Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 13 September 2018 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Uganda, arrest of parliamentarians from the opposition
 Myanmar, notably the case of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo
 Cambodia, notably the case of Kem Sokha
 Cooperation Agreement between Eurojust and Albania *
 Protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and free movement of such data ***I
 Single Digital Gateway ***I
 July 2018 fires at Mati in the Attica Region, Greece and the EU response
 The threat of demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and other Bedouin villages
 A European Strategy for Plastics in a circular economy
 Options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation
 A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance
 Europe on the Move: an agenda for the future of mobility in the EU
 Implementation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation
 Dual quality of products in the Single Market

Uganda, arrest of parliamentarians from the opposition
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on Uganda, arrest of parliamentarians from the opposition (2018/2840(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0344RC-B8-0364/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Uganda,

–  having regard to the joint local statement of 17 August 2018 by the European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK and the Heads of Mission of Norway and Iceland on the by‑election held in the municipality of Arua,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, to which Uganda is a signatory,

–  having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Uganda on 21 June 1995,

–  having regard to the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

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

–  having regard to the statement from the Ugandan Human Rights Commission on emerging human rights issues in the country following the by‑election held in the municipality of Arua on 15 August 2018,

–  having regard to the report on Uganda of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council,

–  having regard to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the Cotonou Agreement) and in particular to Article 8(4) thereof on non-discrimination,

–  having regard to the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda of 1995, amended in 2005,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the by‑election held on 15 August 2018 in the municipality of Arua in north-west Uganda, which resulted in the election of independent opposition candidate Kassiano Wadri, was marked by violence;

B.  whereas the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, and independent MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, together with several other politicians, campaigned in Arua on 13 August 2018 in the framework of a highly charged by‑election, triggered by the assassination of a parliamentarian in June;

C.  whereas Bobi Wine, a popular musician, has emerged as an influential critic of President Museveni after winning a seat in the Ugandan Parliament in 2017;

D.  whereas on 13 August 2018 at the end of the day Bobi Wine’s driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot dead in unclear circumstances, and as President Museveni left Arua supporters of Kassiano Wadri allegedly attacked the presidential car with stones;

E.  whereas police arrested two journalists from the NTV Uganda television channel, Herbert Zziwa and Ronald Muwanga, as they were reporting live from the area where Mr Kawuma was killed;

F.  whereas both Mr Wine and Mr Wadri, together with several others, were arrested shortly after; whereas Mr Wine was accused of possession of firearms;

G.  whereas 33 people, including Mr Wadri and four members of parliament (Robert Kyagulanyi, Francis Zaake, Gerald Karuhanga and Paul Mwiru), were charged with treason the day after the election and Mr Wine was charged by a military court with possession of illegal firearms;

H.  whereas the protests triggered in Arua, Kampala and Mityana by these arrests have been violently quashed by the Ugandan security forces; whereas use of tear gas and live ammunition has been reported;

I.  whereas on 20 August 2018 James Akena, a photographer working for Reuters who was covering the #freeBobiWine political protests in Kampala, was beaten by soldiers, arrested and detained for several hours;

J.  whereas there are reports that Mr Wine and other persons detained were tortured while in custody; whereas, after initially denying these allegations, the authorities have vowed to investigate them;

K.  whereas Mr Wine was later charged with treason in a civilian court, following the decision of the military court not to proceed with the charges of illegal possession of firearms;

L.  whereas Mr Wine was subsequently released on bail, and has left Uganda to seek treatment in the US;

M.  whereas the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has urged the Government of Uganda to conduct a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the serious allegations of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force and torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and to bring those responsible to justice;

N.  whereas Kizza Besigye, the leader of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and four times a presidential candidate, was detained on multiple occasions by the police or the military between 2001 and 2017, the most recent occasion being on 25 September 2017;

O.  whereas arrests and intimidation of opposition political figures happen routinely in Uganda;

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the arrest of opposition parliamentarians in connection with the Arua by‑election;

2.  Stresses that it is vital for Ugandan democracy that the President and Government of Uganda respect the independence of the country’s Parliament as an institution and the independence of the mandate of its members and ensure that all members of parliament can freely pursue their elected mandates;

3.  Calls on the Ugandan authorities to drop what appear to be trumped-up charges against Bobi Wine and to stop the crackdown against opposition politicians and supporters;

4.  Urges the Ugandan authorities to immediately launch an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killing of Yasin Kawuma and the reports of deaths and excessive use of force during the protests; expects a swift and independent investigation into the allegations of torture and mistreatment of those arrested in Arua; stresses the need to bring those responsible to justice;

5.  Reiterates its commitment to freedom of expression, and reaffirms the key role played by the media in a democratic society; notes with concern that journalists covering the demonstrations and the riots that broke out have been beaten along with participants, and that two journalists were arrested; calls on the Ugandan authorities to create an environment where journalists can carry out without hindrance their work of informing about political developments in the country;

6.  Reminds the Ugandan authorities of their obligation to guarantee, protect and promote fundamental rights, including the civil and political rights of the country’s citizens, among them freedom of speech and freedom of assembly;

7.  Reminds the Government of Uganda of its international obligations, in particular concerning respect for fundamental freedoms and the rule of law and the handling of court cases, especially with regard to the right to a fair and impartial trial;

8.  Urges the law enforcement bodies to protect basic freedoms without any form of intimidation, thereby complying with Article 24 of the Ugandan Constitution, which stipulates that ‘no person shall be subject to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’;

9.  Calls on the Ugandan security forces to show restraint when policing protests, to desist from using live bullets, to act lawfully and with full respect for human rights law, and to allow journalists to freely carry out their work of information;

10.  Appeals at the same time to protesters to act in a law-abiding way and to exercise their rights and freedoms within the law;

11.  Calls on the EU to take advantage of the political leverage provided by development aid programmes, especially budget support programmes, with a view to enhancing the defence and promotion of human rights in Uganda;

12.  Commends the work accomplished by the Ugandan Human Rights Commission following the arrests, killings and torture arising from the Arua by‑election, including reporting, visits to detention centres, investigating the whereabouts of missing persons, and interventions to guarantee the rights of prisoners, medical treatment and family visits;

13.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to closely monitor the situation in Uganda; stresses that the European Parliament should be informed of any further signs that opposition members of the Ugandan Parliament are being hindered or obstructed in their work as legislators;

14.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the President of the Republic of Uganda, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, and the African Union and its institutions.


Myanmar, notably the case of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on Myanmar, notably the case of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (2018/2841(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0345RC-B8-0371/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Myanmar and on the situation of Rohingya people, notably those adopted on 14 June 2018(1), 14 December 2017(2), 14 September 2017(3), 7 July 2016(4) and 15 December 2016(5),

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) of 3 September 2018 on the sentencing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar and that of 9 July 2018 on the prosecution of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 October 2017 and of 26 February 2018 on Myanmar,

–  having regard to Council decisions (CFSP) 2018/655 of 26 April 2018(6) and (CFSP) 2018/900 of 25 June 2018(7) imposing further restrictive measures on Myanmar, strengthening the EU’s arms embargo and targeting the Myanmar army and border guard police officials,

–  having regard to the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar of the United Nations Human Rights Council of the 24 August 2018, which will be presented at the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council from 10-28 September 2018,

–  having regard to the statement of 3 September 2018 by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet,

–  having regard to the final report and recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to international humanitarian law, the Geneva Conventions and the Protocols thereto and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948,

–  having regard to the Charter of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN),

–  having regard to the UN Security Council report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence of 23 March 2018,

–  having regard to the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC of 6 September 2018,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 12 December 2017 two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were arbitrarily arrested and detained for allegations of reporting serious human rights violations carried out by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed forces) in Rakhine State;

B.  whereas the journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were subsequently charged under the Official Secrets Acts of 1923; whereas on 3 September 2018 they were sentenced by a court in Myanmar to seven years of imprisonment; whereas this landmark case further undermines freedom of expression, democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar;

C.  whereas diplomats of the European Union and EU Member States have been among the many international observers present at every court hearing since the journalists’ arrest on 12 December 2017 and have continuously raised the matter with the Government of Myanmar;

D.  whereas civil society actors, including journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders who express views critical of the Myanmar authorities, notably the Tatmadaw and other Myanmar security forces and the acts carried out by them in Rakhine State, are reportedly arbitrarily arrested, detained or harassed; whereas media coverage of violence in Rakhine State is tightly controlled by the military and the government;

E.  whereas Rohingya human rights activist Wai Nu, who was imprisoned from the age of 18 until she was 25 years old, remains one of the many examples of activists targeted by the Myanmar authorities;

F.  whereas former child solider Aung Ko Htwe is serving two years and six months in prison in connection with a media interview he gave about his experiences in the Myanmar military; whereas he was charged under Section 505(b) of Myanmar’s Penal Code, a vaguely worded provision which has frequently been used to curtail freedom of expression;

G.  whereas tens of journalists have been reportedly arrested and detained since 2016; whereas the Myanmar authorities use a number of repressive laws, including the Official Secrets Act, to arrest, detain, silence or harass civil society actors, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders who express views critical of the Government of Myanmar or its security forces; whereas Myanmar ranked 159th out of 198 countries in the Freedom House 2017 Freedom of the Press rankings;

H.  whereas the report of the UN-mandated Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (IIFFMM) of 24 August 2018 concludes that the most serious human rights violations and gravest crimes under international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, were committed in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States by the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar police force, NaSaKa (previously the Border Area Immigration Control Headquarters), the Myanmar border guard police and non-state armed groups; whereas the report also states that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army launched coordinated attacks on a military base and several security force outposts across northern Rakhine State to mount pressure on Rohingya communities; whereas the report further calls for senior military commanders in Myanmar and those responsible for atrocity crimes against Rohingya people to be investigated and prosecuted internationally; whereas Myanmar has rejected these findings;

I.  whereas the IIFFMM report states that Myanmar’s State Counsellor, Nobel Peace Prize and Sakharov Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to use her de facto position as Head of Government or her moral authority to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine State; whereas the civilian authorities have also contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes through their acts and omissions, specifically by spreading false narratives, denying the Tatmadaw’s wrongdoing, blocking independent investigations and overseeing the destruction of evidence;

J.  whereas on 8 September 2018 the ICC confirmed that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh;

K.  whereas social media platforms have been used in Myanmar to spread smear campaigns and conspiracy theories targeting Rohingya and Muslims in the country;

L.  whereas Rohingya represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in Rakhine State; whereas conservative estimates place the death toll at 10 000; whereas since August 2017, more than 700 000 Rohingya people have fled for safety to Bangladesh, of which approximately 500 000 are children, many of whom travelled alone after their parents were killed or after being separated from their families;

1.  Strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and sentencing of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo for reporting on the situation in Rakhine State; calls on the authorities of Myanmar to release them immediately and unconditionally and to drop all charges against them and all persons arbitrarily detained, including political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, simply for exercising their rights and freedoms;

2.  Condemns all acts of intimidation, harassment or restriction of freedom of expression, notably by the Myanmar military and security forces: underlines that media freedom and critical journalism are essential pillars of democracy, promoting good governance, transparency and accountability and calls on the authorities of Myanmar to ensure adequate conditions for journalists and media workers to carry out their work without fear of intimidation or harassment, undue arrest or prosecution;

3.  Reiterates its call on the Government of Myanmar to reverse its decision to discontinue its cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar and to grant domestic and international media organisations, human rights defenders, independent observers and humanitarian organisations, in particular the UN Special Rapporteur, full and unhindered access to Rakhine State and to ensure the safety and security of media personnel;

4.  Expresses deep concerns regarding the abuse of repressive legal provisions restricting freedom of speech; calls on the authorities of Myanmar to repeal, review or amend all laws, including the 1923 Official Secrets Act, which are not in line with international standards and which criminalise and violate the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association; calls on the Government of Myanmar to ensure that all legislation is in compliance with international standards and obligations;

5.  Strongly condemns the widespread and systematic attacks against Rohingya people committed in Rakhine State by the Tatmadaw and other Myanmar security forces, which according to the IIFFMM amount to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – the most serious of human rights abuses and violations; is deeply concerned at the increasing gravity and scale of human rights violations accommodated by the Government of Myanmar;

6.  Reiterates its continued support for the Rohingya people; calls once again upon the Government of Myanmar and the security forces to put an immediate stop to ongoing violations, killings, destruction of property and sexual violence against Rohingya people and ethnic minorities in northern Myanmar and to ensure that security and the rule of law prevail in Myanmar, notably in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States; reminds the Myanmar authorities of their international obligations to investigate and prosecute those responsible; urges the Government of Myanmar and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn unequivocally all incitement of hatred and to combat social discrimination and hostilities against Rohingya people and other minority groups;

7.  Takes note of the findings of the IIFFMM and supports its recommendations; welcomes the recent ruling that the ICC may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh; recognises, however, that a referral from the UN Security Council (UNSC) to the ICC for an investigation of the full scope of human rights violations is still needed; calls on the ICC Chief Prosecutor to open a preliminary investigation in this regard; calls on the UNSC to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC without a delay; supports the calls of the IIFFMM and ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) for the military generals responsible to be investigated and prosecuted;

8.  Calls on the EEAS and the Member States to seek accountability in multilateral fora for the perpetrators of crimes in Myanmar; calls for the EU and the Member States to take the lead in the UNSC on the requested reaction to refer the situation to the ICC, as well as to take the lead in the UN General Assembly and at the upcoming 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, and to increase their efforts towards the urgent establishment of an international, impartial, and independent accountability mechanism to support investigations into alleged atrocity crimes and the prosecution of those responsible;

9.  Reiterates its call on the UNSC to impose a global comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar, suspending all direct and indirect supplies, sales or transfers, including transit and transhipment of all weapons, munitions and other military and security equipment, as well as the provision of training or other military or security assistance; urges the UNSC to adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear responsible for serious crimes under international law;

10.  Calls on the Commission to consider an investigation under the mechanisms provided for in the Everything But Arms agreement, with a view to reviewing the trade preferences that benefit Myanmar;

11.  Welcomes the Council’s adoption on 26 April 2018 of a legal framework for targeted restrictive measures against officials responsible for serious human rights violations and strengthening the EU’s arms embargo and a first list of designations established on 25 June 2018; urges the Council to impose travel bans, targeted financial sanctions and asset freezes against the Myanmar officials identified by the IIFFMM as responsible for atrocity crimes;

12.  Recalls that thousands of Rohingya people, many of whom are children, are internally displaced and in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection; calls for immediate, unhindered and unfettered access throughout the entire country for delivery of humanitarian aid; insists that the Government of Myanmar guarantee safe, voluntary and dignified return, with full UN oversight, for those who want to return to their land;

13.  Calls for the EU, its Member States and the international community to address the need for increased and long-term humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya people in Bangladesh and their host communities;

14.  Recalls that rape and sexual violence have been a recurrent feature of the targeting of the civilian population in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States; calls for the EU, in particular the Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO), and EU Member States to secure improvements in the protection from gender-based violence of Rohingya girls and women;

15.  Recalls the need for the provision of medical and psychological assistance in refugee camps, particularly assistance tailored for vulnerable groups including women and children; calls for greater support services for victims of rape and sexual assault;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Human Rights Council.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0261.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0500.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0351.
(4) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 134.
(5) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 112.
(6) OJ L 108, 27.4.2018, p. 29.
(7) OJ L 160 I, 25.6.2018, p. 9.


Cambodia, notably the case of Kem Sokha
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on Cambodia, notably the case of Kem Sokha (2018/2842(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0346RC-B8-0366/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Cambodia, in particular those of 14 September 2017(1) and 14 December 2017(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Cambodia of 26 February 2018,

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 30 July 2018 on the general elections in Cambodia,

–  having regard to the evaluation mission of the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to Cambodia of 5 to 11 July 2018,

–  having regard to the 2008 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

–  having regard to the statement by the spokesperson of the EEAS of 16 November 2017 on the dissolution of the Cambodian National Rescue Party,

–  having regard to the 1997 Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Cambodia,

–  having regard to the local EU statement of 22 February 2017 on the political situation in Cambodia, and the statements by the spokesperson of the EU Delegation of 25 August 2017 and 3 September 2017 on restrictions of political space in Cambodia,

–  having regard to UN Human Rights Council Resolution 36/32 of 29 September 2017 and the Report of the Secretary-General of 2 February 2018,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians and the decisions of the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union of March 2018,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/53/144 of 8 March 1999 on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms,

–  having regard to the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, in which a commitment to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cambodia, including on the part of international signatories, is enshrined in Article 15,

–  having regard to the International Labour Organisation Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise,

–  having regard to the Cambodian Constitution, in particular Article 41 thereof, in which the rights and freedoms of expression and assembly are enshrined, Article 35 on the right to political participation and Article 80 on parliamentary immunity,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 3 September 2017, Kem Sokha, the President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was arrested, and whereas on 16 November 2017, the Supreme Court announced the dissolution of the CNRP, at the end of a one-day hearing; whereas the Supreme Court has also banned 118 CNRP politicians from being politically active for five years;

B.  whereas the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) obtained 100 % of the contested seats in the National Assembly election held on 29 July 2018 and in the Senate election held on 25 February 2018;

C.  whereas the right to political participation is enshrined in Article 35 of the Cambodian Constitution; whereas the amended 2017 Law on Political Parties includes numerous restrictions on the participation of opposition parties, including the dissolution of parties if its leaders have a criminal record;

D.  whereas the 2018 elections in Cambodia were de facto non-competitive and failed to meet minimum international standards for democratic elections; whereas the European Union and the United States of America suspended their financial assistance to the Cambodian National Election Committee and declined to observe the elections;

E.  whereas the decision to dissolve the CNRP was a significant step towards the creation of an authoritarian state; whereas the political structure of Cambodia can no longer be considered a democracy;

F.  whereas the Cambodian Government took wide-ranging measures to ensure that the ruling CPP would run virtually unopposed in the elections for both the Senate and the National Assembly;

G.  whereas, following his arrest on 3 September 2017, Kem Sokha was charged with treason under Article 443 of the Cambodian Criminal Code, despite his parliamentary immunity; whereas statements by the Cambodian Government jeopardised his right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence; whereas he faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty; whereas the President of the Court, Dith Munty, is a member of the standing committee of the ruling party;

H.  whereas on 28 August 2018, the Cambodian authorities released 14 members of the CNRP after they had received a royal pardon; whereas this pardon is linked to the releases granted to half a dozen activists and journalists;

I.  whereas Kem Sokha was detained without trial for more than one year; whereas the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared Mr Sokha’s pre-trial detention to be ‘arbitrary’ and ‘politically motivated’; whereas he was released on bail on 10 September 2018; whereas he is unable to leave the vicinity of his house and is not allowed to communicate with other members of the opposition or the media;

J.  whereas the arrest and detention of Kem Sokha occurred amid widespread and systematic repression of political and electoral rights in Cambodia; whereas there has been a steady increase in the number of cases of arrest and detention of members of the political opposition and political commentators; whereas the previous President of the CNRP, Sam Rainsy, was convicted of criminal defamation and now lives in exile;

K.  whereas the Cambodian authorities have also cracked down on journalists and reporters covering the attacks on the opposition parties; whereas 69‑year‑old award-winning filmmaker James Ricketson is one of the victims of these attacks on the media; whereas Mr Ricketson was arrested for flying a drone over an opposition party rally in June 2017; whereas Mr Ricketson has been sentenced to six years in prison in the capital, Phnom Penh, on charges of espionage;

L.  whereas there has been a severe crackdown on the independent media; whereas social media networks have also come under attack; whereas in May 2018, the Government issued a regulation restricting the rights to freedom of expression, press and publication and empowering the Government to police social media networks to uncover and silence online dissent in Cambodia;

M.  whereas trade unionists, human rights activists and civil society organisations are operating in an increasingly restricted space in Cambodia and face harassment, acts of intimidation and arbitrary arrest; whereas the 2015 amended Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (LANGO) severely restricts freedom of association and expression, including by establishing government control and censorship over the work of NGOs; whereas the Trade Union Law restricts freedom of association and creates unnecessary obstacles and burdens in relation to registration procedures and the operations of trade unions;

N.  whereas five human rights defenders affiliated with the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Nay Vanda, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony, and Ny Chakrya, face charges of bribing a witness and being an accomplice to bribery of a witness; whereas the five human rights defenders spent 14 months in pre-trial detention before their release on bail;

O.  whereas Cambodia benefits from the most favourable regime available under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), namely the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme; whereas the EU has allocated up to EUR 410 million to Cambodia for development cooperation for the financial period 2014-2020, of which EUR 10 million is for supporting the electoral reform process in Cambodia and is currently suspended;

P.  whereas the UN Secretary‑General recalled in his July statement that an inclusive and pluralistic political process remains essential for safeguarding the progress made by Cambodia in consolidating peace;

Q.  whereas conflicts over sugar plantations have not yet been resolved; whereas there is continuing concern about evictions from land, persistent impunity for such acts and the dire situation of the affected communities; whereas the Government of Cambodia has not signed up to the EU Terms of Reference for the Sugar Cane Audit Process;

1.  Notes that Kem Sokha was released from prison on bail under strict conditions; denounces the fact that Kem Sokha has been placed under house arrest; calls for all charges against Kem Sokha to be dropped and for his immediate and full release; calls, furthermore, for other politically motivated charges and rulings against opposition politicians, including Sam Rainsy, to be dropped immediately;

2.  Is worried about the condition of Kem Sokha’s health, and calls on the Cambodian authorities to allow him to receive appropriate medical treatment; asks the Government to allow Kem Sokha to meet foreign diplomats, UN officials and human rights observers;

3.  Expresses its conviction that the elections in Cambodia cannot be considered to be free and fair; expresses serious concerns at the conduct and results of the 2018 elections in Cambodia, which failed to produce a credible process and were widely condemned by the international community;

4.  Calls on the Cambodian Government to work towards strengthening democracy and the rule of law and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, which includes fully complying with the constitutional provisions on pluralism and freedom of association and expression; calls, furthermore, on the Cambodian Government to repeal all recent amendments to the Constitution, the Penal Code, the Law on Political Parties, the Trade Union Law, the Law on NGOs and all other pieces of legislation limiting freedom of speech and political freedoms that are not fully in line with Cambodia’s obligations and international standards;

5.  Stresses that a credible democratic process requires an environment in which political parties, civil society and the media are able to carry out their legitimate roles without fear, threats or arbitrary restrictions; calls on the Government to take the necessary measures to ensure that the dissolution of CNRP is swiftly reversed;

6.  Reiterates its call on the Cambodian Government to put an end to all forms of harassment, abuse and politically motivated criminal charges against members of the political opposition, human rights defenders, trade unionists and labour rights advocates, land rights and other civil society activists, and journalists, among others; calls on the Government of Cambodia to release, without delay, all citizens who have been detained for exercising their human rights, including James Ricketson, and to drop all charges against them;

7.  Supports the decision to suspend EU electoral support to Cambodia; recalls the national and international obligations in relation to democratic principles and fundamental human rights to which Cambodia has committed itself; urges the Cambodian Government to engage in reforms in order to advance democracy and apply internationally recognised minimum standards for future electoral processes, including the organisation of multiparty, free and fair elections, the establishment of a genuinely independent National Election Committee and the involvement of NGOs and the independent media in election monitoring and reporting;

8.  Reminds the Cambodian Government that it must fulfil its obligations and commitments in relation to the democratic principles and fundamental human rights, which are an essential component of the EU-Cambodia Cooperation Agreement and the conditions under EBA;

9.  Welcomes the recent EU EBA fact‑finding mission to Cambodia and invites the Commission to report the conclusions to Parliament as soon as possible; calls on the Commission to consider possible consequences in the context of the trade preferences Cambodia enjoys, including launching an investigation under the mechanisms provided for in the framework of EBA;

10.  Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to compile a list of individuals responsible for the dissolution of the opposition and other serious human rights violations in Cambodia with a view to imposing possible visa restrictions and asset freezes on them;

11.  Calls on the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to closely monitor the situation in Cambodia; calls on the EEAS and the Member States to take action and lead the efforts at the forthcoming 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council towards the adoption of a strong resolution addressing the human rights situation in Cambodia;

12.  Calls on the Cambodian Government to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia upon its expiry on 31 December 2018;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and National Assembly of Cambodia.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0348.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0497.


Cooperation Agreement between Eurojust and Albania *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 13 September 2018 on the draft Council implementing decision approving the conclusion by Eurojust of the Agreement on Cooperation between Eurojust and Albania (08688/2018 – C8-0251/2018 – 2018/0807(CNS))
P8_TA(2018)0347A8-0275/2018

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council draft (08688/2018),

–  having regard to Article 39(1) of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, and Article 9 of Protocol No 36 on transitional provisions, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8-0251/2018),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0275/2018),

1.  Approves the Council draft;

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

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

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


Protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and free movement of such data ***I
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Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 13 September 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 – C8-0008/2017 – 2017/0002(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0348A8-0313/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0008),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 16(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0008/2017),

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

–  having regard to the contributions submitted by the Czech Chamber of Deputies, the Spanish Parliament and the Portuguese Parliament on the draft legislative act,

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 7 June 2018 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0313/2017),

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

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 13 September 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of natural persons 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

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2018/1725.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

STATEMENTS BY THE COMMISSION

The Commission regrets the exclusion of missions referred to in Articles 42(1), 43 and 44 TEU from the scope of the Regulation and notes that, as a result, there will be no data protection rules in place for such missions. The Commission notes that a Council decision, based on Article 39 TEU, could only lay down the data protection rules for processing of personal data by Member States when carrying out activities that fall within the scope of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Such a Council decision could not include rules that apply to activities carried out by EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. In order to remedy the legal lacuna, a possible Council decision therefore would need to be accompanied by an additional, complementary instrument, based on Article 16 TFEU.

The Commission notes that paragraph 3 of Article 9 (former Article 70a of the Council's General Approach) does not create a new obligation on Union institutions and bodies as regards the balance to be struck between personal data protection and public access to documents.


Single Digital Gateway ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 13 September 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing a single digital gateway to provide information, procedures, assistance and problem solving services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 (COM(2017)0256 – C8-0141/2017 – 2017/0086(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0349A8-0054/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0256),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Articles 21(2), 48 and 114(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0141/2017),

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

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 October 2017(1),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the responsible committee under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 20 June 2018 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0054/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 13 September 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a single digital gateway to provide access to information, to procedures and to assistance and problem-solving services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2018/1724.)

(1) OJ C 81, 2.3.2018, p. 88.


July 2018 fires at Mati in the Attica Region, Greece and the EU response
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on the July 2018 fires in Mati in the Attica region of Greece and the EU’s response (2018/2847(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0350RC-B8-0388/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (COM(2017)0772),

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

–  having regard to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, adopted through Decision 1/CP.21 at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 21) and 11th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11) held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

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

A.  whereas the July 2018 fires in Mati in the Attica region of Greece tragically left 99 dead and hundreds injured;

B.  whereas the fires in question have destroyed homes, with several hundred people having to be evacuated, severely damaged local and regional infrastructure and the environment, with an impact on agriculture, and affected economic activities, including in the tourism and hospitality sectors;

C.  whereas situations of extreme drought and forest fires have increased in frequency, severity and complexity and have an impact all over Europe, and are exacerbated by climate change;

D.  whereas investment in combating climate change is an urgent measure in preventing the catastrophes of droughts and fires;

E.  whereas Greece, Sweden and Latvia all requested EU support through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism in the summer of 2018 due to fires;

1.  Expresses its sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the fires in the Attica region;

2.  Expresses its sympathy to all the inhabitants who have been affected by the fires in the Attica region;

3.  Pays tribute to the dedication of the firefighters, coastguards, volunteers and others who risked their lives to extinguish the wildfires and rescue their fellow citizens;

4.  Highlights the role of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism in supplying aircraft, vehicles, medical personnel and firefighters from across the European Union;

5.  Recalls that various EU funds, such as the EU Solidarity Fund, can be used to restore vital infrastructure and for clean-up operations after a natural disaster;

6.  Reiterates the importance of support under EU cohesion funds for fire prevention and emergency response and calls on the Member States to take full advantage of this funding and to inform the public about the risk of forest fires;

7.  Stresses the need for more scientific research in risk assessment mechanisms, prevention and early detection systems and other means of combating these phenomena, and for improved sharing of experiences and best practices among regions and Member States;

8.  Stresses that a document published by the World Meteorological Organisation on 1 August 2018(2) provides evidence that the heat wave in Europe in 2018 is linked to climate change; urges the Commission and the Member States to set targets and implement climate policies that will meet the commitments made under the Paris COP 21 agreement;

9.  Stresses the need to ensure flood prevention in the areas affected by forest fires in order to avoid further disasters;

10.  Calls on the Commission to take account of forest fire risk and ecosystem-based forest and landscape management when evaluating current EU measures such as the EU forest strategy and the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change, and to adjust these strategies if any gaps are identified;

11.  Calls for the Council and the Commission to finalise with Parliament the interinstitutional negotiations on the new Union Civil Protection Mechanism and the creation of rescEU by the end of 2018;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the governments of the Member States and the regional authorities of the areas affected by the fires.

(1) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.
(2) https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/july-sees-extreme-weather-high-impacts


The threat of demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and other Bedouin villages
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on the threat of demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and other Bedouin villages (2018/2849(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0351RC-B8-0384/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,

–  having regard to the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini of 7 September 2018 on the latest developments regarding the planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on International Humanitarian Law,

–  having regard to the joint statement by France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom of 10 September 2018 on the village of Khan al-Ahmar,

–  having regard to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, in particular Articles 49, 50, 51 and 53 thereof,

–  having regard to the Six-Month Report on Demolitions and Confiscations of EU-funded structures in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, January-June 2018, published by the European External Action Service (EEAS) on 24 August 2018,

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

A.  whereas on 5 September 2018 the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected the petitions by the residents of Khan al-Ahmar; whereas the High Court determined that the relevant authorities are authorised to exercise the relocation plan of the residents to Jahalin West; whereas the High Court allowed the Israeli authorities to proceed with the plans for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar;

B.  whereas Khan al-Ahmar is one of the 46 Bedouin communities that the UN considers to be at high risk of forcible transfer in the central West Bank; whereas this community is made up of 32 families and 173 persons in total, including 92 minors; whereas the Israeli army has issued demolition orders for all structures in the village;

C.  whereas in 2010 the Israeli High Court ruled that the entire cluster of structures of Khan al-Ahmar had been built illegally, in violation of the planning and zoning laws, and therefore had to be demolished; whereas the High Court also emphasised that the Israeli authorities needed to find a suitable alternative for the school and for the residents of the community; whereas the state of Israel has stated in writing what it will provide to those families that will proceed to Jahalin West (Abu Dis), with the prospect of developing a second relocation site east of Jericho; whereas the community of Khan al-Ahmar has refused to be displaced;

D.  whereas the forcible transfer of residents of an occupied territory, unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand, is prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and constitutes a grave breach of international humanitarian law;

E.  whereas Israeli authorities impose an extremely restrictive building regime on the Palestinian residents of Area C in the West Bank; whereas this regime makes legal Palestinian building activities nearly impossible in the area, and is used as a means to evict Palestinians and expand settlement activities; whereas Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace efforts; whereas under international law, any third party, including the EU Member States, has a duty not to recognise, aid or assist settlements in an occupied territory, as well as a duty to effectively oppose them;

F.  whereas Khan al-Ahmar is located in the E1 corridor area in the occupied West Bank; whereas preserving the status quo in this area is of fundamental importance for the viability of the two-state solution and for the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state in the future; whereas Parliament has repeatedly opposed all actions that undermine the viability of the two-state solution and urged both sides to demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to a two-state solution in order to rebuild trust;

G.  whereas 10 EU Member States are supporting humanitarian programmes in Khan al-Ahmar, including the construction of a primary school, and an estimated EUR 315 000 worth of EU-funded humanitarian assistance is now at risk;

H.  whereas, according to the Office of the EU Representative in Palestine, destruction and seizure of Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has continued in the first half of 2018; whereas the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar risks setting a negative precedent for dozens of other Bedouin communities across the West Bank;

1.  Joins the VP/HR, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom in their call for the Israeli government to shelve the relocation plan that would lead to the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and the forcible transfer of its population to another location; considers it of the utmost importance that the EU continue to speak with one voice on this matter;

2.  Warns the Israeli authorities that the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and the forcible transfer of its residents would constitute a grave breach of international humanitarian law;

3.  Expresses its concern at the impact of the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar, which would further threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace; reiterates that protecting and preserving the viability of the two-state solution is the immediate priority for EU policies and action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East peace process;

4.  Insists that – should the demolition and eviction of Khan al-Ahmar take place – the EU’s response must be commensurate with the seriousness of this development and consistent with its long-standing support to the community of Khan al-Ahmar; calls on the VP/HR to step up the EU’s engagement with the Israeli authorities with regard to full respect for the rights of the Palestinian population in Area C and to demand compensation from Israel for the destruction of EU-funded infrastructure;

5.  Calls on the Israeli Government to put an immediate end to its policy of threats of demolition and actual eviction against the Bedouin communities living in the Negev and in Area C in the occupied West Bank; stresses that the demolition of houses, schools and other vital infrastructure in the occupied Palestinian territory is illegal under international humanitarian law;

6.  Recalls that Israel bears full responsibility for providing the necessary services, including education, healthcare and welfare, for the people living under its occupation, in line with the Fourth Geneva Convention;

7.  Remains firmly convinced that the only lasting solution to the conflict in the Middle East is that of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders, on the basis of the 1967 border and with Jerusalem as the capital of both states; condemns any unilateral decision or action that may undermine the prospects of this solution;

8.  Calls on the Israeli authorities to immediately halt and reverse their settlement policy; calls for the EU to remain steadfast on the issue;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, the Knesset and the Government of Israel, the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council.


A European Strategy for Plastics in a circular economy
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on a European strategy for plastics in a circular economy (2018/2035(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0352A8-0262/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 January 2018 entitled ‘A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy (COM(2018)0028),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 16 January 2018 on the impact of the use of oxo-degradable plastic, including oxo-degradable plastic carrier bags, on the environment (COM(2018)0035),

–  having regard to the Commission communication and the staff working document of 16 January 2018 on the implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation (COM(2018)0032),

–  having regard to the Commission’s Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019 (COM(2016)0773), particularly the objective of establishing more product-specific and horizontal requirements in areas such as durability, reparability, upgradeability, design for disassembly, and ease of reuse and recycling,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 December 2015 entitled ‘Closing the loop –­­ An EU action plan for the Circular Economy’ (COM(2015)0614),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment(1),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/850 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste(2),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste(3),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/720 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 amending Directive 94/62/EC as regards reducing the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags(5),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products(6) (hereafter ‘the Ecodesign Directive’) and the implementing regulations and voluntary agreements adopted under that directive,

–  having regard to Decision No 1386/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environmental Action Programme to 2020(7),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 December 2017 on eco-innovation: enabling the transition towards a circular economy,

–  having regard to Special Eurobarometer No 468 of October 2017 on attitudes of European citizens towards the environment,

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC,

–  having regard to the United Nations resolution entitled ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015,

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy(8),

—  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2017 on a longer lifetime for products: benefits for consumers and companies(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2018 on international ocean governance: an agenda for the future of our oceans in the context of the 2030 SDGs(10),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinion of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0262/2018),

A.  whereas plastic is a valuable material, widely used across all value chains, which has a useful place in our society and economy, if used and managed responsibly;

B.  whereas the way in which plastics are produced, used and disposed of today has devastating environmental, climate and economic drawbacks and potential negative health impacts on both humans and animals; whereas the key challenge is thus to produce and use plastics in a responsible and sustainable way in order to reduce the generation of plastic waste and to reduce the use of hazardous substances in plastics, where possible; whereas research and innovation into new technologies and alternatives play an in important role in this regard;

C.  whereas these drawbacks generate wide public concern, with 74 % of EU citizens expressing disquiet at the health impacts of plastics and 87 % saying they are preoccupied by their environmental effects;

D.  whereas the current political momentum should be used to shift to a sustainable circular plastics economy that gives priority to the prevention of plastic waste generation in line with the waste hierarchy;

E.  whereas several Member States have already put in place national legislative measures for banning microplastics which are intentionally added to cosmetics;

F.  whereas European countries have a history of exporting plastic waste, including to countries where inadequate waste management and recycling systems cause environmental damage and risk the health of local communities, particularly that of waste handlers;

G.  whereas plastic waste is a global issue and international cooperation is needed to combat the challenge; whereas the EU is committed to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, several of which are relevant to the sustainable consumption and production of plastics to limit their marine and terrestrial impacts;

H.  whereas global annual production of plastics reached 322 million tonnes in 2015, and is expected to double over the next 20 years;

I.  whereas in the EU, 25.8 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated each year;

J.  whereas in the EU only 30 % of plastic waste is collected for recycling; whereas only 6 % of plastic placed on the market is made from recycled plastic;

K.  whereas landfilling (31 %) and incineration (39 %) rates of plastic waste remain high;

L.  whereas around 95 % of the value of plastic packaging material currently leaks away from the economy, leading to an annual loss of between EUR 70 billion and EUR 105 billion;

M.  whereas the EU has a 2030 plastic packaging recycling target of 55 %;

N.  whereas plastic recycling entails significant climate benefits in terms of a reduction in CO2 emissions;

O.  whereas, globally, between 5 and 13 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world's oceans every year and, to date, over 150 million tonnes of plastic are estimated to be present in the oceans;

P.  whereas between 150 000 and 500 000 tonnes of plastic waste enter the seas and oceans of the EU every year;

Q.  whereas, according to studies cited by the UN, if nothing is done, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050;

R.  whereas plastic account for 85 % of beach litter and over 80 % of marine litter;

S.  whereas practically every type of plastic material can be found in the ocean from the Great Pacific garbage patch, containing at least 79 000 tonnes of plastic floating in an area of 1.6 million square kilometres, to the Earth’s remotest areas such as the deep ocean floor and the Arctic;

T.  whereas marine litter also adversely affects economic activities and the human food chain;

U.  whereas 90 % of all seabirds swallow plastic particles;

V.  whereas the full impact of plastic waste on flora, fauna and human health is not yet understood; whereas the catastrophic consequences on marine life have been documented, with over 100 million marine animals killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean;

W.  whereas solutions for tackling marine plastics cannot be isolated from an overall plastics strategy; whereas Article 48 of the Fisheries Control Regulation(11), which contains measures designed to promote the retrieval of lost fishing gear, is a step in the right direction, but is too limited in scope, given that Member States are allowed to exempt the vast majority of fishing vessels from this obligation and implementation of the reporting requirements remains poor;

X.  whereas European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) funding is being considered for projects in the Adriatic Sea, such as new governance tools and good practices to mitigate and, if possible, eliminate the abandonment of fishing gear, as well as giving fishing fleets a new role as sea sentinels;

Y.  whereas the Member States are signatories to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and should aim for full implementation of its provisions;

Z.  whereas ghost fishing occurs when lost or abandoned, non-biodegradable fishing nets, traps and lines catch, entangle, injure, starve and cause the death of marine life; whereas the phenomenon of ‘ghost fishing’ is brought about by the loss and abandonment of fishing gear; whereas the Fisheries Control Regulation requires the mandatory marking of gear and the notification and retrieval of lost gear; whereas some fishermen therefore bring back to port, on their own initiative, lost nets retrieved from the sea;

AA.  whereas although it is difficult to accurately assess the precise contribution of aquaculture to marine litter, it is estimated that 80 % of marine debris is plastic and micro-plastic, and that somewhere between 20 % and 40 % of that marine plastic litter is partly linked to human activities at sea, including commercial and cruise ships, with the rest originating on land, and whereas, according to a recent FAO study(12), around 10 % comes from lost and discarded fishing gear; whereas lost and discarded fishing gear is one component of marine plastic litter and an estimated 94 % of the plastic that enters the ocean ends up on the sea floor, hence the need to use the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in order for fishermen to partake directly in ‘fishing for marine litter’ schemes, by providing them with payment or other financial and material incentives;

AB.  whereas between 75 000 and 300 000 tonnes of microplastics are released into the EU environment each year, including micro-plastics which are intentionally added to plastic products, micro-plastics released during the use of products and those produced by the degradation of plastic products;

AC.  whereas micro-plastics and nano-sized particles create specific public policy challenges;

AD.  whereas micro-plastics are found in 90 % of bottled water;

AE.  whereas the Commission’s request to ECHA to examine the scientific basis to restrict the use of intentionally added micro-plastics to consumer- or professional-use products, is welcomed;

AF.  whereas the Commission’s request to ECHA to prepare a proposal for a possible restriction on oxo-degradable plastic is welcomed;

AG.  whereas according to Article 311 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the introduction of new own resources is subject to a special legislative procedure requiring unanimity among Member States and consultation of Parliament;

General remarks

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s communication entitled ‘A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’ (COM(2018)0028) as a step forward in the EU’s transition from a linear towards a circular economy; recognises that plastic plays a useful role in our economy and in our daily lives but at the same time has significant drawbacks; considers that the key challenge therefore is to manage plastics in a sustainable way throughout the whole value chain and thus change the way in which we produce and use plastics, so that value is retained in our economy, without harming the environment, climate and public health;

2.  Stresses that prevention, as defined in the Waste Framework Directive, of plastic waste upfront should be the first priority in line with the waste hierarchy; considers, furthermore, that substantially boosting our plastics recycling performance is also key for supporting sustainable economic growth as well as protecting the environment and public health; calls on all stakeholders to consider the recent Chinese import ban on plastic waste as an opportunity for investing in plastic waste prevention, including by stimulating reuse and circular product design, and for investing in state-of-the-art facilities for collection, sorting and recycling in the EU; believes that exchanging best practices in this regard is important, in particular for SMEs;

3.  Is convinced that the plastics strategy should also serve as a lever for stimulating new, smart, sustainable and circular business, production and consumption models covering the entire value chain in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal number 12 on sustainable consumption and production and by internalising external costs; calls on the Commission to foster clear linkages between the Union’s waste, chemicals and product policies to this end, including by the development of non-toxic material cycles as laid down in the 7th Environmental Action Programme;

4.  Calls on the Commission to establish a post-2020 policy for the circular economy and bio-economy based on a strong research and innovation pillar, and to ensure that the necessary commitments will be available in the new multiannual financial framework (MFF); stresses in particular the importance of research to develop innovative solutions and to understand the impact of macro-, micro- and nano-plastics on ecosystems and on human health;

5.  Emphasises that plastics are diverse and have a variety of applications, and that a tailored, often product-specific, approach is thus required for the various value chains, with a diverse mix of solutions taking into account the environmental impact, existing alternatives, local and regional demands and ensuring that functional needs are met;

6.  Stresses that joint and coordinated actions by all stakeholders across the entire value chain, including consumers, are necessary in order to succeed and achieve an outcome that is advantageous for the economy, the environment, the climate and health;

7.  Emphasises that the reduction of waste generation is a shared responsibility and that converting general concern about plastic waste into public responsibility remains an important challenge; highlights the fact that developing new consumption patterns by stimulating the behavioural change of consumers is key in this regard; calls for increased consumer awareness-raising about the impact of plastic waste pollution, the importance of prevention and proper waste management and of existing alternatives;

From design for recycling to design for circularity

8.  Calls on the competent authorities in the Member States to ensure that the entire product and waste acquis is fully and swiftly implemented and enforced; points out that in the EU only 30 % of plastic waste is collected for recycling, leading to an enormous waste of resources; stresses that plastics will no longer be accepted in landfills by 2030 and that Member States have to manage their plastic waste according to the provisions laid down in Directive 2008/98/EC; reiterates that Member States should make use of economic instruments and other measures to provide incentives for the application of the waste hierarchy; stresses the importance of separate collection and sorting facilities to enable high-quality recycling and boost the uptake of quality secondary raw materials;

9.  Calls on all industry stakeholders to start taking concrete actions now to ensure that all packaging plastics are reusable or recyclable in a cost-effective manner at the latest by 2030, to couple their brand identity to sustainable and circular business models and to use their marketing power to promote and drive sustainable and circular consumption patterns; calls on the Commission to monitor and evaluate the developments, promote best practices and to verify environmental claims to avoid “greenwashing”;

10.  Believes that civil society should be duly involved and informed so that they are able to hold industry to its commitments and obligations;

11.  Urges the Commission to fulfil its obligation to revise and reinforce the essential requirements in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive by end of 2020, taking into account the relative properties of different packaging materials on the basis of life-cycle assessments, addressing in particular prevention, and design for circularity; calls on the Commission to come forward with clear, implementable and effective requirements, including on "reusable and recyclable plastic packaging in a cost-effective manner”, and on excessive packaging;

12.  Calls on the Commission to make resource efficiency and circularity overarching principles, including the important role that circular materials, products and systems can play, also for non-packaging plastic items; considers that this can be achieved inter alia by Extended Producer Responsibility, by developing product standards, by conducting lifecycle assessments, by broadening the eco-design legislative framework to cover all main plastic product groups, by adopting eco-labelling provisions and by implementing the Product Environmental Footprint method;

Creating a genuine single market for recycled plastics

13.  Notes that there are various reasons for the low uptake of recycled plastics in the EU, as a result of inter alia low fossil fuel prices partly due to subsidies, lack of trust and shortage of high-quality supply; emphasises that a stable internal market for secondary raw materials is necessary to ensure the transition to a circular economy; calls on the Commission to tackle the barriers facing this market and to create a level playing field;

Quality standards and verification

14.  Calls on the Commission to come forward swiftly with quality standards in order to build trust and incentivise the market for secondary plastics; urges the Commission, when developing these quality standards, to take into account various grades of recycling which are compatible with the functionality of different products, while safeguarding public health, food safety and the environment; calls on the Commission to ensure the safe use of recycled materials in food contact materials and to spur innovation;

15.  Asks the Commission to take into consideration best practices with independent third-party certification and to encourage the certification of recycled materials, as verification is essential in order to boost the confidence of both industry and consumers in recycled materials;

Recycled content

16.  Calls on all industry players to convert their public commitments to increase the uptake of recycled plastics into formal pledges and to deliver concrete actions;

17.  Believes that mandatory rules on recycled content may be needed in order to drive the uptake of secondary raw materials insofar as markets for recycled materials are not yet functioning; calls on the Commission to consider introducing requirements for minimum recycled content for specific plastic products put on the EU market, while respecting food safety requirements;

18.  Calls on the Member States to consider introducing a reduced value-added tax (VAT) for products containing recycled content;

Circular procurement

19.  Stresses that procurement is an essential instrument in the transition towards a circular economy as it has the power to boost innovation in business models and to foster resource-efficient products and services; highlights the role of local and regional authorities in this regard; calls on the Commission to set up an EU learning network on circular procurement in order to harvest the lessons learnt from pilot projects; believes that these voluntary actions should pave the way, based on a robust impact assessment, for binding EU rules and criteria on public circular procurement;

20.  Calls on Member States to phase out all perverse incentives which work against achieving the highest possible levels of plastics recycling;

Waste-chemicals interface

21.  Calls on the competent authorities in the Member States to optimise controls on imported materials and products in order to ensure and enforce compliance with EU chemicals and product legislation;

22.  Points to the resolution of the European Parliament on implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation;

Prevention of plastic waste generation

Single-use plastics

23.  Notes that there is no panacea to address the harmful effects to the environment of single-use plastics, and believes that a combination of voluntary and regulatory measures, as well as a change in consumer awareness, behaviour and participation, is therefore required to resolve this complex issue;

24.  Takes note of actions already taken in some Member States and therefore welcomes the Commission’s proposal on a specific legislative framework for reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, in particular single-use plastics; considers that this proposal should contribute to a significant reduction in marine litter, of which more than 80 % is plastic, thereby contributing to the goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds;

25.  Believes it is important that this framework offers an ambitious set of measures for the competent authorities in the Member States which is compatible with the integrity of the single market, producing a tangible and positive environmental and socio-economic impact and providing the necessary functionality to consumers;

26.  Recognises that reducing and restricting single-use plastic products can create opportunities for sustainable business models;

27.  Refers to the ongoing work under the ordinary legislative procedure on this proposal;

28.  Stresses that there are various pathways to achieving high separate collection and recycling rates and a reduction in litter of plastic waste, including extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes with modulated fees, deposit-refund schemes and increased public awareness; recognises the merits of established regimes in different Member States and the potential for exchanging best practices between Member States; underlines that the choice of a certain scheme remains within the remit of the competent authority in the Member State;

29.  Welcomes the fact that Directive 94/62/EC stipulates that Member States must establish mandatory EPR schemes for all packaging by the end of 2024 and calls on the Commission to assess the possibility of extending this obligation to other plastic products in accordance with Articles 8 and 8a of Directive 2008/98/EC;

30.  Takes note of the Commission’s proposal on the system of own resources of the European Union (COM(2018)0325) for a contribution based on non-recycled plastic packaging waste; stresses that the steering effect of a possible contribution must be coherent with the waste hierarchy; underlines therefore that priority should be given to the prevention of waste generation;

31.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to join and support the international coalition to reduce plastic bag pollution launched at the COP 22 in Marrakesh in November 2016;

32.  Believes that supermarkets play a crucial role in the reduction of single-use plastic in the EU; welcomes initiatives like plastic-free supermarket aisles which provide opportunities for supermarkets to test compostable biomaterials as alternatives to plastic packaging;

33.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a directive on port reception facilities (COM(2018)0033), which aims to significantly reduce the burden and costs for fishermen of bringing fishing gear and plastic waste back to port; underlines the important role that fishermen could play, in particular by collecting plastic waste from the sea during their fishing activity, and bringing it back to port to undergo proper waste management; stresses that the Commission and the Member States should incentivise this activity, so that fishermen would not be charged a fee for treatment;

34.  Regrets that the implementation of Article 48(3) of the Fisheries Control Regulation on retrieval and reporting obligations regarding lost fishing gear did not feature in the Commission’s 2017 evaluation and implementation report; stresses the need for a detailed assessment of the implementation of the requirements of the Fisheries Control Regulation in terms of fishing gear;

35.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regions to support plans for the collection of litter at sea with the involvement, where possible, of fishing vessels, and to introduce port reception and disposal facilities for marine litter, as well as a recycling scheme for end-of-life nets; calls on the Commission and the Member States to use the recommendations found in the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear, liaising closely with the fishing sector to fight ghost fishing;

36.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regions to enhance data collection in the area of marine plastics by establishing and implementing an EU-wide mandatory digital reporting system for gear lost by individual fishing vessels in support of recovery action, using data from regional databases to share information on a European database managed by the Fisheries Control Agency or to develop SafeSeaNet into a user-friendly, EU-wide system, allowing fishermen to signal lost gear;

37.  Stresses the need for Member States to make greater efforts to develop strategies and plans to reduce the abandonment of fishing gear at sea, for example through EMFF grants, Structural Funds and ETC support and the necessary degree of active regional involvement;

Bio-based plastics, biodegradability and compostability

38.  Strongly supports the Commission in coming forward with clear additional standards, harmonised rules and definitions on bio-based content, biodegradability (a feedstock independent property) and compostability in order to tackle existing misconceptions and misunderstandings and to provide consumers with clear information;

39.  Highlights the fact that fostering a sustainable bio-economy can contribute to decreasing Europe´s dependency on imported raw materials; highlights the potential role for bio-based and biodegradable plastics, where shown to be beneficial from a life-cycle perspective; considers that biodegradability needs to be assessed under relevant real-world conditions;

40.  Emphasises that biodegradable and compostable plastics can help support the transition to a circular economy, but cannot be considered a remedy against marine litter, nor should they legitimise unnecessary single-use applications; calls, therefore, on the Commission to develop clear criteria for useful products and applications composed of biodegradable plastics, including packaging and applications in agriculture; calls for further R&D investment in this issue; stresses that biodegradable and non-biodegradable plastics must be treated differently in view of proper waste management;

41.  Emphasises that bio-based plastics offer potential for partial feedstock differentiation and calls for further R&D investment in this regard; acknowledges the existence of innovative bio-based materials already on the market; stresses the need for neutral and equal treatment of substitute materials;

42.  Calls for a complete EU ban on oxo-degradable plastic by 2020, as this type of plastic does not properly biodegrade, is not compostable, negatively affects the recycling of conventional plastic and fails to deliver a proven environmental benefit;

Micro-plastics

43.  Calls on the Commission to introduce a ban on micro-plastics in cosmetics, personal care products, detergents and cleaning products by 2020; furthermore calls on ECHA to assess and prepare, if appropriate, a ban on micro-plastics which are intentionally added to other products, taking into account whether viable alternatives are available;

44.  Calls on the Commission to set minimum requirements in product legislation to significantly reduce the release of micro-plastics at source, in particular for textiles, tyres, paints and cigarette butts;

45.  Takes note of the good practice of Operation Clean Sweep and various ‘zero pellet loss’ initiatives; believes there is scope to replicate these initiatives at EU and global level;

46.  Calls on the Commission to look into the sources, distribution, fate and effects of both macro- and micro-plastics in the context of wastewater treatment and storm water management in the ongoing fitness check on the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive; calls, furthermore, on Member States’ competent authorities and the Commission to ensure the full implementation and enforcement of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive; calls, in addition, on the Commission to support research in sewage sludge treatment and water purification technologies;

Research and innovation

47.  Welcomes the Commission’s announcement that an additional EUR 100 million will be invested under the Horizon 2020 programme to drive investment towards resource-efficient and circular solutions, such as prevention and design options, diversification of feedstock and innovative recycling technologies such as molecular and chemical recycling, as well as the improvement of mechanical recycling; highlights the innovative potential of start-ups in this regard; supports the establishment of a Strategic Research Innovation Agenda on material circularity, with a specific focus on plastic and plastic-containing materials, beyond packaging, to guide future funding decisions in Horizon Europe; notes that adequate funding will be necessary to help leverage private investment; emphasises that public-private partnerships can help accelerate the transition to a circular economy;

48.  Emphasises the strong potential for linking the digital agenda and the circular economy agenda; underlines the need to address regulatory barriers to innovation and calls on the Commission to examine possible EU innovation deals in line with achieving the goals set out in the plastics strategy and the broader circular economy agenda;

49.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the regions to support the use of innovative fishing gear by encouraging fishermen to ‘trade in’ old nets and to adapt existing nets with net trackers and sensors linked to smart phone apps, radio frequency identification chips and vessel trackers so that skippers can keep more accurate track of their nets and retrieve them if necessary; acknowledges the role that technology can play in preventing plastic waste from entering the sea;

50.  Calls for Horizon Europe to include a ‘Mission Plastic Free Ocean’ in order to use innovation to reduce the amount of plastics entering the marine environment and to collect plastics present in the oceans; reiterates its calls about combatting marine litter (including prevention, increasing ocean literacy, raising awareness about the environmental challenge of plastic pollution and other forms of marine litter, and clean-up campaigns such as fishing for litter and beach clean-ups) as referred to in the joint communication of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 10 November 2016 on ‘International ocean governance: an agenda for the future of our oceans’ (JOIN(2016)0049),; calls for an EU policy dialogue on marine litter between policy-makers, stakeholders and experts;

Global action

51.  Calls on the EU to play a pro-active role in developing a Global Plastics Protocol and to ensure that the various commitments made at both the EU and global levels can be tracked in an integrated and transparent manner; calls on the Commission and the Member States to show active leadership in the working group established by the United Nations Environment Assembly in December 2017, to work on international responses for combating plastic marine litter and micro-plastics; emphasises that the issues of plastic pollution and waste management capacities must be a part of the EU’s external policy framework, given that a great portion of plastic waste in the oceans originates from countries in Asia and Africa;

52.  Calls on all EU institutions, together with the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, to focus on prevention, scrutinise their internal procurement rules and plastic waste management practices and significantly reduce their generation of plastic waste, in particular by replacing, reducing and restricting single-use plastics;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 93.
(2) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 100.
(3) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109.
(4) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 141.
(5) OJ L 115, 6.5.2015, p. 11.
(6) OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10.
(7) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 171.
(8) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 65.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0287.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0004.
(11) OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1.
(12) Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear


Options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation (2018/2589(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0353B8-0363/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 191 and 192 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, relating to protecting human health and to preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment,

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste(1),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment(2),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/850 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste(3),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directive 79/117/EEC(7),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products(8),

–  having regard to Decision No 1386/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’(9),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 January 2018 on the implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation (COM(2018)0032),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document accompanying the Commission communication of 16 January 2018 on the implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation (SWD(2018)0020),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 January 2018 on a European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy (COM(2018)0028),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 March 2018 entitled ‘Commission General Report on the operation of REACH and review of certain elements – Conclusions and Actions (COM(2018)0116),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 30 November 2016 entitled ‘Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019’ (COM(2016)0773,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 December 2015 entitled ‘Closing the loop – An EU action plan for the Circular Economy’ (COM(2015)0614),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 September 2011 entitled ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’ (COM(2011)0571),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2017 on a longer lifetime for products: benefits for consumers and companies(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2015 on draft Commission Implementing Decision XXX granting an authorisation for uses of bis(2-ethylhexhyl) phthalate (DEHP) under Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2018 on the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme(13),

–  having regard to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal,

–  having regard to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade,

–  having regard to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants,

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and to the Commission on implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation (O-000063/2018 – B8-0036/2018 and O-000064/2018 – B8‑0037/2018),

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

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

A.  whereas the 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP) provides for the development of a Union strategy for a non-toxic environment, to ensure the minimisation of exposure to chemicals in products, including imported products, with a view to promoting non-toxic material cycles, so that recycled waste can be used as a major, reliable source of raw material for the Union;

B.  whereas Article 9 of Directive (EU) 2018/851 stipulates that the measures taken by Member States to prevent waste generation must reduce the generation of waste, in particular waste that is not suitable for preparing for reuse or recycling;

C.  whereas Article 9 of Directive (EU) 2018/851 also stipulates that these measures must promote the reduction of the content of hazardous substances in materials and products, and ensure that any supplier of an article as defined in point 33 of Article 3 of REACH provides information pursuant to Article 33(1) of that Regulation to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and that ECHA must establish and maintain a database for data to be submitted to it in this context, and provide access to this database to waste treatment operators and, upon request, to consumers;

D.  whereas Article 10(5) of Directive (EU) 2018/851 stipulates that, where necessary to comply with the obligation of preparing for reuse, recycling and other recovery operations and to facilitate or improve recovery, Member States must take the necessary measures, before or during recovery, to remove hazardous substances, mixtures and components from hazardous waste with a view to their treatment in accordance with Articles 4 and 13 of Directive 2008/98/EC(14) on waste;

E.  whereas Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 stipulates that disposal or recovery operations that may lead to recovery, recycling, reclamation or reuse of the substances listed in Annex IV (persistent organic pollutants (POPs)) must be prohibited;

General considerations

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication and staff working document of 16 January 2018, as well as the consultation process, but expects swift action in order to tackle the ‘interface’ problems; supports the overarching vision put forward by the Commission, which is in line with the objectives of the 7th EAP;

2.  Considers that the primary aim of the Commission should be to prevent hazardous chemicals from entering the material cycle, to achieve full consistency between the laws implementing waste and chemicals policies and to ensure better implementation of current legislation, while addressing those regulatory gaps that could act as barriers to a sustainable EU circular economy including, in particular, with respect to imported articles;

3.  Stresses that in a truly circular economy products must be designed for upgradeability, durability, reparability, reusability and recyclability, and with minimal use of substances of concern;

4.  Reiterates that moving towards a circular economy requires strict application of the waste hierarchy and, where possible, phasing out of substances of concern, in particular where safer alternatives exist or will be developed, so as to ensure the development of non-toxic material cycles, which will facilitate recycling and are essential for the sound development of a functioning secondary raw materials market;

5.  Calls on the Commission to develop, without any further delay, a Union strategy for a non-toxic environment, as laid down in the 7th EAP;

6.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in close conjunction with ECHA, to step up their regulatory activities to promote the substitution of substances of very high concern and to restrict substances that pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment in the context of REACH and specific sectoral or product legislation, so that recycled waste can be used as a major, reliable source of raw material within the Union;

7.  Stresses the need to find local, national, regional and European solutions by involving all stakeholders, with a view to detecting chemicals of concern in recycling streams and removing them therefrom;

8.  Calls on companies to fully embrace a forward-looking holistic approach to progressive chemicals management by seizing the opportunity to substitute toxic substances in products and supply chains, accelerating and leading the innovation of the market;

9.  Stresses that the implementation of chemicals, product and waste legislation may present a challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); highlights that their specific case should be taken into account when taking actions, without compromising the level of protection of human health and the environment; points to the need for clear and easily accessible information to ensure that SMEs have the necessary prerequisites to fully comply with all legislation in the area;

10.  Considers that, in the event of risk of overlapping legislation, it is imperative to clarify the interlinkages, to ensure coherence and to exploit possible synergies;

11.  Underlines that it is of the utmost importance that transparency on the presence of substances of concern in consumer products be improved in order to establish public trust in the safety of secondary raw materials; points out that improved transparency would further reinforce incentives to phase out the use of substances of concern;

Insufficient information about substances of concern in products and waste

12.  Considers that substances of concern are those that meet the criteria set out in Article 57 of REACH as substances of very high concern, substances prohibited under the Stockholm Convention (POPs), specific substances restricted in articles listed in Annex XVII to REACH and specific substances regulated under specific sectoral and/or product legislation;

13.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to fulfil its commitments to protecting citizens’ health and the environment from endocrine disrupting chemicals; expects the Commission to deliver, without any further delay, its strategy on endocrine disruptors to minimise exposure of EU citizens to endocrine disruptors beyond pesticides and biocides;

14.  Stresses that all substances of concern should be tracked as soon as possible, and that information relating to these substances, including their composition and concentration, should be made fully available to all those involved in the supply chain, to recyclers and to the public, while taking into account existing systems and considering the option of sector-specific tracking solutions; welcomes, as a first step in this direction, the new provisions included in Article 9 of Directive (EU) 2018/851 on waste;

15.  Calls, in this context, on the Member States and the Commission, in conjunction with ECHA, to increase their efforts to ensure that, by 2020, all relevant substances of very high concern, including substances that meet the equivalent level of concern criterion, such as endocrine disruptors and sensitisers, are placed on the REACH candidate list, as laid down in the 7th EAP;

16.  Believes that, in line with the existing requirements for imports laid down by REACH, the tracking system should also encompass all products imported into the Union that may contain substances of concern; specifies, furthermore, the importance of addressing the issue of non-registered substances in imported articles; stresses that deeper collaboration related to imported articles is needed at international level, with actors such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), third countries facing similar challenges with imported articles, and exporting countries;

17.  Notes that, in line with the conclusions of the Commission’s second REACH review, the quality of the data on chemicals hazards, uses and exposure in the REACH registration dossiers should be improved;

18.  Considers that, in line with Article 20(2) of REACH (completeness check of registration), ECHA should not grant market access to chemicals with incomplete and inadequate registration dossiers and should make sure that the necessary information is generated as soon as possible; recalls that it is crucial that the information provided for registration dossiers is accurate, adequate, reliable, relevant and trustworthy; calls on ECHA to step up its efforts in the context of Article 41 of REACH (compliance check of registration), so as to end the situation of non-compliant dossiers and to ensure that no market access is granted to chemicals with non‑compliant registration dossiers; calls on registrants and the Member States to play their part in ensuring that REACH registration dossiers are compliant and kept up to date;

Addressing the presence of substances of concern in recycled materials

19.  Stresses that the Union must ensure the same level of protection for human health and the environment, whether products are made of primary or recovered materials;

20.  Reiterates that, in accordance with the waste hierarchy, prevention takes priority over recycling and that, accordingly, recycling should not justify the perpetuation of the use of hazardous legacy substances;

21.  Considers that all primary and secondary raw materials should in principle be subject to the same rules; points out, however, that it is not always possible to ensure that materials from recycled products are totally identical to primary raw materials;

22.  Points out that Union rules should ensure that materials recycling does not perpetuate the use of hazardous substances; notes with concern that legislation preventing the presence of chemicals in products, including imports, is scattered, is neither systematic nor consistent and applies only to very few substances, products and uses, often with many exemptions; regrets the lack of progress on developing a Union strategy for a non-toxic environment with the aim, among other things, of reducing exposure to substances of concern in products;

23.  Highlights that the possibility to recycle materials containing substances of concern should only be envisaged when there are no substitute materials without substances of concern; considers that any such recycling should take place in closed or controlled loops without endangering human health, including workers’ health, or the environment;

24.  Hopes that innovative recycling practices will help to decontaminate waste containing substances of concern;

25.  Considers that the issue of products containing legacy substances should be dealt with by means of an efficient registration, tracking and disposal system;

26.  Believes, as more than 80 % of the environmental impact of a product is determined at the design stage, that the Ecodesign Directive and other product‑specific legislation should be used in addition to REACH to introduce requirements to substitute substances of concern; stresses that the use of substances of a toxic nature or substances of concern, such as POPs and endocrine disrupters, should be specifically considered under the broadened ecodesign criteria, without prejudice to other harmonised legal requirements laid down at Union level concerning those substances;

27.  Highlights that it is crucial to ensure a level playing field between EU-produced and imported articles; considers that EU-produced articles must not, under any circumstances, be disadvantaged; asks the Commission, therefore, to ensure the timely use of restrictions in REACH and other product legislation, so that EU‑produced and imported products are subject to the same rules; stresses, in particular, that the phase-out or substitution of substances of very high concern resulting from the authorisation scheme under REACH should be matched by restrictions that apply concurrently; calls on the competent authorities in the Member States to increase controls on imported materials to ensure compliance with REACH and product legislation;

28.  Stresses that enforcement of chemicals and product legislation at EU borders should be improved;

29.  Takes the view that, in order to address the issue of the presence of substances of concern in recycled materials, it would be advisable to introduce a product passport as a tool to disclose materials and substances used in products;

Uncertainties about how materials can cease to be waste

30.  Stresses that clear EU rules specifying the conditions that must be met to exit the waste regime are needed, and that harmonised end-of-waste criteria are required; considers that such clear EU rules must be designed so as to be practicable for SMEs as well;

31.  Believes that measures should be taken at EU level to bring about more harmonisation in the interpretation and implementation by Member States of end-of-waste provisions laid down in the Waste Framework Directive, with a view to facilitating the use of recovered materials in the EU;

32.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to cooperate fully regarding the end-of-waste criteria;

Difficulties in the application of EU waste classification methodologies and impacts on the recyclability of materials (secondary raw materials)

33.  Believes that the rules for classifying waste as hazardous or non-hazardous should be consistent with those for the classification of substances and mixtures under the CLP (classification, labelling and packaging) Regulation, taking into account the specifics of waste and the way in which it is handled, and welcomes, furthermore, the new technical guidance on waste classification; emphasises the need to further develop the classification framework for waste and chemicals to include hazard endpoints of high concern, such as high persistence, endocrine disruption, bioaccumulation or neurotoxicity;

34.  Calls on the Commission, with respect to the classification of waste streams, to clarify the correct interpretation of the CLP Regulation to prevent misclassification of waste containing substances of concern;

35.  Stresses that the lack of enforcement of EU waste legislation is unacceptable and must be addressed as a matter of priority, including through country reports contained within the Environmental Implementation Review, as a more consistent approach between chemicals and waste classification rules is needed;

36.  Calls on the Commission to review the European List of Waste without delay;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 109.
(2) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 93.
(3) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 100.
(4) OJ L 150, 14.6.2018, p. 141.
(5) OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 7.
(8) OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10.
(9) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 171.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0287.
(11) OJ C 366, 27.10.2017, p. 96.
(12) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 65.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0100.
(14) OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3.


A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on a European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) (2017/2254(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0354A8-0257/2018

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to the 2017 World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals,

–  having regard to the report of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe of 29 February 2016, providing replies to questions from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on antimicrobial use in food-producing animals(1),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 June 2016 on the next steps under a One Health approach to combat antimicrobial resistance,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 June 2016 on strengthening the balance in the pharmaceutical systems in the EU and its Member States,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 6 June 2011 entitled ‘Childhood immunisation: successes and challenges of European childhood immunisation and the way forward’, adopted by the Health Ministers of the EU Member States,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 6 December 2014 on vaccinations as an effective tool in public health,

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 entitled ‘Safer healthcare in Europe: improving patient safety and fighting antimicrobial resistance’(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2012 entitled ‘The Microbial Challenge – Rising threats from Antimicrobial Resistance’(3),

–  having regard to Decision No 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on serious cross-border threats to health and repealing Decision No 2119/98/EC(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 June 2017 on a European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (COM(2017)0339),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2015 on a new animal welfare strategy for 2016-2020(5),

–  having regard to the WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012,

–  having regard to the WHO European Vaccine Action Plan (EVAP) 2015-2020,

–  having regard to the general interest paper entitled ‘The Role of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the Fight against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)’, published in the journal Food Protection Trends in 2018,

–  having regard to the Commission Roadmap for a strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment and the current draft of the strategic approach(6),

–  having regard to the UN Political Declaration of the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance of 21 September 2016,

–  having regard to the World Bank report of March 2017 entitled ‘Drug-Resistant Infections: A Threat to Our Economic Future’,

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on veterinary medicinal products (COM(2014)0558),

–  having regard to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report of September 2015 entitled ‘Antimicrobial Resistance in G7 Countries and Beyond: Economic Issues, Policies and Options for Action’,

–  having regard to the EMA/EFSA Joint Scientific Opinion on measures to reduce the need to use antimicrobial agents in animal husbandry in the European Union, and the resulting impacts on food safety (RONAFA opinion),

–  having regard to the Seventieth World Health Assembly resolution of 29 May 2017 on improving the prevention, diagnosis and clinical management of sepsis,

–  having regard to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)-EFSA-EMA first joint report (JIACRA I), published in 2015, and second joint report (JIACRA II), published in 2017, on the integrated analysis of the consumption of antimicrobial agents and occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from humans and food-producing animals,

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 March 2017 on EU options for improving access to medicines(7),

–  having regard to the ECDC’s 2016 report on the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Europe,

–  having regard to the European Union summary report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2016, produced by the ECDC and EFSA(8),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0257/2018),

A.  whereas the excessive and incorrect use of antibiotics, particularly in livestock farming (antibiotics used for prophylaxis and as growth activators), and poor infection control practices in both human and veterinary medicine have progressively rendered antimicrobial resistance (AMR) a massive threat to human and animal health;

B.  whereas it is estimated that at least 20 % of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can be prevented through sustained and multifaceted infection prevention and control programmes(9);

C.  whereas prudent antibiotic use and infection prevention and control in all healthcare sectors, including animal health, are cornerstones for the effective prevention of the development and transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria;

D.  whereas 50 % of antibiotic prescriptions written for humans are ineffective and 25 % of consumption in humans is not well administrated; whereas 30 % of hospitalised patients use antibiotics and whereas multidrug-resistant bacteria pose a particular threat in hospitals and nursing homes and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters;

E.  whereas antibiotics continue to be used in animal husbandry for disease prevention and to compensate for poor hygiene rather than being prescribed in cases of need, which contributes to the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in animals which can then be transmitted to humans;

F.  whereas the existence of a correlation between resistance to antibiotics detected in food-producing animals (e.g. broiler chickens) and the fact that a large proportion of bacterial infections in humans come from the handling, preparation and consumption of the meat of these animals has also been confirmed by the EU agencies(10);

G.  whereas the misuse of antibiotics is eroding their efficacy and leading to the spread of highly resistant microbes that are especially resistant to last-line antibiotics; whereas according to data provided by the OECD, an estimated 700 000 deaths worldwide may be caused by AMR every year; whereas 25 000 of these deaths occur in the EU and the rest outside the EU, meaning that cooperation in development policy and coordination and monitoring of AMR at international level are crucial;

H.  whereas AMR could cause up to 10 million deaths per year in 2050 if no action is taken; whereas 9 million of these estimated deaths would occur outside the EU in developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa; whereas infections and resistant bacteria spread easily and there is therefore an urgent need for global action;

I.  whereas vaccinations and rapid diagnostic tools (RDTs) have the potential to limit antibiotic abuse; whereas RDTs enable healthcare professionals to quickly diagnose a bacterial or viral infection and therefore to reduce the misuse of antibiotics and the risk of resistance developing(11);

J.  whereas the continued spread of highly resistant bacteria could make it impossible to provide good healthcare in the future when it comes to invasive operations or well established treatments for some groups of patients requiring radiotherapy, chemotherapy and transplants;

K.  whereas bacteria are constantly evolving, the research and development (R&D) and regulatory environments are complex, certain specific infections are rare, and expected returns on new antimicrobials remain limited;

L.  whereas HAIs are due to a lack of prevention measures which result in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and poor hygiene practices, particularly in hospitals; whereas the ECDC estimates that approximately 4 million patients acquire a HAI every year in the EU and that approximately 37 000 deaths a year result directly from these infections; whereas the number of deaths could be even higher than this; whereas the previous figure of 25 000 deaths in the Union per year has proven to be a serious underestimate;

M.  whereas the lack of access to effective antibiotics in developing countries still causes more deaths than AMR; whereas actions to address AMR that focus too heavily on restricting access to antibiotics may exacerbate the already serious crisis of the lack of access to medicines, which today causes more than one million deaths per year in children under five; whereas actions to address AMR must aim to ensure sustainable access to medicines for all, meaning access for those in need but excess for none;

N.  whereas several Member States are experiencing rapidly rising levels of multi-resistant fungi leading to a sharp increase in the length of hospitalisations and increased mortality rates for infected patients; whereas the American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has raised awareness of the issue; whereas this specific issue is conspicuously absent in the European One Health Action Plan against AMR;

O.  whereas active screening programmes using RDTs have been proven to contribute significantly to the management of HAIs and to limiting their spread within hospitals and between patients(12);

P.  whereas the use of antibiotic compounds in non-clinical consumer products has been shown to increase the risk of generating drug-resistant bacteria strains(13);

Q.  whereas good hand hygiene, in the form of effective hand washing and drying, can contribute to preventing AMR and the transmission of infectious diseases;

R.  whereas the use of medical devices can prevent surgical site infections and therefore prevent and control the development of AMR(14);

S.  whereas there are successful examples of programmes that have improved global access to drugs in HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria;

T.  whereas nosocomial infections pose a major threat to preserving and guaranteeing basic healthcare throughout the world;

U.  whereas if the current trend continues, AMR could cause more deaths than cancer by 2050(15);

V.  whereas the ECDC and EFSA have reiterated that AMR constitutes one of the greatest threats to public health(16);

W.  whereas drug-resistant TB is the leading cause of death from AMR;

X.  whereas in its report of March 2017, the World Bank warned that by 2050, drug-resistant infections could cause global economic damage on a par with the 2008 financial crisis;

Y.  whereas AMR must be seen and understood as a threat to human, animal and planetary health and as a direct threat to the achievement of several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including, but not limited to, SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 3 and SDG 6;

Z.  whereas the objectives of the One Health approach are to ensure that treatments for human and animal infections remain effective, to stem the emergence and spread of AMR and to enhance the development and availability of new effective antimicrobials in the EU and the rest of the world;

AA.  whereas the Council conclusions on the next steps under a One Health approach to combat antimicrobial resistance(17) ask the Commission and the Member States to align the strategic research agendas of existing EU R&D initiatives on new antibiotics, alternatives and diagnostics within a One Health Network on AMR;

AB.  whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union recognises the fundamental right of citizens to health and medical treatment; whereas the right to health is the economic, social and cultural right to universal minimum standards of healthcare, to which all natural persons are entitled;

AC.  whereas a key pillar of any EU-wide strategy for AMR must be to ensure the continued training of healthcare professionals in the latest developments in research and best practices in relation to the prevention and spread of AMR;

AD.  whereas the World Health Assembly estimates that sepsis – a syndromic response to infectious diseases – causes approximately 6 million deaths worldwide every year, most of which are preventable;

AE.  whereas as per their joint mandate, the ECDC, EFSA and the EMA are currently working to provide outcome indicators for AMR and the consumption of antimicrobials among food-producing animals and humans;

AF.  whereas nature provides us with a plethora of powerful antibiotics, which could be harnessed to a far greater degree than is presently the case;

AG.  whereas the latest EMA data show that action to reduce veterinary antimicrobial use has been inconsistent across the EU(18); whereas some Member States have achieved significant reductions in the use of veterinary antimicrobials over a short period of time thanks to ambitious national policies, as illustrated by a series of fact-finding missions carried out by the Commission’s Health and Food Audits and Analysis Directorate(19);

AH.  whereas AMR is a cross-border threat to health, but the situation varies greatly from one Member State to another; whereas the Commission must therefore identify and act in areas that bring high European added value, while respecting the powers of the Member States, which are responsible for determining their own health policies;

AI.  whereas effective action against AMR must be part of a broader international initiative engaging as many international institutions, agencies and experts as possible, as well as the private sector;

AJ.  whereas the main causes of AMR are inappropriate use and abuse of antimicrobials, weakness of systems for the quality assurance of medicines, use of antimicrobials in livestock to promote growth or prevent diseases, deficiencies in the prevention and control of infections, and weaknesses in surveillance systems, among others;

AK.  whereas patients should have access to healthcare and treatment options, including complementary and alternative treatments and medicines, in accordance with their own choices and preferences;

AL.  whereas it is estimated that the cost of taking global action on AMR is up to USD 40 billion over a 10-year period;

AM.  whereas AMR-related challenges will increase in the years ahead and effective action is reliant on continued, cross-sectoral investments in public and private research and innovation (R&I) so that better tools, products and devices, new treatments and alternative approaches can be developed following a One Health approach;

AN.  whereas under the Fifth to Seventh Framework Programmes (FP5-FP7), more than EUR 1 billion has been invested in AMR research, and under Horizon 2020 (H2020), a cumulative budget of over EUR 650 million has already been mobilised so far; whereas the Commission has committed to invest more than EUR 200 million in AMR for the last three years of Horizon 2020;

AO.  whereas different funding instruments under H2020 will deliver research results on AMR, in particular:

   the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), with a focus on all aspects of antibiotic development including research into AMR mechanisms, drug discovery, drug development, and economics and stewardship, with seven ongoing projects under the umbrella of the ND4BB programme with a total budget of more than EUR 600 million of Commission funding and in-kind contributions from companies;
   the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), with a focus on the development of new and improved drugs, vaccines, microbicides and diagnostics against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, with 32 ongoing projects worth more than EUR 79 million;
   the Joint Programming Initiative on AMR (JPIAMR) with its focus on consolidation of otherwise fragmented national research activities and with ongoing projects worth EUR 55 million;
   the European Research Council (ERC), with its ‘investigator-driven’ or ‘bottom-up’ research projects;
   the InnovFin Infectious Diseases Financial Facility (IDFF) for close-to-market projects, with seven loans totalling EUR 125 million granted so far;
   the SME Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) which support SMEs in developing novel solutions and tools to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases and improve infection control, with 36 AMR-related projects and a budget of EUR 33 million;

AP.  whereas more than 20 new classes of antibiotics were developed until the 1960s, but only one new class of antibiotics has been developed since despite the spread and progress of new resistant bacteria; whereas, moreover, there is clear evidence of resistance to new agents within existing classes of antibiotics;

AQ.  whereas there are positive spillover effects of new antimicrobials on public health and science;

AR.  whereas the use of antibiotics for zootechnical purposes – as growth promoters, for example – represents misuse of these health products and is denounced by all international health organisations, which recommend its prohibition in the fight against AMR; whereas the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in food-producing animals has been banned in the EU since 2006;

AS.  whereas numerous diseases caused by microbes can be combated effectively not with antibiotics, leading to drug resistance, but through early diagnosis combined with new and existing medicines and other treatment methods and practices permitted in the EU, thereby saving the lives of millions of people and animals EU-wide;

AT.  whereas the gap between growing AMR and the development of new antimicrobial agents is widening; whereas drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths a year worldwide by 2050; whereas it is estimated that every year in the EU at least 25 000 people die of infections caused by resistant bacteria, at an annual cost of EUR 1.5 billion, while only one novel class of antibiotics has been developed in the past 40 years;

AU.  whereas if antibiotics reserved exclusively for human use are to continue to be effective and the risks of AMR against these crucial antibiotics are to be minimised, the use of certain antibiotic families must be banned in veterinary medicine; whereas the Commission should specify which antibiotics or groups of antibiotics are to be reserved for the treatment of certain infections in humans;

AV.  whereas the political declaration endorsed by Heads of State at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2016 and the Global Action plan in May 2015 signalled the world’s commitment to taking a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of antimicrobial resistance across multiple sectors;

AW.  whereas the oft-cited figures of 25 000 AMR-related deaths in the EU per year and related costs of over EUR 1.5 billion date back to 2007 and whereas continuously updated information on the real burden of AMR is required; emphasises that the magnitude of the problem is evidence of the clear need for a European One Health Action Plan Against AMR;

The EU as a best-practice region

1.  Believes that in order to take sufficient steps to tackle AMR, the One Health principle must play a central role, reflecting the fact that the health of people and animals and the environment are interconnected and that diseases are transmitted from people to animals and vice versa; stresses, therefore, that diseases have to be tackled in both people and animals, while also taking into special consideration the food chain and the environment, which can be another source of resistant microorganisms; underlines the important role of the Commission in coordinating and monitoring national action plans implemented by Member States and the importance of cross-administrative cooperation;

2.  Stresses the need for a time frame for the European One Health Action Plan; calls on the Commission and the Member States to include measurable and binding AMR objectives with ambitious targets, both in the European One Health Action Plan and in national action plans, to enable benchmarking;

3.  Stresses that the correct and prudent use of antimicrobials is essential to limiting the emergence of AMR in human healthcare, animal husbandry and aquaculture; stresses that there are considerable differences in the way Member States handle and address AMR, making the coordination of national plans with specific objectives set crucial; highlights that the Commission plays a key role in coordinating and monitoring national strategies; underlines the need for a cross-sectoral (particularly in the next EU research and innovation framework programme (FP9)) and cross-media implementation of the concept of One Health, which has not yet been sufficiently achieved in the Commission’s action plan; insists that the use of antibiotics for preventive purposes in veterinary medicine should be strictly regulated, in accordance with the provisions of the forthcoming regulation on veterinary medicinal products;

4.  Recommends that the newly-created One Health Network and the EU Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (EU-JAMRAI) should also involve other key relevant stakeholders in addition to Member States;

5.  Calls on the Commission to conduct and publish a mid-term evaluation and ex-post evaluation of the One Health Action Plan and to involve all relevant stakeholders in the evaluation procedure;

6.  Stresses that joint EU action to tackle the increasing threat to human and animal health and the environment posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria can only succeed if it is based on standardised data; calls on the Commission, therefore, to develop and propose appropriate procedures and indicators to measure and compare progress in the fight against AMR and to ensure the submission and evaluation of standardised data;

7.  Notes that the recently adopted EU indicators helping Member States to monitor their progress in combating AMR only focus on antibiotic consumption and do not reflect appropriateness of use; calls on the ECDC to amend the EU indicators accordingly;

8.  Calls on the Commission to collect data on and report the volume of antibiotics produced by manufacturers;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to align surveillance, monitoring and reporting of AMR patterns and pathogens and to submit this data to the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS); underlines, furthermore, that the systematic collection of all relevant and comparable data on the volume of sales is of the utmost importance; calls on the Commission to draft, in consultation with the EMA, EFSA and the ECDC, an EU priority pathogen list (PPL), taking into account the WHO’s global PPL, for both humans and animals, thereby clearly establishing future R&D priorities; asks the Commission, furthermore, to encourage and support Member States in putting in place and monitoring national targets for the surveillance and reduction of AMR/HAIs;

10.  Calls on the Commission to develop standardised surveys for the collection of data on HAIs and to examine the risks to large human and animal populations during epidemics and pandemics;

11.  Highlights that better sharing of local, regional and national information and data on emerging issues in human and animal health together with the use of early warning systems can assist Member States in adopting appropriate containment measures to limit the spread of resistant organisms;

12.  Calls for the expansion of the role and the human and financial resources of all the relevant EU agencies in the fight against AMR and HAIs; believes that close collaboration between EU agencies and EU-funded projects is paramount;

13.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to submit regular and accurate reports on the number of confirmed cases of AMR in humans along with correct and up-to-date AMR mortality statistics;

14.  Emphasises that monitoring animal husbandry for agriculture and the food industry, infection prevention, health education, biosecurity measures, active screening programmes and control practices are critical in the control of all infectious microorganisms as they reduce the need for antimicrobials and consequently opportunities for microorganisms to develop and spread resistance; stresses the need for mandatory reporting to public health authorities of all patients who are found to be infected with or identified as carriers of highly resistant bacteria; stresses the need for guidelines on isolation of hospitalised carriers and the creation of a multidisciplinary professional taskforce reporting directly to national ministries of health;

15.  Highlights the need for an EU system for the collection of data on the correct use of all antibiotics; asks for the development of protocols for the prescription and use of antibiotics at EU level, recognising the responsibility of veterinarians and primary care doctors, among others, in this matter; asks, furthermore, for the compulsory collection, at national level, of all antibiotic prescriptions and for their registration in a database controlled and coordinated by experts in infections, so as to disseminate knowledge on how best to use them;

16.  Deplores the fact, in this context, that the Commission did not propose a strategic approach to the pollution of water with pharmaceuticals sooner, as required by the Water Framework Directive(20); urges the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to draw up an EU strategy for tackling drug residues in water and the environment without delay, devoting sufficient attention to monitoring, data collection and better analysis of the impact of AMR on water resources and the aquatic ecosystem; draws attention to the usefulness of an integrated chain approach to drug residues and AMR in the environment(21);

17.  Stresses that pollution of water and soil by human and veterinary antibiotic residues is a growing problem and that the environment itself is a potential source of new resistant micro-organisms; calls on the Commission, therefore, to pay significantly more attention to the environment as part of the One Health concept;

18.  Recalls that the oft-cited figures of 25 000 AMR-related deaths in the EU per year and related costs of over EUR 1.5 billion date back to 2007 and that continuously updated information on the real burden of AMR is required;

19.  Recalls that health is a factor of productivity and competitiveness, and is one of the issues of most concern for citizens;

20.  Calls on the Commission to expand its funding to EUCAST, which deals with the technical aspects of phenotypic in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility testing and functions as the breakpoint committee of the EMA and the ECDC;

21.  Urges the Commission to allocate additional funding specifically for research into non-therapeutic feed alternatives for application in animal husbandry in the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF);

22.  Supports, as a minimum, the Council’s response to the draft Codex Alimentarius Code of Practice to Minimise and Contain Antimicrobial Resistance, and its principles 18 and 19 on the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials;

23.  Encourages a focus on compliance with infection control guidelines, integrating infection rate reduction targets and supporting good practices to help to address patient safety in the hospital environment;

24.  Calls on the Commission, the ECDC and the Member States to encourage the use of single-use handtowels in hygiene-sensitive locations, such as healthcare institutions, food processing facilities and nurseries;

25.  Recalls that food is one of the possible vehicles for transmission of resistant bacteria from animals to human beings and, furthermore, that drug-resistant bacteria can circulate in populations of human beings and animals through water and the environment; takes note of the risks of infection with resistant organisms by contaminated crops treated with antimicrobial agents or by manure, and farmyard run-offs into groundwater; points out, in this context, that the spread of such bacteria is influenced by trade, travel and both human and animal migration;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop public health messages to raise public awareness and in doing so promote a change in behaviour towards the responsible use and handling of antibiotics, particularly prophylactic use; underlines the importance of promoting ‘health literacy’, since it is crucial that patients understand healthcare information and are able to follow treatment instructions accurately; stresses that preventive measures, including good hygiene, should be scaled up to reduce the human demand for antibiotics; stresses that awareness of the perils of self-medication and over-prescription should be a core component of a preventive strategy;

27.  Calls on the Member States to develop public health messages to raise public awareness of the link between infections and personal hygiene; emphasises that an effective means to reduce the use of antimicrobials is to stop infections from spreading in the first place; encourages the promotion of self-care initiatives in this regard;

28.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop strategies to support patients’ adherence to and compliance with antibiotic and other appropriate treatments as prescribed by medical professionals;

29.  Urges the Commission to propose guidelines, following the One Health approach, setting out best practices for the development of harmonised quality standards to be implemented in EU-wide curricula in order to foster interdisciplinary education, infection prevention and training programmes for healthcare professionals and the public, to ensure the proper conduct of health professionals and veterinary practitioners in relation to the prescription, dosage, use and disposal of antimicrobials and AMR-contaminated materials(22) and to ensure the establishment and deployment of multidisciplinary antibiotic stewardship teams in hospital settings;

30.  Emphasises that one third of prescriptions are made out in the primary care sector and therefore that this sector should be considered a priority in use protocols; stresses the need for specialists in infectious diseases in the elaboration of these protocols and in their control and follow-up; calls on the Commission to draft guidelines for the use of these protocols in the field of human health; calls on the Member States to review all existing protocols, especially for prophylactic use during surgery; welcomes current projects at national level, such as the PIRASOA programme, as examples of good practice with regard to rational use in primary care and hospitals; encourages the development of mechanisms through which to share best practices and protocols;

31.  Is aware that health professionals often need to make quick decisions on therapeutic indication for antibiotic treatment; notes that rapid diagnostic tests can help to support effective and accurate decision-making;

32.  Encourages Member States to prevent the spread of infection by resistant bacteria by implementing active screening programmes with rapid diagnostic technologies in order to quickly identify patients infected with multi-drug resistant bacteria and to put in place appropriate infection control measures (such as patient isolation, cohorting and reinforced hygiene measures);

33.  Is aware that the cost of RDTs may exceed the price of antibiotics; calls on the Commission and the Member States to propose incentives for the industry to develop effective, inexpensive and efficient testing methods and the use of RDTs; stresses that RDTs are only available nationwide in 40 % of OECD countries; calls on health insurance carriers to cover the extra cost arising from the use of RDTs, given the long-term benefits of preventing the unnecessary use of antimicrobials;

34.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to restrict the sale of antibiotics by the human and animal health professionals who prescribe them and to remove any incentives – financial or otherwise – for the prescription of antibiotics, while continuing to ensure sufficiently rapid access to emergency veterinary medicine; stresses that many antimicrobials are used in both humans and animals, that some of these antimicrobials are critical for preventing or treating life-threatening infections in humans, and that their use on animals should therefore be banned; stresses that these antimicrobials should be reserved for the treatment of humans alone in order to preserve their efficacy in the treatment of infections in humans for as long as possible; considers that Member States should be allowed to implement or maintain stricter measures regarding the restriction of sales of antibiotics;

35.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take firm action against the illegal sale of antimicrobial products or their sale without a doctor’s or veterinarian’s prescription in the EU;

36.  Highlights the value of vaccines and diagnostic tools in combating AMR and HAIs; recommends the integration of targets for life-long vaccination and infection control in the population, particularly in high-risk groups, as a key element of national action plans on AMR; stresses the importance, furthermore, of accessible information and awareness raising among the general public to boost the vaccination rate in human and veterinary healthcare and thus tackle diseases and AMR cost-effectively;

37.  Stresses that the European One Health Action Plan against AMR observes that immunisation by means of vaccination is a cost-effective health intervention in efforts to combat AMR(23) and that, in the Action Plan, the Commission announces incentives to promote the use of diagnostics, antimicrobial alternatives and vaccines(24), but that the relatively higher costs of diagnosis, antimicrobial alternatives and vaccination compared with conventional antibiotics are an obstacle to increasing the vaccination rate, as the Action Plan aims to do(25); underlines that various Member States already regard vaccination as an important policy measure, both to prevent outbreaks of animal diseases across borders and to restrict further risks of contagion for the EU agricultural market, and have therefore introduced it as such;

38.  Calls on Member States to step up efforts to prevent and control infections that can lead to sepsis; calls on Member States to include targeted measures to improve the prevention, early identification and diagnosis, and clinical management of sepsis in their national AMR action plans;

39.  Calls on the Commission to explore how best to leverage the potential of the European Reference Networks for rare diseases and to assess their possible role in AMR research;

40.  Highlights that the pollution of the environment by human and animal antibiotic residues, particularly by livestock farming, hospitals and households, is an emerging problem that requires coherent policy measures to prevent the spread of AMR among ecosystems, animals and people; encourages further research into transmission dynamics and the relative impact of this pollution on AMR; calls, therefore, for the development of synergies between the One Health approach and existing environmental monitoring data, in particular in the form of monitoring watch lists under the Water Framework Directive, in order to improve knowledge of the occurrence and spread of antimicrobials in the environment;

41.  Notes that bacteria exposed to herbicides respond differently to clinically relevant antibiotics; notes the frequency of changes in resistance to antibiotics induced by the use of approved herbicides and antibiotics and that the effects of these changes escape regulatory oversight;

42.  Calls on the Commission to take appropriate steps to address the release of pharmaceuticals, including antimicrobials, into the environment through wastewater and wastewater treatment plants, as a major factor in the emergence of AMR;

43.  Calls for a review of the environmental risk assessments as part of the marketing authorisation process for antimicrobials, as well as for older products already on the market; calls for strict adherence to the EU Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and green procurement rules as regards the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals and the release of antibiotics into the environment;

44.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to address the issue of rapidly rising levels of multi-drug resistant fungi by reviewing the use of fungicides in the agricultural and industrial sector;

45.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to phase out the use of antimicrobial compounds or chemicals in non-clinical settings, such as in everyday cleaning products and other consumer goods;

46.  Stresses the urgent need for in-depth research into the impact of the presence of antimicrobial substances in food crops and animal feed on the development of AMR, and into the microbial community in soil;

47.  Points out, in this connection, that a thorough ex-ante assessment of the social costs of an ‘end of pipe’ approach is necessary;

48.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to revise their codes of good agricultural practice and relevant best available techniques under the Industrial Emissions Directive(26) to include provisions for the handling of manure containing antibiotics/microorganisms resistant to antimicrobials;

49.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage the development of sustainable medicinal products with a low impact on the environment and water, and to encourage further innovation in the pharmaceutical industry in this area;

50.  Stresses that not all Member States possess sufficient resources to develop and implement comprehensive national AMR strategies; urges the Commission to provide Member States with clear information about the EU resources available to tackle AMR and to make more dedicated funding available for this purpose;

51.  Calls on the Commission to review and revise the best available techniques reference documents (BREFs) under the Industrial Emissions Directive that relate to emissions from plants manufacturing antibiotics;

52.  Urges the Commission to effectively deploy available legislation in all AMR-related areas to ensure that the threat is being tackled in all policies;

53.  Underlines the importance of a life cycle assessment approach, from production and prescription to the management of pharmaceutical waste; asks the Commission to address the issue of the disposal of antibiotics, where alternatives to incineration, such as gasification, should be explored;

54.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that environmental issues are introduced into the pharmacovigilance system for human pharmaceuticals and strengthened for veterinary pharmaceuticals, particularly in relation to AMR;

55.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to set quality standards (threshold values) or risk assessment requirements to ensure that manure, sewage sludge and irrigation water contain safe concentrations of relevant antibiotics and AMR microorganisms before they can be spread on agricultural fields;

56.  Calls on the Commission to launch, in cooperation with the Member States, an EU-wide information campaign for consumers and businesses on aquaculture in general, and in particular on the differences between the stringent and comprehensive standards on the EU market and the standards applicable to products imported from third countries, with a particular emphasis on the problems caused for food safety and public health by the introduction into the Union of particularly resistant micro-organisms and AMR;

57.  Calls for the phasing out of the routine prophylactic and metaphylactic use of antimicrobials in groups of farm animals and calls for the use of last-resort antibiotics to be banned altogether in food-producing animals; emphasises that good animal husbandry, hygiene practices, farm management and investments in these areas contribute to the prevention of infections and thereby to the reduction of the use of antibiotics; urges the Commission to present a new EU strategy on animal welfare as advocated by the European Parliament, with the long-term aim of creating an animal welfare law; urges the Commission to implement the points outstanding from the EU Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015 without delay;

58.  Underlines that good farm management, bio-security and animal husbandry systems underpin the health and welfare of food-producing animals and, when applied appropriately, minimise susceptibility to bacterial disease and the need for antibiotic use in animals;

59.  Believes that adequate funding for on-farm investments, such as in quality housing, ventilation, cleaning, disinfection, vaccination and bio-security, must be encouraged and should not be undermined in the future common agricultural policy (CAP); recognises, in that respect, the importance of awareness among members of the farming community of animal welfare, animal health and food safety; notes the importance of promoting and applying good practices at all stages of the production and processing of food products and the importance of safe and nutritionally balanced feed, specific feeding strategies, feed composition, feed formulations and feed processing;

60.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States — including in the context of the reform of the CAP — to bring about more synergies and, in accordance with the findings set out in its One Health Action Plan against AMR, to provide effective financial incentives and support for livestock farmers who can demonstrate that they have significantly reduced their use of antibiotics and achieved a high vaccination rate among their animals or livestock;

61.  Stresses that good sanitation and hygiene on farms is fundamental; asks the Commission to develop guidelines on the use of antibiotics in animals and on the hygiene conditions of farms; calls on the Member States to draw up specific plans and to strengthen control over sanitary conditions;

62.  Recalls the preventative measures to be used before resorting to antimicrobial treatment of entire groups (metaphylaxis) of food-producing animals:

   using good, healthy breeding stock that grows naturally, with suitable genetic diversity,
   conditions that respect the behavioural needs of the species, including social interactions and hierarchies,
   stocking densities that do not increase the risk of disease transmission,
   isolation of sick animals away from the rest of the group,
   (for chickens and smaller animals) subdivision of flocks into smaller, physically separated groups,
   implementation of existing rules on animal welfare already in cross compliance as set out in statutory management requirements (SMRs) 11, 12, 13 of Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013(27);

63.  Believes that requirements to ensure that labelling makes reference to antibiotic use would improve consumer knowledge and enable consumers to make a more informed choice; calls on the Commission to create a harmonised system for labelling based on animal welfare standards and good animal husbandry practices as already envisaged in 2009(28),

64.  Draws attention, furthermore, to recent scientific findings (February 2018) that show that extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) are only transferred to people from livestock farming and meat consumption to a limited extent and that the transmission of ESBLs mainly occurs from person to person(29);

65.  Stresses that high-density farming may involve antibiotics being improperly and routinely fed to livestock and poultry on farms to promote faster growth, and that they are also widely used for prophylactic purposes, to prevent disease spreading as a result of the cramped, confined and stressful conditions in which the animals are kept, and which inhibit their immune systems, and to compensate for the unsanitary conditions in which they are raised;

66.  Considers that our understanding of the spread of AMR from animals in farms to humans is already quite solid and that this has not been properly recognised in the Action Plan; notes that the Action Plan merely calls for further investigation and for closing the knowledge gaps on the issue, which might possibly postpone much‑needed action;

67.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to distinguish between livestock and pets, particularly in the development of mechanisms to monitor and assess the use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine, and in the development of measures to address their use;

68.  Stresses that comprehensive monitoring of antibiotics in farming has been developed in cooperation with veterinarians, which comprehensively documents the use of antibiotics and further improves their application; regrets that there is, as yet, no comparable system in relation to human medicine;

69.  Notes that the existence of a correlation between resistance to antibiotics found among food-producing animals (e.g. broiler chickens) and a large proportion of bacterial infections in humans, which comes from the handling, preparation and consumption of the meat of these animals, has also been confirmed by EU agencies(30);

70.  Stresses that research shows that interventions that restrict antibiotic use in food-producing animals are associated with a reduction in the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in these animals(31);

71.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in the light of this recent research(32), to take care and maintain a sense of proportion when adopting measures, and to carefully assess and classify antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in all relevant legislation so as not to restrict unnecessarily the availability of remedies to combat certain protozoa, such as coccidia, in European livestock farming and thus unintentionally cause an increase in the risks of contamination of human beings with dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and microbes from food;

72.  Regrets that the European One Health Action Plan against AMR lacks any allocation of resources and that it is not making more ambitious use of legislative tools; calls on the Commission to be more ambitious in any future action plan it develops and to make more determined efforts to implement it in its entirety;

73.  Regrets that the Commission’s strategic approach, which is basically right, is all too often limited to declarations of intent and calls on the Commission to spell out its approach;

74.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate and monitor national strategies to enable sharing of best practices among Member States;

75.  Urges Member States to develop ambitious national strategies to tackle AMR in the animal production sector, to include quantitative reduction targets for the use of veterinary antimicrobials, while taking local circumstances into account; stresses that all sectors all along the food chain should be involved in their implementation;

76.  Notes that some Member States have legally defined professionally qualified animal medicine advisors authorised to prescribe certain veterinary medicines by the relevant authorities; underlines that national action plans on AMR should not prohibit these persons from prescribing and supplying certain veterinary medicines, where necessary, given the vital role these persons can play in isolated rural communities;

77.  Underlines the importance of exchanges of best practices among Member States and the coordination of such exchanges by the Commission; welcomes, in this context, the reduction of the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry in the Netherlands by 64.4 % in the period 2009-2016 and the stated national ambition to further reduce it by 2020; calls on the Commission and the Member States to apply this example of public-private cooperation between public authorities, industries, scientists and veterinary surgeons in other parts of the Union as well;

78.  Urges the Member States to consider the implementation of positive (tax exemptions for farmers) and negative (taxes on antibiotic sales such as those successfully introduced in Belgium and Denmark) tax incentives on antibiotics used in husbandry for non-therapeutic purposes;

Boosting research, development and innovation with regard to AMR

79.  Points out that with an investment of EUR 1.3 billion in AMR research, the EU is a leader in this domain, and that EU achievements include the launch of the New Drugs for Bad Bugs (ND4BB) programme(33) and the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR)(34); underlines the need for the efficiency and coordination of research actions; welcomes initiatives, therefore, such as ERA-NET for establishing synergies between the JPIAMR and Horizon 2020; highlights that more than 20 new classes of antibiotics were developed until the 1960s and notes with concern that no truly new antimicrobial classes have been introduced in recent years;

80.  Urges the Commission to consider a new legislative framework to stimulate the development of new antimicrobials for humans, as already requested by Parliament on 10 March 2016 in its amendments to the proposal for a regulation on veterinary medicinal products and in its resolution of 19 May 2015; notes that in the European One Health Action Plan against AMR, the Commission also commits itself to ‘[analysing] EU regulatory tools and incentives – in particular orphan and paediatric legislation – to use them for novel antimicrobials’;

81.  Welcomes the fact that EFSA and the EMA recently reviewed and discussed a number of alternatives to the use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals, some of which have been shown to yield promising results in the improvement of animal health parameters during experimental studies; recommends, therefore, giving new impetus to scientific research on alternatives and designing an EU legislative framework that would stimulate their development and clarify the pathway for their approval;

82.  Recalls that the traditional generation of antibiotics, which is based on a series of techniques for the modification of antibiotics obtained from nature, has been exhausted and that R&D investments in the creation of a new generation should break the traditional antibiotic paradigm; welcomes the new techniques that have already been developed, such as monoclonal antibodies that reduce the virulence of bacteria, not by killing them, but by rendering them useless;

83.  Points out that science and research play a crucial role in the development of standards in the fight against AMR;

84.  Welcomes recent research projects into alternative antibiotic therapies such as bacteriophage therapy, for example the EU-funded Phagoburn project; notes that no bacteriophage therapies have been authorised at EU level so far; calls on the Commission to propose a framework for bacteriophage therapy based on the latest scientific research;

85.  Notes the recent research into the development of next-generation probiotics for concomitant use with antibiotic treatment in clinical settings, which has been shown to reduce HAIs caused by bacteria highly resistant to antibiotics(35);

86.  Notes that R&D in the field of novel approaches to the treatment and prevention of infections is equally important and that these approaches can include the use of substances to strengthen the immune response to bacterial infection, such as pre- and probiotics;

87.  Encourages the EMA in collaboration with EFSA and the ECDC to review all available information on the benefits and risks of older antimicrobial agents, including antibiotics in combination, and to consider whether any changes to their approved uses are required; stresses that early dialogue between innovators and regulatory authorities should be encouraged in order to adapt the regulatory framework where necessary so as to prioritise and speed up the development of antimicrobial medicines and allow for faster access;

88.  Encourages the Commission to introduce a fast-track procedure whereby the use antimicrobials approved for industrial or agricultural purposes but suspected of having a severe negative impact on AMR can be temporarily prohibited until further studies on the impact of the antimicrobial have been carried out;

89.  Recalls that the poor quality of medical and veterinary products with low concentrations of active ingredients and/or their long-term use encourages the emergence of resistant microbes; calls, therefore, on the Commission and Member States to improve and design laws that ensure that medicines are of assured quality, safe and effective, and that their use will follow strict principles;

90.  Calls on the Commission to increase funding for early cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary R&I in epidemiology and immunology of AMR pathogens and the screening of HAIs, in particular the pathways of transmission between animals and humans and the environment; calls on the Commission to support research into hand hygiene and the impact of different hand washing and hand drying methods on the transmission of potential pathogens;

91.  Calls on the Commission to invest equally in the development of non-antibiotic alternatives for animal health, including growth promoters, and in the development of new molecules for the development of new antibiotics; stresses that new antibiotics must not be used for animal health promotion or growth promotion and that industries receiving public funds for the development of new antibiotics must stop distributing and/or using antibiotics for animal health promotion and growth promotion;

92.  Welcomes recent cross-border research projects into antimicrobial stewardship and the prevention of infection, such as the EU-funded i-4-1-Health Interreg project; calls on the Commission to increase research funding for measures to prevent HAIs;

93.  Calls on the Commission to further support R&D efforts in the field of AMR, including with regard to global health infections as defined in the SDGs, in particular drug-resistant TB malaria, HIV and neglected tropical diseases, as part of the next EU research and innovation framework programme, including by dedicating a specific mission under the programme to the global fight against AMR;

94.  Calls on the Commission to put in place restrictions on live animal transport from zones where antimicrobial-resistant strains of bacteria have been identified by the current monitoring system;

95.  Notes that some plant protection products might also have antimicrobial properties, which would affect the spread of AMR; calls for further research on the possible link between exposure to commercial formulations of pesticides and herbicides and the development of AMR; recognises that herbicides are routinely tested for toxicity but not for sublethal effects on microbes, and stresses, for the reasons cited above, the importance of giving consideration to conducting such tests routinely;

96.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote early and continuous dialogue with all stakeholders to elaborate appropriate incentives for R&D in the field of AMR; acknowledges that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach; urges the Commission to formally include civil society in One Health discussions, for example by setting up and funding a dedicated stakeholder network;

97.  Stresses the need for different models of collaboration led by the public sector and with the involvement of industry; recognises that the capacities of industry play a key role in R&D in the field of AMR; stresses that, notwithstanding the above, further public prioritisation and coordination are required for R&D in this urgent field; calls on the Commission, therefore, to launch a public platform for publicly funded R&D projects in AMR and for the coordination of all R&D actions;

98.  Stresses, therefore, that the current innovation framework does not effectively encourage R&D into AMR, and calls for the adjustment and harmonisation of the intellectual property regime at European level, in particular in order to better match the duration of protection with the period requested for the innovative medicine in question;

99.  Believes that research into fighting AMR is already taking place in many different parts of the Union, without there being any adequate overview of the state of research in the EU as a whole; suggests, therefore, that a dedicated platform be established at EU level to enable research resources to be used more efficiently in the future;

100.  Recalls the value of developing coalitions between academia and biopharmaceutical companies in terms of developing new antibiotics, rapid diagnostics and novel therapies;

101.  Welcomes the conclusions of the WHO, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Joint Technical Symposium entitled ‘Antimicrobial Resistance: How to foster innovation, access and appropriate use of antibiotics’(36), where new R&D models were discussed to incentivise R&D while delinking the profitability of antibiotics from volume sold;

102.  Recalls that the Clinical Trials Regulation(37) will help to encourage research into new antimicrobials in the EU; calls on the Commission and the EMA to implement the Clinical Trials Regulation without further delay;

103.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the development and uptake of new economic models, pilot projects and push and pull incentives to boost the development of new therapies, diagnostics, antibiotics, medical devices, vaccines and alternatives to using antimicrobials; believes that these are meaningful when they are sustainable, needs-driven and evidence-based over the long term, target key public priorities and support appropriate medical use;

104.  Calls on the Commission to assess the efficiency of current hygiene practices and sanitation methods in hospitals and healthcare environments; asks the Commission to explore the use of probiotics and other sustainable hygiene technologies as efficient sanitation approaches to prevent and reduce the number of HAIs attributed to AMR;

105.  Encourages the uptake of cost-effectiveness technologies that reduce the impact of HAIs in hospitals and help to prevent the spread of multi-resistant microorganisms;

106.  Encourages Member States to promote alternative reimbursement systems to facilitate the uptake of innovative technologies in national healthcare systems;

107.  Notes that the usual business model for developing medicines is not suitable for antibiotic development since resistance can evolve over time and since they are meant to be used temporarily and as a last resort; reminds the industry of its corporate and social responsibility to contribute to work to tackle AMR by finding ways to extend the life of antibiotics, thereby making the supply of effective antibiotics sustainable, and calls for incentives for this research and for the definition of the regulatory pathway;

108.  Recalls that both Parliament and the Council have asked for a review of current incentives (i.e. those established in the Orphan Regulation(38)), owing to their misuse and high final prices; calls, therefore, on the Commission to analyse current R&D incentive models, including the ‘transferable market exclusivity’ model, with a view to designing new ones and defining the regulatory pathway;

109.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop, in cooperation with researchers and industry, new incentive models that delink payment from prescribing volume and stimulate investment across the entire product development and production period; highlights that guaranteeing affordability and access to quality antibiotics must be the final aim of R&D incentives;

110.  Acknowledges the key role of pharmacists in raising awareness of the appropriate use of antimicrobials and in the prevention of AMR; encourages Member States to expand their responsibilities by allowing exact quantity dispensing and enabling the administration of certain vaccines and rapid diagnostic tests within pharmacies;

111.  Calls for transferable market exclusivities and market entry rewards to be considered as options for sustainable incentives;

112.  Calls on the Commission to take the global lead in advocating evidence-based best practice models for early diagnosis to tackle AMR;

Shaping the global agenda

113.  Underlines that without harmonised and immediate action on a global scale, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era in which common infections could once again kill;

114.  Recalls that owing to the complexity of the problem, its cross-border dimension, the severe consequences for the environment and human and animal health, and the high economic burden, AMR requires urgent and coordinated EU, global and intersectoral action; asks, therefore, for a clear commitment on the part of the EU and the Member States to building European and international partnerships and launching a crosscutting global strategy to combat AMR, covering policy areas such as international trade, development and agriculture;

115.  Welcomes the WHO’s ranking list of the 20 worst antibiotic-resistant pathogens(39); calls for urgent R&D projects on this priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in order to develop drugs to fight them; highlights, however, that research on new drugs is not the only action needed and that misuse and overuse must be tackled in both humans and animals;

116.  Recognises that AMR is a transborder issue and that products enter Europe from all over the world; urges the Commission to collaborate with third parties to reduce the use of antibiotics in husbandry and associated environmental contamination; calls on the Commission, moreover, to implement collaborative research programmes with third countries to reduce the overuse of antibiotics; calls on the Commission, in the context of free trade agreements, to ban imports of food animal products when the animals have not been raised in line with EU standards, and notably with the ban on the use of antibiotic growth promoters;

117.  Takes note of the report entitled ‘Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: Final report and recommendations’(40), which estimates that taking global action on AMR will cost USD 40 billion over a 10-year period, which is a tiny amount in comparison with the cost of inaction and a very small fraction of what the G20 countries spend on healthcare today (around 0.05 %); calls on the Commission to analyse the possibility of imposing a tax on the industry for public health within the framework of its social responsibility;

118.  Stipulates that in any future trade deal with the UK post-Brexit, AMR must be addressed and a condition set requiring the UK to follow up on further advancements in EU action to tackle AMR in order to protect consumers and workers in both the EU and the UK;

119.  Welcomes the WHO Global Action Plan (GAP) on AMR, which was adopted unanimously in May 2015 by the 68th World Health Assembly; stresses the need for global, EU and national action plans to be in line with the GAP;

120.  Welcomes the new WHO guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals(41); highlights that in some countries, approximately 50-70 % of medically important antibiotics are consumed in the animal sector, largely for growth promotion in healthy animals; asks, in the framework of the One Health approach, for this topic to be included in the trade policy of the EU and in negotiations with international organisations such as the WTO and associated or third countries, shaping a global policy to ban the use of antibiotics for fattening healthy animals;

121.  Notes that AMR is of serious concern in many poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), including HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and diseases connected with epidemics and pandemics; highlights that about 29 % of deaths caused by AMR are due to drug-resistant TB; calls on the Commission and the Member States, as a matter of urgency, to increase their support for research into and the application of health tools to address PRNDs affected by AMR; calls on the Commission and the Member States to create partnerships, modelled on the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), for international R&D projects on health, comprising different geographical regions and covering the most pertinent health topics, such as AMR, vaccines, cancer and access to medicines;

122.  Underlines the importance of EU initiatives such as the ECDC programmes for infectious diseases, including AIDS, TB and malaria; points out that these initiatives are examples of good practice, demonstrating the EU’s responsiveness and good functioning with a view to the need for new antibiotics, and that the ECDC should have a key role in the prioritisation of R&D needs, in the coordination of actions and the involvement of all actors, in enhancing cross-sectoral work and in capacity building through R&D networks;

123.  Highlights the problem of the emergence of multiresistant bacteria that are resistant to several antibiotics at the same time and that can eventually become superbacteria, resistant to all available antibiotics, including last-line antibiotics; highlights the need for a database on these multiresistant bacteria, covering AIDS, TB, malaria, gonorrhoea, Escherichia coli and other drug-resistant bacteria;

124.  Notes that the livestock raised for food in the US is dosed with five times as much antibiotic medicine as farm animals in the UK; underlines, therefore, the importance of controls of meat imports into the EU;

125.  Calls on the Commission to advocate EU standards and measures for tackling AMR and for the appropriate use of antibiotics in trade agreements, and to work through the WTO to raise the issue of AMR; notes that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in food-producing animals has been banned in the EU since 2006, but that in countries outside the EU antibiotics can still be used in animal feed as growth promoters; calls on the Commission to include a clause in all free trade agreements stipulating that food imported from third countries must not have been produced using antibiotics as growth promoters, with a view to ensuring a level playing field for EU livestock farming and aquaculture and in order to mitigate AMR; calls on the Commission to ban all food imports from third countries where these products come from animals treated with antibiotics or antibiotic groups that are reserved for the treatment of certain human infections in the EU;

126.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen measures to combat illegal practices related to the production, trade, use and disposal of antimicrobials; emphasises that actors involved in the life-cycle chain of antimicrobials must take responsibility for their actions;

127.  Notes the impact of the universality and affordability of and broad access to existing antibiotics; believes that targeted treatment, using specific antibiotics, should be available to all in order to prevent the misuse of unsuitable antibiotics and the overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take stronger measures against the sale of large consignments of antimicrobials at dumping prices, in particular critical human antibiotics;

128.  Calls for comprehensive checks to be carried out on producers of antibiotics so that withdrawal periods are adapted to reality, in order to ensure that no antibiotics are present in food products;

129.  Calls on the Commission to work towards continued high-level political attention and commitment to AMR action, including in UN forums, the G7 and the G20; highlights the opportunity for EU scientific bodies, such as the ECDC, to take on global stewardship roles; calls on the Commission to advocate collaboration between the EU and international organisations, including the WHO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); welcomes the Davos Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance issued at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 2016, in which pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostics industries call for collective action to create a sustainable and predictable market for antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics that enhances conservation for new and existing treatments;

130.  Calls for the promotion and enhancement of, and the transition to, a mode of production based on agroecology;

o
o   o

131.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, the European Food Safety Authority, the European Environment Agency, the World Health Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

(1) Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, ‘Antimicrobial use in food-producing animals: Replies to EFSA/EMA questions on the use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals in EU and possible measures to reduce antimicrobial use’, 2016.
(2) OJ C 353, 27.9.2016, p. 12.
(3) OJ C 434, 23.12.2015, p. 49.
(4) OJ L 293, 5.11.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 366, 27.10.2017, p. 149.
(6) https://ec.europa.eu/info/consultations/public-consultation-pharmaceuticals-environment_en#add-info
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0061.
(8) http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/180227
(9) https://ecdc.europa.eu/sites/portal/files/media/en/publications/Publications/healthcare-associated-infections-antimicrobial-use-PPS.pdf
(10) EFSA, ECDC, ‘The European Union Summary report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from human, animal and food in 2014’, 2016.
(11) World Health Organisation, ‘Global guidelines on the prevention of surgical site infection’, 2016. Available at: http://www.who.int/gpsc/ssi-guidelines/en/
(12) Celsus Academie voor Betaalbare Zorg, ‘Cost-effectiveness of policies to limit antimicrobial resistance in Dutch healthcare organisations’, January 2016. Available at: https://goo.gl/wAeN3L
(13) http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_021.pdf
(14) World Health Organisation, ‘Global guidelines on the prevention of surgical site infection’, 2016. Available at: http://www.who.int/gpsc/ssi-guidelines/en/
(15) https://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/160525_Final%20paper_with%20cover.pdf
(16) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5182/epdf
(17) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/06/17/epsco-conclusions-antimicrobial-resistance/
(18) http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/news_and_events/news/2017/10/news_detail_002827.jsp&mid=WC0b01ac058004d5c1
(19) http://ec.europa.eu/food/audits-analysis/audit_reports/index.cfm
(20) Article 8(c) of Directive 2013/39/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 amending Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as regards priority substances in the field of water policy (OJ L 226, 24.8.2013, p. 1).
(21) As formulated in the Netherlands by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the water industry and water boards.
(22) Article 78 of the forthcoming regulation on veterinary medicinal products.
(23) European Commission, ‘A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)’, June 2017, p. 10.
(24) Ibid., p. 12.
(25) Ibid., p. 15.
(26) Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17).
(27) Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 352/78, (EC) No 165/94, (EC) No 2799/98, (EC) No 814/2000, (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 485/2008, OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 549), applying rules laid down in Council Directive 98/58/EC of 20 July 1998 concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes (OJ L 221, 8.8.1998, p. 23); Council Directive 91/630/EEC of 19 November 1991 laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs (OJ L 340, 11.12.1991, p. 33); Council Directive 91/629/EEC of 19 November 1991 laying down minimum standards for the protection of calves (OJ L 340, 11.12.1991, p. 28).
(28) https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/animals/docs/aw_other_aspects_labelling_ip-09-1610_en.pdf
(29) Mevius, D. et al., ‘ESBL-Attribution-Analysis (ESBLAT). Searching for the sources of antimicrobial resistance in humans’, 2018. Available at: http://www.1health4food.nl/esblat
(30) The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and the European Food Safety Authority: https://ecdc.europa.eu/sites/portal/files/media/en/publications/Publications/antimicrobial-resistance-zoonotic-bacteria-humans-animals-food-EU-summary-report-2014.pdf
(31) http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanplh/PIIS2542-5196(17)30141-9.pdf
(32) Mevius, D. et al., ‘ESBL-Attribution-Analysis (ESBLAT). Searching for the sources of antimicrobial resistance in humans’, 2018. Available at: http://www.1health4food.nl/esblat
(33) http://www.imi.europa.eu/content/nd4bb
(34) http://www.jpiamr.eu
(35) Pamer, E. G., ‘Resurrecting the intestinal microbiota to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens’, Science, Vol. 352(6285), 2016, pp. 535-538.
(36) http://www.wipo.int/publications/en/details.jsp?id=4197
(37) Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on clinical trials on medicinal products for human use, and repealing Directive 2001/20/EC (OJ L 158, 27.5.2014, p. 1).
(38) Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1999 on orphan medicinal products (OJ L 18, 22.1.2000, p. 1).
(39) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/bacteria-antibiotics-needed/en/
(40) https://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/160518_Final%20paper_with%20cover.pdf
(41) http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/antimicrobial-resistance/cia_guidelines/en/


Europe on the Move: an agenda for the future of mobility in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on Europe on the Move: an agenda for the future of mobility in the EU (2017/2257(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0355A8-0241/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Europe on the Move: an agenda for a socially fair transition towards clean, competitive and connected mobility for all’ (COM(2017)0283),

–  having regard to the Paris climate agreement, ratified by the by the European Parliament and the Council on 4 October 2016(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 the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 October 2017 on clean, competitive and connected mobility for all(3),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 5 July 2017 on implications of the digitalisation and robotisation of transport for EU policy-making(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 April 2009 on the Intelligent Transport Systems Action Plan(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 December 2013 on CARS 2020: towards a strong, competitive and sustainable European car industry(6),

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2015 on delivering multimodal integrated ticketing in Europe(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2015 on the implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport: taking stock and the way forward towards sustainable mobility(8),

–   having regard to the Valletta Declaration on Road Safety of 29 March 2017,

–  having regard to the Commission White Paper entitled ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’ (COM(2011)0144),

–  having regard to the its study from 2016 entitled ‘Self-piloted cars: the future of road transport?’,

–  having regard to the its study from 2017 entitled ‘Infrastructure funding challenges in the sharing economy’,

–  having regard to the European Economic and Social Committee study from 2017 entitled ‘Impact of digitalisation and the on-demand economy on labour markets and the consequences for employment and industrial relations’,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0241/2018),

A.  whereas structural changes are under way in the transport sector and the future of transport in the EU is at the intersection of the overarching priorities of the 2030 climate and energy framework, the Clean Air Programme for Europe and the EU road safety guidelines 2011-2020;

B.  whereas decarbonisation of transport and the use of low-emission technologies offer opportunities for the future of mobility and sustainable economic growth;

C.  whereas the collaborative and sharing economy is transforming the transport industry worldwide; whereas the value of collaborative economy transactions in the transport sector in Europe in 2015 has been estimated at EUR 5.1 billion, an increase of 77 % compared to the previous year, while non-monetary sharing economy interactions widely exceed this scenario, highlighting the importance of this phenomenon;

D.  whereas it is estimated that passenger transport will grow by about 42 % between 2010 and 2050 and that freight transport will grow by 60 % during the same period;

E.  whereas the 2011 White Paper on Transport called for 30 % of freight along major corridors to be shifted from the road to more sustainable modes of transport such as rail by 2030, and 50 % by 2050, while requiring appropriate green infrastructure to be developed;

F.  whereas applying the user and polluter pays principle in all modes of transport, including road, rail, maritime and aviation, will contribute to the creation of a level playing field between all modes of transport;

G.  whereas new mobility services aim to significantly improve urban transport and have the potential to do so by reducing congestion and emissions and providing an alternative to private car ownership, as the private car is still the principal means of transport in terms of journeys made; whereas they can enable a shift towards multimodal and shared transport, which is thus also more sustainable, and can complement public and active forms of transport;

H.  whereas the transport sector plays a key role in the functioning of the EU economy, accounting for roughly 4 % of EU GDP and more than 5 % of total EU employment(9); whereas women make up only 22 % of the sector’s workforce and a third of all the sector’s workers are aged over 50;

I.  whereas connected and autonomous vehicles are expected to make future road transport more efficient, safer and more secure, as human error is the main cause of all traffic accidents on Europe’s roads;

J.  whereas great progress has been achieved in the past decades, making the EU the world’s safest road transport region; whereas the high number of victims of accidents, with 25 500 fatalities and 135 000 people seriously injured on European roads last year, still causes great human suffering and unacceptable economic costs, estimated at EUR 100 billion annually, and whereas the 2020 targets to reduce the number of victims of road accidents by half compared to 2010 are not being met and the share of serious injuries and fatalities of vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists or drivers of smaller two-wheeled motor vehicles is sharply increasing;

K.  whereas transport is the main cause of air pollution in urban areas and is responsible for over 25 % of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, of which road transport accounts for over 70 %, a share which continues to rise;

L.  whereas recent research and estimates reveal a stronger link between exposure to air pollution and higher public health risks, including cardiovascular diseases such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, and cancer, and whereas in the EU particulate matter is estimated to cause 399 000 premature deaths per year, the corresponding figure being 75 000 for nitrogen oxides and 13 600 for ozone; whereas people living in urban environments are particularly exposed to this danger;

M.  whereas major efforts towards a more inclusive, safer and fairer transport sector are currently being made worldwide, including the introduction of ambitious targets and binding standards, and whereas the EU should not lose its opportunity to be at the forefront of these social innovations;

The impact of transport transition on skills and ways of working

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication entitled ‘Europe on the Move: an agenda for a socially fair transition towards clean, competitive and connected mobility for all’, which recognises that the mobility sector is undergoing profound changes and stresses that the digital mobility revolution should lead to a safer, more innovative, more integrated, sustainable, fairer, more competitive and cleaner road transport sector, interconnected with other more sustainable modes of transport; welcomes the communication’s strategic approach towards achieving a coherent regulatory framework for the increasingly complex field of road transport;

2.  Points out that the EU’s mobility sector needs to take advantage of the opportunities created by digital technologies; believes that new business models that give rise to innovative shared mobility services, including new on-line platforms for freight operations, car-pooling, car or bicycle sharing services, or smartphone applications offering real-time analytics and data on traffic conditions, should be developed and promoted;

3.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to propose and apply C-ITS measures in coherence with the goals and initiatives as declared in the 2011 White Paper on Transport as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change of December 2015;

4.  Highlights the fact that the EU’s automotive sector provides jobs for 8 million people and accounts for 4 % of the EU’s gross value added, bringing a trade surplus of EUR 120 billion;

5.  Underlines that the changes in the automotive industry linked to digitalisation, automation or cleaner cars will require new expertise and modes of working; stresses that these changes should give rise to new opportunities to make the transport sector more attractive and end labour shortages in the sector; highlights that the production of cleaner, better connected and more automated vehicles will have an impact on manufacturing, development, maintenance, and servicing, and will require new skills, such as for the assembly of electric motors or manufacturing of second-generation batteries, fuel cells, computing or sensing equipment; highlights that already today the industry faces tremendous challenges in recruiting staff with appropriate skills and that while growth in engineering jobs is expected to continue, software skills are a new requirement that companies have to look for; calls on the Commission and the Member States to tailor EU transport workers’ in-service training and skills development to these new challenges;

6.  Stresses that equality of opportunity between men and women should be a priority on the agenda for the future of the transport sector; stresses that the transport sector is dominated by men, who make up three quarters of the total workforce, and gender balance needs to be encouraged; welcomes the launch of the ‘Women in Transport EU Platform for Change’, which is intended to foster women’s employment and equality of opportunity in the transport sector; calls on the Commission and the Member States to work together on that platform so that job creation for women and the digitalisation of the sector go hand in hand;

7.  Points out that the digital revolution will reshape the automotive industry value chain, research and investment priorities and technological opportunities, which must be transparent, coherent and in line with legal standards, with implications for its global competitive position;

8.  Recalls that automated driving will have a significant impact on the workforce of the transport sector and require new qualifications in the case of affected professions; calls on the Member States to take appropriate measures in anticipation of this shift in the job market, which should be accompanied by a stronger social dialogue; calls on the Commission to develop an EU strategy which embraces the new employment opportunities that the digitalisation of the transport sector will create and to take account of the Member States’ best practices, with the  aim of fostering job creation in the transport sector, including as a priority fair transitional arrangements for employees whose jobs become obsolete as the transport sector is digitalised;

9.  Stresses that automated driving would ultimately raise questions on the interpretation of existing EU legislation on driving time and rest periods; calls on the Commission to continuously monitor if legislative action is needed;

10.  Draws attention to the positive impact of digitalisation in transport as it will help to cut red tape and simplify procedures both for the authorities and companies, and will make it easier to check compliance with legislation on driving and rest times and with cabotage rules with the introduction of digital tachographs, thus improving conditions for professional drivers and helping to create a level playing field for all transport operators;

11.  Welcomes the Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe and initiatives such as the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills and the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, which promote cooperation between trade unions, training institutions and private sector actors to anticipate, identify and address skills mismatch;

12.  Welcomes the fact that automotive is one of the six pilot ‘blueprint’ sectors for which funding has been made available through the Sector Skills Alliance action within the Erasmus+ programme;

13.  Calls on the Commission to present a mid-term evaluation of the projects launched on skills in the automotive sector, including the three-year SKILLFULL research project and the recommendations established by the GEAR 2030 high-level group; believes that, based on the outcome of the SKILLFUL project, it will be possible to assess the adequacy of the training and qualification requirements in place for road transport drivers, in particular in light of new professions/skills;

14.  Calls on the Member States, rather than reacting to specific challenges, to be proactive in responding to digitalisation and to take comprehensive and strategic decisions on the basis of technological neutrality, aimed at maximising potential benefits, and to work towards agreeing on an EU approach on key issues;

15.  Highlights the fundamental role that users and consumers can play in fostering the transport transition and calls on the Commission and Member States to enhance transparency and public availability of relevant data in order to boost public awareness and allow consumers to make well-informed choices;

Transition through progress in research and innovation

16.  Highlights that Europe is a world leader in both manufacturing and transport operations and stresses that it is of crucial importance that the European transport sector continues to develop, invest, innovate and renew itself in a sustainable manner, in order to maintain its technological leadership and competitive position;

17.  Recalls the key objective of establishing a single European transport area without barriers in which, with efficient co-modality, each mode of transport has its place and there is increased modal interaction, and therefore calls on Member States to establish a suitable incentive-based environment in order to make transport modes more efficient and do away with existing barriers such as needless red tape;

18.  Recalls that sustainable and innovative transport technologies and mobility solutions will be needed to enhance road safety, limit climate change and carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution and congestion, and that a European regulatory framework which stimulates innovation is needed; calls, in this context, for more funding for interlinked cross-sectoral research and development regarding connected and driverless cars, electrification of rail and road infrastructures, alternative fuels, vehicle design and manufacturing, network and traffic management as well as smart mobility services and infrastructure, without neglecting existing systems in other sectors; notes that these key innovations will necessitate the application of many forms of industrial know-how if they are to be developed effectively; points out, in that context, that cooperative, automated and connected vehicles may make the European industry more competitive and reduce energy consumption and transport emissions as well as contribute to reducing deaths from road accidents; emphasises, therefore, that infrastructure requirements should be determined with a view to ensuring that those systems can function safely;

19.  Points out that, to keep up with the technological developments and provide European citizens with the best possible transport and mobility solutions and at the same time ensure that European enterprises can keep and expand their competitive edge, Europe needs a better framework for joint action on transport research and innovation; believes that ambitious goals for our future transport system can only be achieved if new ideas and concepts can be developed, tested and implemented in close interaction with policy and regulatory agendas;

20.  Calls for the provision of further transparent financial support for research, innovation and training, as has happened within the framework of the Smart Specialisation Strategies, in which European Regional Development Fund co-financing provided support in areas such as power trains or intelligent transport systems;

21.  Recalls that European funding during the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 will be vital to completing cross-border infrastructures and to removing bottlenecks along the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) core corridors, and observes that funding for infrastructure fosters private and public investment in high-quality and sustainable transport services and technologies; therefore calls for funding to be made available under the next MFF to foster the rapid development and deployment of systems, services and digital solutions for transport in the future;

22.  Underlines that financial barriers should be lowered and access to funding should be simplified, since bureaucracy and administration costs take a higher proportional toll on SMEs due to their lack of skills and capacity; calls on the Commission to monitor whether the Member States’ public calls for tender for smart transport infrastructure comply with the provisions on improved access for SMEs set out in Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement;

23.  Points out that Europe needs to improve the innovation ecosystem ranging from basic technology research to research on new services and business models leading to social innovation (once widely deployed on the market); highlights that public support for the innovation ecosystem should focus on market failures in research and innovation as well as innovation-friendly policies, enabling European standardisation and regulation and financial instruments to boost private sector investment in innovation;

24.  Notes that research at EU level, notably through Horizon 2020, will be key to delivering results, as demonstrated by public–private partnerships such as the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the European Green Vehicles Initiative and calls for a specific public–private partnership for connected and automated driving; supports the Commission’s work for the creation of the European battery alliance and calls for further financial support for the development of sustainable batteries and battery cell production and recycling in the EU for future low- and zero-emission vehicles and for a global fair trade approach in importing materials such as lithium and cobalt, as the advancement of these technologies will play a key role in the future of clean and sustainable mobility;

25.  Stresses the importance of coming up with consistent economic and industrial development strategies, in which aims such as the further boosting of production and use of low-emission vehicles are matched by the deployment of resources for achieving them, in terms of infrastructure and usage-related components such as batteries, an aspect on which the Commission and Member States should also focus their attention with a view to drafting an EU battery production strategy; underlines the importance of incentivising manufacturers and market uptake in order to reduce costs;

26.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission has also made a link with the circular economy with a particular emphasis on scarce materials and batteries; encourages the Commission, in this context, to further assess the environmental footprint of battery manufacturing and recycling to obtain a full picture of the environmental impacts of battery-powered electric vehicles in order to facilitate the comparison of life-cycle sustainability of different drive systems;

27.  Stresses the potential benefits of second-use applications for vehicle batteries, for example in smart grid and smart home storage solutions, and calls on the Commission and Member States to support research and pilot projects in this field through funding schemes;

28.  Supports the increased use of digital technologies in the implementation of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, such as eTolling and eTicketing based on the environmental performance of vehicles; welcomes the Commission’s guidelines for cities on urban vehicle access regulations (UVARs); stresses, however, that more needs to be done at European level to avoid the fragmentation of the Single Transport Area; points, in this context, to the importance of funding for transport infrastructure projects and significant investment in the most environmentally responsible low-carbon fuels in order to promote the transformation of the transport system and to ensure the integration of energy and transport assets as a means to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable fuel mix; believes, as regards EU funding for transport, that fitness for the purpose of achieving climate goals should be one of the eligibility criteria for projects;

29.  Reiterates the EU’s commitments on the fight against climate change under the Paris Agreement, the UN 2030 Agenda and the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework; welcomes the measures already adopted, such as the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) test cycle as well as the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) packages, which aim to reduce the gap between the stated decarbonisation targets and real on-road emissions; asks the Commission to monitor the effectiveness of these measures and, if needed, to suggest further improvements; considers the WLTP to be a step in the right direction regarding the measurement of passenger car fuel consumption and CO2 emissions;

30.  Notes that the provision of information to consumers on passenger vehicles is imperative to accelerate decarbonisation in transport, and calls, therefore, for improved, reliable and more accessible information on emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles, including standardised, visible and clear vehicle labelling, in order to allow consumers to make informed choices and to promote changes in the behaviour of businesses and private individuals, and cleaner mobility; stresses that more accurate information will also facilitate and allow the public authorities of Member States, regions and cities to make use of ‘green’ public procurement; welcomes Commission Recommendation (EU) 2017/948(10), while also calling on the Commission to consider revising the Car Labelling Directive 1999/94/EC(11);

31.  Notes both the current financial and non-financial barriers that consumers face in purchasing a low-emission vehicle; recalls that end-user acceptance of low-emission vehicles strongly depends on the availability and accessibility of comprehensive and cross-border infrastructure; welcomes, in this regard, existing private and public initiatives to enable roaming between charging infrastructure operators; calls on the Commission and Member States to take all necessary steps to facilitate roaming and the accessibility of charging infrastructure within Europe; calls on the Commission to give greater support to Member States’ efforts in expanding their alternative fuel infrastructure in order to achieve EU-wide core coverage as soon as possible;

32.  Takes the view that, in order to speed up the market penetration of low-emission fuels and to fully exploit their climate benefits, it is necessary to create incentives for their use and the development of compatible vehicles; reiterates, however, that to abide by the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport will need to be firmly on the path towards zero by mid-century; underlines that the European road transport sector cannot be transformed to move towards ecological and economic sustainability by the continuation of a technological ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and that, therefore, a shift to a truly technology-neutral assessment of drive systems is needed in relation to the development of future vehicles that will correspond to diverse mobility needs; stresses that a cross-sectoral effort is required to accelerate investment in low-emission fuel infrastructure, which is a precondition for the wider uptake and deployment of alternatively powered vehicles;

33.  Stresses that the Clean Vehicles Directive(12) must consider the needs of and the resources available to municipalities and regional authorities in order to achieve its full potential, particularly with regard to the issues of complexity and administrative burdens;

34.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to present, by 2 May 2018, a legislative proposal for CO2 emissions and fuel consumption standards for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) that should be ambitious, realistic and based on data collected using the Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO) in order to ensure coherent HDV legislation; stresses that VECTO must be updated swiftly and regularly in order to permit the accurate accounting of new technologies to improve vehicle efficiency in good time;

35.  Underlines that the level of ambition of CO2 targets for HDVs must be coherent with future ambitions to reduce pollutant emissions, for example under Euro 7, as well as with requirements under Directive (EU) 2015/719 on weights and dimensions(13);

36.  Recalls the appalling fume exposure experiments conducted on humans and monkeys by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), a body funded by major car companies; recalls that this is not the first car industry scandal of this kind; calls for all research that informs EU policy to be completely independent from the car industry, including by way of funding and subcontracting;

Transport transition that works for all users

37.  Underlines that connectivity among autonomous vehicles, between vehicles and infrastructure, between vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians and in the network itself must be a key long-term goal in order to ensure an unobstructed traffic flow; calls, therefore, on the Commission to address issues of data use and management, with emphasis on data protection, and to assess all the likely computer-aided design (CAD) technology applications which incorporate high levels of autonomy and provide added-value services; emphasises the need to develop telecommunication and satellite infrastructure for better positioning and communication services between vehicles and infrastructure and calls on the Commission to stipulate where and by when existing transport infrastructure must be brought into line with smart transport infrastructure standards;

38.  Points out that autonomous driving and clean vehicles will call for integrated infrastructure planning and investment to equip roads with the necessary telecommunications and charging infrastructure, for example for electric cars, as well as to provide high quality road data, for example for high definition digital maps, and fully interoperable on-board equipment; calls on the Commission and Member States to boost investment to fund innovative, sustainable upgrades to transport infrastructure;

39.  Reminds the Commission that, in order to accomplish adequate connectivity of transport and the proper management of safety, signalling, automation, digital features for consumers and a secure management of data, full 5G coverage of TEN-T corridors for rail, road and inland waterways must be ensured as soon as possible; calls for smart highway projects to be developed and intelligent transport corridors set up; believes that main roads should have fibre, wireless and 5G base station installations;

40.  Recalls that zero casualties on European roads should be the overarching goal and highlights the need to ensure the safe coexistence of old and new modes of transport, that change being made easier by the mandatory fitting of certain driver assistance systems and the assurance of appropriate infrastructure; calls on the Commission to make a thorough and technologically neutral assessment of the safety implications of the use of automated systems with a holistic focus on the safety repercussions of all intermodal transport systems;

41.  Stresses that targets for the reduction of fatalities and serious injuries in road accidents have still not been met and that European transport policy should therefore focus on meeting them; underlines the importance of adequate safety legislation in achieving a safer road transport sector; reminds the Commission and Member States that in order to reduce the number of accidents and victims on Europe’s roads, suitable parking and rest conditions must be guaranteed throughout the EU;

42.  Points out that the development of connected and automated cars has largely been driven by technology; calls, therefore, for its social impact to be investigated and recognised, and believes that the full compatibility of the introduction of connected and automated cars with social, human and environmental values and aims must be ensured; stresses that, in the event of an accident involving one or more automated vehicles, it should be clear who is liable, whether it is the software company(ies), the vehicle manufacturer(s), the driver(s) or the insurance company(ies);

43.  Underlines that those upcoming changes should not come at the expense of social inclusion and connectivity in the Member States and areas where there are mobility gaps; notes the need to upgrade network capacity, taking advantage of existing network infrastructure and significant future innovations to enable deeper integration of digital technologies and to address the major disparities of connectivity between Member States and also between urban and rural, central and remote areas, for which a series of tailored solutions should be developed supported by and on the basis of coordination between the public and private sectors; stresses that conventional modes of transport such as busses still have a key role to play in remote and mountainous areas and should not be disregarded in this process; recalls that experience in several EU countries shows that structuring the collective and public road transport under public service obligation (PSO) contracts that combine profitable and unprofitable lines can deliver optimal results for citizens, public finances and market competition;

44.  Recalls the need to favour collective and safer means of transport for freight and passengers on major cross-border corridors and in metropolitan areas, in order to reduce pollution, traffic jams and casualties and protect the health of citizens and road users;

45.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to promote sustainable urban mobility plans (SUMPs) and sustainable rural mobility plans (SRMPs) that are justified by the public interest and integrate all new modes of transport, supporting the deployment of a multimodal transport system for passengers, improving mobility and the quality of services for citizens, including for the elderly and citizens with disabilities, providing them with alternatives and internalising or reducing health and external environmental costs for cities, in addition to encouraging tourism; notes that such plans should foster the inclusion, participation and employment of citizens who live in more remote areas, in order to combat the threat of depopulation of rural areas, to improve accessibility and communication with outlying areas and cross-border regions; stresses that rural mobility differs substantially from urban mobility in terms not only of distances and the availability of public transport, but also with regard to environmental and economic factors such as lower environmental pressure from pollutant emissions, lower average income and higher barriers to investment in infrastructure;

46.  Notes that the lessons of the previous and ongoing projects such as the Transport Work Programme, the Connecting Europe Facility and sustainable shared mobility interconnected with public transport in European rural areas (SMARTA), deliver elements for creating smart villages, including more efficient and smarter door-to-door logistics, innovative concepts of mobility as a service (MaaS), smart next generation transport infrastructure, connected and automated transport and smart urban mobility (transport to and from cities);

47.  Stresses that mobility is increasingly regarded as a service and therefore expanded seamless multimodal door-to-door transport should be made possible on a cross-border basis, and accordingly calls on Member States to make multimodal travel information and booking services available, with real-time information, and calls on the Commission to submit a legislative proposal on multimodal passenger rights by the end of 2018; maintains that such new transport services should be treated, for instance in the context of road charging, as modes of travel that are at least as good as, if not preferable to, private motoring and that their deployment should not be slowed down by legislative obstacles;

48.  Calls on the Commission to promote existing national and local regulatory best practices that integrate new and traditional forms of mobility, that support consumer choice, making multimodal information and ticketing services available for consumers, and encouraging the use of public, rather than private, transport or supporting offers from the collaborative transport economy which give momentum and the necessary support to the promotion of sustainable tourism and of environmental and cultural heritage, in particular favouring SMEs and focusing on Members States and areas where there are mobility gaps;

49.  Reiterates that travel is one of the sectors most affected by digitalisation and that this new and more influential digital environment is empowering consumers to play a more active role when they research, shop for, book and pay for their trips; stresses that it is necessary to enforce the existing rules that safeguard transparency and neutrality, so that consumers can make informed choices based on reliable information.

50.  Points to the importance of guiding mobility; considers it important that people be encouraged to adopt sustainable mobility habits through economic incentives as well as through awareness-raising about the environmental impacts of individual modes of transport, and through the coordination and development of low-carbon transport services such as public transport and the creation or improvement of infrastructure for soft mobility (walking, cycling, etc.) in order to give people an alternative to road transport; points to the need to fund projects to facilitate local and regional low-carbon mobility such as, for example, city bike schemes;

51.  Calls on the Commission to promote efficient and green logistics to better cope with the foreseen increase in freight demand through better optimisation of the loading capacity of trucks and to reduce the number of empty or partially loaded trucks; further calls on the Commission to reinforce efforts to increase multi-modal shift and to promote multimodal platforms for coordinating transport demand, and calls on Member States to use electronic transport documents across Europe as standard practice in order to reduce red tape and administrative burden and to increase efficiency;

52.  Stresses the important contribution that platooning and the use of longliners can make to increasing efficiency and saving fuel in road haulage, and therefore calls on the Commission and Member States to realise the objectives of the Declaration of Amsterdam and establish incentives for the increased use of longliners;

53.  Encourages the Commission to support initiatives that contribute to the reduction and avoidance of road congestion without transferring transport volumes towards alternative road sections, such as best practise examples on congestion charging as well as successful modal shift measures;

54.  Calls on the Commission to undertake an in-depth assessment of issues related to data privacy and liability that could arise with the development of automated cars;

55.  Notes the potential of collaborative economic models to improve the efficiency of the transport system and reduce unwanted externalities, such as congestion and emissions; calls on the authorities, in keeping with the subsidiarity principle, to consider fully integrating truly collaborative transport services into the conventional transport system, with a view to fostering the creation of full and fluid travel chains and the provision of new forms of sustainable mobility;

56.  Stresses that, in the context of the collaborative economy, the most urgent issues are those concerning consumer protection, liability allocation, taxation, insurance schemes, social protection of workers (whether they are employed or self-employed) and data protection, and expects regulatory measures to be taken in these areas; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the collaborative economy does not give rise to unfair competition, cause social and fiscal dumping and supplant regulated public transport;

57.  Takes the view in light of the CJEU judgment of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/15(14) that a clear distinction should be drawn between simple intermediation through online platforms and the provision of a transport service; considers a service not to be part of the information society when the activity mostly involves the provision of professional services, and in all cases when the technological platform directly or indirectly determines the cost, quantity or quality of the service being provided;

58.  Calls on the Member States to take measures to reduce the risk and likelihood of tax avoidance by companies providing services as part of the collaborative economy and to insist that they pay taxes where they generate profits and provide services;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 282, 19.10.2016, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 81, 2.3.2018, p. 195.
(4) OJ C 345, 13.10.2017, p. 52.
(5) OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 50.
(6) OJ C 468, 15.12.2016, p. 57.
(7) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 2.
(8) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 155.
(9) EU Transport in Figures: Statistical Pocketbook 2015, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2015.
(10) OJ L 142, 2.6.2017, p. 100.
(11) OJ L 12, 18.1.2000, p. 16.
(12) OJ L 120, 15.5.2009, p. 5.
(13) OJ L 115, 6.5.2015, p. 1.
(14) Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 20 December 2017, Asociación Profesional Elite Taxi v Uber Systems Spain, SL, C-434/15, ECLI:EU:C:2017:981.


Implementation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on the implementation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 (2017/2128(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0356A8-0268/2018

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006(3),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 February 2017 on low-risk pesticides of biological origin(5),

–  having regard to the decision of the European Ombudsman of 18 February 2016 in Case 12/2013/MDC on the practices of the Commission regarding the authorisation and placing on the market of plant protection products (pesticides)(6),

–  having regard to the European Implementation Assessment on Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 on the placing of plant protection products on the market and to its relevant annexes, as published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (DG EPRS)(7) in April 2018,

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 23 November 2016 in Cases C-673/13 P (Commission v Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and PAN Europe) and C-442/14 (Bayer CropScience v Board for the authorisation of plant protection products and biocides),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 April 2018 on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain amending Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 [on general food law], Directive 2001/18/EC [on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs], Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 [on GM food and feed], Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 [on feed additives], Regulation (EC) No 2065/2003 [on smoke flavourings], Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 [on food contact materials], Regulation (EC) No 1331/2008 [on the common authorisation procedure for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings], Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 [on plant protection products] and Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283 [on novel foods](8),

–  having regard to the mandate and the work of the European Parliament's Special Committee on the Union's authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0268/2018),

A.  whereas the evaluation of the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 (hereinafter ‘the Regulation’) has revealed that the objectives of protecting human and animal health and the environment are not fully being achieved and that improvements could be made in order to achieve all the objectives of the Regulation;

B.  whereas the evaluation of the implementation of the Regulation should be considered in conjunction with the EU’s overarching pesticide policy, including the rules laid down by Directive 2009/128/EC [the Sustainable Use Directive], Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 [the Biocides Regulation], Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 [the Maximum Residue Level Regulation], and Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 [the General Food Law];

C.  whereas the implementation of the Regulation is not proving satisfactory and should be in line with related EU policies, including in the field of pesticides;

D.  whereas the available evidence shows that the practical implementation of the three main instruments of the Regulation – approvals, authorisations and enforcement of regulatory decisions – leaves room for improvement and does not ensure the complete fulfilment of the objectives of the Regulation;

E.  whereas certain provisions of the Regulation have not been applied at all by the Commission, in particular Article 25 on the approval of safeners and synergists and Article 27 on a negative list of unacceptable co-formulants;

F.  whereas other key provisions, such as application of the cut-off criteria for active substances that are endocrine disrupters, have been significantly delayed as a result of unlawful behaviour by the Commission;

G.  whereas concerns have been raised by stakeholders regarding the evaluation approach as established by law, in particular as regards who should produce the scientific studies and evidence for the active substance evaluations and the use of the hazard-based approach during those evaluations;

H.  whereas the burden of proof should remain on the applicant, so as to ensure that public money is not spent on studies which can eventually benefit private interests; whereas, at the same time, transparency must be ensured at each step of the authorisation procedure, in full compliance with intellectual property rights, while it must also be ensured that good laboratory principles are consistently upheld throughout the Union;

I.  whereas there are concerns associated with the practical implementation of the established evaluation approach; whereas in particular there are major concerns associated with the incomplete harmonisation of data requirements and methodologies used that may hinder the evaluation process;

J.  whereas the performance of national competent authorities was found to be a major factor influencing the evaluation of active substances; whereas there are substantial differences among Member States as regards available expertise and staff; whereas the Regulation and the relevant supporting legal requirements are not being uniformly implemented across Member States, and this has significant implications for health and the environment;

K.  whereas transparency at all stages of the approval procedure should be improved, and increased transparency may help to encourage public confidence in the system regulating plant protection products; whereas the transparency of the authorisation related to the activities of competent authorities is also unsatisfactory in many cases; whereas the Commission has proposed changes to the General Food Law with the aim of addressing concerns relating to the data and evidence supplied during the evaluation process and increasing transparency;

L.  whereas authorisations of plant protection products, which take place exclusively at national level, often face delays in risk management decisions; whereas this leads in some cases to an increase in authorisations granted by Member States under derogation, making use of Article 53 of the Regulation; whereas there are cases where such derogations are used against the initial intention of the legislator;

M.  whereas the Regulation introduces the provision that integrated pest management (IPM) should have become part of the statutory management requirements under the cross-compliance rules of the common agricultural policy; whereas this is yet to happen;

N.  whereas the available evidence shows that this piece of EU-level regulation enhances and adds value to national efforts and actions;

O.  whereas serious considerations of alternatives often emerge only after a change in the legal requirements; whereas, for example, in the case of the extended ban on neonicotinoids the most recent assessment (30 May 2018)(9) suggests that readily available non-chemical alternatives exist for 78 % of uses of neonicotinoids;

P.  whereas no new active substances have been put forward for approval since 31 May 2016; whereas innovation and the development of new products, particularly low-risk products, are important;

Q.   whereas the availability of counterfeit pesticides on the market is a matter of real concern; whereas counterfeit pesticides can be harmful to the environment and can also damage the effectiveness of the Regulation;

Main conclusions

1.  Considers that the EU is the appropriate level at which regulatory action in the field of pesticides should continue to take place;

2.  Points out that environmental measures aimed at preventing, limiting and containing the spread of pathogens and pests have to remain the focus of all current and further actions;

3.  Considers that the adoption and implementation of the Regulation represent a significant step forward regarding the treatment of plant protection products (PPPs) in the EU as compared to the past;

4.  Highlights that special attention should be paid to the role of small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) in the development of new products, as SMEs often lack the substantial resources that are needed for the process of development and approval of new substances;

5.  Is concerned at the fact that the Regulation has not been effectively implemented and that, as a result, its objectives as regards agricultural production and innovation are not being achieved in practice; highlights the fact that, partly owing to the low degree of innovation, the number of pesticide active substances is decreasing;

6.  Recalls that there is a substantial need for an integrative approach and that Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 concerning statistics on pesticides(10) has to be part of the assessment, with its results being used to reduce quantities, thus minimising risks and their negative impact on health and the environment;

7.  Notes that the objectives and instruments of the Regulation and its implementation are not always sufficiently in line with EU policies in the fields of agriculture, health, animal welfare, food security, water quality, climate change, sustainable use of pesticides and maximum residue levels of pesticides in food and feed;

8.  Is concerned that the implementation of the Regulation, in relation to the use of animals in testing for hazard identification and risk assessment, is not in line with the 3R requirements (the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement) of Directive 2010/63/EU on animal experiments, and that the two-year bioassay for carcinogenicity can lead to controversial results(11);

9.  Recalls that the precautionary principle is a general EU principle laid down in Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and that this principle aims to ensure a high level of protection for the environment through preventive decision-making;

10.  Finds it unacceptable that the approval requirements for safeners and synergists have not yet been applied, contrary to Article 25 of the Regulation;

11.  Finds it unacceptable that the negative list of co-formulants has still not been adopted, especially after the ban on POE-tallowamines in combination with glyphosate, which has highlighted the adverse effects that certain co-formulants can have;

12.  Takes note of the Commission’s ongoing REFIT Evaluation of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 and of its planned completion by November 2018; trusts that these findings will be an adequate basis for the co-legislators to discuss the future development of the Regulation;

13.  Is concerned by the steadily increasing use and identified cases of misuse of emergency authorisations granted under Article 53 in some Member States; notes that some Member States use Article 53 significantly more than others; notes the technical assistance provided by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in accordance with Article 53(2) of the Regulation, in examining the use of emergency authorisations; notes the results of the EFSA investigation into the emergency authorisations in 2017 of three neonicotinoids, which showed that while some emergency authorisations were necessary and within the parameters laid down in the legislation, others were not justified; considers it essential that Member States provide the necessary data to enable EFSA to carry out its mandate effectively;

14.  Stresses the importance of policymaking that is informed by regulatory science, producing verifiable and repeatable evidence using internationally agreed scientific principles as regards aspects such as guidelines, good laboratory practices and peer-reviewed research;

15.  Is concerned that the incomplete harmonisation of data and testing requirements in some scientific fields leads to inefficient working methods, lack of trust among national authorities, and delays in the authorisation process, which may result in negative effects on human and animal health, the environment and agricultural production;

16.  Regrets the limited public availability of information on the evaluation and authorisation procedure, as well as the limited access to information; regrets that the level of transparency of the rapporteur Member States is low (when acting in the framework of the approval procedure), and suggests that the accessibility and user-friendliness of information at the EFSA stage could be improved, and that transparency at the risk management stage seems to be lacking and is also considered problematic by stakeholders; welcomes the efforts of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to increase transparency and user-friendliness through its website, and considers that this model could be employed in the future to improve transparency;

17.  Highlights that the credibility of the PPP authorisation system strongly depends on public trust in European agencies, which provide the scientific opinions that are the basis for approval and risk management; underlines that transparency in the scientific assessment process is important to maintain public trust; calls, therefore, for the relevant agencies to be adequately funded and have the necessary staff to ensure an independent, transparent and timely authorisation process; further welcomes EFSA’s continuous efforts to improve its system in order to ensure independence and the management of potential conflicts of interest, which was praised by the Court of Auditors as the most advanced system of the audited agencies in 2012, and which was recently updated in June 2017; calls on the Commission to propose improvements to further enhance the transparency of the regulatory process, including on access to the data in safety studies submitted by producers as part of their applications for market authorisation of PPPs in the EU; recognises the need to review the procedure in order to improve evaluations, increase the independence of the authorities tasked with carrying out studies, avoid conflicts of interest and make the procedure more transparent;

18.  Calls on the Commission to establish a European usage catalogue in order to better harmonise the regulation;

19.  Is concerned that, in some cases, the PPPs available on the market and their application by users do not necessarily comply with the relevant authorisation conditions as regards their composition and usage; emphasises that non-professional use should be limited where possible to reduce misuse;

20.  Underlines the importance of training for professional users to ensure the proper and appropriate use of PPPs; considers it fitting to distinguish between professional and amateur users; notes that PPPs are used in the context of private gardens, railways and public parks;

21.  States that the Member States' right to refuse authorised PPPs remains unaffected;

22.  Emphasises that the Regulation should better reflect the need to promote agricultural practices based on IPM, including by stimulating the development of low-risk substances; highlights that the lack of availability of low-risk PPPs hinders the development of IPM; notes with concern that only ten substances are approved as low-risk PPPs, out of a total of almost 500 available on the EU market;

23.  Emphasises that the authorisation and promotion of low-risk pesticides that are non-chemical is an important measure to support low pesticide-input pest management; acknowledges the need for more research into these products, as their composition and functioning are radically different from those of conventional products; underlines that this also includes the need for more expertise within EFSA and the national competent authorities to evaluate these biological active substances; stresses that PPPs of biological origin should be subject to the same rigorous evaluations as other substances; in line with its resolution of 15 February 2017 on low-risk pesticides of biological origin, calls on the Commission to submit a specific legislative proposal amending Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, outside of the general revision in connection with the REFIT initiative, with a view to establishing a fast-track evaluation, authorisation and registration process for low-risk pesticides;

24.   Takes the view that Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 should also be amended to take more account of substances not regarded as PPPs and which, when used for plant protection, are governed by the Regulation; notes that such substances offer interesting alternatives in terms of integrated production methods and some bio-control products;

25.  Emphasises that special attention and support should be given to PPPs for minor uses, as there is currently little economic incentive for companies to develop such products; welcomes the setting-up of the Minor Uses Coordination Facility as a forum for improving coordination between Member States, grower organisations and industry in developing solutions for minor uses;

26.  Highlights that many authorised PPPs have not been evaluated against EU standards for more than 15 years, as a consequence of delays in the authorisation procedures;

27.  Stresses the importance of creating an innovation-friendly regulatory framework which will allow the replacement of older chemistry by new and better crop protection products; underlines the importance of the availability of a broad spectrum of PPPs with different modes of action so as to avoid the development of resistances and maintain the effectiveness of crop protection product application;

28.  Is concerned that the harmonisation of guidelines is not yet consolidated;

29.  Stresses that missing or incomplete guidelines are serious shortcomings that have negative consequences for the implementation of the Regulation and hence for the achievement of its objectives;

30.  Highlights that the available guidance documents are not legally binding, which creates regulatory uncertainty for the applicants and brings into question the results of the evaluations carried out in the framework of the approval procedures;

31.  Welcomes the concept of the zonal system and its aim to facilitate the efficient authorisation of plant protection products; considers the mutual recognition procedure as vital for sharing the workload and encouraging compliance with deadlines; regrets the implementation problems associated with the mutual recognition principle; calls on the Commission to work with Member States to improve the functioning of the zonal system; underlines that the full implementation of the existing legislation should have the aim of avoiding duplication of work and making new substances available to farmers without unnecessary delays;

32.  Underlines the need for knowledge-sharing and skills acquisition in relation to alternatives to chemical pesticides and IPM, including finding the optimum crop rotation for farmers’ market and climatic situations; notes further that this has already been provided for in the horizontal regulation of the CAP, notably also in the Farm Advisory Services financed under rural development;

33.  Expresses its concern regarding the small number of new substances that have been approved; stresses the importance of a suitable toolbox of PPPs for farmers in order to secure the EU’s food supply;

34.  Expresses its concern that in recent debates, the EU’s current science-based evaluation system for PPPs has been increasingly called in question; stresses the importance of maintaining and further strengthening a system which is scientifically robust, objective, and based on peer-reviewed evidence, derived from an open, independent and multidisciplinary scientific approach in authorising any active substance, in line with the EU’s risk analysis principles and the precautionary principle as established in the General Food Law; insists that the procedure for the re-approval of active substances must take into account the practical use of PPPs, as well as scientific and technological progress in this area; points out that the complexities in the current evaluation and authorisation system lead to deadlines being missed and could mean that the entire system cannot work properly; stresses, therefore, the need to review and simplify the system;

35.  Highlights the imbalance in the number of applications between some Member States of the same zone which are of similar size and have similar agricultural conditions;

36.  Considers that produce imported from outside the EU which has been cultivated using PPPs should be subject to the same strict criteria as that produced within the EU; is concerned that PPPs not registered in the EU may be used in the production of imported produce;

Recommendations

37.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure effective implementation of the Regulation as regards their specific roles in the approval and authorisation procedures;

38.  Calls on the Member States to improve the serious and chronic understaffing of the national competent authorities, which leads to delays at the stage of hazard identification and initial risk assessment performed by Member States;

39.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the procedural extension of the approval period for the duration of the procedure, pursuant to Article 17 of the Regulation, will not be used for active substances that are mutagenic, carcinogenic, toxic for reproduction and therefore in category 1A or 1B, or active substances that have endocrine disrupting characteristics and are damaging to humans or animals, as is currently the case for substances such as flumioxazine, thiacloprid, chlorotoluron and dimoxystrobin(12);

40.  The use of active substances that are mutagenic, carcinogenic, toxic for reproduction and therefore in category 1A or 1B, or active substances that have endocrine disrupting characteristics and are damaging to humans or animals, that already have had one or more procedural extensions of the approval period, pursuant to Article. 17, must be prohibited immediately;

41.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to acknowledge that the protection of human and animal health and the environment are key objectives of the legislation, while improving agricultural production and safeguarding the competitiveness of the agricultural sector;

42.  Calls on the industry to provide all data and scientific studies in a uniform electronic and machine-readable format to the rapporteur Member States and the EU agencies; calls on the Commission to develop a harmonised model for data inputs so as to facilitate easier data exchange between Member States at all stages of the process; acknowledges that this data must be handled within the parameters of the EU data protection and intellectual property laws;

43.  Calls on the Member States to strictly apply Article 9 of the Regulation on the admissibility of applications and to only accept complete applications for the assessment of the active substance;

44.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure full and uniform application of the hazard cut-off criteria, following the existing harmonised guidance, and to make sure that substances are assessed for their risk only if there is evidence that they do not present hazardous (cut-off) properties, as required by the Regulation;

45.  Calls on the Commission to finally implement the provisions on co-formulants, safeners and synergists, to establish a list of unacceptable co-formulants and rules so that safeners and synergists are tested at EU level, and to ensure that only those chemicals which comply with the EU approval criteria can be marketed;

46.  Welcomes the Commission’s interpretation of the precautionary principle, as expressed in the REFIT evaluation of the General Food Law(13), namely that it is not an alternative to a risk management approach, but, rather, a particular form of risk management; recalls that this view is also supported by EU court rulings(14);

47.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, when acting as risk managers in the approval and authorisation procedures, to duly apply the precautionary principle and to pay particular attention to the protection of vulnerable groups as defined in Article 3(14) of the Regulation;

48.  Calls on the Commission, the agencies and the competent authorities to review and improve their communication on risk assessment procedures and risk management decisions, in order to improve public trust in the authorisation system;

49.  Calls on the Member States to better implement the authorisation procedures at national level, in order to limit the derogations and extensions granted under Article 53 of the Regulation to actual emergency situations; calls on the Commission to fully use its control rights under Article 53(2) and (3); further calls on the Member States to fully comply with the obligation to inform other Member States and the Commission set out in Article 53(1), in particular regarding any measures taken to ensure the safety of users, vulnerable groups and consumers;

50.  Calls on the Commission to finalise methods to determine when certain derogations should be applied, in particular as regards ‘negligible exposure’ or ‘serious danger to plant health’, without changing the letter or the spirit of the law; warns the Commission that any reinterpretation of the term 'negligible exposure' as 'negligible risk' would be against the letter and the spirit of the law;

51.  Calls for more investment from the Commission and the Member States to incentivise research initiatives concerning active substances, including biological low-risk substances, and PPPs within Horizon Europe and the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027; underlines the importance of a regulatory framework for PPPs at EU level that protects the environment and human health and also stimulates research and innovation in order to develop effective and safe PPPs while ensuring sustainable agricultural practice and IPM; highlights that a wide variety of safe and effective tools are needed to protect plant health; highlights the potential that precision farming techniques and technological innovation can have in helping European farmers optimise pest control in a more targeted and sustainable manner;

52.  Calls on the Commission to strictly limit the use of the confirmatory data procedure to its purpose as laid down in Article 6(f) of the Regulation, namely where new requirements are established during the evaluation process or as a result of new scientific and technical knowledge; stresses that complete dossiers are important for active substance approvals; regrets that the derogation-by-confirmatory-data procedure has led to certain PPPs that would have otherwise been banned remaining on the market for an extended period of time;

53.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase the overall transparency of the procedures, including by providing detailed minutes on the comitology discussions and the respective positions, in particular by explaining and justifying the decisions of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee);

54.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure better coherence of the Regulation and its implementation with related EU legislation and policies, in particular with the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive, and to provide for incentives, including making available sufficient resources, that promote and stimulate in the short term the development and use of safe and non-toxic alternatives to PPPs; notes the failure of the regulatory framework to consider inevitable non-target impacts, notably on bees and other pollinators and other insects that are beneficial to farming as if they were predators of pests; notes the recent scientific study highlighting the ‘insect Armageddon’ whereby 75 % of winged insects have become regionally extinct across Germany, even in nature reserves where no pesticides were used for agriculture; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the coherence of the CAP with the PPP legislation, in particular by maintaining the obligations under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 and Directive 2009/128/EC on the list of statutory management requirements (SMR 12 and SMR 13), as proposed by the Commission in the proposal for the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation(15);

55.  Call on the Member States to ensure effective enforcement of the Regulation, especially as regards controls on the PPPs marketed in the EU and regardless of whether they have been produced in the EU or imported from third countries;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 70, 16.03.2005, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 71.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0042.
(6) https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/decision/en/64069
(7) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2018/615668/EPRS_STU(2018)615668_EN.pdf
(8) COM(2018)0179.
(9) ANSES - Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (France) - Conclusions, 2018.
(10) OJ L 324, 10.12.2009, p. 1.
(11) Source: Based on information and findings of the European Implementation Assessment, EPRS Study April 2018, p. 36 & II-33.
(12) Source: https://www.foodwatch.org/fileadmin/foodwatch.nl/Onze_campagnes/Schadelijke_stoffen/Documents/Rapport_foodwatch_Ten_minste_onhoudbaar_tot.pdf
(13) SWD(2018)0038.
(14) For example, Judgment of the General Court of 9 September 2011, France v Commission, T-257/07, ECLI:EU:T:2011:444.
(15) Proposal for the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation - COM(2018)0392.


Dual quality of products in the Single Market
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European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on dual quality of products in the single market (2018/2008(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0357A8-0267/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004(3),

–  having regard to the Commission Notice of 26 September 2017 entitled ‘The application of EU food and consumer protection law to issues of Dual Quality of products – The specific case of food’,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 25 May 2016 on guidance on the implementation/application of Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair commercial practices (SWD(2016)0163),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 May 2016 on a comprehensive approach to stimulating cross-border e-Commerce for Europe’s citizens and businesses (COM(2016)0320),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 October 2017 entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2018: An agenda for a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe’ (COM(2017)0650),

–  having regard to President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech of 13 September 2017,

–  having regard to the conclusions by the President of the European Council of 9 March 2017, in particular paragraph 3 thereof,

–  having regard to the outcome of the 3 524th meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 6 March 2017,

–  having regard to the minutes of the 2 203rd meeting of the Commission of 8 March 2017,

–  having regard to the briefing paper on misleading packaging practices produced by its Policy Department A in January 2012,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 June 2013 on a new agenda for European Consumer Policy(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2012 on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers(5), in particular paragraph 6 thereof,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2014 on the implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on unfair trading practices in the food supply chain(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 on the Annual report on EU Competition Policy(8), in particular paragraph 14 thereof,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2017 on the annual report on EU competition policy(9), in particular paragraph 178 thereof,

–  having regard to its major interpellation of 15 March 2017 on differences in declarations, composition and taste of products in central/eastern and western markets of the EU(10),

–  having regard to the European Parliamentary Research Service briefing of June 2017 entitled ‘Dual quality of branded food products: Addressing a possible east-west divide’,

–  having regard to the survey on foodstuffs and Czech consumers carried out by the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority in February 2016,

–  having regard to the special study on the issue of dual quality and the composition of products marketed within the European Union’s single market from the perspective of consumer protection law (particularly unfair commercial practices), competition law (especially unfair competition) and industrial property rights, produced by the Faculty of Law of Palacký University, Olomouc, in 2017,

–  having regard to the various surveys, studies and tests carried out in the last few years by the food inspection authorities in a number of Member States in Central and Eastern Europe,

–  having regard to the Nielsen report of November 2014 on the state of private label around the world,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 April 2018 on A New Deal for Consumers (COM(2018)0183),

–  having regard to the Commission’s proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 April 2018 on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules (COM(2018)0185),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety(11),

–  having regard to Article 17(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on the protection of intellectual property,

–  having regard to the joint letter from the Republic of Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic to the Commission of 23 March 2018 concerning the issue of dual quality of products in the context of the New Deal for Consumers,

–  having regard to the results of the comparative studies carried out by consumer protection authorities and organisations in several EU Member States,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to update Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair commercial practices (UCPD) in order to make explicit that national authorities can assess and address misleading commercial practices that involve the marketing of products as identical in several EU countries when their composition or characteristics are significantly different,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0267/2018),

A.  whereas when promoting, selling or supplying products, companies should provide consumers with accurate and easy-to-understand information on the exact product composition, including on local products and recipes, in order to enable them to make an informed purchasing decision;

B.  whereas a key principle for brands should be that consumers have confidence in the composition, value and quality of a product; whereas it is the duty of manufacturers, therefore, to ensure that these expectations are met;

C.  whereas consumers are not aware that products from the same brand and with the same packaging are adjusted to local preferences and tastes, and whereas the varying quality of products raises concerns about some Member States being treated differently from others; whereas the European Union has already developed labels in order to meet specific expectations of consumers and to take account of production specificities recognised through the use of quality terms;

D.  whereas Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair commercial practices (UCPD) is the Union’s main legislative tool for ensuring that consumers are not exposed to misleading advertising and other unfair practices in business-to-consumer transactions, including the marketing of identically branded products in a way that has the potential to mislead consumers;

E.  whereas unfair commercial practices can be formulated in the UCPD in such a way that they are prohibited under all circumstances or under certain circumstances; whereas, according to the Commission’s findings, listing a practice in Annex I to the UCPD, where appropriate, leads to greater legal certainty and thus fairer competition among producers on the market;

F.  whereas consumers make an associative link between brand, product and quality and, accordingly, expect products of the same brand and/or that are identical in appearance to be equally identical in quality, whether they are sold in their own country or in another Member State;

G.  whereas consumers also make an associative link between the brand and the label/packaging of an agricultural or food product and quality, and, accordingly, expect products of the same brand that are marketed under the same label or identical in appearance to be equally identical in both quality and composition, whether they are sold in their own country or in another Member State; whereas all farmers in the European Union produce products to the same high standards, and customers expect this uniformity of quality to extend to other products within the food chain, regardless of the jurisdiction in which they reside;

H.  whereas all EU citizens deserve equal treatment when it comes to food and non-food products sold on the single market;

I.  whereas unfair practices in this respect must be eliminated in order to avoid misleading consumers, and whereas only a strong synergy at EU level can solve this cross-border issue;

J.  whereas the assessment of whether a commercial practice is unfair under the UCPD must be performed on a case-by-case basis by Member States, except in the case of the practices listed in Annex I;

K.  whereas President Juncker stressed in his 2017 State of the Union Address that it is not acceptable that in some parts of Europe people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical;

L.  whereas there have been substantial differences in the implementation of the UCPD from one Member State to another, while the methodological approaches and effectiveness of the resolution and enforcement of the directive varies significantly between Member States;

M.  whereas the brand often plays the most important role in decisions on the value of a product;

N.  whereas a strengthened and more efficient enforcement cooperation framework would boost consumer trust and reduce consumer harm;

O.  whereas all consumers in the EU have the same rights, and whereas analyses show that certain producers and manufacturers have sold products of different quality standards under the same brand and with a deceptively identical appearance, with certain products in some countries containing less of the main ingredient or lower quality ingredients substituting higher quality ones; whereas this problem is more widespread in the Member States that have joined the EU since 2004; whereas the analyses found instances of the same products or those with a deceptively identical appearance and of a lower quality or with a different taste, consistency or other sensory characteristics being sold at prices varying considerably from one country to another; whereas even if this does not breach free market economy principles or infringe current rules on labelling or other food law, it is still an abuse of brand identity and thus hinders the principle that all consumers are treated equally;

P.  whereas there have been cases of substantial differences in products such as baby food, which brings into question the principles and claims of manufacturers, who claim that they are adjusting their products to meet local preferences; whereas some laboratory findings confirm that lower quality products may contain less healthy combinations of ingredients, thus hindering the principle of equal treatment of all consumers; whereas some producer and manufacturer representatives have agreed to amend their product recipes in some countries so that identical products are offered across the single market;

Q.  whereas these unacceptable practices are brought about by well-known agri-food multinationals seeking to maximise their profit margins by exploiting the differences in purchasing power from one Member State to the next;

R.  whereas in its New Deal for Consumers proposal, a targeted revision of the EU consumer directives following on from the Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing laws, the Commission suggested updating the UCPD in order to make explicit the ability of national authorities to assess and address misleading commercial practices involving the marketing of products as identical in different Member States, when their composition or characteristics are in reality significantly different;

S.  whereas while consumers should not be misled, product differentiation and innovation should not be restricted as such;

T.  whereas the single market has brought major benefits to operators in the food supply chain, and whereas the food trade has an increasingly significant cross-border dimension and is of particular importance for the functioning of the single market;

U.  whereas in order to fully reap the benefits of the internal market, it is crucial that existing EU food and consumer legislation be better applied so as to identify and address unjustified dual standards and thus protect consumers from misleading information and commercial practices;

V.  whereas there is a continuous need to strengthen the role of consumer associations in this regard; whereas consumer associations play a unique role in guaranteeing consumer confidence and should be further supported through additional legal and economic measures and capacity building;

W.  whereas proven differences in ingredients in comparable products could in the long term pose a risk to consumers’ health, particularly in the case of vulnerable consumers such as children or people with dietary and/or health issues, thereby contributing to a deterioration in the well-being of citizens; whereas this is the case, for example, where the level of fat and/or sugar is higher than expected, where fats of animal origin are replaced by fats of vegetable origin or vice versa, where sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners, or where salt content is increased; whereas labelling that does not give an accurate picture of the additives used, or the number of substitutes for basic ingredients, misleads consumers and may pose a risk to their health;

X.  whereas there are no legislative regulations on dual quality at EU level, which makes it impossible to compare quality or identify cases of dual quality and means that there are no instruments that might be used to remedy the situation; whereas shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of applicable EU food law requirements, for instance in the labelling of mechanically separated meat(12) or the use of food additives(13), have regularly been reported by the Commission’s Health and Food Audits and Analysis services;

Y.  whereas differences in composition potentially affecting consumer health may be found not only in foodstuffs, but also in cosmetics, hygiene products and cleaning products;

Z.  whereas reformulation activities to reduce fat, sugar and salt content in food are lagging behind in many Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European countries;

1.  Underlines that the results of numerous tests and surveys conducted in several Member States, predominantly in Central and Eastern Europe, with differing methodologies for laboratory testing, have proven that there are differences of various magnitudes, inter alia in composition and the ingredients used, between products which are advertised and distributed in the single market under the same brand and with seemingly identical packaging, to the detriment of consumers; notes that according to a survey conducted for a national competent authority, the vast majority of consumers are concerned about such differences; therefore concludes that based on the findings of these tests and surveys, consumers are concerned about discrimination between different markets in the Member States; underlines that any such kind of discrimination is unacceptable and that all EU consumers should enjoy access to the same level of product quality;

2.  Highlights that the cases of such significant differences concern not only food products but frequently also non-food products, including detergents, cosmetics, toiletries and products intended for babies;

3.  Recalls that Parliament called on the Commission in 2013 to carry out a meaningful investigation to evaluate whether there the existing Union legislation needed to be adjusted, and to inform Parliament and consumers of the results;

4.  Welcomes the recent initiatives announced by the Commission to address this issue, in particular its commitment to delivering a common testing methodology and allocating a budget for its preparation and enforcement and for the collection of further reliable and comparable evidence, and to updating the UCPD and launching the Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality;

5.  Takes note of the mandate given by the European Council to the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain in order to address the issue of dual quality; encourages Member States and their competent authorities to actively participate in ongoing initiatives, including the development and integration into their working practices of a common testing methodology and the collection of further evidence; stresses the need for those parties representing consumers’ interests to be actively involved and to be permitted to have opinions delivered on their behalf, including the representatives of consumer organisations, manufacturers and research organisations that have conducted product tests in Member States; believes that Parliament should be involved in all ongoing initiatives that may have an impact on attempts to address the issue of dual quality;

6.  Recommends that the Member States concerned draw up their own assessment of the methodology and effectiveness of enforcement of the UCPD and other existing legislation on the issue of the dual quality of food and other products and submit them to the Commission for an objective assessment of the seriousness of the problem;

7.  Welcomes Parliament’s adoption of a pilot project for 2018, which involves a series of market investigations into several categories of consumer products with a view to assessing different aspects of dual quality; expects the project to be conducted and published in time, as initially planned; believes that the project should also be extended into 2019 so as to secure a greater breadth of knowledge and to cover the non-food sector; calls for MEPs to be afforded greater involvement in overseeing the project; encourages Parliament, the Commission and the Member States to make use of all the available tools, including pilot and national projects, in order to further assess different aspects of dual product quality;

8.  Stresses that comprehensive information on the public authority responsible for taking action and on relevant administrative or judicial proceedings, including the possibility for members of the public to file online complaints, is vital for the effective enforcement of the UCPD; views as negative, therefore, the lack of information in the Member States concerned which, in spite of the concerns expressed by the Member States about the need to address the dual product quality issue, do not make this information available on the websites of the responsible authorities;

9.  Underlines that the Commission has already received notification of a new national labelling measure designed to warn consumers of differences in the composition of foodstuffs;

10.  Welcomes the fact that, in order to further improve consumer protection in the EU and provide support for businesses, the Commission has launched an online training programme to help companies better understand and enforce consumer rights in the EU;

Commission Notice on the application of EU consumer protection law to issues of dual quality of products

11.  Takes note of the Commission Notice on the application of EU food and consumer protection law to issues of dual quality of products; points out that this notice is intended to help national authorities to determine whether a company is breaking EU food and consumer laws when selling products of dual quality in different countries, and to advise them on how to cooperate with one another; is concerned that the notice’s step-by-step approach for the identification by national authorities of whether producers are in breach of EU law currently lacks any practical application by the authorities, which could mean that consumers’ rights are being violated;

12.  Agrees with the Commission that in the single market, where consumers have a general understanding of the principles of free circulation and equal access to goods, they do not, a priori, expect branded products sold in different countries to be differentiated; recalls that according to the Commission, studies made on brand loyalty demonstrate that, in the minds of consumers, brands act as a certificate for controlled and constant quality; further agrees with the Commission that this explains why some consumers may expect branded products to be of equivalent quality if not exactly the same wherever and whenever purchased, and expect brand owners to inform them when they decide to change the composition of their products;

13.  Considers, therefore, that the provision of any additional information, albeit within the principal field of vision of a package, is insufficient unless the consumer clearly understands that the product in question differs from seemingly identical products of a same brand sold in another Member State;

14.  Further agrees with the Commission, in this context, that the producers do not necessarily have to offer identical products across different geographical areas and that the free movement of goods does not mean that every product must be identical everywhere within the single market; emphasises that business operators are permitted to market and sell goods of differing compositions and characteristics on the basis of legitimate factors provided that they fully respect EU legislation; stresses, however, that these products should not diverge in quality when they are offered to consumers on different markets;

15.  Considers that providing accurate and easy-to-understand information to consumers is key to tackling dual quality of products; is convinced that in the event of a company intending to place on the market of different Member States a product that differs in certain characteristics, such a product cannot be labelled and branded in a seemingly identical manner;

16.  Notes that there might be acceptable differences in the composition of a single brand’s product and that products may differ on account of regional consumer preferences, the sourcing of local ingredients, requirements of national law, or reformulation objectives; stresses that the intention is not to lay down or harmonise food quality requirements and that it is not desirable to prescribe to manufacturers the exact composition of the various products; believes, however, that consumer preferences should not be used as an excuse to lower quality or offer different quality grades on different markets; stresses that consumers must be clearly informed and aware of this adjustment for each individual product and not only in general terms that this established practice exists;

17.  Considers that the notice is perceived as primarily intended for foodstuffs; believes that provisions on the application of consumer protection law should be applied to all food and non-food products available in the single market in general, and that product labels must be legible for consumers and fully informative;

18.  Draws attention to the Commission’s guidance from 2016 on the application of the UCPD, which states that: ‘goods of the same brand and having the same or similar packaging may differ as to their composition depending on the place of manufacture and the destination market, i.e. they may vary from one Member State to another’ and that ‘under the UCPD, commercial practices marketing products with a different composition are not unfair per se’; emphasises the importance of the Commission’s guidance documents in facilitating a proper and coherent application of the UCPD; therefore calls on the Commission to clarify the relationship between the notice, the guidance and the paper drafted by the internal market subgroup of the High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain;

19.  Notes that there may be different requirements for the control methods of the national competent authorities; underlines that there are various analyses that have already been conducted which could serve as a basis for designing and implementing the common testing methodology, even if their methodologies differed and their results were not assessed in the same way; considers that the aim of the work to develop a methodology led by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) should be clearly stated so as to ensure a unified interpretation of the resulting methodology, including a definition of ‘significant difference’, and to enable the competent authorities to use it; points out that establishing which of the various products is the most standard and thus the ‘product of reference’ could actually impede the overall assessment as it may be too difficult to determine;

20.  Welcomes the Commission’s efforts to assist national enforcement authorities in identifying unfair commercial practices in the marketing of products; calls on the Commission to coordinate national competent authorities in this regard; underlines that the aim of such methodology is to ensure the collection of reliable and comparable evidence by the Member States on a common basis and to contribute to an overall assessment of how serious and widespread the issue of dual quality on the Single Market is; recalls that the factual nature of unfair practices is likely to continue to be judged only on a case-by-case basis, since the extent of the act of misleading the consumer is always a matter of subjective judgment by the competent authority or court;

21.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision to invite the competent authorities to perform more market tests within the Member States that involve product comparisons across different regions and countries; point out, however, that according to the Commission, such tests should be carried out with a common testing approach, which has not yet been fully developed; stresses the need to stick to the timetable so that the results of the testing carried out under a common testing approach are completed, are published in all official EU languages in a publicly available database, and are analysed at the earliest possible date but no later than by the end of 2018; emphasises, moreover, the need to disclose these results promptly for the purposes of informing consumers and producers in order to raise awareness and thus help to reduce incidences of dual product quality;

Other aspects of dual quality

22.  Underlines that private labels have become an essential staple in consumers’ shopping baskets and that their market share has increased across most product categories in most Member States over the past decade; believes that private labels should not give the impression of a branded product so as to prevent consumer confusion; reasserts that the issue of private labels requires particular attention from the Commission, with a view to ending the confusion between private labels and branded products; notes that the single market is accessible to producers and manufacturers, but that it is also very competitive, with some brands ubiquitously known or well perceived across the Union;

23.  Recalls that Parliament has repeatedly called on the Commission to determine whether dual quality has negative repercussions for local and regional production, in particular SMEs; regrets that no data has been presented by the Commission so far;

24.  Underlines that the counterfeiting of branded products exposes consumers to health and safety risks, undermines consumer confidence in brands and leads to a loss of revenue for producers; notes that the range of counterfeit products recovered in the EU remains broad and encompasses nearly all types of goods;

25.  Is concerned about restrictions placed on traders when it comes to purchasing goods that may have a negative effect on consumer choice; urges the Commission to identify the factors that contribute to a fragmentation of the single market in goods and illegitimately restrict consumers’ ability to benefit fully from the single market, with a particular focus on territorial supply constraints and their implications; invites the Commission to make use of competition law, if applicable, in order to tackle such practices;

26.  Points out that national competent authorities can select samples and perform tests only on the territory of their Member State; stresses the need for enhanced, effective, transparent and swift cross-border cooperation and data-sharing, including exchange on potentially non-compliant products and information on possible unfair practices, between national consumer protection and food authorities, consumer associations and the Commission in order to tackle dual quality and improve and approximate the enforcement of the legislation; calls on the Commission and the Member States to engage in such cooperation more intensively; welcomes the adoption of the revised Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation, which strengthens investigation and enforcement powers, improves information and data exchange and access to any relevant information and establishes harmonised rules setting out the procedures for the coordination of investigation and enforcement measures in this regard;

27.  Recognises the usefulness of the ‘sweeps’, which serve as an important form of enforcement coordination under the CPC Regulation, and calls on the Commission and Member States to further strengthen them and broaden their scope;

Recommendations and further steps

28.  Emphasises the value of broad and timely public debate that leads to increased consumer awareness about products and their characteristics; notes that some manufacturers and owners of private labels have already announced changes to recipes or the use of a single production standard at EU level; stresses the importance of the role of industry in improving transparency and clarity with regard to product composition and quality and any changes thereto; welcomes the Commission’s initiative to develop a code of conduct in this regard; calls, for the sake of their own interests, for both producers and retailers to be granted even greater involvement, in order to help find an effective remedy to the present situation as soon as possible without recourse to enforcement procedures, and to enable European consumers to access products of the same quality throughout the entire single market; invites manufacturers to consider including a logo on the packaging that would indicate that the content and quality of the same brand is the same across Member States;

29.  Invites consumer organisations, civil society organisations and the notified national bodies responsible for enforcement of the UCPD and other relevant legislation to play a more active role in the public debate and in informing consumers; is convinced that consumer organisations could make a significant contribution to tackling the problem of dual quality; calls on the Commission and the Member States to bolster their support for national consumer organisations through financial and legal mechanisms, so they can build capacity, develop their testing activities, perform comparative tests and, in tandem with the competent authorities, help to track and expose cases of unfair product differentiation; believes, moreover, that an enhanced cross-border exchange of information between consumer associations should be promoted;

30.  Considers that on the basis of previous experiences, competent authorities have been unable to tackle effectively any specific cases of dual quality at national level alone or enforce existing legislation, or have attempted to do so only to a minimal extent, owing in part to an absence of an explicit legal provision at EU level; recalls that the Member States are responsible for enforcing the UCPD and that they should therefore do so in order to ensure that consumers are not misled by unfair marketing practices; stresses that the Member States should ensure that the competent national authorities possess the adequate technical, financial and human capabilities in order to ensure effective enforcement; calls on the Member States to provide consumers with a space for the submission of complaints and their further investigation, and to inform consumers as far as possible of their rights and options as regards the enforcement of existing legislation and the obligations of vendors to inform them of the composition and, where applicable, the origin of products;

31.  Draws attention to the fact that the issue of dual quality is directly related to the essence of the functioning of the single market and consumer trust, both of which are at stake, and therefore requires, inter alia, a solution at Union level via directly enforceable measures; is convinced that given the possibility of action at national level, Union-level action would safeguard the integrity of the single market; invites the Commission to map out existing national standards for food and non-food products in the EU and to assess their relevance to cases of dual quality in the single market;

32.  Calls for the urgent development of capacities and mechanisms at EU level in a specialised monitoring and supervisory unit in an existing EU body (JRC, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) or other), keeping bureaucracy to a minimum, to monitor consistency in composition and proportional use of ingredients in identically branded and packaged food products and to assess comparative laboratory analyses to identify these unfair commercial practices in the marketing of food products;

33.  Welcomes the Commission’s New Deal for Consumers proposal, which seeks to tackle dual quality of products by amending Article 6 of the UCPD to designate as a misleading commercial practice the marketing of a product as being identical to the same product marketed in several other Member States, when those products have a different composition or characteristics; notes, however, that the proposal also contains some unclear provisions that require clarification in order to ensure proper interpretation and application;

34.  Is, however, strongly convinced that an amendment to Annex I to the UCPD introducing another item onto the ‘blacklist’ defining the practices prohibited in all circumstances that explicitly mentions dual quality of identically branded products when discriminatory and not respecting consumer expectations would address unjustified cases of dual quality in the most effective way;

35.  Emphasises that the outcome of the legislative process should be a clear definition of what can be considered dual quality and how each case should be assessed and addressed by the competent authorities; stresses, in this regard, that the open list of so-called ‘legitimate factors’ could jeopardise the ability of the competent authorities to undertake assessments and apply the law; is concerned that the use of the concept of ‘defined consumer preferences’ in assessing whether a differentiation in product composition can or cannot be justified may lead to conflicting interpretations between competent authorities;

36.  Calls on the Commission to extend the mandate given to the JRC to work on a Europe-wide harmonised methodology for comparing the characteristics of non-food products and on guidelines for improving product transparency within one year, and to evaluate the results of tests; points out that the JRC should also, for the purposes of exchanging best practices in the area, strive to cooperate with Member States’ authorities which have already undertaken their own product testing but have not yet communicated the results to the national authorities of other Member States;

37.  Points out that the safety and quality of food, and preventing consumers from being misled, are matters of the highest priority; reminds the Commission of its commitment to better monitoring and enhancing the correct application of EU legislation; considers that the competent national authorities should monitor compliance with the applicable law in these areas effectively;

38.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal to improve the transparency of scientific studies in the field of food safety in response to expressions of public concern, in order to boost access to the information required to make purchasing decisions backed by a reliable, science-based risk assessment;

39.  Calls on the national food authorities to establish case by case whether suspected discriminatory practices are indeed illegal, on the basis of the provisions of the UCPD and their interplay with the fair information requirements set out in Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers;

40.  Notes that all EU citizens are affected by dual quality practices, including when they travel between Member States;

41.  Stresses, however, that substantial differences in products for babies, such as food for infants and young children, cannot be justified on the grounds of regional taste preferences alone;

42.  Strongly rejects the claim made by some producers that changes in composition and/or quality are made so that prices conform to consumer expectations; highlights that various studies have shown that products of lower quality are often more expensive than their counterparts of higher quality elsewhere in the EU;

43.  Strongly encourages the use of the circular economy principle for product packaging and stresses that if product packaging in one Member State adheres to this principle, then concerted efforts should be made by the producer to ensure that this is the case for all their products marketed under the same brand and in the same type of packaging across the EU and beyond;

44.  Stresses that some cases of dual quality products result from a lack of enforcement of EU law; calls on Member State authorities to enforce, as a matter of urgency, existing EU rules on food labelling, including in relation to mechanically separated meat, for example;

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

(1) OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22.
(2) OJ L 345, 27.12.2017, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18.
(4) OJ C 65, 19.2.2016, p. 2.
(5) OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 11.
(6) OJ C 93, 24.3.2017, p. 27.
(7) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 40.
(8) OJ C 11, 12.1.2018, p. 2.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0027.
(10) O-000019/2017.
(11) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(12) http://ec.europa.eu/food/audits-analysis/overview_reports/details.cfm?rep_id=76
(13) http://ec.europa.eu/food/audits-analysis/overview_reports/details.cfm?rep_id=115

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