Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 17 January 2019 - StrasbourgProvisional edition
Azerbaijan, notably the case of Mehman Huseynov
 Sudan
 Nuclear decommissioning assistance programme of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania *
 Annual report on the control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank for 2017
 Cross-border restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars
 Protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States ***I
 Establishing the "Fiscalis" programme for cooperation in the field of taxation ***I
 Establishing the Rights and Values programme ***I
 European Instrument for Nuclear Safety complementing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument *
 Combating late payment in commercial transactions
 Annual report on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank
 Differentiated integration
 Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU

Azerbaijan, notably the case of Mehman Huseynov
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on Azerbaijan, notably the case of Mehman Huseynov (2019/2511(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0033RC-B8-0056/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Azerbaijan, in particular those of 15 June 2017 on the case of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli(1), of 10 September 2015 on Azerbaijan(2) and of 18 September 2014 on the persecution of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan(3),

–  having regard to its recommendation of 4 July 2018 to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on the negotiations on the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement(4),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the European Neighbourhood Policy, in particular its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the Eastern Partnership, in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2017 on corruption and human rights in third countries(6),

–  having regard to the 15th EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) meeting, held in Baku from 7 to 8 May 2018,

–  having regard to the EU-Azerbaijan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1996 and to the Council’s adoption on 14 November 2016 of a mandate for the Commission and the VP/HR to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan, and the launch of the negotiations on the abovementioned agreement on 7 February 2017,

–  having regard to the VP/HR’s statement of 7 March 2017 on the sentencing of Mehman Huseynov in Azerbaijan,

–  having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline,

–  having regard to the latest report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on its mission to Azerbaijan to the United Nations Human Rights Council(7),

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

A.  whereas Mehman Huseynov, an anti-corruption blogger and director of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), is serving a two-year prison sentence following his conviction on 3 March 2017 for publically complaining about his experiences of ill-treatment and torture by the police, as well as for criticising government officials through exposure of their unexplained wealth;

B.  whereas Mr Huseynov, who is due to be released in March 2019, is facing a possible additional prison sentence of 5 to 7 years on charges of ‘application of violence not dangerous to life or health to employees of criminal - executive establishments or investigator isolators’ under Article 317.2;

C.  whereas Mr Huseynov is accused of attacking a prison guard to avoid a routine check on 26 December 2018; whereas, following the alleged attack, he was placed in solitary confinement without the right to see his lawyer; whereas on 28 December Mr Huseynov started a hunger strike to protest against these attempts to extend his sentence and the potential new charges; whereas on 30 December the blogger’s health condition deteriorated and he fainted; whereas, at the insistence of his relatives, he stopped the dry hunger strike and began to take liquids; whereas on 11 January 2019 the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan was able to visit him and it was confirmed that he was receiving medical assistance;

D.  whereas this is not an isolated case, with other instances of the authorities pressing new charges against political prisoners whose current prison sentences are shortly coming to an end; whereas, according to the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, this is the fifth such case in recent months;

E.  whereas on 4 January 2019 the Nizami District Court of Baku ruled on the administrative punishment of those who had taken part in the protest against the new criminal case against Mr Huseynov, namely Mete Turksoy, Afghan Sadigov, Nurlan Gahramanli, Elimkhan Aghayev, Sakhavat Nabiyev, Ismayil Islamoghlu, Goshgar Ahmadov,Yashar Khaspoladov, Farid Abdinov, Elchin Rahimzade, Orkhan Mammadov, Bakhtiyar Mammadli, Fatima Movlamli, Matanat Mahmurzayeva and Parvin Abishova; whereas all of the accused were found guilty under Article 513.2 (violation of the rules for holding rallies, pickets and demonstrations) of the Code of Administrative Offences;

F.  whereas the media environment and freedom of expression in Azerbaijan have not shown any substantial progress; whereas Azerbaijan is ranked 163rd among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters without Borders; whereas 10 journalists are currently serving prison terms in Azerbaijan;

G.  whereas several independent media websites and portals remain blocked and inaccessible inside the country, including Azadliq Radio (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service) and its international service, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, the newspaper Azadliq (unrelated to Azadliq Radio), Meydan TV and Azerbaijan Saadi (Azerbaijan Hour), among others; whereas in late 2017 and early 2018 scores of Azerbaijani citizens were questioned for posting critical commentary on Facebook, or simply liking a social media status, or clicking ‘attend’ for political rallies;

H.  whereas in December 2018 the Baku Economic and Administrative Court ordered investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova to pay a fine of over EUR 23 000 for an alleged income tax evasion case involving Radio Free Europe, where she worked as an editor and never held a position of a legal representative; whereas her lawyer, Yalchin Imanov, is among those who were disbarred from the Azerbaijani bar association; whereas on 10 January 2019 the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the complaint filed by Ms Ismayilova against the Government of Azerbaijan in connection with the spreading of videos concerning her personal life, finding that her rights had been violated under Articles 8 (respect for personal and family life) and 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights;

I.  whereas amendments introduced in the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure and the Bar Act in 2017 prohibit practising lawyers who are not members of the Bar Association from appearing in court and representing their clients; whereas this new rule targets numerous lawyers representing opposition members and human rights activists who have been disbarred or who face disciplinary measures;

J.  whereas Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe and has therefore committed to respect democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law; whereas the two co-rapporteurs for Azerbaijan of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights have expressed deep concern at the new charges brought against Mr Huseynov; whereas the same concerns have been expressed by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media;

K.  whereas on 11 July 2018 the EU and Azerbaijan finalised their Partnership Priorities, setting the joint policy priorities to guide and enhance the EU-Azerbaijan partnership over the coming years;

1.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov and urges the Azerbaijani authorities to drop all new charges against him; expresses concern over his health for which the authorities must provide all the necessary professional medical assistance and allow regular access for his family and privileged legal counsel;

2.  Calls for an end to Azerbaijan’s crackdown on dissent and calls for the immediate and unconditional release from jail of all political prisoners, including journalists, human rights defenders and other civil society activists, including, but not limited to, Afgan Mukhtarli, Ilkin Rustamzadeh, Rashad Ramazanov, Seymur Hazi, Giyas Ibrahimov, Mehman Huseynov, Bayram Mammadov, Araz Guliyev, Tofig Hasanli, Ilgiz Qahramanov and Afgan Sadygov, and calls for all charges against them to be dropped, and for the full restoration of their political and civil rights;

3.  Welcomes the release in Azerbaijan of several high-profile human rights defenders, journalists, opposition members and activists over the last few years; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure free movement of those that face restrictions, including Ilgar Mammadov, Intigam Alyiev, Khadija Ismaiylova, and other journalists, and to allow them to work freely; expresses concern over the new criminal charges brought against Ms Ismayilova and calls for them to be dropped;

4.  Reminds Azerbaijan of its obligations stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights and calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to fully respect and enforce the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights;

5.  Urges the Government of Azerbaijan to fully cooperate with and implement the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the UN special procedures in regard to human rights defenders, and to ensure that independent civil society groups and activists can operate freely and without restriction, including by amending the laws severely restricting the funding of civil society;

6.  Calls on Azerbaijan to fully guarantee freedom of the press and media, both in legislation and in practice, both online and offline, to guarantee freedom of expression in line with international standards;

7.  Urges the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure the de facto independence of the Bar Association from the executive; insists that independently practising lawyers be allowed to continue practising and representing their clients under the notarised power of attorney, and calls for an end to the arbitrary disbarment of lawyers representing members of the opposition and human rights activists;

8.  Expresses concern over allegations involving several members of the PACE and alleged attempts to influence European decision-makers through illicit means aimed at hindering criticism of serious human rights violations in Azerbaijan;

9.  Expresses concern over the situation of LGBTI people in Azerbaijan and calls on the Azerbaijani Government to stop obstructing and intimidating human rights defenders promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI people;

10.  Underlines the importance of the new agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan; stresses that democratic reforms, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must be at the core of the new agreement; stresses that it will closely monitor the situation throughout the negotiations on a new agreement prior to taking the decision on giving its consent to the agreement;

11.  Calls on the Council, the Commission and the VP/HR to ensure that the release of Mr Huseynov and all other political prisoners in Azerbaijan remains a priority in EU-Azerbaijan bilateral relations;

12.  Urges the EU and Member States’ delegations in Azerbaijan to redouble their efforts to support and assist political prisoners, reporters and bloggers, anti-corruption activists, human rights defenders and members of civil society;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the European External Action Service, the Commission, the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Council of Europe, and the OSCE.

(1) OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 105.
(2) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 207.
(3) OJ C 234, 28.6.2016, p. 2.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0294.
(5) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 130.
(6) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 82.
(7) Report A/HRC/36/37/Add.1 of 2.8.2017.


Sudan
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on Sudan (2019/2512(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0034RC-B8-0053/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Sudan, including those of 31 May 2018(1), 15 March 2018(2), 16 November 2017(3) and 6 October 2016(4),

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, to which the Republic of Sudan has been a state party since 1986,

–  having regard to the awarding of its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to human rights defender Salih Mahmoud Osman in 2007,

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

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Sudan of 19 November 2018,

–  having regard to the statement by the Troika (the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom) and Canada of 8 January 2019 on the response to continuing protests in Sudan,

–  having regard to the statements by the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 24 December 2018 and 11 January 2019 on the ongoing protests in Sudan,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

–  having regard to the Constitution of Sudan of 2005,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement signed by the Sudanese Government in 2005,

–  having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regard to the interactive dialogues on the situation of human rights in Sudan held by the UN Human Rights Council on 11 December 2018,

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

A.  whereas in mid-December the Government of Sudan announced an end to subsidies on staple goods in response to spiralling inflation; whereas the country’s inflation, at around 122 %, is now the second highest in the world(5);

B.  whereas since 19 December 2018, demonstrators have been taking to the streets across Sudan to protest price increases, cuts in subsidies on basic commodities and fuel shortages; whereas these protests have spread from towns and villages to the capital, Khartoum;

C.  whereas the demonstrations widened and tens of thousands more people took to the streets, reflecting a broad cross-section of Sudanese society against the authoritarian regime and calling on President Omar al-Bashir, in power for 29 years, to step down;

D.  whereas 22 political parties have withdrawn from government in solidarity with the demonstrators; whereas the protests are backed by some of the President’s former allies and members of his ruling party, who are seen as a serious challenge to President al-Bashir who seeks to amend Article 57 of the Constitution in order to obtain a life mandate;

E.  whereas on 1 January 2019, 22 opposition political parties and groups demanded that President al-Bashir transfer power to a ‘sovereign council’ and a transitional government that would set a ‘suitable’ date for democratic elections; whereas the next presidential elections in Sudan are scheduled for 2020; whereas according to the Constitution of Sudan, President al-Bashir is not permitted to stand again when his present term ends; whereas some lawmakers in Sudan have announced their willingness to amend the constitution to extend presidential term limits, allowing President al-Bashir to seek re-election in 2020;

F.  whereas the Sudanese authorities deployed national security forces, the police and paramilitary forces, which used excessive force to disperse unarmed protesters, beating them with batons and firing live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas;

G.  whereas President al-Bashir is the only sitting head of state wanted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed during his campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur, with two outstanding arrest warrants issued on 4 March 2009 and 12 July 2010 by the International Criminal Court (ICC); whereas although Sudan is not a state party to the Rome Statute, UN Security Council resolution 1593 (2005) requires it to cooperate with the ICC; whereas despite his arrest warrant, President al-Bashir continued his crimes with impunity, expanding his bombings and attacks against civilians beyond Darfur to those in the Sudanese states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan;

H.  whereas according to international human rights organisations, the death toll had reached 45 by 1 January 2019; whereas the Sudanese Government only reports 24 deaths; whereas three more protesters were killed on 9 January 2019 during an anti-government demonstration in Sudan; whereas on the same day, the first-ever rally in support of President al-Bashir was taking place in Khartoum;

I.  whereas according to the Sudanese Government, police have arrested 816 people in three weeks of protests, but according to civil society, the actual number is much higher; whereas several faculty members from Khartoum University were arrested after they joined the protests; whereas a number of opposition leaders, journalists, human rights defenders, university professors and students, including those with severe injuries, remain in detention without visits from family, lawyers or doctors;

J.  whereas on 8 January 2019, Salih Mahmoud Osman, a Sudanese human rights lawyer and 2007 Sakharov Prize laureate, was arrested in his law office; whereas authorities have confirmed that he is in custody, but have not disclosed where he is being held; whereas Mr Osman’s family is particularly worried about his detention on account of his hypertension and diabetes, which require medical follow-up;

K.  whereas the wave of arrests has involved many human rights defenders and a number of opposition members;

L.  whereas on 8 January 2019, former Vice-President Ali Osman Taha warned opponents of the government that militia ‘brigades’ would defend the country;

M.  whereas a free, independent and impartial media constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society; whereas the government has blocked access to social media sites, and several newspapers have refrained from going to press after the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) issued restrictions on publishing information related to the protests; whereas widespread use of VPNs has enabled people to share graphic pictures and videos of protesters who have been wounded or killed; whereas Sudan is ranked 174th out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2018; whereas on 13 January 2019, the Association of Sudanese Professionals, which includes, among others, doctors, professors and engineers, issued a call to protest in the capital, Khartoum, and other cities such as Madani (east), Kosti (south) and Dongola (north) on the occasion of ‘a week of uprising’; whereas for the first time, a call to protest in Nyala and Al-Fasher, in the Darfur conflict region, has also been launched;

N.  whereas according to human rights defenders, people from the Darfur region in particular have been harassed and arrested all over the country, even if they have not participated in demonstrations;

O.  whereas Sudan is yet to ratify other key universal human rights treaties, including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women;

P.  whereas the Troika made up of the US, Norway and the UK, and supported by Canada, has publicly condemned the brutal repression of the demonstrations in Sudan;

Q.  whereas the EU maintains high-level contact with the Sudanese Government, including visits from Commissioners to Sudan;

R.  whereas Sudan has been ranked the fourth worst country in which to be Christian in the 2018 World Watch List drawn up by Open Doors International; whereas the situation for other religious minorities or non-believers is just as challenging;

1.  Strongly condemns the excessive use of force by the NISS during ongoing popular protests and the ongoing repression by the authorities in Sudan, which continue to target activists and human rights defenders, as well as lawyers, teachers, students and doctors;

2.  Calls on the Sudanese Government to put a stop to the deadly use of force, arbitrary arrests and the detention of peaceful protesters and to prevent more bloodshed and the use of torture; stresses that all law enforcement and security bodies should act under its direct control and in accordance with Sudan’s constitutional and international commitments;

3.  Extends its condolences to the victims of the violence that began with the start of the popular protests, and to their families;

4.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Sakharov Prize laureate Salih Mahmoud Osman and urges the Sudanese authorities to guarantee him urgent medical care and unhindered access to his lawyer and family;

5.  Asks the Government of Sudan to respect people’s right to voice their concerns and allow all human rights defenders in Sudan to carry out their legitimate work in defence of human rights without any restriction or reprisal;

6.  Is particularly worried about the fate of 32 university students of Darfuri origin arrested on 23 December 2018 by Sudanese authorities, who have been paraded before the media, reportedly accused of being trained in Israel and blamed for the ongoing protests;

7.  Demands that the Government of Sudan immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, journalists, political opposition leaders and other protesters currently in detention without charge or trial and allow those facing trial full access to legal representation; calls on the Government of Sudan to make their whereabouts known;

8.  Calls on the Government of Sudan to promptly investigate all allegations of torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention and of excessive use of force against people detained by the police and the NISS, including the denial of necessary medical treatment, and to hold those responsible to account in fair trials, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

9.  Believes that free, independent and impartial media constitute one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, where open debates play a crucial role; calls for the EU to intensify its efforts to promote freedom of expression through its external policies and instruments, including in Sudan;

10.  Calls for an immediate end to restrictions imposed on access to the internet and the curtailing of freedom of expression through the censorship of newspapers, and urges Sudan to undertake reforms to guarantee freedom of expression, in accordance with its constitutional obligations and international commitments, including the Cotonou Agreement as first amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005;

11.  Deplores state-endorsed persecution against Christians, other religions and non-believers, and the closing and demolition of churches; reaffirms that freedom of religion, conscience or belief is a universal human right that needs to be protected everywhere and for everyone;

12.  Emphasises the importance of upholding the electoral calendar, but notes with concern that the process of changing the Sudanese Constitution to allow President al-Bashir to stand as presidential candidate once more has begun;

13.  Reiterates its demand that President al-Bashir comply with international law in accordance with the conventions and treaties to which his government is party; further supports the role of the ICC in pursuing the charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against him;

14.  Recalls the statement of 31 May 2018 made by Commissioner Stylianides in the European Parliament, in which he said that the EU would continue to make use of the different means at its disposal to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls in Sudan, including by enhancing their access to quality education and healthcare services and raising awareness of their rights among communities, in particular with a view to reducing harmful practices such as female genital mutilation;

15.  Urges the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and the Member States to ensure that ‘migration management’ and counter-terrorism actions do not undermine support for human rights; is concerned that EU and individual Member States’ cooperation with Sudan on migration is used by the regime as an excuse and to reinforce its ability to control and oppress people, for example by strengthening surveillance capacities, including at borders, and by supplying equipment, such as biometric equipment; calls for the EU and its Member States to therefore ensure complete transparency with regard to projects involving Sudan in the field of security , including all planned activities and beneficiaries of EU and national funding;

16.  Reiterates its call for an EU-wide ban on the export, sale, update and maintenance of any form of security equipment that can be or is used for internal repression, including internet surveillance technology, to states with deplorable human rights records such as Sudan;

17.  Takes note of the statements made by the European External Action Service spokesperson in the context of the ongoing protests; calls on the VP/HR to publicly condemn the alarming situation in Sudan and to use all means of influence at her disposal to pressure the Sudanese authorities to put a stop to ongoing violence and repression, mass arrests and killings, and to encourage them to respect their commitments to international norms and laws;

18.  Underlines the EU’s engagement in providing humanitarian aid and in supporting civil society organisations in Sudan and encourages the EU and its Member States to continue their efforts in these fields; urges the Commission to further strengthen financial support to human rights defenders and civil society organisations in Sudan under the European Development Fund;

19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of Sudan, the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0233.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0080.
(3) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 50.
(4) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 33.
(5) Calculations by Professor Steve H. Hanke, Johns Hopkins University. https://allafrica.com/stories/201807230267.html


Nuclear decommissioning assistance programme of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 January 2019 on the proposal for a Council regulation establishing the nuclear decommissioning assistance programme of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania (Ignalina programme); and repealing Council Regulation (EU) No 1369/2013 (COM(2018)0466 – C8-0394/2018 – 2018/0251(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0035A8-0413/2018

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2018)0466),

—  having regard to the 2003 Act of Accession, and in particular Article 3 of Protocol No 4 attached thereto,

–  having regard to the request for an opinion received from the Council (C8-0394/2018),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0413/2018),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

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

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

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

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  In accordance with Protocol No 4 of the 2003 Act of Accession on the Ignalina nuclear power plant1 Lithuania committed itself to the closure of Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the Ignalina nuclear power plant by 31 December 2004 and 31 December 2009 respectively, and to the subsequent decommissioning of those units.
(1)  In accordance with Protocol No 4 of the 2003 Act of Accession on the Ignalina nuclear power plant1 Lithuania committed itself to the closure of Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the Ignalina nuclear power plant by 31 December 2004 and 31 December 2009 respectively, and to the subsequent decommissioning of those units. Protocol No 4 remains the legal basis of the Ignalina Programme.
_____________
_________________
1 OJ L 236, 23.9.2003, p. 944.
1 OJ L 236, 23.9.2003, p. 944.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  In line with its obligations under the Act of Accession and with Union assistance, Lithuania shut down the two units within the respective deadlines and made significant progress towards their decommissioning. Further work is necessary in order to continue the decrease of the level of radiological hazard. Based on the available estimates, additional financial resources are required for this purpose post 2020.
(2)  In line with its obligations under the Act of Accession and with Union assistance, Lithuania shut down the two units within the respective deadlines and made significant progress towards their decommissioning. Further work is necessary in order to continue the decrease of the level of radiological hazard. Based on the available estimates and the planned final closure date in 2038, substantial additional financial resources are required for this purpose post 2020. To allow for completion of the decommissioning plan by 2038, the financial gap of EUR 1 548 million will need to be addressed.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  The activities covered by this Regulation should comply with applicable Union and national law. The decommissioning of the nuclear power plant covered by this Regulation should be carried out in accordance with the legislation on nuclear safety, namely Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom(1) and waste management, namely Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom(2). The ultimate responsibility for nuclear safety and for the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management remains with Lithuania.
(3)  The activities covered by this Regulation should comply with applicable Union and national law. The decommissioning of the nuclear power plant covered by this Regulation should be carried out in accordance with the legislation on nuclear safety, namely Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom(1) and waste management, namely Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom(2). The ultimate responsibility for nuclear safety and for the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management remains with Lithuania. However, Directive 2011/70/Euratom allows for the Union’s contribution to a broad range of decomissioning projects, including storage and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste. While Directive 2011/70/Euratom states that the cost of the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste shall be borne by those who generated those materials, that provision cannot be applied retroactively to Lithuania, which closed the Ignalina nuclear power plant before the adoption of that Directive and thus was not in a position to accumulate sufficient funds for the storage and disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste.
_____________
_________________
1 Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom of 25 June 2009 establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations (OJ L 172, 2.7.2009, p. 18).
1 Council Directive 2009/71/Euratom of 25 June 2009 establishing a Community framework for the nuclear safety of nuclear installations (OJ L 172, 2.7.2009, p. 18).
2 Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom of 19 July 2011 establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste (OJ L 199, 2.8.2011, p. 48).
2 Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom of 19 July 2011 establishing a Community framework for the responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste (OJ L 199, 2.8.2011, p. 48).
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4
(4)  Recognising that the premature shutdown and consequent decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant with two 1 500 MW RBMK type reactor units inherited from the Soviet Union was of an unprecedented nature and represented for Lithuania an exceptional financial burden not commensurate with the size and economic strength of the country, Protocol No 4 stated that the Union assistance under the Ignalina programme is to be seamlessly continued and extended beyond 2006, for the period of the next Financial Perspectives.
(4)  Recognising that the premature shutdown and consequent decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant with two 1 500 MW RBMK type (graphite moderated, channel-type) reactor units – similar to those used in Chernobyl – inherited from the Soviet Union was of an unprecedented nature, given that there have been no cases in practice anywhere in the world of a reactor of a similar design being dismantled, and represented for Lithuania an exceptional financial burden not commensurate with the size and economic strength of the country, Protocol No 4 stated that the Union assistance under the Ignalina programme is to be seamlessly continued and extended beyond 2006, for the period of the next Financial Perspectives until the final closure date which is currently planned for 2038.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  The Programme should also ensure dissemination of knowledge gained from the Programme to all Member States, in coordination and synergy with the other relevant Union programme for decommissioning activities in Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Commission's Joint Research Centre; as such measures bring the greatest Union added value.
(10)  The Programme should also ensure dissemination of knowledge gained from the Programme to all Member States, in coordination and synergy with the other relevant Union programme for decommissioning activities in Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Commission's Joint Research Centre. In order for those measures to bring the greatest Union added value, the funding for dissemination of knowledge should not be part of the funding for decommissioning works, but should come from other financial sources of the Union.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  The decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant should be carried out with recourse to the best available technical expertise, and with due regard to the nature and technological specifications of the installations to be decommissioned, in order to ensure safety and the highest possible efficiency, thus taking into account international best practices.
(11)  The decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant should be carried out with recourse to the best available technical expertise, and with due regard to the nature and technological specifications of the installations to be decommissioned, in order to ensure safety and the highest possible efficiency, thus taking into account international best practices and ensuring competitive salaries for qualified personnel.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12
(12)  An effective monitoring and control of the evolution of the decommissioning process should be ensured by the Commission and Lithuania in order to assure the highest Union added value of the funding allocated under this Regulation, although the ultimate responsibility for the decommissioning rests with Lithuania. This includes effective measurement of progress and performance, and the enacting of corrective measures where necessary.
(12)  An effective monitoring and control of the evolution of the decommissioning process should be ensured by the Commission and Lithuania in order to assure the highest Union added value of the funding allocated under this Regulation. This includes effective monitoring of progress and performance and, where necessary, the enacting of corrective measures together with Lithuania and the Union.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16
(16)  The programme should be conducted with a joint financial effort of the Union and Lithuania. A maximum Union co-financing threshold should be established in line with the co-financing practice established under the predecessor programmes. Taking into account the practice of comparable Union programmes and the strengthened Lithuanian economy, from the inception of the Ignalina decommissioning programme until the end of the implementation of the activities financed under this Regulation, the Union co-financing rate should be no higher than 80 % of eligible costs. The remaining co-financing should be provided by Lithuania and sources other than the Union budget, notably from international financial institutions and other donors.
(16)  The programme should be conducted with a joint financial effort of the Union and Lithuania. Protocol 4 of the 2003 Act of Accession stipulates that the Union contribution under the Ignalina Programme may, for certain measures, amount to up to 100 % of total expenditure. A Union co-financing threshold should be established in line with the co-financing practice established under the predecessor programmes. Taking into account the findings of the 2018 Commission report on the evaluation and implementation of the EU nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Lithuania and the political commitment by Lithuania to contribute 14 % of the overall decommissioning cost, the Union co-financing rate, from the inception of the Ignalina decommissioning programme until the end of the implementation of the activities financed under this Regulation, should be 86 % of eligible costs. The remaining co-financing should be provided by Lithuania and sources other than the Union budget. Efforts to attract funding from other sources, notably from international financial institutions and other donors, should be made.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16 a (new)
(16a)   Outside the scope of the Ignalina Programme, Lithuania continues to be ultimately responsible for developing and investing in the Ignalina region which is characterised by low incomes and the country’s highest unemployment rates, mainly due to the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant as the region’s largest employer
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19
(19)  The Programme falls within the scope of the Lithuanian National Programme under the Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom.
(19)  The Programme falls within the scope of the Lithuanian National Programme under the Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom and may contribute to its implementation without prejudice to this Directive.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 23 a (new)
(23 a)   For historical reasons, Union financial support in decommissioning the Ignalina nuclear reactor is fully justified, but the programme should not set a precedent for the use of Union funds in the decommissioning of other nuclear reactors. It should be an ethical obligation for each Member State to avoid any undue burden on future generations in respect of spent fuel and radioactive waste, including any radioactive waste expected from decommissioning of existing nuclear installations. National policies have to be based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 23 b (new)
(23 b)   Commission Recommendation 2006/851/Euratom indicates that in accordance with the ‘polluter pays’ principle, nuclear operators should set aside adequate financial resources during the productive life of the installations for the future decommissioning costs.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1
1.  The general objective of the Programme is to assist Lithuania in implementing Ignalina nuclear power plant decommissioning, with specific emphasis on managing the radiological safety challenges of the decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, whilst ensuring broad dissemination to all EU Member States of knowledge thereby generated on nuclear decommissioning.
1.  The general objective of the Programme is to adequately assist Lithuania in safely implementing Ignalina nuclear power plant decommissioning, with specific emphasis on managing the radiological safety challenges of the decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, including ensuring safety of the interim spent fuel storage.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2
2.  The Programme has the specific objective to carry out the dismantling and decontamination of the Ignalina equipment and reactor shafts in accordance with the decommissioning plan, continue with the safe management of the decommissioning and legacy waste and disseminate the generated knowledge among EU stakeholders.
2.  The Programme has the main objective to carry out the dismantling and decontamination of the Ignalina equipment and reactor shafts in accordance with the decommissioning plan and to continue with the safe management of the decommissioning and legacy waste.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2 a.  The Programme also has the complementary objective to ensure broad dissemination in all Member States of the generated knowledge on nuclear decommissioning. The complementary objective shall be funded by the financial assistance programme for decommissioning of nuclear facilities and management of radioactive waste (COM (2018)467).
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 3
3.   The detailed description of the specific objective is set out in the Annex I. The Commission may modify, by means of implementing acts, the Annex I, in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 12(2).
3.   The detailed description of the main objective is set out in the Annex I.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 - 2027 shall be EUR 552 000 000 in current prices.
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 - 2027 shall be EUR 780 000 000 in current prices for the implementation of the main objective of the programme (decommissioning activities).
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 1
The overall maximum Union co-financing rate applicable under the Programme shall be no higher than 80%. The remaining financing shall be provided by Lithuania and additional sources other than the Union budget.
The overall Union co-financing rate applicable under the Programme shall be 86 %. The remaining financing shall be provided by Lithuania and additional sources other than the Union budget.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I – paragraph 4
4.  Key radiological safety challenges in the financing period 2021-2027 are tackled through activities under items P.1, P.2 and P.4. In particular the dismantling of the reactors' cores is covered under item P.2. Lesser challenges are tackled under item P.3, while items P.0 and P.5 cover decommissioning support activities.
4.  Key radiological safety challenges in the financing period 2021-2027 are tackled through activities under items P.1, P.2, P.3 and P.4. In particular the dismantling of the reactors' cores is covered under item P.2. Items P.0 and P.5 cover decommissioning support activities.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I – paragraph 5 – table 1 – item P.3

Text proposed by the Commission

TABLE 1

#Item

Priority

P.3

Spent Nuclear Fuel handling

II

Amendment

TABLE 1

#Item

Priority

P.3

Spent Nuclear Fuel handling

I

Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I – paragraph 7
7.  The disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste in a deep geological repository is excluded from the scope of the Programme, and has to be developed by Lithuania in its national programme for the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste as required by Council Directive 2011/70/Euratom.
7.  While the disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste in a deep geological repository is excluded from the scope of the Programme in the period of 2021-2027, Lithuania and the Union shall begin, in due time, consultations regarding the potential inclusion of those activities in the scope of the Programme under the subsequent Multiannual Financial Framework.

Annual report on the control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank for 2017
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on the Annual Report on the control of the financial activities of the EIB for 2017 (2018/2151(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0036A8-0479/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the 2017 Activity Report of the European Investment Bank (EIB),

–  having regard to the 2017 Financial Report and the 2017 Statistical Report of the EIB,

–  having regard to the 2017 Sustainability Report, the 2017 Report on 3 Pillar Assessment for EIB operations inside the EU and the 2017 Report on Results Outside of the EU of the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to the Audit Committee annual reports for the year 2017,

–  having regard to the Report on the implementation of the EIB’s Transparency Policy in 2017 and the Corporate Governance Report 2017,

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman 'Decision in case 1316/2016/TN on alleged shortcomings in the European Investment Bank’s Transparency Policy(1)',

–  having regard to the Review of the Complaints Mechanism (CM) arising from the European Ombudsman 'Decision in case 1316/2016/TN on alleged shortcomings in the European Investment Bank’s Transparency Policy',

–  having regard to the EIB Office of the Chief Compliance Officer Activity Report 2017 and EIB Group Anti-Fraud Activity Report 2017,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2017-2019,

–  having regard to Articles 3 and 9 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 15, 126, 174, 175, 208, 209, 271, 308 and 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to Protocol No 5 thereto on the Statute of the EIB and to Protocol No 28 thereto on economic, social and territorial cohesion,

–  having regard to the Rules of Procedure of the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 27 April 2017 on the control of the financial activities of the EIB for 2015 – Annual Report 2015(2), of 3 May 2018 on the control of the financial activities of the EIB for 2016 – Annual Report 2016(3),

–  having regard to Decision No 1080/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the EIB’s external mandate 2007-2013(4) and to Decision No 466/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 granting an EU guarantee to the European Investment Bank against losses under financing operations supporting investment projects outside the Union(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2015 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal and amending Regulations (EU) No 1291/2013 and (EU) No 1316/2013 – the European Fund for Strategic Investments(6),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 14 September 2016 on the extension of the duration of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) as well as the introduction of technical enhancements for that Fund and the European Investment Advisory Hub (COM(2016)0597, SWD(2016)0297 and SWD(2016)0298),

–  having regard to the Ernst & Young ad hoc audit of 8 November 2016 of the application of Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 (‘EFSI Regulation’),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 28 May 2018 on the management of the guarantee fund of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in 2017 (COM (2018)345 final),

–  having regard to the EIB’s operations evaluation report on the evaluation of EFSI of June 2018,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 29 June 2018 on the Comprehensive Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the use of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) EU guarantee and the functioning of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) guarantee fund (COM(2018)0497),

–  having regard to the Tripartite Agreement of September 2016 between the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank,

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors’ briefing papers on Future of EU finances: reforming how the EU budget operates from February 2018 and on The Commission’s proposal for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework from July 2018,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0479/2018),

A.  whereas the mission of the EIB is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States by raising substantial volumes of funds on the capital markets and by lending these funds on favourable terms to projects furthering EU policy objectives;

B.  whereas the EIB is at the heart of economic recovery efforts at the Union level, with two successive capital increases and through its pivotal role in implementing the Investment Plan for Europe via the management of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI);

C.  whereas the EIB should contribute to inclusive growth, sustainable and quality employment and reduction of inequalities;

D.  whereas regular and thorough needs assessment in various sectors is key for detecting investment gaps and barriers in different regions, but also for identifying a pool of opportunities with potential for growth and jobs, for further contributions to the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and adequately calibrate the nature and size of market failures depending on the existing externalities, sectoral and territorial development needs;

E.  whereas the EIB’s role in leveraging public money is essential for the capacity of the Union to respond and to adapt to new economic and environmental trends and risks and geopolitical uncertainties while enhancing and strengthening the EIB Group risk oversight and prudential risk management;

F.  whereas the EIB Group has seen a marked change in the nature, volume, risk profile and complexity of its business over recent years under the European Fund for Strategic Investment (‘EFSI’), with a trend towards an increasing number of smaller operations backed by the EU guarantee under EFSI, as well as a significant increase of mandates under management on behalf of the European Commission and in the provision of advisory services;

G.  whereas Brexit will impact the EIB capital base, adequacy and upcoming lending capacity;

H.  whereas the EIB should deliver added value with the highest level of integrity, good governance, and especially, in light of the Ombudsman's findings in the 'Decision in case 1316/2016/TN on alleged shortcomings in the European Investment Bank’s Transparency Policy(7)', the highest level of transparency and accountability, as well as being in accordance with the applicable Best Banking Practice;

I.  whereas combating all forms of money laundering, financing of terrorism and harmful tax practices should remain a constant priority of the EIB;

J.  Whereas at 31 December 2017 the European Investment Fund’s (EIF) shareholders comprised the EIB (58,5%), the Union represented by the European Commission (29,7%) and 32 financial institutions(11,8%); whereas the majority of EIF operations are currently funded under specific Mandate agreements with third parties.

The role of the EIB for ensuring a value-adding strategic public investment

1.  Points out that public investment is still necessary in order to close the investment gaps in various sectors remaining below the pre-crisis levels in most vulnerable member states and cohesion countries to further recover from the impact of the crisis and to boost long term and sustainable growth, employment and cohesion in the Union;

2.  Notes that the aggregate subscribed capital of the EIB is EUR 243 billion; notes that the EIB’s shareholders include all Member States and that, in addition to paid-in capital, the Member States also commit themselves to providing additional capital on request; points out that the four biggest shareholders are Germany, France, Italy and the UK, each of which accounts for EUR 39,14 billion and 16,11 % of the total;

3.  Notes that according to its operational strategy, the EIB aims to support European strategic objectives, such as restoring EU competitiveness and long-term economic growth and job creation, to facilitate access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to protect the environment and foster the energy transition by financing climate adaptation and mitigation projects, to tackle the jobs crisis facing the EU’s younger generation, to support infrastructure projects, and to help to mitigate the causes of migration;

4.  Considers that the EIB has a relevant financial role, which can bring considerable results in reduction of inequalities in the Union and calls on the EIB to focus investments that contribute to the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and enhance competitiveness and equality of opportunities and that support cohesion policy in less developed regions;

5.  Calls on the EIB to continue bridging recurrent investment gaps and ongoing structural market failures through designing holistic and mid-long term spending, easing the co-financing at national level and investment plans inter alia towards Union’s regions and localities which are characterised with low income and which face more investment barriers;

6.  Stresses that the focus of the EIB’s priorities in the 2017-19 Action Plan should be the effective implementation of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart and sustainable development;

7.  Underlines the fact that the EIB’s lending conditions should facilitate the development of the EU’s peripheral regions by promoting growth and employment; calls on the EIB to greatly strengthen the arrangements for providing technical assistance and financial expertise to local and regional authorities before project approval in order to improve accessibility and ensure that all Member States are involved, especially those with a lower project approval success rate;

8.  Encourages the EIB to shape sustainable finance or funding options and conducive investment environment mirroring the Union’s commitments and policies goals, with a view to fostering economic, social and territorial cohesion and innovation within the Union, as well as to reinforcing the social and environmental dimension of EIB investment by bridging the investment gap in the social sector and with regard to infrastructure safety; calls on the EIB to take into account, in the case of large-scale infrastructure projects, all relevant environmental impact risks and to finance only those which have demonstrated real added value for the local population and from an environmental, social and economic point of view; stresses the importance of strictly monitoring possible risks of corruption and fraud in this context and of carrying out careful ex-ante and ex-post assessments with regard to the projects to be financed;

9.  Encourages the EIB to continuously inform stakeholders about financial potentialities and provide adequate advisory services when necessary even though EIB’s instruments are demand-driven;

10.  Stresses that, in the framework of the ongoing negotiations on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, detailed arrangements for all the UK’s obligations towards the EIB must be drawn up in order to ensure that the EIB’s ability to achieve its objectives is not affected;

Driving investment in key strategic areas

11.  Notes that, according to the EIB Financial Report for 2017, the Bank’s lending signatures for 2017 amounted to EUR 69,9 billion (EUR 62,6 billion within the EU and EUR 7,3 billion outside the EU) which is the lower amount compared to the last 5 years (2013-2016) falling below EUR 70 billion, nevertheless being within the 10% flexibility margin foreseen in the EIB Operational Plan, notes as well the stability and quality of the overall loan portfolio with a similar 0,3% of impaired loan contracts compared to 2016;

12.  Notes that the European Union provides a guarantee to the EIB, which is normal in the case of financial institutions appointed by the Member States to help meet public targets; points out, however, that the situation requires the most responsible credit policies so that funds are spent effectively for the whole Union, its Member States and the public interest; calls on the EIB, which operates under a development mandate, to ensure better adherence to its environmental and social policy goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including in co-financed projects or contributions to investment funds and private equity funds;

13.  Reiterates its concern that half of the Member States received 80% of the total EIB investment inside the EU while the other 14 Member States received only 10% of this investment; reiterates additionally that three Member States individually received 16%, 15% and 11% respectively; asks the Bank to include in its reporting breakdown information about its investment in low income and high income regions according to its own Investment Survey (EIBIS) and with regard to the potential effect for overcoming investment gaps and barriers in less favorable regions in the EU;

14.  Invites the EIB to examine again its estimates of per capita investments and the ranking of Member States accordingly, since updated figures seem to indicate a ranking in general corresponding to the ranking according to absolute sums received by Member States;

15.  Notes in addition that, according to the EIF Annual Report for 2017, the EIF signed in 2017 transactions totalling EUR 9.3 billion, compared with EUR 9,45 billion in 2016, leveraging EUR 35,4 billion of financing to support SMEs and midcaps in Europe;

16.  Takes note of the EIB Group’s financing both inside and outside the EU in 2017 in support of its public policy goals, amounted respectively to: (i) EUR 13,8 billion for innovation and skills, (ii) EUR 18 billion for infrastructure, (iii) EUR 16,7 billion for environment related projects and (iv) EUR 29,6 billion for SMEs and midcaps; underlines the fact that because of their impact and importance to economies, both local and national, investment in SMEs, start-ups, research, innovation, the digital economy and energy efficiency is the most essential factor in driving economic recovery in the EU and promoting the creation of quality jobs;

17.  Notes that inside the Union in 2017 EIB lending volume amounted to EUR 18,24 billion for the horizontal objective of economic and social cohesion and the Bank reached 29,6% out of the 30% target investments for this objective;

18.  Notes that the EIB has committed 25 % of its total financing to projects relating to climate change, rising to 35 % by 2020; points out that this trend should be assessed positively, noting that the projects supported should be effective not only in the fight against climate change but also from a financial perspective;

19.  Takes note that inside the Union EUR 16.58 billion were dedicated to climate action horizontal objective through which the EIB contributed to the aligning with the 2015 Paris Agreement and to global sustainable development; encourages the EIB to maintain a high level of ambition in that field;

20.  Welcomes the EIB's commitment to align its operations with the 2015 Paris Agreement by 2020; in the light of the recent IPCCReport, calls on the EIB to review its climate strategy in order to align it with a 1,5°C global warming trajectory;

21.  Encourages the EIB to strengthen its presence and activities in the Western Balkan countries, as they are strategically important for the EU and boosting credit and investment activities in the region is crucial;

22.  Notes the on-going review of the EIB Energy Lending Criteria; expects this review to be aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement; reiterates the call to the EIB to prioritise its lending to energy efficient and small-scale, decentralised RES and to present an ambitious plan to stop funding fossil fuels' projects; calls on the EIB to aim to become a climate action leader and to increase investment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector, as well as to consider that goal as a priority in the revision of its energy lending criteria;

23.  Welcomes, in this context, the EIB’s role in issuing climate awareness bonds (or EUR 4,29 billion compared to EUR 3,8 billion in 2016), corresponding to the bank’s climate action involvement to step up investments in energy efficiency and small-scale renewables with enhanced local and regional impacts;

24.  Is of the opinion that the EIB should continue to enhance its role in helping to achieve sustainable development, and that climate action should primarily focus on clean transport and energy production, on reducing energy consumption (for heating, transportation and production), on clean industrial production and sustainable farming and water treatment and supply, and on the environmental transition in general;

25.  Recalls that SMEs are the backbone of the European economy and calls on the EIB, therefore, to bridge their lack of access to credit by enhancing existing programmes, such as the European Progress Microfinance Facility, and by increasing the funding allocated to them; calls for the establishment of more proactive SME and micro-enterprise policy requirements for intermediary banks disbursing EIB funds;

26.  Points out that the EIB, when providing support to EU companies abroad, should take due account of the EU’s trade strategy, including existing and future free trade, services and investment agreements; points out that, in that context, the EIB should take particular account of the requirements of the internationalisation of European SMEs;

27.  Points out that part of the EIB’s overall lending activity is dedicated to operations outside the Union; notes that there must be close coordination and complementarity between the EIB’s external lending activities and the EU External Investment Plan;

28.  Acknowledges the EIB efforts to contribute to sustainable development goals and to tackle global challenges related to migration; including with the launching of sustainability awareness bonds to finance the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals;

Performance of the EIB’s financial operations

29.  Notes with satisfaction the conclusion of the Audit Committee that the Financial Statements adopted by the EIB Board of Directors present a true and fair view of the financial position of the Bank as of 31 December 2017 and of the results of its operations and cash-flows for 2017 in accordance with the applicable accounting framework;

30.  Reiterates, however, its demand concerning the EIB annual report and requests the EIB to present a more comprehensive, detailed and harmonised annual activity report and significantly improve the presentation of the information by including detailed and trustworthy breakdowns of the investments approved, signed and disbursed for the given year and the financing sources engaged (own resources, EFSI, EU centrally managed programmes, etc.), as well as such information regarding beneficiaries (Member States, public or private sector, intermediaries or direct recipients), sectors supported, and the results of the ex post evaluations;

31.  Takes note of the volume of new special activities signed by the Bank in 2017, corresponding to projects with higher risk profile, amounting to EUR 18,0 billion (2016: EUR 13,1 billion) of which EUR 2,7 billion was at the EIB’s own risk and the remaining EUR 15,3 billion was covered by portfolio credit risk mitigation;

32.  Takes note of the reported results of 26 completed projects in 2017 outside the EU to which the assessment through results measurement framework (REM) for external interventions allows appraisal of results not only as expected, but as achieved; observes, however, that concerning activities inside the EU, information is presented exclusively on the potential impact and expected results of the new operations signed in 2017 based on the three pillar assessment (3PA) tool; reiterates its call on the Bank to include information about results achieved by completed projects inside the EU and to adapt 3PA if necessary for this purpose;

33.  Believes there is a need to deepen the verification criteria of the level of EIB’s additionnality to better orient its funding, to avoid double targeting and to seek all possible synergies wherever possible;

34.  Encourages fostering the performance culture within the EIB by a gradual improvement in particular to narrow the cross-cutting performance indicators on the impact of the EIB's core operations;

35.  Invites the EIB to regularly put forward evidences of sustainability of the outcomes, impacts and results with relevant and up-to-date indicators; believes that improving the suitability and relevance of the indicators in the scoreboard is key not only to show a sense of scope of the results and impact, but to find ways to intervene that are always more effective;

36.  Is of the opinion that, beyond the effective level of investment, there is a need to work on the durability i.e. on the ability for a project to keep its benefits on the long term under an environmental, financial, economic or social form (direct or not) after the project has been completed;

37.  Welcomes the EIB's adoption of the exclusion policy approved in December 2017 and calls for that instrument to be used rigorously in order to exclude clients involved in corrupt practices or fraud from EIB funding;

EFSI development

38.  Takes note that as of end-2017, the EIB group (EIB and EIF) had signed 606 operations under EFSI for a total financing of EUR 37,4 billion and that these operations are expected to mobilise investments of EUR 207,3 billion in all 28 Member States and across all objectives set out in the EFSI Regulation with the following distribution for the main sectors: 30% for SME, 24% for RDI, 21% for energy sector, 10% to digital area, 8% for transport, 4% for social infrastructure and 4% for environment and resource efficiency; urges the EIB to minimise its investments to carbon-intensive sectors and projects and to increase its share of investments to improving environments and resource efficiency;

39.  Notes that as of 31 December 2017, under the Infrastructure and Innovation Window (IIW), the EIB had signed 278 operations for a total financing of EUR 27,4 billion, which are expected to mobilise investments of EUR 131,4 billion in 27 Member States, as well as that under the SME Window (SMEW), the EIF had signed operations with 305 financial intermediaries for a total EIF financing of almost EUR 10 billion, which are expected to mobilise investment of EUR 76 billion in all 28 Member States of the EU; observes that by the end of 2017, a total of 135 785 companies had already received EFSI-supported financing under the SMEW and 1,5 million jobs were created or supported;

40.  Reiterates that the actual investment mobilised by EFSI can only be measured at the end of the investment period while taking note that the estimated global multiplier effect of the 606 transactions approved and signed under EFSI at end-2017 stands at 13,53x , slightly below the initial assumption and target of 15x when launching the EFSI; notes that information on how benchmark multipliers were derived is presently spread across EIB Services and recommends all this information to be collected into a standalone document;

41.  Observes that no guarantee calls on the Union budget due to defaulting operations were made;

42.  Notes that the indicative geographical concentration limits set by the EFSI Steering Board requiring at the end of the investment period, the share of IIW investment (in terms of signed operations) in any three Member States together not to exceed 45% of the total EFSI portfolio has not been respected given that by 31 December 2017 the three Member States with the highest volume of signatures (France, Italy and Spain) accounted for roughly 47% of the volume signed; points out that there is still room for improvement for broadening EFSI territorial distribution of funds while disseminating as well more widely its investment opportunities;

43.  Takes note of the evaluation of EFSI and its findings that EFSI and non-EFSI special activity operations have similar risk-profile, as well as that combination between EFSI and ESIF and CEF grants remain limited while there is a risk of EFSI to crowd out ESIF financial instruments; expects that shortcomings and risks identified by the EFSI evaluation will be removed in the implementation of EFSI 2.0;

44.  Welcomes the improvement in transparency with the publication of the EFSI investment committee decisions and the documents adopted by the Steering Board together with the minutes of the meetings;

45.  Encourages a better synergy between EFSI and national promotional banks as the coordination with NPBs is a recurrent effort that could contribute to the EFSI’s effectiveness;

Human Rights

46.  Calls on the EIB to establish a Human Rights Strategy and enhance its due diligence at project level to identify and address human rights relates risks in all its activities and throughout the lifespan of its projects; also calls on the EIB to set up an effective mechanism whereby human rights defenders could safely alert the bank about deteriorating environment or risks of conflict and reprisal;

Enhancing transparency and accountability in EIB corporate governance and activities

47.  Takes note of the observations of the Audit Committee in its Annual Report to the Board of Governors for the 2017 Financial year regarding:

   (a) the importance of ensuring the long-term financial strength and sustainability of the EIB and maintaining its AAA rating in an environment of uncertain geopolitical, economic policy, regulatory and macroeconomic developments;
   (b) the need to review and enhance the EIB Group’s Internal Control and Risk Management environment in view of the changing size and evolving complexity of EIB Group activities;
   (c) the need to achieve full implementation of best banking practice including in areas where pervasive compliance gaps remain;
   (d) the need to perform a comprehensive review and then revamp the credit approval and related decision-making process at EIB, since the loan appraisal and approval process and respective control environment does not appear to be able to cope with the current business needs and is evidence of pressure on services;

48.  Strongly shares the regret of the Audit Committee that progress has not yet been made by the EIB to address the concern expressed in three consecutive years (2015, 2016 and 2017) about the existing combination of responsibilities amongst certain members of the Management Committee; fully agrees and supports the recommendation of the Audit Committee that all Members of the EIB Management Committee should be able to act objectively, critically and independently, and that unorthodox combinations of responsibilities, such as the responsibility for the oversight of both first and second line of defence activities, should cease;

49.  Asks the EIB, in this regard, to seriously take into consideration this recommendation and to ensure clear division of responsibilities at the level of the Management Committee; welcomes the initiated reform to alter the governance structure of the EIB;

50.  Calls on the EIB to close the existing gaps in the applicable best banking practice framework and expects that this framework has become fully operational in 2008 since its implementation is considered as a precondition of preserving EIB’s financial strength and stability;

51.  Is worried of the conclusion of the Audit Committee that the rapid expansion of the EIB activities and capacity related to implementation of EFSI, of mandates under management on behalf of third parties and the provision of advisory services has not necessarily been matched by relevant adaptations in business structure or processes; notes that in 2017 the Audit Committee retains five of its recommendations from 2015 and 2016 related to internal control and risk environment; calls on the EIB to implement these recommendations as a matter of priority and to ensure that internal processes, cyber security and risk management meet new and growing demands and challenges for the EIB Group;

52.  Considers that the EIB should increase its transparency, vis-à-vis not only the European Parliament, but also the authorities of the Member States; believes that it is only right that democratic representatives should have more information about the activities of the EIB;

53.  Considers that there is room for improvement on transparency both at governing bodies’ and the operational level; reiterates the need to systematically disclose 3PA and REM sheets; asks for the non-confidential information from the minutes of Management Committee and Board of Governors meetings to also be disclosed; notes with appreciation that the EIB started in 2017 to publish minutes of the EIB board of directors, the directors’ declaration of conflict of interests and certain information on projects namely the environmental impact assessments;

54.  Reiterates that transparency, strong due diligence and control in the implementation of EU policies leads not only to the strengthening of the EIB’s overall corporate accountability and responsibility, with a clear overview of the type of financial intermediaries and final beneficiaries based on thorough due diligence and ‘Know Your Customer’ policy, but contributes also to enhancing the overall effectiveness and sustainability of the projects funded;

55.  Reiterates its call on the EIB to extend the information published for projects implemented through intermediaries by including information on final projects which could allow to assess the economic and social impact of its investments;

56.  Recalls that the governance process should better take into account the results of the dialogue or consultation with civil society organisations or specific interest or concerns from local and regional actors with a view to allow a more informed and legitimate democratic decision-making;

57.  Is concerned at the findings set out in the annual report of the European Court of Auditors, according to which serious flaws have been uncovered regarding the European Investment Fund: the Court of Auditors points out a regulatory irregularity whereby Member State audit authorities were obliged to audit SME initiatives yet did not have the right, under the legislation in force, to carry out on-the-spot checks;

58.  In the 30 investments examined by the Court of Auditors, financial intermediaries had approved loans to five recipients without confirming their SME status; these projects were not deemed eligible by the European Court of Auditors, while another four loans were taken up by the beneficiaries either partially or in full for non-eligible activities;

59.  Welcomes the fact that the problems uncovered by the Court of Auditors have, in theory, been solved by the amended Financial Regulation; calls on the EIB to cover issues connected to the regulatory flaws in its next annual report and ensure that the amended Financial Regulation enables Member State audit authorities to carry out audits even at final beneficiary level;

60.  Welcomes the adoption of the Interim Approach to the EIB policy towards weakly regulated, non-transparent and uncooperative jurisdictions (NCJ), adopted by the Board of Directors in January 2017, but expects that it should lead to the revision of this policy in order to ameliorate the EIB’s tax due diligence in its external lending alongside the revised EIB group AML-CFT framework;

61.  Calls on the EIB to perform adequate corporate and integrity due diligence to identifying the true beneficial owners of all of its clients and operations as well as ultimate investee companies when EIB investments into equity funds are at stake; calls on the EIB to disclose, on its own website, beneficial ownership data relating to its clients in order to increase the visibility of its operations and help prevent cases of corruption and conflict of interest;

62.  Calls on the EIB, in line with the Council conclusions adopted on 25 May 2018 on the EU standard provision on good governance in tax matters for agreements with third countries, to reinforce the link between EIB funding and tax good governance; believes that the EIB should further contribute to the development of best practices for fair taxation by countering tax evasion and tax avoidance; calls on the EIB to adopt responsible taxation policy ensuring that the EIB does not finance clients involved in tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes or operating via tax havens; calls for the EIB to include standard provision and clauses on good governance in its contracts with all selected financial intermediaries;

63.  Emphasizes that the revised External Lending Mandate of the EIB makes it clear that the EU black list is binding to the Bank, and that EIB operations shall not support projects that contribute to money laundering, terrorism financing, tax avoidance, tax fraud and tax evasion;

64.  Notes that end 2017, the EIB had 136 fraud cases under investigation, the three following main types of allegations being fraud with 53,7%, corruption with 25,5% and collusion with 10,7%;

65.  Notes that EIB funds have been used by companies implicated in the Emissions Scandal, specifically Volkswagen, and that they may therefore have been used to finance activity that was unethical and illegal;

66.  Notes that the number of new admissible complains rose from 84 in 2016 to a new all-time high of 102 in 2017 and that 173 complains were handled in 2017; takes note that 38 of the complains received in 2017 relate to only two EIB investment projects: the Trans Adriatic Pipeline and Mombasa Port Access Road in Kenya;

67.  Notes the revision of the EIB Complaints Mechanism policy and the inclusion of the examples given by the European Ombudsman for the definition of maladministration, that includes forms of poor or failed administration such as administrative irregularities, unlawful discrimination, unjustified refusals of information, abuse of power and unnecessary delay, however, expresses its concern with the remaining part of the outcome of the revision;

68.  Regrets that the EIB has not taken into consideration the concern of Parliament with regard to the revision of the EIB Complaints Mechanism expressed in paragraph 86 of its Resolution of 3 May 2018 on the Annual report on the control of the financial activities of the EIB for 2016; deeply worries that the approved revised Complaints Mechanism creates serious risk for its independence and the transparency of its investigations and conclusions; calls on the EIB to ensure that the Head of the EIB Complaints Mechanism is able to take all decisions concerning admissibility and eligibility of the complaint, independently from the other EIB services, and that the recruitment procedures for the Head of the CM become more transparent;

69.  Takes note of the Ombudsman Decision in case 1316/2016 TN on allegations in the EIB’s transparency policy from 23 May 2018 and invites the Bank to implement the suggested improvements by the Ombudsman concerning removal of the presumption of non-disclosure related to documents collected and generated during inspections, investigations and audits, as well as redrafting relevant provisions of its Transparency policy related to intermediated loans and deadlines for handling information requests;

70.  Recalls the need to provide for more stringent rules on conflicts of interest and for clear, strict and transparent criteria to prevent any form of influence or lack of objectivity in the mechanism of attribution of loans; reiterates that the EIB must revise its Code of Conduct as soon as possible in order to make sure that its Vice-Presidents are not in charge of operations in their home Member States, since this poses a risk to the independence of the institution; calls on the EIB, in order to better prevent conflicts of interest in its governing bodies and potential ‘revolving door’ issues, to take into consideration the Ombudsman’s recommendations and to revise its Code of Conduct;

71.  Expects the EIB whistle-blower protection policy, currently being revised, to be ambitious and provide for high standards; urges the EIB to include in that revision both internal and external whistle-blowers and to establish clear and well-defined procedures, time frames and guidelines in order to provide whistle-blowers with the best guidance and protect them from any possible retaliation;

European parliament scrutiny

72.  Supports the European Court of Auditors’ position that the Court should be mandated to audit all EIB operations including those where the EIB uses non-EU budget funds for its operations;

73.  Calls on its Committee on Budget Control to organise an annual workshop/hearing on activities and control of the EIB operations that would provide the Parliament with additional relevant information to support its work on the scrutiny of the EIB and its operations;

Follow-up of Parliament’s recommendations

74.  Reiterates its call on the EIB to report on the state of play and status of the previous recommendations issued by Parliament in its annual resolutions, especially as regards:

   (a) the impact of its lending activities and results achieved;
   (b) prevention of conflict of interests especially of the members of the EFSI Investment Committee and the EIB Board of Directors and provision of more stringent rules on conflicts of interest in the relevant Code of Conducts and especially of that of the Management Committee and the Board of Directors;
   (c) transparency and disclosure of information on contracting and subcontracting system concerning intermediaries and final recipients in relation to prevention of tax avoidance, fraud and corruption;

o
o   o

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

(1) https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/decision/en/95520
(2) OJ C 298, 23.8.2018, p. 80.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0198.
(4) OJ L 280, 27.10.2011, p.1.
(5) OJ L 135, 8.5.2014, p.1.
(6) OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, p.1.
(7) https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/decision/en/95520


Cross-border restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on cross-border restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars (2017/2023(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0037A8-0465/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the second protocol thereto of March 1999,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 December 1995 on the return of plundered property to Jewish communities(1) and of 16 July 1998 on the restitution of property belonging to Holocaust victims(2),

–  having regard to the package of measures adopted in December 2016 to strengthen the EU’s capacity to fight the financing of terrorism and organised crime, delivering on the commitments made in the Action Plan against terrorist financing of 2 February 2016 (COM(2016)0050), and to its proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the import of cultural goods of 13 July 2017 (COM(2017)0375),

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 April 2015 on the destruction of cultural sites perpetrated by ISIS/Daesh(3),

–  having regard to the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects of 24 June 1995,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/60/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State(4),

–  having regard to Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to Article 17 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 116/2009 of 18 December 2008 on the export of cultural goods(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters(6), and in particular Article 7(4) thereof,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2003 on a legal framework for free movement within the internal market of goods whose ownership is likely to be contested(7),

–  having regard to the 2016 study by its Directorate-General for Internal Policies on ‘Cross-border restitution claims of art looted in armed conflicts and wars and alternatives to court litigation’,

–  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) (8),

–  having regard to the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property of 14 November 1970,

–  having regard to Council Resolution 14232/12 of 4 October 2012 on the creation of an informal network of law enforcement authorities and expertise competent in the field of cultural goods (EU CULTNET),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0465/2018),

A.  whereas, according to Interpol, the black market for works of art is becoming as lucrative as those for drugs, weapons and counterfeit goods;

B.  whereas, according to the impact assessment of the Commission proposal for a regulation on the import of cultural goods, 80 to 90 % of global antiquities sales are of goods of illicit origin;

C.  whereas cultural heritage constitutes one of the basic elements of civilisation, given, for example, its symbolic value and cultural memory of humankind uniting people; whereas in recent years a string of crimes against world cultural heritage have been perpetrated by warring factions and terrorist entities all over the world, and whereas valuable artworks, sculptures and archaeological artefacts are being sold and imported into the EU from certain non-EU countries, with the profits potentially being used to finance terrorist activities; whereas it is essential to make a firm commitment against illicit trafficking in cultural goods such as works of art plundered during the armed conflicts and wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq; whereas cultural goods are of major cultural, artistic, historical and scientific importance and must be protected from unlawful appropriation and pillage;

D.  whereas soon after the end of the Second World War, attempts were made to find and return looted property to its country of origin;

E.  whereas the restitution of objects traded and/or excavated or obtained illegally must be ensured with regard to the EU’s commitment to fair processes and victim compensation, as well as the UNESCO constitution and conventions on heritage protection;

F.  whereas the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, the Vilnius Forum and the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues have all emphasised the importance of providing restitution for individual immovable property; whereas the number of artworks that have been restituted since the Washington Conference is estimated to fall between 1 000 and 2 000(9); whereas there is no complete list of artworks restituted in recent years;

G.  whereas artworks are still missing and are waiting to be returned to their rightful owners or to their heirs; whereas at the Washington Conference in 1998 Jonathan Petropoulos made an estimate that around 650 000 artworks had been stolen throughout Europe, and Ronald Lauder stated that 11 000 pieces of art worth between USD 10 and 30 billion at the time (1998) were still missing; whereas the Claims Conference-WJRO generally responds that there are no accurate estimates: approximately 650 000 artworks were stolen, of which perhaps 100 000 remain missing;

H.  whereas litigants continue to encounter legal problems owing, on the one hand, to the often very specific nature of their claims and, on the other, to the expiration of post-war restitution laws, the non-retroactivity of conventional norms, the lack of any definition of looted ‘art’, statute of limitations provisions on claims or the provisions on adverse possession and good faith;

I.  whereas restitution claims of looted works of art and cultural goods have mainly been addressed by means of public international law; whereas these rules must be complemented by stronger rules in private international law;

J.  whereas the insufficiently developed dimension of private law, both at international and European level, contributes to legal uncertainty in cross-border restitution cases of looted works of art and cultural goods, not only as regards completed transactions in Nazi-looted art but also with respect to future cases;

K.  whereas no EU legislation exists that explicitly and comprehensively governs restitution claims for works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts by private individuals;

L.  whereas UNESCO, in conjunction with major auction houses, museums and renowned collectors in Europe, is developing advanced research into the provenance of these works in order to be able to return them to their owners;

M.  whereas the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has been publishing ‘Red Lists’ of categories of objects vulnerable to illicit trafficking for more than a decade, with the aim of complementing the Interpol database on stolen property;

1.  Regrets that, to date, there has been practically no follow-up to its resolution on a legal framework for free movement within the internal market of goods whose ownership is likely to be contested, in which Parliament called on the Commission to undertake a study on a number of aspects related to civil and procedural law rules, provenance research, cataloguing systems, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and the value of creating a cross-border coordination administrative authority; considers that Article 81(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union could serve as a legal basis for conferring powers on the Union to act in this field;

2.  Underlines that the looting of works of art and other cultural goods, during armed conflicts and wars, as well as in times of peace, is a major shared concern that needs to be addressed in terms of both prevention and restitution of looted cultural property in order to protect and ensure the integrity of the cultural heritage and identity of societies, communities, groups and individuals;

3.  Notes that insufficient attention has been paid at EU level to the restitution of works of art and cultural goods looted, stolen or illegally obtained, inter alia in armed conflicts, in particular in the fields of private law, private international law and civil procedure; calls on the Commission to protect, support and encourage cross-border restitution claims of cultural assets displaced and misappropriated as a result of state-sanctioned acts of plunder or looted during armed conflicts; calls on the Commission and the Member States to issue recommendations and guidelines to raise awareness of the need to support national institutions in the Member States as regards restitution claims;

4.  Stresses that institutions such as UNESCO and Interpol are calling for the strengthening of the protection of cultural heritage and the empowerment of states to put in place measures to facilitate restitution;

5.  Regrets that there are no reliable statistics on the precise scale of looting of and illicit trade in cultural property; calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish reliable statistics in this field;

6.  Expresses concern that most current political and legislative initiatives focus exclusively on public, administrative and/or criminal law; stresses that in order to set up a comprehensive regulatory framework, private law must be taken into account more intensely; calls on the competent authorities to adopt all appropriate measures and initiatives to achieve this;

7.  Considers that further investigation is needed to shed light on the dark field of illicit trade in cultural property and to obtain better information about its scale, structure and size, such as by the ILLICID project currently under way in Germany for example;

8.  Welcomes the recognition by some Member States that the unique problems associated with restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted, stolen or illegally obtained in armed conflicts and wars need to be addressed in order to arrive at legal solutions ensuring the property rights of private individuals, state and local government institutions and religious associations unfairly dispossessed of their works of art during armed conflicts or wars;

9.  Stresses the importance of raising collective awareness to denounce these illegal practices and recalls that each object removed from its owner represents a historical and scientific value lost forever;

10.  Notes that the most efficient way of countering trafficking in cultural goods and the development of the illegal art market, as well as supporting restitution, is to foster the development of fair practices in art trade and restitution from a transnational and global perspective, in terms of both their intended preventive effect and the coercive or punitive impact being sought;

11.  Considers that in order to have a set of rules that can effectively prevent looting and smuggling of works of art and cultural goods, and to achieve a fully transparent, responsible and ethical global art market, the Commission should seek to cooperate with third countries with a view to establishing fruitful partnerships, taking into account, to this end, the principles set out in the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects;

12.  Considers that EU legislative action, including the dimension of private international law, would be appropriate for future transactions only;

13.  Considers that it is time to put an end to the years of convolutions and nuances if a responsible and ethical European art market is to be established; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to identify civil law measures to help overcome the difficult problems encountered by private parties seeking the restitution of works of art genuinely belonging to them; calls at the same time on the Commission to develop a new debating framework for the identification of best practices and solutions for the present and the future;

14.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on the import of cultural goods, as well as the amendments to the proposal adopted by Parliament on 25 October 2018(10); reiterates, in view of the global scope of the art market and the number of objects in private hands, the need for further efforts concerning the cross-border restitution of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars; underlines that provenance research and European cooperation have proven useful for the identification and subsequent restitution of looted objects, and have in some cases prevented the financing of terrorist groups or wars;

15.  Regrets that due to the absence or laxity of or differences in rules between Member States concerning provenance research and due diligence, many cross-border restitution claims cannot be carried out in an effective and coordinated way, which may foster looting and trafficking and provide incentives for smuggling as a result; notes that as a result of the lack of common standards, the applicable procedure often remains unclear to all stakeholders, including museums, art dealers, collectors, tourists and travellers; asks the Commission, therefore, to harmonise the rules on provenance research and to incorporate some of the basic principles of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects;

16.  Emphasises that there is an urgent need to actively promote the systematic recourse to high-quality and independent provenance research in order to identify looted art works, to facilitate their restitution to the legitimate owners, to achieve a fully transparent, responsible and ethical art market, and to effectively prevent and deter looting and trafficking of art and cultural goods from armed conflicts and wars; notes the possibilities offered by European financial instruments in this direction; calls on the Commission and Member States to encourage and support special training programmes in provenance research at Union and national level, in order to enable in particular those involved in the fight against the illicit trade in cultural goods to develop and improve their expertise, including through cross-border projects;

17.  Considers that provenance research is closely linked to the due diligence obligation applicable when acquiring works of art and constitutes a major concern for all the actors in the art market as acquiring stolen artworks knowingly or through negligence, is punishable under certain national laws;

18.  Considers that care should obviously be taken to create a comprehensive listing of all cultural objects, including Jewish-owned cultural objects plundered by the Nazis and their allies, from the time of their spoliation to the present day; urges the Commission to support a cataloguing system, to be used also by public entities and private art collections, to gather data on the situation of looted, stolen or illegally obtained cultural goods and the exact status of existing claims; urges the Commission to support digitisation projects that would establish digital databases or connect existing ones in order to facilitate the exchange of such data and provenance research;

19.  Considers that to enable proper provenance research, a documentary record or a transaction register that is as detailed as possible needs to be created; asks the Commission to actively support the drafting of common guidelines on such registers and to adopt appropriate measures in order to encourage Member States to introduce a general obligation for art market professionals to maintain such a transaction register and, more generally, to adhere to the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects;

20.  Urges the Commission to encourage provenance research activities throughout the Union and to support it financially; suggests that the Commission organise a discussion forum in order to exchange best practices and find the best solutions for the present and the future;

21.  Calls on the Commission to consider establishing a specific alternative dispute resolution mechanism for dealing with cases of restitution claims of looted works of art and cultural goods in order to overcome existing legal obstacles, such as a hybrid form of arbitration and mediation; stresses the importance of clear standards and transparent and neutral procedures;

22.  Notes that statutes of limitation often create difficulties for claimants in restitution matters; calls on the Commission to assess the issue and strike the right balance for the limitation period applicable to looted art restitution claims, including Nazi-looted art restitution claims, which should take into account both the protection of the interests of the victims of looting and theft and those of the market; considers that the US Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act could serve as an example;

23.  Calls on the Commission to consider taking legislative action to strengthen the legal system for cross-border restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars on the basis of private international law instruments;

24.  Calls on the competent EU institutions to encourage Member States to share information on existing practices with regard to the provenance check of cultural goods, and to intensify their cooperation in order to harmonise the control measures and administrative procedures aimed at establishing the provenance of cultural goods;

25.  Points to the lack of coordination at Member State level regarding the interpretation of the notion of ‘due diligence’; calls on the Commission to clarify the notion of ‘due diligence’ in relation to good faith; points, as an example, to Article 16 of the Swiss Federal Law on the International Transfer of Cultural Property, which bans dealers and auctioneers from entering into an art transaction if they have any doubt as to the provenance of the object; notes that under this law the burden of proof is partly transferred to the seller; however, the possessor of an artwork cannot rely on the principle of good faith if he or she is unable to prove that he or she paid due attention at the time of acquisition; calls on the Commission to adopt measures aimed at making the art market and also the potential buyers of artefacts aware of the importance of provenance research, given that such research is linked to the due diligence obligation;

26.  Urges the Commission to develop common principles on access to public or private archives containing information on property identification and location and to proceed to a thorough mapping of existing databases of cultural goods and to envisage the creation of a central meta-database that takes account of the available information, is updated regularly and can be accessed by all relevant actors; considers that on the basis of this central meta-database, a common cataloguing system should be put in place which could use standardised object IDs; asks the Commission, therefore, to encourage the introduction of the object IDs developed and promoted by ICOM and other organisations as the market standard within the internal market as a whole; points out that such a database should be connected with INTERPOL’s ‘Stolen Works of Art Database’ and be updated regularly;

27.  Considers that the creation, for the purposes of enabling more thorough and accurate provenance research, of a documentary record or transaction register of cultural property could be a further useful complement to the above‑mentioned database; asks the Commission to adopt appropriate measures in order to encourage Member States to introduce a general obligation for art market actors to maintain such documentary records or transaction registers and, more generally, to adhere to the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects;

28.  Considers that the central database should function on the basis of a common cataloguing system whereby objects would be identified in a standardised manner (taking into account characteristics such as materials, techniques, measurements, inscriptions, title, subject, date or period, etc.);

29.  Calls on the Commission to identify common principles on how ownership or title are established as well as rules on prescription and standards of proof and the concept of looting and art, taking into account the relevant rules in force in the Member States;

30.  Calls on the Member States and candidate countries to make all necessary efforts to adopt measures to ensure the creation of mechanisms which favour the return of the property referred to in this resolution and to be mindful that the return of artworks looted, stolen or illegally obtained in the course of crimes against humanity to the rightful claimants is a matter of general interest under Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights;

31.  Highlights that in order to have a set of rules that can effectively prevent the looting and smuggling of works of art and cultural goods, and to achieve a fully transparent, responsible, accountable and ethical global art market, the Commission should seek to cooperate with third countries and to establish fruitful partnerships favouring the return of the property referred to in this resolution while taking into account both the principles set out in the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects and Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights;

32.  Recalls that education fosters respect and appreciation for art works and other cultural goods as symbols of cultural heritage, and that it therefore plays an important role in preventing and discouraging looting and illicit trade in cultural goods; calls on the Commission and the Member States to encourage and support educational and awareness-raising activities in this regard, including in non-formal and informal settings;

33.  Calls on the Commission and all the relevant competent authorities to adopt measures aimed at making both the art market and the potential buyers of artefacts aware of the importance of provenance research, given that such research is linked to the due diligence obligation;

34.  Recalls that close cooperation between police and customs services at European and international level is essential in combating the illicit trafficking in works of cultural heritage;

35.  Supports the idea that cross-border restitution procedures concerning works of art and cultural goods looted, stolen or illegally obtained, and the active promotion of provenance research, should be addressed in the context of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage (‘EYCH’) initiative; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the working group it has set up to include this item in their working plan detailing the activities for the 2018 EYCH;

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

(1) OJ C 17, 22.1.1996, p. 199.
(2) OJ C 292, 21.9.1998, p. 166.
(3) OJ C 346, 21.9.2016, p. 55.
(4) OJ L 159, 28.5.2014, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 39, 10.2.2009, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 351, 20.12.2012, p. 1.
(7) OJ C 91E, 15.4.2004, p. 500.
(8) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(9) According to the Claims Conference-WJRO Looted Art and Cultural Property Initiative.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0418.


Protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 17 January 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States (COM(2018)0324 – C8-0178/2018 – 2018/0136(COD))(1)
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0038A8-0469/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  The rule of law is one of the essential values upon which the Union is founded. As recalled by Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, these values are common to the Member States.
(1)  The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and in the criteria for Union membership. As recalled by Article 2 TEU, those values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 a (new)
(1a)  Member States should uphold their obligations and set an example by genuinely fulfilling them and move towards a shared culture of the rule of law as a universal value to be applied by all concerned even-handedly. Full respect for and promotion of those principles is an essential prerequisite for the legitimacy of the European project as a whole and a basic condition for building citizens' trust in the Union and ensuring the effective implementation of its policies.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 b (new)
(1b)  In accordance with Article 2, Article 3(1) and Article 7 TEU, the Union has the possibility to act in order to protect its constitutional core and the common values on which it was founded, including its budgetary principles. Member States, Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, and candidate countries are obliged to respect, protect and promote those principles and values, and they have a duty of sincere cooperation.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  The rule of law requires that all public powers act within the constraints set out by law, in accordance with the values of democracy and fundamental rights, and under the control of independent and impartial courts. It requires, in particular, that the principles of legality7 , legal certainty8 , prohibition of arbitrariness of the executive powers9 , separation of powers10 , and effective judicial protection by independent courts11 are respected12 .
(2)  The rule of law requires that all public powers act within the constraints set out by law, in accordance with the values of democracy and respect for fundamental rights, and under the control of independent and impartial courts. It requires, in particular, that the principles of legality7, including a transparent, accountable and democratic process for enacting law, legal certainty8, prohibition of arbitrariness of the executive powers9, separation of powers10, access to justice and effective judicial protection before independent and impartial courts11 are respected12. Those principles are reflected inter alia at the level of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and also on the basis of the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights12a.
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7 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 29 April 2004, CAS Succhi di Frutta, C-496/99 PECLI:EU:C:2004:236, paragraph 63.
7 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 29 April 2004, CAS Succhi di Frutta, C-496/99 PECLI:EU:C:2004:236, paragraph 63.
8 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 November 1981, Amministrazione delle finanze dello Stato v Srl Meridionale Industria Salumi and others Ditta Italo Orlandi & Figlio and Ditta Vincenzo Divella v Amministrazione delle finanze dello Stato. Joined cases 212 to 217/80, ECLI:EU:C:1981:270, paragraph 10.
8 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 November 1981, Amministrazione delle finanze dello Stato v Srl Meridionale Industria Salumi and others Ditta Italo Orlandi & Figlio and Ditta Vincenzo Divella v Amministrazione delle finanze dello Stato. Joined cases 212 to 217/80, ECLI:EU:C:1981:270, paragraph 10.
9 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 September 1989, Hoechst, Joined cases 46/87 and 227/88, ECLI:EU:C:1989:337, paragraph 19.
9 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 September 1989, Hoechst, Joined cases 46/87 and 227/88, ECLI:EU:C:1989:337, paragraph 19.
10 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 November 2016, Kovalkovas, C-477/16, ECLI:EU:C:2016:861, paragraph 36; Judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 November 2016, PPU Poltorak, C-452/16, ECLI:EU:C:2016:858, paragraph 35; and Judgment of the Court of Justice of 22 December 2010, DEB,C-279/09, ECLI:EU:C:2010:811, paragraph 58.
10 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 November 2016, Kovalkovas, C-477/16, ECLI:EU:C:2016:861, paragraph 36; Judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 November 2016, PPU Poltorak, C-452/16, ECLI:EU:C:2016:858, paragraph 35; and Judgment of the Court of Justice of 22 December 2010, DEB,C-279/09, ECLI:EU:C:2010:811, paragraph 58.
11 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 27 February 2018, Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses v Tribunal de Contas C-64/16, ECLI:EU:C:2018:117, paragraphs 31, 40-41.
11 Judgment of the Court of Justice of 27 February 2018, Associação Sindical dos Juízes Portugueses v Tribunal de Contas C-64/16, ECLI:EU:C:2018:117, paragraphs 31, 40-41; judgment of the Court of Justice of 25 July 2018, LM, C-216/18 PPU, ECLI:EU:C:2018:586, paragraphs 63-67.
12 Communication from the Commission "A new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law", COM(2014) 158 final, Annex I.
12 Communication from the Commission "A new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law", COM(2014) 158 final, Annex I.
12a Report of the Venice Commission of 4 April 2011 Study No. 512/2009 (CDL-AD(2011)003rev).
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2 a (new)
(2a)  The accession criteria, or Copenhagen criteria, established by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993 and strengthened by the Madrid European Council in 1995, are the essential conditions that all candidate countries must satisfy to become a Member State. Those criteria include the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities; a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces; and the ability to meet the obligations of Union membership.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2 b (new)
(2b)  The failure of a candidate country to meet the required standards, values and democratic principles results in that country’s accession to the Union being delayed until it fully meets those standards. The obligations incumbent on candidate countries under the Copenhagen criteria continue to apply to Member States after joining the Union by virtue of Article 2 TEU and the principle of sincere cooperation enshrined in Article 4 TEU. Member States should therefore be assessed on a regular basis in order to verify that their laws and practices continue to comply with those criteria and the common values on which the Union is founded, thereby providing a sound legal and administrative framework for the implementation of Union policies.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  The rule of law is a prerequisite for the protection of the other fundamental values on which the Union is founded, such as freedom, democracy, equality and respect for human rights. Respect for the rule of law is intrinsically linked to respect for democracy and for fundamental rights: there can be no democracy and respect for fundamental rights without respect for the rule of law and vice versa.
(3)  While there is no hierarchy among Union values, respect for the rule of law is essential for the protection of the other fundamental values on which the Union is founded, such as freedom, democracy, equality and respect for human rights. Respect for the rule of law is intrinsically linked to respect for democracy and for fundamental rights: there can be no democracy and respect for fundamental rights without respect for the rule of law and vice versa. Coherence and consistency of internal and external democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights policy is key to the credibility of the Union.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  Judicial bodies should act independently and impartially and investigation and prosecution services should be able to properly execute their function. They should be endowed with sufficient resources and procedures to act effectively and in full respect of the right to a fair trial. These conditions are required as a minimum guarantee against unlawful and arbitrary decisions by public authorities that could harm the financial interests of the Union.
(6)  Independence and impartiality of the judiciary should always be guaranteed and investigation and prosecution services should be able to properly execute their function. They should be endowed with sufficient resources and procedures to act effectively and in full respect of the right to a fair trial. These conditions are required as a minimum guarantee against unlawful and arbitrary decisions by public authorities that could impair these fundamental principles and harm the financial interests of the Union.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 a (new)
(7a)   The independence of the prosecution and the judiciary comprises both the formal (de jure) and actual (de facto) independence of the prosecution and the judiciary and the individual prosecutors and judges.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  Respect for the rule of law is not only important for citizens of the Union, but also for business initiatives, innovation, investment and the proper functioning of the internal market, which will flourish most where a solid legal and institutional framework is in place.
(8)  Respect for the rule of law is not only essential for citizens of the Union, but also for business initiatives, innovation, investment, economic, social and territorial cohesion and the proper functioning of the internal market, which will flourish sustainably only where a solid legal and institutional framework is in place.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8 a (new)
(8a)  Integrating existing Union monitoring mechanisms, such as the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, the Justice Scoreboard and the Anti-Corruption reports, into a broader rule of law monitoring framework could provide more efficient and effective control mechanisms for the protection of the financial interest of the Union.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8 b (new)
(8b)   Lack of transparency, arbitrary discrimination, distortion of competition and an uneven playing field within and outside the internal market, impact on the integrity of the single market and on the fairness, stability and legitimacy of the tax system, increased economic inequalities, unfair competition between states, social dissatisfaction, mistrust and democratic deficit are some of the negative effects of harmful tax practices.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10 a (new)
(10a)  The Union has at its disposal a multitude of instruments and processes for ensuring full and proper application of the principles and values laid down in the TEU, but there is currently no swift, effective response coming from the Union institutions, in particular to ensure sound financial management. The existing instruments should be enforced, evaluated and complemented in the framework of a rule of law mechanism to be adequate and effective.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  Generalised deficiencies in the Member States as regards the rule of law which affect in particular the proper functioning of public authorities and effective judicial review, can seriously harm the financial interests of the Union.
(11)  Generalised deficiencies in the Member States as regards the rule of law which affect in particular the proper functioning of public authorities and effective judicial review, can seriously harm the financial interests of the Union. Efficient investigations into such deficiencies, and the application of effective and proportionate measures when a generalised deficiency is established, are needed not only to secure the financial interests of the Union, including the effective collection of revenue, but also to ensure public trust in the Union and its institutions. Only an independent judiciary that upholds the rule of law and legal certainty in all Member States can ultimately guarantee that money from the Union budget is sufficiently protected.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11 a (new)
(11a)   The scale of tax evasion and avoidance is estimated by the Commission to be up to EUR 1 trillion a year. The negative impacts of such practices on the Member States' and Union budgets and on citizens are evident and could undermine trust in democracy.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11 b (new)
(11b)   Corporate tax avoidance has a direct impact on Member States’ and Union budgets and on the breakdown of the tax effort between categories of tax payers as well as between economic factors.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11 c (new)
(11c)   Member States should fully apply the principle of sincere cooperation in matters of tax competition.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11 d (new)
(11d)   The Commission, as the guardian of the Treaties, should ensure that Union law and the principle of sincere cooperation between Member States are fully complied with.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11 e (new)
(11e)   Assessing and monitoring Member States' tax policies at Union level would ensure that no new harmful tax measures are implemented in Member States. Monitoring compliance of Member States, their jurisdictions, regions or other administrative structures with the common Union list of non-cooperative jurisdictions would safeguard the single market and ensure its proper and coherent functioning.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12
(12)  The identification of a generalised deficiency requires a qualitative assessment by the Commission. That assessment could be based on the information from all available sources and recognized institutions, including judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union, reports of the Court of Auditors, and conclusions and recommendations of relevant international organisations and networks, such as the bodies of the Council of Europe and the European networks of supreme courts and councils for the judiciary.
(12)  The identification of a generalised deficiency requires a thorough qualitative assessment by the Commission. That assessment should be objective, impartial and transparent and be based on information from all relevant sources, taking into account the criteria used in the context of Union accession negotiations, in particular the chapters of the acquis on judiciary and fundamental rights, on justice, freedom and security, on financial control and on taxation, as well as the guidelines used in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to track the progress of a Member State, and from recognised institutions, including judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, resolutions of the European Parliament, reports of the Court of Auditors, and conclusions and recommendations of relevant international organisations, such as the bodies of the Council of Europe, including in particular the Venice Commission’s Rule of Law Checklist, and of relevant international networks, such as the European networks of supreme courts and councils for the judiciary.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12 a (new)
(12a)  An advisory panel of independent experts in constitutional law and financial and budgetary matters should be established with the objective to assist the Commission in its assessment of generalised deficiencies. That panel should undertake an independent annual assessment of the issues as regards the rule of law in all Member States that affect or risk affecting the sound financial management or the protection of the financial interests of the Union, taking into account information from all relevant sources and recognised institutions. The Commission, when taking a decision about adopting or lifting of possible measures, should take relevant opinions expressed by that panel into account.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13
(13)  The possible measures to be adopted in the event of generalised deficiencies and the procedure to be followed to adopt them should be determined. Those measures should include the suspension of payments and of commitments, a reduction of funding under existing commitments, and a prohibition to conclude new commitments with recipients.
(13)  The measures to be adopted in the event of generalised deficiencies and the procedure to be followed to adopt them should be determined. Those measures should include the suspension of payments and of commitments, a reduction of funding under existing commitments, and a prohibition to conclude new commitments with recipients.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14 a (new)
(14a)  It is essential that the legitimate interests of final recipients and beneficiaries are properly safeguarded when measures are adopted in the event of generalised deficiencies. When considering the adoption of measures, the Commission should take into account their potential impact on final recipients and beneficiaries. To strengthen the protection of the final recipients or beneficiaries, the Commission should provide information and guidance via a website or internet portal, together with adequate tools to inform the Commission about any breach of the legal obligation of government entities and Member States to continue making payments after measures on the basis of this Regulation are adopted. Where necessary, in order to ensure that any amount due by government entities or Member States is effectively paid to final recipients or beneficiaries, the Commission should be able to recover payments made to those entities, or, as appropriate, to make a financial correction by reducing support to a programme, and to transfer an equivalent amount to the Union reserve to be used for the benefit of final recipients or beneficiaries.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15
(15)  In order to ensure uniform implementation of this Regulation and in view of the importance of the financial effects of measures being imposed pursuant to this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Council which should act on the basis of a Commission proposal. To facilitate the adoption of decisions which are required to protect the financial interests of the Union, reversed qualified majority voting should be used.
(15)  In order to ensure uniform implementation of this Regulation and in view of the importance of the financial effects of measures being imposed pursuant to this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission.
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15 a (new)
(15a)  In view of their effect on the Union budget, measures imposed pursuant to this Regulation should only enter into force after the European Parliament and the Council have approved a transfer to a budgetary reserve of an amount equivalent to the value of the measures adopted. To facilitate the adoption of decisions which are required to protect the financial interests of the Union, such transfers should be considered to be approved unless, within a set period, the European Parliament or the Council, the latter acting by qualified majority, amend or reject them.
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16
(16)  Before proposing the adoption of any measure pursuant to this Regulation, the Commission should inform the Member State concerned why it considers that a generalised deficiency regarding the rule of law might exist in that Member State. The Member State should be allowed to submit its observations. The Commission and the Council should take those observations into account.
(16)  Before proposing the adoption of any measure pursuant to this Regulation, the Commission should inform the Member State concerned why it considers that a generalised deficiency regarding the rule of law might exist in that Member State. The Commission should without delay inform the European Parliament and the Council about any such notification and its contents. The Member State concerned should be allowed to submit its observations. The Commission should take those observations into account.
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 17
(17)  The Council should lift measures with suspensive effect on a proposal from the Commission, if the situation leading to the imposition of those measures has been sufficiently remedied.
(17)  The Commission should lift measures with suspensive effect and propose to the European Parliament and the Council to lift in full or in part the budgetary reserve of the measures in question, if the situation leading to the imposition of those measures has been sufficiently remedied.
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 18
(18)  The Commission should keep the European Parliament informed of any measures proposed and adopted pursuant to this Regulation,
deleted
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  'the rule of law' refers to the Union value enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union which includes the principles of legality, implying a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic process for enacting laws; legal certainty; prohibition of arbitrariness of the executive powers; effective judicial protection by independent courts, including of fundamental rights; separation of powers and equality before the law;
(a)  'the rule of law' shall be understood having regard to the Union values enshrined in Article 2 TEU and in the criteria for Union membership referred to in Article 49 TEU; it includes the principles of legality, implying a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic process for enacting law; legal certainty; prohibition of arbitrariness of the executive powers; access to justice and effective judicial protection before independent and impartial courts, including of fundamental rights as stipulated in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and in international human rights treaties; separation of powers; non-discrimination and equality before the law;
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  'generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law' means a widespread or recurrent practice or omission, or measure by public authorities which affects the rule of law;
(b)  'generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law' means a widespread or recurrent practice or omission, or measure by public authorities which affects the rule of law, where it affects or risks affecting the principles of sound financial management or the protection of the financial interests of the Union; a generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law may also be the consequence of a systemic threat to the Union values enshrined in Article 2 TEU that affects or risks affecting the principles of sound financial management or the protection of the financial interests of the Union;
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point c
(c)  'government entity' means all public authorities at all levels of government, including national, regional and local authorities, as well as Member State organisations within the meaning of [point 42 of Article 2] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No […] (the ‘Financial Regulation’).
(c)  'government entity' means any public authority at all levels of government, including national, regional and local authorities, as well as Member State organisations within the meaning of point 42 of Article 2 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council1a (the ‘Financial Regulation’).
__________________
1a Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 a (new)
Article 2 a
Generalised deficiencies
The following shall, in particular, be considered generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law where they affect or risk affecting the principles of sound financial management or the protection of the financial interests of the Union:
(a)  endangering the independence of judiciary, including setting any limitations on the ability to exercise judicial functions autonomously by externally intervening in guarantees of independence, by constraining judgement under external order, by arbitrarily revising rules on the appointment or terms of service of judicial personnel, by influencing judicial staff in any way that jeopardises their impartiality or by interfering with the independence of attorneyship;
(b)  failing to prevent, correct and sanction arbitrary or unlawful decisions by public authorities, including by law enforcement authorities, withholding financial and human resources affecting their proper functioning or failing to ensure the absence of conflicts of interests;
(c)  limiting the availability and effectiveness of legal remedies, including through restrictive procedural rules, lack of implementation of judgments, or limiting the effective investigation, prosecution or sanctioning of breaches of law;
(d)  endangering the administrative capacity of a Member State to respect the obligations of Union membership, including the capacity to effectively implement the rules, standards and policies that make up the body of Union law;
(e)  measures that weaken the protection of the confidential communication between lawyer and client.
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – title
Measures
Risks for the financial interests of the Union
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
1.  Appropriate measures shall be taken where a generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law in a Member State affects or risks affecting the principles of sound financial management or the protection of the financial interests of the Union, in particular:
1.  A generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law in a Member State may be established when one or more of the following, in particular, are affected or risk being affected:
Amendment 35
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  the proper functioning of the authorities of that Member State implementing the Union budget, in particular in the context of public procurement or grant procedures, and when carrying out monitoring and controls;
(a)  the proper functioning of the authorities of that Member State implementing the Union budget, in particular in the context of public procurement or grant procedures;
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a a (new)
(aa)  the proper functioning of the market economy, thereby respecting competition and market forces in the Union as well as implementing effectively the obligations of membership, including adherence to the aim of political, economic and monetary union;
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a b (new)
(ab)  the proper functioning of the authorities carrying out financial control, monitoring and internal and external audits, and the proper functioning of effective and transparent financial management and accountability systems;
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  the proper functioning of investigation and public prosecution services in relation to the prosecution of fraud, corruption or other breaches of Union law relating to the implementation of the Union budget;
(b)  the proper functioning of investigation and public prosecution services in relation to the prosecution of fraud, including tax fraud, corruption or other breaches of Union law relating to the implementation of the Union budget;
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point c
(c)  the effective judicial review by independent courts of actions or omissions by the authorities referred to in points (a) and b);
(c)  the effective judicial review by independent courts of actions or omissions by the authorities referred to in points (a), (a b) and (b);
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point d
(d)  the prevention and sanctioning of fraud, corruption or other breaches of Union law relating to the implementation of the Union budget, and the imposition of effective and dissuasive penalties on recipients by national courts or by administrative authorities;
(d)  the prevention and sanctioning of fraud, including tax fraud, corruption or other breaches of Union law relating to the implementation of the Union budget, and the imposition of effective and dissuasive penalties on recipients by national courts or by administrative authorities;
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point e a (new)
(ea)   the prevention and sanctioning of tax evasion and tax competition and the proper functioning of authorities contributing to administrative cooperation in tax matters;
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point f
(f)  the effective and timely cooperation with the European Anti-fraud Office and with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in their investigations or prosecutions pursuant to their respective legal acts and to the principle of loyal cooperation.
(f)  the effective and timely cooperation with the European Anti-fraud Office and, subject to the participation of the Member State concerned, with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in their investigations or prosecutions pursuant to their respective legal acts and to the principle of loyal cooperation;
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point f a (new)
(fa)  the proper implementation of the Union budget following a systemic violation of fundamental rights.
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2
2.   The following may, in particular, be considered generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law,
deleted
(a)  endangering the independence of judiciary;
(b)  failing to prevent, correct and sanction arbitrary or unlawful decisions by public authorities, including by law enforcement authorities, withholding financial and human resources affecting their proper functioning or failing to ensure the absence of conflicts of interests;
(c)  limiting the availability and effectiveness of legal remedies, including through restrictive procedural rules, lack of implementation of judgments, or limiting the effective investigation, prosecution or sanctioning of breaches of law.
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 a (new)
Article 3 a
Panel of independent experts
1.  The Commission shall establish a panel of independent experts (‘the Panel’).
The Panel shall be composed of independent experts in constitutional law and financial and budgetary matters. One expert shall be appointed by the national parliament of each Member State and five experts shall be appointed by the European Parliament. The composition of the Panel shall ensure gender balance.
Whenever appropriate, representatives of relevant organisations and networks, such as the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, the bodies of the Council of Europe, the European Commission for the efficiency of justice, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, the Tax Justice Network, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, may be invited as observers to the Panel in accordance with the rules of procedures referred to in paragraph 6.
2.  The advisory tasks of the Panel shall have as their objective to assist the Commission in identifying generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in a Member State that affect or risk affecting the principles of sound financial management or the protection of the financial interests of the Union.
The Panel shall assess the situation in all Member States annually on the basis of quantitative and qualitative criteria and information, having due regard to the information and guidance referred to in Article 5(2).
3.  Each year the Panel shall make public a summary of its findings.
4.  As part of its advisory task and taking into account the outcome of the considerations under paragraph 2, the Panel may express an opinion about a generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law in a Member State.
When expressing an opinion the Panel shall endeavour to reach a consensus. If no such consensus can be reached, the Panel shall express its opinion by a simple majority of its members.
5.  When adopting implementing acts pursuant to Article 5(6) and Article 6(2), the Commission shall take into account any relevant opinion expressed by the Panel in accordance with paragraph 4 of this Article.
6.  The Panel shall elect its chairperson from among its members. The Panel shall establish its rules of procedure.
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – title
Content of measures
Measures for the protection of the Union budget
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
1.  One or more of the following appropriate measures may be adopted
1.  When the conditions of Article 3 are fulfilled, one or more of the following measures may be adopted:
Amendment 48
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 3
3.  The measures taken shall be proportionate to the nature, gravity and scope of the generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law. They shall, insofar as possible, target the Union actions affected or potentially affected by that deficiency.
3.  The measures taken shall be proportionate to the nature, gravity, duration and scope of the generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law. They shall, insofar as possible, target the Union actions affected or potentially affected by that deficiency.
Amendment 49
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.  The Commission shall provide information and guidance for the benefit of final recipients or beneficiaries on the obligations by Member States referred to in paragraph 2 via a website or internet portal.
The Commission shall also provide, on the same website or portal, adequate tools for final recipients or beneficiaries to inform the Commission about any breach of these obligations that, in the view of these final recipients or beneficiaries, directly affects them. This paragraph shall be applied in a manner that ensures protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law, in line with the principles set out in Directive XXX (Directive on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law). Information provided by final recipients or beneficiaries in accordance with this paragraph may only be taken into account by the Commission if accompanied by a proof that the concerned final recipient or beneficiary has lodged a formal complaint to the competent authority.
Amendment 50
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 3 b (new)
3b.  Based on the information provided by the final recipients or beneficiaries in accordance with paragraph 3 a, the Commission shall ensure that any amount due by government entities or Member States in accordance with paragraph 2 is effectively paid to final recipients or beneficiaries.
Where necessary:
(a)  with reference to funds from the Union budget managed in accordance with Article 62(1)(c) of the Financial Regulation, the Commission shall:
(i)  recover the payment made to any of the bodies referred to in points (v) to (vii) of Article 62(1)(c) of the Financial Regulation for an amount equivalent to the amount not paid to final recipients or beneficiaries, in breach of paragraph 2 of this Article;
(ii)  transfer an amount equivalent to the amount referred to in the previous point to the Union reserve referred to in Article 12 of Council Regulation XXX (MFF Regulation). Such amount shall be considered margin left available within the meaning of point (a) of Article 12(1) of Council Regulation XXX (MFF Regulation) and shall be mobilised in accordance with Article 12(2) of Council Regulation XXX (MFF Regulation), for the benefit, to the possible extent, of the final recipients or beneficiaries referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article;
(b)  with reference to funds from the Union budget managed in accordance with Article 62(1)(b) of the Financial Regulation:
(i)  the obligation of government authorities or of Member States referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article shall be considered an obligation of Member States within the meaning of [Article 63] of Regulation XXX (CPR Regulation). Any breach of such obligation shall be treated in accordance with [Article 98] of Regulation XXX (CPR Regulation);
(ii)  The amount resulting from reduced support from the Funds to a programme, in application of [Article 98] of Regulation XXX (CPR Regulation) shall be transferred by the Commission to the Union reserve referred to in Article 12 of Council Regulation XXX (MFF Regulation). Such amount shall be considered margin left available within the meaning of point a) of Article 12(1) of Council Regulation XXX (MFF Regulation) and shall be mobilised in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 12 of Council Regulation XXC (MFF Regulation), for the benefit, to the possible extent, of the final recipients or beneficiaries referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article.
Amendment 51
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1
1.  Where the Commission finds that it has reasonable grounds to believe that the conditions of Article 3 are fulfilled, it shall send a written notification to that Member State, setting out the grounds on which it based its finding
1.  Where the Commission, taking into account any opinions of the Panel, finds that it has reasonable grounds to believe that the conditions of Article 3 are fulfilled, it shall send a written notification to that Member State, setting out the grounds on which it based its finding. The Commission shall without delay inform the European Parliament and the Council of such notification and its contents.
Amendment 52
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 2
2.  The Commission may take into account all relevant information, including decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, reports of the Court of Auditors, and conclusions and recommendations of relevant international organisations.
2.  When assessing whether the conditions of Article 3 are fulfilled, the Commission shall take into account all relevant information, including opinions of the Panel, decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, resolutions of the European Parliament, reports of the Court of Auditors, and conclusions and recommendations of relevant international organisations and networks. The Commission shall also take into account the criteria used in the context of Union accession negotiations, in particular the chapters of the acquis on judiciary and fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security, financial control and taxation, as well as the guidelines used in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to track the progress of a Member State.
Amendment 53
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 4
4.  The Member State concerned shall provide all required information and may make observations within a time limit specified by the Commission, which shall not be less than 1 month from the date of notification of the finding. In its observations, the Member State may propose the adoption of remedial measures.
4.  The Member State concerned shall provide the required information and may make observations within a time limit specified by the Commission, which shall not be less than one month nor more than three months from the date of notification of the finding. In its observations, the Member State may propose the adoption of remedial measures.
Amendment 54
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 5
5.  The Commission shall take into account the information received and any observations made by the Member State concerned, as well as the adequacy of any proposed remedial measures, when deciding whether or not to submit a proposal for a decision on the appropriate measures.
5.  The Commission shall take into account the information received and any observations made by the Member State concerned, as well as the adequacy of any proposed remedial measures, when deciding whether or not to adopt a decision on any measures referred to in Article 4. The Commission shall decide on the follow-up to be given to the information received within an indicative time limit of one month, and in any case within a reasonable timeframe from the date of receipt of that information.
Amendment 55
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 5 a (new)
5a.  When assessing the proportionality of the measures to be imposed, the Commission shall have due regard to the information and guidance referred to in paragraph 2.
Amendment 56
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 6
6.  Where the Commission considers that the generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law is established, it shall submit a proposal for an implementing act on the appropriate measures to the Council.
6.  Where the Commission considers that the generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law is established, it shall adopt a decision on the measures referred to in Article 4 by means of an implementing act.
Amendment 57
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 6 a (new)
6a.  At the same time as it adopts its decision, the Commission shall simultaneously submit to the European Parliament and to the Council a proposal to transfer to a budgetary reserve an amount equivalent to the value of the measures adopted.
Amendment 58
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 6 b (new)
6b.  By way of derogation from Article 31(4) and (6) of the Financial Regulation, the European Parliament and the Council shall deliberate upon the transfer proposal within four weeks of its receipt by both institutions. The transfer proposal shall be considered to be approved unless, within the four-week period, the European Parliament, acting by majority of the votes cast, or the Council, acting by qualified majority, amend or reject it. If the European Parliament or the Council amend the transfer proposal, Article 31(8) of the Financial Regulation shall apply.
Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 6 c (new)
6c.  The decision referred to in paragraph 6 shall enter into force if neither the European Parliament nor the Council reject the transfer proposal within the period referred to in paragraph 6b.
Amendment 60
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 7
7.  The decision shall be deemed to have been adopted by the Council, unless it decides, by qualified majority, to reject the Commission proposal within one month of its adoption by the Commission.
Deleted
Amendment 61
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 8
8.  The Council, acting by a qualified majority, may amend the Commission’s proposal and adopt the amended text as a Council decision.
deleted
Amendment 62
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 1
1.  The Member State concerned may, at any time, submit to the Commission evidence to show that the generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law has been remedied or has ceased to exist.
1.  The Member State concerned may, at any time, submit to the Commission a formal notification including evidence to show that the generalised deficiency as regards the rule of law has been remedied or has ceased to exist.
Amendment 63
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2
2.  The Commission shall assess the situation in the Member State concerned. Once the generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law which on the grounds of which the appropriate measures were adopted cease to exist in full or in part, the Commission shall submit to the Council a proposal for a decision lifting those measures in full or in part. The procedure set out in paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Article 5 shall apply.
2.  At the request of the Member State concerned or on its own initiative, the Commission, taking into account any opinions of the Panel, shall assess the situation in the Member State concerned within an indicative time limit of one month, and in any case within a reasonable timeframe from the date of receipt of the formal notification. Once the generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law which on the grounds of which the measures referred to in Article 4 were adopted cease to exist in full or in part, the Commission shall, without delay, adopt a decision lifting those measures in full or in part. At the same time as it adopts its decision, the Commission shall simultaneously submit to the European Parliament and to the Council a proposal to lift, in full or in part, the budgetary reserve referred to in Article 5(6a). The procedure set out in paragraphs 2, 4, 5, 6, 6b and 6c of Article 5 shall apply.
Amendment 64
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 3
3.  Where measures concerning the suspension of the approval of one or more programmes or amendments thereof referred to in point (i) of Article 4(2)(b) or the suspension of commitments referred to in point (ii) of Article 4(2)(b) are lifted, amounts corresponding to the suspended commitments shall be entered in the budget subject to Article 7 of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No XXXX (MFF Regulation). Suspended commitments of year n may not be entered in the budget beyond year n+2.
3.  Where measures concerning the suspension of the approval of one or more programmes or amendments thereof referred to in point (i) of Article 4(2)(b) or the suspension of commitments referred to in point (ii) of Article 4(2)(b) are lifted, amounts corresponding to the suspended commitments shall be entered in the budget subject to Article 7 of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No XXXX (MFF Regulation). Suspended commitments of year n may not be entered in the budget beyond year n+2. As from year n+3, an amount equivalent to the suspended commitments shall be entered in the Union Reserve for Commitments provided for in Article 12 of Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No XXXX (MFF Regulation).
Amendment 65
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7
Article 7
deleted
Information of the European Parliament
The Commission shall immediately inform the European Parliament of any measures proposed or adopted pursuant to Articles 4 and 5
Amendment 66
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 a (new)
Article 7a
Reporting
The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Regulation, in particular on the effectiveness of the measures adopted, if any, at the latest five years after its entry into force.
The report shall be accompanied where necessary by appropriate proposals.
Amendment 67
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 1
This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It shall apply from 1 January 2021.
This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Amendment 68
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 a (new)
Article 8 a
Inclusion in the Financial Regulation
The contents of this Regulation shall be inserted into the Financial Regulation upon its next revision.

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committees responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0469/2018).


Establishing the "Fiscalis" programme for cooperation in the field of taxation ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 17 January 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the ‘Fiscalis’ programme for cooperation in the field of taxation (COM(2018)0443 – C8-0260/2018 – 2018/0233(COD))(1)
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0039A8-0421/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

[Amendment 1, unless otherwise indicated]

AMENDMENTS BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT(2)
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0039A8-0421/2018
to the Commission proposal
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0039A8-0421/2018
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P8_TA-PROV(2019)0039A8-0421/2018
2018/0233 (COD)
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0039A8-0421/2018

Proposal for a
REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
establishing the 'Fiscalis' programme for cooperation in the field of taxation

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Articles 114 and 197 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

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

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

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure,

Whereas:

(1)  The Fiscalis 2020 programme, which was established by Regulation (EU) No 1286/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(4) and is implemented by the Commission in cooperation with the Member States and associated countries, and its predecessors have significantly contributed to facilitating and enhancing cooperation between tax authorities within the Union. The added value of those programmes, including as regards the protection of the financial and economic interests of Member States of the Union and of taxpayers, has been recognised by the tax authorities of the participating countries. The challenges identified for the next decade can often not be tackled effectively if Member States do not look beyond the borders of their administrative territories and cooperate intensively with their counterparts.

(2)  The Fiscalis 2020 programme offers Member States a Union framework within which to develop those cooperation activities, and which is more cost-effective than if each Member State were to set up individual cooperation frameworks on a bilateral or multilateral basis, whether among themselves or with third countries with which the Union cooperates closely in the field of taxation. It is therefore appropriate to ensure the continuation of that programme by establishing a new programme in the same area, the Fiscalis programme (the ‘Programme').

(2 a)   The Programme should enable Member States’ capacity to combat tax fraud, corruption, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning to be strengthened, including by means of technical assistance for human resources training and the development of administrative structures. Such assistance should be provided in a transparent manner.

(3)  In providing a framework for actions which supports the single market, fosters fair competition in the Union and protects the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States, the Programme should contribute to preventing and fighting tax fraud, tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and double non-taxation; preventing and reducing unnecessary administrative burden for citizens and businesses in cross-border transactions; supporting fairer and more efficient tax systems; achieving the full potential of the single market and fostering fair competition in the Union as well as supporting a joint Union approach in international fora.

(4)  This Regulation lays down a financial envelope for the Programme, which is to constitute the prime reference amount, within the meaning of point 17 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(5), for the European Parliament and the Council during the annual budgetary procedure.

(5)  In order to support the process of accession and association by third countries, the Programme should be open to the participation of acceding and candidate countries as well as potential candidates and partner countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy if certain conditions are fulfilled. It may also be open to other third countries, in particular least developed countries, in accordance with the conditions laid down in specific agreements between the Union and those countries covering their participation to any Union programme.

(5 a)   The European Parliament has laid down its priorities. The current lack of financial resources hinders the achievement of the objectives set by the European Parliament for the post-2020 multiannual financial framework [2017/2052(INI)]. More effective cooperation in tax matters could enable a more effective collection of the necessary resources for the implementation of the future multiannual financial framework.

(6)  Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6) (the ‘Financial Regulation’) applies to this Programme. It lays down rules on the implementation of the Union budget, including the rules on grants, prizes, procurement and reimbursements of external experts.

(7)  The actions which applied under the Fiscalis 2020 programme have proven to be adequate and should therefore be maintained. In order to provide more simplicity and flexibility in the execution of the Programme and thereby better deliver on its objectives, the actions should be defined only in terms of overall categories with a list of illustrative examples of concrete activities. However, actions should aim at addressing priority topics to protect the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States. Through cooperation and capacity building, the Fiscalis programme should also promote and support the uptake and leverage of innovation to further improve the capabilities to deliver on the core priorities of taxation.

(8)  Given the increasing mobility of taxpayers, the number of cross-border transactions and the internationalisation of financial instruments and the resulting increased risk of tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning, which go well beyond the Union borders, adaptations of or extensions of European electronic systems to third countries not associated to the Programme and international organisations could have an interest for the Union or the Member States. In particular, they would avoid the administrative burden and the costs implied by developing and operating two similar electronic systems for, respectively, Union and international exchanges of information. Therefore, when duly justified by such an interest, adaptations of or extensions to European electronic systems for cooperation with third countries and international organisations should be eligible costs under the Programme. Provided priority topics have been fully funded, specific actions involving least developed countries, in particular regarding the automatic sharing of information, should also be encouraged under the Programme where appropriate.

(9)  Considering the importance of globalisation and the importance of combating tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning, the Programme should continue to provide the possibility of involving external experts within the meaning of Article 238 of the Financial Regulation. The selection of experts should be transparent and be based on their skills, experience and knowledge relevant to the specific action as well as their ability to contribute to that action. It should be ensured that those experts are impartial and that there is no possible conflict of interest with their professional role. Balanced representation of all relevant stakeholders should be ensured.

(9 a)   In view of the recent adoption of Council Directives 2014/107/EU(7); 2015/2376/EU(8); 2016/881/EU(9); 2016/2258/EU(10); 2018/822/EU(11) and the ongoing negotiations on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), the Programme should aim to train staff at tax administrations to ensure the effective implementation of those directives.

(10)  In line with the Commission's commitment to ensure the coherence and simplification of funding programmes, set out in its Communication of 19 October 2010 entitled 'The EU Budget Review'(12), resources should be shared with other Union funding instruments if the envisaged actions under the Programme pursue objectives that are common to various funding instruments, excluding however double financing. Actions under the Programme should ensure coherence in the use of the Union's resources supporting tax policy and tax authorities.

(10 a)  For the sake of cost-effectiveness, the Fiscalis Programme should exploit possible synergies with other Union measures in related fields, such as the Customs Programme, the EU Anti-Fraud Programme, the Single Market Programme and the Reform Support Programme.

(10 b)   Individual national anti-fraud initiatives could potentially shift the fraud to other, often neighbouring, Member States, and create a disproportionate administrative burden on compliant businesses as well as a lack of legal certainty when trading internationally. It is therefore crucial that the Commission aligns national anti-fraud measures through coordination of national best practices at Union level.

(11)  Information Technology (IT) capacity building actions are set to attract a considerable share of the budget under the Programme. Therefore, specific provisions should describe, respectively, the common and national components of the European electronic systems. Moreover, the scope of actions and the responsibilities of the Commission and the Member States should be clearly defined. There should be smooth interoperability among the common and national components of the European electronic systems and synergies with other electronic systems of relevant Union programmes.

(12)  Currently, there is no requirement to draw up a Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation (MASP-T) for creating a coherent and interoperable electronic environment for taxation in the Union. In order to ensure coherence and coordination of IT capacity building actions, the Programme should provide for the creation of such a MASP-T.

(13)  This Regulation should be implemented by means of work programmes. In view of the mid to long-term nature of the objectives pursued and building on experience gained over time, work programmes should be able to cover several years. The shift from annual to multiannual work programmes will reduce the administrative burden for both the Commission and Member States but it should not, in any circumstance, result in a loss of information or transparency to taxpayers. Multiannual work programmes should reflect all relevant information produced in the context of annual reports or mapping exercises as referred to in this Regulation. Those annual reports should be made publicly available in order to inform taxpayers about best practices, lessons learnt, challenges and remaining obstacles identified within the Programme.

(14)  In order to supplement this Regulation, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the adoption of work programmes.

(15)  Pursuant to paragraph 22 and 23 of the Inter-institutional agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(13), there is a need to evaluate the Programme on the basis of information collected through specific monitoring requirements, while avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens, in particular on Member States, thereby also taking into consideration REFIT. These requirements, where appropriate, should include measurable indicators, as a basis for evaluating the effects of this Regulation on the ground. The results of that monitoring should be object of an annual consolidated report, produced by the Commission, based on input provided by the Member States. It should contain a mapping of remaining obstacles in the Member States in realizing the Programme objectives in Article 3 and addressing the priority topics in Article 7(2a) as well as suggestions for best practices. Additionally, the Commission should produce an interim and a final evaluation of the Programme. Both the annual reports and the evaluation reports should be made publicly accessible on a dedicated webpage.

(15 a)   The Commission should convene a biannual seminar including two representatives of beneficiary Member States to discuss issues and suggest potential improvements related to the themes of the Programme, including the exchange of information between tax administrations. The participants in the seminar shall be, respectively a representative of a decision-making body of tax administrations, a representative of a trade union of staff working at tax administrations, and a representative of the European Parliament and of the Council.

(16)  In order to respond appropriately to changes in tax policy priorities, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission in respect of amending the list of indicators to measure the achievement of the specific objectives of the Programme. It is of particular importance that the Commission carries out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016. In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States' experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.

(17)  In accordance with the Financial Regulation, Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(14), and Council Regulations (Euratom, EC) No 2988/95(15), (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96(16) and (EU) 2017/1939(17), the financial interests of the Union are to be protected through proportionate measures, including the prevention, detection, correction and investigation of irregularities and fraud, the recovery of funds lost, wrongly paid or incorrectly used and, where appropriate, the imposition of administrative sanctions. In particular, in accordance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 and Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) may carry out administrative investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, with a view to establishing whether there has been fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union. In accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/1939, the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) may investigate and prosecute fraud and other criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union as provided for in Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council(18). In accordance with the Financial Regulation, any person or entity receiving Union funds is to fully cooperate in the protection of the Union’s financial interests, to grant the necessary rights and access to the Commission, OLAF, the EPPO and the European Court of Auditors and to ensure that any third parties involved in the implementation of Union funds grant equivalent rights.

(18)  Horizontal financial rules adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of Article 322 TFEU apply to this Regulation. These rules are laid down in the Financial Regulation and determine in particular the procedure for establishing and implementing the budget through grants, procurement, prizes, indirect implementation, and provide for checks on the responsibility of financial actors. Rules adopted on the basis of Article 322 TFEU also concern the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States, as the respect for the rule of law is an essential precondition for sound financial management and effective EU funding.

(19)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objectives of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation. The coverage of travel expenses should be a priority, so that the participation of national experts in joint actions is ensured.

(20)  Since the objective of this Regulation cannot be sufficiently achieved by the individual Member States but can rather, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

(21)  This Regulation replaces Regulation (EU) No 1286/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which should therefore be repealed,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Subject matter

1.  This Regulation establishes the 'Fiscalis' programme for cooperation in the field of taxation (the 'Programme').

2.  It lays down the objectives of the Programme, the budget for the period 2021-2027, the forms of Union funding and the rules for providing such funding.

Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the following definitions apply:

(1)  'taxation' means matters, including the design, administration, enforcement and compliance, relating to the following taxes and duties:

(a)  value added tax provided for in Council Directive 2006/112/EC(19);

(b)  excise duties on alcohol provided for in Council Directive 92/83/EEC(20);

(c)  excise duties on tobacco products provided for in Council Directive 2011/64/EU(21);

(d)  taxes on energy products and electricity provided for in Council Directive 2003/96/EC(22);

(e)  other taxes and duties referred to in Article 2(1)(a) of Council Directive 2010/24/EU(23), including corporate income taxes, in so far as they are relevant for the single market and for administrative cooperation between the Member States;

(2)  'tax authorities' means the public authorities and other bodies, which are responsible for taxation or tax-related activities;

(3)  'European electronic systems' means electronic systems necessary for taxation and for the execution of the missions of tax authorities;

(4)  'third country' means a country that is not member of the Union;

(4 a)  'least developed country' means a low-income third country confronted with severe structural impediments to sustainable development as defined by the United Nations.

Article 3

Programme objectives

1.  The Programme has the general objectives of supporting tax authorities and taxation to enhance the functioning of the single market, of fostering fair competition in the Union, of protecting the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States, including from tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning, and of improving tax collection.

2.  The Programme has the specific objectives of supporting tax policy and its proper implementation, of fostering tax cooperation, the exchange of tax information and administrative capacity building, including human competency and the development and operation of the European electronic systems, as well as the progressive modernisation of reporting, auditing and software tools to be applied uniformly across Member States. The Programme shall also help tax administrations to facilitate and improve the implementation of the Union directives on taxation, and to train their staff in that regard.

Article 4

Budget

1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR 300 million in 2018 prices or EUR 339 million in current prices.

2.  The amount referred to in paragraph 1 may inter alia cover expenses for preparation, monitoring, control, audit, evaluation and other activities for managing the Programme and evaluating the achievement of its objectives. It may moreover cover expenses relating to studies and other relevant written material, meetings of experts, information and communication actions, in so far as they are related to the objectives of the Programme, as well as expenses linked to information technology networks focusing on information processing and exchange, including corporate information technology tools and other technical and administrative assistance needed in connection with the management of the Programme.

Article 5

Third countries associated to the Programme

The Programme shall be open to the following third countries:

(a)  acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and Association Council decisions, or similar agreements, and in accordance with the specific conditions laid down in agreements between the Union and those countries;

(b)  countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and association Council decisions, or similar agreements, and in accordance with the specific conditions laid down in agreements between the Union and those countries, provided that those countries have reached a sufficient level of approximation of the relevant legislation and administrative methods to those of the Union;

(c)  other third countries, in accordance with the conditions laid down in a specific agreement covering the participation of the third country to any Union programme, provided that the agreement:

—  ensures a fair balance as regards the contributions of and benefits for the third country participating in the Union programmes;

—  lays down the conditions of participation in the programmes, including the calculation of financial contributions to individual programmes and their administrative costs. These contributions shall constitute assigned revenues in accordance with Article 21(5) of the Financial Regulation;

—  does not confer to the third country a decisional power on the Programme;

—  guarantees the rights of the Union to ensure sound financial management and to protect its financial interests.

Provided priority topics have been fully funded, least developed countries shall be encouraged to participate in the Programme in accordance with the principles of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) and the conditions laid down in the specific agreements between such countries and the Union covering the participation of such countries in the Programme. Notwithstanding point c) of paragraph 1, the participation of least developed countries in the Programme shall be cost-free for them and shall focus on achieving international tax objectives, such as the automatic exchange of tax information. The specific agreement shall guarantee the rights of the Union to ensure sound financial management and to protect its financial interests.

Article 6

Implementation and forms of EU funding

1.  The Programme shall be implemented in direct management in accordance with the Financial Regulation.

2.  The Programme may provide funding in any of the forms laid down in the Financial Regulation, in particular grants, prizes, procurement and reimbursement of travel and subsistence expenses incurred by external experts.

CHAPTER II

ELIGIBILITY

Article 7

Eligible actions

1.  Only actions implementing the objectives referred to in Article 3 shall be eligible for funding.

2.  Actions referred to in paragraph 1 shall include the following:

(a)  meetings and similar ad-hoc events;

(b)  project-based structured collaboration, including on-site inspections and joint audits; [Ams 2 and 3 ]

(c)  IT capacity building actions, in particular the development and operation of European electronic systems or actions to establish joint registers;

(d)  human competency and capacity building actions;

(e)  support and other actions, including:

(1)  studies and other relevant written material;

(2)  innovation activities, in particular proof-of-concepts, pilots and prototyping initiatives;

(3)  jointly developed communication actions;

(4)  any other relevant action provided for in the work programmes referred to in Article 13, which is necessary for attaining or in support of the objectives set out in Article 3.

Possible forms of relevant actions referred to in points (a), (b) and (d) are presented in a non-exhaustive list in Annex 1.

2 a.   Actions referred to in paragraph 1 shall cover the following list of priority topics:

(a)  closing loopholes in the effective implementation of Council Directive 2011/16/EU(24), as amended;

(b)  the effective exchange of information, including group requests, and the development of useable formats taking into account initiatives at international level;

(c)  removing obstacles to cross-border cooperation;

(d)  removing obstacles to accessibility to beneficial ownership information under Council Directive 2011/16/EU, as amended;

(e)  combating cross-border VAT fraud;

(f)  exchange of best practices on recovery of taxes, including taxes not paid according to the European Savings Tax Directive (EUSTD);

(g)  implementation of unified national IT tools with the view to develop common interfaces to allow for the interconnection of national IT systems;

3.  Actions consisting in the development and operation of adaptations or extensions to the common components of the European electronic systems for cooperation with third countries not associated to the Programme or international organisations shall be eligible for funding when they are of interest to the Union. The Commission shall put in place the necessary administrative arrangements, which may provide for a financial contribution from the third parties concerned to these actions.

4.  Where an IT capacity building action referred to in point (c) of paragraph 2 concerns the development and operation of a European electronic system, only the costs related to the responsibilities entrusted to the Commission pursuant to Article 11(2) shall be eligible for funding under the Programme. Member States shall bear the costs related to the responsibilities entrusted to them pursuant to Article 11(3).

Article 8

Participation of external experts

1.  Wherever beneficial for the achievement of the actions implementing the objectives referred to in Article 3, representatives of governmental authorities, including those from third countries not associated to the Programme pursuant to Article 5, and, where relevant, representatives of international and other relevant organisations, of economic operators and organisations representing economic operators and of civil society may take part as external experts to actions organised under the Programme. The Commission shall assess, inter alia, the impartiality of those external experts, shall ensure that no conflict of interests exists with their professional responsibilities and shall decide on their participation on an ad-hoc basis, based on needs.

2.  Costs incurred by the external experts referred to in paragraph 1 shall be eligible for reimbursement under the Programme in accordance with the provisions of Article 238 of the Financial Regulation.

3.  The external experts shall be selected by the Commission, following a transparent and balanced procedure, based on their skills, experience and knowledge relevant to the specific action, and their ability to contribute to that action. The Commission shall ensure a balanced representation of all relevant stakeholders. It shall clarify whether the external experts participate on their own behalf or on behalf of another organisation or economic operator. The list of external experts shall be publicly available on the Commission’s website.

CHAPTER III

GRANTS

Article 9

Award, complementarity and combined funding

1.  Grants under the Programme shall be awarded and managed in accordance with Title VIII of the Financial Regulation.

2.  An action that has received a contribution from another Union programme may also receive a contribution under the Programme, provided that the contribution do not cover the same costs. The rules of each contributing Union programme shall apply to its respective contribution to the action. The cumulative funding shall not exceed the total eligible costs of the action and the support from the different Union programmes may be calculated on a pro-rata basis in accordance with the documents setting out the conditions for support.

3.  In accordance with Article 198(f) of the Financial Regulation, the grants shall be awarded without a call for proposals where the eligible entities are tax authorities of the Member States and of the third countries associated to the Programme as referred to in Article 5 of this Regulation, provided that the conditions set out in that Article are met.

Article 10

Co-financing rate

1.  By derogation to Article 190 of the Financial Regulation, the Programme may finance up to 100 % of eligible costs of an action.

2.  The applicable co-financing rate where actions require the awarding of grants shall be set out in the multiannual work programmes referred to in Article 13.

CHAPTER IV

SPECIFIC PROVISIONS FOR IT CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIONS

Article 11

Responsibilities

1.  The Commission and the Member States shall ensure jointly the development and operation, including the design, specification, conformance testing, deployment, maintenance, evolution, security, quality assurance and quality control, of the European electronic systems listed in the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation referred to in Article 12.

2.  The Commission shall, in particular, ensure the following:

(a)  the development and operation of common components as established under the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation provided for in Article 12;

(b)  the overall coordination of the development and operation of European electronic systems with a view to their operability, interconnectivity and continuous improvement and their synchronised implementation;

(c)  the coordination at Union level of European electronic systems with a view to their promotion and implementation at national level;

(d)  the coordination of the development and operation of European electronic systems as regards their interactions with third parties, excluding actions designed to meet national requirements;

(e)  the coordination of European electronic systems with other relevant actions relating to e-Government at Union level;

(e a)   the coordination of nationally applied anti-fraud measures by identifying and informing on national best practices at Union level.

3.  The Member States shall, in particular, ensure the following:

(a)  the development and operation of national components as established under the Multi-annual Strategic Plan for Taxation provided for in Article 12;

(b)  the coordination of the development and operation of the national components of European electronic systems at national level;

(c)  the coordination of European electronic systems with other relevant actions relating to e-Government at national level;

(d)  the regular provision to the Commission of information regarding the measures taken to enable their respective authorities or economic operators to make full use of European electronic systems;

(e)  the implementation at national level of European electronic systems.

Article 12

Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation (MASP-T)

1.  The Commission shall draw up and keep updated a Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation listing all tasks relevant for the development and operation of European electronic systems and classifying each system, or part thereof, as:

(a)  a common component: a component of the European electronic systems developed at Union level, which is available for all Member States or identified as common by the Commission for reasons of efficiency, security and rationalisation;

(b)  a national component: a component of the European electronic systems developed at national level, which is available in the Member State that created such a component or contributed to its joint creation;

(c)  or a combination of both.

2.  The Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation shall also include innovation and pilot actions as well as the supporting methodologies and tools related to the European electronic systems.

3.  Member States shall notify the Commission of the completion of each task allocated to them under the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation referred to in paragraph 1. They shall also regularly report to the Commission on progress with their tasks related to the entire Programme.

4.  No later than 31 March of each year, Member States shall submit to the Commission annual progress reports on the implementation of the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Taxation referred to in paragraph 1 covering the period 1 January to 31 December of the preceding year. Those annual reports shall be based on a pre-established format. In the annual progress reports, Member States shall report on the obstacles in realising the Programme objectives as set out in Article 3 and addressing the priority topics referred to in Article 7(2a) and make suggestions for best practices.

5.  No later than 31 October of each year, the Commission shall, on the basis of the Member States’ annual reports referred to in paragraph 4, establish a consolidated report assessing the progress made by Member States and the Commission in the implementation of the plan referred to in paragraph 1 as well as the progress in achieving the Programme’s objectives mentioned in Article 3 and the priority topics referred to in Article 7(2a). To assess the progress made, the Commission shall include in its consolidated annual report a mapping of remaining obstacles in the Member States in realising the Programme objectives as set out in Article 3 and addressing the priority topics referred to in Article 7(2a) and make suggestions for best practices. The Commission’s consolidated annual report shall be made publicly available on a dedicated Commission webpage and shall serve as a basis for future multiannual work programmes referred to in Article 13 as well as for the evaluation reports referred to in Article 15.

CHAPTER V

PROGRAMMING, MONITORING, EVALUATION AND CONTROL

Article 13

Work programme

1.  The Programme shall be implemented by multiannual work programmes referred to in Article 108 of the Financial Regulation.

2.  The multiannual work programmes shall be adopted by the Commission by means of delegated acts. Those delegated acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 17.

Article 14

Monitoring and reporting

1.  Indicators to report on progress of the Programme towards the achievement of the specific objectives set out in Article 3 are set in Annex 2.

2.  To ensure effective assessment of progress of the Programme towards the achievement of its objectives, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 17 to amend Annex 2 to review or complement the indicators where considered necessary and to supplement this Regulation with provisions on the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation framework.

3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that data for monitoring programme implementation and results are collected efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner. To that end, proportionate reporting requirements shall be imposed on recipients of Union funds.

Article 15

Evaluation

1.  Evaluations shall be carried out in a timely manner to feed into the decision-making process. Evaluations shall be made publicly available by the Commission on a dedicated webpage.

2.  The interim evaluation of the Programme shall be performed once there is sufficient information available about the implementation of the Programme, but no later than three years after the start of the programme implementation.

3.  At the end of the implementation of the Programme, but no later than one year after the end of the period specified in Article 1, a final evaluation of the Programme shall be carried out by the Commission.

4.  The Commission shall communicate the conclusions of the evaluations, accompanied by its observations, to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

Article 16

Audits and investigations

Where a third country participates in the Programme by a decision under an international agreement or by virtue of any other legal instrument, the third country shall grant the necessary rights and access required for the authorizing officer responsible, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Court of Auditors to comprehensively exert their respective competences. In the case of OLAF, such rights shall include the right to carry out investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, provided for in Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

CHAPTER VI

EXERCISE OF THE DELEGATION AND COMMITTEE PROCEDURE

Article 17

Exercise of the delegation

1.  The power to adopt delegated acts is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in this Article.

2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles 13(2) and 14(2) shall be conferred on the Commission until 31 December 2028.

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Articles 13(2) and 14(2) may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.

4.  Before adopting a delegated act, the Commission shall consult experts designated by each Member State in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making.

5.  As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council.

6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Articles 13(2) and 14(2) shall enter into force if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or by the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.

Article 18

Committee procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a committee referred to as the "Fiscalis Programme Committee". That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

CHAPTER VII

TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 19

Information, communication and publicity

1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin and ensure the visibility of the Union funding (in particular when promoting the actions and their results) by providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and the public.

2.  The Commission shall implement information and communication actions relating to the Programme, and its actions and results. Financial resources allocated to the Programme shall also contribute to the ▌communication of the political priorities of the Union, as far as they are related to the objectives referred to in Article 3.

Article 20

Repeal

Regulation (EU) No 1286/2013 is repealed with effect from 1 January 2021.

Article 21

Transitional provisions

1.  This Regulation shall not affect the continuation or modification of the actions concerned, until their closure, under Regulation (EU) No 1286/2013, which shall continue to apply to the actions concerned until their closure.

2.  The financial envelope for the Programme may also cover technical and administrative assistance expenses necessary to ensure the transition between the Programme and the measures adopted under its predecessor, the Regulation (EU) No 1286/2013.

3.  If necessary, appropriations may be entered in the budget beyond 2027 to cover the expenses provided for in Article 4(2), to enable the management of actions not completed by 31 December 2027.

Article 22

Entry into force

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

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at ...

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX 1

Non-exhaustive list of possible forms of actions

referred to in points (a), (b) and (d) of the first subparagraph of Article 7(2)

Actions referred to in points (a), (b) and (d) of the first subparagraph of Article 7(2) may take the forms, among others, of:

(a)  As regards meetings and similar ad-hoc events:

–  Seminar and workshop, generally attended by all countries and at which presentations are made and participants engage in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject;

–  Working visit, organised to enable officials to acquire or increase their expertise or knowledge as regards tax policy;

–  Presence in administrative offices and participation in administrative enquiries;

(b)  As regards structured collaboration:

–  Project group, generally composed of a limited number of countries, operational during a limited period of time to pursue a predefined objective with a precisely defined outcome, including coordination or benchmarking;

–  Task force, namely structured forms of cooperation, with a non-permanent or permanent character, pooling expertise to perform tasks in specific domains or carry out operational activities, possibly with the support of online collaboration services, administrative assistance and infrastructure and equipment facilities;

–  Multilateral or simultaneous control, consisting in the coordinated checking of the tax situation of one or more related taxable persons organised by two or more countries, including at least two Member States, with common or complementary interests;

–  Joint audit, consisting in the joint checking of the tax situation of one or more related taxable persons by a single audit team composed of two or more countries, including at least two Member States, with common or complementary interests;

–  Any other form of administrative cooperation established by Directive 2011/16/EU, Regulation (EU) 904/2010, Regulation (EU) 389/2012 or Directive 2010/24/EU;

(d)  As regards human competency and capacity building actions:

–  Common training or development of eLearning to support the necessary professional skills and knowledge relating to tax;

–  Technical support, aimed at improving administrative procedures, enhancing administrative capacity and improving tax administrations’ functioning and operations by initiating and sharing good practices.

ANNEX 2

Indicators

Specific objective: support tax policy, tax cooperation and administrative capacity building, including human competency and the development and operation of the European electronic systems.

1.  Capacity Building (administrative, human and IT capacity):

1.  Union Law and Policy Application and Implementation Index (Number of actions under the Programme organised in this area and recommendations issued following those actions)

2.  Learning Index (Learning modules used; number of officials trained; quality score by participants)

3.  Availability of European electronic systems (in time percentage terms)

4.  Availability of the Common Communication Network (in time percentage terms)

5.  IT simplified procedures for the national administrations and economic operators (number of registered economic operators, numbers of applications and number of consultations in the different electronic systems funded by the Programme)

2.  Knowledge sharing and networking:

6.  Collaboration Robustness Index (degree of networking generated, number of face-to-face meetings, number of on-line collaboration groups)

7.  Best Practices and Guideline Index (number of actions under the Programme organised in this area; percentage of tax administrations that made use of a working practice/guideline developed with the support of the Programme)

2a.  Additional indicators:

1.  Revenues collected in the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning in the course of joint audits

2.   Number of requests for administrative and judicial cooperation made, received and responded to for each Member State

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0421/2018).
(2)* Amendments: new or amended text is highlighted in bold italics; deletions are indicated by the symbol ▌.
(3) OJ C […], […], p. […].
(4) Regulation (EU) No 1286/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing an action programme to improve the operation of taxation systems in the European Union for the period 2014-2020 (Fiscalis 2020) and repealing Decision No 1482/2007/EC (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 25).
(5) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(6) Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).
(7) Council Directive 2014/107/EU of 9 December 2014 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation (OJ L 359, 16.12.2014, p. 1).
(8) Council Directive (EU) 2015/2376 of 8 December 2015 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation (OJ L 332, 18.12.2015, p. 1).
(9) Council Directive (EU) 2016/881 of 25 May 2016 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation (OJ L 146, 3.6.2016, p. 8).
(10) Council Directive (EU) 2016/2258 of 6 December 2016 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards access to anti-money-laundering information by tax authorities (OJ L 342, 16.12.2016, p. 1).
(11) Council Directive (EU) 2018/822 of 25 May 2018 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements (OJ L 139, 5.6.2018, p. 1).
(12) COM (2010)0700.
(13) Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on Better Law-making (OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1).
(14) Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999 (OJ L248, 18.9.2013, p. 1).
(15) Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95 of 18 December 1995 on the protection of the European Communities financial interests (OJ L 312, 23.12.95, p.1).
(16) Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 of 11 November 1996 concerning on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to protect the European Communities' financial interests against fraud and other irregularities (OJ L 292, 15.11.96, p. 2).
(17) Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of 12 October 2017 implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’) (OJ L 283, 31.10.2017, p.1).
(18) Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (OJ L 198, 28.7.2017, p. 29).
(19) Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax OJ L 347 (11.12.2006, p. 1).
(20) Council Directive 92/83/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the harmonization of the structures of excise duties on alcohol and alcoholic beverages (OJ L 316, 31.10.1992, p. 21).
(21) Council Directive 2011/64/EU of 21 June 2011 on the structure and rates of excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco (OJ L 176, 5.7.2011, p. 24).
(22) Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity (OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, p. 51).
(23) Council Directive 2010/24/EU of 16 March 2010 concerning mutual assistance for the recovery of claims relating to taxes, duties and other measures (OJ L 84, 31.3.2010, p. 1).
(24) Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation and repealing Directive 77/799/EEC (OJ L 64, 11.3.2011, p. 1).


Establishing the Rights and Values programme ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 17 January 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Rights and Values programme (COM(2018)0383 – C8-0234/2018 – 2018/0207(COD))(1)
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0040A8-0468/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Title
Proposal for a
Proposal for a
REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
establishing the Rights and Values programme
establishing the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  In accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union, ‘the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights, including the rights of the persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society where pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail’. Article 3 further specifies that the ‘Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its people’ and, among others, ‘it shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced’. Those values are further reaffirmed and articulated in the rights, freedoms and principles enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
(1)  In accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union, ‘the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. Of those rights and values, human dignity, as recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the primary foundation of all fundamental human rights. These values are common to the Member States in a society where pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail’. Article 3 further specifies that the ‘Union’s aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its people’ and, among others, ‘it shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced’. Those values are further reaffirmed and articulated in the rights, freedoms and principles enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 a (new)
(1a)   In its resolution of 30 May 2018 on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and own resources, the European Parliament stressed the importance of the horizontal principles that should underpin the multiannual financial framework (MFF) and all related Union policies, including the mainstreaming of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into all Union policies and initiatives of the next MFF, emphasised that the elimination of discrimination is vital to fulfil the Union’s commitments towards an inclusive Europe and deplored the lack of gender mainstreaming and gender equality commitments in Union policies, as presented in the MFF proposals.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 b (new)
(1b)   In its resolution of 14 March 2018 on the next MFF: Preparing the Parliament’s position on the MFF post-2020, the European Parliament expressed its support for programmes in the areas of culture, education, media, youth, sport, democracy, citizenship and civil society that have clearly demonstrated their European added value and enjoy lasting popularity among beneficiaries, underlined that a stronger and a more ambitious Union can only be achieved if it is provided with the financial means to do so, and recommended setting up an internal European Democracy Fund for the strengthened support of civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the fields of democracy and human rights, to be managed by the Commission. Continued support should be provided to existing policies, resources to the Union’ flagship programmes should be increased, and additional responsibilities should be matched with additional financial means.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  Those rights and values must continue to be promoted and enforced and shared among the citizens and peoples and be at the heart of the EU project. Therefore, a new Justice, Rights and Values Fund, comprising the Rights and Values and the Justice programmes shall be created in the EU budget. At a time where European societies are confronted with extremism, radicalism and divisions, it is more important than ever to promote, strengthen and defend justice, rights and EU values: human rights, respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law. This will have profound and direct implications for political, social, cultural and economic life in the EU. As part of the new Fund, the Justice Programme will continue to support the further development of Union area of justice and cross-border cooperation. The Rights and Values Programme will bring together the 2014-2020 Programme Rights, Equality and Citizenship established by Regulation (EU) No 1381/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council8 and the Europe for Citizens programme established by Council Regulation (EU) No 390/20149 , (hereafter 'the predecessor Programmes').
(2)  Those rights and values must continue to be actively cultivated, protected and promoted by the Union and each Member State in all their policies in a consistent way and must be enforced and shared among the citizens and peoples and be at the heart of the EU project, given that any deterioration in the protection of those rights and values in any Member State can have detrimental effects on the Union as a whole. Therefore, a new Justice, Rights and Values Fund, comprising the Rights and Values and the Justice programmes shall be created in the EU budget. At a time where European societies are confronted with extremism, radicalism and divisions and a continually shrinking space for independent civil society, it is more important than ever to promote, strengthen and defend justice, rights and EU values: human rights, respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, non-discrimination, and the rule of law. This will have profound and direct implications for political, social, cultural and economic life in the EU. As part of the new Fund, the Justice Programme will continue to support the further development of Union area of justice and cross-border cooperation. The Citizens, Equality, Rights, and Values Programme (the ‘Programme’) will bring together the 2014-2020 Programme Rights, Equality and Citizenship established by Regulation (EU) No 1381/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council8 and the Europe for Citizens programme established by Council Regulation (EU) No 390/201499, (hereafter 'the predecessor Programmes') and it will be adjusted to address new challenges to European values'.
__________________
__________________
8 Regulation (EU) No 1381/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme for the period 2014 to 2020 (OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 62)
8 Regulation (EU) No 1381/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme for the period 2014 to 2020 (OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 62)
9 Council Regulation (EU) No 390/2014 of 14 April 2014 establishing the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme for the period 2014-2020 (OJ L 115, 17.4.2014, p.3)
9 Council Regulation (EU) No 390/2014 of 14 April 2014 establishing the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme for the period 2014-2020 (OJ L 115, 17.4.2014, p.3)
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  The Justice, Rights and Values Fund and its two underlying funding programmes will focus primarily on people and entities, which contribute to make our common values, rights and rich diversity alive and vibrant. The ultimate objective is to nurture and sustain rights-based, equal, inclusive and democratic society. That includes a vibrant civil society, encouraging people's democratic, civic and social participation and fostering the rich diversity of European society, based on our common history and memory. Article 11 of the Treaty of the European Union further specifies that the institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action.
(3)  The Justice, Rights and Values Fund and its two underlying funding programmes will focus on people and entities, which contribute to make our common values, equality, rights and rich diversity alive and vibrant. The ultimate objective is to nurture and sustain rights-based, equal, open, inclusive and democratic society by funding activities that promote a vibrant, well-developed, resilient and empowered civil society, including advocacy for the promotion and protection of our common values, and that encourage people's democratic, civic and social participation and fosters peace and cultivates the rich diversity of European society, based on our common values, history and memory and heritage. Article 11 of the Treaty of the European Union requires that the institutions maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with civil society and, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 a (new)
(3 a)  The Commission should ensure a regular, open and transparent dialogue with the beneficiaries of the Programme and other relevant stakeholders by setting up a Civil Dialogue Group. The Civil Dialogue Group should contribute to the exchange of experiences and good practices and to the discussion of policy developments within the fields and objectives covered by the Programme and related fields. The Civil Dialogue Group should consist of organisations which have been selected to receive an operating or action grant under the Programme and other organisations and stakeholders who have expressed an interest in the Programme or work in this policy area, but are not necessarily supported by the Programme.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4
(4)  The Rights and Values programme (the 'Programme') should allow developing synergies to tackle the challenges that are common to the promotion and protection of values and to reach a critical dimension to have concrete results in the field. That should be achieved by building on the positive experience of the predecessor Programmes. This will enable to fully exploit the potential of synergies, to more effectively support the policy areas covered and to increase their potential to reach people. To be effective, the Programme should take into account the specific nature of the different policies, their different target groups and their particular needs through tailor-made approaches.
(4)  The Programme should allow developing synergies to tackle the challenges that are common to the promotion and protection of the values enshrined in the Treaties and to reach a critical dimension to have concrete results in the field. That should be achieved by building on and further developing the positive experience of the predecessor Programmes. This will enable to fully exploit the potential of synergies, to more effectively support the policy areas covered and to increase their potential to reach people. To be effective, the Programme should take into account the specific nature of the different policies, their different target groups and their particular needs and opportunities for participation through tailor-made and targeted approaches, including the promotion of all type of equality and gender-equality within.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4 a (new)
(4a)  Full respect and promotion of the rule of law and democracy is fundamental to building citizens' trust in the Union. Respect for the rule of law within the Union is a prerequisite for the protection of fundamental rights, as well as for upholding all rights and obligations enshrined in the Treaties. The way in which the rule of law is implemented in the Member States plays a vital role in ensuring mutual trust among Member States and their legal systems. The Programme should therefore promote and safeguard fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law at local, regional, national and transnational levels.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4 b (new)
(4b)  The rule of law, enshrined in Article 2 TEU as one of the Union values, include the principles of legality, implying a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic process for enacting laws; legal certainty; prohibition of arbitrariness of executive powers; effective judicial protection by independent courts, including of fundamental rights; and separation of powers and equality before the law.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5
(5)  In order to bring the European Union closer to its citizens, a variety of actions and coordinated efforts are necessary. Bringing together citizens in town-twinning projects or networks of towns and supporting civil society organisations in the areas covered by the programme will contribute to increase citizens' engagement in society and ultimately their involvement in the democratic life of the Union. At the same time supporting activities promoting mutual understanding, diversity, dialogue and respect for others fosters a sense of belonging and a European identity, based on a shared understanding of European values, culture, history and heritage. The promotion of a greater sense of belonging to the Union and of Union values is particularly important amongst citizens of the EU outermost regions due to their remoteness and distance from continental Europe.
(5)  In order to bring the European Union closer to its citizens, to foster democratic participation and to empower citizens to make use of their rights linked to European citizenship, a variety of actions and coordinated efforts, aiming at a balanced geographical distribution, are necessary. Bringing together citizens in town-twinning projects or networks of towns and supporting civil society organisations at the local, regional, national and transnational level in the areas covered by the programme will contribute to increase citizens' engagement in society and ultimately their active involvement in the democratic life of the Union as well as in shaping the Union’s political agenda. At the same time supporting activities promoting mutual understanding, intercultural dialogue, cultural, and linguistic diversity, reconciliation, social inclusion and respect for others, fosters a sense of belonging to the Union and a common citizenship under a European identity, based on a shared understanding of European values, culture, history and heritage. The promotion of a greater sense of belonging to the Union and of Union values is particularly important amongst citizens of the EU outermost regions due to their remoteness and distance from continental Europe.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)   Increasing plurality and global migration trends raise the importance of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue in our societies. Full support should be given through the Programme to intercultural and inter-religious dialogue as a part of social harmony in Europe and a key element to boost social inclusion and cohesion. While interreligious dialogue could help to highlight the positive contribution of religion to social cohesion, religious illiteracy risks setting the stage for the misuse of religious feeling among the population. The Programme should therefore support projects and initiatives developing religious literacy, fostering interreligious dialogue and mutual comprehension.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  Remembrance activities and critical reflection on Europe’s historical memory are necessary to make citizens aware of the common history, as the foundation for a common future, moral purpose and shared values. The relevance of historical, cultural and intercultural aspects should also be taken into account, as well as the links between remembrance and the creation of a European identity and sense of belonging together.
(6)  Remembrance activities and critical and creative thinking on Europe’s historical memory are necessary to make citizens, in particular young people, aware of their common history, as the foundation for a common future. The relevance of historical, social, cultural and intercultural aspects, tolerance and dialogue should also be taken into account in order to promote a common ground based on shared values, solidarity, diversity and peace, as well as the links between remembrance and the creation of a European identity and sense of belonging together.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  Citizens should also be more aware of their rights deriving from citizenship of the Union, and should feel at ease about living, travelling, studying, working and volunteering in another Member State, and should feel able to enjoy and exercise all their citizenship rights, place their trust in equal access, full enforceability and protection of their rights without any discrimination, no matter where in the Union they happen to be. Civil society needs to be supported for the promotion, safeguarding and raising awareness of EU common values under Article 2 TEU and in contributing to the effective enjoyment of rights under Union law.
(7)  Union citizens are not sufficiently aware of their rights deriving from citizenship of the Union, such as the right to vote in European and local elections or the right to receive consular protection from other Member States’ embassies. Citizens should be made more aware of these rights and should feel at ease about living, travelling, studying, working and volunteering in another Member State, and should feel able to enjoy and exercise all their citizenship rights, place their trust in equal access, full enforceability and protection of their rights without any discrimination, no matter where in the Union they happen to be. Civil society needs to be strengthened at all levels for the promotion, safeguarding and raising awareness of EU common values under Article 2 TEU and in contributing to the effective enjoyment of rights under Union law.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 a (new)
(7a)   The European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism and the Council Conclusions of 9-10 June 2011 on the memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Europe underline the importance of keeping the memories of the past alive as a means of building a common future and highlight the value of the Union's role in facilitating, sharing and promoting the collective memory of those crimes in a bid to breathe fresh life into a pluralist and democratic joint European identity.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  Equality between women and men is a fundamental value and an objective of the European Union. Discrimination against and unequal treatment of women violates their fundamental rights and prevents their full political, social and economic participation in society. In addition, the existence of structural and cultural barriers hinders the achievement of real gender equality. Promoting gender equality in all activities of the Union is therefore a core activity for the Union and a driver for economic growth and should be supported by the programme.
(8)  Gender equality is a fundamental value and an objective of the European Union. Article 8 of this Regulation gives the Union the task of eliminating inequalities and promoting equality between men and women through all its activities. Yet overall progress on gender equality is very slow, cf. the Gender Equality Index 2017, published by the European Institute for Gender Equality. Often silent and hidden intersectional discrimination against and unequal treatment of women and girls as well as various forms of violence against women violates their fundamental rights and prevents their full political, social and economic participation in society. In addition, the existence of political, structural and cultural barriers hinders the achievement of real gender equality. Promoting gender equality in all activities of the Union by supporting gender mainstreaming and non-discrimination objectives and by actively tackling stereotypes and addressing also silent discrimination is therefore a core activity for the Union and a driver for economic growth and should be supported by the programme.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9
(9)  Gender-based violence and violence against children and young people constitute a serious violation of fundamental rights. Violence persists throughout the Union, in all social and economic contexts, and has serious repercussions on victims’ physical and psychological health and on society as a whole. Children, young people and women are particularly vulnerable to violence, in particular in close relationships. Action should be taken to promote the rights of the child and to contribute to the protection of children from harm and violence, which pose a danger to their physical and mental health and constitute a breach of their rights to development, protection and dignity. Combating all forms of violence, promoting prevention and protecting and supporting victims are priorities of the Union which help fulfil individuals’ fundamental rights and contribute to equality between women and men. Those priorities should be supported by the Programme.
(9)  Gender-based violence and violence against children, young and older people, persons with disabilities, refugees and migrants, and against members of different minority groups, such as members of ethnic minority groups and LGBTQI people, constitute a serious violation of fundamental rights. Violence persists throughout the Union, in all social and economic contexts, and has serious repercussions on victims’ physical and psychological health and on society as a whole. Combating gender-based violence requires a multi-dimensional approach covering legal, educational, health, including sexual and reproductive rights, economic and other societal aspects such as supporting women’s rights organisations, providing advice and assistance and projects seeking to achieve the goal of a more gender equal society. There is a need to actively tackle harmful stereotypes and norms from an early age, as well as all forms of hate speech and online violence. Action should be taken to promote the rights of the child and to contribute to the protection of children from harm and violence, which pose a danger to their physical and mental health and constitute a breach of their rights to development, protection and dignity. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention) defines violence against women as ‘all acts of gender-based violence that result in, or are likely to result in, physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’. Combating all forms of violence, promoting and prevention and protecting and supporting victims are priorities of the Union which help fulfil individuals’ fundamental rights and contribute to equality between women and men. Those priorities should be supported by the Programme. Prevention and victims’ rights support should be designed in cooperation with the target group and ensure that they meet the specific needs of those with multiple vulnerabilities.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9 a (new)
(9a)  Undocumented women are particularly vulnerable to violence and sexual abuse and lack access to support. It is crucial to implement a victim-centred approach and offer adequate support services to all women throughout the Union, regardless of their residence status. The need for a gender-sensitive perspective in asylum processes is very important for intersectional work and can contribute to increased gender equality.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  Strong political will and coordinated action based on the methods and results of the previous Daphne Programmes, the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme and the Justice Programme are necessary in order to prevent and combat all forms of violence and to protect victims. In particular, since its launch in 1997, the Daphne funding to support victims of violence and combat the violence against women, children and young people has been a genuine success, both in terms of its popularity with stakeholders (public authorities, academic institutions and non-governmental organisations) and in terms of the effectiveness of the funded projects. It has funded projects to raise awareness, to provide support services to victims, to support the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on the ground. It has addressed all forms of violence, such as for instance domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking in human beings, as well as new emerging forms of violence such as cyber-bullying. It is therefore important to continue all these actions and that those results and lessons learned are taken into due consideration in the implementation of the Programme.
(10)  Strong political will and coordinated action based on the methods and results of the previous Daphne Programmes, the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme and the Justice Programme are necessary in order to prevent and combat all forms of violence and to protect victims. In particular, since its launch in 1997, the Daphne funding to support victims of violence and combat the violence against women, children and young people has been a genuine success, both in terms of its popularity with stakeholders (public authorities, academic institutions and non-governmental organisations) and in terms of the effectiveness of the funded projects. It has funded projects to raise awareness, to provide support services to victims, to support the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on the ground. It has addressed all forms of violence, such as for instance domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking in human beings, stalking and traditional harmful practices such as FGM, as well as new emerging forms of violence such as cyber-bullying and cyber harassment. It is therefore important to continue all these actions with an independent budget allocation for Daphne and that those results and lessons learned are taken into due consideration in the implementation of the Programme.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of the Union. Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Non-discrimination is also enshrined in Article 21 of the Charter. The specific features of the diverse forms of discrimination should be taken into account and appropriate action should be developed in parallel to prevent and combat discrimination on one or more grounds. The Programme should support actions to prevent and combat discrimination, racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, anti-muslim hatred and other forms of intolerance. In that context, particular attention should also be devoted to preventing and combating all forms of violence, hatred, segregation and stigmatisation, as well as combating bullying, harassment and intolerant treatment. The Programme should be implemented in a mutually reinforcing manner with other Union activities that have the same objectives, in particular with those referred to in the Commission Communication of 5 April 2011 entitled ‘An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 202010 ’ and in the Council Recommendation of 09 December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States11 .
(11)  Non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of the Union. Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Non-discrimination is also enshrined in Article 21 of the Charter. The specific features of the diverse forms of discrimination, including direct, indirect and structural discrimination, should be taken into account and appropriate action should be developed in parallel to prevent and combat discrimination on one or more grounds. The Programme should support actions to prevent and combat discrimination, racism, xenophobia, afrophobia, anti-semitism, anti-ziganism, anti-muslim hatred, homophobia and other forms of intolerance, both on-line and off-line, against persons belonging to minorities, taking into account the multiple levels of discrimination faced by women. In that context, particular attention should also be devoted to preventing and combating all forms of violence, hatred, segregation and stigmatisation, as well as combating bullying, harassment and intolerant treatment. The Programme should be implemented in a mutually reinforcing manner with other Union activities that have the same objectives, in particular with those referred to in the Commission Communication of 5 April 2011 entitled ‘An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 202010 ’ and in the Council Recommendation of 09 December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States11 .
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10 COM(2011)173.
10 COM(2011)173.
11 OJ C 378, 24.12.2013, p. 1.
11 OJ C 378, 24.12.2013, p. 1.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12
(12)  Attitudinal and environmental barriers as well as lack of accessibility hinder the full and effective participation of people with disabilities in society, on an equal basis with others. People with disabilities are faced with barriers to, among other things, access the labour market, benefit from an inclusive and quality education, avoid poverty and social exclusion, enjoy access to cultural initiatives and media, or use their political rights. As a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the UNCRPD), the Union and all its Member States have committed to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities. The provisions of the UNCRPD have become an integral part of the Union legal order.
(12)  Attitudinal and environmental barriers as well as lack of accessibility hinder the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society, on an equal basis with others. People with disabilities, including those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, are faced with barriers to, among other things, access the labour market, benefit from an inclusive and quality education, avoid poverty and social exclusion, enjoy access to cultural initiatives and media, or use their political rights. As a party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the UNCRPD), the Union and all its Member States have committed to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities. The provisions of the UNCRPD, the implementation of which is mandatory, have become an integral part of the Union legal order. In this regard the Programme should pay special attention to and fund awareness raising activities for the challenges people with disabilities face in participating fully in society and enjoying their rights as equal citizens.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13
(13)  The right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications (right to privacy) is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The protection of personal data is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Compliance with the rules for the protection of personal data is subject to the control by independent supervisory authorities. The Unions’ legal framework, in particular Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council12 and Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council13 lay down provisions to ensure that the right to protection of personal data is effectively protected. These legal instruments entrust the national data protection supervisory authorities with the task of promoting public awareness and understanding of the risks, rules, safeguards and rights in relation to the processing of personal data. The Union should be able to conduct awareness-raising activities, carry out studies and other relevant activities given the importance of the right to the protection of personal data in times of rapid technological developments.
(13)  The right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications (right to privacy) is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The protection of personal data is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Compliance with the rules for the protection of personal data is subject to the control by independent supervisory authorities. The Unions’ legal framework, in particular Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council12 and Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council13 lay down provisions to ensure that the right to protection of personal data is effectively protected. These legal instruments entrust the national data protection supervisory authorities with the task of promoting public awareness and understanding of the risks, rules, safeguards and rights in relation to the processing of personal data. The Union should be able to conduct awareness-raising activities, support civil society organisations in advocating for data protection in line with Union standards, and carry out studies and other relevant activities given the importance of the right to the protection of personal data in times of rapid technological developments.
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12 OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1-88.
12 OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1-88.
13 OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89-131.
13 OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89-131.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13 a (new)
(13a)   Freedom of expression and information is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Free access to information, evaluation of media framework conditions, and the responsible and safe use of information and communication networks are directly linked to the free development of public opinion and are essential for guaranteeing a functional democracy. It is necessary for the public to acquire the media literacy skills necessary for critical thinking and discernment and the ability to analyse complex realities, recognise differences between opinions and facts and resist any form of incitement to hatred. To this end, the Union should promote the development of media literacy for all citizens, regardless of their age, through training, awareness raising, studies and other relevant activities.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14
(14)  Article 24 TFEU obliges the European Parliament and the Council to adopt provisions for the procedures and conditions required for a citizen's initiative within the meaning of Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union. This has been done by adopting Regulation [(EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council14. The Programme should support the financing of technical and organisational support to implement Regulation [(EU) No 211/2011], thereby underpinning the exercise by citizens of the right to launch and support European citizens’ initiatives.
(14)  The European citizens’ initiative is the first supranational instrument of participative democracy, creating a direct link between European citizens and the Union institutions. Article 24 TFEU obliges the European Parliament and the Council to adopt provisions for the procedures and conditions required for a citizen's initiative within the meaning of Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union. This has been done by adopting Regulation [(EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council14. The Programme should support the financing of technical and organisational support to implement Regulation [(EU) No 211/2011], thereby underpinning the exercise by citizens of the right to launch, support and encourage others to support European citizens’ initiatives.
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14 Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 on the citizens’ initiative (OJ L 65, 11.3.2011, p. 1).
14 Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 on the citizens’ initiative (OJ L 65, 11.3.2011, p. 1).
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15
(15)  Pursuant to Articles 8 and 10 TFEU, the Programme in all its activities should support gender mainstreaming and the mainstreaming of non-discrimination objectives.
(15)  Pursuant to Articles 8 and 10 TFEU, the Programme in all its activities should support gender mainstreaming and the mainstreaming of non-discrimination objectives and should also promote the use of gender budgeting and gender impact assessment where necessary throughout the Union budgetary process. The proper implementation of gender mainstreaming requires gender budgeting in all relevant budget lines and the allocation of adequate resources and transparency in the budget lines dedicated to promoting gender equality and to combating gender-based discrimination. The individual projects and the Programme as such should be reviewed at the end of the funding period to determine the extent to which they have served the principles noted above.
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 17
(17)  In accordance with Union acts on equal treatment, Member States set up independent bodies for the promotion of equal treatment, commonly known as "equality bodies", in order to combat discrimination based on race and ethnic origin as well as gender. However, many Member States have gone beyond these requirements and ensured that equality bodies can also deal with discrimination based on the other grounds such as age, sexual orientation, religion and belief, disability or other grounds. Equality bodies play a key role in promoting equality and ensuring effective application of equal treatment legislation by providing in particular an independent assistance to victims of discrimination, conducting independent surveys concerning discrimination, publishing independent reports and making recommendations on any issue relating to discrimination in their country. It is essential that the work of equality bodies is coordinated at Union level in this respect. EQUINET was created in 2007. Its members are the national bodies for the promotion of equal treatment as established by Council Directives 2000/43/EC15 and 2004/113/EC16 , and by Directives 2006/54/EC17 and 2010/41/EU18 of the European Parliament and of the Council. EQUINET is in an exceptional situation, being the only entity which ensures coordination of activities between equality bodies. This coordination activity by EQUINET is key for the good implementation of Union anti-discrimination law in Member States and should be supported by the Programme.
(17)  In accordance with Union acts on equal treatment, Member States set up independent bodies for the promotion of equal treatment, commonly known as "equality bodies", in order to combat discrimination based on race and ethnic origin as well as gender. However, many Member States have gone beyond these requirements and ensured that equality bodies can also deal with discrimination based on the other grounds such as language, age, sexual orientation, religion and belief, disability or other grounds. Equality bodies play a key role in promoting equality and ensuring effective application of equal treatment legislation by providing in particular an independent assistance to victims of discrimination, conducting independent surveys concerning discrimination, publishing independent reports and making recommendations on any issue relating to discrimination in their country. It is essential that the work of all those relevant equality bodies is coordinated at Union level in this respect. EQUINET was created in 2007. Its members are the national bodies for the promotion of equal treatment as established by Council Directives 2000/43/EC15 and 2004/113/EC16, and by Directives 2006/54/EC17 and 2010/41/EU18 of the European Parliament and of the Council. On 22 June 2018 the Commission adopted its recommendation on standards for equality bodies, covering the mandate, independence, effectiveness and coordination and cooperation of equality bodies. EQUINET is in an exceptional situation, being the only entity which ensures coordination of activities between equality bodies. This coordination activity by EQUINET is key for the good implementation of Union anti-discrimination law in Member States and should be supported by the Programme.
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15 Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22).
15 Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22).
16 Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services (OJ L 373, 21.12.2004, p. 37).
16 Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services (OJ L 373, 21.12.2004, p. 37).
17 Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23).
17 Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23).
18 Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/EEC (OJ L 180, 15.7.2010, p. 1).
18 Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/EEC (OJ L 180, 15.7.2010, p. 1).
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 17 a (new)
(17a)  In order to increase accessibility and provide impartial guidance and practical information in relation to all aspects of the Programme, contact points should be set up in Member States to provide assistance to both beneficiaries and applicants. Programme contact points should be able to carry out their functions independently, without direct subordination or interference in their decision making from public authorities. It is possible for programme contact points to be managed by Member States or civil society organisations or consortia thereof. Programme contact points are not to have any responsibility regarding project selection;
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 18
(18)  Independent human rights bodies and civil society organisations play an essential role in promoting, safeguarding and raising awareness of the Union’s common values under Article 2 TEU, and in contributing to the effective enjoyment of rights under Union law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. As reflected in the European Parliament Resolution of 18 April 2018, adequate financial support is key to the development of a conducive and sustainable environment for civil society organisations to strengthen their role and perform their functions independently and effectively. Complementing efforts at national level, EU funding should therefore contribute to support, empower and build the capacity of independent civil society organisations active in the promotion of human rights whose activities help the strategic enforcement of rights under EU law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, including through advocacy and watchdog activities, as well as to promote, safeguard and raise awareness of the Union’s common values at national level.
(18)  Independent human rights bodies, civil society organisations and human rights defenders play an essential role in promoting, safeguarding and raising awareness of the Union’s common values under Article 2 TEU, and in contributing to the effective enjoyment of rights under Union law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. As reflected in the European Parliament Resolution of 19 April 2018, an increase in funding and adequate financial support is key to the development of a conducive and sustainable environment for civil society organisations to strengthen their role and perform their functions independently and effectively. Complementing efforts at national level, EU funding should therefore contribute to support, empower and build , including through adequate core funding and simplified cost options, financial rules and procedures, the capacity of independent civil society organisations active in the promotion of Union values such as democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights whose activities help the strategic enforcement of rights under EU law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, including through advocacy and watchdog activities, as well as to promote, safeguard and raise awareness of the Union’s common values at local, regional, national and transnational level.
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19
(19)  The Commission should ensure overall consistency, complementarity and synergies with the work of Union bodies, offices and agencies, in particular the European Institute for Gender Equality and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, and should take stock of the work of other national and international actors in the areas covered by the Programme.
(19)  The Commission should ensure overall consistency, complementarity and synergies with the work of Union bodies, offices and agencies, in particular the European Institute for Gender Equality and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, and should take stock of the work of other national and international actors in the areas covered by the Programme. The Commission should actively guide participants of this Programme to use the reports and resources generated by these Union bodies, offices and agencies, such as the gender budgeting and gender assessment tools developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality.
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19 a (new)
(19 a)  A comprehensive Union mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights should guarantee the regular and equal review of all Member States, providing the necessary information for the activation of measures related to general deficiencies of Union values in Member States.
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 20
(20)  The Programme should be open, subject to certain conditions, to the participation of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and EFTA members which are not members of the EEA and other European countries. Acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy should also be able to participate in the Programme.
(20)  As regards the implementation of the specific objectives of promoting gender equality and rights, promoting citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic life of the Union at local, regional, national and transnational level as well as combating violence, the Programme should be open, subject to certain conditions, to the participation of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and EFTA members which are not members of the EEA and other European countries. Acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy should also be able to participate in the Programme.
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 21
(21)  In order to ensure efficient allocation of funds from the general budget of the Union, it is necessary to ensure the European added value of all actions carried out, their complementarity to Member States’ actions, while consistency, complementarity and synergies shall be sought with funding programmes supporting policy areas with close links to each other, in particular within the Justice, Rights and Values Fund — and thus with the Justice Programme — as well as with Creative Europe programme, and Erasmus+ to realise the potential of cultural crossovers in the fields of culture, media, arts, education and creativity. It is necessary to create synergies with other European funding programmes, in particular in the fields of employment, internal market, enterprise, youth, health, citizenship, justice, migration, security, research, innovation, technology, industry, cohesion, tourism, external relations, trade and development.
(21)  In order to ensure efficient allocation of funds from the general budget of the Union, it is necessary to ensure the European added value of all actions carried out, including on local, national and international levels, directed at promoting and safeguarding the values enshrined in Article 2 TEU. The Commission should seek consistency, synergies and complementarity with Member States’ actions and with other funding programmes supporting policy areas with close links to Justice, Rights and Values Fund, including with Creative Europe programme, and Erasmus+, as well as with relevant policies of the Union.
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 21 a (new)
(21a)  Pursuant to Article 9 TFEU a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection and the fight against social exclusion should be promoted. Actions under the Programme therefore should promote synergies between the fight against poverty, social exclusion and exclusion from the labour market and the promotion of equality and fight against all forms of discrimination. Therefore, the implementation of the Programme should be carried out in a way to ensure a maximum of synergies and complementarities both between its different strands and with the European Social Fund Plus. Furthermore, synergies should be ensured with both Erasmus and the European Social Fund Plus in order to ensure that these funds jointly contribute to delivering high quality education and ensuring equal opportunities for all.
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 22 a (new)
(22 a)  It is important to ensure sound financial management of the programme and its implementation in the most effective and user-friendly manner possible, while also ensuring legal certainty and the accessibility of the programme to all participants.
Amendment 35
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 22 b (new)
(22 b)  Improving implementation and quality of spending should constitute guiding principles for achieving the objectives of the programme while ensuring optimal use of the financial resources.
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 23
(23)  Regulation (EU, Euratom) No [the new FR] (the ‘Financial Regulation’) applies to this Programme. It lays down rules on the implementation of the Union budget, including the rules on grants, prizes, procurement, indirect implementation, financial assistance, financial instruments and budgetary guarantees.
(23)  Regulation (EU, Euratom) No [the new FR] (the ‘Financial Regulation’) applies to this Programme. It lays down rules on the implementation of the Union budget, including the rules on grants, prizes, procurement, indirect implementation, financial assistance, financial instruments and budgetary guarantees and demands full transparency with respect to the use of resources, sound financial management and prudent use of resources. In particular, rules concerning the possibility for local, regional, national and transnational civil society organisations, including for local grassroot civil society organisations, to be funded through multiannual operating grants, cascading grants (financial support for third parties) and provisions ensuring fast and flexible grant-making procedures, such as a two-step-application procedure, user-friendly applications and reporting procedures, should be operationalised and further strengthened as part of the implementation of this Programme.
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 24
(24)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objectives of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation. In accordance with the Financial Regulation, Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council20 Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2988/9521 Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/9622 and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/193923 the financial interests of the Union are to be protected through proportionate measures, including the prevention, detection, correction and investigation of irregularities and fraud, the recovery of funds lost, wrongly paid or incorrectly used and, where appropriate, the imposition of administrative sanctions. In particular, in accordance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 and Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) may carry out administrative investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, with a view to establishing whether there has been fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union. In accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/1939, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) may investigate and prosecute fraud and other criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union as provided for in Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council24 . In accordance with the Financial Regulation, any person or entity receiving Union funds is to fully cooperate in the protection of the Union’s financial interests, to grant the necessary rights and access to the Commission, OLAF, the EPPO and the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and to ensure that any third parties involved in the implementation of Union funds grant equivalent rights.
(24)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objectives of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, the size and capacity of relevant stakeholders and targeted beneficiaries, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates, unit costs and cascading grants, as well as co-funding criteria which take into account volunteer work and financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation. Co-funding requirements should be accepted in kind and may be waived in cases of limited complementary funding. In accordance with the Financial Regulation, Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council20 Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2988/9521 Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/9622 and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/193923 the financial interests of the Union are to be protected through proportionate measures, including the prevention, detection, correction and investigation of irregularities and fraud, the recovery of funds lost, wrongly paid or incorrectly used and, where appropriate, the imposition of administrative sanctions. In particular, in accordance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 and Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) may carry out administrative investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, with a view to establishing whether there has been fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union. In accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/1939, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) may investigate and prosecute fraud and other criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union as provided for in Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council24 . In accordance with the Financial Regulation, any person or entity receiving Union funds is to fully cooperate in the protection of the Union’s financial interests, to grant the necessary rights and access to the Commission, OLAF, the EPPO and the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and to ensure that any third parties involved in the implementation of Union funds grant equivalent rights.
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20 Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999,(OJ L248, 18.9.2013, p. 1.
20 Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999,(OJ L248, 18.9.2013, p. 1.
21 Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95 of 18 December 1995 on the protection of the European Communities financial interests (OJ L 312, 23.12.95, p.1).
21 Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95 of 18 December 1995 on the protection of the European Communities financial interests (OJ L 312, 23.12.95, p.1).
22 Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 of 11 November 1996 concerning on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to protect the European Communities’ financial interests against fraud and other irregularities (OJ L292.15.11.96,, p.2).
22 Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 of 11 November 1996 concerning on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to protect the European Communities’ financial interests against fraud and other irregularities (OJ L292.15.11.96,, p.2).
23 Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of 12 October 2017 implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’) (OJ L283, 31.10.2017,, p.1).
23 Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of 12 October 2017 implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’) (OJ L283, 31.10.2017,, p.1).
24 Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law (OJ L 198, 28.7.2017, p. 29).
24 Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law (OJ L 198, 28.7.2017, p. 29).
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 25
(25)  Third countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) may participate in Union programmes in the framework of the cooperation established under the EEA agreement, which provides for the implementation of the programmes by a decision under that agreement. Third countries may also participate on the basis of other legal instruments. A specific provision should be introduced in this Regulation to grant the necessary rights for and access to the authorizing officer responsible, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) as well as the European Court of Auditors to comprehensively exert their respective competences.
(25)  In relation to the implementation of the specific objectives of promoting gender equality, rights, citizens’ engagement and participation in the democratic life of the Union at local, regional, national and transnational level and combating violence, third countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) may participate in Union programmes in the framework of the cooperation established under the EEA agreement, which provides for the implementation of the programmes by a decision under that agreement. Third countries may also participate on the basis of other legal instruments. A specific provision should be introduced in this Regulation to grant the necessary rights for and access to the authorizing officer responsible, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) as well as the European Court of Auditors to comprehensively exert their respective competences.
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 26 a (new)
(26 a)  The proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States aims to equip the Union to better protect its budget when weaknesses in the rule of law impair or threaten to impair sound financial management or the financial interests of the Union. It should complement the Rights and Values programme whose role is different, namely to fund policies in line with fundamental rights and European values that have at its core people's lives and participation.
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 27
(27)  Pursuant to [reference to be updated as appropriate according to a new decision on OCTs: Article 94 of Council Decision 2013/755/EU25], persons and entities established in overseas countries and territories (OCTs) are eligible for funding subject to the rules and objectives of the Programme and possible arrangements applicable to the Member State to which the relevant overseas country or territory is linked.
(27)  Pursuant to [reference to be updated as appropriate according to a new decision on OCTs: Article 94 of Council Decision 2013/755/EU25], persons and entities established in overseas countries and territories (OCTs) are eligible for funding subject to the rules and objectives of the Programme and possible arrangements applicable to the Member State to which the relevant overseas country or territory is linked. The constraints arising from the remoteness of OCTs must be taken into account when implementing the Programme, and their effective participation therein must be monitored and regularly evaluated.
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25 Council Decision 2013/755/EU of 25 November 2013 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union (Overseas Association Decision) (OJ L 344, 19.12.2013, p. 1).
25 Council Decision 2013/755/EU of 25 November 2013 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union (Overseas Association Decision) (OJ L 344, 19.12.2013, p. 1).
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 28
(28)  Reflecting the importance of tackling climate change in line with the Union’s commitments to implement the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, this Programme will contribute to mainstream climate action and to the achievement of an overall target of 25 % of the EU budget expenditures supporting climate objectives. Relevant actions will be identified during the Programme’s preparation and implementation, and reassessed in the context of its mid-term evaluation.
(28)  Reflecting the importance of tackling climate change in line with the Union’s commitments to implement the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, this Programme will contribute to mainstream climate action and to the achievement of an overall target of 25 % of the EU budget expenditures supporting climate objectives over the MFF 2021-2027 period, and an annual target of 30 % as soon as possible and at the latest by 2027. Relevant actions will be identified during the Programme’s preparation and implementation, and reassessed in the context of its mid-term evaluation.
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 29
(29)  Pursuant to paragraph 22 and 23 of the Inter-institutional agreement for Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016, there is a need to evaluate this Programme on the basis of information collected through specific monitoring requirements, while avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens, in particular on Member States. These requirements, where appropriate, can include measurable indicators, as a basis for evaluating the effects of the Programme on the ground.
(29)  Pursuant to paragraph 22 and 23 of the Inter-institutional agreement for Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016, there is a need to evaluate this Programme on the basis of information collected through specific monitoring requirements, while avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens, in particular on Member States. In this context, examples of applicants and beneficiaries who may not have the adequate resources and staff to meet the monitoring and reporting requirements, could be understood as civil society organisations, local public authorities, social partners, etc. These requirements, where appropriate, can include measurable indicators, as a basis for evaluating the effects of the Programme on the ground.
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 30
(30)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission in respect of indicators as indicated in Article 14 and 16 and Annex II. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016. In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States’ experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.
(30)  In order to supplement this Regulation with a view to carrying out the Programme and ensuring effective assessment of its progress towards the achievement of its objectives, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission in respect of work programmes pursuant to Article 13 and indicators as indicated in Articles 14 and 16 and Annex II. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016. In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States’ experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 31
(31)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council26 .
deleted
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26 Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by the Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers (OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13)
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1
This Regulation establishes the Rights and Values programme (‘Programme’).
This Regulation establishes the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme (‘Programme’).
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 2
It lays down the objectives of the Programme, the budget for the period 2021 – 2027, the forms of Union funding and the rules for providing such funding.
It lays down the objectives and scope of the Programme, the budget for the period 2021 – 2027, the forms of Union funding and the conditions for providing such funding.
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1
1.  The general objective of the Programme is to protect and promote rights and values as enshrined in the EU Treaties, including by supporting civil society organisations, in order to sustain open, democratic and inclusive societies.
1.  The general objective of the Programme is to protect and promote rights and values as enshrined in the Treaties, including democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights as enshrined in Article 2 TEU, in particular by supporting and building the capacity of civil society organisations at local, regional, national and transnational level, especially at grassroot level, and by encouraging civic and democratic participation, in order to sustain and further develop open, rights-based, democratic, equal and inclusive societies.
Amendment 48
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point -a (new)
(-a)  to protect and promote democracy and the rule of law at local, regional, national and transnational level (Union values strand),
Amendment 49
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point a
(a)  to promote equality and rights (Equality and rights strand),
(a)  to promote equality, including gender equality, rights, non-discrimination and advance gender mainstreaming (Equality, Rights and Gender Equality strand),
Amendment 50
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  to promote citizens engagement and participation in the democratic life of the Union (Citizens' engagement and participation strand),
(b)  to raise citizens’, in particular young people’s, awareness of the importance of the Union through activities aimed at keeping alive remembrance of the historic events that led to its creation, and to promote democracy, freedom of expression, pluralism, civic engagement as well as meetings of citizens and their active participation in the democratic life of the Union (Active Citizenship strand);
Amendment 51
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point c
(c)  to fight violence (Daphne strand).
(c)  to fight violence, including gender-based violence (Daphne strand).
Amendment 52
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 a (new)
Article 2 a
Union values strand
Within the general objective set out in Article 2(1) and within the specific objective set out in point (-a) of Article 2(2), the Programme shall focus on:
(a)   protecting and promoting democracy and the rule of law, including by supporting activities by civil society which promote the independence of the judiciary and an effective judicial protection by independent courts, including of fundamental rights; providing support for independent human rights defenders and civil society organisations undertaking monitoring compliance with the rule of law, for whistleblower defence and for initiatives that promote the shared culture of transparency, good governance and fight against corruption;
(b)   promoting the construction of a more democratic Union as well as protecting and raising awareness of the rights and values enshrined in the Treaties by providing financial support to independent civil society organisations which promote and cultivate these rights and values at local, regional, national and transnational level, thereby creating an environment that enables democratic dialogue and strengthening freedom of expression, peaceful assembly or association, media freedom and pluralism of the media, and academic freedom.
Amendment 53
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – title
Equality and rights strand
Equality, Rights and Gender Equality strand
Amendment 54
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
Within the specific objective set out in point (a) of Article 2(2), the Programme shall focus on:
Within the general objective set out in Article 2(1) and within the specific objective set out in point (a) of Article 2(2), the Programme shall focus on:
Amendment 55
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  preventing and combating inequalities and discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, and supporting comprehensive policies to promote gender equality and anti-discrimination and their mainstreaming as well policies to combat racism and all forms of intolerance;
(a)  promoting equality and preventing and combating inequalities and discrimination on grounds of sex, racial, social or ethnic origin, colour, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age, or sexual orientation or any other grounds and supporting comprehensive policies to promote equality and anti-discrimination and their mainstreaming as well as policies to combat racism and all forms of intolerance, both online and offline;
Amendment 56
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – point a a (new)
(a a)  supporting comprehensive policies and programmes to promote women’s rights, gender equality, women’s empowerment and gender mainstreaming;
Amendment 57
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – title
Citizens engagement and participation strand
Active Citizenship strand
Amendment 58
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
Within the specific objective set out in point (b) of Article 2(2), the Programme shall focus on:
Within the specific objective set out in point (a) of Article 2(2), the Programme shall pursue the following objectives:
Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  increasing citizens’ understanding of the Union, its history, cultural heritage and diversity;
(a)  supporting projects put forward by citizens, with a particular focus on young people, aimed at encouraging people to not only remember the events that preceded the establishment of the Union, which build the core of its historical memory, but also to learn more about their shared history, culture and values, and to get a sense of the wealth of their common cultural heritage and of the cultural and linguistic diversity, which constitute the foundation for a common future; fostering citizens’ understanding of the Union, its origins, raison d’être and achievements, and increasing their awareness of its present and future challenges, and of the importance of mutual understanding and tolerance, which are at the very heart of the European project;
Amendment 60
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point a a (new)
(aa)   promoting and supporting exchanges of good practice regarding formal and informal education for European citizenship;
Amendment 61
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  promoting exchange and cooperation between citizens of different countries; to promote citizens’ civic and democratic participation allowing citizens and representative associations to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action;
(b)  promoting public dialogue through town twinning, meetings of citizens, in particular young people, and through cooperation between municipalities, local communities and civil society organisations of different countries, so as to afford them direct practical experience of the wealth of cultural diversity and heritage in the Union, and to increase citizens’ engagement in society
Amendment 62
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1 – point b a (new)
(ba)  encouraging and enhancing civic participation in the democratic life of the Union on local, national and transnational levels; allowing citizens and associations to promote intercultural dialogue and conduct proper public debates about all areas of Union action, thereby contributing to shaping the political agenda of the Union; supporting organised joint initiatives in the form of both citizens’ associations and networks of legal entities to implement more effectively the objectives set out in the previous paragraphs;
Amendment 63
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
Within the specific objective set out in point (c) of Article 2(2), the Programme shall focus on:
Within the general objective set out in Article 2(1) and within the specific objective set out in point (c) of Article 2(2), the Programme shall focus on:
Amendment 64
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point -a (new)
(-a)  preventing and combating all forms of gender-based violence against women and promoting the full implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention) at all levels; and
Amendment 65
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  preventing and combating all forms of violence against children, young people and women, as well as violence against other groups at risk;
(a)  preventing and combating all forms of violence against children, young people, as well as violence against other groups at risk, such as LGBTQI persons, persons with disabilities, minorities, elderly people, and migrants and refugees;
Amendment 66
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  supporting and protecting victims of such violence.
(b)  supporting and protecting victims of such violence, including by supporting the activities of civil society organisations that facilitate and ensure access to justice, to victim support services and to safe police reporting for all victims of violence, and supporting and ensuring the same level of protection throughout the Union for victims of gender-based violence.
Amendment 67
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 1
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR [641 705 000] in current prices.
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR [1 627 000 000] in 2018 prices [EUR 1 834 000 000 in current prices].
Amendment 68
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2 – point -a (new)
(-a)  EUR [754 062 000 in 2018 prices] [EUR 850 000 000 in current prices] (i.e. 46,34% of the total financial envelope) for the specific objectives referred to in point (-a) of Article 2(2);
Amendment 69
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2 – point a
(a)  EUR [408.705.000] for the specific objectives referred to in article 2(2)(a) and 2(2)(c);
(a)  EUR [429 372 000 in 2018 prices] [EUR 484 000 000] (i.e. 26,39% of the total financial envelope) for the specific objectives referred to in points (a) and (c) of Article 2(2);
Amendment 70
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  EUR [233.000.000] for the specific objective referred to in Article 2(2)(b);
(b)  EUR [443 566 000 in 2018 prices] [EUR 500 000 000] (i.e. 27,26% of the total financial envelope) for the specific objectives referred to in point (b) of Article 2(2).
Amendment 71
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 a (new)
The Commission shall allocate at least 50% of the amounts referred to in points (-a) and (a) of the first subparagraph of this paragraph to support activities carried out by civil society organisations, of which at least 65% shall be allocated to local and regional civil society organisations.
The Commission shall not depart from the allocated percentages of the financial envelope, as set out in Annex I(-a) by more than five percentage points. Should it prove necessary to exceed that limit, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 16 to amend Annex 1(-a) by modifying by between five and ten percentage points the allocated percentages of Programme funds.
Amendment 72
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 5
5.  Resources allocated to Member States under shared management may, at their request, be transferred to the Programme. The Commission shall implement those resources directly in accordance with Article 62(1)(a) of the Financial Regulation or indirectly in accordance with Article 62(1)(c). Where possible those resources shall be used for the benefit of the Member State concerned.
5.  Resources allocated to Member States under shared management may, at their request or at the Commission's request, be transferred to the Programme. The Commission shall implement those resources directly in accordance with Article 62(1)(a) of the Financial Regulation. Where possible, those resources shall be used for the benefit of the Member State.
Amendment 73
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 a (new)
Article 6 a
Values Support Mechanism
1.   In exceptional cases, where there is a serious and rapid deterioration in a Member State as regards compliance with Union values enshrined in Article 2 TEU, and those values are at risk of not being sufficiently protected and promoted, the Commission may open a call for proposals in the form of a fast-track procedure for grant applications for civil society organisations, with a view to facilitate, support and enhance the democratic dialogue in the Member State in question and to address the problem of insufficient compliance with the values enshrined in Article 2 TEU.
2.   The Commission shall earmark up to 5% of the amounts referred to in Article 6(2)(-a) to the values support mechanism referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article. At the end of every budgetary year, the Commission shall transfer any non-committed funds under this mechanism to support other actions which fall under the objectives of the Programme.
3.   The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 16 to trigger the values support mechanism referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article. The activation of the mechanism shall be based on a comprehensive, regular and evidence-based monitoring and evaluation of the situation in all Member States as regards democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights.
Amendment 74
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 1
1.  The Programme shall be implemented in direct management in accordance with the Financial Regulation or in indirect management with bodies referred to in Article 61(1)(c) of the Financial Regulation.
1.  The Programme shall be implemented in direct management in accordance with the Financial Regulation or in indirect management with bodies referred to in point (c) of Article 62(1) of the Financial Regulation.
Amendment 75
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 2
2.  The Programme may provide funding in any of the forms laid down in the Financial Regulation.
2.  The Programme may provide funding in any of the forms laid down in the Financial Regulation, primarily through action grants as well as annual and multiannual operating grants. That funding shall be implemented in such a way as to ensure sound financial management, prudent use of public funds, lower levels of administrative burden for the Programme operator and for beneficiaries, as well as accessibility of the Programme funds to potential beneficiaries. Lump sums, unit costs, flat rates and cascading grants (financial support to third parties) may be used. Co-funding shall be accepted in kind and may be waived in cases of limited complementary funding.
Amendment 76
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1
Actions contributing to the achievement of a specific objective specified in Article 2 may receive funding under this Regulation. In particular, activities listed in Annex I shall be eligible for funding.
1.   Actions contributing to the achievement of a general or specific objective specified in Article 2 may receive funding under this Regulation. In particular, activities listed in Article 9 a (shall be eligible for funding).
Amendment 77
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 2 (new)
2.   In line with Article 11(2) TEU, the Commission shall set up a ‘Civil Dialogue Group’ aimed at ensuring a regular, open and transparent dialogue with the beneficiaries of the Programme and other relevant stakeholders in order to exchange experiences and good practices and to discuss policy developments within the fields and objectives covered by the Programme and related fields.
Amendment 78
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 a (new)
Article 9 a
Activities eligible for funding
The general and specific objectives of the Programme set out in Article 2 will be carried out in particular, but not exclusively, by supporting the following activities:
(a)   awareness raising, public education, promotion and dissemination of information to improve the knowledge of the policies, principles and rights within the areas and objectives covered by the Programme;
(b)   mutual learning through the exchange of good practices among stakeholders to improve knowledge and mutual understanding and civic and democratic engagement;
(c)   analytical monitoring, reporting and advocacy activities to improve the understanding of the situation in Member States and at Union level in the areas covered by the Programme as well as to improve the proper transposition and implementation of Union law, policies and common Union values within Member States, such activities to include for instance the collection of data and statistics; the development of common methodologies and, where appropriate, indicators or benchmarks; studies, research, analyses and surveys; evaluations; impact assessment; the elaboration and publication of guides, reports and educational material;
(d)   training relevant stakeholders to improve their knowledge of the policies and rights in the fields covered by the Programme and strengthening relevant stakeholders’ independence and their capacity to advocate for the policies and rights in the fields covered by the Programme, including through strategic litigation;
(e)   promoting public awareness and understanding of the risks, rules, safeguards and rights in relation to the protection of personal data, privacy, and digital security;
(f)   strengthening citizen's awareness of European core values and their commitment to justice, equality, rule of law and democracy as well as of their rights and obligations derived from Union citizenship, such as the right to travel, work, study and live in another Member State, through information campaigns and the promotion of mutual understanding, intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity within the Union;
(g)   strengthening awareness among citizens, especially young people, of European culture, cultural heritage, identity, history and remembrance, and reinforcing their sense of belonging in the Union, particularly through initiatives to reflect on the causes of totalitarian regimes in Europe’s modern history and to commemorate the victims of those crimes, perpetrated injustices, and activities concerning other defining moments in recent European history;
(h)   bringing together citizens of different nationalities and cultures by giving them the opportunity to participate in town-twinning activities and small scale and civil society projects, thus creating the conditions for a stronger bottom-up approach;
(i)   encouraging and facilitating active and inclusive participation, with particular attention to marginalised groups of society, in the construction of a more democratic Union, as well as raising awareness and promoting and defending fundamental rights, rights and values through support to civil society organisations active in the areas covered by the Programme at all levels, as well as developing the capacity of European networks and civil society organisations to contribute to the development, awareness raising and monitoring of the implementation of Union law, policy goals, values and strategies;
(j)   financing the technical and organisational support to implement Regulation [(EU)No 211/2011], thereby underpinning the exercise by citizens of the right to launch and support European citizens’ initiatives;
(k)   enhancing knowledge of the Programme and dissemination and transferability of its results and fostering citizen and civil society outreach, including by setting up and supporting independent programme contact points;
(l)  strengthening the capacity and independence of human rights defenders and civil society organisations monitoring the situation of the rule of law and supporting actions at local, regional, national and transnational levels;
(m)   supporting whistleblower defence, including initiatives and measures to establish safe channels for reporting within organisations and to public authorities or other relevant bodies, as well as measures to protect whistleblowers against dismissal, demotion or other forms of retaliation, including through information and training for relevant public authorities and stakeholders;
(n)   supporting initiatives and measures to promote and protect freedom and pluralism of the media and to build capacity for new challenges such as new media and countering hate speech as well as targeted misinformation through awareness raising, training, studies and monitoring activities;
(o)   supporting civil society organisations active in promoting and monitoring integrity, transparency and accountability of public administration and public authorities, and in fighting corruption;
(p)   supporting organisations helping, housing and protecting victims of violence and people under threat, including to women's’ shelters.
Amendment 79
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 1
1.  Grants under the Programme shall be awarded and managed in accordance with Title VIII of the Financial Regulation.
1.  Grants under the Programme shall be awarded and managed in accordance with Title VIII of the Financial Regulation and shall include action grants, multiannual operating grants and cascading grants.
Amendment 80
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 2
2.  The evaluation committee may be composed of external experts.
2.  The evaluation committee may be composed of external experts. The composition of the evaluation committee shall ensure gender balance.
Amendment 81
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 1
1.  An action that has received a contribution under the Programme may also receive a contribution from any other Union programme, including Funds under shared management, provided that the contributions do not cover the same costs. [The cumulative financing shall not exceed the total eligible costs of the action and the support from different Union programmes may be calculated on a pro-rata basis].
1.  An action that has received a contribution under the Programme may also receive a contribution from any other Union programme, including Funds under shared management, provided that the contributions do not cover the same costs, and double sourcing of funds is avoided by clearly indicating the sources of funding for each category of expenditure, in line with the principle of sound financial management. [The cumulative financing shall not exceed the total eligible costs of the action and the support from different Union programmes may be calculated on a pro-rata basis].
Amendment 82
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2 – point a – indent 1
–  a Member State or an overseas country or territory linked to it;
–  a Member State or an overseas country or territory linked to a Member State;
Amendment 83
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2 – point a – indent 2
—  a third country associated to the Programme;
—  for the specific objectives referred to in points (a) and (c) of Article 2(2), a third country associated to the Programme in accordance with Article 7 of this Regulation;
Amendment 84
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  any legal entity created under Union law or any international organisation;
(b)  any non-profit legal entity created under Union law or any international organisation;
Amendment 85
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 3
3.  An operating grant may be awarded without a call for proposals to The European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET) to cover expenditure associated to its permanent work programme.
3.  An operating grant may be awarded without a call for proposals to the European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET), under Article 6(2)(a), to cover expenditure associated with its permanent work programme, provided that a gender impact assessment of their work programme has been completed.
Amendment 86
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – title
Work programme
Work programme and multiannual priorities
Amendment 87
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 1
1.  The Programme shall be implemented by work programmes referred to in Article 110 of Financial Regulation.
1.  The Programme shall be carried out by work programmes referred to in Article 110 of Financial Regulation.
Amendment 88
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 1 a (new)
1a.  The Commission shall apply the partnership principle when deciding its priorities under the Programme and provide for a comprehensive involvement of stakeholders into planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of this Programme and its work programmes in accordance with Article 15a.
Amendment 89
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 2
2.  The work programme shall be adopted by the Commission by means of an implementing act. That implementing act shall be adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure referred to in Article 19.
2.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 16 to supplement this Regulation by establishing the appropriate work programme.
Amendment 90
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 1
1.  Indicators to report on progress of the Programme towards the achievement of the specific objectives set out in Article 2 are set out in Annex II.
1.  Indicators to report on progress of the Programme towards the achievement of the specific objectives set out in Article 2 shall, where applicable, be collected disaggregated by gender. The list of indicators are set out in Annex II.
Amendment 91
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 3
3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that data for monitoring programme implementation and results are collected efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner. To that end, proportionate reporting requirements shall be imposed on recipients of Union funds and Member States.
3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that data for monitoring programme implementation and results are collected efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner. To that end, proportionate and least burdensome reporting requirements shall be imposed on recipients of Union funds and Member States. In order to facilitate reporting requirements being met, the Commission shall make available user-friendly formats and provide orientation and support programmes particularly targeted to civil society organisations, who may not always have the know-how and adequate resources and staff to meet reporting requirements.
Amendment 92
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15 – paragraph 1
1.  Evaluations shall be carried out in a timely manner to feed into the decision-making process.
1.  Evaluations shall be gender sensitive, providing gender-disaggregated figures, include a specific chapter for each strand and take into account the number of people reached, their feedback and their geographical coverage and be carried out in a timely manner to feed into the decision-making process.
Amendment 93
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15 – paragraph 2
2.  The interim evaluation of the Programme shall be performed once there is sufficient information available about the implementation of the Programme, but no later than four years after the start of the programme implementation. The mid-term evaluation shall take into account the results of the evaluations of the long-term impact of the predecessor programmes (Rights Equality and Citizenship and Europe for Citizens).
2.  The interim evaluation of the Programme shall be performed once there is sufficient information available about the implementation of the Programme, but no later than four years after the start of the programme implementation. The interim evaluation shall take into account the results of the evaluations of the long-term impact of the predecessor programmes (Rights Equality and Citizenship and Europe for Citizens). The interim evaluation shall include a gender impact assessment to assess the extent to which gender equality goals of the Programme are being achieved, to ensure no component of the Programme is having unintended negative impacts on gender equality and to identify recommendations for how future calls for proposals and operating grant decisions can be developed to actively promote gender equality considerations.
Amendment 94
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15 – paragraph 4
4.  The Commission shall communicate the conclusions of the evaluations accompanied by its observations, to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
4.  The Commission shall communicate the conclusions of the evaluations accompanied by its observations, to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. The Commission shall make the evaluation public and easily accessible by publishing it on its website.
Amendment 95
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 2
2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 14 shall be conferred on the Commission until 31 December 2027.
2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles 13 and 14 shall be conferred on the Commission until 31 December 2027.
Amendment 96
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 3
3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 14 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.
3.  The delegation of power referred to in Articles 13 and 14 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.
Amendment 97
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 4
4.  Before adopting a delegated act, the Commission shall consult experts designated by each Member State in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016.
4.  Before adopting a delegated act, the Commission shall consult experts designated by each Member State in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making. The composition of the group of experts consulted shall ensure gender balance. When preparing and drawing up delegated acts, the Commission shall ensure a timely and simultaneous transmission of all documents, including the draft acts, to the European Parliament and the Council at the same time as to Member States' experts. Where they consider this necessary, the European Parliament and the Council may each send experts to meetings of the Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts to which Member States' experts are invited. To that end, the European Parliament and the Council shall receive the planning for the following months and invitations for all experts meetings.
Amendment 98
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 5
5.  As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council.
5.  As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council. Based on the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making, citizens and other stakeholders may express their opinion on the draft text of a delegated act during a four-week period. The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions shall be consulted on the draft text, based on the experience of NGOs and local and regional authorities with respect to the implementation of the Programme.
Amendment 99
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 6
6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 14 shall enter into force if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or by the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.
6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Articles 13 or 14 shall enter into force if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or by the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.
Amendment 100
Proposal for a regulation
Article 18 – paragraph 1
1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin and ensure the visibility of the Union funding (in particular when promoting the actions and their results) by providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and the public.
1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin and ensure the visibility of the Union funding (in particular when promoting the actions and their results), by providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information, and in a form which is also accessible for people with disabilities, to multiple audiences, including the media and the public and, where appropriate, beneficiaries of actions funded in this way and participants therein, thereby showing the Union added value and aiding the data gathering efforts of the Commission in order to enhance budgetary transparency
Amendment 101
Proposal for a regulation
Article 18 – paragraph 2
2.  The Commission shall implement information and communication actions relating to the Programme, and its actions and results. Financial resources allocated to the Programme shall also contribute to the corporate communication of the political priorities of the Union, as far as they are related to the objectives referred to in Article 2.
2.  The Commission shall implement information and communication actions relating to the Programme, and its actions and results.
Amendment 102
Proposal for a regulation
Article 18 a (new)
Article 18 a
Programme Contact Points
In each Member State there shall be an independent programme contact point with qualified staff tasked, in particular, with providing the stakeholders and beneficiaries of the Programme with impartial guidance, practical information and assistance regarding all aspects of the Programme, including in relation to the application procedure.
Amendment 103
Proposal for a regulation
Article 19
Article 19
deleted
Committee procedure
1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a committee. This committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.
2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.
3.  The committee may meet in specific configurations to deal with the individual strands of the Programme.
Amendment 104
Proposal for a regulation
Annex -I (new)
Annex -I
The available Programme funds referred to in Article 6(1) shall be allocated as follows:
(a)  Within the amount referred to in point (a) of Article 6(2):
—  at least 15% to activities implementing the specific objective under point (aa) of Article 3;
—  at least 40% to activities implementing the specific objectives under point (-a) of Article 5; and
—  at least 45% to activities implementing the specific objectives under points (a) and (b) of Article 3 and points (a) and (b) of Article 5;
(b)  Within the amount referred to in point (b) of Article 6(2):
—  15% to remembrance activities;
—  65% to democratic participation;
—  10% to promotional activities; and
—  10% to administration.
Amendment 105
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I
Annex I
deleted
Activities of the Programme
The specific objectives of the Programme referred to in Article 2(2) will be pursued in particular through support to the following activities:
(a)   awareness raising, dissemination of information to improve the knowledge of the policies and rights in the areas covered by the Programme;
(b)   mutual learning through exchange of good practices among stakeholders to improve knowledge and mutual understanding and civic and democratic engagement;
(c)   analytical and monitoring activities1 to improve the understanding of the situation in the Member States and at EU level in the areas covered by the Programme as well as to improve the implementation of EU law and policies;
(d)   training relevant stakeholders to improve their knowledge of the policies and rights in the fields covered;
(e)   information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools development and maintenance;
(f)   strengthening citizen's awareness of European culture, history and remembrance as well as their sense of belonging to the Union;
(g)   bringing together Europeans of different nationalities and cultures by giving them the opportunity to participate in town-twinning activities;
(h)   encouraging and facilitating active participation in the construction of a more democratic Union as well as awareness of rights and values through support to civil society organisations;
(i)   financing the technical and organisational support to implement Regulation [(EU)No 211/2011], thereby underpinning the exercise by citizens of the right to launch and support European citizens’ initiatives;
(j)   developing the capacity of European networks to promote and further develop Union law, policy goals and strategies as well as supporting civil society organisations active in the areas covered by the Programme;
(k)   enhancing knowledge of the programme and dissemination and transferability of its results and fostering citizen outreach, including by setting up and supporting programme desks/national contact network.
1 These activities include for instance the collection of data and statistics; the development of common methodologies and, where appropriate, indicators or benchmarks; studies, researches, analyses and surveys; evaluations; impact assessment; the elaboration and publication of guides, reports and educational material.
Amendment 106
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II – paragraph 1 – introductory part
The Programme will be monitored on the basis of a set of indicators intended to measure the extent to which the general and specific objectives of the Programme have been achieved and with a view to minimising administrative burdens and costs. To that end, data will be collected as regards the following set of key indicators:
The Programme will be monitored on the basis of a set of result indicators intended to measure the extent to which the general and specific objectives of the Programme have been achieved and with a view to minimising administrative burdens and costs. Where possible, indicators are to be broken down by age, sex and any other collectable data, such as for instance ethnicity, disability and gender identity. To that end, data will be collected as regards the following set of key indicators:
Amendment 107
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II – paragraph 1 – table
Number of people reached by:
Number of people, disaggregated by sex and age, reached by:
(i)  training activities;
(i)  training activities;
(ii)  mutual learning and exchange of good practices activities;
(ii)  mutual learning and exchange of good practices activities;
(iii)  awareness raising, information and dissemination activities.
(iii)  awareness raising, information and dissemination activities.
Amendment 108
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II – paragraph 1 – row 1 a (new)
The Commission shall also publish the following output indicators annually:
Amendment 109
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II – paragraph 1 – row 1 b (new)
Number of applications and activities funded per list in Article 9(1) and per strand
Amendment 110
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II – paragraph 1 – row 1 c (new)
The level of funding requested by applicants and granted by listing of Article 9(1) and per strand
Amendment 111
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II – table – row 6
Number of transnational networks and initiatives focusing on European memory and heritage as a result of programme intervention
Number of transnational networks and initiatives focusing on European remembrance, heritage and civil dialogue as a result of programme intervention.
Amendment 112
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II – table – row 6 a (new)
Geographical distribution of projects

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0468/2018).


European Instrument for Nuclear Safety complementing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 January 2019 on the proposal for a Council regulation establishing a European Instrument for Nuclear Safety complementing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty (COM(2018)0462 – C8-0315/2018 – 2018/0245(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0041A8-0448/2018

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2018)0462),

—  having regard to Article 203 of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0315/2018),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0448/2018),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, in accordance with Article 293(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community;

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

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

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2 a (new)
(2a)  Consequently, commitments to nuclear security, non-proliferation and nuclear safety, as well as sustainable development goals, and the Union’s overall interests should play a vital role in guidance of the programming of actions under this Regulation.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  The objective of the present Programme "European Instrument for Nuclear Safety complementing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty" should be to promote the establishment of effective and efficient nuclear safety, radiation protection, and the application of efficient and effective safeguards of nuclear materials in third countries, building on its own activities within the Union.
(3)  The objective of the present Programme "European Instrument for Nuclear Safety complementing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty" (the ‘Instrument’) should be to promote the establishment of effective and efficient nuclear safety, radiation protection, and the application of efficient and effective safeguards of nuclear materials in third countries, building on the regulatory frameworks and sharing of best practices that exist within the Union.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 a (new)
(3a)  The Instrument should not, by any means, promote the use of nuclear energy in third countries and the Union, but should focus in particular on improving nuclear safety standards globally while promoting a high level of radiation protection and the application of effective and efficient safeguards of nuclear materials.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 b (new)
(3b)  The nuclear accidents in the nuclear power plants of Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 have clearly shown that nuclear accidents have devastating global consequences for citizens and the environment. This underlines the necessity for the highest nuclear safety standards and safeguards and continuous efforts to improve these standards and safeguards globally, as well as for the Community’s engagement in supporting these goals in third countries. Those standards and safeguards should reflect state of the art practices, in particular in governance and regulatory independence.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4
(4)  This Regulation forms part of the framework devised for the planning of cooperation and should complement those nuclear cooperation measures that are financed under [the Regulation NDICI].
(4)  This Regulation forms part of the framework devised for the planning of cooperation and should complement those nuclear cooperation measures that are financed under [the Regulation NDICI] which is falling under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular its Articles 209, 212 and 322(1).
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)  The Community is member of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (1994) and member of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management (1997).
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5 b (new)
(5b)  Transparency and public information in relation to nuclear safety, safeguards, decommissioning and waste management activities such as required, for example, by the Aarhus Convention (1998) are an important element to prevent negative impacts of radioactive material on citizens and the environment and should thus be guaranteed under the Instrument.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  The Community should continue its close cooperation, in accordance with Chapter 10 of the Euratom Treaty with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in relation to nuclear safety and nuclear safeguards, in furtherance of the objectives of Chapters 3 and 7 of Title II.
(6)  The Community should continue its close cooperation, in accordance with Chapter 10 of the Euratom Treaty with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in relation to nuclear safety and nuclear safeguards, in furtherance of the objectives of Chapters 3 and 7 of Title II. It should further cooperate with other highly regarded international organisations in the field such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, which pursue similar goals in nuclear safety as the Community. Coherence, complementarity and cooperation between the Instrument and these organisations and their programmes can increase the scope, efficiency and effectiveness of nuclear safety measures around the world. Unnecessary duplications and overlaps should be avoided.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6 a (new)
(6a)  To continuously improve nuclear safety and to enhance regulation in this area in the Union, the Council adopted Council Directives 2009/71/Euratom, 2011/70/Euratom and 2013/59/Euratom. Those directives, as well as the high nuclear safety and decommissioning standards in the Community, shall serve as a guideline for actions financed under the Instrument and shall motivate cooperating third countries to implement regulations and standards with the same level of safety.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6 b (new)
(6b)  The Instrument should also promote international cooperation based on conventions on nuclear safety and radioactive waste management. Partner countries should be encouraged to become parties to those conventions allowing for an IAEA-assisted periodic peer review of their national systems. Peer reviews provide an external view of the state-of-play and challenges in nuclear safety in third countries, which can be used in programming of the high-level Union support. The Instrument can benefit from the reviews of well-respected international nuclear energy agencies that carry out peer reviews reporting to the potential beneficiaries of the Instrument. The findings and recommendations of such peer reviews that are made available to national authorities can also be helpful in prioritising concrete support measures for the third countries concerned.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6 c (new)
(6c)  The concepts of nuclear safety and nuclear security are inextricably linked, as lacks in nuclear safety, e.g. in safe operation processes, can lead to nuclear security risks, and as nuclear security risks, especially new risks e.g. in cyber-security, may lead to new challenges for nuclear safety. Thus, the Union’s nuclear security activities in third countries, as laid down in Annex II to Regulation ... [COD No 2018/0243 (NDICI)] and activities funded through the Instrument should be coherent and complementary.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  This Instrument should provide for actions in support of those objectives and build on the actions previously supported under Regulation (Euratom) No 237/201424 concerning nuclear safety and nuclear safeguards in third countries, in particular in acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates.
(7)  This Instrument should provide for actions in support of those objectives and build on the actions previously supported under Regulation (Euratom) No 237/201424 concerning nuclear safety, safe management of radioactive waste, safe decommissioning and remediation of former nuclear-related sites and nuclear safeguards in third countries, in particular in acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates as well as in the Neighbourhood area within the meaning of ... [COD 2018/0243, NDICI]. With the aim of implementing the highest nuclear safety standards and to detect flaws in existing safety measures, the Instrument might support nuclear regulatory bodies in performing comprehensive risk and safety assessments (“stress tests”) of existing installations, and of nuclear plants being constructed, based on the Community acquis on nuclear safety and radioactive waste, the implementation of recommendations and the monitoring of relevant measures. The European Parliament should be informed regularly by the Commission about the activities in nuclear safety undertaken in third countries and about the status of their implementation.
_______________
_________________
24 Council Regulation (Euratom) No 237/2014 of 13 December 2013 establishing an Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (OJ L 77 15.3.2014 p 109.)
24 Council Regulation (Euratom) No 237/2014 of 13 December 2013 establishing an Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (OJ L 77 15.3.2014 p 109.)
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 a (new)
(7a)  According to Article 3 TFEU, it is the Union’s goal to improve its people’s well-being. This Instrument offers the opportunity for the Union to improve sustainably the socio-economic and health situation of people globally, within and beyond its borders. The projects funded by the Instrument should also be coherent with the internal and external policies of the Union by e.g. contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals such as Good health and well-being, Clean water and sanitation. The Instrument itself should follow the principles of good governance and by that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal Peace, justice and strong institutions.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 b (new)
(7b)  This Instrument should aim to engage countries receiving financial assistance under this Regulation to uphold the commitments stemming from the association, partnership and cooperation agreements with the Union, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commit to relevant international conventions, uphold nuclear safety and radiation protection standards and commit to implementation of relevant recommendations and measures with the highest standards of transparency and publicity.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 c (new)
(7c)  This Instrument should, through projects funded by it, fully support nuclear safety and safeguards measures as well as improving health situation of people in third countries, especially of those living near nuclear power installations and/or uranium mining areas, including safe remediation of former uranium mines-related sites in third countries, in particular in Central Asia and in Africa where currently some 18 % of the global supply of uranium comes from South Africa, Niger and Namibia.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 d (new)
(7d)  This Instrument should aim to engage countries receiving financial assistance under this Regulation to further democratic principles, the rule of law and human rights and to uphold the commitments stemming from the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  The implementation of this Regulation should be based on consultation, where relevant, with the relevant authorities of the Member States, and on a dialogue with the partner countries.
(8)  The implementation of this Regulation should be based on consultation, where appropriate, with the relevant authorities of the Union and Member States, such as the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, and on a dialogue with the partner countries. Such consultation should, in particular, take place in the course of developing and before the adoption of multiannual indicative programmes. Where such dialogue fails to resolve Union's concerns over nuclear safety, the external funding under this Regulation, should not be granted.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8 a (new)
(8a)  Individual, differentiated approach towards countries receiving support through the Instrument should be promoted. Use of the Instrument should be based on the assessment of specific needs of countries receiving the support, as well as on the expected overall benefit of the Instrument, in particular structural changes in the countries concerned.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8 b (new)
(8b)  Member States’ regulatory bodies, technical support organisations, nuclear engineering companies and nuclear energy utilities have the necessary expertise and know-how with regard to implementing the highest standards of nuclear safety and radiation protection in a variety of regulatory systems of the Member States, which can be a useful source of support to partner countries that set out to do the same in their national regulatory and industrial frameworks.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9
(9)  Whenever possible and appropriate, the results of the Community's external action should be monitored and assessed on the basis of pre-defined, transparent, country-specific and measurable indicators, adapted to the specificities and objectives of the Instrument and preferably based on the results framework of the partner country.
(9)  The results of the Community's external action should be monitored and assessed on the basis of pre-defined, transparent, country-specific and measurable indicators, adapted to the specificities and objectives of the Instrument and preferably based on the results framework of the partner country. The indicators should be performance and result-oriented, in order to require more responsibility and accountability from beneficiary countries to the Union and the Member States on results achieved in the implementation of safety improvement measures.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  The Union and the Community should seek the most efficient use of available resources in order to optimise the impact of their external action. That should be achieved through coherence and complementarity between the Union's external financing instruments, as well as the creation of synergies with other Union policies and Programmes. In order to maximise the impact of combined interventions to achieve a common objective, this Regulation should allow for the combination of funding with other Union Programmes, as long as the contributions do not cover the same costs.
(10)  The Union and the Community should seek the optimal and most efficient use of available resources and should seek to improve the implementation and quality of spending in order to optimise the impact of their external action. That should be achieved through coherence and complementarity between the Union's external financing instruments, as well as the creation of synergies with other Union policies and Programmes such as the Euratom research and training programmes. In order to maximise the impact of combined interventions to achieve a common objective, this Regulation should allow for the combination of funding with other Union Programmes, as long as the contributions do not cover the same costs.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14
(14)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objectives of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation.
(14)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objectives of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance, while considering their accessibility for potential partners and their ability to create legal certainty. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article125(1) of the Financial Regulation.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15 a (new)
(15a)  In order to foster the implementation of the highest standards of nuclear safety in third countries efficiently and timely, decision and negotiations processes within the Commission and with third countries need to be efficient and fast.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1
1.  The objective of this Regulation is to complement those nuclear cooperation activities that are financed under [the Regulation NDICI], in particular in order to support the promotion of a high level of nuclear safety, radiation protection, and the application of effective and efficient safeguards of nuclear materials in third countries, building on the activities within the Community and in line with the provisions of this Regulation.
1.  The objective of this Regulation is to complement those nuclear cooperation activities that are financed under [the Regulation NDICI], in particular in order to support the promotion of a high level of nuclear safety, radiation protection and the application of effective and efficient safeguards of nuclear materials in third countries, building on the regulatory frameworks and best practices within the Community and in line with the provisions of this Regulation and helping to ensure a purely civilian use of nuclear material and by that, the protection of citizens and the environment. Within this objective, this Regulation aims also to support the implementation of transparency in nuclear related decision-making by authorities of third countries.
Cooperation provided by the Union in the field of nuclear safety and safeguards under this Regulation is not aimed at promoting nuclear energy.
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point a
(a)  the promotion of an effective nuclear safety culture and implementation of the highest nuclear safety and radiation protection standards, and continuous improvement of nuclear safety;
(a)  the promotion of an effective nuclear safety culture and governance, the continuous improvement of nuclear safety and implementation of the highest nuclear safety and radiation protection standards, that exist within the Community and internationally for the relevant nuclear activities;
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste and the decommissioning and remediation of former nuclear sites and installations;
(b)  responsible and safe management of radioactive waste, from their generation to final disposal, including spent fuel, (i.e. pre-treatment, treatment, processing, storage and disposal), and the safe and efficient decommissioning and remediation of former nuclear sites and installations as well as legacy sites related to uranium mining or sunken radioactive objects and material;
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point c
(c)  establishing efficient and effective safeguard systems.
(c)  establishing efficient, effective and transparent safeguards for nuclear material;
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point c a (new)
(ca)  encouraging the promotion of overall transparency and openness of authorities in third countries, as well as public information and participation in decision making processes relating to the safety of nuclear installations and effective radioactive waste management practices, in accordance with relevant international conventions and instruments;
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point cb (new)
(cb)  using the Instrument knowledge and actions to leverage political influence in international organisations in the area of energy and security.
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1
1.  In implementing this Regulation, consistency, synergies and complementarity with Regulation (EU) No XXX/XXX NDICI, other Programmes of Union external action, other relevant Union policies and Programmes, as well as policy coherence for development shall be ensured.
1.  In implementing this Regulation, consistency, synergies and complementarity with Regulation (EU) No XXX/XXX NDICI, other Programmes of Union external action, other relevant Union policies and legislative acts such as the Directives 2009/71/Euratom, 2011/70/Euratom and 2013/59/Euratom, Union goals and values and Programmes such as the Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community complementing Horizon Europe, as well as policy coherence for development shall be ensured.
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  The Commission shall coordinate its cooperation with third countries and with international organisations pursuing similar objectives, in particular the IAEA and the OECD/NEA. This coordination will enable the Community and the organisations concerned to avoid any duplication of actions and funding in relation to third countries. The Commission shall also involve the competent authorities of Member States and European operators in the fulfilment of its task, thereby harnessing the quality of European expertise in the field of nuclear safety and safeguards.
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1
The financial envelope for the implementation of this Regulation for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR 300 million in current prices.
The financial envelope for the implementation of this Regulation for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR 266 million in constant prices.
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1
The association agreements, partnership and cooperation agreements, multilateral agreements, and other agreements that establish a legally binding relationship with partner countries, as well as, European Council conclusions and Council conclusions, summit declarations or conclusions of high-level meetings with partner countries, communications of the Commission or Joint communications of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, shall constitute the overall policy framework for the implementation of this Regulation.
The Community acquis related to nuclear safety and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, the association agreements, partnership and cooperation agreements, multilateral agreements, and other agreements that establish a legally binding relationship with partner countries, as well as, European Council conclusions and Council conclusions, summit declarations or conclusions of high-level meetings with partner countries, communications of the Commission or Joint communications of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, shall constitute the overall policy framework for the implementation of this Regulation.
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2
2.  The multiannual indicative programmes shall aim at providing a coherent framework for cooperation between the Community and the third countries or regions concerned, consistent with the overall purpose and scope, objectives, principles and policy of the Community and based on the policy framework referred to in article 5.
2.  The multiannual indicative programmes shall aim at providing a coherent framework for cooperation between the Community and the third countries, regions or international organisations concerned, consistent with the overall purpose and scope, objectives, principles and policy of the Community and based on the policy framework referred to in article 5.
Amendment 35
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 3
3.   The multiannual indicative programmes shall constitute a general basis for the cooperation, and shall set out the Community's goals for cooperation under this Regulation, having regard to the needs of the countries concerned, the Community's priorities, the international situation and the activities of the third countries concerned. The multiannual indicative programmes shall also indicate the added value of the cooperation and how to avoid duplication with other programmes and initiatives, in particular those of international organisations pursuing similar objectives and major donors.
3.   The multiannual indicative programmes shall constitute a general basis for the cooperation, and shall set out the Community's goals for cooperation under this Regulation, having regard to the needs of and circumstances in the countries concerned, the Community's priorities, the international situation and the activities of the third countries concerned. The multiannual indicative programmes shall also indicate the added value of the cooperation and how to avoid duplication with other programmes and initiatives, in particular those of international organisations pursuing similar objectives and major donors.
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.  The multiannual indicative programmes shall aim to engage countries receiving financial assistance under this Regulation to uphold the commitments arising from agreements with the Union and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to commit themselves to relevant international conventions, uphold nuclear safety and radiation protection standards and commit themselves to implementing relevant recommendations and measures with the highest standards of transparency and publicity.
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 4 a (new)
4a.  Multiannual indicative programmes should set out a framework for qualified and independent oversight to increase the level of nuclear safety of the partner countries. They could include provisions for supporting nuclear regulatory authorities in performing comprehensive risk and safety assessments (“stress tests”) of nuclear power installations, based on the Community acquis on nuclear safety and radioactive waste, as well as the implementation of recommendations arising from those stress tests and the monitoring of the application of relevant measures, for example in acceding countries, candidate countries, potential candidates and countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 5
5.  Multiannual indicative programmes shall be based on a dialogue with the partner countries or regions.
5.  Multiannual indicative programmes shall be based on a dialogue with the partner countries or regions. In elaborating and prior to the adoption of programmes, the Commission should consult the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) and, where appropriate, the relevant national authorities of the Member States.
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 6
6.  The Commission shall adopt the multiannual indicative programmes in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 13(2). The Commission shall, following the same procedure, revise and, if necessary, update those indicative programmes.
6.  The Commission shall adopt the multiannual indicative programmes in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 13(2). The Commission shall review them at mid-term, and, following the same procedure, if necessary, revise and update those indicative programmes.
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point a
(a)  action plans, individual measures and support measures, for which the Union's funding does not exceed EUR 10 million;
(a)  individual measures and support measures, for which the Union's funding does not exceed EUR 10 million;
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  expenditures related to the provision of information and communication actions, including the development of communication strategies and corporate communication and visibility of the political priorities of the Union.
(b)  expenditures related to the provision of information and communication actions, including the development of communication strategies and corporate communication and visibility of the political priorities, goals and values of the Union.
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 a (new)
Article 11a
Criteria applying to International Nuclear Safety Cooperation
1.   A common understanding and a reciprocal agreement between the third country and the Community shall be confirmed through a formal request to the Commission, committing the respective Government.
2.   Third countries wishing to cooperate with the Community shall be members of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and should have its Additional Protocol or a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency sufficient to provide credible assurance of the non-diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities and of the absence of undeclared nuclear material or activities in that state as a whole in place. They shall fully subscribe to Fundamental Safety Principles as stipulated in IAEA Safety Standards and be parties to the relevant Conventions, such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, or have taken steps demonstrating a firm undertaking to accede to such Conventions. In the case of active co-operation, that commitment shall be evaluated annually taking into account National Reports and other documents on the implementation of relevant Conventions. On the basis of such an evaluation, a decision shall be taken with regard to the continuation of the cooperation. In an emergency, flexibility shall, on an exceptional basis, be shown in the application of those principles.
3.   In order to ensure and to monitor compliance with the cooperation objectives of this Regulation, the third country concerned shall accept the evaluation of the actions undertaken pursuant to paragraph 2. The evaluation shall allow the monitoring and verification of compliance with the agreed objectives and can be a condition for continued payment of the Community contribution.
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1
(1)  Monitoring, reporting and evaluation shall be carried out in accordance with Article 31 paragraphs 2, 4, 5 and 6, and Articles 32 and 36 of the Regulation (EU) No XXX/XXX NDICI.
(1)  Monitoring, reporting and evaluation shall be carried out in accordance with Article 31 paragraphs 2, 4, 5 and 6, and Articles 32 and 36 of the Regulation (EU) No XXX/XXX NDICI. Specific evaluations, as referred in Article 32(2) of the Regulation (EU) No XXX/XXX NDICI, related to nuclear safety, radiation protection and safeguard, after consulting the ENSREG, shall be discussed in European Instrument for International Nuclear Safety Cooperation committee and presented to the European Parliament.
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2– point a
(a)  number of legal and regulatory acts prepared, introduced and or revised; and
(a)   number of legal and regulatory acts prepared, introduced and or revised and their successful implementation, as well as their impact on nuclear safety standards and safeguards in the respective countries, including impact on citizens and environment;
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  number of design, concept or feasibility studies for the establishment of facilities in line with the highest standards of nuclear safety.
(b)   number of design, concept or feasibility studies for the establishment of facilities in line with the highest standards of nuclear safety and the successful implementation of the results of those studies.
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2 – point ba (new)
(ba)  nuclear safety, radiation protection, and effective and efficient safeguards improvement measures, based on the highest standards of nuclear safety, radiation protection and nuclear safeguards, including international peer review results, implemented in nuclear facilities.
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 a (new)
Article 12a
Transparency
The Commission and the third countries cooperating with the Union under this Instrument shall ensure that necessary information in relation to the nuclear safety measures undertaken in those third countries with the help of the Instrument and in relation to their nuclear safety standards in general, is made available to workers and the general public, with specific consideration to local authorities, population and stakeholders in the vicinity of a nuclear installation. That obligation shall include ensuring that the competent regulatory authority and the licence holders provide information within their fields of competence. Information shall be made available to the public in accordance with relevant legislation and international instruments, provided that this does not jeopardise other overriding interests, such as security, which are recognised in relevant legislation and international instruments.

Combating late payment in commercial transactions
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on the implementation of Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions (2018/2056(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0042A8-0456/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directive 2011/7/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 on combating late payment in commercial transactions(1),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Directive 2011/7/EU (COM(2016)0534) and the accompanying staff working document (SWD(2016)0278),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 May 2016 on the Single Market Strategy(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 September 2016 on access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and increasing the diversity of SME funding in a Capital Markets Union(3),

–  having regard to the in-depth analysis entitled ‘Directive 2011/7/EU on late payments in commercial transactions: European Implementation Assessment’ published by the European Parliamentary Research Service in July 2018,

–  having regard to the European Payment Reports published by Intrum,

–  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 Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0456/2018),

A.  whereas payments are the bloodstream of businesses, and in viable and efficient business environments, prompt payments are conducive to enabling businesses to repay their liabilities in a timely manner and to expand, invest, create employment, generate broader economic growth and benefit the European economy in general;

B.  whereas most of the goods and services supplied and provided in the internal market between economic agents or between economic agents and public authorities are on the basis of deferred payments, in a system whereby the supplier grants its client a payment term for the invoice, according to what has been agreed between the parties, what is established in the supplier’s invoice or in the relevant legal provisions;

C.  whereas making late payments is a persistent harmful practice that has a negative effect on the development of European companies, in particular SMEs, that do not have predictable streams of liquidity when late payment occurs;

D.  whereas small and medium-sized companies are particularly affected by default, negatively influencing their liquidity, complicating their financial management and affecting their competitiveness and profitability;

E.  whereas large businesses have more resources at their disposal than SMEs to protect themselves against late payments, e.g. via pre-payment, credit checks, debt collection, bank guarantees or credit insurance, and may also be better placed to take advantage of the global low interest rate environment to increase their investments and negotiating leverage;

F.  whereas under Directive 2011//7/EU (Late Payment Directive), public authorities bear a ‘special responsibility’(4) in fostering a business environment supportive of timely payments;

G.  whereas the Late Payment Directive provides inter alia for payment periods for business-to-business (B2B) and public authority-to-business (PA2B) transactions, automatic entitlement to interest for late payment, a minimum of EUR 40 in compensation for recovery costs, and statutory interest of at least 8 % above the European Central Bank’s reference rate;

H.  whereas, despite the general reduction in the average length of payment periods brought about by the Late Payment Directive, 6 in 10 businesses in the EU are still paid later in B2B transactions than what was agreed in the contract;

I.  whereas across company sizes, SMEs are the most likely to accept longer or unfair payment terms or may have them imposed on them by larger companies, owing to an imbalance of negotiating power and the fear of damaging business relations and losing a future contract;

J.  whereas, according to the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer, 95 % of SMEs report being paid late in Europe, which is a higher proportion than large companies, thus allowing the conclusion that SMEs tend to pay more quickly than large companies, but are paid later;

K.  whereas late payment affects all economic sectors, but is particularly pervasive in those with a prevalence of SMEs in the relevant value chain (e.g. construction, utilities and transport, professional services, manufacturing, food and drink, and IT/telecommunications);

L.  whereas late payment still accounts for 1 in 4 bankruptcies in the EU;

M.  whereas late payments create additional costs for companies as they have to put resources into chasing late payers or pay interest on the credit contracted in order to continue business operations;

N.  whereas late payment or fear of being paid late is still one of the main obstacles to the participation of SMEs in public procurement contracts;

O.  whereas for each day of reduction in payment delays EUR 158 million could be saved in finance costs, and the additional cash flow could support 6,5 million additional jobs in Europe;

P.  whereas the Commission has launched infringement procedures against four Member States (Greece, Slovakia, Spain and Italy) regarding inadequate application of the Late Payment Directive and has referred Italy to the Court of Justice;

Q.  whereas certain Member States have launched initiatives to diffuse a prompt payment culture, through Prompt Payment Codes, industry-level voluntary engagement or stronger synergies with public procurement rules;

R.  whereas the Commission report on the implementation of the Late Payment Directive published in 2016 concluded that the fact that companies were aware of their rights under the Directive did not mean, however, that they were taking advantage of those rights, and that the lack of a common system for monitoring average payment periods, lack of clarity on some key concepts of the Directive and the market imbalance between bigger and smaller companies appeared to be the main factors preventing the effective application of the Directive;

S.  whereas late payment is a multi-faceted, complex problem caused by horizontal drivers, common across all sectors and all types of transaction (such as cash-flow issues, imbalances of power and size between companies, supply chain structure, administrative inefficiency, poor access to credit, lack of knowledge of invoice and credit management) and by the influence of external factors (i.e. the economic situation and national business culture), it is not possible to distinguish one solution that would solve all issues;

T.  whereas the proposal for a directive on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain (COM(2018)0173) includes provisions on late payment for perishable goods and the designation by Member States of an enforcement authority to monitor compliance with the rules;

U.  whereas problems leading to late payment must be addressed through a combination of legal and voluntary measures, with targeted interventions involving the Commission, Member States and business associations; whereas such a combination would include preventive measures targeting issues arising before a transaction takes place and remedial solutions addressing issues after a transaction has been completed; whereas any intervention, whether regulatory or voluntary, should take into account the specificities of the economic sector concerned;

Improving payment behaviour in the EU through a combination of legal and voluntary measures

1.  Believes that both the Late Payment Directive and national legislation on late payment should be better enforced, promptly and effectively, through compliance with the maximum time limits established for the payment of invoices and measures aimed at improving rules on payment terms and discouraging unfair practices; notes that these measures can be categorised according to their nature (legal or voluntary), scope (horizontal or sector-specific) and objective (preventive, remedial or change in business culture); considers that in parallel in some Member States, the legislation in place and the action on infringements has started to bring about a change in culture in public administrations across the EU, characterised by a general decline in payment delays;

2.  Maintains that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling the issue of late payments, as in some business-to-business sectors longer payment deadlines that in any case respect the provisions set out in Directive 2011/7/EU, can in some cases meet the needs of businesses, taking into account the specificities of each sector; stresses, however, that efforts should be made to move towards 30-day payment deadlines and that payment deadlines going beyond 60 days, as permitted by Directive 2011/7/EU, is a loophole that can enable the agreement of lengthy terms that could be damaging for companies themselves, especially for SMEs, while respecting the freedom of contract between undertakings on the market; stresses the importance of always ensuring a level playing field between enterprises in dominant positions and small operators;

Preventive measures

3.  Believes that Member States should establish stricter payment terms; notes that some Member States have limited the standard payment term to 30 days, while only a few Member States have introduced maximum payment terms that the parties cannot deviate from; notes, furthermore, that at sector level the introduction of maximum payment terms is more common; considers that legislation setting out stricter payment terms would be effective in reducing their length to some extent and, provided that this is enforced, would create a level playing field between large and small companies; points out, in this context, that a more uniform and simplified set of rules could contribute to clarifying what creditors and debtors can expect in case of late payment and thereby improve the predictability of their economic activities;

4.  Considers that the introduction of enhanced transparency concerning payment behaviour could discourage late payment; believes that access to this information can act as an incentive for public entities and businesses to improve their payment practices and uphold their monetary obligations; encourages the Member States to consider different possible forms of mandatory publication of information on payment behaviour, such as databases or registers, for both the private and public sectors;

5.  Encourages the Member States to consider the setting up of mandatory systems providing information on good payment behaviour (‘name and fame’) and foster a culture of prompt payment in business relations, given the fact, inter alia, that paying on time has been demonstrated to be a smart business strategy as responsible payers can negotiate better deals and rely on trustworthy suppliers; asks the Commission to carry out a study on existing national systems providing information on good payment behaviour (‘name and fame’) of both businesses and public authorities, and explore the feasibility of establishing common criteria for these systems at EU level;

6.  Stresses the importance of providing entrepreneurs, in particular SMEs, with more information and education on credit and invoice management; recalls that effective credit management shortens the average collection period and therefore maintains an optimal cash flow, thus reducing the risk of default and increasing the potential for growth; believes that officials in public administrations should also receive training and that education and support may also make SMEs more likely to take advantage of Late Payment Directive remedies; notes that SMEs unfortunately often lack the capacity to invest in training and that there are currently no programmes at EU or national level focusing on enhancing businesses’ knowledge of credit and invoice management; believes that more EU funds should possibly be directed towards the financial education of SMEs and therefore urges Member States’ authorities to step up their efforts in providing further training for SMEs in credit management; considers, furthermore, that training and support should also include guidelines for recovery of overdue payments in cross-border transactions, and therefore calls on the Commission to continue integrating these guidelines and other useful information, such as the rights and instruments available to entrepreneurs in legal disputes with debtors, in the ‘Your Europe’ information portal and ensuring support for business through the European Enterprises Network;

Remedial measures

7.  Calls on the Member States and business associations to consider the setting up of national and regional free and confidential mediation services (mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication) accessible to all companies, as an alternative to court proceedings, to resolve payment disputes and maintain business relations, but also to educate the companies about their rights and remedies against late payment; stresses that such mediation services would be particularly useful for SMEs, which often do not have adequate financial means to engage in legal disputes and for this reason renounce their rights; calls, furthermore, on the Member States to give due consideration to the possibility of publicly funding independent ombudsmen responsible for investigating late payment and non-payment disputes, assisting small businesses in resolving late payment and non-payment disputes, advising on action in the event of payment arrears and recommending solutions, particularly to SMEs; calls for the Member States and the Commission to ensure effective access to justice in matters relating to the recovery of debts in cross-border transactions;

8.  Calls on the Member States to enforce their national legislation and to encourage and improve stricter controls, for example among large companies, and the use of administrative sanctions that are effective, proportionate and dissuasive, thereby contributing to the improvement of payment behaviour; maintains that direct intervention from the public authorities, since it is they who enforce administrative sanctions, could help to overcome the ‘fear factor’ and relieve creditors of the responsibility to take action against debtors, as the authorities would directly enforce the law and take discretionary action against enterprises engaged in bad payment practices; believes that the value of administrative sanctions and their cumulative nature could deter companies from paying late, and underlines that this regime should be applied progressively depending on the company’s level of compliance;

9.  Points out that, despite the fact that the Late Payment Directive was adopted in February 2011, and despite the new mechanisms for the protection of entrepreneurs that some Member States have recently put in place, thousands of SMEs and start-ups across Europe go bankrupt every year while waiting for their invoices to be paid, including by national public authorities; urges the Commission and the Member States to consider mandatory forms of adequate compensation, such as offsetting, and other supporting measures, such as, for example, guarantee funds for SMEs and factoring for companies owed money by a public authority, so that they are not forced to go bankrupt because of it;

10.  Stresses that companies’ tax, fiscal and social security debts should be offset against any outstanding amounts owed by the public authorities;

11.  Urges Member States to set up guarantee funds for SMEs that guarantee the bank debts of SMEs that are owed outstanding amounts by the public authorities;

12.  Notes with great concern the situation in some Member States, where public authorities have greatly delayed payments for goods and/or services supplied to them by undertakings (with the health sector being one of the worst affected), included non-assignment clauses in supply contracts and prevented (through law) suppliers from enforcing their claims in courts, thereby leading these businesses into extreme financial difficulties or even bankruptcy; believes that in order to support businesses whose financial management is complicated by delayed payments from public authorities, the Member States should put in place faster and more efficient procedures for the refund of VAT and the recovery of amounts due, especially for SMEs;

13.  Points out that prompt payment codes and charters and corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures, together with internal auditing and internal enforcement criteria, can contribute to creating a responsible payment culture and ensuring fair relationships and trust among businesses;

14.  Maintains that certain concepts of the Directive, such as the term ‘grossly unfair’ in relation to payment terms in contractual agreements and commercial practices, and when contractual payment terms begin and end, should be clarified, through guidance issued by the Commission; notes also the emerging case law of the Court of Justice on the interpretation of certain concepts of the Directive (i.e. ‘undertaking’, ‘commercial transaction’ and ‘grossly unfair’ in Cases C-256/15 and C-555/14);

15.  Considers it important to prevent the public sector deviating from the payment deadlines rules set in the Directive; calls, therefore, on the Member States and the Commission, in the light of the recent case law of the Court of Justice (Case C-555/14), to take the necessary steps to ensure that public authorities pay their suppliers on time and that creditors receive the automatic payment of statutory interest on late payments and compensation when payments are late without the need for overdue payment proceedings, and calls on the Commission to propose automatic interest computation;

16.  Stresses that making payments quickly is extremely important for the survival and growth of businesses, particularly SMEs; notes that fintech and digital technologies are revolutionising the means and speed of payments; expects, therefore, a sharp increase in electronic invoicing and the gradual replacement of traditional types of payment with innovative types (e.g. supply chain financing, factoring, etc.), so that the creditor can be paid in real time as soon as the invoice is issued;

17.  Notes with great interest the procedures put in place in certain Member States in the case of late payment by public authorities, whereby the central government may issue a warning to a local authority if the latter has not paid its suppliers on time and, should late payment persist, may pay the suppliers directly for the goods or services provided, suspending payment allocations to the non-compliant local authority’s budget; considers that such a system, combining reliable monitoring of the public bodies’ payment performances with an effective escalation plan, widely communicated when activated, seems to have produced results which deserve further analysis and should be passed on to Member States as an example of good practice;

18.  Notes with concern the conclusions of the Commission report, which state that the main reason for creditor firms failing to exercise their rights under the Late Payment Directive is the fear of damaging good business relationships; believes, in this regard, that action should be taken to make it easier for SMEs to enforce the rights granted under the Late Payment Directive; calls, in this context, for further examination of the possibility, set out under Article 7(5) of the Late Payment Directive, for organisations officially representing undertakings to take action before Member States’ courts on the grounds that contractual terms or practices are grossly unfair;

19.  Applauds certain industry-level initiatives in some Member States under which participating corporations have drawn up a pledge detailing the concrete steps they will take to ensure their smaller suppliers are paid more quickly for the products or services they supply; notes that positive naming and shaming (‘name and fame’) could produce the intended results via self-regulation at industry level and provide substantial support for SMEs;

20.  Stresses the importance of public procurement as a means of improving the functioning of the single market; calls for consideration of enhanced synergies between the Late Payment Directive and public procurement rules, in particular the possibility for contracting authorities to take action to enable the exclusion of non-performing contractors from future procurements if subcontractors are not paid in time by the main contractor when it is required to do so (Public Procurement Directive)(5), more widespread use of the option laid down in Article 71(3) of the Public Procurement Directive of enabling direct payment to subcontractors under certain conditions, and making payment behaviour towards subcontractors one of the criteria on which to evaluate the financial capability of potential contractors in public tenders; calls on the Member States to ensure the transparency and traceability of payments by public authorities to contractors and sub-contractors, and of payments by the contractor to its sub-contractors or suppliers;

Conclusions and recommendations

21.  Urges the Member States to take full responsibility in the exercise of payment on the part of the public administration and to improve their legislation ensuring proper implementation of the Late Payment Directive in all its parts, also by removing any domestic laws, regulations or contractual practices by the public sector that conflict with the aims of the Directive, such as enforcement and assignment bans for public sector receivables; reiterates in parallel that the Commission should do its utmost to try to ensure the full and adequate implementation of existing obligations;

22.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to foster ‘a decisive shift towards a culture of prompt payment’(6) by taking the most suitable measures, including issuing guidelines on best practices and, where necessary and appropriate, legislative initiatives, taking into account the abovementioned proposals, with the aim of creating a reliable business environment for companies and a punctual payment culture;

23.  Urges the Member States to make payment procedures more efficient, underlining in particular that verification procedures for checking invoices or the conformity of goods and services with the contractual specifications should not be used to extend payment periods artificially beyond the limits imposed by the Directive;

24.  Reminds the Member States and the Commission that prompt payment is an overarching requirement for viable business environments and that, as such, it should be mainstreamed into all policy and legislative initiatives affecting businesses (e.g. CSR, start-ups and platform-to-businesses relationships);

25.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to use professional publications, promotion campaigns and any other instruments to increase awareness of the remedies against late payment among undertakings;

26.  Calls on the Commission to facilitate and promote access to appropriate funding lines for European entrepreneurs;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 48, 23.2.2011, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 76, 28.2.2018, p. 112.
(3) OJ C 204, 13.6.2018, p. 153.
(4) Recital 6 of Directive 2011/7/EU.
(5) Article 57(4)(g) of Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC.
(6) Recital 12 of Directive 2011/7/EU.


Annual report on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on the Annual Report on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank (2018/2161(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0043A8-0415/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the 2017 Activity Report of the European Investment Bank (EIB) entitled ‘Impact into the Future’,

–  having regard to the 2017 Financial Report and the 2017 Statistical Report of the EIB,

–  having regard to the EIB report of 2018 entitled ‘EIB operations inside the European Union 2017: Results and impact’,

–  having regard to the EIB report of 2018 entitled ‘The EIB outside the European Union – 2017: Financing with global impact’,

–  having regard to the EIB Group 2017 Sustainability Report,

–  having regard to Articles 15, 126, 175, 177, 208, 209, 271, 308 and 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and to Protocol No 5 on the Statute of the EIB annexed thereto,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2014 entitled ‘An Investment Plan for Europe’ (COM(2014)0903),

—  having regard to the EIB Policy towards weakly regulated, non-transparent and uncooperative jurisdictions (NCJ Policy), published on 25 December 2010, and the addendum to the NCJ Policy published on 8 April 2014,

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on International Trade (A8-0415/2018),

A.  whereas the EIB’s primary purpose is to provide long-term finance and expertise for projects and to leverage additional investment to help achieve the EU’s objectives;

B.  whereas the EIB is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the EU Member States;

C.  whereas the EIB is considered to be the financial arm of the EU and the key institution in sustaining public and private investments across it, with over 90 % of its lending occurring within the Union;

D.  whereas the EIB's lending activities are mainly funded via bond issuance in the international capital markets;

E.  whereas the EIB’s annual funding programme amounts to around EUR 60 billion;

F.  whereas 33 % and 37 % of EIB bonds issued in 2017 and 2016 respectively were issued in US dollars;

G.  whereas EIB bonds are of the highest credit quality and the EIB is rated triple-A by the main three credit rating agencies, owing to among other things its Member State ownership and its conservative risk management resulting in a solid loan book, with only 0,3 % non-performing loans;

H.  whereas financial instruments and budgetary guarantees could increase the impact of the EU budget;

I.  whereas the EIB is the natural partner for the EU in implementing financial instruments, in close cooperation with national, regional or multilateral financial institutions;

J.  whereas the EIB also plays an important role outside the EU through its external lending activities as the world’s biggest multilateral borrower and lender;

K.  whereas the EIB is continuing to strengthen European integration, and its role has proven even more essential since the start of the financial crisis in 2008;

L.  whereas the EIB’s priorities, as set out in the Corporate Operational Plan (COP) for 2017-2019, focus on the Europe 2020 targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the areas of energy, transport and mobility, health, rural infrastructure development and agri-business support, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps, the environment and innovation;

M.  whereas the EIB Group should maintain a high credit standing as a fundamental asset of its business model and a high-quality, solid asset portfolio with sound investment projects under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and all financial instruments in its portfolio;

Achievements of the EIB over the past 60 years

1.  Congratulates the EIB on 60 years of successful operations, during which it has invested EUR 1,1 trillion and financed 11 800 projects in 160 countries as the world’s biggest multilateral borrower and lender;

2.  Welcomes the fact that EIB Group lending within the EU approved in the period 2015-2016 will support EUR 544 billion in investment, add 2,3 % to GDP and create 2,25 million jobs by 2020; urges the EIB to further enhance its activities in contributing to long-term and sustainable growth;

3.  Highlights the opportunities for the EIB to shape markets in line with EU policy objectives; recognises the EIB’s capability to invest countercyclically in order to address underdevelopment and recession resulting from the financial crisis and difficulties in accessing finance for SMEs and innovative projects;

4.  Underlines the important role played by the EIB as the EU’s bank, being the only international financial institution that is entirely owned by EU Member States and is fully guided by EU policies and standards;

5.  Calls for the strengthening of the EIB’s advisory activities and for it, together with the Commission, the Member States and national official promotional financial institutions, to address the systemic shortcomings that prevent certain regions or countries from taking full advantage of the EIB’s financial activities;

6.  Stresses that 700 000 SMEs are set to benefit from improved access to finance, and notes that the EIB’s Economics Department and the Commission’s Joint Research Centre estimate that EFSI operations have already supported more than 750 000 jobs, a figure set to rise to 1.4 million by 2020, and that the Juncker Plan has already increased EU GDP by 0,6 % and is set to increase it by a further 1,3 % by 2020;

7.  Welcomes the rolling out by the EIB of the Economic Resilience Initiative, aimed at helping the countries of the Western Balkans and the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood to address the challenges posed by irregular migration and forced displacement; calls for increased funding for this initiative and a strengthened involvement of the EIB in these regions in order to support humanitarian action, job creation, economic growth and infrastructure improvements; welcomes, in this regard, the approval of the first projects of the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) in Africa and looks forward to a strengthened role for the EIB;

8.  Points out the fact that in 2017 alone, a record number of 901 projects have been approved, including more than EUR 78 billion for innovation, environment, infrastructure and SMEs;

9.  Underlines the EIB’s activities in support of economic and social cohesion, involving financing of more than EUR 200 billion for the regions in the last 10 years;

General remarks

10.  Welcomes the steps the EIB has taken to better measure the impact of its investments rather than only providing data on quantitative volumes of financing;

11.  Recalls the fact that the EIB has responded to the crisis by expanding its activities significantly; believes that it has played a positive role in reducing the negative investment gap; urges the EIB to pay extra attention to the risk of crowding out private investment now that economic conditions are normalising;

12.  Stresses that the EIB’s activities were key to address post-crisis recovery and investment levels, which are still uneven across Member States and regions as well as sectors; calls on the EIB to further invest in Member States in order to contribute to their economic recovery; stresses that particular emphasis should be placed on financing in the innovation and infrastructure sectors, where the investment gap is particularly severe;

13.  Notes that almost a third of EIB funding is dollar-denominated, exposing the bank to potential US sanctions; asks the EIB to start progressively reducing its funding in dollars;

14.  Notes that the EIB is annually audited by the European Court of Auditors; notes the debate on the possibility of introducing supervision of its lending operations by the ECB; warns that this could have a major impact on the nature, functioning and governance of the EIB;

Innovation and skills

15.  Recognises that the EIB gives priority to innovation and skills in order to drive growth and ensure Europe’s long-term competitiveness, with loans amounting to EUR 13,9 billion in 2017 for, inter alia, 7.4 million high-speed digital connections and the installation of 36,8 million smart meters;

Environment and sustainability

16.  Welcomes the fact that in 2017 the EIB lent EUR 16,6 billion for projects supporting its environment policy goals, financing projects in the areas of environmental protection, renewable energy, energy efficiency, biodiversity, clean air, clean water, water and waste management and sustainable transport, and committed to climate loans more than 25 % of total lending across all its public policy areas, exceeding its initial commitment by 3,2 %;

17.  Stresses the example-setting role that EU institutions should play when it comes to making finance sustainable; recognises the EIB’s status as the world’s largest issuer of green bonds and that its Climate Awareness Bonds offer investors a transparent link to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that benefit from the proceeds of the EIB’s green bond issuances, being based on the EIB’s reporting system on the climate benefits of projects, including impact indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions avoided, absolute emission levels, energy consumption saved and additional power generation installed;

18.  Welcomes in this regard the EIB’s first issuance of Sustainability Awareness Bonds, amounting to EUR 500 million, which will be dedicated to high-impact projects in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals while ensuring the confidence of socially responsible investors through rigorous transparency and market standards;

19.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB achieved its 25 % climate-relevant financing objective; notes with concern that the Commission, by contrast, did not reach the target of 20 %;

20.  Welcomes the creation of the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative, the aim of which is to make investments in energy efficiency projects in residential buildings more attractive to private investors through the intelligent use of EU grants as a guarantee; welcomes the fact that the EIB has recently started to invest in social housing;

21.  Recommends that the EIB adopts an energy strategy that is fully compatible with the Paris Agreement objectives, taking into account the research evidence and the recommendations of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impact of global warming of 1,5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty;

22.  Calls on the EIB to maintain loans supporting European energy policy objectives;

23.  Calls on the EIB to further enforce projects connected with climate change and environmental protection, given that the EU is one of the signatories of the Paris Agreement and recalling the commitment made by the EU to reduce its emissions by at least 40 % by 2030;

24.  Stresses the importance of EIB financing in the development of renewable energy capacity and the improvement of energy efficiency in sectors such as industry and transport;

25.  Calls on the EIB to work with small market participants and community cooperatives in order to undertake bundling of small-scale renewable energy projects, thus enabling them to be eligible for EIB funding;

Infrastructure

26.  Highlights the EIB’s support for safe and efficient infrastructure for energy supply, transport and urban areas, as expressed by its signing loans worth EUR 18 billion to support its infrastructure policy goal and providing more than EUR 22 billion in urban lending in 2017;

27.  Calls on the EIB to maintain loans supporting European energy policy objectives;

SMEs and mid-caps

28.  Welcomes the strong support of the EIB Group for SMEs and mid-caps with a total investment of EUR 29,6 billion, which has had a positive impact on 287 000 companies employing 3,9 million people;

29.  Recalls that according to the EIB, large firms are twice as likely as SMEs to be innovators while innovative young firms are 50 % more likely than other firms to be credit-constrained; urges the EIB to support smaller companies with smaller loans, in order to have a bigger impact on a broader cross-section of the European economy;

30.  Given the key role of SMEs, believes that the EIB’s SME strategy should include the reinforcement of its administrative and advisory capacities for providing information and technical support to SMEs as regards development and applying for finance;

31.  Welcomes the ten standards set out in the EIB’s Environmental and Social Handbook, which serve as a prerequisite for participation in EIB lending operations, including in the areas of pollution prevention and abatement, biodiversity and ecosystems, climate-related standards, cultural heritage, involuntary resettlement, rights and interests of vulnerable groups, labour standards, occupational and public health, safety and security and stakeholder engagement;

Accountability, transparency and communication

32.  Urges the EIB and its stakeholders to reflect on the reforms needed to ensure democratisation of its governance, increased transparency and sustainability of its operations;

33.  Calls on the EIB to step up its efforts in terms of communication; believes it is vital that it should engage with EU citizens in order to better explain the aims of its policies; believes in this respect that a reflection should be initiated to strengthen the funding capacities of the EIB, inter alia as a means of concretely illustrating the contribution of the EU to the daily lives of its citizens;

34.  Notes with concern the continued increase in general administrative expenses, primarily driven by the increase in staff-related costs; warns about the risk of a further increase in the cost-to-income ratio for the EIB’s capital base; asks the EIB to maintain cost discipline, to keep its management structure lean and efficient, and to ensure it does not evolve towards a top-heavy management structure;

35.  Notes the EIB’s recent improvements in transparency, such as the publication of the minutes of its Board of Directors and the publication of the Scoreboard of indicators for projects supported by the EFSI guarantee and of the rationale of the independent Investment Committee for its decision, in line with the revised EFSI Regulation; understands that a bank cannot disclose commercially sensitive information;

36.  Recalls that the EIB Group’s transparency policy is based on a presumption of disclosure and that everyone can access its documents and information; calls on the EIB to further enhance transparency, e.g. by publishing detailed minutes and access to information both internally, for the European Parliament and other institutions, as well as for the public, especially regarding the contracting and subcontracting system, the results of internal investigations and the selection, monitoring and evaluation of activities and programmes;

37.  Considers that among the challenges facing the EIB, appropriate supervision is crucial; believes that, given the bank’s role and institutional set-up, a supervisory structure is required;

38.  Takes note of the review of the EIB Complaints Mechanism policy and procedures; recalls its position on the EIB Complaints Mechanism as expressed in its resolution of 3 May 2018 on the annual report on the control of the financial activities of the EIB for 2016(1); urges the EIB to enforce the independence and efficiency of the Complaints Mechanism Office and to take further steps to reduce bureaucracy, increase its capacity for macroeconomic analysis, and improve gender representation in its senior positions;

39.  Welcomes the fact that results measurement sheets for investment projects covered by the EU guarantee must now be provided to Parliament on demand;

40.  Emphasises the need for a high level of transparency on the part of the financial intermediaries used by the EIB (commercial banks in particular, but also microfinance institutions and cooperatives), in order to ensure that intermediated loans are subject to the same transparency requirements as other types of loans;

41.  Welcomes the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) as part of the EU’s joint response to the migration and refugee crisis, with a focus on tackling the root causes of migration; insists on close coordination and complementarity with the EU External Investment Plan; notes that so far the 26 ERI projects and EUR 2,8 billion in investment are expected to benefit more than 1 500 smaller businesses and mid-caps, helping to sustain more than 100 000 jobs;

42.  Calls on the EIB to take all necessary measures based on lessons learned from the EFSI experience, and to maximise the results of the forthcoming InvestEU programme, paying particular attention to regional and social inequalities and to the Member States hardest hit by the economic crisis;

43.  Welcomes the increase in ERI financing for the Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans of EUR 6 billion over a five-year period starting from October 2016, in addition to the EUR 7,5 billion already envisaged, as well as the focus on sustainable and vital infrastructure;

44.  Stresses the importance of developing economic resilience in host and transit countries by supporting the creation of jobs and construction of infrastructure needed for the local population, as well as the displaced population; welcomes the fact that refugee communities may also benefit from opportunities to develop their self-reliance and live in dignity; underlines that investments in economic resilience should contribute to improving the preparedness of the regions for future external shocks, and to enhanced stability in fragile countries;

45.  Notes the EFSI’s third anniversary and recognises its achievements, welcoming the EUR 335 billion in investment mobilised across the Union since the approval of the EFSI Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2015/1017)(2) by the co-legislators, under which 898 operations have been approved across the 28 Member States, two thirds of them raised from private resources, outperforming the original goal of EUR 315 billion set in 2015; draws the attention to the decision of the European Council and the European Parliament to extend EFSI’s duration and capacity to EUR 500 billion by end 2020;

46.  Underlines the need to accelerate the work on building a Capital Markets Union, thus enabling the EIB to truly focus on filling the gaps where there are market failures and to provide financing for high-risk projects;

47.  Recalls its recognition of the need to provide continuity in the support of demand-driven mechanisms such as EFSI that support long-term investment in the real economy, mobilise private investment, and generate a substantive macroeconomic impact and jobs in sectors that are important to the Union’s future beyond the current MFF;

48.  Encourages the timely establishment of a follow-on initiative for the post-2020 period to provide the required continuity, which should incorporate lessons learned from EFSI, and retain key success factors;

49.  Believes that the EIB Group has been key in the successes of EFSI as the only interlocutor for beneficiaries and intermediaries and the exclusive implementing partner; believes that in any future Invest EU programme, the EIB is, in order to avoid duplication, the natural partner for the EU to carry out banking tasks (treasury, asset management, risk assessment) in relation to the implementation of financial instruments;

50.  Calls for intensified cooperation on the part of the EIB Group with national promotional banks and institutions (NPBIs), and calls on the EIB to continue strengthening its work with NPBIs in order to ensure outreach and further develop advisory activities and technical assistance so as to support a geographical balance in the long term; notes the wide variety of experiences existing in terms of EFSI projects; supports and encourages the further exchange of best practices between the EIB and the Member States in order to ensure increased economic efficiency;

Lending outside the EU

51.  Welcomes the EIB’s important role in financing outside the EU through its external lending activities; highlights the EIB’s efficient management of the External Lending Mandate, as confirmed by an independent evaluation in June 2018, which recognises its relevance and effectiveness in providing EU financing to third countries at a minimal cost to the Union budget; requests that the European Court of Auditors produces a special report on the performance and alignment with EU policies of EIB external lending activities;

52.  Believes that the EIB should to continue to play a leading role in setting up future EU financing mechanisms for third countries, while ensuring that it is the interests of local entrepreneurs wishing to establish local, often micro and small, enterprises with the aim of contributing first and foremost to the local economy which are prioritised in EIB lending decisions;

53.  Believes that the EIB should maintain its existing foreign policy activities, including through instruments such as third country lending mandates; welcomes the EIB’s management of the ACP Investment Facility, which mainly provides projects promoting the development of the private sector; in this respect, underlines that it is crucial that the central role of the EIB, as the EU’s bilateral financial arm, will be firmly reflected in the post-2020 architecture for financing outside the Union;

54.  Considers that the activities of the EIB must be applied in full consistency with the other policies and activities of the European Union, in line with Article 7 TFEU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

55.  Stresses the importance of the annual reporting by the EIB on its operations outside the Union with regard to compliance with the principle of policy coherence guiding the external action of the Union, the UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and the Paris Climate Agreement;

56.  Reminds the EIB that it needs to act in coherence with its development mandate under the External Lending Mandate in order to ensure that investments in developing countries are bringing the due revenues to local tax authorities;

57.  Takes note of the fact that one half of all lending operations of the EIB under the External Lending Mandate goes to local financial intermediaries with the goal of boosting microcredits, and asks the EIB to supply fuller and more systematic information with regard to on-lending by its financial intermediaries;

58.  Recalls that the EIB’s activities must reflect the Union’s internal and external policies; underlines that its lending conditions should facilitate the achievement of the policy goals concerned, and in particular the development of the Union’s peripheral regions, by promoting growth and employment; calls on the EIB to greatly strengthen the arrangements for providing technical assistance and financial expertise to local and regional authorities before project approval, in order to improve accessibility and involve all Member States, especially those with a lower success rate in terms of projects approved;

59.  Calls on the EIB to invest significantly in the environmental transition in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries;

60.  Invites the EIB to step up its efforts in providing worldwide finance to diversify its investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy and the circular economy, which require a response broader than national confines, extending across regions, government units and smaller enterprises, and calls for funding to be divested from projects posing serious risks to the environment and natural resources;

61.  Stresses the importance of the EIB’s financing activities in the Eastern Neighbourhood; asks the EIB to increase its lending to the Eastern Neighbourhood in order to support investments in countries that are implementing association agreements with the EU;

Tax Compliance

62.  Welcomes the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism Framework adopted by the EIB in January 2018, establishing the key principles regulating AML-CFT and related integrity aspects in EIB Group activities;

63.  Welcomes the progress that the EIB has made in adopting the highest standards with a view to preventing tax fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning, by fully applying EU policies and standards, for instance the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes; calls on the EIB, in this regard, to end cooperation with intermediaries, countries and jurisdictions that are on that list; underlines the absolute necessity for the EIB to remain constantly vigilant and to adapt its actions to the permanently evolving reality concerning those practices;

64.  Encourages the EIB to continue carrying out an enhanced due diligence on every operation with higher risk factors identified, such as a link to a Non-Compliant Jurisdiction (NCJ), tax risk indicators and operations with complex multi-jurisdictional structures, irrespective of the existence of NCJ links;

65.  Underlines the importance of ensuring a high quality of information on final beneficiaries and effectively preventing transactions with financial intermediaries such as commercial banks and investment firms with negative precedents in terms of transparency, fraud, corruption, organised crime and money laundering;

66.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB takes into account the tax impact in countries where investment is made and how this investment contributes to economic development, job creation and the reduction of inequality;

67.  Calls on the EIB to step up its efforts in terms of communication; believes it is key that it should engage with EU citizens in order to better explain the aims of its policies and thus concretely illustrate the contribution of the EU to the daily lives of its citizens;

68.  Expects the EIB to align its internal policies to reflect the newly adopted legal environment in order to fight tax avoidance in addition to fighting tax evasion, as detailed in the Commission communication of 21 March 2018 on new requirements against tax avoidance in EU legislation governing in particular financing and investment operations (C(2018)1756);

69.  Encourages cooperation by the EIB with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and national authorities to prevent fraud and money laundering;

Brexit

70.  Urges the Brexit negotiators to agree on a deal regarding the gradual phasing-out of the UK from the EIB portfolio built up with UK participation, the reimbursement of the UK’s paid-in capital, and continuation of the protections extended to the EIB and its assets in the UK; stresses that the AAA-rating of the EIB must not be affected by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU;

71.  Calls for an equitable solution for the British staff members of the EIB;

72.  Welcomes the development of regional investment platforms to address market gaps and country-specific needs;

73.  Stresses again the need to reduce the uneven geographical distribution of the EIB’s financing, as 70 % of it was allocated to six Member States in 2017, even though one of the EIB’s objectives is economic and social cohesion in the Union; calls instead for a dynamic, fair and transparent geographical distribution of projects and investment among Member States, with a special focus on less developed regions;

o
o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0198.
(2) OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, p. 1.


Differentiated integration
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on differentiated integration (2018/2093(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0044A8-0402/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission’s white paper of 1 March 2017 on the future of Europe: reflections and scenarios for the EU-27 by 2025 (COM(2017)2025), and to its accompanying reflection papers on the future of EU finances, on the future of European Defence, on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, on harnessing globalisation, and on the social dimension of Europe,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the European Union(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2013 on constitutional problems of a multitier governance in the European Union(3),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Budgets (A8-0402/2018),

A.  whereas differentiated integration is a polysemous concept that can define various phenomena from both a political and a technical point of view;

B.  whereas integration processes in the EU are characterised by a rapidly increasing number and diversity of situations entailing differentiated integration, in the context of both primary and secondary legislation;

C.  whereas the political perceptions of differentiated integration vary significantly depending on the national context; whereas in some Member States that have been members of the Union for longer, it can have positive connotations and be associated with the idea of creating a ‘pioneer group’ designed to achieve more rapid progress in deepening integration, while in the Member States that joined the Union more recently it is often perceived as a path towards the creation of first- and second-class Member States;

D.  whereas differentiated integration also refers to a wide range of different mechanisms, each of which can have a very different impact on European integration; whereas one can distinguish between time differentiation, or a multispeed Europe, where the goals are the same but the speed required to achieve them varies, manners differentiation, or Europe à la carte, and space differentiation, often referred to as ‘variable geometry’;

E.  whereas differentiation has been a stable feature of European integration, not only in areas in which the EU has competences, but also elsewhere, and has sometimes allowed for the deepening and widening of the EU to be pursued simultaneously; whereas, as a consequence, one cannot oppose differentiation and integration, nor can one present differentiation as an innovative path for the future of the Union;

F.  whereas, if differentiated integration can be a pragmatic solution to drive European integration forwards, it should be used sparingly and within narrowly defined limits, in view of the risk of fragmenting the Union and its institutional framework; whereas the end goal of differentiated integration should be to promote the inclusion and not the exclusion of Member States;

G.  whereas experience shows that while interdependence works as a factor behind integration, politicisation often works as an obstacle to it; whereas, as a consequence, EU policy areas with the deepest integration such as the harmonisation and regulation of the internal market are, for the most part, the least politicised, while differentiated integration seems most likely to arise in policy areas characterised by deep political polarisation, such as monetary policy, defence, border control, fundamental rights or taxation;

H.  whereas the establishment of political links and interdependence between Member States makes a decisive contribution to their integration within the Union;

I.  whereas the Treaties provide for the possibility for Member States to take different paths of integration, namely via enhanced cooperation (Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU)) and permanent structured cooperation (Article 46 TEU) without, however, containing provisions for permanent flexibility or differentiated integration as a long-term objective or principle of European integration; whereas these different paths of integration should only be applied to a limited number of policies, should be inclusive, in order to allow all Member States to participate, and should not undermine the process of creating an ever closer Union as prescribed in Article 1 TEU;

whereas, moreover, enhanced cooperation under the common security and defence policy is now a reality, contributing to the construction of a genuine European Defence Union;

J.  whereas with the exception of the Financial Transaction Tax, all existing cases of differentiated integration could have been adopted in Council by qualified majority voting if this had been provided for in Article 329(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union instead of unanimity;

K.  whereas some forms of differentiated integration might have centripetal effects, attracting more Member States to join the initiative later;

L.  whereas the process of differentiation has led to the creation of initiatives within the EU legal framework, but also to some more flexible intergovernmental legal arrangements, which have led to the creation of a complex system that citizens find hard to understand;

M.  whereas Member States are not the only potential actors of differentiated integration; whereas Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 5 July 2006 on a European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC)(4) already allows for transnational cooperation on the basis of a shared interest;

1.  Insists that the debate surrounding differentiated integration should not be about pro-differentiation versus anti-differentiation, but the best way to operationalise differentiated integration – which is already a political reality – within the EU’s institutional framework in the best interests of the Union and its citizens;

2.  Recalls its conclusions that intergovernmental decision-making structures and processes increase complexity of institutional responsibility, reduce transparency and democratic accountability and that the Community method is best for the functioning of the Union;

3.  Considers that differentiated integration should reflect the idea that Europe does not work to a one-size-fits-all approach and should adapt to the needs and wishes of its citizens; believes that differentiation may sometimes be required for the purposes of embarking on new European projects and overcoming the deadlock arising from national political circumstances unrelated to the common project; believes, moreover, that it should be used pragmatically as a constitutional tool to ensure flexibility without undermining the general interest of the Union and the equal rights and opportunities of its citizens; reiterates that differentiation should only be conceived of as a temporary step on the path towards more effective and integrated policymaking;

4.   Considers that the European Council should take the time it needs to shape the European agenda by demonstrating the benefit of common actions and attempting to convince all Member States to participate in them; highlights that any kind of differentiated integration upon which agreement is reached is therefore a second-best option, and not a strategic priority;

5.  Reiterates its conviction that differentiated integration must remain, as provided for under Articles 20 and 46 TEU, open to all Member States and must continue to serve as an example of deeper European integration where no Member State remains excluded from a policy in the long run, and should not be seen as a means to facilitate à la carte solutions that threaten to undermine the Union method and the EU’s institutional system;

6.  Affirms that any form of differentiation initiative that leads to the creation of first- and second-class Member States of the Union, or to a perception thereof, would be a major political failure with detrimental consequences for the EU project;

7.  Calls for any future model of differentiated integration to be designed to provide incentives for and fully support Member States aspiring to ‘opt in’ in their efforts of economic development and conversion aimed at meeting the necessary criteria in a reasonable timeframe;

8.  Considers that one appropriate answer to the need for flexible tools is to tackle one of the roots of the problem; calls, therefore, for a further shift in Council voting procedures away from unanimity and towards qualified majority voting, by making use of the ‘passerelle clause’ (Article 48(7) TEU);

9.  Believes that differentiated integration should always take place within the Treaty provisions, should maintain the unity of EU institutions and should not lead to the creation of parallel institutional arrangements or arrangements that indirectly contravene the spirit and the fundamental principles of EU law, but should instead enable specific bodies to be established where appropriate, without prejudice to the competences and role of the EU institutions; points out that flexibility and adaptation to national, regional or local specificities could also be ensured via provisions in secondary law;

10.  Emphasises that differentiated integration should not lead to more complex decision-making processes that would undermine the democratic accountability of the EU institutions;

11.  Considers Brexit an opportunity to move away from models of ‘opting out’ towards non-discriminatory and supportive models of ‘opting in’; stresses that these ‘opting in’ models would not limit progress towards ‘ever closer union’ to the lowest common denominator of a one-size-fits-all solution but would allow the necessary flexibility to progress while leaving the door open to Member States that are both willing and able to fulfil the necessary criteria;

12.  Demands that the next revision of the Treaties bring order to the current process of differentiation by ending the practice of permanent opt-outs and exceptions from primary EU law for individual Member States, as they lead to negative differentiation in primary EU law, distort the homogeneity of EU law in general and endanger the social cohesion of the EU;

13.  Acknowledges, however, that some transitional periods may be necessary for new members on a strictly exceptional, temporary and case-by-case basis; insists that certain clear and enforceable legal provisions should be introduced in order to prevent the perpetuation of these periods;

14.  Insists, therefore, that membership of the EU would then require full compliance with primary EU law in all policy areas, while those countries desiring a close relationship with the EU without being willing to commit to full compliance with primary law and which either will not or cannot join the EU should be offered some form of partnership; considers that this relationship should be accompanied by obligations corresponding to the respective rights, such as a contribution to the EU budget, and should be contingent on adherence with the Union’s fundamental values, the rule of law and, when it comes to internal market participation, the four freedoms;

15.  Underlines the fact that respecting and safeguarding the EU’s fundamental values are the cornerstone of the European Union, a community based on values, and bind the Member States together; considers, therefore, that differentiation should not be permissible when it comes to respect for the existing fundamental rights and values enshrined in Article 2 TEU; insists, moreover, that differentiation should not be possible in policy areas where non-participating Member States could create negative externalities, such as economic and social dumping; demands that the Commission carefully examine the potential centrifugal effects, including in the long term, when it submits its proposal for enhanced cooperation;

16.  Recalls its recommendation to define a partnership in order to set up a ring of partners around the EU for states which cannot or will not join the Union, but nevertheless want a close relationship with the EU(5);

17.  Suggests the establishment of a special procedure that would allow, after a certain number of years, when enhanced cooperation is launched by a number of states representing a qualified majority in the Council and after Parliament’s consent has been obtained, the integration of the provisions of enhanced cooperation into the EU acquis;

18.  Underlines the fact that flexibility and differentiation should go hand in hand with reinforcing common rules in core areas in order to ensure that differentiation does not lead to political fragmentation; considers, therefore, that a future European institutional framework should include ineluctable European Pillars on political, economic, social and environmental rights;

19.  Recognises that regional cooperation plays an important role in strengthening European integration and considers that its further development has strong potential to consolidate and deepen integration by adapting it to local specificities and a willingness to cooperate;

20.  Suggests that suitable tools be developed within EU law and a budget established for testing cross-border initiatives within the EU on issues of EU-wide interest, which could eventually be turned into legislative proposals or cases of enhanced cooperation;

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

(1) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 215.
(2) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 201.
(3) OJ C 468, 15.12.2016, p. 176.
(4) OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 19.
(5) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 207.


Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on the Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU (2018/2096(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0045A8-0420/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 15(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and its provisions regarding access to documents of the Union institutions,

–  having regard to Article 228 of the TFEU,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 11 thereof,

–  having regard to Article 3(7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on public access to documents (Rule 116(7)) for the years 2014-2015(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2017 on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 May 2018 on the interpretation and implementation of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making(5),

–  having regard to Articles 2.6 and 2.7 of the Contribution of the LIX COSAC, adopted during its plenary meeting in Sofia on 17-19 June 2018,

–  having regard to the Special Report of the Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the strategic inquiry OI/2/2017/TE on the transparency of the Council legislative process,

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0420/2018),

A.  whereas Article 228 TFEU and Article 3 of the Statute of the Ombudsman allow the Ombudsman to conduct inquiries for which she finds grounds, either on the basis of a complaint or on her own initiative;

B.  whereas Articles 1 and 10(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) establish that at Union level decisions must be taken as openly as possible and as close as possible to the citizens;

C.  whereas the European Parliament, as the institution directly representing the citizens, and the Council of the European Union, representing the Member States, are the two components of the European legislature constituting the dual source of legitimacy of the European Union;

D.  whereas the European Parliament works with a high degree of transparency in its legislative procedure, including at the committee stage, making it possible for citizens, the media and stakeholders to clearly identify different positions within Parliament and the origin of specific proposals, as well as to follow the adoption of final decisions;

E.  whereas according to Article 16(8) TEU the Council must meet in public when it deliberates and votes on a draft legislative act;

F.  whereas the Council takes a majority of decisions that could be made by qualified majority voting (QMV) by consensus and without a formal vote;

G.  whereas the Ombudsman launched an inquiry into the transparency of legislative discussions in the Council’s preparatory bodies, putting 14 questions to the Council on 10 March 2017 and launching a public consultation;

H.  whereas following the inquiry, the Ombudsman found that the Council’s lack of transparency regarding public access to its legislative documents and its current practices with regard to transparency of its decision-making process – specifically during the preparatory stage at Coreper and working group level – constitute maladministration;

I.  whereas on 9 February 2018 the Ombudsman made six suggestions for improvements and three specific recommendations to the Council regarding transparency of its preparatory bodies, and asked the Council for a reply;

J.  whereas the Council did not reply to the recommendations contained in the Ombudsman’s report within the legally prescribed timeline of three months, and, because of the importance of the issue of legislative transparency, the Ombudsman decided not to grant the Council any extensions beyond this deadline, and submitted the report to Parliament;

1.  Is deeply concerned that a common criticism of the European Union is that it is democratically deficient; stresses, therefore, that having one of its three main institutions taking decisions without the transparency that is to be expected from a democratic establishment is detrimental to the ambitious venture that is the European project;

2.  Is deeply convinced that fully democratic and highly transparent decision-making at the European level is indispensable to increase citizens’ trust in the European project and the EU institutions, especially in the run-up to the European elections in May 2019, and is therefore determined to enhance the democratic accountability of all EU institutions;

3.  Shares the view of the Ombudsman that ensuring that citizens are able to understand, follow in detail and participate in the progress of legislation is a legal requirement under the Treaties and a basic requirement for a modern democracy;

4.  Emphasises that a high level of transparency of the legislative process is essential to enable citizens, media and stakeholders to hold their elected representatives and governments accountable;

5.  Believes that a high level of transparency acts as a safeguard against the spread of speculation, fake news and conspiracy theories, as it provides a factual basis for publicly refuting such claims;

6.  Recalls that the European Parliament represents the interests of European citizens in an open and transparent manner, as confirmed by the Ombudsman, and takes note of the progress made by the Commission in improving its transparency standards; regrets that the Council does not yet follow comparable standards;

7.  Points out that the work of the preparatory bodies of the Council, i.e. the Committees of Permanent Representatives (Coreper I + II) and more than 150 working groups, is an integral part of the Council’s decision-making procedure;

8.  Deplores the fact that, unlike committee meetings in Parliament, meetings of the preparatory bodies of the Council as well as the majority of debates in the Council are held in camera; believes that citizens, media and stakeholders must have access by appropriate means to the meetings of the Council and its preparatory bodies, including via live- and webstreaming, and that the minutes of these meetings should be published in order to ensure a high level of transparency in the legislative process in both components of the European legislature; underlines that, according to the principle of democratic legitimacy, the public must be able to hold both components of the legislature accountable for their actions;

9.  Deplores the fact that the Council does not proactively publish most documents related to legislative files, preventing citizens from knowing which documents actually exist and thus impeding their right to request access to documents; regrets the fact that available information on legislative documents is presented by the Council in a register which is incomplete and not user-friendly; calls on the Council to list in its public register all the documents related to legislative files, irrespective of their format and their classification; notes in this regard the efforts made by the Commission, Parliament and the Council to create a joint database for legislative files and underlines that all three institutions have a responsibility to swiftly finalise this work;

10.  Considers the Council’s practice of systematically classifying documents distributed in its preparatory bodies relating to legislative files as ‘LIMITE’ to be a violation of the case law(6) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and of the legal requirement that there should be the widest possible public access to legislative documents; calls on the Council to fully implement the rulings of the CJEU and to abolish the still existing inconsistencies and divergent practices; recalls that the ‘LIMITE’ marking has no solid legal basis and considers that the Council’s internal guidelines should be reviewed in order to guarantee that documents can only be marked as ‘LIMITE’ in duly justified cases complying with CJEU case law;

11.  Deplores the fact that following the judgment of the CJEU in the Access Info Europe case in 2013, Coreper decided that as a rule, the drafter of the document should record Member States’ names in documents relating to ongoing legislative procedures ‘where appropriate’; deems it unacceptable that the positions taken in the preparatory bodies of the Council by individual Member States are neither published nor systematically recorded, making it impossible for citizens, media and stakeholders to effectively scrutinise the behaviour of their elected governments;

12.  Points out that this lack of information also hampers the ability of national parliaments to control the actions of national governments in the Council, which is the essential function of national parliaments in the EU’s legislative procedure, and enables members of national governments to distance themselves in the national sphere from decisions made at the European level which they shaped and took themselves; considers that this practice is in contradiction to the spirit of the Treaties and that it is irresponsible on the part of members of national governments to undermine trust in the European Union by ‘blaming Brussels’ for decisions they themselves were involved in; argues that a systematic record of the positions of Member States in the Council’s preparatory bodies would act as a disincentive to this practice, which must be ended immediately; notes that this practice plays into the hands of politicians who seek to delegitimise the EU in the eyes of the public;

13.  Considers it incompatible with democratic principles that, in interinstitutional negotiations between the co-legislators, the lack of transparency in the Council leads to an imbalance with regard to available information and thus to a structural advantage of the Council over the European Parliament; reiterates its call for the improvement of the exchange of documents and information between Parliament and the Council and for access to be granted to representatives of Parliament as observers to meetings of the Council and its bodies, in particular in the case of legislation, in a way equivalent to which Parliament grants the Council access to its meetings;

14.  Recalls that following the strategic inquiry by the Ombudsman concerning the transparency of trilogues, recommendations have not been taken up, largely owing to the reluctance of the Council; believes that, because trilogues have become the common practice for reaching agreements on legislative files, a high level of transparency should apply to them; considers that this should include proactive publication of relevant documents, the definition of an interinstitutional calendar and a general rule according to which negotiations can only start after the adoption of public mandates, in line with the principles of publicity and transparency inherent in the EU legislative process;

15.  Demands that the Council, as one of the two components of the European legislature, align its working methods with the standards of a parliamentary and participatory democracy as required under the Treaties, rather than acting like a diplomatic forum, which is not its intended function;

16.  Is of the opinion that Member States’ governments deprive citizens of their right to information and circumvent transparency standards as well as proper democratic control by preparing or predetermining far-reaching economic and financial decisions in informal formats such as the Eurogroup and the Euro Summit; insists that EU legislation on transparency and access to documents be applied without delay to informal bodies and preparatory bodies within the Council, in particular the Eurogroup, the Eurogroup Working Group, the Financial Services Committee and the Economic and Financial Committee; calls for the Eurogroup to be fully formalised during the next revision of the Treaties in order to guarantee proper public access and parliamentary scrutiny;

17.   Reiterates its call to transform the Council into a true legislative chamber, thus creating a genuinely bicameral legislative system involving the Council and Parliament, with the Commission acting as the executive; suggests involving the currently active specialised legislative Council configurations as preparatory bodies for a single legislative Council, both of which would meet in public, along similar lines to the functioning of the committees of the European Parliament, with all final legislative decisions being taken in the single legislative Council;

18.  Considers voting in public to be a fundamental characteristic of democratic decision-making; urges the Council to make use of the possibility of QMV, and to refrain, where possible, from the practice of taking decisions by consensus and thus without a formal vote in public;

19.  Fully endorses the European Ombudsman’s recommendations to the Council and urges the Council – as a minimum – to take all measures necessary to implement as swiftly as possible the recommendations of the Ombudsman, namely:

   a) to systematically record the identity of Member State governments when they express positions in Council preparatory bodies;
   b) to develop clear and publicly available criteria for how it designates documents as ‘LIMITE’, in line with EU law;
   c) to systematically review the ‘LIMITE’ status of documents at an early stage, before the final adoption of a legislative act, including before informal negotiations in trilogues, at which point the Council will have reached an initial position on the proposal;

20.  Considers that references to professional secrecy cannot be used to systematically prevent documents from being registered and disclosed;

21.  Takes note of the statement made by the Austrian Presidency to the joint committee on Constitutional Affairs and on Petitions on keeping the European Parliament informed on the progress of the Council’s ongoing reflections on how to improve its rules and procedures as regards legislative transparency, and expressing readiness to engage with Parliament at the appropriate level in a joint reflection on those topics that require interinstitutional coordination, and regrets the fact that no input has been submitted to Parliament so far;

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

(1) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.
(2) OJ C 66, 21.2.2018, p. 23.
(3) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 215.
(4) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 120.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0225.
(6) For the principle of the widest possible public access, see: Joint Cases C-39/05 P and C-52/05 P Sweden and Turco v Council [2008] ECLI:EU:C:2008:374, para 34; Case C-280/11 P Council v Access Info Europe [2013] ECLI:EU:C:2013:671, para 27; and Case T-540/15 De Capitani v Parliament [2018] ECLI:EU:T:2018:167, para 80.

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