Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 30 May 2018 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal
 Draft amending budget No 1/2018 accompanying the proposal to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal
 Protection against dumped and subsidised imports from countries not members of the EU ***II
 Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2018/000 TA 2018 - Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission
 Genetically modified maize GA21 (MON-ØØØ21-9)
 Genetically modified maize 1507 × 59122 × MON 810 × NK603, and genetically modified maize combining two or three of the single events 1507, 59122, MON 810 and NK603
 Conformity of fisheries products with access criteria to the EU market
 The future of food and farming
 Interpretation and implementation of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making
 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and own resources
 Libya
 Annual Report on the functioning of the Schengen area
 Minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime
 Annual report on the implementation of the Common Commercial Policy

Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal
PDF 126kWORD 46k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal (COM(2018)0150 – C8-0039/2018 – 2018/2029(BUD))
P8_TA(2018)0217A8-0175/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0150 – C8‑0039/2018),

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

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

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0175/2018),

1.  Welcomes the decision as a sign of the Union’s solidarity with Union citizens and regions hit by natural disasters;

2.  Regrets the number of lives lost in natural disasters in the Union in 2017; calls on Member States to invest in the prevention of catastrophes through the mobilisation of the necessary means and the use of European structural and investment funds to avoid the loss of human lives in the future;

3.  Supports Member States using European structural and investment funds for the reconstruction of the affected regions; invites the Commission to support and rapidly approve the financial reallocation of the partnership agreements requested by Member States to this end;

4.  Calls on Member States to utilise the financial contribution from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in a transparent way, guaranteeing a fair distribution throughout the affected regions;

5.  Welcomes the proposal from the Commission for a new EU Civil Protection Mechanism as a way to prevent and act in situations of natural disasters; believes that the EU Civil Protection Mechanism represents a materialisation of solidarity in the Union, in line with the EUSF; recalls, in this context, the importance of continuing to give the outermost regions special EUSF access conditions to help them cope with their high level of exposure to natural disasters; calls, in situations where the collection of information is difficult and where justified by the scale of the natural disaster, for more flexibility in the deadline for filing a request for the mobilisation and use of EUSF funds;

6.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2018/846.)

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


Draft amending budget No 1/2018 accompanying the proposal to mobilise the EU Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal
PDF 118kWORD 43k
European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 1/2018 of the European Union for the financial year 2018 accompanying the proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal (08109/2018 – C8-0181/2018 – 2018/2030(BUD))
P8_TA(2018)0218A8-0176/2018

The European Parliament,

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

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

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

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2018, as definitively adopted on 30 November 2017(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(3) (MFF Regulation),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(4),

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

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 1/2018, which the Commission adopted on 22 February 2018 (COM(2018)0155),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 1/2018 which the Council adopted on 14 May 2018 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (08109/2018 – C8‑0181/2018),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0176/2018),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 1/2018 covers the proposed mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece for the earthquakes in Lesbos, to France for the hurricanes in Saint Martin and Guadeloupe, as well as to Portugal and Spain for the forest fires that occurred in Centro and in Galicia in the course of 2017,

B.  whereas the Commission consequently proposes to amend the 2018 Union budget and to increase budget line 13 06 01 'Assistance to Member States in the event of a major natural disaster with serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy' by EUR 97 646 105 both in commitment and payment appropriations;

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

1.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 1/2018;

2.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 1/2018 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

(1) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 57, 28.02.2018.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(4) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.


Protection against dumped and subsidised imports from countries not members of the EU ***II
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 30 May 2018 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1036 on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Union and Regulation (EU) 2016/1037 on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Union (05700/1/2018 – C8-0168/2018 – 2013/0103(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0219A8-0182/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council position at first reading (05700/1/2018 – C8-0168/2018)

–  having regard to its position at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0192),

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

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

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

–  having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0182/2018),

1.  Approves the Council position at first reading;

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

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

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

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

(1) OJ C 443, 22.12.2017, p. 934.


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2018/000 TA 2018 - Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (application EGF/2018/000 TA 2018 - Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission) (COM(2018)0165 – C8-0131/2018 – 2018/2048(BUD))
P8_TA(2018)0220A8-0172/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0165 – C8-0131/2018),

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

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

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 April 2017 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, (EGF/2017/000 TA 2017 – Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission)(4),

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

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0172/2018),

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

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

C.  whereas the adoption of the EGF Regulation reflects the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council to reintroduce the crisis mobilisation criterion, to increase the Union financial contribution to 60 % of the total estimated cost of proposed measures, to increase efficiency for the treatment of EGF applications in the Commission and by the Parliament and the Council by shortening the time for assessment and approval, to widen eligible actions and beneficiaries by introducing self-employed persons and young people and to finance incentives for setting up own businesses;

D.  whereas the maximum annual budget available for the EGF is EUR 150 million (2011 prices) and whereas Article 11(1) of the EGF Regulation states that 0,5 % of this amount (i.e. EUR 861 515 in 2018) can be made available for technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission in order to finance preparation, monitoring, data gathering and creation of a knowledge base, administrative and technical support, information and communication activities as well as audit, control and evaluation activities necessary to implement the EGF Regulation;

E.  whereas the European Parliament has repeatedly underlined the necessity of improved value added, efficiency and employability of beneficiaries of the EGF as a Union instrument of support to workers made redundant;

F.  whereas the proposed amount of EUR 345 000 corresponds to approximately 0,2 % of the maximum annual budget available for the EGF in 2018;

1.  Agrees with the measures proposed by the Commission to be financed as technical assistance in accordance with Article 11(1) and (4) as well as with Article 12(2), (3) and (4) of the EGF Regulation;

2.  Acknowledges the importance of monitoring and data gathering; recalls the importance of robust statistical series compiled in an appropriate form to be easily accessible and understandable; welcomes the planned future release of the 2019 Biennial Reports and asks for a public and wide diffusion of those reports throughout the Union;

3.  Recalls the importance of a dedicated EGF website which should be accessible to all Union citizens and calls for greater visibility; emphasises the importance of multilingualism when communicating broadly to the public; welcomes the Commission’s intention to translate new elements on the EGF website into all official languages of the Union; asks for a more user-friendly web-environment and encourages the Commission to improve the content-value of its publications and audio-visual activities as provided for in Article 11(4) of the EGF Regulation; suggests that the Commission improves its communication through social media and alternate platforms;

4.  Welcomes the continued work on the standardised procedures for EGF applications and management using the functionalities of the electronic data exchange system (SFC 2014), which allows for the simplification and faster processing of applications, and better reporting; calls for better exchange of information about the processes among the Commission and Member States and Member States themselves; notes that the Commission has facilitated EGF financial operations by the creation of an interface between SFC and the accounting and financial information system ABAC; takes note that only further fine-tuning and adjustments to possible changes are needed, limiting de facto the EGF contribution to that type of expenditure;

5.  Takes note that the Commission intends to invest EUR 105 000 of the available budget under the technical assistance into the holding of three meetings of the Expert Group of Contact Persons of the EGF; acknowledges the value in holding an additional meeting of the Expert Group of Contact Persons as part of the preparation for the next Multiannual Financial Framework; takes also note of the intention of the Commission to invest EUR 120 000 in order to promote networking through seminars among Member States, EGF implementing bodies and social partners; reiterates its call on the Commission to invite Parliament, within reasonable deadlines, to all Expert Group meetings and seminars in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission(5);

6.  Welcomes the Commission’s readiness to invite members of its EGF Working Group to participate in EGF Networking Seminar when possible; calls on the Commission to continue to invite Parliament to such meetings and seminars in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission; welcomes social partners also being invited to participate;

7.  Recalls the importance of networking and exchange of information on the EGF, so as to spread best practice; supports, therefore, the two networking seminars on EGF implementation in addition to the Expert Group meetings; expects that that exchange of information will also contribute to better and more detailed reporting on the success rate of applications in Member States, in particular about the re-employment rate of beneficiaries;

8.  Underlines the need to further enhance the liaising between all those involved in EGF applications, including, in particular, social partners and stakeholders at regional and local level, to create as many synergies as possible; stresses that interaction between the National Contact Person and regional or local case delivery partners should be strengthened and communication and support arrangements and information flows (internal divisions, tasks and responsibilities) made explicit and agreed on by all partners concerned;

9.  Underlines the importance of increasing general awareness about the EGF and its visibility; reminds applicant Member States of their role in publicising the actions funded by EGF to the targeted beneficiaries, local and regional authorities, social partners, the media and the general public, as set out in Article 12 of the EGF Regulation;

10.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF/2018/000 TA 2018 – Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2018/845.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0116.
(5) OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.


Genetically modified maize GA21 (MON-ØØØ21-9)
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize GA21 (MON-ØØØ21-9) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (D056125-02 – 2018/2698(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0221B8-0232/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize GA21 (MON-ØØØ21-9) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (D056125-02),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on genetically modified food and feed(1), and in particular Articles 11(3) and 23(3) thereof,

–  having regard to the vote of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health referred to in Article 35 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, on 23 April 2018, at which no opinion was delivered,

–  having regard to Article 11 of 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(2),

–  having regard to the opinion adopted by the European Food Safety Authority on 21 September 2017 and published on 24 October 2017(3),

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers (COM(2017)0085, COD(2017)0035),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions objecting to the authorisation of genetically modified organisms(4),

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

–  having regard to Rule 106(2) and (3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Commission Decision 2008/280/EC(5) authorised the placing on the market of food and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize GA21 (‘maize GA21’); whereas the scope of that authorisation also covered products other than food and feed containing or consisting of maize GA21 for the same uses as any other maize, with the exception of cultivation;

B.  whereas prior to Decision 2008/280/EC, on 13 September 2007, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) adopted a favourable opinion, in accordance with Articles 6 and 18 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, which was published on 2 October 2007(6) (‘EFSA 2007’);

C.  whereas on 6 October 2016, Syngenta France SAS submitted to the Commission, on behalf of Syngenta Crop Protection AG, Switzerland, an application, in accordance with Articles 11 and 23 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, for the renewal of the above authorisation;

D.  whereas on 21 September 2017, EFSA adopted a favourable opinion, in accordance with Articles 6 and 18 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, which was published on 24 October 2017(7) (‘EFSA 2017’);

E.  whereas maize GA21 has been developed to provide tolerance to glyphosate by expressing a modified version of the EPSPS protein;

F.  whereas application of the complementary herbicide, in this case glyphosate, is part of regular agricultural practice in the cultivation of herbicide-resistant plants and it can therefore be expected that residues from spraying will be present in the harvest and are inevitable constituents; whereas it has been shown that herbicide-tolerant genetically modified crops result in a higher use of complementary herbicides than their conventional counterparts;

G.  whereas, in consequence, it has to be expected that maize GA21 will be exposed to both higher and repeated doses of glyphosate, which will not only lead to a higher burden of residues in the harvest but may also influence the composition of the GM maize plant and its agronomic characteristics;

H.  whereas many critical comments were submitted by Member States during the three-month consultation period, both with regard to EFSA 2007(8) and EFSA 2017(9); whereas, for example, Member States criticised the fact that further information was needed before conclusions could be drawn as regards the risk assessment of maize GA21, that data supporting a history of safe use was not provided, that the monitoring reports for maize GA21 for the authorisation period had fundamental shortcomings and that the monitoring approach implemented was not fully in line with Directive 2001/18/EC;

I.  whereas the EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (EFSA GMO panel) itself considers that further discussion with applicants and risk managers is needed on the practical implementation of the post-marketing environmental monitoring plans for genetically modified (GM) plants for import and processing;

J.  whereas questions concerning the carcinogenicity of glyphosate remain; whereas EFSA concluded in November 2015 that glyphosate was unlikely to be carcinogenic and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) concluded in March 2017 that no classification was warranted; whereas, on the contrary, in 2015 the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen for humans;

K.  whereas Parliament has established a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides, which will help to establish whether the relevant Union scientific standards were adhered to in the risk assessment procedure and whether there was any undue industry influence over the Union agencies’ conclusions on glyphosate’s carcinogenicity;

L.  whereas, in general, according to EFSA’s pesticide panel, conclusions on the safety of residues from spraying GM crops with glyphosate formations cannot be drawn(10); whereas additives and their mixtures used in commercial formulations for spraying glyphosate can show a higher toxicity than the active ingredient alone(11);

M.  whereas the Union has already removed a glyphosate additive known as POE tallowamine from the market owing to concerns over its toxicity; whereas problematic additives and mixtures may, however, still be permitted in the countries where maize GA21 is cultivated (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Africa, the USA, Uruguay and Vietnam);

N.  whereas information on residue levels of herbicides and their metabolites is essential for a thorough risk assessment of herbicide-tolerant GM plants; whereas residues from spraying with herbicides are considered outside the remit of the EFSA GMO panel; whereas the impacts of spraying maize GA21 with glyphosate have not been assessed;

O.  whereas Member States are not required to measure glyphosate residues on maize imports in order to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels as part of the coordinated multiannual control programme for 2018, 2019 and 2020, in accordance with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/660(12), nor are they required to do so for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021(13); whereas it is therefore not known whether glyphosate residues on this imported maize GA21 comply with Union maximum residue limits;

P.  whereas maize GA21 is cultivated in, inter alia, Argentina; whereas the devastating impact of the use of glyphosate on health has been widely documented; whereas the Union has signed up to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), which include a commitment to substantially reduce, by 2030, the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals, and air, water and soil pollution and contamination (SDG 3, target 3.9)(14);

Q.  whereas the Union is committed to policy coherence for development, which aims at minimising contradictions and building synergies between different Union policies, including in the areas of trade, environment and agriculture, to benefit developing countries and increase the effectiveness of development cooperation;

R.  whereas EFSA concluded that all but one of the representative uses of glyphosate for conventional crops (i.e. non-GM crops) posed a ‘risk to wild non-target terrestrial vertebrates’, and also identified a high long-term risk to mammals for some of the main uses of glyphosate on conventional crops(15); whereas the ECHA classified glyphosate as being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects; whereas the negative impacts of the use of glyphosate on biodiversity and on the environment are widely documented; whereas, for example, a 2017 US study found a negative correlation between glyphosate use and the abundance of adult monarch butterflies, particularly in areas of concentrated agriculture(16);

S.  whereas re-authorisation for the placing on the market of maize GA21 will continue to create demand for its cultivation in third countries; whereas, as mentioned above, higher and repeated doses of herbicide can be expected to be used on herbicide-tolerant GM plants (in comparison to non-GM plants), as they were intentionally designed for that purpose;

T.  whereas the Union is party to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which places on its parties the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction do not cause damage to the environment of other States(17); whereas the decision on whether to re-authorise maize GA21 is within the Union’s jurisdiction;

U.  whereas the development of GM crops tolerant to several selective herbicides is mainly due to the rapid evolution of weed resistance to glyphosate in countries that have relied heavily on GM crops; whereas, in 2015, at least 29 glyphosate-resistant weed species were in existence globally(18);

V.  whereas following a vote on 23 April 2018, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, referred to in Article 35 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, delivered no opinion;

W.  whereas on several occasions the Commission has deplored the fact that, since the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, it has had to adopt authorisation decisions without the support of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and that the return of the dossier to the Commission for a final decision, which is very much the exception for the procedure as a whole, has become the norm for decision-making on GM food and feed authorisations; whereas that practice has also been deplored by President Juncker as undemocratic(19);

X.  whereas on 28 October 2015 Parliament rejected at first reading(20) the legislative proposal of 22 April 2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and called on the Commission to withdraw it and submit a new one;

Y.  whereas recital 14 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 affirms that the Commission should, as far as possible, act in such a way as to avoid going against any predominant position which might emerge, within the appeal committee, against the appropriateness of an implementing act, especially where that act concerns sensitive issues such as consumer health, food safety and the environment;

Z.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 states that genetically modified food or feed must not have adverse effects on human health, animal health or the environment and that the Commission shall take into account any relevant provisions of Union law and other legitimate factors relevant to the matter under consideration when drafting its decision renewing the authorisation;

1.  Considers that the draft Commission implementing decision exceeds the implementing powers provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003;

2.  Considers that the draft Commission implementing decision is not consistent with Union law in that it is not compatible with the aim of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, which is, in accordance with the general principles laid down in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council(21), to provide the basis for ensuring a high level of protection of human life and health, animal health and welfare, and environmental and consumer interests in relation to genetically modified food and feed, while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market;

3.  Calls on the Commission to withdraw its draft implementing decision;

4.  Calls on the Commission to suspend any implementing decisions regarding applications for authorisation of GMOs until the authorisation procedure has been revised in such a way as to address the shortcomings of the current procedure, which has proven inadequate;

5.  Calls, in particular, on the Commission to uphold its commitments under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, by suspending all imports of glyphosate-tolerant GM plants;

6.  Calls on the Commission not to authorise any herbicide-tolerant GM plants without full assessment of the residues from spraying with complementary herbicides and their commercial formulations as applied in the countries of cultivation;

7.  Calls on the Commission to fully integrate the risk assessment of the application of complementary herbicides and their residues into the risk assessment of herbicide-tolerant GM plants, regardless of whether the GM plant concerned is to be cultivated in the Union or for import into the Union for food and feed;

8.  Reiterates its commitment to advancing work on the Commission proposal amending Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 in order to ensure that, inter alia, if no opinion is delivered by the Food Chain and Animal Health Standing Committee with respect to GMO approvals, whether for cultivation or for food and feed, the Commission will withdraw the proposal; calls on the Council to move forward with its work on the same Commission proposal as a matter of urgency;

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

(1) OJ L 268, 18.10.2003, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.
(3) https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2017.5006
(4)––––––––––––––––––––––– – Resolution of 16 January 2014 on the proposal for a Council decision concerning the placing on the market for cultivation, in accordance with Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, of a maize product (Zea mays L., line 1507) genetically modified for resistance to certain lepidopteran pests (OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 110).Resolution of 16 December 2015 on Commission implementing decision (EU) 2015/2279 of 4 December 2015 authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize NK603 × T25 (OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 71).Resolution of 3 February 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean MON 87705 × MON 89788 (OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 19).Resolution of 3 February 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean MON 87708 × MON 89788 (OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 17).Resolution of 3 February 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean FG72 (MST-FGØ72-2) (OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 15).Resolution of 8 June 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 × MIR162 × MIR604 × GA21, and genetically modified maizes combining two or three of those events (OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 108).Resolution of 8 June 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision as regards the placing on the market of a genetically modified carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L., line SHD-27531-4) (OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 111).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market for cultivation of genetically modified maize MON 810 seeds (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0388).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of genetically modified maize MON 810 products (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0389).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision concerning the placing on the market for cultivation of genetically modified maize Bt11 seeds (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0386).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision concerning the placing on the market for cultivation of genetically modified maize 1507 seeds (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0387).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified cotton 281-24-236 × 3006-210-23 × MON 88913 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0390).Resolution of 5 April 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 × 59122 × MIR604 × 1507 × GA21, and genetically modified maizes combining two, three or four of the events Bt11, 59122, MIR604, 1507 and GA21 pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0123).Resolution of 17 May 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize DAS-40278-9, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0215).Resolution of 17 May 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified cotton GHB119 (BCS-GHØØ5-8) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0214).Resolution of 13 September 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean DAS-68416-4, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0341).Resolution of 4 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean FG72 × A5547-127 pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0377).Resolution of 4 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean DAS-44406-6, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0378).Resolution of 24 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize 1507 (DAS-Ø15Ø7-1) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0396).Resolution of 24 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean 305423 × 40-3-2 (DP-3Ø5423-1 × MON-Ø4Ø32-6) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0397).Resolution of 24 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified oilseed rapes MON 88302 × Ms8 × Rf3 (MON-883Ø2-9 × ACSBNØØ5-8 × ACS-BNØØ3-6), MON 88302 × Ms8 (MON-883Ø2-9 × ACSBNØØ5-8) and MON 88302 × Rf3 (MON-883Ø2-9 × ACS-BNØØ3-6) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0398).Resolution of 1 March 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize 59122 (DAS-59122-7) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0051).Resolution of 1 March 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize MON 87427 × MON 89034 × NK603 (MON-87427-7 × MON-89Ø34-3 × MON-ØØ6Ø3-6) and genetically modified maize combining two of the events MON 87427, MON 89034 and NK603, and repealing Decision 2010/420/EU (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0052).Resolution of 3 May 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of food and feed produced from genetically modified sugar beet H7-1 (KM-ØØØH71-4) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0197).
(5) Commission Decision 2008/280/EC of 28 March 2008 authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize GA21 (MON-ØØØ21-9) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 87, 29.3.2008, p. 19).
(6) https://www.efsa.europa.eu/fr/efsajournal/pub/541
(7) https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2017.5006
(8) Annex G, Member States’ comments, http://registerofquestions.efsa.europa.eu/roqFrontend/questionLoader?question=EFSA-Q-2005-226
(9) Annex G, Member States’ comments, http://registerofquestions.efsa.europa.eu/roqFrontend/questionDocumentsLoader?question=EFSA-Q-2016-00714
(10) EFSA conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance glyphosate. EFSA journal 2015, 13(11):4302, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4302/epdf
(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955666
(12) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/660 of 6 April 2017 concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme of the Union for 2018, 2019 and 2020 to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels of pesticides and to assess the consumer exposure to pesticide residues in and on food of plant and animal origin (OJ L 94, 7.4.2017, p. 12).
(13) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/555 of 9 April 2018 concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme of the Union for 2019, 2020 and 2021 to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels of pesticides and to assess the consumer exposure to pesticide residues in and on food of plant and animal origin (OJ L 92, 10.4.2018, p. 6).
(14) https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg3
(15) https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4302
(16) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ecog.02719
(17) Article 3, https://www.cbd.int/convention/articles/default.shtml?a=cbd-03
(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606642/
(19) See, for example, the opening statement at the European Parliament plenary session included in the political guidelines for the next European Commission (Strasbourg, 15 July 2014), or the State of the Union Address 2016 (Strasbourg, 14 September 2016).
(20) OJ C 355, 20.10.2017, p. 165.
(21) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.


Genetically modified maize 1507 × 59122 × MON 810 × NK603, and genetically modified maize combining two or three of the single events 1507, 59122, MON 810 and NK603
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize 1507 × 59122 × MON 810 × NK603, and genetically modified maize combining two or three of the single events 1507, 59122, MON 810 and NK603, and repealing Decisions 2009/815/EC, 2010/428/EU and 2010/432/EU pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (D056123-02 – 2018/2699(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0222B8-0233/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize 1507 × 59122 × MON 810 × NK603, and genetically modified maize combining two or three of the single events 1507, 59122, MON 810 and NK603, and repealing Decisions 2009/815/EC, 2010/428/EU and 2010/432/EU pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (D056123-02),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on genetically modified food and feed(1), and in particular Articles 7(3) and 19(3) thereof,

–  having regard to the vote of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health referred to in Article 35 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, on 23 April 2018, at which no opinion was delivered,

–  having regard to Article 11 of 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(2),

–  having regard to the opinion adopted by the European Food Safety Authority on 14 November 2017 and published on 28 November 2017(3),

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers (COM(2017)0085, COD(2017)0035),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions objecting to the authorisation of genetically modified organisms(4),

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

–  having regard to Rule 106(2) and (3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 3 February 2011, Pioneer Overseas Corporation submitted, on behalf of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., United States, an application for the placing on the market of foods, food ingredients and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize 1507 × 59122 × MON 810 × NK603 (‘the application’) to the national competent authority of the Netherlands in accordance with Articles 5 and 17 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003; whereas the application also covered the placing on the market of products consisting of or containing genetically modified maize 1507 × 59122 × MON 810 × NK603 (‘the GM maize’) for uses other than food and feed, with the exception of cultivation;

B.  whereas the application covered ten sub-combinations of the single transformation events constituting the GM maize, of which five had already been authorised; whereas eight of those sub-combinations are governed by the draft Commission implementing decision; whereas the sub-combinations 1507 × NK603 and NK603 × MON 810 have already been authorised under different Commission decisions;

C.  whereas on 14 November 2017, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) adopted a favourable opinion, in accordance with Articles 6 and 18 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, which was published on 28 November 2017(5);

D.  whereas the GM maize is derived from crossing four genetically engineered maize events: 1507 produces the insecticidal protein Cr1F and is resistant to the herbicide glufosinate; 59122 produces the insecticidal proteins Cry34Ab1 and Cry35Ab1 and is also resistant to the herbicide glufosinate; MON810 produces the insecticidal protein Cr1Ab; NK603 produces two enzymes rendering resistance to the herbicide glyphosate;

E.  whereas application of the complementary herbicides, in this case glyphosate and glufosinate, is part of regular agricultural practice in the cultivation of herbicide-resistant plants and it can therefore be expected that residues from spraying will be present in the harvest and are inevitable constituents; whereas it has been shown that herbicide-tolerant genetically modified crops result in a higher use of complementary herbicides than their conventional counterparts;

F.  whereas, in consequence, it has to be expected that the GM maize will be exposed to both higher and repeated doses of glyphosate and glufosinate, which will not only lead to a higher burden of residues in the harvest, but may also influence the composition of the GM maize plant and its agronomic characteristics;

G.  whereas an independent study concluded that the EFSA risk assessment should not be accepted as, inter alia, EFSA did not request any empirical data regarding toxicity and impact on the immune system, combinatorial effects and the consequences of spraying higher dosages of the complementary herbicides were ignored, the environmental risk assessment was unacceptable and based on wrong assumptions, and no system was foreseen to perform case-specific monitoring of spillage and potential health effects(6);

H.  whereas no experimental data were provided by the applicant for one currently unauthorised sub-combination of the stacked event (59122 × MON810 × NK603); whereas authorisation of a stacked event should not be considered without a thorough assessment of experimental data for each sub-combination;

I.  whereas glufosinate is classified as toxic to reproduction and thus falls under the exclusion criteria set out in Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7); whereas the approval of glufosinate for use in the Union expires on 31 July 2018(8);

J.  whereas questions concerning the carcinogenicity of glyphosate remain; whereas EFSA concluded in November 2015 that glyphosate was unlikely to be carcinogenic and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) concluded in March 2017 that no classification was warranted; whereas, on the contrary, in 2015 the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen for humans;

K.  whereas, in general, according to EFSA’s pesticide panel, conclusions on the safety of residues from spraying GM crops with glyphosate formations cannot be drawn(9); whereas additives and their mixtures used in commercial formulations for spraying glyphosate can show a higher toxicity than the active ingredient alone(10);

L.  whereas the Union has already removed a glyphosate additive known as POE tallowamine from the market owing to concerns over its toxicity; whereas problematic additives and mixtures may, however, still be permitted in the countries where the GM maize is cultivated (Canada and Japan);

M.  whereas information on residue levels of herbicides and their metabolites is essential for a thorough risk assessment of herbicide-tolerant GM plants; whereas residues from spraying with herbicides are considered outside the remit of the EFSA GMO panel; whereas the impacts of spraying the GM maize with herbicides have not been assessed, nor has the cumulative effect of spraying with both glyphosate and glufosinate;

N.  whereas Member States are not required to measure glyphosate or glufosinate residues on maize imports in order to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels as part of the coordinated multiannual control programme for 2018, 2019 and 2020, in accordance with Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/660(11), nor are they required to do so for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021(12); whereas it is therefore not known whether glyphosate or glufosinate residues on this imported GM maize comply with EU maximum residue limits;

O.  whereas the stacked event produces four insecticidal toxins (Cry1F and Cry1Ab, targeting lepidoptera insects, and Cry34Ab1 and Cry35Ab1, targeting coleptera); whereas a 2017 scientific study on the possible health impacts of Bt toxins and residues from spraying with complementary herbicides concluded that specific attention should be paid to the herbicide residues and their interaction with Bt toxins(13); whereas this was not investigated by EFSA;

P.  whereas EFSA concluded that all but one of the representative uses of glyphosate for conventional crops (i.e. non-GM crops) posed a ‘risk to wild non-target terrestrial vertebrates’, and also identified a high long-term risk to mammals for some of the main uses of glyphosate on conventional crops(14); whereas the ECHA classified glyphosate as being toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects; whereas the negative impacts of the use of glyphosate on biodiversity and on the environment are widely documented; whereas, for example, a 2017 US study found a negative correlation between glyphosate use and the abundance of adult monarch butterflies, particularly in areas of concentrated agriculture(15);

Q.  whereas authorisation for the placing on the market of the GM maize will increase demand for its cultivation in third countries; whereas, as mentioned above, higher and repeated doses of herbicide are used on herbicide-tolerant GM plants (in comparison to non-GM plants), as they were intentionally designed for that purpose;

R.  whereas the Union is party to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which places on its parties the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction do not cause damage to the environment of other States(16); whereas the decision on whether or not to authorise the GM maize is within the Union’s jurisdiction;

S.  whereas the development of GM crops tolerant to several selective herbicides is mainly due to the rapid evolution of weed resistance to glyphosate in countries that have relied heavily on GM crops; whereas, in 2015, at least 29 glyphosate-resistant weed species were in existence globally(17);

T.  whereas following a vote on 23 April 2018, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, referred to in Article 35 of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, delivered no opinion;

U.  whereas on several occasions the Commission has deplored the fact that, since the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, it has had to adopt authorisation decisions without the support of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and that the return of the dossier to the Commission for a final decision, which is very much the exception for the procedure as a whole, has become the norm for decision-making on GM food and feed authorisations; whereas that practice has also been deplored by President Juncker as undemocratic(18);

V.  whereas on 28 October 2015 Parliament rejected at first reading(19) the legislative proposal of 22 April 2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 and called on the Commission to withdraw it and submit a new one;

W.  whereas recital 14 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 affirms that the Commission should, as far as possible, act in such a way as to avoid going against any predominant position which might emerge, within the appeal committee, against the appropriateness of an implementing act, especially where that act concerns sensitive issues such as consumer health, food safety and the environment;

X.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 states that genetically modified food or feed must not have adverse effects on human health, animal health or the environment and that the Commission shall take into account any relevant provisions of Union law and other legitimate factors relevant to the matter under consideration when drafting its decision renewing the authorisation;

1.  Considers that the draft Commission implementing decision exceeds the implementing powers provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003;

2.  Considers that the draft Commission implementing decision is not consistent with Union law in that it is not compatible with the aim of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 which is, in accordance with the general principles laid down in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council(20), to provide the basis for ensuring a high level of protection of human life and health, animal health and welfare, and environmental and consumer interests in relation to genetically modified food and feed, while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market;

3.  Calls on the Commission to withdraw its draft implementing decision;

4.  Calls on the Commission to suspend any implementing decisions regarding applications for authorisation of GMOs until the authorisation procedure has been revised in such a way as to address the shortcomings of the current procedure, which has proven inadequate;

5.  Calls, in particular, on the Commission to uphold its commitments under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, by suspending all imports of glyphosate-tolerant GM plants;

6.  Calls, in particular, on the Commission not to authorise the import of any genetically modified plant for food or feed uses which has been made tolerant to a herbicide which is not authorised for use in the Union (in this case glufosinate, the authorisation of which expires on 31 July 2018);

7.  Calls on the Commission not to authorise any herbicide-tolerant GM plants without full assessment of the residues from spraying with complementary herbicides and their commercial formulations as applied in the countries of cultivation;

8.  Calls on the Commission to fully integrate the risk assessment of the application of complementary herbicides and their residues into the risk assessment of herbicide-tolerant GM plants, regardless of whether the GM plant concerned is to be cultivated in the Union or for import into the Union for food and feed;

9.  Reiterates its commitment to advancing work on the Commission proposal amending Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 in order to ensure that, inter alia, if no opinion is delivered by the Food Chain and Animal Health Standing Committee with respect to GMO approvals, whether for cultivation or for food and feed, the Commission will withdraw the proposal; calls on the Council to move forward with its work on the same Commission proposal as a matter of urgency;

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

(1) OJ L 268, 18.10.2003, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13.
(3) https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2017.5000
(4)––––––––––––––––––––––– – Resolution of 16 January 2014 on the proposal for a Council decision concerning the placing on the market for cultivation, in accordance with Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, of a maize product (Zea mays L., line 1507) genetically modified for resistance to certain lepidopteran pests (OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 110).Resolution of 16 December 2015 on Commission implementing decision (EU) 2015/2279 of 4 December 2015 authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize NK603 × T25 (OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 71).Resolution of 3 February 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean MON 87705 × MON 89788 (OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 19).Resolution of 3 February 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean MON 87708 × MON 89788 (OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 17).Resolution of 3 February 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean FG72 (MST-FGØ72-2) (OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 15).Resolution of 8 June 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 × MIR162 × MIR604 × GA21, and genetically modified maizes combining two or three of those events (OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 108).Resolution of 8 June 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision as regards the placing on the market of a genetically modified carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L., line SHD-27531-4) (OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 111).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market for cultivation of genetically modified maize MON 810 seeds (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0388).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of genetically modified maize MON 810 products (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0389).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision concerning the placing on the market for cultivation of genetically modified maize Bt11 seeds (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0386).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision concerning the placing on the market for cultivation of genetically modified maize 1507 seeds (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0387).Resolution of 6 October 2016 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified cotton 281-24-236 × 3006-210-23 × MON 88913 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0390).Resolution of 5 April 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 × 59122 × MIR604 × 1507 × GA21, and genetically modified maizes combining two, three or four of the events Bt11, 59122, MIR604, 1507 and GA21 pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0123).Resolution of 17 May 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize DAS-40278-9, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0215).Resolution of 17 May 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified cotton GHB119 (BCS-GHØØ5-8) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0214).Resolution of 13 September 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean DAS-68416-4, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0341).Resolution of 4 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean FG72 × A5547-127 pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0377).Resolution of 4 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean DAS-44406-6, pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0378).Resolution of 24 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize 1507 (DAS-Ø15Ø7-1) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0396).Resolution of 24 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified soybean 305423 × 40-3-2 (DP-3Ø5423-1 × MON-Ø4Ø32-6) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0397).Resolution of 24 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified oilseed rapes MON 88302 × Ms8 × Rf3 (MON-883Ø2-9 × ACSBNØØ5-8 × ACS-BNØØ3-6), MON 88302 × Ms8 (MON-883Ø2-9 × ACSBNØØ5-8) and MON 88302 × Rf3 (MON-883Ø2-9 × ACS-BNØØ3-6) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0398).Resolution of 1 March 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize 59122 (DAS-59122-7) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0051).Resolution of 1 March 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize MON 87427 × MON 89034 × NK603 (MON-87427-7 × MON-89Ø34-3 × MON-ØØ6Ø3-6) and genetically modified maize combining two of the events MON 87427, MON 89034 and NK603, and repealing Decision 2010/420/EU (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0052).Resolution of 3 May 2018 on the draft Commission implementing decision renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of food and feed produced from genetically modified sugar beet H7-1 (KM-ØØØH71-4) pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on genetically modified food and feed (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0197).
(5) https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2017.5000
(6) https://www.testbiotech.org/node/2130
(7) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1.
(8) Point 7 of the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/404 (OJ L 67, 12.3.2015, p. 6).
(9) EFSA conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance glyphosate. EFSA journal 2015, 13 (11):4302, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4302/epdf
(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955666
(11) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/660 of 6 April 2017 concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme of the Union for 2018, 2019 and 2020 to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels of pesticides and to assess the consumer exposure to pesticide residues in and on food of plant and animal origin (OJ L 94, 7.4.2017, p. 12).
(12) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/555 of 9 April 2018 concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme of the Union for 2019, 2020 and 2021 to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels of pesticides and to assess the consumer exposure to pesticide residues in and on food of plant and animal origin (OJ L 92, 10.4.2018, p. 6).
(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5236067/
(14) https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4302
(15) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ecog.02719
(16) Article 3, https://www.cbd.int/convention/articles/default.shtml?a=cbd-03
(17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606642/
(18) See, for example, the opening statement at the European Parliament plenary session included in the political guidelines for the next European Commission (Strasbourg, 15 July 2014), or the State of the Union Address 2016 (Strasbourg, 14 September 2016).
(19) OJ C 355, 20.10.2017, p. 165.
(20) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.


Conformity of fisheries products with access criteria to the EU market
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the implementation of control measures for establishing the conformity of fisheries products with access criteria to the EU market (2017/2129(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0223A8-0156/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC(1),

–  having regard to the common fisheries policy (CFP) control regime, comprising Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009(2) and (EC) No 1005/2008(3), and Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1184/2006 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1026/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain measures for the purpose of the conservation of fish stocks in relation to countries allowing non-sustainable fishing(7),

–  having regard to European Court of Auditors (ECA) Special Report No 19/2017 of December 2017 entitled ‘Import procedures: shortcomings in the legal framework and an ineffective implementation impact the financial interests of the EU’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 April 2017 on the management of the fishing fleets in the Outermost Regions(8),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0156/2018),

A.  whereas the EU is the world’s largest market for fisheries and aquaculture products, absorbing 24 % of total global imports in 2016, and is dependent on imports for over 60 % of its consumption of such products;

B.  whereas in its resolution of 8 July 2010 on the arrangements for importing fishery and aquaculture products into the EU(9), Parliament emphasised that one of the key aims of EU policy on fishery and aquaculture imports must be to ensure that imported products meet the same requirements that apply to EU production in every respect, and that EU efforts to make fishing sustainable were incompatible with importing products from countries that fish with no concern for sustainability;

C.  whereas the Commission communication of 14 October 2015 entitled ‘Trade for all: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497) commits the EU to a more responsible trade policy as an instrument for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals;

D.  whereas verifying that fish from EU producers meets EU sanitary standards is the responsibility of Member States, while for imported fish the Commission authorises third countries to identify establishments allowed to export fish products to the EU, provided that they can guarantee equivalent standards;

E.  whereas the outermost regions of the EU, in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, neighbour third countries whose fishing, production and marketing conditions do not always meet European standards, resulting in unfair trade vis-à-vis local production;

F.  whereas there are numerous international instruments concerning fishers which should be ratified and implemented, such as International Labour Organisation Convention No 188 on work in fishing (ILO C188), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Cape Town Agreement of 2012 and the IMO International Convention on Standards in Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F);

G.  whereas the conclusions of Scientific Opinion No 3/2017 of 29 November 2017 entitled ‘Food from the Oceans’ recommend the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals into all Union policies and the application of the same approach in other international arenas and in supporting other regions of the world, so as to find a balance between economic and ecological objectives that involve the production of food and the marine environment;

1.  Notes that in order to place fishery and aquaculture products on the market, EU operators must comply with a wide range of regulations and meet strict criteria, including the rules of the CFP and sanitary, labour, vessel safety and environmental standards, all of which are underpinned by regimes to ensure compliance; is convinced that these combine to create high standards concerning the quality and sustainability of the product that EU consumers have legitimately come to expect;

2.  Considers that compliance of fisheries and aquaculture products from third countries with EU standards relating to environmental and social sustainability would promote sustainability in those third countries and help create fairer competition between EU products and products from third countries;

3.  Is concerned that imports of such products are subject to fewer controls, the primary controls being sanitary standards and the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) Regulation(10), the latter having been designed solely to ensure that the product was caught in compliance with the applicable rules;

4.  Stresses that in order to ensure equitable treatment of imported and European fishery and aquaculture products, which should be a key aim of EU fisheries policy, the EU should require all imported products to comply with EU conservation and management standards, as well as the hygiene requirements imposed by EU legislation; notes that this would help to create fairer competition and raise standards for the exploitation of marine resources in third countries;

5.  Considers that EU efforts to conserve fish stocks and make fishing sustainable, pursued through the CFP, are incompatible with importing fishery and aquaculture products from countries that are stepping up their fishing efforts without concern for sustainability and are only interested in short-term profitability;

6.  Expresses concern that different rules for placing fish on the market create a discriminatory market that adversely affects EU fishers and fish farmers, for which reason controls on fishery and aquaculture products should be increased and improved;

7.  Considers that the application of the Control Regulation(11) should be enhanced in all Member States, so that it is applied in a homogeneous and harmonised manner at all stages of the supply chain, including retail and restaurant services, and to both EU and imported products; notes that this also applies to labelling provisions;

Sanitary standards

8.  Is concerned that the system imposed by the Union and employed by the competent third-country authorities for the verification of sanitary criteria for fishery products exported to the EU does not provide sufficient guarantees that these criteria are always respected;

9.  Calls on the Commission to provide more training, technical assistance and facilities for institutional capacity building to help developing countries comply with EU rules; encourages initiatives such as the Better Training for Safer Food programme, run by the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), which provides training sessions for official control staff from developing countries on EU standards for fishery and aquaculture products;

10.  Emphasises the importance of rigorously applying all aspects of EU law related to health standards and inspections (including food safety, traceability and prevention), which are crucial aspects for consumer protection, to fishery and aquaculture imports, including feedstuffs and feed materials; urges the Commission, in this respect, to enhance its programme of third country inspections by fine-tuning Food and Veterinary Office missions, primarily by increasing the number of establishments inspected on each mission, in order to obtain results that better reflect the real situation in third countries;

11.  Notes that even the audits carried out by DG SANTE show that some third countries are falling far short of ensuring that products meet the necessary health standards, at least as concerns fishing and factory vessels and reefers, which hampers the sanitary controls carried out at EU border inspection posts to check that the legal sanitary requirements are met;

12.  Is alarmed by observations that non-EU fishing vessels operating off West Africa experience difficulties in ensuring the traceability of products and respect for sanitary standards; believes that the veracity of certificates issued by third countries for vessels and establishments authorised to export to the EU cannot be fully relied upon;

13.  Believes that allowing third countries to delegate to other selected third countries the right to award such certificates, even to a coastal State, is contrary to the concept of flag State responsibility which underpins the CFP, including the IUU Regulation, in particular the responsibilities of the flag State that validates the catch certificate; considers that the Commission should discontinue the practice of allowing third countries to delegate such authority to other countries;

14.  Believes, in addition, that a sanitary inspection of fishing vessels should be carried out by the competent authorities at least once per year;

Labour rights

15.  Contrasts the commendable record of the Member States in ratifying labour conventions relating to seafarers with their exceedingly poor record in ratifying conventions relating to fishers, and urges them to ratify the relevant instruments promptly, including ILO C188, the Cape Town Agreement and the STCW-F;

16.  Congratulates the social partners on their success in the use of Article 155 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to negotiate Council Directive (EU) 2017/159(12), which partially implements ILO C188, while regretting that this does not cover self-employed fishers; urges the Commission to complete the process by putting forward a proposal for a complementary directive that includes enforcement provisions, as it has done for shipping;

17.  Urges the Commission, in this connection, to initiate procedures for the use of Article 155 TFEU with respect to the STCW-F in order to improve safety at sea in fishing, which is widely recognised to be among the most dangerous professions in the world;

18.  Supports the continuing efforts to improve EU fisheries policy in order to make it more environmentally sustainable, ensuring the long-term survival of coastal communities and a nutritious source of food; contrasts this with the increasing openness of the EU market to fishery products from third countries whose management regimes are not as strict; considers this to constitute a lack of coherence between fisheries policy and trade policy;

Trade policy

19.  Regrets that conflicting signals are sometimes sent by the Commission to third countries, such as in negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with or otherwise expanding access to the EU market to countries that have been pre-identified under the IUU Regulation or the Non-Sustainable Fishing Regulation(13);

20.  Calls on the Commission to ensure close coordination between the Union’s trade and fisheries policies, including in the negotiation of trade agreements involving matters related to fisheries; considers it essential to analyse the economic and social impact of FTAs on EU fishery products, institute appropriate safeguarding measures where necessary and treat certain fishery products as sensitive;

21.  Considers that the EU, as the world’s largest importer of fishery products, shares political responsibility with other major fish-importing countries for ensuring that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade rules are in line with the highest possible global standards of fisheries management and conservation; calls, to this end, on the Commission to ensure that fair, transparent and sustainable trade in fish is strengthened in the EU’s bilateral and multilateral trade agreements;

22.  Insists that FTAs and other multilateral agreements with trade provisions negotiated by the Commission include reinforced chapters on sustainable development that address specific fishery concerns and that:

   explicitly reinforce the requirements of the IUU Regulation and oblige the third country to initiate a procedure to prevent IUU fish from entering its market, in order to keep them from arriving in the EU indirectly;
   require the third country to ratify and implement effectively key international fishery instruments, such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Port State Measures Agreement and the FAO Compliance Agreement, and to adhere to the standards of the relevant regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs);

23.  Calls for serious consideration to be given to the interests of the outermost regions when entering into sustainable fisheries partnership agreements or trade agreements with third countries, providing, if necessary, for the exclusion of sensitive products;

24.  Calls on the Commission, when drafting a post-Brexit agreement, to make the UK’s access to the EU market for fishery and aquaculture products dependent on EU vessels’ access to British waters and on the application of the CFP;

25.  Calls on the Commission to propose the amendment of the GSP Regulation(14) to include important fishery instruments, such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the FAO Compliance Agreement and the FAO Port State Measures Agreement, among those that must be ratified and applied, and provisions to allow the suspension of GSP+ status in cases where the provisions of these instruments are not applied;

26.  Stresses that in order to rectify the shortcomings in the implementation of trade and sustainable development chapters in FTAs and to give force to these provisions, they should incorporate a binding dispute settlement mechanism (to include government-to-government consultations, a panel procedure, public access to documents and the consultation of civil society), complete with the possibility of applying sanctions in case of non-compliance with their international commitments;

27.  Expresses alarm at the weaknesses and loopholes in customs controls described in ECA Special Report No 19/2017 and urges the Commission and Member States to implement the recommendations contained therein as rapidly as possible;

28.  Notes that in addition to general non-financial disclosure obligations for large companies, additional requirements for increased due diligence responsibilities have been imposed on actors of all sizes (including SMEs) in two problematic sectors – timber and conflict minerals – to be applied all along the custody chain; considers that fishery products would benefit from similar obligations and urges the Commission to examine the feasibility of introducing due diligence requirements for these products;

Marketing standards

29.  Notes that while the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products apply to all fishery and aquaculture products, those on labelling for consumers only apply to a relatively small group of products, excluding prepared, preserved or processed products; considers that consumer information should be improved for these products, too, with the inclusion of additional compulsory information on their labels; considers that the labelling of these products must be improved, in order to inform consumers and ensure that fishery and aquaculture products are traceable;

30.  Calls on the Commission to promote information campaigns on the sustainability efforts of EU fishers and fish farmers, emphasising the high qualitative and environmental standards required by EU legislation compared with those of third countries;

31.  Considers that strict compliance with the common fisheries policy and other EU legislation guarantees observance of high standards in the environmental, hygienic-sanitary and social fields by the EU fleet, and therefore urges the Commission to promptly examine the possibility of creating a label to identify the EU’s fishery products;

32.  Expresses its conviction that European consumers would often make different choices if they were better informed about the true nature of products on sale, their geographical origins, their quality and the conditions under which they have been produced or caught;

33.  Considers that compulsory information on fishery product labels should also include the flag State of the vessel that caught the product;

34.  Welcomes the Commission’s recent launch of an evaluation of marketing standards first adopted decades ago in order to determine what standards should be applied in the light of today’s marketing practices and the technologies available for product traceability;

Control regime

35.  Considers that the three regulations comprising the control regime constitute a balanced package and have led to significant improvements in fisheries management in the EU;

36.  Commends the Commission for the way in which it has enforced the IUU Regulation with respect to third countries, demonstrating that the EU can have a tremendous influence on global fisheries in its role as a responsible market State; urges the Commission to continue to pressure other market States to implement measures to prevent IUU-caught fish from entering their markets;

37.  Highlights the report recently published by civil society which analyses the flow of seafood imports into EU countries as from 2010, the year in which the IUU Regulation entered into force, and which shows how shortcomings in controls on imports from third countries to Member States and rules that are not uniform can enable non-compliant products to enter the EU market; calls, therefore, on the Member States and transit and destination countries to step up their coordination in order to ensure that catch certificates issued for fish imports are examined more carefully; considers it vital to adopt a harmonised and coordinated European computerised system that can facilitate fish import controls in the Member States;

38.  Believes that the Commission and some Member States have failed to implement strictly and enforce all three regulations, as recognised in documents produced by the Commission, the ECA and independent observers;

39.  Believes that in addition to applying the IUU Regulation, it is necessary to exercise stricter downstream controls over the marketing of such fish, notably by means of more rigorous audits of the Member States and of enterprises suspected of supplying products originating in illegal fishing;

40.  Asks the Commission to use all the tools available to it to ensure that all countries exporting fishery and aquaculture products to the EU apply rigorous policies to conserve stocks; encourages it to cooperate with these countries in all appropriate forums and in RFMOs in particular;

41.  Observes that failures in implementation have occurred in many aspects and include:

   uneven levels of sanctions and failure to implement the points system in different Member States;
   sanctions that are not always sufficiently dissuasive, effective or proportionate to prevent the repetition of infringements;
   unsatisfactory collection and exchange of data by and among Member States owing in particular to the lack of a common and compatible database;
   poor traceability of fish, including as it crosses national borders;
   poor control of weighing practices;
   significant differences in verification of imports and point of entry, including catch certificates;
   lack of a clear and uniform definition of serious infringements across the Member States;

42.  Stresses the need to ensure that when an imported product is rejected in a port in one Member State it cannot enter the EU market through another port in another Member State;

43.  Agrees that certain provisions of the control regime regulations are open to interpretation and have hindered uniform implementation, but considers that with sufficient openness and political will, the Commission and the Member States could intensify their efforts to ensure a more harmonised implementation of existing legislation, such as through the use of guidelines and interpretations;

44.  Notes that this was the intention behind the Expert Group on Compliance with the obligations under the European Union fisheries control system, set up as part of the reform of the CFP as a venue for frank discussion in a non-judgmental manner on shortcomings among the players, and regrets that this is not how the group has developed so far;

45.  Considers that much more needs to be done to encourage full implementation of the control regime, including appropriate follow-up on infringements detected, better reporting by the Member States on actions taken and exchange of information among the Member States and with the Commission;

46.  Urges the Commission to use the full set of instruments at its disposal to encourage the Member States to implement the provisions of the control regime fully, including, where appropriate, by withholding funds from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund;

47.  Reiterates the conclusion drawn in its resolution of 25 October 2016 on how to make fisheries controls in Europe uniform(15) that any revision of the Control Regulation or the IUU Regulation must be targeted and focused to deal only with those aspects that inhibit effective and even controls in every Member State of the Union;

48.  Calls for the powers of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) to be extended to cover checks on vessels covered by fisheries agreements, including on the basis of cooperation with the competent authorities of the signatory state, and for the EFCA to be given the resources it needs to do so;

49.  Strongly regrets the Commission’s decision to launch a major revision of the entire control regime without proper public consultations on either the implementation of the IUU Regulation, the mandate of the EFCA or the revision of the entire package, as required by the Better Regulation Guidelines; considers that a formal public consultation on all these elements, before putting forward a proposal for a revision, would enable all stakeholders to have sufficient input on the revision of this most critical pillar of the CFP;

50.  Insists strongly that revision must not lead to any weakening of the current measures, but rather should improve and strengthen the level playing field in fisheries controls, as the only possible way to guarantee the ‘common’ dimension of the common fisheries policy;

51.  Insists that the revised control regime must include, among its basic principles:

   EU-wide standards and norms concerning inspections at sea, in port and all along the custody chain;
   full traceability of fish as it moves along the custody chain, from the vessel to the final point of sale;
   complete data on catches by all operators, including vessels under 10 metres and recreational fishers;
   common levels of sanctions in all Member States;
   a common definition of what constitutes an infraction;
   a point system applied by all Member States in an equivalent manner;
   sanctions that are sufficiently dissuasive, effective and proportionate;
   a system accessible to the Commission and all Member States for the exchange of all information concerning infractions observed and legal and judicial follow-up;
   full adoption of improvements in available technologies and the ability to adopt future technologies as they evolve without the need for a legislative amendment;
   unambiguous establishment of Commission and Member State responsibilities and, where applicable, regions within the Member States;
   no regionalisation of the Control Regulation;

52.  Calls on the Commission to submit its proposal to amend the Control Regulation as soon as possible;

53.  Insists that the provisions and principles of the IUU Regulation must not be altered or weakened in any way, considering the enormous success of this regulation and its impact on fisheries around the world;

54.  Insists that the inclusion of third countries in the IUU Regulation processes of pre-identification, identification and listing must be without political interference of any kind and that the de-listing must be based strictly on the full achievement by the country concerned of the improvements considered necessary by the Commission;

55.  Considers that the role of the EFCA should be reinforced to enable its increased involvement in the application of the Control and IUU Regulations, including the verification and cross-checking of data along the chain of custody, the planning and coordination of inspections by the Commission and Member States, and the verification of catch certificates;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22.
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, amending Regulations (EC) No 847/96, (EC) No 2371/2002, (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 2115/2005, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007, (EC) No 676/2007, (EC) No 1098/2007, (EC) No 1300/2008, (EC) No 1342/2008 and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and (EC) No 1966/2006 (OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1).
(3) Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001 and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 1093/94 and (EC) No 1447/1999 (OJ L 286, 29.10.2008, p. 1).
(4) Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008 (OJ L 347, 28.12.2017, p. 81).
(5) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 139, 30.4.2004, p. 206.
(7) OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, p. 34.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0195.
(9) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p. 119.
(10) Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008.
(11) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009.
(12) OJ L 25, 31.1.2017, p. 12.
(13) Regulation (EU) No 1026/2012.
(14) Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 (OJ L 303, 31.10.2012, p. 1).
(15) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0407.


The future of food and farming
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the future of food and farming (2018/2037(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0224A8-0178/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 November 2017 entitled ‘The Future of Food and Farming’ (COM(2017)0713),

–  having regard to Articles 38 and 39 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) establishing the common agricultural policy (CAP) and its objectives,

–  having regard to Articles 40 and 42 TFEU establishing a common market organisation (CMO) in agricultural products and the extent to which rules on competition apply to production of and trade in agricultural products,

–  having regard to Article 13 TFEU,

–  having regard to Article 349 TFEU, which defines the statute of, and lays down the conditions of application of the Treaties to, the outermost regions,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/2393 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2017 amending Regulations (EU) No 1305/2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), (EU) No 1306/2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy, (EU) No 1307/2013 establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy, (EU) No 1308/2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and (EU) No 652/2014 laying down provisions for the management of expenditure relating to the food chain, animal health and animal welfare, and relating to plant health and plant reproductive material(1) (‘omnibus regulation’),

–  having regard to Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes(2),

–  having regard to the Briefing Paper of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on the Future of the CAP published on 19 March 2018,

–  having regard to Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides(3) and to the Commission report of 10 October 2017 on Member State National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides (COM(2017)0587),

–  having regard to its decision of 6 February 2018 setting up a special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides, its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office(4),

–  having regard to the ECA Special reports No 16/2017 entitled ‘Rural Development Programming: less complexity and more focus on results needed’ and No 21/2017 entitled ‘Greening: a more complex income support scheme, not yet environmentally effective’,

–  having regard to the Commission reflection paper of 28 June 2017 on the future of EU finances (COM(2017)0358),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 February 2018 entitled ‘A new, modern Multiannual Financial Framework for a European Union that delivers efficiently on its priorities post-2020’ (COM(2018)0098),

–  having regard to the Cork 2.0 Declaration 2016, ‘A Better Life in Rural Areas’, issued at the European Conference on Rural Development,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 May 2018 on the current situation and future prospects for the sheep and goat sectors in the EU(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2018 on a European strategy for the promotion of protein crops – encouraging the production of protein and leguminous plants in the European agriculture sector(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2018 on the next MFF: Preparing the Parliament’s position on the MFF post-2020(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 March 2018 on prospects and challenges for the EU apiculture sector(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 April 2017 on the state of play of farmland concentration in the EU: how to facilitate the access to land for farmers(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 April 2017 on women and their roles in rural areas(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2016 on CAP tools to reduce price volatility in agricultural markets(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 October 2016 on how the CAP can improve job creation in rural areas(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on enhancing innovation and economic development in future European farm management(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2015 on prospects for the EU dairy sector – review of the implementation of the Dairy Package(14),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘A possible reshaping of the Common Agricultural Policy’(15),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Committee of the Regions entitled ‘The CAP after 2020’(16),

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), most of which are relevant to the CAP,

–  having regard to the report and conclusions from November 2016 of the Agricultural Markets Task Force entitled ‘Improving Market Outcomes – Enhancing the Position of Farmers in the Supply Chain’,

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), and notably the commitments undertaken by the European Union as ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs) in order to achieve the agreement’s worldwide goals,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 15 December 2016 on the implementation of the scheme of specific measures for agriculture in favour of the outermost regions of the Union (POSEI) (COM(2016)0797),

–  having regard to the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) announced in 2016 (COM(2016)0316), which is a tool to help deliver the benefits of EU environmental law and policies for businesses and citizens through better implementation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Budgetary Control,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, and to the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0178/2018),

A.  whereas the Commission communication on The Future of Food and Farming acknowledges that the common agricultural policy (CAP) is one of the oldest and most integrated policies in the EU and of global strategic importance, and should be designed to enable the EU farming and forestry sector to respond to justified citizens’ demands regarding not only food security, safety, quality and sustainability, but also environmental care, biodiversity and natural resources protection, climate change action, rural development, health and high animal welfare standards, and employment;

B.  whereas the fact is that the CAP must now be reformed so that it more satisfactorily meets the needs both of those at whom it is primarily addressed – farmers – and of citizens as a whole;

C.  whereas the CAP is of paramount importance across Europe for around 12 million agricultural holdings;

D.  whereas farmland makes up 47 % of European territory and there are 22 million farmers and agricultural workers in the EU;

E.  whereas the goals of the CAP should be to ensure food safety and sovereignty, and the resilience and sustainability of the EU’s agricultural systems and territories;

F.  whereas the EU’s overarching objective of a multifunctional and diversified agriculture and forestry sector that creates jobs, is fair, is driven by sustainable agricultural practices and enables the preservation of viable small and family farms which can be acquired and handed down from generation to generation, remains key to delivering the positive externalities and public goods that European citizens demand (food and non-food products and services);

G.  whereas it is vital to halt and reverse the current concentration of power in the hands of the large retail sector and big business;

H.  whereas changes to the current CAP must be based on strategic aims to strengthen competitiveness and ensure sound and safe food;

I.  whereas for more than 25 years the CAP has undergone regular reform dictated by the opening-up of European agriculture to international markets and by the emergence of new challenges in areas such as the environment and climate change; whereas another step is now necessary in this continuous process of adjustment in order to simplify, modernise and reorientate the CAP so that it secures farmers’ incomes and more effectively meets the expectations of society as a whole, in particular as regards food quality and security, climate change, public health and employment, while ensuring policy certainty and financial security for the sector, in order to achieve sustainable rural areas, tackle food security and ensure that European climate and environmental targets are met, as well as to increase EU added value;

J.  whereas although the Commission has entitled its communication on the ongoing reform of the CAP ‘The Future of Food and Farming’, it has given no guarantee that the CAP budget will be maintained, and whereas it is essential that this be addressed before the forthcoming legislative proposals are presented; whereas these must ensure that there is no renationalisation of the CAP, that the proper functioning of the single market is not impaired and that there is genuine simplification for beneficiaries, not only at EU level but also at Member State, regional, local and farm level, as well as flexibility and legal security for farmers and forest owners, while ensuring ambitious environmental goals and that the targets of the new CAP are fulfilled without adding new constraints on Member States and thus a new layer of complexity which would lead to delays in the implementation of national strategies;

K.  whereas a new delivery model should ensure a direct relationship between the EU and European farmers;

L.  whereas the CAP must play an important role in strengthening the long-term productivity and competitiveness of the sector and avoiding stagnation and volatility of farm incomes, which, despite the concentration and intensification of production and increasing productivity, are on average still lower than in the rest of the economy;

M.  whereas direct payments provide the first substantial layer of stability and a safety net for farm incomes, as they represent a tangible portion of annual farming incomes, and even as much as 100 % of farm revenues in certain regions; whereas these payments should be continued in order to help farmers compete on a level playing field with third countries;

N.  whereas new rural value chains in the bioeconomy can offer good growth and job potential for rural areas;

O.  whereas direct payments must be more targeted to farmers, as they are the people who contribute to the stability and the future of our rural regions and who face economic market risks;

P.  whereas over the last few years farmers have been confronted with increasing price volatility, which has reflected price fluctuations on global markets and uncertainty caused by macroeconomic developments, external policies such as trade, political and diplomatic issues, sanitary crises, excess quantities in certain European sectors, climate change and more frequent extreme weather events in the EU;

Q.  whereas specific tools for Mediterranean sectors should remain in Pillar I;

R.  whereas it is essential to provide flexible and responsive tools to help sensitive and strategic sectors cope with structural changes, such as the potential impacts of Brexit or of approved bilateral trade agreements with the EU’s main partners;

S.  whereas sectoral strategies for fruits and vegetables, and wine and apiculture should remain compulsory for the producing countries, and the specificities of the related tools and rules should be retained;

T.  whereas it is essential to ensure a level playing field, fair prices and a fair standard of living for all farmers across regions and all EU Member States, thereby ensuring affordable prices for citizens and consumers and that there is agricultural activity in all parts of the Union including in areas with natural constraints; whereas it is essential to promote consumption of and access to high-quality food and healthy and sustainable diets, while delivering on the commitments for social and environmental sustainability, climate action, health, animal and plant health and welfare and the balanced development of rural areas;

U.  whereas water and agriculture are intrinsically linked, and the sustainable management of water in the agricultural sector is essential to guarantee good quality and sufficient food production and to ensure the preservation of water resources;

V.  whereas the CAP needs adequate tools to address the vulnerability of agriculture to climate change and at the same time to reduce the pressure on freshwater reserves exerted by the sector, which accounts for 50 % of freshwater use in the EU;

W.  whereas there is a need for an updated, simpler and fairer system of payments, for greater equity and legitimacy;

X.  whereas the current CAP lacks the necessary instruments to ensure decent incomes conducive to a dignified life for older farmers;

Y.  whereas there are no adequate instruments to encourage the transfer of businesses from the older generation of farmers to the younger generation;

Z.  whereas according to the ECA briefing paper from March 2018 on the future of the CAP, in 2010, for every 100 farm managers above 55, there were 14 farm managers below 35, a figure which fell to 10,8 farm managers in 2013; whereas the average age of EU farmers increased from 49.2 to 51.4 years over the period 2004 to 2013; whereas the smallest farms are most often those of older farmers;

AA.  whereas increasing global trade presents both opportunities and challenges, relating among other things to the environment, climate change, water protection, lack of agricultural land and land degradation, and thus requires an adjustment of the rules of international trade so as to allow the establishment of a common level playing field based on high standards and fair and sustainable conditions for the exchange of goods and services, as well as renewed and efficient trade defence mechanisms, in accordance with existing EU social, economic, environmental, health, sanitary, phytosanitary and animal welfare standards;

AB.  whereas these high standards need to be maintained and further promoted globally, particularly within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), preserving the interests of European producers and consumers by ensuring European standards in trade agreements for imports;

AC.  whereas about 80 % of the required protein in the EU is imported from third countries and not nearly enough has been done so far to implement a protein strategy in the CAP;

AD.  whereas, while the focus on research and development for both resource-saving product and process innovation is to be welcomed, more must be done to develop the research capacity and infrastructure necessary to translate the results of research into food and farming and sustainable agro-forestry practice, facilitated by adequate support, as well as to promote a multi-actor approach with farmers at its centre, supported by independent, transparent, sufficiently funded EU-wide agricultural extension services in all Member States and regions and by knowledge exchange and training services at Member State level;

AE.  whereas direct investment support should be better targeted to the dual demands of economic and environmental performance and consider the needs of the farms themselves;

AF.  whereas the European Union has developed a series of space programmes (EGNOS and Galileo) and earth observation programmes (Copernicus), whose potential for monitoring the implementation of the CAP and the transition of European agriculture towards precision farming and towards the dual environmental and economic performance of holdings should be exploited to its maximum;

AG.  whereas most bio-technology research is now located outside the EU, where it typically focuses on agro-economic issues not relevant to the EU sector, resulting in potential losses in investment and focus;

AH.  whereas based on recent experiences, taking advantage of and encouraging natural processes to boost yields and resilience is likely to lower production costs;

AI.  whereas a competitive agriculture, food and forestry sector must continue to play a strong role in reaching the environmental care and climate objectives of the EU as set out in international agreements such as COP21 and the UN SDGs, with farmers being incentivised and remunerated for their contribution and assisted by a reduction in unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens in the measures they undertake;

AJ.  whereas the extent of the global average surface temperature increase projected to take place in the 21st century and its immediate consequences for climatic conditions necessitate an environmentally sustainable food system which guarantees safe and plentiful production, while not leaving the Union beholden to other markets;

AK.  whereas it is important that the future CAP is coherent with the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and EU policies, particularly in the areas of sustainability, the environment, climate, public health and food;

AL.  whereas agriculture is one the sectors of the economy expected to contribute to the 2030 objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 % compared to 2005 levels under the Effort Sharing Regulation;

AM.  whereas small farmers account for about 40 % of EU farms, but receive only 8 % of CAP subsidies;

AN.  whereas the 17 SDGs set new, clear objectives for the CAP post 2020;

AO.  whereas the CAP has progressively integrated environmental objectives by ensuring that its rules are compatible with the environmental requirements laid down in EU legislation and that farmers comply with those requirements, and also promote sustainable farming practices that preserve the environment and biodiversity;

AP.  whereas the consumption of saturated fats and red meat in the Union remains well above the recommended nutritional intake, and the food industry continues to make a substantial contribution to greenhouse gas and nitrogen emissions;

AQ.  whereas closed production circles – production, processing and packing being carried out in the same region – keep the added value in the region in question and thus secure more jobs in the local area, and therefore demonstrate the potential to revive rural areas;

AR.  whereas the CAP pursues inseparable economic and environmental objectives, and this twin-track approach must be preserved and even reinforced, in the context of the reform of Pillar I and the greening scheme, in favour of a transition towards a sustainable and efficient European agricultural model;

AS.  whereas in the future CAP the European Union must strive for a significant limitation on the use of antibiotics in agriculture and in the food sector in order to strengthen sustainable farming;

AT.  whereas increasing the long-term resilience and sustainability of the agricultural systems and territories will benefit the EU as a whole;

AU.  whereas the ECA has underlined the fact that, due to greening requirements which often do little more than reflect current practices, the green payments introduced as part of the 2013 reform create added complexity and bureaucracy, are difficult to understand, and in the ECA’s view do not sufficiently enhance the CAP’s environmental and climate performance due to their design, which points are important to bear in mind when designing the new green architecture for the CAP;

AV.  whereas the ECA has identified significant shortcomings in the implementation of Pillar II, in particular the long approval process, as well as the complex and bureaucratic nature of the rural development programmes;

AW.  whereas the evidence-based ‘Fitness Check’ meta-assessment of scientific studies found that greening measures did not significantly improve environmental performance, largely because those requirements were already being met;

AX.  whereas the objectives of the Cork 2.0 Declaration for a Better Life in Rural Areas concern vibrant rural areas, smart multi-functionality, biodiversity in and outside agriculture and forestry, rare animal breeds and conservation crops, as well as organic agriculture, support for less-favoured areas, and commitments in the context of Natura 2000; whereas the Declaration also highlights the importance of efforts to avert the depopulation of rural areas, and the role of women and young people in this process, as well as the need for better use of endogenous resources in rural areas through the implementation of integrated strategies and multi-sectoral approaches that strengthen the bottom-up approach and synergy between stakeholders, and which require investment in the viability of rural areas, preservation and better management of natural resources, climate action incentives, stimulation of knowledge and innovation, stepping-up of governance in rural areas, and simplification of rural development policy and its implementation;

AY.  whereas less beneficial areas, such as regions in which there is strong competition between urban development and agriculture, should be taken into account by the CAP for their additional restrictions on access to land, in order to maintain agriculture in those areas;

AZ.  whereas less-favoured areas, such as mountainous and outermost regions, should continue to be compensated by the CAP for the extra costs associated with their specific constraints in order to maintain farming activity in such areas;

BA.  whereas the CAP should give due recognition to the great environmental benefits provided by certain sectors, such as the sheep and goat sectors or protein crops;

BB.  whereas the beekeeping sector is vital for the EU and contributes significantly to society, both economically and environmentally;

BC.  whereas it is essential to further strengthen the position of farmers in the food supply chain and to ensure fair competition within the single market using fair and transparent rules that take into account the specific nature of agriculture in relations between production and other parts of the food supply chain, both upstream and downstream, and to provide incentives to prevent risk and crises effectively, including active management tools that are able to better match supply with demand and can be deployed at sector level and by public authorities, as pointed out in the report of the Agricultural Markets Task Force; whereas aspects outside the scope of the CAP affecting the competitiveness and a level playing field for farmers must also be properly considered and monitored;

BD.  whereas the new challenges regarding food security and autonomy for European agriculture within the EU’s political priorities, as stated in the Commission’s reflection paper on the future of EU finances, require the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) to increase or maintain the agricultural budget in constant euros to cover both existing and new challenges;

BE.  whereas as farmers are expected by society to change their practices to become fully sustainable, they should be supported in this transition with public funds;

BF.  whereas any changes to the current CAP must be introduced in such a way as to ensure stability for the sector and legal certainty and security of planning for farmers and forest owners, by means of adequate transition periods and measures;

BG.  whereas Parliament must play a comprehensive role in setting a clear policy framework to maintain common ambition at European level and democratic debate on the strategic issues which have an impact on the everyday lives of all citizens when it comes to the sustainable use of natural resources, including water, soil and air, the quality of our food, the financial stability of agricultural producers, food safety, health and the sustainable modernisation of agricultural and hygiene practices with the aim of establishing a societal contract at European level among producers and consumers;

BH.  whereas there is a need for a recast CAP to deliver at the level of what is at stake, there is an imperative to give the co-legislators the means to fully exercise their mission within a regulated time frame, and there are the uncertainties related to Brexit;

BI.  whereas the future of food security in Europe must be ensured for both the UK and the EU 27, with the utmost efforts being made to minimise disruption to production and access to food for both parties; whereas all efforts must be made to ensure unitary alignment in environmental and food safety standards so as to ensure that both UK and EU citizens face no reduction in food quality and food safety;

BJ.  whereas one of the six key priorities for rural development in the EU is the restoration, preservation and enhancement of ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry, including in Natura 2000 areas;

BK.  whereas the EU is currently working on a protein strategy to promote self-sufficiency in protein crops;

BL.  whereas acute food insecurity affected 124 million people in 51 countries in 2017, which is 16 million more than in 2016; whereas the majority of those affected by food insecurity live in rural areas;

BM.  whereas equality between women and men is a core objective of the EU and its Member States; whereas many of the roles played by women in rural areas help to maintain viable farm businesses and rural communities; whereas efforts to avert rural depopulation are linked to the opportunities for women and young people; whereas rural women still face numerous challenges, while agricultural and rural development policies do not sufficiently include a gender dimension; whereas, although the gender of direct payment or rural development beneficiaries is a not a reliable indicator of the impact of programmes, women as applicants or beneficiaries are under-represented;

BN.  whereas, in order to justify the CAP budget to European taxpayers, future funding must be linked both to the production of safe and high-quality food and to a clear societal added value as regards sustainable agriculture, ambitious environmental and climate performance, public and animal health and welfare standards, and other societal impacts of the CAP, in order to create a genuine level playing field within and outside the EU;

BO.  whereas the Special Eurobarometer study No 442 on the attitudes of Europeans towards animal welfare indicates that 82 % of European citizens believe that the welfare of farm animals should be improved;

BP.  whereas the use of pesticides, the degradation of biodiversity and changes in the agricultural environment may have a negative impact on the quantity of pollinators and variety of pollinator species; whereas the challenges faced by pollinators, both domesticated and wild, are significant and the effect on EU agriculture and food security could be detrimental given the dependency of the majority of EU production on pollinating services; whereas a public consultation under the EU Pollinators Initiative was launched in January 2018 to identify the best approach and necessary steps to tackle the decline of pollinators in the EU;

BQ.  whereas there is a need to devise a specific measure within rural development – centred around the European Union’s eight principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – in order to encourage a reduction in the use of serious pesticides and promote the uptake of non-chemical alternatives;

BR.  whereas less-favoured areas, such as mountainous and outermost regions, should continue to be compensated by the CAP for the extra costs associated with their specific constraints in order to maintain farming activity in such areas;

BS.  whereas the application of the CAP framework in the outermost regions should fully explore the scope of Article 349 TFEU, since those areas are in a particularly disadvantaged position in terms of socio-economic development, with regard to aspects such as an ageing population and depopulation; whereas the POSEI is an effective tool intended for the development and strengthening of sector structuring which addresses the specific agricultural issues in the outermost regions; recalls that the Commission, in its report of 15 December 2016 to Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the POSEI, concluded that ‘taking into account the assessment of the scheme, a modification of basic Regulation (EU) No 228/2013 is not deemed necessary’;

BT.  whereas both forest management and agroforestry comprising an upper storey of woody vegetation over pasture or an agricultural crop, can contribute resilience at farm and landscape level and to required environmental and climate change mitigation actions, delivering forestry or agricultural products or other ecosystem services and thereby reinforcing the objectives of the CAP and allowing the circular and bio-economies to contribute to new business models benefiting farmers, foresters and rural areas; whereas the EU Forest Strategy promotes a coherent, holistic view of forest management and the multiple benefits of forests and addresses the whole forest value chain; stresses that the CAP plays a crucial role in its objectives, and pays special attention to the Mediterranean forests, which suffer more from climate change and fires, with biodiversity and potential agricultural production thus being put at risk;

A new relationship between the European Union, the Member States, regions and farmers

1.  Welcomes the intention to simplify and modernise the CAP for the economic benefit of farmers and to meet citizens’ expectations, but emphasises that the overriding priorities of reform must be the principles set out in the Treaty of Rome, the integrity of the single market and a truly common policy, adequately financed by the EU, that is modern and result-orientated, supports sustainable agriculture, and ensures safe, high-quality and varied food, employment and development in rural areas;

2.  Notes the Commission communication on the Future of Food and Farming and welcomes the recognition that one of the CAP’s objectives shall be to enhance and ensure the sustainable management of natural resources and to contribute to the environmental and climate objectives of the EU;

3.  Calls for a CAP that pursues as its top priority the transition of each European farm towards an undertaking that combines both economic and environmental performance standards;

4.  Stresses the need for the CAP to maintain the essential relationship between EU legislators, farmers and citizens; rejects any possibility of renationalising the CAP, which would increase imbalances in competition within the single market;

5.  Draws attention to the very important role played by small and medium-sized farms, a role which must be acknowledged and valued;

6.  Points out that the flexibility that Member States currently enjoy regarding options set out in basic rules makes it possible to respond to specific situations but, at the same time, shows that parts of the CAP can no longer be considered as common; underlines the need to uphold the conditions of competition within the single market and to guarantee a level playing field as regards access to support for farmers in different Member States or in different regions, together with the need for adequate and efficient solutions to minimise any risk of distortion of competition or risks for cohesion;

7.  Considers that Member States should enjoy a reasonable level of flexibility within a strong common framework of EU rules, basic standards, intervention tools, controls and financial allocations agreed at EU level by the co-legislator, in order to guarantee a level playing field for farmers and, in particular, an EU approach for support under Pillar I, with a view to guaranteeing respect for the conditions of fair competition;

8.  Considers that, in order to make the implementation of the CAP more effective and better adapted to the realities of the different kinds of agriculture in Europe, national choices taken within the framework of the EU-defined toolbox available under Pillars I and II should be streamlined and Member States should design, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, their own coherent, evidence-based national strategies on the basis of EU objectives and indicators concerning the main types of possible intervention tools, which should also be defined at EU level, and their selection criteria, within a clear common framework of rules applicable across the EU, with due respect for the rules and principles of the single market;

9.  Emphasises that additional subsidiarity should only be granted on the condition that there is a strong, common set of EU rules, objectives, indicators and checks;

10.  Calls on the Commission to make the necessary adjustments in the next CAP in order to implement Parliament’s call not to use any agricultural subsidies for the breeding of bulls for bullfighting;

11.  Underlines the risks of gold-plating at national and regional level and the great degree of uncertainty for farmers owing to the possibility that Member States have to independently define their national plans and to review their decisions annually, depending on the positions taken by the governments in charge; calls on the Commission, therefore, to present to the co-legislators, together with its legislative proposals, a clear and simple model of a national strategic plan in order to enable the co-legislators to assess the scope, the degree of detail and the content of such plans, which are essential elements of the Commission’s forthcoming proposal, and to clarify the criteria against which these national strategies will be evaluated;

12.  Calls on the Commission to provide tools designed to increase the use of synergies between CAP and cohesion policy funding;

13.  Highlights the need for the future CAP to fully respect the distribution of powers within each Member State, often set out in their constitutions, particularly in terms of respecting the legal competences of the EU’s regions, when designing, managing and implementing policies, such as the EAFRD; stresses the need to ensure that farmers and other beneficiaries are duly involved throughout all stages of policy development;

14.  Welcomes the Commission’s efforts to establish programme design, implementation and control of a results-based approach in order to foster performance rather than compliance, while ensuring adequate, risk-based monitoring via clearly defined, simpler, less bureaucratic (including by the prevention of gold-plating), solid, transparent and measurable indicators at EU level, including appropriate controls of Member State measures and programme design, implementation and sanctions; considers it necessary to introduce basic uniform criteria for the setting of similar penalties for equivalent non-compliances detected in the implementation of the various measures used by the Member States or regions to achieve the common general objectives set by the EU;

15.  Stresses that a purely output-based approach would entail a risk for Member States, which, owing to their particular circumstances, might not be able to fully achieve all of the results set out in their national plans, and which may be subject to ex-post reductions of their national envelopes and suspensions of financing;

16.  Recognises that the new delivery model will require fine-tuning and amending over several years, so as to ensure that farmers are not penalised as a result of the change to an output-based model;

17.  Notes, however, that a potential delay in the adoption of CAP strategic plans may lead to late payments, a scenario which must be avoided;

18.  Notes that in Pillar I Member States can choose programmes from a priority catalogue established by the EU;

19.  Calls for the development of a system of appropriate institutional and legal adjustments that would be conducive to changing the implementation model in order to prevent additional costs from being incurred and to prevent the absorption of funds in the Member States from being reduced;

20.  Considers that the collection of information should rely on satellite images and integrated administration and control system databases rather than individual farmers’ data submissions;

21.  Calls on the Commission to develop relevant synergies between EU flagship programmes for space and the CAP, and especially with the Copernicus programme, which presents a specific interest for the farming community in terms of climate change and environment monitoring;

22.  Calls for measures that increase the recycling of nutrients; calls for the agricultural structural policy to be aligned with the environmental support scheme, for example by better combining crop and livestock farming;

23.  Requests that the simplified Small Farmers Scheme (SFS) be preserved;

24.  Believes that farmers with less than five hectares of land should have the opportunity to voluntarily step into the SFS;

25.  Calls on the Commission to carry out financial and performance control and audits with the aim of guaranteeing that functions are performed to the same high standards and in accordance with the same criteria across all Member States, irrespective of enhanced flexibility for Member States in programme design and management, and with a view, in particular, to ensuring a timely disbursement of funds across Member States to all eligible farmers and rural communities, while minimising the administrative burden for the beneficiaries;

26.  Recalls that in the previous reform, the definition of an ‘active farmer’ was difficult to agree; considers, therefore, that farm output (e.g. keeping land in a good agricultural state, implementing good animal husbandry, contributing to the circular economy) could be a better-targeted and quantifiable solution for such a definition;

27.  Rejects the 25 % cut in the rural development budget as outlined in the recent 2021-2027 MFF proposal of 2 May 2018; insists that any budget cuts in agriculture and rural development must not lead to a lowering of ambition compared to the current CAP;

28.  Considers that all actors involved in the process of controlling EU finances, including the ECA, must have the same understanding of the performance-based control system, lest the Member States or beneficiaries be faced with unexpected financial corrections;

29.  Stresses that farmers are entrepreneurs and as such should be granted the corresponding freedoms so that they can obtain fair market prices for their products;

30.  Stresses that part-time farmers and farmers drawing on mixed income must not be excluded;

31.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal to grant greater flexibility to Member States, regions and farmers within the framework of a higher financial threshold for agricultural de minimis rules, while preserving the integrity of the internal market;

32.  Calls on the Commission, moreover, to provide Member States with greater flexibility within the framework of agricultural State aid rules in order to encourage farmers to set up voluntary precautionary savings with a view to coping better with the upsurge in climate-driven and health risks, as well as economic crises;

33.  Calls however for the public goods provided by micro- and small farm enterprises, including their participation in co-operative and community endeavours, to be fairly rewarded;

34.  Calls on the Member States to strive for better synergies between the CAP and other policies and funds such as the cohesion, structural and other investment funds, in order to create a multiplier effect for the rural areas;

35.  Calls for better policy coordination between the CAP and other EU policies and actions – in particular with Directive 2000/60/EC, Directive 91/676/EEC and Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 – as a means to achieving the sustainable protection of water resources whose quantity and quality are negatively impacted by agriculture; calls for incentives to support local cooperation projects between farmers and water suppliers to enhance the protection of water resources;

36.  Notes that numerous villages and regions, despite their rural nature, remain for administrative reasons outside the scope of rural development programmes in some Member States, which puts them at a disadvantage;

37.  Calls on the Member States to consider more flexible approaches in order not to harm these regions and the producers therein;

A smart, efficient, sustainable and fair CAP – delivering for farmers, citizens, rural areas and the environment

38.  Considers it necessary to maintain the current two-pillared architecture and emphasises that the pillars must be coherent and complementary, with Pillar I financed entirely through EU funding and constituting an efficient means of support for income, for baseline environmental measures and for the continuation of existing market measures, and Pillar II meeting the specific needs of the Member States; considers it necessary at the same time, however, to incentivise farmers and other beneficiaries to carry out actions that deliver environmental and social public goods which are not remunerated by the market, and to respect both new and established practices in farming on the basis of common, uniform and objective criteria, while preserving the possibility for Member States to take specific approaches to reflect local and sectoral conditions; considers the transition of all European farms towards sustainability, and for all European farms to be fully integrated into the circular economy, combining economic with environmental performance standards and with no reduction in social or employment standards, to be a top priority;

39.  Reminds the Commission that the objectives of the CAP laid down in Article 39 TFEU are to increase agricultural productivity, to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, to stabilise markets, to assure the availability of supplies and to ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices;

40.  Underlines the potential of technological innovations for a smart and efficient sector which delivers on sustainability, particularly as regards the efficient use of resources, and the monitoring of crop and animal health and the environment;

41.  Calls for the CAP to facilitate and support the application of such innovations;

42.  Considers that the future CAP architecture can only deliver its objectives if sufficiently funded; calls, therefore, for the CAP budget to be increased or maintained in constant euros in the next MFF in order to achieve the ambitions of a revised and efficient CAP beyond 2020;

43.  Considers that further market liberalisation and the reduction of protections for farmers that it entails would necessitate compensation for the agricultural sector and, in particular, for those farms facing competitive disadvantages – notably difficulties relating to agricultural land use or to their being located in mountainous areas – and that only such compensatory measures can ensure extensive agricultural land management and the preservation of the cultural landscape;

44.  Stresses that the CAP budget should be adapted to future needs and challenges, such as those arising from the impacts of Brexit and free trade agreements adopted by the EU with its main trading partners;

45.  Points to the persistent disparities in development between rural areas in different regions and Member States and therefore considers that cohesion criteria should continue to play an important role in the distribution of second-pillar funds between Member States;

46.  Underlines the importance of allocating a strong budget to Pillar II (rural development policy), within the overall CAP budget;

47.  Considers that farmers need to be supported in the transition to full sustainability;

48.  Considers that the development of new EU policies and objectives must not be to the detriment of a successful CAP and its resources;

49.  Acknowledges the current uncertainty which exists around the future CAP budget;

50.  Emphasises that the resources of the CAP are taxpayers’ money from each Member State and that taxpayers throughout the EU have the right to be reassured that these funds are exclusively used in a targeted and transparent manner;

51.  Considers that new rural development lines which are not matched with extra funding should be avoided;

52.  Believes that more targeted support is necessary for diverse agricultural systems, especially small and medium family farms and young farmers, in order to strengthen regional economies through a productive agricultural sector in economic, environmental and social terms; considers that this can be achieved through a compulsory redistributive higher support rate for the first hectares of a holding, linked to the average size of a holding in the Members States, in view of the wide range of farm sizes across the EU; stresses that support for larger farms should be degressive, reflecting economies of scale, with mandatory capping to be decided at European level, and flexible criteria to take into account the capacity of farms and co-operatives to provide stable employment that keeps people in rural territories; believes that the funds made available by capping and degression should be retained in the Member State or region from which they derive;

53.  Believes that it is essential to ensure that support is targeted to genuine farmers, with a focus on those who are actively farming in order to earn their living;

54.  Deems it necessary to maintain a simplified scheme for small producers so as to facilitate their access to and management of CAP direct payments;

55.  Underlines the necessity of identifying the key elements of a well-balanced, transparent, simple and objective system of penalties and incentives, combined with a transparent and timely system for determining the eligibility of beneficiaries for receiving public money for the delivery of public goods, which should consist of simple, voluntary and mandatory measures and be results-oriented, thus shifting the emphasis from compliance to actual performance;

56.  Stresses that part-time farmers and people running farms with an income mix – which enliven the countryside in so many ways – engage in farming in order to earn a living and are genuine farmers, as defined in the Commission communication;

57.  Calls for the current system for calculating direct payments in Pillar I, particularly in Member States where the value of entitlements is still calculated partly on the basis of historic references, to be modernised and replaced by an EU payment calculation method, the basic component of which would be income support for farmers within certain limits and which could increase in step with the contribution to delivering public goods in accordance with the EU objectives and targets until 2030, in order to make the system simpler and more transparent;

58.  Welcomes the simple, justified, transparent and easy-to-implement Single Area Payment Scheme (SAPS), which has been successfully applied in many Member States; calls, therefore, for the SAPS to be retained beyond 2020 and suggests that it be used in any Member State or by any farmer in the EU;

59.  Emphasises that such a scheme would enable the administratively-complex system of payment entitlements to be replaced, resulting in a considerable reduction in red tape;

60.  Believes, with a view to ensuring their effectiveness in the long term, that these new payments should not become tradable commodities;

61.  Requests that the Commission examine the necessity of payment claims as regards compatibility with WTO rules;

62.  Underlines the fact that the public funds of the current CAP, which are spent on farmers’ actual activities, are subject to very precise and small-scale controls;

63.  Considers that payments should also include a strong common conditionality including environmental deliverables and other public goods such as quality jobs;

64.  Recalls that Parliament’s resolution on the ‘State of play of farmland concentration in the EU: how to facilitate the access to land for farmers’ recognises that land payments without clear conditionality lead to distortions of the land market, and thus influences the concentration of more and more agricultural land in few hands;

65.  Clarifies that public goods are those services which are above the statutory environmental, climate and animal welfare legislation, including in particular water conservation, biodiversity protection, soil fertility protection, protection of pollinators, the protection of the humus layer and animal welfare;

66.  Stresses the need for a fair distribution of direct payments between Member States, which is essential for the functioning of the single market, and which must take into account objective criteria such as the amounts received by Member States under Pillars I and II and the fact that natural conditions, employment and socio-economic circumstances, general living standards, production costs, especially land costs, and purchasing power are not the same throughout the EU;

67.  Stresses that an increased convergence of the amount of direct payments between Member States can only be achieved if the budget is adequately increased;

68.  Stresses that direct payments are there to support farmers in food production and the protection of environmental and animal welfare standards;

69.  Believes that, under the strict conditions that a level playing field in the single market can be guaranteed, that distortion of competition, especially with regard to commodities, is avoided, that consistency with WTO rules is ensured, and that the achievement of environmental and climate goals is not compromised, voluntary coupled support (VCS) payments should be maintained but only activated following an assessment by the Commission; believes that VCS serves as a tool to address the needs of sensitive sectors and specific objectives relating to the environment, climate or quality and the marketing of agricultural products, to incentivise farming practices meeting high animal welfare and environmental standards, to counteract specific difficulties, particularly those arising from the structural competitive disadvantage of less-favoured and mountainous regions, as well as difficulties which are more temporary in nature and arise from a shift away from the old entitlement scheme, for example; believes, furthermore, that VCS is also a tool to promote strategically important production, such as protein crops, in the future, or to compensate for the effects of free trade agreements; stresses, in addition, that VCS payments are important for maintaining the EU’s diversity of agricultural production, agricultural employment and sustainable production systems;

70.  Calls for payments from Pillar I, including coupled support, to be limited per hectare and beneficiary to the equivalent of twice the average of EU direct payments per hectare, in order to prevent distortion of competition;

71.  Recalls that ensuring generational renewal and new entrants is a challenge for farming in many Member States and that each national or regional strategy must therefore address this issue through a comprehensive approach, mobilising all financial resources of the CAP, including the additional payment for young farmers under Pillar I, and measures to help young farmers get set up under Pillar II, both of which should be made mandatory for the Member States, in addition to support from new financial instruments, such as a tool to grant access to capital in the context of limited resources; stresses, furthermore, the importance of national measures in removing regulatory and economic barriers while promoting succession planning, retirement packages and access to land, and facilitating and encouraging collaborative arrangements, such as partnerships, shared farming, contract rearing and leasing between old and young farmers; considers that State aid rules should also take into account the importance of generational renewal and prevent the demise of family farming;

72.  Believes that the new legislation needs to make a more clear-cut distinction between the criteria forming the basis of incentives for ‘young farmers’ and for ‘new entrants setting up in farming’ (young farmers being defined according to their age, and new entrants according to the number of years since their farms were established) in order to boost the potential for the two groups to bring about generational renewal and improve life in rural areas;

73.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to acknowledge that the new societal, technological and economic changes, such as clean energy, digitalisation, and smart solutions have impacts on rural life;

74.  Calls on the Commission to support efforts to improve the quality of life in rural areas so as to encourage people – and especially young people – to remain or return to rural areas, and urges both the Commission and the Member States to support the development of new services by entrepreneurs, chiefly by women and young people;

75.  Notes with concern that a lack of labour in several agricultural sectors is leading to the cessation of farming activities; calls for support to be provided in order to attract workers to agriculture;

76.  Stresses the need to share the successful Member State models which bring together young and old farmers for generational renewal objectives;

77.  Recommends that access to finance be improved through subsidised interest rates on loans for new entrants;

78.  Recalls that rural areas and settlements require special attention and integrated efforts to develop smart villages;

79.  Calls for improved cooperation with the EIB and the European Investment Fund (EIF) in order to foster the creation of financial instruments dedicated to young farmers across all Member States;

80.  Calls for a level playing field for special technological improvements for rural hubs and grids;

81.  Underlines the importance of rural development, including the LEADER initiative, for improving the synergies between different policies and for enhancing competitiveness, for promoting effective and sustainable economies, for supporting sustainable and multi-functional agriculture and forestry, and for producing food and non-food goods and services, which generate added value and jobs; stresses the importance of rural development in promoting partnerships between farmers, local communities and civil society and in fostering additional entrepreneurial activities and opportunities, which very often cannot be relocated, in agribusiness, agri-tourism, direct marketing, community-supported agriculture, the bio-economy and the sustainable production of bioenergy and renewable energy, all of which help to ensure the preservation of economic activity in the regions; emphasises, therefore, the importance of bolstering Pillar II financially, thus increasing the potential to generate income, to help tackle depopulation, unemployment, poverty and to promote social inclusion, the provision of social services and the strengthening of the socioeconomic fabric in rural areas with the overall objective of improving the quality of life therein;

82.  Calls on the Commission to introduce a multi-funded-investment approach in the post-2020 legislative period so as to ensure the smooth implementation of the integrated rural development tools, such as the smart villages initiative;

83.  Calls for the creation of a new fund for community-led local development (CLLD), building upon the LEADER initiative and experience in the field, to be earmarked at 10 % in all structural funds for objectives set by local community-led strategies, with no demarcation between the structural funds, which should be deployed on a decentralised basis;

84.  Stresses that rural development programmes should have added value for farms and retain their important role in facilitating long-term action regarding innovative practices and agri-environment measures;

85.  Believes that additional attention should be paid within the LEADER initiative to the needs and projects of micro-scale family farms, over and above providing for the necessary financial assistance;

86.  Believes that it has been proven that rural areas need women and men to engage in small- and medium-scale farming;

87.  Stresses the importance of maintaining specific compensatory support for farms in less-favoured areas, according to the conditions set by the Member States in the light of their particular local circumstances;

88.  Highlights, moreover, that the implementation of financial instruments in rural development should be done on a voluntary basis, while investments in rural areas should be strengthened;

89.  Calls on the Commission to set up measures for the smart villages initiative to make smart villages a priority of the next rural development policy;

90.  Believes that Pillar II financing for beekeeping should be better targeted and made more effective and that the new legislative framework should provide for a new Pillar I support scheme for beekeepers, including direct support per bee community;

91.  Emphasises that measures less closely related to farming must be subject to a higher co-financing rate;

92.  Calls on the Commission to introduce a new, coherent, reinforced and simplified conditionality regime in Pillar I, enabling the integration and the implementation of the different types of existing environmental actions, such as the current cross-compliance and greening measures; stresses that the baseline of Pillar I to achieve sustainable agricultural development should be mandatory and clearly stipulate the measures and results expected from farmers so as to ensure a level playing field, while ensuring minimum bureaucracy at farm level and, taking into account local conditions, adequate control by the Member States; calls, furthermore, for a new and simple scheme, which should be mandatory for Member States and optional for farms, based on EU rules which go beyond the baseline to incentivise farmers’ transitioning to sustainable techniques and practices for climate and the environment and which are compatible with the agri-environment-climate measures (AECMs) in Pillar II; believes that the implementation of this scheme should be determined in the national strategic plans within an EU framework;

93.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that Pillar II’s AECMs for rural development continue to offset the additional costs and shortfalls associated with the voluntary establishment by farmers of environmentally and climate-friendly practices with the possibility of adding an incentive for investment in environmental protection, biodiversity and resource-efficiency; considers that these programmes should be simplified, better targeted and more efficient, so that farmers can deliver effectively on ambitious policy goals with regard to environmental protection, biodiversity, water management and climate action and climate change mitigation, while ensuring minimum bureaucracy at farm level and, taking into account local conditions, adequate control by Member States;

94.  Calls, in addition to farms which engage solely in organic agricultural production in accordance with Article 11 of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 and are exempt from the greening requirements laid down in Article 43 of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, for farms which carry out agri-environmental measures within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 also to be exempt;

95.  Emphasises that Mediterranean EU regions are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as drought, fires and desertification, and that farmers will therefore need to make greater efforts in these areas to adapt their activities to the changed environment;

96.  Considers that the Commission’s future legislative proposals should be able to support the largest number of farmers in their efforts to modernise towards more sustainable agricultural development;

97.  Calls, in the interests of simplifying the CAP, for maintaining the existing exemption and not burdening the smallest farms under 15 hectares with additional environmental and climate measures under the CAP;

98.  Proposes that this new form of greening should be accompanied by significant, coordinated and more efficient means in Pillar II through targeted tangible and intangible investments (knowledge transfer, training, advice, the exchange of know-how, networking and innovation through the European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs)) as another driver of change;

99.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that its legislative proposals for CAP reform include suitable measures and instruments to integrate protein crop production into improved crop rotation systems, with the aim of overcoming the current protein deficit, increasing farmers’ incomes and addressing the key challenges agriculture is facing, such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity and soil fertility and the protection and sustainable management of water resources;

100.  Believes that a minimum amount of the total available budget in Pillar II should be allocated to AECMs, including organic agriculture, CO2 sequestration, soil health, sustainable forestry management measures, nutrient management planning for the protection of biodiversity, and pollination and genetic diversity in animals and plants; emphasises, in this context, the importance of maintaining Natura 2000 payments and ensuring that they are sufficient to serve as a genuine incentive for farmers;

101.  Stresses the need for payments under rural development to farmers in areas with natural constraints, difficult climatic conditions, steep slopes or limitations in terms of soil quality; calls for a simplification and improved targeting of the ANC plan after 2020;

102.  Recalls that Parliament has already highlighted that the ‘Fitness Check’ on the Natura Directive stresses the need to improve coherence with the CAP, and highlights the worrying decline in species and habitats linked to agriculture; calls on the Commission to carry out an evaluation of the impact of the CAP on biodiversity; calls further for higher Natura 2000 payments to better incentivise the protection of agricultural Natura 2000 sites, which are in a very poor state;

103.  Calls for climate-smart agriculture measures to be implemented and strengthened as the future impacts of climate change on agriculture in Europe will increase;

104.  Considers that the risks associated with climate change and land degradation across the whole farmed landscape need to be managed in the CAP, by investing in making agro-ecosystems resilient and robust, and by investing in ecological infrastructure to build topsoils, to reverse soil erosion, to introduce and lengthen crop rotations, to add more trees to the landscape and boost on-farm biological and structural diversity;

105.  Considers that the greater use of field residues as a renewable, efficient and sustainable source of energy for rural areas should be supported and promoted;

106.  Calls on the Commission to foster innovation, research and modernisation in farming, agro-forestry and the food sector by supporting a strong advisory system and training that is better adapted to the needs of CAP beneficiaries in developing their practices towards greater sustainability and resource protection, and by supporting the application of smart technologies in order to respond more effectively to challenges in the areas of health, the environment and competitiveness; stresses that training and extension must be a pre-condition in programme design and implementation in all Member States and that it is essential to foster know-how transfer, best practice models and exchanges among cooperatives and producer organisations across the Members States, such as through the European agricultural knowledge and information system (AKIS); believes that agro-ecological methods, and the principles underpinning precision farming, can generate significant benefits for the environment, increase farmers’ income, rationalise the use of agricultural machinery and significantly increase resource efficiency;

107.  Highlights the important need for the CAP, Horizon 2020 and other supportive funding schemes to encourage farmers to invest in new technologies adapted to their farm size, such as precision and digital farming tools which improve the resilience and environmental impact of agriculture;

108.  Calls on the Commission to stimulate the development and uptake of innovative technologies for all farm types, irrespective of their size and production, whether conventional or organic, livestock or arable, small or large scale;

109.  Calls on the Commission to deliver a CAP that achieves more innovation, contributes to advances in the bio-economy and provides solutions for biodiversity, climate and the environment;

110.  Calls on the Commission to focus on quality of life in rural areas, and to make it attractive for all people, especially for the younger generation;

111.  Believes that the digitalisation and precision agriculture promoted in the CAP should not make farmers more dependent on either additional input or external funding, nor should it prevent their access to resources, but should be open-source and developed inclusively with the involvement of farmers;

112.  Calls, without prejudice to a redefinition of the total amount of EU support for rural development, for the current rural development programmes, approved in accordance with Article 10(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013, to continue to apply until 2024 or until a new reform is adopted;

113.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to promoting the concept of ‘smart villages’ in the EU, which will make it possible, through a more coordinated development of the different policies, to comprehensively address the insufficient broadband connections, job opportunities and service provision in rural areas;

114.  Demands that action be taken to address the serious problem of farm accidents, which result in injuries and fatalities on EU farms, via measures in Pillar II to support investment in safety measures and training;

115.  Calls, in the context of the development of an EU protein plant strategy, for a single application of plant protection products over the period from before until shortly after sowing, to be authorised for all land down to protein plants;

116.  Believes that investments in innovation, education and training are vital for the future of European agriculture;

117.  Highlights that a results-based approach at Member State and regional level and innovative solutions provided by certification schemes should be further investigated in the framework of the future CAP, without adding bureaucracy and on-site controls;

118.  Calls for the introduction of targeted modernisation and structural improvement measures under Pillar II, with a view to achieving priority objectives such as Digital Farming 4.0;

119.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to safeguard and promote access to seeds and agricultural inputs for small-scale farmers and marginalised groups, and to promote and safeguard the exchange of seeds and their public ownership, along with sustainable traditional techniques that guarantee the human right to proper food and nutrition;

120.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to place more emphasis on entrepreneur opportunities for services to and from villages;

121.  Notes that each farm is different and that individual solutions are therefore needed;

A strong position for farmers in the global food system

122.  Calls on the Commission to maintain the current single common market organisation (single CMO) framework within Pillar I, including the specific policy instruments and marketing standards, and to improve the EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme; stresses the importance of existing production management systems for specific products and maintaining compulsory individual sector programmes (wine, fruit and vegetables, olive oil and apiculture) for producing countries, with the ultimate aim of strengthening the sustainability and competiveness of each sector and maintaining a level playing field while enabling access for all farmers;

123.  Believes that the positive and ‘market-oriented’ experience of the single CMO operational programmes in the fruit and vegetable sector, implemented by producer organisations and financed on the basis of the value of marketed production (VMP), have proven their effectiveness in enhancing the competitiveness and structuring of the targeted sectors and improving their sustainability; calls, therefore, on the Commission to consider the introduction of similar operational programmes for other sectors; believes that this could be of particular benefit to producer organisations representing dairy farmers in mountain regions and outlying areas of the Union, who process and market high-quality products and maintain milk production in these hard-to-farm areas;

124.  Recalls that unequal market power is a particular hindrance to cost-covering production in the dairy sector;

125.  Draws attention to the possibility of introducing the Voluntary Milk Supply Reduction Scheme under the CMO;

126.  Calls for the introduction of a new self-help management tool for olive oil, which would enable oil to be stored in years when there is a surfeit of production, and to be released on the market when production is below demand;

127.  Insists on the critical need for the future CAP to support farmers more efficiently, fairly and promptly in order to cope with price and income volatility due to climate, adverse weather conditions, and sanitary and market risks, by creating additional incentives and market conditions stimulating the development and voluntary use of risk management and stabilisation tools (insurance schemes, income stabilisation tools, individual provision mechanisms and mutual funds) while ensuring accessibility for all farmers and compatibility with existing national schemes;

128.  Calls for the provision of better support to increase leguminous plant production in the EU and for specific aids for extensive sheep and goat breeders, in the light of the benefits that these sectors bring to the environment and the need to reduce the EU’s dependency on the import of proteins for feed;

129.  Stresses that a future-oriented CAP should be designed to better address critical health issues, such as those related to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), air quality and healthier nutrition;

130.  Underlines the challenges posed to animal and human health by AMR; believes that the new legal framework should actively promote higher animal health and welfare as a means to combat antibiotic resistance, thereby better protecting public health and the farming sector as a whole;

131.  Draws attention to the fact that market risks can also be managed by improved market access for EU agriculture and food products in export markets;

132.  Insists on the importance of strengthening the position of primary producers within the food supply chain, in particular by guaranteeing a fair distribution of the added value between producers, processors and the retail sector, by introducing the financial resources and incentives required to support the creation and development of economic organisations, both vertical and horizontal, such as producer organisations, including cooperatives, and their associations and inter-branch organisations, by establishing harmonised minimum standards to combat unfair and abusive trade practices along the food supply chain and by strengthening transparency in the markets and through crisis prevention tools;

133.  Stresses that in accordance with the objectives of Article 39 TFEU and the exception referred to in Article 42 TFEU, the omnibus regulation has clarified the legal relationship between the provisions of the single CMO and EU competition rules and introduced new collective possibilities for farmers to enhance their bargaining power within the food supply chain; believes that these provisions are essential in the framework of the future CAP and should be improved further;

134.  Considers that drawing on the lessons learnt from the functioning of the diverse EU Market Observatories (Milk, Meat, Sugar and Crops), such tools should be extended to the sectors that are not yet covered and developed further to offer reliable data and forecasts to market operators in order to deliver an early warning and enable prompt and pre-emptive actions in the case of market disturbances with a view to preventing crises;

135.  Calls for enhanced support for and the promotion of local markets and short food supply chains; stresses the need to develop local services relating to short supply chains;

136.  Calls on the Commission to further clarify and update, where necessary, the rules for producer organisations and interbranch organisations, particularly as regards competition policy, including with a view to the measures and agreements of interbranch organisations, in order to meet societal demands;

137.  Stresses that the historical market management tools of the CAP (i.e. public intervention and private storage) have a reduced and insufficient effect in the context of globalised economies and that risk management tools are not always sufficient to cope with significant price volatility and severe market disturbances;

138.  Stresses the need, therefore, for the single CMO to continue to play an important role within the future CAP as a safety net in rapidly stabilising agricultural markets and in anticipating crises, and underlines the importance of the omnibus regulation in enabling and encouraging – drawing on the lessons learnt during the last market crises particularly in the dairy sector – the complementary use of innovative market and crisis management instruments, such as voluntary sector agreements, to manage and, where appropriate, reduce supply in quantitative terms among producers, producer organisations, associations of producer organisations, and interbranch organisations and processors (e.g. the EU Milk Production Reduction Scheme);

139.  Welcomes the work being carried out on a sustainable protein strategy for the EU;

140.  Notes the necessity of creating local and regional markets for leguminous crops across the EU, of improving environmental performance by growing crops in rotation, while also reducing the dependency on imported feed, fertilizer and pesticide inputs, and of increasing viability and economic incentives to change to more sustainable farming practices;

141.  Considers that supply management measures for cheeses and ham with protected designations of origin or protected geographical indications or for wine have proven their efficiency in improving the sustainability, competitiveness and quality of the targeted products and should therefore be maintained and, if appropriate, extended so as to cover all quality-labelled products in line with the objectives of the CAP;

142.  Calls for an in-depth review of the current crisis reserve mechanism in order to create a workable and independent EU fund for agricultural crises, which would be exempted from the principle of annuality of the budget, so as to permit budgetary transfers from one year to the next, especially when market prices are sufficiently high, while maintaining the crisis reserve at a constant level throughout the MFF period, thereby enabling quicker, more coherent and effective prevention actions and responses complementary to the use of market and risk management tools in the case of severe crisis situations, including those involving economic consequences for farmers due to animal health issues, plant diseases and food safety, but also those arising from external shocks with an impact on agriculture;

143.  Believes that while trade agreements are beneficial for some EU agricultural sectors, and necessary to strengthen the Union’s position on the global agricultural market and benefit the EU economy as a whole, they also pose a number of challenges, particularly for small and medium-scale farming and sensitive sectors that need to be taken into account, such as respect for EU sanitary, phytosanitary, animal welfare, environmental and social standards, which requires coherence between trade policy and certain objectives of the CAP and must not lead to the weakening of Europe’s high standards or put at risk its rural territories;

144.  Stresses that the application of different standards would increase the risk of exporting EU domestic production abroad, at the expense of rural development, the environment, and in certain instances food quality;

145.  Underlines that the need for reinforced safeguard mechanisms should also enlighten the debates surrounding future trade deals (Mercosur, New Zealand, Australia, etc.) and their impact on agriculture in Europe;

146.  Emphasises that, while it is important to continue to work for increased market access for European agricultural products, adequate measures for the protection of European agriculture, which take into account sector-specific concerns, are necessary, such as safeguarding mechanisms to avoid negative socio-economic impacts on small- and medium-scale farmers in the EU and in third countries, or the potential exclusion from negotiations of the most sensitive sectors and the application of the principle of reciprocity in production conditions, so as to ensure a level playing field between farmers in the EU and their foreign competitors; insists that European production must not be undermined by inferior and substandard imports;

147.  Calls on the Commission to start seeing agriculture as a strategic activity, and to approach free trade agreements in such a way that agriculture is not regarded as the adjustment variable of the other sectors involved in trade and that key sectors such as raw milk production are protected;

148.  Takes the view that the requirements of international trade and the WTO have had a very significant bearing on the series of revisions of the CAP which have been carried out since the 1990s; considers that these revisions have made European agricultural products and the European agri-food sector more competitive, but that they have also undermined large sections of the agricultural sector by exposing them to the instability of world markets; takes the view that it is now time, as the Commission communication on the Future of Farming and Food in Europe suggests, to focus more on other CAP objectives, such as farmers’ living standards and matters concerning health, employment, the environment and climate;

149.  Underlines that EU trade policy has to be coherent with other EU policies such as development and environmental policies and to support the achievement of the SDGs, and that it can contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the CAP, notably ensuring a fair standard of living for the agricultural community and that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices; stresses that the EU agri-food sector should take advantage of the opportunities for growth offered by exports, given that an estimated 90 % of additional global demand for agri-food products over the next decade will come from outside Europe; emphasises that the CAP must meet the food-, environment- and climate-related needs of European society before focusing on production for sale on the international agricultural market; stresses that so-called developing countries should have enough opportunities to establish and maintain a strong agri-food sector on their own;

150.  Further considers that goods produced in connection with deforestation, land or resource grabbing and human rights abuses should not be granted access into the EU market;

151.  Recalls the New European Consensus on Development, in which the EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to and recognise the paramount importance of effective observation of the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) established in Article 208 TFEU, which implies taking into account development cooperation objectives in all EU policies, including agricultural policy and funding, that are likely to affect developing countries in a negative way; considers, in this context, that CAP reform should respect the right of developing countries to shape their agricultural and food policies without weakening their food production capacities and long-term food security, in particular those of the least-developed countries;

152.  Recalls the commitment of the EU and its Member States to the SDGs and underlines that coherence of the CAP with the SDGs is crucial, especially in the case of SDG 2 (zero hunger), 5 (gender equality), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action) and 15 (life on land), to which the future CAP must be aligned;

153.  Calls, in accordance with the principle of budgetary efficiency, for coherence and better synergies between the CAP and all other EU policies and international commitments, particularly in the fields of energy, water supply, land use, biodiversity and ecosystems, and in the development of remote and mountainous areas;

154.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a systematic impact assessment of the provisions regarding the agricultural sector in all trade agreements, and to offer specific strategies to ensure that no agricultural sector will suffer as a result of a trade agreement concluded with a third country;

155.  Insists that processes and production methods (PPM) are an essential part of social, economic and environmental standards in global agricultural trade, and encourages the Commission to urge the WTO to acknowledge PPM as such;

156.  Underlines that fulfilment of the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and meeting the SDGs must be one of the governing principles of any trade policy with regard to agricultural products; notes that the Commission in its reflection paper on harnessing globalisation rightly signals the demand for more fair trade and sustainable and local products as a changing trend in globalisation; stresses that EU trade policy can extensively contribute to achieving the SDGs and climate goals set in the Paris Agreement;

157.  Recalls that the EU has eliminated export subsidies on its side and that there is no budget line left for export subsidies in the current EU budget; invites EU trading partners, in this regard, to make commitments to reducing trade-distorting domestic support; calls on the WTO members that continue to grant export subsidies to implement the Ministerial Decision on Export Competition adopted in Nairobi on 19 December 2015;

158.  Demands that the Commission stay vigilant and step up the Union’s defensive action towards resolving existing and future market access barriers in third countries, which are increasing, while respecting the environment and human rights, including the right to food; underlines that the majority of those barriers affect agricultural products (27 % according to the Commission’s Market Access Database), which in turn relate predominantly to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) market access measures;

159.  Calls on the Commission to anticipate and take account of the implications of Brexit when preparing the exchange of offers and calculating quotas;

160.  Calls on the Commission to launch clear and transparent initiatives to further reinforce the promotion of EU production, safety, animal welfare and environmental standards and short supply chains and to support quality food production schemes, which could be achieved inter alia through European origin labelling schemes, and marketing and promotion activities on internal and third-country markets for those sectors benefiting from specific policy instruments under the CAP; insists on the need to reduce red tape and unnecessary conditions to allow smaller producers to partake in these schemes; welcomes the steady increase in the budget available for promotional programmes and urges the Commission to maintain the pace of increase in the appropriations in the light of the growing interest from producers;

161.  Stresses the importance of short local and regional supply chains, which are more environmentally sustainable – since they cause less pollution because they require less transport – and mean products are fresher and easier to trace;

162.  Recalls the importance of empowering local farmers to move up the value chain by providing them with help and support on organic and value-added products and with new knowledge and technologies, as achieving sustainability requires direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources;

163.  Points out that producing locally supports the local food culture and local economies;

164.  Emphasises that the focus in the future of farming should be on producing high-quality food, as that is where Europe’s competitive advantage lies; stresses that EU standards must be maintained and strengthened where feasible; calls for measures to further increase the long-term productivity and competitiveness of the food production sector, and to introduce new technologies and a more efficient use of resources, thereby strengthening the EU’s role as a world leader;

165.  Considers it unacceptable that there are quality differences between food products which are advertised and distributed in the single market under the same brand and with the same packaging; welcomes the Commission’s incentives to address the issue of dual food quality in the single market, including its work on common testing methodology;

166.  Welcomes the progress achieved in promoting the EU’s agricultural interests in recent bilateral trade negotiations, notably as regards market access for high-quality EU agri-food products and the protection of geographical indications in third countries; trusts that this trend can be continued and improved upon;

A transparent decision-making process for a solid CAP proposal 2021-2028

167.  Stresses that Parliament and the Council should, via the co-decision procedure, set the general common objectives, basic standards, measures and financial allocations, and determine the appropriate level of flexibility needed to enable the Member States and their regions to cope with their specificities and needs in line with the single market so as to avoid distortions of competition deriving from national choices;

168.  Regrets the fact that the whole process of the CAP post-2020 programming exercise – consultation, communication, impact assessment and legislative proposals – is repeatedly starting with a significant delay as the end of the eighth legislature approaches, which risks debate on the future CAP being overshadowed by election debates and jeopardises the possibility of a final agreement being reached before the European elections;

169.  Calls on the Commission to introduce a transitional regulation which, in the event of a delay in the adoption of the CAP, enables farmers to continue to have access to rural development programme measures, particularly environment and investment measures;

170.  Calls on the Member States to ensure, when implementing the new reform, that there are no delays in disbursing payments to farmers and to take responsibility and properly compensate farmers should such delays occur;

171.  Emphasises, however, that as much progress must be made before the end of the current term as possible and this issue must be highlighted during campaigning for the European Parliament elections;

172.  Acknowledges the relevance of involving institutions and experts responsible for health and environmental policies affecting biodiversity, climate change, air, soil and water pollution in the CAP decision-making process;

173.  Calls on the Commission to propose, before the introduction of substantial changes in the design and/or implementation of the CAP, a transitional period long enough to ensure a soft landing and time for Member States to properly implement the new policy in an orderly manner so as to avoid any delay in farmers’ annual payments and in the implementation of rural development measures;

174.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to reinforce dialogue with developing countries and provide their expertise and financial support to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture based on small-scale and family farming, targeting women and young people in particular, a commitment made in the 2017 African Union-EU Summit Joint Declaration entitled ‘Investing in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development’; recalls the contribution of women in rural areas as entrepreneurs and promoters of sustainable development; stresses the need to develop their potential in sustainable agriculture and their resilience in rural areas;

175.  Recalls that hunger and malnutrition in developing countries are largely related to a lack of purchasing power and/or the inability of the rural poor to be self-sufficient; urges the EU, therefore, to actively help developing countries to overcome impediments (such as poor infrastructure and poor logistics) to their own agricultural production;

176.  Points out that more than half the population of the least developed countries will still be living in rural areas in 2050 and that the development of sustainable agriculture in developing countries will help to unlock the potential of their rural communities, maintain rural populations and reduce underemployment, poverty and food insecurity, which in turn will help to tackle the root causes of forced migration;

177.  Recognises the critical role that space technologies, such as those developed in EU space and satellite programmes managed by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus), can play in the attainment of the UN’s SDGs by providing affordable solutions to facilitate the move towards precision agriculture, thereby eliminating waste, saving time, reducing fatigue and optimising the use of equipment;

178.  Calls on the Commission to explore space science technologies and applications and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation as mechanisms to assist in the monitoring of crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, support farmers, fisherfolk, foresters and policymakers in their efforts to employ diverse methods of achieving sustainable food production, and respond to related challenges;

179.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the Member States, in their action plans, guarantee equality between women and men in rural areas; urges the Commission and the Member States to support equal representation of women in the institutions’ structures for dialogue with the sector and also in the decision-making bodies of the sector’s professional organisations, cooperatives and associations; considers that the new EU legislation should substantially improve the thematic sub-programmes for women in rural areas;

180.  Stresses that the Commission should continue to ensure the strict enforcement of EU animal welfare legislation at all times in all Member States equally, with proper control and sanctions; calls on the Commission to monitor and report on animal health and welfare, including animal transport; recalls that products entering the EU must respect European animal welfare, environmental and social standards; calls for financial incentives for the voluntary adoption of animal welfare measures going beyond minimum legislative standards;

181.  Calls on the Commission to implement and enforce the relevant EU law, in particular Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport; considers it necessary, in this context, to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU in which it ruled that protection of animal welfare does not cease at the EU’s external borders and that the transporters of animals being exported from the European Union must therefore comply with EU animal welfare rules, including outside the EU;

182.  Insists that special consideration should be granted to farmers who face extra costs owing to specific constraints linked to high value natural areas such as mountainous areas, islands, outermost regions, and other less favoured areas; believes that owing to their specific constraints, CAP financing is vitally important for these regions and that any reduction would have a very damaging impact on many agricultural products; urges the Member States to develop and implement quality schemes in order to give the producers interested the opportunity to introduce them swiftly;

183.  Considers that the budget of POSEI should be maintained at sufficient levels to face the challenges of agriculture in the outermost regions, as called for several times by Parliament; welcomes the results of the most recent Commission report on the POSEI implementation and considers that programmes for outermost regions and for the smaller Aegean islands should be kept separate from the general EU direct payments scheme, in order to ensure balanced territorial development by preventing the risk of abandonment of production as a result of challenges related to remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, and economic dependence on a small number of products;

184.  Calls on the Commission to include in the Milk Market Observatory an autonomous section to study prices in the outermost regions, in order to react promptly to a crisis in the sector; believes that the definition of ‘crisis’ and subsequent intervention of the Commission should be adapted to the outermost regions, taking into consideration the size of the market, dependence on a limited number of economic activities and less capacity for diversification;

185.  Calls for better integration of the ‘circular economy’ to ensure the best and most efficient use of primary material and by-products in the emerging bio-economy while respecting the limits of availability of biomass and land and other ecosystem services, and believes that the development of bio-based industry in rural areas might provide new business models that could help farmers and forest owners to find new markets for their products and create new jobs; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to provide the necessary support to the agricultural and forestry sector with a view to making a greater contribution to the further development of the bioeconomy in the EU; underlines the need to promote agroforestry, which can provide multipurpose, recreational and productive ecosystems and microclimates, and to close the gaps that could hamper its development;

186.  Believes that AECM support, complemented by eco-schemes at Member State level, should cover the costs for farmers of transitioning to new sustainable practices, such as through promotion and support for agroforestry and other sustainable forestry measures that support biodiversity and genetic diversity in animal and plant species, and of adapting to changing climatic conditions;

187.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee innovation, research and modernisation in agroforestry and forestry by supporting a strong and tailored advisory system, targeted training and tailored solutions to drive innovation and the exchange of know-how and best practices among Member States, with a general focus on relevant new technologies and digitalisation; underlines, at the same time, the crucial role of forest owner associations in information and innovation transfer, training and further education for small-scale forest owners and in the implementation of active multifunctional forest management;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 350, 29.12.2017, p. 15.
(2) OJ L 221, 8.8.1998, p. 23.
(3) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 71.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0022.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0203.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0095.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0075.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0057.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0197.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0099.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0504.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0427.
(13) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 62.
(14) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 7.
(15) OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 10.
(16) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 10.


Interpretation and implementation of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the interpretation and implementation of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making (2016/2018(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0225A8-0170/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 17(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–   having regard to Article 295 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(1) (‘the new IIA’),

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement of 20 October 2010 on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission(2) (‘the 2010 Framework Agreement’),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 December 2003 on Better Law-Making(3) (‘the 2003 IIA’),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 20 December 1994 – Accelerated working method for official codification of legislative texts(4),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 22 December 1998 on common guidelines for the quality of drafting of Community legislation(5),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(6),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration of 13 June 2007 on practical arrangements for the codecision procedure(7),

–  having regard to the Joint Political Declaration of 27 October 2011 of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on explanatory documents(8),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2017(9),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2018-2019(10),

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 18 March 2014 (the ‘Biocides case’), 16 July 2015 (the ‘Visa Reciprocity Mechanism case’), 17 March 2016 (the ‘CEF delegated act case’), 14 June 2016 (the ‘Tanzania case’) and 24 June 2014 (the ‘Mauritius case’)(11),

–  having regard to its decision of 13 December 2016 on the general revision of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT): State of Play and Outlook(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2016 on the strategic priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017(14),

–  having regard to its decision of 9 March 2016 on the conclusion of an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 November 2014 on the revision of the Commission’s impact assessment guidelines and the role of the SME test(16),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2014 on follow-up on the delegation of legislative powers and control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers(17),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2014 on EU Regulatory Fitness and Subsidiarity and Proportionality – 19th report on Better Lawmaking covering the year 2011(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2012 on the 18th report on better legislation – Application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (2010)(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2011 on better legislation, subsidiarity and proportionality and smart regulation(20),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2011 on guaranteeing independent impact assessments(21),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 October 2017 entitled ‘Completing the better regulation agenda: better solutions for better results’ (COM(2017)0651),

–  having regard to Article 294 TFEU on the codecision procedure,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 24 October 2017 entitled ‘Overview of the Union’s Efforts to Simplify and to Reduce Regulatory Burdens’ (SWD(2017)0675),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 21 December 2016 entitled ‘EU law: Better results through better application’(22),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 September 2016 entitled ‘Better Regulation: Delivering better results for a stronger Union’ (COM(2016)0615),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 May 2015 entitled ‘Better regulation for better results – An EU agenda’ (COM(2015)0215),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 7 July 2017 on better regulation guidelines (SWD(2017)0350),

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

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0170/2018),

A.  whereas the new IIA entered into force on the day of its signature, 13 April 2016;

B.  whereas, on the occasion of the adoption of the new IIA, Parliament and the Commission made a statement affirming that the new agreement ‘reflects the balance between, and respective competences of, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission as set out in the Treaties’ and ‘is without prejudice to the Framework Agreement of 20 October 2010 on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission’(23);

C.  whereas, in order to implement the provisions of the new IIA on interinstitutional programming, Parliament revised its Rules of Procedure inter alia to set out the internal processes for negotiating and adopting joint conclusions on multiannual programming and joint declarations on annual interinstitutional programming;

D.  whereas, in the context of annual interinstitutional programming, the three Institutions agreed on two joint declarations on the EU’s legislative priorities for the years 2017 and 2018-2019 respectively;

E.  whereas, contrary to the 2003 IIA, the new IIA no longer includes a legal framework for the use of alternative methods of regulation, such as co-regulation and self-regulation, with the result that any reference to such methods is missing;

F.  whereas paragraph 13 of the new IIA requires the Commission to consult as widely as possible in its impact assessment process; whereas, similarly, paragraph 19 of the new IIA requires the Commission, before adopting a proposal and not after, to conduct public consultations in an open and transparent manner, ensuring that the modalities and time limits of those public consultations allow for the widest possible participation, not restricted to vested interests and their lobbyists;

G.  whereas in July 2017 the Commission revised its Better Regulation guidelines so as to better explain and exploit the linkages between the various steps of policy-making within the Commission, replacing the previous stand-alone guidelines, which addressed separately impact assessment, evaluation and implementation, and so as to include new guidance on planning and stakeholder consultation;

H.  whereas under paragraph 16 of the new IIA, the Commission may, on its own initiative or upon invitation by Parliament or the Council, complement its own impact assessment or undertake other analytical work it considers necessary;

I.  whereas the new IIA acknowledges the replacement of the former Impact Assessment Board with the Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board; whereas the latter’s task is, inter alia, to carry out an objective quality check of the Commission’s impact assessments; whereas in order for an initiative, accompanied by an impact assessment, to be tabled for adoption by the Commission, a positive opinion is needed from the Board; whereas, in the case of a negative opinion, the draft report must be reviewed and resubmitted to the Board, and, in the case of a second negative opinion, a political decision is required for the initiative to proceed further; whereas the Board’s opinion is made public on the Commission’s website at the same time as the report relating to the initiative concerned and, in the case of impact assessments, once the Commission has adopted the related policy initiative(24);

J.  whereas at the beginning of 2017, the Regulatory Scrutiny Board completed the recruitment of its staff, including three members from outside the EU Institutions; whereas in 2016 the Board reviewed 60 separate impact assessments, of which 25 (42 %) received an initial negative assessment, resulting in revision and resubmission to the Board; whereas the Board has subsequently given positive overall assessments to all but one of the revised impact assessments that it has received; whereas the Board has exchanged information with Parliament’s services on best practices and methodologies relating to impact assessments;

K.  whereas under paragraph 25 of the new IIA, if a modification of the legal basis is envisaged entailing a change from the ordinary legislative procedure to a special legislative procedure or a non-legislative procedure, the three Institutions will exchange views thereon; whereas Parliament has revised its Rules of Procedure to give effect to this provision; whereas this provision has not yet had to be applied;

L.  whereas in paragraph 27 of the new IIA, the three Institutions acknowledge the need for the alignment of all existing legislation to the legal framework introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, and in particular the need to give high priority to the prompt alignment of all basic acts which still refer to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny (RPS); whereas the Commission proposed that latter alignment in December 2016(25); whereas Parliament and the Council are currently examining this proposal in great detail;

M.  whereas a new version of the Common Understanding on Delegated Acts and on the related standard clauses is annexed to the new IIA; whereas under paragraph 28 of the new IIA, the three Institutions will enter into negotiations without undue delay after the entry into force of the agreement, with a view to supplementing this Common Understanding by providing for non-binding criteria for the application of Articles 290 and 291 TFEU; whereas, after lengthy preparatory work, these negotiations finally began in September 2017;

N.  whereas in paragraph 29 of the new IIA the three Institutions committed to setting up, at the latest by the end of 2017, a joint functional register of delegated acts, providing information in a well-structured and user-friendly way, in order to enhance transparency, facilitate planning and enable traceability of all the different stages in the lifecycle of a delegated act; whereas the register has now been set up and became operational in December 2017;

O.  whereas point 32 of the IIA stipulates that ‘the Commission shall carry out its role as facilitator by treating the two branches of the legislative authority equally, in full respect of the roles assigned by the Treaties to the three Institutions’;

P.  whereas in paragraph 34 of the new IIA, Parliament and the Council, in their capacity as co-legislators, underlined the importance of maintaining close contacts already in advance of interinstitutional negotiations, so as to achieve a better mutual understanding of their respective positions, and agreed, to that end, to facilitate a mutual exchange of views and information, including by inviting representatives of the other institutions to informal exchanges of views on a regular basis; whereas these provisions have not given rise to any new specific procedures or structures; whereas, while contact between the Institutions has intensified within the framework of the joint declaration on legislative priorities, the experience of the committees suggests that there is no systematic approach to facilitate such a mutual exchange of views and that it remains difficult to obtain information and feedback from the Council on issues raised within it by the Member States; whereas Parliament finds this situation highly unsatisfactory;

Q.  whereas, in order to further reinforce the transparency of the legislative process, Parliament revised its Rules of Procedure so as to adapt its rules on interinstitutional negotiations during the ordinary legislative procedure, building on the provisions introduced in 2012; whereas, while all of Parliament’s negotiating mandates are public, the same does not hold true of the Council’s mandates; whereas Parliament finds this situation highly unsatisfactory;

R.  whereas in paragraph 39 of the new IIA, in order to facilitate traceability of the various steps in the legislative process, the three Institutions undertook to identify, by 31 December 2016, ways of further developing platforms and tools to that end, with a view to establishing a dedicated joint database on the state of play of legislative files; whereas no such joint database has been created to date;

S.  whereas in paragraph 40 of the new IIA, regarding the negotiation and conclusion of international agreements, the three Institutions committed to meeting within six months after the entry into force of the new IIA in order to negotiate improved practical arrangements for cooperation and information-sharing within the framework of the Treaties, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU); whereas such negotiations began in November 2016 and are still ongoing;

T.  whereas regulatory cooperation has emerged as a key instrument in international trade agreements on a path towards regulatory dialogue and coherence between trading partners; whereas the Commission is to remain committed in that process to the principles of a fair and level playing field for all stakeholders and guaranteeing the utmost transparency in decision-making;

U.  whereas in paragraph 46 of the new IIA, the three Institutions confirm their commitment to using the legislative technique of recasting for the modification of existing legislation more frequently and in full respect of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts;

V.  whereas under paragraph 48 of the new IIA, by way of contribution to its regulatory fitness and performance programme (REFIT), the Commission undertakes to present annually an overview, including an annual burden survey, of the results of the Union’s efforts to simplify legislation and to avoid overregulation and reduce administrative burdens; whereas the results of the first annual burden survey were presented on 24 October 2017 as part of the Commission Work Programme for 2018;

W.  whereas the annual burden survey offers a unique opportunity to identify and monitor the results of EU efforts to avoid overregulation and reduce administrative burdens; whereas this survey provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the added value of EU legislation and to provide transparency to EU citizens;

X.  whereas the new IIA calls for interinstitutional cooperation with the aim of simplifying existing Union legislation and avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens for citizens, administrations and businesses; whereas Parliament emphasises that with regard to international trade agreements these objectives should not lead to lower standards on the protection of the environment, public health, workers’ health, safety, International Labour Organisation standards or consumer rights;

Y.  whereas under paragraph 50 of the new IIA, the three Institutions will monitor the implementation of the new IIA jointly and regularly, at both the political level through annual discussions and the technical level in the Interinstitutional Coordination Group; whereas monitoring at the political level includes regular discussions in the Conference of Committee Chairs and the annual high-level stocktaking meeting; whereas, furthermore, specific monitoring arrangements were laid down in the context of the joint declarations on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2017 and 2018-2019 respectively; whereas, moreover, the experience gained by committees so far is an invaluable tool for assessing the implementation of the new IIA; whereas the Committee on Legal Affairs has specific competence for better law-making and simplification of Union law;

Common commitments and objectives

1.  Considers the new IIA as an interinstitutional exercise which seeks to improve the quality of Union legislation; recalls that, in many instances, EU legislation harmonises or replaces different rules in 28 Member States, making national markets mutually and equally accessible and reducing administrative costs overall to establish a fully functional internal market;

2.  Welcomes the progress achieved and the experience gained in the first year and a half of the application of the new IIA and encourages the Institutions to undertake further efforts to fully implement the agreement, in particular with regard to the interinstitutional negotiations on non-binding criteria for the application of Articles 290 and 291 TFEU, the alignment of all basic acts that still refer to the RPS, the interinstitutional negotiations on practical arrangements for cooperation and information-sharing regarding the negotiation and conclusion of international agreements, and the establishment of a dedicated joint database on the state of play of legislative files;

3.  Recalls that the new IIA aims to develop a more open and transparent relationship between the three Institutions with a view to delivering high-quality legislation in the interest of EU citizens; considers that, although the principle of sincere cooperation among Institutions is only mentioned in paragraphs 9 and 32 in relation to specific areas covered by the new IIA, it should be observed throughout the legislative cycle as one of the principles enshrined in Article 13 TEU;

Programming

4.  Welcomes the three Institutions’ agreement to reinforce the Union’s annual and multiannual programming in accordance with Article 17(1) TEU by means of a more structured procedure with a precise timeline; notes with satisfaction that the first exercise of interinstitutional annual programming under the new IIA saw the active participation of the three Institutions, participation that led to a joint declaration on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2017, with 59 key legislative proposals identified as priorities for 2017 and, further to a joint declaration on legislative priorities for 2018-2019, 31 key legislative proposals identified as priorities until the end of the current term; particularly welcomes, in this context, the active involvement of the Council and trusts that it will continue in the future, including as regards multiannual programming for the new term; considers, however, that priority treatment for certain legislative files agreed upon in joint declarations should not be used to exert undue pressure on the co-legislators and that greater speed should not be prioritised at the expense of legislative quality; considers it important to evaluate how the current practice and rules for approving the joint declarations are applied and whether certain improvements can be made to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure with regard to the negotiations on interinstitutional programming, for example to reinforce the mandate given to the President by the political groups;

5.  Considers it of the utmost importance that parliamentary committees are fully consulted throughout the joint declaration preparation and implementation process;

6.  Points out that the new IIA is without prejudice to the mutual undertakings agreed between Parliament and the Commission in the 2010 Framework Agreement; recalls, in particular, that the arrangements relating to the timetable for the Commission Work Programme set out in Annex 4 to the 2010 Framework Agreement must be complied with when implementing paragraphs 6-11 of the new IIA;

7.  Considers that the Commission should, when presenting its Work Programme, in addition to the elements referred to in paragraph 8 of the new IIA, indicate how the envisaged legislation is justifiable in the light of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and specify its European added value;

8.  Welcomes the establishment of the Commission Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and ‘Doing Less More Efficiently’, which must work hand in hand with the new IIA to increase the trust of citizens who consider the principle of subsidiarity to be a key aspect of the democratic process;

9.  Calls on the Commission to present more inclusive, more detailed and more reliable Work Programmes; requests, in particular, that the Commission Work Programmes clearly indicate the legal nature of each proposal with accurate and realistic timeframes; calls on the Commission to ensure that forthcoming legislative proposals – especially key legislative packages – arrive well before the end of this legislative term, thereby giving the co-legislators enough time to exercise their prerogatives in full;

10.  Encourages developing efficient legislation geared to developing employment protection and European competitiveness with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, across all sectors of the economy;

11.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission replied to Parliament’s requests for proposals for Union acts under Article 225 TFEU, for the most part within the three-month deadline referred to in paragraph 10 of the new IIA; points out, however, that the Commission failed to adopt specific communications as foreseen in that provision; calls on the Commission to adopt such communications with a view to ensuring full transparency and providing a political response to requests made by Parliament in its resolutions, and with due regard for Parliament’s relevant European Added Value and Cost of Non-Europe analyses;

12.  Underlines the importance of transparent cooperation in good faith between Parliament, the Council and the Commission, which should be translated into practice by a genuine commitment on the part of the Commission to involving Parliament and the Council, at the same level, in the implementation of its programming arrangements, and reminds the Commission of its obligation to respond promptly to legislative and non-legislative own initiative reports; deplores the fact that several own-initiative reports have remained unanswered, and calls on the Commission to provide the co-legislators, within three months, with reasons for the withdrawal of a text and also with a reasoned reply to requests for legislative or non-legislative proposals;

13.  Considers that the deletion of all references to the use of alternative methods of regulation in the new IIA is without prejudice to Parliament’s position that soft law should be applied only with the greatest of care and on a duly justified basis, without undermining legal certainty and the clarity of existing legislation, and after consultation of Parliament(26); is concerned, furthermore, that a lack of clear boundaries on the use of soft law may even encourage recourse to it, with no guarantee that Parliament would be able to carry out scrutiny;

14.  Invites the Council and the Commission to agree that alternative methods of regulation, provided that they are strictly necessary, should be included in the multiannual and annual programming documents, so as to allow proper identification and scrutiny by the legislators;

Tools for better law-making

15.  Underlines that impact assessments may inform but must never be a substitute for political decisions or cause undue delays to the legislative process; underlines that, throughout the legislative process and in all assessments of the impact of proposed legislation, particular attention must be paid to the potential impacts on those stakeholders who have least opportunity to present their concerns to decision-makers, including SMEs, civil society, trade unions and others who do not have the advantage of easy access to the Institutions; believes that impact assessments must pay equal attention to the evaluation of social, health and environmental consequences in particular, and that the impact on the fundamental rights of citizens and on equality between women and men must be assessed;

16.  Recalls that SMEs represent 99 % of all businesses in the EU, generate 58 % of the EU’s turnover and are responsible for two thirds of total private employment; recalls, furthermore, that the Commission, in the Small Business Act, made a commitment to implementing the ‘think small first’ principle in its policymaking, and that this includes the SME test to assess the impact of forthcoming legislation and administrative initiatives on SMEs(27); recalls that in its decision of 9 March 2016 on the new IIA Parliament stated that the wording of the new IIA does not sufficiently commit the three Institutions to include SME and competitiveness tests in their impact assessments(28); stresses the importance of taking into account and paying attention to the impact on competitiveness and innovation and to the needs of SMEs at all stages of the legislative cycle, and expresses satisfaction that the Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines prescribe that potential impacts on SMEs and competitiveness must, where relevant, be considered and reported systematically in all impact assessments; notes that SME tests often lack quality and coherent implementation; calls on the Commission to consider how the impact on SMEs can be better taken into account, and intends to monitor this issue closely in the years to come;

17.  Urges the Commission, in the context of better law-making, to better assess the social and environmental consequences of its policies and their impact on the fundamental rights of citizens, by keeping in mind also the cost of non-legislation at European level and the fact that cost-benefit analyses are only one of many criteria;

18.  Reiterates its call for the compulsory inclusion in all impact assessments of a balanced analysis of the medium- to long-term economic, social, environmental and health impacts;

19.  Calls on the Commission to use impact assessments and ex-post evaluations to examine the compatibility of initiatives, proposals or pieces of existing legislation with the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as their impact, respectively, on the progress and implementation of these Goals;

20.  Recalls that the idea of a supplementary ad hoc technical independent panel contained in the Commission’s initial proposal for the new IIA was not further pursued in the course of the negotiations; points out that the aim of the creation of such a panel was to enhance the independence, transparency and objectiveness of impact assessments; recalls that it was agreed in paragraph 15 of the new IIA that Parliament and the Council, where and when they consider it appropriate and necessary, would carry out impact assessments in relation to their own substantial amendments to the Commission proposal, which are much needed in order to take an informed and well-founded decision; reminds its committees of the importance of availing themselves of this tool wherever needed;

21.  Welcomes the reference in the new IIA to the inclusion of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality in the scope of impact assessments; stresses, in this regard, that impact assessments should always encompass a thorough and rigorous analysis of the compliance of a proposal with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and specify its European added value;

22.  Notes that a significant number of Commission proposals were not accompanied by impact assessments and that committees have expressed concern that the quality and level of detail of impact assessments varies from the comprehensive to the rather superficial; points out that in the first phase of application of the new IIA 20 out of 59 Commission proposals included in the 2017 joint declaration were not accompanied by impact assessments; recalls in this regard that, while it is in any case foreseen that initiatives which are expected to have significant social, economic or environmental impact should be accompanied by an impact assessment, paragraph 13 of the IIA also states that the initiatives included in the Commission Work Programme or the joint declaration should, as a general rule, be accompanied by an impact assessment;

23.  Welcomes the fact that the IIA stipulates that the ‘European added value’ of any proposed Union action, as well as the ‘cost of non-Europe’ in the absence of action at Union level, should be taken into account when setting the legislative agenda; highlights the fact that the cost of non-Europe can be estimated at EUR 1,75 trillion per year, equivalent to 12 % of EU GDP (2016); honours the work of the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) in this context;

24.  Calls on the Commission to further clarify how it intends to assess the cost of non-Europe – inter alia the cost for producers, consumers, workers, administrations and the environment of not having harmonised legislation at EU level and where divergent national rules cause extra cost and render policies less effective – as referred to in paragraphs 10 and 12 of the new IIA; points out that such an assessment should not only be conducted in the event of sunset clauses, towards the end of a programme, or when a repeal is envisaged, but should also be considered in cases where action or legislation at EU level is not yet in place or under review;

25.  Recalls that the former Impact Assessment Board has been replaced with the new Regulatory Scrutiny Board, thereby enhancing the independence of the Board; reiterates that the independence, transparency and objectiveness of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board and its work must be safeguarded and that the members of the Board should not be subjected to any political control(29); underlines that the Commission should ensure that all of the Board’s opinions, including negative ones, are made public and accessible at the same time as the relevant impact assessments are published; calls for an evaluation of the performance of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board in fulfilling its role of supervising and providing objective advice on impact assessments;

26.  Points out that Parliament’s Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value, established within its administration, assists parliamentary committees and offers them a variety of services, for which sufficient resources must be available so as to ensure that Members and committees receive the best possible support available; notes with appreciation the fact that the Conference of Committee Chairs adopted an updated version of the ‘Impact Assessment Handbook ­– Guidelines for Committees’ on 12 September 2017;

27.  Calls on all its committees to review Commission impact assessments and to review Parliament’s ex-ante impact assessment analysis as early as possible in the legislative process;

28.  Recalls that under paragraph 14 of the new IIA, upon considering Commission legislative proposals, Parliament will take full account of the Commission’s impact assessments; recalls in this context that parliamentary committees may invite the Commission to present its impact assessment and the policy option chosen at a full committee meeting and invites its committees to avail themselves of this opportunity more regularly, and of the possibility to see a presentation of the initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment by Parliament’s own services; points out, however, that this must not lead to a restriction of the room for manoeuvre available to the co-legislators;

29.  Welcomes the possibility for the Commission to complement its own impact assessments during the legislative process; considers that paragraph 16 of the new IIA should be interpreted to the effect that, when requested by Parliament or the Council, the Commission should as a rule promptly provide such complementary impact assessments;

30.  Stresses the importance of timely, public and transparent stakeholder involvement and consultation, with sufficient time for meaningful replies; maintains that it is essential for public consultations to be carried out by the Commission in all official languages during the preparatory phase;

31.  Notes that, as specified in paragraph 17 of the new IIA on better law-making, ‘each of the three Institutions is responsible for determining how to organise its impact assessment work, including internal organisational resources and quality control’;

32.  Welcomes the fact that in paragraph 17 of the new IIA the three Institutions committed to exchanging information on best practices and methodologies relating to impact assessments; is of the opinion that this should include the sharing of raw data underpinning the Commission’s impact assessment wherever possible, and notably whenever Parliament decides to complement the Commission’s impact assessment with its own further work; encourages, to that end, the services of the three Institutions to cooperate to the maximum possible extent, including with regard to joint training sessions on impact assessment methodologies, with a view, moreover, to achieving a future, common interinstitutional methodology;

33.  Maintains that it is essential that, to quote paragraph 18 of the new IIA, ‘the Commission’s initial impact assessment and any additional impact assessment work conducted during the legislative process by the Institutions’ be made public by the end of the legislative process in order to ensure transparency in relation to citizens and stakeholders;

34.  Reiterates its position that stakeholders, including trade unions and civil society, should be able to provide effective input on the impact assessment process as early as possible in the consultation phase, and encourages the Commission, to that end, to make more systematic use of roadmaps and inception impact assessments and to publish them in due time at the beginning of the impact assessment process;

35.  Welcomes the commitment made by the Commission, before adopting a proposal, to consult widely and encourage, in particular, the direct participation of SMEs, civil society and other end-users in consultations; notes with satisfaction that the Commission’s revised Better Regulation Guidelines take such a direction;

36.  Underlines the new provisions for public and stakeholder consultations, which should serve as an important tool both in the preparatory phase and throughout the entire legislative process;

37.  Urges the Commission to respect the mandatory deadlines set for implementation reports and reviews of directives and regulations;

38.  Underlines the importance of the ex-post evaluation of existing legislation, in accordance with the ‘evaluate first’ principle, and recommends that, whenever possible, it take the form of ex-post impact assessments applying the same methodology as in the ex-ante impact assessment relating to the same piece of legislation, so as to enable a better evaluation of the performance of the latter;

39.  Welcomes paragraph 22 of the new IIA, wherein, in order to support the evaluation process of existing legislation, the three Institutions agree to, as appropriate, establish reporting, monitoring and evaluation requirements in legislation, while avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens, in particular on the Member States; notes the challenges linked to collecting data in the Member States on the performance of legislation and encourages the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts in this regard;

40.  Welcomes paragraph 23 of the new IIA, wherein the three Institutions agree to systematically consider the use of review clauses in legislation; invites the Commission to include review clauses in its proposals whenever appropriate and, if not, to state its reasons for departing from this general rule;

Legislative instruments

41.  Welcomes the commitments made by the Commission as regards the scope of the explanatory memorandum accompanying each of its proposals; expresses particular satisfaction at the fact that the Commission will also explain how the measures proposed are justified in the light of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality; underlines, in this regard, the importance of a strengthened and comprehensive assessment and justification regarding compliance with these principles as well as the European added value of the measure proposed;

42.  Considers that consistency between the explanatory memorandum and the impact assessment related to the same proposal is necessary; invites the Commission, therefore, to ensure such consistency and to explain the choice made where it deviates from the conclusions of the impact assessment;

43.  Draws attention to the fact that in paragraph 25 of the new IIA, the Commission only committed to taking ‘due account of the difference in nature and effects between regulations and directives’; reiterates its request that, pursuing the same approach as that outlined in the Monti report, greater use should be made of regulations in legislative proposals(30), in accordance with the legal requirements established by the Treaties as to their use, in order to ensure consistency, simplicity and legal certainty across the Union;

44.  Welcomes the three Institutions’ commitment to exchanging views on modifications of the legal basis, as referred to in paragraph 25 of the new IIA; stresses the role and the expertise of its Committee on Legal Affairs in verifying legal bases(31); recalls Parliament’s position that it will resist any attempt to undermine the legislative powers of Parliament by means of unwarranted modifications of the legal basis; invites the Council to fully respect its commitment to pursuing a dialogue with Parliament in the event of disagreement over the proposed legal basis, especially in politically sensitive files;

45.  Highlights the fact that the choice of legal basis for a Commission proposal should be made on objective grounds which are subject to judicial review; stresses, however, Parliament’s right, as co-legislator, to propose modifications to the legal basis, on the basis of its interpretation of the Treaties;

Delegated and implementing acts

46.  Underlines the importance of the principle enshrined in paragraph 26 of the new IIA and reiterates that it is the competence of the legislator to decide, within the limits of the Treaties, and in the light of the case law of the CJEU, whether and to what extent to use delegated acts and whether and to what extent to use implementing acts(32);

47.  Notes that the delegation of power to the Commission is not merely a technical issue but can also involve questions of political sensitivity which are of considerable importance to EU citizens, consumers and businesses;

48.  Welcomes the Commission’s effort to comply with the deadline referred to in paragraph 27 of the new IIA for proposing the alignment of all basic acts which still refer to the RPS; further considers that, as a rule, all cases previously dealt with under the RPS should now be aligned to Article 290 TFEU and thus be converted into delegated acts(33);

49.  Warns that the inclusion of the obligation for the Commission of systematic recourse to Member States’ experts in connection with the preparation of delegated acts should not amount to making the relevant procedure very similar, if not altogether identical, to that established for the preparation of implementing acts, especially as regards procedural prerogatives conferred upon those experts; considers that this may also blur the differences between the two types of acts to the extent that it could imply a de facto revival of the pre-Lisbon comitology mechanism;

50.  Expresses dissatisfaction at the fact that, in spite of the concessions made by Parliament, the Council is still very reluctant to accept delegated acts when the criteria under Article 290 TFEU are met; recalls that, as laid down in its recital 7, the new IIA should facilitate the negotiations in the framework of the ordinary legislative procedure and improve the application of Articles 290 and 291 TFEU; points out that in several legislative files the Council, nevertheless, insisted either on the conferral of implementing powers under Article 291 TFEU or on the inclusion of all the elements in abstracto eligible for the delegation of powers or for the conferral of implementing powers in the basic act itself; expresses disappointment at the fact that, in those cases, the Commission did not defend its own original proposals;

51.  Is very concerned that the Council is trying almost systematically to replace delegated acts with implementing acts; finds it particularly unacceptable that the Council is trying to use the post-Lisbon alignment to replace the RPS with implementing acts, rather than delegated acts;

52.  Welcomes the start of the interinstitutional negotiations referred to in paragraph 28 of the new IIA; confirms its position on the non-binding criteria for the application of Articles 290 and 291 TFEU as established in its resolution of 25 February 2014(34); considers that they should be the basis for those negotiations;

53.  Recalls that politically significant elements, such as Union lists or registers of products or substances, should remain an integral part of a basic act – where appropriate in the form of annexes – and should therefore only be amended by means of delegated acts; stresses that the creation of self-standing lists should be avoided in the interests of legal certainty;

54.  Considers that the criteria for the application of Articles 290 and 291 TFEU must take account of the rulings of the CJEU, such as those issued in the Biocides case, in the CEF delegated act case and in the Visa Reciprocity Mechanism case(35);

55.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment, should broader expertise be needed for the early preparation of draft implementing acts, to make use of expert groups, consult targeted stakeholders and carry out public consultations, as appropriate; considers that, whenever any such consultation process is initiated, Parliament should be duly informed;

56.  Notes with appreciation the fact that the Commission, in paragraph 28 of the new IIA, agreed to ensure that Parliament and the Council have equal access to all information on delegated and implementing acts, so that they will receive all documents at the same time as Member States’ experts; welcomes the fact that experts from Parliament and the Council will systematically have access to the meetings of Commission expert groups to which Member States’ experts are invited and which concern the preparation of delegated acts; calls on the Commission to abide by this commitment genuinely and consistently; notes that such access has already improved;

57.  Emphasises the need to improve informal cooperation during the preparatory phase of delegated acts and implementing acts; warns against losing sight of the intention of the co-legislators, as expressed in a legislative act and as a part of its aim, when preparing delegated and implementing acts; emphasises the importance of the Delegated Act Register, which is now operational;

58.  Regrets the fact that on many occasions the Commission considers level 2 measures proposed by the three financial services authorities (ESAME, EBA and EIOPA) as adopted without changes, which reduces the amount of scrutiny time available to Parliament when important or a substantial number of changes are introduced;

59.  Commends the swift progress made at interinstitutional level in the establishment of a joint functional register of delegated acts and welcomes its official launch of 12 December 2017;

60.  Looks forward to making use of a well-structured and user-friendly functional register of delegated acts, which was published on 12 December 2017 and had been requested by Parliament;

61.  Notes that improved legislative procedures at EU level, with timely and deeper interinstitutional cooperation, can lead to a more consistent and harmonised application of EU law;

Transparency and coordination of the legislative process

62.  Welcomes the fact that under paragraph 32 of the new IIA, Parliament and the Council, as the co-legislators, are to exercise their powers on an equal footing, and the Commission must carry out its role as facilitator by treating the two branches of the legislative authority equally; recalls that this principle is already enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon; requests, therefore, that the Commission make available and, when feasible, public, all relevant documents relating to legislative proposals, including non-papers, to both legislators at the same time;

63.  Deplores the fact that paragraphs 33 and 34 of the new IIA have not yet led to an improvement in the information flow from the Council, notably since there seems to be a general lack of information on the issues raised by the Member States within the Council and no systematic approach to facilitate the mutual exchange of views and information; notes with concern that the information flow usually varies greatly from Presidency to Presidency and varies between services of the Council’s General Secretariat; underlines the asymmetrical access to information between the co-legislators, since the Council can attend parliamentary committee meetings but Parliament representatives are not invited to attend the meetings of the Council’s working groups; considers, therefore, that a coherently transparent approach is desirable; suggests that the Council should as a rule conduct all its meetings in public, as Parliament does;

64.  Requests that paragraphs 33 and 34 of the new IIA be fully implemented; asks the Council, in particular, that the agendas, working documents and presidency proposals of working parties and the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States (Coreper) be transmitted to Parliament in a regular and structured manner in order to allow for a matching level of information between co-legislators; considers that paragraphs 33 and 34 of the new IIA should be interpreted to the effect that, in addition to informal exchanges of views, Parliament may be invited to send a representative to the meetings of the Council’s working parties and Coreper;

65.  Stresses that, within the meaning of paragraphs 35 and 36 respectively of the new IIA, synchronisation and acceleration of the legislative process may only be pursued while ensuring that the prerogatives of each Institution are fully preserved; considers, therefore, that on no account may synchronisation or acceleration entail the imposition of a timetable on Parliament by other Institutions;

66.  Urges that efforts be stepped up to set up the dedicated joint database on the state of play of legislative files referred to in paragraph 39 of the new IIA; recalls that this database should include information on all steps of the legislative procedure to facilitate its traceability; suggests that this should also include information on the impact assessment process;

67.  Reminds the three EU institutions that further progress is needed in establishing a dedicated joint database on the state of play of legislative files;

68.  Proposes that the Council meets Parliament at least once during the consultation procedure to allow Parliament to present and explain the reasons for the approved amendments, and the Council to state its position on each of them; proposes, in any case, that the Council provide a written reply;

69.  Suggests that Parliament conduct a quantitative study on the effectiveness of the consultation procedure;

70.  Urges the Commission to respect the timeframe set in the European Supervisory Authorities Regulation for deciding whether to endorse, amend or not to endorse draft technical standards, and, as a minimum, to officially inform the co-legislators well in advance if it, on an exceptional basis, is unable to respect such a timeframe, as well as stating its reasons for this; underlines the fact that the Commission recently omitted to do so in numerous cases; reminds the Commission that procedures through which Parliament declares it has no objections to an act are not intended to compensate for delays originating from the Commission’s side and that these procedures significantly impact the time available for Parliament to exercise its scrutiny rights;

71.  Welcomes the fact that the interinstitutional negotiations referred to in paragraph 40 of the new IIA began in November 2016; notes with disappointment that after more than one year of discussions, three rounds of negotiations at political level and a number of meetings at technical level, no agreement has yet been reached despite clear and established case law; notes the progress made so far and strongly insists that these negotiations should be concluded still under the Bulgarian Presidency;

72.  Welcomes the written briefings provided by the Commission ahead of international conferences and the daily oral briefings provided by the Council Presidency and the Commission during those conferences;

73.  Regrets the fact that Parliament is not allowed to attend, as an observer, EU coordination meetings during international conferences;

74.  Reminds the Council and the Commission that practical arrangements in relation to international agreements must be compliant with the Treaties, notably Article 218(10) TFEU, and take account of rulings of the CJEU, such as those issued in the Tanzania case and the Mauritius case(36);

75.  Calls on the other institutions to comply with the Treaties and regulations and to observe the relevant jurisprudence in order to ensure that Parliament:

   (a) is immediately, fully and accurately informed during the whole life-cycle of international agreements in a proactive, structured and streamlined way, without undermining the EU’s negotiation position, and is given sufficient time to express its views at all stages and have them taken into account as far as possible;
   (b) is accurately informed and involved in the implementation stage of the agreements, especially in regard to the decisions taken by the bodies set up by agreements, and is allowed to fully exercise its rights as a co-legislator when they impact EU legislation;
   (c) is proactively informed about the Commission’s position in international fora, such as the WTO, UNCTAD, OECD, UNDP, FAO and UNHRC;

76.  Believes it is essential to respect horizontally the long-standing practice of awaiting Parliament’s consent before provisionally applying the trade and investment provisions of politically important agreements, as also committed to by Commissioner Malmström in her hearing on 29 September 2014; calls on the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service to continue to extend this practice to all international agreements;

77.  Notes that Parliament stands ready to seize the CJEU again to ensure that the rights of Parliament are respected, should no conclusive progress be made in the near future in the negotiations on paragraph 40 of the new IIA;

78.  Notes that each of the institutions should be mindful that their responsibility as legislators does not end once international agreements are concluded; stresses the need for close monitoring of implementation and ongoing efforts to ensure that agreements are meeting their aims; calls for the institutions to extend best practice and a collaborative approach to the implementation and evaluation phases of international agreements;

79.  Notes that impact assessments including an analysis of the human rights situation can be an important tool in negotiating trade and investment agreements, helping parties to comply with their human rights obligations, and recalls the binding character of agreements such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

80.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to fully respect the distribution of competences between the EU and its Member States, as can be deduced from the CJEU Opinion 2/15 of 16 May 2017, for the adoption of negotiating directives, negotiations and the legal basis of proposals to sign and conclude, and in particular for the Council’s signature and the conclusion of international trade agreements;

81.  Calls on European representatives to pay particular attention to consistency between international standards/requirements and adopted binding EU legislation;

82.  Calls on the Commission to disclose documents outlining its stance in the international organisations which set standards in the financial, monetary and regulatory fields, in particular the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision; requests that Parliament be fully informed at all stages of the development of international standards that may have an impact on EU law;

83.  Calls for the establishment and formalisation of a financial dialogue on the adoption and coherence of European positions in the run-up to major international negotiations, in accordance with its resolution of 12 April 2016 on the EU role in the framework of international financial, monetary and regulatory institutions and bodies(37); emphasises that on the basis of detailed guidelines, which could be supplemented by proactive guidance resolutions, these positions should be discussed and known ex ante and a follow-up should be ensured, with the Commission reporting back regularly on the application of these guidelines;

84.  Recalls its statement adopted on 15 March 2018 on the location of the seat of the European Medicines Agency(38), in which Parliament regretted that its role and rights as equal co-legislator with the Council had not been duly taken into account;

85.  Acknowledges the mandate approved by the Coreper on 6 December 2017 agreeing on the Council’s position on the Commission proposal for a mandatory transparency register; calls on all parties to finalise the negotiations in a spirit of good cooperation to improve the transparency of the legislative process;

86.  Takes due note of the De Capitani judgment(39), which reaffirms that the principles of publicity and transparency are inherent to the EU legislative process and that no general presumption of non-disclosure can be upheld as regards legislative documents, including trilogue documents;

Implementation and application of Union legislation

87.  Underlines the importance of the principle set out in paragraph 43 of the new IIA, that when the Member States, in the context of transposing directives into national law, choose to add elements that are in no way related to that Union legislation, such additions should be made identifiable either through the transposing act(s) or through associated documents; notes that this information is often still lacking; calls on the Commission and the Member States to act jointly and consistently to tackle the lack of transparency and other problems related to ‘gold-plating’(40);

88.  Is of the opinion that in the implementation and transposition of EU acts, a clear distinction must be made between cases of ‘gold-plating’, in which Member States introduce additional administrative requirements unrelated to EU legislation, and the setting of higher standards that go beyond EU-wide minimum standards for environmental and consumer protection, healthcare and food safety;

89.  Considers that, in order to reduce the problems related to ‘gold-plating’, the three Institutions should commit to adopting EU legislation which is clear, easily transposable and which has a specific European added value; recalls that, while additional unnecessary administrative burdens should be avoided, this should not prevent the Member States from maintaining or taking more ambitious measures and adopting higher social, environmental and consumer protection standards in cases where only minimum standards are defined by Union law;

90.  Calls on the Member States to refrain as much as possible from creating additional administrative requirements when transposing EU legislation, and in accordance with paragraph 43 of the Interinstitutional Agreement, to make such additions identifiable in the transposing act or associated documents;

91.  Recalls that, under paragraph 44 of the new IIA, Member States are called upon to cooperate with the Commission in obtaining information and data needed to monitor and evaluate implementation of Union law; calls, therefore, on the Member States to take all necessary measures to respect their commitments, including by providing correlation tables containing clear and precise information on the national measures transposing directives in their domestic legal order, as agreed in the Joint Political Declaration of 28 September 2011 of Member States and the Commission on explanatory documents and in the Joint Political Declaration of 27 October 2011 of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on explanatory documents;

92.  Considers that the commitment made by the Commission under paragraph 45 of the new IIA should be interpreted to the effect that, with due respect for confidentiality rules, Parliament’s access to information relating to pre-infringement and infringement procedures will improve considerably; reiterates, to that end, its long-standing requests to the Commission as regards the data which Parliament is entitled to access(41);

93.  Reiterates its appreciation for the EU Pilot problem-solving mechanism as a more informal, but nonetheless effective, way to ensure compliance with Union law on the part of the Member States(42); disapproves of the Commission’s announcement that, as a rule, it will launch infringement procedures without relying on the mechanism anymore(43);

94.  Points out that Members of the Commission are required to respect the legislative prerogatives of Members of the European Parliament; is of the opinion that they should provide Parliament with all the independently conducted studies on the basis of which they have taken their decisions, while at the same time disclosing those which contradict their conclusions;

95.  Regrets that not all translations of legislative proposals are made available at the same time, which delays the legislative process;

96.  Stresses that when it comes to its application, effective EU legislation must aim to ensure that the procedures established therein match the underlying purpose of the piece of legislation itself, and particularly the ultimate goal of protecting the environment when it comes to ensuring a high degree of environmental protection;

97.  Acknowledges the importance of the work being done in the Committee on Petitions in assessing the quality of EU law-making with regard to its actual implementation, and as a basis for improving legislative texts and procedures; notes in this regard the importance of genuine interinstitutional cooperation with the Commission when it comes to ensuring that the petitions are properly examined;

Simplification

98.  Welcomes the commitment made in paragraph 46 of the new IIA for a more frequent use of the legislative technique of recasting; reiterates that this technique should constitute the ordinary legislative technique as an invaluable tool to achieve simplification(44); considers, however, that in the event of a complete policy overhaul, the Commission should, instead of using the recasting technique, put forward a proposal for an entirely new legal act repealing existing legislation, so that the co-legislators can engage in broad and effective political discussions and see their prerogatives as enshrined in the Treaties fully preserved;

99.  Recalls that, in assessing unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens, pursuant to the agreement made by the three Institutions in paragraphs 47 and 48 of the new IIA, and when examining possible burden reduction objectives in order to lower costs for administrations and businesses, including SMEs, better law-making can, where appropriate, also mean more EU legislation, including harmonisation of disparities in national legislation, taking account of the benefits of legislative measures and the consequences of failure to act at EU level with regard to social, environmental and consumer protection standards, and bearing in mind that Member States are free to apply higher standards if only minimum standards are defined by Union law; recalls, furthermore, that the horizontal social clause enshrined in Article 9 TFEU requires the Union to give careful consideration to the impact of EU legislation on social standards and employment, involving proper consultation of social stakeholders, in particular trade unions, consumers and representatives of vulnerable groups’ interests, with respect for the autonomy of the social partners and the agreements that they may conclude in accordance with Article 155 TFEU; stresses, therefore, that the reduction of administrative burdens does not necessarily mean deregulation and that, in any event, it must not compromise fundamental rights and environmental, social, labour, health and safety, consumer protection, gender-equality or animal welfare standards, including the information requirements related thereto, and thus must not be detrimental to workers’ rights – regardless of the size of the company –, or lead to an increase in precarious employment contracts;

100.  Welcomes the Commission’s first annual burden survey undertaken in the context of simplification of EU legislation, for which it carried out a Flash Eurobarometer survey on business perceptions of regulation, interviewing over 10 000 businesses across the 28 Member States, mainly SMEs and reflecting the distribution of business in the EU; draws attention to the findings of the survey, which confirm that the focus on cutting unnecessary costs remains appropriate and suggest that there is a complex interplay of different factors that influence the perception of businesses, which may also be caused by variations in national administrative and legal set-ups concerning the implementation of legislation; points out that gold-plating and even inaccurate media coverage can also affect such perception; considers that the concept of the annual burden survey, while being an important tool for the identification of problems with the implementation and application of EU legislation, may not give rise to the assumption that regulation results by its nature in excessive administrative burdens; agrees with the Commission that the only way to identify concretely what can actually be simplified, streamlined or eliminated is to seek views from all stakeholders, including those who have less powerful representation, on specific pieces of legislation or various pieces of legislation that apply to a particular sector; calls on the Commission to refine the annual burden survey, on the basis of the lessons learnt from the first edition, to apply transparent and verifiable data collection methods, to pay particular regard to SMEs’ needs, and to include both actual and perceived burdens;

101.  Takes note, furthermore, of the outcome of the Commission’s assessment of the feasibility, without detriment to the purpose of legislation, of establishing objectives to reduce burdens in specific sectors; encourages the Commission to set burden reduction objectives for each initiative in a flexible but evidence-based and reliable manner, and in full consultation with stakeholders, as it does already under REFIT;

102.  Stresses that an EU standard generally replaces 28 national standards, thereby underpinning the single market and cutting down on bureaucracy;

103.  Stresses the importance of avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy and taking into account the correlation between company size and the resources required to implement obligations;

Implementation and monitoring of the new IIA

104.  Notes that the Conference of Presidents will receive a regular report, drawn up by the President, outlining the current state of play of implementation both internally and interinstitutionally; considers that this report should take due account of the assessment made by the Conference of Committee Chairs on the basis of the experiences of the various committees, in particular the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible for better law-making and the simplification of Union law(45);

105.  Welcomes the first annual interinstitutional high-level political stocktaking meeting on the implementation of the IIA, which took place on 12 December 2017; encourages the Conference of Committee Chairs to provide the Conference of Presidents with any recommendation it deems appropriate on the implementation of the new IIA;

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

(1) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.
(3) OJ C 321, 31.12.2003, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 102, 4.4.1996, p. 2.
(5) OJ C 73, 17.3.1999, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 145, 30.6.2007, p. 5.
(8) OJ C 369, 17.12.2011, p. 15.
(9) OJ C 484, 24.12.2016, p. 7.
(10) OJ C 446, 29.12.2017, p. 1.
(11) Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 18 March 2014, European Commission v European Parliament and Council of the European Union, Case C-427/12, ECLI:EU:C:2014:170; judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 16 July 2015, European Commission v European Parliament and Council of the European Union, Case C-88/14, ECLI:EU:C:2015:499; judgment of the Court of 17 March 2016, European Parliament v European Commission, Case C-286/14, ECLI:EU:C:2016:183; judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 14 June 2016, Parliament v Council, Case C-263/14, ECLI:EU:C:2016:435; judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 24 June 2014, Parliament v Council, Case C-658/11, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2025.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0484.
(13) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 39.
(14) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 116.
(15) OJ C 50, 9.2.2018, p. 91.
(16) OJ C 289, 9.8.2016, p. 53.
(17) OJ C 285, 29.8.2017, p. 11.
(18) OJ C 93, 24.3.2017, p. 14.
(19) OJ C 353 E, 3.12.2013, p. 117.
(20) OJ C 51 E, 22.2.2013, p. 87.
(21) OJ C 380 E, 11.12.2012, p. 31.
(22) OJ C 50, 9.2.2018, p. 91.
(23) See Annex II to European Parliament decision of 9 March 2016 on the conclusion of an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
(24) Article 6(2) of the Decision of the President of the European Commission of 19 May 2015 on the establishment of an independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board (C(2015)3263).
(25) See COM(2016)0798 and COM(2016)0799.
(26) See paragraph 47 of Parliament’s resolution of 9 September 2010 on Better lawmaking – 15th annual report from the Commission pursuant to Article 9 of the Protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality (OJ C 308 E, 20.10.2011, p. 66).
(27) See paragraph 16 of Parliament’s resolution of 27 November 2014 on the revision of the Commission’s impact assessment guidelines and the role of the SME test.
(28) See paragraph 4 of Parliament’s decision of 9 March 2016 on the conclusion of an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.
(29) See paragraph 12 of Parliament’s resolution of 27 November 2014, cited above, and paragraph 6 of Parliament’s decision of 9 March 2016, cited above.
(30) See paragraph 5 of Parliament’s resolution of 14 September 2011 on better legislation, subsidiarity and proportionality and smart regulation, cited above.
(31) See Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, Annex V, point XVI.1.
(32) See recital D of Parliament’s resolution of 25 February 2014 on follow-up on the delegation of legislative powers and control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers, cited above.
(33) See paragraph 6 of Parliament’s resolution of 25 February 2014 on follow-up on the delegation of legislative powers and control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers, cited above.
(34) Ibid., paragraph 1.
(35) Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 18 March 2014, European Commission v European Parliament and Council of the European Union, cited above; judgment of the Court of 17 March 2016, European Parliament v European Commission, cited above; judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 14 June 2016, Parliament v Council, cited above.
(36) Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 14 June 2016, Parliament v Council, cited above; judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 24 June 2014, Parliament v Council, cited above.
(37) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 76.
(38) See Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0086.
(39) Judgment of the General Court (Seventh Chamber, Extended Composition) of 22 March 2018, De Capitani v European Parliament, Case T-540/15, ECLI:EU:T:2018:167.
(40) See paragraph 7 of Parliament’s resolution of 21 November 2012 on the 28th annual report on monitoring the application of EU law (2010) (OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 73).
(41) See paragraphs 21 and 22 of Parliament’s resolution of 4 February 2014 on the 29th annual report on monitoring the application of EU law (2011).
(42) See paragraph 16 of Parliament’s resolution of 6 October 2016 on monitoring the application of Union law: 2014 Annual Report (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0385).
(43) See point 2 of Commission communication entitled ‘EU law: Better results through better application’, cited above (see page 12 in OJ C 18, 19.1.2017).
(44) See paragraph 41 of Parliament’s resolution of 14 September 2011, cited above.
(45) See Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament, Annex V, point XVI.3.


2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and own resources
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and own resources (2018/2714(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0226B8-0239/2018

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 May 2018 entitled ‘A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends – The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027’ (COM(2018)0321),

–  having regard to the Commission proposals of 2 May 2018 on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the years 2021 to 2027 and the system of own resources of the European Union (OR),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 2 May 2018 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States (COM(2018)0324),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 14 March 2018 on the next MFF: preparing the Parliament’s position on the MFF post-2020(1) and on reform of the European Union’s system of own resources(2),

–  having regard to the statements by the Commission and the Council of 29 May 2018 on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and own resources,

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

1.  Takes note of the Commission proposals of 2 May 2018 on the 2021-2027 MFF and the EU own resources system, which set the basis for the upcoming negotiations; recalls that Parliament’s position is clearly set out in two resolutions adopted by very large majorities on 14 March 2018, which constitute its mandate for the negotiations;

2.  Urges the Council to ensure that the next financial framework reflects a clear and positive vision of the Union’s future and responds to the needs, concerns and expectations of EU citizens; stresses that the decision on the MFF will need to provide the Union with the necessary financial means to meet important challenges and attain its political priorities and objectives over the next seven-year period; expects, therefore, that the Council will act in consistency with the political commitments that it has already undertaken and will be courageous in its approach; is concerned that the Commission’s proposal weakens the main EU solidarity policies, and intends to negotiate with the Council with the aim of building a more ambitious MFF for the benefit of citizens;

3.  Expresses its surprise and concern that the comparative data that the Commission officially released on 18 May 2018, following the strong demand from Parliament, reveal certain discrepancies in the way those figures were presented and communicated with the MFF proposals; notes, in particular, that the increases for several EU programmes are actually significantly lower while the cuts for other programmes are significantly higher than the way they were originally presented by the Commission; underlines the need for Parliament and the Council to agree from the outset on a clear methodology in relation to the figures; declares that it will use its own calculations, based on constant prices and taking account of the UK withdrawal, for the purposes of this resolution;

4.  Expresses its disappointment about the proposed global level of the next MFF set at EUR 1,1 trillion, which represents 1,08 % of the EU-27 GNI after deducting the European Development Fund (currently 0,03 % of EU GNI outside the EU budget); underlines that this global level in terms of GNI percentage is lower in real terms than the level of the current MFF, despite the additional funding needed for new political priorities and emerging challenges for the Union; recalls that the current MFF is smaller than its predecessor (the 2007-2013 MFF) and has been shown to be inadequate to finance the Union’s pressing needs;

5.  Deplores the fact that this proposal leads directly to a reduction in the level of both the common agricultural policy (CAP) and cohesion policy, of 15 % and 10 % respectively; is particularly opposed to any radical cuts that will adversely impact on the very nature and objectives of these policies, such as the cuts proposed for the Cohesion Fund (by 45 %) or for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (by more than 25 %); questions, in this context, the proposal to reduce the European Social Fund by 6 % despite its enlarged scope and the integration of the Youth Employment Initiative;

6.  Reconfirms its firm position on the necessary level of funding for key EU policies in the 2021-2027 MFF, in order to enable them to fulfil their mission and objectives; stresses, in particular, the call to maintain the financing of the CAP and cohesion policy for the EU-27 at least at the level of the 2014-2020 budget in real terms, while respecting the overall architecture of these policies, to triple the current budget for the Erasmus+ programme, to double the specific funding for SMEs and for tackling youth unemployment, to increase the current budget for research and innovation by at least 50 % to reach EUR 120 billion, to double the Life+ programme, to significantly increase investment through the Connecting Europe Facility, and to secure additional financing for security, migration and external relations; underlines, consequently, its position to set the 2021-2027 MFF at the level of 1,3 % of the EU-27 GNI;

7.  Stresses the importance of the horizontal principles that should underpin the MFF and all related EU policies; reaffirms, in this context, its position that the EU must deliver on its commitment to be a frontrunner in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and deplores the lack of a clear and visible commitment to that end in the MFF proposals; requests, therefore, the mainstreaming of the SDGs into all EU policies and initiatives of the next MFF; further emphasises that the elimination of discrimination is vital to fulfil the EU’s commitments towards an inclusive Europe and deplores the lack of gender mainstreaming and gender equality commitments in EU policies, as presented in the MFF proposals; underlines also its position that, following the Paris Agreement, climate-related spending should be significantly increased in comparison with the current MFF and reach 30 % as soon as possible and at the latest by 2027;

8.  Supports the Commission proposals on the reform of the EU own resources system, which represents a very positive revenue component of the 2021-2027 MFF package; welcomes, therefore, the proposed introduction of three new EU own resources and the simplification of the current VAT-based own resource; underlines that these proposals, directly inspired by the work of the interinstitutional High-Level Group on Own Resources, were also part of the proposed basket put forward by Parliament in its resolution of 14 March 2018; notes with satisfaction that these new resources correspond to two strategic objectives of the Union, namely the proper functioning of the internal market and the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change; expects the support of the Council and the Commission in order to reinforce Parliament’s role in the procedure for the adoption of own resources; recalls once more its position that the expenditure and revenue side of the next MFF should be treated as a single package in the upcoming negotiations, and that no agreement can be reached with Parliament on the MFF without corresponding headway being made on own resources;

9.  Welcomes, moreover, the principle that future revenues arising directly from EU policies should flow to the EU budget, and fully supports the elimination of all rebates and corrections; wonders at what pace these new own resources will be introduced in order to reduce national contributions; questions, however, the absence of Commission proposals on the creation of a special reserve in the EU budget to be filled up by all types of unforeseen other revenue, including competition fines imposed on companies, as well as a tax on large companies in the digital sector and the Financial Transaction Tax as new EU own resources;

10.  Recalls its position in favour of setting up a mechanism whereby Member States that do not respect the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union can be subject to financial consequences; notes the Commission proposal on the ‘Protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States’, which was presented as part of the overall MFF package; intends to closely examine all elements of this proposal and introduce the necessary provisions to guarantee that the final beneficiaries of the Union budget can in no way be affected by breaches of rules for which they are not responsible;

11.  Is convinced of the need to have a legally binding and compulsory MFF mid-term revision, which should be proposed and established in due time to allow the next Parliament and Commission to conduct a meaningful adjustment of the 2021-2027 framework; intends to improve the formulation of the proposed article in the MFF Regulation;

12.  Considers the Commission proposals on flexibility to represent a good basis for the negotiations; welcomes, in particular, several proposals that improve the current provisions, notably the re-use of decommitted appropriations for the Union reserve, the increased allocations of special instruments, and the dismissal of any constraints for the Global Margin for Payments, in line with Parliament’s requests in this area; intends to negotiate additional improvements, wherever necessary;

13.  Notes the Commission proposal to establish a European investment stabilisation mechanism, which will complement the stabilisation function of national budgets in the event of major asymmetric shocks; intends to closely examine this proposal, especially in terms of its objectives and volume;

14.  Stresses that the Commission proposals officially launch a period of intense negotiations within the Council, but also between the Council and Parliament with a view to securing Parliament’s consent to the MFF Regulation; underlines that all elements of the MFF/OR package, including the MFF figures, should remain on the negotiating table until a final agreement is reached; expresses its readiness to enter immediately into a structured dialogue with the Council, in order to allow for a better understanding of Parliament’s expectations and facilitate a timely agreement; considers, therefore, that the recent launch of regular meetings between the successive Council presidencies and Parliament’s negotiating team is an essential starting-point in the procedure leading to the adoption of the next MFF;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0075.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0076.


Libya
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European Parliament recommendation of 30 May 2018 to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Libya (2018/2017(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0227A8-0159/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2259 (2015) and subsequent resolutions,

–  having regard to the Libyan Political Agreement,

–  having regard to the report of the Secretary-General on the UN Support Mission in Libya, of 22 August 2017,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 1973 (2011) and all subsequent UNSC resolutions concerning Libya, including 2380 (2017),

–  having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council resolution 2312 (2016),

–  having regard to the statement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 14 November 2017 on the suffering of migrants in Libya which is an outrage to conscience of humanity,

–  having regard to the Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of April 2018 entitled ‘Abuse Behind Bars: Arbitrary and unlawful detention in Libya’,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 18 September 2014(1), 15 January 2015(2) and 4 February 2016(3) on the situation in Libya,

–  having regard to the Declaration of the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the situation of migrants in Libya, of 20 December 2017,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,

–  having regard to the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility,

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 25 January 2017 entitled ‘Migration on the Central Mediterranean route – Managing flows, saving lives’ (JOIN(2017)0004),

–  having regard to the Malta Declaration of 3 February 2017,

–  having regard to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and its action plan,

–  having regard to the Joint Statement on the Migrant Situation in Libya, agreed at the African Union - European Union Summit 2017 and the establishment of the high-level trilateral AU-EU-UN Task Force,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Libya of 17 July 2017,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 19 October 2017,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0159/2018),

A.  whereas the situation in Libya is highly fragile and the country is facing a number of complex, interrelated challenges regarding political stability, economic development, and security;

B.  whereas the crisis in Libya has an enormous impact on the people of Libya and also affects the whole surrounding region and the EU, and it is therefore crucial, for the sake of the Libyan population as well as neighbouring countries and the Sub-Saharan and Mediterranean regions, to ensure political stability in Libya, as a fundamental prerequisite for improving the country’s economic and social situation;

C.  whereas stability in the south of Libya is a particular concern given the fragile state of its neighbouring countries, with a potential jihadist insurgency threatening weakened governments in the Sahel-Sahara region;

D.  whereas the EU should communicate more proactively on its diplomatic efforts and its large financial contribution towards consolidating the security and socio-economic situation in Libya;

E.  whereas the conflict in Libya can only be solved through a coherent, comprehensive and inclusive approach involving all international actors and stakeholders, including representatives of the various local communities, the tribal chiefs and civil society activists, and by ensuring Libyan ownership of and inclusiveness in the peace process;

F.  whereas the Libyan Political Agreement and the UN Action Plan for Libya currently constitute the only viable framework for a solution to the crisis;

G.  whereas, through diplomatic action and concrete support, the EU is assisting Libya’s political transition towards a stable, functioning country and is supporting the UN-led mediation efforts in this regard;

H.  whereas it is of the utmost importance that all Member States speak with one voice, strengthening EU mediation efforts and emphasising the central role of the UN and of the UN action plan; whereas individual initiatives by Member States are in all cases to be welcomed only if they are taken within the European framework and are fully in line with EU foreign policy;

I.  whereas EU action is showing results on the migration front, given that the figures fell by one third at the end of 2017 compared to 2016 and for the early months of 2018 the figures are 50 % down on those for the same period last year;

J.  whereas Libya is a key point of transit and departure for migrants attempting to reach Europe, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa; whereas thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing the violence in Libya have lost their lives in attempting to cross the Mediterranean in order to reach Europe;

K.  whereas migrants are among those suffering the most as a result of the security problems in Libya, as they are often the victims of arbitrary violence, arrest and detention by non-state operators, and experience extortion, kidnapping with the aim of obtaining a ransom, and exploitation;

L.  whereas many migrants, particularly those from sub-Saharan Africa, have been subjected to arbitrary detention by various armed groups in the country;

M.  whereas the forced return to Libya by Niger of at least 132 Sudanese who were receiving assistance from the UNHCR is a source of great concern;

N.  whereas the problem of internally displaced persons remains a topical one; whereas such persons find themselves facing critical threats such as crossing conflict zones, the presence of landmines and unexploded devices, and the violence of the various militias;

O.  whereas Libya has become a transit country for human trafficking; whereas Libya continues to host hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers of different nationalities, many of whom are living in tragic conditions and thus constitute a target for smugglers; whereas there have been allegations of slavery in Libya;

P.  whereas the daily life of ordinary Libyans is characterised by ever more difficult living circumstances, further complicated by a cash crisis, water cuts and frequent power outages, and the generally catastrophic state of the country’s healthcare system;

Q.  whereas the political climate in Libya is characterised by deep mistrust between the main political and military actors from different regions;

R.  whereas the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) increasingly relies on several militias for its own security; whereas these militias have acquired an unprecedented degree of influence over state institutions in Tripoli, thus threatening the UN’s ongoing attempts to create a more viable political framework in the country;

S.  whereas countries such as Turkey, Qatar, Egypt and the UAE have a significant influence on various groups of the warring factions;

T.  whereas the subnational identities of the various Libyan communities, tribes and ethnic groups have always constituted the underlying socio-cultural fabric of Libya and play a key role in the social and political dynamics and security issues of the country; whereas Libyan society has strong traditions of informal dispute resolution processes between cities, tribes and ethnic communities;

U.  whereas currently the country does not have a clear and widely accepted legislative framework with regard to the electoral system; whereas no constitution has been adopted, thus leaving the country without the necessary legal framework to hold new elections; whereas the prevalence of the current climate of impunity, widespread unlawfulness, corruption and the role of the armed groups and tribal and regional tensions in Libya are contributing to a further decrease in trust in the already weak public and government institutions;

V.  whereas Libya has seen a continued increase in extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention and indiscriminate attacks on residential areas and infrastructure, as well as an increase in hate speech and incitement to violence;

W.  whereas the Madkhalist Salafist extremist group is becoming stronger and more relevant in the east as well as in the west of Libya; whereas Madkhalists oppose elections, are eager to maintain the status quo, completely reject any model of democracy and are heavily armed, and thus represent a concrete risk of further extremism and violence in the country;

X.  whereas the collapse of the criminal justice system enhances impunity in the country, narrowing avenues for victims to seek protection and remedy; whereas in several regions, even in cases where police reports have been filed after a crime, little action has followed to open prompt, thorough, effective, impartial and independent investigations and to bring perpetrators to justice; whereas no perpetrator of a crime who belongs to an armed group has been convicted in Libya since 2011;

Y.  whereas the cycle of violence in Libya has been continuously fed by overarching impunity for serious human rights violations; whereas, unless this is properly addressed, the continued absence of the rule of law will make the narrative of peaceful coexistence and fighting violent extremism meaningless for the population;

Z.  whereas dozens of political and human rights activists, media professionals and other public figures have been abducted or threatened; whereas the UN has received reports of arbitrary detention and torture and ill-treatment by both sides;

AA.  whereas escalating attacks on members of the judiciary, local civil society organisations, human rights defenders and media workers – as well as refugees and migrants – have been accelerating the deterioration of the human rights situation for all civilians on Libyan territory; whereas the absence of the rule of law and impunity for grave human rights violations, including torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and infrastructure, continue to fuel the cycle of violence in the country;

AB.  whereas the porosity of Libya’s borders encourages unlawful cross-border traffic; whereas the proliferation of armed groups in the border areas has recently exacerbated the conflict between rival traffickers for control of and access to cross-border resources; whereas the so-called foreign fighters who arrive in the country and the various criminal networks are continuing to benefit from the unchecked proliferation of arms;

AC.  whereas political insecurity and instability have made Libya a fertile ground for the activities of extremist groups; whereas the Fezzan region is structurally unstable and has historically been a place of transit to Europe for refugees and migrants, and for the smuggling of oil, gold, arms, drugs and for human trafficking; whereas the region has been suffering from increased ethnic and tribal tensions since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi and the struggle for control of the country’s resources; whereas stabilising Fezzan is key in stabilising the country as a whole;

AD.  whereas local Libyan authorities play a key role in preventing conflicts and providing essential public services to residents;

AE.  whereas the city of Derna has been subject to escalating ground, air and artillery assault since 7 May 2018; whereas numerous civilians have been killed, while aid and medical access have been severely limited and the humanitarian situation is dramatic;

AF.  whereas an official Parliament delegation carried out a mission to Libya on 20-23 May 2018;

1.  Recommends the following to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy:

   (a) to ensure the strongest support for the UN Action Plan for Libya presented in September 2017 by the UN Special Representative Ghassan Salamé, for the stabilisation of Libya and for a political and inclusive national reconciliation process that will enable all Libyan actors, including all tribal entities, to reach a stable and long-lasting political agreement while paying due attention to the involvement of women and minorities; to take into account the results of the inclusive consultative processes presented to the UNSC on 21 May 2018; to strongly condemn any attempt at undermining the UN-led peace process; to continue to cooperate closely with the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL);
   (b) to intensify their diplomatic efforts to support the UN plan and help consolidate a Libyan Government in its efforts to create political consent, guarantee security and extend its authority to the whole territory of Libya, beyond the narrow territorial control of the internationally recognised GNA, as the necessary precondition for an inclusive political solution that promotes the stabilisation, reconstruction and reconciliation of the country, for state building and for any peacekeeping operation based on democracy, the rule of law and human rights; to ensure Libyan ownership of the stabilisation process and the decision about the future form of the state; to support the strengthening of local mechanisms and capacities in the country with regard to mediation, dispute resolution and ceasefires and to connect them to the UN Action Plan as part of a coherent and integrated approach that will lead to concrete and lasting results;
   (c) to support the so-called ‘town hall meetings’ taking place in several municipalities under the UN umbrella, as an effective bottom-up reconciliation initiative which aims to encourage dialogue among different communities, thus concretely contributing to the development of a sustainable and viable solution to the Libyan crisis and helping to create a national culture of civic sense;
   (d) to work on means of fostering institution building, building up a true civil society and jump-starting the economy, and to move away from an overly stretched public service to foster sustainable private sector development, which are necessary to ensure the long-term stability and prosperity of the country;
   (e) to support Libyan efforts to work on a new constitutional order which should include a formula for the just distribution of oil wealth, as well as a clear division of tasks and obligations for the historic regions on the one side and any national government on the other; to recall that such a new constitution, which could be inspired by elements of the amended 1963 constitution, would help efforts to organise country-wide elections to be held only once the new constitution is adopted and the necessary conditions are properly met in order to ensure a high turnout as well as public acceptance and legitimacy;
   (f) to further prioritise work within the EU institutions on how better to address all aspects of the Libyan crisis, and which instruments and sectors to engage, including by devoting greater attention to local dynamics, in order to put in place an effective comprehensive approach towards the country and show unity of purpose and initiative among all institutions and the Member States in order to ensure coherence of the measures by all actors involved, as part of a broader regional strategy;
   (g) to enhance its presence, visibility and understanding of the complexity of the situation in the country by re-establishing the EU delegation in Tripoli and by returning permanent EU staff to the delegation;
   (h) to continue to emphasise that there can be no military solution to the Libyan crisis and to reaffirm the need for all parties and armed groups in Libya to commit to Article 42 of the Libyan Political Agreement, respect the principles of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and refrain from violent rhetoric and from the use of violence, and to demobilise and commit to a peaceful solution to the conflict, thus avoiding further damage and loss of life; considers that negotiations should serve to unify the Libyan security forces from all regions in order to build a civilian-controlled national security architecture, under the inclusive internationally recognised Libyan government, with guarantees of transparency and accountability and respecting Libya’s international human rights obligations, and should also lead to the signing of a protocol that commits all armed groups to renouncing the use of force and violence, within the framework of a coherent and comprehensive disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process aimed at reintegrating members of armed groups into society and security system reform (SSR) process guided by the Skhirat principles of non-discrimination and transparency; believes that the signing of such a protocol should allow for implementation of the peace agreement, paving the way to holding free and fair elections, and should bring about economic and financial incentives and prompt the signatories to work towards building the new state’s institutions;
   (i) to bear in mind the need to develop tailor-made programmes to reintegrate individuals, not groups, from militias into the regular security apparatus, thus limiting divided loyalties;
   (j) to support UN efforts aimed at holding elections in Libya by the end of 2018 and only once a new constitution is adopted; to support particularly efforts to register voters as currently only around 50 % of eligible voters have been registered; to make sure that an agreement on a transitional arrangement is adopted before the elections in order to rebuild trust and thus strengthen the new government’s international and national legitimacy; to support, including by technical means, the process for the establishment of a sound constitutional framework and the electoral process as a whole, linking European financial contributions to the adoption of an electoral law that complies, as much as possible, with the international principles laid down by the Venice Commission;
   (k) to put pressure on those obstructing the political peace talks and to effectively enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya; to consider introducing new sanctions on those supporting illegal oil deals;
   (l) to intensify cooperation with all international organisations and other actors on the ground in order to strengthen the coherence and convergence of international action; to step up diplomatic efforts with all regional actors and neighbouring countries, to ensure they contribute to a positive solution to the crisis in Libya in line with the UN Action Plan – currently the only possible framework for a solution to the crisis; to support the ongoing process of the National Conference inside Libya with the objective of achieving an agreement between the different Libyan parties on the next steps to complete the transition; to discourage regional actors from considering any unilateral or multilateral military intervention lacking any legal base or the political consent of the Libyan government;
   (m) to support the deployment of lawmakers, judges and specialised prosecutors in Libya who can assist in the revision of Libya’s counter-terrorism laws and ensure they are properly equipped to preside over and carry out counter-terrorism cases in compliance with the rule of law;
   (n) to reflect on the crisis in Libya in a wider, regional and pan-African context, bearing in mind that Libya is key to the stability of North Africa, the Sahel, and the Mediterranean; to promote and facilitate Libyan cooperation with its Sahel neighbours; to consider, as part of this reflection, the impact of the situation in Libya on the dynamics and challenges with which the EU is confronted; to develop a comprehensive policy towards Libya which takes into account the regional and pan-African perspective covering broader development, security and migration policies and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, countering terrorism and the fight against slavery and exploitation; to ensure that this policy is backed by adequate and sufficient funding for its implementation, including the next Multiannual Financial Framework, in order to yield concrete results; to continue and intensify where possible the cooperation between NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian and the EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia;
   (o) to ensure permanent and active involvement in counter-terrorism and counter-trafficking efforts, not only through intelligence integration, financial cooperation and tactical support, but also with social and educational programmes for healthcare and education that support the training and deployment of social actors and key opinion-formers to counter violent extremism and promote a message of coexistence and peaceful cooperation;
   (p) to bear in mind that, while Daesh/IS might have been significantly weakened in Libya, there are new forms of extremism on the rise in the country, such as that represented by Madkhalists; to recall that the most effective answer to the radical militant presence in the country lies ultimately in the establishment of inclusive domestic institutions that can uphold the rule of law, provide public services and local security, and effectively fight the groups that are threatening the stability of the country and the wider region;
   (q) to ensure, in line with the Paris Declaration of 25 July 2017, that EU funds are effectively deployed in order to guarantee intergovernmental coordination in restoring public infrastructure through the EU stabilisation facilities; to prioritise funding for projects and initiatives that support actors promoting accountability and democratic change, and that foster locally embedded dialogue, reconciliation and conflict-resolution mechanisms, involving women and working with young people to prevent them from engaging in criminal activities such as joining militias involved in smuggling and trafficking; to continue strengthening civil society, notably human rights defenders, and to support the political process, security and mediation activities, notably through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP); to promote the implementation of representative governance at local and national levels to better respond to the challenges linked to reconciliation, stabilisation and the re-establishment of security; to ensure the money under the EU Emergency Trust Fund is only granted when it abides by its original objectives and is accompanied by a sound analysis of local authorities and recipients and subsequent evaluation;
   (r) to support municipalities in their delivery of essential services and in building local governance; to ensure basic standards of living for the population, bearing in mind that a closer understanding of the local political and economic system is critical in taking the reconciliation process to the people and in counteracting illegal trafficking; to ensure that the EU funds are effectively deployed in projects that help the Libyan population and civil society; to promote communication between civil society organisations and local government authorities;
   (s) to support initiatives such as that fostered by the Misrata-Tawergha Reconciliation Committee, in which the two cities of Misrata and Tawergha reached an agreement based on a doctrine of peaceful coexistence, opening the way for the return of Tawergha’s displaced population to their city;
   (t) to further encourage the Libyan institutions to work more effectively and transparently towards improving the living conditions of all Libyans by, among other things, reinstating priority public services and rebuilding public infrastructure, to enhance the economic governance of the country, to resolve the liquidity crisis, and to implement the necessary financial and economic reforms requested by the international financial institutions to help economic recovery and stabilisation; to assist the country in establishing a market-based economy capable of delivering to all Libyans; to urge the Libyan authorities to make sure that revenues from natural resources and deriving benefits are used for the benefit of the whole population, including at local level; to call on the Libyan authorities to commit to high standards of transparency in the domestic extractive sector, and in particular to sign up to the requirements of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as rapidly as possible; to help the Libyan authorities to fight against any illegal activity that hampers the national economy, as recently reported in the interim report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011) concerning Libya;
   (u) to continue to resolutely condemn human rights abuses and the violations of international humanitarian law and to intensify efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the population in need and to all parts of the country, in particular regarding healthcare and energy facilities; to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian financial assistance and to enhance support for and cooperation with humanitarian organisations on the ground; to condemn the numerous, ever-increasing attempts to shrink the space for civil society, notably through a repressive legal framework and attacks on human rights defenders and the judiciary; to call for the AU, UN and EU to continue working together and to take strong measures for an immediate end of these human rights violations; to strengthen civil society and support the development and independence of local media;
   (v) to accelerate efforts regarding the UNHCR emergency evacuation mechanism funded by the EU that has allowed around 1 000 of the most vulnerable refugees in need of protection to be evacuated from Libya; to encourage the Libyan counterparts to expand the current number of nationalities which Libya currently allows UNHCR to work with;
   (w) to address the issue of irregular migration through and from Libya, bearing in mind the need for long-term, effective and viable solutions that should address the root causes of migration in Africa in the countries of origin and transit and define the legal basis for international migration processes, currently based on resettlements through the Emergency Transit Mechanism or direct resettlements; to focus the EU’s efforts on protecting migrants in Libya; to assist the Libyan authorities in ensuring the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their own homes and to support local communities in coping with the challenges, while ensuring that the return of IDPs does not amount merely to an exchange between monetary compensation that favours the various militias and the right of return; to alert the international community to the need for measures to tackle development, human rights and security challenges in Libya and the Sahelo-Saharan region, including means to counter the trafficking of human beings and smuggling of migrants; to ensure that measures to counter smuggling and the trafficking of human beings are not hindering freedom of movement in view of the region’s economic development;
   (x) to step up the joint efforts carried out by the EU, the African Union and the UN to improve the protection of migrants and refugees in Libya, paying particular attention to vulnerable individuals; to investigate thoroughly and immediately the allegations about abuses and inhuman treatment of migrants and refugees in Libya by criminal groups, as well as allegations of slavery; to devise initiatives to prevent any such incidents from occurring in the future; to improve the conditions of refugees and migrants held in detention centres and to urge the Libyan authorities to close as soon as possible those facilities which are found not to be in line with international standards; to continue and step up assisted voluntary returns and resettlement efforts carried out in cooperation with the UN and the African Union, underlining in this context the importance of abolishing the Libyan requirement for ‘exit visas’; to encourage the Libyan authorities to stop arbitrary detentions and to avoid the detention of vulnerable persons, in particular children; to ensure that migrants are treated with full respect for international human rights standards and to allocate the necessary funding from the EU budget for this purpose; to call on Libya to sign and ratify the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol; to ensure that the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in Libya, EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia and the Frontex Operation Themis jointly focus on how to disrupt illicit activities, including the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking and terrorism in the Central Mediterranean; to ensure that EUBAM, in line with its mandate, remains actively engaged with and assists the Libyan authorities in priority areas related to border management, law enforcement and the broader criminal justice system;
   (y) to further develop its efforts against all acts of people smuggling and human trafficking into, through and from Libyan territory and off the coast of Libya which undermine the process of stabilisation of Libya and endanger the lives of thousands of people; to ensure in that sense the continuity of the EU’s contribution to countering these problems by assisting Libyan counterparts in building the long-needed capacity to secure the country’s land and sea borders and engaging with the Libyan authorities to put in place a comprehensive border management strategy;
   (z) to support a durable solution for the more than 180 000 internally displaced persons in Libya, including an estimated 40 000 former residents of Tawargha, through resettlement possibilities or the facilitation of safe returns to their homes and through increased support to UNHCR and IOM to this end;
   (aa) to address the cross-over between the activities of international criminal groups and terrorist groups by carrying out thorough investigations, particularly into human trafficking and sexual violence perpetrated in time of conflict;
   (ab) to support engagement with the Libyan Coast Guard which allowed almost 19 000 migrants to be rescued in Libyan territorial waters between January and the end of October 2017; to assist the Libyan authorities in formally notifying their Search and Rescue (SAR) area, to put in place a set of clear standard operating procedures for disembarkation and to ensure a functioning monitoring system for the Libyan Coast Guard in order to set up a clear and transparent register of all persons disembarked on the Libyan shores, ensuring that they are properly taken care of in accordance with international humanitarian standards; to further engage with the Libyan authorities to step up preparatory work on a maritime rescue coordination centre in Libya with the aim of enhancing their search and rescue capacity; to ensure the continuation of specialised training provided by IOM and UNHCR to the Libyan Coast Guard on international protection, refugee law and human rights;
   (ac) to step up their humanitarian and civilian aid in order to alleviate the plight of the Libyan population and meet the most urgent needs of those seriously affected by the conflict in Libya, particularly in the most affected areas, and to be ready to respond to any deterioration in the situation; urges the EU to support the empowerment of civil society organisations, in particular women’s groups, which seek non-violent solutions to the multiple crises in the country;
   (ad) to release all the financial and human resources required to help refugees and to provide appropriate humanitarian aid to those who have been displaced, in order to address the humanitarian crisis in Libya, which has forced thousands of people to flee the country;
   (ae) to step up international efforts to dismantle migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks and to intensify efforts to combat this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice; to continue and intensify the work of EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia to disrupt the business model of traffickers and smugglers, develop the capacity of the Libyan Coast Guard and support the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on the arms embargo and illegal oil trafficking; to continue to provide support to Libya through the civilian CSDP missions; to increase capacities related to the search and rescue of people in distress and capacities to be deployed by all states, and to acknowledge the support provided by private actors and NGOs in carrying out rescue operations at sea and on land, bearing in mind the existing international legal framework and security concerns;
   (af) to reaffirm its full support for the International Criminal Court’s mandate on ongoing human rights violations in Libya, recalling that international accountability mechanisms such as the ICC and universal jurisdiction play an important role in the implementation of the peace plan within a framework that sets out steps toward accountability and the respect of human rights in Libya; to support the International Criminal Court in its efforts to bring perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice; to support the UN Special Representative for Libya in his call of November 2017 to the international community to assist Libya in combatting impunity for war crimes and to consider options for joint tribunals; to call on the EU and Member States to support international mechanisms in providing the national justice system with all necessary means to start investigating previous and ongoing grave violations and to support the future legitimate Libyan authorities in fulfilling this mission by themselves; to consider that fair trials would bring justice for all victims of human rights violations on Libyan territory which will pave the way to sustainable reconciliation and peace;
   (ag) to express concern about the growing presence of Daesh and other terrorist groups in Libya, which is destabilising the country and threatening its neighbouring countries, as well as the EU;
   (ah) to call in particular on the Libyan authorities and militias to ensure external access to detention facilities, particularly those for migrants;
   (ai) to clarify the situation with regard to the payment of stock dividends, bond income and interest payments on the frozen assets in the EU of the Libyan Investment Authority; to provide a detailed report on the total amount of interest drawn from the Gaddafi assets since they were frozen in 2011 and a list of the individuals or entities that have benefited from these interest payments; to address the concerns about a possible loophole in the EU sanctions regime related to this issue as a matter of priority;
   (aj) to promote projects intended to bring about the economic development of the Fezzan region and the legal economy through close cooperation with the various municipalities, particularly those situated along migration routes, in order to combat the illegal activities of criminal networks and the violent extremism of terrorist groups through the creation of alternative sources of income, particularly for young people;
   (ak) to continue the embargo on the export of arms to Libya, thus stopping these falling into the hands of extremists and armed groups, a factor which further feeds into the insecurity and instability of Libya as a whole;
   (al) to take urgent diplomatic action in order to protect civilians and address the humanitarian situation in Derna;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and, for information, to the Libyan Government of National Accord.

(1) OJ C 234, 28.6.2016, p. 30.
(2) OJ C 300, 18.8.2016, p. 21.
(3) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 66.


Annual Report on the functioning of the Schengen area
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area (2017/2256(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0228A8-0160/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 27 September 2017 on preserving and strengthening Schengen (COM(2017)0570),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 4 March 2016 entitled ‘Back to Schengen – A Roadmap’ (COM(2016)0120),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard(1) (‘the EBCG Regulation’),

–  having regard to the Schengen Borders Code, and in particular Articles 14 and 17 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol)(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European border surveillance system (Eurosur)(3),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0160/2018),

A.  whereas the Schengen area is a unique arrangement and one of the greatest achievements of the European Union, allowing free movement of people within the Schengen area without controls at internal borders; whereas this has been made possible through a variety of compensating measures, such as reinforcing the exchange of information through the establishment of the Schengen Information System (SIS) and creating an evaluation mechanism to verify the implementation of the Schengen acquis by Member States and foster mutual trust in the functioning of the Schengen area; whereas mutual trust also demands solidarity, security, judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters, joint protection of EU external borders, a common understanding and common policies on migration, visas and asylum, and respect for international and European law in this area;

B.  whereas in recent years several factors have impacted the functioning of the Schengen area; whereas these factors include the impact of international movements and tourist flows, which were the initial motivation for the so-called ‘Smart Borders’ legislation, as well as the significant numbers of asylum seekers and irregular migrants with related secondary movements and the subsequent reintroduction and prolongation of internal border controls by some Member States since 2014; whereas the reintroduction of controls at internal borders seems linked to a perception of threats to public policy and internal security related to movement of people and terrorism, the numbers of persons seeking international protection and irregular migrants arriving rather than sound evidence of the actual existence of a serious threat or the actual number of those arriving; whereas these factors also include terrorism and a heightened threat to public policy and the internal security of the Member States;

C.  whereas the strengthening of the EU’s external borders and the introduction of systematic checks against relevant data bases, including for European citizens, were part of the measures put in place to protect the Schengen area;

D.  whereas some Member States have reacted to the arrivals of asylum seekers and refugees by re-establishing controls at their internal borders on the grounds of ‘regulating’ the movement of third-country nationals seeking international protection, even though Article 14(1) of the Schengen Borders Code stipulates that the ‘normal border procedure’ does not apply to asylum seekers; whereas there is a need to implement a fair system of shared responsibility for the assessment of asylum applications;

E.  whereas, from March 2016, the Commission has proposed a series of measures with a view to restoring the normal functioning of the Schengen area; whereas the proper functioning of the Schengen area has not yet been restored and depends primarily on the Member States, the trust they have in each other, the solidarity they demonstrate in support of the countries of first entry, the adoption of adequate measures and the implementation of such measures, in particular by Member States;

F.  whereas incentives for Member States to adopt measures to re-establish the proper functioning of the Schengen area depend mainly on the non-renewal of border control requests;

G.  whereas maintaining internal border controls in the Union or reintroducing such controls in the Schengen area has a serious impact on the lives of European citizens and all those who benefit from the principle of free movement within the EU, and seriously undermines their trust in the European institutions and integration; whereas maintaining or reintroducing internal border controls entails direct operational and investment costs for cross-border workers, tourists, road freight transporters and public administrations, with crippling effects on the economies of the Member States; whereas estimates of the costs linked to the reintroduction of border controls range between EUR 0,05 billion and EUR 20 billion in one-off costs and EUR 2 billion in annual operating costs(4); whereas cross-border regions are particularly affected;

H.  whereas the construction of walls and fences at the EU’s external and internal borders by various Member States is increasing and is being used as a deterrent for entry and transit of asylum seekers, inter alia, into EU territory; recalls that, according to the Transnational Institute (TNI), it is estimated that European countries have built more than 1 200 kilometres of walls and borders at a cost of at least EUR 500 million and that, from 2007 to 2010, EU funds have contributed to the deployment of 545 border surveillance systems, covering 8 279 kilometres of the EU’s external borders and 22 347 surveillance devices;

I.  whereas the Schengen area is at a crossroads and requires decisive and joint actions to bring back the entirety of the benefits it provides to the citizens; whereas it also requires mutual trust, cooperation and solidarity among Member states; whereas there should be no political discourse aiming at blaming Schengen;

J.  whereas enlargement of the Schengen area remains a key instrument for expanding the economic and social benefits stemming from the right of free movement of people, services, goods and capital to newer Member States, fostering cohesion and bridging gaps between countries and regions; whereas applying the Schengen acquis in full in all Member States which have fulfilled the criteria for successful conclusion of the Schengen evaluation process is essential for creating a coordinated and robust legal security framework; whereas Romania and Bulgaria’s readiness for joining the Schengen Area has been announced on several occasions by the President of the Commission and has also been stated by Parliament in its position of 8 June 2011 on the draft Council decision on the full application of the provisions of the Schengen acquis in the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania(5) and by the Council in its conclusions;

K.  whereas the Working Group on Schengen Scrutiny has followed closely the implementation of the Schengen acquis through the findings of the Schengen evaluation mechanism, the vulnerability assessment methodology, committee hearings and missions to Member States and third countries; whereas it has identified the measures that have been or are about to be implemented, the major shortcomings in the functioning of the Schengen area and the necessary actions to be taken in the future;

Core Issues

Progress made in addressing identified shortcomings

1.  Points out that the EU legislator has adopted a number of measures in the last three years which were designed to reinforce the integrity of the Schengen Area without internal border controls; welcomes the effectiveness of the measures taken at the external borders and the creation of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA); notes the efforts of the Agency in implementing the new regulation, especially through joint operations in the field of border surveillance and return, and by supporting the Member States subject to increased levels of migration while at the same time maintaining full respect for fundamental rights as stipulated in the EBCG Regulation; sees the importance of the newly introduced vulnerability assessment mechanism in uncovering weaknesses at the common external borders and preventing crises; emphasises the concerted efforts and cooperation between agencies and other stakeholders in organising the ‘hotspot’ approach in the area of training;

2.  Notes the steps taken through amendment of the Schengen Borders Code and introduction of mandatory systematic checks against relevant databases at the external borders on entry and exit for third-country nationals and for EU nationals, while remaining vigilant about the effects, necessity and proportionality of these measures on the border crossings of EU nationals; emphasises that in some instances mandatory systematic checks at the external Schengen Borders have been replaced by targeted checks due to their disproportionate impact on the flow of traffic; recalls that the Commission should take these consequences into account when carrying out the evaluation provided for in Regulation (EU) 2017/458;

3.  Welcomes the ongoing reform of the SIS and the deployment on 5 March 2018, by eu-LISA, of the SIS II Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) platform, that introduces a biometric search capability in the system, which will contribute to strengthening the fight against crime and terrorism;

4.  Stresses the need to make better use of existing tools, namely to maximise the benefits of existing systems and to address the structural information gaps in full compliance with data protection requirements and respect for the principles of the right to privacy, non-discrimination, necessity and proportionality;

5.  Welcomes the work done in the field of cross-border police and judicial cooperation and cooperation between law enforcement agencies, and the work of Eurojust and Europol to counter cross-border and organised crime, trafficking in human beings and terrorism through intelligence, information exchange and joint investigations;

6.  Voices its concern about the Commission’s efforts to elaborate the European Integrated Border Management (IBM) concept and strategy on the basis of what was published on 14 March 2018 in order to comply with the provisions in the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation; expresses doubts as to its effectiveness in setting the desired objectives and goals in the field of European Integrated Border Management, and in particular in strengthening and implementing fundamental rights and other components of the strategy;

7.  Sees great value in the renewed Schengen evaluation mechanism as it promotes transparency, mutual trust and accountability between the Member States by scrutinising the way they implement the different fields of the Schengen acquis;

Identified critical shortcomings

8.  Expresses concerns regarding the critical shortcomings and deficiencies discovered through the Schengen Evaluation Mechanism and the vulnerability assessment;

9.  Expresses deep concern at the very serious deficiencies in the implementation of the Schengen acquis found during the evaluation of the UK’s provisional use of the Schengen Information System and, in the interest of the integrity of this system, calls on the Council and the Commission to engage in discussions with Parliament about the appropriate follow-up to these findings;

10.  Condemns the continued reintroduction of internal border checks as this undermines the basic principles of the Schengen area; takes the view that many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules as to their extensions, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful; regrets that Member States have not taken the proper measures to ensure cooperation with other affected Member States in order to minimise the effects of these measures and that they have not sufficiently justified such controls or provided enough information on their results, therefore hindering analysis by the Commission and scrutiny by Parliament; regrets also the practice by the Member States of artificially changing the legal basis for reintroduction to extend it beyond the maximum possible period in the same factual circumstances; considers the economic, political and social impacts of this practice to be detrimental to the unity of the Schengen area and harmful to the prosperity of European citizens and the principle of freedom of movement; reiterates that the Union legislator has adopted many measures in the last three years to strengthen the external borders and external border control; underlines that there has been no corresponding reaction in terms of the removal of internal border controls;

11.  Highlights that reintroducing border controls at internal borders has proven much easier than removing those internal border controls once they have been reintroduced;

12.  Expresses concern about the lack of implementation in some areas of the regulation governing certain fields of external border control, such as the systematic consultation of databases during border checks and the thorough checking of the required entry conditions; is also concerned about the occasional unavailability of certain databases such as the SIS and the VIS at certain border crossing points; notes that clear non-compliance in establishing National Coordination Centres in accordance with the European Border Surveillance System Regulation (Eurosur) is prevalent in many Member States; emphasises again that, in order for legislation on internal and external borders to be effective, it is essential that measures agreed at Union level are implemented properly by the Member States;

13.  Recalls that Member States have tools available to them other than internal border control, including – as recommended by the Commission – targeted police controls provided that such controls do not have border control as an objective, are based on general police information or experience regarding possible threats to public security, aim, in particular, to combat cross-border crime, and are devised and executed in a manner clearly distinct from systematic checks on persons at the external borders; recalls that such checks may prove more effective than internal border controls, notably as they are more flexible and can be adapted more easily to evolving risks;

14.  Recalls that unannounced Schengen on-site evaluation visits can be conducted at internal borders without prior notification of the Member State concerned;

15.  Condemns the construction of physical barriers, including fences, between Member States and recalls its doubts as to the compatibility of such actions with the Schengen Borders Code; calls on the Commission to assess thoroughly existing and future constructions and report to Parliament;

16.  Acknowledges, as part of efforts to restore the normal functioning of Schengen, the proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code as regards the rules applicable to the temporary reintroduction of controls at internal borders; emphasises the need to establish clear rules and that these changes should merely reflect the new challenges and diffuse threats to internal security without encouraging the reintroduction of internal border controls; recalls that any changes should not be a further avenue for prolonging internal border controls; is concerned that the Commission’s proposal on the reintroduction of internal border controls is based on an assessment of ‘perceived risk’ rather than strict and sound evidence and the existence of a serious threat, and that the so-called ‘risk assessment’ is to be entrusted entirely to the State reintroducing the border controls; considers that these steps should be taken carefully in order not to inflict irreversible damage on the basic idea of free movement, particularly by establishing substantial procedural safeguards, in particular to maintain a strict temporal limitation on the reintroduction of checks at internal borders;

17.  Underlines that a further prolongation of the existing internal border controls – or the reintroduction of new ones – would impose major economic costs on the EU as a whole by severely damaging the single market;

Action to be taken

18.  Stresses the urgent need to address the identified critical shortcomings without delay in order to return to the normal functioning of Schengen without internal border controls;

19.  Calls on all Member States to implement fully the existing regulations and calls on the Commission to act decisively in matters of violations of commonly agreed rules by imposing proportionate and necessary measures on the Member States in question, in order to safeguard the interests of the other Member States and of the Union as a whole, including infringement procedures;

20.  Stresses the importance of reforming and adapting the SIS to face new challenges swiftly, namely regarding the protection of children who are at risk or missing, the immediate, obligatory exchange of information on terrorism while complying with the fundamental rights of EU citizens and third-country nationals and upholding safeguards on data protection and privacy and the mandatory exchange of information on return decisions; emphasises that such reform must not undermine the principles of necessity and proportionality; underlines that if the system is to function properly, alerts must require action and should justify their inclusion in the system; highlights the anticipated substantial increase in the activity of the Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry (SIRENE) Bureau and calls on Member States to reinforce the means at its disposal by ensuring that it has adequate financial and human resources to carry out its new functions;

21.  Emphasises the critical nature of the findings of the Schengen evaluation mechanism and calls on the Member States to implement accordingly the recommendations addressed to them; emphasises also the vulnerability assessment and calls on the Member States to act upon the recommendations made by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency;

22.  Calls on the Commission to present a yearly comprehensive report to Parliament and the Council on the evaluations carried out pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1053/2013;

23.  Firmly insists that the Commission must not renew requests for derogation from Schengen if the Member State concerned has not implemented the recommendations addressed to it under the Schengen evaluation mechanism;

24.  Stresses that all the Member States, including those with no external land borders, should do their utmost to ensure a high level of control at their external borders by allocating sufficient resources through staffing, equipment and expertise while ensuring full respect for fundamental rights – including in matters relating to international protection and non-refoulement – establishing the necessary command and control structures and formulating up-to-date risk analyses in accordance with the EBCG Regulation for all tiers of command to facilitate effective operations and to provide adequate infrastructures to safe, orderly and fluent border crossings;

25.  Is of the opinion that, were the Schengen evaluation mechanism to be revised, any proposal should address the major delays from the on-site visit to the implementing decisions and action plans and should facilitate swift remedial action on the part of the Member States; takes the view that the value of unannounced on-site visits in the context of the Schengen Evaluation Mechanism could be enhanced were such visits to be really unannounced (without 24-hours’ notice);

26.  Recalls that Parliament should be immediately and fully informed of any proposal to amend or replace the Schengen evaluation mechanism; notes that the Commission should undertake a review of the operation of the Schengen evaluation mechanism within six months of the adoption of all evaluation reports regarding evaluations covered by the first multiannual evaluation programme, and transmit this to Parliament;

27.  Insists on developing the Schengen evaluation mechanism together with the vulnerability assessment tool in a way that prevents unforeseen relapses in and improves the overall management of the external borders, enhances respect for the Schengen acquis and fundamental rights, including compliance with the Geneva Convention, which was signed by all the Member States, and facilitates thorough scrutiny and transparency between Member States and the European institutions, in particular Parliament; calls on the Commission and the Members States to allocate sufficient resources to the implementation and follow-up of Schengen evaluations and vulnerability assessments; calls on the Commission to organise on-site visits to internal borders that are genuinely unannounced and to assess the nature and impact of the measures in place;

28.  Calls on the competent authorities of the Member States to improve collection of information and statistical data on national management of resources and capabilities related to border control; calls on the Member States to make available, in a timely manner, all the necessary information to the vulnerability assessment mechanism;

29.  Calls on the Member States, in particular those directly affected, to prepare and sufficiently test the necessary contingency plans to mitigate situations of increased levels of migration, as well as to enhance their registration and accommodation capacity in the event of such situations occurring; calls on the Member States to improve their capabilities to detect document fraud and irregular entries while fully respecting the principle of non-refoulement and fundamental rights; calls for concerted efforts to combat human trafficking and terrorism, particularly in order to identify the criminal organisations and their financing with greater precision;

30.  Stresses that safe, legal access to the EU, including at the external borders of the Schengen area, will help ensure the overall stability of the Schengen area;

31.  Regards the current state of implementation of the IBM Strategy as inadequate; requests that the Commission and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency support the Member States in their efforts to meet the requirements as stipulated in the EBCG Regulation, and to start the IBM thematic evaluations in the Member States in due course; calls on the Member States to bring their border management into line with the IBM concept by employing a comprehensive approach to border management on the basis of its underlying fundamental principles and in particular by guaranteeing full respect for fundamental rights, with a specific focus on vulnerable groups and minors, in all border management and return activities, including respect for the non-refoulement principle; stresses the need to ensure the full implementation of the IBM Strategy at European and national level and compliance with international conventions, thus strengthening the management of the external borders while respecting fundamental rights;

32.  Insists on the need for prompt introduction of the fully-fledged IBM Strategy, as agreed between the institutions, the technical and operational strategy by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the Member States’ subsequent national strategies; is fully aware of the inconsistencies in the implementation of the IBM Strategy in the Member States and stresses that the full execution of the IBM Strategy in all Member States is vital for the adequate functioning of the Schengen area;

33.  Calls on the Commission to adopt a legislative proposal to amend the Eurosur Regulation in light of the major shortfalls encountered in the implementation of the current regulation, and considers that such a proposal should encourage greater use of Eurosur to engage and assist information exchange, risk analysis and search and rescue operations;

34.  Reiterates Parliament’s support for Bulgaria and Romania’s immediate accession to the Schengen area, and the accession of Croatia as soon as it fulfils the criteria for joining; calls on the Council to approve the accession of Bulgaria and Romania as fully-fledged members of the Schengen area;

Other issues with an impact on Schengen

35.  Stresses that the current state of Schengen and the persistence of internal border controls are not due primarily to problems in the structure and rules of the Schengen area itself but rather to the related fields of the acquis, such as shortcomings in the area of the Common European Asylum System, including a lack of political will, solidarity and responsibility sharing, the Dublin Regulation and the management of the external borders;

Progress made in addressing identified shortcomings

36.  Emphasises the support and capacity-building measures taken to address the root causes of irregular migration and in order to improve living conditions in the countries of origin;

37.  Considers that cooperation with third countries is one element in alleviating the circumstances resulting in forced and irregular migration; emphasises the comprehensive nature of measures needed to reach the desired objectives;

Identified critical shortcomings

38.  Regrets that many persons have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean Sea in recent years; further emphasises that search and rescue is an individual component of European Integrated Border Management as set out in the EBCG Regulation; takes the view that a permanent, robust and effective Union response in search and rescue operations at sea is crucial in preventing the loss of life at sea; considers it vital that adequate maritime search-and-rescue aspects and capabilities be embedded into all operational planning of border surveillance at sea borders and in the implementation of such operations by the EBCGA, as provided for in Regulation (EU) No 656/2014;

39.  Expresses great concern regarding the implementation of the EBCG Regulation and underlines the need for Member States to comply with the requirements stipulated in the regulation, in particular with regard to the commitments to contribute sufficient human resources and technical equipment both to joint operations and the rapid reaction equipment pool and allocate adequate resources to the implementation of the vulnerability assessment; is concerned about the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s resources and financial planning and the estimations on which the operations’ funding and contributions required from Member States are based; calls on the Member States to guarantee proper training on fundamental rights for national border guards;

40.  Considers that cooperation at national level between different law enforcement services, the military, border guards, customs and maritime search and rescue authorities is often inadequate, resulting in fragmented situational awareness and low effectiveness; notes that he absence of cooperation structures may lead up to ineffective and/or disproportionate measures; recalls that no amount of well-meaning measures at Union level can make up for a lack of internal cooperation between the relevant authorities of the Member States;

41.  Notes the establishment of other large-scale information systems and the objective of improving their interoperability while preserving the necessary safeguards, including with regard to data protection and privacy;

42.  Considers that the work on proposals for interoperability of information systems should be taken as an opportunity to improve and partially harmonise national IT systems and national infrastructure at border crossing points;

Action to be taken

43.  Encourages the Agencies and the Member States to continue implementing multipurpose operations and to ensure that proper steps are taken to include maritime search and rescue within the operations through suitable assets and human resources; encourages the Agency to ensure the implementation of the complaints mechanism and related resources for and staff in support of the fundamental rights officer;

44.  Calls on the Member States to ensure swift and effective return procedures, with full respect for fundamental rights and under humane and dignified conditions, once a return decision has been issued;

45.  Notes that the Member States have the opportunity offered by Directive 2001/40/EC to acknowledge and implement a return decision taken by another Member State rather than making a new return decision or sending an irregular migrant back to the first issuing Member State;

46.  Calls on the Member States to take specific steps to ensure adequate infrastructure, accommodation and living conditions for all asylum seekers, especially taking into consideration the needs of unaccompanied minors and families with minors as well as women in vulnerable situations; calls on the Member States to bring their detention facilities into line with the requirements of international best practices and human rights norms and conventions, to meet capacity demand, bearing in mind that detention is a measure of last resort and is not in the best interest of the child, and to increase the use of alternative measures to detention; calls on the Members States to honour their relocation commitments, as agreed by the European Council in September 2015 and reconfirmed by the Court of Justice of the European Union in September 2017, in order to restore order to the management of migration and foster solidarity and cooperation within the EU;

47.  Calls on the Member States to ensure the independent nature of the national data protection authorities, notably by providing sufficient financial resources and staff to fulfil their increasing tasks; calls on the independent supervisory authorities of the Member States to ensure the necessary audits of information systems and their use; calls on the Member States to implement provisions to enable the rights of data subjects to launch complaints and request their personal information, and to raise public awareness regarding information systems;

48.  Insists that multipurpose operations be conducted by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, with the aim of responding to the need for maritime search-and-rescue assets (as provided for in Regulation (EU) No 656/2014), to be present in the relevant areas; recalls that national border guard authorities must also provide adequate resources for its operations, in particular to search and rescue; underlines that border control should be done by a trained border guard officer or under a strict supervision of a competent authority;

49.  Notes that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency has a larger mandate which it can use to play a role in supporting the Member States in coordinated return operations;

50.  Calls on the Member States to further develop mutual cross-border police cooperation through joint threat assessment, risk analysis and patrols; calls for the full implementation of the Prüm Convention and Council Decision 2008/615/JHA, and adhesion to the European Information Exchange Model and the Swedish Initiative; calls on the Member States to improve their national law enforcement cooperation and information sharing structures and to improve practical cooperation, in particular with neighbouring Member States;

51.  Recalls the high priority given to the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as part of the holistic approach to addressing the challenges affecting refugee, asylum-seeker and migrant policies and the Commission’s Agenda on Migration; notes that Parliament has repeatedly stressed that opening legal channels for migrants and refugees is the best way to fight human trafficking and at the same time ‘irregular’ migration; calls on the Council to swiftly follow Parliament in adopting a mandate for negotiations on every proposal in this regard, particularly as regards the Dublin Regulation; highlights that the new European Agency for Asylum has still to be approved and urges the Council to unblock this file as a matter of urgency;

52.  Stresses the need to improve the security of identity cards provided by the Member States to EU citizens; calls on the Commission to propose standards for the security and biometric features incorporated in identity cards, as is already the case with passports;

o
o   o

53.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the national parliaments and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

(1) OJ L 251, 16.9.2016, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(3) OJ L 295, 6.11.2013, p. 11.
(4) Wouter van Ballegooij, ‘The Cost of Non-Schengen: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs aspects’, Cost of Non-Europe Report, European Added Value Unit, 2016, page 32.
(5) OJ C 380 E, 11.12.2012, p. 160.


Minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the implementation of Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (2016/2328(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0229A8-0168/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Articles 8, 10, 18, 19, 21, 79 and 82 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Articles 3, 6, 20, 21, 23, 24, 41 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948,

–  having regard to the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 29 November 1985,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), and to Council Decisions (EU) 2017/865(1) and (EU) 2017/866(2) of 11 May 2017 on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence,

–   having regard to Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2006)8 of the Committee of Ministers to member states of 14 June 2006 on assistance to crime victims,

–   having regard to Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states of 31 March 2010 on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity,

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA of 15 March 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 6 December 2013 on combating hate crime in the EU and of 5 June 2014 on preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls including female genital mutilation,

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2017/541 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA and amending Council Decision 2005/671/JHA(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/800 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on procedural safeguards for children who are suspects or accused persons in criminal proceedings(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 606/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters(6),

–  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA(7),

–  having regard to Directive 2011/99/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the European protection order(8),

–  having regard to Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA(9),

–  having regard to Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2017 on the implementation of Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography(11),

–  having regard to Directive 2014/42/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union(12),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2004/80/EC of 29 April 2004 relating to compensation to crime victims(13),

–  having regard to the study entitled ‘How can the EU and the Member States better help victims of terrorism?’, published by its Policy Department for Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs in September 2017,

–  having regard to the survey by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) entitled ‘Second European Union minorities and discrimination survey’, published in December 2017,

–   having regard to the FRA study entitled ‘Child-friendly justice – Perspectives and experiences of children involved in judicial proceedings as victims, witnesses or parties in nine EU Member States’, published in February 2017,

–  having regard to the FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2017, published in May 2017,

–  having regard to the FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2016, published in May 2016,

–  having regard to the FRA study entitled ‘Victims of crime in the EU: the extent and nature of support for victims’, published in January 2015,

–  having regard to the FRA study entitled ‘Severe labour exploitation: workers moving within or into the European Union’, published in June 2015,

–  having regard to the FRA report entitled ‘Violence against women: an EU-wide survey’, published in March 2014,

–  having regard to the report on Project IVOR entitled ‘Implementing Victim-Oriented Reform of the criminal justice system in the EU’, published on 6 May 2016,

–  having regard to the report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) entitled ‘An analysis of the Victims’ Rights Directive from a gender perspective’,

–  having regard to the Yogyakarta Principles plus 10 adopted on 10 November 2017 (‘Principles and State Obligations on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics’),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2017 on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, by the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence(14),

–  having regard to the European Parliamentary Research Service’s European Implementation Assessment of Directive 2012/29/EU, produced by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0168/2018),

A.  whereas Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (‘Victims’ Rights Directive’) seeks to place the victim of a crime at the centre of the criminal justice system, and aims to strengthen the rights of victims of crime so that any victim can rely on the same level of rights, irrespective of where the offence took place, their nationality or residence status;

B.  whereas 23 out of 27 Member States have transposed the Victims’ Rights Directive into national legislation as of September 2017; whereas the Commission has started 16 infringement procedures against Member States that are still not fully compliant in practice; whereas the directive has made it possible to initiate progress in dealing with victims of crime in another Member State; whereas shortcomings remain in cross-border cases;

C.  whereas unified standards and instruments are in place at EU level to improve the lives of EU citizens, but victims of crime are still treated differently from country to country;

D.  whereas despite many changes introduced in Member States, victims still often lack awareness of their rights, undermining the Victims’ Rights Directive’s effectiveness on the ground and in particular the access to information requirement;

E.  whereas legal support aside, victim support groups classify the needs of victims into four categories: the right to justice, dignity, truth and memory, of which the latter stands as an unconditional rebuke of terrorism;

F.  whereas some Member States display a lack of victim support services and coordination between them at local, regional, national and international level, which makes it difficult for victims to access existing support services;

G.  whereas women’s shelters, centres and helplines are core agencies for the support of women victims of violence and their children; whereas there is inadequate provision for women’s shelters and centres in Europe; whereas more women’s shelters are urgently required since they provide safety, accommodation, counselling and support to women survivors of domestic violence and their children; whereas the lack of women’s shelters may constitute a risk to life;

H.   whereas in cases where a terrorist attack occurs in one Member State and the victim is resident in another Member State, the two Member States should cooperate closely to facilitate assistance for the victim;

I.  whereas if government entities and national institutions took effective and protective action to help victims, citizens would support and trust the institutions which would boost their reputation;

J.  whereas a wide range of health professionals are likely to come into contact with victims, especially victims of gender-based violence, and are often initially contacted by the victim to report a crime; whereas evidence shows that health professionals, such as doctors and other clinical professionals, receive limited training in responding effectively to gender-based violence;

K.  whereas women victims of gender-based violence always require special support and protection, owing to their particular vulnerability to secondary and repeat victimisation;

L.  whereas there is still systematic underreporting of incidents or perpetrators of violence in the EU, particularly in cases involving minorities, migrants, people with dependent or precarious residence status, LGBTI persons, anti-Semitic offences, child sexual abuse, domestic and gender-based violence, and trafficking and forced labour victims; whereas about two thirds of women victims of gender-based violence do not report to an authority because they fear retaliation, embarrassment and social stigma;

M.  whereas hate crimes against LGBTI persons are an EU-wide reality; whereas these crimes are underreported and the rights of the victims are therefore not respected;

N.  whereas the FRA study entitled ‘Making hate crime visible in the European Union: acknowledging victims’ rights’ states that immigrant status enhances the risk of being criminally victimised, independent of other known risk factors;

O.  whereas racist hate crimes against migrants and asylum seekers have increased across the Member States; whereas very few perpetrators of these hate crimes are brought to justice;

P.  whereas even though all victims of crime are granted equal rights without discrimination under Article 1 of the directive, in reality most Member States have not put in place policies or processes to ensure that undocumented victims can safely report severe labour exploitation, gender-based violence and other forms of abuse without the risk of immigration penalties; whereas this disproportionately affects women and girls, who are also more exposed to trafficking and sexual exploitation; whereas the FRA’s Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey states that only 1 in 8 respondents reported or filed a complaint about the most recent incident of discrimination they experienced as a result of their ethnic or immigrant background;

Q.  whereas Article 1 of the directive states that the rights set out therein apply to victims in a non-discriminatory manner, including with respect to their residence status;

R.  whereas the #MeToo campaign has highlighted that the justice system does not deliver adequate justice and protection to women and girls and that consequently, victims of gender-based violence do not receive the necessary support;

S.  whereas the ratification and full implementation of the Istanbul Convention provides a coherent European legal framework to prevent and combat violence against women and protect the victims thereof; whereas the definition of gender-based violence should be based on the Istanbul Convention, and should acknowledge the structural nature of violence against women and other forms of gender-based violence and their links to inequality between women and men, which remains prevalent in society; whereas violence in close relationships must be seen from a gender perspective, since it affects women disproportionately;

T.  whereas women are most exposed to stalking, which is a common form of gender-based violence, and whereas stalking as a specific offence has not been taken into account in the criminal codes of seven Member States;

U.  whereas specific attention must be given to the safety and protection of the children of women victims of gender-based violence and domestic violence;

V.  whereas victims are often not well informed of trials and their outcomes; whereas all too often victims are unexpectedly informed of the release of an offender through media or other external factors, instead of by competent authorities;

W.  whereas victims and family members are not given sufficient information about their rights when a crime occurs in a Member State other than that in which the victim resides; whereas the Member States have different definitions of the concept of ‘victim’; whereas the scope of national legislation differs as a consequence (sometimes extending to cover family members, for example);

X.  whereas easily accessible and widely publicised helplines are for many women the first step towards obtaining the help and support they need when experiencing violence in close relationships;

Y.  whereas only 27 % of Europeans are familiar with the single European emergency telephone number 112; whereas not everyone has access to it yet;

Z.  whereas in a considerable number of cases, the victim is the most important witness in the trial and needs to be protected from possible retaliatory or threatening behaviour from the offender, including by preventing repeated or secondary victimisation; whereas witness testimony is crucial to the proper functioning of and trust in the criminal justice system and essential for the effective investigation and prosecution of organised crime and terrorist groups, which could lead to their dismantling; whereas Member States should take appropriate measures to protect witnesses effectively and to step up the exchange of best practices and international cooperation in this area;

AA.  whereas shortcomings in the implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive have been reported, in particular as regards:

   delivering appropriate services to victims in accordance with their specific needs,
   implementing properly the requirements for guaranteeing an individual assessment of victims,
   properly establishing mechanisms allowing the alleged offender to have a copy of the complaint,
   ensuring equal accessibility to victim and specialist support services for all victims, including persons with disabilities, LGBTI persons, child victims, victims of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, and victims of hate and honour crimes, regardless of their residence status,
   guaranteeing rapid, efficient and victim-sensitive procedures in criminal court cases that take account of the specific needs of the most vulnerable groups,
   collecting data on and analysing the culture of violence, misogyny and gender stereotypes, and their link with the incidence of hate crimes,
   briefing victims on their aggressors’ situation under criminal or procedural law;

AB.  whereas victims of crime regularly report that enduring the process of justice is itself a type of victimisation – a secondary or re-victimisation; whereas factors that impact how victims experience the system include how they are treated during the process and the amount of control and participatory access they are given;

AC.  whereas victims of terrorism have been subjected to attacks that are ultimately intended to harm society or a larger group they represent; whereas they therefore require special attention, support and social recognition owing to the particular nature of the crime committed against them;

AD.  whereas certain rights, such as the right to financial aid and compensation, were not properly implemented or granted to the victims of the 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels in accordance with the provisions of the Victims’ Rights Directive;

Assessment of the implementation of the directive

1.  Criticises the Commission’s failure to submit a report to Parliament and to the Council on the application of the Victims’ Rights Directive by November 2017, in accordance with Article 29 of the directive; calls on the Member States to cooperate and send all relevant data and statistics to the Commission in order to facilitate its assessment of the implementation of the directive;

2.  Criticises the fact that two years after transposition was due, only 23 out of 27 Member States had officially transposed the Victims’ Rights Directive by September 2017, and among these, some are only partially compliant and only on some provisions;

3.  Notes the successful implementation by some Member States of certain provisions of the Victims’ Rights Directive, namely:

   the right to interpretation and translation,
   the right to be heard,
   the protection of child victims,
   the rights of victims when making a complaint,
   the right to receive information from the first contact with a competent authority;

4.  Deplores, however, the remaining important shortcomings in the transposition and implementation of the directive in many Member States, in particular as regards:

   the complexity of procedures for accessing support services and shortcomings in the victim support system, including insufficient access to legal aid and compensation, lack of financial support and coordination between support services, and inconsistent referral mechanisms,
   the fact that clear information is often not provided in more than one language, making it difficult, de facto, for victims to seek protection abroad in another Member State,
   the lack of a legislative foot-hold in cross-border cases and the rights of victims resident in other Member States, and failure to take measures to ensure that the lack of or uncertain residence status poses no barrier to victims’ ability to assert their rights under this directive;

5.  Highlights the vital importance of conducting the first contact with the victim properly, especially in the case of victims of gender-based violence; notes, however, that some of the most vulnerable victims – such as minors and uneducated, disabled or elderly victims, as well as (for language reasons) migrants and victims of human trafficking – may have difficulties in understanding the information that is communicated to them and, as a result, their right to information stipulated in Article 4 of the directive will not be fully exercised, making it necessary to ensure the presence of a qualified expert to assist victims; notes that Article 4 is one of the directive’s strengths, as it helps victims to exercise their right to the available support and protection as set out in the directive;

6.  Calls on the Member States to promote easy access to justice and adequate legal aid free of charge, as this contributes greatly to breaking the silence and increasing the victim’s trust in the criminal justice system, decreases the possibility of impunity and enables the victim to begin the process of psychological recovery;

7.  Calls on all the Member States to implement and effectively enforce the right to information laid down in Article 4 of the Victims’ Rights Directive for all victims and potential victims; stresses the need to improve information mechanisms in Member States to ensure that victims are not only aware of their rights, but also know where to go to exercise them; points out that the professionals who first see to victims should be their first contact point for information on their rights and about programmes designed to tackle situations that lead to victimisation; underlines that failure to provide information to the victim before, during and after criminal proceedings results in poor enjoyment of victims’ rights and dissatisfaction with the justice system, and discourages victims from actively participating in the criminal proceedings;

8.  Deplores the fact that too many Member States have failed to implement, in their legislation, individual victim assessments, leading to inefficiency when it comes to detecting and identifying their specific needs, to treating them with respect and dignity and, as a consequence, to granting them protection in accordance with their specific needs;

9.  Notes that failure to transpose the directive into national law in certain Member States means that citizens of those Member States suffer discrimination when it comes to upholding their rights as European citizens;

10.  Deplores the fact that the Victims’ Rights Directive limits the exercise of the victim’s right to legal aid owing to provisions obliging Member States to provide legal aid only when the victim has the status of a party to criminal proceedings and stipulating that the conditions or procedural rules under which victims have access to legal aid shall be determined by national law; stresses that these restrictions may be particularly onerous for victims of gender‑based violence who do not make complaints and whose cases will never be dealt with as part of the criminal justice system;

11.  Notes that other instruments addressing similar successive additions to victims’ rights complicate coherence with the Victims’ Rights Directive;

12.  Recalls that third country nationals and EU citizens who have fallen victim to crime in another Member State can also enjoy the rights, support and protection offered by this directive regardless of their residence status, and that victims of criminal offences committed in a Member State other than the one in which the victim resides can lodge their complaint to the competent authorities of the Member State of residence; notes, however, that this right is often undermined by the uncertainty of Member State provisions on extraterritoriality; calls on Member States to ensure that residency status is not a criterion for full enjoyment of the rights of victims and to clarify their national provisions on extraterritoriality; calls on the Member States to guarantee access for non-resident victims of crime to support services and information concerning their rights, and to adopt specific measures that focus in particular on the rights of all victims to compensation and within criminal proceedings; calls, in this regard, on the Member States to take appropriate action to facilitate cooperation between their competent authorities or entities providing specialist support to ensure that victims have effective access to such information and services;

13.  Reminds the Member States that victims in an irregular situation of residence should also have access to rights and services, including shelters and other specialised services under this directive, such as legal protection and psychosocial and financial support from the Member States, without fear of being deported; calls on the Member States to put in place measures to ensure that these rights and services are made available without discrimination; welcomes steps taken by some Member States to grant undocumented victims a residence permit on humanitarian grounds or for the duration of criminal proceedings, which could encourage victims to report crimes and counter the climate of impunity; encourages Member States to enact legislation that provides avenues for victims with dependent residence status to escape from situations of abuse by making it possible to obtain independent residence status; urges the Commission to encourage and facilitate the exchange and evaluation of existing good practices among Member States, integrating the perspectives of victims and civil society;

Recommendations

Individual assessment

14.  Recalls that one of the most important objectives of the Victims’ Rights Directive is to improve the position of victims of crime across the EU and to place the victim at the centre of the criminal justice system;

15.  Calls on the Member States to reinforce the rights of victims of hate crimes, including those against LGBTI persons or with racist motives;

16.  Highlights the fact that individual assessments are crucial to empowering all victims by informing them of their rights, and the right to make decisions, in the proceedings they are involved in and, in the case of children, the right to have access to the specific procedural safeguards that would apply to them from the very beginning of the legal proceedings; calls on the Member States to properly implement in their legislation timely individual assessments of the victims, including during their initial contact with a competent authority if necessary, as an essential procedural step for recognising and identifying a victim’s specific needs, to then grant specific protection in accordance with those needs, and to prevent secondary and repeat victimisation, intimidation and retaliation; emphasises that individual assessments need to be reviewed on a regular basis in order to determine ongoing support needs, and that victims should be provided with a follow-up review within an appropriate period of time after the crime took place, based on existing knowledge of trauma reactions; recalls that individual assessments are particularly necessary for the victims of human trafficking and the child victims of sexual abuse, given the social, physical and psychological repercussions of these crimes; recalls that all individual assessments should be gender sensitive, given that women and LGBTQI victims of gender-based violence require special attention and protection owing to a high risk of repeated victimisation, and that specific measures and specialist support should therefore be ensured;

Victim support services

17.  Regrets the difficulties experienced by victims in accessing support services; deplores the fact that in some Member States, victim support services have still not been set up; highlights that victim support services and rights should be granted to all victims throughout the EU and should be accessible even when a person has not yet proven that he or she is victim of a crime, or before any official procedure or act has taken place; calls on the Member States to provide for, and increase the number and improve the accessibility of, women’s shelters and women’s centres, assisting the female victims of all types of gender-based violence, and to ensure that women survivors of violence are never declined a place; insists that services need to be expanded to more adequately meet the needs of all women, in particular differently-abled women and migrant women, including undocumented migrant women; stresses that such services should also include non-residential specialist support, such as information and advice, court accompaniment and outreach services; considers that women’s shelters should help all women facing violence in close relationships, and should be available 24/7 and free of charge for women and their children, so that women can feel safe and able to report gender-based violence;

18.  Calls on the Member States to pay particular attention to the individual assessment of children and the child victims of any form of crime, in particular human trafficking, including for sexual exploitation, of gender-based violence and of sexual abuse and exploitation; recalls that child victims shall always be considered as having specific protection needs due to their vulnerability, pursuant to Article 22(4) of the directive; stresses the need to deal with children and young victims in a manner that takes proper account of their vulnerability;

Training

19.  Stresses that ensuring further training programmes at EU level is of paramount importance for the harmonisation and standardisation of procedures across the Member States and for ensuring equal treatment for European citizens;

20.  Calls on the Member States to provide specific training for those responsible for assisting the victims of terrorist acts, and to grant the necessary resources to that effect;

21.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide gender-sensitive training programmes and guidelines for all professionals involved in dealing with the victims of crime, such as law practitioners, police officers, prosecutors, judges, health professionals, social workers and civil society organisations; encourages the Member States to adequately use EU funding for these training purposes; calls on the Member States to specifically ensure that they comply with all obligations on training for police officers, so that they can conduct individual assessments better and in a timely manner once a crime has taken place; calls on the Member States to prevent the further victimisation or secondary victimisation experienced by the victims of crime, to provide victims with information about their rights and the services which they can access, and to empower them, as a means of reducing post-traumatic stress; stresses that such training should also be included in education programmes, in cooperation with civil society and NGOs, and that compulsory and specific training should be regularly available to all professionals involved in dealing with the victims of crime, in order to develop a mindset suited to handling the specific characteristics and needs of each type of victim, to help professionals prevent violence and to provide adequate support for vulnerable groups, such as children, women victims of gender-based violence, the victims of human trafficking, LGBTI people and people with disabilities; points out that personal training is essential in order for the objectives of the directive to be implemented effectively; considers that such training should include guidance on how to ensure that victims are protected from coercion, abuse and violence and that their physical and mental integrity is respected; believes, moreover, that all training sessions should emphasise the principle of non-discrimination – a cornerstone of the directive;

22.  Recalls that child victims of crime are particularly vulnerable and that particular attention should be devoted to training professionals dealing with the victims of child-related crimes, especially in cases of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, taking into account the needs associated with the various age groups; stresses that such professionals should communicate in a child-friendly manner;

23.  Encourages the Commission to give practical meaning to the international day for the victims of terrorism by organising, at least twice a year, an international meeting specifically devoted to the exchange of experiences and best practices between local, regional and national authorities of Member States and to the gathering of victims’ testimonies; considers that this should help ensure the quick, uniform and full transposition of the directive, the early identification of common application problems, and a process for the ongoing assessment of its ability to raise awareness, and add an operational dimension to shows of solidarity and institutional and social support for victims;

24.  Underlines the fact that healthcare professionals are key to recognising the victims of domestic violence, since violence against women in close relationships affects both physical and mental health in the long term; calls on the Member States to ensure that information about victim support services and victims’ rights is accessible to health professionals, and to provide targeted training for a wide range of healthcare professionals, including general practitioners, doctors specialised in emergency assistance, nurses, medical assistants, clinical social workers and reception staff, with a view to providing an effective response for the victim, particularly in cases of gender-based violence, thus enabling health professionals to identify cases of potential abuse, and to encourage women victims to contact a competent authority;

Cross-border dimension

25.  Calls on the Member States to provide financial and legal aid to family members in the event of a serious crime – i.e. where the victim has died or has been seriously injured – taking place in a different Member State to where the victim is resident, particularly in cases where the family cannot afford to travel to that Member State to attend court, to pay for psychological support or to bring the victim home;

26.  Calls on the Member States to make the procedures more flexible and speed up the process of forwarding the judgments for gender-based violence handed down in a country, particularly in the case of international couples, so that the authorities in the countries which the spouses come from can act accordingly as soon as possible and prevent custody of their children being given to a father accused of gender-based violence in another country;

27.  Asks the Commission and the Council to further develop the rights of victims so that the EU can play a leading role in the protection of victims’ rights;

Procedural rights

28.  Highlights the importance of providing free legal aid while ensuring that the bureaucratic burden for the victim is as low as possible;

29.  Calls, in particular, for Member States to set up confidential and anonymous procedures for reporting crimes, particularly in cases of sexual abuse and the abuse of disabled people and minors, with a view to monitoring and evaluating the number of reports and ensuring that undocumented victims can lodge complaints without the risk of immigration-related consequences;

30.  Calls on the Member States to step up legal measures in criminal procedures guaranteeing the protection of child victims, including the specific needs of the child victims of gender-based violence, particularly in cases where the child’s mother is murdered by their partner, throughout the entirety of criminal proceedings, and to ensure that they receive assistance and social and psychological support thereafter, in order to prevent child victims from being exposed to secondary victimisation; calls on the Member States to step up specific measures to improve the role of national helplines in the context of child victims, given that self-reporting of children is limited;

31.  Calls on the Member States to take into account significant incidents of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, when determining custody and visitation rights, and considers that the rights and needs of child witnesses should also be taken into account when providing victims with protection and support services;

32.  Reminds the Member States of the requirement to provide translation and interpretation services free of charge, noting that a lack of information in other languages may constitute an obstacle to the effective protection of the victims and a form of discrimination against them;

33.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to engage actively and cooperate closely in information campaigns to raise general public awareness of the rights of victims as established by EU law, including the specific needs of child victims; stresses that these awareness-raising campaigns should also be organised in schools in order to inform children of their rights and provide them with the tools to recognise any form of crime they may have suffered or witnessed; calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up campaigns to encourage women and LGBTQI persons to report any kind of gender-based violence so that they can be protected and get the support they need;

34.  Calls on the Member States to exchange best practices for a victim-oriented approach for police officers in their daily work;

35.  Calls on the Member States to actively engage, both at regional and national level, in campaigns to prevent gender-based violence and re-victimisation in the justice system and in the media, and to promote a cultural change in public opinion in order to prevent victim-blaming attitudes or behaviours, which may result in additional trauma for the victims of specific crimes such as gender-based violence or sexual abuse; calls on the Member States to encourage the private sector, the IT sector and the media to make the best use of their potential and to participate in the prevention of violence against women and domestic violence;

36.  Calls on the Member States to exchange best practices on establishing mechanisms to encourage and facilitate the process for victims to report the crimes they have suffered;

37.  Calls on the Member States to establish specific measures in the case of attacks resulting in mass casualties, so that large numbers of victims can participate in criminal proceedings;

38.   Reminds the Member States that particular attention should be paid to the risk of intimidation and retaliation and to the need to protect the dignity and physical integrity of victims, including during questioning and when testifying, in order to determine whether and to what extent they should receive protection measures during the criminal proceedings;

39.  Stresses the importance of the obligation to keep victims informed about the progress of criminal proceedings brought against the perpetrators of crimes against them, particularly when prison sentences have been handed down or are being served;

Institutional perspective

40.  Calls on the Commission to meet its reporting obligations as set out in the directive;

41.  Highlights the importance of relevant disaggregated comparable data on all crimes, particularly when it comes to violence against women and human trafficking, in order to ensure a better understanding of the problem, and to raise awareness, assess and improve Member States’ action to support victims;

42.  Calls on the Commission to counteract the judicial and practical flaws in the implementation of this directive by a proper interplay of the various EU victim-protection instruments, such as Directive 2011/99/EU on the European protection order, Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and Directive 2014/42/EU on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the EU; calls on all Member States and the EU to ratify and fully enforce the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention(15), to prevent and combat violence against women and girls and to implement these important instruments coherently in order to ensure that victims in Europe fully enjoy their rights;

43.  Calls on the Commission to include sectoral examinations in its monitoring and reporting, and to ensure a uniform application of the directive in order to protect all victims, irrespective of the grounds of victimisation or specific characteristics, such as race, colour, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, sex characteristics, disability, migration status or any other status;

44.  Recalls that family members of victims are included in the definition of ‘victim’, and calls on the Member States to interpret the term ‘family members’ – and other key terms, such as ‘particularly vulnerable’ – broadly, so as not to restrict the list of potential rights holders unnecessarily;

45.  Calls on the Member States to put in place measures to ensure that written and oral communications comply with simple language standards, and are adapted to minors and people with disabilities, in a language that the victim can understand, so that victims can be kept informed of their rights in a comprehensible, adequate and targeted manner before, during and after criminal proceedings;

46.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that where the exercise of rights is bound by time limitation periods, delays resulting from translation and interpretation difficulties shall be taken into account;

47.  Given that it is a common form of gender-based violence that requires specific prevention measures, calls on the seven Member States that have not yet done so to legislate to make stalking a criminal offence, as called for by Article 34 of the Istanbul Convention, on the basis of the relevant provisions in the Victims’ Rights Directive on the right to protection of privacy, the right to protection and, in particular, the right to avoid contact with the offender or with other potential perpetrators or accomplices;

48.  Calls on the Member States to prevent further victimisation arising from humiliation and honour attacks on the victim by sections of society close to the original attacker; reiterates that such acts constitute additional victimisation and should not be protected by the right to freedom of expression, as set out in Article 10(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights(16);

49.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that an emergency information telephone line is in operation following an attack or, preferably, to incorporate this service within the services provided by the European emergency number 112, and that provisions are made to provide foreign language assistance; calls, therefore, on all Member States to immediately implement Article 22 of the Victims’ Rights Directive in their legislation;

50.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that, in the event that a victim of terrorism does not reside in the Member State in which the act took place, this Member State should cooperate with the Member State of residence in order to facilitate assistance for the victim;

51.  Calls on the Member States to provide a national helpline, open 24/7 and free of charge, for women and the LGBTQI victims of gender-based violence;

52.  Calls on the Member States to guarantee assistance to victims from victim support services before, during and after criminal proceedings, including psychological support; underlines the important role of civil society in victim support; considers, nevertheless, that governments must not rely only on NGOs to provide key support services to victims (‘volunteerism’); insists that the Member States make sure to increase funding and resources for NGOs working in the area of women’s rights and victim’s rights and must build capacity to develop victim support mechanisms, involving law enforcement authorities, health and social services and civil society;

53.  Calls on the Member States to provide specialist support to the victims of terrorism in emergency response planning, in order to ensure the provision of adequate support services, both in the immediate aftermath of an attack and in the long term;

54.  Calls on the Member States to establish specific measures to ensure the provision of information to victims not resident in the territory of the Member State in which the terrorist attack has taken place; believes that these measures should focus in particular on the rights of non-resident victims in criminal proceedings and on compensation;

55.  Calls on all Member States to combat impunity at all times and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice, so that victims can feel protected; calls on all Member States, moreover, to work across sectors to identify and address the systemic factors that contribute to the repeat victimisation of people in vulnerable situations and/or who face high levels of discrimination, as not doing so could have a severe impact on the psychological recovery process of the victim;

56.  Calls on the Member States to set up legal mechanisms to criminalise the glorification of a specific act of terrorism in the event that it humiliates the victims and causes secondary victimisation by damaging the victims’ dignity and recovery;

57.  Considers that the victims of terrorism must be kept central to European society, as a symbol of the defence of democratic pluralism; calls, to this end, for conferences, memorials and audiovisual material in order to raise awareness among European citizens, and for a European register of victims for administrative use;

58.  Calls on the Member States to ensure stronger protection for the victims of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, as a means to improve access to justice and the efficiency of criminal proceedings;

59.  Recalls the specific nature of the victims of terrorist attacks, who fall into a separate category and have specific needs; calls on the Commission to draft a specific directive on the protection of the victims of terrorism;

60.  Calls on the Member States to guarantee support services, such as trauma support and counselling, and access to the necessary healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health, as part of targeted support for victims with specific needs, such as children, women victims of gender-based violence, the victims of human trafficking, LGBTI people, and people with disabilities;

61.  Calls on the Member States to establish adequate quality control mechanisms for assessing whether they have met the requirements for gender-sensitive and women- and child-friendly standards as regards provisions made by victim support services to encourage the reporting of crimes and protect victims effectively;

62.  Calls on the Member States to help victims deal with legal, financial and practical issues as well as the risk of further victimisation;

63.  Calls on the Commission to highlight the potential use of the EU-funded ‘Infovictims’ project, as a tool to inform and reach out to victims about criminal processes via different communication methods, such as brochures and posters; considers that this project enhances the sharing of good practices for informing the victims of crimes;

64.  Calls on the Member States to establish coordinated mechanisms for collecting information on the victims of terrorist attacks taking place in their territory, and, through the creation and development of a one-stop shop, to provide victims with a web portal and emergency telephone line or other means of communication, such as e-mail or multimedia messaging tools, giving access to secure, personalised, specific and relevant information in accordance with the user’s needs, with a confidential, free-of-charge and easily accessible support service; stresses that this support service must be able to provide assistance and support to the victims of terrorism in line with their specific needs, such as emotional and psychological support, and advice and information on any legal, practical or financial matters, must be able to assist victims liaising with the various administrative departments and, if necessary, represent them in this regard in the immediate aftermath of the attack and during any criminal proceedings, as well as assistance with national compensation claim procedures;

65.  Calls on the Member States to adopt appropriate measures to prevent, as far as possible, attacks on victims’ private lives and family members, in particular as regards investigative activities and during legal procedures;

66.  Calls on the Commission to turn the current e-Justice portal into a more user-friendly platform that provides concise and easy-to-understand information to victims about their rights and the procedures they need to follow;

67.  Calls on the Member States to engage, with complete respect for freedom of expression, with media and journalists to adopt self-regulation measures in the aftermath of a terror attack in order to guarantee that the private lives of victims and their family members are protected and, moreover, to recognise the value of cooperating with specialised victim assistance services and support in helping victims deal with the media attention they receive;

68.  Calls on the Member States to establish coordination mechanisms to ensure an effective transition of support for victims, from immediate gender-sensitive care in the aftermath of a crime, to the assistance they require in the longer term; notes that the local and regional authorities that provide the majority of assistance services to victims should be included in all stages of planning, decision-making and implementation; stresses that such mechanisms should, in particular, ensure that victims are referred to long-term services, with different organisations providing support during the various phases; considers that these mechanisms should also fulfil a cross-border function in order to provide victim support services, and guarantee the victim’s right to be informed, assisted and compensated in their place of residence when the crime has taken place in a Member State other than the one in which the victim resides;

69.  Calls on the Member States, in the event of a terrorist attack, to establish a coordination centre to bring together organisations and experts with the necessary expertise to provide information, support and practical services to the victims and to their families and relatives; stresses that these services should be confidential, free of charge and easily accessible to all victims of terrorism, and should include, in particular:

   (a) Specialist emotional and psychological support, such as trauma support and counselling specifically adapted to the needs of the victims of terrorism;
   (b) Vocational rehabilitation services to help victims suffering from injuries and harm to find new jobs or change careers;
   (c) The facilitation of safe virtual connections for victims with other victims and victim-run support groups;
   (d) Community-based support services;
   (e) Services to inform family members of the identification of victims and their remains and to repatriate remains;

70.  Regrets the fact that, compared to the Istanbul Convention, the scope of the Victims’ Rights Directive is more limited as regards the protection of victims of gender-based violence (including people affected by FGM); welcomes, nevertheless, the directive’s stronger accountability mechanism and stresses that the two instruments should be promoted together in order to maximise the protection offered to the victims of gender-based violence;

71.  Encourages the Member States to provide adequate information material and free legal aid to the victims of terrorism who are also parties to criminal proceedings, in order that they may obtain a decision on compensation;

72.  Calls on the Commission to propose the creation of a European fund for assistance to the victims of terrorism;

73.  Calls on the Member States to establish:

   (a) Permanent dedicated website on which all public information on the support services established following a terrorist attack that has taken place in that Member State can be accessed, and which should include the following information, to be made available as a matter of urgency: the contact details of any organisations responsible for providing support and information to victims, family members and members of the public following a terrorist attack, and information on the attack and measures established in response to it, including information on finding or getting in touch with missing victims and measures to help victims to return home, which should include:
   i. How to retrieve any property lost as a result of an attack;
   ii. Normal psychological responses of victims to an attack and guidance for victims on ways to mitigate any negative responses, and information on possible invisible injuries, such as hearing loss;
   iii. Information on how to replace identification documents;
   iv. Information on how to obtain financial assistance, compensation or government benefits;
   v. Information on the specific rights of the victims of terrorism and family members, including rights within criminal proceedings as prescribed in the Victims’ Rights Directive;
   vi. Any other information deemed necessary for the purposes of ensuring that victims are informed of their rights, their safety, or the services available to them;
   (b) A private-access website, available to the victims of terrorist attacks and their family members, providing information to the victims which is not publicly available;
   (c) Planning on how to inform family members about victims’ situations;
   (d) The uniform collection of information on victims by all authorities and organisations responsible for the reception, treatment and assistance of victims; information should be collected in accordance with the needs of all organisations involved in the response to a terrorist attack and in support of the victims and their families;

74.  Calls on the Member States to establish a national network of victim support services in order to enhance cooperation between these organisations, and to launch working groups to share good practices, develop training and improve communication between authorities and the victims of crime;

75.  Calls on the Commission to enter into a dialogue with the Member States in order to reduce the glaring disparities(17) in the financial compensation granted by each Member State to the victims of terrorist attacks;

76.  Emphasises that it is vital that the Member States respond to the victims of crime in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner in order to help encourage them to report to law enforcement or medical staff;

77.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the 112 emergency hotline is fully accessible to disabled persons and that campaigns are launched to raise awareness of it;

78.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to present, as soon as possible, a European strategy for preventing and combating all forms of gender-based violence, including a legal act to support the Member States in the prevention and suppression of all forms of violence against women and girls and of gender-based violence; reiterates its call on the Council to activate the passerelle clause by adopting a unanimous decision to identify violence against women and girls (and other forms of gender-based violence) as a criminal offence under Article 83(1) TFEU;

79.  Calls on the Member States to set up mechanisms for recovering adequate compensation payments from offenders;

80.  Calls on the Member States to implement efficiently, with sufficient economic and financial resources and in full cooperation with the Commission and other relevant actors, including civil society, all provisions of the Victims’ Rights Directive;

81.  Calls on the Commission to include the priority of safeguarding personal security and the protection of all individuals from gender-based and interpersonal violence in the European Agenda on Security;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 131, 20.5.2017, p. 11.
(2) OJ L 131, 20.5.2017, p. 13.
(3) OJ L 82, 22.3.2001, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 88, 31.3.2017, p. 6.
(5) OJ L 132, 21.5.2016, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, p. 4.
(7) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.
(8) OJ L 338, 21.12.2011, p. 2.
(9) OJ L 101, 15.4.2011, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 335, 17.12.2011, p. 1.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0501.
(12) OJ L 127, 29.4.2014, p. 39.
(13) OJ L 261, 6.8.2004, p. 15.
(14) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0329.
(15) See Parliament’s resolution of 12 September 2017 on the conclusion of the Istanbul Convention.
(16) Chamber judgment of 16 July 2009, Féret v Belgium, C-573.
(17) National financial compensation ranges from the token amount of one euro in some Member States to up to EUR 250 000 or more in others.


Annual report on the implementation of the Common Commercial Policy
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European Parliament resolution of 30 May 2018 on the Annual report on the implementation of the Common Commercial Policy (2017/2070(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0230A8-0166/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Trade for All: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2016 on a new forward-looking and innovative future strategy for trade and investment(1),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 13 September 2017 on the implementation of the trade policy strategy ‘Trade for All’ (COM(2017)0491),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 9 November 2017 on ‘Implementation of free trade agreements, 1 January 2016 - 31 December 2016’ (COM(2017)0654),

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’,

–  having regard to the State of the Union address by the President of the Commission, Jean‑Claude Juncker, of 13 September 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2017 on multilateral negotiations in view of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, 10-13 December 2017(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2016 on implementation of the 2010 recommendations of Parliament on social and environmental standards, human rights and corporate responsibility(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 February 2016 containing the European Parliament’s recommendations to the Commission on the negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2017 on the impact of international trade and the EU’s trade policies on global value chains(5),

–  having regard to its position at first reading of 15 November 2017 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2017/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1036 on protection against dumped imports from countries not members of the European Union and Regulation (EU) 2016/1037 on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Union(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2017 ‘Towards a digital trade strategy’(7),

–  having regard to its position at first reading of 16 March 2017 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2017/... of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas(8),

–  having regard to its position at first reading of 4 October 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2010 on international trade policy in the context of climate change imperatives(11),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 May 2006 entitled ‘Promoting decent work for all: The EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world’ (COM(2006)0249, SEC(2006)0643),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2017 on the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Korea(12),

–  having regard to Opinion 2/15 of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of 16 May 2017 on the Union competence to sign and conclude the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore,

–  having regard to the Commission study of 15 November 2016 on the cumulative effects of future trade agreements on EU agriculture,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 14 July 2015 entitled ‘implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – State of Play’ (SWD(2015)0144),

–  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), in particular Article 4(1) there prohibiting slavery and servitude,

–  having regard to Articles 207, 208 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A8-0166/2018),

A.  whereas the Common Commercial Policy comprises a body of trade agreements and legislative measures to safeguard the Union’s offensive and defensive trade interests, contribute to sustainable growth and decent job creation, ensure that EU rules and standards are observed, safeguard states’ right to regulate and citizens’ well-being, and promote EU values; and whereas adherence to these aims requires good orientation of Union trade policy and full and efficient implementation and monitoring thereof in a fairer and more transparent manner;

B.  whereas the Union has committed itself to policy coherence for development in its 2017 European Consensus on Development, which seeks to bring about sustainable development and accelerate transformation by placing an emphasis on cross-cutting elements of development policy such as gender equality, youth, investment and trade, sustainable energy and climate action, good governance, democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and migration and mobility, in order to contribute with the entirety of its external policies, including the Common Commercial Policy, to the goals defined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

C.  whereas the Union is committed to promoting decent work for all, as laid down in the 2005 United Nations World Summit Outcome and in the Ministerial Declaration of the United Nations Economic and Social Council High Level Segment 2006, including through its trade relations; whereas the European Council has repeatedly underlined the importance of strengthening the social dimension of globalisation and of taking it into account in various internal and external policies and in international cooperation;

D.  whereas the Union is the world’s leading commercial power and the biggest single market in the world, and it is also the world's leading exporter of goods and services, sustaining 31 million jobs in Europe, 67 % more than in the mid-1990s;

E.  whereas the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the only worldwide international organisation dealing with the global rules of trade between different economic areas or countries;

F.  whereas the implementation and enforcement phase is of crucial and fundamental importance in ensuring that Union trade policy is effective;

G.  whereas the Union’s citizens are increasingly demanding that the Union's trade policy ensure that goods entering the EU market have been produced under decent and sustainable conditions;

H.  whereas European companies use the reductions in customs duty available under trade agreements for approximately 70 % of the exports that could potentially benefit from them, whereas the corresponding take-up rate among our trade partners is 90 %, and whereas it is essential that European companies should utilise these advantages to the full in order to boost employment, growth and investment;

I.  whereas SMEs help to drive the European economy, accounting for 30 % of the Union’s exports and 90 % of employment in the EU, and whereas it is essential that they be fully involved in the implementation of EU trade policy, thus reinforcing its role in exportation, innovation and internationalisation;

J.  whereas the Union is the world’s largest exporter of services and its trade surplus in the services sector has increased tenfold since 2000, exceeding EUR 120 billion in 2016;

K.  whereas the questions raised in public debate about the Common Commercial Policy and the way it is implemented need to be answered clearly and precisely;

L.  whereas the Common Commercial Policy, as suggested by the Trade for All strategy, is a value-based policy intended to promote, among other things, good governance, transparency, sustainable development and fair trade practices;

M.  whereas the Union’s trade policy must be consistent with its other external and internal policies and in accordance with the principle of policy coherence for development to ensure transparency, stability and fairer conditions for competition, bearing in mind, among other things, the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;

The current context

1.  Points out that the international context has changed profoundly since the Trade for All strategy was published and that new trade challenges and concrete tasks now need to be addressed; is concerned to see the rise of some protectionist practices that are incompatible with WTO rules, around the world and reiterates its support for an open, fair, balanced, sustainable, and rules-based trading system;

2.  Takes note of the growing economic importance of Asia and of the USA’s gradual withdrawal on the trade front, generating uncertainty for trade internationally, as well as domestic criticisms of international trade policy and the demand for fair trade; calls on the Commission to adapt its trade policy to address these developments and to be more responsive and responsible, while at the same time establishing a longer-term strategy, given these changes in the international context; underlines that, in this changing global context, the role of the EU in promoting a value-based trade agenda is increasingly important to European citizens;

3.  Highlights the growing importance of services, especially digital services, including the servicification of trade in goods (Mode 5), of data flow and of e-commerce in international trade; underscores the need to strengthen the international rules governing these sectors so as to secure real benefits for consumers, improve European companies’ access to international markets, and safeguard the observance of fundamental rights throughout the world, including data protection and privacy; points out that the protection of personal data is non-negotiable in trade agreements, believes that the digital rights of citizens should be advanced through trade agreements and recalls its position on data protection and digital trade as expressed in its resolution ‘Towards a digital trade strategy’; underlines that EU trade policy can play a significant role in bridging the digital divide; encourages the Commission to advance the digital trade agenda in ongoing and future Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations and at the WTO; calls for digital trade chapters to be included in all future trade agreements, including those currently under negotiation and recalls the importance of preventing unjustified data localisation requirements; asks the Commission to pursue a digital trade strategy that takes into account the opportunities it offers to small and medium-sized businesses by facilitating access to global markets;

4.  Emphasises that the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU will have consequences for internal and external trade; calls on the Commission to anticipate the impact of Brexit on the Union’s trade policy and to ensure continuity in the implementation of EU trade policy and relations with third countries and also ways of finding a solution as regards common commitments in the WTO;

5.  Takes note of Opinion 2/15 of the CJEU, of 16 May 2017, establishing that, apart from the question of portfolio investment and the arrangements for investor-state dispute settlement, the FTA with Singapore lies within the exclusive competence of the Union; asks the Commission and the Council to clarify at the earliest possible date their decision on the structure of FTAs in the future and to fully respect this distribution of competences between the EU and its Member States for the adoption of negotiating directives, the negotiations, the legal basis of proposals to sign and conclude, and in particular for the Council’s signature and conclusion of international trade agreements, in order not to further delay any agreed but not yet ratified trade deals with trade partners; points out that Parliament must be involved and must be kept fully informed from the onset of all trade negotiations, prior to the adoption of negotiating guidelines, in a timely manner, at all stages of the mandate conferral, and of the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements; demands that the necessary arrangements to be made through an interinstitutional agreement in the context of the Better Law-Making agreement;

6.  Notes that, despite the US withdrawal from negotiations, the remaining 11 countries managed to reach a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on 23 January 2018 in Tokyo;

State of progress of the Union’s trade negotiations programme

7.  Deplores the failure to reach agreement at the WTO ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires; stresses the primary political and economic importance of the multilateral system and reiterates its support for the system; calls on the Union actively to advance proposals for updated, multilateral rules, taking into account new challenges emerging from global value chains, and to promote the central role of the WTO within the global system of trade; welcomes the entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement; welcomes the extension of the WTO waiver for pharmaceutical products for least developed countries (LDCs) until 2033; considers it regrettable that certain multilateral agreements are not being observed and calls on the Commission to work harder, within the WTO, on the effective implementation of multilateral rules and agreements; recalls its previous demand to the Commission to engage in framing the WTO agenda, in particular with respect to Corporate Social Responsibility and trade and sustainable development; reiterates its concern over US blockages of new appointments to the WTO appellate body and stresses the importance of a well-functioning dispute settlement system at the WTO; calls on the Commission to enhance cooperation with our major partners in addressing unfair competition and protectionist practices by third countries;

8.  Notes the stand-off in plurilateral negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the Environmental Goods Agreement; calls for the Union to take the initiative to get both negotiation processes moving again, and in the case of the TiSA negotiations, in line with Parliament’s position on TiSA;

9.  Emphasises that several FTAs, e.g. the trade agreements with Canada and Ecuador, the DCFTA provisions in the EU-Ukraine association agreement and several Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African countries, have entered into force fully or provisionally and that trade agreements with Singapore, Vietnam and Japan have been concluded since the Trade for All strategy was published; underlines the need to give enough political and administrative support to ensure that trade deals can be agreed and ratified within appropriate timeframes; supports the ongoing process of modernisation of the trade agreements with Chile and Mexico; recalls its request to start the negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, taking into account its positions;

10.  Highlights that mutually beneficial trade and investment relations with EU strategic partners should be further promoted and enhanced; calls for renewed efforts to advance negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China, particularly concerning reciprocity in market access treatment and progress on sustainable development;

11.  Emphasises that the agreements concluded and the Union’s ongoing and forthcoming bilateral negotiations represent opportunities for growth through market access and the lifting of trade barriers; asks the Commission to continuously engage with stakeholders to assess priorities in ongoing negotiations; recalls that priority must be given to the substance of the negotiations rather than their pace, that the negotiations must be conducted in a spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit, that EU rules and standards must be secured, preventing threats to the EU’s social model and the environment, and that public services, including services of general interest and services of general economic interest, in line with Articles 14 and 106 TFEU and Protocol No 26, as well as audiovisual services, must be excluded; stresses that the Commission must ensure in all trade negotiations that EU and national and local authorities retain the full right to introduce, adopt, maintain or repeal any measures with regard to the commissioning, organisation, funding and provision of public services as has been the case with previous trade agreements;

12.  Asks the Commission and Member States to review and, if necessary, update the negotiating mandates for the ongoing trade negotiations every five years in order to reflect potentially changing contexts and challenges, and to include review clauses in trade agreements to ensure that they are implemented as effectively as possible and that they are adaptable in order to reflect and adapt to current contexts, provided that parliamentary scrutiny and transparency are guaranteed;

13.  Points out that the Commission has announced on more than one occasion the launch of negotiations about investment with Hong Kong and Taiwan, and calls on the Commission to finish the preparatory work in order to formally start negotiations on investment agreements as soon as possible;

14.  Highlights the importance to the European economy of internal and external investment and the need to ensure that EU investors abroad are protected; asks the Commission to pursue its work on the new multilateral system for ruling on investment disputes, which must be based, inter alia, on a guarantee of states’ right to regulate and on transparency, and provide for an appeal mechanism, strict rules on conflict of interest and a code of conduct; considers that this new system has to address investors’ obligations, prevent frivolous litigation, preserve the right to regulate in the public interest and avoid regulatory chill, guarantee judicial equality among investors (with particular attention to micro-enterprises and SMEs), independence, transparency and accountability; to explore the possible inclusion of procedural provisions on, inter alia, counterclaims where investments subject to a claim have been made in violation of applicable laws, and avoiding parallel claims in different avenues to justice, thereby clarifying its relationship to domestic courts;

15.  Calls on the Member States to finally unblock the procedure regarding the Mauritius Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration now that the CJEU has brought clarity regarding questions of competence, and on the Commission to redouble its efforts in this respect; request also that the review of the grandfathering regulation for bilateral investment treaties maintained by the Member States be brought forward from 2020;

16.  Expects a reinforced engagement of the EU and its Member States in deliberations within the UN regarding a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights;

17.  Notes with concern that the reform of rules of origin announced in the Trade for All strategy has not been implemented; highlights the complexity of rules of origin and reiterates its call for updated, easily applicable and clearer rules of origin; stresses the commitment made at the Euromed 10th Trade Ministerial Conference to finalise the revision of the Pan-Euromed Convention on Rules of Origin by the end 2018; reiterates its call to the Commission to draw up a report on the state of play with regard to rules of origin, taking into account the cumulative effects of rules of origin through bilateral FTAs;

18.  Points out that, in the implementation of Union trade policy, special attention needs to be paid to agricultural products and to the interests of European producers and consumers, in particular in light of the cumulative impact of all FTAs on the sector; emphasises that trade agreements, and notably the agreement with Japan, can open up new business horizons for the agrifood sector; notes that the Union is the largest exporter of agrifood products in the world; highlights the importance of striking the right balance between protecting sensitive agricultural products and advancing the Union’s offensive interests in relation to agrifood exports, with provision for, inter alia, transition periods and suitable quotas, and in certain cases for the possible exclusion of the most sensitive products; points out that it is essential to safeguard a robust system of health and plant-health rules in line with the EU precautionary principle while combating any form of discriminatory treatment in this area;

The reciprocity principle as a pillar of Union trade policy and a guarantee of fair competition

19.  Strongly believes that one of the main goals of the Union’s trade policy should be to promote fair competition and ensure a level playing field; welcomes the references to the principle of reciprocity in the report on implementation of the Union trade strategy; reiterates that reciprocity must be a pillar of Union trade policy while taking into account the need for asymmetries with developing countries when it is relevant and preferential treatment provisions for least-developed nations; notes the Commission’s amended proposal for a regulation on the access of third-country goods and services to the Union’s internal market in public procurement, which could be an important tool for ensuring a level playing field in the market access of third countries; takes the view that the initiative on screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union aims to protect the security and the public order of the Union and the Member States and could make for greater reciprocity in the area of access to markets while ensuring continued openness to foreign direct investment;

20.  Points out that trade policy must be implemented in such a way as to help ensure that companies can compete fairly on a level playing field; welcomes the adoption of the new method for calculating anti-dumping duties in cases of distortion of competition in third countries; takes note of the interinstitutional agreement reached on the modernisation of trade defence instruments; stresses the new possibility they offer, in particular with respect to imposing duties above the injury margin; highlights the importance of ensuring that these new instruments are implemented properly by intervening immediately to rectify any dysfunctions or abuses, proportionally and in full compliance with WTO law and the Union’s other legal obligations; welcomes the Commission’s pro-active stance in the deployment of trade defence instruments in 2016, and calls for similar resolve and reactivity when these instruments are used unduly against EU exports by some of our trading partners;

21.  Considers it regrettable that the Commission report on the implementation of the trade policy strategy makes scarcely any mention of the task of coordination which needs to be undertaken with customs services; points out that trade policy must work to combat unlawful trading in order to keep EU companies competitive and to ensure a high level of consumer safety; points also to the important role of competition policy in this respect and the need for bilateral and multilateral negotiations to this end;

Using effective cross-cutting measures to implement a trade policy that benefits everyone

22.  Calls for trade policy implementation to become an integral component of the Union’s trade strategy;

23.  Urges the Commission, in cases of dysfunction or hindrance or where a partner fails to observe a commitment, to make immediate use of the tools at its disposal, particularly through recourse to the disputes settlement procedure as well as the existing ad hoc processes foreseen for trade and sustainable development provisions in the Union’s FTAs;

24.  Calls on the Commission to take stock of the human and financial resources currently available, with a view to improving the preparation of trade agreements for adoption by our co-legislators and the way that trade policy is implemented, and asks that a special trade policy implementation monitoring and continuous evaluation service be set up within the Commission, reporting also to Parliament;

25.  Urges the Commission and Member States to do more, particularly through the use of IT, to eliminate all administrative obstacles and unnecessary burdens, to simplify technical procedures and to support companies taking steps to benefit from trade agreements and instruments;

26.  Highlights the vital work done by Union delegations, in conjunction with Member State embassies and social partners, which enables swift and direct action to be taken to ensure that trade provisions are properly implemented and problems and obstacles quickly identified and effectively tackled; believes that Union delegations would benefit from a streamlined system based on a single set of rules and guidance in order to ensure more coherence; encourages the Commission to involve EU delegations in third countries more closely in the transposition of existing and new free-trade agreements, with particular regard to the local start-up scene; encourages the Commission and the EEAS to pursue their work in the field of economic diplomacy, with the involvement of, among others, European chambers of commerce;

27.  Asks the Commission to conduct a study of the cumulative impact of trade agreements, sector by sector and country by country, as a contribution to the evaluation of our trade policy and with a view to anticipating and amending its effects;

28.  Highlights the fact that certain sectors may experience economic difficulties which are trade related; calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop flanking policies taking into account a social perspective, in order to maximise the benefits and minimise the potential negative effects of trade liberalisation; asks the Commission, in this context, to reinforce the effectiveness of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and make it more pro-active;

29.  Encourages the Commission to pursue and intensify its cooperation with international organisations and forums, including the G20, the United Nations, the OECD, the ILO, the World Bank, the World Customs Organisation and the International Organisation for Standardisation, on the development of international standards, their implementation and the monitoring of trade including on social and environmental aspects;

Analysis of the Commission’s first Report on Implementation of FTAs

30.  Welcomes the publication by the Commission of the first report on implementation of FTAs; asks the Commission to continue publishing the report annually; insists in addition, however, that the Commission should conduct more in-depth comprehensive studies on the implementation of the Union’s FTAs, cover the topic in greater depth and ensure that the studies include relevant and appropriate econometric and qualitative analysis and interpretations of data, concrete recommendations, placing in context the figures published and providing additional qualitative information, including – for the implementation of the rules – parts of FTAs such as Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) and public procurements; underlines that this will make it possible to have a comprehensive and better assessment of the real impact of agreements on the ground with a view to making the report effective in guiding the EU institutions on the definition and conduct of the Union’s trade strategy; believes, in this connection, that a common methodology should be identified and used for these studies;

31.  Asks the Commission to report on provisions of most favoured nation (MFN) treatment in existing EU bilateral FTAs and on their practical effect in guaranteeing additional EU market access in third countries through FTAs negotiated by the EUs FTA partners;

32.  Points out that various elements of information, as well as figures, are missing from the report; asks the Commission to work more closely with the Member States and partner countries in order to obtain more data and information on the implementation of the agreements; asks the Commission to provide information on, among other things, the impact on growth and jobs of all FTAs, the contribution of FTAs to the evolution of trade flows and the impact of trade and investment agreements on investment flows and trade in services;

33.  Is concerned at the poor use of trade preferences in the Union’s FTAs, in particular at the fact that European exporters use them to a lesser degree than partner countries’ exporters; asks the Commission to determine the causes of the imbalance as quickly as possible and to address them; asks the Commission to analyse the relationship between complex origin rules and the uptake of preferential trade agreements by economic operators; calls on the Commission and the Member States to move swiftly on developing measures to give economic operators more information about the trade preferences provided for in the FTAs; believes that detailed information, including at micro level, is required in order to properly assess the implementation of the EU’s FTA;

34.  Considers that the Commission should pay as much attention to implementation of the provisions of FTAs as it does to the negotiation phase; calls on the Commission to address the implementation problems with the relevant EU trade partners in order to find solutions and systematise exchanges with European operators;

35.  Invites the Commission to take a diversified approach to the various sectors studied and to set out the consequences of the implementation of trade agreements for those sectors which are considered sensitive;

36.  Welcomes the announced introduction of implementation roadmaps for all trade agreements, and asks the Commission to involve all the interested parties in preparing them; calls on the Commission to set out the intended objectives and specific criteria on which to base a clear evaluation, such as the state of progress on the removal of non-tariff barriers, the utilisation rate of preferences and of quotas, or the situation with regard to regulatory cooperation and the progress in terms of trade and sustainable development; expects the implementation roadmaps to be transmitted to Parliament in parallel with the official referral and asks that the state of progress with the roadmaps be incorporated into the annual report on implementation of FTAs;

37.  Points out that trade agreements, including trade chapters in association agreements, cannot come into force until they have been ratified by Parliament; believes that the practice of awaiting Parliament’s consent before provisionally applying politically important agreements must be respected horizontally, as committed to by Commissioner Malmström in her hearing of 29 September 2014;

Specific Common Commercial Policy provisions for SMEs

38.  Calls on the Commission to evaluate the entire toolkit for SMEs, with a view to developing a more integrated overall approach and a real SME internationalisation strategy, supporting them in becoming exporters; encourages the Commission to promote this approach in international forums; supports the engagement in efficient information campaigns for SMEs in an effort to improve preference utilisation rates in EU FTAs; highlights the importance of multilingualism in addressing SMEs from all the Member States; asks for more legal and administrative support to be made available for SMEs thinking of exporting to foreign markets, not just by updating websites but also by considering the use of new tools such as online technical chats that could provide basic and more easily accessible support; asks that the Union’s delegations take part in contributing to the information about exporting to the respective overseas markets, with a view to help SMEs;

39.  Considers it regrettable that the Commission report on implementation of FTAs contains little information about SMEs; asks the Commission to devote a specific section of the report to how the implementation of trade agreements is affecting SMEs and how the SME-specific provisions are being used;

40.  Welcomes the introduction of specific chapters dedicated to SMEs in FTAs currently under negotiation and asks the Commission to continue its efforts in negotiating and including SME-specific chapters and provisions in the trade agreements it negotiates and in its legislative proposals in order to improve the ability of small and medium enterprises to engage in trade and investment; emphasises that understanding the complexity of rules of origin, having them updated, and making them easily applicable and clearer is a matter of great importance to SMEs and that SME-specific provisions need to be negotiated to address the matter of small companies’ access to public procurement markets abroad; asks the Commission to endeavour to provide a rules-of-origin calculator tailored to SMEs that should specifically enable them to use the preferences available under existing agreements with a view to increasing the preference utilisation rate;

The importance of public procurement market access and of the protection of geographical indications

41.  Notes that the protection of geographical indications is one of the Union’s offensive points in trade agreement negotiations; highlights the finding in the report on implementation of FTAs that certain partners are not complying with provisions on the protection of geographical indications, and calls on the Commission to act without delay to ensure compliance with these provisions;

42.  Points out that the Union’s public procurement markets are the most open in the world; is concerned at certain partners’ non-compliance with EU FTAs’ provisions on public-procurement market access, to the detriment of EU companies, and at the very limited access to public procurement markets in certain third countries; asks the Commission to work to secure greater access to third countries’ public procurement markets and to consider measures, in compliance with GPA rules, to be used with third countries that give their domestic companies priority access to their public procurement markets; calls on the Commission to collect and publish company-level data on the use of public procurement provisions in FTAs so as to better understand the difficulties encountered by EU businesses;

43.  Asks the Commission to supply more information on how access to public procurement markets has changed over recent years, as well as relevant statistics, and to include specific information on the benefits derived from the protection of geographical indications;

Effective trade policy implementation helps to promote and protect Union values

44.  Recalls that the Common Commercial Policy must contribute to the promotion of the values for which the Union stands, set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, and to the pursuit of the aims listed in Article 21, including the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights, as well as fundamental rights and freedoms, equality, respect for human dignity and the protection of the environment and of social rights; believes that achieving these objectives requires resolute and sustained actions from the Commission; underlines that the UN Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate provide primary benchmarks against which to measure the contribution of the EUs trade policy to agreed global sustainable development goals;

45.  Calls on the Commission systematically monitor the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), particularly the GSP+, and to continue publishing reports every two years; calls on the Commission to work harder with beneficiary countries, the EEAS, the Union delegations, Member States' diplomatic missions, international organisations, companies, the social partners and civil society in order to improve its information gathering and provide more in-depth analysis of the monitoring exercise so that the implementation of all aspects of the system can be clearly evaluated; stresses that the effectiveness of the GSP rests on the ability of the Commission to monitor and implement the provisions of the legislation in cases of failure to implement international labour or environmental conventions;

46.  Points out that the new-generation agreements include human rights clauses and sustainable development chapters, to be implemented comprehensively in their entirety in order to safeguard and promote the observance of human rights, the Union’s values and high social and environmental standards; notes the evaluation of the sustainable development chapters included in the Commission report on implementation of FTAs and calls for a timely implementation of existing TSD provisions; asks the Commission to develop a precise and specific methodology of monitoring and evaluating the implementation of these chapters, given that such an evaluation cannot be made on the basis of quantitative data only; recalls that there are difficulties in the implementation of the TSD provisions in certain cases, for instance with the EU-Korea FTA, and therefore reiterates its call to strengthen the enforcement and monitoring of TSD chapters, through greater involvement of civil society organisations, including social partners, in all trade agreements; regrets that the Commission has prematurely concluded the debate on how to strengthen the enforcement of the sustainable development chapter in trade agreements, including the consideration of a sanctions-based approach among other options;

47.  Recalls in this context the important role of Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs); emphasises the potential added value of a more structured and transparent relationship with DAGs in trading partners, recognising their key role in a better comprehension of the local imperatives and local ambitions; considers that DAGs are vital in contributing to the processes required for a better monitoring and implementation of TSD chapters;

48.  Welcomes the review of the Aid for Trade strategy and supports the aim of capacity building for developing countries so that they can take greater advantage of the opportunities offered by EU trade agreements; emphasises also that the strategy must help to promote fair and ethical trade and should become a key tool in combating rising global inequality and supporting economic development in the EU partner countries; encourages the Commission to help developing countries to adopt the necessary measures to, among others, maintain access to the European market for their exports and to combat climate change;

49.  Reaffirms its support for the inclusion in all future trade agreements of ambitious provisions on combating corruption within the Union's exclusive competence; welcomes the inclusion of anti-corruption provisions in the ongoing negotiations on updating the EU‑Mexico FTA and EU-Chile Association Agreements; recalls that FTAs offer a good opportunity to increase cooperation in the fight against money laundering, tax fraud and tax evasion;

50.  Welcomes the fact that gender equality has been taken into account in the Commission’s report on the implementation of its trade strategy; underscores the aim of ensuring that women benefit from trade to the same extent as men, including through the Aid for trade strategy; stresses that this requires a proactive approach by the Commission, promoting gender mainstreaming in the EU trade policy, and asks the Commission to include this aspect in its future annual implementation reports;

51.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to ensuring that the trade negotiations to modernise the current EU-Chile Association Agreement will include, for the first time in the EU, a specific chapter on gender and trade; reiterates its call on the Commission and the Council to promote and support the inclusion of a specific gender chapter in EU trade and investment agreements;

52.  Welcomes the adoption of the Anti-torture Regulation and stresses the importance of ensuring that it is properly implemented and observed by our trade partners; supports the launching of the international Alliance for Torture-Free Trade;

53.  Welcomes the adoption of the Conflict Minerals Regulation ((EU) 2017/821), with its aim of contributing to more responsible management of the global value chain; calls on the Commission, the Member States and other stakeholders to press ahead with preparations for the regulation’s entry into force; calls on the Commission to ensure that the accompanying measures are devised efficiently and that the Member States and national stakeholders involved are provided with the necessary expertise and assistance, with a special emphasis on accompanying SMEs in enhancing their capacity to fulfil their due diligence requirements, as stipulated by the regulation;

54.  Recognises the proliferation of integrated global supply chains in international trade patterns; reiterates its call to seek ways of developing global value chain transparency and accountability strategies and rules, and emphasises that the Common Commercial Policy must be implemented in such a way as to ensure that the global value chain is managed responsibly; asks the Commission to promote and reinforce corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of its trade policy, including further actions towards developing specific rules and practices, taking into account the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, in order to ensure effective implementation of CSR; reiterates its demand to the Commission to include CSR in all trade agreements and to monitor effectively these provisions, within the improved independent monitoring of TSD chapter requested by Parliament, which involves civil society; reasserts its support for international initiatives such as the Bangladesh Sustainability Compact, and asks the Commission to concentrate on the implementation of that initiative;

55.  Calls on the Commission and all international actors to adhere to the new OECD due diligence guidelines for responsible supply chains in the garment and footwear sector;

56.  Recalls that EU trade and development policy must globally contribute to sustainable development, regional integration and the incorporation of developing countries into regional and ultimately global value chains through economic diversification, which necessitates fair and pro-development global trade rules; calls on the Commission to continue to support the development of a fair Continental Free Trade Area in Africa through political and technical assistance;

57.  Recalls that the EU is committed to eradicating the worst forms of child labour at global level, as this arises from our values, as enshrined in Article 21 TEU; reiterates its call on the Commission to put forward a proposal to ban the importation of goods produced using child labour or any other form of forced labour or modern slavery; underlines, in this context, the importance of countries that have not yet done so ratifying ILO Conventions No 182 on the worst forms of child labour and No 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and work;

58.  Notes the progress on the conclusion and implementation of EPAs; deems that an in-depth analysis is needed of their impact on African economies and their sub-sectors, their respective labour markets and the promotion of intra-regional trade in Africa; calls on the Commission to advance dialogue in a spirit of genuine partnership in order to address outstanding issues; recalls that EPAs are asymmetrical agreements which should accord equal importance to development and trade aspects; calls in this regard for the timely implementation of accompanying measures, including the disbursement of EDF resources;

59.  Welcomes, furthermore, the implementation of the Cariforum EPA; notes that further awareness-raising is needed to ensure that CARICOM countries are able to take advantage of opportunities under the Agreement; welcomes the establishment of the Joint Consultative Committee, but urges the Commission to ensure that future civil society institutions are convened in a timely fashion;

60.  Reiterates its call for the EU to work towards adequate and efficient solutions for the introduction of a transparent and functioning ‘social and environmental traceability’ labelling system along the entire production chain, in compliance with the WTO TBT Agreement, while in parallel promoting similar action at international level;

EU trade policy implementation must be characterised by transparency and access to information

61.  Takes note of the Commission’s work on transparency and calls on the Commission to conduct negotiations as transparently as possible, fully respecting best practice as established in other negotiations; believes that achieving transparency must be part of the key objectives of the Commission; calls on the Commission and the Member States to publish the documents relating to the negotiation and implementation of agreements while not undermining the Union's negotiating position;

62.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to develop a proper strategy for communication about trade policy and about each agreement, so that as much information as possible is transmitted and information is adapted for specific stakeholders, enabling them to benefit from the agreements; calls on the Commission and Member States to come up with measures for raising economic operators’ awareness about agreements concluded and for sustaining dialogue on a regular basis with professional associations, companies and civil society;

63.  Welcomes the publication by the Council of the negotiating mandates for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), CETA, TiSA, the agreements with Japan, Tunisia and Chile, and the MIC Convention, as well as the Commission’s publication of its draft negotiating mandates for agreements with Australia and New Zealand and for the creation of the MIC in line with the Parliament’s longstanding demand for transparency; calls on the Council and the Member States to publish all negotiating mandates, and on the Commission to publish all draft mandates for the opening of future negotiations; asks the Council and the Commission, when they are drafting and adopting negotiating mandates, to incorporate Parliament’s recommendations;

64.  Reiterates its request that the Member States, the European Parliament, the national parliaments, economic operators and representatives of civil society and social partners should be more closely involved in trade policy monitoring, including – but not limited to – TSD provisions; calls on the Commission to publish an action plan and details of the ‘Enhanced Partnership’ model for the implementation of trade agreements;

65.  Asks the Commission to improve the quality of the impact studies carried out for each trade agreement and to include in them sectoral and geographical analysis; stresses that better and more timely communication about the information contained in ex ante and ex post impact studies on trade agreements is essential;

66.  Welcomes the announcement that a consultative group is being set up to monitor trade policy; stresses the importance of establishing the new body rapidly and in a transparent, public and inclusive way; asks the Commission to publish the consultative group’s meeting and working documents on a regular basis; calls on the Commission also to define processes to ensure that a proper response is given on issues raised by the consultative group;

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67.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the national parliaments of the Member States, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

(1) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 30.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0439.
(3) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 19.
(4) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 21.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0330.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0437.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0488.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0090.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0369.
(10) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 31.
(11) OJ C 99 E, 3.4.2012, p. 94.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0225.

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