Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 6 February 2018 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Request for waiver of the immunity of Steeve Briois
 EU-Brazil Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation ***
 Setting up a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides
 Geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment ***I
 Cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments ***I
 European Central Bank Annual Report for 2016
 Accelerating clean energy innovation

Request for waiver of the immunity of Steeve Briois
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European Parliament decision of 6 February 2018 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Steeve Briois (2017/2221(IMM))
P8_TA(2018)0020A8-0011/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Steeve Briois, forwarded on 25 September 2017 by the Minister of Justice of the French Republic at the request of the Prosecutor General of the Court of Appeal of Douai in relation to a complaint filed against Mr Briois by a civil party for the offence of public insult directed at an individual (‘injures publiques envers un particulier’), and announced in plenary on 2 October 2017,

–  having regard to the additional information on the case provided by the Public Prosecutor of the Douai Regional Court in a letter dated 12 December 2017,

–  having heard Steeve Briois in accordance with Rule 9(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Articles 8 and 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964, 10 July 1986, 15 and 21 October 2008, 19 March 2010, 6 September 2011 and 17 January 2013(1),

–  having regard to Article 26 of the Constitution of the French Republic,

–  having regard to Rule 5(2), Rule 6(1) and Rule 9 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0011/2018),

A.  whereas the Prosecutor General of the Court of Appeal of Douai has requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of a Member of the European Parliament, Steeve Briois, in connection with legal proceedings pending before the Douai Regional Court; whereas this request was forwarded to Parliament by the Minister of Justice of the French Republic;

B.  whereas the request for the waiver of Mr Briois’s immunity is related to legal proceedings instituted in relation to the offence of public insult directed at an individual (the second paragraph of Article 29, the second paragraph of Article 33 and Article 23 of the Act of 29 July 1881) in connection with allegedly defamatory comments that a number of internet users posted in response to a text that Mr Briois had published on 23 December 2015 on his Facebook page and that were not promptly removed by Mr Briois; whereas, at the request of the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Public Prosecutor of the Douai Regional Court stated that the aforementioned comments were certainly still online on 21 November 2017;

C.  whereas pursuant to Article 8 of Protocol No 7, Members of the European Parliament shall not be subject to any form of inquiry, detention or legal proceedings in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by them in the performance of their duties;

D.  whereas pursuant to Article 9 of Protocol No 7, during the sessions of the European Parliament, its Members shall enjoy, in the territory of their own State, the immunities accorded to members of their parliament;

E.  whereas, among other things, Article 26 of the Constitution of the French Republic provides that no member of Parliament may be arrested for a crime or be the subject of any other custodial or semi-custodial measure without the authorisation of the Parliament;

F.  whereas Articles 8 and 9 of Protocol No 7 are mutually exclusive(2);

G.  whereas the allegations against Steeve Briois, and the subsequent request for waiver of his immunity, are not related to an opinion expressed or vote cast by him in the performance of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament, but to the fact that he allegedly failed to remove from his official Facebook page a number of comments posted by third parties and perceived by the person targeted as insulting;

H.  whereas, as a consequence, the immunity accorded by Article 8 of Protocol No 7 is not applicable and the case in point falls entirely within Article 9 of the same Protocol;

I.  whereas there is no apparent evidence of fumus persecutionis, that is, a sufficiently serious and precise suspicion that the case has been brought with the intention of causing political damage to the Member concerned;

1.  Decides to waive the immunity of Steeve Briois;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its committee responsible immediately to the Minister of Justice of the French Republic and to Steeve Briois.

(1) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 May 1964, Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier, 101/63, ECLI:EU:C:1964:28; judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 July 1986, Wybot v Faure and others, 149/85, ECLI:EU:C:1986:310; judgment of the General Court of 15 October 2008, Mote v Parliament, T-345/05, ECLI:EU:T:2008:440; judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 October 2008, Marra v De Gregorio and Clemente, C‑200/07 and C-201/07, ECLI:EU:C:2008:579; judgment of the General Court of 19 March 2010, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-42/06, ECLI:EU:T:2010:102; judgment of the Court of Justice of 6 September 2011, Patriciello, C‑163/10, ECLI: EU:C:2011:543; judgment of the General Court of 17 January 2013, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-346/11 and T-347/11, ECLI:EU:T:2013:23.
(2) Joined Cases C-200/07 and C-201/07, Marra, cited above, paragraph 45.


EU-Brazil Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 February 2018 on the draft Council decision concerning the renewal of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil (11040/2017 – C8-0320/2017 – 2017/0139(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0021A8-0004/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (11040/2017),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2005/781/EC of 6 June 2005 on the conclusion of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Federative Republic of Brazil(1),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 186 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0320/2017),

–  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 Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0004/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to renewal 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 Federative Republic of Brazil.

(1) OJ L 295, 11.11.2005, p. 37.


Setting up a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides
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European Parliament decision of 6 February 2018 on setting up a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides, its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office (2018/2534(RSO))
P8_TA(2018)0022B8-0077/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal for a decision of the Conference of Presidents,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC(1),

–  having regard to Commission Regulation (EU) No 546/2011 of 10 June 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards uniform principles for evaluation and authorisation of plant protection products(2),

–  having regard to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1056 of 29 June 2016 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the extension of the approval period of the active substance glyphosate(3) and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1313 of 1 August 2016 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the conditions of approval of the active substance glyphosate(4),

–  having regard to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2324 of 12 December 2017 renewing the approval of the active substance glyphosate in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011(5),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 13 April 2016(6) and of 24 October 2017(7) on the draft Commission implementing regulation renewing the approval of the active substance glyphosate in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011,

–  having regard to the decision of the European Ombudsman of 18 February 2016 in Case 12/2013/MDC on the practices of the Commission regarding the authorisation and placing on the market of plant protection products (pesticides),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers(8),

–  having regard to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 23 November 2016 in Case C-442/14 Bayer CropScience SA-NV, Stichting De Bijenstichting v College voor de toelating van gewasbeschermingsmiddelen en biociden,

–  having regard to Rule 197 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas concerns have been raised about the assessment of glyphosate, in particular as to whether an independent, objective and transparent assessment has taken place, whether the classification criteria of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council(9) have been properly applied, and whether relevant guidance documents have been properly used;

B.  whereas concerns have been raised with regard to the application by the Commission of the approval criteria and precautionary principle laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 when granting the technical extension of the approval of glyphosate in 2016, when adopting Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1313, and when adopting Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2324;

1.  Decides to set up a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides, vested with the following strictly defined responsibilities:

   (a) to analyse and assess the authorisation procedure for pesticides in the Union, including the methodology used and its scientific quality, the procedure’s independence from industry, and the transparency of the decision-making process and its outcomes;
   (b) to analyse and assess, using an evidence-based approach, the potential failures in the scientific evaluation of the approval, or renewal of approval, of active substances such as glyphosate by the relevant EU agencies, as well as compliance by the EU agencies with the relevant Union rules, guidelines and codes of conduct in force;
   (c) to analyse and assess, in particular, whether the Commission has acted in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 when taking decisions with regard to the conditions of approval of glyphosate and the renewal of approval of glyphosate;
   (d) to analyse and assess possible conflicts of interest at all levels of the approval procedure, including at the level of the national bodies of the rapporteur Member State in charge of the assessment report drawn up in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009;
   (e) to analyse and assess whether the EU agencies responsible for the evaluation and classification of active substances are adequately staffed and financed so as to enable them to fulfil their obligations; to analyse and assess the possibility of commissioning and/or conducting independent research and testing, and the financing thereof;
   (f) to make any recommendations that it considers necessary with regard to the Union authorisation procedure for pesticides in order to achieve a high level of protection of both human and animal health and the environment; to undertake visits and hold hearings to this end with the EU institutions and relevant agencies, as well as with international and national institutions, non-governmental organisations and private bodies;

2.  Stresses that any recommendation of the special committee shall be presented to and, if necessary, followed up by Parliament’s competent standing committees;

3.  Decides that the powers and available resources of Parliament’s standing committees with responsibility for matters concerning the adoption, monitoring and implementation of Union legislation relating to the area of responsibility of the special committee shall remain unchanged;

4.  Decides that whenever the special committee work includes the hearing of evidence of a confidential nature, testimonies involving personal data, or includes the exchangea of views or hearings with authorities and bodies on confidential information, including scientific studies or parts thereof granted confidentiality status under Article 63 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, the meetings shall be held in camera; decides further that witnesses and experts shall have the right to make a statement or to provide testimony in camera;

5.  Decides that the lists of people invited to public meetings, the lists of those who attend them and the minutes of such meetings shall be made public;

6.  Decides that confidential documents that have been received by the special committee shall be assessed in accordance with the procedure set out in Rule 210a of its Rules of Procedure; decides further that such information shall be used exclusively for the purposes of drawing up the final report of the special committee;

7.  Decides that the special committee shall have 30 members, in accordance with Rule 199(1) of its Rules of Procedure;

8.  Decides that the term of office of the special committee shall be nine months, except where Parliament extends that period before its expiry, and that its term of office shall run from the date of its constituent meeting; decides that the special committee shall present a final report to Parliament containing factual findings and recommendations as to measures and initiatives to be taken.

(1) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 155, 11.6.2011, p. 127.
(3) OJ L 173, 30.6.2016, p. 52.
(4) OJ L 208, 2.8.2016, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 333, 15.12.2017, p. 10.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0119.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0395.
(8) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.
(9) Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1).


Geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment ***I
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Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 February 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on addressing geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC (COM(2016)0289 – C8-0192/2016 – 2016/0152(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0023A8-0172/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0289),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0192/2016),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinion submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Austrian Federal Council, 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 19 October 2016(1),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 29 November 2017 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0172/2017),

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

2.  Takes note of the statement by the Commission annexed to this resolution, which will be published in the L series of the Official Journal of the European Union together with the final legislative act;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 6 February 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) …/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on addressing unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market and amending Regulations (EC) No 2006/2004 and (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2018/302).

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Statement by the COMMISSION

The Commission takes note of the text of Article 9 agreed by the European Parliament and the Council.

Without prejudice to its right of initiative pursuant to the Treaty, the Commission wishes in this context to affirm that, in accordance with Article 9, in its first evaluation of this Regulation, due within two years after the entry into force of the Regulation, it will thoroughly assess the way in which the Regulation has been implemented and contributed to the effective functioning of the internal market. In so doing, it will take account of the increasing expectations of consumers especially of those that lack access to copyright protected services.

As part of the evaluation, it will also perform a substantive analysis of the feasibility and potential costs and benefits arising from any changes to the scope of the Regulation, in particular with regard to the possible deletion of the exclusion of electronically supplied services the main feature of which is the provision of access to or use of copyright protected works or other protected subject matter from Article 4(1)(b) where the trader has the required rights for the relevant territories, taking due account of the likely impacts any extension of the scope of the Regulation would have on consumers and businesses, and on the sectors concerned, across the European Union. The Commission will also carefully analyse whether in other sectors, including those not covered by Directive 2006/123/EC which are also excluded from the scope of the Regulation pursuant to its Article 1(3), such as services in the field of transport and audio-visual services, any remaining unjustified restrictions based on nationality, place of residence or place of establishment should be eliminated.

If in the evaluation the Commission comes to the conclusion that the scope of the Regulation needs to be amended, the Commission will accompany it with a legislative proposal accordingly.

(1) OJ C 34, 2.2.2017, p. 93.


Cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments ***I
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Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 6 February 2018 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC to enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments (COM(2015)0337 – C8-0190/2015 – 2015/0148(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0024A8-0003/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0337),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 192(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0190/2015),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 9 December 2015(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 7 April 2016(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 22 November 2017 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and of the Committee on Development (A8-0003/2017),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(3);

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 6 February 2018 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC to enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments, and Decision (EU) 2015/1814

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2018/410).

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Statements by the COMMISSION

Linear Reduction Factor (LRF)

The EU ETS is the EU's key instrument to achieving the EU climate goal of limiting global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level as also agreed in the context of the Paris Agreement. In line with this objective and the 2030 climate and energy policy framework, the revision of the EU ETS and the increase of the linear reduction factor from 1,74% to 2,2% are the first steps in delivering on the EU's target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% domestically by 2030. The Commission acknowledges that further efforts and more ambition are needed to achieve the EU's 2050 GHG objective to reduce GHG emissions in line with reaching the long-term targets of the Paris Agreement and its Impact Assessment accompanying the 2030 climate and energy framework states that the cap equal to this level would require a further increase of the linear reduction factor until 2050. As part of any future review of this Directive, the Commission undertakes to consider an increase of the linear reduction factor in the light of international developments calling for an increased stringency of Union policies and measures.

Maritime emissions

The Commission takes note of the European Parliament’s proposal. In April 2018, the IMO is expected to decide on the initial GHG emission reduction strategy for ships. The Commission will swiftly assess and duly report on this outcome, in particular the emission reduction objectives and list of candidate measures to achieve them, including the timeline for adoption of such measures. When doing so it will consider which next steps are appropriate to ensure a fair contribution of the sector, including the way forward proposed by Parliament. In the context of new legislative measures on maritime greenhouse gas emissions, the Commission will duly consider amendments in this regard adopted by the European Parliament.

Just transition in coal and carbon-intensive regions

The Commission re-iterates the commitment to develop a dedicated initiative which will provide tailor made support for the just transition in coal and carbon-intensive regions in Member States concerned.

To this end, it will work in partnership with the stakeholders of these regions to provide guidance, in particular for the access to and use of relevant funds and programmes, and encourage exchange of good practices, including discussions on industrial roadmaps and re-skilling needs.

CCU

The Commission takes note of the European Parliament’s proposal to exempt emissions verified as captured and used ensuring a permanent bound from surrender obligations under the EU ETS. Such technologies are currently insufficiently mature for a decision on their future regulatory treatment. In view of the technological potential of CO2 Carbon Capture and Use (CCU) technologies, the Commission undertakes to consider their regulatory treatment in the course of the next trading period, with a view to considering whether any changes to the regulatory treatment are appropriate by the time of any future review of the Directive. In this regard, the Commission will give due consideration to the potential of such technologies to contribute to substantial emissions reductions while not compromising the environmental integrity of the EU ETS.

(1) OJ C 71, 24.2.2016, p. 57.
(2) OJ C 240, 1.7.2016, p. 62.
(3) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 15 February 2017 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0035).


European Central Bank Annual Report for 2016
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European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2018 on the European Central Bank Annual Report for 2016 (2017/2124(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0025A8-0383/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the European Central Bank Annual Report for 2016,

–  having regard to Article 284(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (ECB), in particular Articles 3 and 15 thereof,

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

–  having regard to the report of the High-Level Group on Own Resources (Monti report),

–  having regard to the macroeconomic imbalance procedure (MIP),

–  having regard to the ECB Economic Bulletin article entitled ‘MFI lending rates: pass-through in the time of non-standard monetary policy’ (Issue 1/2017),

–  having regard to the 2017 European Economic and Social Committee report on European industry and monetary policy,

–  having regard to the Transparency International report entitled ‘Two sides of the same coin? Independence and accountability of the European Central Bank’,

–  having regard to the ECB’s explainer page entitled ‘What is money?’,

–  having regard to the ECB’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) agreement published on 19 June 2017,

–  having regard to Commission recommendation 2010/191/EU of 22 March 2010 on the scope and effects of legal tender of euro banknotes and coins(1);

–  having regard to Article 11 of Council Regulation (EC) No 974/98 of 3 May 1998 on the introduction of the euro(2);

–  having regard to Article 128(1) of the TFEU, on the legal tender character of the euro;

–  having regard to the speech of 6 April 2017 by the President of the ECB,

–  having regard to Article 127(5) of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Article 127(2) of the TFEU,

–  having regard to the ECB’s feedback on the input provided by the European Parliament as part of its resolution on the ECB Annual Report for 2015(3),

–  having regard to Rule 132(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0383/2017),

A.  whereas at its meeting of 9 and 10 March 2016, the ECB Governing Council adopted further measures to achieve the primary objective of price stability and the secondary objective of supporting the economy through monetary policy, by: 1) a reduction in its key interest rates and a lower deposit facility rate of -0,4 %; 2) an increase in monthly purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) to EUR 80 billion; 3) the inclusion of a new corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) in the APP for purchasing investment-grade euro-denominated bonds issued by non-bank corporations established in the euro area; and 4) a new series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO) with a maturity of four years;

B.  whereas at its meeting of 7 and 8 December 2016, the ECB Governing Council decided to extend the horizon of the APP at a lowered monthly pace (from EUR 80 billion to EUR 60 billion), from April 2017 to December 2017, or beyond if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim;

C.  whereas the members of the ECB Executive Board have consistently emphasised the importance of implementing productivity-enhancing reforms in the euro area, as well as growth-friendly fiscal policies, within the framework of the Stability and Growth Pact;

D.  whereas, according to the Eurosystem macroeconomic projection of September 2017, annual inflation in the euro area as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) is expected to be 1,5 % in 2017, 1,2 % in 2018 and 1,5 % in 2019;

E.  whereas the primary objective of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) is to maintain price stability, defined by the ECB’s Governing Council as a year-on-year increase in HICP for the euro area of below but close to 2 % over the medium term; whereas the ECB’s forecasts have been significantly below its medium-term inflation target in each of the four years since 2013, and the ECB now forecasts that inflation will not reach the target level before 2020;

F.  whereas the ECB considers that the weak inflation dynamic is the result of, among other factors, subdued wage growth and low energy prices;

G.  whereas Article 127(5) of the TFEU requires the ESCB to help maintain financial stability;

H.  whereas in 2016 the ECB’s net profit stood at EUR 1,19 billion compared with EUR 1,08 billion in 2015;

I.  whereas higher net interest income earned on securities held for monetary policy purposes, including the APP and US dollar portfolios, is the main contributor to this net profit;

J.  whereas growth and unemployment rates remain geographically uneven to a significant degree, causing dangerous fragility for the economy and endangering sound development;

K.  whereas Article 123 TFEU and Article 21 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank prohibit the monetary financing of governments;

L.  whereas a growing number of FinTech firms have a significant potential in terms of the widening of financial inclusion in the euro area, also increasing the need for supervision and monitoring on the micro- and macro-prudential levels;

General overview

1.  Stresses that in accordance with Article 7 of the ECB Statute, neither the ECB, nor a national central bank, nor any member of their decision-making bodies shall seek or take instructions from Community institutions or bodies, from any government of a Member State or from any other body; underlines, therefore, the independence of the ECB in its role as the euro area’s monetary authority, as laid down in the Treaty; stresses, however, the need for more accountability and transparency, proportionate to its level of independence;

2.  Acknowledges as well the federal nature of the ECB, which rules out national vetoes and governmental interference, enabling it to act decisively in various matters such as, for instance, contributing to addressing the crisis;

3.  Notes the contribution of the accommodative monetary policy pursued by the ECB, including its low interest rates and assets purchase programme, in the period 2012-2016, to the cyclical economic recovery and employment creation, also by preventing deflation, preserving favourable financing conditions for companies and households, and maintaining financial stability and the proper functioning of the payment systems; is, however, concerned at the consequences of the unconventional monetary policy measures for individual savers and the financial equilibrium of pension and insurance schemes as well as the build-up of asset bubbles, which should be carefully monitored by the ECB and minimised;

4.  Is concerned that euro area banks did not use the advantageous environment created by the ECB to strengthen their capital bases but rather, according to the Bank for International Settlements, to pay substantial dividends sometimes exceeding the level of retained earnings;

5.  Remains concerned at the still significant levels of non-marketable assets and asset-backed securities put forward as collateral to the Eurosystem in the framework of its refinancing operations; reiterates its request to the ECB to provide information on which central banks have accepted such securities as well as to disclose the valuation methods regarding such assets; underlines that such disclosure would be beneficial for the purpose of parliamentary scrutiny of the supervisory tasks conferred on the ECB;

6.  Notes with concern that TARGET 2 imbalances are rising in the euro area again, despite a narrowing in trade imbalances, indicating continued capital outflows from the euro area periphery;

Price stability

7.  Recalls that, according to Eurostat, average inflation in the euro area was 0,2 % in 2016, while inflation excluding energy prices stood at 0,9 %; notes in addition that, as stated in the 2016 ECB Annual Report, underlying inflation continued to lack a convincing upward trend in 2016;

8.  Notes that inflation in the euro area is expected to remain below 2 % until at least 2020, despite the very accommodative monetary policy followed by the ECB, which suggests that the euro area economy is not operating at full capacity, while, among other factors, the recent appreciation of the euro exchange rate makes it more difficult to achieve price stability;

9.  Notes the ECB’s own assessment that without its policy package, inflation would have been almost 0,5 % lower on average than the rate currently projected for the years 2016-2019;

10.  Agrees with the ECB that a balanced mix of sound and growth-friendly national fiscal policies on a basis of full respect for the SGP, including its built-in flexibility, as well as socially balanced and ambitious productivity-enhancing reforms, are also required at Member State level in order to turn the current, cyclical recovery into a scenario of lasting, sustainable, and robust structural long-term economic development;

11.  Considers that, given the current inefficiencies of the monetary policy transmission channels, the ECB must ensure that price stability, defined by the ECB Council of Governors as an inflation rate of close to but below 2 %, is achieved; believes that the ECB should nonetheless carefully assess the benefits and side-effects of its policy, in particular as regards intended action to combat deflation in the future; believes that in order to create certainty and trust in the financial markets, the ECB should focus on a clear and concise communication of its monetary policy measures;

12.  Believes that the ongoing crisis has highlighted the need to diversify the theoretical background underlying the policy framework within central banks; requests the ECB, in its next annual report, to analyse the impact of the crisis on the evolution of its theoretical framework;

Economic growth and employment

13.  Recalls that, in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 of its Statute and Article 127 of the TFEU and the further details set out in Article 282 of the TFEU, the ECB must, without prejudice to the primary objective of price stability, support ‘the general economic policies of the Union’, with a view to contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Union as laid down in Article 3 of the TEU;

14.  Notes that GDP growth in the euro area has been stable but modest, yet favourable compared to previous years and following a steady path, standing at 2 % in 2015 and 1,8 % in 2016; observes that the Commission’s Autumn 2017 Economic Forecast predicts GDP growth rates of 2,2 % in 2017 and 2,3 % in 2018;

15.  Highlights that according to the ECB Annual Report for 2016, investment rose at a slightly slower pace than in the previous year; stresses that the ECB’s monetary policy efforts have not yet left a tangible impact on the investment side of the EU economy; notes that this lack of impact is having an especially adverse effect in the peripheral regions of the Union;

16.  Highlights with regret that according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook of April 2017, the euro area’s output gap was -1,2 % of potential GDP in 2016, a gap which is expected to remain negative until 2019, thus suggesting that euro area GDP will be below potential during the forecasting period;

17.  Notes that according to the ECB, its monetary policy has been key to the cyclical economic recovery in the euro area, which has mainly been and continues to be driven, among other factors, by domestic demand, supported by favourable financing conditions and improving labour markets, and productivity and competitiveness-enhancing reforms in some Member States, while also benefiting from the fall in oil prices, which will add a cumulative 1,7 % to growth in the period 2016-2019;

18.  Considers that, as noted by the ECB President, monetary policy is not sufficient to sustain economic recovery, nor can it contribute to solving the structural problems of the European economy, unless it is complemented by carefully designed, socially balanced and fair long-term growth- and competitiveness-enhancing policies at Member State level, in combination with sound fiscal policy and within the Stability and Growth Pact; agrees with the ECB, furthermore, that it is necessary to deepen the institutional architecture of EMU to support the above-mentioned reforms and to make the euro area more resilient to macroeconomic shocks;

19.  Regrets that even though unemployment has decreased from 10,5 % in December 2015 to 9,6 % in December 2016, many euro area countries continue to suffer from a high level of unemployment, and aggregate demand in the euro area remains subdued, also bearing in mind that persistent inequality in the EU may be harmful to sound and inclusive economic development; calls, therefore, for implementing policies that are geared to increasing productivity, with a focus on skills that facilitate further creation of quality jobs, as well as wage increases;

20.  Takes note of the ECB Annual Report’s analysis of the distributional consequences of the ECB’s policies; encourages the ECB to continue studying the distributional impact of its monetary policy, including on income inequality, and to take that research into account in the context of crafting monetary policy;

21.  Stresses that in order to ensure the full effectiveness of monetary policy, current account imbalances must be corrected with appropriate fiscal, economic policies and productivity-enhancing reforms;

Credit supply and banking supervision

22.  Points out that even though M1 grew at a rate of 8,8 % in 2016, M3 continues to grow at just 5 % per year, which shows that the transmission of monetary policy is not fully effective and indicates monetary abnormalities as well as lack of adequate credit supply; emphasises, therefore, the importance of the Capital Markets Union (CMU), which could offer an alternative means of financing the economy during times of banking distress;

23.  Acknowledges that monetary policy has reduced to some extent the cost of credit and has helped to improve access to finance for companies and households in the euro area, with particular impact in certain Member States, as noted by the 2016 ECB annual report, which states that the cost of borrowing for euro area households continues to vary across countries; considers, therefore, that the effect of this policy is limited owing to subdued credit demand, the persistence of structural problems in the banking systems of some Member States, and lack of trust among financial institutions themselves;

24.  Encourages further improvement of SMEs’ access to credit, thus enforcing inclusiveness in economic development;

25.  Welcomes the fact that since 2015, rates for very small loans have continued to fall at a faster pace than those for large loans, contributing to a further narrowing of the spread between very small and large loans; notes, moreover, that the spread between rates for small loans and large loans is now similar across countries in the euro area;

26.  Notes that a prolonged period of an almost flat yield curve of the interest rate could affect the stability and profitability of the banking system; agrees nonetheless with the ECB’s assessment that a bank’s profitability ultimately depends on its business model, as well as on its structure and balance sheet, low interest rates notwithstanding; notes as well that the EU’s banking sector is characterised by diversity, not least as a result of national specificities, which in turn contributes to the stability of the financial system;

27.  Acknowledges that while the current policy of low interest rates has a temporarily positive effect on the level of nonperforming loans (NPLs), the high risks related to NPLs should be tackled effectively in a structural fashion; notes the ECB’s and SSM’s efforts in supervising and assisting banks in the euro area in order to reduce their NPL exposure, and in particular the guidance provided by the ECB to banks on tackling NPLs in March 2017 and its actions concerning individual banks, as well as the action plan approved by the ECOFIN Council of 11 July 2017, without prejudice to Parliament’s powers regarding level 1 legislation; points out that an orderly implementation of the Council Action Plan requires a joint effort by banks, supervisors, regulators and national authorities; calls for stress tests characterised by wide coverage, methodological pertinence and robustness; recommends the careful monitoring of developments on the real estate markets; considers that any additional measures should ensure full respect for the prerogatives of the European Parliament;

CSPP

28.  Welcomes the improvements made by the ECB in disclosing the list of securities held by the Eurosystem under the ECB’s CSPP, but notes that this programme directly benefits mostly large corporations;

29.  Calls on the ECB to continue ensuring full transparency over disclosing the volumes of the purchases made under CSPP for each company after a reasonable time-period; calls the ECB also to publish all CSPP data in a single, user-friendly spreadsheet that can facilitate the programme’s public accountability; emphasises that in any case full transparency should be provided when the programme ends; furthermore calls on the ECB to make public the criteria applying regarding the eligibility of corporate bonds for purchase under the CSPP, in order to avoid possible distortions of market competition; underlines that the eligibility of bonds is subject to risk management criteria and not to the size of the issuing companies;

Additional challenges

30.  Notes that the ECB as an EU institution is bound by the Paris Agreement;

31.  Agrees that a well-functioning, diversified and integrated capital market would support the transmission of the single monetary policy; is of the opinion that the capital markets union (CMU) should play a key role in expanding the pool of capital in the EU; calls for the step-by-step, timely and full completion and implementation of the CMU;

32.  Notes the positive opinion of the ECB regarding the establishment of a European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS) as the third pillar of the banking union; highlights the key role of deposit insurance for confidence-building and for ensuring the equal safety of deposits within the Banking Union; stresses that EDIS could further help enhance and safeguard financial stability; recognises that risk sharing and risk reduction need to go hand in hand;

33.  Takes note of the Commission’s reflections on establishing a European safe asset for the euro area’s Banking Union;

34.  Takes note of the decision of the ECB Governing Council regarding the Recommendation for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Article 22 of the ESCB and ECB Statute, taken on 23 June 2017 in order to provide a legal basis enabling the Eurosystem to carry out its role as central bank of issue in the proposed reform of the supervisory architecture for central clearing counterparties (CCPs), thus giving the ECB the competence to regulate the activity of the clearing systems, including CCPs, with the objective of effectively countering the risks posed by those systems to the smooth operation of payment systems and the implementation of the single monetary policy; is currently assessing the recommendation, and looks forward to the discussions on this proposal;

Physical money and digital currencies

35.  Agrees with the ECB on the importance of physical money as legal tender, given that the euro is the sole legal tender within the euro area, and reminds all euro area Member States that the acceptance of euro coins and banknotes should be the rule in retail transactions, without prejudice to the right of the said Member States to introduce upper limits to cash payments with a view to fighting money laundering, tax fraud, and the financing of terrorism and organised crime; suggests that the Eurosystem should issue commemorative Charlemagne banknotes that would also be legal tender;

36.  Takes note of the ongoing discussions concerning a ‘central bank digital currency’ or ‘digital base money’ that would be made available to a wide range of counterparties, including households; encourages the Commission and the ECB to study such schemes with a view to improving public access to payment systems, alongside physical money, as well as the potential challenges entailed for the ECB’s monopoly of issuing money; stresses that progress in the field of virtual currencies must not lead to restrictions on retail cash payments or to the abolition of cash;

37.  Underlines the importance of cyber-security for the financial sector; welcomes the ECB’s work in this area, including the launching of a pilot scheme for reporting significant cyber incidents in February 2016 and collaboration in the framework of the G7;

Accountability and transparency

38.  Asks the ECB to continue providing the necessary support to Greece, and to any other Member State, in the review of the completion of the financial assistance programme; considers that such support could involve, without prejudice to its independent status, the inclusion of Greek sovereign bonds in the PSPP, on the basis of the eligibility criteria applied to all Member States, and the extension of the CBPP3 programme to Greek legal entities governed by public and private law, in accordance with the same eligibility criteria;

39.  Calls on the ECB, in cooperation with the ESAs, to assess all the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and to stand ready to prepare for the relocation of banks and their activities in the euro area; considers the strengthening of oversight for euro-clearing outside the euro area to be of the utmost importance, in order to avoid supervisory gaps and financial stability issues; is starting to debate the Commission’s proposal amending EMIR as regards the supervision of CCPs issued in June 2017 at committee level, with a view to achieving this strengthening;

40.  Notes that the High-Level Group on Own Resources has identified ECB profits from seigniorage as one of the possible new own resources for the EU budget; stresses that turning these profits into an EU own resource would require a change to the Statute of the ESCB and the ECB, as well as adjustments to accommodate the specific situation of non-euro area Member States;

41.  Considers that the ECB’s independence, and thus its degree of accountability, must be commensurate with its importance; emphasises that the ECB’s responsibilities and tasks require transparency towards the general public and enhanced accountability towards Parliament; stresses the need to submit shortlists of candidates so that Parliament can perform its institutional role in the appointment of the President, Vice-President and other executive board members of the ECB;

42.  Points out that the Monetary Dialogue is an important tool for ensuring the transparency of monetary policy decisions vis-à-vis Parliament, and hence for the general public; welcomes the regular presence of and dialogue with the President of the ECB and other members of the Executive Board in the framework of the Monetary Dialogue and other formats; considers that the Monetary Dialogue could be further improved, including by revamping it in order to strengthen the focus, interactivity and relevance of the exchange of views with the ECB President and other members of the Executive Board in the framework of the Monetary Dialogue and other formats, on the lines of the recommendations and feedback from monetary experts commissioned by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in March 2014; also calls on the ECB’s officials to continue with the welcome practice of providing answers in writing when outstanding issues remain after the exchanges of views;

43.  Welcomes the decision made by the ECB in 2016 to publish in its annual report its feedback on the input provided by Parliament, and encourages the ECB to continue its transparency efforts in order to better explain its monetary policy measures; recalls its request to the ECB to add a chapter or an annex to its annual report providing a comprehensive feedback on Parliament’s report on the previous year;

44.  Asks the ECB to ensure the independence of the members of its internal Audit Committee; urges the ECB, in order to prevent conflicts of interest, to publish declarations of financial interests for its Governing Council members; urges the ECB to ensure that the Ethics Committee is not chaired by a former President or other past members of the Governing Council of the ECB, nor by anyone liable to conflict of interest; calls the ECB Governing Council to follow the EU Staff Regulations and Code of Conduct and require a two-year professional abstention period for its outgoing members after the conclusion of their mandate; stresses that the members of the Executive Board of the ECB should in principle abstain from being simultaneous members of forums or other organisations which include executives from banks supervised by the ECB, unless such membership is in line with established practice at global level and the ECB participates alongside other central banks such as the United States Federal Reserve or the Bank of Japan; considers that in these cases the ECB should take appropriate measures to avoid possible interference with its supervisory role and should not participate in discussions regarding individual banks under its supervision; takes note of the recommendations of the European Ombudsman of 15 January 2018 regarding the involvement of the President of the European Central Bank and the members of its decision-making bodies in the ‘Group of Thirty’;

45.  Calls on the ECB to adopt a clear and public policy on whistle-blowing;

46.  Notes that the ECB’s current employment policy regarding temporary agents, relying also on repetitive temporary contracts, may create instability in the working environment and undermine professional cohesion within the ECB; is concerned by the alleged cases of cronyism and the high level of dissatisfaction among ECB employees; notes and welcomes the ECB’s initiatives to address these issues, also through a strengthened dialogue with staff representatives, and encourages it to pursue this effort further; calls on the ECB to ensure equal treatment and equal opportunities for all its staff, as well as to guarantee decent working conditions within the institution;

47.  Welcomes the ECB’s efforts to improve clarity and transparency in relation to the provision of emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) and the determination of its pricing, in line with the agreement on ELA of May 2017; points out that the provision of central bank liquidity to institutions in the euro area could be further clarified;

48.  Welcomes the ECB’s practice of publishing its decisions of general application, regulations, recommendations and opinions, thereby reducing the number of exemptions from disclosure; asks the ECB to increase its transparency towards the public, including via public consultations, where the publication does not significantly disturb the functioning of the markets;

49.  Stresses that the ECB’s supervisory and monetary policy roles should not be confused and should not generate any conflict of interest in its execution of its principal functions;

o
o   o

50.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the ECB.

(1) OJ L 83, 30.3.2010, p. 70.
(2) OJ L 139, 11.5.1998, p. 1.
(3) https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/other/20170410_feedback_on_the_input_provided_by_the_european_parliament.en.pdf?384c7fc03ceda115fe0e9aa7cf378e07


Accelerating clean energy innovation
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European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2018 on accelerating clean energy innovation (2017/2084(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0026A8-0005/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 30 November 2016 entitled ‘Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation’ (COM(2016)0763),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ratified by the European Union on 4 October 2016,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 September 2015 entitled ‘Towards an Integrated Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan: Accelerating the European Energy System Transformation’ (C(2015)6317),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 February 2015 entitled ‘A Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy’ (COM(2015)0080), and to its resolution of 15 December 2015 entitled ‘Towards a European Energy Union’(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 December 2011 entitled ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’ (COM(2011)0885), and to its resolution of 14 March 2013 on the Energy Roadmap 2050, a future with energy(2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 30 November 2016 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Governance of the Energy Union (COM(2016)0759), and in particular the ‘research, innovation and competitiveness’ dimension of the Energy Union therein, most notably Article 22 on ‘Integrated reporting on research, innovation and competitiveness’,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 July 2017 entitled ‘Strengthening Innovation in Europe’s Regions: Strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth’ (COM(2017)0376),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 November 2016 entitled ‘Europe’s next leaders: the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative’ (COM(2016)0733),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Regional Development (A8-0005/2018),

A.  whereas research, development and innovation constitute a distinct dimension of the EU’s Energy Union, with energy R&D&I being key drivers of the Union’s industrial leadership, its global competitiveness, its sustainable growth, job creation, as well as the overall energy security of Member States and the Union, by reducing dependence on energy imports and fostering an efficient and sustainable use of all energy sources;

B.  whereas the EU remains a global leader in high-value, low-emission energy innovation, including in energy efficiency, renewables and in emerging clean technologies, giving the EU a solid basis to make a further leap in clean energy research and innovation, including in development of batteries for e-mobility and energy storage; whereas ambitious, targeted climate and energy policies, particularly through the 2030 climate and energy framework, as well as the energy roadmap 2050, have been key drivers of this leadership; whereas, in this context, the Paris Agreement substantially increased the level of global ambition and of signatories’ concrete commitments on climate change mitigation; whereas the EU must further remain ambitious in its policies and instruments in order to send the right investment signals and not lose its global leading market position in clean energy research and innovation;

C.  whereas progress in energy efficiency and renewable energy‑based innovations and R&D are key to the EU’s future competitiveness, including Europe’s industry; whereas the EU will become ‘the world number one in renewables’ only through the deployment of cost-effective innovations and intensified R&D efforts in this specific sector; whereas implementation of the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle needs to be underpinned by a robust innovation policy at European level, notably related to system integration;

D.  whereas a fully functioning and competitive internal energy market, with an appropriate regulatory framework and infrastructure, is essential for further stimulating R&D&I and maximising the market uptake of new clean technologies across all EU regions by providing economies of scale and regulatory and investment certainty, thereby enabling the Union to reap the full potential of technology-neutral energy innovation that fosters efficiency, a low-emission and sustainable use of energy sources and decentralised generation, storage and transport solutions and technologies;

E.  whereas innovation in clean energy should also contribute to providing an affordable energy supply to European consumers by helping them enjoy lower energy tariffs and more control over their energy consumption and production and offering them products and services that consume less energy;

F.  whereas the energy policy and financing instruments of the EU and its Member States, including relevant public investments, should be designed to take full advantage of accelerating technical developments, and should primarily focus on a gradual transition to clean, highly efficient, low-emission energy systems; whereas, due to market, technological or scientific uncertainty, funding from the private sector is often either insufficient or unavailable; whereas the EU needs to send strong and consistent signals and create incentives, in order to provide investor certainty and boost private investment in clean energy innovation, R&D and deployment;

G.  whereas innovation is driven first and foremost by innovators and market demand; whereas the Commission should focus its efforts primarily on creating an enabling framework for innovators, ranging from simplifying access to research financing to turning knowledge into commercially viable products; whereas partnerships between researchers and relevant industrial partners can be helpful in this context;

H.  whereas energy subsidies affect market prices, masking the true costs of energy from different sources and the true cost of energy-related technologies, thus negatively impacting the conditions for research and investment in clean energy innovation, as well as its eventual deployment; whereas, while the use of subsidies should be progressively phased out this use should, in the meantime, be limited to temporary instruments aimed at creating a level playing field and a competitive market facilitating the uptake of new clean technologies, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and renewables;

I.  whereas the life-cycle assessment (LCA) of greenhouse gas emissions from energy sources, distribution networks and technologies should be taken as a reference when addressing concrete policies and incentives at EU level aimed at fostering clean, low-emission, energy-efficient solutions and technologies, including the sustainable sourcing of raw materials and minerals; whereas focus should be put on those clean energy innovations that have direct relevance to citizens and prosumers, allowing their participation in the energy transition and making the transition itself more affordable;

J.  whereas energy-related research and innovation was recognised as a priority area under FP7 and Horizon 2020, and should continue to be one under FP9, given the Union’s commitments within the Energy Union and under the Paris Agreement, so as to leverage public and private R&D funding more effectively, and to help lower the investment risks of most prospective innovation in clean energy, particularly in energy efficiency and renewables;

K.  whereas the transport sector represents one third of the EU’s energy consumption, holds enormous potential for energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction, and should therefore play a vital role in the transition towards new energy solutions and to a low-carbon society;

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication setting the framework for accelerating the EU’s clean energy innovation; stresses the need for a regulatory and financing framework for energy innovation that is coherent with the EU’s energy roadmap 2050 and its commitments under the Paris Agreement, and that fosters the efficient and sustainable use of all energy sources, thus resulting in energy savings and wider benefits, including in the areas of health, safety, and air and water quality, while at the same time ensuring the Union’s industrial competitiveness, its security of energy supply and compliance with the EU treaty obligations, as well as a comprehensive response to environmental concerns; recognises that the framework for accelerating the EU’s clean energy innovation is an integral part of a wider set of legislative proposals set out in the ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package and should therefore reinforce its various elements, the Union’s commitments made under the Paris Agreement and the wider Energy Union legislation and principles, particularly those reflected in the 2030 climate and energy framework and the 2050 roadmap, while respecting the provisions of Articles 191 and 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU);

2.  Recognises that the successful deployment of energy innovation is a multidimensional challenge that encompasses both supply- and demand-side value chains, human capital, market dynamics, regulation, innovation and industrial policy issues; stresses that this challenge requires the engagement of citizens – both consumers and prosumers – as well as a wide ecosystem of stakeholders, including academia, research and technology organisations (RTOs), SMEs, start-ups, energy and construction companies, mobility providers, service suppliers, equipment manufacturers, IT and telecoms companies, financial institutions, Union, national, regional and local authorities, renewable energy communities, NGOs, educators and opinion leaders; highlights the value of new business models that use innovative digital technologies to, inter alia, optimise self-generation, storage, exchange and self-consumption of on-site clean energy and increase access to renewables, including for households in energy poverty;

3.  Considers that a cost-effective energy transition towards environmentally friendly, consumer-oriented and more digitalised and decentralised systems with active prosumers and prosumer communities requires research and the deployment of innovation across all energy system sectors, including non-technology-specific and systemic solutions, inter alia ones aimed at efficiency and decentralised energy generation; recognises that this transition is fostering new organisational models, particularly in energy generation, transmission, distribution and storage, electro-mobility, business and needs management, and service provision; recognises the need for common standards in order to foster a connected and digitalised energy system; underlines the role that sustainable large-scale pilot projects, including community-based ones, can play in deploying systemic energy innovation;

4.  Recalls that energy efficiency should be a cross-cutting horizontal priority in the research and innovation policy of the EU that applies to all sectors and is not limited to energy-related projects and that systematically promotes and incentivises the production of more energy-efficient processes, services and goods, while implementing the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle throughout the full energy chain, including energy generation, transmission, distribution and end-use;

5.  Recognises the importance of further liberalising European energy markets, notably by removing obstacles to free price formation and phasing out energy subsidies, in order to facilitate further innovation and the deployment of new technologies which lead to more sustainable energy use and which foster an emerging supply of renewable energy, and to create a level playing field and a competitive market capable of delivering a better deal for energy consumers, prosumers, communities and businesses;

Coherence of EU actions

6.  Notes that clean energy R&D&I crucially depends on a stable market and on the predictability and certainty of a regulatory framework, which require an ambitious and deliverable long-term policy vision, including energy- and climate-related goals and commitments, sustained targeted incentives and patient equity capital in order to create a level playing field among technologies, thus facilitating innovation, easing energy supply, lowering market entry barriers and making it easier for clean energy innovation to attain the critical mass necessary for market deployment; welcomes and encourages the focus on key technologies, as confirmed in the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) and the Commission communication; reiterates the provisions of Article 194 TFEU and notes that they must be reflected in policy and financial instruments supporting clean energy innovation; stresses the need, however, for greater prioritisation of cross-cutting, cross-sectoral, systemic innovation in energy, as well as the promotion of education and entrepreneurship, since innovation is not only technology-driven; underlines the need for this systemic approach to be able to effectively integrate different solutions available or under development, particularly with regard to energy efficiency and the integration of renewables; calls for European technology and innovation platforms to be used to help identify prospective clean energy innovation meriting targeted support;

7.  Urges the Commission and the Member States, and, where relevant, regional authorities, to put in place mechanisms for coordinating EU, national and regional research and energy innovation programmes in order to foster synergies and avoid duplication, thus ensuring the most effective use of existing resources and infrastructure, as well as of energy sources available in the Member States, in order to maximise the market uptake of new technologies and innovation and to promote new business models across the EU; believes that including relevant information in integrated national energy and climate plans could be conducive to that aim; stresses in this context the importance of promoting best practices and information exchange, as well as streamlining the rules on participation in energy innovation programmes for all organisations, enterprises, universities and institutes, both from the EU and from third countries;

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to continue to fund fundamental research through Horizon 2020 and the European Research Council; stresses the need to further enhance the funding of collaborative research under Horizon Societal Challenges in the field of energy, but also streamlining energy innovation in the other societal challenges; notes the Commission’s proposal to strengthen market-creating innovations by setting up a European Innovation Council in addition to the Start‑up and Scale‑up Initiative, thereby contributing to the fostering of breakthrough innovations that can capture and create new markets; believes that the creation of market-based financing instruments (such as loans and equity) should not be to the detriment of grants funding that enables non-profit and public actors, such as academia, universities and civil society, to participate in transnational European projects of high value;

9.  Remains concerned about the large number and complexity of existing financial instruments and stresses the need for greater coherence between the relevant funds, including structural funds, dedicated to clean energy projects, and for the existing financing instruments at EU and Member State level to be made more comprehensible; calls on the Commission to map the different funding and financing instruments along the value chain and considers that the possibility of pooling the various instruments should be assessed, while taking care not to undermine their complementarity; further considers that some Member States lack the capacity to develop support actions for energy-related innovation, in particular through national financial support schemes, and, in this respect, calls on the Commission to further reinforce these capacities while ensuring a coherent and simplified EU financing framework in clean energy innovation;

10.  Calls on the Commission to carry out an evaluation of the performance of its energy-related financial instruments and funds, and to provide a ‘fast track’ response to improve the instruments if specific instances of gridlock, incoherence or a need for amelioration are identified and to adapt the aforementioned instruments and funds to the new EU energy targets;

11.  Calls on the Commission to propose, as part of the Union’s industrial policy, a focused, long-term and technology-neutral energy dimension, based on high energy efficiency, further market liberalisation and greater transparency to help avoid investments in stranded assets; stresses that this dimension should be an integral part of the Union’s industrial policy strategy and action plan; stresses the role of innovative processes and technologies in improving emission performance by energy-intensive industries; calls on the Commission to put energy and resource efficiency at the forefront of research and innovation, and encourages the Member States to make accountable investments from ETS auctioning revenues into energy efficiency and sustainable, low-emission technologies; highlights the creation of an Innovation Fund to support innovation in low-carbon technologies and processes during ETS Phase IV; considers vital the promotion of a system of open innovation where industry and companies pool their various expertise and jointly develop high-quality sustainable solutions; recognises the role of the Clean Energy Industrial Competitiveness Forum in the deployment of key energy innovation, including in the photovoltaic and wind sectors, but also possibly for, inter alia, storage solutions, carbon capture and storage and energy-producing bio-processes; welcomes the Commission’s commitment and support to industry-led initiatives to promote the EU’s global leadership in clean energy and low-emission technology solutions;

12.  Recalls that the photovoltaic industry must be at the heart of European industrial policy to meet the demands of a growing global market in a context where the bulk of photovoltaic cells and modules are nowadays manufactured outside the European Union, mostly in China; stresses the need for the EU to be fully integrated into the new investment cycle in order to maintain its leadership in R&D on photovoltaic manufacturing machinery, as well as on some other segments such as inverters, raw materials, building‑integrated photovoltaics, operations and maintenance and on the balance of systems; further emphasises the need to maintain its expertise in system integration such as small-scale photovoltaic solutions for developing countries;

13.  Urges the Commission and the Member States, when addressing the energy sector and other related sectors, to step up their efforts in support of innovation in sustainable sourcing of raw materials, better product design, recycling, reuse and cascade use of existing metals and materials in the context of the circular economy and energy savings;

14.  Recognises links between digitalisation, IT technologies and energy research and innovation, in particular as regards improved data collection, interoperability, associated data security and privacy guarantees; considers that distributed ledger technologies, such as the blockchain system, can play a role in improving the efficiency of energy-related processes and in fostering citizens’ engagement in the energy system transformation, including through peer-to-peer energy trading; calls on the Commission, to this end, to encourage this initiative, to improve its regulatory framework, and to ensure coherence between related aspects of the Energy Union, the digital single market, cybersecurity strategies and the European Data Protection Framework, so as to reinforce the Union’s capacity to be at the forefront of this new trend;

15.  Calls on the Commission to set up a dedicated inter-service team that would, inter alia:

   (a) enable new common research and innovation policy planning, in order to ensure consistency, coherence and avoid frequent changes of priorities;
   (b) identify the relevant stakeholders in the EU’s wider energy innovation ecosystems, at all levels and across all sectors, including offshore wind and other renewable energy technologies;
   (c) identify existing stakeholder forums on energy research and innovation, especially on energy efficiency and renewables; promote the formation of clusters, integration into international value-creation networks, investment and innovation; provide tools for inter-sectoral, inter-disciplinary and inter-regional exchanges, including on energy innovation projects, national and local long-term energy innovation policies, joint investment opportunities, the appropriation of the energy transition by citizens and grass-roots initiatives;
   (d) incentivise public authorities at all levels to develop capital raising plans and provide incentives to clean energy innovation in order to foster investor trust and trigger the mobilisation of private capital;
   (e) establish a compendium of best practices, policy and financing instruments in energy, including PPPs, public procurement and tax incentives, exchange and information mechanisms, communication tools and campaigns, as well as operational guidelines and technical assistance on mobilising clean energy innovation, deployment and prosumer involvement, so as to ensure that the EU can adequately support all stages of the innovation cycle and ultimately provide a practical toolkit for the Member States, local authorities and stakeholders;
   (f) examine ways of drawing up innovation-friendly, streamlined and flexible rules for participation in FP9 and ESI Funds regulations focusing on achieving a greater long-term impact, with the aim of better aligning them, of avoiding any waste of applicants’ resources and of promoting innovation excellence right across Europe;
   (g) establish a mechanism with the aim of supporting a transnational energy start-up ecosystem, including a European incubator system in order to ensure that the introduction of energy innovation and business models on the market overcomes the ‘valley of death’ in the innovation cycle;
   (h) increase synergies with Horizon 2020 and other funding initiatives to strengthen research and innovation capacity building for low‑performing regions in the EU;
   (i) advise the European institutions on coherent procurement practices, fostering a more extensive deployment of energy innovation; help define concrete targets in the public procurement of innovative solutions at European level;
   (j) draw up concrete proposals with a view to establishing an effective one-stop-shop advisory structure for innovators on financing energy innovation via funds and instruments available at EU, Member State and European Investment Bank level, as well as from other potential private sources; enhance technical assistance by aggregating information on private and public funding possibilities and guide applicants to the most appropriate funding mechanism, notably in the field of energy efficiency where the aggregation of small projects into broader portfolios is indispensable;
   (k) identify ways of introducing into EU public procurement legislation incentives to promote innovative energy solutions in the public sector;

16.  Stresses that public procurement can be an innovation driver as well as fostering more sustainable growth, as also recognised by the Sustainable Development Goals; points out that the choice of sustainable products, services and public works is essential and can create lead or new markets for innovative products; welcomes the Commission’s initiative under the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative to introduce measures on EU procurement to, among other things, encourage Member States to set ambitious innovation buying targets; further stresses the role that local and regional authorities can play in setting a good example, as well as engaging in the exchange of good practices in forums such as the Covenant of Mayors;

17.  Urges the Commission to strengthen the innovation capacity component of competitiveness proofing in impact assessments and apply the Research & Innovation Tool to all new energy policy proposals and the review of existing legislation, without undermining the effectiveness of legislation;

18.  Requests the Commission to ensure that its work on innovation on the one hand, and standards and interoperability on the other, is fully joined up so that the EU achieves global leadership in setting standards in clean energy ‘Internet of Things’‑integrated sectors; welcomes, as an example in this context, the development of the new European standard for smart appliances (Saref) that will potentially create a new EU-based reference language for energy-related data allowing home devices to exchange information with any energy management system;

19.  Recalls that energy innovation policies have to be in line with the EU commitment to conserve and enhance CO2 sinks while preserving biodiversity, especially in forests, on land and in seas;

20.  Encourages the relevant Member States to contribute adequately to meeting the EU’s 3 % GDP target for R&D; notes that an overall increase to 3 % would additionally bring in more than EUR 100 billion per year for research and innovation in Europe; recalls that two‑thirds of R&D funding is expected to come from the private sector;

Long-term financing certainty

21.  Reiterates its call for an increased overall budget of at least EUR 120 billion for FP9 and urges the Commission to increase the proportion of related financing for sustainable, low-emission energy projects under FP9 by at least 50 % over and above the corresponding Horizon 2020 amounts, so as to ensure sufficient funding to support EU’s energy transition and the effective implementation of the Energy Union; calls, in particular, for the financial resources under FP9 to be strengthened in order to stimulate breakthroughs and market-creating innovation, especially by SMEs and start-ups; stresses the importance of strong excellence criteria for turning the EU into a global centre for innovation, research and leading technologies, including ‘blue skies’ research; points to the results of the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 showing that, as of 1 January 2017, the programme was below target with regard to climate and sustainability spending; welcomes the increase in Horizon 2020 funding for Energy Societal Challenge under the 2018 budget, yet remains deeply worried about cuts to energy projects under the Connecting Europe Facility, which it deems incompatible with the aims of the Energy Union;

22.  Reiterates the need to improve the quality of investments financed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and to focus in particular on incentives for better geographical allocation, taking into account the current imbalance in the geographical coverage of EFSI and the specific needs of less developed and transitional regions; recognises the need for cooperation with national promotional investment banks, investment platforms and eligible financial intermediaries through a possible delegation of the use of the EU guarantee to them; calls for a substantial reinforcement of the role and the capacity of the European Investment Advisory Hub, notably through a local presence and a proactive role in the preparation of projects;

23.  Believes that FP9 should support initiatives such as ‘100 % renewable cities’, involving cities and local administrations which aim to substantially increase renewable energy capacity for electricity, mobility, heating and cooling in cities through innovation projects, which could potentially include smart grids, energy system management, activities to enable sector coupling and encourage the use of electric vehicles, etc.;

24.  Recognises the role of the SET-Plan, the Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) InnoEnergy and the relevant Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) in driving energy innovation; stresses the need to better connect these various frameworks together with, inter alia, the InnovFin initiative, the EFSI and the proposed Pan-European Venture Capital Fund(s)-of-Funds programme (VC FoF) as part of a coordinated, focused investment strategy in clean energy innovation that would help early-stage projects, start-ups and SMEs effectively overcome the ‘valley of death’ and reach the market maturity levels needed for global expansion; considers that effective incentives for investment in energy innovation, by means of national investment funds and pension funds, could play a crucial role in mobilising the necessary equity capital;

25.   Recalls that first of a kind (FOAK) projects are highly risky and the supply of equity and debt is at much lower levels than is the case for the financing of proven low‑carbon technologies; calls on the Commission, to this end, to remove the remaining regulatory obstacles and propose the establishment of a SET-FOAK Equity Fund;

26.  Acknowledges the role that the European Innovation Council (EIC) could play in helping early stage companies to find funding and proposes that it play the role of coordinating the various strands of a coherent investment strategy in clean energy innovation; requests more information about the EIC’s structure and consistency with existing instruments supporting innovation;

27.  Considers that citizen-driven energy innovation requires lower barriers for market entry and opens untapped opportunities for innovation financing; calls on the Commission to explore effective ways to promote energy innovation through, inter alia, crowd-funding and to consider the possibility of setting up an energy innovation crowd equity fund; considers that new and diverse ways of financing should be additional and complementary to the existing ones;

28.  Emphasises the importance of advancing smart grid technology, as well as the promotion and integration of bottom-up decentralised generation, including through clusters and cooperative schemes; calls on the Commission to support these areas of clean energy innovation with financial mechanisms, including those that mitigate risk for private investments and reduce burdens on public investments in the modernisation of energy systems; welcomes, moreover, the Commission’s intention to increase its use of inducement prizes as a valuable tool for fostering bottom-up, breakthrough innovations;

29.  Stresses that, in order to encourage a bottom-up approach to innovation, the uptake of small scale applications (e.g. NegaWatt, on-site generation, local storage, among other things) should be promoted, and their clustering and aggregation fostered to attract more investments and increase affordability, with particular attention to low-income households or multi-occupancy buildings;

The EU’s global leadership

30.  Recalls the aims of the Paris Agreement in fostering global efforts for accelerated clean energy innovation; underlines the need to continue funding research and data collection on climate change; calls on the Commission, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to explore different modalities with which to assist developing countries and emerging economies in their energy transition, through, inter alia, capacity-building measures, help in reducing the capital costs of renewables and energy-efficiency projects, fostering possible technology transfer, and providing solutions for the development of smart cities, as well as remote and rural communities, thus strengthening energy innovation ecosystems in developing countries and helping them deliver on their commitments under the Paris Agreement; welcomes, in this respect, the newly established European Fund for Sustainable Development;

31.  Calls on the Commission to exploit the full potential of the Mission Innovation initiative, so that its members can honour and deliver on their commitment to double annual spending on clean energy R&D between 2015 and 2020; stresses the importance of seeking synergies with other global initiatives, such as, inter alia, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, and with global equity and investment funds; welcomes, in this respect, the Union’s leadership in the Converting Sunlight Innovation Challenge and the Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge; calls, in this context, for exploring the possibility of coordinated division of labour in energy innovation on a global scale;

32.  Calls on the Commission to develop a comprehensive export strategy for sustainable, clean energy technologies and systemic solutions, including a dedicated support facility and focused assistance from EU delegations in third countries; underlines in this context the role that Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) can play in the implementation of such a strategy;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to conduct a thorough examination of patent registration procedures and requests the removal of unnecessary administrative burdens, which slow down the process of the market penetration of innovative products and affect the EU’s role as a leader in the clean energy transition;

Citizen-driven energy innovation

34.  Believes that accelerating clean energy innovation requires Europeans to undergo a change in their mindset that would transcend simple awareness of energy issues and move towards a deeper understanding of the behavioural changes, especially in energy savings and new production and consumption patterns, needed to meet the pressing challenges of sustainable growth and reap the advantages of the digital revolution and innovation in all fields, so as to ultimately succeed in the energy transition; notes that innovation can enable citizens to play a more active role in energy generation, including by feeding self-generated energy into the grid, and in contributing to a more efficient use of energy by reducing consumption at household level, thus decreasing both emissions and bills;

35.  Stresses the necessity of strengthening Europe’s knowledge base and reducing fragmentation by promoting excellence in science and education, with a view to creating research centres at the international forefront of academic excellence; emphasises the need to develop a strategy which will ensure that Europe attracts foreign talent while simultaneously maintaining contacts with top European talent abroad; recognises that a qualified workforce gives Europe a great advantage and is a major motor for developing investments in R&D&I;

36.  Recognises the importance of fully democratic involvement of European citizens and communities as an essential part of a successful energy transition; stresses in parallel that the effective implementation of this transformation requires openness, transparency and a level playing field and must be founded on fair competition;

37.  Believes in the potential of innovation in clean energies and energy efficiency to create new and better jobs; considers that, in order to manage a successful transition to a sustainable decarbonised economy, there is a need to ensure that labour markets can respond adequately to the new demands of innovative clean energy systems;

38.  Calls on the Commission to pay more attention in its R&D initiatives to the link between innovation in energy systems and new professional profiles, education needs, jobs and training requirements;

39.  Recognises the need for systemic education and engagement schemes designed to enable society to fully engage in the transformation of the energy system and to enable Europeans of all ages to gradually progress from awareness and understanding towards active involvement and empowerment; calls on the Commission, the Member States, regional and local authorities and the private sector to promote informed consumer choices and the engagement of citizens in energy-related matters through, inter alia, awareness campaigns, comprehensive and accessible information on energy bills and price comparison tools, the promotion of self-generation, demand-response and cooperative sharing schemes, participatory budgets and crowd-funding for energy-related investments, and tax and investment incentives, as well as by steering technological solutions and innovations; calls on the Commission, the Member States and relevant authorities to identify best practices in addressing households in energy poverty;

40.  Believes that regions and cities have a crucial role to play in enhancing sustainable energy models; recognises the vital role of regions, cities and towns in promoting ownership of the energy transition and in pushing climate and energy-related innovation from the bottom; notes that regions and urban areas are most suitable for testing and implementing integrated solutions with the direct involvement of citizens; stresses, in this respect, the role of the Covenant of Mayors, with its aspiration to foster the global exchange of best practices and the possible pooling of resources and investments; notes that rural areas also provide space for innovation that can overcome challenges such as remoteness or demographic change, as well as the provision of new services;

41.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to assist regional and local authorities in taking coordinated steps to incentivise energy innovation at local and trans-regional level with the aim of developing coherent strategies; underlines that energy transition will have a drastic impact on employment in some regions of the European Union and, in that context, stresses that there should be a particular focus on regions facing the challenges of phasing out lignite, coal and other solid fossil fuel‑based energy generation and on the mining industries in response to a decision by a Member State, the local authorities or the industry, or in response to other circumstances; underlines the need to support these regions in the development of inclusive, local and just transition strategies and in addressing societal, socio-economic and environmental impacts along with the reconversion of sites; highlights the financial options for providing such support through the partial use of ETS auction revenues, as well as through the Modernisation Fund to be set up for the period 2021-2030; considers that inclusive stakeholder processes should develop how best to attract alternative innovative businesses, start-ups, and industries with the aim of building a sustainable regional economy, boosting people’s dignity and helping to replace electricity generation capacity with renewables or energy efficiency solutions; calls for research and innovation policies to focus on how to revitalise the regions concerned in terms of sustainable employment and growth perspectives, in particular where the retirement of energy generating capacity from lignite, coal or other solid fossil fuels is linked to mining activities;

42.  Calls on the Commission to assist in empowering local and regional authorities in the deployment of clean energy innovation, such as smart cities, e-mobility and smart and micro-grids, as well as in the market penetration of renewables, depending on their level of maturity, and to help these authorities meet the challenges faced in advancing the energy transition, such as citizens’ engagement; encourages the exchange of best practices, the pooling of investments and better assessment of the bankability of projects, and the development of financing strategies such as business cases and the use of public procurement and loans;

43.  Believes that the transport sector holds enormous potential and should play a vital role in the transition and encourages the Commission to support existing funding for electric vehicles infrastructure deployment; calls on the Commission to continue to support and develop further initiatives such as the Europe-wide electromobility initiative and the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking;

44.  Encourages the Commission to recognise the benefits of hydrogen mobility, as well as the sectoral coupling between the transport and the electricity sectors and to create incentives for new business models in similar areas, such as smart charging and vehicle‑to‑grid triggers, which would allow the owners of electric vehicles to sell to the power system in a flexible manner; calls on the Commission to ensure the financing of innovation aimed at the development of hydrogen storage and advanced long-term storage solutions for electric vehicles, the development of a hydrogen charging infrastructure, as well as infrastructure and plug-in solutions, including charging infrastructure for electric vehicles; encourages the Member States and local authorities to take further initiatives, such as fiscal incentives in relation to the market penetration of electric and hydrogen vehicles, tax reductions and exemptions for the owners of electric and hydrogen vehicles, as well as various other initiatives in relation to the promotion of the use of electric vehicles, such as price reductions, bonus payments and premiums for the buyers of electric vehicles, and the creation of free parking spaces for electric vehicles;

45.  Notes the major efforts being made under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and development programme with a view to achieving a 60 % reduction in GHG emissions in the transport sector by 2050 compared with their 1990 level(4); recalls that EU research and innovation programmes are a key enabler of the market uptake of energy, ICT innovation and intelligent transport systems; calls on the Commission, in future, to focus the available funding more clearly on interconnected strategic priorities, such as low-emission mobility, alternative fuel charging infrastructure and integrated urban transport, with particular attention to all polluting emissions, to noise reduction, road safety, congestion and bottlenecks, and in compliance with the principle of technological neutrality; points also to the importance of developing advanced biofuels, increasing the share of rail transport and cycling;

46.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission will support the market uptake of innovative clean energy solutions through public procurement and the revision of the Clean Vehicles Directive, and recognises the potential benefit to public transport authorities and operators, bus manufacturers, industry suppliers, energy providers, national and international associations and research centres; calls on the Commission to come forward swiftly with proposals to this effect;

47.  Encourages the setting-up of a Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda, with roadmaps drawn up in consultation between the Member States and the Commission, and also local and regional authorities and operators, and a corresponding governance mechanism, to support research, innovation and the deployment of new technologies in the transport sector and to encourage low-emission mobility, all of which are much needed; calls for the conclusions of these roadmaps to be included in the Commission’s annual work programme;

48.  Calls for an integrated and coordinated approach to take account of the urban dimension of EU and national policies and legislation, and for the development of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) in order to support, enable and encourage the Member States to improve the health and quality of life of citizens and the state of the environment in urban areas; encourages the development of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) and autonomous vehicles and the deployment of communicating infrastructures to guarantee the high capacity and low latency needs for a 5G network; calls for active efforts to reduce the disparities and improve cooperation between urban and rural areas and between more developed regions and those lagging behind when it comes to infrastructural quality;

49.  Recognises the importance of the new European Consensus on Development signed in June 2017, which sets out a common vision and framework of action for the EU and its Member States in the field of development cooperation; notes that, for the first time, the 17 SDGs and associated targets to be achieved by 2030 are universally applicable to all countries, in view of the EU commitment to take the lead in implementing them; observes that the Consensus brings Union development policy into line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and identifies important measures in the area of sustainable energy and climate change;

50.  Recalls that Article 8 of the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) lays down that ‘the objectives of the ESI Funds shall be pursued in line with the principle of sustainable development’, with the EU’s aim of preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, and with its commitments under the Paris Agreement;

51.  Recalls that the Partnership Agreements and programmes under the CPR aim to promote resource efficiency, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the horizontal principles of partnership, multi-level governance, non-discrimination and gender equality;

52.  Considers that synergies between EU policies should be strengthened through a unified and consistent EU position on anti-dumping measures, in order to ensure that the manufacturing industry takes full advantage of the energy transition;

53.  Recognises the vital role of regions, cities and towns in promoting ownership of the energy transition worldwide and in pushing for climate- and energy-related bottom-up innovation; calls for the application of the same environmental quality standards for all energy technology entering the EU market; expresses its concern about the safeguarding of urban green areas;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 21.
(2) OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 62.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 104.
(4) As set out in the Commission’s White Paper of 28 March 2011 entitled ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’ (COM(2011)0144).

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