Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 5 July 2017 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Non-objection to a delegated act: European order for payment procedure
 Non-objection to a delegated act: European Small Claims Procedure
 Consultation of confidential information (interpretation of Rules 5(5) and 210a of the Rules of Procedure)
 Agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, adopted in Kigali ***
 Convention on long range transboundary air pollution to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone.***
 Conclusion of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (Consent) ***
 Conclusion of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (Resolution)
 Memorandum of Understanding between the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice and Eurojust *
 Fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law ***II
 Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions ***I
 HIV, TB and HCV epidemics in Europe on the rise
 2018 Budget – Mandate for the trilogue
 Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations
 Recommendation to the Council on the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
 Building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe

Non-objection to a delegated act: European order for payment procedure
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European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 19 June 2017 replacing Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council creating a European order for payment procedure (C(2017)03984 – 2017/2747(DEA))
P8_TA(2017)0291B8-0437/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2017)03984),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 19 June 2017 asking Parliament to declare that it will raise no objections to the delegated regulation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs of 22 June 2017,

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

–  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), as amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/2421 of the European Parliament and of the Council(2), and in particular Articles 30 and 31(5) thereof,

–  having regard to the recommendation for a decision of the Committee on Legal Affairs,

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

–  having regard to the fact that no objections have been raised within the period laid down in the third and fourth indents of Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure, which expired on 4 July 2017,

A.  whereas the annexes to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 set out the forms to be used to facilitate its application;

B.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 was amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/2421, which will apply from 14 July 2017; whereas the changes made to the European order for payment procedure should be reflected in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006;

C.  whereas it is necessary to replace Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 and whereas the new Annex I should apply at the same time as Regulation (EU) 2015/2421;

D.  whereas the amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 will start to apply on 14 July 2017, and the delegated regulation should therefore enter into force on 14 July 2017;

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

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

(1) OJ L 399, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 341, 24.12.2015, p. 1.


Non-objection to a delegated act: European Small Claims Procedure
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European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 19 June 2017 replacing Annexes I, II, III and IV to Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Small Claims Procedure (C(2017)03982 – 2017/2748(DEA))
P8_TA(2017)0292B8-0438/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2017)03982),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 19 June 2017 asking Parliament to declare that it will raise no objections to the delegated regulation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs of 22 June 2017,

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 establishing a European Small Claims Procedure(1), as amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/2421 of the European Parliament and of the Council(2), and in particular Articles 26 and 27(5) thereof,

–  having regard to the recommendation for a decision of the Committee on Legal Affairs,

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

–  having regard to the fact that no objections have been raised within the period laid down in the third and fourth indents of Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure, which expired on 4 July 2017,

A.  whereas the annexes to Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 set out the forms to be used to facilitate its application;

B.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 was amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/2421, which will apply from 14 July 2017; whereas the changes made to the European Small Claims Procedure should be reflected in the above-mentioned forms in the annexes;

C.  whereas it is necessary to replace Annexes I to IV to Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 and whereas the new Annexes I to IV should apply at the same time as Regulation (EU) 2015/2421;

D.  whereas the amendments to Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 will start to apply on 14 July 2017, and the delegated regulation should therefore enter into force on 14 July 2017;

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

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

(1) OJ L 199, 31.7.2007, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 341, 24.12.2015, p. 1.


Consultation of confidential information (interpretation of Rules 5(5) and 210a of the Rules of Procedure)
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European Parliament decision of 5 July 2017 concerning the consultation of confidential information (interpretation of Rules 5(5) and 210a of the Rules of Procedure) (2017/2095(REG))
P8_TA(2017)0293

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the letter of 23 June 2017 from the Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs,

–  having regard to Rule 226 of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Decides to append the following interpretation to Rule 5(5) of the Rules of Procedure:" "Access to confidential information is subject to the rules laid down in interinstitutional agreements concluded by Parliament relating to the treatment of confidential information1a and to the internal rules for their implementation adopted by Parliament's competent bodies1b.____________________1a Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 November 2002 between the European Parliament and the Council concerning access by the European Parliament to sensitive information of the Council in the field of security and defence policy (OJ C 298, 30.11.2002, p. 1).Framework Agreement of 20 October 2010 on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission (OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47).Interinstitutional Agreement of 12 March 2014 between the European Parliament and the Council concerning the forwarding to and handling by the European Parliament of classified information held by the Council on matters other than those in the area of the common foreign and security policy (OJ C 95, 1.4.2014, p. 1).1b Decision of the European Parliament of 23 October 2002 on the implementation of the Interinstitutional Agreement governing European Parliament access to sensitive Council information in the sphere of security and defence policy (OJ C 298, 30.11.2002, p. 4).Decision of the Bureau of 15 April 2013 concerning the rules governing the treatment of confidential information by the European Parliament (OJ C 96, 1.4.2014, p. 1).""

2.  Decides to append the following interpretation to Rule 210a of the Rules of Procedure:" "This Rule applies to the extent that the applicable legal framework relating to the treatment of confidential information provides for the possibility of consulting the confidential information at a meeting in camera outside the secure facilities.""

3.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and the Commission, for information.


Agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer, adopted in Kigali ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer (07725/2017 – C8-0157/2017 – 2017/0016(NLE))
P8_TA(2017)0294A8-0237/2017

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (07725/2017),

–  having regard to the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, adopted at the twenty-eighth meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, held in Kigali, Rwanda in October 2016,

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 192(1) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0157/2017),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1) and (4), and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0237/2017),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the amendment;

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


Convention on long range transboundary air pollution to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone.***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2017 on the draft Council decision on the acceptance on behalf of the European Union of an Amendment to the 1999 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (07524/2017 – C8-0143/2017 – 2013/0448(NLE))
P8_TA(2017)0295A8-0241/2017

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (07524/2017),

–  having regard to the Amendment of the text of and Annexes II to IX to the 1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone and the addition of new Annexes X and XI (07524/2017),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 192(1) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0143/2017),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1) and (4) and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0241/2017),

1.  Gives its consent to the acceptance of an amendment of the protocol;

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


Conclusion of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (Consent) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part (12502/2016 – C8-0517/2016 – 2016/0298(NLE))
P8_TA(2017)0296A8-0232/2017

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12502/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part (12504/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 207 and 209 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(8), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0517/2016),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 5 July 2017.(1) on the draft Council decision,

–  having regard to Rule 99(1) and (4) and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on International Trade (A8-0232/2017),

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 Cuba.

(1) Texts adopted of that date, P8_TA(2017)0297.


Conclusion of the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (Resolution)
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European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 5 July 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part (12502/2016 – C8-0517/2016 – 2016/0298(NLE)2017/2036(INI))
P8_TA(2017)0297A8-0233/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and Cuba in 1988,

–  having regard to the draft Council Decision (12502/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Cuba, of the other part (12504/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 207 and 209 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(8), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (C8‑0517/2016),

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and in particular Title V thereof on the Union’s external action,

–  having regard to TFEU, and in particular Part Five, Titles I-III and V thereof,

–  having regard to the Common Position 96/697/CFSP of 2 December 1996 defined by the Council on the basis of Article J.2 of the Treaty on European Union, on Cuba(1),

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2233 of 6 December 2016 repealing Common Position 96/697/CFSP on Cuba(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 October 2016 on the Global Strategy on the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 30 September 2009 entitled ‘The European Union and Latin America: Global Players in Partnership’ (COM(2009)0495),

–  having regard to the declarations of the summits of Heads of State or Government of Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union held to date, and in particular the Declaration of the second EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit, held in Brussels from 10-11 June 2015 under the theme ‘Shaping our common future: working together for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens’ which adopted the Political Declaration entitled: ‘A Partnership for the next Generation’,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 November 2012 on the Joint Caribbean-EU Strategy,

–  having regard to the appearance by the Special Representative for Human Rights at the joint meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Human Rights of 12 October 2016, to set out the results of the human rights dialogue between Cuba and the EU,

–  having regard to the reports by Cuban civil society organisations,

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 5 July 2017(3) on the draft Council decision,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Cuba, in particular those of 17 November 2004 on Cuba(4), 2 February 2006 on the EU’s policy towards the Cuban Government(5), 21 June 2007 on Cuba(6), and 11 March 2010 on prisoners of conscience in Cuba(7),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights treaties and instruments,

–  having regard to Rule 99(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on International Trade (A8-0233/2017),

A.  whereas deep historical, economic and cultural ties exist between Europe and Cuba;

B.  whereas relations between the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are varied and cover a wide scope;

C.  whereas the EU maintains relations with the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC); whereas CELAC welcomes the possibility of expanding relations between the EU and Cuba;

D.  whereas Cuba was the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean with which the EU had not signed any type of agreement; whereas 20 of its Member States have signed various types of bilateral agreements and maintain good relations with the island;

E.  whereas Common Position 96/697/CFSP was repealed by Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/2233 of 6 December 2016;

F.  whereas in 2008 the EU-Cuba high-level dialogue was re-launched and the bilateral development cooperation was resumed; whereas the Council launched a deliberation on the future of EU-Cuba relations in 2010, and adopted negotiation directives in February 2014, following which official negotiations for a PDCA were launched in April 2014 and concluded on 11 March 2016;

G.  whereas the PDCA defines general principles and objectives for the relationship between the EU and Cuba, including three main chapters on political dialogue, cooperation and sectoral policy dialogue, as well as trade and trade cooperation;

H.  whereas human rights feature in both the political dialogue and cooperation chapters; whereas with the PDCA both parties reaffirm their respect for universal human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant international instruments on human rights; whereas with the PDCA both parties reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the role of the United Nations as well as to all the principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations; whereas pursuant to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union, the external action of the Union should be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights – including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights – and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and the respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law; whereas in this sense compliance with human rights and the defence of democracy and the rule of law should be an essential aspiration of the PDCA;

I.  whereas the PDCA includes a so-called ‘human rights clause’, which is a standard essential element of EU international agreements that allows the PDCA to be suspended in case of violation of the provisions on human rights;

J.  whereas both parties have agreed on the broad modalities and areas for cooperation in the cooperation chapter, including on issues such as human rights, governance, justice and civil society;

K.  whereas Cuba is willing to accept cooperation with the EU within the framework of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR); whereas the key objectives of the EIDHR are supporting, developing and consolidating democracy in third countries, and enhancing respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas with the PDCA both parties recognise that democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of life;

L.  whereas the human rights dialogue between the EU and Cuba, led by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, was established in 2015; whereas the human rights situation remains of concern;

M.  whereas issues discussed at the second meeting of the human rights dialogue held in Cuba in June 2016 with the participation of line ministries and agencies included freedom of association and human rights issues in a multilateral context, such as the death penalty; whereas the third meeting of the human rights dialogue took place in Brussels on 22 May 2017;

N.  whereas on three separate occasions Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Cuban activists, Oswaldo Payá in 2002, the Ladies in White in 2005 and Guillermo Fariñas in 2010;

O.  whereas the EU has become the largest foreign investor in Cuba and its main export and overall trading partner, with overall trade and EU exports to Cuba having doubled between 2009 and 2015;

P.  whereas the PDCA devotes a chapter to the principles of international trade and addresses customs cooperation, trade facilitation and diversification, standards and technical rules, sustainable trade and promotion of a stable, transparent and non-discriminatory business and investment regime; whereas trade liberalisation, economic and financial investments, technological innovation and overall market freedoms would allow the island to modernise its economy;

Q.  whereas the ‘Economic and social policy guidelines’ for Cuba, adopted following a public debate procedure in 2011, contained proposals for reform, updating and modernisation;

R.  whereas two fresh public debates were opened in Cuba in 2016 on the ‘Conceptualisation of the economic and social model’ and the ‘National economic and social development plan up to 2030: the nation’s vision, priorities and strategic sectors’;

S.  whereas the EU and Cuba have agreed to incorporate the gender perspective in all areas of their cooperation and to pay particular attention to preventing and tackling all forms of violence against women;

T.  whereas Cuba is a signatory to 11 of the 18 United Nations human rights conventions and has ratified eight of them; whereas Cuba has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights;

U.  whereas Cuba has ratified all eight core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO);

V.  whereas Cuba’s National Assembly has been a member of the world Interparliamentary Union since 1977;

W.  whereas the United Nations General Assembly has adopted 26 consecutive resolutions calling for the end of the United States embargo on Cuba, and the resolution was adopted unanimously for the first time in October 2016;

X.  whereas its long-standing position, adopted on numerous occasions and shared by the European institutions, is contrary to extraterritoriality laws, given that they are directly harmful to the Cuban people and affect the activities of European undertakings;

1.  Welcomes the signing in Brussels, on 12 December 2016, of the PDCA between the EU and Cuba and states that it constitutes an instrument that will offer a new framework for relations between the EU and Cuba while maintaining the EU’s interests, superseding the 1996 Common Position; stresses that the success of this agreement depends on its implementation and compliance with it;

2.  Affirms the high strategic value of the relationship between the EU and Cuba;

3.  Notes that the structure, content and dynamic of the agreement match the principles and values established by the EU institutions for its external relations;

4.  Underlines the fact that the Council of the EU agreed to establish a new framework for relations with Cuba and took the decision to embark on negotiations and conclude them successfully within a significantly brief timeframe;

5.  Stresses the commitment that Cuba is undertaking with the EU and the responsibility of both parties with regard to fulfilling the provisions of the agreement including through political dialogue;

6.  Recalls that the PDCA, as the first agreement between the EU and Cuba, will mark a turning point in bilateral relations between the two parties; welcomes the fact that both parties have agreed to develop this relationship in a structured manner, mutually subscribing to an agenda and obligations that are binding on both signatories;

7.  Underlines the relevance of the inclusion of the political dialogue chapter and the establishment of an institutionalised EU-Cuba Human Rights dialogue; calls for the EU to endorse Parliament’s views on democracy, universal human rights and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, assembly and political association, freedom of information in all its forms, as well as its ‘worldwide policy of support to human rights defenders’ throughout this dialogue; encourages both parties to establish guarantees for the work of human rights defenders and for the active participation of all civil society and opposition political actors, without restrictions, in this dialogue; notes, however, that the human rights dialogue has not to date put an end to arbitrary politically motivated detentions in Cuba and that, on the contrary, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, there have been more and more crackdowns in recent years;

8.  Emphasises the importance of the human rights dialogue between the EU and Cuba and welcomes the fact that it was launched before the conclusion of the PDCA negotiations; reiterates that the objectives of the EU’s policy towards Cuba include the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and facilitating the economic and social modernisation aimed at improving the living standards of the Cuban population;

9.  Notes the efforts made by Cuba to incorporate the United Nations’ fundamental principles on human and labour rights into its national legislation, and urges Cuba to ratify the United Nations’ human rights conventions which are still pending, more specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; takes note of the work of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education; calls on the Cuban Government to continue its efforts to end all forms of discrimination and marginalisation targeting the LGBTI community;

10.  Urges the Cuban Government to align its human rights policy with the international standards defined in the charters, declarations and international instruments to which Cuba is a signatory; insists that the persecution and imprisonment of anyone for their ideals and their peaceful political activity is in breach of the provisions laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and calls, therefore, for the release of any person imprisoned under such circumstances;

11.  Recalls that the PDCA includes a provision for the suspension of the agreement in the event of a violation of the provisions on human rights; urges the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to ensure the establishment of a regular exchange with Parliament on the implementation of the PDCA, on the fulfilment of the mutual obligations provided for in the PDCA, and in particular on the realisation of all human, environmental and labour rights provisions mentioned in this resolution; calls on the EEAS – in particular through the EU Delegation – to do its utmost to closely follow the situation with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba when implementing the PDCA and to report back to Parliament;

12.  Stresses that the PDCA should contribute to improving the living conditions and social rights of Cuban citizens, reaffirming the importance of working systematically in promoting the values of democracy and human rights, including freedom of expression, association and assembly;

13.  Welcomes the PDCA’s explicit references to civil society as an actor of cooperation; voices its profound solidarity with the Cuban population and progress towards democracy and respect and promotion of fundamental freedoms; encourages both parties to the agreement to promote an active role for Cuban civil society during the implementation phase of the agreement;

14.  Recalls the important role of Cuban civil society in the economic and democratic development of the country; stresses the need for civil society to be a leading player in all areas of this Agreement, including those related to development aid; recalls Parliament’s support, through the Sakharov prize, of Cuban civil society in its role of promoting human rights and democracy in Cuba;

15.  Recalls that internet connectivity in Cuba is among the lowest in the world and that internet access is extremely expensive and content remains restricted; welcomes the fact that more Cubans are getting access to the internet but believes the government should take further steps to foster uncensored access and improve the digital rights of the population;

16.  Calls for the EEAS to keep Parliament informed of progress in the implementation of the agreement and its application, at appropriate intervals, and in accordance with the coordination system provided for in the agreement;

17.  Takes notes of the process of normalising relations that has been achieved between Cuba and the United States with the restoration of diplomatic ties in 2015 and encourages further efforts;

18.  Reiterates its long-standing doctrine, shared by the other European institutions and upheld on numerous occasions, opposing laws and measures with extraterritorial effect, given that they are harmful to the Cuban population and disrupt the activities of European undertakings;

19.  Recognises that the PDCA can contribute to the reform, adjustment and modernisation processes already being proposed in Cuba, in particular with regard to the diversification of Cuba’s international partners and the establishment of a general framework of political and economic development; stresses that closer political and economic relations with Cuba could help advance political reforms in the country in accordance with the aspirations of the Cuban people; urges the European institutions and the Member States to assist the economic and political transition in Cuba, encouraging the evolution towards democratic and electoral standards that respect the basic rights of all its citizens; supports the use of the various EU foreign policy instruments, and in particular EIDHR, in order to reinforce the EU’s dialogue with Cuba’s civil society and those who support a peaceful transition in Cuba;

20.  Notes that the PDCA, as the first ever agreement between the EU and Cuba, constitutes the new legal framework for these relations, comprising a chapter on trade and trade cooperation that aims to create a more predictable and transparent environment for local and European economic operators;

21.  Highlights that the trade and trade cooperation pillar of the PDCA does not provide any trade preferences for Cuba; recalls that this pillar covers customs cooperation, trade facilitation, intellectual property, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, traditional and artisanal goods, trade and sustainable development, cooperation regarding trade defence, rules of origin and investment;

22.  Notes that the PDCA provides a platform for expanding the bilateral trade and investment relationship and establishing conventional bases for trade and economic relations between the EU and Cuba;

23.  Supports the longstanding practice, also confirmed by Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in her hearing on 29 September 2014, of not applying trade and investment provisions of politically important agreements provisionally before Parliament has granted its consent; calls on the Council, the Commission and the EEAS to continue and to extend this practice to all international agreements related to the EU’s external action policy where trade aspects are concerned, as is the case with the PDCA;

24.  Takes the view that the agreement will serve to promote dialogue and economic cooperation, facilitating a predictable and transparent business environment and the development of a stronger, more stable framework in the future where it is ensured that Cubans can participate in investments jointly with companies and individuals from the EU;

25.  Calls also on European companies operating in Cuba, especially those that receive credits or any financial assistance of public origin, to apply the same labour and ethical standards as required in their countries of origin;

26.  Welcomes the fact that Cuba has ratified all eight ILO core conventions and asks for commitments regarding their swift implementation; strongly calls on Cuba and all countries with which it has or is negotiating agreements to ratify and comply with the regulations of the ILO and the Decent Work Agenda, and to proscribe all forms of labour exploitation; notes that there are areas in which social and labour rights are at stake, such as the recruitment practices by Cuban state-owned enterprises and wage confiscation practices in the tourism sector; stresses, in this context, that all workers need to enjoy a core set of labour rights as well as adequate social protection in line with the ILO conventions, and calls on both parties to work to this end in line with Article 38 of the PDCA;

27.  Notes that the EU is Cuba’s main export and second largest trade partner, as well as its biggest foreign investor; points out that the EU’s foreign trade policy does not provide any trade preferences for Cuba, and that EU tariff rates apply as notified by the World Trade Organisation (WTO); recalls that as a result of the reform of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), from January 2014 Cuba lost its trade preferences for exporting to the EU since it had reached the category of an Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) and no longer fulfilled the eligibility criteria; stresses furthermore that trade still only represents a moderate share of the Cuban economy, with exports and imports taken together amounting to 26,4 % of GDP;

28.  Suggests that future possibilities be explored to integrate Cuba into the EU-CARIFORUM EPA, which contains many specific and useful trade cooperation chapters and would offer Cuba the possibility of further regional integration;

29.  Notes that Cuba is a member of the WTO and therefore emphasises the need to respect the basic principles of the WTO, such as trade facilitation, agreements on trade barriers, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade defence instruments;

30.  Calls on Cuba to ratify the WTO TFA that entered into force in February 2017; welcomes the creation of the Trade Facilitation Committee in the country and, in this context, asks the Commission and the EEAS to provide technical support;

31.  Points out that customs cooperation is a crucial area that needs to be developed in order to address important challenges such as border security, public health, the protection of geographical indications, the fight against counterfeit goods and the fight against terrorism, among other matters; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to provide technical and financial assistance and to establish bilateral instruments by mutual agreement to help with Cuba’s implementation of trade facilitation measures and information services;

32.  Emphasises the need for exports from Cuba to be diversified beyond the traditional products, and asks the Commission to create ad-hoc trade desks in order to exchange best practices and provide Cuban exporters with the knowledge required to improve the access of goods onto the EU market;

33.  Welcomes the role of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in providing strategic support to the Cuban Aduanas General de la República (AGR) under the Mercator Programme in order to evaluate preparedness for implementing the WTO TFA; stresses the importance of the AGR being pro-active in the implementation of the TFA and asks the Commission to assist Cuba in this process;

34.  Takes note of the measures adopted by the Cuban authorities to encourage free enterprise and economic liberalisation; highlights the importance of gradually strengthening the private sector; emphasises the fact that the development of strong foreign investment to improve the physical and technological infrastructure of the country and to build a competitive Cuban production system will require further economic and financial measures with regulations that give legal certainty, including through independent, transparent and impartial institutions, and economic stability to the country; points out that Cuba can draw on the experience of EU Member States in this respect;

35.  Calls for Cuba to be included as an eligible country under the EIB’s external mandate provided it meets the requirements laid down by the EIB;

36.  Welcomes the inclusion in the PDCA of provisions geared towards sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Cuba, in particular the commitment to working towards the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals (SDGs), taking into account the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development; calls on the Parties, once the PDCA has been ratified, to rapidly establish a dedicated dialogue on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda;

37.  Recalls that diplomatic relations between the EU and Cuba were established in 1988, that Cuba has benefited from EU development assistance or humanitarian aid since 1984, and that it is currently receiving EUR 50 million in assistance from the EU under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) regulation for the period 2014-2020;

38.  Recalls that the PDCA will facilitate Cuba’s engagement in EU programmes and the enhanced implementation of the multiannual indicative programme (MIP) for the period 2014-2020 in order to facilitate the economic and social modernisation strategy adopted by the Cuban Government;

39.  Is concerned that Cuba, which is classed as an ‘upper-middle-income country’ by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), risks seeing its development assistance under the DCI regulation being phased out; considers that the country’s situation as a developing island state and the economic circumstances it is facing, which are exacerbated by the adverse impact of unilateral coercive measures, justify the adoption of measures that will enable EU assistance to Cuba to be continued, and that this should be given particular consideration as part of the forthcoming mid-term evaluation of the DCI regulation;

40.  Supports the parties’ reaffirmation of the need for all developed countries to set aside 0,7 % of their gross national income for official development assistance, and for emerging economies and upper-middle-income countries to set targets for increasing their contribution to international public finance;

41.  Welcomes the promotion of the gender perspective in all the relevant fields of cooperation, including sustainable development;

42.  Acknowledges and welcomes the important role Cuba plays in South-South cooperation, its commitment and its international solidarity in the form of humanitarian aid contributions, principally in the health and education sectors;

43.  Notes that the PDCA is an opportunity for Cuba to be more engaged in and to enjoy greater access to EU programmes, including Horizon 2020, the framework programme for research and innovation, and Erasmus+ – the programme for education, training youth and sport – which would in turn foster closer academic and people-to-people exchanges;

44.  Notes that the PDCA will also constitute an instrument for promoting, in multilateral fora, joint solutions to global challenges such as migration, the fight against terrorism and climate change;

45.  Confirms its decision to send an official delegation of the Foreign Affairs committee of the European Parliament to Cuba; asks the Cuban authorities to allow the entry of EP delegations and to have access to their interlocutors;

46.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the government and parliament of Cuba.

(1) OJ L 322, 12.12.1996, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 337 I, 13.12.2016, p. 41.
(3) Texts adopted of that date, P8_TA(2017)0296.
(4) OJ C 201 E, 18.8.2005, p. 83.
(5) OJ C 288 E, 25.11.2006, p. 81.
(6) OJ C 146 E, 12.6.2008, p. 377.
(7) OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 82.


Memorandum of Understanding between the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice and Eurojust *
PDF 243kWORD 48k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2017 on the draft Council implementing decision approving the conclusion by Eurojust of the Memorandum of Understanding between the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice and Eurojust (07536/2017 – C8-0136/2017 – 2017/0804(CNS))
P8_TA(2017)0298A8-0215/2017

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council draft (07536/2017),

–  having regard to Article 39(1) of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, and Article 9 of Protocol No 36 on transitional provisions, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0136/2017),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime(1), and in particular Article 26(2) thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 78c of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0215/2017),

1.  Approves the Council draft;

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

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

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

(1) OJ L 63, 6.3.2002, p. 1.


Fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law ***II
PDF 257kWORD 48k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2017 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (06182/1/2017 – C8-0150/2017 – 2012/0193(COD))
P8_TA(2017)0299A8-0230/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council position at first reading (06182/1/2017 – C8-0150/2017),

–  having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2012)0363),

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

—  having regard to Rule 67a of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure

–  having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Budgetary Control and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0230/2017),

1.  Approves the Council position at first reading;

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

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

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

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

(1) Texts adopted of 16.4.2014, P7_TA(2014)0427.


Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 July 2017 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions (COM(2013)0884 – C8-0033/2014 – 2013/0432(COD))
P8_TA(2017)0300A8-0239/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0884),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 33 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0033/2014),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposed legal basis,

–  having regard to Article 294(3) and Articles 33 and 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 21 September 2016(1),

–  having regard to Rules 59 and 39 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0239/2016),

1.  Adopts as its position at first reading the text adopted on 25 October 2016(2);

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it replaces, substantially amends or intends to substantially amend its proposal;

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 5 July 2017 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2017/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions

P8_TC1-COD(2013)0432


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article Articles 33 and 114 thereof, [Am. 1]

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(3),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(4),

Whereas:

(1)  Provisions in the field of the customs union are harmonised by Union law. However, their enforcement lies within the scope of Member States' national law.

(1a)  This Directive should comply with Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5) (“the Code”). [Am. 2]

(2)  Consequently,Customs infringements and sanctions follow 28 different sets of legal rules. As a result of that, a breach of Union customs legislation is not treated the same way throughout the Union and the sanctions that may be imposed in each case differ in nature and severity depending on the Member State that is imposing the sanction, leading to possible losses of revenue for the Member States and to trade distortions. [Am. 3]

(3)  That disparity of Member States' legal systems not only adversely affects not only the optimal management of the customs union and the transparency necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market as regards ways in which infringements are handled by the different customs authorities, but also prevents that the achievement of a level playing field is achieved for economic operators in the customs union, who are already subject to different sets of rules across the Union, because it has an impact on their access to customs simplifications and facilitations. [Am. 4]

(4)  The Code has been conceived for a multinational electronic environment where there is real time communication between customs authorities and where a decision taken by a Member State is applied in all the other Member States. That legal framework therefore requires a harmonised enforcement. The Code also includes a provision requiring Member States to provide for effective, dissuasive and proportionate sanctions.

(5)  The legal framework for the enforcement of Union customs legislation provided for in this Directive is consistent with the legislation in force regarding the safeguarding of the financial interests of the Union, and in particular Directive (EU) 2017/… of the European Parliament and of the Council(6). The customs infringements covered by the framework established by this Directive include customs infringements that have an impact on those financial interests while not falling under the scope of the legislation safeguarding them by means of criminal law, and customs infringements that do not have an impact on the financial interests of the Union at all.

(6)  A list of behaviour which should be considered as infringing Union customs legislation and give rise to sanctions should be established by this Directive. Those customs infringements should be fully based on the obligations stemming from the customs legislation with direct references to the Code. This Directive does not determine whether should provide that Member States are to apply administrative or criminal law non-criminal sanctions in respect of those customs infringements. It should also be possible for Member States to provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions, in accordance with national laws and Union law, instead of non-criminal sanctions where the nature and gravity of the infringement in question so requires in order for the sanction imposed to be dissuasive, effective and proportionate. [Am. 5]

(7)  The first category of behaviour should include customs infringements based on strict liability, which does not require any element of fault, considering the objective nature of the obligations involved and the fact that the persons responsible to fulfil them cannot ignore their existence and binding character. [Am. 6]

(8)  The second and third category of behaviour should include customs infringements committed by negligence or intentionally, respectively, where that subjective element has to be established for liability to arise. [Am. 7]

(9)  Inciting or aiding and abetting a behaviour being a customs infringement committed intentionally, and attempts to commit certain customs infringements intentionally, should be considered customs infringements.

(10)  In order to ensure legal certainty, it should be provided that any act or omission resulting from an error on the part of the customs authorities as referred to in the Code should not be considered to constitute a customs infringement. [Am. 8]

(11)  Member States should ensure that liability can arise for legal persons as well as natural persons for the same customs infringement where the customs infringement has been committed for the benefit of a legal person.

(12)  In order to approximate the national sanctions systems of the Member States, scales of sanctions should be established reflecting the different categories of the customs infringements and their seriousness of the customs infringements. For the purpose of imposing effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, Member States should also ensure that their competent authorities take into account specific aggravating or mitigating circumstances when determining the type and level of sanctions to be applied. [Am. 9]

(12a)  Only in cases where serious infringements are linked not to the duties evaded but to the value of the goods concerned, for instance in the case of infringements relating to intellectual property rights or prohibited or restricted goods, should customs authorities base the sanction imposed on the value of the goods. [Am. 10]

(13)  The limitation period for proceedings concerning a customs infringement should be fixed at four years from the day on which the customs infringement was committed or, in the case of continuous or repeated infringements, where when the behaviour constituting that infringement ceases. Member States should ensure that the limitation period is interrupted by an act relating to investigations or legal proceedings concerning the same customs infringement, or by an act on the part of the person responsible for the infringement. It should be possible for Member States may to lay down cases where in which that period is suspended. The initiation or continuation of these proceedings should be precluded Any proceedings should be time-barred, irrespective of any interruption of the limitation period, after an the expiry of a period of eight years, while the limitation period for the enforcement of a sanction should be of three years. [Am. 11]

(14)  A suspension of administrative proceedings concerning customs infringements should be provided for where criminal proceedings have been initiated against the same person in connection with the same facts. The continuation of the administrative proceedings after the completion of the criminal proceedings should be possible only in strict conformity with the ne bis in idem principle, meaning that the same offence must not be penalised twice. [Am. 12]

(15)  In order to avoid positive conflicts of jurisdiction, rules should be laid down to determine which of the Member States with jurisdiction should examine the case.

(15a)  The overall objective of this Directive is to ensure the effective enforcement of Union customs legislation. However, the legal framework provided for by this Directive does not allow for an integrated approach to enforcement, including supervision, control, and investigation. The Commission should therefore submit to the European Parliament and to the Council a report on those aspects, including on the implementation of the common risk management framework, in order to assess whether further legislation is needed. [Am. 13]

(16)  This Directive should provide for the cooperation between Member States and the Commission to ensure effective action against customs infringements.

(17)  In order to facilitate the investigation of customs infringements, the competent authorities should be allowed to temporarily seize any goods, means of transport or any other instrument used in committing the infringement.

(18)  In accordance with the Joint Political Declaration of 28 September 2011 of Member States and the Commission on explanatory documents(7), Member States have undertaken to accompany, in justified cases, the notification of their transposition measures with one or more documents explaining the relationship between the components of a directive and the corresponding parts of national transposition instruments. With regard to this Directive, the legislator considers the transmission of such documents to be justified.

(18a)  This Directive is intended to strengthen customs cooperation by approximating national laws on customs sanctions. Given that, at present, the legal traditions of Member States differ greatly, total harmonisation in this area is impossible. [Am. 14]

(19)  Since this Directive aims to provide for a list of customs infringements common to all Member States and for the basis for effective, dissuasive and proportionate sanctions to be imposed by Member States in the area of the customs union, which is fully harmonised, those objectives cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States based on their different legal traditions, but can rather, by reason of the scale and effect, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve those objectives,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

Subject matter and scope

1.  This Directive establishes a seeks to contribute to the proper functioning of the internal market and to lay down the framework concerning the infringements of Union customs legislation, and provides for the imposition of non-criminal sanctions for those infringements by approximating the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in the Member States. [Am. 15]

2.  This Directive applies to the violation of the obligations laid down in Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 (‘the Code’) and of identical obligations laid down in other parts of the Union customs legislation as defined in Article 5(2) of the Code.

2a.  This Directive covers the obligations of the Member States towards the trading partners of the European Union, as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization, with a view to establishing a homogeneous and effective internal market, while facilitating trade and providing certainty. [Am. 16]

Article 2

Customs infringements and sanctionsGeneral principles

1.  Member States shall lay down rules on sanctions in respect of the customs infringements set out in Articles 3 to and 6, in strict conformity with the ne bis in idem principle.

Member States shall ensure that the acts or omissions set out in Articles 3 and 6 constitute customs infringements whether they are committed by negligence or intentionally.

Member States may, in accordance with national laws and Union law, provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions instead of non-criminal sanctions where the nature and gravity of the infringement in question so requires in order for the sanction imposed to be dissuasive, effective and proportionate.

2.  For the purposes of this Directive:

(a)  customs authorities shall determine whether the infringement was committed by negligence, meaning that the person responsible failed to exercise reasonable care with respect to the control of his or her operations, or that that person took measures which are manifestly insufficient, to avoid the occurrence of circumstances giving rise to the infringement, where the risk of its occurrence was reasonably foreseeable;

(b)  customs authorities shall determine whether the infringement was committed intentionally, meaning that the person responsible acted or failed to act in the knowledge that the act or omission constituted an infringement, or with the wilful and conscious aim of contravening customs legislation;

(c)  clerical errors or mistakes shall not constitute a customs infringement unless it is clear from all the circumstances that they were committed intentionally or as a result of negligence. [Am. 17]

Article 2a

Trade facilitation

In order to comply with the Union's obligations under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, Member States shall work together to set up a cooperation system including all Member States. That system shall aim to coordinate key performance indicators regarding customs sanctions (analysis of the number of appeals, rate of recidivism, etc.); to disseminate best practice among customs services (efficiency of controls and sanctions, reduction of administrative costs, etc.); to pass on the experiences of economic operators and to create links between them; to monitor the way in which customs services perform their activities; and to perform statistical work on infringements committed by companies from third countries. Within the cooperation system, all Member States shall be notified without delay of investigations into customs infringements and of established infringements in such a way as to facilitate trade, prevent illegal goods from entering the internal market and improve the effectiveness of checks. [Am. 18]

Article 3

Strict liability Customs infringements

Member States shall ensure that the following acts or omissions constitute customs infringements irrespective of any element of fault:

(a)  failure of the person lodging a customs declaration, temporary storage declaration, entry summary declaration, exit summary declaration, re-export declaration or re-export notification to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information given in the declaration, notification or application in accordance with point (a) of Article 15(2)(a) of the Code;

(b)  failure of the person lodging a customs declaration, temporary storage declaration, entry summary declaration, exit summary declaration, re-export declaration or re-export notification to ensure the authenticity, accuracy and validity of any supporting document in accordance with point (b) of Article 15(2)(b) of the Code;

(c)  failure of the a person to lodge an entry summary declaration in accordance with Article 127 of the Code, a notification of arrival of a sea going seagoing vessel or of an aircraft in accordance with Article 133 of the Code, a temporary storage declaration in accordance with Article 145 of the Code, a customs declaration in accordance with Article 158 of the Code, a notification of activities in free zones in accordance with Article 244(2) of the Code, a pre-departure declaration in accordance with Article 263 of the Code, a re-export declaration in accordance with Article 270 of the Code, an exit summary declaration in accordance with Article 271 of the Code or a re-export notification in accordance with Article 274 of the Code;

(d)  failure of an economic operator to keep the documents and information related to the accomplishment of customs formalities by any accessible means for the period of time required by customs legislation in accordance with Article 51 of the Code;

(e)  removal of goods brought into the customs territory of the Union from customs supervision without the permission of the customs authorities, contrary to the first and second sub-paragraphs of Article 134(1) of the Code;

(f)  removal of goods from customs supervision, contrary to the fourth sub-paragraph of Article 134(1) and Articles 158(3) and 242 of the Code;

(g)  failure of a person bringing goods into the customs territory of the Union to comply with the obligations relating to the conveyance of the goods in the appropriate place in accordance with Article 135(1) of the Code, or to inform customs authorities without delay when the obligations cannot be complied with in accordance with Article 137(1) and (2) of the Code and of the whereabouts of the goods;

(h)  failure of a person bringing goods into a free zone, where the free zone adjoins the land frontier between a Member State and a third country, to bring those goods directly into that free zone without passing through another part of the customs territory of the Union in accordance with Article 135(2) of the Code;

(i)  failure of the declarant for temporary storage or for a customs procedure to provide documents to the customs authorities where Union legislation so requires or where necessary for customs controls in accordance with Article 145(2) and Article 163(2) of the Code;

(j)  failure of the economic operator declarant for temporary storage, or of the person storing the goods in cases where they are stored in other places designated or approved by the customs authorities, responsible for non-Union goods which are in temporary storage, to place those goods under a customs procedure or to re-export them within the time limit in accordance with Article 149 of the Code;

(k)  failure of the declarant for a customs procedure to have in their his or her possession and at the disposal of the customs authorities, at the time when the customs declaration or a supplementary declaration is lodged, the supporting documents required for the application of the procedure in question in accordance with Article 163(1) and the second subparagraph of Article 167(1) of the Code;

(l)  failure of the declarant for a customs procedure, in the case of a simplified declaration pursuant to Article 166 of the Code or of an entry into the declarant’s records pursuant to Article 182 of the Code, to lodge a supplementary declaration at the competent customs office and within the specific time-limit in accordance with Article 167(1) of the Code;

(m)  removal or destruction of means of identification affixed by customs authorities in goods, packaging or means of transport without prior authorisation granted by the customs authorities in accordance with Article 192(2) of the Code;

(n)  failure of the holder of the inward processing procedure to discharge a customs procedure within the time limit specified in accordance with Article 257 of the Code;

(o)  failure of the holder of the outward processing procedure to export the defective goods within the time limit in accordance with Article 262 of the Code;

(p)  construction of a building in a free zone without the prior approval of the customs authorities in accordance with Article 244(1) of the Code;

(q)  non-payment of import or export duties by the person liable to pay within the period prescribed in accordance with Article 108 of the Code;

(qa)  failure of an economic operator to supply, in response to a request by the customs authorities, the requisite documents and information in an appropriate form and within a reasonable time and to provide all the assistance necessary for the completion of the customs formalities or controls in accordance with Article 15(1) of the Code;

(qb)  failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to comply with the obligations resulting from that decision in accordance with Article 23(1) of the Code;

(qc)  failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the taking of a decision by those authorities which influences its continuation or content, in accordance with Article 23(2) of the Code;

(qd)  failure of the holder of the Union transit procedure to present the goods intact at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time limit in accordance with point (a) of Article 233(1) of the Code;

(qe)  unloading or trans-shipping of goods from the means of transport carrying them without authorisation granted by the customs authorities or in places not designated or approved by those authorities in accordance with Article 140 of the Code;

(qf)  storage of goods in temporary storage facilities or customs warehouses without authorisation granted by the customs authorities in accordance with Articles 147 and 148 of the Code;

(qg)  failure of the holder of the authorisation or the holder of the procedure to fulfil the obligations arising from the storage of goods covered by the customs warehousing procedure in accordance with points (a) and (b) of Article 242(1) of the Code;

(qh)  providing customs authorities with false information or documents required by those authorities in accordance with Article 15 or 163 of the Code;

(qi)  the use of inaccurate or incomplete information or inauthentic, inaccurate or invalid documents by an economic operator in order to obtain from the customs authorities an authorisation:

(i)  to become an authorised economic operator in accordance with Article 38 of the Code;

(ii)  to make use of a simplified declaration in accordance with Article 166 of the Code;

(iii)  to make use of other customs simplifications in accordance with Article 177, 179, 182 or 185 of the Code; or

(iv)  to place the goods under special procedures in accordance with Article 211 of the Code;

(qj)  the introduction or exit of goods into or from the customs territory of the Union without presenting them to customs authorities in accordance with Articles 139, 245 or Article 267(2) of the Code;

(qk)  processing of goods in a customs warehouse without an authorisation granted by the customs authorities in accordance with Article 241 of the Code;

(ql)  acquiring or holding goods involved in one of the customs infringements set out in points (qd) and (qj) of this Article. [Am. 19]

Article 4

Customs infringements committed by negligence

Member States shall ensure that the following acts or omissions constitute customs infringements where committed by negligence:

(a)  failure of the economic operator responsible for non-Union goods which are in temporary storage to place those goods under a customs procedure or to re-export them within the time limit in accordance with Article 149 of the Code;

(b)  failure of the economic operator to provide customs authorities with all the assistance necessary for the completion of the customs formalities or controls in accordance with Article 15(1) of the Code;

(c)  failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to comply with the obligations resulting from that decision in accordance with Article 23(1) of the Code;

(d)  failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the decision was taken by those authorities which influences its continuation or content in accordance with Article 23(2) of the Code;

(e)  failure of the economic operator to present the goods brought into the customs territory of the Union to the customs authorities in accordance with Article 139 of the Code;

(f)  failure of the holder of the Union transit procedure to present the goods intact at the customs office of destination within the prescribed time limit in accordance with Article 233(1)(a) of the Code;

(g)  failure of the economic operator to present the goods brought into a free zone to customs in accordance with Article 245 of the Code;

(h)  failure of the economic operator to present the goods to be taken out of the customs territory of the Union to customs on exit in accordance with Article 267(2) of the Code;

(i)  unloading or trans-shipping of goods from the means of transport carrying them without authorisation granted by the customs authorities or in places not designated or approved by those authorities in accordance with Article 140 of the Code;

(j)  storage of goods in temporary storage facilities or customs warehouses without authorisation granted by the customs authorities in accordance with Articles 147 and 148;

(k)  failure of the holder of the authorisation or the holder of the procedure to fulfil the obligations arising from the storage of goods covered by the customs warehousing procedure in accordance with points (a) and (b) of Article 242(1) of the Code. [Am. 20]

Article 5

Customs infringements committed intentionally

Member States shall ensure that the following acts or omissions constitute customs infringements where committed intentionally:

(a)  providing customs authorities with false information or documents required by those authorities in accordance with Articles 15 or 163 of the Code;

(b)  the use of false statements or any other irregular means by an economic operator in order to obtain an authorisation from the customs authorities:

(i)  to become an authorised economic operator in accordance with Article 38 of the Code,

(ii)  to make use of a simplified declaration in accordance with Article 166 of the Code,

(iii)  to make use of other customs simplifications in accordance with Articles 177, 179, 182, 185 of the Code,

(iv)  to place the goods under special procedures in accordance with Article 211 of the Code;

(c)  introduction or exit of goods into or from the customs territory of the Union without presenting them to customs authorities in accordance with Articles 139, 245, or Article 267(2) of the Code;

(d)  failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to comply with the obligations resulting from that decision in accordance with Article 23(1) of the Code;

(e)  failure of the holder of a decision relating to the application of customs legislation to inform the customs authorities without delay of any factor arising after the decision was taken by those authorities which influences its continuation or content in accordance with Article 23(2) of the Code;

(f)  processing of goods in a customs warehouse without an authorisation granted by the customs authorities in accordance with Article 241 of the Code;

(g)  acquiring or holding goods involved in one of the customs infringements set out in point (f) of Article 4 and point (c) of this Article. [Am. 21]

Article 6

Incitement, Aiding, Abetting and Attempt

1.  Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that inciting or aiding and abetting an act or omission referred to in Article 5 is8b(2) constitutes a customs infringement.

2.  Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that an attempt to commit an act or omission referred to in point (b)(qi) or (c)(qj) of Article 5 is 3 constitutes a customs infringement. [Am. 22]

Article 7

Error on the part of the customs authorities

The acts or omissions referred to in Articles 3 toand 6 do shall not constitute customs infringements where they occur as a result of an error on the part of the customs authorities, in accordance with Article 119 of the Code. The customs authorities shall be liable for damage caused as a result of such errors. [Am. 23]

Article 8

Liability of legal persons

1.  Member States shall ensure that legal persons are held liable for customs infringements referred to in Articles 3 and 6 committed for their benefit by any person, acting either individually or as part of an organ of the legal person, and having a leading position within the legal person, based on any of the following:

(a)  a power of representation of the legal person;

(b)  an authority to take decisions on behalf of the legal person;

(c)  an authority to exercise control within the legal person. [Am. 24]

2.  Member States shall also ensure that legal persons are held liable where the lack of supervision or control by a person referred to in paragraph 1 has made possible the commission of a customs infringement for the benefit of that legal person by a person under the authority of the person referred to in paragraph 1.

3.  Liability of a legal person under paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be without prejudice to the liability of natural persons who have committed the customs infringement.

3a.  For the purposes of this Directive, ‘legal person’ shall mean any entity having legal personality under the applicable law, except for States or public bodies in the exercise of State authority and public international organisations. [Am. 26]

Article 8a

Factors to be taken into account in assessing whether an infringement is minor

1.  When determining whether an infringement referred to in Article 3 is minor, Member States shall ensure from the beginning of the process of determining whether a customs infringement has been committed that their competent authorities take into account all relevant circumstances that apply, including the following:

(a)  the infringement was committed as a result of negligence;

(b)  the goods involved are not subject to the prohibitions or restrictions referred to in the second sentence of Article 134(1) of the Code and in point (e) of Article 267(3) of the Code;

(c)  the infringement has little or no impact on the amount of customs duties to be paid;

(d)  the person responsible for the infringement cooperates effectively with the competent authority in the proceedings;

(e)  the person responsible for the infringement voluntary discloses the infringement, provided that the infringement is not yet the subject of any investigation activity of which the person responsible for the infringement has knowledge;

(f)  the person responsible for the infringement is able to show that he or she is making a significant effort to align with Union customs legislation by demonstrating a high level of control of his or her operations, for example by means of a compliance system;

(g)  the person responsible for the infringement is a small or medium-sized enterprise, which had no prior experience in customs related matters.

2.  Competent authorities shall consider an infringement to be minor only where there is no aggravating factor with regard to the infringement as referred to in Article 8b. [Am. 27]

Article 8b

Factors to be taken into account in assessing whether an infringement is serious

1.  When determining whether an infringement referred to in Article 3 or 6 is serious, Member States shall ensure from the beginning of the process of determining whether a customs infringement has been committed that their competent authorities take into account any of the following circumstances that apply:

(a)  the infringement was committed with intent;

(b)  the infringement persisted over a lengthy period of time, reflecting an intention to maintain it;

(c)  a similar or linked infringement is continuing or is repeated, that is to say, committed more than once;

(d)  the infringement has a significant impact on the amount of the import or export duties evaded;

(e)  the goods involved are subject to the prohibitions or restrictions referred to in the second sentence of Article 134(1) of the Code and in point (e) of Article 267(3) of the Code;

(f)  the person responsible for the infringement refuses to cooperate, or to cooperate fully, with the competent authority;

(g)  the person responsible for the infringement has committed previous infringements.

2.  The infringements referred to in points (f), (g), (p), (qi) and (qj) of Article 3 constitute, by their very nature, serious infringements. [Am. 28]

Article 9

Non-criminal sanctions for minor customs infringements referred to in Article 3

1.   In addition to recovering the duties evaded, Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and, dissuasive and non-criminal sanctions are imposed for the those customs infringements referred to in Article 3 that are considered to be minor in accordance with Article 8a, within the following limits:

(a)  where the customs infringement relates to specific goods is linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine from 1 % up to 5 % of up to 70 % of the value of the goodsduties evaded;

(b)  where the customs infringement is not related to specific goods, linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine of up to EUR 7 500.

2.  When determining the level of sanctions to be imposed within the limits laid down in paragraph 1 of this Article, Member States shall ensure that all relevant circumstances listed in Article 8a are taken into account. [Am. 29]

Article 10

Sanctions for customs infringements referred to in Article 4

Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are imposed for the customs infringements referred to in Article 4 within the following limits:

(a)  where the customs infringement relates to specific goods, a pecuniary fine up to 15 % of the value of the goods;

(b)  where the customs infringement is not related to specific goods, a pecuniary fine up to EUR 22 500. [Am. 30]

Article 11

Non-criminal sanctions for serious customs infringements referred to in Article 5 and 6

1.   In addition to recovering the duties evaded, Member States shall ensure that effective, proportionate and, dissuasive and non-criminal sanctions are imposed for the those customs infringements referred to in Articles 5 and 6 Articles 3 and 6 that are considered to be serious in accordance with Article 8b, within the following limits:

(a)  where the customs infringement relates to specific goodsis linked to the duties evaded, a pecuniary fine up to 30 % of between 70% and 140 % of the value of the goodsduties evaded;

(aa)  where the customs infringement is linked not to the duties evaded but to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine of between 15% and 30% of the value of the goods;

(b)  where the customs infringement is not related to specific goods linked neither to the duties evaded nor to the value of the goods, a pecuniary fine up to of between EUR 7 500 and EUR 45 000.

2.  When determining the level of sanctions to be imposed within the limits laid down in paragraph 1 of this Article, Member States shall ensure that all relevant circumstances listed in Article 8a and Article 8b(1) are taken into account. [Am. 31]

Article 11a

Other non-criminal sanctions for serious infringements

1.  In addition to the sanctions listed in Article 11, and in accordance with the Code, Member States may impose the following non-pecuniary sanctions where a serious infringement is committed:

(a)  permanent or temporary confiscation of the goods;

(b)  suspension of an authorisation which has been granted.

2.  In accordance with the Code, Member States shall provide that decisions granting the status of authorised economic operator are to be revoked in the case of a serious or repeated infringement of customs legislation. [Am. 32]

Article 11b

Review

1.  The amounts of the pecuniary fines applicable pursuant to Articles 9 and 11 shall be reviewed by the Commission, together with the competent authorities of the Member States, from … [five years after the date of entry into force of this Directive]. The aim of the review procedure shall be to ensure that the amounts of pecuniary fines imposed under the Customs Union are more convergent, with a view to harmonising the operation thereof.

2.  Each year, the Commission shall publish details of the sanctions imposed by the Member States for the customs infringements referred to in Articles 3 and 6.

3.  Member States shall ensure compliance with customs legislation within the meaning of point (2) of Article 5 of the Code, as well as Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(8). [Am. 33]

Article 11c

Settlement

Member States shall provide for a settlement procedure allowing the competent authorities to enter into an agreement with the person responsible for the infringement in order to settle the matter of a customs infringement as an alternative to the initiation or pursuit of judicial proceedings, in return for acceptance by that person of an immediately enforceable sanction.

However, once judicial proceedings have been instituted, the competent authorities may reach a settlement only with the agreement of the judicial authority.

The Commission shall provide guidelines on settlement procedures to ensure that a person responsible for an infringement is given the opportunity of reaching a settlement in accordance with the principle of equal treatment and in a transparent manner, and that any settlement concluded includes publication of the outcome of the procedure. [Am. 34]

Article 12

Effective application of sanctions and exercise of powers to impose sanctions by competent authorities

Member States shall ensure that when determining the type and the level of sanctions for the customs infringements referred to in Articles 3 to 6, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant circumstances, including, where appropriate:

(a)  the seriousness and the duration of the infringement;

(b)  the fact that the person responsible for the infringement is an authorized economic operator;

(c)  the amount of the evaded import or export duty;

(d)  the fact that the goods involved are subject to the prohibitions or restrictions referred to in the second sentence of Article 134(1) of the Code and in Article 267(3)(e) of the Code or pose a risk to public security;

(e)  the level of cooperation of the person responsible for the infringement with the competent authority;

(f)  previous infringements by the person responsible for the infringement. [Am. 35]

Article 12a

Compliance

Member States shall ensure that guidelines and publications on how to comply and continue to comply with Union customs legislation are made available to interested parties in an easily accessible, understandable and up-to-date form. [Am. 36]

Article 13

Limitation

1.  Member States shall ensure that the limitation period for initiating proceedings concerning a customs infringement referred to in Articles 3 to and 6 is four years and that it starts to run on the day on which the customs infringement was committed.

2.  Member States shall ensure that, in the case of continuous or repeated customs infringements, the limitation period starts to run on the day on which the act or omission constituting the customs infringement ceases.

3.  Member States shall ensure that the limitation period is interrupted by any act of the competent authority, notified to the person in question, relating to an investigation or legal proceedings concerning the same customs infringement, or by an act on the part of the person responsible for the infringement. The limitation period shall start continue to run on the day of on which the interrupting act comes to an end.

4.  Without prejudice to Article 14(2), Member States shall ensure that the initiation or continuation of any proceedings concerning a customs infringement referred to in Articles Article 3 to or 6 is precluded are time-barred, irrespective of any interruption of the limitation period referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article, after the expiry of a period of eight years from the day referred to in paragraph 1 or 2 of this Article.

5.  Member States shall ensure that the limitation period for the enforcement of a decision imposing a sanction is three years. That period shall start to run on the day on which that decision becomes final.

6.  Member States shall lay down the cases where the limitation periods set out in paragraphs 1, 4 and 5 are suspended. [Am. 37]

Article 14

Suspension of the proceedings

1.  Member States shall ensure that administrative proceedings concerning a customs infringement referred to in Articles 3 and 6 are suspended where criminal proceedings have been initiated against the same person in connection with the same facts.

2.  Member States shall ensure that the suspended administrative proceedings concerning a customs infringement referred to in Articles 3 and 6 are discontinued where the criminal proceedings referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article have finally been disposed of. In other cases, the suspended administrative proceedings concerning a customs infringement referred to in Articles 3 and 6 may be resumed.

Article 15

Jurisdiction

1.  Member States shall ensure that they exercise jurisdiction over the customs infringements referred to in Articles 3 and 6 in accordance with any of the following criteria:

(a)  the customs infringement is committed in whole or in part within the territory of that Member State;

(b)  the person committing the customs infringement is a national of that Member State;

(c)  the goods related to the customs infringement are present in the territory of that Member State.

2.  Member States shall ensure that in case more than one Member State claims jurisdiction over the same customs infringement, the Member State in which criminal proceedings are pending against the same person in connection with the same facts exercises jurisdiction. Where jurisdiction cannot be determined pursuant to paragraph 1, Member States shall ensure that the Member State whose competent authority first initiates the proceedings concerning the customs infringement against the same person in connection with the same facts exercises jurisdiction.

Article 16

Cooperation between Member States

Member States shall co-operate and exchange any information necessary for the proceedings concerning an act or omission constituting a customs infringement referred to in Articles 3 to and 6, in particular in cases where more than one Member State has started proceedings against the same person in connection with the same facts. The objective of the cooperation between Member States shall be to increase the effectiveness of customs checks on goods and to harmonise procedures within the Union. [Am. 38]

The Commission shall supervise cooperation between Member States to create key performance indicators applicable to customs checks and sanctions, the dissemination of best practices and the coordination of training of customs officers. [Am. 39]

Article 17

Seizure

Member States shall ensure that the competent authorities have the possibility to of temporarily seize seizing any goods, means of transport and any or other instrument used in committing the customs infringements referred to in Articles 3 to and 6. If, following the imposition of a sanction, a Member State permanently confiscates such goods, it may opt to destroy, reuse or recycle the goods, as appropriate. [Am. 40]

Article 18

Reporting by the Commission and review

The Commission shall, by 1 May 2019, submit a report on the application of this Directive to the European Parliament and the Council, assessing the extent to which the Member States have taken the necessary measures to comply with this Directive.

By 31 December 2017, the Commission shall submit a report on the other elements of the enforcement of Union customs legislation, such as supervision, control, and investigation, to the European Parliament and the Council, accompanied, if appropriate, by a legislative proposal to supplement this Directive. [Am. 41]

Article 18a

Reporting by Member States

Member States shall send to the Commission statistics regarding infringements and showing which sanctions were imposed as a result of those infringements, in order to enable the Commission to assess the application of this Directive. The information thus provided shall be sent annually following the entry into force of this Directive. The Commission may use those data when revising this Directive in order to better approximate national sanctioning systems. [Am. 42]

Article 19

Transposition

1.  Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 1 May 2017 at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.

2.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 20

Entry into force

This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Article 21

Addressees

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 487, 28.12.2016, p. 57.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0400.
(3)OJ C 487, 28.12.2016, p. 57.
(4) Position of the European Parliament of 5 July 2017.
(5) Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code (OJ L 269, 10.10.2013, p. 1).
(6)Directive (EU) 2017/… of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (OJ L …).
(7)OJ C 369, 17.12.2011, p. 14.
(8) Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 (OJ L 303, 31.10.2012, p. 1).


HIV, TB and HCV epidemics in Europe on the rise
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European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2017 on the EU’s response to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis C (2017/2576(RSP))
P8_TA(2017)0301B8-0436/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Decision No 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on serious cross-border threats to health and repealing Decision No 2119/98/EC(1),

–  having regard to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Action plan for the health sector response to HIV in the WHO European Region, which addresses the Global health sector strategy on HIV for the period 2016-2021,

–  having regard to the 2014 annual epidemiological report of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and blood-borne viruses,

–  having regard to the ECDC’s 2016 Systematic review on hepatitis B and C prevalence in the EU/EEA,

–  having regard to its Written Declaration on Hepatitis C of 29 March 2007(2),

–  having regard to the ECDC’s 2016 Guidance document on tuberculosis control in vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations,

–  having regard to the WHO’s Tuberculosis action plan for the WHO European Region 2016-2020(3),

–  having regard to the outcome of the informal EU Health Ministers’ meeting held in Bratislava on 3-4 October 2016, which saw Member States agree on support for the development of an integrated EU policy framework on HIV, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 November 2016, entitled ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future – European action for sustainability’, which encompasses the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, as well as governance, both within the EU and globally, and in which the Commission states that it ‘will contribute by monitoring, reporting and reviewing progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in an EU context’ (COM(2016)0739),

–  having regard to the Joint Riga Declaration on Tuberculosis and its Multi-Drug Resistance made at the first Eastern Partnership Ministerial Conference on this topic held in Riga on 30-31 March 2015,

–  having regard to the WHO’s first Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis 2016-2021 adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2016, which emphasises the crucial role of universal health coverage and the goals of which – aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals – are to reduce by 2030 the number of new cases and mortality of viral hepatitis by 90 % and 65 % respectively, and ultimately to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat,

–  having regard to the WHO Europe Action plan for the health sector response to viral hepatitis in the WHO European Region, the overall goal of which is the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat in the European Region by 2030, by reducing morbidity and mortality due to viral hepatitis and its complications, and ensuring equitable access to recommended prevention, testing, care and treatment services for all,

–  having regard to the WHO European Action Plan for HIV/AIDS 2012-2015,

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 March 2017 on EU options for improving access to medicines(4), in which the Commission and the Member States are urged to adopt strategic plans to ensure access to life-saving medicines and to coordinate a plan to eradicate hepatitis C in the European Union by means of tools such as European joint procurement,

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework, in particular SDG 3, which includes the targets of ending HIV and tuberculosis epidemics by 2030 and combating hepatitis,

–  having regard to the Berlin Declaration on Tuberculosis – ‘All Against Tuberculosis’ – (EUR/07/5061622/5, WHO European Ministerial Forum, 74415) of 22 October 2007,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the EU’s response to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis C (O-000045/2017 – B8‑0321/2017),

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

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

A.  whereas, according to the ECDC, one out of seven people living with HIV are not aware of their serostatus, with an estimated average time between HIV infection and diagnosis of four years; whereas undiagnosed sufferers are 3,5 times more likely to transmit HIV than those who are diagnosed;

B.  whereas the Dublin Declaration on Partnership to Fight HIV/Aids in Europe and Central Asia made a significant contribution to the establishment of a harmonised monitoring framework in the EU and neighbouring countries, which enables progress in the fight against HIV to be monitored;

C.  whereas there is strong evidence that pre-exposure prophylaxis is effective in preventing infection and that the use of antiretroviral treatment all but eliminates the risk of transmission where viral loads are reduced to undetectable levels(5);

D.  whereas, although new HIV infections among people who inject drugs have continued to decline in most European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries, in 2015 one quarter of all newly diagnosed and reported HIV cases in four countries were attributed to injection drug use;

E.  whereas new HIV infections due to transmission from parents to children and through blood transfusion have been virtually eliminated in the EU/EEA;

F.  whereas tuberculosis (TB) and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), being airborne diseases, are cross-border health threats in a globalised world in which the mobility of the population is increasing;

G.  whereas the epidemiology of TB differs across the EU/EEA and depends on, inter alia, a Member State’s progress on its path towards TB elimination;

H.  whereas, of the 10 million total deaths attributable to drug resistance that could reportedly occur each year by 2050, around one quarter will come from drug-resistant strains of TB, at a cost to the global economy of at least USD 16,7 billion and to Europe of at least USD 1,1 billion;

I.  whereas attention should be paid to the issue of co-infection, in particular with TB and viral hepatitis B and C; whereas TB and viral hepatitis are highly prevalent, progress more rapidly and cause significant morbidity and mortality among HIV-positive people;

J.  whereas there is a critical need for cross-border and cross-disciplinary cooperation to address these epidemics;

K.  whereas viral hepatitis is one of the major public health threats globally, with around 240 million people affected by chronic hepatitis B(6) and around 150 million people affected by chronic hepatitis C; whereas within the WHO European Region an estimated 13,3 million people live with chronic hepatitis B and an estimated 15 million people with hepatitis C; whereas, moreover, hepatitis B causes around 36 000 deaths and hepatitis C around 86 000 deaths in the Member States in the WHO European Region every year;

L.  whereas the WHO has identified injection drug use as a major driver of the hepatitis C epidemic in the European Region, with people who inject drugs (PWID) accounting for the majority of new cases;

M.  whereas, owing to generally rising national income levels and changes to the eligibility criteria for external donor financing, access to international financial support available for health programmes in the European Region is rapidly declining; whereas this particularly affects Eastern European and Central Asian countries, where rates of HIV, TB and hepatitis C are the highest, putting an effective response to these diseases at serious risk; whereas many countries in the WHO European Region still rely heavily on external funding to finance their health programmes, particularly for the purposes of helping vulnerable groups and key affected populations;

N.  whereas it will be difficult for the Commission to monitor progress made in achieving the SDGs as regards viral hepatitis, given the frequent absence or inadequacy of surveillance data in the Member States;

O.  whereas there are still inconsistencies in approaches to fighting viral hepatitis across the EU, with some Member States lacking a national plan altogether, while others have made significant funding commitments, have put in place strategies and have developed national plans for a comprehensive response to the burden of viral hepatitis;

P.  whereas there are between 130 and 150 million people in the world who are chronically infected with hepatitis C; whereas approximately 700 000 people die every year from liver diseases related to hepatitis C;

Q.  whereas in 2014, 35 321 cases of hepatitis C were reported from 28 EU/EEA Member States, a crude rate of 8,8 cases per 100 000 population(7);

R.  whereas between 2006 and 2014, the overall number of cases diagnosed and reported across all EU/EEA Member States increased by 28,7 %, with most of this increase observed since 2010(8);

S.  whereas the interpretation of hepatitis C data across countries is hampered by differences in surveillance systems, testing practices and programmes, and difficulties in defining the cases as acute or chronic(9);

A comprehensive and integrated EU policy framework

1.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop a comprehensive EU Policy Framework addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, while taking into account the varying circumstances and specific challenges faced by the Member States and neighbouring countries where the burden of HIV and MDR-TB is the greatest;

2.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to ensure the level of spending and resource mobilisation needed to achieve the objective of SDG 3;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen work with communities and vulnerable people through multi-sectoral cooperation, by ensuring the participation of NGOs and the provision of services to the affected populations;

4.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to play a strong political role in dialogue with neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, ensuring that plans for sustainable transitions to domestic funding are in place so that HIV, viral hepatitis and TB programmes are effective, sustained and scaled up after the withdrawal of international donors’ support; calls on the Commission and the Council to continue to work closely with those countries in ensuring that they take responsibility for and ownership of HIV, viral hepatitis and TB responses;

5.  Calls on the Commission to discuss with Member States and future Council Presidencies the possibility of updating the Dublin Declaration to put HIV, viral hepatitis and TB on an equal footing;

HIV/AIDS

6.  Stresses that HIV remains the communicable disease that carries the greatest social stigma, which can have a severe impact on the quality of life of those affected; stresses that almost 30 000 newly diagnosed HIV infections were reported by the 31 EU/EEA countries in 2015, with no clear signs of an overall decrease;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate access to innovative treatment, including for the most vulnerable groups, and to work on combating the social stigma associated with HIV infection;

8.  Underlines the fact that in the EU/EEA, sexual intercourse is still the main reported HIV transmission mode, followed by drug use injection; highlights the vulnerability of women and children to infection;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Council not only to increase investment in research with a view to achieving effective cures and developing new tools and innovative and patient-centred approaches to fighting these diseases, but also to ensure that these tools are available and affordable, and to address co-infections more effectively, in particular tuberculosis and viral hepatitis B and C and their complications;

10.  Stresses that prevention remains the main tool for combating HIV/AIDS, but that two out of three EU/EEA countries report that the funds available for prevention are insufficient to reduce the number of new HIV infections;

11.  Calls on the Member States, the Commission and the Council to continue to support HIV/AIDS prevention and linkage to care through joint action and projects under the EU Health Programme and to promote proven public health measures to prevent HIV, including: comprehensive harm-reduction services for drug users, treatment as prevention, condom use, pre-exposure prophylaxis and effective sexual health education;

12.  Invites the Member States to focus HIV testing services in order to reach key populations in areas where HIV prevalence is highest, following WHO recommendations;

13.  Invites the Member States to fight effectively against the sexually transmitted infections that increase the risk of contracting HIV;

14.  Encourages the Member States to make HIV tests available free of charge, especially for vulnerable groups, to ensure early detection and to improve reporting of the number of infections, which is important for the purposes of providing adequate information and warnings about the disease;

Tuberculosis

15.  Stresses that in the European Union TB rates are among the lowest in the world; emphasises, however, that approximately 95 % of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries; underlines, furthermore, that the WHO European Region and in particular the Eastern European and Central Asian countries are highly affected by MDR-TB, accounting for around one quarter of the global MDR-TB burden; whereas 15 out of the 27 high MDR-TB burden countries identified by the WHO are in the European Region;

16.  Points out that TB is the biggest killer of people living with HIV, with around one in every three deaths among people with HIV due to TB(10); stresses that the number of people falling ill with TB rose for the third year running in 2014, from 9 million in 2013 to 9,6 million in 2014; stresses that only one in four multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases are diagnosed, which highlights major gaps in detection and diagnosis;

17.  Points out that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly serious medical challenge in the treatment of infections and diseases, including tuberculosis;

18.  Recalls that treatment interruption contributes to the development of drug resistance, to TB transmission, and to poor outcomes for individual patients;

19.  Stresses that in order to improve TB prevention, detection and treatment adherence, the Commission and the Member States need to develop TB programmes and financial support in order to strengthen work with communities and vulnerable people through multi-sectoral cooperation which should include the participation of NGOs, especially in developing countries; highlights, moreover, that the financial involvement of all actors in subsidising treatment for TB is essential for the continuity of TB care, as treatments can be prohibitively expensive;

20.  Emphasises the importance of tackling the emerging AMR crisis, including by funding the research and development of new vaccines as well as innovative and patient-centred approaches, diagnostics and treatment for tuberculosis;

21.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to play a strong political role in ensuring that the link between AMR and MDR-TB is reflected in the outcome of the July 2017 G20 Summit in Germany, as well as in the new EU Action Plan on AMR that is set to be published in 2017;

22.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate in establishing cross-border measures to prevent the spread of TB through bilateral arrangements between countries and joint actions;

23.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to strengthen and formalise regional collaboration on TB and MDR-TB at the highest political level across the different sectors and to build partnerships with upcoming EU Presidencies in order to continue this work;

Hepatitis C

24.  Stresses that in the European Union the main route of viral hepatitis transmission is via injection drug use as a result of sharing contaminated needles and the use of unsterile injection drug equipment; stresses that the rate of hepatitis infection among healthcare workers due to needlestick injuries remains above average; stresses that the provision of harm reduction services, including opiate substitution treatment (OST) and needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), is a critical viral hepatitis prevention strategy, which should also include measures to overcome stigma and discrimination; stresses that anti-HCV and HBsAg tests are frequently not part of reimbursed health check-ups; highlights that the virus can, in rare cases, be transmitted sexually, or in health and cosmetic care settings owing to inadequate infection control practices, or perinatally from an infected mother to the baby;

25.  Stresses that over 90 % of patients show no symptoms on contracting the disease and it is usually discovered by chance during analysis or only when symptoms begin to appear, which accounts for the fact that it causes chronic hepatitis in 55 % to 85 % of cases; whereas within 20 years those with chronic hepatitis have a 15-30 % risk of developing liver cirrhosis – the main cause of hepatocellular carcinoma;

26.  Emphasises that in 75 % of cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, the patient presents positive HCV serology results;

27.  Emphasises that there is no standardised protocol in the Member States for hepatitis C screening and that the data on the numbers of people affected may be underestimated;

28.  Emphasises that in April 2016 the WHO updated its Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis C infection, and that these complement existing WHO guidance on preventing the transmission of blood-borne viruses, including HCV; points out that these guidelines provide key recommendations in these areas and discuss considerations for implementation;

29.  Emphasises that HCV infection can be cured, especially if it is detected and treated with the appropriate combination of antiviral drugs; points out in particular that antiviral treatment can now cure over 90 % of people with HCV infection; emphasises that viral HBV can be prevented through vaccination and can be controlled, but less than 50 % of people with chronic viral hepatitis are only diagnosed decades after becoming infected;

30.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure sustainable funding of national viral hepatitis elimination plans, and to make use of EU Structural Funds and other available EU funding;

31.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to put in place an EU-wide harmonised infection surveillance programme that can detect outbreaks of viral hepatitis, TB and HIV in a timely manner, assess trends in incidence, provide disease burden estimates and effectively track in real time the diagnosis, treatment and care cascade, including for specific vulnerable groups;

32.  Calls on the Commission to lead discussions with the Member States on how to best equip primary care professionals (such as the inclusion of anti-HCV and HBsAg tests in health check-ups, anamneses, follow-up tests and referral pathways), with a view to increasing the diagnosis rate and ensuring guideline-conforming care;

33.  Regrets that there is no vaccine available at present for hepatitis C, rendering primary and secondary prevention crucial; emphasises, however, that the specific characteristics of hepatitis C infection and the lack of screening protocols impede testing in many cases;

34.  Calls on the Commission, under the direction of the ECDC, to launch a multidisciplinary plan, in coordination with the Member States, which will standardise screening, testing and treatment protocols, and which will eradicate hepatitis C in the EU by 2030;

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35.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the World Health Organisation and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 293, 5.11.2013, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 27 E, 31.1.2008, p. 247.
(3)http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/283804/65wd17e_Rev1_TBActionPlan_150588_withCover.pdf
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0061.
(5) https://thinkprogress.org/massive-hiv-treatment-study-found-zero-transmissions-between-mixed-status-couples-73d4a497f77b
(6) http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/hepatitis/data-and-statistics
(7) Annual Epidemiological Report – ECDC: http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/hepatitis_C/Documents/aer2016/AER-hepatitis-C.pdf
(8) Ibid.
(9) Ibid.
(10) WHO Global Tuberculosis report 2015.


2018 Budget – Mandate for the trilogue
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2017 on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget (2017/2043(BUD))
P8_TA(2017)0302A8-0249/2017

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 the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2018, which the Commission adopted on 30 May 2017 (COM(2017)0400),

–  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),

–  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),

–  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),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2017 on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2018 budget, Section III – Commission(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 21 February 2017 on the 2018 budget guidelines (06522/2017),

–  having regard to Rule 86a of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A8-0249/2017),

Draft budget 2018: delivering on growth, jobs and security

1.  Recalls that in its resolution of 15 March 2017 Parliament confirmed that sustainable growth, decent, quality and stable jobs, socio-economic cohesion, security, migration and climate change are the core issues and main priorities for the 2018 EU budget;

2.  Believes that in general terms the Commission proposal is a good starting point for this year’s negotiations, considering that the 2018 EU budget must enable the EU to continue to generate sustainable growth and jobs, while ensuring the security of its citizens and addressing the migration challenges; regrets that the Commission proposal does not fully correspond to Parliament’s call for action against climate change;

3.  Welcomes the decision of the Commission to include in the draft budget the results of the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 even before its formal adoption by the Council, thus sending a strong signal about the importance of this MFF revision and the need for increased flexibility in the EU budget that could enable the Union to effectively respond to new emergencies and finance its political priorities;

4.  Reiterates its firm conviction that in order to achieve sustainable growth and the creation of stable and quality jobs in the EU, boosting investment in research, innovation, infrastructure, education and SMEs is key; welcomes in this respect the proposed reinforcements to Horizon 2020, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and Erasmus+ as these programmes will contribute directly to reaching these goals; considers, however, that further reinforcements will be needed, especially given the cuts operated in these policies’ financing to the benefit of EFSI financing;

5.  Recalls the crucial role of SMEs in job creation and reduction of the investment gap, and underscores that their adequate funding must remain one of the top priorities of the EU budget; regrets, in this respect, that the proposed allocation for COSME is 2,9 % lower in comparison with the 2017 budget, and expresses its intention to further reinforce this programme in the 2018 budget; points to the need to further support SMEs and calls for full delivery on the programme’s financial commitments in the remaining years of the current MFF; welcomes the Commission’s attempt at streamlining SME financing within Horizon 2020;

6.  Commends the role of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in bridging the investment gap across the EU and between the EU’s territories and helping to implement strategic investments that provide a high level of added value to the economy, the environment and society; supports, therefore, its extension until 2020; highlights the quick uptake of funds in the SME Window of EFSI and welcomes its intended scale-up; regrets, however, the lack of a holistic approach to SME funding that would allow for a clear overview of total funds available; underlines its position in the ongoing legislative negotiations that no further cuts should be incurred in existing EU programmes in order to finance this extension; considers that EFSI, whose guarantee fund is mostly financed by the EU budget, should not support entities established or incorporated in jurisdictions listed under the relevant EU policy on non-cooperative jurisdictions, or that do not effectively comply with EU or international tax standards on transparency and exchange of information;

7.  Takes positive note of the EU initiatives in the field of defence research and technology development and acquisition, which will contribute to achieving economies of scale in the sector and greater coordination among Member States, and, if developed correctly, will lead to more rational defence spending and enable savings at national level; underlines also the need to improve competitiveness and innovation in the European defence industry; recalls its earlier position that new initiatives in this area should be financed by additional funds and should not be detrimental to existing programmes, including the CEF;

8.  Notes that the Commission has not followed up on Parliament’s request that it put forward an assessment and relevant proposals for an ‘18th Birthday Interrail Pass for Europe’; believes that such proposals have the potential to boost European consciousness and identity; stresses, however, that any new projects must be financed by new financial resources and without impacting on existing programmes, and should be as socially inclusive as possible; reiterates its previous call on the Commission to put forward relevant proposals in this regard;

9.  Welcomes the fact that the draft budget 2018 includes an additional allocation for the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), thus responding to Parliament’s previous calls for the continuation of this programme; notes, in parallel, the proposal for draft amending budget 3/2017 that integrates the provision of EUR 500 million in commitments for the YEI, as agreed by Parliament and the Council in the 2017 budgetary conciliation; is convinced that the proposed amounts are clearly insufficient for the YEI to reach its goals, and believes that in order to effectively tackle youth unemployment the YEI must continue to contribute to the Union’s priority objective of growth and jobs; insists on the need to provide an effective response to youth unemployment across the Union, and underlines that the YEI can be further improved and be made more efficient, notably by ensuring that it brings real European added value to youth employment policies in the Member States and does not replace the financing of former national policies;

10.  Recalls that cohesion policy plays a primary role for the development and growth of the EU; stresses that in 2018 cohesion policy programmes are expected to catch up and reach cruising speed; emphasises Parliament’s commitment to ensuring adequate appropriations for these programmes, which represent one of the core policies of the EU; is, however, preoccupied by the unacceptable delays in the implementation of operational programmes at national level; calls on Member States to ensure that the designation of managing, auditing and certifying authorities is concluded and implementation is accelerated; recognises that the long negotiations over the legal bases have meant that the EU institutions involved in them have their portion of responsibility for the low implementation rate; notes the fact that some Member States consider that cohesion funds could be a tool for guaranteeing solidarity in Union policies;

11.  Is particularly concerned at the possible reconstitution of a backlog of unpaid bills towards the end of the current MFF period, and recalls the unprecedented amount of EUR 24,7 billion reached at the end of 2014; welcomes the fact that the Commission, on the occasion of the MFF mid-term revision, for the first time provided a payment forecast up to 2020, but stresses that this needs to be duly updated every year, in order to allow the budgetary authority to take the necessary measures in time; warns of the detrimental effect that a new payment crisis would have especially on beneficiaries of the EU budget; is convinced that the credibility of the EU is also linked to its ability to ensure an adequate level of payment appropriations in the EU budget that will allow it to deliver on its commitments; underlines the detrimental effect that late payments have on the private sector, and notably on EU SMEs having contracts with public bodies;

12.  Highlights the importance of delivering on the EU’s commitment to achieving the goals set at COP21, especially in the light of the recent decision of the US Administration to withdraw from the agreement; underlines, in this respect, that there is a serious risk of falling short of meeting the objective of devoting at least 20 % of EU expenditure in the 2014-2020 MFF to climate-related actions unless more efforts are made; notes with concern the modest increase of 0,1 % for biodiversity; stresses the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity protection across the EU budget, and reiterates its previous call for a tracking methodology that takes into account all biodiversity-related spending and its efficiency; stresses also that EU-funded projects should aim not to have a negative impact on climate change mitigation or on the transition to a circular, low-carbon economy;

13.  Emphasises that the unprecedented mobilisation of special instruments has shown that the EU budget was not initially designed to address issues like the current migration and refugee crisis; believes that moving to a post-crisis approach is premature; opposes, therefore, the proposed decreases in Heading 3 compared to the 2017 budget, which are not in line with the EU pledge to deal in an efficient manner with the migration and refugee crisis; stresses, however, that after a response to an urgent and unprecedented situation a more systemic and proactive approach should follow, complemented by an effective use of the EU budget; reiterates that citizens’ security and safety is an EU priority;

14.  Reaffirms that tackling the root causes of the migration and refugee crisis represents a long-term sustainable solution, along with stabilisation of the EU’s neighbourhoods, and that investments in the countries of origin of migrants and refugees are key to achieving this objective; welcomes, in this regard, the External Investment Plan (EIP) and the agreement among the institutions on the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), and calls for the fund’s rapid implementation; notes therefore with surprise the decreases in Heading 4, which cannot be fully justified in the framework of past budgetary increases or low implementation rate; reaffirms that tackling the root causes of the migration includes, but is not limited, to addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, education and economic opportunities, as well as instability, conflict and climate change;

15.  Welcomes the increase proposed for the eastern component of the European Neighbourhood Instrument, responding to Parliament’s previous calls; is convinced that the EU’s support, especially for the countries that have signed Association Agreements, is essential in order to further economic integration and convergence with the EU and to advance democracy, the rule of law and human rights in our Eastern Neighbourhood; stresses that such support should apply as long as the countries concerned meet the eligibility criteria, especially as regards the rule of law, the fight against corruption, and the strengthening of democratic institutions;

16.  Highlights the importance of the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF), which was set up to respond to major natural disasters and express European solidarity to disaster-stricken regions within Europe, and takes note of the proposed increase in commitment and payment appropriations for the EUSF; calls on the Commission to assess without delay whether a further increase will be necessary, bearing in mind, in particular, the earthquakes in Italy and the fires in Spain and Portugal (with tragic loss of human lives), which have had a dramatic and substantial impact on human life, in particularly in deprived regions; calls for the rules for mobilising this fund to be adapted, allowing more flexible and timely mobilisation, covering a wider range of disasters with significant impacts and reducing the time between the disaster and the availability of funds;

17.  Notes that the draft budget 2018 leaves very limited margins or no margin under the MFF ceilings throughout Headings 1, 3 and 4; considers this to be a consequence of the significant new initiatives taken since 2014 (EFSI, migration-related proposals, and lately defence research and the European Solidarity Corps), which have been squeezed within the MFF ceilings agreed in 2013; recalls that the MFF, in particular after its mid-term revision, provides for flexibility provisions which, albeit limited, should be used to their fullest in order to maintain the level of ambition of successful programmes and tackle new and unforeseen challenges; expresses Parliament’s intention to further mobilise such flexibility provisions as part of the amending process; calls, once again, for the introduction of new genuine own resources in the EU budget;

18.  Notes in this respect the numerous references in the draft budget to the necessity of a letter of amendment which may partially pre-empt Parliament’s position in the budgetary procedure; regrets that, instead of already including them in the draft budget, the Commission has announced that possible new initiatives in the area of security and migration and a possible extension of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT) may be proposed as part of an upcoming letter of amendment; urges the Commission to provide details as to these upcoming proposals in a timely manner so that the budgetary authority can properly examine them; stresses that these potential initiatives should not disregard, let alone replace, requests and amendments put forward by Parliament in the context of this budgetary procedure;

19.  Reiterates its support for the implementation of the Commission’s strategy ‘Budget Focused on Results’, and calls for continuous improvement of the quality and presentation of performance data, so as to provide accurate, clear and understandable information on EU programmes’ performance;

Subheading 1a – Competitiveness for growth and jobs

20.  Notes that in comparison with 2017, the Commission proposal for 2018 corresponds to an increase in commitments under subheading 1a of +2,5 % to EUR 21 841.,3 million; welcomes the fact that Horizon 2020, the CEF and Erasmus+ account for an important part of this increase as their commitment appropriations rise by respectively 7,3 %, 8,7 % and 9,5 %, but notes still that this is slightly below their financial programming; highlights in particular the very low success rate for applications under Horizon 2020;

21.  Is surprised, however, that COSME commitment and payment appropriations have been reduced respectively by 2,9 % and 31,3 %, although support to SMEs is identified as one of the top priorities of the EU;

22.  Reiterates, regarding the extension of the EFSI, that Parliament opposes any further cuts to the CEF, and takes the view that the additional EUR 1,1 billion allocated to the EU guarantee should be taken only from unallocated margins (for an amount of EUR 650 billion) and expected net positive income (for an amount of EUR 450 billion); recalls that the CEF envelope (ICT strand) also integrates the new Wifi4EU initiative; recalls that the CEF budget is subjected to systematic oversubscription due to insufficient appropriations, especially with regard to the infrastructure strand;

23.  Takes note of the Commission’s proposal to set up a European Solidarity Corps (ESC); notes, however, with concern that, despite Parliament’s warnings, the legislative proposal adopted on 30 May 2017 envisages that three fourths of the ESC budget would be financed by redeployments from existing programmes, and mainly from Erasmus+ (EUR 197,7 million); is concerned at the risk that this situation would pose to those EU programmes, and expresses its intention to further reinforce Erasmus+ in the 2018 budget; reiterates that any new political commitments should be financed with new appropriations and not redeployments from existing programmes;

24.  Welcomes the proposed scaling-up of the preparatory action on defence research and the presentation by the Commission of a legislative proposal for a defence industry development programme;

Subheading 1b – Economic, social and territorial cohesion

25.  Notes that total commitment appropriations for subheading 1b amount to EUR 55 407,9 million, representing an increase of 2,4 % compared to the 2017 budget if draft amending budget 3 is included;

26.  Notes that the proposed amount of EUR 46 763,5 million in payment appropriations is 25,7 % higher than in 2017, this being largely a reflection of the drop experienced in 2017 due to the delay in effectively launching the new operational programmes; recalls that inaccurate forecasts by the Member States have led to a significant underuse of payment appropriations in subheading 1b in 2016, by more than EUR 11 billion, and notes that the proposed 2018 levels have already been revised downwards by EUR 1,6 billion since the previous forecasts;

27.  Stresses the need for the implementation of the 2014-2020 programmes to reach full speed, and strongly believes that any ‘abnormal’ build-up of unpaid bills must be avoided in the future; calls, in this context, on the Commission and the Member States to resolve, as a matter of priority, any outstanding issues linked with the delayed designation of national managing and certifying authorities, as well as other bottlenecks for the submission of payment applications; sincerely hopes that both the national authorities and the Commission have improved their estimates of the payment needs in the 2018 budget and that the proposed level of payment appropriations will be fully executed; recognises that the lengthy negotiations between the EU institutions regarding the legal bases are among the several causes of this current low implementation rate;

28.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal to fund the continuation of the YEI, and notes the proposed mobilisation of EUR 233,3 million from the global margin for commitments; calls on the Commission and the Member States to follow the indications of the recent report of the European Court of Auditors; recalls that any increase in the dedicated allocation for the YEI should be matched with the corresponding amounts from the European Social Fund (ESF); expresses its intention to explore all possibilities in order to further reinforce this programme in the 2018 budget;

29.  Underlines the importance of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) for tackling poverty and social exclusion, and asks for appropriate resources to be allocated in the 2018 budget to allow the needs of the target groups and the Fund’s objectives to be adequately met;

Heading 2 – Sustainable growth: natural resources

30.  Takes note of the proposed EUR 59 553,5 million in commitments (+1,7 % compared to 2017) and EUR 56 359,8 million in payments (+2,6 %) for Heading 2, leaving a margin of EUR 713,5 million under the ceiling for commitments; notes that the increased appropriations to finance the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) needs for 2018 (+2,1 %) are largely due to a significantly lower amount of assigned revenue being expected to be available in 2018;

31.  Notes that the Commission has left a EUR 713,5 million margin under the ceilings of Heading 2; points to the fact that increased volatility of agricultural markets, as was the case with the dairy sector crisis in the past, might mean envisaging recourse to this margin; calls on the Commission to ensure that the margin left under the ceilings is sufficient to address any crises that may arise;

32.  Highlights the prolongation of exceptional support measures for certain fruits for which the market situation is still difficult; regrets, however, that the Commission is not currently proposing support measures in the livestock sectors, and particularly in the dairy sector, related to the Russian ban on EU imports, and expects, therefore, a change of course in this regard; expects, consequently, that if the margin of Heading 2 is deployed, a part of it will be allocated to dairy farmers in countries most affected by the Russian embargo; awaits the Commission’s letter of amendment, expected in October 2017, which should be based on updated information on the EAGF funding, verifying real needs in the agricultural sector and duly taking into account the impact of the Russian embargo and other market volatilities;

33.  Welcomes the increase in commitments of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) (+2,4 %) and of the LIFE+ programme (+5,9 %), in line with financial programming, but regrets that considerably reduced payment appropriations seem to reveal a still slow take-off of those two programmes in the 2014-2020 period;

Heading 3 – Security and citizenship

34.  Notes the proposed EUR 3 473,1 million in commitment appropriations for Heading 3; emphasises the need for joint, comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the migration and refugee situation and related challenges;

35.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for an additional EUR 800 million dedicated to tackling security issues, particularly following the series of terrorist attacks in the EU;

36.  Is of the opinion that the importance and urgency of these issues is not in line with the significant decreases in commitment (-18,9 %) and payment appropriations (-21,7 %) proposed for Heading 3 compared with the 2017 budget, notably with regard to the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the Internal Security Fund (ISF) and the Justice programme; calls for adequate budgeting for these funds; insists that these decreases are not justifiable by the delays in implementation of the agreed measures or in adoption of the new legal proposals; calls, therefore, on the Commission to ensure that adequate budgetary resources are provided for and that any additional needs will be swiftly addressed;

37.  Regrets that until now there has been no effective system for redistribution, and that this has resulted in an unequal load for some Member States, notably Italy and Greece; recalls that 361 678 refugees and migrants arrived in the EU in 2016, of which 181 405 arrived in Italy and 173 447 in Greece, and that Italy has already received 85 % of the refugees and migrants who have reached the EU so far in 2017; regrets that Italy has so far only received EUR 147.6 million from the AMIF, a sum that only covers 3 % of the country’s total expenses for managing the migration crisis;

38.  Furthermore believes that cooperation among Member States in security-related matters could be further enhanced through increased support from the EU budget; questions how such an objective could be reached while relevant budgetary lines of the ISF are significantly decreased compared to the 2017 Budget; stresses the need to guarantee the necessary funding to implement the proposed new information and border systems, such as the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and the Entry-Exit System;

39.  Considers that 2018 will be a pivotal year in the establishment of the European Agenda on Migration, with several of its key components under development; underlines the need to carefully assess the budgetary implications of a number of legislative proposals on the table, such as the reform of the Dublin common asylum system and the new Entry-Exit System and ETIAS system, including the possibility of their late adoption; stresses the importance of adequate financing to match the Union’s ambition in this regard and urgently achieve the establishment of an effective European asylum and migration policy, in full respect of international law and based on solidarity among Member States;

40.  Points out that the Commission’s proposal, for the third year in a row, does not leave any margin under the ceiling for Heading 3, evidencing the outdated size of the smallest MFF heading, as argued by Parliament as part of the mid-term revision process; welcomes, in this context, the Commission’s proposal to mobilise the Flexibility Instrument for an amount of EUR 817 million in commitment appropriations, which can only be made possible thanks to the additional flexibility obtained in the revised MFF Regulation; insists that the expenditure level is still insufficient, and regrets that the Commission has postponed any further proposal to a future letter of amendment;

41.  Recalls Parliament’s consistently strong support for culture and media programmes; welcomes the proposed increases for the Creative Europe Programme compared with the 2017 budget, including for the European Year for Cultural Heritage under ‘Multimedia actions’; insists, furthermore, on sufficient funding for the programme ‘Europe for Citizens’; calls on the Commission to review initiatives under the ‘multimedia actions’ budget line so as to ensure that the budget effectively supports high-quality independent coverage of EU affairs; reiterates its support for a sustainable multiannual funding arrangement for Euranet+; welcomes, finally, the increases in commitment appropriations for the Food and Feed programme and the Consumer programme compared with the 2017 budget; emphasises, finally, the importance of a strong Health Programme and an appropriate budget to enable European cooperation in the field of health, including new innovations in healthcare, health inequalities, the burden of chronic diseases, anti-microbial resistance, cross-border healthcare and access to care;

Heading 4 – Global Europe

42.  Regrets the overall decrease of financing for Heading 4, amounting to EUR 9,6 billion (-5,6 % compared with the 2017 budget) in commitment appropriations; notes that the decreases in the main Heading 4 instruments are largely linked to past reinforcements approved in the 2017 budget for the FRT and the New Partnership Framework under the European agenda on migration;

43.  Believes that the level of cuts for the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), especially the latter’s southern component, is not justified, given the longer-term needs regarding EU action on migration going beyond the migration compacts under the Partnership Framework and its commitment to international development; calls, in this context, for an increase in the financial resources to be dedicated to the peace process and financial assistance to Palestine and UNRWA; recalls the importance of ensuring sufficient funds for the Southern Neighbourhood, since stability in the Middle East is a key element for addressing the root causes of migration;

44.  Welcomes, nevertheless, the proposed increases for the eastern component of ENI, which will contribute to supporting democratic reforms and economic integration with the EU, especially in the countries that have signed Association Agreements with the Union;

45.  Notes the increased support for political reforms in Turkey (IPA II), especially in the context of the country’s backsliding in the fields of the rule of law, freedom of speech and fundamental rights; calls on the Commission to suspend the pre-accession funds if the accession negotiations are suspended, and, should that scenario unfold, to use those funds to directly support civil society in Turkey, and to invest more in people-to-people exchange programmes such as Erasmus+, for students, academics and journalists; expects sufficient funding for the IPA beneficiary countries in the Western Balkans, which are in urgent need of financial support for reforms;

46.  Considers, given the importance of higher education for overall reforms in partner countries, that student mobility and academic cooperation between the EU and neighbourhood countries should receive continuous support; regrets, therefore, the reductions in the appropriations for technical and financial assistance under the three external instruments (IPA, ENI and DCI) aimed at promoting the international dimension of higher education for the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme;

47.  Takes note of the Commission’s proposal to leave a margin of EUR 232 million below the ceiling; is convinced that the challenges that the EU’s external action is faced with call for sustained funding exceeding the current size of Heading 4; recalls that the contingency margin was used in the 2017 budget to allow for funding above the ceiling; maintains that new initiatives should be funded with fresh appropriations and all flexibility options to the level agreed within the MFF revision should be fully used;

48.  Calls on the Commission, which makes repeated references to a possible prolongation of the FRT, to put forward a genuine proposal for its prolongation as soon as possible if that is its intention; recalls the commitment made by Parliament, the Council and the Commission to ensure that the establishment of the FRT and the trust funds is transparent and clear, and consistent with the principle of the unity of the Union budget with respect to the prerogatives of the budgetary authority, including parliamentary scrutiny; urges Member States once again to honour in timely fashion their commitments to the financing of the FRT and the trust funds;

49.  Lends its full support to the pledges made by the EU at the Brussels conference on Syria, confirming the previous London pledges; agrees with the reinforcement of the ENI and of humanitarian aid by EUR 120 million each to meet this pledge;

Heading 5 – Administration

50.  Notes that Heading 5 expenditure is increased by 3,1 % compared to the 2017 budget, up to EUR 9 682,4 million (+EUR 287,9 million); notes that more than one third of this nominal increase is explained by additional appropriations needed for pensions (+EUR 108,5 million); takes note that the additional appropriations result mostly from a growing expected number of pensioners (+4,2 %); takes note also that the number of pensioners is expected to rise further in the coming years; takes note of the rigorous approach to administrative expenditure and the nominal freeze for all non-salary-related expenditure;

51.  Notes that the effective margin is EUR 93,6 million under the ceiling after the offsetting of EUR 570 million for the use of the contingency margin for Heading 3 mobilised in 2017; underlines that Heading 5’s share of the EU budget has slightly increased to 6,0 % (in commitment appropriations) due to pensions;

Pilot projects – preparatory actions

52.  Stresses the importance of pilot projects (PPs) and preparatory actions (PAs) as tools for the formulation of political priorities and the introduction of new initiatives that might turn into standing EU activities and programmes; intends to proceed with the identification of a balanced package of PP-PAs; notes that in the current proposal the margin in some headings is quite limited, or even non-existent, and intends to explore ways to make room for possible PP-PAs without decreasing other political priorities; considers that in its implementation of PP-PAs the Commission should inform step by step the Members of the European Parliament at their origin, so as to ensure full respect for the spirit of their proposals;

Agencies

53.  Notes the overall increase in the draft budget 2018 for decentralised agencies of +3,1 % (not taking into account assigned revenues) and +146 posts, but highlights wide differences between ‘cruising speed’ agencies (-11,2 %) and ‘new tasks’ agencies (+10,5 %); assumes that these figures properly reflect the fact that since 2013 most agencies have completed or even exceeded the 5 % staff cuts (some are to complete them in 2018), while staff increases in the same period were confined to agencies dealing with migration and security (+183 posts), financial supervisory agencies (+28 posts) and some agencies entrusted with new tasks (ERA, EASA, GSA) (+18 posts); reiterates its call, as expressed in the 2015 discharge procedure(5), to safeguard resources and where necessary provide additional resources so as to ensure the proper functioning of the agencies, including the Network of EU Agencies’ Permanent Secretariat (now called the Shared Support Office);

54.  Reiterates its conviction that the EU agencies active in the Justice and Home Affairs field must be urgently ensured the necessary operational expenditure and staffing levels to allow them successfully to take on the additional tasks and responsibilities that they have been given in recent years; welcomes, in this regard, the staff increases proposed for the European Coast and Border Guard Agency (Frontex) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which it considers to be the minimum to ensure that these agencies can effectively perform their operations; underlines that the proposed budget and staffing level for Europol is insufficient for it to fulfil its assigned tasks, as the Commission and the Member States have decided in previous years to strengthen cooperation between Member States, especially in the fields of combating terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime and human trafficking and of protection for unaccompanied children; underlines the gaps identified in the existing exchange of information architecture, and urges the Commission to provide eu-LISA with the appropriate human and financial resources for it to fulfil the additional tasks and responsibilities recently assigned to it in this respect; underlines the important role of EASO in supporting Member States in the management of asylum applications, especially when dealing with an increased number of asylum seekers; regrets the decrease in the operational funding level (-23,6 % compared to 2017) and the staffing level (-4 %) for Eurojust, which is currently having to face an increase in its casework;

55.  Notes with concern that the EU agencies in the area of employment and training (CEDEFOP, ETF, EU-OSHA, EUROFOUND) and in the area of environmental action (ECDC, ECHA, EEA, EFSA, EMA) are being treated as particular targets for staff cuts (-5 and -12 posts respectively); believes this is contradictory to the overall Union policies of creating decent, quality and stable jobs and combating climate change; welcomes the increase in staff and budget for ACER and GSA, but underlines that these increases are not sufficient for the agencies to adequately fulfil their tasks;

56.  Notes that the year 2018 is the third REACH registration deadline, affecting a large number of companies in Europe and the highest number of SMEs to date, and that this will consequently have a significant impact on the workload of ECHA; calls, therefore, on the Commission to refrain from the planned reduction of six temporary agent posts in 2018 and to postpone this reduction until 2019 so that ECHA can effectively implement its entire 2018 work programme; notes, in this regard, that ECHA has already implemented a 10 % staff reduction for REACH since 2012;

o
o   o

57.  Recalls that gender mainstreaming is a legal obligation stemming directly from the Treaties; calls for the enforcement of gender budgeting within the budgetary procedure and for budgetary expenditure to be used as an effective tool for promoting equality between women and men; recommends developing a budget plan for implementing gender mainstreaming in the EU institutions, as per the adopted pilot project, and including in the future a specific budget line for managing the coordination of gender mainstreaming throughout the institutions;

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

ANNEX

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE DATES FOR THE BUDGETARY PROCEDURE AND MODALITIES FOR THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CONCILIATION COMMITTEE IN 2018

A.  In accordance with Part A of the annex to the interinstitutional agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agree on the following key dates for the 2018 budgetary procedure:

1.  A trilogue will be called on 13 July in the morning, before the adoption of the Council’s position;

2.  The Commission will endeavour to present the Statement of Estimates 2018 by late May;

3.  The Council will endeavour to adopt its position and transmit it to the European Parliament by week 37 (third week of September), in order to facilitate a timely agreement with the European Parliament;

4.  The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets will endeavour to vote on amendments to the Council’s position by the end of week 41 (mid-October) at the latest;

5.  A trilogue will be called on 18 October in the afternoon, before the reading of the European Parliament;

6.  The European Parliament’s Plenary will vote on its reading in week 43 (Plenary session of 23-26 October);

7.  The Conciliation period will start on 31 October. In agreement with the provisions of point c of Article 314(4) TFEU, the time available for conciliation will expire on 20 November 2017;

8.  The Conciliation Committee will meet on 6 November in the afternoon hosted by the European Parliament and on 17 November hosted by the Council and may resume as appropriate; the sessions of the Conciliation Committee will be prepared by trilogue(s). A trilogue is scheduled on 9 November in the morning. Additional trilogue(s) may be called during the 21-day conciliation period, including possibly on 13 or 14 November (Strasbourg).

B.  The modalities for the functioning of the Conciliation Committee are set out in Part E of the annex to the above-mentioned interinstitutional agreement.

(1) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0085.
(5) See European Parliament resolution of 27 April 2017 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union agencies for the financial year 2015: performance, financial management and control (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0155).


Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations
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European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2017 on Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations (2016/2240(INI))
P8_TA(2017)0303A8-0220/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 167(3) and (4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

‒  having regard to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions,

–  having regard to United Nations Security Council resolution 2347 of 24 March 2017,

–  having regard to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 17,

‒  having regard to the joint communication of the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) to the European Parliament and the Council of 8 June 2016 entitled ‘Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations’ (JOIN(2016)0029),

‒  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 May 2007 on a European agenda for culture in a globalising world (COM(2007)0242),

–  having regard to the Preparatory Action for Culture in EU External Relations and its recommendations(1),

–  having regard to the document entitled ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe – A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’ presented by the VP/HR on 28 June 2016,

‒  having regard to the Council resolution of 16 November 2007 on a European Agenda for Culture(2),

‒  having regard to the Commission report on the implementation of the European Agenda for Culture (COM(2010)0390),

‒  having regard to its resolution of 23 November 2016 on EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties(3),

‒  having regard to the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro Convention) of 2005(4),

‒  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 December 2008 on the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue in the external relations of the Union and its Member States(5),

‒  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on the cultural dimensions of the EU’s external actions(6),

‒  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2015 on the role of the EU within the UN – how to better achieve EU foreign policy goals(8),

‒  having regard to the Council conclusions of 23 December 2014 on a Work Plan for Culture (2015-2018)(9),

‒  having regard to the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage,

‒  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe(10),

–  having regard to Resolution CM/Res(2010)53 adopted by the Council of Europe establishing an Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) on Cultural Routes,

‒  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2016 on a coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries(11),

‒  having regard to the Council conclusions of 24 November 2015 on culture in the EU’s external relations with a focus on culture in development cooperation(12),

‒  having regard to its resolution of 30 April 2015 on the destruction of cultural sites perpetrated by ISIS/Da’esh(13), in particular paragraph 3 thereof, which ‘calls on the VP/HR to use cultural diplomacy and intercultural dialogue as a tool when it comes to reconciling the different communities and rebuilding the destroyed sites’,

‒  having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on a European agenda for culture in a globalising world(14),

‒  having regard to the outcome of the 3502nd Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting of 21 and 22 November 2016,

‒  having regard to the study prepared at request of Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee and entitled ‘Research for CULT Committee – European Cultural Institutes Abroad’(15),

‒  having regard to the study prepared at request of Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee and entitled ‘Research for CULT Committee – European capitals of culture: success strategies and long-term effects’(16),

‒  having regard to the study of 2015 requested by the Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) entitled ‘Analysis of the perception of the EU and EU’s policies abroad’(17),

‒  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions on towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations,

‒  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations,

‒  having regard to the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European Year of Cultural Heritage (2018) (COM(2016)0543),

‒  having regard to the Commission communication on a European Solidarity Corps (COM(2016)0942),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 14 December 2015 on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy,

–  having regard to the decision of the International criminal court (ICC) of 27 September 2016, in which Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was found guilty of the destruction of several mausoleums in Timbuktu, and in which it ruled for the first time, in accordance with the Rome Statute, that the destruction of cultural heritage may be regarded as a war crime,

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

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0220/2017),

A.  whereas the EU is becoming a more prominent actor in international relations and should put additional resources and energy into the promotion of its common culture, cultural heritage, artistic creation and innovation within regional diversity, based on Article 167 TFEU;

B.  whereas the EU is an important actor in international politics playing an ever-increasing role in world affairs, including through the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity in international relations;

C.  whereas culture has an intrinsic value, and the EU’s experience has shown that cultural exchanges can serve to promote its external objectives and as a powerful bridge between people of different ethnic, religious and social backgrounds, not least by reinforcing intercultural and interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding, including through the activities of the European External Action Service (EEAS); considers, in this regard, that culture should become an essential part of the political dialogue with third countries, and that there is a need to systematically integrate culture into projects and programmes;

D.  whereas in order for the EU to foster intercultural understanding, it will have to expand on common communication tools in the form of genuinely European media, such as Arte, Euronews and Euranet;

E.  whereas culture and the protection of culture are inseparably linked to the honouring of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

F.  whereas science cooperation forms an essential element of foreign policy by building bridges between countries, enhancing the quality of international research and raising the profile of science diplomacy;

G.  whereas the EU and its Member States have a variety of common cultural, linguistic, historical and religious roots, and whereas by drawing inspiration from Europe’s cultural, religious and humanist inheritance, they have succeeded in attaining unity in diversity; whereas European culture and cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, represent the diversity of European societies and regions, of their majority societies as much as of their minority cultures;

H.  whereas the ‘Declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education’, adopted in Paris on March 2015, highlights the need to foster active dialogue between cultures as well as global solidarity and mutual respect;

I.  whereas throughout the history of the EU cultural relations have been fundamental drivers of social cohesion and sustainable economic and human development, while playing a crucial role in strengthening civil society capacities and people-to-people contacts, and in preventing radicalisation, with a view to protecting cultural heritage, reinforcing democratisation processes and engaging in conflict prevention, resolution and resilience;

J.  whereas cultural diplomacy should promote cultural and linguistic diversity, including the preservation of minority languages in the recognition that this constitutes a value in itself, and contributes to Europe’s cultural heritage;

K.  whereas human rights also include cultural rights, and whereas equal attention should therefore be given to the right of each individual to participate in cultural life and enjoy his or her own culture, whilst fully respecting the fundamental human rights of all;

L.  whereas restrictive measures were put in place in December 2014 to counter the trading of cultural objects from Syria; whereas there is a clear need for the setting up of an emergency response mechanism to detect and prevent the destruction of cultural heritage and the removal of cultural objects, including in conflict areas or countries, acts that can be used in conflict situations to intimidate or shock, and which in some instances amount to ‘cultural cleansing’;

M.  whereas culture is a common good, and designing a new consensus on development must include a reflection about reclaiming common public goods, including through culture;

N.  whereas the EU and individual Member States provide more than half of the world’s development aid, a fact that deserves to be better acknowledged;

O.  whereas cultural heritage is a universal legacy, and its protection is therefore a precondition for building peace and resilience;

P.  whereas the joint communication entitled ‘Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations’ provides a framework for the EU’s international cultural relations; whereas, however, it falls short of identifying thematic and geographical priorities, concrete objectives and outcomes, target groups, common interests and initiatives, financing provisions, sound financial management, a local and regional perspective and challenges and implementation modalities;

Q.  whereas people-to-people contacts such as youth exchanges, city twinning and partnerships in the professional field have been important vehicles for fostering intercultural understanding and should be promoted by the EU in its foreign policy relations;

R.  whereas mobility is an essential part of the EU’s international cultural relations, requiring the setting up of mechanisms to facilitate visa access to and from third countries for cultural professionals, researchers, academics, teachers, students and staff, and for alumni networks for former participants in EU programmes(18);

S.  whereas the EU and neighbouring states have historically influenced each other with regard to culture;

T.  whereas cooperation, training, mobility of artists and cultural professionals – and of their works, including through European and international networks, and artist residencies – are key factors in the dissemination and exchange of both European and non-European cultures and arts, and need to be promoted and enhanced;

U.  whereas a visa policy for artists and cultural professionals is key to successful cooperation and to the free circulation of works, through European and international networks, as well as to ensuring active artists’ residencies programmes that involve civil societies in the different countries and regions of the world;

V.  whereas it could be a useful starting point to take stock of what has been achieved under the ‘EU agenda for culture’ with a view to further developing and improving the strategy, establishing clear and measureable goals in line with individual country specificities, priorities and realistic outcomes, and learning from best practices;

W.  whereas the EU, as a key partner of the United Nations, should work closely with UNESCO to protect global cultural heritage;

X.  whereas coordination among EU programmes and resources should strengthen the cultural dimension of EU international relations in order to create a shared space of dialogue for cross-cultural understanding and trust;

Y.  whereas EU initiatives and actions should be more visible in third countries, including in those covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy, and their results better attributed, assessed and disseminated(19);

Z.  whereas the number of products and services from the audiovisual, cultural and creative sectors is increasing, as is their contribution to GDP and international circulation;

AA.  whereas many of the European Cultural Routes certified by the Council of Europe pass through countries in the EU’s Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood as well as through candidate countries, and whereas this contributes to strengthening the links between the EU and its neighbouring countries;

AB.  whereas the Union’s efforts to nurture societal resilience by deepening work on culture, education and youth foster pluralism, coexistence and respect;

Objectives

1.  Welcomes the joint communication, which offers an overview of all instruments, actions, initiatives, programmes and projects supported or implemented by the EU and its Member States that have culture as a common denominator; calls for the development of an effective EU strategy for international cultural relations;

2.  Acknowledges that the joint communication aims at fostering cultural cooperation within the EU and with its partner countries, and at promoting a global order based on peacekeeping, on fighting extremism and radicalisation through intercultural and interreligious dialogue and on conflict prevention, with respect for democracy, the rule of law, freedom of expression, artistic freedom, mutual understanding, human rights, cultural and linguistic diversity and fundamental values; stresses, furthermore, the important role of cultural diplomacy, education and cultural exchange in strengthening a common core of universal values;

3.  Acknowledges the efforts realised by EEAS, together with the Commission, to enhance the external dimension of science and research policies, and urges the Commission to foster the development of an ambitious science diplomacy;

4.  Calls for cultural rights to be promoted as integral fundamental human rights, and for culture to be considered for its intrinsic value as a fourth standalone, transversal pillar of sustainable development together with social, economic and environmental dimensions;

5.  Welcomes the approach of the joint communication, which identifies three work streams: supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development; promoting culture and intercultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations; and reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage;

6.  Calls for artistic freedom of expression to be promoted as a value and an endeavour of the European Union, fostering free dialogue and the exchange of good practices at international level;

7.  Underlines that the EU has multiple and diverse experiences in inclusive governance, that its strength is in being united in its diversity and that this is where the EU adds value;

8.  Recognises that while principles of subsidiarity and proportionality have to be respected in the field of culture – considering also the EU’s and the Member States’ common cultural roots and heritage, and the result of long-standing artistic and cultural interactions – creating the habit to work and create together has built a foundation of respect for, and understanding of, other cultures;

9.  Stresses that the EU is an arena in which all Member States join forces to play a stronger role in the field of international cultural relations, taking advantage of the mutual benefits of cooperation;

10.  Suggests that each Member State could launch joint actions together with the EU to highlight a different EU country each year by means of, e.g., exhibitions and co-productions, with a special role given to the rotating presidency, with a view to delivering additional intrinsic value for the EU and the Member States and to increasing the visibility of their actions and initiatives abroad, including through EU delegations, with specific human and financial resources made available to this end;

11.  Member States, especially smaller Member States and their cultural institutions and actors, could add value to their cultural achievements by using the EU to promote and share them abroad;

12.  Cultural diplomacy can function as an envoy of the EU and its Member States;

13.  Recalls, with respect to tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the importance of cooperation among the Member States and the EU institutions in terms of accessibility research, promotion, preservation and management, and the fight against trafficking, looting and destruction, including through regionally dedicated funds and assistance, and through trans-border police cooperation, both inside and outside the EU;

14.  Stresses the role of independent media in promoting cultural diversity and intercultural competences, and the need to strengthen such media as a source of credible information, especially in the EU neighbourhood;

15.  Welcomes the fact that the joint communication introduces cultural and creative industries as an important element of the EU’s strategy for international cultural relations; whereas these industries contribute to Europe’s ‘soft power’ in their role as ambassadors of European values, especially with regards to regional creative hubs and cultural networks, and recommends that they be identified and offered stimulation as well as skills development; calls on the Commission to upgrade the networks of creative and cultural agents and actors, with a specific focus on SMEs, European creative districts and creative platforms, as generators of multiplier effects and innovation, including in other fields;

16.  Asks the Commission and the VP/HR to identify ‘cultural actors’ as playing an integral role in the implementation of the joint communication, clarifying that these should include, among other categories, artists, cultural and creative professionals, cultural institutions, private and public foundation, universities, and culture and creative businesses;

Governance and tools

17.  Calls on the Commission and the VP/HR to present annual and multiannual action plans in this field, which should include actions, strategic thematic and geographical priorities and common objectives, and for a periodic review of the implementation of the joint communication, the outcome of which should be reported to Parliament;

18.  Stresses the need for greater coherence among EU policies and actions involving third countries; stresses the need to draw on existing research results, best practices and other EU-funded initiatives and instruments relating to protection of cultural heritage that could benefit cooperation with third countries; calls for enhanced synergies between all actors involved, and of other EU-funded initiatives that could be beneficial to achieving the objectives of the strategy, to ensure resource efficiency, optimised outcomes and enhanced impact of EU actions and initiatives; recommends a stocktaking exercise to guarantee an effective approach;

19.  Urges the Commission, in the next multiannual financial framework, to provide for a budget line dedicated to supporting international cultural relations in existing programmes and future calls, especially in the next generation of programmes on culture and education, so that these can develop their international action in a proper way;

20.  Proposes that a dedicated EU programme be designed and resources focused on international mobility and exchanges such as residency programmes especially for young cultural and creative professionals and artists;

21.  Proposes, in this context, that alumni and former beneficiaries of Erasmus and other mobility educational and volunteering programmes should be encouraged to make use of their intercultural skills and competences to the benefit of others, and should become influential actors in the development of partnerships in the field of cultural external relations;

22.  Calls on the Commission to develop the cultural tourism dimension by, for example, drafting and exchanging thematic programmes and best practices in order to facilitate international mobility and exchanges with citizens from third countries, as well as access to cultural items;

23.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to include international cultural relations in international cooperation instruments and programmes in a horizontal way, and in the course of the mid-term review exercises, in order to ensure coherency and to turn international cultural relations into an efficient tool;

24.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the impact of the cultural dimension in international relations by including the cultural dimension systematically in negotiations and in association agreements; underlines the need for the EU to set principles of conduct for cooperation partners in transnational projects and create a flexible framework for facilitating transnational cultural cooperation by removing barriers;

25.  Calls on the Commission to further support cultural relations with Neighbourhood countries through technical assistance, capacity-building programmes training, skill development, and knowledge transfer – also in the media sphere – to improve governance and favour new partnerships at national, regional, local and cross-border levels, while providing a follow-up to regional programmes in Southern and Eastern Neighbourhood countries, including the Western Balkans;

26.  Underlines that, for reasons of sustainability, the EU’s external cultural funding activities must result from a strong involvement of local partners, adaptation of programmes to local realities and a due consideration of the post-funding period for projects, including transition to national financing or other revenue-models;

27.  Highlights the importance of culture and human rights initiatives, which should aim at supporting cultural professionals in countries or regions where their rights are threatened; calls for such programmes to be jointly funded by the European Endowment for Democracy and the European Neighbourhood Instrument;

28.  Stresses that an active civil society in partner countries may help considerably when it comes to spreading the values promoted by the EU, and that it is therefore essential that the EU, when cultivating its bilateral relations, bolsters support for the civil society organisations of the cultural sector in partner countries;

29.  Calls on the Commission to include culture in all existing and future bilateral and multilateral agreements, with adequate budget provisions and with due respect for the commitments made under the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity, in order to place further emphasis on the economic potential of cultural heritage and the cultural and creative sectors in promoting sustainable development, including in the areas of growth and jobs, and on their impact on social wellbeing; argues that this could be done, for example, in the next negotiation mandate for the new partnership with ACP countries after 2020; calls for EU indicators to be developed in that field as a means of contributing to the cultural policy debate;

30.  Stresses the importance of youth mobility and university cooperation schemes as highly valuable measures for establishing long-term academic and cultural relations;

31.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the international dimension of Erasmus+, Creative Europe, Europe for Citizens and Horizon 2020; recalls, in this regard, the crucial role that EU programmes in the fields of culture, education, youth and sport have as core elements in tackling intolerance and prejudices, as well as in fostering the sense of common belonging and respect for cultural diversity; calls on the Commission to promote, particularly within the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy, participation in these programmes by the partner countries closest to the EU;

32.  Recognises the Commission’s efforts to promote the role of science, research, education and cultural cooperation as soft-power tools in European external relations; highlights that scientific and cultural exchanges contribute to capacity building and conflict resolution, particularly in relations with neighbouring countries;

33.  Calls on the Commission to reinforce and expand COSME (the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) to cover the strategy for international cultural relations, and to reinforce, through EU thematic programmes, SMEs active in the culture sector in countries outside the EU;

34.  Highlights the role of the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, and the role of regional and local authorities, and of civil society, in the formulation of the strategy;

35.  Stresses that Parliament should play an active role in promoting culture in the EU’s external action, including through its information and liaison offices;

36.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to appoint a ‘focal point’ in each EU delegation to liaise with Member States’ national cultural institutes, representatives and local civil societies, actors and authorities in a structured dialogue process aimed at jointly identifying common priority areas, needs and methods of cooperation, and to provide adequate budget and training; asks the Commission and the EEAS to report to Parliament on the state of implementation and achieved results every two years;

37.  Calls for the allocation of appropriate human and financial resources in the EEAS for cultural international relations, empowering the EEAS with a catalytic leadership role within the different EU services dealing with the international cultural relations;

38.  Advocates international cultural relations as a subject for education, training and research with a view to building the capacity of actors in that field, as well as to enhancing cultural participation through education, including by providing EU staff with relevant training on cultural competences;

39.  Calls for the role of Member States’ cultural institutes to be clearly framed with regard to the EU’s cultural influence outside its borders, and in the context of an inclusive and shared European narrative, through the EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) network and other forums, and advocates an inclusive and equal approach towards all stakeholders, including civil society; praises, in this regard, the work carried out to date by Member States’ cultural institutions; encourages further collaboration abroad with a view to optimising Member States’ interests, with particular attention given to smaller Member States and Member States with no cultural institutes abroad, and to their cultural representation needs;

40.  Calls for a reinforcement of the strategic partnership with UNESCO in the implementation of the joint communication, using its credibility in Europe and its global outreach to multiply the effects of joint actions with all EU and non-EU stakeholders, and for consideration to be given to associating it to the future working groups or advisory boards to assist in the implementation of the communication;

41.  Emphasises the need to redefine the important role of national cultural institutes in intercultural exchanges, bearing in mind that some of these have long traditions with many contacts in third countries, allowing them to serve as a solid foundation for cooperation and communication among the various European players; points, furthermore, to their potential to promote and facilitate bilateral relationships between countries and to help develop and implement a European strategy for cultural diplomacy;

42.  Calls on the Commission and the VP/HR to further support the development of the individually tailored EUVP study programme (European Union Visitors Programme) as a powerful tool for enhancing dialogue, promoting democracy and providing a permanent platform for young and future leaders and opinion-builders from third countries and for key interlocutors within European institutions and civil society organisations;

43.  Welcomes the establishment of the Cultural Diplomacy Platform and calls for it to be made sustainable, with a regular evaluation of its objectives, results and governance; recognises that many different institutional and non-institutional stakeholders(20) are active in the area of international cultural relations, and asks the Commission to promote a structured dialogue among all stakeholders, including through the open method of coordination;

44.  Calls for the setting-up, without delay, of a mechanism for the prevention, assessment, the reconstruction of cultural heritage in danger, and for the evaluation of losses, including a rapid emergency mechanism to safeguard heritage in countries of conflict, building on the experience of the UN’s Blue Helmets for Culture task force initiative, in close and structured cooperation with UNESCO and with the technological support of Copernicus – the European Earth Observation Programme; welcomes, in this regard, the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2347, which states that the destruction of cultural heritage may constitute a war crime, and calls on the EU and the EEAS to work with all partners to contribute to conflict prevention, peace building and the processes of restoration and reconciliation in all areas affected by conflict;

45.  Calls for coordination at EU level to combat the unlawful trafficking of cultural items stolen during armed conflicts and wars, and to recover such items, in the recognition that such coordination has a vital role in efforts to block the financing of terrorist groups;

46.  Highlights the need to reinforce the EU-UNESCO strategic partnership by creating a sustained platform for cooperation and communication on shared priorities with a view to tackling common challenges in culture and education effectively;

47.  Proposes that special attention be given, at the European Culture Forum and during the European Development Days, to a structured dialogue with civil society and stakeholders on the topic of the EU’s international cultural relations;

48.  Calls on the Commission to organise a specific colloquium/forum for cultural actors on culture and development, in keeping with the EU-ACP Brussels Declaration of April 2009, and that this should be open to actors from the EU’s neighbourhood and from other strategic partner countries;

49.  Considers the decision for a European year of Cultural Heritage 2018 an opportunity to contribute to the promotion of cultural heritage, with an integrated approach, as an important element of the EU’s international dimension, building on the interest of partner countries on Europe’s heritage and expertise;

50.  Calls for efficient implementation of the legal instruments already in place to better protect cultural heritage, copyright and intellectual property; asks the Commission to present the envisaged legislative proposal to regulate the import of cultural goods into the EU, in particular such goods from conflict areas, as a means of combating trafficking;

51.  Calls on the EU and the Member States – having signed and ratified, and thus committed themselves to the implementation of, the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions – to support common actions for its implementation;

People-to-people approach

52.  Agrees with the proposal of the joint communication to shift from a top-down showcasing approach to a people-to-people (P2P) approach, stressing processes of co-creation and co-production in cultural and creative industries; considers that culture should reach all citizens;

53.  Recognises that young people are one of the main target groups in the EU and partner countries and that exposure to other cultures and languages offers experiences that often create a livelong affinity, and acknowledges that performing arts, visual arts, street arts, music, theatre, film, literature and social media, and digital platforms in general, are the best channels for reaching and engaging them;

54.  Asks that joint projects between the EU and third countries in the field of research and development of digitalisation of cultural heritage be valorised also in order to facilitate access to knowledge, the development of new services and products, and the promotion of a new cultural tourism;

55.  Calls for the value and role of cultural content, of which Europe is one of the major producers, to be integrated into European policies, including in the digital sector, with a view to creating global virtual citizens’ networks to increase cultural participation and exchange;

56.  Calls for the setting up of an EU connectivity initiative to assist geographically disadvantaged youths in order to allow them to participate more actively;

57.  Welcomes initiatives by the Commission to promote peer-to-peer learning for young cultural entrepreneurs, such as the Med Culture programme, or to support initiatives in training in intercultural relations, such as More Europe;

58.  Advocates measures to make it as easy as possible for third countries to participate further in cross-border and joint projects such as the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, as well as to include them as players in the future strategy suggested for EU delegations in third countries, allowing them to take full advantage for their work in third countries of EU cultural activities such as the European Capital of Culture and the Lux Prize; recalls that digital tools, technological platforms such as Europeana, and cultural networks can play a crucial role in reaching larger audiences and disseminating best practices;

59.  Calls for the creation of a cultural visa programme, along the lines of the existing Scientific Visa Programme, for third-country nationals, artists and other professionals in the cultural field with a view to fostering cultural relations and eliminating obstacles to mobility in the cultural sector;

60.  Calls on the Commission to step up collaboration with the Council of Europe, in particular in programmes dedicated to highlighting culture as a vehicle for democracy, intercultural dialogue, cultural heritage and the audiovisual world;

61.  Recognises the need for an in-depth knowledge of the field, and of local actors and civil society, in order to improve these actors’ access to programmes and funding and to ensure that the multiplying effect of their participation in EU programmes and initiatives is exploited; recommends that local actors, including local authorities, be consulted with a view to co-designing programmes; calls for the development of innovative collaborative approaches relying on tools and networks already in place (grants, sub-grants)(21), and for these to be followed up, taking gender balance into account;

62.  Acknowledges that development strategies and programmes focus heavily on material and sociocultural deprivation; calls for better outreach to vulnerable communities, including in rural and remote areas, with a view to fostering social cohesion;

63.  Call for improved visibility and better dissemination of the EU’s and the Member States’ activities in the field of culture at international level, including through the setting up common guidelines(22) and by reaching out to target audiences in their local languages;

64.  Calls for a paradigm shift in media coverage by encouraging the provision of European cultural information, with the launch of an EU cultural portal, festivals and the elaboration of the concept of the European Houses of Culture, including through structured engagement with local media and social media platforms as well as in cooperation with EBU, EURONEWS and EURANET, among others;

65.  Encourages the EU to fully take advantage of the potential of multimedia research to understand the current challenges and opportunities in developing countries, including on matters related to culture and on the assessment of the role of culture in development and international cooperation;

EU Global Strategy

66.  Highlights the important role of culture in EU external policy as a soft power tool, a catalyst for peacekeeping, stability and reconciliation, and as an engine for sustainable socio-economic and human development;

67.  Stresses the crucial role of education and culture in fostering citizenship and intercultural skills, as well as in building better social, human and economic prospects;

68.  Praises the fact that the EU Global Strategy highlights the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue in enhancing mutual understanding; regrets, however, that the intrinsic value of culture and art as restraints against radicalism and terrorism is not mentioned; requests, therefore, that instruments specifically dedicated to the strengthening of, and cooperation with, the cultural sector be reinforced;

69.  Calls on the Commission to step up its cooperation with international organisations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, Interpol, the World Customs Organisation and the International Council of Museums in order to strengthen the fight against trafficking in cultural goods that can serve to finance criminal activities, including the financing of terrorist organisations;

70.  Calls on the VP/HR to give a specific role to cultural issues in the implementation road map of the EU Global Strategy;

71.  Underlines that the EU, the foundations of which are based on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, should build on its experiences and lessons learnt when it comes to external policy, and that this should be reflected in the development of relations with third countries through culture and cultural heritage, noting in this regard that this would also provide an opportunity for the EU to showcase and export its cultural values;

72.  Calls for targeted cultural and educational policies that can support key EU foreign and security policy objectives and contribute to reinforcing democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights; recalls that 2018 will be the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

73.  Recognises that the EU’s cultural influence enables it to project visibility in international affairs through the channels of its diverse cultural identity;

74.  Recalls that education and culture are fundamental drivers when it comes to facilitating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, with specific attention to urban regeneration and to cities in Europe and in the world; calls, therefore, for the proposal for a new European Consensus on Development to highlight the role of culture and the protection and promotion of cultural expressions;

75.  Calls for international cultural relations to be strengthened in discussions on ‘migration’ and refugee policies; urges the EU, whose strength is in being united in diversity, to adopt a balanced approach that respects cultural differences, and in which diasporas play a crucial role; stresses that culture should be a bridge for mutual understanding with a view to living together in greater harmony;

76.  Acknowledges that the EU also operates in specific environments in which the political context and the legal frameworks for the fruition of cultural relations are hostile and repressive; recognises that in third countries the EU often suffers the consequences of inaccurate, partial and subjective information and is the target of outright propaganda; calls for special measures and appropriate action in this regard;

77.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to reinforce the resources available for access to education and culture, in particular for migrant and refugee minors in EU and third countries; asks for support to ‘educational corridors’ for university students at EU universities (in collaboration as well with telematic universities), always respecting linguistic and cultural diversity;

78.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to foster cultural relations with the EU’s direct neighbours with a view to promoting concrete actions aimed at stimulating intercultural dialogue(23) and tackling the issues of migration, security and radicalisation that the EU is facing;

79.  Recommends that the EU works with all relevant institutions working in this field and with local partners to pursue its objectives in the field of international cultural relations, both through multilateral cooperation in international organisations and through partnerships with key actors on the ground;

80.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to strengthen cooperation with the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, an institutional tool for strengthening grassroots cultural relations also with third countries, with a view to promoting the fundamental values of cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and sustainable territorial development of less well-known cultural destinations, while preserving their shared cultural heritage;

81.  Encourages the EU to work closely with all states that share its goals and values and are prepared to act in their support; stresses that this is particularly important in order to establish a legitimate and stable action for the EU to be recognised as a ‘global player’;

o
o   o

82.  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 European External Action Service and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/publications/global-cultural-citizenship_en.pdf
(2) OJ C 287, 29.11.2007, p. 1.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0441.
(4) http://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/treaty/199
(5) OJ C 320, 16.12.2008, p. 10.
(6) OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 135.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0005.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0403.
(9) OJ C 463, 23.12.2014, p. 4.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0293.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0486.
(12) OJ C 417, 15.12.2015, p. 41.
(13) OJ C 346, 21.9.2016, p. 55.
(14) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 32.
(15) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/563418/IPOL_STU(2016)563418_EN.pdf
(16) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/join/2013/513985/IPOL-CULT_ET(2013)513985_EN.pdf
(17) http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/fpi/showcases/eu_perceptions_study_en.htm
(18) For instance, Erasmus, Horizon 2020 and Creative Europe.
(19) For instance, the EU Visitors Programme (EUVP), established in 1974 by Parliament and the Commission, is an individual study programme for promising young leaders and opinion-moulders from countries outside the European Union, its motto being ‘Sharing EU values around the world since 1974’.
(20) Commission Directorates-General (notably for Education and Culture (EAC), International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), Research and Innovation (RTD) and Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT)), the EEAS, the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), EU delegations, Member State delegations, Member States’ cultural institutes abroad, the Council of Europe, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), UNESCO, international organisations, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, local cultural actors, street artists and other platforms and networks.
(21) For example, the EU-funded programme Med Culture, which aims at developing and improving cultural policies and practices related to the cultural sector. The participative approach involves civil society actors, ministries and private and public institutions working in the field of culture, as well as other related sectors.
(22) One suggestion would be the creation of ‘Ambassadors for Culture’ who are committed to, and supportive of, both European integration and international relations (in a manner similar to UN Goodwill Ambassadors). These could be artists, musicians, writers, etc.
(23) Such as the EU-funded project Young Arab Voice.


Recommendation to the Council on the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
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European Parliament recommendation of 5 July 2017 to the Council concerning the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (2017/2041(INI))
P8_TA(2017)0304A8-0216/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the UN human rights conventions and the optional protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Articles 21, 34 and 36 thereof,

–  having regard to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2009), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2010), 1960 (2011), 2106 (2013), 2122 (2013) and 2242 (2015) on women, peace and security,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 March 2017 on the EU priorities for the UN Human Rights Council session in 2017(1),

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world in 2015 and the European Union’s policy on the matter,

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on attacks on hospitals and schools as violations of international humanitarian law(2),

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 7 July 2016 on the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 July 2016 on the EU priorities for the 71st UN General Assembly,

–  having regard to the revised EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the participation of the European Union in the work of the United Nations, which grants the EU the right to intervene in the UN General Assembly, to present proposals and amendments orally which will be put to a vote at the request of a Member State, and to exercise the right to reply,

–  having regard to the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants of 19 September 2016,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution A/71/L.48 of 21 December 2016, setting up an ‘International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2016 on the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 October 2016 on the situation in Northern Iraq/Mosul(5),

–  having regard to Rule 113 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0216/2017),

A.  whereas the EU’s commitment to effective multilateralism and good global governance, with the UN at its core, is an integral part of the EU’s external policy and is rooted in the conviction that a multilateral system founded on universal rules and values is best suited to addressing global crises, challenges and threats;

B.  whereas the international order based on cooperation, dialogue, free and fair trade, and human rights is being called into question by several nationalist and protectionist movements around the world;

C.  whereas the EU should play a proactive part in building a United Nations that can contribute effectively to global solutions, peace and security, human rights, development, democracy and a rule-of-law-based international order; whereas EU Member States need to make every effort to further coordinate and fuse their actions in the organs and bodies of the United Nations system in accordance with the mandate contained in Article 34(1) TEU;

D.  whereas the EU and its Member States remain collectively the single largest financial contributor to the UN system, providing almost 50 % of all contributions to the UN, with the EU Member States contributing around 40 % of the UN’s regular budget; whereas EU contributions to the UN should be more visible;

E.  whereas the EU works for environmental sustainability, notably in the fight against climate change by promoting international measures and actions to preserve and improve the quality of the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources;

F.  whereas the EU is one of the most dedicated defenders and promoters of human rights, fundamental freedoms, cultural values and diversity, democracy and the rule of law;

G.  whereas the EU’s security environment is increasingly unstable and volatile owing to a large number of longstanding or newly emerging challenges, including violent conflicts, terrorism, organised crime, propaganda and cyber warfare, unprecedented waves of refugees and migratory pressure and impacts on climate change, which are impossible to address at national level and require regional and global responses and active and constructive co-operation;

H.  whereas the EU and the UN should play a major role in implementing the 2030 Development Agenda with a view to eradicating poverty and generating collective prosperity, addressing inequalities, creating a safer and more just world, and combating climate change and protecting the natural environment; whereas the UN General Assembly has decided to step up the organisation’s efforts to implement the new development agenda;

1.  Addresses the following recommendations to the Council:

Peace and security

Fight against terrorism

Non-proliferation and disarmament

Migration

Human rights, democracy and the rule of law

Development

Climate change

EU and reform of the UN system

   (a) to continue to call for the full respect of the sovereignty, internationally recognised borders and the territorial integrity of Eastern European and South Caucasus countries, namely Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, in light of the violations of international law in these areas; to support and reinvigorate diplomatic efforts for a peaceful and sustainable settlement of these ongoing and protracted conflicts as well as the conflict in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and for the respect of human rights and territorial integrity, non-use of force, and equal rights and self-determination of the peoples on the ground; to urge the international community to implement fully the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea; to actively increase pressure on Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, in order to resolve the conflict in Ukraine in line with the Minsk agreements as well as the occupation of Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; to find a geopolitical balance that rejects all aspirations for exclusive spheres of influence;
   (b) to maintain full support for the efforts undertaken by the UN to facilitate a comprehensive settlement to end the division of Cyprus, and underlines that a settlement of the Cyprus problem will have a positive impact on the entire region and on both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots; urges the Council to use all its resources to fully support the successful conclusion of the reunification process and to support the role of the UN;
   (c) to back the UN-led efforts to secure a solution to the name issue for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by means of an agreement between Skopje and Athens;
   (d) to urge all UN Member States to make all necessary financial and human resources available to assist local populations in armed conflicts and the refugees, and to urge all UN Member States to fulfil the financial commitments made to the UN;
   (e) to uphold the nuclear agreement between Iran and the UN Security Council members plus Germany as an important success of international and notably EU diplomacy, and to continue to put pressure on the United States to deliver on the practical implementation;
   (f) to use all instruments at its disposal to enhance compliance by state and non-state actors’ actions with international humanitarian law (IHL); to support efforts led by the International Committee of the Red Cross to establish an effective mechanism for strengthening compliance with IHL;
   (g) to push for stronger multilateral commitments to find lasting sustainable political and peaceful solutions to current conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya; and to reinvigorate diplomatic efforts to resolve frozen conflicts around the world; to continue to support UN special envoys’ work, actions and initiatives aimed at solving these conflicts; to call for continued humanitarian, financial and political assistance from the international community in order to address the humanitarian situation, and to work towards the immediate cessation of violence; to prevent any violation of IHL and International Human Rights Law, including the direct targeting of civil infrastructure and civilian population and to strongly condemn these violations in Syria; to urge all UN Member States to make all necessary financial and human resources available to assist the population in conflict areas; to support efforts deployed by the UN to find a sustainable resolution to the conflict in Syria and Iraq and to continue to back the EU’s role in the humanitarian field and the EU’s regional initiative; to urge the international community to do whatever is in their power in order to strongly condemn those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the Syrian conflict, either under their national judicial systems, international courts or ad hoc tribunals; to support the UN peace plan initiative in Yemen and to tackle the ongoing humanitarian crisis as a matter of urgency; to call on all parties to respect the human rights and freedoms of all Yemeni citizens, and to stress the importance of improving the security of all those working on peace and humanitarian missions in the country; to encourage a policy of rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia as essential in defusing regional tensions, and as a path towards conflict resolution in Yemen and elsewhere; to further encourage such actions in order to address the root causes of terrorism and extremism which are a threat to international security and regional stability; to call for stronger support for the UN-backed government in Libya and to play a central role in the stabilisation of Libya and preservation of its unity and territorial integrity under the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA); to reiterate the urgent need to unite all armed forces under the control of the legitimate civilian authorities as set out in the LPA; to renew support for the efforts of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) for Western Sahara to resolve these long standing conflicts; to call for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on the Middle East;
   (h) to support the Intra-Syrian Talks that are guided by UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015); to stress that the sides should aim at a framework agreement containing a political package so that a negotiated transitional political process can be implemented in accordance with the clear sequencing and target timelines set out in resolution 2254 (2015); to underline that to achieve this goal, a clear agenda has emerged consisting of four baskets; to express its concern that the continuous fighting in Syria is undermining the ceasefire regime that came into effect on 30 December 2016, with significant negative consequences for the safety of Syrian civilians, humanitarian access and the momentum of the political process; to support the call of the Special Envoy of the UNSG for Syria on the guarantor-States of the ceasefire in Syria to undertake urgent efforts to uphold the ceasefire regime;
   (i) to act upon the ruling of the European Court of Justice on the Western Sahara;
   (j) to make certain the UN General Assembly provides, in cooperation with the EU and the US, all instruments to ensure that a two-state solution, on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as capital of both states, and a secure State of Israel with secure and recognised borders, and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is sustainable and effective;
   (k) to call for a stronger support and for empowerment of Iraqi institutions and for the need to work towards a more inclusive society and the reintegration of all the ethnic and religious minorities that have been displaced, including in Northern Iraq and following the end of the military operation in and around Mosul where a peaceful and inclusive post-conflict solution must be found; to reiterate the critical importance of sustained protection of civilians and respect for IHL in executing military strategies in Iraq;
   (l) to keep addressing the major security threats in the Sahel, Sahara and Lake Chad, the Great Lakes, and Horn of Africa regions with a view to eradicating the terrorist threat posed by ISIL/Daesh and al-Qaeda affiliates and by Boko Haram or any other affiliated terrorist groups;
   (m) to work with the international community as a whole to solve humanitarian and security crises threatening the African continent, in particular in Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Mali, Nigeria, Burundi and the Great Lakes Area in general; to encourage UN Member States to step up support for increasing the role and own capacities of the African Union in mediation and crisis management, while striving for complementarities with the efforts of the UN Peace-Building Support Office; to ensure the swift adaptation of MONUSCO in line with its new mandate and, in particular, the implementation of the Agreement of 31 December 2016;
   (n) to call on the international community to join efforts to manage the current political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and to prevent state collapse in the country;
   (o) to emphasise the importance of investing more in conflict prevention, taking account of factors such as political or religious radicalisation, election-related violence, population displacements or climate change;
   (p) to draw the attention of the UN members, and in particular the members of the UN Security Council, to the increase in tensions between some countries in the Western Balkans; to urge their leaders to show restraint in their regional policies and for the EU and the UN to remain fully involved in seeking lasting solutions to bilateral differences, including by acting as mediators where necessary; to condemn Russian actions in the Western Balkans which threaten to destabilise the fragile reform process in countries in the region and undermine their EU and NATO ambitions;
   (q) to further encourage the UN’s efforts to bring about peace in Afghanistan and to overcome the fragile security environment in the country;
   (r) to strongly condemn the actions of the North Korean leadership that threaten peace and security in the Korean peninsula and beyond; to encourage China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to exert further pressure on the North Korean regime to de-escalate its aggressive actions which threaten regional and international security; to draw up and implement a strong response, supported by a broad and sufficiently robust international consensus, in order to deter the North Korean regime from further developing hostile nuclear capabilities and carrying out extra-territorial assassinations, attacks and kidnappings;
   (s) to urge the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council to discuss the tensions in the South China Sea with the intention of bringing all parties concerned together to finalise the negotiation of a code of conduct;
   (t) to welcome the adoption by the UN Security Council of resolution 2307 (2016) and to congratulate the government and people of Colombia on their quest for peace;
   (u) to significantly increase Member State support for UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations that include a human rights component and clear exit strategies, in particular by contributing personnel and equipment, and to enhance the EU’s role as a facilitator in this respect; to ensure better visibility for this support and contribution; to further develop procedures for the use of the EU common security and defence policy in support of UN operations while paying sufficient attention to the several dimensions of complex crisis management, such as human rights, sustainable development, and the root causes of mass migration; to support the UN Security Council reform of its use of veto power in cases where there is evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity;
   (v) to support the UNSG in his efforts to increase UN involvement in peace negotiations;
   (w) to support the full implementation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions on women, peace and security; to call for the promotion of women’s equal and full participation as active agents; to promote an active involvement of women in conflict prevention and solution and in combating violent extremism; to recall that sexual violence such as rape is used as a tactic of war and constitutes a war crime; to ensure safe medical assistance for cases of war rape; to call for strengthening of the protection of women and girls in conflict situations especially as regards sexual violence, to support and strengthen international efforts through the UN to end the use of children in armed conflict and to ensure gender analysis as well as gender and human rights mainstreaming in all UN activities; to call for the development of indicators to measure progress on the participation of women in peace and security building;
   (x) to address as a matter of urgency all aspects of the 15 May 2015 UN Evaluation Report on Enforcement and Remedial Assistance Efforts for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by the United Nations and Related Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations without delay, and to establish functioning and transparent oversight and accountability mechanisms regarding alleged abuses; to call for the investigation, prosecution and sentencing without delay of any military and civilian personnel who committed acts of sexual violence;
   (y) to further strengthen the role of R2P as an important principle in UN Member States’ work on conflict resolution, human rights and development; to continue to support the efforts to further operationalise R2P and to support the UN in continuing to play a critical role in assisting countries in the implementation of R2P in order to uphold human rights, the rule of law and IHL; to promote a broad definition of the human security concept and the R2P principle;
   (z) to encourage all UN Member States to sign and ratify the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction;
   (aa) to engage in a public and comprehensive debate with all UN General Assembly members on the importance of respecting constitutional limits in presidential mandates worldwide;
   (ab) to reiterate its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism and its full support for actions aimed at defeating and eradicating terrorist organisations, in particular ISIL/Daesh, which pose a clear threat to regional and international security; insists that all measures taken in the fight against terrorism should be fully in line with international humanitarian and human rights law;
   (ac) to support the UN in making counter-terrorism a key element of its prevention agenda in line with the EU’s engagement in preventive measures to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism; to strengthen joint EU-UN efforts in combating the root causes of extreme violence and terrorism in countering hybrid threats and developing research and capacity-building in cyber defence; to promote education as a tool for preventing violent extremism and to rely on the existing peacebuilding initiatives set up by local actors to devise, implement, and develop approaches to counter radicalisation and terrorist recruitment, while promoting international action to bring those responsible for violence to justice; to support an enhanced EU contribution to UN capacity-building initiatives concerning the fight against foreign fighters and violent extremism;
   (ad) to step up efforts to clamp down on recruitment and fight terrorist propaganda conducted not only through social media platforms but also through networks of radicalised hate preachers; to support actions strengthening the resilience of communities targeted by extremist propaganda and vulnerable to radicalisation, including by addressing the economic, social, cultural, and political causes which lead to it; to support counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation policies in line with the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism; to recall that the promotion and protection for human rights and respect for the rule of law are key elements in counter-terrorism policies;
   (ae) to work with the UN General Assembly to combat the financing of terrorism and to build mechanisms to designate terrorist individuals and organisations and strengthen asset-freezing mechanisms worldwide, while upholding international standards on due process and the rule of law;
   (af) to strengthen the efficacy of international police, legal and judicial cooperation in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime; welcomes in this regard UN Security Council resolution 2322 (2016), and stresses the need to speed up the processes of international judicial cooperation, to strengthen the existing mechanisms of international police cooperation and to update the network of contacts between central and judicial authorities;
   (ag) to support UN efforts to prevent non-state actors and terrorist groups from developing, manufacturing, acquiring or transferring weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems; to insist on full compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and to actively take steps towards global disarmament;
   (ah) to promote the full implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and encourage all UN Member States to sign and ratify the ATT;
   (ai) to work towards more effective action against the diversion of, and illicit trade in, weapons and ammunitions, including small arms and light weapons, in particular by developing a weapons tracking system; to request the UN Members to actively take steps towards global disarmament;
   (aj) to pay special attention to the technological progress in the field of weaponisation of robotics and in particular, on the armed robots and drones and their conformity with international law; to establish a legal framework on drones and armed robots in line with the existing international humanitarian law to prevent this technology from being misused in illegal activities by state and non-state actors;
   (ak) to call for a strengthening of the global response to migration, by building on the successful UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants of 19 September 2016 and addressing the challenges and security concerns stemming from aspects of illegal migration, such as people smuggling and human trafficking, and for efforts to be made to create legal avenues for migration; emphasizes the need for an effective and urgent commitment to address the root causes of humanitarian crisis and unprecedented migration and refugee flows;
   (al) to promote greater support for the work of UNHCR in implementing its international mandate to protect refugees including vulnerable groups such as women, children, and people with disabilities; to stress the substantial funding gap between UNHCR’s budgetary needs and funds received and to demand greater global solidarity; to call for greater UN regular budget funding of the UNHCR core functions in order to safeguard its functioning; to call for political engagement, funding and concrete acts of solidarity in support of the New York Declaration for refugees and migrants;
   (am) to advocate and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people; to call for the repeal of legislation in UN Member States which criminalises people on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity, and to promote international action to combat homophobic and transphobic hate crimes;
   (an) to promote and respect the principles of opinion and expression, as mentioned in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to emphasise the importance of a free press in a healthy society and the role of every citizen therein;
   (ao) to call for a strengthening of the child protection systems and to support concrete measures in the best interests of the child refugees and migrants, based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
   (ap) to demand that greater efforts be made to prevent irregular migration and to fight people smuggling and human trafficking, in particular by combating criminal networks through timely and effective exchange of relevant intelligence; to improve methods to identify and protect victims and to reinforce cooperation with third countries with a view to tracking, seizing and recovering the proceeds of criminal activities in this sector; to insist at UN level on the importance of the ratification and full implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocols thereto against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children;
   (aq) to urge all states, including the EU Member States, to swiftly ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights establishing complaint and inquiry mechanisms;
   (ar) to call on all states, in particular the EU Member States, to participate actively in the negotiations at the UNHCR in Geneva for an international binding Treaty on transnational corporations and human rights;
   (as) to reiterate clearly and firmly that all human rights agreed under UN conventions are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and that respect for these rights must be enforced; to call for greater protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in every dimension of their expression, including in the context of new technologies; to continue to encourage all UN Member States to sign, ratify and implement the different human rights conventions and to comply with their reporting obligations under these instruments; to call for the defence of the freedoms of opinion and expression; to emphasise the importance of a free media;
   (at) to call for all UN Member States to implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; to promote, strengthen and mainstream activities supporting equality between women and men; to call for further empowerment of women and girls, strengthening leadership and participation of women at all levels of decision making, including special attention being given to the inclusion of minority women; to call for the eradication of all violence and discrimination against women and girls, by also taking into account discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression; to promote children’s rights, ensuring in particular their access to education and the rehabilitation and reintegration of children enlisted in armed groups and eliminating child labour, torture, the issue of child witchcraft, trafficking, child marriage and sexual exploitation; to actively promote the support of further actions against violation of LGBTI rights; to support close monitoring of the situation of LGBTI persons and LGBTI human rights defenders in countries with anti-LGBTI laws;
   (au) to continue to advocate freedom of religion or belief; to call for greater efforts to protect the rights of religious and other minorities; to call for greater protection of religious and ethnic minorities against persecution and violence; to call for the repeal of laws criminalising blasphemy or apostasy, which serve as a pretext for the persecution of religious minorities and non-believers; to support the work of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; to actively work for UN recognition of the genocide of religious, ethnic and other minorities committed by ISIL/Daesh, and for referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) of cases of suspected crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide; to support the work of the UN against torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, mass executions, and executions including for drug-related offences;
   (av) to reiterate its unequivocal condemnation of any act of violence, harassment, intimidation or persecution against human rights defenders, whistle-blowers, journalists or bloggers; to advocate the appointment of a Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the safety of journalists;
   (aw) to recall the obligation of the UN General Assembly, when electing members to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), to take into account the respect of candidates for the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law and democracy; to call for the establishment of clear human rights performance-based criteria for membership of the UNHRC;
   (ax) to strengthen the role of the ICC and the international criminal justice system in order to promote accountability and to end impunity; to call on all UN Member States to join the ICC by ratifying the Rome Statute and to encourage the ratification of the Kampala amendments; to provide the ICC with strong diplomatic, political and financial support;
   (ay) to recall the EU’s position on zero tolerance for the death penalty; to maintain strong engagement in promoting an end to the death penalty worldwide; to call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and to further work towards its universal abolition; to launch an initiative to promote an international framework combating tools of torture and capital punishment drawing on the experience of Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 on this issue;
   (az) to push for stronger engagement in promoting the rule of law, a cross-cutting question that links the three pillars of the UN: peace and security, human rights and development; to cooperate with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to urge the Venezuelan authorities to release all political prisoners and to respect the separation of powers;
   (ba) to support UN efforts to put in place an international framework on sport and human rights, which facilitates the prevention, monitoring and provision of remedies to human rights abuses connected to mega sporting events;
   (bb) to further support the work of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse in order to contribute to a fair and more effective system of domestic law remedies, in particular in cases of gross human rights abuses in the business sector; to call on all governments to fulfil their duties in securing respect for human rights, access to justice for victims who face both practical and legal challenges to access remedies at national and international levels, with regard to human rights violations linked to business;
   (bc) to underline the leading role of the EU in the process that led to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030) and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly in September 2015; to take concrete steps to ensure the efficient implementation of Agenda 2030 and the 17 SDGs as important instruments for prevention and sustainable development; to work towards improving the lives of future generations and to encourage and support countries to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 SDGs; to encourage UN Member States to meet their commitments on development aid spending and to call for the adoption of a solid framework of indicators and the use of statistical data to monitor progress and ensure accountability for evaluating the situation in developing countries, monitor progress and ensure accountability; emphasises that, above and beyond GDP, it is also necessary to focus on other indicators in order to assess the true situation in developing countries more precisely and take effective action to combat poverty and support sustainable development specially in the cases of the middle income countries; to call for cross-EU initiatives in promotion and protection of women’s rights; to call for the full implementation of Beijing Platform for Action and the ICPD Programme of Action and the Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development;
   (bd) to continue its efforts to achieve policy coherence for development across all EU policies, which is crucial for achieving the SDGs, and to also push at UN level for greater policy coherence in accordance with Goal 17.14; to support the UN push for stepping up efforts to deliver integrated and coordinated policy support for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and consequently promote a UN Development system that works in a more integrated fashion, with strengthened inter-agency work and joint implementation of projects, in particular strengthening the security-development nexus; to call on the UN to systematically integrate capacity-building and good governance into long-term development strategies in order to eradicate poverty and hunger, prevent conflict and build resilience effectively to promote ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development, to fight against social inequalities and to provide humanitarian assistance to populations; to stress that access to a safe, reliable and affordable water supply and adequate sanitation services improves living standards, expands local economies and promotes the creation of more dignified jobs;
   (be) to insist that the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development should become the main decision-making body competent for ensuring a coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review of the implementation of the SDGs; to recognise the significant role civil society organisations and local actors play in successfully implementing Agenda 2030 and achieving the SDGs; to recognise the instrumental role and impact of the SDGs on international peace and security;
   (bf) to ensure that the EU remains at the forefront of the fight against climate change and cooperates further with the UN in this area; to call on all UN Member States to uphold the Paris Agreement and to ensure swift implementation of the decisions taken at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference;
   (bg) to work closely with small island states and other countries facing the most serious consequences of climate change to ensure that their voice and their needs are taken into consideration in the different UN fora;
   (bh) to call on EU Member States to coordinate their actions more closely in the organs and bodies of the United Nations’ system and to engage further to enhance the observer status of the EU in certain UN sub-organisations; to strengthen the communication and to ensure that Member States’ positions at EU level are ever more coordinated; to strive for alignment of positions with candidate countries, partner countries and other likeminded states;
   (bi) to work towards the reinforcement of international fiscal cooperation, supporting the creation of an international tax body within the UN system; to counter tax evasion and money laundering through the worldwide automatic exchange of information on tax issues and the creation of a common global black list of tax havens;
   (bj) to actively support a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council on the basis of a broad consensus in order to better reflect the new world reality and to more effectively meet present and future security challenges; to support the long-term goal of the EU having a seat on a reformed UN Security Council; to urge UN Security Council members to refrain from using their right of veto in cases where crimes against humanity are being committed; to promote the revitalisation of the work of the UN General Assembly, and improved coordination and coherence of the action of all UN institutions, which should enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, legitimacy, transparency, accountability, capacity and representativeness of the system in order to respond more quickly to global challenges;
   (bk) to strongly support the newly elected UNSG’s reform agenda; to encourage the impetus for a reform of the UN peace and security architecture, the functioning and architecture of the Secretariat through simplification, decentralization and flexibility and streamlining the financial organisation; to establish an effective system of protection for UN whistle-blowers;
   (bl) to actively support the efforts by the UNSG to appoint more women in senior management posts at the UN HQ level;
   (bm) to foster a debate on the topic of the role of parliaments and regional assemblies in the UN system and on the topic of establishing a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly with a view to increasing the democratic profile and internal democratic process of the organisation and to allow world civil society to be directly associated in the decision-making process;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the European External Action Service, the Commission and, for information, the United Nations General Assembly and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0089.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0201.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0317.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0051.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0422.


Building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2017 on building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe (2017/2732(RSP))
P8_TA(2017)0305RC-B8-0440/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 9, 151, 152, 153(1) and (2), and 173 thereof,

–  having regard to Articles 14, 27 and 30 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular to Article 5(3) TEU and to Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 November 2010 entitled ‘An Agenda for New Skills and Jobs: A European contribution towards full employment’ (COM(2010)0682),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2014 on reindustrialising Europe to promote competitiveness and sustainability(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 January 2014 entitled ‘For a European industrial renaissance’ (COM(2014)0014),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2015 entitled ‘Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497),

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

–  having regard to President Juncker’s Political Guidelines entitled ‘A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 October 2016 on the need for a European reindustrialisation policy in light of the recent Caterpillar and Alstom cases(2),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 15 December 2016 and of 23 June 2017,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Industrial Competitiveness Agenda, on the digital transformation of European industry and on the ‘Digital Single Market Technologies and Public Services Modernisation’ package,

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2011 on an industrial policy for the globalised era(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 April 2016 on Digitising European Industry – Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market (COM(2016)0180),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2017 on digitising European industry(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 29 May 2017 on a future EU industrial policy strategy,

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement, ratified by the European Parliament on 4 October 2016,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe (O-000047/2017 – B8-0319/2017),

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

A.  whereas European industry is a global leader in many industrial sectors, accounting for over half Europe’s exports and around 65 % of research and development investments, and providing more than 50 million jobs (both directly and indirectly), meaning 20 % of jobs in Europe;

B.  whereas the contribution of the European manufacturing industry to the EU’s GDP has decreased from 19 % to less than 15,5 % during the last 20 years and its contribution to jobs and investment in research and development has declined during that period;

C.  whereas the strengthening of our industrial base is therefore essential to keeping expertise and know-how in the EU;

D.  whereas EU policy needs to enable European industry to preserve its competitiveness and capacity to invest in Europe and to address social and environmental challenges, including climate change, while remaining a leader in social and environmental responsibility;

E.  whereas the circular economy can have a highly positive impact on the reindustrialisation of Europe and on lowering energy consumption and dependence on raw materials coming from third countries, and whereas investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency is an important driver for the promotion of industrial renewal capable of creating virtuous circles;

F.  whereas an ambitious innovation policy which favours the production of high-quality, innovative and energy-efficient products and promotes sustainable processes will enable the EU to strengthen its competitiveness in the world; whereas innovation and investment in R&D, jobs and skill renewal are essential for sustainable growth; whereas innovative industry depends strongly on the EU’s research capacity, research progress and collaborative research in particular;

G.  whereas European industry, both large- and small-scale, faces global competition and whereas an integrated and functioning internal market and open and fair trade with third countries is essential for EU industry, where fair trade in industrial products must respect EU standards;

H.  whereas small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for a large majority of European companies and represent the backbone of EU industries, are facing major challenges due to global changes in the economy and financial and administrative barriers;

I.  whereas female entrepreneurs represent only 31 % of the EU self-employed population and 30 % of start-up entrepreneurs, and are currently under-represented in industry, in particular in scientific, engineering and management posts;

J.  whereas more than 60 % of all enterprises today are family-run businesses and provide up to 50 % of all private sector jobs in the European Union;

K.  whereas the support strategy for the digitalisation of industry is essential for the competitiveness of the European economy;

L.  whereas EU financing instruments and programmes play a strategic role in fostering competitiveness and in attracting investment in the EU and preventing its leakage;

1.  Underlines the essential role of industry as a driver for sustainable growth, employment and innovation in Europe;

2.  Emphasises the importance of strengthening and modernising the industrial base in Europe, while recalling the EU’s target of ensuring that 20 % of Union GDP is based on industry by 2020;

3.  Calls on the Commission to develop, by early 2018, together with the Member States, a Union strategy and an action plan for a consistent and comprehensive industrial policy aimed at Europe’s reindustrialisation, with targets, indicators, measures and time scales; calls on the Commission to base this strategy on an assessment of the impact of mainstreaming industrial policy into EU strategic policy initiatives and extensive dialogue with relevant stakeholders and to take account of industrial competitiveness and sustainability across all its major policy initiatives; highlights the fact that this Union strategy must be based inter alia on digitalisation, on an energy- and resource-efficient economy and on a life-cycle and circular economy approach;

4.  Believes that the European regulatory framework and public and private investment should enable industries to adapt to the changes concerned and to take anticipatory action, in order to contribute to job creation, growth, regional convergence and territorial cohesion;

5.  Highlights the role of SMEs as the backbone of EU industry and stresses the need to reinforce strong value-chains between SMEs, mid-caps and larger enterprises, and the need to pursue an EU industrial policy in an SME-compatible way that addresses the challenges they face; underlines the need to support the creation of a business-friendly environment by establishing a level playing field for all EU SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups, young entrepreneurship, in particular in the most innovative areas, and social economy enterprises;

6.  Stresses that the competitiveness clusters, business networks and digital innovation hubs are a very useful solution for bringing together relevant stakeholders; calls for the EU to support public investment in innovation, as it is strategic in this domain; asks the Commission to support these clusters and their cooperation at European level, ensuring the involvement of SMEs, research centres and universities at regional and local level; calls on the Commission to develop smart specialisation platforms encouraging intersectoral and interdisciplinary links; stresses the need to strengthen interregional cooperation in order to develop transnational opportunities and transversal innovation alliances;

7.  Calls on the Commission to identify the challenges and obstacles that women face in becoming entrepreneurs, and to promote and support women’s leadership and ways to tackle inequalities in salary and access to job positions;

8.  Is convinced that European industry should be seen as a strategic asset for the competitiveness and sustainability of the EU; underlines the fact that only a strong and resilient industry and a future-oriented industrial policy will enable the EU to face the different challenges ahead, including its sustainable reindustrialisation, global competition, rapid technological progress and the creation of quality employment;

9.  Highlights the importance of the Energy Union, the Digital Single Market, the Digital Agenda and Europe’s connectivity through adequate, future-proof and efficient infrastructure;

10.  Stresses the importance for the EU of supporting the qualitative rise of European products through reindustrialisation processes, notably through research and digitalisation, in order to improve competitiveness in Europe;

11.  Underlines that, in order to support the Union’s industry in facing the challenges of rapid economic and regulatory changes in today’s globalised world, it is essential to enhance Europe’s industrial attractiveness for European and foreign direct investment;

12.  Stresses the importance of the timely adoption of a Union industrial strategy and recalls, in this context, the necessity of keeping sufficient financial means for the industry sector in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), in particular through the specific instruments and funds (such as the European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and COSME);

13.  Recalls the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement; calls for the integration into the EU industrial strategy of effective financing instruments and measures to help decrease carbon risk and tackle the risks of carbon leakage;

14.  Highlights the need to fully exploit the potential of industry, especially in environmental technologies, and to ensure that industries constantly develop and disseminate the best available techniques and emerging innovations;

15.  Stresses the need to reduce administrative burdens and compliance costs for businesses, including family businesses, while ensuring the effectiveness of EU legislation on consumer, health and safety and environmental protection;

16.  Underlines the importance for EU industry of open and fair international trade based on common rules and a level playing field; calls for more consistency between trade policy and industrial policy in order to prevent incoherence, which could lead to relocations and further deindustrialisation in the EU;

17.  Stresses the need to prevent EU trade policy from fostering anti-competitive practices; emphasises the need for a consistent WTO-compatible and effective anti-dumping and anti-subsidies strategy for the EU;

18.  Stresses that European industry faces global competition, and therefore calls on the Commission to assess the adequacy of market definitions and the current set of EU competition rules to take into account the evolution of respective global markets and the emergence of the role of major national players in third countries;

19.  Calls on the Commission to pay more attention to the role of foreign-based state-owned enterprises that are supported and subsidised by their governments in ways that the EU single market rules prohibit for EU entities;

20.  Calls on the Commission, together with the Member States, to screen third country FDI in the EU in strategic industries, infrastructure and key future technologies, or other assets that are important in the interests of security and protection of access to them, while bearing in mind that Europe depends to a large extent on FDI;

21.  Emphasises the need for coordinated EU efforts, with consultation of all relevant partners, including social partners and academia, to pursue the promotion of new skills as well as retraining, up-skilling and life-long learning, as advocated by the Commission in its Agenda for New Skills and Jobs;

22.  Recalls the important role of EU standardisation and advocates a strong focus on the EU’s leading role in international standards organisations;

23.  Takes note of the need to coordinate EU efforts towards reducing resource dependency on third countries through a four-pronged focus on:

   a. fair international market access to resources
   b. sustainable mining
   c. efficiency-technology innovations
   d. the circular economy;

24.  Underlines that a new industrial policy strategy must align different policy areas with industrial policy – most importantly trade, environment, research, health, investment, competition, energy, climate and creative industries – to form one coherent approach;

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

(1) OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 89.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0377.
(3) OJ C 199E, 7.7.2012, p. 131.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0240.

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