Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 4 July 2018 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Structural Reform Support Programme: financial envelope and general objective***I
 Reform of the electoral law of the European Union ***
 Partnership Agreement between the EU and EAEC and Armenia ***
 Partnership Agreement between the EU and EAEC and Armenia (resolution)
 EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement ***
 EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (resolution)
 EU-New Zealand Agreement relating to the modification of concessions (accession of Croatia) ***
 Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank ***I
 Vehicle taxation: charging of heavy good vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures *
 Draft Amending Budget No 2/2018 entering the surplus of the financial year 2017
 Draft amending budget No 3/2018: extension of the Facility for refugees in Turkey
 Towards an EU external strategy against early and forced marriages
 The definition of SMEs
 Negotiations on the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Jordan Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Turkey Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Israel Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Tunisia Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Morocco Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Lebanon Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Egypt Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
 Opening of negotiations for an EU-Algeria Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism

Structural Reform Support Programme: financial envelope and general objective***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 4 July 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2017/825 to increase the financial envelope of the Structural Reform Support Programme and adapt its general objective (COM(2017)0825 – C8-0433/2017 – 2017/0334(COD))(1)
P8_TA(2018)0281A8-0227/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital -1 (new)
(-1)  The Union is required to support Member States, upon their request, to improve their administrative capacity to implement Union law.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  The Structural Reform Support Programme (‘the Programme’) was established with the objective of strengthening the capacity of Member States to prepare and implement growth-sustaining administrative and structural reforms, including through assistance for the efficient and effective use of the Union funds. Support under the Programme is provided by the Commission, upon request by a Member State, and can cover a wide range of policy areas. Developing resilient economies built on strong economic and social structures, which allow Member States to efficiently absorb shocks and swiftly recover from them, contributes to economic and social cohesion. The implementation of institutional, administrative and growth-sustaining structural reforms is an appropriate tool for achieving such a development.
(1)  The Structural Reform Support Programme (‘the Programme’) was established with the objective of strengthening the capacity of Member States to prepare and implement growth-sustaining administrative and structural reforms with European added value, including through assistance for the efficient and effective use of the Union funds. Support under the Programme is provided by the Commission, upon request by a Member State, and can cover a wide range of policy areas. Developing resilient economies and a resilient society built on strong economic, social and territorial structures, which allow Member States to efficiently absorb shocks and swiftly recover from them, contributes to economic, social and territorial cohesion. Reforms supported by the Programme require efficient and effective national and regional public administration as well as ownership and active participation of all stakeholders. The implementation of institutional, administrative and growth-sustaining structural reforms that are country-specific, and the ownership on the ground of structural reforms which are of interest to the Union, in particular through local and regional authorities and social partners, are appropriate tools for achieving such a development.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 a (new)
(1a)  Efficient delivery and communication of the Programme’s results at Union, national and regional level are needed in order to ensure the visibility of the results of the reforms implemented based on the request of each Member State. That would ensure exchange of knowledge, experience and best practices, which is also one of the Programme’s aims.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 b (new)
(1b)  It is expected that demand for support under the Programme will remain high, meaning that certain requests will need to be prioritised. Preference should be given, where appropriate, to requests that are aimed at shifting taxation away from labour to wealth and pollution, promoting stronger employment and social policies and thus social inclusion, fighting tax fraud, evasion and avoidance through improved transparency, establishing strategies for innovative and sustainable re-industrialisation and improving education and training systems. Special attention should be paid to requests for support which have a high level of democratic support and involvement of partners and which have spill over effects on other sectors. The Programme should complement other instruments in order to avoid overlaps.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 c (new)
(1 c)   In its pursuit of strengthening the capacity of Member States to prepare and implement growth-sustaining structural reforms, the Programme should not replace or substitute funding from national budgets of Member States, or be used to cover current expenditure.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  Strengthening economic and social cohesion by reinforcing structural reforms is crucial for successful participation in the Economic and Monetary Union. That is particularly important for Member States whose currency is not the euro, in their preparation to join the euro area.
(3)  Strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion through structural reforms which benefit the Union and are in accordance with its principles and values is crucial for successful participation and enhanced real convergence in the Economic and Monetary Union, ensuring its long-term stability and prosperity. That is particularly important for Member States whose currency is not yet the euro, in their preparation to join the euro area.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4
(4)  It is thus appropriate to stress in the general objective of the Programme – within its contribution towards responding to economic and social challenges – that enhancing cohesion, competitiveness, productivity, sustainable growth, and job creation should also contribute to the preparations for future participation in the euro area by those Member States whose currency is not the euro.
(4)  It is thus appropriate to stress in the general objective of the Programme – within its contribution towards responding to economic and social challenges – that enhancing economic, social and territorial cohesion, competitiveness, productivity, sustainable growth, job creation, social inclusion and reducing disparities between Member States and regions should also contribute to the preparations for future participation in the euro area by those Member States whose currency is not yet the euro.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5
(5)  It is also necessary to indicate that actions and activities of the Programme may support reforms that may help Member States that wish to adopt the euro to prepare for participation in the euro area.
(5)  Bearing in mind the positive experience that the Union has had with the technical assistance offered to other countries that have already adopted the euro, it is also necessary to indicate that actions and activities of the Programme may support reforms that may help Member States which joined the Union at a later date and that wish to adopt the euro to prepare for participation in the euro area.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)   Seven Member States are subject to a Treaty obligation to prepare for participation in the euro area, namely Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden. Some of those Member States have made little progress towards that goal in recent years, making Union support for euro participation increasingly relevant. Denmark and the United Kingdom are under no obligation to join the euro area.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5 b (new)
(5b)   Regional and local authorities have an important role to play in structural reform, to a degree which depends on the constitutional and administrative organisation of each Member State. It is therefore appropriate to provide for an appropriate level of involvement and consultation of regional and local authorities in the preparation and implementation of structural reform.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  In order to meet the growing demand for support from Member States, and in view of the need to support the implementation of structural reforms in Member States whose currency is not the euro, the financial allocation for the Programme should be increased to a sufficient level that allows the Union to provide support that meets the needs of the requesting Member States.
(6)  In order to meet the growing demand for support from Member States, and in view of the need to support the implementation of structural reforms which are of interest to the Union in Member States whose currency is not yet the euro, the financial allocation for the Programme should be increased, by using the Flexibility Instrument under Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 1a, to a sufficient level that allows the Union to provide support that meets the needs of the requesting Member States. That increase should not negatively impact the other priorities of cohesion policy. Moreover, Member States should not be obliged to transfer their national and regional allocations from European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) with a view to filling the financing gap of the Programme.
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1a Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884).
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  In order to provide support with the least possible delay, the Commission should be able to use part of the financial envelope also to cover the cost of activities supporting the Programme, such as expenses related to quality control and monitoring of projects on the ground.
(7)  In order to provide quality support with the least possible delay, the Commission should be able to use part of the financial envelope also to cover the cost of activities supporting the Programme, such as expenses related to quality control and monitoring, and evaluation of projects on the ground. Such expenses should be proportional to the overall value of expenditure under the support projects.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 a (new)
(7a)  In order to ensure smooth reporting on implementation of the Programme to the European Parliament and the Council, the period in which the Commission is to provide annual monitoring reports should be specified.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1
Regulation (EU) 2017/825
Article 4 – paragraph 1
The general objective of the Programme shall be to contribute to institutional, administrative and growth-sustaining structural reforms in the Member States by providing support to national authorities for measures aimed at reforming and strengthening institutions, governance, public administration, and economic and social sectors in response to economic and social challenges, with a view to enhancing cohesion, competitiveness, productivity, sustainable growth, job creation, and investment, which will also prepare for participation in the euro area, in particular in the context of economic governance processes, including through assistance for the efficient, effective and transparent use of the Union funds.
The general objective of the Programme shall be to contribute to institutional, administrative and growth-sustaining structural reforms in the Member States, by providing support to Member State authorities, including regional and local authorities where appropriate, for measures aimed at reforming and strengthening institutions, governance, public administration, and economic and social sectors in response to economic and social challenges, with a view to enhancing economic, social and territorial cohesion, competitiveness, productivity, sustainable growth, job creation, social inclusion, the fight against tax evasion and poverty, investment, and real convergence in the Union, which will also prepare for participation in the euro area, in particular in the context of economic governance processes, including through assistance for the efficient, effective and transparent use of the Union funds.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 a (new)
Regulation (EU) 2017/825
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point d a (new)
(1a)   in Article 5(1) the following point is added:
(da)   to support the involvement and consultation of regional and local authorities in the preparation and implementation of structural reform measures to a degree commensurate with the powers and responsibilities of those regional and local authorities within the constitutional and administrative structure of each Member State.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 3 – point a
Regulation (EU) 2017/825
Article 10 – paragraph 1
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme is set at EUR 222 800 000 in current prices.;
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme is set at EUR 222 800 000 in current prices, of which EUR 80 000 000 shall be provided from the Flexibility Instrument under the Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013*;
_________________
* Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884).
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 3 a (new)
Regulation (EU) 2017/825
Article 16 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – introductory part
(3a)   in Article 16(2), the introductory part is replaced by the following:
2.  The Commission shall provide the European Parliament and the Council with an annual monitoring report on the implementation of the Programme. That report shall include information on:
2. From 2018 until and including 2021 the Commission shall provide the European Parliament and the Council with an annual monitoring report on the implementation of the Programme. That report shall include information on:
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 3 b (new)
Regulation (EU) 2017/825
Article 16 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point d a (new)
(3b)  in Article 16, paragraph 2 point da is inserted:
" (da) outcomes of quality control and monitoring of support projects on the ground; "

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0227/2018).


Reform of the electoral law of the European Union ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision amending the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, annexed to Council Decision 76/787/ECSC, EEC, Euratom of 20 September 1976 (09425/2018 - C8-0276/2018 - 2015/0907(APP))
P8_TA(2018)0282A8-0248/2018

(Special legislative procedure – consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09425/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 223(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0276/2018),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 November 2015 on the reform of the electoral law of the European Union and to the annexed proposal for a Council decision adopting the provisions amending the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage(1),

–  having regard to the reasoned opinions submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the French Senate, the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies, the Netherlands Senate, the Netherlands House of Representatives, the Swedish Parliament, the United Kingdom House of Commons and the United Kingdom House of Lords, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (A8-0248/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to the draft Council decision;

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

(1) OJ C 366, 27.10.2017, p. 7.


Partnership Agreement between the EU and EAEC and Armenia ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Armenia, of the other part (12543/2017 – C8-0422/2017 – 2017/0238(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0283A8-0177/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12543/2017),

–  having regard to the draft Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Armenia, of the other part (12548/2017),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 37 of the Treaty on European Union; and in accordance with Article 91, Article 100(2), Articles 207 and 209, and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), Article 218(7) and Article 218(8), second subparagraph of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0422/2017),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 4 July 2018(1) on the draft decision,

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0177/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA-PROV(2018)0284.


Partnership Agreement between the EU and EAEC and Armenia (resolution)
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European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Armenia, of the other part (12543/2017 – C8-0422/2017 – 2017/0238(NLE)2017/2269(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0284A8-0179/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12543/2017),

–  having regard to the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Armenia, of the other part (12548/2017),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 37 of the Treaty on European Union and in accordance with Article 91, Article 100(2) and Articles 207 and 209, Article 218(6), the second subparagraph, point (a), Article 218(7) and Article 218(8), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0422/2017),

–  having regard to its relevant resolutions on EU-Armenia relations,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2017 on the Annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy(1),

–  having regard to the joint declarations of the Eastern Partnership summits, notably that agreed in 2017 in Brussels,

–  having regard to the joint communications from the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), notably the report of 18 May 2017 on the implementation of the ENP review (JOIN(2017)0018) and the joint working document of 9 June 2017 entitled ‘Eastern Partnership – 20 Deliverables for 2020: Focusing on key priorities and tangible results’ (SWD(2017)0300), as well as the 2016 communication on ‘A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy’,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in the Eastern Neighbourhood and, in particular, its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the Eastern Partnership, in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit(2), and to its resolution of 15 April 2015 on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide(3),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 4 July 2018(4) on the draft decision,

–  having regard to the Partnership Priorities between the European Union and Armenia, signed on 21 February 2018,

–  having regard to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0179/2018),

A.  whereas the current framework for relations between Armenia and the European Union is the 1996 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which entered into force in 1999 and is to be replaced by the proposed Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA);

B.  whereas, through the Eastern Partnership, the EU and Armenia have based their relations on a shared commitment to international law and fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law and good governance, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;

C.  whereas there remain concerns about Armenia’s full respect for some of the above-mentioned core values, notably as regards democracy and the rule of law, which are being undermined by corruption, vote-buying, organised crime and abusive oligarchic control;

D.  whereas the geographic location of Armenia between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East and neighbouring regional powers, notably Russia, Iran and Turkey, is both strategic and challenging; whereas the non-recognition by some of past tragedies, notably the Armenian genocide, the presence of foreign troops in Armenia as well as the protracted conflicts in the southern Caucasus, affecting also Azerbaijan and Georgia, pose a major threat to all partners’ security and regional stability; whereas the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can only be solved peacefully in line with the OSCE 2009 Basic Principles, notably through the efforts and proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group Co‑Chairs;

E.  whereas the EU is Armenia’s main trading partner and most important donor; whereas Armenia is also a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, thus demonstrating that the EU does not make it a prerequisite that partners should have to choose a deepening of relations with the EU at the expense of their relations with third parties, even if some opportunities - such as a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU - were not attainable in this context;

F.  whereas the new agreement sets a new legal basis to reinvigorate the political dialogue and broaden the scope of economic cooperation, as well as cooperation in sectors such as energy, transport, infrastructure and the environment; whereas these provisions are expected to have a positive impact on Armenia in terms of promoting democratic standards, economic growth and sustainable development; whereby such prospects are particularly important for Armenia’s, youth including through improved education and more job opportunities; whereas both EU and Armenian citizens stand to benefit from increased cooperation;

1.  Warmly welcomes the signature of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, which constitutes a significant step forward in EU-Armenian relations and embodies a commitment to a further deepening of political and economic relations;

2.  Notes that the signing of the Agreement is not the end point in terms of EU-Armenian cooperation; emphasises, rather, the importance of swift and effective implementation before moving on to consider the potential for further enhancing cooperation and integration between the two parties, at a pace and on a scale mutually agreeable to both;

3.  Recalls that significant progress in terms of upholding core values such as the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as a functioning democratic system defending the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and delivering concrete results in the fight against corruption, is key to unlocking further prospects for cooperation; in this respect, looks forward to the EU considering, in due course, the opening of visa liberalisation dialogue with Armenia, provided that the conditions for well-managed and secure mobility are in place, including the effective implementation of visa facilitation and readmission agreements between the parties;

4.  Applauds the citizens of Armenia for the transition of power in April and May 2018 which took place peacefully and led to a change in government in accordance with the Constitution of Armenia; welcomes the restraint shown by the law enforcement bodies, but expresses concern over the unjustified arrests of peaceful demonstrators, including Members of Parliament; warmly congratulates Nikol Pashinyan on his election as the new Prime Minister of Armenia; looks forward to increasing cooperation with him, his government and the National Assembly, not least to support them in fulfilling the expectations of Armenian society as voiced during the demonstrations, and expresses its readiness to observe future parliamentary elections in Armenia;

Scope, general principles, core values and commitment to conflict resolution

5.  Stresses that the territorial application of the Agreement covers, on the one hand, the territories in which the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community are applied and under the conditions laid down in those treaties, and, on the other hand, the territory of the Republic of Armenia; calls on the Commission to ensure that no products are exported illegally to the EU via Armenia;

6.  Notes that the Agreement is in keeping with the spirit and principles expressed in the European Parliament recommendation of 15 November 2017, which unambiguously states that no comprehensive agreement will be ratified with a country that does not respect the EU’s values of democracy, the rule of law, good governance, and human rights and fundamental freedoms; urges the Armenian authorities nevertheless to ensure, with the support of the EU, that there is no backsliding on those values, since this could trigger suspension of the application of the Agreement through its Article 379; reiterates that EU financial assistance to Armenia remains conditional on the implementation and quality of reforms;

7.  Encourages Armenia to swiftly adopt and implement mutually agreed reforms, in particular concerning the stability of the electoral system, the independence of the judiciary, and transparency in the governance of state institutions, notably in the context of the EU-Armenia partnership priorities, which should act as a guiding framework for the implementation of the Agreement, in order to deliver tangible and positive results for Armenian citizens;

8.  Emphasises the utmost importance of the meaningful involvement and inclusion of relevant civil society organisations during this implementation phase, including through the new Civil Society Platform established by the Agreement, going beyond the limited obligations to keep civil society representatives informed and to exchange views with them, as currently foreseen in Article 366 of the Agreement; recalls that the civil society organisations involved should reflect the broadest possible range of political and social interests;

9.  Calls on the Commission to follow through on the conditionality of the EU’s financial assistance by systematically linking EU support – including through the European Neighbourhood Instrument, macrofinancial assistance and other instruments – to the effective implementation of reforms, progress in which should be the subject of thorough monitoring;

10.  Notes that the Agreement is also in keeping with the spirit and principles expressed in the European Parliament recommendation of 15 November 2017, including as regards making the ratification of a new agreement with Armenia or Azerbaijan conditional on meaningful commitment to and substantial progress towards resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; urges both sides to increase, in good faith, the pace and output of their negotiations following the 2018 elections in both countries, in order to make history by ending a conflict which cannot be solved militarily yet has claimed too many lives, especially of civilians, and which has not only prevented the establishment of peace and stability, but also hampered socio-economic development in the region for almost three decades; expresses deep concern at the military build-up and the disproportionate defence spending in the region; supports all initiatives conducive to peace and to developing good neighbourly relations, including high-level talks and a ceasefire monitoring mechanism, and calls on the EEAS and the Commission to increase EU support for programmes to enable increased contacts between Armenian and Azerbaijani NGOs and youth organisations, while ensuring that EU Member States avoid indirect exports of dual-use goods and technology to parties to the conflict;

Political reform

11.  Calls on both Armenia and the EU to attach a high priority to domestic reforms, as outlined in Article 4, so as to ensure in particular a smooth transition from a presidential to a parliamentary system and the non-politicisation of state institutions; encourages the Armenian government to ensure that major reforms – such as those related to the structure and activities of the government or to the criminal code – are subject to greater transparency and to an inclusive dialogue with the opposition and civil society, in the interests of Armenian society at large;

12.  Emphasises the need to ensure a level playing field for the opposition and an environment in which civil society, including media representatives and human rights defenders can operate free from fear of reprisals; calls on Armenia, in this context, to ensure a swift and fair trial for all prisoners, including Andreas Ghukasyan, free from any political considerations; calls on the Armenian authorities to ensure that journalists face no pressure or fear of retaliation or violence over their work and that the right to freedom of assembly is upheld, and to refrain from excessive use of force and pressure such as unjustified criminal charges against peaceful protesters and protest leaders; calls for impartial investigations and fair trials in all cases, including as regards past disproportionate actions of the police against peaceful protesters and in the ‘Sasna Tsrer’ case, during which the police seriously hampered the work of defence lawyers;

13.  Urges the Armenian authorities, with a view to future elections, to swiftly and fully implement all the recommendations of the international observation missions led by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), as highlighted in their final report, in particular in relation to allegations of vote-buying, voter intimidation, pressuring of civil servants and private-sector employees, and undue interference in the voting process by party representatives or law enforcement officers resulting in failure to improve public confidence in the country’s electoral system;

14.  Encourages Armenia to implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission, such as those in its 2017 opinion on the Draft Judicial Code, according to which the Code has implemented positive changes brought by the constitutional reform, but contains gaps and inconsistencies which need to be addressed;

The rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

15.  Reiterates its strong attachment to international law and fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law and good governance, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and encourages Armenia to make significant progress in these areas, in particular as regards media freedom, the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption, organised crime, money laundering, tax evasion, nepotism and abusive oligarchic control; encourages the Armenian authorities to start a deep and genuine process of economic reforms with a view to overcoming the current oligarchic structure and eliminating the relevant monopolies; encourages the Armenian authorities to continue to consistently act on the country’s obligations as a State Party to the UN Convention against Torture in order to prevent, prosecute and punish violations;

16.  Regrets that violence based on gender and sexual orientation continues to remain of serious concern in Armenia; takes note of the recognition of domestic violence as a major problem with the adoption, on 8 December 2017, of the Law on the Prevention of Violence within the Family, Protection of Victims of Violence within the Family and Restoration of Peace (Cohesion) in the Family by the National Assembly, but calls for stronger legislation to effectively combat such violence and for the authorities to better protect and support survivors; commends Armenia on the signature, on 18 January 2018, of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and encourages Armenia to swiftly ratify and thoroughly implement this Convention in order to effectively meet its commitments to international standards in this field;

17.  Calls on Armenia to address the issues of gender equality and anti-discrimination by taking swift but effective steps aimed at achieving equal opportunities for all, notably in terms of employment, equal pay and public office, ideally through a comprehensive standalone law on anti-discrimination, also protecting other vulnerable groups such as LGBTI people, in line with international standards and Armenia’s various human rights commitments, and to ensure effective and adequately resourced protection mechanisms; in this regard, expresses concern about the incompatibility of pending legislation with international standards on anti-discrimination;

18.  Urges the Armenian authorities to put a high priority on ending gender based sex-selection taking place through selective abortion, the incidence of which in Armenia and Azerbaijan remains among the most widespread in the world following China; encourages Armenia’s commitment to improving the lives of children – notably disabled and orphaned children – by consistently implementing the priorities set out in the National Strategy for the Protection of the Rights of the Child and in the relevant Action Plan for implementing the UNCRC, as well as guaranteeing inclusive education for all children by 2025 and eradicating child labour;

19.  Encourages further efforts to increase cooperation on preventing and combating criminal activities such as terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime and cross-border crime, and calls on Armenia to align itself more closely with the EU’s foreign and security policy;

20.  Calls on Armenia to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which it signed in 1999;

Trade and economic cooperation

21.  Welcomes the deepening of trade and economic relations between the EU and Armenia and the fact that CEPA in some instances goes beyond WTO commitments in terms of transparency and market access for EU products and operators, in areas such as trade in services, intellectual property rights and public procurement;

22.  Calls on Armenia to engage in a trustful trade relationship with the EU, in line with its commitments taken on with WTO accession; recalls that the terms and conditions of WTO membership, as well as the obligations under the WTO agreements and the provisions of those agreements, apply only to the territories of the Republic of Armenia as recognised by the UN;

23.  Expresses the hope that the Agreement will swiftly provide new and attractive economic opportunities for Armenian citizens living in or returning to Armenia, not least for young people in the country;

24.  Regrets, however, that the Agreement cannot include the removal of tariff barriers, as a result of Armenia’s membership of the Eurasian Economic Union; welcomes nevertheless, the high utilisation rate of the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) by Armenia, but notes with some concern that these GSP+ exports are heavily concentrated in only a few types of goods; notes that the Agreement respects Armenia's multi-vector foreign policy, but calls on the Commission to ensure that EU assistance is not directed within Armenia towards sectors affected by Russian sanctions against the EU, and urges the Commission to strictly oversee the adherence of EU Member States to Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, in order to avoid Russia procuring dual-use goods and technology via Armenia;

25.  Welcomes the agreement reached on the protection of trademarks, including the transitional provisions in Article 237 on cognac and champagne, thereby protecting EU interests and also allowing Armenia to develop its trade in all the major sectors of its economy;

Energy and other areas of cooperation

26.  Welcomes the emphasis placed, notably in Article 42, on nuclear safety on the basis of the standards and practices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and of the European Union; regrets the decision of the Armenian authorities to extend the life of the Medzamor nuclear plant, and reiterates its grave concern over the persisting discrepancy between the safety standards of this nuclear plant and the major risks arising from its location in a seismic area; praises the negotiators for the inclusion in Article 42 of the CEPA of specific cooperation on ‘the closure and safe decommissioning of Medzamor nuclear power plant and the early adoption of a road map or action plan to that effect, taking into consideration the need for its replacement with new capacity to ensure the energy security of the Republic of Armenia and conditions for sustainable development’;

27.  Welcomes, furthermore, the specific provisions for cooperation on environmental issues in Armenia, given the urgent need for progress in this area as well as the opportunities for job creation and reduced dependency on energy imports that may result from the development of clean alternative sources of energy; in particular, calls on the Commission to assist and support the Armenian government both technically and financially in its ambitious plan to develop renewable energy;

28.  Calls on the Armenian authorities to enhance transparency and accountability in public finance management, as well as in public procurement and the privatisation process, and, furthermore, to strengthen supervision of the banking sector;

29.  Emphasises the importance of the provisions on dialogue and cooperation on employment policy, labour rights such as health and safety at work, gender equality and anti-discrimination, including for vulnerable and marginalised groups, in order to provide better jobs with improved working conditions, notably for young Armenians, and contribute to the fight against high unemployment and severe poverty;

Institutional provisions

30.  Welcomes the establishment of a Parliamentary Partnership Committee under Article 365 of the Agreement, and commits to swiftly establishing, together with the Parliament of Armenia, its rules of procedure with a view to an early launch of its activities;

31.  Reiterates its request to the Commission and the EEAS to transmit to Parliament a detailed written report on the implementation of international agreements every six months, in line with its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the Eastern Partnership, in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit, which reaffirmed Parliament’s resolve to increase its monitoring of the implementation of international agreements with the eastern partners and to increase its scrutiny of EU support provided in this respect;

32.  Calls on the EU and the Armenian authorities to step up their communication efforts regarding the aims and objectives of this new agreement, in order to further improve public awareness, both in Armenia and in the EU, of the expected opportunities and benefits that would arise from its conclusion; calls, furthermore, on both parties to maintain their efforts to counter any disinformation campaigns related to EU-Armenian relations;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0493.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0440.
(3) OJ C 328, 6.9.2016, p. 2.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA-PROV(2018)0283.


EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part (10209/1/2012 – C8-0038/2018 – 2010/0310(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0285A8-0222/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10209/1/2012),

–  having regard to the draft Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part (5784/2/2011 and 8318/2012),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 91, Article 100, Article 207, Article 209 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0038/2018),

–  having regard to its position of 17 January 2013 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part(1),

–  having regard to the change of legal basis following the judgment of the Court of Justice of 11 June 2014(2),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 4 July 2018(3) on the draft decision,

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0222/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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

(1) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 301.
(2) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 11 June 2014, Commission v Council, on the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of the Philippines, C-377/12, ECLI:EU:C:2014:1903.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA-PROV(2018)0286.


EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (resolution)
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European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part (10209/1/2012 – C8-0038/2018 – 2010/0310M(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0286A8-0224/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10209/1/2012),

–  having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Iraq, of the other part(1),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 91, Article 100, Article 207, Article 209 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0038/2018),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2013 on the EU‑Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement(2),

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and the Commission of 8 January 2018 on elements for an EU strategy for Iraq,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 January 2018 establishing a new strategy on Iraq,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Multiannual Indicative Programme for Iraq (2014-2017),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2016 on the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 October 2016 on the situation in Northern Iraq/Mosul(4),

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 2367 (2017) of 14 July 2017 and 2379 (2017) of 21 September 2017,

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 4 July 2018(5) on the draft decision,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A8-0224/2018),

A.  whereas Europe and Iraq are linked by thousands of years of mutual cultural influences and a common history;

B.  whereas Iraq has been ravaged by decades of dictatorial rule by Saddam Hussein, who initiated wars of aggression against Iran in 1980 and against Kuwait in 1990, by crippling sanctions, and by internal conflict after the US-led invasion of 2003, including sectarian violence and Kurdish secessionism, and jihadist terrorism by Daesh; whereas all of these factors explain the magnitude of the challenges that Iraq faces as it strives to make progress towards better governance, economic progress and national reconciliation;

C.  whereas the EU has reaffirmed its commitment to building a strong partnership with Iraq, based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and to supporting the Iraqi authorities throughout the transition to democracy and reconstruction process, while also tackling the root causes of the political, social and economic instability; whereas the reconstruction efforts have been estimated to cost as much as USD 88 billion;

D.  whereas the EU Member States involved in the 2003 war, and the EU as a whole, have a particular responsibility in assisting the Iraqi population and supporting efforts to achieve peace and stability in the country;

E.  whereas parliamentary elections took place on 12 May 2018; whereas in the region, beset with the retrenchment of authoritarian regimes and practices, Iraq provides one of the few examples of a competitive political environment, including a multi-party system and relatively free media; whereas the political forces in the country seem to realise the need to form cross-sectarian alliances in order to enhance the legitimacy and stability of the system; whereas genuine and competitive elections are of fundamental importance for democratic consolidation in Iraq; whereas the full participation of all parts of Iraqi society will be an important step towards an inclusive democracy and a shared sense of nationhood;

F.  whereas a significant improvement in the security situation is needed to promote stabilisation, reconciliation, inclusive governance and economic and social progress in the country both at national and local level; whereas accountability for the crimes committed by all parties is necessary to achieve reconciliation; whereas the EU provides assistance for security sector reform in Iraq through the EU Advisory Mission; whereas the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) has been present in the country since 2003 and has undertaken significant work in advancing inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation; whereas NATO continues to carry out its Capacity Building Initiative in Iraq, which focuses on countering improvised explosive devices, explosive ordnance disposal, de-mining, civil-military planning, Soviet-era equipment maintenance, military medicine and reform of Iraqi security institutions;

G.  whereas Iraq faces governance challenges in terms of institutional and administrative capacity-building and consolidating the rule of law, law enforcement and respect for human rights, including women rights and rights of all ethno-religious minorities;

H.  whereas it is important to tackle unemployment and social exclusion, especially among young people, in order to prevent them from becoming radicalised and hence easy recruits for terrorist organisations or other organised crime groups;

I.  whereas the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service, the main actor behind the liberation of Mosul, suffered heavy casualties and must receive proper recognition and support in order to enhance its recruitment capabilities so that the force can return to an equitable and sustainable size;

J.  whereas the Iraqi authorities should view the country’s oil revenues as an opportunity and a tool for achieving sustainable social and economic reconstruction which will benefit Iraqi society as a whole, rather than distributing these revenues on the basis of clientelism; whereas significant oil deposits lie within the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq; whereas it is necessary to normalise relations between the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq in line with the provisions of the constitution;

K.   whereas Iraq is a patchwork of communities often in competition for power and control over national resources; whereas thousands of Iraqi citizens, including from minority communities, and in particular women and girls, were inhumanly exterminated or enslaved by Daesh in acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity; whereas terrorist and extremist groups are still able to easily exploit inter-sectarian and local tensions; whereas more than 1,5 million Christian Iraqi citizens (Chaldeans, Syriacs, Assyrians and members of other Christian minorities) were living in Iraq in 2003, and whereas they constitute an ancient, native population group which is in serious danger of persecution and exile; whereas millions of Iraqi citizens, including Christians, were forced to flee the violence, either leaving their country completely or being displaced within its borders; whereas Kurds make up a significant minority of the population of Iraq, the majority of whom live within the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq;

L.  whereas Daesh, al-Qaeda and like-minded terrorist organisations are inspired by the extreme version of Salafism/Wahhabism; whereas, despite the military and territorial defeat of Daesh, the threat of this ideology still needs to be tackled through improved governance, education, provision of services, de-radicalisation efforts and full inclusion of the Sunni community in the Iraqi political process;

M.  whereas, to date, in a country of 26 million inhabitants, there are 11 million people in need of humanitarian aid, more than 3 million Iraqis have been internally displaced, many of whom are hosted within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and there are 246 000 refugees from Syria; whereas providing economic support for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to rebuild their livelihoods is essential for their return;

N.  whereas the territorial defeat of Daesh is the result of the efforts of the Iraqi armed forces, supported by the Global Coalition against Daesh, as well as the various Popular Mobilisation Units, the Peshmerga and other allied forces; whereas, despite the territorial defeat of Daesh in Iraq, the jihadist threat persists and endangers the consolidation of stability and security in the country, especially along the Syrian border; whereas it is necessary, for the reconstruction of the country and the integration of Iraqi society, to surpass the differences based on religious criteria, dissolving the Popular Mobilisation Units and integrating its members according to the needs of the state, a move without which it will not be possible to achieve a functional state based on democracy and pluralism; whereas in 2016 the Iraqi Parliament passed a law that effectively made the constellation of militias a permanent fixture of Iraq’s security forces; whereas a united, plural and democratic Iraqi state is the prerequisite for stability and development of the country and its citizens;

1.  Welcomes the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and Iraq; calls for full use to be made of the mechanisms it establishes in order to deepen the ties between the EU and Iraq;

2.  Stresses that the PCA is an essential instrument for implementing the EU strategy for Iraq and for strengthening our cooperation in the country’s reconstruction, stabilisation and reconciliation at national and local level with a long-term strategy; emphasises the importance of Iraqi ownership in the process of building a democratic, federal and pluralist state based on respect for human rights and rule of law;

3.  Welcomes the initiative taken in convening the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, which took place in Kuwait on 12 February 2018; calls for the EU and its Member States to deliver on their financial and technical assistance commitments;

4.  Welcomes the EU’s commitment to providing longer term support to the country and the fact that it has identified Iraq as a pilot country in which to better address and operationalise the humanitarian-development nexus in order to foster a transition from humanitarian assistance to longer term reconstruction and stabilisation; recalls that the Iraq crisis is a UN level 3 emergency and that 11 million people are currently in need of assistance; urges the EU and its Member States, therefore, to first of all step up their efforts to urgently address key humanitarian challenges and human needs, in particular regarding the more than 3 million IDPs;

5.  Stresses that poverty is widespread in the country and that, in spite of Iraq being an upper‑middle income country, years of violence, conflict and sectarianism have considerably undermined progress in development; calls for the EU to focus its development assistance, through targeted projects, on the most vulnerable groups and the people most in need, namely women and children, young people, IDPs and refugees;

The priorities of EU action in Iraq

6.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to maintain the humanitarian assistance they are currently providing to help and protect all Iraqis affected by the conflicts, using aid as a means to help consolidate governance, democracy and rule of law; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure comprehensive oversight of the financial assistance they have provided to ensure that it is reaching those in need; stresses that all Iraqi people have the legal right to obtain civil documentation and to access aid without any discrimination;

7.  Calls for the EU to intensify its cooperation to facilitate the stabilisation and security of recently liberated areas and allow for the safe, informed, voluntary and dignified return of IDPs; calls for the EU to continue supporting the Iraqi authorities to ensure democratic election processes, and to help the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission with its efforts to allow IDPs to vote in the elections; encourages the EU to provide technical assistance for enhancing Iraq’s capacity in terms of demining and removal of explosive hazards from liberated areas; calls on the Iraqi Government to work towards accelerating the registration processes for demining organisations;

8.  Urges the EU and the Member States to provide urgent financial assistance for the reconstruction of priority infrastructure and the restoration of essential public services, such as access to water and sanitation, electricity, education and healthcare, so as to ensure basic living standards for the population, to enhance support for civil society and to prioritise funding for projects that support actors promoting accountability and democratic change; calls on EU Member States to support an urban reconstruction planning process that enables citizen engagement in the decision-making processes related to reconstruction so as to ensure inclusivity in urban planning and recovery with the aim of improving trust between citizens and the state; urges the Commission to ensure that the reconstruction funds provided are spread evenly among communities in need, regardless of the recipients’ ethnic or religious identification, and channelled through legitimate state agencies rather than through sub-state actors; believes that financial assistance could also be introduced and distributed to local entrepreneurs and businesses to ensure provision of capital for small and medium-sized enterprises;

9.  Calls for the EU to make every effort to encourage the pursuit of a sustained and constructive dialogue between the central authority and the authorities of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, in particular after the September 2017 referendum held in Kurdistan, with a view to establishing stable relations which satisfy both parties, fostering inclusive decision-making at the highest level and fully respecting the country’s diversity and the rights of all parts of Iraqi society, as well as the principles of the Iraqi Constitution and the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq; stresses the need to solve the demarcation of the boundary between the Kurdish region and the rest of Iraq through dialogue with UN support; believes that Iraq and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government should be able to benefit from oil exports without outside interference; calls also for the EU to promote stronger cooperation between federal and local authorities to effectively rebuild the country and reach long-term stability and a peaceful coexistence; stresses the urgent need for the Kurdistan region of Iraq to implement the necessary political and economic reforms, combat corruption and enable the emergence of functioning new parties and guarantee genuine and competitive elections to the regional parliament in 2018;

10.  Believes that, during the transition from emergency assistance to development, a long-term approach, stabilisation, reforms and improvements in the areas of good governance and accountability, education and skills development, access to livelihood opportunities and provision of health and basic social services are priority areas for development assistance; stresses also the importance of reforms to improve the gender balance and the representation of women in the country’s political life; looks forward to receiving concrete proposals on envisaged actions that respond to those needs and urges the Commission to provide evidence of the results and impacts achieved within the framework of the multiannual indicative programme 2014-2017;

11.  Expresses its concern at the high degree of fragmentation of Iraqi society; calls for the EU, in coordination with UNAMI and the Iraqi authorities, to fully support the work of the National Reconciliation Commission to promote inter-communal reconciliation and an Iraqi-owned national reconciliation process, to ensure respect for the diversity of Iraq and to promote inclusive and representative governance, at national and local level, which will help strengthen a common sense of Iraqi citizenship; notes that the need for conflict prevention and for addressing security challenges, as well as the demand for reconciliation, mediation and dialogue initiatives, makes it necessary to significantly increase the funds available for such initiatives, mainly through the use of the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP); welcomes the recommendations by Iraqi religious leaders for the Government of Iraq to establish a council of senior clerics and scholars in Iraq, to send a request to the Iraqi Parliament to endorse a law that criminalises extremist religious speeches that incite hatred and violence and to punish those who encourage such acts, to review the curricula and to focus on reconciliation and national citizenship and not on sectarian identity;

12.  Encourages the international community and the EU to provide support for preserving the diversity of ethnic, cultural and religious identities in Iraq; calls, within the framework of the Constitution of Iraq, for ways to be explored to recognise, protect and enhance the local self-rule of ethnic and religious minorities living in areas where they have historically had a strong presence and lived peacefully alongside each other – for example in the Sinjar mountains (Yazidis) and the Nineveh plains (Chaldean-Syrian-Assyrian peoples); calls on the Iraqi authorities to allow Kurds, Christians and Yezidis to return to their original areas of residence and to ensure it is safe for them to do so;

Political dialogue

13.  Calls for the EU to strengthen its political dialogue with the Iraqi authorities in order to promote respect for human rights and the strengthening of democratic institutions through greater respect for the rule of law, good governance and an efficient judicial system; calls, in this context, for the abolition of the death penalty to be prioritised in this dialogue, and calls on the Iraqi authorities to apply a moratorium on the death penalty with immediate effect;

14.  Stresses the need to support the development of Iraqi civil society and its full political representation and participation in the various reform processes; maintains that particular attention should be paid to the representation of women, young people and people from all ethnic and religious groups of Iraqi society, including Christians, Shia and Sunni Muslims, Yazidis and Mandaeans, Shabak, Kurds, Turkmens and others, whose demands need to be addressed; stresses, at the same time, the need to establish as a priority the achievement of an inclusive, non-sectarian political class, representative of all parts forming Iraqi society;

15.  Calls for the EU and its Member States, taking into account the body of EU law in the area of combating corruption, to initiate, with the Iraqi authorities, programmes for judicial cooperation and exchange of best practices and effective tools in order to tackle widespread corruption and thereby ensure a fair distribution of the country’s wealth; emphasises the importance of the EU as a source of advice to the Iraqi Government on issues of security and governance to ensure the stability of Iraq;

16.   Praises the contribution of the Iraqi armed forces to the global fight against the terrorist organisation Daesh; continues to provide support for the comprehensive action to combat terrorism being carried out by the Global Coalition against Daesh, which remains a prominent threat in spite of recent military gains against the organisation, while ensuring respect for international law and human rights; recognises that the fight against terrorism in Iraq is greatly influenced by situations surrounding it, such as the war in Syria; calls for the EU to establish a dialogue on issues relating to the fight against terrorism with a view to reforming anti-terrorism legislation and strengthening the country’s capacity to deal with terrorist threats and to work with the Iraqi authorities to combat impunity for any crimes aimed against any group, whether ethnic, religious or other, including minorities in all their forms; understands that the root causes of terrorism must be addressed in order to be able to combat it;

17.  Calls for the EU to encourage the Iraqi authorities to adopt a national strategy to deal with crimes committed by Daesh and to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), voluntarily accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction to investigate transparently and fairly and ensure accountability for the human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Daesh; stresses the need for credible prosecution of those responsible for the crimes committed by Daesh, with the meaningful participation of victims and the creation of a thorough judicial record of these crimes; is concerned, at the same time, that an excessively broad scope for prosecutions may risk further injustices, impeding future community reconciliation and reintegration;

18.  Underlines the need for extensive expertise in issues related to media and freedom of expression when training local media actors in peace journalism;

19.  Calls for the EU to acknowledge its responsibility for EU citizens who travelled to Iraq to take part in crimes committed by Daesh and who should be subject to the rule of law and stand trial; calls for clear procedures to be set up between Iraq and the respective EU Member States regarding repatriation and the legal responsibility of those involved;

20.  Calls on the Commission to support reform of the judicial system, in particular with regard to transitional justice, in order to ensure compliance with international standards on due process, fair trials and judicial independence and impartiality so as to ensure accountability within government structures; calls also for the EU to work with the Iraqi authorities to combat impunity for any crimes aimed against any groups, whether ethnic, religious or other, including minorities in all their forms;

21.  Calls on the Iraqi authorities to prioritise gender equality and the eradication of all violence and discrimination against women and girls, including gender-based violence; stresses in this regard the importance of abolishing the law that exonerates the accused from prosecution for rape, sexual assault, statutory rape, abduction or similar acts if the rapist marries his rape victim;

22.  Calls for the EU to promote good and constructive relations between Iraq and its neighbours as well as its role as a contributor to regional peace; underlines that Iraq engages extensively with the United States and Iran, and has recently improved its relations with Saudi Arabia, which could potentially make Iraq a focal point of regional efforts to de-escalate tensions; calls on all parties involved to implement paragraph 8 of UN Security Council Resolution 598 calling for a regional security arrangement among the littoral states of the Persian Gulf;

23.   Calls for the EU to work with the Iraqi authorities in the drafting of a national strategy for the protection and exhumation of mass graves in order to preserve mass graves in areas of recent conflicts, with the aim of exhuming and forensically analysing the human remains therein, in order to allow for decent burial of the victims' remains or release to the family, and in order to secure evidence and enable the investigation and prosecution of suspected crimes against humanity; calls also for actions from the EU and the Member States in order to urgently set up a group of experts seeking to collect all evidence of any ongoing international crime, including genocide, wherever such crimes may be committed, in preparation for the international prosecution of those responsible;

24.  Calls for an annual commemoration day for the victims of the terrorist atrocities of Daesh, al-Qaeda and similar terrorist organisations to be instituted globally;

Sectoral cooperation

25.  Stresses that the reconstruction and stabilisation process must be accompanied by coherent economic and social development policies which benefit all Iraqis in a sustainable and inclusive manner; calls for the EU to engage fully with the Iraqi authorities not only to address the economic and budgetary imbalances but also to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth capable of generating jobs, particularly for young people, in addition to establishing a framework for trade and creating a favourable environment for investment; calls for the EU to encourage and support Iraq in providing young people who missed out on formal education when they became forcibly displaced by Daesh with opportunities to access formal educational programmes that will equip them with knowledge and skills to improve their chances of getting jobs;

26.  Calls for the EU to encourage and support Iraq in the diversification of its economy;

27.  Is concerned about the high drop‑out rate among students of both sexes from Iraqi schools (as denounced by civil society organisations, according to which 60 % of those who had enrolled in primary schools in 2015 have since dropped out); highlights that high levels of literacy are key to building positive peace in conflict-affected contexts;

28.  Calls for the EU to enhance its cooperation in the education sectors and for education reform in order to ensure access to quality education at all levels and for all, especially minors; recognises the problem of lack of access to school for girls on account of customs, perceptions in society, poverty and safety; calls for the EU to promote awareness regarding the education of girls and to work with the Iraqi Government to improve the situation, as this is crucial for the improvement of their quality of life;

29.  Calls for the EU to develop cooperation opportunities in the field of science and research, notably university cooperation and partnerships, in particular as regards Erasmus+ and exchange opportunities in the field of teaching and research;

30.  Calls for the EU to pursue and strengthen cooperation on cultural matters in order to protect, preserve and reconstruct the artistic and cultural heritage of Iraq;

31.  Welcomes the launch, at the request of the Iraqi authorities and as part of the Iraqi security strategy, of a mission to support security sector reform in Iraq (EUAM Iraq); hopes that this will help strengthen the public institutions and allow an impartial and inclusive police force to be established; underlines that security sector reform in Iraq is an important challenge that should be also supported by the UN; stresses the need to encourage the demobilisation of militias and reintegration of fighters as part of a larger effort to reform the security sector and through tailor-made reintegrating programmes, when needed;

32.  Calls for the EU to provide enhanced technical assistance to the Iraqi authorities for sound natural resource management, improved tax collection and the reduction of illicit financial flows, with the aim of ensuring that Iraq will be able to finance its development domestically in the medium term and reduce inequality among its population and its regions; stresses the need to actively advise the private sector and investors with a view to enhancing both conflict sensitivity and their contribution to peacebuilding and sustainable development;

33.  Calls for the EU to establish with Iraq, within the framework provided for by the PCA, a dialogue on all aspects of migration, and to implement a human-rights based approach to address migration, bearing in mind the need to find long-term, effective and viable solutions, for the benefit of the citizens of both the EU and Iraq;

34.  Stresses that Iraq is a potentially important partner in ensuring the rebuilding of energy-linked infrastructure and a greater diversification of energy sources for Iraq and of sources of supply for the EU; calls for the EU, therefore, to support Iraq in its energy transition and to cooperate with Iraq in establishing common projects and the exchange of good practices and know-how in the key areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, the environment and efficient management of resources, including water, with the objective, inter alia, of accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals;

35.  Recalls that women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict and extremism, and that they are more vulnerable to violence and abuse, including sexual violence, torture, human trafficking, slavery and child marriage; stresses the need to address the specific humanitarian and development needs of women and girls, particularly in displaced communities; calls for the EU to further promote equality between women and men and women’s empowerment though its development efforts and to emphasise the role of women in recovery and peacebuilding in the country;

36.  Highlights the need to invest in Iraqi agriculture in view of its high employment potential and the importance of repopulating rural areas, where the population is in constant decline on account of the conflicts;

37.  Commends Iraq's firm commitment to joining the World Trade Organisation and asks the Commission to assist the Iraqi authorities in their efforts to re-join the world economy and trade;

Institutional relations

38.  Insists that all assistance provided by the Union is subject to strict compliance with the principles of respect for human rights and the rule of law, and will be accompanied by a constant evaluation process, the results of which the Parliament is to be duly informed in accordance with Article 113 of the PCA;

39.  Undertakes to set up, with the Iraqi Parliament, a parliamentary cooperation committee, as provided for by the PCA, so that it can begin its activities, including monitoring the implementation of EU-Iraq cooperation projects;

40.  Calls for its Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) to include Iraq in its list of priority countries for 2019 and to engage in capacity-building programmes for the Iraqi Parliament; calls on the Commission to support these programmes;

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41.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the President of the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and the Council of Representatives of the Republic of Iraq.

(1) OJ L 204, 31.7.2012, p. 20.
(2) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 83.
(3) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 77.
(4) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 194.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA-PROV(2018)0285.


EU-New Zealand Agreement relating to the modification of concessions (accession of Croatia) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and New Zealand pursuant to Article XXIV:6 and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 relating to the modification of concessions in the schedule of the Republic of Croatia in the course of its accession to the European Union (10670/2017 – C8-0121/2018 – 2017/0137(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0287A8-0220/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10670/2017),

–  having regard to draft Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and New Zealand pursuant to Article XXIV:6 and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 relating to the modification of concessions in the schedule of the Republic of Croatia in the course of its accession to the European Union (10672/2017),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 207(4) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0121/2018),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0220/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 4 July 2018 on the draft decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Article 22 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (10850/2017 – ECB/2017/18 - C8-0228/2017 – 2017/0810(COD))(1)
P8_TA(2018)0288A8-0219/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Draft by the European Central Bank   Amendment
Amendment 1
Draft decision
Recital 1
(1)  The basic tasks to be carried out through the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) include the definition and implementation of the monetary policy of the Union and the promotion of the smooth operation of payment systems. Safe and efficient financial market infrastructures, in particular clearing systems, are essential for the fulfilment of these basic tasks.
(1)  The basic tasks to be carried out through the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) include the definition and implementation of the monetary policy of the Union and the promotion of the smooth operation of payment systems, which is essential in order to maintain financial stability. Safe and efficient financial market infrastructures, in particular clearing systems, are essential for the fulfilment of these basic tasks.
Amendment 2
Draft decision
Recital 3
(3)  On 4 March 2015, the General Court delivered its judgment in United Kingdom v ECB, Case T-496/117, which held that the ECB does not have the competence necessary to regulate the activity of clearing systems. The General Court stated that Article 129(3) of the Treaty enables the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, and on a recommendation from the ECB, to amend Article 22 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (hereinafter the ‘Statute of the ESCB’). The Court concluded that “it would be for the ECB, should it consider that the grant to it of a power to regulate infrastructures clearing transactions in securities is necessary for proper performance of the task referred to in the fourth indent of Article 127(2) TFEU, to request the EU legislature to amend Article 22 of the Statute, by the addition of an explicit reference to securities clearing systems.”
(3)  On 4 March 2015, the General Court delivered its judgment in United Kingdom v ECB, Case T-496/117, which held that "the ECB does not have the competence necessary to regulate the activity of clearing systems, so that, in so far as the Policy Framework imposes on CCPs involved in the clearing of securities a requirement to be located within the euro area, it must be annulled for lack of competence". The General Court stated that Article 129(3) of the Treaty enables the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, and on a recommendation from the ECB, to amend Article 22 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank (hereinafter the ‘Statute of the ESCB’). Therefore, the Court concluded that “it would be for the ECB, should it consider that the grant to it of a power to regulate infrastructures clearing transactions in securities is necessary for proper performance of the task referred to in the fourth indent of Article 127(2) TFEU, to request the EU legislature to amend Article 22 of the Statute, by the addition of an explicit reference to securities clearing systems.”
_________________
_________________
7 ECLI: EU:T:2015:133.
7 ECLI: EU:T:2015:133.
Amendment 3
Draft decision
Recital 3 a (new)
(3a)  Although securities clearing systems are a typology of payment systems, more clarity on the issue is required in the light of the General Court’s judgment of 4 March 2015 in Case T-496/11 and therefore, by means of a review of Article 22 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, the issue of competence over such systems needs to be made clear.
Amendment 4
Draft decision
Recital 4
(4)  Significant developments at both global and European level are expected to increase the risk that disturbances affecting clearing systems, in particular central counterparties (CCPs), threaten the smooth operation of payment systems and implementation of the single monetary policy, ultimately affecting the Eurosystem’s primary objective of maintaining price stability.
(4)  Significant developments at both global and European level are expected to increase the risk that disturbances affecting clearing systems, in particular central counterparties (CCPs), threaten the smooth operation of payment systems and implementation of the single monetary policy, ultimately affecting financial stability, including the Eurosystem’s primary objective of maintaining price stability.
Amendment 5
Draft decision
Recital 5
(5)  On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union. The withdrawal of the United Kingdom will lead to a fundamental change in how certain systemically important euro-denominated clearing activities are regulated, overseen and supervised, thereby adversely affecting the Eurosystem’s ability to monitor and manage risks to the smooth operation of payment systems, and implementation of the Eurosystem’s monetary policy.
deleted
Amendment 6
Draft decision
Recital 6
(6)  Central clearing is becoming increasingly cross-border in nature and systemically important. Given their diverse membership and the pan-European nature of the financial services they provide, CCPs are of key importance to the Union as a whole, and in particular to the euro area. This is reflected in Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council8, which establishes collective supervisory arrangements in the form of colleges, composed of the relevant national and Union authorities, including the Eurosystem in its role as central bank of issue for the euro.
(6)  Central clearing is becoming increasingly cross-border in nature and systemically important. Given their diverse membership and the pan-European nature of the financial services they provide, CCPs are of key importance to the Union as a whole, and in particular to the euro area. This is reflected in Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which establishes collective supervisory arrangements in the form of colleges, composed of the relevant national and Union authorities, including the Eurosystem in its role as central bank of issue for the euro, the currency of the Union.
_________________
8 Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, p. 1).
Amendment 7
Draft decision
Recital 7
(7)  In order to address these issues, on 13 June 2017 the Commission presented its legislative proposal to ensure financial stability and the safety and soundness of CCPs that are of systemic relevance for financial markets across the Union. In order to ensure that the Eurosystem as central bank of issue for the euro can carry out the role envisaged by the legislative proposal, it is of utmost importance that it has the relevant powers under the Treaty and the Statute of the ESCB. In particular, the Eurosystem should have regulatory powers to adopt binding assessments and require remedial action, in close cooperation with other Union authorities. Moreover, where necessary to protect the stability of the euro, the ECB should also have the regulatory powers to adopt additional requirements for CCPs involved in the clearing of significant amounts of euro-denominated transactions.
(7)  In order to address these issues, on 13 June 2017 the Commission presented its legislative proposal to ensure financial stability and the safety and soundness of CCPs that are of systemic relevance for financial markets across the Union. In order to ensure that the Eurosystem as central bank of issue for the euro can carry out the role envisaged by the legislative proposal, it is of utmost importance that it has the relevant powers under the Treaty and the Statute of the ESCB. In particular, the Eurosystem should have regulatory powers to adopt binding assessments and require remedial action, in close cooperation with other Union authorities. Moreover, where necessary to protect the stability of the euro, the ECB should also have the regulatory powers to adopt additional requirements for CCPs involved in the clearing of significant amounts of euro-denominated transactions. Those requirements should protect the integrity of the Single Market and ensure that in the supervision of third country CCPs, Union law and the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union have primacy.
Amendment 8
Draft decision
Recital 8
(8)  Article 22 of the Statute of the ESCB is part of Chapter IV ‘Monetary functions and operations of the ESCB’. The tasks conferred therein should accordingly only be used for monetary policy purposes.
(8)  Article 22 of the Statute of the ESCB is part of Chapter IV ‘Monetary functions and operations of the ESCB’. The tasks conferred therein should accordingly only be used for monetary policy purposes. With regard to clearing systems for financial instruments, requirements that may be applied on the basis of that Article should include reporting requirements and requirements imposed on the clearing system to cooperate with the ECB and national central banks in their assessment of the resilience of the system to adverse market developments. Such requirements should also include the opening by the system of an overnight deposit account with the ESCB in accordance with relevant access criteria and requirements of the ESCB. In addition, they should include requirements necessary to address situations in which a clearing system for financial instruments poses an imminent risk of substantial harm to Union financial institutions or markets or to the financial system of the Union or one of its Member States, such as requirements relating to liquidity risk controls, settlement arrangements, margins, collateral or interoperability arrangements. With regard to third-country clearing systems for financial instruments of systemic importance, Regulation (EU) No ... /... [Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Securities and Markets Authority) and amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 as regards the procedures and authorities involved for the authorisation of CCPs and requirements for the recognition of third-country CCPs] provides for the possibility for the ECB to propose additional requirements on such systems.
Amendment 9
Draft decision
Recital 8 a (new)
(8a)  The new powers of the ECB regarding clearing systems for financial instruments on the basis of amended Article 22 of the Statute of the ESCB and of the ECB will be exercised alongside the powers exercised by other Union institutions, agencies and bodies on the basis of provisions relating to the establishment or functioning of the internal market provided for in Part III of the TFEU, including those contained in acts adopted by the Commission or by the Council pursuant to the powers conferred upon them. In that context, in order to ensure that the respective powers of each entity are respected and to prevent conflicting rules and inconsistencies between the decisions taken by different Union institutions, agencies and bodies, the powers conferred under the amended Article 22 of the Statute of the ESCB and of the ECB should be exercised having due regard to the general framework for the internal market established by the co-legislators and in a manner which is fully consistent with the legal acts of the European Parliament and the Council as well as measures adopted under such acts.
Amendment 10
Draft decision
Recital 8 b (new)
(8b)  The ECB should ensure full transparency and accountability towards the European Parliament and the Council regarding the exercise of its powers and tasks under Article 22 of its Statute. In particular, it should keep the European Parliament and the Council regularly informed of all decisions taken and regulations adopted on the basis of that Article. To that end, it should dedicate a specific chapter of its annual report to the exercise of its powers under Article 22 of its Statute and it should publish on its website all the decisions, recommendations and opinions related to regulations that it adopts on the basis of that Article.
Amendment 11
Draft decision
Article 1
Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank
Article 22
Article 22
Article 22
Clearing systems and payment systems
Clearing systems and payment systems
The ECB and national central banks may provide facilities, and the ECB may make regulations, to ensure efficient and sound clearing and payment systems, and clearing systems for financial instruments, within the Union and with other countries.
The ECB and national central banks may provide facilities, and the ECB may make regulations, to ensure efficient and sound clearing and payment systems within the Union and with third countries.
In order to achieve the objectives of the ESCB and to carry out its tasks, the ECB may make regulations concerning clearing systems for financial instruments within the Union and with third countries, with due regard to the legal acts of the European Parliament and the Council and with measures adopted under such acts, and in a manner which is fully consistent with those acts and measures.

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0219/2018).


Vehicle taxation: charging of heavy good vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 July 2018 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures, as regards certain provisions on vehicle taxation (COM(2017)0276 – C8-0196/2017 – 2017/0115(CNS))
P8_TA(2018)0289A8-0200/2018

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2017)0276),

–  having regard to Article 113 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0196/2017),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0200/2018),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, in accordance with Article 293(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

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

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to substantially amend the Commission proposal;

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a directive
Recital 4
(4)  The application of vehicle taxes represents a cost the industry must so far bear in any event, even if tolls were to be levied by Member States. Therefore, vehicle taxes may act as an obstacle to the introduction of tolls.
(4)  The application of vehicle taxes represents a cost the industry, and in particular SMEs, must so far bear in any event, even if tolls were to be levied by Member States. Therefore, vehicle taxes may act as an obstacle to the introduction of tolls.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a directive
Recital 5
(5)  Therefore, Member States should be afforded more scope to lower vehicle taxes, namely by way of a reduction of the minima set out in Directive 1999/62/EC. In order to minimise the risk of distortions of competition between transport operators established in different Member States, such reduction should be gradual.
(5)  Taking into account the form of road charging related to the distance travelled, and in order to minimise the risk of distortions of competition between transport operators established in different Member States and the possible administrative burden, Member States should be afforded more scope to lower vehicle taxes, namely by way of a reduction of the minima set out in Directive 1999/62/EC.
Amendments 3 and 17
Proposal for a directive
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)   Member States should be encouraged to dismantle any contradictory tax incentives that discourage low-emission mobility and subsidise inefficient and polluting vehicles, like company diesel cars;
Amendment 4
Proposal for a directive
Recital 5 b (new)
(5b)  In order to afford Member States greater discretion to reduce their rate of vehicle taxation in order to support the introduction of distance-based tolls and to avoid any potential administrative burdens, the minimum rates of taxation should be reduced in one step from 1 January 2024, giving the Member States the greatest flexibility in deciding on the rate and speed of reduction.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2 a (new)
Directive 1999/62/EC
Article 6 – paragraph 4 a (new)
(2a)   In Article 6, the following paragraph is added:
'4a. The gradual reduction of the vehicle tax on heavy goods vehicles applied by a Member State shall be fully compensated by additional revenues generated by its toll system. By 1 January 2024, all Member States shall have implemented the toll system in accordance with this Directive.'
Amendment 6
Proposal for a directive
Annex I – paragraph 1 – point a
Directive 1999/62/EC
Annex I – title
Table A: MINIMUM RATES of TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES UNTIL 31 DECEMBER […]” [insert year of entry into force of this Directive];
Table A: MINIMUM RATES of TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES UNTIL 31 DECEMBER 2023
Amendment 7
Proposal for a directive
Annex I – paragraph 1 – point b
Directive 1999/62/EC
Annex I – table B
“Table B: MINIMUM RATES OF TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES FROM 1 JANUARY [...] insert the year following the year of entry into force of this directive]
deleted
Amendment 8
Proposal for a directive
Annex I – paragraph 1 – point b
Directive 1999/62/EC
Annex I – table C
Table C: MINIMUM RATES OF TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES FROM 1 JANUARY […] [insert the second year following the entry into force of this directive]
deleted
Amendment 9
Proposal for a directive
Annex I – paragraph 1 – point b
Directive 1999/62/EC
Annex I – table D
Table D: MINIMUM RATES OF TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES FROM 1 JANUARY […] [insert the third year following the entry into force of this directive]
deleted
Amendment 10
Proposal for a directive
Annex I – paragraph 1 – point b
Directive 1999/62/EC
Annex I – table E
Table E: MINIMUM RATES OF TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES FROM 1 JANUARY […] [insert the fourth year following the entry into force of this directive]
deleted
Amendment 11
Proposal for a directive
Annex I – paragraph 1 – point b
Directive 1999/62/EC
Annex I – table F – title
Table F: MINIMUM RATES OF TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES FROM 1 JANUARY […] [insert the fifth year following the entry into force of this directive]
Table F: MINIMUM RATES OF TAX TO BE APPLIED TO HEAVY GOODS VEHICLES FROM 1 JANUARY 2024

Draft Amending Budget No 2/2018 entering the surplus of the financial year 2017
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 2/2018 of the European Union for the financial year 2018: Entering the surplus of the financial year 2017 (09325/2018 – C8-0277/2018 – 2018/2057(BUD))
P8_TA(2018)0290A8-0209/2018

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 18(3) and 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),

–  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 2/2018, which the Commission adopted on 13 April 2018 (COM(2018)0227),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 2/2018 which the Council adopted on 18 June 2018 and forwarded to Parliament on 19 June 2018 (09325/2018 – C8‑0277/2018),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0209/2018),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 2/2018 aims to enter in the 2018 budget the surplus from the 2017 financial year, amounting to EUR 555,5 million;

B.  whereas the main components of that surplus are a positive outturn on income of EUR 338,6 million, an under-spending in expenditure of EUR 383,4 million, and a positive balance of exchange rate differences amounting to EUR 166,4 million;

C.  whereas on the income side, the largest difference stems from a larger than expected outturn on default interest and fines (EUR 342,6 million);

D.  whereas on the expenditure side, under-implementation in payments by the Commission reached EUR 201,5 million for 2017 (of which EUR 99,3 million is from the Emergency Aid Reserve) and EUR 53,5 million for 2016 carryovers, and under-implementation by other institutions reached EUR 82,6 million for 2017 and EUR 45,7 million for 2016 carryovers;

1.  Takes note of Draft amending budget No 2/2018 as submitted by the Commission, which is devoted solely to the budgeting of the 2017 surplus, for an amount of EUR 555,5 million, in accordance with Article 18 of the Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012, and of the Council´s position thereon;

2.  Recalls that the low under-implementation in payments at the end of 2017 was only made possible by the adoption of Amending budget 6/2017, which reduced payment appropriations by EUR 7 719,7 million due to heavy implementation delays, particularly in sub-heading 1b “Economic, social and territorial cohesion”; recalls furthermore that all amending budgets in 2017, even when they substantially increased commitment appropriations (e.g. EUR 1 166,8 million under the EU Solidarity Fund for Italy, EUR 500 million for the Youth Employment Initiative, EUR 275 million for the European Fund for Sustainable Development), were fully financed by redeployments from unused payment appropriations; regrets that implementation delays and inaccurate forecasts by the Member States seem to be continuing in 2018;

3.  Notes, once again, the relatively high level of competition fines in 2017, totalling EUR 3 273 million; considers that, in addition to any surplus resulting from under-implementation, it should be possible for any revenue resulting from fines or linked to late payments to be reused in the Union budget without a corresponding decrease in GNI contributions; recalls its proposal for a special reserve to be established in the Union budget, which will be progressively filled up by all types of unforeseen other revenue and duly carried over in order to provide additional spending possibilities when the need arises;

4.  Furthermore, believes that, given the urgent need to provide a quick response to the migration challenge and taking into account the delays in the extension of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, the 2017 surplus, amounting to EUR 555,5 million, could provide an excellent solution to finance the Union contribution to this instrument for 2018 without pushing the Union general budget to its limits;

5.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 2/2018;

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

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the other institutions and bodies concerned 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.


Draft amending budget No 3/2018: extension of the Facility for refugees in Turkey
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 3/2018 of the European Union for the financial year 2018, Section III - Commission: Extension of the Facility for refugees in Turkey (09713/2018 – C8-0302/2018 – 2018/2072(BUD))
P8_TA(2018)0291A8-0246/2018

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 and in particular Articles 18(3) and 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 3/2018, which the Commission adopted on 23 May 2018 (COM(2018)0310),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 3/2018 which the Council adopted on 22 June 2018 and forwarded to Parliament on 25 June 2018 (09713/2018 – C8‑0302/2018),

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0246/2018),

A.  whereas the Commission amended on 14 March 2018 its decision on the Facility for Refugees (FRT) in Turkey in order to allocate an additional EUR 3 billion (a ‘second tranche’) to the FRT, in line with the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016;

B.  whereas Draft amending budget No 3/2018 aims to add EUR 500 million in commitment appropriations to the 2018 Union budget as the 2018 Union contribution to the second tranche, in addition to the EUR 50 million financed from the existing Humanitarian Aid budgetary envelope in 2018;

C.  whereas the Commission proposes to use the Global Margin for Commitments, in accordance with Article 14 of the MFF Regulation, to finance EUR 243,8 million which cannot be covered solely by the unallocated margin under Heading 4, under which it is proposed to contribute EUR 256,2 million ;

D.  whereas the Commission has proposed to fund a further EUR 1,45 billion under the 2019 draft budget as the Union budget contribution to the FRT;

E.  whereas Parliament has consistently stressed its support for the continuation of the FRT while emphasising that, as one of the two arms of the budgetary authority, it must be fully associated with the decision-making process relating to the extension of the FRT, inter alia to avoid the repetition of the procedure of its setting-up; whereas no negotiations on the financing of the second tranche of the FRT have so far taken place between Parliament and the Council; whereas it would have been advisable that the discussions on the financing of the second tranche take place within the conciliation on the 2018 Union budget;

1.  Takes note of Draft amending budget No 3/2018 as submitted by the Commission, which is devoted solely to the financing of the 2018 Union budget contribution to the FRT, for an amount of EUR 500 million in commitment appropriations, and of the Council´s position thereon;

2.  Strongly deplores the discrepancy between the absence of Parliament’s involvement in the adoption of the decisions on the setting-up and on the prolongation of the FRT on the one hand, and its role as budgetary authority in the financing of the FRT from the Union budget on the other hand;

3.  Regrets that the Commission did not include the 2018 financing of the FRT in its 2018 draft budget at any stage of the 2018 budgetary procedure; believes that such inclusion would have been an opportunity for the two arms of the budgetary authority to discuss the financing of the whole second tranche of the FRT, as the positions of Parliament and of the Council diverge on the scale of the Union budget contribution;

4.  Insists that the Commission reinforces the monitoring of the use of FRT and that it reports regularly and in adequate detail to the budgetary authority on the compatibility of the actions financed with the underlying legal basis in general and the types of action listed, in particular, in Article 3(2) of Commission Decision establishing the FRT;

5.  Notes that the purpose of Draft amending budget No 3/2018 is primarily to allow for the schooling of refugee children in Turkey to continue seamlessly;

6.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 3/2018;

7.  Underlines that this decision is without prejudice to its position on the remaining part of the financing of the second tranche of the FRT; stresses that, irrespective of the Council’s deliberations on the prolongation of the FRT, Parliament will fully retain its prerogatives through the 2019 budgetary procedure;

8.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 3/2018 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the other institutions and bodies concerned 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.


Towards an EU external strategy against early and forced marriages
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 Towards an EU external strategy against early and forced marriages – next steps (2017/2275(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0292A8-0187/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 October 2017 on ending child marriage(1),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and, in particular, Article 16 thereof, and all other UN treaties and instruments concerning human rights,

–  having regard to Article 23 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to Article 10(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989, and its four fundamental principles of non-discrimination (Article 2), the best interests of the child (Article 3), survival, development and protection (Article 6) and participation (Article 12), and having regard to its resolution of 27 November 2014 on the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child(2),

–  having regard to Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages,

–  having regard to the UN General Assembly resolutions of 18 December 2014 and 19 December 2016 on child, early and forced marriage,

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution 29/8 of 2 July 2015 on Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage, its resolution 24/23 of 9 October 2013 on Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage: challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps and its resolution 35/16 of 22 June 2017 on Child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian settings,

–  having regard to the position adopted by the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in June 2015 on child marriage, in Johannesburg (South Africa),

–  having regard to the Joint General Comment of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) on Ending Child Marriage,

–  having regard to Articles 32, 37, and 59(4) of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention),

–  having regard to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Report of 2012 entitled ‘Marrying Too Young – End Child Marriage’,

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

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and, in particular, Article 9 thereof,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 October 2015 on the Gender Action Plan 2016-2020,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 3 April 2017 on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child,

–  having regard to the fundamental principles laid down in the 2016 European External Action Service communication on a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy,

–  having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, adopted by the Council on 25 June 2012(3); having regard to the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019, adopted by the Council on 20 July 2015(4); having regard to the joint staff working document of the Commission and of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 27 June 2017 entitled ‘EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019): Mid-Term Review – June 2017’ (SWD(2017)0254),

–  having regard to the revised EU guidelines for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child of 6 March 2017 entitled ‘Leave No Child Behind’,

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Development of 7 June 2017, which underscores the EU’s commitment to mainstreaming human rights and gender equality in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0187/2018),

A.  whereas child, early and forced marriages are a serious violation of human rights and, in particular, women’s rights, including the rights to equality, autonomy and bodily integrity, access to education and freedom from exploitation and discrimination, and are a problem that exists not only in third countries, but might also occur in some Member States; whereas eliminating these practices is one of the priorities for the EU’s external action in the field of promoting women’s rights and human rights; whereas various international charters and laws prohibit the marriage of minors such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols; whereas child, early and forced marriages have an extremely negative impact on the physical and mental health and personal development of the individuals concerned and on the children born from the marriages, and, as a result, on society as a whole; whereas child marriage is a form of forced marriage since children inherently lack the ability to give their full, free and informed consent to their marriage or its timing; whereas children represent part of a highly vulnerable group;

B.  whereas the EU is committed to promoting the rights of the child, and whereas child, early, and forced marriages are a violation of these rights; whereas the EU is committed to comprehensively protecting and promoting the rights of a child in its external policy;

C.  whereas no marriage shall be legally entered into without the full and free consent of both parties, and by any person under a minimum age for marriage;

D.  whereas child marriage is a global problem which cuts across countries, cultures and religions; whereas child brides can be found in all regions of the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, from Asia to Europe and from Africa to North America; whereas child marriage also affects boys, but to a much lesser extent than girls;

E.  whereas, to date, more than 750 million women have married before the age of 18, of whom 250 million were married before the age of 15; whereas there are currently around 40 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who are married or cohabiting; whereas, every year, some 15 million more get married before the age of 18, of whom 4 million get married before the age of 15; whereas 156 million boys have also married before the age of 18, of whom 25 million were married before the age of 15; whereas child, early and forced marriages are more frequent in poor, underdeveloped regions; whereas the number of child, early and forced marriages is increasing as the global population grows; whereas a recent UNICEF report estimates that, in 2050, around 1,2 billion girls will have married before the age of 18; whereas nine out of 10 countries with the highest child marriage rates are classified as fragile states;

F.  whereas the root causes of child marriage are, in general, poverty, lack of education, deep-rooted gender inequalities and stereotypes, the perception that marriage will provide ‘protection’, family honour and the lack of effective protection of the rights of boys and girls as well as harmful practices, perceptions, customs, and discriminatory norms; whereas these factors are often exacerbated by limited access to quality education and job opportunities and are reinforced by certain entrenched social standards of child, early and forced marriages;

G.  whereas child, early and forced marriages are linked to a high risk of early and unwanted pregnancies, high rates of maternal and child mortality, lower use of family planning and unwanted pregnancies with increased health risks, inadequate or non-existent access to information about sexual and reproductive health services and usually signal the end of a girl’s education; whereas some countries even prohibit pregnant girls and young mothers from returning to the classroom; whereas child marriage can also lead to forced labour, slavery, and prostitution;

H.  whereas, although the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasises the importance of measures that encourage regular school attendance, many girls are not in education due to a number of factors, for example because schools are inaccessible or expensive; whereas child, early and forced marriages have a disproportionate devastating impact and lifelong consequences for their victims and very often deprive the persons concerned of the possibility of continuing their studies as girls tend to drop out of school during the preparatory time before a marriage or shortly afterwards; whereas education, including sex education, is an effective way of preventing child, early and forced marriages because access to education and training contributes to empowerment, employment opportunities and promotes freedom of choice, the right to self-determination and active participation in society enabling individuals to free themselves from any form of control adversely affecting their rights without which the economic, legal, health and social situation of women and girls and the development of society as a whole continues to be hampered;

I.  whereas, every year, 17 million children have a child, forcing them to take on adult responsibilities and endangering their health, education and economic prospects; whereas child, early and forced marriages expose girls to early childbearing involving considerable risks and difficulties during pregnancy and childbirth, particularly owing to highly inadequate or non-existent access to medical support, including high-quality health centres, frequently resulting in maternal mortality and morbidity; whereas there is an increased risk of contracting transmitted infections including HIV; whereas complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in girls aged 15 to19 in low- and middle-income countries; whereas the mortality rate of babies born to adolescent mothers is around 50 % higher and these babies have a higher risk of physical and cognitive development problems; whereas the experience of frequent and early pregnancies may also cause a range of long-term health complications, and even death;

J.  whereas child, early and forced marriages are a violation of the rights of the child and a form of violence against girls and boys, and whereas, as such, states have an obligation to investigate allegations, prosecute perpetrators and provide redress to the victims, who are primarily women and girls; whereas these marriages must be condemned and cannot be justified on any cultural or religious grounds; whereas child, early and forced marriages increase the risk of gender-based violence, and are often at the origin of domestic and intimate partner violence and sexual, physical, psychological, emotional and financial abuse and other practices harmful to girls and women, such as female genital mutilation and so-called honour crimes, as well as increasing the risk of girls and women being exposed to discrimination and gender-based violence during their lives;

K.  whereas the number of child, early and forced marriages increases significantly in situations of instability, armed conflict and natural and humanitarian disasters, during which medical and psychological care or access to education as well as opportunities to make a livelihood are often lacking and social networks and routines are disrupted; whereas during the recent migration crises, some parents, seeking to protect their children, especially daughters, from sexual aggression, or because they are regarded as a financial burden on their families, feel they have no choice but to have them marry before the age of 18 in the belief that it could provide a route out of poverty;

L.  whereas the Istanbul Convention classifies forced marriage as a form of violence against women, and calls for the acts of forcing a child to enter into a marriage and of luring a child abroad with the purpose of forcing her or him to enter into a marriage to be criminalised; whereas the lack of access by victims to legal, medical, and social support can exacerbate the issue; whereas 11 EU Member States have yet to ratify the convention;

M.  whereas the nature of child, early or forced marriages means many cases often go unreported, with cases of abuse crossing international borders and cultural boundaries, and can amount to a form of human trafficking, leading to slavery, exploitation, and/or control;

N.  whereas in July 2014 the first Girl Summit, aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriages within a generation, took place in London;

O.  whereas preventing and responding to all forms of violence against girls and women, including child, early and forced marriages, is one of the targets of the EU Gender Action Plan 2016-2020;

P.  whereas child marriage will cost developing countries trillions of dollars by 2030(5);

Q.  whereas early and child marriages remain a taboo subject which needs to be addressed publicly so as to put an end to the daily suffering of the young and adolescent girls involved and the continuous violation of their human rights; whereas one way of doing so would be to support and disseminate the work of journalists, artists, photographers and activists addressing the issue of early marriages;

1.  Notes that some EU Member States allow marriage at 16 years with parental consent; calls on legislators, both in the EU Member States and in third countries, to set the minimum uniform age for marriage at 18 years and to adopt necessary administrative, legal and financial measures to ensure effective implementation of this requirement, for example by promoting the registration of marriages and births and by ensuring that girls have access to institutional support mechanisms including psycho-social counselling, protection mechanisms and opportunities for economic empowerment; reiterates that child, early and forced marriages should be regarded as a serious violation of human rights and an infringement of the fundamental rights of the children concerned, first and foremost of the right to freely express their consent and the right to their physical integrity and mental health, but also indirectly of the right to education and to the full enjoyment of civil and political rights; condemns child, early and forced marriages and considers that any infringement of legislation should be addressed in a proportionate and effective manner;

2.  Believes it is important to tackle the multiple causes of child, early and forced marriages, including harmful traditions, endemic poverty, conflicts, customs, consequences of natural disasters, stereotypes, a lack of regard for gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights, health and well-being, the lack of appropriate educational opportunities, weak legal and policy responses with special attention to children from disadvantaged communities; calls, in that regard, for the EU and its Member States to work together with the relevant UN bodies and other partners to draw attention to the issue of child, early and forced marriage; calls for the EU and Member States to meet the objectives of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to combat harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation, more effectively and to hold those responsible to account; supports increased funding from the EU and its Member States via development aid mechanisms which promote gender equality and education, in order to improve access to education for girls and women and strengthen opportunities for them to participate in community development and in economic and political leadership, with a view to addressing the causes of child, early and forced marriages;

3.  Recognises that a statutory ban on child, early and forced marriages by itself would not guarantee an end to these practices; calls for the EU and its Member States to better coordinate and strengthen the enforcement of international treaties, legislation and programmes, as well as via diplomatic relations with governments and organisations in third countries, in order to address issues related to child, early and forced marriages; calls for every effort to be made to enforce statutory bans and complement them with a broader set of laws and policies; recognises that this requires the adoption and implementation of comprehensive and holistic policies, strategies and programmes, including the repeal of discriminatory legal provisions concerning marriage and the adoption of affirmative measures to empower girl children;

4.  Notes that gender inequality, the lack of respect for girls and women in general and adherence to cultural and social traditions which perpetuate discrimination against girls and women are among the biggest obstacles to combating child, early and forced marriages; recognises, furthermore, the link between child, early and forced marriages and honour-based violence and calls for such crimes to be properly investigated and for the prosecution of the accused; notes, in addition, that boys and young men can also be the victims of such violence; calls for these practices to be addressed in all of the EU’s relevant programming and in the EU’s political dialogues with partner countries in order to provide mechanisms to tackle them, as well as through education and awareness-raising efforts in partner countries;

5.  Points out that in order to comprehensively tackle child, early and forced marriages, the European Union, as a major actor in global development and human rights, must play a leading role in cooperation with regional organisations and local communities; calls on the EU and the Member States to work with law enforcement authorities and judicial systems in third countries, and to provide training and technical assistance to help with the adoption and enforcement of the legislation prohibiting child, early and forced marriages and eliminating laws, social standards and cultural traditions which act as a brake on the rights and freedom of young girls and women; calls on Member States to contribute to initiatives such as the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls;

6.  Calls, therefore, on the Member States which have not already done so to include a complete ban on child, early and forced marriages in their domestic legislation, to enforce penal law and to ratify the Istanbul Convention; calls on Member States to cooperate with civil society in order to coordinate their actions on the issue; stresses the importance of adequate and long‑term support, for shelters for women and refugees and unaccompanied and displaced children, so that no-one is denied protection due to lack of resources; calls on all Member States to enforce the minimum age for marriage set by legislation and to monitor the situation, by collecting gender disaggregated data and evidence on related factors, in order to be able to better assess the magnitude of the problem; calls on the Commission to set up a European database, including information from third countries, to monitor forced marriage;

7.  Calls on the European Union, in the context of its foreign and development cooperation policies, to offer a strategic pact to its partners, and, to that end, to require that:

   (a) all its partner countries prohibit child, early and forced marriages, eliminating any legal loopholes and that they enforce legislation in line with international human rights standards, including the removal of any provisions that could allow, justify or give rise to child, early or forced marriages, including those that enable the perpetrators of rape, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, abduction, people trafficking or modern forms of slavery to escape prosecution and punishment if they marry their victims, specifically by repealing or amending those laws;
   (b) this prohibition is respected and enforced in practice at all levels once the law has entered into force, and that comprehensive and holistic strategies and programmes that include measurable progressive targets are put in place to prevent and eradicate child, early and forced marriages, and that they be adequately funded and evaluated, notably through ensuring access to justice and accountability mechanisms and remedies;
   (c) partner governments show sustained leadership and political will to end child marriage and develop comprehensive legal frameworks and action plans with clear milestones and timelines integrating child marriage prevention measures across different sectors, and calling for political, economic, social, cultural and civil environments that protect and empower women and girls and support gender equality;
   (d) the resources needed to achieve this objective are mobilised, taking care to open this cooperation up to all institutional actors such as the judiciary, educational and health professionals, law enforcement, and community and religious leaders as well as civil society in the area of tackling child, early and forced marriages;
   (e) the level of public development aid allocation to government authorities is made dependent on the recipient country’s commitment to complying, in particular, with the requirements on human rights, including in the fight against child, early and forced marriages;
   (f) the UNFPA and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) programme is implemented in triangular cooperation involving these organisations, the European Union, its Member States and their civil society organisations working in this field and the partner countries in combating child, early and forced marriages through the implementation of budgeted national action plans, prioritising programmes and methods likely to go beyond so-called cultural, religious or tribal practices that, in reality, constitute the worst violations of the rights of children and the dignity of children; calls for this cooperation also to address the associated issues of honour-based violence;
   (g) the implementation of these programmes build on the relevant conventions and texts, as well as the specific goals and targets adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution of 25 September 2015 in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 3 (‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’), Goal 4 (‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’), Goal 16 (‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’), especially ‘end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children’;
   (h) the implementation of these programmes should also build on Goal 5 of the SDGs (‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’), including access to family planning and the full range of public and universal sexual and reproductive health rights, in particular modern contraception and safe and legal abortion for girls; calls on the Commission and Member States, in this context, to support the SheDecides movement and pledge additional funding to international aid for sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortions and information about abortions, thereby countering the Global Gag Rule which was reinstated by the United States government in early 2017;
   (i) issues relating to child, early, and forced marriages are raised in the ongoing dialogue between EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis and third countries; encourages the Commission and the Member States to integrate a gender perspective into peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction programmes, to develop economic livelihood and education programmes for girls and women who are the victims of child, early and forced marriages, and to facilitate their access to health and reproductive services in conflict-affected areas;

8.  Considers it paramount to create space for respectful dialogue with community leaders and to raise awareness among the public in general and among those at risk in particular, on the basis of education and awareness-raising campaigns and through social networks and new media as part of the fight against child, early and forced marriage; calls, therefore, for the development of cross-cutting governmental, legal, societal, and diplomatic actions aimed at preventing such practices; believes it is crucial to engage within local communities with key stakeholders such as male and female teenage students, teachers, parents and religious and community leaders through community‑based programmes or specific awareness-raising programmes to draw attention to the negative impact of child marriage on children, families and communities, about the existing law on child marriage and gender inequality and how to access funding to address it;

9.  Considers that the empowerment of women and girls through education, social support and economic opportunities is a crucial tool to fight against these practices; recommends that the EU promote and protect equal rights for women and girls as regards access to education, placing special emphasis on free, high-quality primary and secondary education and integrating sexual and reproductive health education into schools’ curricula providing girls’ families with financial incentives and/or assistance for school enrolment and completion; stresses the need to guarantee refugee children full access to education and to promote their integration and inclusion in national education; recognises the need for support and protection for those who are at risk of child, early, or forced marriages, and those who are already in such a marriage in terms of education, psychological and social support, housing and other high-quality social services, as well as mental, sexual and reproductive health services and healthcare;

10.  Calls for the European Union to ensure that training is provided to government officials, including their diplomatic staff, social workers, religious and community leaders, to all law enforcement agencies, judicial systems of third countries, teachers and educators and other personnel in contact with potential victims, so that they are responsive to cases of child marriage and gender‑based violence, and better able to identify and support girls and boys exposed to child, forced and early marriages, domestic violence, the risk of sexual violence and any other practice which undermines human rights and dignity, and that they are able to take effective action to ensure that the rights and dignity of these individuals are respected;

11.  Calls for the European Union to ensure that training is provided to law enforcement agencies so that they are better able to uphold the rights of girls exposed to forced and early marriages, domestic violence, the risk of rape and any other practice which undermines human dignity;

12.  Calls on the Member States to guarantee migrant women and girls an autonomous residence permit which is not dependent on the status of their spouse or partner, in particular for victims of physical and psychological violence, including forced or arranged marriages, and to guarantee that all administrative measures are taken to protect them, including effective access to assistance and protection mechanisms;

13.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to consider supporting and strengthening protection measures in third countries, such as safe shelters, and access to legal, medical, and, where necessary, consular support, for victims of child, early, and forced marriages;

14.  Recognises that the European Union, which is committed to upholding human rights and fundamental values, including respect for human dignity, must be absolutely irreproachable at Member State level, and calls on the Commission to initiate a wide-ranging awareness-raising campaign and to dedicate a European year to the fight against child, early and forced marriages;

15.  Strongly supports the work of the Girls Not Brides global partnership in ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfil their potential;

16.  Welcomes the African Union’s ongoing campaign to end child marriage and the work of organisations such as the Royal Commonwealth Society to advocate increased action to end child marriage and tackle gender inequality;

17.  Stresses the urgent need to inform and educate men and boys, winning their support for measures to uphold human rights, including the rights of children and women;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0379.
(2) OJ C 289, 9.8.2016, p. 57.
(3) https://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/131181.pdf
(4) https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eu_action_plan_on_human_rights_and_democracy_en_2.pdf
(5) Wodon, Quentin T.; Male, Chata; Nayihouba, Kolobadia Ada; Onagoruwa, Adenike Opeoluwa; Savadogo, Aboudrahyme; Yedan, Ali; Edmeades, Jeff; Kes, Aslihan; John, Neetu; Murithi, Lydia; Steinhaus, Mara; Petroni, Suzanne, Economic Impacts of Child Marriage: Global Synthesis Report, Economic Impacts of Child Marriage, Washington, D.C., World Bank Group, 2017.


The definition of SMEs
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the definition of SMEs (2018/2545(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0293B8-0304/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 February 2011 entitled ‘Review of the “Small Business Act” for Europe’ (COM(2011)0078), and to Parliament’s resolution of 12 May 2011on that communication(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2012 on ‘Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): competitiveness and business opportunities’(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 on family businesses in Europe(4),

–  having regard to the judgment of the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 15 September 2016,

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

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the definition of SMEs (O-000050/2018 – B8‑0031/2018),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy,

–  having regard to Rules 128 and 123(2) to (8) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the 23 million SMEs in the EU, which make up around 99 % of all businesses, employ almost two thirds of the European working population and provide more than 90 million jobs while generating some EUR 3,9 trillion in added value; whereas they make a vital contribution to economic growth, social cohesion and the creation and maintenance of sustainable and high-quality jobs, and are key drivers in the context of the energy transition, the fight against climate change and EU competitiveness on green technology, as well as a major source of innovation in the EU;

B.  whereas 90 % of EU SMEs and 93 % of all EU companies in the non-financial business sector are micro firms, which contribute the largest share of value added and employment among SMEs as they employ approximately 30 % of the EU workforce, and thus need special attention;

C.  whereas, in comparison with larger firms and regardless of their organisational structure, SMEs are disproportionately affected by administrative burdens and financial obstacles that impede their competitiveness, exports, and job creation; whereas they benefit at EU, Member State, regional and local level from specific support, including financing opportunities and simplified procedures, but further efforts extending beyond the political pledges already given could be made to create a simpler SME-friendly environment;

D.  whereas the definition of SMEs (hereinafter ‘the SME definition’) is referred to in approximately 100 EU legal acts, primarily in the areas of competition policy, financial market legislation and structural, research and innovation funds, but also in labour, environmental, energy, consumer protection and social security legislation, such as in the REACH secondary legislation and the Energy Efficiency Directive;

E.  whereas a coherent legal environment with clear rules is advantageous for all businesses, and whereas a stringent SME definition is a tool that can mitigate market failures and problems inherent to competition between enterprises that differ in terms of size, volume of assets and business models;

F.  whereas the Commission regularly monitors the implementation of the EU SME definition; whereas evaluations have been carried out on a number of occasions (in 2006, 2009 and most recently 2012) and have concluded that there is no need for a major revision of the EU SME definition;

G.  whereas the cross-sectoral value chain for SMEs makes it possible to reduce institutional, technical and bureaucratic obstacles, and whereas effective support policies are needed for the creation of networks between businesses;

H.  whereas an SME definition has to contribute to facilitating quality job creation, improving working conditions and security, and limiting any abuses to the absolute minimum;

The SME definition

Commission efforts

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s initial impact assessment, and approves of the focus on enterprises that are in need of support and simple rules with a view to streamlining planning and legal certainty for SMEs; welcomes in this context the public consultation conducted by the Commission;

2.  Takes the view that, given the nature of this strategic instrument and the many differences between SMEs and Member States, the flexibility offered by the 2003 recommendation should be maintained; is convinced that the overall structure of the definition must be preserved and applied using the correct combination of the criteria already identified;

Re-evaluation of the SME definition

3.  Calls on the Commission to prevent larger players from attempting to create artificial corporate structures to take advantage of the SME definition, which would lead to a system in which the available support is wrongly and more widely distributed and hence not available to SMEs in need; emphasises that an adjustment of the SME definition should always work to the benefit of SMEs and ease their access to public support;

4.  Calls on the Commission to consider updating the SME definition while also taking account of the Commission’s economic forecasts regarding inflation and labour productivity, so as to obviate the need for any rapid further adjustment over the next few years; believes that any future adjustments to the SME definition should be made in a manner that ensures the long-term stability of the definition;

5.  Points out that the employee headcount has become a widely accepted criterion and should remain the main criterion; recognises that the headcount criterion has certain limitations in terms of accuracy for an EU-wide comparison, and believes therefore that turnover and balance sheet totals are also important criteria for the definition; highlights furthermore the importance of the proper acknowledgement of start-ups and of ‘micro enterprises’ and thus of the acronym MSME;

6.  Stresses that there is a need to clarify the terms ‘linked enterprise’ and ‘partner enterprise’ and the status of SMEs in mergers; regards it as imperative to simplify procedures, red tape and the applicable rules; calls on the Commission, in that connection, to simplify the applicable rules; takes the view that, if start-ups work together with joint ventures, enterprises linked with the joint ventures should not be taken into account when assessing the start-up’s SME status, provided that it is not an artificial construct and there are no further connections between the start-up and the linked enterprises;

7.  Calls on the Commission to support the aggregation of undertakings, particularly clusters and business networks, with the aim of promoting the rationalisation of costs and improvements to the exchange of knowledge and expertise, with particular reference to innovation relating to both products/services and processes;

Other points relating to the SME definition

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s start-up and scale-up initiative; views the promotion of entrepreneurship as important for economic growth in the EU; welcomes the two-year transitional period during which, for example, high-growth companies would retain SME status; calls for an evaluation of the need to extend the transitional period; calls on the Commission to continue work on assisting entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs on fundraising initiatives, including new ones such as crowdfunding;

9.  Takes the view that economic diplomacy instruments employed at EU level, such as the Mission for Growth, could be used to address economic challenges and exploit economic opportunities at global level more effectively; calls on the Commission to step up its efforts in that area under the EU industrial policy strategy, without creating duplicate structures; calls, in that connection, for an ‘Export potential in relation to enterprise size’ indicator to be developed in order to improve information and best-practice examples on opportunities for the internationalisation and international competitiveness of SMEs, and for additional support to be offered to SMEs with high export potential;

10.  Is concerned that, despite the considerable contribution they make to employment and growth by virtue of their productivity, MidCaps (enterprises that have outgrown the SME definition but still typically have medium-sized structures) do not receive appropriate attention from policy-makers; calls, therefore, on the Commission to consider the establishment of a separate definition for these companies so as to enable targeted measures for MidCaps while avoiding the risk of broadening the SME definition to an extent that would be detrimental to its original objectives;

11.  Notes that, in addition to SMEs, freelancers and large enterprises, MidCaps also contribute to employment and growth, especially by virtue of their productivity, and therefore deserve a fair level of attention in EU policies;

12.  Calls on the Commission, in addition to prioritising measures for EU SMEs, to look into launching an initiative aimed at funding that would cover collaborative research access, digitalisation strategies and export market development;

Reporting obligations, statistics, studies and impact assessments

13.  Believes that the future COSME, FP9 and Structural Funds programmes under the next MFF should continue to earmark sufficient amounts to support SMEs seeking to innovate and generate employment;

14.  Underlines the importance of maintaining a clear and common definition of SMEs in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union, as SMEs are defined in EU law and are often attributed a special status in the Union’s trading agreements;

15.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a comprehensive study into the possible impact of the SME definition on business development and on ‘lock-in effects’, i.e. when enterprises deliberately opt not to expand in order to avoid bureaucratic burdens and other obligations that arise from the loss of their SME status;

16.  Underlines that small local public service enterprises that meet the SME criteria fulfil important tasks for local communities, are deeply rooted in their local business environment and, inter alia, create the right preconditions for the growth of all other SMEs; notes that having public ownership does not necessarily imply financial or regulatory support by the public entity, thanks to national legislation, state aid laws or financially weak public entities; encourages the Commission, therefore, to conduct a study on the impacts of the definition on publicly owned enterprises which are financially independent, organised under private law or operate under competitive conditions with private companies;

17.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a feasibility study of sector-specific SME definitions in order to scrutinise the impact of such an approach on these sectors of the economy and the added value generated;

18.  Calls for the SME impact test which implements the ‘Think Small First’ principle to be made mandatory for all EU legislative proposals, beyond the Commission’s own undertakings; stresses that the result of this test should be clearly indicated in the impact assessment of all legislative proposals; calls on the Commission to give such an undertaking in the next Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making, and takes the view that an update of the Small Business Act for Europe could be considered;

Guidance for SMEs regarding the definition

19.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to provide guidance to enterprises on the procedures used to determine SME status and information about any changes concerning the SME definition or procedures, in a timely and optimal manner;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 124, 20.5.2003, p. 36.
(2) OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 102.
(3) OJ C 68 E, 7.3.2014, p. 40.
(4) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 57.


Negotiations on the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement
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European Parliament recommendation of 4 July 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 the negotiations on the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement (2017/2056(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0294A8-0185/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3 and 8 and to Title V, in particular Articles 21, 22 and 36, of the Treaty on European Union, as well as to Part Five of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the launch on 7 February 2017 of negotiations between the European Union and Azerbaijan on a new comprehensive agreement which ought to replace the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Azerbaijan, of the other part(1),

–  having regard to the Council’s adoption on 7 November 2016 of the negotiating directives for this agreement,

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan in the field of energy of 7 November 2006,

–  having regard to the main results of the 15th Cooperation Council meeting between the European Union and Azerbaijan of 9 February 2018,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 19 December 2017 on EU-Azerbaijan relations in the framework of the revised ENP (SWD(2017)0485),

–  having regard to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Bureau message to the Heads of State or Government of 30 October 2017,

–  having regard to its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the Eastern Partnership, in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2017 on the annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy(3),

–  having regard to the joint declarations of the Eastern Partnership summits, including that of 24 November 2017,

–  having regard to the Commission and EEAS publication of June 2016 on the ‘Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’, and in particular the key principles therein,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2017 on the case of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli(4), and to other resolutions on Azerbaijan, in particular those concerning the human rights situation and the rule of law,

–  having regard to the statement of 14 January 2018 of the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations on the sentencing of journalist Afgan Mukhtarli in Azerbaijan,

–  having regard to the resolution of 11 October 2017 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan,

–  having regard to the launch of infringement proceedings on 5 December 2017 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe due to the Azerbaijani authorities’ continued refusal to implement the Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan judgment from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR),

–  having regard to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) Needs Assessment Mission report of 2 March 2018 on Azerbaijan’s early presidential election,

–  having regard to Rules 108(4) and 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the position in the form of amendments of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0185/2018),

A.  whereas the Eastern Partnership (EaP) is based on a shared commitment between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the European Union to deepen their relations and adhere to international law and core values, including democracy, the rule of law, good governance, the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; whereas the new agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan should advance the interests of the Union in the region as well as promote its values;

B.  whereas Parliament favours a deepening of relations with all Eastern Partnership members in so far as they respect these core values; whereas, within the EaP policy, the attractive longer-term ‘EaP+’ model proposed by Parliament in its resolution of 15 November 2017 on the Eastern Partnership, which could eventually lead to them joining the customs, energy and digital unions and the Schengen area, among others, should also be open to countries that do not have an association agreement with the EU – such as Azerbaijan – once they are ready for such enhanced commitments and have made significant progress towards implementing mutually agreed reforms;

C.  whereas EU-Azerbaijan relations are currently regulated by the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement; whereas the EU is Azerbaijan's first trading partner and its biggest export and import market, representing 48,6 % of Azerbaijan’s total trade and constituting its largest source of foreign direct investment; whereas Azerbaijan is a strategic energy partner for the EU, allowing for a diversification of the EU’s energy sources; whereas, however, Azerbaijan’s economy relies on oil and gas for around 90 % of its exports, thus making it vulnerable to external shocks and fluctuations in global oil prices; whereas Azerbaijan is not yet a member of the WTO, giving rise to serious tariff and non-tariff barriers hampering trade and business relations with the EU;

D.  whereas the EU and Azerbaijan underlined in the Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit of 24 November 2017 that ‘in a differentiated way, the EU will continue to jointly discuss with each of the partner countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, attractive and realistic options to strengthen mutual trade and encourage investment to reflect common interests, the reformed investment policy as regards investment protection, as well as international trade rules and trade-related international standards, including in the area of intellectual property, and contribute to the modernisation and diversification of economies’;

E.  whereas the new agreement is expected to have a positive impact on Azerbaijan in terms of promoting democratic standards, growth and economic development; whereas such prospects are particularly important for Azerbaijan's young people in terms of fostering a new generation of educated Azerbaijani citizens, with a view to upholding our core values and modernising the country; whereas a fully functioning civil society is a vital precondition for securing economic diversification;

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:

General principles, core values and commitment to conflict resolution

Political dialogue and regional cooperation

The rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

Trade and economic cooperation

Energy and other areas of cooperation

Institutional provisions

   (a) to ensure that the deepening of relations between the EU and Azerbaijan is conditional on it upholding and respecting the core values and principles of democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and association, the rights of minorities, and gender equality in the interest of both parties and in particular their citizens;
   (b) to remind the Azerbaijani authorities of Parliament’s position as expressed in its recommendation of 15 November 2017 on the Eastern Partnership, which calls for Azerbaijan to comply with its international commitments and which unambiguously states that no comprehensive agreement will be ratified with a country that does not respect the EU’s fundamental values and rights, in particular with regard to the failure to implement decisions by the ECtHR and with respect to harassment, intimidation and persecution of human rights defenders, NGOs, opposition members, lawyers, journalists and environmental activists; to ensure that all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Azerbaijan are released – as was announced by its authorities – before any new EU-Azerbaijan agreement; to ensure that a dedicated suspension mechanism with clear provisions on respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms is included in the new agreement;
   (c) to remind the Azerbaijani authorities of Parliament’s position expressed in the same recommendation according to which the ratification of new agreements between the EU and each of the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be made conditional on meaningful commitments to and substantial progress towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict such as maintaining the ceasefire and supporting the implementation of the OSCE 2009 Basic Principles and the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs; to reiterate the need to involve both Armenian and Azerbaijani civil society in any negotiation process;
   (d) to ensure that the future agreement with Azerbaijan is ambitious, comprehensive and forward-looking, compatible with the aspirations of both the EU and Azerbaijan on the basis of shared values and interests, and aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and that it will deliver tangible and concrete benefits to both sides, not only for large companies, but also taking into account the specific characteristics of SMEs, and for the citizens of the EU and of Azerbaijan;
   (e) to ensure speedy and steady progress in the negotiations, with the objective of signing this new agreement before the next Eastern Partnership summit in 2019, in so far as the abovementioned conditions are fulfilled;
   (f) to actively and clearly communicate about the aims and conditionality of the new agreement and the ongoing negotiation process in order to improve transparency and public awareness, both in Azerbaijan and in the EU, and about the expected opportunities and benefits that would arise from its conclusion, thereby countering all disinformation campaigns;
   (g) to provide for regular and in-depth political dialogue in order to encourage strong reforms aimed at bolstering institutions and strengthening the separation of powers between them, in order to make them more democratic and independent, to uphold human rights and media freedom and to develop a regulatory environment in which civil society can operate without undue interference, including in the reform process;
   (h) to establish specific measures aimed at implementing the recommendations by the OSCE/ODHIR and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission with a view to ensuring progress towards inclusive, competitive and transparent elections and referenda that guarantee a free and fair expression of Azerbaijani citizens’ views and aspirations;
   (i) to fully support the preliminary conclusions by the OSCE and Council of Europe’s election observation mission as regards the early presidential elections on 11 April 2018 according to which the ‘election lacked genuine competition’ due to the ‘restrictive political environment’ ‘a legal framework that curtails fundamental rights and freedoms’, ‘an absence of pluralism, including in the media’, ‘widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, lack of transparency and numerous serious irregularities, such as ballot box stuffing’;
   (j) to aim for provisions that enhance cooperation in promoting peace and international justice, and in particular to insist that Azerbaijan adhere to its international obligations, including as a member of the Council of Europe, that it abide by the decisions of the ECtHR; to urge Azerbaijan to sign and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC); to also seek strong cooperation measures in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as in tackling illicit trade in small arms and light weapons;
   (k) to provide for closer cooperation in foreign, defence and security matters so as to ensure as much convergence as possible, in particular as regards responses to global threats and challenges, including terrorism, conflict prevention, crisis management and regional cooperation, while also taking into account Azerbaijan's diversified foreign policy; to support the signing of a Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) between the EU and Azerbaijan to provide a legal and political basis for cooperation in common security and defence policy (CSDP) missions and operations;
   (l) to ensure that high priority is given to dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia and to enhanced EU participation in peacefully solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in line with the OSCE 2009 Basic Principles, and notably with the support of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, promoting all initiatives conducive to peace-building such as a observance of the ceasefire by all sides, dialogue at all levels, including high-level talks, curbing hate speech, genuine confidence-building measures, a substantial increase in OSCE international observers and deeper exchanges between Armenian and Azerbaijani civil society, including between religious and cultural figures, in order to prepare Armenian and Azerbaijani societies for peaceful co-existence; to express deep concern at the military build-up and the disproportionate defence-spending in the region;
   (m) to put in place specific provisions to support the authorities’ important efforts in aiding the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons, and to support civilians living in conflict areas within Azerbaijan’s internationally recognised borders; to insist that the rights of all persons living within the border of Azerbaijan, whether temporarily or permanently, are respected; to contribute in particular to upholding their right to return to their homes and property and to be awarded compensation in line with the rulings of the ECtHR by all parties to the conflict;
   (n) to provide support for reform of the judiciary aimed at ensuring its impartiality and independence from the executive and at strengthening the rule of law; in particular, to ensure the independence of legal professionals by removing any undue interference in the work of lawyers, to allow independent practising lawyers to represent clients under the notarised power of attorney and to put an end to the Azerbaijani Bar’s arbitrary powers to disbar lawyers and deny admissions of new members;
   (o) to also provide support to develop a strong framework for the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and gender equality; to underline the importance of representation of women at all levels of government, including their equal, full and active participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and to urge Azerbaijan to sign the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence;
   (p) to put in place specific provisions to support Azerbaijan in fighting economic crime, including corruption, money laundering and tax evasion; to promote greater transparency with respect to the beneficial owners of companies and trusts, as well as to large companies’ financial activities in terms of profits realised and tax paid; to support investigations into laundering schemes, in particular the ‘Laundromat affair’ and to set up specific supervision and control mechanisms, such as restricted access to the European banking system for those involved in money laundering and fraud schemes;
   (q) to allow for increased cooperation and to support Azerbaijan in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime, and in the prevention of radicalisation and cross-border crime; to work together, in particular, in combating recruitment drives by terrorist organisations;
   (r) to include provisions on the implementation of penal law in Azerbaijan related to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and aimed at ending political prosecutions and abductions, arbitrary travel bans, the targeting of political dissidents, including through defamation, and of independent journalists, human rights defenders, NGO representatives and the most vulnerable members of society, such as members of some minority groups, including the LGBTQI community; to ensure that specific references to these groups are included in the agreement; to reiterate that these practices are unacceptable for any potential partner country of the EU; to set up a reinforced forum for an effective and result-oriented human rights dialogue between the EU and Azerbaijan in consultation with the main international and genuinely independent Azerbaijani NGOs and for which progress should be assessed annually against concrete benchmarks;
   (s) to insist on the adoption of relevant amendments in the law to enable civil society’s legitimate activities, the removal of undue restrictions to their registration requirements, operations and access to registration for foreign funding and grants, and to put an end to undue criminal investigations, unnecessary reporting to various government agencies, office raids, freezing of accounts, travel bans and persecution of their leaders;
   (t) to ensure, before the conclusion of the negotiations, that Azerbaijan releases its political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including, among the most emblematic cases, Ilgar Mammadov, Afgan Mukhtarli, Mehman Huseynov, Ilkin Rustamzada, Seymur Haziyev, Rashad Ramazanov, Elchin Ismayilli, Giyas Ibrahimov, Beyram Mammadov, Asif Yusifli and Fuad Gahramanli, that it lifts their travel bans once released, including those of journalist Khadija Ismayilova and lawyer Intigam Aliyev, and that it fully implements the decisions of the ECtHR, notably as regards Ilgar Mammadov; to secure the release and improvement of the situation of these individuals, including their reinstatement, and that of their families via the judiciary and the application of the rule of law and to protect Azerbaijani dissidents in the EU; to condemn the fact that, contrary to the announcements of the Azerbaijani authorities, none of the political prisoners listed above were released, and further individuals were detained for peacefully exercising their constitutional rights, including members of the opposition parties and human rights lawyer Emin Aslan; to demand the immediate release of human rights lawyer Emin Aslan from his administrative detention and that he be fully cleared of the dubious charges of ‘disobedience towards the police’; to ensure that Azerbaijan ends the use of administrative detentions to silence government critics;
   (u) to ensure that Azerbaijan respects the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, that it refrains from restricting this right in ways that are not compatible with its obligations under international law, including the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and that it promptly and effectively investigates all cases of excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest and wrongful detention of peaceful protesters, including in connection with the sanctioned opposition rallies in September 2017 and March 2018, and brings the perpetrators to justice;
   (v) to seek, before the conclusion of the negotiations, a commitment on the part of the Azerbaijani authorities to apply the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and that they will genuinely investigate all cases of mistreatment of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, notably in the case of the late Mehman Galandarov, who died in custody in Azerbaijan, and of LGBTQI community members, who were harassed and arrested en masse in September 2017;
   (w) to stress the EU’s concern over the current state of press freedom in Azerbaijan, which ranks 163 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index; to underline the importance of a free and independent media, both off- and online, and to ensure strengthened EU support, both political and financial, for free and pluralistic media in Azerbaijan, with editorial independence from dominant political and oligarchic groups and in line with EU standards; to ask the authorities to unblock access to the websites of Azadliq, and of three news outlets that have to operate from abroad: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Azerbaijan Service, Meydan TV and Azerbaycan Saati;
   (x) to include fair and ambitious trade and investment provisions, in so far as is compatible with Azerbaijan’s non-WTO-member status, that are fully in line with and do not undermine EU standards, notably sanitary, phytosanitary, environmental, labour, social, gender balance and non-discrimination standards, and that ensure the recognition and protection of intellectual property rights, including geographical indications, notably for wines and spirits; to support Azerbaijan in its accession process to the WTO;
   (y) to put in place robust measures that would ensure rapid progress towards improving the business and investment climate in Azerbaijan, in particular as regards taxation and the management of public finances and public procurement – with reference to the rules set out in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement – in order to allow for more transparency, better governance and accountability, equal access and fair competition;
   (z) to allow for increased cooperation in the energy sector in line with the EU’s and Azerbaijan’s strategic energy partnership and Azerbaijan's track record as a reliable energy supplier, while nevertheless taking into account the suspension and subsequent withdrawal of Azerbaijan from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in March 2017 due to ‘the changes in NGO legislature in Azerbaijan’ which did not comply with the group’s civil society requirements; to push for Azerbaijan to realign itself with these requirements in order to resume its activities in the EITI;
   (aa) to also support the diversification of Azerbaijan’s energy mix, promoting non-carbon energy sources and preparing for the post-carbon age by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the use of renewables, also in the interest of energy security; to support the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor after addressing the important concerns related to climate change and to the impact on local communities in the decision by the European Investment Bank on the funding of the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP);
   (ab) to put in place ambitious provisions on environmental protection and climate change reduction as part of the new agreement, in line with the Union’s climate change agenda and the commitments of both parties to the Paris agreement, including through the mainstreaming of these policies as part of other sector policies;
   (ac) to provide new prospects for enhanced cooperation in non-energy-related areas, in particular in the fields of education, health, transport, connectivity and tourism, in order to diversify the Azerbaijani economy, boost job creation, modernise the industrial and service sectors, and stimulate sustainable development in business and research; to allow for more people-to-people exchanges, both at European level and in regional exchanges with Armenian NGOs;
   (ad) to enhance cooperation with regard to youth and student exchanges by strengthening existing and already successful programmes such as the ‘Young European Neighbours’ network and by developing new scholarship programmes and training courses, as well as facilitating participation in programmes in the field of higher education, in particular the ERASMUS+ programme, which will promote the development of skills, including language skills, and enable Azerbaijani citizens to become acquainted with the EU and its values;
   (ae) to also promote economic growth via transport and connectivity; to extend the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) to Azerbaijan;
   (af) in line with the Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit of 2017, to ‘consider in due course, if conditions allow, the opening of a Visa Liberalisation Dialogue with Armenia and Azerbaijan respectively, provided that conditions for a well-managed and secure mobility are in place, including the effective implementation of Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements between the Parties’;
   (ag) to ensure that the agreement has a robust parliamentary dimension, strengthening the current provisions and mechanisms of cooperation to enable increased input into and scrutiny of its implementation, notably through the establishment of an upgraded interparliamentary structure to allow for regular and constructive dialogue between the European Parliament and the parliament of Azerbaijan on all aspects of our relations, including the implementation of agreements;
   (ah) to conduct the negotiations as transparently as possible; to inform Parliament at all stages of the negotiations in line with Article 218(10) TFEU, according to which the ‘European Parliament shall be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure’; to also provide Parliament with the negotiating texts and minutes of each negotiating round; to remind the Council that, due to the infringement of Article 218(10) TFEU in the past, the Court of Justice of the European Union has already annulled Council decisions on the signing and conclusion of several agreements; to bear in mind that Parliament's consent on new agreements may also be withheld in the future, until the Council fulfils its legal obligations;
   (ai) to ensure that the new agreement is not the subject of provisional application until after Parliament has given its consent; to emphasise that Parliament's consent on new agreements and other future agreements may be withheld should this be ignored;

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 to the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

(1) OJ L 246, 17.9.1999, p. 3.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0440.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0493.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0267.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Jordan Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Jordanian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)07982018/2060(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0295A8-0232/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Jordanian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0798),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0232/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol’s mission;

E.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

F.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past, such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America;

G.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Jordanian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

4.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded;

5.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

6.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan;

7.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

8.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

9.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Jordanian authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

10.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

11.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

12.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

13.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

14.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

15.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

16.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to other authorities in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

17.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

18.  Considers that the international agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

19.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

20.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

21.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

22.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Turkey Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the exchange of personal data between the Euro pean Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Turkish competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)07992018/2061(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0296A8-0233/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Turkish competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0799),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union , in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0233/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas in recent years several violations of human rights have been exposed in the Republic of Turkey; whereas, in particular, dissent has been ruthlessly suppressed, with journalists, political activists and human rights defenders among those targeted; whereas instances of torture have continued to be reported, including after the coup attempt of July 2016; whereas any effective investigation into human rights violations by state officials has been prevented by pervasive impunity, and whereas abuse by armed groups has continued;

E.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol's mission;

F.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

G.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past; such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States of America;

H.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with the Republic of Turkey in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Turkish competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Considers that there are major concerns about respect for fundamental rights in the Republic of Turkey, in particular as regards the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, and the right not to be subject to torture or inhumane treatment, as enshrined in the Charter and in the European Convention on Human Rights;

4.  Stresses that a prerequisite for launching the negotiations is that Turkey fulfil its horizontal obligation of full, effective and non-discriminatory cooperation with all Member States on justice and home affairs issues, including with the Republic of Cyprus;

5.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to the Republic of Turkey as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

6.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded;

7.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

8.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to the Republic of Turkey;

9.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of the Republic of Turkey to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

10.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

11.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Turkish authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

12.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

13.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of Turkey, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

14.  Is of the opinion that the Commission should be cautious about the depth of the risks posed by the transfer of personal data to Turkey, given the citizens’ frequent complaints about the violation of human rights in the Republic of Turkey

15.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

16.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed, as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should only refer to actual criminal investigations and not to criminal intelligence operations targeting specific individuals considered as suspects;

17.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

18.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in the Republic of Turkey to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

19.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Republic of Turkey to other authorities in the Republic of Turkey can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

20.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Republic of Turkey to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

21.  Considers that the international agreement with the Republic of Turkey should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

22.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of Turkey compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in Turkey; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by Turkey as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

23.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

24.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

25.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Republic of Turkey.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Israel Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the State of Israel on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Israeli competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)08062018/2062(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0297A8-0235/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the State of Israel on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Israeli competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0806),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0235/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol's mission;

E.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

F.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past, such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America;

G.  whereas the State of Israel was included in the list of third States and organisations with which Europol should conclude agreements set out in Council Decision 2009/935/JHA of 30 November 2009(8); whereas negotiations on an operational cooperation agreement had been launched in 2010 but were not concluded before the entry into force of the Europol Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/794) on 1 May 2017;

H.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with the State of Israel in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and the State of Israel on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Israeli competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to the State of Israel as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

4.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded; welcomes, in this context, the formal recognition by the Commission in 2011 of Israel as a country providing an adequate level of data protection with regard to automated processing of personal data pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC;

5.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

6.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to the State of Israel;

7.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of the State of Israel to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

8.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

9.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Israeli authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

10.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

11.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of Israel, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

12.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

13.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

14.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

15.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in the State of Israel to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

16.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the State of Israel to other authorities in the State of Israel can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

17.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the State of Israel to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

18.  Considers that the international agreement with the State of Israel should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

19.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of the State of Israel compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in the State of Israel; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by the State of Israel as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

20.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

21.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

22.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the State of Israel.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.
(8) OJ L 325, 11.12.2009, p. 12.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Tunisia Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and Tunisia on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Tunisian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)08072018/2063(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0298A8-0237/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and Tunisia on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Tunisian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0807),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0237/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol’s mission;

E.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

F.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past, such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America;

G.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with Tunisia in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and Tunisia on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Tunisian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to Tunisia as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

4.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded;

5.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

6.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to Tunisia;

7.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of Tunisia to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

8.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

9.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Tunisian authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

10.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

11.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of Tunisia, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

12.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

13.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

14.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

15.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in Tunisia to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

16.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of Tunisia to other authorities in Tunisia can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

17.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of Tunisia to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

18.  Considers that the international agreement with Tunisia should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

19.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of Tunisia compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in Tunisia; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by Tunisia as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

20.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

21.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

22.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of Tunisia.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Morocco Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Moroccan competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)08082018/2064(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0299A8-0238/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Moroccan competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0808),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0238/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol’s mission;

E.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

F.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past, such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America;

G.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Moroccan competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to the Kingdom of Morocco as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

4.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded;

5.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

6.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to the Kingdom of Morocco;

7.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

8.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

9.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Moroccan authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

10.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

11.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

12.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

13.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

14.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

15.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in the Kingdom of Morocco to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

16.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco to other authorities in the Kingdom of Morocco can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

17.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

18.  Considers that the international agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

19.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of the Kingdom of Morocco compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in the Kingdom of Morocco; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by the Kingdom of Morocco as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

20.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

21.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

22.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Lebanon Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Lebanese Republic on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Lebanese competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)08052018/2065(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0300A8-0234/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Lebanese Republic on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Lebanese competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0805),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0234/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol’s mission;

E.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

F.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past, such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America;

G.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with the Lebanese Republic in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and the Lebanese Republic on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Lebanese competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to the Lebanese Republic as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

4.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded;

5.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

6.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to the Lebanese Republic;

7.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of the Lebanese Republic to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

8.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

9.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Lebanese authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

10.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

11.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of the Lebanese Republic, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

12.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

13.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed, as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

14.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

15.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in the Lebanese Republic to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

16.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Lebanese Republic to other authorities in the Lebanese Republic can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

17.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Lebanese Republic to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

18.  Considers that the international agreement with the Lebanese Republic should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

19.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of the Lebanese Republic compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in the Lebanese Republic; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by the Lebanese Republic as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

20.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

21.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

22.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Lebanese Republic.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Egypt Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Arab Republic of Egypt on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Egyptian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)08092018/2066(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0301A8-0236/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the Arab Republic of Egypt on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Egyptian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0809),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0236/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas in recent years several violations of human rights have been exposed in the Arab Republic of Egypt; whereas, in particular, dissent has been ruthlessly suppressed, with journalists, political activists and human rights defenders among those targeted; whereas instances of torture have continued to be reported; whereas any effective investigation into human rights violations by state officials has been prevented by pervasive impunity;

E.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol’s mission;

F.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

G.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past, such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America;

H.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with the Arab Republic of Egypt in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and the Arab Republic of Egypt on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Egyptian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Considers that there are major concerns about respect for fundamental rights in the Arab Republic of Egypt, in particular as regards freedom of expression, freedom of religion and the right not to be subject to torture or inhumane treatment, as enshrined in the Charter and in the European Convention on Human Rights;

4.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to the Arab Republic of Egypt as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

5.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded;

6.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

7.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to the Arab Republic of Egypt;

8.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of the Arab Republic of Egypt to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

9.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

10.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Egyptian authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

11.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

12.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

13.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

14.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed, as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

15.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

16.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in the Arab Republic of Egypt to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

17.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Arab Republic of Egypt to other authorities in the Arab Republic of Egypt can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

18.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the Arab Republic of Egypt to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

19.  Considers that the international agreement with the Arab Republic of Egypt should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

20.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of the Arab Republic of Egypt compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in the Arab Republic of Egypt; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by the Arab Republic of Egypt as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

21.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

22.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

23.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.


Opening of negotiations for an EU-Algeria Agreement on the exchange of personal data for fighting serious crime and terrorism
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European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2018 on the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Algerian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)08112018/2067(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0302A8-0239/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations for an agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Algerian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism (COM(2017)0811),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7 and 8 thereof,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular Article 6 thereof, and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 16 and 218 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) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA(5),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on Data Protection (ETS No 108) and the Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001 to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data regarding supervisory authorities and transborder data flows (ETS No 181),

–  having regard to European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 2/2018 on eight negotiating mandates to conclude international agreements allowing the exchange of data between Europol and third countries,

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime(6),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the proposal for a regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (COM(2017)0008), and in particular to the chapter on the processing of operational personal data which applies to Union bodies, offices or agencies when carrying out activities which fall within the scope of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title V of Part Three of the TFEU,

–  having regard to Rule 108(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0239/2018),

A.  whereas Regulation (EU) 2016/794 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) enables the transfer of personal data to an authority of a third country or to an international organisation insofar as such transfer is necessary for the performance of Europol’s tasks, on the basis of an adequacy decision of the Commission pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/680, an international agreement pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards, or cooperation agreements allowing for the exchange of personal data concluded before 1 May 2017, and, in exceptional situations, on a case-by-case basis under strict conditions laid down in Article 25(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and provided that adequate safeguards are ensured;

B.  whereas international agreements allowing Europol and third countries to cooperate and exchange personal data should respect Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 TFEU, and hence respect the principle of purpose limitation and the rights of access and rectification and be subject to monitoring by an independent authority, as specifically stipulated by the Charter, and prove necessary and proportionate for the fulfilment of Europol’s tasks;

C.  whereas such a transfer is to be based on an international agreement concluded between the Union and that third country pursuant to Article 218 TFEU adducing adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of privacy and fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals;

D.  whereas the Europol programming document 2018-2020(7) highlights the increasing relevance of an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach, including the pooling of necessary expertise and information from an expanding range of partners, for the delivery of Europol’s mission;

E.  whereas Parliament underlined in its resolution of 3 October 2017 on the fight against cybercrime that strategic and operational cooperation agreements between Europol and third countries facilitate both the exchange of information and practical cooperation in the fight against cybercrime;

F.  whereas Europol has already set up multiple agreements on data exchange with third countries in the past, such as Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Colombia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States of America;

G.  whereas the EDPS has been the supervisor of Europol since 1 May 2017, and is also the advisor to the EU institutions on policies and legislation relating to data protection;

1.  Considers that the necessity of the cooperation with the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in the field of law enforcement for the European Union’s security interests, as well as its proportionality, need to be properly assessed; calls on the Commission, in this context, to conduct a thorough impact assessment; highlights that due caution is needed while defining the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the European Union and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on the exchange of personal data between the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the Algerian competent authorities for fighting serious crime and terrorism;

2.  Considers that full consistency with Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter, should be ensured in the receiving third countries; calls, in this regard, on the Council to complete the negotiating guidelines proposed by the Commission with the conditions set out in this resolution;

3.  Takes note that to date no appropriate impact assessment has been conducted in order to assess in depth the risks posed by transfers of personal data to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria as regards individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection, but also for other fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Charter; asks the Commission to carry out an appropriate impact assessment so as to define the necessary safeguards to be integrated in the agreement;

4.  Insists that the level of protection resulting from the agreement should be essentially equivalent to the level of protection in EU law; stresses that if such level cannot be guaranteed both in law and in practice, the agreement cannot be concluded;

5.  Requests that, in order to fully respect Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 TFEU and to avoid any potential liability from Europol as regards a violation of Union data protection law resulting from a transfer of personal data without the necessary and appropriate safeguards, the agreement contain strict and specific provisions imposing respect for the principle of purpose limitation with clear conditions for the processing of personal data transmitted;

6.  Calls for Guideline B to be completed to expressly indicate the agreement that Europol, pursuant to Article 19 of the Europol Regulation, is to respect any restriction imposed on personal data transmitted to Europol by Member States or other providers regarding the use and access to data to be transferred to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria;

7.  Requests that the agreement clearly provide that any further processing should always require prior written authorisation from Europol; stresses that these authorisations should be documented by Europol and made available to the EDPS at its request; calls for the agreement also to contain a provision obliging the competent authorities of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria to respect these restrictions and specify how compliance with these restrictions would be enforced;

8.  Insists that the agreement contain a clear and precise provision setting out the data retention period of personal data that have been transferred and requiring the erasure of the personal data transferred at the end of the data retention period; requests that procedural measures be set out in the agreement to ensure compliance; insists that, in exceptional cases, where there are duly justified reasons to store the data for an extended period, past the expiry of the data retention period, these reasons and the accompanying documentation be communicated to Europol and the EDPS;

9.  Expects the criteria included in Recital 71 of Directive (EU) 2016/680 to be applied, i.e. transfers of personal data are to be subject to confidentiality obligations by the competent Algerian authorities receiving personal data from Europol, the principle of specificity, and that the personal data will not be used in any case to request, hand down or execute a death penalty or any form of cruel and inhuman treatment;

10.  Considers that the categories of offences for which personal data will be exchanged need to be clearly defined and listed in the international agreement itself, in line with EU criminal offences definitions when available; stresses that this list should define in a clear and precise manner the activities covered by such crimes, and the persons, groups and organisations likely to be affected by the transfer;

11.  Urges the Council and the Commission to define, pursuant to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case-law and within the meaning of Article 8(3) of the Charter, with the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, which independent supervisory authority is to be in charge of supervising the implementation of the international agreement; urges that such an authority should be agreed and established before the international agreement can enter into force; insists that the name of this authority be expressly included in an annex to the agreement;

12.  Considers it should be possible for either of the contracting parties to suspend or revoke the international agreement should there be a breach thereof, and that the independent supervisory body should also be empowered to suggest suspending or terminating the agreement in the event of a breach thereof; considers that any personal data falling within the scope of the agreement transferred prior to its suspension or termination may continue to be processed in accordance with the agreement; considers that a periodic evaluation of the agreement should be established in order to evaluate the partners’ compliance with the agreement;

13.  Is of the opinion that a clear definition of the concept of individual cases is needed, as this concept is needed to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

14.  Is of the opinion that the concept of reasonable grounds needs to be defined in order to assess the necessity and proportionality of data transfers; highlights that this definition should refer to actual criminal investigations;

15.  Stresses that data transferred to a receiving authority can never be further processed by other authorities and that, to this end, an exhaustive list of the competent authorities in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria to which Europol can transfer data should be drawn up, including a description of the authorities’ competences; considers that any modification to such a list that would replace or add a new competent authority would require a review of the international agreement;

16.  Insists on the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria to other authorities in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria can only be allowed to fulfil the original purpose of the transfer by Europol and should always be communicated to the independent authority, the EDPS and Europol;

17.  Stresses the need to expressly indicate that onward transfers of information from the competent authorities of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria to other countries are prohibited and would result in the immediate ending of the international agreement;

18.  Considers that the international agreement with the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria should include data subjects’ right to information, rectification and erasure as provided for in other Union legislation on data protection;

19.  Points out that the transfer of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union membership, genetic data or data concerning a person’s health and sex life is extremely sensitive and gives rise to profound concerns given the different legal framework, societal characteristics and cultural background of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria compared with the European Union; highlights the fact that criminal acts are defined differently in the Union from in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria; is of the opinion that such a transfer of data should therefore only take place in very exceptional cases and with clear safeguards for the data subject and persons linked to the data subject; considers it necessary to define specific safeguards that would need to be respected by the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria as regards fundamental rights and freedoms, including respect for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and human dignity;

20.  Believes that a monitoring mechanism should be included in the agreement and that the agreement should be subject to periodic assessments to evaluate its functioning in relation to the operational needs of Europol as well as its compliance with European data protection rights and principles;

21.  Calls on the Commission to seek the advice of the EDPS before the finalisation of the international agreement in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/794 and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001;

22.  Stresses that the Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement will be conditional upon satisfactory involvement of the Parliament at all stages of the procedure in accordance with Article 218 TFEU;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

(1) OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37.
(4) OJ L 350, 30.12.2008, p. 60.
(5) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0366.
(7) Europol Programming Document 2018-2020 adopted by Europol's Management Board on 30 November 2017, EDOC# 856927v18.

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