exchange information about planned and completed product testing, to make available testing protocols and to share the outcome of their tests, thus avoiding double testing and paving the way for regional centres of excellence for physical testing. Results should also be shared when a test does not show that there has been a breach.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16
(16)  In order to facilitate the monitoring of compliance and to provide up-to-date market data for the regulatory process on revisions of product-specific labels and information sheets, suppliers should provide their product compliance information electronically in a database established by the Commission. The information should be made publicly available to provide information for customers and to allow for alternative ways for dealers to receive labels. Market surveillance authorities should have access to the information in the database.
(16)  Without prejudice to the Member States' market surveillance obligations, in order to set up a useful tool for consumers, to facilitate the monitoring of compliance and to provide up-to-date market data for the regulatory process on revisions of product-specific labels and information sheets, suppliers should provide the required product compliance information electronically in a database established and maintained by the Commission. The part of the information addressed to consumers should be made publicly available on the public interface of the product database. That information should be made available as open data so as to give 'app' developers and other comparison tools the opportunity to use it. Easy direct access to the public interface of the product database should be facilitated by a dynamic quick response code (QR) or other user-oriented tools included on the printed label. Additional information should be made available by suppliers on the compliance interface of the product database both to market surveillance authorities and to the Commission. The database should be subject to strict data protection rules. Where the technical information is sensitive, market surveillance authorities should retain the power to access the information when necessary in accordance with the suppliers’ duty of cooperation.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16 a (new)
(16a)  The Commission should set up and maintain an online portal that provides market surveillance authorities access to detailed product information on the servers of suppliers.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19
(19)  Energy consumption and other information concerning the products covered by product-specific requirements under this Regulation should be measured by using reliable, accurate and reproducible methods that take into account the generally recognised state-of-the-art measurements and calculation methods. It is in the interests of the functioning of the internal market to have standards which have been harmonised at Union level. In the absence of published standards at the time of application of product-specific requirements the Commission should publish in the Official Journal of the European Union transitional measurement and calculation methods in relation to those product-specific requirements. Once a reference to such a standard has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union compliance with it should provide a presumption of conformity with measurement methods for those product-specific requirements adopted on the basis of this Regulation.
(19)  The absolute energy consumption and other environmental and performance information concerning the products covered by product-specific requirements under this Regulation should be measured in accordance with harmonised standards and methods and by using reliable, accurate and reproducible methods that take into account the generally recognised state-of-the-art measurements and calculation methods. Those methods and testing environment, both for suppliers and market surveillance authorities, should be as close as possible to the real-life usage of a given product by the average consumer and robust in order to deter intentional and unintentional circumvention. The energy efficiency class should not be exclusively based on the most energy efficient setting or eco-mode, where this is not likely to reflect average consumer behaviour. Tolerance values and optional testing parameters should be established in such a way that they do not lead to significant variations of efficiency gains that might possibly alter the energy efficiency class of a product. Permitted deviations between tested and declared results should be limited to the statistical measurement uncertainty. In the absence of published standards at the time of application of product-specific requirements the Commission should publish in the Official Journal of the European Union transitional measurement and calculation methods in relation to those product-specific requirements. Once a reference to such a standard has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union compliance with it should provide a presumption of conformity with measurement methods for those product-specific requirements adopted on the basis of this Regulation.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 20
(20)  The Commission should provide a working plan for the revision of labels of particular products including an indicative list of further energy-related products for which an energy label could be established. The working plan should be implemented starting with a technical, environmental and economic analysis of the product groups concerned. This analysis should also look at supplementary information including the possibility and cost to provide consumers with information on the performance of an energy-related product, such as its absolute energy consumption, durability or environmental performance, in coherence with the objective to promote a circular economy. Such supplementary information should improve the intelligibility and effectiveness of the label towards consumers and should not lead to any negative impact on consumers.
(20)  Based on the scope of this Regulation, the Commission should provide a long-term working plan for the revision of labels of particular products including an indicative list of further energy-related products for which an energy label could be established and should update that working plan periodically. The Commission should inform the European Parliament and the Council annually about the progress of the working plan.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 20 a (new)
(20a)  The working plan should be implemented starting with a technical, environmental and economic analysis of the product groups concerned. That analysis should also consider supplementary information including the possibility and cost to provide consumers with accurate information on the performance of an energy-related product model, such as life-cycle cost, reparability, connectivity, recycled material content, durability, and environmental performance or combined energy efficiency performance index, in coherence with the objective to promote a circular economy. Such supplementary information should improve the intelligibility and effectiveness of the label towards consumers and should not lead to any negative impact on consumers.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraphs 1 and 2
1.  This Regulation lays down a framework on the indication by labelling and standard product information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products during use and supplementary information concerning energy-related products in order to allow customers to choose more efficient products.
1.  This Regulation lays down a framework that applies to energy-related products and provides them with a label regarding energy efficiency, absolute consumption of energy and other environmental and performance characteristics. It allows customers to choose more energy-efficient products in order to reduce their energy consumption.
2.  This Regulation shall not apply to:
2.  This Regulation does not apply to:
(a)  Second hand products;
(a)  Second hand products;
(b)  Means of transport for persons or goods other than those operated by a stationary motor.
(b)  Means of transport for persons or goods.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 6
(6)  'Manufacturer' means any natural or legal person who manufactures an energy-related product or has a product designed or manufactured, and markets that energy-related product under his name or trademark;
(6)  'Manufacturer' means any natural or legal person who manufactures an energy-related product or has such a product designed or manufactured, and markets that energy-related product under his name or trademark;
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 9
(9)  ‘Dealer’ means a retailer or other person who sells, hires, offers for hire purchase or displays products to customers;
(9)  'Dealer' means a retailer or other natural or legal person who sells, hires, offers for hire purchase or displays products to customers;
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 10 a (new)
(10a)  'Energy efficiency' means the ratio of output of performance, service, goods or energy, to input of energy;
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 11
(11)  ‘Energy-related product’ means any good or system or service with an impact on energy consumption during use, which is placed on the market and put into service in the Union, including parts to be incorporated into energy-related products which are placed on the market and put into service;
(11)  'Energy-related product' hereinafter 'product' means any good or system with an impact on energy consumption during use, which is placed on the market and put into service in the Union, including parts intended to be incorporated into energy-related products which are placed on the market and put into service as individual parts for customers and of which the energy and environmental performance can be assessed independently;
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 13
(13)  ‘Label’ means a graphic diagram including a classification using letters from A to G in seven different colours from dark green to red in order to show consumption of energy;
(13)  'Label' means a graphic diagram, in printed or electronic form, including a closed scale using only letters from A to G, each class corresponding to significant energy savings, in seven different colours from dark green to red, in order to inform customers about energy efficiency and energy consumption;
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 13 a (new)
(13a)  'Product group' means a group of energy-related products which have the same main functionality;
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 17
(17)  'Product information sheet' means a standard table of information relating to a product;
(17)  'Product information sheet' means a standard table of information relating to a product, in printed or electronic form;
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 18
(18)  'Rescale' means a periodic exercise to make more stringent the requirements for achieving the energy class on a label for a particular product, which, for existing labels may imply the deletion of certain energy classes;
(18)  'Rescaling' means an exercise to make more stringent the requirements for achieving the energy class on a label for a particular product group;
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 19
(19)  'Rescaled label' means a label for a particular product that has undergone a rescaling exercise.
(19)  'Rescaled label' means a label for a particular product group that has undergone a rescaling exercise, which is clearly distinguishable from the labels applicable before rescaling;
Amendment 97
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 –paragraph 1 – point 19 a (new)
(19a)  'Smart appliance' means an appliance that, using advanced information and communications technologies and a standardised reference ontology, can be activated to respond to external stimuli such as price information, direct control signals sent through wireless or apps, and/or local measurements, and to automatically change its energy consumption pattern for a more efficient use;
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 20
(20)  'Supplementary information' means information on the functional and environmental performance of an energy-related product, such as its absolute energy consumption or durability, which is based on data that are measurable by market surveillance authorities, is unambiguous and has no significant negative impact on the clear intelligibility and effectiveness of the label as a whole towards customers.
(20)  'Supplementary information' means any information specified by the relevant delegated act on the functional, environmental and resource-efficiency performance of an energy-related product, which is based on data that are measurable and verifiable by market surveillance authorities, is easily understandable and has no significant negative impact on the effectiveness of the label as a whole towards customers;
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point 20 a (new)
(20a)  'Product database' means a collection of data concerning the energy-related products covered by this Regulation and the delegated acts adopted pursuant thereto, arranged in a systematic manner and consisting of a public interface, organised as a consumer-oriented website, where information is individually accessible by electronic means, and a compliance interface, structured as a electronic platform supporting the activities of national market surveillance authorities, with clearly specified accessibility and security requirements.
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1
1.  Suppliers shall comply with the following:
1.  Suppliers shall:
(a)  they shall ensure that products placed on the market are provided, free of charge, with accurate labels and product information sheets in accordance with this Regulation and the relevant delegated acts;
(a)  ensure that products placed on the market are provided, free of charge, with accurate printed labels and with product information sheets for each individual unit;
(b)  they shall deliver labels promptly and free of charge on request from dealers;
(b)  deliver labels and product information sheets, free of charge, within five working days upon request from dealers;
(ba)  provide both the current and the rescaled labels and product information sheets to dealers for a period of three months before the date specified in the relevant delegated act;
(c)  they shall ensure the accuracy of the labels and product information sheets that they provide and produce technical documentation sufficient to enable the accuracy to be assessed;
(c)  ensure the accuracy of the labels and product information sheets, and produce technical documentation sufficient to enable the accuracy to be assessed;
(d)  they shall, prior to placing a product model on the market, enter into the product database established in accordance with Article 8 the information detailed in Annex I.
(d)  enter the information set out in Annex I into the public and compliance interfaces of the product database established pursuant to Article 8:
(i)  for all new models, before placing a unit of the model on the market,
(ii)  for all models placed on the market after 1 January 2014 that are still being supplied, no later than 18 months after the database is fully operational in accordance with Article 16;
(da)  keep on the database pursuant to Article 8 the product information sheets and the technical documentation for a period of at least 10 years after the last product unit has been placed on the market;
(db)  provide labels for product groups where the product consists of several subassemblies or components, the energy efficiency of which depends on the specific combination of those components;
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 a (new)
1a.  Suppliers shall not:
(a)  place on the market products designed so that their performance is automatically altered in test conditions, by means of either hardware or software incorporated into the product, with the objective of reaching a more favourable level;
(b)  once the product is in service, introduce changes by means of software updates that would be to the detriment of the parameters of the original energy efficiency label, as defined by the relevant delegated act.
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2
2.  Dealers shall comply with the following:
2.  Dealers shall:
(a)  they shall display in a visible manner the label provided by the supplier or otherwise made available for a product covered by a delegated act;
(a)  where the product is for sale, including online, display the label in a visible and prominent manner, as specified by the relevant delegated act;
(aa)  replace existing labels with rescaled labels, both in shops and online, within three weeks following the date specified in the relevant delegated act;
(b)  they shall, where they do not have a label or a rescaled label;
(b)  where they do not have a label or a rescaled label, request it from the supplier;
(i)  request the label or a rescaled label from the supplier;
(ii)  print out the label from the product database established in accordance with Article 8 if that function is available for that product; or
(iii)  print out the label or a rescaled label from the supplier's website if that function is available for that product.
(c)  they shall make available to customers the product information sheet.
(c)  upon request, make available to customers the product information sheet, including in printed form.
Amendments 35 and 86
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 3
3.  Suppliers and dealers shall comply with the following:
3.  Suppliers and dealers shall:
(a)  they shall make reference to the energy efficiency class of the product in any advertisement or technical promotional material for a specific model of products in accordance with the relevant delegated act;
(a)  make reference to the energy efficiency class of the product in any visual advertisement or technical promotional material for a specific model of products in accordance with the relevant delegated act;
(b)  they shall cooperate with market surveillance authorities and take immediate action to remedy any situation of non-compliance with the requirements set out in this Regulation and its delegated acts falling under their responsibility, at their own initiative or when required to do so by market surveillance authorities;
(b)  cooperate with market surveillance authorities and take immediate action to remedy any situation of non-compliance, pursuant to Article 5;
(c)  they shall not, for products covered by this Regulation, provide or display other labels, marks, symbols or inscriptions which do not comply with the requirements of this Regulation and of the relevant delegated acts, if this is likely to mislead or confuse customers with respect to the consumption of energy or other resources during use;
(c)  refrain, for products covered by this Regulation, from providing or displaying any misleading, confusing or mimicking labels, marks, symbols or inscriptions, regarding the consumption of energy or other resources during use;
(d)  they shall, for products not covered by this Regulation, not supply or display labels which mimic the label as defined in this Regulation.
(d)  for products not covered by this Regulation, not supply or display labels which mimic the label as defined in this Regulation.
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.  All general obligations regarding labels set out in paragraphs 1 to 3 shall apply equally to existing, new and rescaled labels.
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1
1.  Member States shall not prohibit, restrict or impede the placing on the market or putting into service, within their territories, of energy-related products which comply with this Regulation and its relevant delegated acts.
1.  Member States shall not impede the placing on the market or putting into service, within their territories, of products which comply with this Regulation.
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2
2.  Member States shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that suppliers and dealers comply with the obligations and requirements of this Regulation and of the relevant delegated acts.
2.  Member States shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that suppliers and dealers comply with the obligations and requirements of this Regulation.
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 3
3.  Where Member States provide any incentives for an energy-related product covered by this Regulation and specified in a delegated act, these shall aim at the highest class of energy efficiency laid down in the applicable delegated act.
3.  Where Member States provide any incentives for a product covered by this Regulation and specified in a delegated act, those incentives shall aim at the highest two populated classes of energy efficiency, as laid down in the applicable delegated act.
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 4
4.  Member States shall ensure that the introduction of labels including rescaled labels and product information sheets is accompanied by educational and promotional information campaigns aimed at promoting energy efficiency and more responsible use of energy by customers, if appropriate in cooperation with dealers.
4.  Member States shall ensure that the introduction and rescaling of labels is accompanied by educational and promotional information campaigns on energy labelling.
The Commission shall coordinate those campaigns, supporting close cooperation with suppliers and dealers and the exchange of best practices.
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 5
5.  Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties and enforcement mechanisms applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation and its delegated acts, and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Member States shall notify those provisions to the Commission by the date of application of this Regulation and shall notify without delay any subsequent amendment affecting them.
5.  Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties and enforcement mechanisms applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation, and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive, and proportionate to the economic advantage of non-compliance. Member States shall notify those provisions to the Commission by the date of application of this Regulation and shall notify without delay any subsequent amendment affecting them.
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 2
2.  The Commission shall support cooperation and exchange of information on market surveillance of energy labelling of products among national authorities of the Member States responsible for market surveillance or external border controls and between such authorities and the Commission.
2.  The Commission shall encourage and coordinate cooperation and exchange of information on market surveillance of energy labelling regarding products covered by this Regulation among national authorities of the Member States responsible for market surveillance or in charge of the control of products entering the Union market and between them and the Commission by strengthening the Administrative Co-operation ('ADCO') Working Groups on Ecodesign and Energy .
Such exchanges of information shall also be conducted when test results indicate that the producer is in compliance with the relevant law.
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  By 1 January 2018, Member States shall establish and implement a market surveillance plan for monitoring the enforcement of the requirements of this Regulation. Member States shall review their market surveillance plans at least every three years.
By 1 January 2020 and thereafter on an annual basis, Member States shall draw up a report on market surveillance, evaluating compliance trends with this Regulation and with Directive 2009/125/EC.
Member States shall make the use of the Information and Communication System on Market Surveillance (ICSMS) compulsory for all national market surveillance authorities.
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 2 b (new)
2b.  National market surveillance authorities shall carry out physical product testing, covering at least one product group per year in accordance with the delegated acts adopted pursuant to this Regulation.
Market surveillance authorities shall inform the other Member States and the Commission of their planned and completed physical tests, through the compliance interface of the product database established pursuant to Article 8.
They shall use reliable, accurate and reproducible measurement procedures, pursuant to Article 9, aiming to simulate real-life conditions of use and excluding intentional or unintentional manipulation or alteration of the test results.
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 2 c (new)
2c.  Market surveillance authorities shall have the right to recover the costs of a physical product testing from suppliers in case of an infringement of this Regulation.
The Commission may check independently compliance, directly or through a third party.
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 1
1.  Where the market surveillance authorities of one Member State have sufficient reason to believe that an energy-related product covered by a delegated act under this Regulation presents a risk to aspects of public interest protection covered by this Regulation, they shall carry out an evaluation in relation to the energy-related product concerned covering all the requirements laid down in this Regulation and its relevant delegated acts. The supplier shall cooperate as necessary with the market surveillance authorities for that purpose.
1.  Where the market surveillance authorities of one Member State have sufficient reason to believe that a product covered by a delegated act under this Regulation presents a risk to aspects of public interest protection covered by this Regulation, they shall immediately notify the Commission and carry out an evaluation in relation to the product model concerned, covering all the requirements laid down in this Regulation and the relevant delegated acts, also assessing whether it is advisable to extend the evaluation to other product models. The supplier shall cooperate as necessary with the market surveillance authorities.
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2
2.  Where, in the course of that evaluation, the market surveillance authorities find that the energy-related product does not comply with the requirements laid down in this this Regulation and its relevant delegated acts, they shall without delay require the supplier to take all appropriate corrective action to bring the energy-related product into compliance with those requirements, to withdraw the energy-related product from the market, or to recall it within a reasonable period, commensurate with the nature of the risk, as they may prescribe. Article 21 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 shall apply to the measures referred to in this paragraph.
2.  Where in the course of that evaluation, the market surveillance authorities find that the product model does not comply with the requirements laid down in this Regulation, they shall require the supplier to take all appropriate corrective action to bring the product model into compliance without delay, and they may prescribe to withdraw the product model from the market, or to recall the units put into service within a reasonable period, commensurate with the nature of the risk, extending such measures to the equivalent models available on the market. Article 21 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 shall apply to the measures referred to in this paragraph.
Amendment 48
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 3
3.  Where the market surveillance authorities consider that non-compliance is not restricted to their national territory, they shall inform the Commission and the other Member States of the results of the evaluation and of the actions which they have required the supplier to take.
3.  The market surveillance authorities shall inform through the ICSMS the Commission and other Member States, of any results of the evaluation and of any actions which they have required the supplier to take pursuant to paragraph 2.
Amendment 49
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 4
4.  The supplier shall ensure that all appropriate corrective action is taken in respect of all the energy-related products concerned that it has made available on the market throughout the Union.
4.  The supplier shall ensure that any restrictive measure prescribed in accordance with paragraph 2 is taken, in respect of all the product models concerned that it has made available on the market throughout the Union.
Amendment 50
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 5
5.  Where the supplier does not take adequate corrective action within the period referred to in the paragraph 2, the market surveillance authorities shall take all appropriate provisional measures to prohibit or restrict the energy-related product's being made available on their national market, to withdraw the energy-related product from that market or to recall it. The market surveillance authorities shall inform the Commission and the other Member States, without delay, of those measures.
5.  Where the supplier does not implement the corrective action within the period referred to in the paragraph 2, the market surveillance authorities shall take all appropriate provisional measures to prohibit or restrict the making available of the product model on their national market or to withdraw or recall the product model from that market. The market surveillance authorities shall immediately notify the Commission and the other Member States of those measures, and shall upload the information in the compliance interface of the product database established pursuant to Article 8.
Amendment 51
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 6
6.  The information referred to in the paragraph 5 shall include all available details, in particular the data necessary for the identification of the non-compliant energy-related product, the origin of the energy-related product, the nature of the non-compliance alleged and the risk involved, the nature and duration of the national measures taken and the arguments put forward by the supplier. In particular, the market surveillance authorities shall indicate whether the non-compliance is due to either failure of the energy-related product to meet requirements relating to aspects of public interest protection laid down in this Regulation or shortcomings in the harmonised standards referred to in Article 9 conferring a presumption of conformity.
6.  The notification referred to in paragraph 5 shall include all available details, in particular the data necessary for the identification of the non-compliant product, its origin, the nature of the non-compliance alleged and the risk involved, the nature and duration of the national measures taken and the arguments put forward by the supplier. In particular, the market surveillance authorities shall indicate whether the non-compliance is due to either failure of the product model to meet requirements relating to aspects of public interest protection laid down in this Regulation or to shortcomings in the harmonised standards referred to in Article 9 conferring a presumption of conformity. In this case, the Commission shall apply the procedure provided for in Article 11 of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012.
Amendment 52
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 7
7.  Member States other than the Member State initiating the procedure shall without delay inform the Commission and the other Member States of any measures adopted and of any additional information at their disposal relating to the non-compliance of the energy-related product concerned, and, in the event of disagreement with the notified national measure, of their objections.
7.  Member States other than the Member State initiating the procedure shall without delay inform the Commission and the other Member States of any measures adopted and of any additional information at their disposal relating to the non-compliance of the product model concerned and, in the event of disagreement with the notified national measure, of their objections.
Amendment 53
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 8
8.  Where, within 60 days of receipt of the information referred to in paragraph 5, no objection has been raised by either a Member State or the Commission in respect of a provisional measure taken by a Member State, that measure shall be deemed justified.
8.  Where, within four weeks of the notification referred to in paragraph 5, no objection has been raised by either a Member State or the Commission in respect of a provisional measure taken by a Member State, that measure shall be deemed to be justified.
Amendment 54
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 9
9.  Member States shall ensure that appropriate restrictive measures, such as withdrawal of the energy-related product from their market, are taken in respect of the energy-related product concerned, without delay.
9.  Member States shall ensure that parallel restrictive measures, proportionate to their specific national situation, are taken without delay in respect of the product model concerned, and shall inform the Commission accordingly.
Amendment 55
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 10
10.  Where, on completion of the procedure set out in paragraphs 4 and 5, objections are raised against a measure taken by a Member State, or where the Commission considers a national measure to be contrary to Union legislation, the Commission shall without delay enter into consultation with the Member States and the supplier and shall evaluate the national measure. On the basis of the results of that evaluation, the Commission shall decide whether the national measure is justified or not.
10.  Where, on completion of the procedure set out in paragraphs 4 and 5, objections are raised against a measure taken by a Member State, or where the Commission considers such national measure to be contrary to Union law, the Commission shall without delay enter into consultation with the Member States and the supplier, and shall evaluate the national measure, on the basis of the results of which it shall decide whether the national measure is justified or not, and may propose an appropriate alternative measure.
Amendment 56
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 11
11.  The Commission shall address its decision to all Member States and shall immediately communicate it to them and the supplier.
11.  The Commission shall address its decision to all Member States and shall immediately notify it to them and to the supplier concerned.
Amendment 57
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 12
12.  If the national measure is considered justified, all Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the non-compliant energy-related product is withdrawn from their market, and shall inform the Commission accordingly. If the national measure is considered unjustified, the Member State concerned shall withdraw the measure.
12.  If the national measure is considered to be justified, all Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the non-compliant product model is withdrawn from their national markets, and shall inform the Commission accordingly. If the national measure is considered to be unjustified, the Member State concerned shall withdraw the measure.
Amendment 58
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 13
13.  Where the national measure is considered justified and the non-compliance of the energy-related product is attributed to shortcomings in the harmonised standards referred to in paragraph 6, the Commission shall apply the procedure provided for in Article 11 of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012.
13.  Where a national measure is considered to be justified and the non-compliance of the product model is attributed to shortcomings in the harmonised standards referred to in paragraph 6, the Commission shall apply the procedure provided for in Article 11 of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012.
Amendment 96
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 13 a (new)
13a.   In the case of proven non-compliance of the product with the requirements laid down in this Regulation and its relevant delegated acts, customers shall have the right to return the product to the dealer free-of-charge and receive from the supplier a full refund of the original purchase price.
In cooperation with the market surveillance authorities, the suppliers shall make all reasonable efforts to contact affected customers, in accordance with applicable consumer rights law.
Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – title and paragraph 1
Labels and rescaling
Procedure for the introduction and rescaling of labels
1.  The Commission may, by means of delegated acts adopted pursuant to Articles 12 and 13, introduce labels or rescale existing labels.
1.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 in order to supplement this Regulation by introducing or rescaling labels.
Labels introduced by delegated acts adopted in accordance with Article 10 of Directive 2010/30/EU before 1 January 2017 shall be considered to be labels for the purposes of this Regulation.
Amendment 60
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2
2.  When, for a given product group, no models belonging to energy classes D, E, F or G are allowed to be placed on the market any more because of an implementing measure adopted under Directive 2009/125/EC, the class or classes in question shall no longer be shown on the label.
2.  In order to ensure a homogenous A to G scale, the Commission shall introduce rescaled labels for existing product groups, as referred to in paragraph 1, within 5 years after the entry into force of this Regulation, respecting the requirements of paragraph 4.
Product groups covered by Commission Delegated Regulations (EU) No 811/20131a and 812/20131b shall be reviewed 6 years after the entry into force of this Regulation with a view to rescaling them.
For product groups covered by Commission Delegated Regulations (EU) No 1059/20101c, 1060/20101d, 1061/20101e, 1062/20101f and 874/20121g, where preparatory studies are finalised, the Commission shall introduce rescaled labels no later than 21 months after the entry into force of this Regulation.
__________________
1a Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 811/2013 of 18 February 2013 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the energy labelling of space heaters, combination heaters, packages of space heater, temperature control and solar device and packages of combination heater, temperature control and solar device (OJ L 239, 6.9.2013, p. 1).
1b Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 812/2013 of 18 February 2013 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the energy labelling of water heaters, hot water storage tanks and packages of water heater and solar device (OJ L 239, 6.9.2013, p. 83).
1c Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1059/2010 of 28 September 2010 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to energy labelling of household dishwashers (OJ L 314, 30.11.2010, p. 1).
1d Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1060/2010 of 28 September 2010 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to energy labelling of household refrigerating appliances (OJ L 314, 30.11.2010, p. 17).
1e Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1061/2010 of 28 September 2010 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to energy labelling of household washing machines(OJ L 314, 30.11.2010, p. 47).
1f Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1062/2010 of 28 September 2010 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to energy labelling of televisions(OJ L 314, 30.11.2010, p. 64).
1g Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 874/2012 of 12 July 2012 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to energy labelling of electrical lamps and luminaires (OJ L 258, 26.9.2012, p. 1).
Amendment 61
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 3
3.  The Commission shall ensure that, when a label is introduced or rescaled, the requirements are laid down so that no products are expected to fall in energy classes A or B at the moment of the introduction of the label and so that the estimated time within which a majority of models falls into those classes shall be at least ten years later.
3.  The Commission shall ensure that any subsequent rescaling for new labels or rescaled labels referred to in paragraph 2 is initiated once the following conditions are met, showing the appropriate technological progress in the relevant product group:
(a)  25% of the products sold within the Union market fall into the top energy efficiency class A; or
(b)  50% of the products sold within the Union market fall into the top two energy efficiency classes A and B.
Amendment 62
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.  The Commission shall ensure, through the inclusion of the product group in the working plan pursuant to Article 11, that:
(a)  the preparatory study for rescaling is completed no later than 18 months after the conditions laid down in paragraph 3 are met;
(b)  rescaling is completed, through the review and entry in force of the relevant delegated act in accordance with Article 13, no later than three years after the conditions laid down in paragraph 3 are met.
Amendment 63
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 4
4.  Labels shall be re-scaled periodically.
4.  The Commission shall lay out the requirements for new or rescaled labels aiming for an expected validity of at least 10 years.
To that end, the Commission shall ensure that, when a label is introduced or rescaled, no products are expected to fall in energy class A at the moment of the introduction of the label.
For product groups where the preparatory study referred to in point (a) of paragraph 3a shows a fast technological progress, no products are expected to fall in energy classes A and B at the moment of the introduction of the label.
Amendment 64
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 5
5.  When a label is rescaled:
5.  When, for a given product group, no models belonging to energy classes F or G are allowed to be placed on the market anymore because of an Ecodesign implementing measure adopted under Directive 2009/125/EC, the class or classes in question shall be shown on the label in grey as specified in the relevant delegated act. The standard dark green to red spectrum of the label shall be retained for the remaining upper classes. The changes shall apply only to new product units placed on the market.
(a)  suppliers shall provide both the current and the rescaled labels to dealers for a period of six months before the date specified in paragraph (b).
(b)  dealers shall replace the existing labels on products on display including on the Internet with the rescaled labels within one week following the date specified for that purpose in the relevant delegated act. Dealers shall not display the rescaled labels before that date.
Dealers shall be permitted to sell energy-related products without a label or a rescaled label, only where a (rescaled) label has never been produced for a given product and the supplier of the product is no longer active on the market.
Amendment 65
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 6
6.  Labels introduced by delegated acts adopted in accordance with Article 10 of Directive 2010/30/EU before the date of application of this Regulation shall be considered as labels for the purposes of this Regulation. The Commission shall review those labels within five years of the entry into force of this Regulation with a view to rescaling them.
deleted
Amendment 66
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8
Product database
Product database
The Commission shall establish and maintain a product database including the information referred to in Annex I. The information listed under point 1 of Annex I shall be made publicly available.
1.   The Commission shall establish and maintain a product database, consisting of two different interfaces, the public interface and the compliance interface.
The public interface shall contain the information set out in point 1 of Annex I, respecting the functional requirements set out in point 3 of Annex I.
The compliance interface shall contain the information set out in point 2 of Annex I, respecting the functional requirements set out in point 4 of Annex I.
2.  When entering information into the product database, suppliers shall keep access and editing rights to it. Any changes shall be dated and clearly visible to market surveillance authorities.
Data contained in the compliance interface shall be used only for purposes linked to the enforcement for this Regulation and the delegated acts adopted pursuant thereto, and prohibited from unintended use.
Suppliers shall be permitted to keep on their servers’ technical documentation pursuant to point (c) of Article 3(1), test reports or similar conformity assessment documentation, as established by point 2(a) of Annex I corresponding to tests carried by the suppliers themselves, accessible exclusively to market surveillance authorities and the Commission.
The establishment of the database shall follow criteria that allow for minimising the administrative burden for suppliers and other database users, user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness.
The product database does not replace or modify the responsibilities of the market surveillance authorities.
3.  The Commission, with the support of market surveillance authorities and suppliers, shall pay special attention to the transitional process until the full implementation of the public and compliance interfaces.
4.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 supplementing this Regulation by specifying the operational details relating to the establishment of the product database.
Amendment 67
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 2
When during the conformity assessment of a product such harmonised standards are applied, the product shall be deemed to comply with the relevant measurement and calculation requirements of the delegated act.
2.   When during the conformity assessment of a product such harmonised standards are applied, the product model shall be deemed to comply with the relevant measurement and calculation requirements of the delegated act.
2a.  Harmonised standards shall aim to simulate real-life usage as far as possible while maintaining a standard test method, with no prejudice to comparability within the product group.
2b.  Measurement and calculation methods included in the harmonised standards shall be reliable, accurate and reproducible, and aligned with the requirements of Article 3(1a).
Amendment 68
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 1
In the conduct of its activities under this Regulation the Commission shall ensure in respect of each delegated act, a balanced participation of Member States’ representatives and interested parties concerned with the product group in question, such as industry, including SMEs and craft industry, trade unions, traders, retailers, importers, environmental protection groups and consumer organisations. For this purpose, the Commission shall establish a Consultation Forum in which these parties shall met. This Consultation Forum may be combined with the Consultation Forum referred to in Article 18 of Directive 2009/125/EC.
1.   In the conduct of its activities under this Regulation, for the introduction or rescaling of labels under Article 7, and for the setup of the database under Article 8, the Commission shall ensure a balanced participation of Member States' representatives, including market surveillance authorities, and interested parties concerned with the product group in question, such as industry, including SMEs and craft industry, trade unions, traders, retailers, importers, environmental protection groups and consumer organisations, as well as the involvement of the European Parliament.
2.   The Commission shall establish a Consultation Forum in which the parties listed in paragraph 1 shall meet for that purpose. That Consultation Forum may coincide, fully or in part, with the Consultation Forum referred to in Article 18 of Directive 2009/125/EC. The minutes of the Consultation Forum meetings shall be published in the public interface of the database established pursuant to Article 8.
Amendment 69
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 2
Where appropriate prior to the adoption of delegated acts, the Commission shall test the design and content of the labels for specific product groups with consumers to ensure their clear understanding of the labels.
3.   Where appropriate, prior to the adoption of delegated acts adopted pursuant to this Regulation, the Commission shall test the design and content of the labels for specific product groups with representative groups of Union consumers to ensure their clear understanding of the labels.
Amendment 70
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 1
The Commission shall, having consulted the Consultation Forum referred to in Article 10, establish a working plan which shall be made publicly available. The working plan shall set out an indicative list of product groups which are considered as priorities for the adoption of delegated acts. The working plan shall also set out plans for the revision and rescaling of labels of products or product groups. The working plan may be amended periodically by the Commission after consultation with the Consultation Forum. The working plan may be combined with the working plan required by Article 16 of Directive 2009/125/EC.
1.   The Commission shall adopt delegated acts pursuant to Article 13 supplementing this Regulation, after having consulted the Consultation Forum referred to in Article 10, in order to establish a long-term working plan which shall be made publicly available, including through the public interface of the database established pursuant to Article 8.
2.  The Commission shall organise the working plan in sections containing priorities for the introduction of energy efficiency labels in new product groups, and for the rescaling of labels of product groups.
The Commission shall ensure the necessary resources to the plan and its coherence.
This working plan may be combined with the Ecodesign working plan required by Article 16 of Directive 2009/125/EC.
The Commission shall update the working plan periodically, having consulted the Consultation Forum. The European Parliament and the Council shall be informed annually of its progress and shall be formally notified of any changes thereto.
Amendment 71
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1
1.  The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts concerning detailed requirements relating to labels for specific groups of energy-related products ('specific product groups') in accordance with Article 13.
1.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 to supplement this Regulation by laying down detailed requirements relating to labels for specific groups of energy-related products ('specific product groups').
Amendment 72
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2
2.  Delegated acts shall specify product groups which satisfy the following criteria:
2.  Delegated acts shall specify product groups which satisfy the following criteria:
(a)  according to the most recently available figures and considering the quantities placed on the Union market, the product group shall have significant potential for saving energy and where relevant, other resources;
(a)  according to the actual penetration in the Union market, there is significant potential for saving energy and where relevant, other resources;
(b)  product groups with equivalent functionality shall differ significantly in the relevant performance levels;
(b)  within the product group, models with equivalent functionality have significantly different energy efficiency levels;
(c)  there shall be no significant negative impact as regards the affordability and the life cycle cost of the product group.
(c)  there are no significant negative impacts regarding affordability, life cycle cost and functionality of the product from the perspective of the user.
Amendments 73 and 98
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 3
3.  Delegated acts relating to specific product groups shall specify in particular:
3.  Delegated acts relating to specific product groups shall specify in particular for the product group concerned:
(a)  the definition of the specific product groups falling under the definition of 'energy-related product' set out in Article 2(11) which are to be covered;
(a)  the definition of the energy-related products to be covered;
(b)  the design and content of the label, including a scale showing consumption of energy consisting of A to G, which as far as possible shall have uniform design characteristics across product groups and shall in all cases be clear and legible;
(b)  the design, dimensions, and content of the label, which shall in all cases be clear and legible, taking into account the needs of visually impaired customers, and shall contain in a prominent position the following information determined in accordance with the relevant delegated act:
(i)  an A to G scale showing the energy efficiency class of the corresponding product model, which as far as possible shall have uniform design characteristics across product groups;
(ii)  the absolute energy consumption in kWh, displayed per year or per any relevant period of time.
(c)  where appropriate, the use of other resources and supplementary information concerning energy related products, in which case the label shall emphasise the energy efficiency of the product;
(c)  where appropriate, the use of other resources and supplementary information concerning energy related products, in which case the label shall emphasise the energy efficiency of the product;
(ca)  where appropriate, the inclusion of a reference on the label allowing customers to identify products with connectivity functions (i.e. smart appliances);
(d)  the locations where the label shall be displayed, such as attached to the product, printed on the packaging, provided in electronic format or displayed on line;
(d)  the locations where the label shall be displayed, such as attached to the product where no damage is caused to it, printed on the packaging, provided in electronic format or displayed on line;
(e)  where appropriate, electronic means for labelling products;
(e)  where appropriate, electronic means for labelling products;
(f)  the manner in which the label and technical information are to be provided in the case of distance selling;
(f)  the manner in which the label and technical information are to be provided in the case of distance selling;
(g)  the content and, where appropriate, the format and other details concerning the technical documentation and product information sheet;
(g)  the required contents and, where appropriate, the format and other details concerning the product information sheet and the technical documentation;
(h)  that when verifying compliance with the requirements, only those verification tolerances that are set out in the delegated act(s) shall apply;
(h)  that when verifying compliance with the requirements, only those verification tolerances that are set out in the delegated act(s) shall apply;
(i)  the obligations on suppliers and dealers in relation to the product database;
(i)  the obligations on suppliers and dealers in relation to the product database;
(j)  the specific indication of the energy class to be included in advertisements and technical promotional material, including requirements for this to be in a legible and visible form;
(j)  where appropriate, the specific indication of the energy class to be included in advertisements and technical promotional material, including requirements for this to be in a legible and visible form;
(k)  the conformity assessment procedures and the measurement and calculation methods to be used to determine label and product information sheet information;
(k)  the conformity assessment procedures and the measurement and calculation methods, as established in Article 9, to be used to determine label and product information sheet information, including the definition of the Energy Efficiency Index (EEI), or equivalent parameter, and its A to G steps setting the energy efficiency classes;
(l)  whether for larger appliances a higher level of energy efficiency is required to reach a given energy class;
(l)  whether for larger appliances a higher level of energy efficiency is required to reach a given energy class;
(m)  the format of any additional references on the label allowing customers to access through electronic means more detailed information on the product performance included in the product information sheet;
(m)  the format of any additional references on the label allowing customers to access through electronic means more detailed information on the product performance included in the product information sheet;
(n)  whether and how energy classes describing the product's energy consumption during use should be shown on smart meters or on the product's interactive display;
(n)  whether and how energy classes describing the product's energy consumption during use should be shown on smart meters or on the product's interactive display;
(o)  the date for the evaluation and possible revision of the delegated act.
(o)  the date for the evaluation and possible revision of the delegated act;
For the content of the label as referred to in point (b) of the first subparagraph, the A-G steps of the classification shall correspond to significant energy and cost savings from the customer's perspective.
For the format of references referred to in point (m) of the first subparagraph, those references may take the form of a website address, a Quick Response (QR) code, a link on on-line labels or any other appropriate consumer-oriented means.
For the format of references referred to in point (m) of the first subparagraph, those references may take the form of a website address, a dynamic Quick Response (QR) code, a link on on-line labels or any other appropriate consumer-oriented means linking to the public interface of the database established pursuant to Article 8.
The introduction of a label for a product to be covered by a delegated act shall not have a significant negative impact on the functionality of the product from the perspective of the user.
The product information sheet as referred to in point (g) of the first subparagraph, shall provide direct links to the public interface of the database established pursuant to Article 8, and it shall be made available to customers in all the Union official languages of the national markets where the corresponding product model has been made available.
The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts regarding operational details relating to the product database, including any obligations on suppliers and dealers in accordance with Article 13.
The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 supplementing this Regulation by laying down operational details related to the product database, including any obligations on suppliers and dealers.
Regarding information referred to in point (g) of the first subparagraph, in order to ensure proper safeguarding of confidential information and technical documentation, those delegated acts shall specify the information that is to be uploaded in the product database and what information to be available on the request of national authorities and the Commission.
Amendment 74
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.  The Commission shall keep an updated inventory of all delegated acts supplementing this Regulation and those developing the Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC, including complete references to all harmonised standards that satisfy the relevant measurement and calculation methods, as of Article 9, and shall make it publicly available.
Amendment 75
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 2
2.  The delegation of power referred to in Articles 7 and 12 shall be conferred on the Commission for an indeterminate period of time from the date of application of this Regulation.
2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles 7, 8(4), 11(1) and 12 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of six years from 1 January 2017.
The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than nine months before the end of the six-year period.
The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period.
Amendment 76
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 3
3.  This delegation of power referred to in Articles 7 and 12 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in this Regulation. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.
3.  The delegation of power referred to in Articles 7, 8(4), 11(1) and 12 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.
Amendment 77
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.  Before adopting a delegated act, the Commission shall consult experts designated by each Member State in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making.
Amendment 78
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 5
5.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Articles 7 and 12 shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period may be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.
5.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Articles 7, 8(4), 11(1) and 12 shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.
Amendment 79
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 1
No later than eight years after the entry into force, the Commission shall assess the application of this Regulation and transmit a report to the European Parliament and the Council. That report shall assess how effectively this Regulation has allowed customers to choose more efficient products, taking into account its impacts on business.
By ... [6 years after the entry into force of this Regulation], the Commission shall assess the application of this Regulation and submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council. That report shall assess how effectively this Regulation and its delegated acts have allowed customers to choose more energy efficient products, taking into account criteria such as its effect on business, energy consumption, greenhouse gases emissions, market surveillance activities, and the cost to establish and maintain the database.
The evaluation exercise conducted pursuant to the first paragraph shall make explicit use of the annual follow-up reports regarding enforcement and market surveillance established by Article 5.
Amendment 80
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 3
However, Article 3(1)(d) shall apply from 1 January 2019.
However, point (d) of Article 3(1) shall apply as soon as the public interface of the product database established pursuant to Article 8 is fully operational, and in any event no later than 1 January 2018.
Amendment 81
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I – title and point 1
Information to be included in the product database
Information to be included in the product database, plus functional requirements
1.  Publicly available product information:
1.  Information to be included in the public interface of the database:
(a)  manufacturer's or supplier's name or trademark;
(a)  the name or trademark, address, contact details and other legal identification of the supplier;
(aa)  contact details of the Member State market surveillance authorities;
(b)  the model identifier(s), including of all equivalent models;
(b)  the model identifier(s), including of all equivalent models;
(c)  the label in electronic format;
(c)  the label in electronic format;
(d)  the class(es) and other parameters on the label;
(d)  the energy efficiency class(es) and other parameters of the label;
(e)  the product information sheet in electronic format.
(e)  the parameters of the product information sheet in electronic format;
(ea)  Member States' education and information campaigns as referred to in Article 4(4);
(eb)  working-plan of the Commission as referred to in Article 11;
(ec)  minutes of the Consultation Forum;
(ed)  inventory of delegated acts and harmonised standards applicable.
Amendment 82
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I – point 2
2.  Compliance information, only available to Member States' market surveillance authorities and the Commission:
2.  Information to be included in the compliance interface of the database:
(a)  the technical documentation specified in the applicable delegated act;
(a)  test report or similar conformity assessment documentation enabling to assess compliance with all requirements in the relevant delegated act, including testing methods and series of measurements;
(b)  test report or similar technical evidence enabling compliance with all requirements in the applicable delegated act to be assessed;
(b)  provisional measures adopted in the frame of market surveillance related to this Regulation;
(c)  name and address of the supplier;
(c)  the technical documentation referred to in point (c) of Article 3(1);
(ca)  direct contact details of the Member State market surveillance authorities and Commission coordination;
(cb)  Member States' and Commission's outcome of the compliance checks and, if applicable, corrective action and restrictive measures taken by the market surveillance authorities as referred to in Articles 5 and 6.
(d)  the contact details of a representative of the supplier.
Amendment 83
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I – point 2 a (new)
2a.  Functional requirements for the public interface of the database:
(a)  each product model shall be organised as an individual record;
(b)  it shall enable consumers to easily identify the best energy class populated for each product group, allowing them to compare model characteristics and to choose the most energy efficient products;
(c)  it shall generate as a single viewable and printable file the energy label of each product, as well as the linguistic versions of the complete product information sheet, covering all the official languages of the Union;
(d)  the information shall be machine readable, sortable and searchable, respecting open standards for third party use, free of charge;
(e)  redundant registration shall be automatically avoided;
(f)  an online helpdesk or contact point for customers shall be established and maintained, clearly referenced on the interface.
Amendment 84
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I – point 2 b (new)
2b.  Functional requirements for the compliance interface of the database:
(a)  strict security arrangements for the safeguarding of confidential information shall be ensured;
(b)  access rights shall be based on the need-to-know principle;
(c)  a link shall be provided to the Information and Communication System on Market Surveillance (ICSMS).

(1) The matter was referred back to the committee responsible for reconsideration pursuant to Rule 61(2), second subparagraph (A8-0213/2016).


European Border and Coast Guard ***I
PDF 246kWORD 92k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 July 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004, Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (COM(2015)0671 – C8-0408/2015 – 2015/0310(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0305A8-0200/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0671),

–  having regard to Article 294(2), and Article 77(2)(b) and (d) and Article 79(2)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0408/2015),

–  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 25 May 2016(1),

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 30 June 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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0200/2016),

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

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 6 July 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004, and Council Decision 2005/267/EC

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/1624.)

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


European Maritime Safety Agency ***I
PDF 242kWORD 63k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 July 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency (COM(2015)0667 – C8-0404/2015 – 2015/0313(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0306A8-0215/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0667),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 100(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0404/2015),

–  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 16 March 2016(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0215/2016),

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

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 6 July 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/1625.)

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


Community Fisheries Control Agency ***I
PDF 254kWORD 62k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 July 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency (COM(2015)0669 – C8-0406/2015 – 2015/0308(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0307A8-0068/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0669),

–  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 (C8-0406/2015),

–  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 25 May 2016(1),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0068/2016),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading, hereinafter set out;

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 6 July 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/1626.)

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


Secretariat of the OLAF Supervisory Committee ***I
PDF 262kWORD 64k
Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 July 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013, as regards the secretariat of the Supervisory Committee of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) (COM(2016)0113 – C8-0109/2016 – 2016/0064(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0308A8-0188/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0113),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0109/2016),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the Court of Auditors of 5 April 2016(1),

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 8 June 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 Budgetary Control (A8-0188/2016),

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

2.  Takes note of the Commission statement annexed to this resolution;

3.  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;

4.  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 6 July 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013, as regards the secretariat of the Supervisory Committee of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/2030.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Commission Statement

The Commission is fully committed to the independent functioning of the Secretariat of the OLAF Supervisory Committee. The main purpose of the proposed amendment to the OLAF Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 is to add further guarantees to the independence of the Secretariat. The implementation of the amended Regulation will be guided by this aim.

As confirmed by Vice-President Georgieva to the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee by letter of 20 May 2016, the Commission intends to attach the Secretariat of that Committee, as of the date of application of the amended Regulation, to PMO. This attachment will be of a purely administrative nature, with a view to facilitating certain organisational and budgetary aspects. It will not affect the independent functioning of the Secretariat.

As also mentioned in that letter, the administrative attachment of the Secretariat to PMO will have no impact on its current staffing and budgetary means. The Head of the Secretariat will be in charge of the management and appraisal of his staff. The appraisal of the Head of the Secretariat will be based on a report of the Supervisory Committee.

The Commission will consider, after consulting the Supervisory Committee, putting in place appropriate internal rules on mobility limiting the duration of the postings of the Secretariat, while ensuring continuity in order to render their independence effective, and avoid risks of conflicts of interests or of revolving doors issues with OLAF.

The modification of the Regulation does not affect the access of the Supervisory Committee to information such as that contained in OLAF's IT systems, databases and documents.

The offices of the staff of the secretariat of the Supervisory Committee will be maintained within the building currently housing OLAF, protecting the independence of the Supervisory Committee and of OLAF while ensuring ease of contact.

(1) OJ C 150, 27.4.2016, p. 1.


Preparation of the post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014-2020: Parliament’s input ahead of the Commission’s proposal
PDF 404kWORD 136k
European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2016 on the preparation of the post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014-2020: Parliament’s input ahead of the Commission’s proposal (2015/2353(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0309A8-0224/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 311, 312 and 323 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  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(1), and in particular Article 2 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/623 of 21 April 2015 amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(3),

–  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(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 April 2014 entitled ‘MFF negotiations 2014-2020: lessons learned and the way forward’(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2013 on the relations between the European Parliament and the institutions representing the national governments(7),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 19 November 2013 on the MFF 2014-2020(8) and on the Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2013 on the political agreement on the MFF 2014-2020(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2013 on the multiannual financial framework(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2012 on the interests of achieving a positive outcome of the MFF 2014-2020 approval procedure(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2011 entitled ‘Investing in the future: a new MFF for a competitive, sustainable and inclusive Europe’(13),

–  having regard to the interinstitutional joint declaration attached to the MFF on gender mainstreaming,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 15 June 2016 on the Mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development, the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Transport and Tourism, the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Committee on Culture and Education, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0224/2016),

A.  whereas the current multiannual financial framework (MFF) was adopted for the first time under the new provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, according to which the Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall unanimously adopt the MFF regulation after having obtained the consent of the European Parliament;

B.  whereas the current MFF, which was agreed on in 2013, reflects the priorities of the Union at the time of adoption; whereas the EU will continue to face in the coming years challenges which were not foreseen when the MFF was approved; whereas EU’s financing priorities have multiplied, while the MFF has remained unchanged;

C.  whereas, in order to ensure the democratic legitimacy of the new MFF and to give the opportunity to the new Commission and the newly elected Parliament of reconfirming and reassessing the EU’s political and budgetary priorities by adjusting the MFF accordingly, a post-electoral revision clause was requested by Parliament;

D.  whereas the agreement on the MFF 2014-2020 was the outcome of a long and strenuous process of negotiations which took place in a very difficult social, economic and financial context; whereas as a consequence the overall level of the MFF was effectively reduced compared to the previous programming period;

E.  whereas, faced politically with the impossibility of changing the overall MFF figures decided by the European Council, Parliament successfully negotiated the inclusion of a specific article in the MFF regulation relating to a compulsory and comprehensive review/revision of the MFF, the establishment of new and enhanced flexibility provisions, and the setting-up of a High Level Group on Own Resources;

Legal framework and scope of the mid-term review/revision

1.  Recalls that in accordance with Article 2 of the MFF Regulation, the Commission shall present a compulsory review of the functioning of the MFF before the end of 2016, taking full account of the economic situation at that time as well as of the latest macroeconomic projections, and that this review shall, as appropriate, be accompanied by a legislative proposal for the revision of the MFF Regulation;

2.  Considers, in this respect, that while a review aims at assessing and evaluating the functioning of the MFF against its implementation, new economic conditions and other new developments, and as such could maintain the legislative status quo, a revision implies a modification of the MFF Regulation, which also includes (besides the legislative provisions) the MFF ceilings, on a basis of due respect for Article 312 TFEU and the limitations on the scope of the MFF revision laid down in the last sentence of Article 2 of the MFF Regulation; recalls that this article stipulates that the pre-allocated national envelopes shall not be reduced through a revision; highlights that no other limitations for the MFF revision were set, so an upward revision of the MFF ceilings is possible; stresses, in this context, that Article 323 TFEU requires that the financial means to fulfil the Union’s legal obligations in respect of third parties are being ensured;

3.  Recalls that Article 311 TFEU states that the Union shall provide itself with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies; considers, therefore, that should the review arrive at the conclusions that the current ceilings were too low, it would be a primary law requirement to increase the ceilings;

4.  Stresses that Article 17 of the MFF Regulation provides for the possibility of revising the MFF in the event of unforeseen circumstances; points to the magnitude of the crises that have affected the Union since the adoption of the current MFF in 2013;

5.  Underlines that the scope of this resolution is to analyse the purely budgetary aspects of the functioning of the MFF and that it will not touch on the legal bases of sectoral legislation; notes, however, that many EU policies and programmes foresee their own review/revision requirements, mainly scheduled for 2017;

I.Review of the MFF – assessing its first years

6.  Considers that a review of the MFF in 2016 should take stock of a number of serious crises and new political initiatives, together with their respective budgetary consequences, which were not anticipated at the time of the MFF’s adoption; notes, inter alia, the migration and refugee crisis, external emergencies, internal security issues, the crisis in agriculture, the funding of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the payment crisis in the EU budget, the persistent high level of unemployment, especially among young people, as well as poverty and social exclusion; furthermore, points to the recent international agreement on climate change and the growing pressure on the development policy; observes that, in order to finance the additional pressing needs, an unprecedented recourse to the MFF’s flexibility mechanisms and special instruments was deemed necessary, as the MFF ceilings proved to be too tight in some headings; considers that, over the past two years, the MFF has essentially been pushed to its limits;

7.  Stresses that the EU budget has to match the political and strategic priorities of the EU and ensure a balance between long-term priorities and new challenges; underlines, in this respect, the key role that the EU budget must play in achieving the jointly agreed Europe 2020 strategy, which represents its main orientation and overarching priority; believes, therefore, that the MFF review should include a qualitative analysis of whether, and to what extent, the objectives set out in this strategy have been attained; insists that this assessment is coupled with a projection on whether the financial resources earmarked in support of this strategy for the remaining years of the current MFF will be sufficient to allow for its successful implementation;

A.Key events and challenges

Migration and refugee crisis

8.  Stresses that the conflicts in Syria, the Middle East and several regions in Africa have had humanitarian and migratory consequences on an unprecedented scale; recalls that the EU has been directly impacted, with more than one million refugees reaching Europe in 2015 alone and more expected in the coming years; recalls that this crisis has led to a major financial response on the EU’s part and, hence, has had a significant impact on the EU budget, notably on headings 3 (Security and Citizenship) and 4 (Global Europe);

9.  Recalls that in the course of 2015 the additional measures approved in line with the European Agenda on Migration have had an immediate budgetary impact, as notably reflected in amending budgets 5 and 7/2015; furthermore recalls that the utilisation of an additional EUR 1 506 million in EU budget 2016 by mobilising the Flexibility Instrument was approved in order to provide additional resources for migration/refugee-related measures under Heading 3 (Security and Citizenship), such as topping-up of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), as well as resources for the three migration-related agencies, namely Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Europol;

10.  Notes that the aforementioned budgetary decisions have completely exhausted the small margin available under this heading and have led to a de facto revision of the ceilings of Heading 3; draws, furthermore, attention to the new Commission proposals which are expected to have an impact on the EU budget, notably the proposal for a recast of the ‘Dublin III’ Regulation, with a total budgetary impact of EUR 1 829 million for the remainder of the MFF period, the proposal for the establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, with an overall budget of EUR 1 212 million for the remainder of the MFF period, and the new emergency support mechanism, with an estimated impact of minimum EUR 700 million in the period 2016 to 2018; stresses that the situation is so critical that the additional appropriations authorised for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) in November 2015 had to be reduced in March 2016 so as to finance even more pressing needs, such as the need to provide humanitarian aid in the EU, addressed by the aforementioned new emergency support mechanism;

11.  Believes that the solution of the European migration and refugee crisis requires a European approach based on solidarity and fair burden sharing; stresses, in this context, that the EU budget should support Member States to alleviate the burden of the costs related to the reception of the refugee, as this will relieve the pressure on the budgets of those Member States facing a particularly high influx of refugees; emphasises that this approach will create synergies and is, furthermore, efficient and cost-effective for all Member States;

12.  Stresses that significant, but still insufficient budgetary means have been deployed to tackle the root causes of the refugee and migration crisis by reinforcing specific EU programmes under Heading 4; recalls the measures undertaken, such as the reallocations in favour of migration/refugee-related actions of EUR 170 million in the course of 2015, as well as the approval in 2016 of an additional EUR 130 million under Heading 4 for migration/refugee-related activities, together with the reshuffling of EUR 430 million under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, the Development Cooperation Instrument and the European Neighbourhood Instrument; recalls, furthermore, that in order to address the external dimension of the migration and refugee crisis the Commission has made various additional proposals having an impact on the EU budget, such as those for the establishment of EU trust funds (the Madad Trust Fund and the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, with an estimated initial budgetary impact of EUR 570 million and EUR 405 million respectively), as well as of the Refugee Facility for Turkey, for which EUR 1 billion is to be funded from the EU budget, not counting possible additional funding; stresses that further pressure on the Union budget will arise from other planned actions announced by the Commission such as the ‘London pledge’ or from events such as the EU-Turkey summit of 18 March 2016; stresses that additional upcoming budgetary means should also allow for the inclusion of the most vulnerable migrants, especially women, children and LGBTI; is concerned, however, that owing to the magnitude of the problems the EU is facing further actions will be required;

13.  Concludes that the magnitude of the migrant and refugee crisis and the financial impact of the measures initiated by the Commission to address this issue could not have been foreseen at the time of the conclusion of the MFF 2014-2020; highlights the fact that, owing to the lack of sufficient resources, the EU has had to set up ad hoc, ‘satellite’ instruments, jointly financed by the Member States, the EU budget and the European Development Fund, namely the EU trust funds (the Madad Trust Fund and the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa) and the Refugee Facility for Turkey; recalls that a lack of overall budgetary strategy to address the migrant and refugee crisis led to Parliament being side-lined as regards the decision on the use of EU budget funds; highlights that the multiplication of such instruments creates a problem of accountability and democratic control in the EU which needs to be addressed; deplores, furthermore, the fact that Member States have failed by far to deliver their expected contributions to the trust funds, thus undermining the success of those funds; reiterates its call on Member States to immediately fulfil their commitments and their responsibilities;

Low level of investment

14.  Recalls that, since the global economic and financial crisis, the EU has suffered from low and insufficient levels of investment; notes, in particular, that in 2014 total investment was 15 % below the 2007 level, which corresponds to an investment drop of EUR 430 billion; considers that weak investment slows economic recovery and has direct repercussions on growth, jobs and competitiveness;

15.  Underlines that, in response to this pressing problem, the new Commission in 2014 proposed an investment plan for Europe and the establishment of EFSI, with the aim of mobilising EUR 315 billion in new investment in the real economy; reiterates its strong commitment to EFSI, which is expected to deliver a powerful and targeted boost to economic sectors that are conducive to growth and job; observes that a number of projects have already been approved and are under implementation; notes that the guarantee provided by the Union for EFSI is covered by a Guarantee Fund of EUR 8 billion constituted in the EU budget;

16.  Recalls that, in order to secure this additional funding, the financial allocation for two significant EU programmes, Horizon 2020 and the Connecting European Facility (CEF), was reduced by EUR 2,2 billion and EUR 2,8 billion respectively, while the remaining EUR 3 billion are covered by unallocated MFF margins; stresses Parliament’s commitment during the EFSI negotiations to reduce as much as possible the negative impact on these two programmes, whose financial envelopes, which were decided only in 2013, suffered important cuts compared to the Commission proposal already during the MFF 2014-2020 negotiations;

17.  Regrets that the portion of the EU budget dedicated to research and innovation has often been the first to be affected by any cuts in the budget; notes that research and innovation programmes generate EU added value, and underlines the key role of those programmes in supporting competitiveness and, thus, in assuring future growth and the long-term prosperity of the Union;

18.  Highlights, in this context, that in accordance with Article 15 of the MFF Regulation, a frontloading of resources was implemented in 2014-2015 for Horizon 2020 (EUR 200 million for European Research Council and Marie Curie actions) and COSME (EUR 50 million), in order to compensate in part for the decrease in appropriations between 2013 and 2014; notes that this frontloading does not change the overall financial envelope of the programmes, leading to less appropriations respectively for the second half of the MFF; stresses, however, that the frontloading for Horizon 2020 and COSME was fully absorbed, thus proving the strong performance of these programmes and their capacity to absorb even more;

19.  Notes also with great concern that that the success rate for Horizon 2020 has dropped to a level of 13 % from the 20-22 % enjoyed by its predecessor (FP7) in the previous programming period; regrets the fact that as a result fewer high-quality projects in the field of research and innovation are receiving EU funding; notes, similarly, the rejection of many high-quality applications relating to the CEF owing to insufficient budget funds;

Youth unemployment

20.  Stresses that youth unemployment remains dramatically high and represents one of the most pressing and serious problems that the EU is currently facing; highlights that 4,4 million young persons under 25 were unemployed across the Union in February 2016 and that this corresponds to a proportion of over 40 % in several Member States, and over 60 % in certain regions of the EU; underlines that the employment rate in the EU is well below the Europe 2020 target; consequently highlights that too many young people are at risk of social exclusion and that more specific actions on including NEETs (young people not in education, employment or training) should be taken; points to the fact that the volume of highly educated and well-trained human resources has a strong impact on Europe´s competitiveness, innovative capacity and productivity, and emphasises, in this regard, the need to invest in education, training, youth and culture; acknowledges, furthermore, the importance of the EU 2010-2018 EU Youth Strategy;

21.  Underlines that the EU budget makes a significant contribution to the fight against unemployment, especially through the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI); points to the indication of the Commission that the designation of implementing authorities has constituted a key challenge for the financial flows of the programme; stresses also that despite the initial delays in this designation and the implementation of the YEI, the current figures indicate full absorption capacity (achieved in part through a significant increase in the pre-financing rate of this programme); notes that an evaluation of this initiative will soon be concluded by the Commission, and expects that the necessary adjustments will be introduced to ensure its successful implementation; considers that the proposed Structural Reform Support Programme could possibly provide a valuable contribution to the improvement of the administrative capacity in Member States in this context; stresses the importance of a continued assessment of the performance of the YEI by relevant stakeholders, including youth organisations;

22.  Is particularly concerned at the lack of new commitment appropriations for the YEI as of 2016, given that its entire original envelope was frontloaded in 2014-2015 (Article 15 of the MFF Regulation); stresses that in supporting this frontloading Parliament never intended that the initiative should be terminated after only two years of funding and that other MFF mechanisms, such as the Global Margin for Commitments (GMC), were put in place with the purpose of ensuring its continuation; recalls, however, that the GMC has been already mobilised only for the funding of EFSI; also notes the frontloading of appropriations, on the basis of the same article, for Erasmus + (EUR 150 million), this being another EU programme that makes a major contribution to improving the employability of young people, which was fully implemented in the first two years of this period; recalls that, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), an efficient Youth Guarantee at the European Union level would cost EUR 21 billion on an annual basis for the eurozone countries;

Internal security

23.  Recalls the recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium and the increased threat levels in other Member States, which call for more coordinated and reinforced action and means at EU level; underlines that the Union has the Internal Security Fund as an appropriate instrument, and has several agencies operating in this field facing increasing pressure; considers that more European action, and therefore more funding, will be needed in this area to provide an adequate response to this threat; stresses that increased cooperation in this area requires reinforcement of the staff of the relevant agencies, which may further increase pressure on the EU budget, and recalls the limited reinforcement of staff levels of the European Counter-Terrorism Centre in Europol financed by redeployment from the Internal Security Fund;

24.  Stresses that given the current actions and legislative proposals aimed at increasing judicial cooperation, additional financial and human resources will progressively be required also for Eurojust, which will have an impact on the EU budget;

Crises in the agricultural sector

25.  Stresses that the tight ceilings for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) until 2020 entail much lower margins than in the previous MFF, while the sector faces more challenges; recalls that this policy is crucial for the income situation of many farmers, particularly in times of crises, and points out to the high annual absorption rate of almost 100 %; recalls the various crises that European farmers have faced since the beginning of the current MFF, most notably in the dairy, pig meat, beef and fruits and vegetables sectors, and the long-term negative effects on European farmers of the losses caused by the Russian embargo on agricultural products; notes the abolition of sugar quotas in 2017 and its possible effect on the sugar sector, with due attention also given to the particular needs of the outermost regions; highlights the budgetary impact of the emergency measures taken in response to these crises, involving EUR 500 million in the budget 2016 and EUR 300 million in 2015 which were financed from the margins in Heading 2; underlines that any reduction in this area would endanger the territorial cohesion of the EU, in particular as regards the rural areas; is, furthermore, against any movement towards a renationalisation of agricultural policy, which would create distortion in the market and unfair competition for farmers;

Environmental challenges

26.  Is concerned that the goal of spending at least 20 % of the EU budget (under the current MFF) on climate-change-related action has not been reached, and that, according to the Commission’s mainstreaming methodology, only around 12,7 % of the EU annual budget is spent on this cause; points to the significant need of financing for climate action, biodiversity protection and the sustainable use of natural resources, which will be further heightened by the effects of the ongoing global warming; notes, in particular, the COP 21 climate agreement reached at the recent Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention in Paris in 2015;

Economic, social and territorial cohesion

27.  Recalls that the cohesion policy is the Union’s main investment policy aiming at reducing the economic, social and territorial disparities between all EU regions and, thus, improving the quality of life of European citizens; highlights its important role in the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, in particular through a clear earmarking of resources for the climate-related actions and for the social objectives, especially to fight the increased poverty, including child poverty, inequalities and social exclusion, and to stimulate employment; calls on the Commission to monitor the full implementation of the above-mentioned targets; considers, furthermore, that while respecting the pre-allocated national envelopes, the structural funds can also provide a valuable contribution to the arising challenges, such as the consequences of the refugee crisis;

Growing pressure on development and neighborhood policies

28.  Notes the upward pressure on global needs for humanitarian aid and disaster risk reduction stemming from the effects of conflicts and wars; points to the Addis Ababa agreement, in which Heads of State and Government affirmed their strong political commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is aware of the need for expenditure in this respect; recalls the EU’s recent renewal of its collective commitment to raise its official development assistance (ODA ) to 0,7 % of its GNI and to allocate at least 20 % of its ODA to basic social services, with a focus on education and health; is strongly against any use of development aid for non-development objectives;

29.  Recalls that the geopolitical situation in the Eastern Neighbourhood is also fragile; stresses the important role of the EU budget in contributing to the stabilisation of the situation in both southern and eastern EU neighbourhood and in addressing these challenges through the provision of support to countries that are currently implementing association agreements, in order to advance reforms and ensure the deepening of the relations between the EU and the respective countries;

Gender mainstreaming

30.  Welcomes the MFF mid-term review as an opportunity to make significant progress towards more effective integration of gender mainstreaming in the MFF and in the implementation and monitoring of the Joint Declaration attached to the MFF in this regard;

Payments backlog

31.  Recalls the build-up over the previous (2007-2013) MFF of a backlog of unpaid bills, which rose from a level of EUR 5 billion at end 2010 to unprecedented levels of EUR 11 billion at end 2011, EUR 16 billion at end 2012, and EUR 23,4 billion at end 2013; warns that this backlog has spilled over into the current (2014-2020) MFF, reaching an unprecedented peak of EUR 24,7 billion at the end of 2014; stresses that, at the insistent request of Parliament, a payment plan has been agreed with the aim of reducing the backlog of outstanding cohesion policy-related payment claims for 2007-2013 to a ‘normal’ level of EUR 2 billion by the end of 2016; points out that at least EUR 8,2 billion of unpaid bills were identified at the end of 2015 for 2007-2013 in the field of cohesion policy, a figure which is expected to fall below EUR 2 billion by the end of 2016; notes that this decrease provides merely temporary relief as it is only the result of submissions of payable claims for both the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 programmes being less than announced; regrets that no action has been undertaken to address the ‘hidden backlog’ identified under other headings; draws the attention to the fact that the situation of 2012-2014 is expected to recur at the end of the current MFF unless no concrete measures are taken;

32.  Regrets that the consequences of this payment crisis have been severe, affecting beneficiaries of the EU budget such as students, universities, SMEs, researchers, NGOs, local and regional authorities and other relevant entities; recalls, in particular, the dramatic shortage of payments in the field of humanitarian operations in 2014, which negatively affected the EU’s life-saving operations; recalls that the Commission had to resort to ‘mitigating measures’ such as reducing pre-financing percentages and postponing calls for proposals/tenders and related contracting; recalls that an artificial slowdown in the implementation of the new 2014-2020 programmes occurred owing to the general lack of payments, an example being an artificial delay relating to EUR 1 billion worth of calls for proposals under Horizon 2020 in 2014, which aimed at ensuring that payments would fall due in 2015 rather than in 2014; stresses, furthermore, that penalties for late payments have been charged to the EU budget, reaching some EUR 3 million in both 2014 and 2015;

B.Substantial use of the MFF’s flexibility provisions

33.  Stresses that, in order to secure the additional appropriations that have been needed to respond to crises or to finance new political priorities since 2014, the budgetary authority has approved a substantial mobilisation of the flexibility provisions and special instruments included in the MFF regulation, after exhausting all available margins; recalls that several of those provisions resulted directly from proposals of the European Parliament, which ranked the call for maximum possible flexibility as one of its key demands in the MFF negotiations;

34.  Notes, in particular, that the special instruments were mobilised to tackle the refugee and migration crisis (full amount of the Flexibility Instrument exhausted in 2016 – EUR 1 530 million; Emergency Aid Reserve in 2016 – EUR 150 million), the payments shortage problem (Contingency Margin activated in 2015 – EUR 3,16 billion), and the financing of the EFSI Guarantee Fund (full use of Global Margin for Commitments 2014 – EUR 543 million); recalls that the decision to mobilise the Contingency Margin in payments is coupled with a decrease in the payment ceilings for the years 2018 to 2020;

35.  Anticipates that any further needs that arise in relation to the migration and refugee crisis in 2016, including the tranche of EUR 200 million for the new instrument to provide emergency support within the Union, should result in the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin as soon as necessary; recalls that no more margins are available under Heading 3, while the Flexibility Instrument has already been used up in its entirety for this year; suggests that further opportunities for flexibility for emerging challenges should be investigated;

36.  Recalls that the legislative flexibility, as enshrined in Point 17 of the Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA), allows for an increase in the overall envelope of programmes adopted by the ordinary legislative procedure of up to +/- 10 % over the seven-year period; notes that ‘new, objective, long-term circumstances’ allow the budgetary authority to depart even further from the original envelope; welcomes the fact that this provision has already been used to allow the Union to respond to unforeseen events by considerably increasing the original annual allocations of programmes such as AMIF;

II.Mid-term revision of the MFF – an imperative requirement

37.  Is convinced, on the basis of the above analysis, that the review of the functioning of the current MFF entails the conclusion that a genuine mid-term revision of the MFF, as provided for in the MFF Regulation, is absolutely indispensable if the Union is to effectively confront a number of challenges while fulfilling its political objectives; recalls that delivering on the Europe 2020 strategy remains the main priority to be supported by the EU budget; stresses the need for the EU budget to be endowed with adequate resources to effectively ensure investments conducive to growth and jobs, achieve economic, social and territorial cohesion, and promote solidarity;

38.  Urges the Commission, when preparing its legislative proposal, to take into consideration the following demands of Parliament regarding changes to the MFF Regulation, with respect both to the figures and to several provisions relating to the functioning of the MFF which need to be applicable already for the current MFF;

39.  Stresses that two legislative proposals with important budgetary implications, namely the prolongation of EFSI and the setting up of an External Investment Plan, are anticipated in the autumn of 2016; expects that all information related to the financing of these two proposals will be made available as soon as possible, in order to be duly taken into account during the negotiations on the MFF mid-term revision; reiterates its principle position that new political initiatives should not be financed to the detriment of existing EU programmes and policies;

40.  Stresses that the modifications agreed on during the MFF mid-term revision should be implemented without delay and integrated already in the EU budget 2017; calls, therefore, on the Commission to present its legislative proposal on the revision of the MFF Regulation as soon as possible, in order to allow for parallel negotiations on the MFF revision and the EU budget 2017 and a timely agreement in that respect;

41.  Takes note of the outcome of the UK referendum of 23 June 2016; calls, in this regard, on the Commission to provide the budgetary authority with all relevant information on possible budgetary implications resulting from this referendum, without prejudice to the outcome of the upcoming negotiations between the UK and the EU;

42.  Notes the important contribution that the EU has made to encouraging peace and reconciliation in Ireland, in particular through PEACE programmes, which are targeted at Northern Ireland and border counties in the south; notes that the result of the UK referendum might create grave problems for the peace process, and undermines the integrity of the peace process and of the Good Friday Agreement; calls on the Commission to continue its support for the peace process through the continued funding of the PEACE programme;

A.Parliament’s demands for the second half of the MFF

MFF figures (commitments)

43.  Is convinced that, while fully confirming the notion of large-scale political and financial support for EFSI, the EU budget should not be financing new initiatives to the detriment of existing Union programmes and policies; intends to deliver on its commitment to fully offset the EFSI-related cuts affecting Horizon 2020 and CEF, in order to allow them to accomplish their objectives as agreed only two years ago, and enable the Union to reach its research and innovation targets; stresses, in this context, that the funding level of the other programmes in Subheading 1a (‘Competitiveness for growth and jobs’) should not be affected by this compensation, pointing to their incontestable contribution to growth, jobs and competitiveness; believes that margins in Subheading 1a are not sufficient for accommodating these needs, hence calls for an increase of the ceiling in this Subheading;

44.  Strongly supports the continuation of the YEI, as a means of ensuring an urgent response in the fight against youth unemployment, following the necessary adjustments brought about by the ongoing evaluation; considers that this can only be achieved through the provision of at least the same level in commitment appropriations for YEI until the end of the current MFF as the one allocated annually to the programme during the first two years of this period (6 billion EUR frontloaded in 2014-2015), subject to the outcome of the upcoming Commission’s assessment; notes that this should entail an upwards revision of the ceilings of Subheading 1b (‘Economic, social and territorial cohesion’), as no margins are available;

45.  Is of the firm opinion that the overall budgetary allocation and pre-allocated national envelopes for the CAP, including direct payment appropriations, remain untouched during the MFF revision; underlines, moreover, the importance of ensuring that the allocation for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is not reduced, in order to allow for the fulfilment of the objectives of the recent Common Fisheries Policy reform;

46.  Considers that the magnitude of the migration and refugee crisis, caused by conflicts and climate change, goes to show that additional needs with significant budgetary consequences may be expected to arise for this purpose in the coming years under Heading 3 (Security and Citizenship); underlines, moreover, that under the same Heading, additional funding will also be needed to back up reinforced action at EU level for internal security in the EU and for the fight against terrorism; asks the Commission to draw up as soon as possible an updated projection of the budget required until the end of the current MFF, to meet all challenges in these fields;

47.  Is, therefore, of the firm opinion that, even with the mobilisation of the small margins available under Heading 3 and existing flexibility provisions, the resources available will not be sufficient to tackle the increased needs under this heading; calls, therefore, for significant reinforcements for the AMIF and the Internal Security Fund, as well as for the Union agencies (Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Europol, Eurojust and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)) that have undertaken new responsibilities operating in the field, as well as other initiatives that can be undertaken; considers that an upward revision of the ceilings under Heading 3 is required;

48.  Expects that concerted action to respond effectively to the external dimension of the migration and refugee crisis, notably the political stabilisation of the European Neighbourhood and the sub-Saharan Africa and the tackling of humanitarian and economic causes of migration, will intensify over the coming years, and will be accompanied by increased requests for funding under Heading 4 (Global Europe); underlines that such requests for additional funding should not be deployed to the detriment of the EU’s existing external action, including its development policy; calls, therefore, for an upward revision of the ceilings under Heading 4;

49.  Asks for increased financial support to the three European programmes that directly concern citizens – Creative Europe, Europe for Citizens and Erasmus+ – as those programmes develop new subsidy lines to react to the current situation concerning the integration and education of refugees and are at the forefront of actions led by the Union and Member States to improve the overall social situation, mutual understanding and living together in our different societies;

MFF figures (payments)

50.  Considers that, as a matter of priority, it is necessary to act to prevent a new payment crisis occurring towards the end of the current MFF; firmly believes that every effort should be made to avoid building up a backlog of unpaid bills like the one that was observed during the previous period; stresses, however, that, at the same time as payment needs should be reaching their normal peak, a significant pressure on payments at the second half of the MFF can already be anticipated; considers that the additional pressure is due, inter alia, to the offsetting of the Contingency Margin against the already tight payments ceilings for 2018-2020, the considerable delay in launching the new programmes under shared management, including the YEI, the payment profile of EFSI, and the additional payments corresponding to the recent increases in commitments in relation to the migration and refugee crisis;

51.  Recalls that payments appropriations are the orderly consequence of past commitments; expects, therefore, that new reinforcements in commitment appropriations will be accompanied by a corresponding increase in payment appropriations, including an upward revision of the payments ceilings; considers, moreover, that the mid-term review/revision of the MFF provides an excellent opportunity to take stock of payment implementation and updated forecasts for the expected evolution of payments up to the end of the current MFF; believes that a joint payment plan for 2016-2020 should be binding, developed and agreed between the three institutions; insists that such a new payment plan should be based on sound financial management and provide for a clear strategy to meet all payment needs in all headings until the end of the current MFF, and to avoid a ‘hidden backlog’ caused by an artificial slowdown in the implementation of certain multiannual programmes and other mitigating measures, such as the reduction of pre-financing rates;

52.  Is determined to settle in an unequivocal way the issue of budgeting the payments of the MFF special instruments; recalls the unresolved conflict of interpretation between the Commission and Parliament on the one hand, and the Council on the other, which has been in the forefront of the budgetary negotiations in recent years; reiterates its long-standing position that payment appropriations resulting from the mobilisation of special instruments in commitment appropriations should also be counted over and above the annual MFF payment ceilings;

Conditionality to ensure fundamental right of the EU

53.  Insists that all countries should assume full share of responsibilities in the context of the refugee crisis and the Decision on the dedicated reallocation mechanism; calls on the Commission to introduce a financial bonus-malus mechanism as regards the Member States’ fulfilment or not of their commitments under measures adopted by the EU; upholds that any financial contribution coming from sanctioning a Member State that does not respect these measures should flow back into the EU budget as an extra revenue;

Extraordinary revenue

54.  Strongly believes that any surplus resulting from under-implementation of the EU budget or fines imposed on companies for breaching EU competition law should be budgeted as extra revenue in the EU budget, with no corresponding adjustment of the GNI contributions; considers that this measure would significantly contribute to easing the payment problem of the EU budget; calls on the Commission to make appropriate legislative proposals in this regard;

55.  Is convinced that decommitments across all headings, resulting from total or partial non-implementation of the actions for which they were earmarked, should be made available again in the EU budget and be mobilised by the budgetary authority in the framework of the annual budgetary procedure; strongly believes that, given the current constraints affecting the EU budget and the additional financing needs that the Union is facing, such provision should also apply to decommitments resulting from the implementation of the 2007-2013 programmes, including the closure of cohesion policy programmes; calls on the Commission to make appropriate legislative proposals in this regard;

Flexibility provisions and special instruments

56.  Stresses that the mere frequency and level of mobilisation of the MFF special instruments over the past two years prove beyond any doubt the worth of the flexibility provisions and mechanisms enshrined in the MFF Regulation; stresses the long-standing position of Parliament that flexibility should allow for a maximum use of the global MFF ceilings for commitments and payments;

57.  Believes, therefore, that the mid-term revision of the MFF Regulation should provide for the lifting of a number of constraints and limitations that were imposed by the Council on the flexibility provisions at the time of adoption of the MFF; considers, in particular, that any restrictions on the carry-over of unused appropriations and margins, either by setting annual ceilings (Global Margin for Payments) or by imposing time-limits (Global Margin for Commitments) should be revoked; believes that, given the current budgetary constraints across several headings, no specific scope should be defined as regards the utilisation of resources under the Global Margin for Commitments;

58.  Stresses, in particular, the mobilisation of the full amount of the Flexibility Instrument in 2016; notes that this instrument allows for financing clearly identified expenditure that cannot be financed within the ceiling of one or more headings and is not linked to a specific EU policy; considers, therefore, that it provides genuine flexibility in the EU budget, especially in the event of a major crisis; calls, accordingly, for a substantial increase in its financial envelope up to an annual allocation of EUR 2 billion, pointing out that this amount is budgeted only in the event of a decision of the budgetary authority for mobilisation of this instrument; recalls that the Flexibility Instrument is not linked to a special policy field and can be mobilised for any purpose that is deemed necessary;

59.  Points to the role of the Emergency Aid Reserve in providing a rapid response to specific aid requirements for third countries for unforeseen events, and stresses its particular importance in the current context; calls for a substantial increase in its financial envelope up to an annual allocation of EUR 1 billion;

60.  Notes the different rules in force as regards the time-span for carrying over unspent appropriations for the MFF special instruments, namely the Flexibility Instrument, the Emergency Aid Reserve, the EU Solidarity Fund and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund; calls for the harmonisation of these rules so as to enable a general N+3 rule to apply to these instruments;

61.  Attaches particular importance to the Contingency Margin, as a last-resort instrument for reacting to unforeseen circumstances; stresses that, according to the Commission, this is the only special instrument that can be mobilised for payment appropriations only, and thus to prevent a payment crisis in the EU budget, as in 2014; deplores the fact that, contrary to the previous period, a compulsory offsetting of the appropriations is stipulated in the MFF Regulation; is of the firm opinion that this requirement creates an unsustainable situation which will in fact lower the annual amounts with regard to the MFF ceilings in the last years of the period and thus create additional pressure on the EU Budget; stresses that the Contingency Margin is, in any event, a last-resort instrument, the mobilisation of which is jointly agreed on by the two arms of the budgetary authority; calls, therefore, for the rule of compulsory offsetting to be lifted immediately with retroactive effect, as well as for an upward revision of its maximum annual amount to 0,05 % of EU GNI;

Follow up of the international agreements on environmental changes

62.  Notes that the COP 21 agreement reached in Paris is a universal, dynamic and differentiated agreement aimed at facing the challenge of climate change; underlines that, under this agreement, EU funding needs to be allocated for supporting climate action in developing countries; stresses that any funding for the possible measures originating from COP 21 should be additional to the current spending on climate actions, and calls on the Commission to present its implementation strategy and first evaluation of the possible impact of the COP 21 agreement on the EU budget in due time for the revision; underlines, moreover, that the revision of the MFF creates an excellent opportunity to ensure that the 20 % target of spending on climate-related actions is reached and to provide for a possible increase of this threshold in line with the EU’s international commitments taken during the COP 21; calls on the Commission to ensure that the mechanism of climate action mainstreaming is fully operationalised and that the current method of tracking of such spending is improved; recalls, furthermore, that the EU is also committed to implement the United Nations convention’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, and underlines that it should dedicate sufficient resources to fulfil its commitments in that respect;

Simplification

63.  Believes that the mid-term review/revision provides for an excellent opportunity for the first-time assessment and evaluation of the functioning of the EU policies and programmes concerned, as well as the operation of the MFF flexibility provisions and special instruments, and expects the Commission to supply an analysis identifying the shortcomings of the current implementation system; pays particular attention to the assessment of the impact on the implementation process of the new elements introduces in the current programming period, such as ex-ante conditionalities under cohesion policy; considers that the mid-term review/revision of the MFF should also take stock of the performance of funds allocated in view of the achievement of their objectives; invites the Commission to come up with concrete proposals to address the possible deficiencies and to improve and rationalise the implementation environment for the remaining years of the current MFF, in order to ensure the most efficient use of scarce financial resources and to reduce the administrative burden for the beneficiaries;

Performance based budgeting / Budget focused on results

64.  Stresses that it is important to show the added-value of EU budget delivery and supports bringing the result orientation culture at the heart of the EU spending; emphasises that performance and output-related assessment should become, where appropriate, a key principle, and stresses the particular applicability of such a principle on innovation-focussed programmes; acknowledges the work of the Commission in the context of the EU Budget Focused on Results initiative, which still needs to be further developed, and awaits the outcomes of the work of the inter-institutional expert working group on performance-based budgeting; considers that this approach can be a vehicle for boosting performance of underperforming programmes; stresses, however, that technical or programming shortcomings cannot lead to a reduction of the EU budget or the abandonment of political priorities, and that better spending alone will not solve the problem of the lack of financial means to address pressing and growing needs; reminds the Commission that Parliament, as one arm of the budgetary authority, must be included in developing the Commission’s strategy in that respect;

Financial instruments

65.  Acknowledges the increased role of financial instruments in the Union budget as a complementary form of funding as compared to subsidies and grants; recognises the potential of these instruments in terms of increasing the financial, and therefore the political, impact of the Union budget; underlines, however, that a shift from traditional financing to more innovative instruments is not advisable in all policy areas, as not all policies are entirely market-driven; highlights that financial instruments provide an alternative and complementary way of funding and should not be used for projects that can only benefit from the use of grants, which are particularly important to less developed regions;

66.  Calls on the Commission to conduct, in the course of the mid-term review/revision, an in-depth analysis of the use of the financial instruments since the beginning of the current programming period; stresses that when assessing a financial instrument, the leverage dimension cannot be the only evaluation criteria; recalls, in this context, the importance of the ‘additionality’ criteria and the assessment of the contribution to the fulfilment of the EU’s political objectives;

67.  Encourages the Commission to identify all EU policy areas where grants could be combined with financial instruments and to reflect on a proper balance between the two; is of the firm opinion that the possibility of a combination of various EU resources under harmonised management rules would help optimise the synergies between available sources of financing at EU level; underlines that increasing use of financial instruments should not lead to a reduction in the Union budget; recalls its repeated calls for greater transparency and democratic scrutiny regarding the implementation of financial instruments supported by the Union budget;

B.Parliament’s considerations concerning the post-2020 MFF

68.  Recalls that according to Article 25 of the MFF regulation, the Commission shall present a proposal for a new multiannual financial framework before 1 January 2018; stresses, therefore, that a number of key elements for the next MFF should already be debated in the framework of the upcoming review/revision;

69.  Considers that the key priorities to be addressed must include adjustments to the duration of the MFF, a thorough reform of the own resources system, a greater emphasis on the unity of the budget, and more budgetary flexibility; is furthermore convinced that the modalities of the decision-making process need to be reviewed in order to ensure democratic legitimacy and comply with the provisions of the Treaty;

70.  Recalls the budgetary principles of unity, budgetary accuracy, annuality, equilibrium, universality, specification, sound financial management and transparency, which need to be respected when establishing and implementing the Union budget;

71.  Underlines that an essential element of the difficulties in agreeing on a multiannual financial framework between Member States is their primary focus on net balances; reiterates its position that the Union budget is not a simple zero-sum game but, rather, an important trigger for convergence and the expression of common policies which create collective added value; urges the Member States, therefore, to change their perception of and approach to the Union budget, that is, to establish the size of the budget based on a thorough assessment of the financial needs deriving from the Union’s legal obligations, its political objectives set out in its programmes and policies as well as international commitments, in order to ensure that the outcome is not another stalemate that will only further disconnect the Union from its citizens; calls, accordingly, on the Commission to produce a study on the savings achieved at national level by Member States as a result of policy action funded at EU level;

72.  Points to the political imperative of setting up a decision-making procedure that guarantees the availability of the necessary financial resources, either at EU or national level, in order to ensure the full implementation of the political decisions taken by the European Council;

Duration

73.  Recalls that, according to recital 3 of the MFF Regulation, the three institutions have agreed to jointly examine the issue of the most suitable duration in the context of the review/revision; reiterates its position that the duration of the MFF should be aligned with the political cycle of both Parliament and the Commission, thus making the European elections a forum for debate on future spending priorities;

74.  Underlines, however, that, especially for programmes under shared management in the field of cohesion policy and rural development, longer-term predictability is essential, given the time it takes to agree on sectoral legislation and operational programmes at national and regional level;

75.  Believes that, given the rapidly changing political environment and with a view to ensuring greater flexibility, some elements of the MFF should be agreed for 5 years while others, notably those related to programmes requiring longer-term programming and/or policies foreseeing complex procedures for the establishment of implementation systems, such as cohesion policy or rural development, should be agreed for a period of 5+5 years with compulsory mid-term revision;

Reform of the own resources system

76.  Underlines the need for a fully-fledged reform of the own resources system, with simplicity, fairness and transparency as guiding principles; is therefore expecting an ambitious final report from the High Level Group on Own Resources by the end of 2016, as well as an equally ambitious legislative package on own resources as of 2021 from the Commission by the end of 2017;

77.  Stresses the need to reduce the share of the GNI contributions to the Union budget in order to exit the ‘juste retour’ approach of Member States; underlines that this would reduce the burden on national treasuries and thus make the resources concerned available for Member States’ national budgets; recalls that the current VAT own resource is over-complex and is in essence a second GNI contribution, and therefore calls for this own resource either to be substantially reformed or to be scrapped altogether; considers it necessary, however, to keep the GNI contributions as an element of the budget, given the need for its function as a balancing contribution;

78.  Calls for the introduction of one or several new own resources, ideally with a clear link to European policies that create added value; notes that a large number of possible new own resources have already been discussed by the High Level Group, such as a reformed VAT, a Financial Transaction Tax, ECB seigniorage, a reformed EU Emissions Trading System and carbon taxation, transport taxation, corporate taxation, electricity or digital taxation; eagerly awaits the High Level Group’s recommendations, in order to proceed and prepare Parliament’s position in this respect; calls, in this context, for the phasing out of all forms of rebates;

Unity of the budget

79.  Underlines the importance of the principle of the unity of the budget, and recalls that according to Article 310(1) TFEU, all items of revenue and expenditure of the Union shall be shown in the budget; is concerned about the recent shift from the Community method to intergovernmental decision-making as observed, since 2014, in the setting-up of the Bêkou Trust Fund for the Central African Republic, the Madad Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, and the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, as well as of the Refugee Facility for Turkey; stresses that this form of financing entails a reallocation of funds under existing multiannual financial programmes negotiated and agreed among the three institutions; highlights that this endangers democratic accountability, as Parliament has been excluded from the setting-up of those funds;

80.  Underlines that according to the Treaty, Parliament and the Council establish the Union budget on an equal footing as the two arms of the budgetary authority; considers, moreover, that full parliamentary control over all expenditure is an essential element of all EU spending; calls on the Commission to preserve the unity of the budget and to consider it a guiding principle when proposing new policy initiatives;

81.  Reiterates its long-standing position that the European Development Fund (EDF) should be integrated in the Union budget, as from 2021, while ensuring the financing of the African Peace Facility and security-related operations;

82.  Stresses that any future integration of the EDF or such ad-hoc instruments into the EU budget entails that their respective financial envelopes are added on top of the MFF ceilings, which will need to be revised accordingly, in order not to jeopardise the financing of other EU policies and programmes;

Enhanced flexibility

83.  Stresses that the rigid structure of the Union budget deprives the budgetary authority of the possibility of reacting adequately to changing circumstances; calls, therefore, for greater flexibility in the next MFF, in particular through more flexibility between headings in the form of flexibility of unspent margins and between years with the aim of fully exploiting the MFF ceilings;

84.  Underlines that in addition to the ability to react flexibly to changing circumstances without prejudice to the agreed programming, there is also a necessity for the Union to be able to react quickly to developing crises, such as the current migration crisis; calls, therefore, in addition to the already existing MFF special instruments, for the establishment of a permanent EU crisis reserve within the Union budget in order to avoid ad hoc solutions like the setting-up of trust funds; stresses that such a mechanism, meant to respond to crises and unforeseen situations, should by its very nature operate as new MFF special instrument and be counted over and above the MFF ceilings;

Decision-making process

85.  Recalls Parliament’s critical stance as regards the manner in which the procedure leading to the adoption of the MFF Regulation for 2014-2020 was conducted; recalls that the adoption of the regulation requires Parliament’s consent; stresses, therefore, that Parliament needs to be fully involved in the relevant negotiations from the outset; considers that the EU institutions should formalise the modalities for the next MFF procedure in an agreement reached at the time of the mid-term review/revision of the MFF, which should take account of the shortcomings of the previous negotiations and fully safeguard Parliament’s role and prerogatives as set out in the Treaties; considers that these modalities should eventually be enshrined in the IIA, as is the case for the annual budgetary procedure;

86.  Considers that the unanimity requirement for the adoption of the MFF Regulation represents a true impediment in the process; calls, in that regard, on the European Council to activate the passerelle in Article 312(2) TFEU so as to allow for the adoption of the MFF Regulation by qualified majority; recalls, moreover, that the general passerelle clause of Article 48(7) TEU can also be deployed, in order to apply the ordinary legislative procedure; stresses that a shift towards qualified majority voting for the adoption of the MFF Regulation would be in line with the decision-making process for the adoption of virtually all EU multiannual programmes, as well as for the annual procedure for adopting the EU budget;

87.  Recalls that the Treaty does not assign the European Council the right to exercise legislative functions; reiterates, in this context, its strong objection to the European Council’s interference in legislation during the last MFF negotiations; demands from the European Council that it limits itself to its tasks as defined by the Treaty, and to refrain from pre-empting policy changes which are to be decided under the ordinary legislative procedure, thereby respecting Parliament’s legislative prerogatives under co-decision;

88.  Insists that the legislative process to adopt the next MFF should be concluded by the end of 2018, following substantial negotiations between Parliament and the Council; stresses that a timely MFF agreement will allow for the swift adoption of all sectorial regulations, and will enable the new programmes to start without delay on 1 January 2021; stresses the importance of better informing national parliaments and European citizens of the challenges of the next MFF through the organisation, when appropriate, of an interinstitutional, inter-parliamentary conference;

o
o   o

89.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the other institutions and bodies concerned, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(2) OJ L 103, 22.4.2015, p. 1.
(3)OJ L 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.
(4) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0378.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0599.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0455.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0456.
(10) OJ C 75, 26.2.2016, p. 47.
(11) OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 49.
(12) OJ C 68 E, 7.3.2014, p. 1.
(13) OJ C 380 E, 11.12.2012, p. 89.


Tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (TAXE 2)
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Resolution
Annex
Annex
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2016 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (2016/2038(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0310A8-0223/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 4 and 13 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Articles 107, 108, 113, 115 and 116 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to its decision of 2 December 2015 on setting up a special committee on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (TAXE 2), its powers, numerical strength and term of office(1),

–  having regard to the revelations of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on tax rulings and other harmful practices in Luxembourg, which have become known as the ‘LuxLeaks’,

–  having regard to the revelations of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), on the use of offshore companies, which have become known as the ‘Panama Papers’, and in particular the documents published on 9 May 2016,

–  having regard to the outcomes of the various G7, G8 and G20 summits held on international tax issues, in particular the Ise-Shima summit of 26 and 27 May 2016 and the outcome of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting held on 14 and 15 April 2016 in Washington,

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 27 July 2015 on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda,

–  having regard to the Report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of 30 November 2015 entitled ‘G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance’,

–  having regard to the ECOFIN conclusions on the exchange of tax-related information on the activities of multinational companies and on the code of conduct on business taxation of 8 March 2016, on corporate taxation, base erosion and profit shifting of 8 December 2015, on business taxation of 9 December 2014, and on taxation policy of 1 December 1997, as well as the note of the informal ECOFIN discussion of the Panama Papers on 22 April 2016,

–  having regard to the Council Directive of 8 December 2015(2) amending the Administrative Cooperation Directive(3),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 of 22 March 1999 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty(4) ,

–  having regard to Council Directive 77/799/EEC of 19 December 1977 concerning mutual assistance by the competent authorities of the Member States in the field of direct taxation and taxation of insurance premiums(5),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing(6),

–  having regard to the Commission’s joint follow-up, as adopted on 16 March 2016, to the recommendations of Parliament’s resolutions on bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to the corporate tax policies in the Union, and on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches (COM(2016)0198) (the CbCR proposal),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal on the Anti-Tax Avoidance Package (ATAP) consisting of a ‘chapeau communication’(7), a proposal for a Council directive on Anti-Tax Avoidance(8), a proposal for a Council directive on the revision of the Administrative Cooperation Directive(9), a recommendation on tax treaties(10), and a study on aggressive tax planning(11),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 2011 for a Council directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) (COM(2011)0121), and to Parliament’s position of 19 April 2012 thereon(12),

–  having regard to the resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 1 December 1997 on a code of conduct for business taxation(13), and to the regular reports to the Council of the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation,

–  having regard to the tax transparency agreement initialled between the EU and the Principality of Monaco on 22 February 2016,

–  having regard to the agreement signed between the EU and the Principality of Andorra on 12 February 2016,

–  having regard to the Agreement on taxation of savings income signed between the EU and the Republic of San Marino on 8 December 2015,

–  having regard to the Agreement on the automatic exchange of financial account information signed between the EU and the Principality of Liechtenstein on 28 October 2015,

–  having regard to the Agreement on taxation to improve tax compliance signed between the EU and the Swiss Confederation on 27 May 2015,

–  having regard to the updated Agreement between Jersey and the United Kingdom of 30 November 2015 and the so-called ‘Change of view on the interpretation of paragraph 2 of the Jersey-UK Double Taxation Arrangement’,

–  having regard to the Guernsey-UK Double Taxation Arrangement as amended by the 2009 Arrangement, signed 20 January 2009 and in force as from 27 November 2009, relating to exchange of information,

–  having regard to Parliament’s legislative position of 8 July 2015 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2007/36/EC as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement and Directive 2013/34/EU as regards certain elements of the corporate governance statement(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2015 with recommendations to the Commission on bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the Union(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2015 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect(16),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2015 on tax avoidance and tax evasion as challenges for governance, social protection and development in developing countries(17),

–  having regard to the various parliamentary hearings and consecutive reports on tax avoidance and tax evasion held in national parliaments and in particular in the UK House of Commons, the US Senate, the Australian Senate and the French National Assembly and Senate,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe’s Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 of 30 April 2014 on the protection of whistleblowers,

–  having regard to the trial in Luxembourg of Antoine Deltour, Raphaël Halet and Édouard Perrin, indicted for their role in publishing the so-called ‘LuxLeaks’ documents,

–  having regard to the state aid decisions of the Commission relating to Fiat(18), Starbucks(19), and the Belgian excess-profit rulings(20), and decisions to open state aid investigations on McDonalds, Apple and Amazon,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect (TAXE 2) (A8-0223/2016),

Overall considerations, facts and figures

A.  whereas the ‘Panama Papers’ and ‘LuxLeaks’ revelations, as made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), have shown the urgent need for the EU and its Member States to fight tax evasion, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning, and to act for increased cooperation and transparency in order to re-establish tax justice, by making our tax systems fairer and ensuring that corporate taxes are paid where value is created, not only among Member States, but also globally;

B.  whereas the scale of tax evasion and avoidance is estimated by the Commission to be up to EUR 1 trillion(21) a year, while the OECD estimates(22) the revenue loss at global level to be between 4 % and 10 % of all corporate income tax revenue, representing between EUR 75 and EUR 180 billion annually, at 2014 levels; whereas these are only conservative estimates; whereas the negative impacts of such practices on Member States’ budgets and on citizens are evident and could undermine trust in democracy; whereas tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning erode the tax base of Member States and thereby lead to loss of tax revenues, weakening the economies, governments’ capacity in terms of public services, investments and social security;

C.  whereas, within a budgetary framework of mutual control, it is unacceptable for resources that should be generated by taxes due in one Member State actually to be generated in another Member State through unfair and aggressive tax planning;

D.  whereas developing countries are disproportionately affected by corporate tax avoidance, which is responsible for an estimated USD 100 billion(23) of annual tax revenue losses, depriving them of the essential resources to fund the most basic services and harming EU development cooperation policies;

E.  whereas the ‘Panama Papers’ revelations reminded us that the issue of tax avoidance goes beyond multi-national companies and is strongly linked to criminal activities, and that offshore wealth is estimated to be approximately USD 10 trillion;

F.  whereas G20 Leaders took action in April 2009, especially requesting offshore jurisdictions to sign at least 12 information exchange treaties, with the objective to end the era of bank secrecy; whereas economists seriously questioned the effectiveness of these measures explaining that treaties have led to the relocation of bank deposits between tax havens, but have not triggered significant repatriation of funds(24); whereas there is no evidence that portfolio investments in offshore jurisdictions were on the decline before, at least, 2014, despite recent international efforts to increase financial transparency; whereas it is too early to assess whether the adoption of automatic exchange of tax information (Common Reporting Standard) will bring changes to this trend;

G.  whereas, according to information provided by the Bank for International Settlements, cross-border deposits in offshore centres between 2008 and 2015 have, on average, grown by 2,81 % annually, while they have grown by 1,24 % only in the rest of the world(25); whereas the most important financial offshore centres in terms of foreign deposits are the Cayman Islands (USD 663 billion), Luxembourg (USD 360 billion), Switzerland (USD 137 billion), Hong Kong (USD 125 billion), Singapore (USD 95 billion), Bermuda (USD 77 billion), Panama (USD 67 billion), Jersey (USD 58 billion) and Bahamas (USD 55 billion); whereas cross-border deposits in European havens such as Andorra, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have been declining or stagnating in the past few years, leading to the supposition of a shift of the offshore activities to other jurisdictions and a restructuring of the offshore industry as a consequence of an increasing number of bilateral tax information agreements;

H.  whereas investment flows to offshore financial centres are estimated to be USD 72 billion in 2015(26) and have risen in recent years by the growing flows from multinational enterprises located in developing and transition economies, sometimes in the form of investment round-tripping; whereas investment flows to special purpose entities represent the majority of offshore investment flows; whereas Luxembourg was the primary recipient of special purpose entities-related investment flows in 2015, whereas special purpose entities related inflows to the Netherlands were also especially high in 2015; whereas the persistence of financial flows routed through offshore financial mechanisms highlights the need to create greater coherence among tax and investment policies at the European and global level;

I.  whereas in April 2016 the OECD was again given a mandate to create a blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions; whereas criteria for identifying tax havens are being defined by the Commission, which has acknowledged the importance not only of looking at transparency and cooperation criteria but also of considering harmful tax regimes;

J.  whereas small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the primary job creators in Europe, having created around 85 % of all new jobs in the EU(27) in the past five years; whereas studies(28) have shown that a cross-border company pays on average 30 % less tax than a company active in only one country; whereas this seriously distorts competition, leads to loss of jobs and equality in the Union and hinders sustainable growth;

K.  whereas aggressive tax planning is defined by the Commission as taking advantage of the technicalities of a tax system or of mismatches between two or more tax systems for the purpose of reducing tax liability; whereas the Commission recognises that aggressive tax planning can take a multitude of forms, leading to a situation in which tax law is not applied as intended by law makers; whereas the main forms of aggressive tax planning include debt shifting, location of intangible assets and intellectual property, strategic transfer pricing, hybrid mismatches and offshore loan structures; whereas companies heard by its Special Committee have mostly reiterated that they pay a lot of taxes and that their behaviour is legal; whereas only a small percentage of companies have so far publicly admitted that corporate tax avoidance is a priority to be addressed;

L.  whereas close to one third of cross-border corporate investments are channelled through offshore financial constructions; whereas the Commission notes that 72 % of profit shifting in the European Union makes use of transfer pricing and tax-effective location of intellectual property, and that the remaining profit-shifting schemes involve debt shifting(29);

M.  whereas bilateral tax treaties allocate taxing rights between source and residence countries; whereas source countries often are allocated the right to tax active business income, provided that a permanent establishment exists in the source countries and that residence countries obtain taxing rights over passive income such as dividends, royalties and interest; whereas such division of taxing rights is essential to understanding aggressive tax planning schemes;

N.  whereas accounting practices consist in portraying the corporation’s financial state by matching revenues and expenses, and gains and losses to the calendar period in which they arise, rather than to the period in which the cash flows actually take place; whereas if taxable income passes from one jurisdiction to another, and both treat it in a different manner, the opportunity to exploit mismatches arises; whereas though royalty payments can be justified for business purposes, without proper fiscal coordination, and whereas they can receive favourable tax treatment in one country, leading to an erosion of the tax base in other countries;

O.  whereas 60 % of all world trade is intragroup, and therefore subject to transfer pricing methodologies; whereas 70 % of all profit shifting is done through transfer pricing;

P.  whereas convergence of tax policies should also be accompanied by greater controls and more investigations of harmful tax practices; whereas the Commission has started new formal investigations regarding the tax treatment of multinational enterprises (MNEs); whereas the assessment of tax policy measures from a state aid point of view is an approach that has recently gained in importance; whereas further reflection and measures in order to better understand and address the interplay between taxation and competition are necessary; whereas the Commission has the option of investigating all cases suspected to be illegal state aid by means of preferential tax treatments in a non-selective and unbiased way; whereas a number of investigations by the Commission in matters of state aid were still ongoing at the time of adoption of report A8-0223/2016; whereas certain Member States have initiated recovery procedures against some MNEs; whereas only a few Member States have carried out spill-over analyses of their domestic tax policies to assess impacts on developing countries;

Q.  whereas the best tool to combat aggressive tax planning is well-designed legislation, implemented in a proper and coordinated way;

Role of specific tax jurisdictions

R.  whereas Parliament has held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Guernsey and Jersey; whereas the Cayman Islands have only appeared at a coordinators’ meeting and not at a formal hearing of the Special Committee; whereas the Isle of Man has declined to appear before the Special Committee and has sent a written contribution instead;

S.  whereas some specific tax jurisdictions actively contribute to designing aggressive tax policies on behalf of MNEs, which thereby avoid taxation; whereas the corporate tax rate in some jurisdictions is close or equal to 0 %; whereas the complexity of different tax systems creates a lack of transparency which is globally harmful;

T.  whereas these jurisdictions have all committed to introducing automatic information exchange by 2017, except Andorra and Monaco which are to do so in 2018; whereas it is important to monitor whether effective legislative changes are already being introduced, to ensure effective automatic information exchange starting in 2017;

U.  whereas loopholes in legislation, ineffective information exchanges and, more generally, non-compliance with control requirements, lack of information on final beneficiaries, and bank and corporate secrecy despite the gradual lifting of bank secrecy laws, are obstacles to ending tax evasion and avoidance; whereas the opacity of such practices is used by some tax agents in the financial sector for aggressive tax practice purposes; whereas initiatives towards automatic exchange of information between countries, beyond the pre-existing bilateral tax conventions, have only recently been introduced; whereas, without effective enforcement, the weaknesses of the systems will encourage tax evasion and avoidance;

V.  whereas some specific tax jurisdictions inside and outside of the EU are not willing to reform their tax systems, despite the ongoing global initiatives and despite the fact that some of them are involved in the work of the OECD;

W.  whereas the hearings organised with Andorra, Guernsey, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Monaco (see Annex 1) showed that the conditions for registration of offshore companies, and the information to be provided in this regard, vary from one jurisdiction to another; whereas full information on the final beneficiaries of trusts, foundations and companies by official tax authorities of some of these jurisdictions is not known or collected, nor is it made publicly available; whereas Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland have signed agreements to exchange information with the EU; whereas the Channel Islands have signed agreements with the UK and have declared their readiness to enter into similar agreements with other Member States;

X.  whereas the legislation in force in some jurisdictions does not ensure good governance, nor does it guarantee respect for international standards as regards final beneficiaries, transparency and cooperation;

Y.  whereas some of these jurisdictions are dependent or associate territories of Members States and, even if self-governing, are thereby partially subject to national and European laws; whereas Member States should therefore consider introducing legislation to ensure that their associate and dependent territories comply with the highest standards;

Z.  whereas some Member States have prepared their own lists of uncooperative jurisdictions and/or substantive definitions of ‘tax havens’ or ‘privileged tax jurisdictions’; whereas there are big differences between these lists as to how uncooperative jurisdictions or tax havens are defined or assessed; whereas the OECD’s list of uncooperative jurisdictions does not serve its purpose; whereas the Commission, in the taxation package of 17 June 2015, published a list of uncooperative tax jurisdictions, established following a ‘common denominator’ approach on the basis of lists existing at national level; whereas a common Union-wide definition and list of uncooperative jurisdictions, though urgently needed, are still lacking; whereas none of these lists contain clear, measurable and exhaustive criteria on how secretive particular jurisdictions are;

Role of financial institutions in aggressive tax planning by MNEs

AA.  whereas some financial institutions, and accounting or law firms, have played a role as intermediaries in setting up complex legal structures leading to aggressive tax planning schemes used by MNEs, as evidenced in ‘LuxLeaks’ and the ‘Panama Papers’; whereas legal loopholes, mismatches and lack of coordination, cooperation and transparency between countries create an environment that facilitates tax evasion; whereas financial institutions are nevertheless key and indispensable auxiliaries in the fight against tax fraud, given the financial account and beneficial ownership information they have at their disposal, and whereas it is therefore crucial that they fully and effectively cooperate in the exchange of such information;

AB.  whereas several tax scandals involving banks became public during the timeframe of this investigation; whereas financial institutions can use several aggressive tax planning schemes to support their clients to evade or avoid taxes; whereas banks can act on the market on behalf of their clients and claim to be the beneficial owner of these transactions towards tax authorities, leading to clients unduly benefiting from tax advantages granted to banks by reason of their banking status or of their residence; whereas, in designing and implementing aggressive tax planning, banks (particularly those with investment banking operations) should be seen as playing a dual role: first, in providing aggressive tax planning for use by clients, often using financial products such as loans, derivatives, repos or any equity-linked instruments; and second, in the use of aggressive tax planning themselves, through their own inter-bank and proprietary structured finance transactions;

AC.  whereas all banks appearing in front of the Special Committee officially denied advising their clients to evade or avoid taxes in any form whatsoever, and denied having relations with accounting and law firms for that purpose;

AD.  whereas some major financial institutions have set up an important number of subsidiaries in special tax jurisdictions, or in jurisdictions with low or very low corporate tax rates, in order to avoid taxes on behalf of their corporate and private clients or for their own benefit; whereas a number of financial institutions have recently closed down some of their branches in those jurisdictions; whereas several financial institutions have been prosecuted for tax fraud or money laundering in the United States, leading to the payments of substantial fines, but very few prosecutions have been started in the European Union;

AE.  whereas banks are operating in a competitive market and are incentivised to promote attractive tax schemes in order to attract new clients and serve existing ones; whereas bank employees are often under enormous pressure to validate clients’ contracts, allowing for tax evasion and avoidance at the risk of being fired if they do not; whereas there are conflicts of interest between, and revolving door cases involving, bank and consultancy firm top employees and representatives of tax administrations; whereas tax administrations do not always have sufficient access to information or means to investigate banks and detect cases of tax evasion;

AF.  whereas it is important to acknowledge that not all complex structured finance transactions (CSFTs) have a dominant tax motivation, and that predominantly tax-driven products are only a small part of overall CSFT business; whereas the amounts involved in aggressive tax planning transactions can, however, be very large, with single deals sometimes involving funding of billions of euros and tax advantages worth hundreds of millions(30); whereas revenue authorities are concerned over the lack of transparency of CSFTs used for aggressive tax planning purposes, particularly where separate legs of these arrangements are executed in different jurisdictions;

AG.  whereas EU credit institutions are already subject to public, country-by-country reporting requirements under the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV); whereas it should be noted that there have been some gaps in these country-by-country reports and that these gaps should be addressed; whereas none of the financial institutions which appeared in front of the Special Committee raised any significant objection with regard to the disclosure requirements; whereas some of them clearly said they were in favour of this requirement and would support it becoming a global standard;

AH.  whereas public, country-by-country reporting regarding certain financial institutions’ documents has shown up remarkable discrepancies between the overall profit made in overseas jurisdictions and the activity, the amount of tax paid and the number of employees in those same jurisdictions; whereas the same reporting has also exposed a discordance between the territories in which they operate and have staff and those from which they derive profits;

AI.  whereas those banks and MNEs that appeared before the Special Committee did not answer fully all the questions of its members, and some of the issues raised therefore remained unanswered or ill defined; whereas some of these banks and MNEs sent written contributions (see Annex 2) at a later stage;

Patent, knowledge and R&D boxes

AJ.  whereas schemes linked to intellectual property, patents, and research and development (R&D) are widely used across the Union; whereas these are used by MNEs to reduce artificially their overall tax contribution; whereas Action 5 of the OECD Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) refers to the ‘Modified Nexus Approach’; whereas the role of the Code of Conduct Group is also to analyse and effectively monitor such practices in Member States;

AK.  whereas the Code of Conduct Group has analysed European patent boxes regimes, but has not concluded its analysis of specific regimes; whereas, in the meantime, Action 5 of the OECD BEPS Action Plan refers to the ‘Modified Nexus Approach’ as the new standard for granting R&D incentives; whereas Member States agreed in the Code of Conduct Group to implement the Modified Nexus Approach in their national legislation as of 2015; whereas they also agree that existing patent box schemes should be phased out by 2021; whereas Member States are seriously delayed in the implementation of the Modified Nexus Approach at national level;

AL.  whereas several studies from the Commission have clearly shown that the link between the patent box and R&D is often arbitrary and/or artificial; whereas this inconsistency may lead to the assumption that these schemes are in most cases set up and used for tax avoidance purposes; whereas tax incentives for incomes generated by R&D, chiefly patent boxes, often result in large decreases in tax revenue for all governments, including those engaging in such a policy; whereas it should be better analysed how best to stimulate much needed R&D and innovation in the EU without creating harmful tax practices; whereas the OECD and the International Monetary Fund(IMF) have also, on several occasions, confirmed that they do not believe patent boxes to be the right tool to promote R&D;

AM.  whereas the central role of patent boxes in harmful tax practices schemes was initially observed in the fact-finding missions of Parliament’s previous Special Committee (TAXE 1) in the Netherlands and the UK, and subsequently confirmed in its mission to Cyprus; whereas similar systems exist in other Member States;

AN.  whereas a particularly pressing problem arises through the outright lack of any harmonised approach among Member States on the issue of outbound payments; whereas in this current, uncoordinated framework, the combination of a removal of source taxation under the Interest and Royalties and Parent-Subsidiary Directives, with a lack of withholding taxes on dividend, licence and royalty fee and interest outbound payments in some Member States, creates loopholes whereby profits can effectively flow from any Member State out of the Union without being subject to tax at least once;

Documents from the Code of Conduct Group on business taxation, the High Level Working Group on taxation and the Working Party on tax questions

AO.  whereas the mandate of the Code of Conduct Group is defined in the conclusions of the ECOFIN Council of 1 December 1997; whereas the Code of Conduct Group documents constitute an essential source of information for the work of the Special Committee (as already outlined in Parliament’s resolution of 25 November 2015);

AP.  whereas it was only five months after the beginning of the term of its Special Committee that some room documents and minutes of the Code of Conduct Group were made available to MEPs in camera on Parliament’s premises; whereas, while additional documents have been made available, some documents and minutes still remain undisclosed, unavailable or missing; whereas the Commission has stated at an informal meeting that it has made all documents originating from the Commission and at its disposal available to the Special Committee, and that any further relevant meeting documents originating from the Commission, should they ever have been in the Commission’s possession, must therefore have been lost;

AQ.  whereas Member States have given unsatisfactory answers to Parliament’s repeated requests for full disclosure of the documents concerned; whereas this practice has been ongoing for several months; whereas these documents have been provided to researchers of the University of Amsterdam after a request based on the Transparency Directive; whereas these documents have, nonetheless, recently been made available, though only on a confidential basis, and cannot be used in public debate; whereas transparency and access to information are essential elements of parliamentary work;

AR.  whereas specific issues have been examined within the Code of Conduct Group without leading to concrete reforms; whereas, for example, discussions on rulings have been ongoing since at least 1999, and there are still difficulties in implementing the recommendations agreed, even after the ‘LuxLeaks’ revelations; whereas examination of patent box regimes was never fully concluded in 2014 and no other examination has been launched, despite the fact that Member States are late in implementing the new Modified Nexus Approach;

The external dimension: the G20, the OECD and the UN; involvement and consequences for developing countries

AS.  whereas the OECD, the United Nations and other international organisations are interested parties in the fight against corporate tax base erosion; whereas there is a need to ensure global harmonisation of practices and implementation of common standards such as those proposed by the OECD in the BEPS package; whereas an intergovernmental forum at UN level, with less selective membership than the OECD or the G20, should be set up so as to allow all countries, including developing countries, to take part on an equal footing; whereas the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors held in Washington on 14-15 April 2016 reiterated its calls for all countries and jurisdictions to implement the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards on transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements; whereas some G20 members have called for automatic exchange of information with respect to beneficial ownership, and have requested that the FATF and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes make initial proposals to that effect by October 2016;

AT.  whereas, as observed during the fact finding mission in the US, there is a lack of transparency, and of a common definition of beneficial ownership, at global level; whereas this lack of transparency has been particularly evident with regard to shell companies and law firms; whereas the United States is currently preparing the implementation of the OECD BEPS Action Plan;

AU.  whereas the BEPS process does not include developing countries as equal negotiating partners and has failed to deliver effective solutions to the tax problems of the poorest countries, as exemplified by the global network of tax treaties that often impedes developing countries from taxing profits generated in their territory;

AV.  whereas cooperation on common tax issues already exists between relevant EU and US authorities, similar cooperation is lacking at the political level, especially as regards parliamentary cooperation;

AW.  whereas a Symposium on Taxation is planned for July 2016 with a view to achieving strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth; whereas the G20 has called on all international organisations, including the EU, to meet the challenges concerned;

AX.  whereas the joint Special Committee (TAXE 2) and Committee on Development hearing ‘Consequences for developing countries of aggressive fiscal practices’ has shown that developing countries face similar problems of base erosion, profit shifting, lack of transparency, globally diverging tax systems and lack of coherent and effective international legislation; whereas developing countries suffer from aggressive tax planning; whereas developing countries’ tax administrations lack resources and expertise to fight tax evasion and avoidance effectively;

AY.  whereas the G20 members have reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that efforts are made to strengthen the capacities of developing countries’ economies and to encourage developed countries to abide by the principles of the Addis Tax Initiative as set out at the UN meeting of 27 July 2015; whereas developing countries’ views and priorities are essential to effective global coordination;

AZ.  whereas the IMF and the World Bank provide technical assistance, including tools for developing countries’ tax administrations regarding international tax issues, in order to improve developing countries’ capabilities of tackling tax evasion, tax avoidance and money-laundering issues, in particular in relation to transfer pricing;

BA.  whereas the Australian Government has announced plans to introduce a Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) on MNEs avoiding tax, to come into effect on 1 July 2017, as well as the creation of a new Tax Office task force;

The work of Parliament’s Special Committee (TAXE 2)

BB.  whereas a number of measures proposed by the Commission are a direct follow-up to Parliament’s resolutions of 16 December 2015 and 25 November 2015; whereas important initiatives included therein have thus now been put forward by the Commission, at least partially; whereas other critical measures called for in those resolutions are still lacking, such as, for example, reform of the fiscal state aid framework, effective legal provisions for the protection of whistleblowers, and measures to curb assistance to and promotion of aggressive tax planning by advisors or by the financial sector;

BC.  whereas the implications for the Union have been analysed and assessed, in particular by Parliament’s Special Committee on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature (TAXE 1), whose work resulted in a resolution being adopted by an overwhelming majority on 25 November 2015; whereas Parliament’s resolution of 16 December 2015 was adopted by a similarly overwhelming majority; whereas the Commission issued a joint reply to the resolutions of 16 December 2015 and 25 November 2015;

BD.  whereas Parliament’s Special Committee TAXE 2, constituted on 2 December 2015, held 11 meetings, some of them jointly with the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Development, at which it heard the Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici, the Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, Jonathan Hill, the Dutch State Secretary for Finance, Eric Wiebes (representing the Council Presidency), experts in the field of taxation and development, representatives of MNEs, representatives of banks, and members of national parliaments of the EU; whereas it also held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Guernsey and Jersey, and received a written contribution from the Government of the Isle of Man (see Annex 1); whereas it also organised fact-finding missions to the US (see Annex 6 to report A8-0223/2016), to look into specific aspects of the third-country dimension of its mandate, and to Cyprus (see Annex 5 to report A8-0223/2016); whereas members of the Special Committee were personally invited to take part in the work of the high-level interparliamentary group ‘TAXE’ of the OECD; whereas the Special Committee held in camera meetings at coordinators’ level at which it heard representatives of the Government of the Cayman Islands, investigative journalists and Commission officials; whereas all these activities, which have provided a wealth of very useful information on practices and tax systems both inside and outside the Union, have helped to clarify some of the relevant issues, while others remain unanswered;

BE.  whereas only 4 out of 7 MNEs agreed to the first invitation to appear before its members (see Annex 2);

BF.  whereas, due to the continued refusal of the Commission and Council to consent to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of Parliament’s right of inquiry, Parliament’s special committees and committees of inquiry still enjoy insufficient competences – lacking, for instance, as the right to summon witnesses and enforce document access – when compared to similar committees of Member State parliaments or the US Congress;

BG.  whereas with regard to tax issues the Council has on numerous recent occasions adopted comprehensive prior political positions without taking into account or even awaiting the positions of Parliament;

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  Reiterates the conclusions of its resolution of 25 November 2015 and of its resolution of 16 December 2015;

Follow-up by the Commission and Member States

2.  Regrets the fact that 13 Member States do not have proper rules to counter aggressive tax planning based on tax-free flowthrough of dividends; also regrets the fact that 13 Member States do not apply any beneficial owner test when accepting a claim for a reduction of or exemption from withholding tax; further regrets the fact that to date 14 Member States still have no controlled foreign company rules to prevent aggressive tax planning and that 25 have no rules to counter the mismatching tax qualification of a local company by another state; deplores the fact that to date not one Member State has called for a ban on aggressive tax planning structures;

3.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to adopt further legislative proposals on corporate tax avoidance, since scope exists for Member States to tighten their anti-abuse rules in order to counter base erosion; strongly regrets the fact that Member States did not discuss Parliament’s recommendations in any Council working group;

4.  Welcomes the Anti-tax Avoidance Package (ATAP) published by the Commission on 28 January 2016, as well as all legislative proposals and communications made since (see Annex 4 to report A8-0223/2016); welcomes the adoption by the Council of the Directive amending the Directive on Administrative Cooperation in order to establish Country-by-Country Reporting to tax authorities, while regretting that the Council did not wait to know and consider the position of Parliament before agreeing on its own position, and did not provide for the involvement of the Commission in the exchange of information; calls on the Council to reach a unanimous and ambitious position on the ATAP and to keep the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive as one single directive, in order to effectively implement the OECD recommendations and go beyond them so as to achieve the EU’s ambitions and ensure the proper functioning of the single market rather than weakening it; strongly regrets the fact that the current Council draft position has been weakened, notably by a grandfathering clause on interest deduction and a narrower approach to the controlled foreign company rule; welcomes the initiative to create a common Union definition and list of uncooperative jurisdictions in the External Strategy for Effective Taxation; stresses that this list should be based on objective, exhaustive and quantifiable criteria; reiterates that in the future, more and binding action will be needed to effectively and systematically combat BEPS;

5.  Considers that the Directive on Administrative Cooperation, having undergone several consecutive ad hoc modifications, on automatic exchange on tax rulings and on Country-by-Country Reporting, should now be recast in its entirety, particularly but not only in order to reduce and eventually eliminate the current exceptions to the principle of exchange of information;

6.  Reiterates its position that multinational undertakings ought to publish in a clear and comprehensible manner in their balance sheets, for each Member State and each third country where they are established, a series of items of information, including pre-tax profits or losses, tax on profits or losses, number of employees, and operations performed; underlines the importance of making this information available to the public, possibly in the form of a central EU register;

7.  Urges the Commission to come forward with a proposal for a common corporate consolidated tax base (CCCTB) before the end of 2016, to be accompanied by an appropriate and fair distribution key which would provide a comprehensive solution for dealing with harmful tax practices within the Union, bring clarity and simplicity for businesses, and facilitate cross-border economic activities within the Union; believes that consolidation is the essential element of the CCCTB; takes the view that consolidation should be introduced as soon as possible and that any intermediate system including only tax base harmonisation with a loss offset mechanism can only be temporary; believes that the introduction of a full mandatory CCCTB is becoming increasingly urgent; calls on the Member States to promptly reach an agreement on the CCCTB proposal when it is submitted and to swiftly implement the legislation thereafter; reminds the Member States that loopholes and mismatches between corporate tax bases and differences in administrative practices can create an unlevel playing field and unfair tax competition within the EU;

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s adoption on 12 April 2016 of a proposal for a directive amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure by companies, their subsidiaries and branches, of information relating to income tax and to increased transparency in corporate taxation; regrets, however, that the Commission’s proposed scope, criteria and thresholds are not in line with the previous positions adopted by Parliament and would therefore not deliver;

9.  Welcomes the agreement reached in Council on 8 December 2015 on automatic exchange of information on tax rulings; regrets, however, that the Council did not take on board the recommendations made by Parliament in its report of 20 October 2015 on the Commission’s original proposal for such a measure; stresses that the Commission must be granted full access to the new Union database of tax rulings; insists on the need for a comprehensive and efficient database of all rulings having potential cross-border effect; urges the Member States to put in place swiftly the necessary legislative framework to start automatic exchange of information on tax rulings;

10.  Underlines that the automatic exchange of information will result in a large volume of data needing to be treated, and insists that the issues relating to computer processing of the data concerned must be coordinated, as must the necessary human resources for analysing the data; calls for the strengthening of the Commission’s role in this work; calls on the Commission and the Member States to carefully monitor and fully comply with the implementation of the Directive on Administrative Cooperation at national level, especially with the objective of verifying how many Member States request tax information through bilateral tax treaties rather than on that legal basis; calls on the Member States to reinforce their tax administrations with adequate staff capacity in order to ensure the effective collection of tax revenues and address harmful tax practices, given that lack of resources and staff cuts, in addition to lack of adequate training, technical tools and investigative powers, have seriously hampered tax administrations in some Member States; calls on the Member States to integrate the information exchanged with fiscal authorities and that exchanged with financial supervisors and regulators;

11.  Welcomes the announcement by France, the Netherlands and the UK on 12 May 2016 that they will put in place public registers of beneficial owners of companies; applauds France for committing to create a public register for trusts; supports the UK’s commitment to make any company from outside the UK either buying property in the country or entering into a contract with the state declare its beneficial owner; calls on all Member States to adopt similar initiatives;

12.  Regrets that the new OECD Global Standard on Automatic Exchange of Information does not include a transition period for developing countries, and that by making this standard reciprocal, those countries that still have low capacity to set up the necessary infrastructure to collect, manage and share the required information may effectively be excluded;

13.  Notes that the Joint Transfer Pricing Forum has included in its work programme for 2014-2019 the development of good practices to ensure that the OECD guidelines on the subject correspond to the specificities of Member States; notes that the Commission is monitoring the progress of this work;

14.  Underlines that 70 % of profit shifting is done through transfer pricing and that the best way to tackle this issue is the adoption of a full CCCTB; calls on the Commission, notwithstanding, to present a concrete legislative proposal on transfer pricing, taking into account the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administration 2010; further underlines that additional efforts may be needed to curb BEPS risks between EU Member States and third countries arising from the transfer pricing framework, particularly the pricing of intangibles, and that global alternatives to the current ‘arm’s-length’ principle should be actively investigated and tested for their potential to ensure a fairer and more effective global tax system;

15.  Welcomes the fact that the Commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager, has categorised transfer pricing as a particular focus area for state aid cases, as it is reported to be a common tool used by MNEs for tax evasion or avoidance schemes such as intra-group loans; notes that guidelines for identifying and regulating tax-related state aid do not currently exist, while this type of state aid has proved to be a worrying tax avoidance tool; calls on the Commission to create guidelines and set up clear criteria to better define what are the limits on transfer pricing in order to better assess state aid cases; supports the conclusions of the investigations of the Commission in the case of Starbucks, Fiat and Amazon; stresses the need for the Commission to access all relevant data;

16.  Regrets that many multinational enterprises heard have not strongly condemned tax avoidance practices and aggressive tax planning; stresses that MNEs can easily grant artificial inter-group loans for aggressive tax planning purposes; stresses that the preference for such debt financing is to the detriment of the taxpayers as well as financial stability; calls, therefore, on the Member States to eliminate the debt-equity bias in their respective tax laws;

17.  Strongly emphasises that the work of whistleblowers is crucial for revealing the dimension of tax evasion and tax avoidance, and that, therefore, protection for whistleblowers needs to be legally guaranteed and strengthened in the EU; notes that the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe have undertaken work on this issue; considers that courts and Member States should ensure the protection of legitimate business secrets while in no way hindering, hampering or stifling the capacity of whistleblowers and journalists to document and reveal illegal, wrongful or harmful practices where this is clearly and overwhelmingly in the public interest; regrets that the Commission has no plans for prompt action on the matter given the very recent and significant whistleblower revelations commonly referred to as, respectively, ‘LuxLeaks’ and ‘the Panama Papers’;

18.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission has launched a public consultation on improving double taxation dispute resolution mechanisms; stresses that the setting of a clear timeframe for dispute resolution procedures is key to enhancing the effectiveness of the systems;

19.  Welcomes the communication ‘External Strategy for Effective Taxation’, which called on the European Investment Bank (EIB) to transpose good governance requirements in its contracts with all selected financial intermediaries; calls on the EIB to establish a new responsible taxation policy, starting from the review of its non-cooperative jurisdictions policy carried out in 2016 in close dialogue with civil society; reiterates that the EIB should reinforce its due diligence activities so as to improve the quality of information on ultimate beneficiaries and to more effectively prevent transactions with financial intermediaries having a negative record in terms of transparency, fraud, corruption, organised crime, money laundering and harmful social and environmental impacts or registered in offshore financial centres or tax havens which resort to aggressive tax planning;

20.  Calls on the Commission to issue clear legislation on the definition of ‘economic substance’, ‘value creation’ and ‘permanent establishment’, with a view to tackling, in particular, the issue of letterbox companies;

Blacklist and concrete sanctions for uncooperative jurisdictions and withholding tax

21.  Notes that so far the only concrete initiative taken by the Commission regarding uncooperative jurisdictions, including overseas territories, has been the External Strategy for Effective Taxation; observes that until now the criteria for listing of uncooperative jurisdictions by the OECD have not proved efficient in tackling this issue and have not served as a deterrent; stresses that there are still third countries that protect illegally-obtained assets, making recovery by the EU authorities impossible;

22.  Calls on the Commission to come up as soon as possible with a common Union definition and list of uncooperative jurisdictions (i.e. a ‘blacklist of tax havens’), based on sound, transparent and objective criteria and including implementation of OECD recommendations, tax transparency measures, BEPS actions and Automatic Exchange of Information standards, the existence of active harmful tax practices, advantages granted to non-resident individuals or legal entities, lack of requirement of economic substance and non-disclosure of the corporate structure of legal entities (including trusts, charities, foundations, etc.) or the ownership of assets or rights, and welcomes the Commission’s intention to reach an agreement on such a list within the next six months; calls on the Member States to endorse that agreement by the end of 2016; believes that an escalation procedure, starting with a constructive dialogue with the jurisdiction where shortcomings have been identified, needs to be foreseen prior to the listing in order to also achieve a preventive effect of the process; believes that a mechanism should be established in order to allow for the de-listing of the jurisdictions if and once compliance has been successfully achieved or restored; considers that this assessment should also extend to OECD members;

23.  Calls for a concrete Union regulatory framework for sanctions against the blacklisted uncooperative jurisdictions, including the possibility of reviewing and, in the last resort, suspending free trade agreements, suspending double taxation agreements and prohibiting access to Union funds; notes that the purpose of sanctions is to bring about changes in the legislation of the jurisdictions concerned; calls for sanctions also to apply to companies, banks, and accountancy and law firms and to tax advisers proven to be involved in illegal, harmful or wrongful activities with those jurisdictions or proven to have facilitated illegal, harmful or wrongful corporate tax arrangements involving legal vehicles in those jurisdictions;

24.  Calls on the Commission to prepare binding legislation banning all EU institutions from opening accounts or operating in the jurisdictions included in the common Union list of uncooperative jurisdictions;

25.  Calls on the Member States to renegotiate their bilateral tax treaties with third countries by means of a multilateral instrument, in order to introduce sufficiently robust anti-abuse clauses and thus prevent ‘treaty shopping’, including a distribution of taxation rights between source and resident countries reflective of economic substance and an appropriate definition of permanent establishment; stresses furthermore that this process would be expedited considerably if the Commission were mandated by Member States to negotiate such tax treaties on behalf of the Union; calls on the Member States to ensure fair treatment of developing countries when negotiating such treaties;

26.  Calls on the Commission to present a legislative proposal for an EU-wide withholding tax, to be operated by the Member States, in order to ensure that profits generated within the Union are taxed at least once before leaving it; notes that such a proposal should include a refund system to prevent double taxation; underlines that such a general withholding tax system based on the credit method has the advantage of preventing double non-taxation and BEPS without creating instances of double taxation;

27.  Regrets that Andorra and Monaco have committed to automatic information exchange by 2018 instead of 2017; points out that some non-cooperative jurisdictions such as Andorra comply with exchange of information standards but are moving towards becoming low-tax jurisdictions; is concerned that the double taxation agreement between Andorra and Spain does not currently ensure effective automatic exchange of information; calls on the Commission to closely monitor the effective application of the automatic exchange of information included in the Member States’ agreements signed with former or present non-cooperative jurisdictions;

28.  Considers that the hybrid mismatch between EU Member States and third countries in the designation of entities, leading to double non-taxation, should be effectively dealt with in European legislation, as an addition to the Commission’s ATAP proposals;

Patent, knowledge and R&D boxes

29.  Notes that to date patent, knowledge and R&D boxes have not proven as effective in fostering innovation in the Union as they should have; regrets that they are, instead, used by MNEs for profit-shifting through aggressive tax planning schemes, such as the well-known ‘double Irish with a Dutch sandwich’; is of the opinion that patent boxes are an ill-suited and ineffective tool for achieving economic objectives; insists that R&D can be promoted using broader policy measures that promote long-term innovation and independent research and through subsidies which should be given preference over patent boxes, as subsidies are less at risk of being abused by tax avoidance schemes; observes that the link between patent boxes and R&D activities is often arbitrary and that current models lead to a race to the bottom with regard to the effective tax contribution of MNEs;

30.  Deplores the fact that certain Member States, in particular within the framework of the Code of Conduct Group, have so far been neglecting this issue and have yet to come up with a proper timeframe to tackle it;

31.  Calls on the Commission, in order to prohibit the misuse of patent boxes for tax avoidance purposes and ensure that if and when used they are linked to genuine economic activity, to put forward proposals for binding Union legislation on patent boxes, building on and addressing the weaknesses of the OECD Modified Nexus Approach; stresses that the Commission proposal should apply to all new patent boxes issued by Member States and that all existing patent boxes still in force must be modified accordingly;

32.  Calls on the Member States to integrate a Minimum Effective Taxation (MET) clause in the Interests and Royalties Directive as well as in the Parent-Subsidiary Directive, and to ensure that no exemptions are granted by the Council;

Banks, tax advisers and intermediaries

33.  Regrets deeply that some banks, tax advisers, law and accounting firms and other intermediaries have been instrumental and have played a key role in designing aggressive tax planning schemes for their clients, and have also assisted national governments in designing their tax codes and laws, creating a significant conflict of interest;

34.  Is concerned at the lack of transparency and adequate documentation within financial institutions and among advisors and law firms pertaining to the specific models of company ownership and control recommended by tax, financial and legal advisors, as confirmed by the recent ‘Panama Papers’ revelations; recommends, in order to tackle the problem of shell companies, the strengthening of transparency requirements for setting up private companies;

35.  Is concerned at the lack of transparency and adequate documentation within national tax administrations pertaining to the effects on competition of transfer price decisions, patent box settings, tax rulings and other elements of discretionary corporate taxation;

36.  Calls for the existing codes of conduct for the tax advice industry to be strengthened, in particular in order to take account of potential conflicts of interest in such a way that they are clearly and understandably disclosed; calls on the Commission to come forward with a Union Code of Conduct for all advising services to provide for situations of potential conflicts of interest to be clearly disclosed; believes this should include a Union incompatibility regime for tax advisers, in order to prevent conflicts of interests while advising both public and private sectors and to prevent other conflicts of interest;

37.  Draws attention to the risks of conflicts of interest stemming from the provision within of legal, tax advising and auditing services within the same accountancy firms; stresses, therefore, the importance of clear separation between these services; asks the Commission to ensure the proper monitoring and implementation of the legislation aimed at preventing such conflicts, and to study the need to revise the Audit Directive, in particular the provisions of its Article 22, as well as the Audit Regulation, in particular the provisions of its Article 5 and the definition of the ‘material effect’ of non-audit service therein;

38.  Asks the Commission to undertake an investigation into the interconnectedness of academia and the tax advisory world, addressing as a minimum the issues of conflicts of interest;

39.  Calls on the Member States to establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, including criminal sanctions, on company managers involved in tax evasion, as well as the possibility of revoking business licences for professionals and companies proved to be involved in designing, advising on the use of, or utilising illegal tax planning and evasion schemes; requests that the Commission explore the feasibility of introducing proportional financial liability for tax advisers engaged in unlawful tax practices;

40.  Calls on the Commission to analyse the possibility of introducing proportional financial liability for banks and financial institutions facilitating transfers to known tax havens, as defined by the future common Union list of tax havens and uncooperative tax jurisdictions;

41.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the requirements on banks to report to the Member States’ tax authorities transfers to and from jurisdictions included on the common Union list of tax havens and uncooperative tax jurisdictions; calls on Member States to ensure that banks and other financial institutions provide similar information to regulating and tax authorities; calls on Member States to strengthen the capacity of their tax administrations to investigate cases of tax evasion and avoidance;

42.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal introducing a mandatory disclosure requirement for banks, tax advisers and other intermediaries concerning complex structures and special services that are linked to jurisdictions included on the common EU list of tax havens and non-cooperative jurisdictions which are designed for and being used by clients to facilitate tax evasion, tax fraud, money laundering or terrorist financing;

43.  Calls on the Commission(31) to introduce specific common minimum anti-abuse rules aimed at denying benefits arising from certain hybrid asset transfers(32) whose effect is often the deduction of the income in one state without inclusion in the tax base of the other or the generation of abusive foreign tax credit transactions;

Whistleblowers

44.  Reiterates the crucial role of whistleblowers in revealing misconduct, including illegal or wrongful practices; considers that such revelations, which shine a light on the magnitude of tax evasion, tax avoidance and money-laundering, are clearly in the public interest, as demonstrated in the recent ‘LuxLeaks’ and ‘Panama Papers’ revelations that showed the magnitude of the phenomenon of transferring assets to low-tax jurisdictions; recalls that the possibility of detecting and prosecuting tax violators is crucially dependent on data availability and data quality;

45.  Regrets that the Commission is limiting its action to monitoring developments in different areas of Union competences, without planning to take any concrete steps to tackle the issue; is concerned that this lack of protection could endanger the publication of new revelations, thereby potentially leading to Member States losing legitimate tax revenue; deeply regrets that the Commission has not provided a satisfactory response to the demands contained in paragraphs 144 and 145 of Parliament’s resolution of 25 November 2015, or to the recommendations of Parliament’s resolution of 16 December 2015, and in particular to the request to come up with a clear legal framework on the protection of whistleblowers and the like by the end of 2016;

46.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to propose as soon as possible a clear legal framework to guarantee the effective protection of whistleblowers, as well as of journalists and other persons connected with the press who aid and facilitate them; calls on the Member States to revise their current legislation on the protection of whistleblowers by including the possibility of abstention from prosecution in cases in which whistleblowers have acted in the public interest; invites it to consider as a model the best examples of legislation in terms of protection of whistleblowers already in force in some Member States;

Code of Conduct Group and interinstitutional issues

47.  Regrets, that despite the fact that its first and second Special Committees (TAXE 1 and TAXE 2) have both on repeated occasions requested full access to Code of Conduct Group documents and minutes, only a limited number of new documents have been made available for in camera consultation by MEPs, and that this was only achieved five months after the beginning of the mandate of TAXE 2; notes that some of these documents should have been made public to allow for public scrutiny and an open political debate on their content; notes furthermore that the willingness of the Council to satisfy this request remains unsatisfactory;

48.  Deplores the fact that the Commission, despite having provided some internal minutes of the meetings of the Code of Conduct Group, was unable to keep all records of the documents distributed; considers that it is the duty of the Commission to keep all traces and records of all information and documents circulated within the remit of the Code of Conduct Group, in order to assess the compliance of the Member States’ measures pursuant to the Treaty; calls on the Commission to take urgent action to improve this situation by retrieving all the documents; calls on the Council and the Member States to cooperate with the Commission on this matter;

49.  Urges Member States to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the working methods of the Code of Conduct Group, as they are one of the factors hampering concrete potential improvement in terms of tackling harmful tax practices; regrets not having received several room documents from the Code of Conduct Group emanating from the Council or the Member States which are critical to the good implementation of the Special Committee’s mandate; calls for the regular publication of the results of its supervision as regards the degree of compliance of Member States with the recommendations made; asks the Code of Conduct Group to produce a publicly accessible annual report identifying and describing the most harmful tax practices used by Member States during the year; reiterates its request to the Council in 2015 to set up a ‘tax committee’ at political level;

50.  Determines from public information that the Code of Conduct Group looked at 421 measures between 1998 and 2014 and considered 111 of them harmful (26 %), but that two thirds of those measures were examined during the first five years of existence of the Group; notes that the scrutiny of measures by Member States has decreased over the years, with only 5 % of total measures having been examined in 2014, and regrets that no harmful tax measures have been found by the Group since November 2012; concludes that the Code of Conduct Group has not been operational in full working over the past decade and that its governance and mandate need urgent revision;

51.  Reiterates its call of 2015 on the Commission to provide an update to the 1999 Simmons & Simmons report on administrative practices mentioned in paragraph 26 of the 1999 Code of Conduct Group report (the Primarolo report (SN 4901/99));

52.  Stresses that even if the Code of Conduct has enabled some improvements, the self-notification of potentially harmful measures by Member States is not efficient, the criteria for identifying harmful measures are outdated and the unanimity principle for reaching decisions on harmfulness has not proven effective; regrets that several Member States are opposing a necessary reform of the Code of Conduct Group; urges the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to take the necessary steps to reform, as soon as possible, the criteria for identifying harmful measures and governance aspects of the Code of Conduct Group (including decision-making structure and monitoring of agreed rollback and standstill, avoidance of potential procrastination, sanctions in case of non-compliance), in order to increase its public transparency and accountability and ensure the strong involvement and access to information of Parliament; points out the shortcomings and other relevant information mentioned in Annex 3; notes further that if one compares the Commission list of all tax regimes formally assessed by the Code Group with the respective meeting documents at the point of decision and thereafter, it is firstly in many cases unclear how a decision has been reached, e.g. why regimes for which there were grounds to suppose that they would be harmful were declared non-harmful in the end, and also, secondly, concerning those cases where attested harmfulness was the outcome of the assessment, whether the ensuing rollback procedures have been concluded satisfactorily by Member States; highlights that, therefore, Member States did not comply with the obligations set out in Council Directives 77/799/EEC and 2011/16/EU since they did not spontaneously exchange tax information, even in cases where there were clear grounds, despite the margin of discretion left by those directives for expecting that there may be tax losses in other Member States or that tax savings may result from artificial transfers of profits within groups; stresses that the Commission did not fulfil its role of guardian of the Treaties, as established in Article 17(1) TEU, by not acting in this matter and taking all necessary steps to ensure that Member States comply with their obligations, in particular those set out in Council Directives 77/799/EEC and 2011/16/EU, despite evidence to the contrary;

53.  Notes that a pattern of systematic obstruction by some Member States to achieving any progress on fighting tax avoidance became clear to the Special Committee; notes that discussions on administrative practices (rulings) were going on in the Code of Conduct for nearly two decades; condemns the fact that several Member States were reluctant to agree on exchanging information about their ruling practices before LuxLeaks and are still reluctant to implement in national law the model instruction developed in the Code of Conduct Group despite their commitments after the LuxLeaks revelations;

54.  Calls on the Commission to grant Parliament permanent, timely and regular access to the room documents and minutes of the Council groups working on tax matters, including the Code of Conduct on Business Taxation, the High Level Working Group and the Working Party on Tax Questions; suggests to the Commission that it use the agreement reached with Parliament on access to SSM/ECB minutes as an example for that purpose;

55.  Calls on the Commission, in case of an unsatisfactory response on the part of the Member States, to present a legislative proposal, preferably under Article 116 of TFEU or Article 352 TFEU or under enhanced cooperation in order to improve the effectiveness of the Code of Conduct Group;

56.  Calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to take urgent action against tax fraud, tax evasion, tax havens and aggressive tax planning, from both demand and supply sides; regrets that the Council and in particular some Member States have for a number of years not taken any decisive action on these issues, and reminds Member States of the possibility available to them of establishing systems of enhanced cooperation (between at least 9 Member States) in order to speed up action on harmful and illegal tax practices;

57.  Calls for the creation of a new Union Tax Policy Coherence and Coordination Centre within the structure of the Commission, to safeguard the proper and coherent functioning of the single market and the implementation of international standards; believes that this new Centre should be in charge of assessing and monitoring Member States’ tax policies at Union level, ensuring that no new harmful tax measures are implemented by Member States, monitoring compliance of Member States with the common Union list of uncooperative jurisdictions, ensuring and fostering cooperation between national tax administrations (e.g. training and exchange of best practices), and initiating academic programmes in the field; believes that by doing so this Centre could help prevent new tax loopholes emerging thanks to uncoordinated policy initiatives between Member States, and counteract tax practices and standards that would upset, obstruct or interfere in the proper functioning and rationale of the single market; believes that this Centre could also serve as a point of contact for whistleblowers, in case Member States and national tax administrations do not act upon the revelation of tax evasion and avoidance or do not carry out appropriate investigations on the matter; considers that the Centre could benefit from the pooling of expertise at Union and national level, so as to reduce the burden on the taxpayer;

External dimension

58.  Welcomes the renewed focus at G8 and G20 level on tax issues, which should lead to new recommendations; calls on the Commission to maintain a coherent position on behalf of the Union at the upcoming G20 meetings and ad hoc symposia; requests the Commission to regularly inform Parliament about the findings and possible consequences of G20 decisions on combating corporate tax base erosion, aggressive tax planning practices and any illicit financial flows;

59.  Calls on the Union, the G20, the OECD and the UN to cooperate further to promote global guidelines that will also be beneficial to developing countries;

60.  Supports the creation of a global body within the UN framework, well-equipped and with sufficient additional resources, to ensure that all countries can participate on an equal footing in the formulation and reform of global tax policies; calls on the EU and the Member States to start working on an ambitious Global Tax Summit and to aim to create such an intergovernmental body;

61.  Calls on international fora to agree on a more stringent and precise definition of beneficial ownership in order to ensure increased transparency;

62.  Invites the Commission and the Member States, where appropriate, to conduct spill-over analysis of national and EU tax policies, in order to assess the impact on developing countries ;

63.  Points out that illicit outflows are a major explanation for developing country debt, while aggressive tax planning is contrary to the principles of corporate social responsibility;

64.  Calls on the Commission to include in all trade and partnership agreements good governance clauses referring in particular to compliance with the relevant OECD recommendations pertaining to the field of taxation (e.g. the BEPS initiative) and ensuring that trade and partnership agreements cannot be misused by companies or intermediaries to avoid or evade taxes or launder revenues from illegal activities;

65.  Calls on the OECD and other international bodies to start working on an ambitious BEPS II, to be based primarily on minimum standards and concrete objectives for implementation;

66.  Stresses that the coordination between the Commission and the Member States which are members of the FATF should be improved in order for the EU to make its voice heard; stresses the need for detailed implementation guidelines, for developing countries in particular, as well as the monitoring of the development of new harmful taxation measures;

67.  Calls, in this regard, for the creation of a parliamentary monitoring group at OECD level to observe and scrutinise the formulation and implementation of this initiative;

68.  Calls for the establishment of a structured dialogue between the European Parliament and the US Congress on international tax issues; suggests setting up formal interparliamentary fora to deal with these issues and also utilising the existing Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue framework in this regard; encourages the EU and the US to cooperate on the implementation of the OECD BEPS project; takes notes of a significant lack of reciprocity between the US and the EU in the framework of the FATCA agreement; encourages enhanced cooperation between the US and the EU in the framework of the FATCA agreement in order to ensure reciprocity, and invites all parties involved to take part proactively in its implementation;

69.  Welcomes the pilot project for the automatic exchange of beneficial ownership information between tax authorities launched in April 2016 by the five largest EU Member States; calls, in line with the stated intention of these countries, for this initiative to be extended and to constitute the basis for a global standard of information exchange similar to the one existing for financial account information;

70.  Calls, as the next step in the process of enhancing the availability of beneficial ownership information and the effectiveness of the exchange of such information, for the establishment of a public Union register of beneficial ownership, including harmonised standards of access to beneficial ownership information and presenting all necessary data protection safeguards, which would form the basis of a global initiative in this regard; stresses the vital role of institutions such as the OECD and the UN in this connection;

71.  Asks for a study on the feasibility of a global register of all financial assets held by individuals, companies and all entities such as trusts and foundations, to which tax authorities would have full access and which would include appropriate safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information retained therein;

72.  Stresses the need for a common and comprehensive EU/US approach on the implementation of OECD standards and on beneficial ownership; stresses furthermore that good tax governance clauses should be included in any future trade treaties in order to ensure a level playing field, create more value for society as a whole and combat tax fraud and avoidance, and achieve leadership on the part of the transatlantic partners in the promotion of good tax governance;

Other recommendations

73.  Calls on all national parliaments to work together to ensure proper control and coherence of tax systems between Member States; calls for national parliaments to remain vigilant as to the decisions of their governments in this matter and to increase their own commitment to the work of interparliamentary forums on tax matters;

74.  Calls on the Commission to investigate all cases of illegal state aid brought to its attention in order to ensure equality before the law in the Union; calls on the Commission to respond on a ‘decision with recovery’ basis in all cases where the alleged tax advantage is considered illegal state aid; is concerned at the allegations that Luxembourg could be granting oral rulings in order to circumvent its obligation to share information under the directive on administrative cooperation; calls on the Commission to monitor and report whether Member States are replacing one harmful practice by another after legislative progress has been achieved at Union level; calls on the Commission to monitor and report any case of market distortion due to the granting of specific tax advantage;

75.  Stresses the potential of digital solutions for effective tax collection in gathering tax data directly from operations in the sharing economy and in lowering the overall workload of tax authorities in Member States;

76.  Takes note of the revelations in the ‘Panama Papers’ that documented systematic use of shell companies by companies as well as private citizens in order to conceal taxable assets and the proceeds of corruption and organised crime; welcomes Parliament’s decision to set up a committee of inquiry in this regard and to continue working on tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering; underlines the immense political importance of analysing the modus operandi of the tax authorities and the companies involved in the practices described with a view to tackling legislative loopholes;

77.  Notes that further work is needed on access to documents of the Member States, the Commission and the Code of Conduct Group; reiterates that further analysis of the documents already made available to Parliament is needed in order to adequately gauge the need for further political action and policy initiatives; calls on the upcoming committee of inquiry to continue this work and adopt a different format from that of the Special Committee, following more closely the model of an interrogative committee such as the Public Accounts Committee in the UK;

78.  Calls on the Council to fully take advantage of the consultation procedure with Parliament, which in particular means waiting for input from Parliament before reaching a political agreement and striving to take on board Parliament´s position;

79.  Commits to continuing the work initiated by its Special Committee, addressing the obstacles encountered in the fulfilment of its mandate, and ensuring a proper follow-up of its recommendations; instructs its competent authorities to identify the best institutional set-up for achieving this;

80.  Calls on its competent committee to follow up on these recommendations in its upcoming legislative initiative report on the same topic;

o
o   o

81.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the national parliaments, the UN, the G20 and the OECD.

ANNEX 1

LIST OF PERSONS MET

(COMMITTEE MEETINGS, COORDINATORS AND MISSIONS)

Date

Speakers

11.1.2016

—  Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs

17.2.2016

—  Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs

29.2.2016

Exchange of views with Council Presidency

In the presence of Eric Wiebes, Dutch State Secretary for Finance

14-15.3.2016

Exchange of views with Jurisdictions

Rob Gray, Director of Income Tax, Guernsey;

Colin Powell, Adviser on international affairs to the Chief Minister, Jersey;

Clàudia Cornella Durany, Secretary of State for International Financial Affairs, Andorra;

Katja Gey, Director for International Financial Affairs, Liechtenstein;

Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance and Economy, Monaco.

Exchange of views with MNEs

Cathy Kearney, Vice President of European Operations, Apple

Julia Macrae, Tax Direcof EMEIA, Apple;

Adam Cohen, Head of Econmic Policy (EMEA), Google;

Søren Hansen, Chief Executive Officer, Inter-Ikea Group;

Anders Bylund, Head of Group Communications; Inter-Ikea Group;

Irene Yates, Vice President Corporate Tax; McDonald’s.

Exchange of views with Investigative Journalists – in camera

Véronique Poujol, Paperjam;

Markus Becker, Der Spiegel.

21.3.2016

Exchange of views with European Banks (Part I)

Jean-Charles Balat, Financial Director, Crédit Agricole SA;

Rob Schipper, Global Head of Tax, ING;

Eva Jigvall, Head of Tax, Nordea;

Monica Lopez-Monís, Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Executive Vice-President, Banco Santander;

Christopher St. Victor de Pinho, Managing Director, Global Head of Group Tax, UBS Group AG;

Stefano Ceccacci, Head of Group Tax Affairs, Unicredit.

4.4.2016

—  Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition

Exchange of views with European Banks (Part II)

Brigitte Bomm, Managing Director, Global Head of Tax, Deutsche Bank AG;

Grant Jamieson, Head of Tax, Royal Bank of Scotland;

Graeme Johnston, Head of International Tax, Royal Bank of Scotland.

15.4.2016

Mission to Cyprus

Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs;

Michael Kammas, Director General, Aristio Stylianou, Chairman and George Appios, Vice-Chairman of the Association of Cyprus Banks;

Christos Patsalides, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance;

George Panteli, Head of Tax policy, Ministry of Finance;

Yannakis Tsangaris, Tax Commissioner;

Alexander Apostolides, University of Cyprus;

Maria Krambia-Kapardis, Chair of the Executive Committee of Transparency International;

Costas Markides, Board Member, International Tax, KPMG Limited and the Cyprus Investment Funds Association;

Natasa Pilides, Director General, The Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency;

Kyriakos Iordanou, General Manager, Mr Pieris Marcou, Mr Panicos Kaouris, Mr George Markides, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus;

Christos Karidis, Head of Economics Research of the Confederation Department and the Secretary of the Association of Employed Consumers;

Nikos Grigoriou, Head of the Department of Economic and Social Policy of the Pan-Cyprian Federation of Labour.

18.4.2016

Interparliamentary meeting on ‘The Anti-Tax Avoidance Package and other EU and international developments: Scrutiny and democratic control by National Parliaments’

Exchange of views with Jurisdictions (part II) – in camera

Wayne Panton, Minister of Financial Services, Commerce and Environment, Cayman Islands

20.4.2016

Joint ECON/JURI/TAXE meeting

Jonathan Hill, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union

2.5.2016

High-level Meeting of the OECD Parliamentary Group on Tax in association with the European Parliament Special Committee on Tax Rulings, Paris

Pascal Saint-Amans, Director, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration;

Valère Moutarlier, Director, Directorate General for Taxation and Customs at the European Commission;

Michèle André, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee;

Meg Hillier, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

17-20.5.2015

Mission to the United States of America (Washington DC)

David O’Sullivan, EU Ambassador;

Elise Bean, former Director and Chief Counsel of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations;

Orrin Grant Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, President Pro Tempore of the Senate;

Dr Charles Boustany, Chairman of the Tax Policy Subcommittee;

Sander Levin, Congressman, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee;

Richard Neal, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Tax Policy;

Earl Blumenauer, Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means;

Lloyd Doggett, Member of Ways and Means Committee, Ranking Member of Subcommittee on Human Resources (and possibly other Democratic Members);

Anders Aslund, Resident Senior Fellow, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council;

Gianni Di Giovanni, Chairman of Eni USA R&M, Eni;

The Hon. Boyden Gray, Founding Partner, Boyden Gray& Associates

Jillian Fitzpatrick, Director, Government Affairs and Public Policy, S&P Global;

Marie Kasparek, Assistant Director, Global Business and Economics Program, Atlantic Council;

Benjamin Knudsen, Intern, Global Business and Economics Program, Atlantic Council;

Jennifer McCloskey, Director, Government Affairs, Information Technology Industry Council;

Susan Molinari, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google;

Andrea Montanino, Director, Global Business and Economics Program, Atlantic Council;

Álvaro Morales Salto-Weis, Intern, Global Business and Economics Program, Atlantic Council;

The Hon. Earl Anthony Wayne, Non-resident Fellow, Atlantic Council;

Alexander Privitera, Senior Fellow, Johns Hopkins University;

Bill Rys, Director, Federal Government Affairs, Citigroup;

Pete Scheschuk, Senior Vice President, Taxes, S&P Global;

Garret Workman, Director, European Affairs, US Chamber of Commerce;

Caroline D. Ciraolo, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Tax Division, Department of Justice;

Thomas Sawyer, Senior Litigation Counsel For International Tax Matters;

Todd Kostyshak, Counsel to the Deputy Assistant Attorney-General for Criminal Tax Matters, Department of Justice (DoJ);

Mark J. Mazur, Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy) – US Department of the Treasury;

Robert Stack, Deputy Assistant Secretary (International Tax Affairs) – US Department of the Treasury;

Scott A. Hodge, President of the Tax Foundation – Tax Foundation;

Gavin Ekins, Research Economist – Tax Foundation;

Stephen J. Entin, Senior Fellow – Tax Foundation;

Scott Greenberg, Analyst – Tax Foundation;

John C. Fortier, Director of the Democracy Project, Bipartisan Policy Center;

Shai Akabas, Associate Director of Bipartisan Policy Center, Economic Policy Project;

Eric Toder, Co-director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center;

Gawain Kripke, Director of Policy and Research – OXFAM America;

Didier Jacobs, Senior Economist – OXFAM America;

Nick Galass, leads on the Oxfam’s economic inequality research OXFAM America;

Robbie Silverman, Senior Advisor OXFAM America;

Vicki Perry, Assistant Director in the Fiscal Affairs Department and Division Chief of the Tax Policy Division (IMF);

Ruud De Mooij, Deputy Division Chief in the Tax Policy Division (IMF);

Hamish Boland-Rudder, ICIJ’s online editor;

Jim Brumby, Director, Public Service and Performance, Governance Global Practice;

Marijn Verhoeven, Economist in the Global Practice on Governance;

Guggi Laryea, European Civil Society and European Parliament; Relations Lead External and Corporate Relations;

Rajul Awasthi, Senior Public Sector Specialist in the Governance Global Practice;

Xavier Becerra, Congressman, Chairman of the House Democratic Conference;

Ron Kind, Congressman, Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

24.5.2015

Joint TAXE/DEVE Public Hearing on Consequences of aggressive fiscal practises for developing countries

Dr Attiya Waris, Senior Lecturer, Law School, University of Nairobi;

Dr Manuel Montes, Senior Advisor on Finance and Development, The South Centre;

Mrs Aurore Chardonnet, OXFAM Tax and Inequality EU Policy Advisor;

Mr Savior Mwambwa, ActionAid International, Tax Power Campaing Manager;

Ms Tove Ryding, EURODAD, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Tax Justice;

Mr Sol Picciotto, Professor, Lancaster University.

ANNEX 2

MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS AND BANKS INVITED

TO APPEAR IN COMMITTEE MEETINGS

Annex 2.1: List of MNEs invited

Company

Invited/Representatives

Situation (11.3.2016)

Apple Inc.

Timothy D. Cook

Chief Executive Officer

Participating

Cathy Kearney, Vice President of European Operations

Julia Macrae, Tax Director EMEIA

Google Inc.

Nicklas Lundblad

Senior Director Public Policy and Government Relations (EMEA)

Participating

Adam Cohen, Head of Economic Policy (EMEA)

Fiat Chrysler

Automobiles

Sergio Marchionne

Chief Executive Officer

Declined on 11.3.2015:

‘As you may be aware, on 29 December 2015 we filed an appeal with the General Court of the EU contesting the Commission’s decision which found that one of our companies in Luxembourg had received state aid. Luxembourg is also contesting this decision before the General Court. While we are highly confident that we have not received any state aid in Luxembourg in breach of EU law, it would, in the circumstances, not be appropriate for us to participate in the Special Committee meeting or comment further. Therefore, while our appreciation of the Committee’s efforts and of its desire to hear the views of enterprises remains unchanged, we regret that we are not able to participate in this discussion until our legal case has been resolved.’

Inter IKEA Group

Søren Hansen

Chief Executive Officer

Participating

Søren Hansen, CEO

Anders Bylund, Head of Group Communications

McDonald’s Corporation

Irene Yates

Vice President, Corporate Tax

Participating

Irene Yates, Vice President, Corporate Tax

Starbucks Coffee

Company

Kris Engskov

President of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

Declined on 23.2.2015:

‘As Starbucks is planning to appeal the decision of the European Commission, announced on 21st October 2015, that the Netherlands granted selected tax advantages to our Amsterdam coffee roasting plant (Starbucks Manufacturing EMEA BV), we are unable to accept the invitation of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect.

Once this matter has been resolved, and Starbucks is confident that the European Commission’s decision will be overturned on appeal, we would be happy to meet.

If it assists your information gathering it is worth noting that Starbucks complies with all OECD rules, guidelines and laws and supports its tax reform process, including the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan. Starbucks has paid an average global effective tax rate of roughly 33 per cent, well above the 18.5 per cent average rate paid by other large US companies.’

Annex 2.2: List of Banks invited

Name

Invited/Representatives

Situation 4/04/2016

Crédit Agricole (FR)

Mr Dominique Lefebvre

Chairman

Accepted (15.3.2016)

Jean-Charles Balat

Director of Finances, Groupe Crédit Agricole

Deutsche Bank (DE)

Mr Paul Achleitner

Chairman

Accepted (16.3.2016)

to participate in a meeting on

4 April 2016

Participating representative

Brigitte Bomm, Managing Director, Global Head of Tax, Deutsche Bank

ING Group (NL)

Mr Ralph Hamers

CEO

Accepted (8.3.2016)

Drs. R.N.J. Schipper

ING Global Head of Tax

Nordea (SW)

Mr Casper von Koskull

President and CEO

Accepted (9.3.2016)

Eva Jigvall

Nordea’s Head of Group Taxes

Royal Bank of Scotland (UK)

Mr Ross McEwan

CEO

Accepted (16.3.2016)

to participate in a meeting on

4 April 2016

Participating representative

Grant Jamieson, Head of Tax, Royal Bank of Scotland

Graeme Johnston, Head of International Tax, Royal Bank of Scotland

Santander (ES)

Mrs Ana Patricia Botín,

Chairwoman

Accepted (11.3.2016)

Monica Lopez-Monis Gallego

Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Executive Vice-President of Banco Santander

Antonio H. Garcia del Riego

Managing Director

Director European Corporate Affairs

UBS (CH)

Mr Axel A. Weber

Chairman

Accepted (14.3.2016)

Christopher Pinho,

Managing Director, Global Head of Group Tax

Unicredit (IT)

Mr Giuseppe Vita

Chairman

Accepted (8.3.2016)

Stefano Ceccacci

UC Head of Tax Affairs

Costanza Bufalini

Head of European and Regulatory Affairs

ANNEX 3

CODE OF CONDUCT DOCUMENTS

Document (1)

Date

Finding

Room Document No 1 Annex 1

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of April 2006

Commission noted that especially in some dependent and associated territories the proposed rollback included the introduction of a 0% rate or the complete abolition of corporate income tax and thus not every part of the work of the Code Group has resulted in a consistent or satisfactory outcome

Room Document No 1 Annex 1

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of April 2006

Commission noted that due to political compromises the Code Group has considered some rollback proposals adequate which could easily be considered as insufficient according to the principles of the Code

Report from the Code Group to the Council

7 June 2005

It was explicitly stated that in one case Luxembourg had failed to implement the rollback as agreed

Room Document No 1 Annex 1

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of April 2006

Despite this clear non-compliance the Council failed to take any action and Luxembourg was not politically challenged or urged to comply with the Code principles and agreements

Room Document No 1 Annex 1

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of April 2006

The Code Group agreed in 1999 to leave out regimes favouring the shipping sector as well as the assessment of collective investment vehicles

Room Document No 1 Annex 1

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of April 2006

Several Member States refused to disclose their views on the future of the Code Group as regards transparency, mandate, scope and criteria of future work; Hungary and Lithuania expressed reservations against amendments to the Code criteria; Ireland and Poland opposed any extension of the scope of the Code on other areas of taxation

Room Document No 2 and Minutes

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 11 April 2011

The Commission made several proposals for new areas of work such as expanding the work on mismatches, taxation of expatriates, taxation of wealthy individuals, review of REIT's and collective investment vehicles. The Netherlands and Luxembourg opposed expanding the work on mismatches, France expressed reserves against work on expats, wealthy individuals and investment funds, the United Kingdom supported a focus on business tax rather than an extension

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 22 October 2013 and May 2013

Significant elements of Gibraltar's tax code which has been under discussion since at least 11 April 2011 and is still not concluded;

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 8 November 2013

The Isle of Man's retail tax scheme was not judged harmful despite serious doubts of its non-harmfulness expressed by several Member States;

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 29 May, 22 October and 20 November 2013

As regards patent boxes, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and, to a lesser extent, Belgium have opposed an encompassing assessment of all EU patent box regimes despite grounds to suppose the harmfulness of existing regimes against the Code criteria

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 3 June 2014

Spain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom have further delayed the process of reforming patent box regimes by repeatedly introducing additional demands in the decision-making progress

Public report to the Council

ECOFIN meeting of June 2015

despite commitments to fully adapt national legal provisions by 30 June 2016, very limited progress has been made by Member States in implementing into national law the modified nexus approach agreed by Ministers already in December 2014 and that some countries, such as Italy, have even introduced new patent box measures, incompatible with the modified nexus approach, after agreement on the latter was found, in order to benefit from the overly generous grandfathering provisions until 2021;

Meeting minutes and room document 3

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 25 May 2010 and Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 17 October 2012;

During the elaboration phase of the agreed guidance on inbound profit transfers, the United Kingdom opposed any coordinated approach

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 25 May 2010

Failure to agree on any follow-up to the work of the anti-abuse sub group

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 15 May 2009

Statements of Belgium and the Netherlands according to which they object to any initiative aimed at coordinating defence measures against untaxed outbound profit transfers

Minutes

Code of Conduct Sub-Group meeting of September and April 2014, April and July 2015

Member States agreed on guidance on hybrid mismatches in September 2014, despite repeated and systematic initiatives by certain Member States which prevented a much earlier agreement on these harmful practices, under active debate in the Code Group since at least 2008, thereby significantly increasing the on-going fiscal damage created by the recurrent use of those schemes for aggressive tax planning purposes;

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group meeting of 15 May and 29 June 2009 and 25 May 2010

Meeting of the anti-abuse sub group of 25 March and 22 April 2010

On hybrid mismatches, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as Malta and Estonia to a lesser extent, have for long delayed swift collective action by asserting that hybrids should not dealt with under the Code at all

Minutes

Code of Conduct Group meeting of 13 September 2011

Code of Conduct Group meeting of 11 April and 26 May 2011

As regards investment funds, Member States agreed to discontinue the discussion about these schemes' alleged and potential harmfulness;

Initiatives taken by the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and the Netherlands which effectively pushed the group to not pursue this field of action further

Room Document No. 2

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 4 March 2010

As regards administrative practices, no Member State had spontaneously and systematically exchanged information about its rulings in the past

Room Document No 4

Code of Conduct Group Meeting of 10 September 2012

In practice no information on rulings had been exchanged on a spontaneous basis

Council Conclusions

ECOFIN meeting of December 2015

As regards minimum effective taxation clauses, Member States did not agree on a revision of the Interest and Royalties Directive ensuring that privileges granted in the single market with the aim of preventing double taxation do not in reality lead to zero or almost zero taxation despite the release of the respective Commission proposal in 2011; Member States only invited the High Level Working Party on Tax Questions to look into the matter further, instead of committing to prompt and effective action;

Council Conclusions

ECOFIN meeting of March 2016

Member States did not agree on urgently needed reforms of the Code Group and postponed any decision on reforms to 2017

(1)  Based on publicly available documents and sources

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0420.
(2) Council Directive (EU) 2015/2376 of 8 December 2015 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation (OJ L 332, 18.12.2015, p. 1).
(3) Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation and repealing Directive 77/799/EEC (OJ L 64, 11.3.2011, p. 1), concerning mutual assistance by the competent authorities of the Member States in the field of direct taxation.
(4) OJ L 83, 27.3.1999, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 336, 27.12.1977, p. 15.
(6) OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73.
(7) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, Anti-Tax Avoidance Package: Next steps towards delivering effective taxation and greater tax transparency in the EU (COM(2016)0023).
(8) Proposal for a Council Directive laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market (COM(2016)0026).
(9) Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation (COM(2016)0025).
(10) Commission Recommendation of 28 January 2016 on the implementation of measures against tax treaty abuse (C(2016)0271).
(11) Study on Structures of Aggressive Tax Planning and Indicators, European Union, 2016.
(12) OJ C 258 E, 7.9.2013, p. 134.
(13) OJ C 2, 6.1.1998, p. 2.
(14) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0257.
(15) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0457.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0408.
(17) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0265.
(18) SA.38375 – State aid which Luxembourg granted to Fiat.
(19) SA.38374 – State aid implemented by the Netherlands to Starbucks.
(20) Commission Decision (EU) 2016/1699 of 11 January 2016 on the excess profit exemption State aid scheme SA.37667 (2015/C) (ex 2015/NN) implemented by Belgium (notified under document C(2015) 9837) (OJ L 260, 27.9.2016, p. 61).
(21) http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/tax_fraud_evasion/a_huge_problem/index_en.htm, European Commission, 10 May 2016.
(22) Measuring and Monitoring BEPS, Action 11 – 2015 Final Report, OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project.
(23) World Investment Report 2015 – Reforming International Investment Governance, UNCTAD, 2015.
(24) http://gabriel-zucman.eu/files/JohannesenZucman2014
(25) BIS 2016 – locational banking statistics.
(26) http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/webdiaeia2016d2_en.pdf
(27) http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/, European Commission, 10 May 2016.
(28) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-1351_en.htm#_ftnref8, and Egger, P., W. Eggert and H. Winner (2010), ‘Saving Taxes through Foreign Plant Ownership’, Journal of International Economics 81: 99–108; Finke, K. (2013), Tax Avoidance of German Multinationals and Implications for Tax Revenue Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Approach, mimeo.
(29) https://polcms.secure.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/upload/a0cf64ee-8e0d-4b5f-b145-6ffbaa940e10/TheRoleFinancialSectorTaxPlanning_Draft_210316.pdf
(30) OECD, 2008, ‘Study into the role of tax intermediaries’; http://www.oecd.org/tax/administration/39882938.pdf
(31) The Commission’s services have confirmed indeed that Article 10 (‘Hybrid mismatches’) of its proposal of 28 January 2016 on the ATAD ‘was based on a mutual recognition approach aimed at resolving differences in the legal qualification of hybrid entities and hybrid financial instruments but did not cover hybrid asset transfers which do not concern legal qualification mismatches’.
(32) The OECD defines ‘hybrid transfers’ as ‘arrangements that are treated as transfer of ownership of an asset for one country’s tax purposes but not for tax purposes of another country, which generally sees a collateralised loan’. See OECD, March 2012, ‘Hybrid Mismatch Arrangements: Tax Policy and Compliance Issues’, http://www.oecd.org/


Synergies between structural funds and Horizon 2020
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European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2016 on synergies for innovation: the European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020 and other European innovation funds and EU programmes (2016/2695(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0311RC-B8-0851/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Articles 4, 162 and 174 to 190 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006(1) (hereinafter ‘the Common Provisions Regulation’),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1301/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Regional Development Fund and on specific provisions concerning the investment for growth and jobs goal and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1304/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on specific provisions for the support from the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1302/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 amending Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 on a European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC) as regards the clarification, simplification and improvement of the establishment and functioning of such groupings(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1300/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the Cohesion Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1084/2006(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005(7),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and repealing Decision No 1982/2006/EC(8),

–  having regard to the report of its Committee on Regional Development ‘Cohesion Policy and Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3)’ (A8‑0159/2016),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 1 June 2016 to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Europe investing again – Taking stock of the Investment Plan for Europe and next steps’ (COM(2016)0359),

–  having regard to the Commission publication of 22 February 2016 entitled ‘Investment Plan for Europe: new guidelines on combining European Structural and Investment Funds with the European Fund for Strategic Investments’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 February 2013 on improving access to finance for SMEs(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 January 2014 on smart specialisation: networking excellence for a sound Cohesion Policy(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 February 2014 on optimising the potential of outermost regions by creating synergies between the Structural Funds and other European Union programmes(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2015 on ‘Investment for jobs and growth: promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion in the Union’(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2015 on ‘Towards simplification and performance orientation in cohesion policy 2014-2020’(13),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 June 2014 entitled ‘Research and innovation as sources of renewed growth’ (COM(2014)0339),

–  having regard to the Commission’s sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion entitled ‘Investment for jobs and growth’ of 23 July 2014,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2014 entitled ‘An Investment Plan for Europe’ (COM(2014)0903),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 2014 entitled ‘Enabling synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020 and other research, innovation and competitiveness-related Union programmes’ (SWD(2014)0205),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 6 October 2010 entitled ‘Regional Policy contributing to smart growth in Europe 2020’ (COM(2010)0553),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 30 July 2013 entitled ‘Closing the Innovation Divide’,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 20 November 2014 entitled ‘Measures to support the creation of high-tech start-up ecosystems’,

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

A.  whereas cohesion policy in the 2014-2020 financial programming period continues to represent the main EU instrument aimed at bringing the EU closer to its citizens, covering all regions, for investment in the real economy, and at the same time represents an expression of European solidarity by extending growth and prosperity and reducing economic, social and territorial disparities, which were exacerbated by the economic and financial crisis;

B.  whereas cohesion policy should be fully aligned with the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and is built around the articulation of its three funds, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF), together with a broader coordination under a Common Strategic Framework (CSF) with the funds for rural development, namely the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and, for the maritime and fisheries sector, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF);

C.  whereas common provisions were established for all five of these funds – the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) – under the Common Provisions Regulation, while specific rules applicable to each ESI Fund and to the European territorial cooperation goal were subject to separate regulations;

D.  whereas the recent cohesion policy reform introduced a limited number of objectives and priorities, creating a thematic focus/thematic concentration, while at the same time allowing a certain degree of flexibility and adaptation to certain characteristics; whereas, moreover, it ensured an enhanced partnership principle and solid multi-level governance, a well-defined approach for territorial development, increased synergies between the five funds, but also with other relevant programmes and initiatives (e.g. Horizon 2020, PSCI, COSME, LIFE, the Connecting Europe Facility, Erasmus+ and NER 300), further simplification of the implementation rules, an effective monitoring and evaluation system, a transparent performance framework, clear rules on the use of financial instruments, a sound management and control system and an effective financial management system;

E.  whereas on 14 December 2015 the Commission adopted a communication on the contribution of the ESI Funds to the EU’s growth strategy, the Investment Plan and the Commission’s priorities over the next decade, which is in fact the report, provided for in Article 16 of the Common Provisions Regulation on the ESI Funds, on their implementation so far, which also includes the outcomes of the negotiations with all the Member States on partnership agreements, operational programmes and the key challenges for each country;

F.  whereas the rationale of strengthening synergies between Horizon 2020 and ESI Funds lies in building meaningful interactions between investment strategies and interventions as a way to have significant impacts on the economy, combining innovation investments in smart specialisation priorities with world-class research and innovation initiatives, thus ensuring a higher impact of the funds;

1.  Restates that links between cohesion policy and other EU policies, funding programmes and initiatives (e.g. Horizon 2020, the Connecting Europe Facility, the digital single market, rural development, the energy union, the innovation union and the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives) have been strengthened within the Common Strategic Framework introduced by the Common Provisions Regulation, and thus, through all its instruments and objectives, including the urban agenda, the territorial agenda, investment in SMEs, smart growth and smart specialisation strategies, and the potential public investments for the uptake of innovative solutions for, among other things, the environment, energy, health, climate, digitisation and transport, it is contributing substantially to strengthening the single market and achieving Europe 2020 strategy targets;

2.  Underlines the fact that the aforementioned synergies are built in right from the strategic planning stage, and therefore require, from the start, strategic choices and planning by the regions and Member States in order to identify and generate opportunities, for example for fostering excellence in the smart specialisation areas; points out that, in the case of Horizon 2020, this consists in raising awareness, providing information (in particular on research results from FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects), engaging in communication campaigns, opening up existing networks for newcomers and connecting National Contact Points (NCP) as much as possible to national and regional ESIF policy-makers and managing authorities;

3.  Stresses that the development of smart specialisation strategies through the involvement of national or regional managing authorities and stakeholders such as universities and other higher education institutions, industry and the social partners in an entrepreneurial discovery process is obligatory for the regions and Member States that wish to invest European Regional Development Fund resources in research and innovation; recalls that, given that smart specialisation strategies should include upstream actions (capacity building and improving national/regional R&I systems) and downstream actions (take-up of research results, innovation support and market access) in Horizon 2020, which in turn stimulates cooperation at EU level for closing the innovation divide in Europe and strengthening the Union’s global competitiveness, while investing also in connections between front-runners and followers in the context of the Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation activities, the smart specialisation methodology should remain a model for cohesion policy post-2020;

4.  Believes that result-orientation in cohesion policy should be further strengthened; underlines the urgent need to increase synergies with other EU policies on competitiveness, in particular in the field of research and development, ICT, renewable energies and SMEs, with a view to increasing the exploitation rate of EU R&D results, creating new high-quality jobs and maintaining existing ones and promoting the green economy;

5.  Notes that, in the 2014-2020 programming period, cohesion policy allows financial instruments to play an important complementary role, and recalls that financial instruments, as they are complementary to grants, have a leverage effect, which can increase the impact of financing for updating innovation in the market, for example through energy efficiency, and can contribute to a better absorption rate by providing the co-financing needed, in particular in Member States and regions with low national co-financing capacity; underlines, however, the fact that grants remain indispensable for certain projects such as R&I projects and those with a strong focus on societal challenges; recalls that grants and financial instruments do not finance the same types of activities and that those different forms of support target different types of beneficiaries and projects; stresses the importance of continuing with grant funding in future EU programmes; underlines the fact that the right balance between grants and financial instruments must be maintained in the future; recalls the need to further strengthen the accountability, transparency and result-orientation of financial instruments;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to pay constant attention to the needs of SMEs in the design and implementation of the ESI Funds and Horizon 2020, as well as to synergies between these; asks the Commission to prepare coordinated calls for proposals in order to ease access to multi-fund financing; calls also for a thorough evaluation of the relevant SME programmes such as COSME, the SME instrument of Horizon 2020 and the SME component in the EFSI, with regard to both budgetary allocation and project success rate, as well as to the administrative burden and ease of implementation;

7.  Notes that synergies with other policies and instruments must be further enhanced in order to maximise the impact of investments; recalls, in this context, the Stairway to Excellence (S2E) EU budget pilot project, which continues to support regions of 13 Member States in developing and exploiting the synergies between the ESI Funds; calls for flexibility for Member States to use the Seal of Excellence; highlights, furthermore, the importance of also identifying related areas of specialisation in other regions and Member States with a view to teaming up with them and being better prepared for multi-country project opportunities and becoming internationally connected;

8.  Recalls that, owing to budget constraints regarding Horizon 2020, there is a risk that projects evaluated as being excellent do not receive funding; stresses that alternative funding must be unlocked; ESIF grants, for example, could be awarded to excellent Horizon 2020 projects with the help of the Seal of Excellence;

9.  Notes that the implementation of substantial parts of the Horizon 2020 budget will be delegated to public-public partnerships and public-private partnerships, which will offer opportunities to use the governance mechanisms of the public-public partnerships to optimise synergies with smart specialisation initiatives (RIS3) and programmes by shaping the annual work plans;

10.  Underlines that the EFSI must be complementary and additional to the ESI Funds and other EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and to the regular activities of the European Investment Bank; notes that, as a result, the EFSI targets different kinds of projects from those that the EUR 2,2 billion would have targeted through Horizon 2020; stresses that full coherence and synergies between all EU instruments should be ensured, in order to achieve the overarching strategic goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and to avoid overlaps or contradictions among them or between the different levels of policy implementation, while complementing national and regional funds and programmes; recalls that the review of the Europe 2020 strategy must determine which means are needed, while using all available resources effectively and achieving the expected results in terms of the overarching strategic goals, given that the quantity, quality and impact of R&I investments should be increased through the coordinated use of cohesion policy instruments and Horizon 2020;

11.  Calls on the Commission to monitor synergies between the funds systematically and to issue a communication on these synergies, in particular on the synergies between Horizon 2020 and RIS3, with a view to spreading examples of best practice and increasing their impact ahead of the review of the Europe 2020 strategy; recalls that any such system should not result in an increased administrative burden;

12.  Highlights the preparations by the Commission for the possible establishment of a European Innovation Council for better coordination of innovation initiatives in the European Union; notes that the main objective of a European Innovation Council (EIC) should be to help reduce barriers to commercialisation in Europe and close the innovation divide; stresses that an EIC should involve all relevant stakeholders and have transparent, swift consultations and decision-making processes, avoiding overlap; underlines, furthermore, that the Horizon 2020 budget should be fully restored to the pre-EFSI level;

13.  Underlines the link between Horizon 2020 and the ESI Funds in terms of security (the need to have the same level of ICT infrastructure across the EU); favours a harmonisation of ICT security structures; calls, furthermore, for a link between these funds in terms of auditing processes, and calls on the Commission to establish a clear, aligned and coordinated approach for the post-2020 period, with a special focus on administrative and auditing processes, proportionality and accountability;

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

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 289.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 470.
(4) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 259.
(5) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 303.
(6) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 281.
(7) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 487.
(8) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 104.
(9) OJ C 24, 22.1.2016, p. 2.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0002.
(11) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0133.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0308.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0419.


Preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2017
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European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2016 on the strategic priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017 (2016/2773(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0312RC-B8-0885/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Political Guidelines for the European Commission entitled ‘A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’, presented by Jean-Claude Juncker on 15 July 2014,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 27 October 2015 entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2016 – No time for business as usual’ (COM(2015)0610) and Annexes I to VI thereto,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016,

–  having regard to the Conference of Committee Chairs’ Summary Report, which provides complementary input to this resolution from the point of view of parliamentary committees and which the Commission should take duly into account when drafting and adopting its Work Programme for 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 June 2016 on the decision to leave the EU resulting from the UK referendum(1),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28-29 June 2016,

–  having regard to the contribution of the Committee of the Regions to the Commission’s 2017 Work Programme,

–  having regard to Rule 37(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the European integration process has brought peace and contributed to security and prosperity in Europe for decades;

B.  whereas Europe now faces many common and global challenges, but also increasing frustration and worry among many citizens about uncertain life prospects and a lack of opportunities that citizens expect decision-makers to respond to; whereas, if it is to succeed, the European Union cannot be reduced to an economic project; whereas it is urgent to win back the hearts of Europeans in favour of the European project and to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion;

C.  whereas the EU’s overlapping crises require effective European solutions, strongly anchored in a more democratic process through the community method, with the full involvement of the European Parliament and the national parliaments and in accordance with Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

D.  whereas the EU is our common home and must offer a place of safety and a stable economic environment for its citizens; whereas sustainability and economic growth are compatible and can be mutually reinforcing; whereas it is important to bring the EU out of the lengthy economic crisis by stepping up sustainable investments, reducing disparities and implementing agreed policies and developing better ones, in particular by deepening the internal market and improving the Economic and Monetary Union;

E.  whereas we have chosen to pursue a common future, as a community based on shared values and cherishing the richness and diversity of our traditions and history; whereas we want Europe to play its role and take up its responsibility on the global stage, committed to solidarity, multilateralism, our external partnerships and promoting convergence on better standards; whereas we want to secure our common project of shared peace, prosperity and democracy, with a view to creating an appealing future for all generations;

Improving the working and living conditions of European citizens

1.  Recalls that Europe’s economic recovery has been modest and unbalanced, with many regions of the Union still experiencing unacceptable levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality and a severe lack of prospects for younger generations; the EU must work therefore towards a dynamic and inclusive labour market embedded in the European social market economy model, improving citizens’ living conditions and enabling fair mobility; is convinced that all EU citizens must count on a fundamental set of fair working conditions and access to quality education, social protection and essential services which enable a work-life balance and meet the needs of a modern labour market within the EU; recognises that at the heart of a competitive and inclusive economy is its capacity to leverage the talent of women and men in all activities;

2.  Calls on the Commission, to that end, to build on the ongoing public consultation and Parliament’s forthcoming report by putting forward, in line with the subsidiarity principle and Treaty objectives, a proposal on a European pillar of social rights, to be translated into concrete initiatives, in particular to:

   promote the accessibility and quality of early education, childcare and healthcare, which are crucial to ensuring that no child is left behind; the Commission should therefore reflect on further actions to develop social investment, and in particular to reduce child poverty;
   close the skills gap and ensure access to quality education, training and lifelong learning for all;
   reduce social inequalities and promote quality employment, especially for young people and the long-term unemployed in order to boost economic growth;
   address work-life balance challenges and the gender gap in pay and pensions;

3.  Stresses that the Commission should monitor, encourage and support Member States’ efficient and effective spending of funds to boost youth employment and the creation of quality employment, in particular in regions with high unemployment levels, through programmes for jobs and growth such as those financed by the Youth Employment Initiative, the European Structural and Investment Funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the European Investment Bank;

4.  Emphasises that the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States and social partners, should also reinforce the European social dialogue with a view to better reconciling labour markets and social protection demands in order to address social inequalities and competitiveness challenges;

Strengthening economic recovery and long-term competitiveness with a view to creating jobs and generating prosperity

5.  Is convinced that the EU can be a world leader by unleashing the full potential of its single market and promoting entrepreneurship, fair competition and investment in innovation;

6.  Holds the view that the EU must foster a strong and diversified European business landscape; points out that the EU’s competition policy is instrumental to the functioning of its social market economy; stresses that, if it is to remain competitive, fit for purpose and future-proof, European industry must become sustainable and go digital; shares the Commission’s philosophy that Europe has to be big on big things and small on small things;

7.  Calls for re-launching the sustainable growth and employment strategy Europe 2020, with a real ambition for the future, in particular for improving our social market economy model and implementing structural reforms to modernise Member States’ economies and bring about widely shared prosperity; is convinced that boosting employment and productivity remains the top priority, and that the EU needs targeted investments to accelerate the transition towards an innovative, resource-efficient, digital economy with a view to reindustrialising Europe and reshoring jobs;

8.  Asks the Commission to design a new, ambitious industrial strategy building on and complementing the circular economy package; points out that additional private and public investments are needed for energy transition, eco-innovative SMEs, research and education;

9.  Calls on the Commission to propose more measures which would foster research and development, innovation, cultural diversity and creativity as key drivers of job creation, while bearing in mind that companies’, and in particular SMEs’, access to capital is vital in order to encourage development and production of new products and services in both traditional and emerging sectors and effective protection of intellectual property rights;

10.  Considers that the single market needs to be further integrated, in particular in the digital area, creating a fair environment for consumers and SMEs and removing unjustified barriers; is deeply convinced that a globally competitive, innovative, citizen-oriented digital single market is a possible way forward to respond to the challenges of the 21st century;

11.  Expects the Commission to mobilise all its powers and competences to promote a transition to a better growth model consistent with the principles of sustainable development which entails its economic, social and environmental dimensions;

Responding to climate change and ensuring energy security

12.  Recalls that efforts must be stepped up to achieve the Energy Union, which will guarantee energy security and affordable and sustainable energy for all citizens and businesses;

13.  Notes the human and economic consequences of climate disasters in Europe; highlights the importance of continuing to address the root causes of climate change, while ensuring the competitiveness of our industry, with an ambitious climate strategy, including energy efficiency;

14.  Calls for necessarily ambitious targets to be set at EU level for greenhouse gas reductions and renewables and energy efficiency for the post-2020 period, in line with the Paris COP 21 Agreement;

15.  Asks the Commission to develop a common strategy for energy and climate diplomacy that would address these global concerns;

16.  Asks the Commission to identify efforts to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, while mitigating possible economic and social impacts;

Ensuring a consistent response to the increased inflow of refugees

17.  Is of the opinion that the European Union must work out concrete solutions to address the refugee emergency, in particular by addressing its root causes, by strengthening cooperation with countries of transit and origin of migration flows and by using all available policies and instruments to ensure their stabilisation, rehabilitation and development;

18.  Encourages the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to pursue necessary humanitarian assistance and ensure decent living conditions in refugee camps, combined with longer-term development programmes, especially in the field of education;

19.  Points out that the EU asylum and migration policy is not fit for purpose and needs a fundamental rethink, based on Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; holds that no reform of the Common European Asylum System should lead to lowering the current level of protection in EU asylum law;

20.  Calls for systematic, enforceable programmes to be organised for the direct resettlement and relocation of asylum-seekers;

21.  Calls for conditions to be created within the EU for a well-managed reception of asylum-seekers that would ensure their safety and humane treatment, paying particular attention to the needs of vulnerable groups; stresses, at the same time, that sufficient resources must be guaranteed to ensure labour market integration and social inclusion of refugees;

22.  Asks the Commission to make proposals for establishing a proper EU economic and legal migration policy that builds on existing instruments for students, researchers and highly skilled workers, and in the longer term for establishing more general rules governing entry and residence for those third country nationals seeking employment in the Union with a view to filling the gaps identified in the EU labour markets;

23.  Believes that, as international migration is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact, the EU and the rest of the international community must assume their respective responsibilities in this field;

Addressing the security concerns of citizens

24.  Stresses that internal and external security are increasingly linked;

25.  Urges the Commission, following the adoption of the proposal for a European Border and Coast Guard, to ensure its rapid start-up, and allocation of the necessary human and logistical capacities;

26.  Calls on the Commission, with a view to addressing the threats of terrorism and violent extremism, to monitor closely the transposition and implementation of EU counter-terrorism measures, including effective police and judicial cooperation, timely sharing of information among national authorities and through Europol and Eurojust, and measures to tackle emerging trends of terrorism financing;

27.  Calls on the Commission to mobilise expertise and technical and financial resources in order to ensure EU-level coordination and exchanges of best practices in the fight against violent extremism and terrorist propaganda, radical networks and recruitment by terrorist organisations through offline and online means, with a particular focus on prevention, integration and re-integration strategies;

28.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure full implementation of security legislation already adopted; reiterates its call for an in-depth evaluation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy, assessing both the application of the adopted measures and their effectiveness; expects the Commission to update the security agenda as necessary in the light of the evolving terrorist threat;

29.  Calls on the Commission to present its announced proposals for a proper legal basis for the European Counter Terrorism Centre within Europol, proposals to improve and develop existing information systems, address information gaps and move towards interoperability, as well as proposals for compulsory information sharing at EU level, accompanied by necessary data protection safeguards;

Deploying an ambitious external action agenda: on neighbourhood and on the global system

30.  Calls for an ambitious the EU Global Strategy which positions the EU as a geopolitical player in a rapidly changing world, and expects the Commission and the European External Action Service to mobilise in a coherent way all EU external action instruments with a view to achieving improved global governance, wide convergence on better standards, improved security and stronger respect for human rights in the world; stresses, to that end, that the following key elements should be moved to the top of the EU’s external affairs agenda:

   promoting stability and prosperity in the EU’s neighbourhood, through initiatives fostering development, democracy, good governance and the rule of law, by enhancing civilian conflict prevention and reconciliation measures, and activities in the context of the common security and defence policy, including with the appropriate involvement of NATO, which, for those states which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation;
   reviving, with the support of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the common security and defence policy, which can no longer be the weakest link in the EU integration process; the security environment requires European defence to become a fully fledged policy that provides equal security for, and shows equal concern for the vital security preoccupations of, all Member States; structures, mechanisms or tools that already exist must become an operational reality;
   moving forward the enlargement negotiation process by strengthening social, political and economic stability and democracy in the candidate countries, without concessions on the Copenhagen accession criteria;
   making development cooperation policy more effective and better coordinated, and coherent with other instruments of the EU’s external action; ensuring coherence and consistency between development and security policies, as they are interlinked, interdependent and mutually reinforcing;
   integrating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) in the EU’s external and internal policies; urges the Commission to report on its plan for implementation, monitoring, follow-up and incorporation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs;
   promoting trade as an important instrument for fostering growth, jobs and competitiveness and promoting EU standards relating to human rights and sustainable development; the Union’s trade defence instruments must be modernised and vigorously applied, and non-standard methodologies used where appropriate;
   adopting solutions to counter hybrid threats and foster the resilience of the EU and Member States, as well as that of EU partners, notably in the EU neighbourhood;

Fair taxation policies for adequate resources

31.  Stresses that there has never been a more urgent need to step up the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance, which represents potential income to national budgets of up to EUR 1 trillion; considers that these resources could have been spent on investing in the future, boosting employment and reducing inequalities;

32.  Underlines that the Commission must continue to act without delay to ensure that profits are taxed in the European countries where the economic activity actually takes places and value created; the EU should work towards a mandatory common consolidated corporate tax base, step up efforts to investigate tax-related state aid breaches, apply common rules on the use and transparency of tax rulings and pursue a determined common approach to close down tax havens;

33.  Calls on the Commission to include in its fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance an external dimension, including as regards profits that leave the EU without being taxed;

Strengthening the EU budget and financial instruments

34.  Is of the opinion that, in order to act effectively, the EU needs a new financial and fiscal strategy; considers that the Commission should, to this end, propose measures based on the following principles and elements:

   mobilising adequate resources swiftly; it is inevitable to reform the system of financing the Union by strengthening genuine own resources or introducing new ones, in order to make the Union budget more stable, more sustainable and more predictable; at the same time, it is important to respect the principle of universality and to improve transparency;
   for maximum results, EU budgetary instruments must be managed with close attention to performance and cost-effectiveness, while ensuring compliance and protecting EU financial interests;
   the EU should take steps to put together resources for responding to the challenges of high youth and long-term unemployment and the internal and external dimensions of the refugee emergency;
   after only two years of implementation, the multiannual financial framework (MFF) has reached its limits; furthermore, without a comprehensive mid-term revision of the MFF, the EU budget will be unable to address additional financial needs and new political priorities, and unable to avoid the resurgence of a payment crisis; calls on the Commission to present a review of the functioning of the MFF before the end of 2016 and to take decisive action to revise the ceilings of the MFF upward and expand its flexibility to respond to circumstances not foreseen in 2013;
   the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) needs to be managed in a way that enables all Member States to undertake high levels of strategic investment in line with the EFSI regulation and ensures that funding for investment is contributing to the transition to a sustainable economy and society; the Commission’s proposal for the EFSI’s next phase should be based on these objectives;
   effective implementation of cohesion policy for 2014-2020 should be accompanied by preparations for its post-2020 phase, respecting its true nature as set out in the Treaties, its importance for the development of the single market and its potential as an investment tool accessible to all regions in the EU; synergies between the European Structural and Investment Funds, the EFSI and other EU funding instruments should be strengthened with a view to accelerating smart, green and inclusive growth, with a credible balance between grants and financial instruments being developed and avoiding any decrease in cohesion policy budget;
   the Commission should present proposals to reduce the bureaucratic complexity of the CAP for farmers; the Commission should further devise improved instruments to deal with extreme crises on the agricultural markets; believes that framework legislation at EU level is necessary to tackle unfair trading practices in the food supply chain so as to ensure that European farmers and consumers may benefit from fair selling and buying conditions;

Completing the Economic and Monetary Union

35.  Insists on respecting the requirements in Union law regarding democratic accountability for decisions in the context of European economic governance;

36.  Holds the view that the EU needs to be working towards upward economic and social convergence, in full compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact rules and with the European Semester governance framework;

37.  Considers that the Commission should consistently improve its monitoring of debts, deficits and macroeconomic imbalances in a way that respects the Stability and Growth Pact and encourages economic growth and job creation, with increased attention to the euro area’s aggregate fiscal stance;

38.  Believes that the EU needs to improve the credibility, consistency, national ownership and democratic legitimacy of the European Semester in order to ensure that Member States implement the country-specific recommendations with structural reforms and investments aimed at modernising their economies and increasing competitiveness, pursue fiscal responsibility and tackle inequalities and imbalances;

39.  Calls for closer economic policy coordination with a view to addressing the euro area’s investment gaps and strengthening reform efforts in order to increase competitiveness and to sustain demand;

40.  Considers that the banking union needs to be completed, with risk-reduction measures going hand in hand with risk-sharing;

41.  Notes that the outcomes of the ongoing reflection on developing an Economic and Monetary Union fiscal capacity should be taken into account;

42.  Asks the Commission to present a consistent and well-substantiated set of proposals on completing the Economic and Monetary Union as identified by the Five Presidents’ Report;

Strengthening fundamental rights and democracy

43.  Is concerned that the ongoing crises have not only damaged the cohesion of European societies, but also shaken the faith of European citizens in democratic institutions at EU and sometimes national level; believes, therefore, that enhancing the EU’s democratic legitimacy and restoring trust in its capacity to serve the interests of citizens must be Europe’s highest priority;

44.  Recalls that many of today’s challenges, from climate change to asylum and migration, from financial markets to corporations’ supply chains, and from terrorist networks to failed and rogue states, are transnational and require European solutions defined through the community method, with the full involvement of the Commission and Parliament;

45.  Recalls that, as the guardian of the Treaties, the Commission is responsible for promoting the general interest of the Union (Article 17 TEU), namely peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples (Article 3 TEU); points out that Parliament also has a particular political responsibility in helping to overcome divisions between Member States, defend the general interest of Europeans and ensure democratic legitimacy for decisions taken at European level; calls on the Commission to ensure that all initiatives, including those of the European Council, are compliant with the provisions of the Treaties;

46.  Asks the Commission to take initiatives with a view to strengthening the European institutions and encouraging EU citizens to be more involved in European political life; calls for all the EU institutions to connect better with younger generations and their platforms for debate; believes that stronger actions are also possible to inform EU citizens about their rights, exploit the potential of the European Citizens’ Initiative and strengthen the role of the EU Ombudsman;

47.  Stresses that the Commission should put forward proposals for democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, taking into consideration Parliament’s forthcoming report; believes that it should also continue to progress towards EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), taking into account the Court of Justice opinion on the matter and addressing the remaining legal challenges;

48.  Calls for all the EU institutions to strive for the highest possible standards of transparency, accountability and integrity and to fight conflicts of interest;

49.  Is committed to using all its tools and resources to act as a driving force in a renewed democratic process towards the reform of the European Union;

o
o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0294.


Japan’s decision to resume whaling in the 2015-2016 season
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European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2016 on Japan’s decision to resume whaling in the 2015-2016 season (2016/2600(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0313RC-B8-0853/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the International Whaling Commission’s agreement on zero catch limits (the ‘moratorium’) for commercial whaling that came into effect in 1986,

–  having regard to Resolution 2014-5 adopted by the International Whaling Commission at its 65th meeting in September 2014,

–  having regard to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed under the International Convention on Biological Diversity,

–  having regard to Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora(1) (the Habitats Directive),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 February 2009 on Community action in relation to whaling(2),

–  having regard to the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 31 March 2014 in the case concerning whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan: New Zealand intervening),

–  having regard to the démarche signed by the EU in December 2015 concerning Japan’s resumption of whaling in the Southern Ocean under the New Scientific Research Whale Programme (NEWREP-A),

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

A.  whereas in 1982 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) put in place a moratorium on all commercial whaling, which is still in force, in order to protect stocks from extinction and allow them to recover; whereas the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling includes special provisions that allow whaling of limited amounts of animals for strictly scientific research purposes, known as ‘special permit whaling’;

B.  whereas, despite this moratorium, commercial whaling continues to be practised by several countries; whereas, since the introduction of the moratorium, the number of whales killed using special permit authorisation for alleged scientific research has actually increased; whereas Japan has been conducting such whaling under special permit for decades;

C.  whereas Japan, despite this international ban which came into effect in 1986, continued its whaling activities, killing over 20 000 whales(3) up to 2014;

D.  whereas whaling causes severe suffering to individual animals and threatens the conservation status of whale populations as a whole;

E.  whereas all species of great whales are listed in Appendix I to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);

F.  whereas, in its judgment of 31 March 2014, the ICJ ordered the halting of Japan’s annual hunt of whales, based on its JARPA II programme, because there was a ‘lack of scientific merit’ and the permits it issued were not conducted for scientific research as Japan claimed;

G.  whereas scientific permits allow whale meat to be sold or given away while scientific needs can be met with perfectly innocuous alternatives; whereas DNA sampling and remote monitoring give scientists the opportunity to learn about whales and collect samples without killing them;

H.  whereas, in October 2015, Japan deposited a declaration with the UN recognising the jurisdiction of the ICJ but with an exception for any dispute arising out of, concerning or relating to research on, or conservation, management, or exploitation of, living resources of the sea, effectively ruling out future challenges in the ICJ to their special permit whaling programme;

I.  whereas in November 2015 the Japanese Fisheries Agency notified the IWC that it would resume whaling under the New Scientific Research Whale Programme (NEWREP-A);

J.  whereas Japan has, for many years, been engaged in the commercial trade of whale meat and products, despite the fact that they are listed in Appendix I to the CITES;

K.  whereas the expert panel of scientists of the IWC that considered and reviewed NEWREP-A concluded that the proposal did not demonstrate the need for lethal sampling to achieve the stated objectives;

L.  whereas the primary objective must be the protection of biodiversity, including the conservation of species; whereas the EU Habitats Directive defining the Community position with respect to whales (and dolphins) does not allow the resumption of commercial whaling in respect of any stock of whales in EU waters;

M.  whereas the EU and its Member States have criticised Japan for resuming activities and for not paying sufficient regard to the guidance found in the 2014 ICJ opinion; whereas in December 2015 they joined New Zealand in a démarche vis-à-vis the Government of Japan;

N.  whereas Japan is a strategic partner of the EU and the bilateral relationship is founded on shared values, including a firm belief in effective multilateralism and a rules-based international order;

O.  whereas the EU is currently engaged in negotiations with Japan for a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a free trade agreement;

1.  Calls on Japan to stop its whaling activities and to abide by the conclusions of the IWC;

2.  Strongly supports the maintenance of the global moratorium on commercial whaling and a ban on international commercial trade in whale products; urges the end of unjustified ‘scientific whaling’ and supports the designation of substantial regions of ocean and seas as sanctuaries in which all whaling is indefinitely prohibited;

3.  Is strongly concerned that the decision to resume whaling under the new NEWREP-A programme allowed the killing of 333 minke whales, including 200 pregnant females, in the Antarctic Ocean during the 2015-2016 season, and that Japan intends to hunt a total of nearly 4 000 whales over the 12-year period as a whole;

4.  Deplores that, by resuming whaling, Japan is clearly ignoring the ruling of the ICJ; considers that the hunts are thus in breach of IWC standards and of international law and undermine the protection of biodiversity and marine ecosystems; emphasises that genuine scientific research does not require the large-scale and regular killing of whales;

5.  Welcomes the EU’s participation in the démarche with a view to conveying to Japan its serious concerns; calls on the Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Council to urge Japan to commit to its international obligations regarding the protection of marine mammals;

6.  Regrets that Japan has so far not reconsidered its decision in spite of the diplomatic démarche and widespread international protests; urges the EU and its Member States to do their utmost to resolve the issue through political dialogue and through the IWC;

7.  Calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to continuously engage with Japan on the issue of alleged scientific whaling with a view to abolishing the practice, using bilateral and multilateral channels;

8.  Endorses IWC Resolution 2014-5, according to which no further whaling permit should be granted without prior international review, including by the IWC Scientific Committee; urges the IWC to incorporate the ICJ’s ruling into its working practices and to adapt its rules accordingly; highlights the need to act as a matter of urgency to strengthen the IWC in this respect and calls on the Member States to press for the necessary decisions at the next IWC meeting in October;

9.  Urges the Council and Commission, when drafting an updated EU common position on whaling after the 66th IWC meeting in October 2016, to take an approach that is at least as precautionary as the present common position (Council Decision establishing the position to be adopted on behalf of the European Union, in relation to matters falling within its competence, at the next three meetings of the International Whaling Commission – 2011/0221(NLE));

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of Japan.

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(2) OJ C 76 E, 25.3.2010, p. 46.
(3) https://iwc.int/total-catches

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