Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 1 December 2016 - BrusselsFinal edition
Union Customs Code, as regards goods that have temporarily left the customs territory of the Union by sea or air ***I
 Date of application: Key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products ***I
 EU-Kiribati Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
 EU-Solomon Islands Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
 EU-Micronesia Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
 EU-Tuvalu Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
 EU-Marshall Islands Agreement the on the short-stay visa waiver ***
 The European Union Solidarity Fund: an assessment
 US-EU Agreement on the protection of personal information relating to criminal offenses ***
 EU-Ghana Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement ***
 Mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2016
 Draft amending budget No 4/2016: Update of appropriations to reflect the latest developments on migration and security issues, reduction of payment and commitment appropriations
 Draft amending budget No 5/2016: Implementation of the Own Resources Decision
 Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany
 Draft amending budget No 6/2016 accompanying the proposal to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany
 Mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2017
 Mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to finance immediate budgetary measures to address the ongoing migration, refugee and security crisis
 Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide for payment of advances in the 2017 budget
 2017 budgetary procedure: joint text
 Situation in Italy after the earthquakes
 Commissioners’ declarations of interests – Guidelines
 Liability, compensation and financial security for offshore oil and gas operations
 Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Access to energy in developing countries
 Application of the European Order for Payment Procedure

Union Customs Code, as regards goods that have temporarily left the customs territory of the Union by sea or air ***I
PDF 238kWORD 39k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 laying down the Union Customs Code, as regards goods that have temporarily left the customs territory of the Union by sea or air (COM(2016)0477 – C8-0328/2016 – 2016/0229(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0457A8-0329/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0477),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0328/2016),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) 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 the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0329/2016),

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 1 December 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 laying down the Union Customs Code, as regards goods that have temporarily left the customs territory of the Union by sea or air

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/2339.)


Date of application: Key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products ***I
PDF 244kWORD 43k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products as regards the date of its application (COM(2016)0709 – C8-0457/2016 – 2016/0355(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0458A8-0356/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0709),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0457/2016),

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2016 on the Commission Delegated Regulation of 30 June 2016 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products by laying down regulatory technical standards with regard to the presentation, content, review and revision of key information documents and the conditions for fulfilling the requirement to provide such documents (C(2016)03999 – 2016/2816(DEA)), and in particular paragraph 4 thereof(1),

–  after consulting the European Central Bank,

–  after consulting the European Economic and Social Committee,

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 23 November 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 Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0356/2016),

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 1 December 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 on key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products as regards the date of its application

(Text with EEA relevance)(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2016/2340.)

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0347.


EU-Kiribati Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
PDF 240kWORD 47k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kiribati on the short-stay visa waiver (12092/2015 – C8-0253/2016 – 2015/0200(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0459A8-0334/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12092/2015),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kiribati on the short-stay visa waiver (12091/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2)(a) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0253/2016),

–  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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0334/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


EU-Solomon Islands Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
PDF 239kWORD 47k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and Solomon Islands on the short-stay visa waiver (09785/2016 – C8-0422/2016 – 2016/0096(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0460A8-0336/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09785/2016),

–  having regard to the draft agreement between the European Union and Solomon Islands on the short-stay visa waiver (09783/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2)(a) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0422/2016),

–  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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0336/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


EU-Micronesia Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
PDF 238kWORD 47k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Federated States of Micronesia on the short-stay visa waiver (09780/2016 – C8-0388/2016 – 2016/0098(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0461A8-0337/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09780/2016),

–  having regard to the draft agreement between the European Union and the Federated States of Micronesia on the short-stay visa waiver (09779/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2)(a) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0388/2016),

–  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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0337/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


EU-Tuvalu Agreement on the short-stay visa waiver ***
PDF 234kWORD 41k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and Tuvalu on the short-stay visa waiver (09764/2016– C8-0268/2016 – 2016/0100(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0462A8-0333/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09764/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement between the European Union and Tuvalu on the short-stay visa waiver (09760/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2)(a) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0268/2016),

–  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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0333/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


EU-Marshall Islands Agreement the on the short-stay visa waiver ***
PDF 236kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of the Marshall Islands on the short-stay visa waiver (09775/2016 – C8-0252/2016 – 2016/0103(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0463A8-0335/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09775/2016),

–  having regard to the draft agreement between the European Union and the Republic of the Marshall Islands on the short-stay visa waiver (09774/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2)(a) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0252/2016),

–  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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0335/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


The European Union Solidarity Fund: an assessment
PDF 175kWORD 50k
European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the European Union Solidarity Fund: an assessment (2016/2045(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0464A8-0341/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 175 and 212(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2013 on the European Union Solidarity Fund, implementation and application(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 661/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(3),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund (COM(2013)0522)(4),

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘The European Union Solidarity Fund – Annual Report 2014’ (COM(2015)0502),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 September 2002 on floods in Europe(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2005 on the natural disasters (fires and floods) of the summer of 2005 in Europe(6),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘The Future of the European Union Solidarity Fund’ (COM(2011)0613),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 28 November 2013 on the European Union Solidarity Fund(7),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, cooperation in budgetary matters and sound financial management(8),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0341/2016),

A.  whereas the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was set up under Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 in response to the disastrous flooding in Central Europe in the summer of 2002, as a valuable instrument enabling the EU to respond to major natural disasters, and to extraordinary regional disasters, inside the Union and in countries involved in accession negotiations, and to demonstrate solidarity with the eligible regions and states; whereas it supports only emergency and recovery operations, carried out by governments following natural disasters, that have a direct impact on people’s lives, the natural environment or the economy in a given affected region (though it should be noted that in 2005 the Commission presented a proposal aimed at expanding the original scope even more);

B.  whereas since it was established, the EUSF has served a very useful purpose, having mobilised, in total, EUR 3,8 billion in connection with more than 70 disasters within 24 beneficiary states and accession countries, and has been used in response to a wide range of natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, flooding, forest fires, storms and, more recently, drought; whereas the EUSF remains one of the EU’s strongest symbols of solidarity in times of need;

C.  whereas the instrument was comprehensively overhauled in 2014 with a view to: improving and simplifying the procedures, and ensuring more rapid response within six weeks following application; re-determining its scope; establishing clear criteria for a regional disaster; and strengthening disaster prevention and risk management strategies, thus enhancing the effectiveness of relief funding, in line with the numerous requests made over the years by Parliament, as well as by local and regional authorities; whereas a new revision of the Fund is foreseen in the proposed Omnibus Regulation (COM(2016)06052016/0282(COD)) proposed by the Commission on 14 September 2016 with a view to improving the readiness and effectiveness of emergency relief funding;

D.  whereas Parliament has strongly supported the proposed changes, most of which it had already called for in previous resolutions;

E.  whereas applications received prior to June 2014 (when the revised regulation entered into force) were assessed under the original regulation, while applications received since have been assessed under the revised regulation;

F.  whereas investments in the prevention of natural disasters are of utmost importance in response to climate change; whereas significant amounts of EU funding have been allocated for investments in the prevention of natural disasters, and in risk management strategies, in particular under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF);

G.  whereas, exceptionally, in the event that the funds available in a given year are insufficient, the following year’s funds may be used, taking into consideration the annual budgetary ceiling of the fund, both in the year when the disaster occurred and in the following year;

1.  Recalls that, since it was established in 2002, the EUSF has been a significant source of funding for local and regional governments, alleviating the consequences of natural disasters occurring across Europe, from floods to earthquakes and forest fires, and has served as a means of demonstrating European solidarity with affected regions; emphasises that, as far as the public is concerned, the EUSF is one of the most concrete and tangible manifestations of the support that the EU can give to local communities;

2.  Emphasises that, since the EUSF was established, natural disasters in the European Union have increased significantly in number, severity and intensity, as a consequence of climate change; stresses, therefore, the added value of a sound and flexible instrument as a means of showing solidarity, and of providing proper, rapid assistance to people affected by major natural disasters;

3.  Points out that the EUSF is financed outside the European Union budget, with a maximum allocation of EUR 500 million (at 2011 prices), and that despite the built-in flexibility (carry-over N+1), substantial funds may sit unused each year; notes, in this context, the partial ‘budgetisation’ of the annual financial allocation foreseen in the proposed Omnibus Regulation, with a view to accelerating the mobilisation procedure and to providing an earlier and more effective response to citizens affected by a disaster;

4.  Points out that use of the yearly threshold proves that the annual level of appropriations, after the new MFF programming period, is adequate;

5.  Emphasises the importance of the 2014 revision, which managed to overcome the blockage in the Council, and represented a belated response to Parliament’s repeated calls for improved responsiveness and effectiveness of aid, in order to ensure a rapid and transparent response in support of people affected by natural disasters; welcomes, moreover, the recent Omnibus Proposal, which introduces new provisions in terms of simplification and of easier mobilisation of funding;

6.  Emphasises the main components of the reform, such as: the introduction of advance payments, whereby up to 10 % of the anticipated financial contribution is available on demand soon after an application for a financial contribution from the Fund has been submitted to the Commission (capped at EUR 30 million); the eligibility of costs relating to the preparation and implementation of the emergency and recovery operations (a major Parliament request); the extension of the deadlines by which eligible states must make applications (12 weeks after the first damage) and set up the project (18 months); the introduction of a six-weeks deadline by which the Commission must respond to applications; new provisions on the prevention of natural disasters; and improvements in procedures with regard to sound financial management;

7.  Emphasises, however, that, in spite of the introduction of an advance payment mechanism upstream of the standard procedure, beneficiaries still face problems as a result of the length of the overall process from application to payment of the final contribution; emphasises, in this context, the need to put forward the application as soon as possible after a disaster, as well as for further improvements in the assessment phase, and in subsequent phases, in order to facilitate the execution of payments; takes the view that the newly proposed Omnibus provisions with regard to the EUSF may contribute to faster mobilisation, in order that the real needs on the ground may be met; stresses as well that the Member States must look at their own administrative procedures with a view to accelerating the mobilisation of aid for affected regions and states; suggests, moreover, with a view of potential improvements in a future reform, the introduction of a request for mandatory updated national plans for disaster management, as well as of a requirement that information be provided on the preparation of agreements on emergency contracts;

8.  Calls on the Member States themselves to improve their means of communication and cooperation with local and regional authorities, both when assessing eligible damage for which EUSF financial support is requested and when preparing applications, as well as when implementing projects to counter the effects of natural disasters, thereby ensuring that the Union’s assistance is effective on the ground and that sustainable solutions are promoted; considers, moreover, that EUSF support should be communicated to the public at large; calls on the authorities concerned to improve communication, and to provide information on EUSF support, without generating additional administrative burdens;

9.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that public procurement procedures are followed by Member States in response to natural disasters, with a view to identifying and disseminating best practices and lessons learned with regard to contracts in emergency situations;

10.  Welcomes the Commission’s clarification of the rules on the eligibility of regional natural disasters, but points out that the final agreement between Parliament and the Council maintains the eligibility threshold at 1,5 % of regional GDP, in line with the Commission proposal, in spite of Parliament’s efforts to reduce it to 1 %; notes that the vulnerability of the outermost regions has been taken into account, with the threshold being reduced to 1 %;

11.  Acknowledges that the Fund provides assistance for non-insurable damage and does not provide compensation for private losses; emphasises that long-term measures, such as sustainable reconstruction, or economic development and prevention activities, are eligible for financing under other Union instruments, in particular ESI Funds);

12.  Calls on the Member States to optimise the use of existing EU funding, in particular the five ESI Funds, for investments to prevent natural disasters from occurring, and points to the importance of developing synergies between the various Union funds and policies with a view to preventing the impact of natural disasters and, in cases where the EUSF is activated, to guaranteeing the consolidation, and long-term sustainable development of reconstruction projects; maintains that whenever the EUSF is to be used, the Member State concerned should formally undertake to carry out all measures necessary for disaster prevention and the sustainable reconstruction of the areas affected; calls, when synergies are brought into play, for the process of using funds in combination to be simplified, to the extent possible, in administrative terms;

13.  Stresses, therefore, that efforts to invest in climate change mitigation and adaptation must be stepped up, taking into account preventive measures when supporting reconstruction and reforestation under the EUSF; considers that prevention should become a horizontal task, and suggests that preventive measures following the eco-system based approach be taken when mitigating the consequences of disaster under the EUSF; calls, moreover, on the Member States to establish risk prevention and risk management strategies, considering as well that many natural disasters today are direct consequences of human activity;

14.  Stresses the importance of ensuring maximum transparency in the awarding, management and implementation of the EUSF; considers it important to determine whether EUSF subsidies have been used in compliance with the principles of sound financial management, in order to identify, develop and share best practices and lessons learned; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to improve transparency, and to guarantee public access to information throughout the assistance mobilisation process, from the submission of an application to project closure; calls as well for a special report from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on the functioning of the EUSF, not least in consideration of the fact that the latest report available is from before the 2014 revision of the EUSF Regulation;

15.  Notes that 13 new applications were received in 2014, and draws attention to the special circumstances of that year, in which six of these applications were assessed under the old regulation, while the remaining seven applications were assessed under the revised regulation;

16.  Recalls that two applications were rejected in 2014 under the former EUSF Regulation, on the grounds that the disasters in question could not be deemed ‘extraordinary’, in spite of the fact that they caused serious damage and had direct repercussions for the economic and social development of the regions concerned, and welcomes, therefore, the clarifications made in this regard in the revised EUSF Regulation; suggests, nevertheless, with regard to future reforms, and taking into consideration the possibility of redefining regional natural disasters, that single applications be allowed to be submitted jointly by several eligible states affected by a natural disaster at cross-border level, whereby the cause of the disaster is the same and the effects occur at the same time, and that indirect damages be taken into consideration in the assessment of the applications;

17.  Invites the Commission, in the light of future reforms, to take into account the possibility of increasing the advance payments threshold from 10 % to 15 %, as well as of shortening deadlines for the processing of applications from six to four weeks; invites as well the Commission to consider the possibility of setting the eligibility threshold for regional natural disasters at 1 % of regional GDP, and of taking into account, when assessing the requests, the level of socio-economic development of the regions affected;

18.  Points to the need to consider whether new indicators may be used that go beyond GDP, such as the Human Development Index and the Regional Social Progress Index;

19.  Welcomes the fact that the seven applications for assistance received within the framework of the revised rules were accepted by the Commission, including four that were approved at the end of 2014, but for which appropriations had to be carried over to 2015, as stated in the EUSF Annual Report 2015; recalls, in this context, that 2015 was the first full year of implementation under the revised rules, and that the analysis shows that the legal clarifications introduced with the reform ensured successful applications, which was not the case with the old provisions, in accordance with which about two thirds of regional disaster assistance requests were assessed ineligible;

20.  Deplores the fact that the procedures for assessing implementation and closure reports took so long under the old regulation, and expects closures to be carried out more efficiently and transparently under the amended regulation, and in a manner which ensures that the Union’s financial interests are protected;

21.  Emphasises, furthermore, that Article 11 of the amended regulation gives the Commission and the ECA the power of audit, and allows the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to conduct investigations whenever necessary;

22.  Calls on the Commission and the ECA to evaluate the functioning of the EUSF before the end of the current multiannual financial period;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States, and to regional authorities.

(1) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.
(2) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 13.
(3) OJ L 189, 27.6.2014, p. 143.
(4) OJ C 170, 5.6.2014, p. 45.
(5) OJ C 272 E, 13.11.2003, p. 471.
(6) OJ C 193 E, 17.8.2006, p. 322.
(7) OJ C 114, 15.4.2014, p. 48.
(8) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.


US-EU Agreement on the protection of personal information relating to criminal offenses ***
PDF 238kWORD 47k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (08523/2016 – C8-0329/2016 – 2016/0126(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0465A8-0354/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (08523/2016),

–  having regard to the draft agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (08557/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 16 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0329/2016),

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

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0354/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


EU-Ghana Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part (12396/2016 – C8-0406/2016 – 2008/0137(NLE))
P8_TA(2016)0466A8-0328/2016

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12396/2016),

–  having regard to the draft stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part (12130/2008),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 207(3), Article 207(4), first subparagraph and Article 209(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0406/2016),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 March 2009 on the stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part(1),

–  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 International Trade (A8-0328/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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

(1) OJ C 117 E, 6.5.2010, p. 112.


Mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2016
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2016 (COM(2016)0624 – C8-0399/2016 – 2016/2256(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0467A8-0347/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0624 – C8‑0399/2016),

–  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 13 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(2), and in particular point 14 thereof,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016, as definitively adopted on 25 November 2015(3),

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 4/2016, which the Commission proposed on 30 September 2016 (COM(2016)0623),

–  having regard to the position adopted by the Council on 8 November 2016 on Draft amending budget No 4/2016 (13583/2016 – C8‑0459/2016),

–  having regard to its position on Draft amending budget No 4/2016, adopted on 1 December 2016(4),

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0347/2016),

A.  whereas the Commission proposed, together with Draft amending budget No 4/2016, to mobilise the Contingency Margin for 2016 for an amount of EUR 240,1 million so as to complement the commitment appropriations related to expenditure in heading 3 ‘Security and citizenship’ in the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016;

1.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2016

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2017/339.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(2) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 48, 24.2.2016, p. 1.
(4) Texts Adopted, P8_TA(2016)0468.


Draft amending budget No 4/2016: Update of appropriations to reflect the latest developments on migration and security issues, reduction of payment and commitment appropriations
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 4/2016 of the European Union for the financial year 2016: Update of appropriations to reflect the latest developments on migration and security issues, reduction of payment and commitment appropriations as a result of the Global Transfer, extension of EFSI, modification of the staff establishment plan of Frontex and update of revenue appropriations (Own resources) (13583/2016 – C8-0459/2016 – 2016/2257(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0468A8-0350/2016

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 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(5),

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 4/2016, which the Commission adopted on 30 September 2016 (COM(2016)0623),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 4/2016 which the Council adopted on 8 November 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (13583/2016 – C8‑0459/2016),

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

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

–  having regard to Rule 88 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0350/2016),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 4/2016 (DAB 4/2016) decreases the level of payment appropriations by EUR 7 284,3 million, mostly in budget lines under subheading 1b Economic, social and territorial cohesion, and therefore reduces national contributions accordingly;

B.  whereas DAB 4/2016 increases the level of commitment appropriations under heading 3 Security and Citizenship by EUR 50 million for the emergency support instrument within the Union, EUR 130 million for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and EUR 70 million for the Internal Security Fund (ISF), thus requiring the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin for a total amount of EUR 240,1 million, after taking into account a redeployment of EUR 9,9 million;

C.  whereas DAB 4/2016 frontloads the provisioning of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) with a redeployment of EUR 73,9 million in commitment appropriations from the energy strand of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-Energy), to be compensated in 2018;

D.  whereas DAB 4/2016 amends the establishment plan of Frontex in view of the entry into force of Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council (6);

E.  whereas, with a reduction of EUR 14,7 million across several budget lines under heading 2 Sustainable Growth: natural resources, the net impact of DAB 4/2016 on the expenditure side of the 2016 budget is an increase of EUR 225,4 million in commitment appropriations;

F.  whereas, on the revenue side, DAB 4/2016 also includes adjustments linked to the revision of the forecast of Traditional Own Resources (i.e. customs duties and sugar sector levies), value-added tax (VAT) and gross national income (GNI) bases, and the budgeting of the relevant UK corrections and their financing;

1.  Expresses serious concerns over the payment surplus of EUR 7 284,3 million, which is the result of major delays in the implementation of EU programmes under shared management and paves the way for an important accumulation of payment requests towards the end of the current MFF; recalls the Commission’s conclusion that, according to the present forecasts, updated payment needs until 2020 can only be accommodated with the current ceilings if the Global Margin for Payments is fully used (and, as a precautionary measure, removed of its annual caps) and if payments for special instruments are counted over and above the ceilings; calls, therefore, for a definitive and unequivocal settlement of the latter issue as part of the MFF revision;

2.  Agrees with the reinforcements in heading 3 via the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin, as well as the frontloading of the reinforcement of the Frontex establishment plan; welcomes in particular the partial replenishment of the AMIF, but is concerned by the fact that, despite a high rate of budgetary execution based on Member States’ national programmes, only a few relocations of refugees have actually taken place to date;

3.  Agrees with the frontloading of EFSI provided the redeployment from CEF is duly compensated in 2018; clarifies that this frontloading does not pre-empt the final financing plan of the new proposal for a prolongation of EFSI which is to be decided in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure;

4.  Notes with concern the expected shortfall of revenues, estimated at EUR 1,8 billion, due to the depreciation of the British Pound against the Euro; takes note of the Commission’s intention to use the revenues provided by additional fines in order to cover that shortfall;

5.  Approves the Council position on Draft Amending budget No 4/2016;

6.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 4/2016 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

7.  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 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.
(6) Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 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 (OJ L 251, 16.9.2016, p. 1).


Draft amending budget No 5/2016: Implementation of the Own Resources Decision
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 5/2016 of the European Union for the financial year 2016: Implementation of the Own Resources Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom further to the closing of the ratification process and its entry into force on 1 October 2016 (13584/2016 – C8-0462/2016 – 2016/2258(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0469A8-0348/2016

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 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(5),

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 5/2016, which the Commission adopted on 7 October 2016 (COM(2016)0660),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 5/2016 which the Council adopted on 8 November 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (13584/2016 – C8‑0462/2016),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0348/2016),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 5/2016 results from the completion of the ratification process and the entry into force of Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom, which contains limited changes such as the reduction of the collection costs of Traditional Own Resources, a new reduced rate of call of the VAT-based resource for some Member States, and gross reductions in GNI-based contributions for some Member States;

B.  whereas Draft amending budget No 5/2016 aims at incorporating in the revenue side of the 2016 Union budget the impact of adjustments to the own resources stemming from the implementation of Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom, with retroactive effect for the financial years 2014, 2015 and 2016;

C.  whereas Draft amending budget No 5/2016 leads, therefore, to the modification of the individual contributions of all Member States, but affects neither the overall revenue nor expenditure side of the Union budget;

1.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 5/2016;

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

3.  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 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.


Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany (COM(2016)0681 – C8-0423/2016 – 2016/2267(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0470A8-0352/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0681 – C8‑0423/2016),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(1),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 10 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3), and in particular point 11 thereof,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0352/2016),

1.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2017/340.)

(1) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.


Draft amending budget No 6/2016 accompanying the proposal to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 6/2016 of the European Union for the financial year 2016 accompanying the proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany (13852/2016 – C8-0473/2016 – 2016/2268(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0471A8-0349/2016

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) (MFF Regulation),

–  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 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(5),

–  having regard to the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Germany, which the Commission adopted on 19 October 2016 (COM(2016)0681),

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 6/2016, which the Commission adopted on 19 October 2016 (COM(2016)0680),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 6/2016 which the Council adopted on 15 November 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (13852/2016 – C8‑0473/2016),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0349/2016),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 6/2016 covers the proposed mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund in relation to floods that occurred in Germany in May and June 2016;

B.  whereas the Commission consequently proposes to amend the 2016 budget and increase the budget article 13 06 01 'Assistance to Member States in the event of a major natural disaster with serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy' by EUR 31 475 125 both in commitment and in payment appropriations;

C.  whereas the European Union Solidarity Fund is a special instrument as defined in the MFF Regulation, and the corresponding commitment and payments appropriations are to be budgeted over and above the MFF ceilings;

1.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 6/2016;

2.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 6/2016 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

3.  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 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.


Mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2017
PDF 245kWORD 43k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2017 (COM(2016)0678 – C8-0420/2016 – 2016/2118(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0472A8-0346/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0678 – C8‑0420/2016),

–  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 13 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(2), and in particular point 14 thereof,

–  having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Commission adopted on 18 July 2016 (COM(2016)0300), as amended by Letter of amendment No 1/2017 (COM(2016)0679),

–  having regard to the position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Council adopted on 12 September 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on 14 September 2016 (11900/2016 – C8-0373/2016),

–  having regard to its position of 26 October 2016 on the 2017 draft general budget(3),

–  having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee on 17 November 2016 (14635/2016 – C8-0470/2016),

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0346/2016),

A.  whereas having examined all possibilities for financing additional and unforeseen commitment needs, the Commission proposed in its Draft Budget to mobilise the Contingency Margin for an amount of EUR 1 164,4 million so as to complement the commitment appropriations related to expenditure in heading 3 in the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, over and above the commitment ceiling of EUR 2 578 million in current prices;

B.  whereas additional financial needs are likely to arise in 2017, in relation to the internal security crises and the current humanitarian, migratory and refugee challenges; acknowledges that these needs could significantly exceed the funding available under heading 3; recalls that no more margin is available under the ceiling of heading 3; therefore, requests the Commission to clarify if and how additional funds could be possibly mobilised using the Contingency Margin to respond to possible additional financial needs for heading 3 during the course of 2017;

C.  whereas the Commission revised this mobilisation proposal in the framework of Letter of amendment No 1/2017 so as to also cover expenditure under heading 4;

D.  whereas the Conciliation Committee convened for the 2016 budget agreed to the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin at a level of EUR 1 906,2 million for heading 3 and heading 4 and to offset EUR 575,0 million against the unallocated margin under heading 2 Sustainable Growth: Natural Resources in 2016, EUR 507,3 million in 2017, EUR 570,0 million in 2018 and EUR 253,9 million in 2019 against the unallocated margins under heading 5 Administration;

1.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the Contingency Margin in 2017

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2017/344.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(2) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0411.


Mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to finance immediate budgetary measures to address the ongoing migration, refugee and security crisis
PDF 248kWORD 45k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to finance immediate budgetary measures to address the on-going migration, refugee and security crisis (COM(2016)0313 – C8-0246/2016 – 2016/2120(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0473A8-0351/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0313 – C8‑0246/2016),

–  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 11 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 the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3), and in particular point 12 thereof,

–  having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Commission adopted on 18 July 2016 (COM(2016)0300), as amended by Letter of amendment No 1/2017 (COM(2016)0679),

–  having regard to the position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Council adopted on 12 September 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on 14 September 2016 (11900/2016 – C8-0373/2016),

–  having regard to its position of 26 October 2016 on the 2017 draft general budget(4),

–  having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee on 17 November 2016 (14635/2016 – C8-0470/2016),

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0351/2016),

A.  whereas after having examined all possibilities for re-allocating commitment appropriations under heading 3, it appears necessary to mobilise the Flexibility Instrument for commitment appropriations;

B.  whereas the Commission had proposed to mobilise the Flexibility Instrument to complement the financing in the general budget of the Union for the financial year 2017 beyond the ceiling of heading 3 by the amount of EUR 530 million to finance measures in the field of migration, refugees and security;

C.  whereas the total amount of the Flexibility Instrument for the financial year 2017 is therefore fully exhausted;

1.  Notes that the 2017 ceilings for heading 3 do not allow for an adequate financing of urgent measures in the field of migration, refugees and security;

2.  Agrees therefore with the mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument for an amount of EUR 530 million in commitment appropriations;

3.  Agrees furthermore to the proposed allocation of the corresponding payment appropriations of EUR 238,3 million in 2017, EUR 91 million in 2018, EUR 141,9 million in 2019 and EUR 58,8 million in 2020;

4.  Reiterates that the mobilisation of this instrument, as provided for in Article 11 of the MFF Regulation, shows, once more, the crucial need for the Union budget to be more flexible and reiterates its position expressed in the framework of the MFF mid-term review/revision that the annual amount of the Flexibility Instrument be increased to EUR 2 billion;

5.  Reiterates its long-standing view that, without prejudice to the possibility for payment appropriations to be mobilised for specific budget lines through the Flexibility Instrument without prior mobilisations in commitments, the payments stemming from commitments previously mobilised through the Flexibility Instrument can only be counted over and above the ceilings;

6.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to finance immediate budgetary measures to address the on-going migration, refugee and security crisis

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2017/342.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(2) OJ L 103, 22.4.2015, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0411.


Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide for payment of advances in the 2017 budget
PDF 242kWORD 44k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide for the payment of advances in the general budget of the Union for 2017 (COM(2016)0312 – C8-0245/2016 – 2016/2119(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0474A8-0323/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0312 – C8‑0245/2016),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(1),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 10 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3), and in particular point 11 thereof,

–  having regard to the results of the trilogue of 17 November 2016,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0323/2016),

A.  whereas, in line with Regulation (EU) No 661/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council (4), an amount of EUR 50 000 000 is made available for the payment of advances through appropriations in the general budget of the Union

1.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide for the payment of advances in the general budget of the Union for 2017

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2017/343.)

(1) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Regulation (EU) No 661/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund (OJ L 189, 27.6.2014, p. 143).


2017 budgetary procedure: joint text
PDF 502kWORD 63k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 1 December 2016 on the joint text on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017 approved by the Conciliation Committee under the budgetary procedure (14635/2016 – C8-0470/2016 – 2016/2047(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0475A8-0353/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee and the relevant Parliament, Council and Commission statements (14635/2016 – C8‑0470/2016),

–  having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Commission adopted on 18 July 2016 (COM(2016)0300),

–  having regard to the position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Council adopted on 12 September 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on 14 September 2016 (11900/2016 – C8‑0373/2016),

–  having regard to Letter of amendment No 1/2017 to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Commission presented on 17 October 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2016 on the Council position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017(1) and to the budget amendments contained therein,

–  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 Council Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(2),

–  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(3),

–  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(4),

–  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(5),

–  having regard to Rule 90 and Rule 91 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A8-0353/2016),

1.  Approves the joint text agreed by the Conciliation Committee, which consists of the following documents taken together:

   list of budget lines not modified, compared to the draft budget or the Council's position;
   summary figures by financial framework headings;
   line by line figures on all budget items;
   a consolidated document showing the figures and final text of all lines modified during the conciliation;

2.  Confirms the joint statements by Parliament, the Council and the Commission annexed to this resolution;

3.  Notes that Parliament’s level of staffing was one of the major issues of this conciliation; recalls that based on the Gentlemen’s Agreement, each branch of the budgetary authority has sole competence for its own section of the budget, recalls also its political decision to exempt the political groups from the 5 % staff reduction target, as underlined it its resolutions on the budgets 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017; will evaluate the consequences of budgetary decisions on the functioning of the institution;

4.  Instructs its President to declare that the European Union's general budget for the financial year 2017 has been definitively adopted and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

5.  Instructs its President to forward this legislative resolution to the Council, the Commission, the other institutions and bodies concerned and the national parliaments.

ANNEX

17.11.2016

FINAL

Budget 2017 – Elements for joint conclusions

These joint conclusions cover the following sections:

1.  Budget 2017

2.  Budget 2016 – Draft Amending Budgets 4, 5 and 6/2016

3.  Joint statements

Summary overview

A.  Budget 2017

According to the elements for joint conclusions:

—  The overall level of commitment appropriations in the 2017 budget is set at EUR 157 857,8 million. Overall, this leaves a margin below the MFF ceilings for 2017 of EUR 1 100,1 million in commitment appropriations.

—  The overall level of payment appropriations in the 2017 budget is set at EUR 134 490,4 million.

—  The Flexibility Instrument for 2017 is mobilised in commitment appropriations for an amount of EUR 530 million for heading 3 Security and Citizenship.

—  The Global margin for commitments is mobilised at a level of EUR 1 439,1 million for heading 1a Competitiveness for Growth and Jobs.

—  The Contingency margin is mobilised at a level of EUR 1 906,2 million for heading 3 and heading 4. It is offset for EUR 575,0 million against the unallocated margin under heading 2 Sustainable Growth: Natural Resources in 2017 and for EUR 507,3 million in 2017, EUR 570,0 million in 2018 and EUR 253,9 million in 2019 against the unallocated margins under heading 5 Administration.

—  The 2017 payment appropriations related to the mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument in 2014, 2015 and 2016 are estimated by the Commission at EUR 981,1 million.

B.  Budget 2016

According to the elements for joint conclusions:

—  Draft Amending Budget 4/2016 and the accompanying mobilisation of the Contingency margin are accepted, as proposed by the Commission.

—  Draft Amending Budget 5/2016 is accepted as proposed by the Commission.

—  Draft Amending Budget 6/2016 and the related mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund are accepted as proposed by the Commission.

1.  Budget 2017

1.1.  'Closed' lines

Unless stated otherwise below in these conclusions, all budget lines not amended by either Council or Parliament, and those for which Parliament accepted Council's amendments during their respective reading, are confirmed.

For the other budget lines, the Conciliation Committee has agreed on the conclusions included in sections 1.2 to 1.8 below.

1.2.  Horizontal issues

Decentralised agencies

The EU contribution (in commitment and payment appropriations) and the number of posts for all decentralised agencies are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017 with the exception of:

—  The European Police Office (EUROPOL, budget article 18 02 04) for which 10 additional posts are allocated with additional appropriations of EUR 675 000 in commitment and payment appropriations.

—  The European Union's Judicial Cooperation Unit (EUROJUST, budget article 33 03 04) for which 10 additional posts are allocated with additional appropriations of EUR 675 000 in commitment and payment appropriations.

—  The European Banking Authority (EBA, budget article 12 02 04) for which commitment and payment appropriations are reduced by EUR 500 000.

—  The European Asylum Support Office (EASO, budget article 18 03 02) for which the commitment and payment appropriations are increased by EUR 3 000 000.

—  The European Medicines Agency (EMA, budget item 17 03 12 01) for which the commitment and payment appropriations are reduced by EUR 8 350 000.

Executive agencies

The EU contribution (in commitment and payment appropriations) and the number of posts for executive agencies are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget 2017.

Pilot Projects/Preparatory Actions

A comprehensive package of 78 pilot projects/preparatory actions (PP/PA), for a total amount of EUR 76,9 million in commitment appropriations is agreed, as proposed by the Parliament in addition to the preparatory action proposed by the Commission in the Draft budget 2017.

When a pilot project or a preparatory action appears to be covered by an existing legal basis, the Commission may propose the transfer of appropriations to the corresponding legal basis in order to facilitate the implementation of the action.

This package fully respects the ceilings for pilot projects and preparatory actions set in the Financial Regulation.

1.3.  Expenditure headings of the financial framework - commitment appropriations

After taking into account the above conclusions on 'closed' budget lines, agencies and pilot projects and preparatory actions, the Conciliation Committee has agreed on the following:

Heading 1a – Competitiveness for Growth and Jobs

Commitment appropriations of the following lines are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget 2017, as amended by amending letter 1/2017:

 

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

DB 2017

Budget 2017

Difference

02 02 02

Improving access to finance for small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the form of equity and debt

167 030 000

217 030 000

50 000 000

06 02 01 03

Optimising the integration and interconnection of transport modes and enhancing interoperability

360 321 493

410 321 493

50 000 000

08 02 01 01

Strengthening frontier research in ERC — European Research Council

1 736 471 644

1 753 136 644

16 665 000

08 02 04

Spreading excellence and widening participation

123 492 850

140 157 850

16 665 000

09 04 02 01

Leadership in information and communications technology

779 380 777

796 050 777

16 670 000

15 02 01 01

Promoting excellence and cooperation in the European education and training area and its relevance to the labour market

1 701 963 700

1 725 463 700

23 500 000

15 02 01 02

Promoting excellence and cooperation in the European Youth Area and the participation of young people in European democratic life

201 400 000

227 900 000

26 500 000

 

Total

 

 

200 000 000(6)

The Council and the Parliament confirm that the agreed increases in heading 1a as part of the budget 2017 fully respect earlier agreements, and are without prejudice to ongoing legislative procedures.

All other commitment appropriations of heading 1a are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017, integrating the adjustments agreed in the Conciliation Committee and included in the table below. A specific budget article is created for the "Special events" as foreseen in the Parliament's reading.

 

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

DB 2017 (incl. AL1)

Budget 2017

Difference

32 02 01 01

Further integration of the internal energy market and the interoperability of electricity and gas networks across borders

217 403 954

206 508 927

-10 895 027

32 02 01 02

Enhancing Union security of energy supply

217 403 954

207 441 809

-9 962 145

32 02 01 03

Contributing to sustainable development and protection of the environment

217 404 002

206 509 070

-10 894 932

32 02 01 04

Creating an environment more conducive to private investment for energy projects

85 227 000

77 291 975

-7 935 025

15 02 10

Special annual events

 

6 000 000

6 000 000

04 03 02 01

PROGRESS — Supporting the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Union employment and social policy and legislation on working conditions

60 000 000

65 000 000

5 000 000

04 03 02 02

EURES — Promoting workers’ voluntary geographical mobility and boosting employment opportunities

22 578 000

23 578 000

1 000 000

 

Total

 

 

-27 687 129

As a consequence, and after taking into account agencies, pilot projects and preparatory actions, the agreed level of commitments is set at EUR 21 312,2 million, leaving a margin of EUR 51,9 million under the expenditure ceiling of heading 1a and the use of the Global Margin for Commitments for an amount of EUR 1 439,1 million.

Heading 1b – Economic, social and territorial Cohesion

Commitment appropriations are set at the level proposed in the Draft Budget 2017.

Taking into account pilot projects and preparatory actions, the agreed level of commitments is set at EUR 53 586,6 million, leaving a margin of EUR 0,4 million under the expenditure ceiling of heading 1b.

Heading 2 – Sustainable Growth: Natural Resources

Commitment appropriations are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017, including the additional reduction of EUR 325,0 million arising from increased EAGF assigned revenue communicated by the Commission on 7 November.2016. As a consequence, the Conciliation Committee has agreed on the following:

 

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

DB 2017 (incl. AL1)

Budget 2017

Difference

05 03 01 10

Basic payment scheme (BPS)

15 621 000 000

15 296 000 000

-325 000 000

Taking into account agencies, pilot projects and preparatory actions, the agreed level of commitments is set at EUR 58 584,4 million, leaving a margin of EUR 1 031,6 million under the expenditure ceiling of heading 2, taking into account that EUR 575,0 million are used to offset the mobilisation of the Contingency margin.

Heading 3 – Security and Citizenship

Commitment appropriations are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017 but with the adjustments agreed by the Conciliation Committee, detailed in the following table:

 

 

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

DB 2017 (incl. AL1)

Budget 2017

Difference

09 05 05

Multimedia actions

19 573 000

22 573 000

3 000 000

15 04 02

Culture sub-programme — supporting cross-border actions and promoting transnational circulation and mobility

54 350 000

55 350 000

1 000 000

 

 Total

 

 

4 000 000

The budget remark of article 09 05 05 will be modified through the addition of the following sentence: "Where appropriate, the procurement and grant procedures may include the conclusion of framework partnerships, with a view to promoting a stable financing framework for the pan-European networks funded under this appropriation."

The budget remark of article 15 04 02 will be modified through the addition of the following sentence: "This appropriation may also finance the preparation of the European year for Cultural Heritage."

As a consequence, and after taking into account agencies, pilot projects and preparatory actions, the agreed level of commitments is set at EUR 4 284,0 million, with no margin left under the expenditure ceiling of heading 3, the mobilisation of EUR 530 million through the Flexibility Instrument and the use of the Contingency Margin for an amount of EUR 1 176,0 million.

Heading 4 – Global Europe

Commitment appropriations are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017, but with the adjustments agreed by the Conciliation Committee, detailed in the following table:

 

 

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

DB 2017 (incl. AL1)

Budget 2017

Difference

01 03 02

Macro-financial assistance

30 828 000

45 828 000

15 000 000

01 03 08

Provisioning of the EFSD Guarantee Fund

275 000 000

p.m.

-275 000 000

13 07 01

Financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community

31 836 240

34 836 240

3 000 000

19 03 01 05

Emergency measures

69 480 000

62 850 000

-6 630 000

21 02 07 05

Migration and asylum

448 273 912

404 973 912

-43 300 000

22 04 01 04

Support to peace process and financial assistance to Palestine and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)

282 219 939

310 100 000

27 880 061

22 04 01 03

Mediterranean countries — Confidence building, security and the prevention and settlement of conflicts

340 360 500

332 480 439

-7 880 061

22 04 02 02

Eastern Partnership — Poverty reduction and sustainable development

313 825 583

322 125 583

8 300 000

 

 Total

 

 

-278 630 000

However, for budget item 19 03 01 07 European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs) the appropriations are set at the level of the Draft Budget 2017.

As a consequence, and after taking into account agencies, pilot projects and preparatory actions, the agreed level of commitments is set at EUR 10 162,1 million, with no margin left under the expenditure ceiling of heading 4 and the use of the Contingency Margin for an amount of EUR 730,1 million.

Heading 5 – Administration

The number of posts in the establishment plans of the Institutions and the appropriations proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017 are agreed by the Conciliation Committee with the following exceptions:

—  The Parliament for which its reading is approved with the exception that the increase of 76 posts for the political groups is fully offset by a compensatory decrease in the posts of the establishment plan in the Parliament's administration, in the budgetary neutral manner. Moreover, the Conciliation Committee agrees to integrate in the Budget 2017 the impact of the automatic salary update to be applied from 1 July 2016 (EUR 8 717 000).

—  The Council for which its reading is approved with integration in the Budget 2017 of the impact of the automatic salary update to be applied from 1 July 2016 (EUR 3 301 000).

—  The Court of Auditors for which the reductions compared to the Draft Budget 2017 included in Parliament's reading are approved.

—  The European External Action Service (EEAS) for which EUR 560 250 (budget item 1200) are allocated to the contractual agent line with the same amount being reduced on budget item 3003 Buildings and associated costs. The budget remark of item 1200 will be modified by adding the sentence: "These appropriations also cover the cost of contract agents involved in strategic communication activities". Moreover, the following budget lines in the section of the EEAS are adjusted to remove the transfer of the double-hatted EUSRs proposed in the Amending Letter 1.

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

Difference

3001

External staff and outside services

-3 645 000

3002

Other expenditure related to staff

-1 980 000

3003

Buildings and associated costs

-3 636 000

3004

Other administrative expenditure

-815 000

 

 Total

-10 076 000

As a consequence, taking into account pilot projects and preparatory actions, the agreed level of commitments is set at EUR 9 394,5 million, leaving a margin of EUR 16,2 million under the expenditure ceiling of heading 5, after the use of EUR 507,3 million of the margin to offset the mobilisation of the Contingency margin.

Special instruments

Commitment appropriations for special instruments are set at the level proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget 2017 except for the reserve for the European Union Solidarity Fund (budget article 40 02 44) which is suppressed.

Offsetting of the Contingency margin in 2018 and 2019

The total use of the Contingency margin in 2017 is EUR 1 176,0 million for heading 3 and EUR 730,1 million for heading 4 for a total amount of EUR 1 906,2 million. Offsetting is made for EUR 575,0 million against the unallocated margin under heading 2 in 2017 and for EUR 507,3 million in 2017, EUR 570,0 million in 2018 and EUR 253,9 million in 2019 against the unallocated margins under heading 5. The decision on the mobilisation of the contingency margin for 2017 adopted together with the Amending Letter 1/2017 will be adjusted accordingly.

1.4.  Payment appropriations

The overall level of payment appropriations in the 2017 Budget is set at the level of the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017 with the following adjustments agreed by the Conciliation Committee:

1.  First, account is taken of the agreed level of commitment appropriations for non-differentiated expenditure, for which the level of payment appropriations is equal to the level of commitment appropriations. This includes the reduction of agricultural expenditure by –EUR 325 million and the adjustments of the administrative expenditure for Sections I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, IX and X (EUR 13,4 million), and decentralised agencies (for which the EU contribution in payment appropriations is set at the level proposed in section 1.2 above). The combined effect is a decrease of -EUR 332,3 million;

2.  The payment appropriations for all new pilot projects and preparatory actions proposed by the Parliament are set at 50% of the corresponding commitment appropriations, or at the level proposed by Parliament if lower. In the case of extension of existing pilot projects and preparatory actions the level of payment appropriations is the one defined in the Draft Budget plus 50% of the corresponding new commitment appropriations, or at the level proposed by Parliament if lower. The combined effect is an increase of EUR 35,2 million;

3.  The payment appropriations for the “special events” (budget article 15 02 10) is the amount stated in Parliament's reading (EUR 6 million);

4.  The payment appropriations (budget article 01 03 08 Provisioning of the EFSD Guarantee Fund) is set at "p.m.";

5.  The adjustments on the following budget lines are agreed as a result of the evolution in commitments for differentiated appropriations:

 

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

DB 2017 (incl. AL1)

Budget 2017

Difference

01 03 02

Macro-financial assistance

30 828 000

45 828 000

15 000 000

04 03 02 01

PROGRESS — Supporting the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Union employment and social policy and legislation on working conditions

38 000 000

41 167 000

3 167 000

04 03 02 02

EURES — Promoting workers’ voluntary geographical mobility and boosting employment opportunities

17 000 000

17 753 000

753 000

09 05 05

Multimedia actions

23 997 455

26 997 455

3 000 000

13 07 01

Financial support for encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community

36 031 865

39 031 865

3 000 000

15 04 02

Culture sub-programme — supporting cross-border actions and promoting transnational circulation and mobility

43 430 071

44 229 071

799 000

22 04 01 04

Support to peace process and financial assistance to Palestine and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)

280 000 000

307 661 000

27 661 000

22 04 02 02

Eastern Partnership — Poverty reduction and sustainable development

167 700 000

172 135 000

4 435 000

19 03 01 05

Emergency measures

33 212 812

30 043 812

-3 169 000

21 02 07 05

Migration and asylum

155 000 000

115 722 000

-39 278 000

22 04 01 03

Mediterranean countries — Confidence building, security and the prevention and settlement of conflicts

138 000 000

134 805 000

-3 195 000

32 02 01 01

Further integration of the internal energy market and the interoperability of electricity and gas networks across borders

34 765 600

33 023 600

-1 742 000

32 02 01 02

Enhancing Union security of energy supply

26 032 000

24 839 000

-1 193 000

32 02 01 03

Contributing to sustainable development and protection of the environment

26 531 000

25 201 000

-1 330 000

32 02 01 04

Creating an environment more conducive to private investment for energy projects

31 200 000

28 295 000

-2 905 000

 

Total

 

 

5 003 000

6.  The payment appropriations for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (budget article 40 02 43) is set at zero (a reduction by –EUR 30 million) as the payment appropriations available from assigned revenue are estimated to be enough to cover the whole year 2017.

7.  The reserve for the European Union Solidarity Fund (budget article 40 02 44) is suppressed.

8.  Additional reductions in payments are made on the following lines:

 

 

 

 

In EUR

Budget line

Name

DB 2017 (incl. AL1)

Budget 2017

Difference

04 02 62

European Social Fund (ESF) — More developed regions — Investment for growth and jobs goal

2 508 475 000

2 490 475 000

-18 000 000

13 03 61

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) — Transition regions — Investment for growth and jobs goal

2 214 431 000

2 204 431 000

-10 000 000

13 03 62

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) — More developed regions — Investment for growth and jobs goal

3 068 052 000

3 043 052 000

-25 000 000

13 03 64 01

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) — European territorial cooperation

884 299 000

783 299 000

-101 000 000

 

Total

 

 

-154 000 000

These actions will provide a level of payment appropriations of EUR 134 490,4 million, a reduction of –EUR 931,4 million in comparison with the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017.

1.5.  Reserve

There are no reserves in addition to those of the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017, except for:

—  Budget item 13 01 04 04 Support expenditure for Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) and budget article 13 08 01 Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) – Operational technical assistance transferred from H1b (ESF, ERDF and CF) for which the full amounts in commitment and payment appropriations are placed in reserve pending the adoption of the legal base for the Structural Reform Support Programme.

—  Budget article 13 08 02 Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) – Operational technical assistance transferred from H2 (EAFRD) for which the full amount in commitment and payment appropriations is placed in reserve pending the adoption of the legal base for the Structural Reform Support Programme.

—  Budget item 18 02 01 03 Setting up new IT systems to support the management of migration flows across the external borders of the Union for which EUR 40 000 000 in commitment and EUR 28 000 000 in payment appropriations are placed in reserve pending the conclusion of the legislative procedure establishing the Entry/Exit System.

1.6.  Budget remarks

Unless otherwise specifically addressed in previous paragraphs, amendments introduced by the European Parliament or the Council to the text of budgetary remarks are agreed, with the exception of those on budget lines listed in the table below for which the text of budget remarks as proposed in the Draft Budget, amended by Amending Letter 1/2017 and the EAGF update is approved.

This is with the understanding that amendments introduced by the European Parliament or the Council cannot modify or extend the scope of an existing legal base, or impinge on the administrative autonomy of institutions, and that the action can be covered by available resources.

Budget line

Name

04 03 02 03

Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship — Increasing access to, and the availability of, financing for legal and physical persons, especially those furthest from the labour market, and social enterprises

S 03 01 06 01

European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

05 02 11 99

Other measures (other plant products/measures)

05 04 60

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development — EAFRD (2014 to 2020)

05 04 60 02

Operational technical assistance

18 04 01 01

Europe for citizens — Strengthening remembrance and enhancing capacity for civic participation at the Union level

1.7.  New budget lines

The budget nomenclature proposed by the Commission in the Draft Budget, as amended by Amending Letter 1/2017, with the inclusion of pilot projects and preparatory actions, and the new budget article for Special Annual Events (15 02 10), is agreed.

1.8.  Revenue

The Commission's proposal in Amending Letter 1/2017 concerning the inclusion in the Budget of revenue from fines for an amount of EUR 1 billion is agreed.

2.  Budget 2016

Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 4/2016 and the accompanying mobilisation of the Contingency margin are approved as proposed by the Commission.

Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 5/2016 is approved as proposed by the Commission.

Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 6/2016 and the related mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund are approved as proposed by the Commission.

3.  Joint Statements

3.1.  Joint statement by the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the Youth Employment Initiative

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission recall that reducing youth unemployment remains a high and shared political priority, and to this end they reaffirm their determination to make the best possible use of budgetary resources available to tackle it, and in particular through the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).

They recall that, in accordance with Article 14(1) of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (MFF Regulation), "Margins left available below the MFF ceilings for commitment appropriations for the years 2014-2017 shall constitute a Global MFF Margin for commitments, to be made available over and above the ceilings established in the MFF for the years 2016 to 2020 for policy objectives related to growth and employment, in particular youth employment".

The Council and the European Parliament invite the Commission to propose an amending budget in 2017 in order to provide EUR 500 million(7) for the YEI in 2017 financed by the Global margin for commitments, as soon as the technical adjustment foreseen by article 6 of the MFF Regulation is adopted.

The Council and the European Parliament undertake to process rapidly the draft amending budget for 2017 put forward by the Commission.

3.2.  Joint statement by the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the payment appropriations

The European Parliament and the Council recall the need to ensure, in the light of implementation, an orderly progression of payments in relation to the appropriations for commitments so as to avoid any abnormal level of unpaid invoices at year-end.

The European Parliament and the Council calls on the Commission to continue monitoring closely and actively the implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes. To that end, they invite the Commission to present in a timely manner, updated figures concerning the state of implementation and estimates regarding payment appropriations requirements in 2017.

The Council and the European Parliament will take any necessary decisions in due time for duly justified needs to prevent the accumulation of an excessive amount of unpaid bills and to ensure that payment claims are duly reimbursed.

3.3.  Joint statement by the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the 5 % staff reduction

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission recall the agreement to progressively render 5 % of the staff as in the establishment plan on 1 January 2013, to be applied to all institutions, bodies and agencies, as stated in Point 27 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management.

The three institutions recall that the target year for the full implementation of the 5 % reduction of staff is 2017. They agree that appropriate follow-up measures will be taken to take stock of the situation with a view to ensuring that all efforts are deployed to avoid any additional delays in implementing the 5 % staff reduction target for all institutions, bodies and agencies.

The three institutions welcome the Commission's overview of consolidated data on all external staff employed by the institutions, presented in the draft budget, in line with point (b) of Article 38(3) of the Financial Regulation. They invite the Commission to continue providing this information when presenting its draft budgets for future years.

The Council and the Parliament underline that achieving the 5 % staff reduction target should contribute to savings in the institutions' administrative expenditure. With that in mind, they invite the Commission to start assessing the outcome of the exercise in order to draw lessons for the future.

3.4.  Joint statement by the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the European Fund for Sustainable Development

In order to address the root causes of migration, the Commission launched the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) based on the establishment of an EFSD Guarantee and an EFSD Guarantee Fund. The Commission proposes to endow the EFSD Guarantee Fund with EUR 750 million over the period 2017–2020, of which EUR 400 million from the European Development Fund (EDF) over the four years, EUR 100 million from the ENI over 2017–2020 (of which EUR 25 million in 2017), and EUR 250 million of commitment (and payment) appropriations in 2017.

The Council and the European Parliament invite the Commission to request the necessary appropriations in an amending budget in 2017 in order to provide the financing of the EFSD from the EU budget as soon as the legal base is adopted.

The Council and the European Parliament undertake to process rapidly the draft amending budget for 2017 put forward by the Commission.

3.5.  Joint statement on EU Trust Funds and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey

The Parliament, the Council and the Commission agree that the establishment of Trust Funds and of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey should be transparent and clear, consistent with the principle of unity of the Union budget, with the prerogatives of the budgetary authority, and with the objectives of existing legal bases.

They undertake to address, as appropriate, those issues as part of the revision of the Financial Regulation in order to strike the right balance between flexibility and accountability.

The Commission undertakes to:

—  regularly inform the budgetary authority on ongoing and planned Trust Funds' financing (including Member States' contributions) and operations;

—  present, as of 2017, a Working Document accompanying the Draft Budget for the following financial year;

—  propose measures for proper involvement of the European Parliament.

3.6.  Joint statement by the European Parliament, Council and Commission on agriculture

The budget 2017 includes a series of emergency measures to assist farmers in facing the market difficulties experienced recently. The Commission confirms that the margin under heading 2 is sufficient to address possible unforeseen needs. It undertakes to monitor the market situation regularly and to present if needed the appropriate measures to address needs which cannot be covered by the appropriations authorised in the budget. In such a case, the European Parliament and the Council commit to process the relevant budgetary proposals as soon as possible.

(1) Texts adopted of that date, P8_TA(2016)0411.
(2) OJ L 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.
(3) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(5) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(6) These amounts are part of the overall increase for heading 1a until 2020 in the framework of the Mid-term review/revision of the MFF.
(7) This amount is part of the overall increase for YEI until 2020 in the framework of the Mid-term review/revision of the MFF.


Situation in Italy after the earthquakes
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the situation in Italy after the earthquakes (2016/2988(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0476RC-B8-1285/2016

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to Articles 174, 175 (third paragraph) and 212 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  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),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2016/369 of 15 March 2016 on the provision of emergency support within the Union(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(3) and to Regulation (EU) No 661/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014(4) amending that regulation,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps (‘EU Aid Volunteers initiative’)(5),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid(6),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 11 April 2011 on Further Developing Risk Assessment for Disaster Management within the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 November 2008 calling for civil protection capabilities to be enhanced by a European mutual assistance system building on the civil protection modular approach (16474/08),

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘The European Union Solidarity Fund – Annual Report 2014’ (COM(2015)0502),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2007 on the regional impact of earthquakes(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2008 on stepping up the Union’s disaster response capacity(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2009(9) on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund: Italy, the Abruzzo earthquake,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2013 on the European Union Solidarity Fund, implementation and application(10),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 28 November 2013 on the European Union Solidarity Fund(11),

–  having regard to the questions to the Commission on the situation in Italy after the earthquakes (O-000139/2016 – B8-1812/2016, O-000140/2016 – B8-1813/2016 and O‑000141/2016 – B8-1814/2016),

–  having regard to Special Report No 24/2012 of the Court of Auditors entitled ‘The European Union Solidarity Fund’s response to the 2009 Abruzzi earthquake: the relevance and cost of operations’,

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

A.  whereas after the devastating earthquake that hit central Italy on 24 August 2016, three more major quakes, together with a flurry of tremors, struck the central Italian regions, on 26 October 2016 with magnitudes of 5.5 and 6.1, and on 30 October 2016 with a magnitude of 6.5;

B.  whereas quakes and aftershocks have continued to batter central Italy over the past months; whereas the most recent earthquake on 30 October 2016 was the strongest tremor to hit the country in more than three decades, involving the total flattening of entire villages, bringing large numbers of inhabitants of the affected areas to the brink of despair, and provoking various indirect forms of damage in the surrounding areas;

C.  whereas in the recent quakes more than 400 people are reported to have been injured and 290 to have died;

D.  whereas the devastating earthquakes are piling up in a ‘domino effect’ and have led to up to 100 000 inhabitants being displaced;

E.  whereas the impact of the latest quakes has destroyed towns, seriously damaged local and regional infrastructure, ruined historical and cultural heritage, damaged economic activities, especially those of SMEs, agriculture, the landscape and the potential of the tourism and hospitality industries;

F.  whereas the territories concerned suffer from a deformation that extends over an area of about 130 square kilometres, with a maximum displacement of at least 70 centimetres, and whereas unpredictable hydrogeological effects could lead, in severe winter weather conditions, to further natural catastrophes such as floods and landslips and cumulative damage;

G.  whereas some territories in the European Union are more vulnerable and at high seismic risk; whereas they may even be exposed to repeated natural catastrophes of various kinds, some of them less than a year apart, recent cases having occurred in Italy, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus;

H.  whereas sustainable reconstruction efforts need to be properly coordinated in order to remedy the economic and social losses, and whereas particular attention should also be paid to the invaluable Italian cultural heritage, promoting international and European projects aimed at protecting historical buildings and sites;

I.  whereas the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was set up under Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 in response to the disastrous flooding that hit central Europe in the summer of 2002;

J.  whereas various Union instruments, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds or the civil protection mechanism and financial instrument, may be used to strengthen preventive measures to address earthquakes and rehabilitation measures;

K.  whereas the 2014 reform of the EUSF introduced the possibility for Member States to request advance payments, the granting of which is decided upon by the Commission, if sufficient resources are available; whereas, however, the amount of the advance cannot exceed 10 % of the anticipated total amount of the financial contribution from the EUSF and is capped at EUR 30 million;

L.  whereas the Member State affected must submit an application for assistance from the EUSF to the Commission no later than 12 weeks after the first effects of the disaster become clear; whereas the beneficiary state is responsible for using the grant and auditing the way it is spent, but the Commission may carry out on-the-spot checks on operations financed by the EUSF;

M.  whereas the reconstruction process must take into account past experiences, and whereas the need to be carried out with the utmost rapidity, adequate resources, bureaucratic simplification and transparency should be the basis for sustainable reconstruction, as well as the need to provide security and stability for affected residents in order to ensure that they can continue to live in these regions;

N.  whereas prevention should constitute an increasingly important stage in disaster management and be given greater social importance, and also requires a careful action programme on information dissemination, awareness and education;

O.  whereas current disaster prevention measures need to be reinforced in accordance with Parliament’s previous proposals with a view to consolidating the strategy for the prevention of natural and man-made disasters at EU level;

1.  Expresses its deepest solidarity and empathy with all the individuals affected by the earthquakes and their families, and with the Italian national, regional and local authorities involved in relief efforts following the disaster;

2.  Expresses its concern over the large number of displaced persons exposed to the harsh weather conditions of the forthcoming winter season; calls on the Commission, therefore, to identify all possible ways of providing help to the Italian authorities with a view to guaranteeing decent living conditions for the people deprived of their homes;

3.  Appreciates the unremitting efforts made by the rescue units, civil protection forces, volunteers, civil society organisations, and local, regional and national authorities in the devastated areas in order to save lives, contain the damage and guarantee common basic activities to maintain a decent standard of living;

4.  Underlines the serious economic and social effects of the successive earthquakes and the destruction left in their wake;

5.  Underlines the gravity of the situation on the ground, which is putting considerable and intense financial pressure on Italian national, regional and local public authorities;

6.  Welcomes the increased level of flexibility in the deficit calculation on spending related to the earthquakes that has been granted to Italy, in accordance with the Treaties, in order to cope with the current emergency efficiently and swiftly and with future interventions required to secure the areas affected; also calls on the Italian Government to ensure that all the extra resources provided are actually used for this specific purpose;

7.  In light of this exceptional and very serious situation, asks the Commission to consider having sustainable reconstruction and any anti-seismic investments, including those cofinanced through the ESI funds and allocated to Thematic Objective 5 (‘prevention, promotion of climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management’), excluded from the calculation of national deficits in the framework of the Stability and Growth Pact;

8.  Welcomes the solidarity expressed by the EU institutions, other Member States, European regions and international players, as exemplified by mutual assistance in emergency situations;

9.  Asks the Commission to consider extending the existing calculation of the Solidarity Fund, which is currently based on the effects of damage caused by a single catastrophic event, to a cumulative computation of the damage caused by several natural catastrophes in the same region in a year;

10.  Highlights the prediction problems associated with earthquake systems and the high seismicity of the Mediterranean area and South East Europe; calls on Member States to speed up research with a view to preventing damage, managing crises and minimising the scale of the impact of disasters in conjunction with actions under Horizon 2020; notes with concern that thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless in the past 15 years as a result of destructive earthquakes affecting Europe;

11.  Recalls the importance of complying with requirements for the construction of earthquake‑resistant buildings and infrastructure; urges national, regional and local authorities to step up efforts to make structures compliant with the earthquake standards in force and to pay due attention to this when issuing building permits;

12.  Stresses the importance of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism in fostering cooperation among national civil protection authorities across Europe in adverse situations and in minimising the effects of exceptional occurrences; calls on the Commission and the Member States to further simplify the procedures for the activation of the Mechanism in order to make it available rapidly and effectively in the immediate aftermath of a disaster;

13.  Takes note of the application presented for the European Solidarity Fund by the Italian Government, and calls on the Commission to undertake all necessary measures to analyse requests for assistance under the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) promptly, with a view to ensuring its swift mobilisation; stresses in this context the importance of advance payments being made available as soon as possible to the national authorities to enable them to respond to the urgent demands of the situation;

14.  Considers that the partial ‘budgetisation’ of the annual EUSF financial allocation provided for in the proposed Omnibus Regulation could help in the future to accelerate the mobilisation procedure with a view to providing an earlier and more effective response to people affected by a disaster; invites the Commission, moreover, in the context of possible future reforms, to analyse the feasibility of increasing the advance payments threshold and shortening the deadlines for processing applications;

15.  Stresses the importance of creating synergies among all available instruments, including the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds), and of ensuring that resources are used effectively for reconstruction activities and all other necessary interventions, in full cooperation with the Italian national and regional authorities; calls on the Commission to be ready to adopt amendments to programmes and operational programmes to this end as soon as possible after the submission of a request for amendments by a Member State; underlines likewise the possibility of using the European Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to sustain the rural areas and agricultural activities that have been impacted by the earthquakes;

16.  Underlines, moreover, the importance of optimising the use of existing EU funding to invest in preventing natural disasters and of guaranteeing the consolidation and long-term sustainable development of reconstruction projects, and reiterates the need to simplify the administrative procedures for coordination of the funds; stresses that, after receiving assistance under the EUSF, the Member States concerned should intensify their efforts to develop appropriate risk management strategies and strengthen their disaster prevention mechanisms;

17.  Takes note of the activation, on the request of the Italian Government, of the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service, with the aim of providing satellite-based damage assessment for the affected areas; encourages cooperation between international research centres, and welcomes the use of synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which can evaluate and measure centimetre-level ground movements through clouds by day and night, also for purposes of prevention and risk management;

18.  Emphasises the importance of public research and development (R&D) in preventing and managing disasters, and calls for increased coordination and cooperation between the R&D institutions of Member States, especially those facing similar risks; calls for enhanced early warning systems in Member States and the creation and strengthening of links between the various early warning systems;

19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of Italy, and the regional and local authorities of the areas affected.

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320.
(2) OJ L 70, 16.3.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.
(4) OJ L 189, 27.6.2014, p. 143.
(5) OJ L 122, 24.4.2014, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 163, 2.7.1996, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 269
(8) OJ C 286 E, 27.11.2009, p. 15.
(9) OJ C 230 E, 26.8.2010, p. 13.
(10) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 13.
(11) OJ C 114, 15.4.2014, p. 48.


Commissioners’ declarations of interests – Guidelines
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on Commissioners’ declarations of interests – guidelines (2016/2080(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0477A8-0315/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and in particular Article 17(3) thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and in particular Article 245 thereof,

–  having regard to Annex XVI of its Rules of Procedure (Guidelines for the approval of the Commission), and in particular paragraph 1(a), third sub-paragraph thereof,

–  having regard to its decision of 28 April 2015 concerning the scrutiny of the declarations of financial interests of Commissioners-designate (interpretation of paragraph 1(a) of Annex XVI to its Rules of Procedure)(1),

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission(2), in particular the points corresponding to Section II – Political Responsibility,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 on procedures and practices regarding Commissioner hearings, lessons to be taken from the 2014 process(3),

–  having regard to the Code of Conduct for European Commissioners of 20 April 2011(4), and in particular points 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 thereof,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0315/2016),

A.  whereas, pursuant to paragraph 1(a) of Annex XVI to its Rules of Procedure (Guidelines for the approval of the Commission), Parliament may express its opinion on the allocation of portfolios by the President-elect of the Commission and seek any information relevant to its reaching a decision on the aptitude of the Commissioners-designate; whereas Parliament expects to be sent all information relating to the financial interests of the Commissioners-designate and their declarations of interests to be sent for scrutiny to the committee responsible for legal affairs;

B.  whereas, pursuant to point 3 under Section II (Political Responsibility) of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, the designated Members of the Commission shall ensure full disclosure of all relevant information, in conformity with the obligation of independence to which they are subject under the Treaties; whereas this information shall be disclosed in line with procedures designed to ensure an open, fair and consistent assessment of the entire Commission-designate;

C.  whereas, in accordance with its above-mentioned Decision of 28 April 2015, scrutiny of the declaration of financial interests of a Commissioner-designate by the committee responsible for legal affairs consists not only of verifying that the declaration has been duly completed but also of assessing whether the content of the declaration is accurate and if a conflict of interests may be inferred;

D.  whereas, pursuant to paragraph 1(a) of Annex XVI to its Rules of Procedure, Parliament shall evaluate Commissioners-designate on the basis of their personal independence, among other things, particularly in the light of the special role of guarantor of the Union interest assigned to the European Commission in the Treaties;

E.  whereas, in its above-mentioned resolution of 8 September 2015, Parliament stated that confirmation by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the absence of any conflict of interests is an indispensable precondition for the commissioner hearings, particularly given that the Commission’s political mandate was strengthened in the Treaty of Lisbon;

F.  whereas, in its above-mentioned resolution of 8 September 2015, Parliament deemed it important for the Committee on Legal Affairs to issue guidelines in the form of recommendations or an own-initiative report, with a view to facilitating reform of the procedures relating to Commissioners’ declarations of interests, while calling on the Commission to revise its rules relating to Commissioners’ declarations of interests;

G.  whereas, pursuant to point 1.3 of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners on selflessness, integrity, transparency, honesty, responsibility and respect for the dignity of Parliament, Commissioners must declare any financial interest or asset which might create a conflict of interests in the performance of their duties, and whereas this also applies to any holdings of the Commissioner’s spouse or partner – as defined by the rules in force (5) – which might result in a conflict of interests;

H.  whereas the financial interests for which a declaration is required include any kind of specific financial participation in the capital of a company;

I.  whereas, pursuant to point 1.4 of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, to obviate any risk of a conflict of interests, Commissioners are required to declare the professional activities of their spouses or partners, and whereas this declaration must state the nature of the activity, the title of the position held and, where applicable, the name of the employer;

J.  whereas, pursuant to point 1.5 of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, the declaration of financial interests must be made using a form attached to the code of conduct, and whereas the form must be completed and made available before the hearing of the Commissioner-designate by Parliament and revised during his or her term of office if the information changes, and at least once a year;

K.  whereas the information on the form is limited and inadequate, does not include a detailed definition of what constitutes a conflict of interests and therefore does not enable Parliament to properly evaluate fairly and consistently the existence of actual or potential conflicts of interests on the part of Commissioners-designate, or their ability to carry out their mandate in line with the Code of Conduct for Commissioners;

L.  whereas, pursuant to point 1.6 of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, a Commissioner shall not deal with any matter that involves her/his portfolio when she/he has any personal interest, in particular a family or financial interest which could impair her/his independence;

M.  whereas the Commission is ultimately responsible for the nature and scope of the information to be included in the declarations of interests of its members; whereas the Commission must therefore accurately provide the degree of transparency necessary for the proper functioning of the procedure to appoint Commissioners-designate;

N.  whereas, pursuant to point 5 of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, Parliament may ask the President of the Commission to withdraw confidence in an individual Member of the Commission; whereas, pursuant to point 7 of the same, the President of the Commission must inform Parliament if she/he intends to reshuffle the allocation of responsibilities amongst the Members of the Commission so as to enable parliamentary consultation on the matter;

O.  whereas overall the current Commission Members’ declarations of financial interests can be considered an improvement on the handling of declarations in 2008-2009, but whereas there has been no shortage of episodes which have necessitated a subsequent clarification of certain declarations of interests;

P.  whereas it is to be deplored that the Code of Conduct for Commissioners adopted in 2011 fails to address sufficiently several of Parliament’s recommendations for improvements, in particular as regards the declarations of financial interests of Members of the Commission, the post-office employment restrictions and the strengthening of the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee responsible for the assessment of conflicts of interest; whereas, in this context, the positions adopted by Parliament regarding the changes and improvements to the procedure for hearing Commissioners‑designate should also be borne in mind;

Q.  whereas one of the pillars of European governance is the strengthening of ethics and transparency within the EU institutions in order to improve European citizens’ trust in them, particularly in the light of the more ample political mandate entrusted to the Commission since the Lisbon Treaty;

General observations

1.  Notes that the aim of scrutinising Commissioners’ declarations of financial interests is to ensure that the Commissioners-designate are able to fulfil their mandates completely independently and to ensure maximum transparency and accountability on the part of the Commission, in accordance with Article 17(3) TEU, with Article 245 TFEU and with the Code of Conduct for Commissioners; notes, accordingly, that this should not be restricted to the appointment of the new Commission, but should also take place in the event of a vacancy resulting from the resignation, compulsory retirement or death of a Commissioner, the accession of a new Member State or substantial modification of a Commissioner’s portfolio or financial interests;

2.  Takes the view that evaluating a possible conflict of interests must be based on conclusive, objective and relevant factors and take into account the portfolio of the Commissioner-designate;

3.  Points out that a conflict of interests is defined as ‘any interference situation between a public interest and public and private interests that is likely to affect or that appears likely to affect the independent, impartial and objective exercise of a duty’;

4.  Confirms that the Committee on Legal Affairs is competent and responsible for carrying out a substantive analysis of the declarations of financial interests by means of an in-depth examination aimed at assessing whether the content of the declaration made by a Commissioner-designate is accurate and conforms to the criteria and principles laid down in the Treaties and the code of conduct, or whether a conflict of interests may be inferred, and that it must be able to propose to the President of the Commission the replacement of that Commissioner; calls, therefore, on the Commission to provide all factual tools and information to enable the Committee on Legal Affairs to perform a complete and objective analysis;

5.  Considers it essential that the Committee on Legal Affairs has enough time to ensure that this detailed assessment is effective;

6.  Notes that the Committee on Legal Affairs observes the strictest confidentiality when examining questions relating to the declarations of interests of the Commissioners-designate, but also ensures, in accordance with the principle of transparency, that its conclusions are published as soon as they are available;

7.  Considers that beyond the time allocated for questions that the Committee on Legal Affairs wishes to put to the Commissioner-designate, should it note a possible conflict of interests, it should be granted the right to continue with the hearing and obtain the required clarifications;

Procedure for scrutinising declarations of financial interests before the hearings of the Commissioners-designate

8.  Considers that confirmation by the Committee on Legal Affairs of the absence of any conflict of interests, based on a substantive analysis of the declaration of financial interests, is an essential precondition for the holding of the hearing by the committee responsible(6);

9.  Takes the view, therefore, that in the absence of such confirmation or if the Committee on Legal Affairs identifies a conflict of interests, the procedure for appointing the Commissioner-designate shall be suspended;

10.  Considers that the following guidelines should be applied when the declarations of financial interests are scrutinised by the Committee on Legal Affairs:

   (a) if, when scrutinising a declaration of financial interests, the Committee of Legal Affairs deems, on the basis of the documents presented, the declaration to be accurate, complete and to contain nothing indicating an actual or potential conflict of interests in connection with the portfolio of the Commissioner-designate, its Chair shall send a letter confirming this fact to the committees responsible for the hearing or to the committees involved in the event of a procedure taking place during a Commissioner’s term of office;
   (b) if the Committee on Legal Affairs deems the declaration of interests of a Commissioner-designate to contain information which is incomplete or contradictory, or if there is a need for further information, it shall request, pursuant to the Rules of Procedure(7) and the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission(8), the Commissioner-designate to provide this information without undue delay and shall consider and properly analyse this before making its decision; the Committee responsible for Legal Affairs can decide, where appropriate, to invite the Commissioner-designate for a hearing;
   (c) if the Committee on Legal Affairs identifies a conflict of interests based on the declaration of financial interests or the supplementary information supplied by the Commissioner-designate, it shall draw up recommendations aimed at resolving the conflict of interests; the recommendations may include renouncing the financial interests in question, changes being made to the portfolio of the Commissioner-designate by the President of the Commission; in more serious cases, if no other recommendation is able to provide for a solution to the conflict of interests, as the last resort, the committee responsible for legal affairs can conclude on the inability of Commissioner-designate to exercise his/her function according to the Treaty and to the Code of Conduct; the President of Parliament shall ask the President of the Commission what further steps the latter intends to take;

Procedure for scrutinising declarations of financial interests during a Commissioner’s term of office

11.  Underlines the obligation for all Members of the Commission to ensure that their declarations of interests are immediately updated whenever there is a change in their financial interests, and calls on the Commission to inform Parliament immediately of any changes or of anything causing a conflict of interests or a potential conflict of interests to arise;

12.  Considers, therefore, that the declaration of financial interests must include present or past interests or activities from the last two years that are of a property, professional, personal or family nature in line with the offered portfolio; it must also take account of the fact that the interest may pertain to an advantage for the person involved or for a third party, and that it may also be of a moral, material or financial nature;

13.  Considers that any change in the financial interests of a Commissioner during her/his term of office or any reshuffling of the allocation of responsibilities between Members of the Commission constitutes a new situation in terms of the possible existence of a conflict of interests; believes, therefore, that this situation should be subject to scrutiny by Parliament in accordance with paragraph 10 of this resolution and with paragraph 2 of Annex XVI (Guidelines for the approval of the Commission) to the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament;

14.  Notes that, pursuant to the second sub-paragraph of Article 246 TFEU, Parliament shall be consulted in the event of a Commissioner being replaced during her/his term of office; considers that this must include verification of the absence of a conflict of interests, among other things, in line with paragraph 10 of this resolution, and with the provisions set out in Annex XVI (Guidelines for the approval of the Commission) to its Rules of Procedure(9) regarding the competences of the European Parliament in the event of a change in composition of the College of Commissioners or a substantial portfolio change during its terms of office;

15.  Considers that, in the event of a conflict of interests being identified during a Commissioner’s term of office and of the President of the Commission not following Parliament’s recommendations for resolving the conflict of interests as set out in paragraph 10 of this resolution, the Committee on Legal Affairs may recommend that Parliament ask the President of the Commission to withdraw confidence in that Commissioner, in accordance with Article 17(6) TEU and, where appropriate, that Parliament calls on the President of the Commission to act in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 245 TFEU with a view to depriving the Commissioner in question of his right to a pension or other benefits in its stead;

Code of conduct for Commissioners

16.  Notes that the Code of Conduct for Commissioners adopted on 20 April 2011 regarding impartiality, integrity, transparency, diligence, probity, responsibility and discretion presents improvements over the preceding code adopted in 2004 as regards the declaration of financial interests in that disclosure requirements are extended to Commissioners’ partners and the declaration of interests has to be revised when information changes or, at the least, every year;

17.  Points out that the credibility of the declaration of financial interests depends on the accuracy of the form presented to the Commissioner-designate; considers that the current scope of Commissioners’ declarations of interests is too limited and their explanatory content ambiguous; calls, therefore, on the Commission to revise the code of conduct as soon as possible in order to ensure that the declarations of interests provide the Committee on Legal Affairs with accurate information with which it can substantiate its decision unequivocally;

18.  Considers that, in order to gain a more complete picture of the financial situation of the declaring Commissioner, the declarations of financial interests referred to in points 1.3 to 1.5 of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners should include all financial interests and activities of the Commissioner-designate and his/her spouse/partner, and should on no account be limited to those ‘likely to constitute a conflict of interest’;

19.   Considers that the family interests referred to in point 1.6 of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners should be included in the declarations of financial interests; calls, in this regard, on the Commission to establish a fair means of identifying family interests that are liable to create a conflict of interest;

20.  Takes the view that, in order to extend and improve the rules on conflicts of interest, the declarations of interests should also include the details of any contractual relation of the Commissioners-designate which might create a conflict of interests in the performance of their duties;

21.  Deplores the fact that the code of conduct fails to codify adequately the requirement under Article 245 TFEU that ‘both during and after their term of office, Commissioners will respect the obligations, in particular their duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits’;

22.  Deplores the failure of the code of conduct to lay down any divestment requirements, despite the fact that such requirements must be standard in any ethics regime; regards it as a priority to regulate this aspect with the utmost despatch;

23.  Notes that the code of conduct does not stipulate any concrete time frame for submission of the declaration prior to Parliament’s hearing of the Commissioners‑designate; regards this requirement as a fundamental aspect of the revision of the procedure for hearing Commissioners-designate;

24.  Deplores the fact that the Commission does not report regularly on the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners, in particular as regards their declarations of interests, and considers that the code of conduct should be amended so as to provide for complaints or sanctions with regard to infringements, with the exception of serious misconduct as referred to in Articles 245 and 247 TFEU;

25.  Deplores, in particular, the negative response by the President of the Commission to the request of the European Ombudsman to proactively publish its decisions on the authorisation of post-term-of-office activities of former Commissioners, as well as the opinions of the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee; emphasises that the mere publishing of the minutes of Commission meetings is insufficient to offer the Parliament and civil society an insight into the interpretation in practice of ‘potential conflicts of interest’ and the integrity policies developed in this connection by the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee;

26.  Points out that all ex-Commissioners are banned for 18 months from lobbying ‘members of the European Commission and their staff for his/her business, client, or employer on matters for which they have been responsible’, but are entitled to a very generous transitional allowance after they leave the Commission of between 40 and 65 per cent of their final basic salary for three years;

27.  Welcomes the fact that the code of conduct has introduced a provision concerning the reallocation of files between Members of the Commission in the event of potential conflicts of interest, but deplores the fact that:

   (a) there is no detailed definition of what constitutes a conflict of interest;
   (b) the provision is limited to matters within the relevant Commissioner’s portfolio and thus ignores the Commissioner’s duties as a member of a college;
   (c) there are no criteria for the President to decide on reallocation, nor any binding framework for informing Parliament, nor any procedure in place in the event of a Commissioner failing to notify a conflict of interest or engaging in any activity incompatible with the nature of his or her duties;

28.  Calls on the Commission to revise, as a matter of urgency, the 2011 Code of Conduct for Commissioners to take account of the recommendations made by Parliament in its recent resolutions and of the development of the general ethics and transparency standards that apply to all EU institutions; recommends that the Commission modify its Code of Conduct for Commissioners with a view to ensuring:

   (a) that Commissioners declare all their financial interests, including assets and liabilities over EUR 10 000;
   (b) that Commissioners declare all their interests (as shareholders, company board members, advisors and consultants, members of associated foundations, etc.) as regards all the companies in which they have been involved, including close family interests, as well as the changes that took place at the time their candidacy was made known;
   (c) that Commissioners’ dependent and/or direct family members disclose the same information as spouses or partners;
   (d) that Commissioners clarify fully the objectives of organisations with which they and/or their spouse and/or their dependent children are involved, in order to establish whether any conflict of interest exists;
   (e) that Commissioners disclose their membership of any non-governmental organisations, secret societies or associations which conceal their existence that carry out activities intended to interfere with the exercise of the functions of public bodies;
   (f) that Commissioners and their dependent family members disclose their membership of any non-governmental organisations and any donations to NGOs of more than EUR 500;
   (g) that the code of conduct be amended, in line with Article 245 TFEU, to extend Commissioners’ post-office employment restriction to a period of at least three years and not shorter than the length of time during which former Commissioners are eligible for a transitional allowance as defined in Regulation No 422/67/EEC;
   (h) that the code of conduct include specific divestment requirements;
   (i) that Commissioners-designate submit their declarations within a specific time frame and sufficiently well in advance, so that the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee can submit to Parliament its views on potential conflicts of interests well in time for the hearings in Parliament;
   (j) that Commissioners meet only representatives of lobby groups that are included in the Transparency Register, which contains information on persons seeking to influence policymaking at the EU institutions;
   (k) that Commissioners submit, when nominated, a signed declaration confirming that they will appear before any of Parliament’s committees in relation to the activities involved in their mandate;
   (l) that the declaration is published in a format which is compatible with open data so that it can be easily processed via databases;
   (m) that the procedure for reallocating files in the event of a conflict of interest is improved in terms of taking into account the Commissioner’s duties as a member of the College, of introducing criteria regarding integrity and discretion for the President as regards the decision to reallocate files, of implementing a binding procedure and sanctions for cases in which a Commissioner fails to provide information about a possible conflict of interest, and of introducing a binding procedure for informing Parliament about the aforementioned cases;
   (n) that the Commission reports on an annual basis on the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners and provides for complaint procedures and sanctions in the event not only of serious misconduct but also of infringements of requirements, especially as regards the declaration of financial interests;
   (o) that criteria are defined for compliance with Article 245 TFEU, which imposes on Commissioners a ‘duty to behave with honesty and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits’;
   (p) that decisions on the authorisation of post-term-of-office activities of former Commissioners, as well as the opinions of the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee, are proactively published;
   (q) that the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee is composed of independent experts who have not themselves held the position of Commissioner;
   (r) that the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee draws up and publishes an annual report on its activities, which may include any recommendations on the improvement of the Code of Conduct or of its implementation as the ad hoc committee sees fit;

29.  Calls on the Commission to begin negotiations with Parliament aimed at making any necessary changes to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission;

30.  Calls on the Committee on Constitutional Affairs to propose any necessary amendments to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, and in particular to Annex XVI thereof, in order to implement this resolution;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 346, 21.9.2016, p. 110.
(2) OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0287.
(4) C(2011)2904.
(5) Stable non-marital partner, as defined in Regulation (Euratom, ECSC, EEC) No 2278/69 (OJ L 289, 17.11.1969, p. 1) and in Article 1(2)(c) of Annex VII to the Staff Regulations.
(6) See the European Parliament resolution of 8 September 2015 on procedures and practices regarding Commissioner hearings, lessons to be taken from the 2014 process.
(7) See paragraph 1(a) of Annex XVI to the Rules of Procedure.
(8) See Section (II)(3) of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the Commission.
(9) See paragraph 2 of Annex XVI to the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament.


Liability, compensation and financial security for offshore oil and gas operations
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on liability, compensation and financial security for offshore oil and gas operations (2015/2352(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0478A8-0308/2016

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission’s report to the European Parliament and the Council on liability, compensation and financial security for offshore oil and gas operations pursuant to Article 39 of Directive 2013/30/EU (COM(2015)0422),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled ‘Liability, Compensation and Financial Security for Offshore Accidents in the European Economic Area’ and accompanying the Commission report on this matter (SWD(2015)0167),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on safety of offshore oil and gas operations and amending Directive 2004/35/EC(1) (Offshore Safety Directive – OSD),

–  having regard to the impact assessment accompanying the document ‘Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities’ (SEC(2011)1293),

–  having regard to Directive 2008/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on the protection of the environment through criminal law(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2004/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage(3) (Environmental Liability Directive – ELD),

–  having regard to the international and regional acquis on claims for damages from an offshore oil or gas incident and in particular the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (Civil Liability Convention) of 27 November 1992, the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (Fund Convention) of 27 November 1992, the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunker Oil Pollution Convention) of 23 March 2001, the Nordic Environmental Protection Convention between Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and the Offshore Protocol to the Barcelona Convention for the protection of the marine environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean (Offshore Protocol),

–  having regard to the judgment of 13 September 2005 of the Court of Justice of the European Union(4),

–  having regard to Article 83(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters(5) (the recast Brussels I Regulation),

–  having regard to the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters(6) (the 2007 Lugano Convention),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations(7) (the Rome II Regulation),

–  having regard to the final report prepared for the Commission by the consultancy BIO by Deloitte on ‘Civil liability, financial security and compensation claims for offshore oil and gas activities in the European Economic Area’(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2011 on facing the challenges of the safety of offshore oil and gas activities(9),

–  having regard to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico,

–  having regard to the incidents related to the castor platform off the coast of Castellón and Tarragona provinces in Spain, which include 500 earthquakes that have directly affected thousands of European citizens,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0308/2016),

A.  whereas Article 194 TFEU explicitly upholds Member States’ right to determine the conditions for the exploitation of their energy resources, while respecting solidarity and environmental protection;

B.  whereas indigenous sources of oil and gas can contribute significantly to Europe’s existing energy needs and are particularly important for energy security and energy diversity;

C.  whereas offshore oil and gas operations are progressively taking place in increasingly extreme environments and could potentially have major and devastating consequences for the environment and economy of the sea and coastal areas;

D.  whereas although North Sea oil and gas production has been in decline over the past years, the number of offshore facilities is likely to rise in Europe in the future, especially in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea;

E.  whereas accidents caused by offshore oil and gas rigs have damaging cross-border consequences, and EU action to prevent and mitigate and to seek to combat the consequences of such accidents is therefore necessary and proportionate;

F.  whereas it is important to remember the tragic loss of 167 oil workers who died in the Piper Alpha disaster off the coast of Aberdeen (Scotland) on 6 July 1988;

G.  whereas a number of studies, including one by the European Parliament Research Service and one by the Joint Research Centre, estimate in the thousands (more precisely, 9 700 between 1990 and 2007), the number of incidents in the EU oil and gas sector; whereas, further, the cumulative impact of these incidents, including those which are only small in scale, has serious and lasting repercussions for the marine environment and should be taken into account in the directive;

H.  whereas, in accordance with Article 191 TFEU, all EU action in this area must be underpinned by a high level of protection based inter alia on the precautionary, preventive action, ‘polluter pays’ and sustainability principles;

I.  whereas there has not been a major offshore accident in the EU since 1988 and whereas 73 % of oil and gas production in the EU comes from the North Sea Member States, which are already recognised as having the world’s best performing offshore safety systems; whereas it is important to underline that the EU has roughly 68 000 kilometres of coastline and that the number of offshore facilities is likely to rise significantly in the future, especially in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, which makes it a matter of urgency to fully implement and enforce Directive 2013/30/EU and to ensure that a proper legal framework to govern all offshore activities is in place before a serious accident happens; whereas, under Article 191 TFEU, Union environmental policy has to be based on the precautionary principle and the principle of preventive action;

J.  whereas liability regimes constitute the principal means through which the ‘polluter pays’ principle is applied, ensuring that firms are held accountable for any damage caused in the course of business and incentivising them to adopt preventive measures, develop practices and carry out actions that minimise the risks of such damage;

K.  whereas, although the OSD makes offshore licensees strictly liable for the prevention and remediation of any environmental damage resulting from their operations (Article 7 read in conjunction with Article 38, extending the scope of the ELD to Member States’ continental shelves), it has not enabled a comprehensive EU framework for liability to be put in place;

L.  whereas it is of the utmost importance to have effective and adequate compensation mechanisms and prompt and adequate claims handling mechanisms for damage caused by offshore oil and gas operations to victims and to animals and the environment, and also to have sufficient recourses to restore major ecosystems;

M.  whereas the OSD has not provided for harmonisation with respect to civil damage from offshore accidents, and the existing international legal framework makes it difficult to make successful transboundary damage claims in civil matters;

N.  whereas the OSD sets out preconditions for licensing aimed at ensuring that licensees never find themselves technically or financially unable to deal with the consequences of their offshore operations, and also requiring Member States to establish procedures for the prompt and adequate handling of compensation claims, including for transboundary incidents, and to facilitate the use of sustainable financial instruments (Article 4);

1.  Welcomes the adoption of the Offshore Safety Directive 2013/30/EU (OSD), which complements the Environmental Liability Directive 2004/35/EC (ELD) and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2011/92/EU, as well as the ratification of the Offshore Protocol of the Barcelona Convention by the Council, as first steps for the protection of the environment, human activities and the safety of workers; calls on those Member States which have not yet transposed the aforementioned directives into national law to do so as soon as possible; calls also on Member States to guarantee the independence of the competent authorities as provided in Article 8 of the OSD, and calls on the Commission to assess the appropriateness of introducing further harmonised rules on liability, compensation and financial security with a view to preventing any further accidents with cross-border implications;

2.  Deplores the fact that under the OSD and ELD, incidents are defined as ‘serious’ only if they give rise to deaths or serious injuries, with no reference to the consequences for the environment; emphasises that even if it does not give rise to deaths or serious injuries, an incident may have a serious impact on the environment, by virtue of its scale or because it affects, for example, protected areas, protected species or particularly vulnerable habitats;

3.  Stresses that the effective application of the ‘polluter pays’ principle to offshore oil and gas operations should extend not only to the costs of preventing and remedying environmental damage – as currently achieved to a certain extent via the OSD and ELD – but also to the costs of remedying traditional damage claims, in line with the precautionary principle and the principle of sustainable development; calls on the Commission, therefore, to consider the establishment of a legislative compensation mechanism for offshore accidents, along the lines of that provided for in the Petroleum Activities Act in Norway, at least for sectors that may be severely affected, like fisheries and coastal tourism and other sectors of the blue economy; recommends in this context that abuses or incidents that come about following activities carried out by companies should be quantitatively and qualitatively assessed, in such a way as to cover all the secondary effects for communities; also underlines, with regard to environmental liability, the divergences and shortcomings in the transposition and application of the ELD, as outlined also in the Commission’s second implementation report; calls on the Commission to ensure that the ELD is implemented in an effective manner and that liability for environmental damage from offshore accidents applies to an adequate extent throughout the EU;

4.  Regrets, in this context, that the OSD does not deal with liability for civil damage to either natural or legal persons, be it bodily injury, property damage or economic loss, whether direct or indirect;

5.  Also regrets the fact that the way civil liability is handled varies considerably from one Member State to another; stresses that there is no liability in many of the Member States with offshore and gas activities for most third-party claims for compensation for traditional damage caused by an accident, no regime in the vast majority of Member States for compensation payments, and no assurance in many Member States that operators or liable persons would have adequate financial assets to meet claims; stresses, moreover, that there is often uncertainty as to how Member States’ legal systems would deal with the diversity of civil claims that could result from offshore oil and gas incidents; believes, therefore, that an European framework is needed, which should be based on the legislation of the most advanced Member States, should cover not only bodily injury and property damage but also pure economic loss, and should ensure effective compensation mechanisms for victims and for sectors that may be severely affected (e.g. fisheries and coastal tourism); calls in this respect on the Commission to assess whether a horizontal European framework of collective redress would be a possible solution, and to pay particular attention to this when drawing up the OSD implementation report;

6.  Stresses, in this perspective, that compensatory and remedial claims for traditional damage are further obstructed by civil procedure rules on time limitations, financial costs, non-availability of public interest litigation and mass tort claims, as well as by provisions on evidence, which differ considerably from one Member State to another;

7.  Highlights that compensatory regimes must be able to address transboundary claims effectively, rapidly, within a reasonable timeframe and without discrimination between claimants from different EEA countries; recommends that they cover both primary and secondary damage caused in all the affected areas, given that such incidents affect wider areas and may have a long-term impact; stresses the need for neighbouring countries which are not members of the EEA to respect international law;

8.  Is of the opinion that strict civil liability rules should be established for offshore accidents in order to facilitate access to justice for victims (both legal and natural persons) of offshore accidents, as this can provide an incentive for the offshore operator to properly manage the risks of operations; believes that financial liability caps should be avoided;

9.  Invites the Member States and the Commission to consider the special situation of workers and employees in the offshore oil and gas industry, especially of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); points out that offshore oil and gas incidents may have particularly serious implications for the fisheries and tourism industries, as well as for other sectors that rely on the good condition of the shared marine environment for doing business, since these sectors, which include many SMEs, could suffer significant economic loss in the event of a major offshore accident;

10.  Emphasises, therefore, that it is of the utmost importance to update existing liability systems in the Member States in order to ensure that should an incident occur in their waters it would not adversely affect the future of the offshore oil and gas operations of the state in question, nor that of the EU as a whole were it to occur in an area that is largely dependent on tourism for revenue; calls, therefore, on the Commission to revisit the need to introduce common EU standards for remedial and compensatory claim systems;

11.  Underlines the need to include the victims of collateral damage linked to prospecting, surveys and the operation of offshore facilities, as well as those likely to be eligible for the compensation envisaged;

12.  Notes that the Commission intends to undertake systematic data gathering through the EU Offshore Authorities Group (EUOAG), in order to carry out a more comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness and scope of national liability provisions;

13.  Stresses the need for the Commission to perform regular conformity checks both of national legal systems and of enterprises with the relevant liability and compensation provisions in the OSD, including verification of offshore companies’ financial statements, and to take action in the event of a breach of conformity, with the aim of preventing serious incidents and limiting their impact on persons and the environment; recommends creating a common mechanism at European level to deal with incidents and abuses;

14.  Underlines that a balance needs to be struck between the swift and adequate compensation of victims and the prevention of payouts of illegitimate claims (also known as the ‘floodgates’ problem), through increased certainty regarding the levels of financial responsibility of many offshore firms and the avoidance of lengthy and expensive proceedings before the courts;

15.  Regrets the fact that none of the Member States explicitly sets out a broad range of financial security instruments concerning compensation for claims for traditional damage from offshore oil and gas incidents; underlines in this context that over-reliance on insurance could potentially result in a closed market for financial security instruments, with the corollary potential for a lack of competition and increased costs;

16.  Regrets the lack of uptake of financial security instruments in the EU to cover the damage caused by the most costly offshore accidents; notes that one of the reasons may be that the scope of liability for damages may not make such instruments necessary in certain Member States;

17.  Calls on the Member States to provide detailed data regarding the uptake of financial instruments and adequate coverage for offshore accidents, including the most costly ones;

18.  Considers that all cases of proven liability, as well as the details of penalties applied, should be made public in order to make the true cost of environmental damage transparent to all;

19.  Urges the Commission to encourage the Member States to develop financial security instruments concerning compensation for traditional damage claims resulting from incidents linked to general offshore oil and gas activities or to offshore oil and gas transport, including in cases of insolvency; believes that this could limit the externalisation of operators’ liability for accidental pollution to the public purse, which would otherwise be required to bear the compensation costs if the rules remain as they are; considers that in that context, the establishment of a fund based on fees paid by the offshore industry could also be assessed;

20.  Considers it necessary to analyse to what extent the introduction of criminal liability at EU level will add a layer of deterrence beyond civil penalties, which will improve protection of the environment and compliance with safety measures; welcomes, therefore, the EU’s introduction of the Environmental Crime Directive 2008/99/EC (ECD), harmonising criminal penalties for certain infringements of EU environmental legislation; regrets, however, that the scope of the ECD does not cover all the activities of the OSD; regrets also that the definitions of the criminal offences and of minimum sanctions when it comes to offshore safety breaches are not harmonised in the EU; calls on the Commission to add major oil accidents to the scope of the ECD and to submit to Parliament its first implementation report on the OSD in a timely fashion, and no later than 19 July 2019;

21.  Calls on the Commission to draw up the studies necessary to assess the economic risk to which individual Member States and their coastal regions might be exposed, taking into account the economic sectoral orientation of individual regions, the degree of concentration of offshore oil and gas operations in given areas, the operating conditions, climatic factors such as ocean currents and winds, and the environmental standards applied; recommends, therefore, introducing protection mechanisms and safety perimeters in the event that operations close down, and welcomes the building by the industry of four well capping stacks, which can reduce oil spill in case of an offshore accident;

22.  Calls for a tailor-made Arctic environmental impact assessment for all operations taking place in the Arctic region, where the ecosystems are especially fragile and are closely connected to the global biosphere;

23.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to consider the possibility of introducing further measures which would effectively safeguard offshore oil and gas operations before a severe accident takes place;

24.  Invites the Commission and the Member States, in this context, to continue examining the possibility of an international solution, considering that many oil and gas companies operating in the EU are active across the world and that a global solution would ensure a global level playing field by strengthening controls on extraction companies outside the EU’s borders; calls on the Member States to swiftly ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change of December 2015;

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

(1) OJ L 178, 28.6.2013, p. 66.
(2) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 28.
(3) OJ L 143, 30.4.2004, p. 56.
(4) Case C-176/03, Commission v Council, ECLI:EU:C:2005:542.
(5) OJ L 351, 20.12.2012, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 339, 21.12.2007, p. 3.
(7) OJ L 199, 31.7.2007, p. 40.
(8) BIO by Deloitte (2014), Civil liability, financial security and compensation claims for offshore oil and gas activities in the European Economic Area, Final Report prepared for European Commission – DG Energy.
(9) OJ C 51 E, 22.2.2013, p. 43.


Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2016/3001(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0479RC-B8-1310/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in particular those of 10 March 2016(1) and of 23 June 2016(2),

–  having regard to the statements by the EU Delegation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the situation of human rights in the country, particularly those of 23 November 2016 and 24 August 2016,

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

–  having regard to the EU’s local statements of 25 June 2016 on the human rights situation in the DRC, and of 2 August 2016 and 24 August 2016 on the electoral process in the DRC following the launch of the national dialogue in the DRC,

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

–  having regard to the joint press releases of 16 February 2016 and of 5 June 2016 by the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the International Organisation of La Francophonie on the necessity of an inclusive political dialogue in the DRC and their commitment to supporting Congolese actors in their efforts towards the consolidation of democracy in the country,

–  having regard to the statement of 15 August 2016 by the spokesperson of the Vice‑President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on the violence in the DRC,

–  having regard to the EU Council Conclusions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of 23 May 2016 and 17 October 2016,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on the DRC, in particular resolutions 2293 (2016) on renewing the DRC sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts and 2277 (2016), which renewed the mandate of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO),

–  having regard to the UN Security Council Press Statements of 15 July 2016 and 21 September 2016 on the situation in the DRC,

–  having regard to the statement of 20 September 2016 by the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly calling for calm to resolve the crisis through dialogue and with respect for the Constitution,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, signed on 23 June 2000 and revised on 25 June 2005 and 22 June 2010,

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

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

–  having regard to the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, adopted on 18 February 2006,

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

A.  whereas since 2001 Joseph Kabila has been President of the DRC; whereas President Kabila’s term of office is ending on 20 December 2016, and whereas the mandate of the DRC’s presidency is constitutionally limited to two terms and the next presidential and legislative elections were initially scheduled to be held by the end of 2016;

B.  whereas over the past two years President Kabila has been using administrative and technical means to try to delay the election and remain in power beyond the end of his constitutional mandate;

C.  whereas a first attempt to amend the Constitution of the DRC in order to allow President Kabila to run for a third term was aborted in 2015 due to strong opposition from, and the mobilisation of, civil society; whereas such attempts have caused growing political tension, unrest and violence across the country, which now seems to have reached an electoral impasse;

D.  whereas in November 2015 President Kabila announced the launch of a national dialogue; whereas, subsequently, the African Union appointed former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo as national political dialogue facilitator; whereas two major opposition groups refused to participate in what they consider to be a non-inclusive and undemocratic dialogue, as well as a delaying tactic;

E.  whereas the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the International Organisation of La Francophonie have jointly underscored the importance of dialogue and the search for an agreement between political actors that is respectful of democracy and the rule of law, and have urged all Congolese political actors to extend their full cooperation to Edem Kodjo;

F.  whereas an agreement was signed on 18 October 2016 between President Kabila and a section of the opposition to postpone the presidential election to April 2018; whereas under the terms of this agreement, President Kabila, who was therefore allowed to remain in power after 2016, placed a new interim Prime Minister, Samy Badibanga, a member of the opposition, in charge of forming a new government;

G.  whereas since January 2015, Congolese security and intelligence officials have clamped down on peaceful activists and members of the opposition and of civil society who oppose attempts to allow President Kabila to stay in power past his constitutionally mandated two-term limit;

H.  whereas human rights groups repeatedly report on the worsening situation of human rights and freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration in the country in the run-up to elections, including the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, journalists, political leaders and others;

I.  whereas the ever-increasing level of violence and violations and infringements of human rights and international law, in particular targeted actions and arbitrary arrests, have a negative impact on any efforts to regulate and stabilise the situation in the DRC;

J.  whereas, in particular, more than 50 people were reportedly killed during demonstrations on 19 and 20 September 2016 in Kinshasa and many others disappeared; whereas members of the LUCHA and Filimbi movements are still being unlawfully detained; whereas press outlets such as Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Radio Okapi have been shut down or jammed; whereas, according to a report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office, 422 human rights violations by police officers and security forces were reported during the demonstrations held between 19 and 21 September 2016;

K.  whereas humanitarian agencies believe that political instability is plunging the country into chaos and causing its population, already weakened by the various past and present crises, to sink into extreme poverty and insecurity, with more than 5 million people currently in need of food assistance;

L.  whereas the European Union has stressed that any decision to postpone the elections must be taken within the framework of an inclusive, impartial and transparent political dialogue among Congolese stakeholders before the end of President Kabila’s term in December 2016;

M.  whereas the 2014-2020 National Indicative Programme for the DRC, with EUR 620 million in funding under the 11th European Development Fund, prioritises strengthening governance and the rule of law, including reforms of the judiciary, police and army;

1.  Deplores the loss of lives during the demonstrations over the last few weeks and expresses its deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and the people of the DRC;

2.  Is deeply concerned at the increasingly unstable situation in the DRC in a tense pre-electoral context; reminds the authorities of the DRC, and primarily its President, that it is their responsibility to protect citizens living anywhere in the national territory, and in particular to protect them against abuse and crimes, and to exercise the task of governing with the strictest respect for the rule of law;

3.  Deplores the failure of the government and the CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission) to hold the presidential election within the constitutional deadline; reiterates its call for a successful and timely holding of elections, in full accordance with the Congolese Constitution and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and insists on the Congolese Government’s responsibility to guarantee an environment conducive to transparent, credible and inclusive elections as soon as possible;

4.  Recalls the commitment made by the DRC under the Cotonou Agreement to respecting democracy, the rule of law and human rights principles, which include freedom of expression and of the media, good governance and transparency in political office; notes that the dialogue pursued with the DRC authorities under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, with the aim of obtaining definitive clarifications on the electoral process, is failing;

5.  Urges the EU to take more concrete actions and to immediately launch the procedure under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, and to adopt targeted sanctions, including a visa ban and asset freeze, against the senior officials and armed forces agents responsible for the violent repression of demonstrations and the political impasse which is preventing a peaceful and constitutional transition of power, notably Kalev Mutond, Major General John Numbi, General Ilunga Kampete, Major General Gabriel Amisi Kumba, and General Célestin Kanyama;

6.  Urges all political actors to engage in a peaceful and constructive dialogue, to prevent any deepening of the current political crisis and to refrain from further violence and provocations; welcomes the efforts made by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) to forge a wider consensus over a political transition; calls on both the authorities and the opposition to refrain from any action or statement that could further spread unrest; in the meantime, acknowledges that a transitional period is necessary, during which time the presidency can only be exercised under the authority of a transitional council in which the opposition will play a crucial role;

7.  Expresses deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation and the increased restriction of the political space in the DRC, and in particular the instrumentalisation of the judicial system and the violence and intimidation faced by human rights defenders, political opponents and journalists; calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners; asks the authorities to immediately lift all restrictions on the media;

8.  Remains deeply concerned about the effective role of the CENI, upon which the legitimacy of the electoral process will to a large extent depend; recalls that the electoral commission should be an impartial and inclusive institution with sufficient resources to allow a comprehensive and transparent process;

9.  Calls for a full, thorough and transparent investigation into the alleged human rights violations that took place during the protests to identify those responsible and hold them accountable;

10.  Calls on the EU Delegation to continue to closely monitor developments in the DRC and to use all appropriate tools and instruments to support human rights defenders and pro-democracy movements; calls on the VP/HR to consider increasing the mediation capacities of the EU Delegation to cooperate with the African Union in order to support a more inclusive political dialogue and prevent the deepening of the political crisis and the further spread of violence;

11.  Calls for greater involvement of the African Union in ensuring full respect for the Congolese Constitution; calls for a permanent dialogue among the countries of the Great Lakes region in order to prevent any further destabilisation; welcomes in this regard the holding of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region to assess the situation in the DRC held in Luanda in October 2016;

12.  Recalls that peace and security are preconditions for a successful election and a stable political environment; welcomes, in this regard, the renewal of MONUSCO’s mandate and the strengthening of its powers to protect civilians and uphold human rights in the electoral context;

13.  Reiterates its deep concern regarding the alarming humanitarian situation in the DRC; calls for the EU and its Member States to continue their assistance to the people of the DRC with a view to improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations and tackling the consequences of displacement, food insecurity and natural disasters;

14.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and Parliament of the DRC, the African Union, the ACP-EU Council, the Secretary-General of the UN, and the UN Human Rights Council.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0085.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0290.


Access to energy in developing countries
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on access to energy in developing countries (2016/2885(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0480B8-1227/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 7 on access to energy and SDGs 12 and 13 on sustainable consumption and production and on climate change, respectively,

–  having regard to the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative launched by the UN in 2011,

–  having regard to the Commission’s ‘Energising Development’ initiative, launched in 2012, to provide access to sustainable energy for an additional 500 million people in developing countries by 2030,

–  having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which provides that poverty reduction and, in the longer term, poverty eradication is the primary objective of the EU’s development policy,

–  having regard to Article 191 of the TFEU and the EU’s climate policy,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation(1) (DCI), and in particular Annex I thereto, which includes provisions on sustainable energy in geographic programmes, and Annex II thereto, which includes provisions on the sustainable energy component of the DCI’s Global Public Goods and Challenges (GPGC) thematic programme,

–  having regard to the relevant programming documents under the DCI and the European Development Fund (EDF), including the National Indicative Programmes (NIPs) that include an energy focal sector, and the Annual Action Programmes (AAPs) implementing these NIPs,

–  having regard to the 2014 Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative, which seeks to promote the accelerated deployment of renewable energy in Africa, and to reduce carbon emissions and dependence on imported fossil fuels,

–  having regard to its scrutiny of relevant draft DCI and EDF programming documents before they are approved by the DCI and EDF committees,

–  having regard to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Paris, in December 2015, and the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal,

–  having regard to the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) held in Marrakech on 7-18 November 2016,

–  having regard to the high-level meeting on the renewable energies initiative and the EU-AU partnership held on 21 September 2016 during the session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York and chaired by Idriss Déby, President of the African Union, Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President of the Commission of the African Union, and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, and attended by two representatives of the European Union, Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of the Commission’s DG International Cooperation and International Development, and Felice Zacccheo, Deputy Head of Unit C6, Energy and Climate Change, and by Ségolène Royal, French Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy,

–  having regard to the report of 16 November 2000 of the World Commission on Dams: ‘A new framework for decision-making’,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 27 September 2011 on financing of reinforcement of dam infrastructure in developing countries(2), of 2 February 2012 on EU development cooperation in support of the objective of universal energy access by 2030(3), and of 12 June 2012 on engaging in energy policy cooperation with partners beyond our borders: A strategic approach to secure, sustainable and competitive energy supply(4),

–  having regard to the Special Report No 15/2015 of 6 October 2015 of the EU Court of Auditors on ACP-EU Energy Facility Support for Renewable Energy in East Africa,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on access to energy in developing countries (O-000134/2016 – B8‑1809/2016),

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

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

A.  whereas sustainable access to affordable, reliable and safe energy is crucial for the satisfaction of basic human needs and rights, including access to clean water, sanitation, a safe and secure environment, health care, heating and education, is essential for virtually all kinds of economic activity, and is a key driver of development; whereas there are also security and geopolitical aspects of access to energy and whereas energy issues can become drivers of conflicts;

B.  whereas 1,2 billion people lack access to electricity and for an even higher number this access is unreliable; whereas half of those without access to electricity live in Africa; whereas this number is growing, since the population on this continent is increasing at a faster pace than that at which access to energy is being extended;

C.  whereas from an electricity-access point of view sub-Saharan Africa’s situation is the worst worldwide, but as this region’s power sector evolves it is likely that by 2040 sub-Saharan-Africa will consume as much electricity as India and Latin America combined did in 2010;

D.  whereas more than 70 % of Africa’s total energy consumption comes from renewable sources, but almost all of that is from traditional uses of biomass; whereas huge opportunities for including other sources remain, especially in terms of solar and wind energy;

E.  whereas demographic trends in Africa will have a major impact on land-use requirements for crop production, as well as on the need for fuel wood;

F.  whereas global deforestation accounts for nearly 20 % of all CO2 emissions; and whereas strong reliance on traditional biomass and inefficient cooking stoves put forest and bush lands at risk in many regions of the African continent;

G.  whereas 2,3 billion people use traditional biomass such as charcoal for cooking and this often has serious adverse health and environmental implications; whereas women carry a disproportionate share of the burden of using such materials, including collecting firewood, which can be time-consuming and also put their security at risk; whereas using improved cook-stoves reduces the time and effort required for the preparation of meals;

H.  whereas Africa is both the continent with the greatest potential for renewable energy on the planet and the one lagging furthest behind in terms of electrification;

I.  whereas energy poverty is most widespread in rural areas, but provision of access to energy in the expanding areas of rapidly growing cities is also a massive challenge, given the realities of geography, connectivity and lack of infrastructure, and whereas the poorest countries in Africa are those with the highest energy bills;

J.  whereas it is vital to keep developing the still young rural electrification markets until they become mature and self-sustainable and to further support programmes focusing on renewable, energy-efficient, small-scale and decentralised energy solutions;

K.  whereas energy poverty also has a gender dimension; whereas the consequences of energy poverty are worse for women;

L.  whereas ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 is universal Sustainable Development Goal 7; whereas the honouring of climate action commitments also requires vigorous and judicious efforts in the energy area, and whereas Africa therefore faces a double-edged challenge as it has to drastically increase its citizens’ access to basic power services and at the same time meet its commitments under the climate change agreement;

M.  whereas the United Nations Environment Programme report entitled ‘Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016’ indicates that the annual global investment in new renewable capacity was more than double those in coal and gas power stations in 2015; whereas the 2015 renewable energy market was dominated by solar photovoltaics and wind; and whereas for the first time in 2015, renewables in investments were higher in developing countries than developed nations;

N.  whereas the report of the World Commission on Dams of 16 November 2000 concludes that, while large dams have failed to produce as much electricity, provide as much water, or control as much flood damage as was expected, they have had huge social and environmental impacts, and efforts to mitigate these impacts have been largely unsuccessful;

O.  whereas the objective of achieving universal access to energy is interwoven with the objective of achieving climate justice;

P.  whereas climate justice links human rights and development in order to achieve a human-centred approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable people and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its impacts equitably and fairly;

Q.  whereas inconsistent flows of climate finance and technology transfer in relation to climate change may jeopardise African leaders’ willingness to develop renewable energy to fulfil the industrialisation agenda of the continent;

R.  whereas the Paris Agreement underlines the need to promote universal access to sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa, by strengthening the development of renewable energies;

S.  whereas ample evidence and a broad consensus exist that small-scale, decentralised production of renewable energy, and local networks and off-grid solutions are often the most efficient, and that such solutions tend to produce the biggest contributions to general development progress and are best at minimising or avoiding adverse impacts on the environment;

T.  whereas local production of renewable energy is emphasised in the DCI regulation and DCI and EDF programmes, and projects in the energy area should be designed so as to reflect the insight of the advantages of decentralised production of renewable energy;

U.  whereas EU development assistance in the energy area has risen sharply and such expenditure in the 2014-2020 is planned to reach EUR 3,5 billion; whereas 30 NIPs, half of which are for African countries, include an energy focal sector;

V.  whereas the ACP-EU Energy Facility, which was created in June 2005, is aimed at promoting access to modern energy services for the poor in rural and peri-urban areas, with a strong focus on sub-Saharan Africa and renewable energy; whereas the related Special Report No 15/2015 of the EU Court of Auditors made a number of recommendations to the Commission for selecting projects more rigorously, strengthening their monitoring and increasing their sustainability prospects;

W.  whereas an EU Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI) has recently been launched, and whereas other financing arrangements include facilities for combining EU grants with loans or equity from public and private financiers (blending facilities) for different parts of the world, the European Investment Bank’s activities in the energy area under its external lending mandate and the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund’s operations in the energy sector;

X.  whereas a growing contribution from private investment is necessary for achieving SDG 7; whereas any decision to promote the use of public-private partnerships through blending in developing countries should be based on a thorough assessment of these mechanisms, and on the lessons learned from past experience; whereas grant contributions to already commercially viable projects must in all circumstances be avoided;

Y.  whereas it must be a priority to train local specialised and highly specialised staff in order to ensure access to energy in developing countries, and whereas a substantial portion of funding must be devoted to that;

Z.  whereas global fossil fuel subsidies are in the order of USD 500 billion per year, cause increases in, rather than reductions of, greenhouse gas emissions, and tend to benefit relatively well-off people more than the poor; whereas these subsidies should be phased out and by doing so, governments can free up considerable funds for much more efficient social policies and for extending access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, reducing inequalities and improving quality of life;

1.  Recalls that access to energy accelerates development; draws attention to the scale and implications of energy poverty in developing countries and to the EU’s strong involvement in efforts to reduce such poverty; underlines the need for strong and concerted efforts by governments, civil society and other stakeholders in affected countries and by international partners to reduce energy poverty and attain SDG 7, which requires particular efforts in remote rural areas, especially in off-grid energy regions; recalls that climate change and trade policies should be mutually supportive in achieving sustainable development and poverty eradication in line with the Agenda 2030 and with the Paris Agreement;

2.  Stresses the strong relationship between energy and potential security issues and considers that energy governance, while also difficult to implement, is essential to economic and human development in developing countries;

3.  Points out that electrification is achieved thanks to the support of public authorities, which in turn depends on the sound governance of energy distribution services and on states being able to perform their sovereign functions;

4.  Calls for the EU to include a gender dimension in all its energy policies focusing on women with particular needs;

5.  Supports the Commission’s ‘Energising Development’ initiative to provide access to sustainable energy for an additional 500 million people in developing countries by 2030 through programme elements such as the creation of a Technical Assistance Facility, drawing upon EU experts to develop technical expertise in developing countries, and to promote capacity building and technology transfer; emphasises the role of energy as an enabler for many other areas, such as health, education, clean water, agriculture, as well as telecommunication and internet connectivity; stresses that the ‘Energising Development’ initiative must be fully aligned with the EU development policy objectives stated in the Lisbon Treaty;

6.  Considers that, although brief, the relevant provisions in the DCI regulation, co-decided by Parliament and the Council, represent a sound basis for EU development assistance in the energy area; recalls that these provisions focus on access to energy and emphasise local and regional renewable energy and on ensuring access for poor people in remote regions;

7.  Welcomes ElectriFI, which provides a flexible and inclusive structure, allowing the participation of different partners such as the private sector, public institutions and local authorities, which may benefit in equal measure under the same market-based conditions, with due account for the needs and opportunities in each targeted country/region; recalls that the involvement of partners from the local private sector and civil society organisations will be instrumental in enhancing effectiveness and ownership of the actions deployed;

8.  Calls on the Commission to regularly report on its website what progress has been made towards achieving the target of its ‘Energising Development’ initiative, to specify what proportion of the total funding for energy in developing countries has gone to renewable energy, remote regions, staff training, the creation of local know-how and skills and to local and off-grid solutions, and to briefly, but as precisely as possible, describe the involvement of different stakeholders in concluded and ongoing actions;

9.  Highlights the high potential of renewable energy resources in Africa in terms of solar and wind production for ensuring access to energy for all, especially in rural areas; points out that the price of photovoltaic equipment has a fundamental influence on the actual exploitation of the solar potential in Africa; urges therefore that the EU and its Member States facilitate technology transfer for its deployment in developing countries;

10.  Notes that Africa has about 10 % of the world’s theoretical hydropower potential; recalls that global warming will affect patterns of precipitation, representing therefore a growing challenge in terms of access to water and food security; recalls also that the World Commission on Dams has indicated that the poor, other vulnerable groups and future generations are likely to bear a disproportionate share of the social and environmental costs of large dam projects without gaining a commensurate share of the economic benefits; reiterates that small hydropower dams are more sustainable and economically viable than large hydropower dams;

11.  Recommends that financing agencies (bilateral aid agencies, multilateral development banks, Export Credit Agencies, and the EIB) ensure that any dam option for which financing is approved complies with World Commission on Dams guidelines; stresses, in particular, that any planning of dams should be evaluated according to five values: equity, efficiency, participatory decision-making, sustainability and accountability; recalls, in particular, that where projects affect indigenous and tribal peoples, such processes must be guided by their free, prior and informed consent;

12.  Recalls that bioenergy is a complex energy source interconnected to agriculture, forestry, industry and which impacts on the ecosystems and biodiversity; notes, in particular, that the development of biomass for energy poses new threats, i.e. in terms of food security, land tenure security, deforestation and degradation of lands; recalls that the water footprint of bioenergy should also be taken into account, since many parts of Africa are already experiencing water shortage with about one-third of Africa’s productive area already classified as dryland; stresses, therefore, the need to develop, in both the EU and developing countries, stringent and binding environmental and social sustainability criteria for biomass production, in order for energy to fulfil SDG 7;

13.  Stresses the need to support highly efficient cooking stoves and the transition to modern cooking fuels in order to counteract the fast depletion of wood resources;

14.  Is encouraged by the existence of various initiatives at international level to promote sustainable energy access in developing countries, in particular in Africa, but insists on the need to coordinate them better for greater efficiency; calls for the EU and its Member States to provide support and technical assistance in the implementation of the Action Plan of the Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative, which seeks to meet half of total electricity demand from clean, indigenous, cost-effective renewable resources by 2030, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions; calls for closer cooperation between funding bodies, the private sector and the governments of developing countries so as to speed up achievement of the targets; emphasises the need for maintenance support with sufficient access to spare parts supply and locally trained technical experts;

15.  Supports the use of blending where this represents the most efficient use of funds for development assistance in the pursuit of SDG 7, where the focus is on small-scale projects and where participating enterprises are required to practise corporate social responsibility; calls on the Commission to carefully avoid granting funds to any project which would be viable without these funds, even if a private investor applies for them; considers that the development effectiveness principles must also be followed in blending operations and notes that alignment with beneficiary countries’ development plans, broad stakeholder involvement, transparency and accountability, coordination and efficiency as well as measurable and tangible results are important;

16.  Calls for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and encourages allocation of these freed-up funds to efficient social policies and to actions for eradicating energy poverty in developing countries;

17.  Emphasises that the only ultimate measure of success of the EU’s actions is the size of the contribution they make towards the attainment of universal access to energy, with minimum greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibility;

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

(1) OJ L 77, 15.3.2014, p. 44.
(2) OJ C 56 E, 26.2.2013, p. 67.
(3) OJ C 239 E, 20.8.2013, p. 83.
(4) OJ C 332 E, 15.11.2013, p. 28.


Application of the European Order for Payment Procedure
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European Parliament resolution of 1 December 2016 on the application of the European Order for Payment Procedure (2016/2011(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0481A8-0299/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Green Paper on a European order for payment procedure and on measures to simplify and speed up small claims litigation (COM(2002)0746),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 creating a European order for payment procedure(1),

–  having regard to Commission Regulation (EU) No 936/2012 of 4 October 2012 on amending the Annexes to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council creating a European order for payment procedure(2),

–  having regard to the Commission report on the application of Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council creating a European Order for Payment Procedure (COM(2015)0495),

–  having regard to the European Implementation Assessment on the European Order for Payment Procedure carried out by the European Parliamentary Research Service,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0299/2016),

A.  whereas the Commission has submitted its report reviewing the operation of the European Order for Payment Procedure in accordance with Article 32 of Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006;

B.  whereas the report is almost two years late and does not include an extended and up-to-date impact assessment for each Member State as required, considering the different legal provisions in all Member States and their interoperability, but only an incomplete statistical table with information dating predominantly from 2012; whereas the European Order for Payment is an optional procedure that can be used in cross-border cases as an alternative to domestic payment orders;

C.  whereas this procedure was created to enable the rapid, facilitated and inexpensive recovery of sums arising from debts that are certain, of a fixed amount and due, and uncontested by the defendant; and whereas the operation of this procedure seems largely satisfactory according to statistics, but the procedure is working greatly below its full potential, as it is mainly used in Member States whose legislation includes a similar national procedure;

D.  whereas the European Order for Payment Procedure falls into the category of measures in the field of judicial cooperation in civil matters having cross-border implications and needed for the functioning of the internal market;

E.  whereas late payments are a key cause of insolvency, which threatens the survival of businesses – and in particular of small and medium-sized enterprises – and results in numerous job losses;

F.  whereas concrete measures, including targeted awareness campaigns, should be taken to inform citizens, businesses, legal professionals and other relevant parties of the availability, functioning, application and advantages of the procedure;

G.  whereas, in certain Member States in which the European Order for Payment Procedure is not applied in conformity with the current regulation, orders should be issued more quickly, and in any case the 30-day deadline set by the regulation should be respected, bearing in mind that orders can only be enforced where claims are uncontested;

H.  whereas the development of the e-Codex system to allow the online submission of applications is to be encouraged, through further measures targeting the more efficient use of the procedure;

I.  whereas more Member States should follow the example of France, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus and Sweden and allow claimants to submit their applications in additional languages and in general to take support measures in order to minimise error-margins resulting from the use of a foreign language;

J.  whereas the streamlined nature of the procedure does not mean that it can be misused to enforce unfair contractual terms, since Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 calls on the court to examine whether the claim is founded on the basis of the information available to it, thus ensuring compatibility with the relevant case law of the Court of Justice on this subject; whereas, moreover, all relevant parties should be informed about rights and procedures;

K.  whereas the standard forms need revising and future periodic review in order to update the list of Member States and currencies, and to make better provisions for the payment of interest on claims, including an appropriate description of the interest to be recovered;

L.  whereas the Commission should consider proposing the revision of the provisions on the scope of the procedure and on the exceptional review of orders;

1.  Welcomes the successful operation in all the Member States of the European Order for Payment Procedure, a procedure applicable in civil and commercial matters relating to uncontested claims whose main objective is to simplify and speed up the procedure for the cross-border recognition and enforcement of creditors’ rights in the EU;

2.  Deplores the significant delay of almost two years in the submission of the Commission’s report reviewing the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006;

3.  Regrets the lack of an extended impact assessment for each Member State in the Commission’s report, as required by Article 32 of Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006; deplores the lack of up-to-date data in this report on the situation in the Member States with regard to the functioning and implementation of the European Order for Payment Procedure; calls on the Commission therefore to produce an extended, updated and detailed impact assessment;

4.  Regrets, likewise, that use of the European Order for Payment Procedure varies significantly between Member States; stresses in this connection that, despite the simplified modern procedure offered by EU legislation, the differences in implementation in the Member States and the desirability of choosing national legislation rather than the European Order for Payment Procedure are failing to maximise the results of the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006, and European citizens are consequently unable to exercise their rights at cross-border level, posing a risk of a decline in confidence in EU legislation;

5.  Points out that members of the public use the procedure most often, and are best informed about it, in Member States with similar instruments at national level;

6.  Considers that practical steps need to be taken to further inform citizens, businesses, legal professionals and all other relevant parties of the availability, functioning, application and advantages of the European Order for Payment Procedure in cross-border cases; stresses, further, that assistance is needed for members of the public and in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their use, understanding and knowledge of existing legal instruments with a view to the enforcement of claims at cross-border level under the relevant EU legislation;

7.  Stresses the need for Member States to provide the Commission with accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date data for effective monitoring and evaluation purposes;

8.  Encourages the Member States to strive to issue orders within 30 days, and to accept applications in foreign languages where possible, taking into consideration that translation requirements have a negative impact on costs and processing times in respect of the procedure;

9.  Fully supports the work being done to allow, in the future, the electronic submission of applications for a European Order for Payment; calls therefore on the Commission, in this connection, to encourage use of the е-CODEX pilot project and to extend it to all Member States, following a Commission study that was conducted regarding the feasibility of electronic applications for European Orders for Payment;

10.  Calls on the Commission to adopt updated standard forms as required, in order to make better provision, inter alia, for an appropriate description of the interest to be paid on claims;

11.  Considers that a future review of the regulation should look at removing certain exceptions to the scope of the procedure and at revising the provisions on the review of European Orders for Payment;

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

(1) OJ L 399, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 283, 16.10.2012, p. 1.

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