Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 12 February 2019 - Strasbourg 
Fisheries Partnership Agreement between Côte d’Ivoire and the EU (2018-2024) ***
 Fisheries Partnership Agreement between Côte d’Ivoire and the EU (2018-2024) (resolution)
 EU-Morocco Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement ***
 Agreement to prevent unregulated high seas fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean ***
 Protocol to the EU-Mexico Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
 EU Anti-Fraud Programme ***I
 Multiannual plan for stocks fished in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks ***I
 Union Civil Protection Mechanism ***I
 Minimum requirements for water reuse ***I
 Approval and market surveillance of agricultural and forestry vehicles ***I
 Programme for single market, competitiveness of enterprises and European statistics ***I
 VAT: Definitive system for the taxation of trade between Member States *
 Roma integration strategies
 Implementation of the Treaty provisions related to EU Citizenship
 Implementation of the Treaty provisions concerning enhanced cooperation
 Implementation of the Treaty provisions on Parliament’s power of political control over the Commission
 Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the EU institutional framework
 Regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties (Statute of the European Ombudsman)
 A comprehensive European industrial policy on artificial intelligence and robotics
 Sustainable use of pesticides
 Implementation of the cross-border Healthcare Directive

Fisheries Partnership Agreement between Côte d’Ivoire and the EU (2018-2024) ***
PDF 125kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (2018-2024) (10858/2018 – C8-0387/2018 – 2018/0267(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0063A8-0030/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10858/2018),

–  having regard to the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (2018-2024) (10856/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0387/2018),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 12 February 2019(1) on the draft decision,

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets (A8-0030/2019),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the protocol;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA-PROV(2019)0064.


Fisheries Partnership Agreement between Côte d’Ivoire and the EU (2018-2024) (resolution)
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European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (2018-2024) (10858/2018 – C8-0387/2018 – 2018/0267M(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0064A8-0034/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10858/2018),

–  having regard to the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (2018-2024) (10856/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0387/2018),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 12 February 2019(1) on the draft decision,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A8-0034/2019),

A.  whereas the Commission and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire have negotiated a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (EU-Côte d’Ivoire SFPA) and implementing protocol for a six-year period;

B.  whereas the overall aim of the EU-Côte d’Ivoire SFPA is to increase fisheries cooperation between the EU and Côte d’Ivoire, in the interests of both parties, by promoting a sustainable fisheries policy and sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Côte d’Ivoire exclusive economic zone (EEZ);

C.  whereas the uptake of fishing opportunities under the previous EU-Côte d’Ivoire SFPA amounted, on average, to 79 %, a figure considered to be good on the whole; whereas during that period, however, longliners did not make use of the fishing opportunities available;

D.  whereas the fact that the EU-Côte d’Ivoire SFPAs have been concluded one after the other has been helping Côte d’Ivoire’s economy to the extent that local seamen and the Abidjan port and canning facilities have been used, the by-catches of EU tuna seiners have been turned to account, and local monitoring capacities have been strengthened (although they are considered to be generally modest);

E.  whereas the EU-Côte d’Ivoire SFPA should promote more effective sustainable development of the Ivorian fishing communities and of related industries and activities; whereas the support to be provided under the Protocol has to be consistent with the national development plans – in particular the Strategic Plan for the Development of Livestock, Fisheries, and Aquaculture (PSDEPA) – and the Blue Growth Action Plan, devised with the United Nations to increase production in, and professionalise, the sector in order to meet the population’s food and employment needs; whereas, according to the above-mentioned Strategic Plan, achieving those aims requires a budget of more than EUR 140 million;

F.  whereas the EU, through the European Development Fund, is contributing a multiannual budget of EUR 273 million for Côte d’Ivoire, focusing on, among other areas, infrastructure, health, and humanitarian aid;

1.  Takes the view that the EU-Côte-d’Ivoire SFPA should pursue two equally important goals: (1) providing fishing opportunities for EU vessels in the Côte d’Ivoire EEZ, on the basis of the best available scientific advice and without interfering with conservation and management measures by the regional organisations to which Côte d’Ivoire belongs – primarily the ICCAT – or overrunning the available surplus; and (2) promoting cooperation between the EU and Côte d’Ivoire with a view to a sustainable fisheries policy and sound exploitation of fishery resources in the Côte d’Ivoire fishing zone, and contributing to sustainable development of the Ivorian fisheries sector through economic, financial, technical, and scientific cooperation, without undermining Côte d’Ivoire’s sovereign options and strategies regarding that development;

2.  Draws attention to the findings of the retrospective and prospective assessment of the Protocol to the EU-Côte d’Ivoire SFPA, produced in September 2017, which stated that the Protocol to the 2013-2018 SFPA had on the whole proved to be effective, efficient, appropriate to the interests involved, and consistent with the Ivorian sectoral policy and a high degree of acceptability to stakeholders, and which recommended the option of concluding a new protocol;

3.  Maintains that the EU-Côte d’Ivoire SFPA and the Protocol thereto, when they are implemented and if they should be revised and/or renewed, have to allow for and be aligned with the PSDEPA and the Blue Growth Plan for the development of the Ivorian fisheries sector, and specifically should:

   Improve governance: drafting and validating legislation and building on management plans;
   Tighten up control and surveillance in the Côte d’Ivoire EEZ;
   Strengthen measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including in inland waters;
   Enable landing quays and ports to be constructed and/or renovated, including at – but not limited to – the Port of Abidjan;
   Improve conditions at smokehouses, particularly for women, thus making for a more effective curing system;
   Support the improvement of working conditions for women, who are primarily responsible for dealing with by-catch;
   Establish marine protected areas;
   Strengthen partnerships with third countries in the form of fisheries agreements, ensuring transparency through the publication of the contents of these agreements, and also by establishing a regional programme for the training and use of observers;
   Enable fish markets to be built;
   Enable the reinforcement of organisations representing men and women in the fishing industry, especially those involved in artisanal fishing, thereby helping to strengthen technical, management and negotiating capabilities;
   Serve to set up and/or refurbish basic and vocational training centres, thereby raising the skill levels of fishermen and seamen;
   Enhance scientific research capabilities and the ability to monitor fishery resources;
   Improve the sustainability of marine resources overall;

4.  Considers that the rules regarding the hiring of ACP seamen for EU fishing vessels, amounting to 20 % of the crew, could be more ambitious; reiterates the need to abide by ILO principles and, in particular, advocates the signing of ILO Convention No. 188, implying as this does an obligation to observe the general principles of freedom of association and free collective bargaining for workers and of non-discrimination in employment and at work; also calls for consideration to be given to the demands of local seamen’s unions that social security, health and retirement cover for ACP seamen be translated better into effect;

5.  Considers that information should be compiled on the benefits that the implementation of the Protocol brings to local economies (employment, infrastructure, social improvements);

6.  Considers it desirable to improve the quantity and accuracy of data on all catches (target species and by-catches) and on the conservation status of fishery resources and to improve the implementation of sectoral support funding in order that the impact of the Agreement on the marine ecosystem and fishing communities can be gauged more exactly; calls on the Commission to help ensure that the bodies responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Agreement, including a joint scientific committee to be set up for that purpose, can operate regularly and transparently, with the involvement of artisanal fishermen’s and women fish smokers associations, trade unions, representatives of coastal communities, and Ivorian civil society organisations;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in their cooperation and official development assistance policies centring on Côte d’Ivoire, to bear in mind that the European Development Fund and the sectoral support laid down in this SFPA should complement each other with a view to contributing more rapidly and effectively to the empowerment of local fishing communities and to the full exercise of Côte d’Ivoire’s sovereignty over that country’s resources;

8.  Calls on the Commission to urge the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire to use the financial contribution provided by the protocol to sustainably strengthen its national fisheries industry, encouraging demand for local investment and industrial projects, and creating local jobs;

9.  Calls on the Commission to send to Parliament and make publicly available the minutes and conclusions of the meetings of the Joint Committee provided for in Article 9 of the Agreement, the multiannual sectoral programme provided for in Article 4 of the Protocol, and the findings of the annual evaluations; calls on the Commission to enable representatives of Parliament to attend Joint Committee meetings as observers and to encourage the participation of Côte d’Ivoire fishing communities;

10.  Calls on the Commission and the Council, acting within the limits of their powers, to keep Parliament immediately and fully informed at every stage of the procedures relating to the Protocol and, if applicable, its renewal, pursuant to Article 13(2) of the Treaty on European Union and Article 218(10) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

11.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA-PROV(2019)0063.


EU-Morocco Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement ***
PDF 125kWORD 41k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, the Implementation Protocol thereto and the exchange of letters accompanying the Agreement (14367/2018 – C8-0033/2019 – 2018/0349(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0065A8-0027/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (14367/2018),

–  having regard to the draft Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, the Implementation Protocol thereto and an exchange of letters accompanying the said Agreement (12983/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0033/2019),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0027/2019),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


Agreement to prevent unregulated high seas fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean (10784/2018 – C8-0431/2018 – 2018/0239(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0066A8-0016/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10784/2018),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean (10788/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 43 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0431/2018),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0016/2019),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the other parties to the agreement.


Protocol to the EU-Mexico Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
PDF 125kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union and its Member States, of the Third Additional Protocol to the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the United Mexican States, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (15383/2017 – C8-0489/2018 – 2017/0319(NLE))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0067A8-0066/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (15383/2017),

–  having regard to the draft Third Additional Protocol to the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the United Mexican States, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (15410/2017),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 91, Article 100(2), Articles 207 and 211 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0489/2018),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0066/2019),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the protocol;

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


EU Anti-Fraud Programme ***I
PDF 229kWORD 73k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the EU Anti-Fraud Programme (COM(2018)0386 – C8-0236/2018 – 2018/0211(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0068A8-0064/2019

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Multiannual plan for stocks fished in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks ***I
PDF 258kWORD 73k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for fish stocks in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks, amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1139 establishing a multiannual plan for the Baltic Sea, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007 and (EC) No 1300/2008 (COM(2018)0149 – C8–0126/2018 – 2018/0074(COD)
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0069A8-0310/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0149),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0126/2018),

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

–  having regard to the official notification of 29 March 2017 by the United Kingdom government, pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, of its intention to withdraw from the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 19 September 2018(1),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 12 December 2018 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0310/2018),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(2);

2.  Approves the joint statement by Parliament and the Council annexed to this resolution, which will be published in the L series of the Official Journal of the European Union together with the final legislative act;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for ▌ stocks fished in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks, amending Regulations (EU) 2016/1139 and (EU) 2018/973, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007 and (EC) No 1300/2008

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0074


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 Article 43(2) 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(4),

Whereas:

(1)  The United Nations Convention of 10 December 1982 on the Law of the Sea, to which the Union is a contracting party, provides for conservation obligations, including the maintaining or restoring of populations of harvested species at levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

(2)  At the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development held in New York in 2015, the Union and its Member States committed themselves, by 2020, to effectively regulate harvesting, to end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices, and to implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks, in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce MSY as determined by their biological characteristics.

(3)  Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5) establishes the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in line with the international obligations of the Union. The CFP is to contribute to the protection of the marine environment, to the sustainable management of all commercially exploited species, and in particular to the achievement of good environmental status by 2020, as set out in Article 1(1) of Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(6).

(4)  The objectives of the CFP are, inter alia, to ensure that fishing and aquaculture are environmentally sustainable in the long term, to apply the precautionary approach to fisheries management and to implement the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management.

(5)  To achieve the objectives of the CFP, a number of conservation measures are to be adopted, as appropriate, in any combination thereof, such as multiannual plans, technical measures, and the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.

(6)  Pursuant to Articles 9 and 10 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, multiannual plans are to be based on scientific, technical and economic advice. In accordance with those provisions, the multiannual plan established by this Regulation (‘the plan’) should contain objectives, quantifiable targets with clear timeframes, conservation reference points, safeguards and technical measures designed to avoid and reduce unwanted catches and to minimise the impact on the marine environment, in particular on vulnerable habitats and protected species.

(7)  This Regulation should take into account the constraints related to the size of artisanal and coastal fishing vessels used in the outermost regions.

(8)  "Best available scientific advice" should be understood to refer to publicly available scientific advice that is supported by the most up-to-date scientific data and methods and that has either been issued or reviewed by an independent scientific body that is recognised at Union or international level.

(9)  The Commission should obtain the best available scientific advice for the stocks within the scope of the plan. In order to do so, it concludes Memoranda of Understanding with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The scientific advice issued in particular by ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level should be based on the plan and should indicate, in particular, ranges of FMSY and biomass reference points, i.e. MSY Btrigger and Blim. Those values should be indicated in the relevant stock advice and, where appropriate, in any other publicly-available scientific advice, including, for example, in mixed fisheries advice issued in particular by ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level.

(10)  Council Regulations (EC) No 811/2004(7), (EC) No 2166/2005(8), (EC) No 388/2006(9), (EC) No 509/2007(10) and (EC) No 1300/2008(11) set out the rules for the exploitation of the northern stock of hake, hake and Norway lobster stocks in the Cantabrian Sea and by the Western Iberian Peninsula, sole in the Bay of Biscay, sole in the Western Channel, herring in the West of Scotland and cod in the Kattegat, the North Sea, the West of Scotland and the Irish Sea. Those and other demersal stocks are taken in mixed fisheries. Therefore, it is appropriate to establish a single multiannual plan taking into account such technical interactions.

(11)  In addition, such a multiannual plan should apply to demersal stocks and their fisheries in the Western Waters, comprising the North Western Waters and the South Western Waters. Those are roundfish, flatfish, cartilaginous fish species and Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) that live at or near the bottom of the water column.

(12)  Some demersal stocks are exploited both in the Western Waters and in their adjacent waters. Therefore the scope of the provisions of the plan relating to targets and safeguards for stocks that are mainly exploited in the Western Waters should be extended for those areas outside the Western Waters. In addition, for stocks also present in the Western Waters that are mainly exploited outside the Western Waters, it is necessary to establish the targets and safeguards in multiannual plans for areas outside the Western Waters where those stocks are mainly exploited, extending the scope of those multiannual plans so that they also cover the Western Waters.

(13)  The geographical scope of the plan should be based on the geographical distribution of stocks indicated in the latest scientific stock advice provided in particular by ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level. Future changes to the geographical distribution of stocks as set out in the plan may be needed either due to improved scientific information or to migration of stocks. Therefore, the Commission should be empowered to adopt delegated acts adjusting the geographical distribution of stocks set out in the plan if the scientific advice provided in particular by ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level indicates a change in the geographical distribution of the relevant stocks.

(14)  Where stocks of common interest are also exploited by third countries, the Union should engage with those third countries with a view to ensuring that those stocks are managed in a sustainable manner that is consistent with the objectives of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, in particular Article 2(2) thereof, and of this Regulation. Where no formal agreement is reached, the Union should make every effort to reach common arrangements for fishing of such stocks with a view to making the sustainable management possible thereby promoting the level-playing field for Union operators.

(15)  The objective of the plan should be to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the CFP and, in particular, to reaching and maintaining MSY for the target stocks, to implementing the landing obligation for demersal stocks subject to catch limits, and to promoting a fair standard of living for those who depend on fishing activities, bearing in mind coastal fisheries and socio-economic aspects. It should also implement the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in order to minimise negative impacts of fishing activities on the marine ecosystem. It should be coherent with the Union’s environmental legislation, in particular the objective of achieving good environmental status by 2020 (in accordance with Directive 2008/56/EC) and the objectives of Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(12) and Council Directive 92/43/EEC(13). The plan should also specify details for the implementation of the landing obligation in Union waters of the Western Waters for all stocks of species to which the landing obligation applies under Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

(16)  Article 16(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 requires that fishing opportunities be fixed in accordance with the objectives set out in Article 2(2) thereof and comply with the targets, time frames and margins established in the multiannual plans.

(17)  It is appropriate to establish the target fishing mortality (F) that corresponds to the objective of reaching and maintaining MSY as ranges of values which are consistent with achieving MSY(FMSY). Those ranges, based on best available scientific advice, are necessary in order to provide flexibility to take account of developments in the scientific advice, to contribute to the implementation of the landing obligation and to take into account the characteristics of mixed fisheries. The FMSY ranges should be calculated, in particular by ▌ ICES, especially in its periodic catch advice, or by a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level. Based on the plan they should be derived to deliver no more than a 5 % reduction in long-term yield compared to MSY The upper limit of the range should be capped, so that the probability of the stock falling below Blim is no more than 5 %. That upper limit should also conform to the ICES "advice rule", which indicates that when the spawning biomass or abundance is in a poor state, F is to be reduced to a value that does not exceed an upper limit equal to the FMSY point value multiplied by the spawning biomass or abundance in the total allowable catch (TAC) year divided by MSY Btrigger. ICES uses these considerations and the advice rule in its provision of scientific advice on fishing mortality and catch options.

(18)  For the purposes of fixing fishing opportunities, there should be an upper threshold for FMSY ranges in normal use and, provided that the stock concerned is considered to be in a good state, an upper limit for certain cases. It should be possible to fix fishing opportunities at the upper limit only if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary for the achievement of the objectives laid down in this Regulation in mixed fisheries or necessary to avoid harm to a stock caused by intra- or inter-species stock dynamics, or in order to limit the year-to-year variations in fishing opportunities.

(19)  It should be possible for a relevant Advisory Council to recommend to the Commission a management approach that seeks to limit year-to-year variations in the fishing opportunities for a particular stock listed in this Regulation. It should be possible for the Council to take any such recommendations into account when fixing fishing opportunities provided that these fishing opportunities comply with the targets and safeguards under the plan.

(20)  For stocks for which targets relating to MSY are available, and for the purpose of the application of safeguard measures, it is necessary to establish conservation reference points expressed as trigger spawning biomass levels for fish stocks, and trigger abundance levels for Norway lobster.

(21)  Appropriate safeguard measures should be provided for in case the stock size falls below these levels. Safeguard measures should include the reduction of fishing opportunities and specific conservation measures when scientific advice states that remedial measures are needed. Those measures should be supplemented by all other appropriate measures such as Commission measures in accordance with Article 12 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 or Member State measures in accordance with Article 13 of that Regulation.

(22)  It should be possible to set the TAC for Norway lobster in four specific management areas as the sum of the catch limits established for each functional unit and of the statistical rectangles outside the functional units within each management area. However, this should not preclude the adoption of measures to protect specific functional units.

(23)  In order to apply a regional approach to conservation and sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources, it is appropriate to provide for a possibility to take technical measures in the Western Waters regarding all stocks.

(24)  The effort limitation regime for sole in the Western Channel has proven to be an efficient management tool complementary to the fixing of fishing possibilities. Such effort limitation should therefore be maintained within the framework of the plan.

(25)  When mortality caused by recreational fishing has a significant impact on a stock managed on the basis of MSY, the Council should be able to set non-discriminatory limits for recreational fishermen. The Council should refer to transparent and objective criteria when setting such limits. Where appropriate, Member States should take the necessary and proportionate measures for the monitoring and collection of data for a reliable estimation of actual recreational catch levels.

(26)  In order to comply with the landing obligation provided for in Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, the plan should provide for additional management measures to be further specified in accordance with Article 18 of that Regulation.

(27)  The deadline for submitting joint recommendations from Member States having direct management interest should be established, as required by Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

(28)  In accordance with Article 10(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, provisions should be established for the periodical assessment by the Commission of the adequacy and effectiveness of the application of this Regulation based on scientific advice. The plan should be evaluated by ... [five years after the date of entry into force of this Regulation], and every five years thereafter. That period allows for the full implementation of the landing obligation, and for regionalised measures to be adopted, implemented and to show effects on the stocks and fishery. It is also the minimum period required by scientific bodies.

(29)  In order to adapt to the technical and scientific progress in a timely and proportionate fashion and to ensure flexibility and allow evolution of certain measures, 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 amending or supplementing this Regulation as regards adjustments concerning the stocks covered by this Regulation following changes in the geographical distribution of the stocks, remedial measures, implementation of the landing obligation and limits regarding the total capacity of the fleets of Member States concerned. 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 of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(14). 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 provide legal certainty, it is appropriate to clarify that temporary cessation measures that have been adopted in order to attain the objectives of the plan can be deemed eligible for support under Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council(15).

(31)  Applying dynamic references to ranges of FMSY and to conservation reference points ensures that those parameters, which are essential for setting fishing opportunities, do not become outdated and that the Council is always able to use the best available scientific advice. Moreover, the approach consisting of providing dynamic references to the best available scientific advice should be followed for managing stocks in the Baltic Sea. It should also be specified that the landing obligation does not apply to recreational fishing in the areas covered by the multiannual plan for Baltic Sea fisheries. Regulation (EU) 2016/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council(16) should therefore be amended.

(32)  The minimum conservation reference size for Norway lobster in the Skagerrak and Kattegat should be reviewed. It should also be specified that the landing obligation does not apply to recreational fishing in the areas covered by the multiannual plan for North Sea fisheries. Regulation (EU) 2018/973 of the European Parliament and of the Council(17) should therefore be amended.

(33)  Council Regulations (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007 and (EC) No 1300/2008 should be repealed.

(34)  The likely economic and social impact of the plan was duly assessed before its finalisation in accordance with Article 9(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

SUBJECT MATTER, SCOPE AND DEFINITIONS

Article 1

Subject-matter and scope

1.  This Regulation establishes a multiannual plan ("the plan") for the ▌ demersal stocks listed below, including deep-sea stocks, in the Western Waters, and, where those stocks extend beyond the Western Waters, in their adjacent waters, and for the fisheries exploiting those stocks:

(1)  black scabbardfish (Aphanopus carbo) in ICES subareas 1, 2, 4, 6–8, 10 and 14 and divisions 3a, 5a, 5b, 9a and 12b;

(2)  roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris) in ICES subareas 6 and 7 and division 5b;

(3)  seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in ICES divisions 4b, 4c, 7a, ▌ 7d–h, 8a and 8b;

(4)  seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in ICES divisions 6a, 7b and 7j;

(5)  seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) in ICES divisions 8c and 9a;

(6)  cod (Gadus morhua) in ICES division 7a;

(7)  cod (Gadus morhua) in ICES divisions 7e–k;

(8)  megrims (Lepidorhombus spp.) in ICES divisions 4a and 6a;

(9)  megrims (Lepidorhombus spp.) in ICES division 6b;

(10)  megrims (Lepidorhombus spp.) in ICES divisions 7b–k, 8a, 8b and 8d;

(11)  megrims (Lepidorhombus spp.) in ICES divisions 8c and 9a;

(12)  anglerfish (Lophiidae) in ICES divisions 7b–k, 8a, 8b and 8d;

(13)  anglerfish (Lophiidae) in ICES divisions 8c and 9a;

(14)  haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) in ICES division 6b;

(15)  haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) in ICES division 7a;

(16)  haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) in ICES divisions 7b–k;

(17)  whiting (Merlangius merlangus) in ICES divisions 7b, 7c and 7e–k;

(18)  whiting (Merlangius merlangus) in ICES subarea 8 and division 9a;

(19)  hake (Merluccius merluccius) in ICES subareas 4, 6 and 7 and divisions 3a, 8a, 8b and 8d;

(20)  hake (Merluccius merluccius) in ICES divisions 8c and 9a;

(21)  blue ling (Molva dypterygia) in ICES subareas 6 and 7 and division 5b;

(22)  Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) by functional unit in ICES subarea 6 and division 5b:

–  in North Minch (FU 11);

–  in South Minch (FU 12);

–  in Firth of Clyde (FU 13);

–  in division 6a, outside the functional units (West of Scotland);

(23)  Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) by functional unit in ICES subarea 7:

–  in Irish Sea East (FU 14);

–  in Irish Sea West (FU 15);

–  in Porcupine Banks (FU 16);

–  in Aran grounds (FU 17);

–  in the Irish Sea (FU 19);

–  in the Celtic Sea (FU 20-21);

–  in the Bristol Channel (FU 22);

–  outside the functional units (Southern Celtic Sea, Southwest of Ireland);

(24)  Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) by functional unit in ICES divisions 8a, 8b, 8d and 8e:

–  in Northern and Central Bay of Biscay (FU 23-24);

(25)  Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) by functional unit in ICES subareas 9 and 10, and CECAF zone 34.1.1:

–  in Atlantic Iberian waters East, Western Galicia and Northern Portugal (FU 26-27);

–  in Atlantic Iberian waters East and Southwestern and Southern Portugal (FU 28-29);

–  in Atlantic Iberian waters East and the Gulf of Cádiz (FU 30);

(26)  red seabream (Pagellus bogaraveo) in ICES subarea 9;

(27)  plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in ICES division 7d;

(28)  plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in ICES division 7e;

(29)  pollack (Pollachius pollachius) in ICES subareas 6 and 7;

(30)  common sole (Solea solea) in ICES subareas 5, 12 and 14 and division 6b;

(31)  common sole (Solea solea) in ICES division 7d;

(32)  common sole (Solea solea) in ICES division 7e;

(33)  common sole (Solea solea) in ICES divisions 7f and 7g;

(34)  common sole (Solea solea) in ICES divisions 7h, 7j and 7k;

(35)  common sole (Solea solea) in ICES divisions 8a and 8b;

(36)  common sole (Solea solea) in ICES divisions 8c and 9a.

Where scientific advice, in particular that of ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level, indicates a change in the geographical distribution of the stocks listed in the first subparagraph of this paragraph, the Commission may adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 18 amending this Regulation by adjusting the areas specified in the first subparagraph of this paragraph in order to reflect that change. Such adjustments shall not extend the stock areas beyond Union waters of ICES subareas 4 to 10, and the CECAF zones 34.1.1, 34.1.2 and 34.2.0.

2.  Where, on the basis of scientific advice, the Commission considers that the list of stocks set out in the first subparagraph of paragraph 1 needs to be amended, the Commission may submit a proposal for the amendment of that list.

3.  With respect to adjacent waters covered in paragraph 1 of this Article, only Articles 4 and 7 and the measures related to fishing opportunities under Article 8 of this Regulation shall apply.

4.  This Regulation also applies to by-catches caught in the Western Waters when fishing for the stocks listed in paragraph 1. However, where ranges of FMSY and safeguards linked to biomass for those stocks are established under other Union legal acts establishing multiannual plans, those ranges and safeguards shall apply.

5.  This Regulation also specifies details for the implementation of the landing obligation in Union waters of the Western Waters for all stocks of species to which the landing obligation applies under Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

6.  This Regulation provides for technical measures, as set out in Article 9, applicable in the Western Waters in respect of any stock.

Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the following definitions shall apply in addition to those laid down in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, Article 4 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009(18) and Article 3 of Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98(19):

(1)  "Western Waters" means the North Western Waters (ICES subareas 5 (excluding division 5a and only Union waters of division 5b), 6 and 7) and the South Western Waters (ICES subareas 8, 9 and 10 (waters around Azores), and CECAF zones 34.1.1, 34.1.2 and 34.2.0 (waters around Madeira and the Canary Islands));

(2)  "range of FMSY" means a range of values provided in the best available scientific advice, in particular from ▌ ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level, where all levels of fishing mortality within that range result in maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term with a given fishing pattern and under current average environmental conditions without significantly affecting the reproduction process for the stock in question. It is derived to deliver no more than a 5 % reduction in long-term yield compared to the MSY. It is capped so that the probability of the stock falling below the limit spawning stock biomass reference point (Blim) is no more than 5 %;

(3)  "MSY Flower" mean the lowest value within the range of FMSY;

(4)  "MSY Fupper" mean the highest value within the range of FMSY;

(5)  "FMSY point value" is the value of the estimated fishing mortality that with a given fishing pattern and under current average environmental conditions gives the long-term maximum yield;

(6)  "lower range of FMSY " means a range that contains values from MSY Flower to FMSY point value;

(7)  "upper range of FMSY" means a range that contains values from FMSY point value up to MSY Fupper;

(8)  "Blim" means the spawning stock biomass reference point provided for in the best available scientific advice, in particular by ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level, below which there may be reduced reproductive capacity;

(9)  "MSY Btrigger" means the spawning stock biomass reference point, or, in the case of Norway lobster, abundance reference point provided for in the best available scientific advice, in particular from ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level, below which specific and appropriate management action is to be taken to ensure that exploitation rates in combination with natural variations rebuild stocks above levels capable of producing MSY in the long term.

CHAPTER II

OBJECTIVES

Article 3

Objectives

1.  The plan shall contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the common fisheries policy listed in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, in particular by applying the precautionary approach to fisheries management, and shall aim to ensure that exploitation of living marine biological resources restores and maintains populations of harvested species above levels which can produce MSY.

2.  The plan shall contribute to the elimination of discards, by avoiding and reducing, as far as possible, unwanted catches, and to the implementation of the landing obligation established in Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 for the species which are subject to catch limits and to which this Regulation applies.

3.  The plan shall implement the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in order to ensure that negative impacts of fishing activities on the marine ecosystem are minimised. It shall be coherent with Union environmental legislation, in particular with the objective of achieving good environmental status by 2020 as set out in Article 1(1) of Directive 2008/56/EC ▌.

4.  In particular, the plan shall aim to:

(a)  ensure that the conditions described in descriptor 3 contained in Annex I to Directive 2008/56/EC are fulfilled; ▌

(b)  contribute to the fulfilment of other relevant descriptors contained in Annex I to Directive 2008/56/EC in proportion to the role played by fisheries in their fulfilment; and

(c)   contribute to the achievement of the objectives set out in Articles 4 and 5 of Directive 2009/147/EC and Articles 6 and 12 of Directive 92/43/EEC, in particular to minimise the negative impact of fishing activities on vulnerable habitats and protected species.

5.  Measures under the plan shall be taken in accordance with the best available scientific advice. Where there is insufficient data, a comparable degree of conservation of the relevant stocks shall be pursued.

CHAPTER III

TARGETS

Article 4

Targets

1.  The target fishing mortality, in line with the ranges of FMSY defined in Article 2, shall be achieved as soon as possible, and on a progressive, incremental basis by 2020 for the stocks listed in Article 1(1), and shall be maintained thereafter within the ranges of FMSY, in accordance with this Article.

2.  The ranges of FMSY based on the plan shall be requested in particular from ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level.

3.  In accordance with Article 16(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, when the Council fixes fishing opportunities for a stock, it shall establish those opportunities within the lower range of FMSY available at that time for that stock.

4.  Notwithstanding paragraphs 1 and 3, fishing opportunities for a stock may be fixed at levels that are lower than the ranges of FMSY.

5.  Notwithstanding paragraphs 3 and 4, fishing opportunities for a stock may be fixed in accordance with the upper range of FMSY available at that time for that stock, provided that the stock referred to in Article 1(1) is above MSY Btrigger:

(a)  if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary for the achievement of the objectives laid down in Article 3 in the case of mixed fisheries;

(b)  if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary to avoid serious harm to a stock caused by intra- or inter-species stock dynamics; or

(c)  in order to limit variations in fishing opportunities between consecutive years to not more than 20 %.

6.  Where ranges of FMSY cannot be determined for a stock listed in Article 1(1) because of a lack of adequate scientific information, that stock shall be managed in accordance with Article 5 until ranges of FMSY are available pursuant to paragraph 2 of this Article.

7.  Fishing opportunities shall in any event be fixed in such a way as to ensure that there is less than a 5 % probability of the spawning stock biomass falling below Blim.

Article 5

Management of by-catch stocks

1.  Management measures for the stocks referred to in Article 1(4) including, where appropriate, fishing opportunities shall be set taking into account the best available scientific advice and shall be consistent with the objectives laid down in Article 3.

2.  The stocks referred to in Article 1(4) shall be managed under the precautionary approach to fisheries management as defined in point 8 of Article 4(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 when no adequate scientific information is available, and in accordance with Article 3(5) of this Regulation.

3.  In accordance with Article 9(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, the management of mixed fisheries with regard to stocks referred to in Article 1(4) of this Regulation shall take into account the difficulty of fishing all stocks at MSY at the same time, especially in situations where that leads to a premature closure of the fishery.

Article 6

Limitation of variations in fishing opportunities for a stock

A relevant Advisory Council may recommend to the Commission a management approach that seeks to limit year-to-year variations in the fishing opportunities for a particular stock listed in Article 1(1).

The Council may take any such recommendations into account when fixing fishing opportunities provided that these fishing opportunities comply with Articles 4 and 8.

CHAPTER IV

SAFEGUARDS

Article 7

Conservation reference points

The following conservation reference points to safeguard the full reproductive capacity of the stocks referred to in Article 1(1) shall, based on the plan, be requested in particular from ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level:

(a)  MSY Btrigger for stocks referred to in Article 1(1);

(b)  Blim for stocks referred to in Article 1(1).

Article 8

Safeguards

1.  When scientific advice indicates that for a given year the spawning stock biomass and, in the case of Norway lobster stocks, abundance of any of the stocks referred to in Article 1(1) is below the MSY Btrigger, all appropriate remedial measures shall be adopted to ensure rapid return of the stock or functional unit concerned to levels above those capable of producing MSY. In particular, notwithstanding Article 4(3) ▌, fishing opportunities shall be set at levels consistent with a fishing mortality that is reduced below the upper range of FMSY, taking into account the decrease in biomass.

2.  When scientific advice indicates that the spawning stock biomass and, in the case of Norway lobster stocks, abundance of any of the stocks referred to in Article 1(1) is below the Blim, further remedial measures shall be taken to ensure rapid return of the stock or functional unit concerned to levels above the level capable of producing MSY. In particular, those remedial measures may include, notwithstanding Article 4(3) ▌, suspending the targeted fishery for the stock or functional unit concerned and the adequate reduction of fishing opportunities.

3.  Remedial measures referred to in this Article may include:

(a)  emergency measures in accordance with Articles 12 and 13 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013;

(b)  measures pursuant to Article 9 of this Regulation.

4.  The choice of measures referred to in this Article shall be made in accordance with the nature, seriousness, duration and repetition of the situation where the spawning stock biomass and, in the case of Norway lobster stocks, abundance is below the levels referred to in Article 7.

CHAPTER V

TECHNICAL MEASURES

Article 9

Technical measures

1.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 18 of this Regulation and Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 in order to supplement this Regulation regarding the following technical measures:

(a)  specifications of characteristics of fishing gears and rules governing their use, to ensure or improve selectivity, to reduce unwanted catches or to minimise the negative impact on the ecosystem;

(b)  specifications of modifications or additional devices to the fishing gears, to ensure or improve selectivity, to reduce unwanted catches or to minimise the negative impact on the ecosystem;

(c)  limitations or prohibitions on the use of certain fishing gears and on fishing activities in certain areas or periods to protect spawning fish, fish below the minimum conservation reference size or non-target fish species, or to minimise the negative impact on the ecosystem; and

(d)  the fixing of minimum conservation reference sizes for any of the stocks to which this Regulation applies, to ensure the protection of juveniles of marine organisms.

2.  The measures referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall contribute to the achievement of the objectives set out in Article 3.

CHAPTER VI

FISHING OPPORTUNITIES

Article 10

Fishing opportunities

1.  When allocating fishing opportunities available to them in accordance with Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, Member States shall take account of the likely catch composition of vessels participating in mixed fisheries.

2.  Member States may, after notifying the Commission, exchange all or part of the fishing opportunities allocated to them pursuant to Article 16(8) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

3.  Without prejudice to Article 8, the TAC for the stocks of Norway lobster in the Western Waters may be established for management areas corresponding to each of the areas defined under points 22, 23, 24 and 25 of Article 1(1). In such cases, the TAC for a management area may be the sum of the catch limits of those functional units and of the statistical rectangles outside the functional units.

Article 11

Recreational fisheries

1.  When scientific advice indicates that recreational fishing is having a significant impact on the fishing mortality of a stock referred to in Article 1(1), the Council may set non-discriminatory limits for recreational fishermen.

2.  When setting the limits referred to in paragraph 1, the Council shall refer to transparent and objective criteria, including those of environmental, social and economic nature. The criteria used may include, in particular, the impact of recreational fishing on the environment, the societal importance of that activity and its contribution to the economy in coastal areas.

3.  Where appropriate, Member States shall take the necessary and proportionate measures for the monitoring and collection of data for a reliable estimation of the actual recreational catch levels.

Article 12

Effort limitation for sole in the Western Channel

1.  The TACs for sole in the Western Channel (ICES division 7e) under the plan shall be complemented by fishing effort limitations.

2.  When fixing the fishing opportunities, the Council shall decide annually on the maximum number of days at sea for vessels present in the Western Channel and deploying beam trawls of mesh size equal to or greater than 80 mm and for vessels in the Western Channel deploying static nets with mesh size equal to or less than 220 mm.

3.  The maximum number of days at sea referred to in paragraph 2 shall be adjusted in the same proportion as the adjustment in fishing mortality corresponding to the variation in the TACs.

CHAPTER VII

PROVISIONS LINKED TO THE LANDING OBLIGATION

Article 13

Provisions linked to the landing obligation in Union waters of the Western Waters

1.  For all stocks of species in the Western Waters to which the landing obligation applies under Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 18 of this Regulation and Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 in order to supplement this Regulation by specifying details of that obligation as provided for in points (a) to (e) of Article 15(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

2.  The landing obligation provided for in Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 shall not apply to recreational fishing, including in cases where the Council sets limits in accordance with Article 11 of this Regulation.

CHAPTER VIII

ACCESS TO WATERS AND RESOURCES

Article 14

Fishing authorisations and capacity ceilings

1.  For each of the ICES zones referred to in Article 1(1) of this Regulation, each Member State shall issue fishing authorisations in accordance with Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 for vessels flying its flag and which engage in fishing activities in that area. In such fishing authorisations, Member States may also limit the total capacity ▌ of such vessels using a specific gear.

2.  The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 16 of this Regulation and Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 supplementing this Regulation by setting limits regarding the total capacity of the fleets of the Member States concerned so as to facilitate achievement of the objectives set out in Article 3 of this Regulation.

3.  Each Member State shall establish and maintain a list of vessels holding the fishing authorisation referred to in paragraph 1 and make it available on its official website to the Commission and the other Member States.

CHAPTER IX

MANAGEMENT OF STOCKS OF COMMON INTEREST

Article 15

Principles and objectives of management of stocks of common interest to the Union and third countries

1.  Where stocks of common interest are also exploited by third countries, the Union shall engage with those third countries with a view to ensuring that those stocks are managed in a sustainable manner that is consistent with the objectives of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, in particular Article 2(2) thereof, and of this Regulation. Where no formal agreement is reached, the Union shall make every effort to reach common arrangements for fishing of such stocks with a view to making the sustainable management possible thereby promoting a level-playing field for Union operators.

2.  In the context of the joint management of stocks with third countries, the Union may exchange fishing opportunities with third countries pursuant to Article 33(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

CHAPTER X

REGIONALISATION

Article 16

Regional cooperation

1.  Article 18(1) to (6) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 shall apply to measures referred to in Articles 9 and 13 and Article 14(2) of this Regulation.

2.   For the purpose of paragraph 1 of this Article, Member States having a direct management interest in the North Western waters may submit joint recommendations for the North Western Waters and Member States having direct management interest in the South Western Waters may submit joint recommendations for the South Western Waters. Those Member States may also together submit joint recommendations for the whole of those waters. Those recommendations shall be submitted in accordance with Article 18(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 for the first time not later than ... [12 months after the date of entry into force of this Regulation] and thereafter 12 months after each submission of the evaluation of the plan in accordance with Article 17 of this Regulation. The Member States concerned may also submit such recommendations when ▌ necessary ▌, in particular in the event of a change in the situation of any of the stocks to which this Regulation applies, or to tackle emergency situations identified by the latest scientific advice. Joint recommendations in respect of measures concerning a given calendar year shall be submitted not later than 1 July of the previous year.

3.  The empowerments granted under Articles 9 and 13 and Article 14(2) of this Regulation shall be without prejudice to powers conferred to the Commission under other provisions of Union law, including under Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

CHAPTER XI

EVALUATION AND PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS

Article 17

Evaluation of the plan

By … [five years after the date of entry into force of this Regulation], and every five years thereafter, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the results and impact of the plan on the stocks to which this Regulation applies and on the fisheries exploiting those stocks, in particular as regards the achievement of the objectives set out in Article 3.

Article 18

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 Article 1(1), Articles 9 and 13 and Article 14(2) shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of five years from … [date of the entry into force of this Regulation]. The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than nine months before the end of the five-year period. The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period.

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 1(1), Articles 9 and 13 and Article 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 the 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 Article 1(1), Articles 9 and 13 and Article 14(2) shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and to 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.

CHAPTER XII

SUPPORT FROM THE EUROPEAN MARITIME AND FISHERIES FUND

Article 19

Support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Temporary cessation measures adopted in order to achieve the objectives of the plan shall be deemed as temporary cessation of fishing activities for the purposes of points (a) and (c) of Article 33(1) of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014.

CHAPTER XIII

AMENDMENTS TO REGULATIONS (EU) 2016/1139 AND (EU) 2018/973

Article 20

Amendments to Regulation (EU) 2016/1139

Regulation (EU) 2016/1139 is amended as follows:

1.  Article 2 ▌ is replaced by the following:"

"Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the definitions referred to in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 and Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 2187/2005 apply. In addition, the following definitions apply:

   (1) "pelagic stocks" means the stocks listed in points (c) to (h) of Article 1(1) of this Regulation and any combination thereof;
   (2) "range of FMSY" means a range of values provided in the best available scientific advice, in particular from ▌ ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level, where all levels of fishing mortality within that range result in maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term with a given fishing pattern and under current average environmental conditions without significantly affecting the reproduction process for the stock in question. It is derived to deliver no more than a 5 % reduction in long-term yield compared to the MSY. It is capped so that the probability of the stock falling below the limit spawning stock biomass reference point (Blim) is no more than 5 %;
   (3) "MSY Flower" means the lowest value within the range of FMSY;
   (4) "MSY Fupper" means the highest value within the range of FMSY;
   (5) "FMSY point value" is the value of the estimated fishing mortality that with a given fishing pattern and under current average environmental conditions gives the long-term maximum yield;
   (6) "lower range of FMSY" means a range that contains values from MSY Flower to FMSY point value;
   (7) "upper range of FMSY" means a range that contains values from FMSY point value up to MSY Fupper;
   (8) "Blim" means the spawning stock biomass reference point provided in the best available scientific advice, in particular by ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level, below which there may be reduced reproductive capacity;
   (9) "MSY Btrigger" means the spawning stock biomass reference point provided for in the best available scientific advice, in particular from ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level, below which specific and appropriate management action is to be taken to ensure that exploitation rates in combination with natural variations rebuild stocks above levels capable of producing MSY in the long term;
   (10) "Member States concerned" means Member States having a direct management interest, namely Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden.";

"

2.  Article 4 is replaced by the following:"

"Article 4

Targets

1.  The target fishing mortality in line with the ranges of FMSY defined in Article 2 shall be achieved as soon as possible, and on a progressive, incremental basis by 2020 for the stocks listed in Article 1(1), and shall be maintained thereafter within the ranges of FMSY, in accordance with this Article.

2.  The ranges of FMSY based on the plan shall be requested in particular from ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level.

3.  In accordance with Article 16(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, when the Council fixes fishing opportunities for a stock, it shall establish those opportunities within the lower range of FMSY available at that time for that stock.

4.  Notwithstanding paragraphs 1 and 3, fishing opportunities may be fixed at levels that are lower than the ranges of FMSY.

5.  Notwithstanding paragraphs 3 and 4, fishing opportunities for a stock may be fixed in accordance with the upper range of FMSY available at that time for that stock, provided that the stock referred to in Article 1(1) is above MSY Btrigger:

   (a) if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary for the achievement of the objectives laid down in Article 3 in the case of mixed fisheries;
   (b) if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary to avoid serious harm to a stock caused by intra- or inter-species stock dynamics; or
   (c) in order to limit variations in fishing opportunities between consecutive years to not more than 20 %.

6.  Fishing opportunities shall in any event be fixed in such a way as to ensure that there is less than a 5 % probability of the spawning stock biomass falling below Blim.";

"

3.  In Chapter III, the following Article is inserted after Article 4:"

"Article 4a

Conservation reference points

The following conservation reference points to safeguard the full reproductive capacity of the stocks referred to in Article 1(1) shall, based on the plan, be requested in particular from ICES or a similar independent scientific body recognised at Union or international level:

   (a) MSY Btrigger for stocks referred to in Article 1(1);
   (b) Blim for stocks referred to in Article 1(1).";

"

4.  Article 5 is replaced by the following:"

"Article 5

Safeguards

1.  When scientific advice indicates that for a given year the spawning biomass of any of the stocks referred to in Article 1(1) is below the MSY Btrigger, all appropriate remedial measures shall be adopted to ensure rapid return of the stock concerned to levels above those capable of producing MSY. In particular, notwithstanding Article 4(3) ▌, fishing opportunities shall be set at levels consistent with a fishing mortality that is reduced below the upper range of FMSY, taking into account the decrease in biomass.

2.  When scientific advice indicates that the spawning stock biomass of any of the stocks referred to in Article 1(1) is below the Blim, further remedial measures shall be taken to ensure rapid return of the stock concerned to levels above the level capable of producing MSY. In particular, those remedial measures may include, notwithstanding Article 4(3) ▌, suspending the targeted fishery for the stock and the adequate reduction of fishing opportunities.

3.  Remedial measures referred to in this Article may include:

   (a) emergency measures in accordance with Articles 12 and 13 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013;
   (b) measures pursuant to Articles 7 and 8 of this Regulation.

4.  The choice of measures referred to in this Article shall be made in accordance with the nature, seriousness, duration and repetition of the situation where the spawning stock biomass is below the levels referred to in Article 4a.";

"

5.  In Article 7, the following paragraph is added:"

"3. The landing obligation provided for in Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 shall not apply to recreational fishing, including in cases where the Council sets limits for recreational fishermen.";

"

6.  Annexes I and II are deleted.

Article 21

Amendments to Regulation (EU) 2018/973

Regulation (EU) 2018/973 is amended as follows:

1.  In Article 9, the following paragraph is added: "

"3. By way of derogation from Annex XII to Regulation (EC) No 850/98, the minimum conservation reference size for Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) in ICES division 3a is set at 105 mm.

This paragraph shall apply until the date on which Annex XII to Regulation (EC) No 850/98 ceases to apply.";

"

2.  Article 11 is replaced by the following:"

"Article 11

Provisions linked to the landing obligation in Union waters of the North Sea

1.  For all stocks of species in the North Sea to which the landing obligation applies under Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 16 of this Regulation and Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 in order to supplement this Regulation by specifying details of that obligation as provided for in points (a) to (e) of Article 15(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

2.  The landing obligation provided for in Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 shall not apply to recreational fishing, including in cases where the Council sets limits on recreational fisheries in accordance with Article 10(4) of this Regulation.".

"

CHAPTER XIV

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 22

Repeals

1.  The following Regulations are repealed:

(a)  Regulation (EC) No 811/2004;

(b)  Regulation (EC) No 2166/2005;

(c)  Regulation (EC) No 388/2006;

(d)  Regulation (EC) No 509/2007;

(e)  Regulation (EC) No 1300/2008.

2.  References made to the repealed Regulations shall be construed as references to this Regulation.

Article 23

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on the 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 TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Joint statement by the European Parliament and the Council

The European Parliament and the Council intend to repeal the empowerments to adopt technical measures by means of delegated acts under Article 8 of this Regulation when they adopt a new regulation on technical measures which includes an empowerment covering the same measures.

(1) OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 171.
(2) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 25 October 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0425).
(3)OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 171.
(4) Position of the European Parliament of 12 February 2019.
(5)Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC (OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22).
(6)Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) (OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19).
(7)Council Regulation (EC) No 811/2004 of 21 April 2004 establishing measures for the recovery of the Northern hake stock (OJ L 150, 30.4.2004, p. 1).
(8)Council Regulation (EC) No 2166/2005 of 20 December 2005 establishing measures for the recovery of the Southern hake and Norway lobster stocks in the Cantabrian Sea and Western Iberian peninsula and amending Regulation (EC) No 850/98 for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms (OJ L 345, 28.12.2005, p. 5).
(9)Council Regulation (EC) No 388/2006 of 23 February 2006 establishing a multiannual plan for the sustainable exploitation of the stock of sole in the Bay of Biscay (OJ L 65, 7.3.2006, p. 1).
(10)Council Regulation (EC) No 509/2007 of 7 May 2007 establishing a multi-annual plan for the sustainable exploitation of the stock of sole in the Western Channel (OJ L 122, 11.5.2007, p. 7).
(11)Council Regulation (EC) No 1300/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a multi-annual plan for the stock of herring distributed to the west of Scotland and the fisheries exploiting that stock (OJ L 344, 20.12.2008, p. 6).
(12) Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7).
(13) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7).
(14)OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(15)Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2328/2003, (EC) No 861/2006, (EC) No 1198/2006 and (EC) No 791/2007 and Regulation (EU) No 1255/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 149, 20.5.2014, p. 1).
(16)Regulation (EU) 2016/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 establishing a multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks, amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2187/2005 and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1098/2007 (OJ L 191, 15.7.2016, p. 1).
(17)Regulation (EU) 2018/973 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2018 establishing a multiannual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks, specifying details of the implementation of the landing obligation in the North Sea and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 676/2007 and (EC) No 1342/2008 (OJ L 179, 16.7.2018, p. 1).
(18) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Union control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, amending Regulations (EC) No 847/96, (EC) No 2371/2002, (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 2115/2005, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007, (EC) No 676/2007, (EC) No 1098/2007, (EC) No 1300/2008, (EC) No 1342/2008 and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and (EC) No 1966/2006 (OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1).
(19) Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 of 30 March 1998 for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms (OJ L 125, 27.4.1998, p. 1).


Union Civil Protection Mechanism ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (COM(2017)0772/2 – C8-0409/2017 – 2017/0309(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0070A8-0180/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0772/2),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 196 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0409/2017),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinion submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Czech Chamber of Deputies, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 October 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 16 May 2018(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 19 December 2018 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions and position in the form of amendments of the Committee on Development, the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0180/2018),

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

2.  Approves the joint statement by Parliament, the Council and the Commission annexed to this resolution;

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

4.  Calls on the Commission to refrain from using redeployments for financing new policy priorities that are added in the course of an ongoing multiannual financial framework, as this will inevitably have a negative impact on the implementation of other key Union activities;

5.  Calls on the Commission to provide for sufficient financing for the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) under the next multiannual financial framework starting in 2021, building on the present overhaul of the UCPM;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Decision (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0309


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 Article 196 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(4),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(5),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(6),

Whereas:

(1)  The Union Civil Protection Mechanism ('the Union Mechanism') governed by Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and the Council(7) strengthens cooperation between the Union and the Member States and facilitates coordination in the field of civil protection in order to improve the Union's response to natural and man-made disasters.

(2)  Whilst recognising the primary responsibility of Member States for preventing, preparing for and responding to natural and man-made disasters, the Union Mechanism promotes solidarity between Member States in accordance with Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU).

(3)  Natural and man-made disasters can strike anywhere across the globe, often without warning. Whether of natural or man-made origin, they are becoming increasingly frequent, extreme and complex, are exacerbated by the impact of climate change, and ignore national borders. The human, environmental, social and economic consequences stemming from disasters can be of a scale not previously known.

(4)  Recent experience has shown that reliance on voluntary offers of mutual assistance, coordinated and facilitated by the Union Mechanism, does not always ensure that sufficient capacities are made available to address the basic needs of people affected by disasters in a satisfactory manner, or that the environment and property are properly safeguarded. This is particularly the case when Member States are simultaneously affected by disasters that are both recurrent and unexpected, whether natural or man-made, and where collective capacity is insufficient. To overcome those insufficiencies and deal with emerging hazards, all Union instruments should be made use of in a fully flexible manner, including through the promotion of active participation of civil society.

(5)  It is essential that Member States undertake adequate prevention and preparedness actions, including ensuring the availability of a sufficient number of capacities to deal with disasters, in particular forest fires. Given that the Union has been confronted in recent years with particularly intense and widespread forest fires, which has shown significant operational gaps in several Member States and in the European Emergency Response Capacity (EERC), established in the form of a voluntary pool of pre-committed response capacities of the Member States under Decision No 1313/2013/EU, additional measures should also be taken at Union level. Forest fire prevention is also vital in the context of the global commitment to reduce CO2 emissions.

(6)  Prevention is of key importance for protection against natural and man-made disasters and requires further action. To that effect, Member States should share with the Commission on a regular basis summaries of their risk assessments and of the assessment of their risk management capability, focusing on key risks. In addition, Member States should share information on prevention and preparedness measures, particularly those needed to address key risks that have cross-border impacts and, where appropriate, low probability risks with a high impact.

(7)  The Commission together with the Member States should further develop guidelines to facilitate the sharing of information on disaster risk management. Such guidelines should help to promote the comparability of such information, in particular where Member States face similar risks or cross-border risks.

(8)  Disaster risk prevention and management imply the need to design and implement risk management measures that involve the coordination of a wide range of actors. It is important to take into account current climate variability and the projected trajectories of climate change when preparing risk assessments and risk management measures. The preparation of risk maps is a crucial aspect of reinforcement of prevention actions and response capacity. Actions to reduce the vulnerability of the population, economic activities, including critical infrastructure, animal welfare and wildlife, environmental and cultural resources such as biodiversity, forest ecosystem services and water resources, are of the utmost importance.

(9)  In order to enhance prevention and preparedness planning and coordination between Member States, the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, should be able to establish specific consultation mechanisms. Moreover, the Commission should be able to request information on prevention and preparedness measures related to specific risks when frequent requests for assistance have been made by a Member State. The Commission should assess such information with a view to maximising overall Union support for disaster risk management and strengthening Member States’ levels of prevention and preparedness. Administrative burden should be reduced and ▌links with other key Union policies and instruments should be reinforced, in particular with the European Structural and Investment Funds as referred to in Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(8).

(10)  Flooding constitutes an increasing risk for Union citizens. For the purposes of strengthening prevention and preparedness actions in the field of civil protection and reducing the vulnerability of their respective populations in relation to flood risks, it is necessary that Member States, when performing their risk assessments under this Decision, make full use of, inter alia, the risk assessments performed under Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (9) in order to determine whether their water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, and take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce such risks.

(11)  There is a need to reinforce the collective ability to prepare for and respond to disasters in particular through mutual support in Europe. In order to reflect the new legal framework under this Decision, the name European Emergency Response Capacity ( ▌EERC) or ▌voluntary pool should be changed to European Civil Protection Pool ▌.

(12)  Reinforcing the European Civil Protection Pool requires enhanced Union financing in terms of adaptation and repair of capacities, as well as operational costs.

(13)  In addition to strengthening overall existing capacities, rescEU should be established to respond to overwhelming situations as a last resort where existing capacities at national level and those pre-committed by Member States to the European Civil Protection Pool are not, in the circumstances, able to ensure an effective response to various kinds of disasters.

(14)  The role of regional and local authorities in disaster prevention and management is of great importance, and their response capacities need to be appropriately involved in any coordination and deployment activities carried out under this Decision, in accordance with Member States' institutional and legal frameworks, with a view to minimising overlaps and to fostering interoperability. Such authorities can play an important preventive role and they are also the first to react in the aftermath of a disaster, together with their volunteers’ capacities. Therefore, there is a need for on-going cooperation at local, regional and cross-border level with a view to establishing common alert systems for rapid intervention prior to the mobilisation of rescEU as well as regular public information campaigns on initial response measures.

(15)  The nature of rescEU capacities should remain flexible and able to change in order to address new developments and future challenges, such as the consequences of climate change.

(16)  Since identified risks, overall capacities and gaps vary over time, there is a need for flexibility in the establishment of rescEU. The Commission should therefore be empowered to adopt implementing acts defining rescEU capacities, taking into account the identified risks, overall capacities and gaps.

(17)  In order to have functioning rescEU capacities, additional financial appropriations should be made available to finance actions under the Union Mechanism.

(18)  The Union should be able to support Member States by co-financing the development of rescEU capacities, including their rental, leasing or acquisition. This would substantially increase the effectiveness of the Union Mechanism, by ensuring availability of capacities in cases where an effective response to disasters would otherwise not be guaranteed, particularly for disasters with a wide ranging impact affecting a significant number of Member States. Joint procurement of capacities should allow for economies of scale and better coordination when responding to disasters.

(19)  The amount of Union financial assistance disbursed for the development of rescEU capacities should be determined taking into account the list of eligible cost categories set out in this Decision . Full Union financial assistance should be provided for capacities which are required to respond to low probability risks with a high impact that might result in significant cross-border impacts and for which preparedness levels in the Union are not considered adequate based on capacity gap analyses undertaken by national civil protection authorities and the Commission. Substantial co-financing should also be envisaged for capacities for which acquisition and recurrent costs are the highest, such as aerial forest fire-fighting capacities. Exact co-financing rates should be determined in annual work programmes.

(20)  In order to balance national responsibility and solidarity among Member States, a part of the operational costs of deploying rescEU capacities should be eligible for Union financial assistance.

(21)  Member States or their citizens could be significantly affected by disasters occurring in third countries. In such situations rescEU capacities should also be available for deployments outside of the Union. For reasons related to solidarity among Member States, in the event of deployments of rescEU capacities outside the Union, operational costs should be borne by the Union budget.

(22)  In order to ensure a response that is both coordinated and rapid, decisions on deployment and demobilisation, and any decision in the event of conflicting requests, should be taken by the Commission in close coordination with the requesting Member State and the Member State owning, renting or leasing the rescEU capacities in question. The Commission and the Member State owning, renting or leasing the rescEU capacities should conclude operational contracts specifying the terms and conditions of deploying rescEU capacities.

(23)  Training, research and innovation are essential aspects of cooperation in the civil protection field. In order to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of civil protection training and exercises, to promote innovation and dialogue, and to enhance cooperation between Member States' national civil protection authorities and services, it is necessary to establish a Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network ▌. That Network should be based on existing structures including centres of excellence, universities, researchers and other experts, young professionals and experienced volunteers in the area of emergency management. Further cooperation on training, research and innovation should also be strengthened with international organisations, and, where possible, be extended to involve third countries, in particular neighbouring countries.

(24)  Civil protection operators dedicate their lives helping others, and invest time and effort in order to assist those in need. Such courage and commitment to Union Civil Protection should be recognised by the Union.

(25)  While strengthening civil protection in the light of disaster trends, such as weather-related and those relating to internal security, is one of the most important priorities throughout the Union, it is essential to ensure a strong territorial and community-led dimension, as local community action is the fastest and most effective way of limiting the damage caused by a disaster.

(26)  There is a need to simplify, streamline and increase the flexibility of the procedures of the Union Mechanism to ensure that Member States can quickly access assistance and capacities that are needed in order to respond to natural or man-made disasters as rapidly and as efficiently as possible.

(27)  In order to maximise the use of existing funding instruments and support Member States in delivering assistance, including in response to disasters outside the Union, ▌ financing is granted pursuant to Articles 21, 22 and 23 of Decision No 1313/2013/EU in accordance with Article 191(1) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and the Council(10). Nevertheless, funding for civil protection activities and humanitarian aid, in particular, should remain clearly separate and be fully in line with their respective objectives and legal requirements.

(28)  It is important to ensure that Member States take all the necessary actions in order to effectively prevent natural and man-made disasters and to mitigate their effects. Provisions of this Decision should reinforce links between prevention, preparedness and response actions under the Union Mechanism. Coherence should also be ensured with other relevant Union legislation on prevention and disaster risk management, including for cross-border prevention action and response to threats such as serious cross-border health threats, as set out in Decision 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (11). Territorial cooperation programmes under cohesion policy provide for specific actions to take account of disaster resilience, risk prevention and risk management, and further efforts should be made towards more vigorous integration and greater synergies. Furthermore, all actions should be coherent with, and actively contribute to, meeting international commitments such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030, the Paris Agreement under the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

(29)  In order to ensure a comprehensive and seamless exchange of information about capacities and modules at the disposal of Member States, it is necessary that information uploaded to the Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS) be constantly kept up to date. As regards information provided through CECIS, it is also appropriate that Member States register capacities therein that are not pre-committed to the European Civil Protection Pool and which are at their disposal for the purposes of the deployment of those capacities through the Union Mechanism.

(30)  It is equally important to create synergies and to improve the complementarity and coordination between the Union Mechanism and other Union instruments, including with those which can contribute to repairing or mitigating the damage caused by disasters.

(31)  In order to amend the categories of eligible costs to be used in determining the Union’s financial assistance for the development of rescEU capacities, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the functioning o the European Union should be delegated to the Commission ▌. 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 of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(12). 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.

(32)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Decision, in respect of: defining the types and number of key response capacities required for the European Civil Protection Pool; defining the capacities rescEU consists of, while taking into account the identified risks, overall capacities and gaps; the establishment, management and maintaining of rescEU; the establishment and organisation of the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network; the categories of low probability risks with a high impact and the corresponding capacities to manage them; and criteria and procedures to recognise long-standing commitment and extraordinary contributions to Union Civil Protection, 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 Council(13).

(33)  Since the objectiveof this Decision, namely to increase the collective ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of its scale or 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 TEU. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Decision does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

(34)  In order to ensure a smooth transition towards the full implementation of rescEU, the Commission should, for a transitional period, be able to provide financing to ensure the rapid availability of relevant national capacities. The Commission and the Member States should endeavour to obtain additional capacities, including fire-fighting helicopters, in order to respond, as early as the summer of 2019, to the risk of forest fires.

(35)  Decision No 1313/2013/EU should therefore be amended accordingly.

(36)  In order to allow for the prompt application of the measures provided for in this Decision, this Decision should enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

Decision No 1313/2013/EU is hereby amended as follows:

(1)  Article 3 is amended as follows:

(a)  paragraph 1 is amended as follows:

(i)  point (c) is replaced by the following ▌:"

'(c) to facilitate rapid and efficient response in the event of disasters or imminent disasters, including by taking measures to mitigate the immediate consequences of disasters; ';

"

(ii)  the following points are added:"

'(e) to increase the availability and use of scientific knowledge on disasters; and

   (f) to step up cooperation and coordination activities at cross-border level and between Member States prone to the same types of disasters.';

"

(b)  point (a) of paragraph 2 is replaced by the following:"

'(a) progress in implementing the disaster prevention framework: measured by the number of Member States that have made available to the Commission the information referred to in point (d) of Article 6 ▌(1);';

"

(2)   in Article 4, the following point is added:"

'(12) ‘Participating State' means a third country participating in the Union Mechanism in accordance with Article 28(1).';

"

(3)  Article 5 (1) is amended as follows:

(a)  point (a) is replaced by the following:"

'(a) take action to improve the knowledge base on disaster risks, and to better facilitate and promote cooperation and the sharing of knowledge, the results of scientific research and innovation, best practices and information, including among Member States that share common risks; ';

"

(b)  point (f) is replaced by the following:"

'(f) compile and disseminate the information made available by Member States; organise an exchange of experiences about the assessment of risk management capability; and facilitate the sharing of good practices in prevention and preparedness planning, including through voluntary peer reviews; ';

"

(c)  point (i) is replaced by the following:"

'(i) highlight the importance of risk prevention, support the Member States in awareness-raising, public information and education, and support the Member States’ efforts in the provision of public information on alert systems, by providing guidance on such systems, including on a cross-border level;';

"

(4)  Article 6 is ▌replaced by the following:"

'Article 6

Risk management

1.  In order to promote an effective and coherent approach to the prevention of and preparedness for disasters by sharing non- sensitive information, namely information disclosure of which would not be contrary to the essential interests of Member States' security, and to promote the exchange of best practices within the Union Mechanism, Member States shall:

   (a) further develop risk assessments at national or appropriate sub- national level;
   (b) further develop the assessment of risk management capability at national or appropriate sub-national level ▌;
   (c) further develop and refine disaster risk management planning at national or appropriate sub-national level ▌;

   (d) make available to the Commission a summary of the relevant elements of the assessments referred to in points (a) and (b), focusing on key risks. For key risks having cross-border impacts as well as, where appropriate, for low probability risks with a high impact, Member States shall describe priority prevention and preparedness measures ▌. The summary shall be provided to the Commission by 31 December 2020 and every three years thereafter and whenever there are important changes;
   (e) participate, on a voluntary basis, in peer reviews on the assessment of risk management capability.

2.  The Commission, in cooperation with Member States, may also establish specific consultation mechanisms to enhance appropriate prevention and preparedness planning and coordination among Member States that are prone to similar types of disasters, including for cross-border risks and low probability risks with a high impact identified under point (d) of paragraph 1.

3.  The Commission shall further develop, together with the Member States, by 22 December 2019, guidelines on the submission of the summary referred to in point (d) of paragraph 1.

4.  Where a Member State frequently requests the same type of assistance through the Union Mechanism for the same type of disaster, the Commission, following a careful analysis of the reasons and circumstances of the activation, and with the aim of supporting the Member State concerned to strengthen its level of prevention and preparedness, may:

   (a) request that Member State to provide additional information on specific prevention and preparedness measures related to the risk corresponding to that type of disaster; and
   (b) where appropriate, based on the information provided:
   (i) propose the deployment of an expert team on site to provide advice on prevention and preparedness measures; or
   (ii) make recommendations to strengthen the level of prevention and preparedness in the Member State concerned. The Commission and that Member State shall keep each other informed about any measures taken following such recommendations.

In the event that a Member State requests the same type of assistance through the Union Mechanism for the same type of disaster three times within three consecutive years, points (a) and (b) shall apply unless a careful analysis of the reasons for and circumstances of the frequent activations demonstrate that it is not necessary.';

"

(5)  In Article 10, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:"

' ▌1. The Commission and the Member States shall work together to improve the planning of disaster response operations, both for natural and man-made disasters, under the Union Mechanism, including through scenario-building for disaster response based on the risk assessments referred to in point (a) of Article 6(1) and the overview of risks referred to in point (c) of Article 5(1), asset mapping and the development of plans for the deployment of response capacities.';

"

(6)  Article 11 is amended as follows:

(a)  The title is replaced by the following:"

'European Civil Protection Pool';

"

(b)  paragraphs 1 and 2 are replaced by the following:"

'1. A European Civil Protection Pool shall be established. It shall consist of a pool of voluntarily pre-committed response capacities of the Member States and include modules, other response capacities and categories of experts.

1a.  The assistance provided by a Member State through the European Civil Protection Pool shall be complementary to existing capacities in the requesting Member State, without prejudice to the primary responsibility of Member States for disaster prevention and response on their territory.

2.  On the basis of identified risks, overall capacities and gaps, the Commission shall define , by means of implementing acts adopted under point (f) of Article 32(1), the types and the number of key response capacities required for the European Civil Protection Pool ("capacity goals").

The Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall monitor progress towards the capacity goals set out in the implementing acts referred to in the first subparagraph of this paragraph, and identify potentially significant response capacity gaps in the European Civil Protection Pool. Where such gaps have been identified, the Commission shall examine whether the necessary capacities are available to the Member States outside the European Civil Protection Pool. The Commission shall encourage Member States to address significant response capacity gaps in the European Civil Protection Pool, and may support Member States in accordance with Article 20, point (i) of Article 21(1) and Article 21(2).';

"

(7)  Article 12 is replaced by the following:"

'Article 12

rescEU

1.  rescEU shall be established to provide assistance in overwhelming situations where overall existing capacities at national level and those pre-committed by Member States to the European Civil Protection Pool are not, in the circumstances, able to ensure an effective response to the various kinds of disasters referred to in Article 1(2).

In order to guarantee an effective response to disasters, the Commission and the Member States shall, where appropriate, ensure an adequate geographical distribution of rescEU capacities.

2.  The Commission shall define, by means of implementing acts adopted under point (g) of Article 32(1), the capacities rescEU shall consist of, taking into account identified and emerging risks, overall capacities and gaps at Union level, in particular in the areas of aerial forest fire fighting, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents, and emergency medical response.Those implementing acts shall ensure consistency with other applicable Union law. The first such implementing act shall be adopted by … [three months after the date of entry into force of this Decision].

3.  rescEU capacities shall be acquired, rented or leased by Member States. For that purpose, direct grants may be awarded by the Commission to Member States without a call for proposals. Where the Commission procures rescEU capacities on behalf of Member States, the joint procurement procedure shall apply. Union financial assistance shall be awarded in accordance with the Union's financial rules.

rescEU capacities shall be hosted by the Member States which acquire, rent or lease these capacities. In the case of joint procurement, rescEU capacities shall be hosted by the Member States on behalf of which the rescEU capacities are procured.

4.  The Commission shall define quality requirements for the response capacities forming part of rescEU, in consultation with the Member States. The quality requirements shall be based on established international standards, where such standards already exist.

5.  A Member State that owns, rents or leases rescEU capacities shall ensure the registration of those capacities in CECIS, and the availability and deployability of those capacities for Union Mechanism operations.

rescEU capacities may only be used for national purposes as referred to in Article 23(4a) when not being used or needed for response operations under the Union Mechanism.

rescEU capacities shall be used in accordance with implementing acts adopted under point (g) of Article 32(1) and with operational contracts between the Commission and the Member State owning, renting or leasing such capacities, which further specify the terms and conditions of deployment of rescEU capacities, including participating personnel.

6.  rescEU capacities shall be available for response operations under the Union Mechanism following a request for assistance through the ERCC in accordance with Article 15 or Article 16 (1) to (9) and (11), (12) and (13). The decision on their deployment and demobilisation, and any decision in the event of conflicting requests, shall be taken by the Commission in close coordination with the requesting Member State and the Member State that owning s, renting or leasing the capacity, in accordance with operational contracts as defined in the third subparagraph of paragraph 5.

The Member State on the territory of which rescEU capacities are deployed shall be responsible for directing response operations. In the event of deployments outside the Union, Member States hosting rescEU capacities shall be responsible for ensuring that rescEU capacities are fully integrated into the overall response.

7.  In the event of deployment, the Commission through the ERCC shall agree with the requesting Member State on the operational deployment of rescEU capacities. The requesting Member State shall facilitate operational coordination of its own capacities and rescEU activities during operations.

8.  The coordination of the different response capacities shall be facilitated where appropriate by the Commission through the ERCC in accordance with Articles 15 and 16.

9.  Member States shall be informed of the operational status of rescEU capacities through CECIS. ▌

1.   ▌

10.  If a disaster outside the Union could significantly affect one or more Member States or their citizens, rescEU capacities may be deployed in accordance with paragraphs 6 to 9 of this Article.

When rescEU capacities are deployed in third countries, in specific cases, Member States may refuse to deploy their own personnel, in accordance with the implementing act adopted under point (g) of Article 32(1), and as further defined in the operational contracts referred to in the third subparagraph of paragraph 5 of this Article.';

"

(8)  ▌Article 13 is amended as follows:

(a)  the title ▌is replaced as follows:"

'Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network';

"

(b)  paragraph 1 is amended as follows:

(i)  the introductory wording is replaced by the following:"

'1. The Commission shall establish a network of relevant civil protection and disaster management actors and institutions, including centres of excellence, universities and researchers, forming, together with the Commission, a Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network. The Commission shall take due account of the expertise available in the Member States and the organisations active on the ground.

The Network shall, while aiming for a gender-balanced composition, carry out the following tasks in the field of training, exercises, lessons learnt and knowledge dissemination, in close coordination with relevant knowledge centres, where appropriate: ';

"

(ii)  point (a) is replaced by the following:"

'(a) set up and manage a training programme for civil protection and emergency management personnel on the prevention of, preparedness for and response to disasters. The programme shall be such that it facilitates the exchange of best practices in the field of civil protection, and shall include joint courses and a system for the exchange of expertise in the area of emergency management, including exchanges of young professionals and experienced volunteers, and the secondment of Member State experts.

The training programme shall aim to enhance the coordination, compatibility and complementarity of capacities referred to in Articles 9, 11 and 12, and to improve the competence of experts as referred to in points (d) and (f) of Article 8;';

"

(iii)  point (f) is replaced by the following:"

'(f) stimulate research and innovation, and encourage the introduction and use of relevant new technologies for the purpose of the Union Mechanism.’;

"

(c)  the following paragraph is added:"

‘4. The Commission shall strengthen cooperation on training, and increase the sharing of knowledge and experience, between the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network and international organisations and third countries, in order to contribute to meeting international commitments with regard to disaster risk reduction, particularly those in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 adopted on 18 March 2015 at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.’;

"

(9)  in Article 15, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:"

'1. When a disaster occurs within the Union, or is imminent, the affected Member State may request assistance through the ERCC. The request shall be as specific as possible. A request for assistance shall lapse after a maximum period of 90 days, unless new elements justifying the need for continued or additional assistance are provided to the ERCC.';

"

(10)  in Article 16, paragraphs 1 and 2 are replaced by the following:"

'1. When a disaster occurs outside the Union, or is imminent, the affected country may request assistance through the ERCC. The assistance may also be requested through or by the United Nations and its agencies, or a relevant international organisation. A request for assistance shall lapse after a maximum period of 90 days, unless new elements justifying the need for continued or additional assistance are provided to the ERCC.

2.  Interventions under this Article may be conducted either as an autonomous assistance intervention or as a contribution to an intervention led by an international organisation. The Union coordination shall be fully integrated with the overall coordination provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and shall respect its leading role. In the case of man-made disasters or complex emergencies, the Commission shall ensure consistency with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid*, and respect for humanitarian principles.

__________________

* OJ C 25, 30.1.2008, p. 1.';

"

(11)  in Article 19, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:"

'1. The financial envelope for the implementation of the Union Mechanism for the period 2014 to 2020 shall be EUR 574 028 000 in current prices.

EUR 425 172 000 in current prices shall derive from Heading 3 "Security and Citizenship" of the multiannual financial framework and EUR 148 856 000 in current prices from Heading 4 "Global Europe".';

"

(12)  the following Article is inserted:"

'Article 20a

Visibility and awards

1.  Any assistance or funding provided under this Decision shall give appropriate visibility to the Union, including prominence to the Union emblem for those capacities referred to under Articles 11 and 12 and point (c) of Article 21(2). A communication strategy shall be developed by the Commission in order to make the tangible results of the actions taken under the Union Mechanism visible to citizens.

2.  The Commission shall award medals in order to recognise and honour long-standing commitment and extraordinary contributions to Union Civil Protection.';

"

(13)  Article 21 is amended as follows:

(a)  point (j) of paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:"

'(j) establishing, managing and maintaining rescEU capacities in accordance with Article 12;';

"

(b)  paragraph 2 is amended as follows:

(i)  in the first subparagraph, point (c) is replaced by the following:"

'(c) costs necessary to upgrade or repair response capacities to a state of readiness and availability that makes them deployable as part of the European Civil Protection Pool, in accordance with the quality requirements of the European Civil Protection Pool and, where relevant, recommendations formulated in the certification process ('adaptation costs'). Those costs may include costs related to operability, interoperability of modules and other response capacities, autonomy, self-sufficiency, transportability, packaging, and other necessary costs, provided that they specifically relate to the capacities' participation in the European Civil Protection Pool.

Adaptation costs may cover:

   (i) 75% of the eligible costs in the event of an upgrade, provided that amount does not exceed 50 % of the average cost of developing the capacity; and
   (ii) 75% of the eligible costs in the event of a repair.

Response capacities benefitting from funding under points (i) and (ii) shall be made available as part of the European Civil Protection Pool for a minimum period that is linked to the received funding and ranges between 3 and 10 years starting from their effective availability as part of the European Civil Protection Pool, except where their economic lifespan is shorter.

Adaptation costs may consist of unit costs or lump sums determined per type of capacity.';

"

(ii)  point (d) of the first subparagraph and the second subparagraph aredeleted;

(c)  the following paragraphs are added:"

'3. The financial assistance for the action referred to in point (j) of paragraph 1 shall cover ▌the costs necessary to ensure the availability and deployability of rescEU capacities under the Union Mechanism in accordance with the second subparagraph of this paragraph.

The ▌Commission shall ensure that the financial assistance referred to in this paragraph corresponds to at least 80% and no more than 90% of the total estimated cost necessary to ensure the availability and deployability of rescEU capacities under the Union Mechanism. The remaining amount shall be borne by the Member States hosting the rescEU capacities. The total estimated cost for each type of rescEU capacity shall be defined by means of implementing acts adopted under point (g) of Article 32(1). The total estimated costs shall be calculated by taking into account the categories of eligible costs set out in Annex Ia.

The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 30 to amend Annex Ia regarding the categories of eligible costs.

The financial assistance referred to in this paragraph may be implemented by multi-annual work programmes. For actions extending beyond one year, budgetary commitments may be broken down into annual instalments.

4.  For capacities established to respond to low probability risks with a high impact, as defined by means of implementing acts adopted under point (ha) of Article 32(1), Union financial assistance shall cover all costs necessary to ensure availability and deployability.

5.  The costs referred to in ▌ paragraph 3 may consist of unit costs, lump sums or flat rates, determined per category or type of capacity, as appropriate.';

"

(14)  Article 23 is amended as follows:

(a)  ▌the title is replaced by the following:"

'Eligible actions linked to equipment and operations';

"

(b)  the following paragraph is inserted:"

'1a. The amount of Union financial assistance for the transport of capacities not pre-committed to the European Civil Protection Pool and deployed in the event of a disaster or imminent disaster inside or outside the Union shall not exceed 75% of the total eligible cost. ';

"

(c)  paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 are replaced by the following:"

' ▌2. The amount of Union financial assistance for capacities pre-committed to the European Civil Protection Pool shall not exceed 75% of the costs of operating the capacities, including transport, in the event of a disaster or imminent disaster within the Union or a participating state.

3.  The Union financial assistance for transport shall not exceed 75 % of the total eligible cost related to the transport of the capacities pre-committed to the European Civil Protection Pool, when deployed in the event of a disaster or imminent disaster outside the Union as referred to in Article 16.

4.  The Union financial assistance for transport resources ▌ may, in addition, cover a maximum of 100 % of the total eligible costs described under points (a), (b), (c) and (d), if this is necessary to make the pooling of Member States' assistance operationally effective and if the costs relate to one of the following:

   (a) short-term rental of warehousing capacity to temporarily store the assistance from Member States with a view to facilitating their coordinated transport;
   (b) transport from the Member State offering the assistance to the Member State facilitating its coordinated transport;
   (c) repackaging of Member States' assistance to make maximum use of available transport capacities or to meet specific operational requirements; or
   (d) local transport, transit and warehousing of pooled assistance with a view to ensuring a coordinated delivery at the final destination in the requesting country.

4a.  When rescEU capacities are used for national purposes in accordance with Article 12(5), all costs, including maintenance and repair costs, shall be covered by the Member State using the capacities.

4b.  In the event of deployment of rescEU capacities under the Union Mechanism, Union financial assistance shall cover 75% of the operational costs.

By way of derogation from the first subparagraph, Union financial assistance shall cover 100% of the operational costs of rescEU capacities necessary for low probability disasters with a high impact, when those capacities are deployed under the Union Mechanism.

4c.  For deployments outside the Union, as referred to in Article 12(10), Union financial assistance shall cover 100% of the operational costs.

4d.  When the Union financial assistance referred to in this Article does not cover 100% of costs, the remaining amount of the costs shall be borne by the requester of the assistance, unless otherwise agreed with the Member State offering assistance or the Member State hosting the rescEU capacities. ';

"

(d)  the following paragraph is added:"

'8. Transport costs may consist of unit costs, lump sums or flat rates,determined per category of cost.';

"

(15)  in Article 26 , paragraphs 1 and 2 are replaced by the following:"

'1. Actions receiving financial assistance under this Decision shall not receive assistance from other Union financial instruments. However, in accordance with Article 191(1) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046*, financial assistance granted pursuant to Articles 21, 22 and 23 of this Decision shall not prevent financing from other Union instruments in accordance with the conditions established therein.

The Commission shall ensure that applicants for financial assistance under this Decision, and beneficiaries of such assistance, provide it with information about financial assistance received from other sources, including the general budget of the Union, and about on-going applications for such assistance.

2.  Synergies, complementarity and increased coordination shall be developed with other instruments of the Union such as those supporting cohesion, rural development, research, health, ▌migration and security policies, as well as the European Union Solidarity Fund. In the case of a response to humanitarian crises in third countries, the Commission shall ensure the complementarity and coherence of actions financed under this Decision with actions financed under Regulation (EC) No 1257/96, and that those actions are implemented in line with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid.

_____________________

* 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) ';

"

(16)  Article 28 is amended as follows:

(a)  paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:"

'1. The Union Mechanism shall be open to the participation of:

   (a) European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), in accordance with the conditions laid down in the EEA Agreement, and other European countries when agreements and procedures so provide;
   (b) 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.

1a.  Participation in the Union Mechanism shall include participation in its activities in accordance with the objectives, requirements, criteria, procedures and deadlines provided for in this Decision, and shall be in accordance with the specific conditions laid down in the agreements between the Union and the participating state. ';

"

(b)  paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:"

'3. International or regional organisations, or countries that are part of the European Neighbourhood Policy may cooperate in activities under the Union Mechanism where relevant bilateral or multilateral agreements between those organisations or countries and the Union so allow.';

"

(17)  Article 30 is replaced by the following:"

'Article 30

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 Article 19(5) and (6) shall be conferred on the Commission until 31 December 2020.

3.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 21(3) shall be conferred on the Commission for an indeterminate period of time from … [date of entry into force of this amending Decision.]

4.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 19(5) and (6) and Article 21(3) 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 the 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.

5.  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.

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

7.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 19(5) and (6) and Article 21(3) shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or 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.';

"

(18)  in Article 32, points (g) and (h) of paragraph 1 are replaced by the following:"

'(g) the establishment, management and maintaining of rescEU, as provided for in Article 12, including criteria for deployment decisions, operating procedures as well as the costs as referred to in Article 21(3);

   (h) the establishment and organisation of the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network, as provided for in Article 13;
   (ha) the categories of low probability risks with a high impact and the corresponding capacities to manage them, as referred to in Article 21(4);
   (hb) the criteria and procedures for recognising long-standing commitment and extraordinary contributions to Union Civil Protection, as referred to in Article 20a.';

"

(19)  Article 34 is replaced by the following:"

'Article 34

Evaluation

1.  Actions receiving financial assistance shall be monitored regularly in order to follow their implementation.

2.  The Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council on operations and progress made under Articles 11 and 12 every two years. The report shall include information on progress made towards the capacity goals and remaining gaps as referred to in Article 11(2), taking into account the establishment of rescEU capacities in accordance with Article 12. The report shall also provide an overview of the budgetary and cost developments relating to response capacities, and an assessment of the need for further development of those capacities.

3.  The Commission shall evaluate the application of this Decision and submit a communication on the effectiveness, cost efficiency and continued implementation of this Decision, in particular as regards Article 6(4), and of rescEU capacities, to the European Parliament and to the Council, by 31 December 2023 and every five years thereafter. That communication shall be accompanied, where appropriate, by proposals for amendments to this Decision.';

"

(20)  Article 35 is replaced by the following:"

'Article 35

Transitional Provisions

Until 1 January 2025, Union financial assistance may be provided to cover 75% of the costs necessary to ensure rapid access to national capacities corresponding to those defined in accordance with Article 12(2). For that purpose, direct grants may be awarded by the Commission to Member States without a call for proposals.

The capacities referred to in the first paragraph shall be designated as rescEU capacities until the end of this transitional period.

By way of derogation from Article 12(6), the decision on the deployment of the capacities referred to in the first paragraph shall be taken by the Member State that made them available as rescEU capacities. When domestic emergencies, force majeure or, in exceptional cases, serious reasons prevent a Member State from making those capacities available for a specific disaster, that Member State shall inform the Commission as soon as possible by referring to this Article.”;

"

(21)  Article 38 is deleted;

(22)  The references to the “European Emergency Response Capacity”, “EERC” and the “voluntary pool” throughout the text of the Decision shall be replaced by a reference to the “European Civil Protection Pool”;

(23)  Annex Ia as set out in the Annex to this Decision is inserted.

Article 2

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

Existing arrangements falling under Article 28 of Decision No 1313/2013/EU shall continue to apply until they are replaced as appropriate.

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

Annex

'Annex Ia

Categories of costs that may be eligible in relation to the calculation of total estimated costs in accordance with Article 21(3)

1.  Equipment costs

2.  Maintenance costs, including repair costs

3.  Insurance costs

4.  Training costs

5.  Warehousing costs

6.  Registration and certification costs

7.  Cost of consumables

8.  Cost of personnel required to ensure the availability and deployability of rescEU capacities. '

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Joint statement by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission

The additional financial envelope for the implementation of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism in 2019 and 2020 has been set to EUR 205,6 million. Without prejudice to the powers of the budgetary authority, part of the total rescEU budget increase should be made available through redeployments on the Heading 3 (security and citizenship) and Heading 4 (Global Europe) of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. The three institutions recall that part of the redeployments is already included in the budget 2019 and EUR 15,34 million were already included in the financial programming for 2020.

In the framework of the budgetary procedure for 2020 the Commission is invited to propose additional EUR 18,24 million of redeployments in order to reach 50% for 2019 and 2020 under the same headings.

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.
(2) OJ C 361, 5.10.2018, p. 37
(3) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 31 May 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0236).
(4) Opinion of 18 October 2018 (not yet published in the Official Journal).
(5) OJ C 361, 5.10.2018, p. 37.
(6) Position of the European Parliament of 12 February 2019.
(7)Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 924).
(8) Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320).
(9) Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks (OJ L 288, 6.11.2007, p. 27).
(10)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).
(11)Decision No 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on serious cross border threats to health and repealing Decision No 2119/98/EC (OJ L 293, 5.11.2013, p. 1).
(12) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(13)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).


Minimum requirements for water reuse ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on minimum requirements for water reuse (COM(2018)0337 – C8-0220/2018 – 2018/0169(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0071A8-0044/2019

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Approval and market surveillance of agricultural and forestry vehicles ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending and correcting Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of agricultural and forestry vehicles (COM(2018)0289 – C8-0183/2018 – 2018/0142(COD))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0072A8-0318/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0289),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0183/2018),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 19 September 2018(1),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 16 January 2019 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0318/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 February 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of agricultural and forestry vehicles

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0142


(Text with EEA relevance)

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 Article 114 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(2),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(3),

Whereas:

(1)  The descriptions of T1 and T2 category vehicles provided for in Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(4) require clarification regarding the position of the axle closest to the driver for tractors with a reversible driving position and regarding the method of calculating the height of the centre of gravity. In order to accurately and uniformly establish the height of the centre of gravity for T2 category vehicles, reference should be made to internationally applicable standards which determine the centre of gravity of a tractor.

(2)  An accurate definition of the different features of agricultural tractors based on the analysis of their technical characteristics is of the utmost importance for the correct and complete implementation of this Regulation and of the delegated and implementing acts adopted under it. Considering that discussions on the definitions of the categories take place in the relevant international fora, of which the Union is a party, such work should be taken into account by the Commission to prevent any disproportionate and negative effects on the application of technical requirements and test procedures, as well as any negative impacts for the manufacturers, in particular of highly specialised tractors.

(3)  In Regulation (EU) No 167/2013, it should be made clear that the term ‘interchangeable machinery’ means ‘interchangeable ▌ equipment’, thereby ensuring that terminology is used consistently throughout that Regulation.

(4)  In Regulation (EU) No 167/2013, importers are required to retain a copy of the certificate of conformity in respect of products that are not in conformity with that Regulation or which present a serious risk. It should be made clear that what is being referred to is an EU type-approval certificate. That Regulation should therefore be amended to refer to the appropriate document.

(5)  Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 requires that an EU type-approval certificate contains, as an attachment, the test results. It should be made clear that what is being referred to is the test results sheet. That Regulation should therefore be amended to refer to the appropriate attachment.

(6)  Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 empowered the Commission to adopt delegated acts for a period of five years, which expired on 21 March 2018. As there is a continuing need to update various elements of the type-approval process as laid down by that Regulation and the acts adopted pursuant to it, in particular to adapt them to technical progress or to introduce corrections, the period for the exercise of the delegation of power should be extended, with the possibility for further tacit extensions.

(7)  Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 , refers to the repeal of Council Directive 74/347/EEC(5) when it should refer instead to the repeal of Directive 2008/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(6), which codified the former Directive. It is therefore necessary to amend the relevant reference in Regulation (EU) No 167/2013.

(8)  As this Regulation amends Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 without expanding its regulatory content, and since the objectives of this Regulation cannot be sufficiently achieved by the 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 those objectives.

(9)  Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 should therefore be amended accordingly,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Amendments to Regulation (EU) No 167/2013

Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 is amended as follows:

(1)  In Article 2, paragraph 2 is replaced by the following:"

“2. This Regulation shall not apply to interchangeable equipment that is fully raised from the ground or that cannot articulate around a vertical axis when the vehicle to which it is attached is in use on a road.”;

"

(2)   in Article 4, points (2) and (3) are replaced by the following:"

(2) ‘category T1’ comprises wheeled tractors, with the closest axle to the driver having a minimum track width of not less than 1 150 mm, with an unladen mass, in running order, of more than 600 kg, and with a ground clearance of not more than 1 000 mm; for tractors with a reversible driving position (reversible seat and steering wheel), the closest axle to the driver is the one fitted with the largest diameter tyres;

   (3) ‘category T2’ comprises wheeled tractors with a minimum track width of less than 1 150 mm, with an unladen mass, in running order, of more than 600 kg, with a ground clearance of not more than 600 mm; if the height of the centre of gravity of the tractor (determined in accordance with ISO standard 789-6:1982 and measured in relation to the ground) divided by the average minimum track for each axle exceeds 0,90, the maximum design speed shall be restricted to 30 km/h;”;

"

(3)  in Article 12, paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:"

“3. Importers shall, for a period of 10 years after the placing on the market of the vehicle and for a period of five years after the placing on the market for a system, component or separate technical unit, keep a copy of the EU type-approval certificate at the disposal of the approval and market surveillance authorities and shall ensure that the information package as referred to in Article 24(10) can be made available to those authorities, upon request.”;

"

(4)  in Article 25(1), point (b) is replaced by the following:"

“(b) the test results sheet;”;

"

(5)  in Article 39(1), the second subparagraph is replaced by the following:"

“The first subparagraph shall apply only to vehicles within the territory of the Union which were covered by a valid EU type-approval at the time of their production, but which had neither been registered nor entered into service before that EU type-approval lost its validity.”;

"

(6)   in Article 71, paragraph 2 is replaced by the following:"

“2. The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 17(5), Article 18(4), Article 19(6), Article 20(8), Article 27(6), Article 28(6), Article 45(4), Article 49(3), Article 53(12), Article 61 and Article 70 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of five years from 22 March 2013. The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period. The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than 22 June 2022 and nine months before the end of each subsequent five-year period.”;

"

(7)  in Article 76, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:"

“1. Without prejudice to Article 73(2) of this Regulation, Directives 76/432/EEC, 76/763/EEC, 77/537/EEC, 78/764/EEC, 80/720/EEC, 86/297/EEC, 86/298/EEC, 86/415/EEC, 87/402/EEC, 2000/25/EC, 2003/37/EC, 2008/2/EC, 2009/57/EC, 2009/58/EC, 2009/59/EC, 2009/60/EC, 2009/61/EC, 2009/63/EC, 2009/64/EC, 2009/66/EC, 2009/68/EC, 2009/75/EC, 2009/76/EC and 2009/144/EC are repealed with effect from 1 January 2016.”.

"

Article 2

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

(1) OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p.104.
(2) OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 104.
(3)Position of the European Parliament of 12 February 2019.
(4)Regulation (EU) No 167/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 February 2013 on the approval and market surveillance of agricultural and forestry vehicles (OJ L 60, 2.3.2013, p. 1).
(5) Council Directive 74/347/EEC of 25 June 1974 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the field of vision and windscreen wipers for wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors (OJ L 191, 15.7.1974, p. 5).
(6) Directive 2008/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the field of vision and windscreen wipers for wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors (OJ L 24, 29.1.2008, p. 30).


Programme for single market, competitiveness of enterprises and European statistics ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Programme for single market, competitiveness of enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and European statistics and repealing Regulations (EU) No 99/2013, (EU) No 1287/2013, (EU) No 254/2014, (EU) No 258/2014, (EU) No 652/2014 and (EU) 2017/826 (COM(2018)0441 – C8-0254/2018 – 2018/0231(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0073A8-0052/2019

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VAT: Definitive system for the taxation of trade between Member States *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 February 2019 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards the introduction of the detailed technical measures for the operation of the definitive VAT system for the taxation of trade between Member States (COM(2018)0329 – C8-0317/2018 – 2018/0164(CNS))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0074A8-0028/2019

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2018)0329),

–  having regard to Article 113 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0317/2018),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A8-0028/2019),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

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

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

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

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

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a directive
Recital 1
(1)  When the Council adopted in 1967 the common system of value added tax (VAT) by means of Council Directives 62/227/EEC1 and 67/228/EEC2, the commitment was made to establish a definitive VAT system for the taxation of trade between Member States operating in a similar way as it would within a single Member State. Since the political and technical conditions were not ripe for such a system, when the fiscal frontiers between Member States were abolished by the end of 1992 transitional VAT arrangements were adopted. Council Directive 2006/112/EC3, which is currently in force, provides that these transitional rules have to be replaced by definitive arrangements based in principle on the taxation in the Member State of origin of the supply of goods or services.
(1)  When the Council adopted in 1967 the common system of value added tax (VAT) by means of Council Directives 62/227/EEC1 and 67/228/EEC2, the commitment was made to establish a definitive VAT system for the taxation of trade between Member States operating in a similar way as it would within a single Member State. Since the political and technical conditions were not ripe for such a system, when the fiscal frontiers between Member States were abolished by the end of 1992 transitional VAT arrangements were adopted. Council Directive 2006/112/EC3, which is currently in force, provides that these transitional rules have to be replaced by definitive arrangements based in principle on the taxation in the Member State of origin of the supply of goods or services. However, those transitional rules have now been in place for several decades, resulting in a complex transitional VAT system susceptible to intra-Union cross-border VAT fraud. Those transitional rules suffer from numerous shortcomings, which result in the VAT system being neither fully efficient nor compatible with the requirements of a true single market. The vulnerability of the transitional VAT system became obvious only a few years after its introduction. Since then, several legislative actions (improving administrative cooperation, shorter deadlines for recapitulative statements, sectoral reverse charge) and non-legislative actions have been taken. However, the recent VAT gap studies demonstrate that the figures of non-collected VAT are still enormous. This is the first legislative proposal since the introduction of the current VAT rules in 1992 which aims at tackling the root of cross-border fraud. In its Communication of 28 October 2015 entitled “Upgrading the Single Market: more opportunities for people and business”, the Commission identified the complexity of the current VAT regulations as one of the major obstacles to the completion of the single market. At the same time, the VAT gap, defined as the difference between the amount of VAT revenue actually collected and the theoretical amount that is expected to be collected, has been increasing, reaching EUR 151,5 billion in 2015 in the EU-28. This illustrates the need for an urgent and comprehensive reform of the VAT system towards a definitive VAT regime, to facilitate and simplify cross-border intra-Union trade and make the system more fraud-proof.
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1 First Council Directive 67/227/EEC of 11 April 1967 on the harmonisation of legislation of Member States concerning turnover taxes (OJ 71, 14.4.1967, p. 1301).
1 First Council Directive 67/227/EEC of 11 April 1967 on the harmonisation of legislation of Member States concerning turnover taxes (OJ 71, 14.4.1967, p. 1301).
2 Second Council Directive 67/228/EEC of 11 April 1967 on the harmonisation of legislation of Member States concerning turnover taxes — Structure and procedures for application of the common system of value added tax (OJ 71, 14.4.1967, p. 1303).
2 Second Council Directive 67/228/EEC of 11 April 1967 on the harmonisation of legislation of Member States concerning turnover taxes — Structure and procedures for application of the common system of value added tax (OJ 71, 14.4.1967, p. 1303).
3 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).
3 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).
Amendment 2
Proposal for a directive
Recital 1 a (new)
(1 a)  In addition, in the past the Commission, supported by the European Parliament, has always pointed out that a VAT system based on taxation at origin was the correct response for making the Union VAT system more fraud-proof, and most closely in line with the proper functioning of the internal market. The current initiative, however, is based on the Member States’ preferred approach of taxation at destination, with a view to allowing Member States a certain flexibility in the setting of VAT rates.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a directive
Recital 2
(2)  The Council, supported by the European Parliament1 and the Economic and Social Committee2, confirmed that an origin-based system was not achievable and invited the Commission to proceed with in-depth technical work and a broadly based dialogue with Member States to examine in detail the different possible ways to implement the destination principle3.
(2)  The Council, supported by the European Parliament1 and the Economic and Social Committee2, confirmed that an origin-based system was not achievable and invited the Commission to proceed with in-depth technical work and a broadly based dialogue with Member States to examine in detail the different possible ways to implement the destination principle3, in order to ensure that the supply of goods from one Member State to another is taxed as if they were supplied and acquired within one Member State. The creation of a single Union VAT area is crucial in order to decrease compliance costs for businesses, particularly SMEs working cross-border, to reduce the risks of cross-border VAT fraud and to simplify VAT-related procedures. The definitive VAT system will strengthen the internal market and create better business conditions for cross-border trade. It should take account of the changes that are necessary due to technological developments and digitalisation. This Directive sets out the technical measures for the implementation of the so-called “corner stones” as laid down by the Commission in its proposal of 18 January 20183a. Member States should therefore take decisions on the aforementioned “corner stones” in order to proceed swiftly with the implementation of this Directive.
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1 European Parliament resolution of 13 October 2011 on the future of VAT (P7_TA(2011)0436) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2011-0436
1 European Parliament resolution of 13 October 2011 on the future of VAT (P7_TA(2011)0436) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2011-0436
2 European Economic and Social Committee Opinion of 14 July 2011 on the ‘Green Paper on the future of VAT - Towards a simpler, more robust and efficient VAT system’ http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:52011AE1168
2 European Economic and Social Committee Opinion of 14 July 2011 on the ‘Green Paper on the future of VAT - Towards a simpler, more robust and efficient VAT system’ http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:52011AE1168
3 Council conclusions on the future of VAT - 3167th Economic and Financial affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 15 May 2012 (see in particular point B 4) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ecofin/130257.pdf
3 Council conclusions on the future of VAT - 3167th Economic and Financial affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 15 May 2012 (see in particular point B 4) http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ecofin/130257.pdf
3a Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards rates of value added tax, COM(2018)0020, 2018/0005(CNS).
Amendment 4
Proposal for a directive
Recital 3
(3)  The Commission, in its VAT Action Plan1, sets out the amendments to the VAT system that would be necessary in order to develop such a destination-based system for intra-Union trade by means of the taxation of cross-border supplies. The Council subsequently reaffirmed the conclusions of that Action Plan and stated, inter alia, that in its view the principle of taxation at origin as envisaged for the definitive VAT system should be replaced by the principle of taxation in the Member State of destination2.
(3)  The Commission, in its VAT Action Plan1, sets out the amendments to the VAT system that would be necessary in order to develop such a destination-based system for intra-Union trade by means of the taxation of cross-border supplies. The Council subsequently reaffirmed the conclusions of that Action Plan and stated, inter alia, that in its view the principle of taxation at origin as envisaged for the definitive VAT system should be replaced by the principle of taxation in the Member State of destination2. That change should contribute to the reduction of VAT-related cross-border frauds by an estimated EUR 50 billion annually.
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1 Action Plan on VAT – Towards a single EU VAT area - Time to decide (COM(2016) 148final of 7.4.2016.
1 Action Plan on VAT – Towards a single EU VAT area - Time to decide (COM(2016) 148final of 7.4.2016.
2 See: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/05/25-conclusions-vat-action-plan/
2 See: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/05/25-conclusions-vat-action-plan/
Amendment 5
Proposal for a directive
Recital 4 a (new)
(4 a)   In order to guarantee efficient cooperation between Member States, the Commission should guarantee the transparency of the system, in particular through the compulsory publication on an annual basis of frauds committed in each Member State. Transparency is also important in order to understand the scale of the fraud, to raise the awareness of the general public and to put pressure on Member States.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a directive
Recital 5 a (new)
(5 a)   Special attention should be given to the European Parliament positions adopted in its legislative resolutions of 3 October 2018 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards harmonising and simplifying certain rules in the value added tax system and introducing the definitive system for the taxation of trade between Member States (COM(2017)0569 – C8-0363/2017 – 2017/0251(CNS)) and on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards rates of value added tax (COM(2018)0020 – C8-0023/2018 – 2018/0005(CNS)) and in its legislative resolution of 3 July 2018 on the amended proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EU) No 904/2010 as regards measures to strengthen administrative cooperation in the field of value-added tax (COM(2017)0706 – C8-0441/2017 – 2017/0248(CNS)).
Amendment 7
Proposal for a directive
Recital 13
(13)  The overall rule for supplies of goods, including intra-Union supplies of goods, and for supplies of services should be that the supplier is liable for the payment of the VAT.
(13)  The overall rule for supplies of goods, including intra-Union supplies of goods, and for supplies of services should be that the supplier is liable for the payment of the VAT. Those new principles will enable the Member States to better fight VAT fraud, especially Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC), estimated to amount to at least EUR 50 billion a year.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a directive
Recital 14 a (new)
(14 a)   Strict criteria, applied in a harmonised way by all Member States, need to be put in place to determine which enterprises can benefit from the status of the certified taxable person, and common rules and provisions resulting in fines and penalties for those who do not comply with them should be established.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a directive
Recital 14 b (new)
(14 b)   The Commission should be responsible for the presentation of further guidelines and should verify the proper application by Member States of these harmonised criteria across the Union.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a directive
Recital 15
(15)  The rules on the temporary application of the reverse charge mechanism for movable goods should be reviewed in order to ensure their coherence with the introduction of the new rules regarding the person liable for the payment of VAT on intra-Union supplies of goods.
(15)  The rules on the temporary application of the reverse charge mechanism for movable goods should be reviewed in order to ensure their coherence with the introduction of the new rules regarding the person liable for the payment of VAT on intra-Union supplies of goods. With the implementation of this Directive, the temporary application of the reverse charge mechanism might no longer be required. The Commission should therefore analyse in due course the need to repeal the proposal for a temporary application of the reverse charge mechanism.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a directive
Recital 23
(23)  In view of ensuring coherence in the VAT reporting obligations for large enterprises, the frequency of submitting VAT returns under this special scheme should be reviewed by adding that taxable persons making use of the scheme shall submit monthly VAT returns under the scheme when their annual Union turnover is above EUR 2 500 000.
(23)  In view of ensuring coherence in the VAT reporting obligations for large enterprises, the frequency of submitting VAT returns under this special scheme should be reviewed by adding that taxable persons making use of the scheme shall submit monthly VAT returns under the scheme when their annual Union VAT turnover is above EUR 2 500 000.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a directive
Recital 25 a (new)
(25 a)   A high level of non-compliance generates not only economic losses for compliant taxable persons but also threatens the cohesion and coherence of the fiscal system and creates a generalised feeling of unfairness through the distortion of competition. An efficient and understandable system is key to generating public revenues and to ownership by both citizens and companies.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a directive
Recital 26 a (new)
(26 a)   Statistics show that fraudsters take advantage of the weakness of the system and follow the development of the economy as well as the dynamic growth of demand for certain supplies. It is therefore necessary to set up a system dynamic enough to cope with harmful practices and to reduce the level of both voluntary non-compliance (fraud) and involuntary non-compliance.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a directive
Recital 26 b (new)
(26 b)   With particular focus on the needs of SMEs engaging in intra-Community cross-border businesses and in order to facilitate trade and increase legal certainty in the single market, the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, should establish a comprehensive and publicly accessible Union VAT Web information portal for businesses. That multilingual portal should provide quick, up-to-date and accurate access to relevant information about the implementation of the VAT system in the different Member States and in particular about the correct VAT rates for different goods and services in the different Member States, as well as the conditions for zero-rate. Such a portal might also help to address the current VAT gap.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a directive
Recital 26 c (new)
(26 c)   The One Stop Shop is the core of the new destination-based system without which complexity of the VAT system and the administrative burden would increase significantly. To ensure interoperability, ease of use and future fraud-proofing, One Stop Shops for businesses should operate with a harmonised cross-border IT system, based on common standards and allowing for automatic retrieval and input of data, for example, through the use of unified standard forms.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a directive
Recital 28
(28)  As a result of the introduction of intra-Union supply of goods as a new concept, it is appropriate to replace the term 'Community' with 'Union' to ensure an updated and coherent use of the term.
(28)  As a result of the introduction of intra-Union supply of goods as a new concept, it is appropriate to replace the term 'Community' with 'Union' throughout the Directive to ensure an updated and coherent use of the term.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a directive
Recital 30 a (new)
(30 a)  Legislative measures to reform the VAT system, to fight VAT fraud and to reduce the VAT Gap can only succeed if Member States’ tax administrations cooperate more closely in a spirit of mutual trust, and exchange relevant information to be able to perform their tasks.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 4 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 8
(4 a)  Article 8 is replaced by the following:
“Article 8
“Article 8
If the Commission considers that the provisions laid down in Articles 6 and 7 are no longer justified, particularly in terms of fair competition or own resources, it shall present appropriate proposals to the Council.”
If the Commission considers that the provisions laid down in Articles 6 and 7 are no longer justified, particularly in terms of fair competition or own resources, it shall present appropriate proposals to the European Parliament and to the Council.”
Amendment 19
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 3
Where the applicant is a taxable person who has been granted the status of an authorised economic operator for customs purposes, the criteria in paragraph 2 shall be deemed to have been met.
Where the applicant is a taxable person who has been granted the status of an authorised economic operator for customs purposes, the criteria in paragraph 2 shall be deemed to have been met for the purpose of this Directive.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 2 – point a a (new)
(a a)   the absence of any record of serious criminal offences relating to the economic activity of the applicant, such as, but not limited to:
(i)  money laundering;
(ii)  tax evasion and tax fraud;
(iii)  abuse of Union funds and programmes;
(iv)  bankruptcy or insolvency fraud
(v)  insurance fraud or other financial fraud;
(vi)  bribery and/or corruption;
(vii)  cybercrime;
(viii)  participation in a criminal organisation;
(ix)  offences in the field of competition law;
(x)  direct or indirect involvement in terrorist activities
Amendment 21
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 2 – point c
(c)  evidence of financial solvency of the applicant, which shall be deemed to be proven either where the applicant has good financial standing, which enables him to fulfil his commitments, with due regard to the characteristics of the type of business activity concerned, or through the production of guarantees provided by insurance or other financial institutions or by other economically reliable third parties.
(c)  evidence of financial solvency of the applicant during the last three years, which shall be deemed to be proven either where the applicant has good financial standing, which enables him to fulfil his commitments, with due regard to the characteristics of the type of business activity concerned, or through the production of guarantees provided by insurance or other financial institutions or by other economically reliable third parties. The applicant must possess a bank account in a financial institution established in the Union.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 2 a (new)
2 a.   In order to ensure a harmonised interpretation in the granting of the certified taxable person status, the Commission shall adopt by means of an implementing act further guidance for Member States regarding the evaluation of those criteria, which shall be valid across the Union. The first implementing act shall be adopted no later than one month after the entry into force of this Directive.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 3 a (new)
3 a.   To encourage applications for the certified taxable person status, the Commission shall introduce a tailored procedure for Small and Medium Enterprises.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 4 – subparagraph 1
A taxable person who applies for the status of a certified taxable person shall supply all the information required by the tax authorities in order to enable them to take a decision.
A taxable person who applies for the status of a certified taxable person shall supply all relevant information required by the tax authorities in order to enable them to take a decision. Tax authorities shall process the application without delay and should be subject to harmonised criteria across Member States regarding the supply of information.
Amendment 25
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 4 a (new)
4 a.   Where the status of certified taxable person is granted, that information shall be made available via the VAT Information Exchange System. Changes to that status shall be updated in the system without delay.
Amendment 26
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 5
5.  Where the application is refused, the grounds for refusal shall be notified by the tax authorities to the applicant together with the decision. Member States shall ensure that the applicant is granted a right of appeal against any decision to refuse an application.
5.  Where the application is refused, the grounds for refusal shall be notified without delay by the tax authorities to the applicant together with the decision which clearly states the grounds for refusal. Member States shall ensure that the applicant is granted a right of appeal within a reasonable timeframe against any decision to refuse an application.
Amendment 27
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 5 a (new)
5 a.   Where the application is refused, the decision as well as the grounds for refusal shall be notified to tax authorities of other Member States.
Amendment 28
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 6
6.  The taxable person who has been granted the status of certified taxable person shall inform the tax authorities without delay of any factor arising after the decision was taken, which may affect or influence the continuation of that status. The tax status shall be withdrawn by the tax authorities where the criteria set out in paragraph 2 are no longer met.
6.  The taxable person who has been granted the status of certified taxable person shall inform the tax authorities within one month of any factor arising after the decision was taken, which may affect or influence the continuation of that status. The tax status shall be withdrawn by the tax authorities where the criteria set out in paragraph 2 are no longer met. Tax authorities of Member States having granted the status of certified taxable person shall review that decision, at least every two years, to ensure that the conditions are still met. If the taxable person has not informed the tax authorities of any factor possibly affecting the certified taxable person status as laid out in the implementing act or has purposefully concealed it, it shall be subject to proportionate, efficient and dissuasive sanctions, including the loss of the certified taxable person status.
Amendment 29
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 6 a (new)
6 a.   A taxable person who has been refused the status of a certified taxable person, or who on his or her own initiative has informed the tax authority that he or she no longer meets the criteria set out in paragraph 2, may, no earlier than six months from the date of the refusal of that status or its withdrawal, reapply for certified taxable person status provided that all relevant criteria are met.
Amendment 30
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 6 b (new)
6 b.   To ensure uniform standards for monitoring of continued eligibility for the status of certified taxable person and the withdrawal of the tax status within and across Member States, the Commission shall adopt relevant guidelines.
Amendment 31
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 6 c (new)
6 c.   Where the applicant has been denied the status of an authorised economic operator in accordance with the Union Customs Code during the last three years, the applicant shall not be granted the status of a certified taxable person.
Amendment 32
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 13a – paragraph 7
7.  The status of a certified taxable person in one Member State shall be recognised by the tax authorities of all the Member States.;
7.  The status of a certified taxable person in one Member State shall be recognised by the tax authorities of all the Member States. National mechanisms will continue to apply for internal VAT tax disputes between the tax payer concerned and the national tax authority;
Amendment 33
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 56 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 145 – paragraph 1
(56 a)  in Article 145, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:
“1. The Commission shall, where appropriate, as soon as possible, present to the Council proposals designed to delimit the scope of the exemptions provided for in Articles 143 and 144 and to lay down the detailed rules for their implementation.”
“1. The Commission shall, where appropriate, as soon as possible, present to the European Parliament and to the Council proposals designed to delimit the scope of the exemptions provided for in Articles 143 and 144 and to lay down the detailed rules for their implementation.”
Amendment 34
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 59 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 150 – paragraph 1
(59 a)  in Article 150, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following:
“1. The Commission shall, where appropriate, as soon as possible, present to the Council proposals designed to delimit the scope of the exemptions provided for in Article 148 and to lay down the detailed rules for their implementation.”
“1. The Commission shall, where appropriate, as soon as possible, present to the European Parliament and to the Council proposals designed to delimit the scope of the exemptions provided for in Article 148 and to lay down the detailed rules for their implementation.”
Amendment 35
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 68 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 166
(68 a)  Article 166 is replaced by the following:
Article 166
Article 166
“The Commission shall, where appropriate, as soon as possible, present to the Council proposals concerning common arrangements for applying VAT to the transactions referred to in Sections 1 and 2.”
“The Commission shall, where appropriate, as soon as possible, present to the European Parliament and to the Council proposals concerning common arrangements for applying VAT to the transactions referred to in Sections 1 and 2.”
Amendment 36
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 123 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 293 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
(123 a)  In Article 293, paragraph 1, the introductory part is replaced by the following:
“Every four years starting from the adoption of this Directive, the Commission shall present to the Council, on the basis of information obtained from the Member States, a report on the application of this Chapter, together, where appropriate and taking into account the need to ensure the long-term convergence of national regulations, with proposals on the following subjects:”
"Every four years starting from the adoption of this Directive, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and to the Council, on the basis of information obtained from the Member States, a report on the application of this Chapter, together, where appropriate and taking into account the need to ensure the long-term convergence of national regulations, with proposals on the following subjects:”
Amendment 37
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 166 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 395 – paragraph 3
(166 a)  In Article 395, paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:
“3. Within three months of giving the notification referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 2, the Commission shall present to the Council either an appropriate proposal or, should it object to the derogation requested, a communication setting out its objections.”
“3. Within three months of giving the notification referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 2, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and to the Council either an appropriate proposal or, should it object to the derogation requested, a communication setting out its objections.”
Amendment 38
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 166 b (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 396 – paragraph 3
(166 b)  In Article 396, paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:
“3. Within three months of giving the notification referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 2, the Commission shall present to the Council either an appropriate proposal or, should it object to the derogation requested, a communication setting out its objections.”
“3. Within three months of giving the notification referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 2, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and to the Council either an appropriate proposal or, should it object to the derogation requested, a communication setting out its objections.”
Amendment 39
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 169 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 404 a (new)
(169 a)  The following new Article is inserted after Article 404:
"Article 404a
Within four years of the adoption of Council Directive (EU) .../...* +, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and to the Council, on the basis of information obtained from the Member States, a report on the implementation and application of the new provisions of this Directive, where appropriate [and taking into account the need to ensure the long-term convergence of national regulations], with proposals."
_______________
* Council Directive (EU) .../... of ... amending ... (OJ ...).
+ OJ: Please insert in the text the number of the Directive contained in document PE-CONS ... (2018/0164(CNS)) and insert the number, date, title and OJ reference of that Directive in the footnote.
Amendment 40
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 169 b (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 404 b (new)
(169 b)  The following new Article is inserted after Article 404a:
"Article 404b
Within two years of the adoption of Council Directive (EU) .../...* +, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and to the Council a report on the effectiveness of the exchange of the relevant information between Member States Tax Administrations, given the importance of the mutual trust for the definitive VAT regime to succeed."
________________
* Council Directive (EU) .../... of ... amending ... (OJ ...).
+ OJ: Please insert in the text the number of the Directive contained in document PE-CONS ... (2018/0164(CNS)) and insert the number, date, title and OJ reference of that Directive in the footnote.
Amendment 41
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 173 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 411 a (new)
(173 a)   The following new Article 411a is inserted:
"Article 411a
By 1 June 2020, the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall establish a comprehensive, multilingual and publicly accessible Union VAT Web Information Portal on which businesses and consumers can quickly and effectively obtain accurate information on VAT rates – including which goods or services benefit from reduced rates or exemptions – and all relevant information on the implementation of the definitive VAT system in the different Member States.
In complement to the Portal, an automated notification mechanism shall be set up. That mechanism shall ensure automatic notifications to tax payers on changes and updates to the VAT rates of Member States. Such automatic notifications shall be activated before the change becomes applicable and at the latest five days after the decision has been taken."
Amendment 42
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 a (new)
Regulation (EU) No 904/2010
Article 34 and Article 49 a (new)
Article 1a
Amendment to Regulation (EU) No 904/2010
Regulation (EU) No 904/2010 is amended as follows:
(1)  Article 34 is replaced by the following:
Article 34
"Article 34
1.  Member States shall participate in the Eurofisc working fields of their choice and may also decide to terminate their participation therein.
1.  The Commission shall provide Eurofisc with the necessary technical and logistical support. The Commission shall have access to the information referred to in Article 1, which may be exchanged over Eurofisc, for the circumstances provided for in Article 55(2).
2.  Member States having chosen to take part in a Eurofisc working field shall actively participate in the multilateral exchange of targeted information between all participating Member States.
2.  Member States shall participate in the Eurofisc working fields and Member States shall actively participate in the multilateral exchange of information.
3.  Information exchanged shall be confidential, as provided for in Article 55.
3.   Eurofisc working field coordinators may, on their own initiative or on request, forward relevant information on the most serious cross-border VAT offences to Europol and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
3a.  Eurofisc working field coordinators may ask Europol and OLAF for relevant information. Eurofisc working field coordinators shall make the information received from Europol and OLAF available to the other participating Eurofisc liaison officials; this information shall be exchanged by electronic means."
(2)  The following new Article 49a is added:
"Article 49a
Member States and the Commission shall establish a common system of collecting statistics on intra-Community VAT fraud and involuntary non-compliance and shall publish on a yearly basis national estimates of VAT losses resulting from that fraud, as well as estimates for the Union as a whole. The Commission shall adopt, by means of implementing acts, the practical arrangements for such a statistical system. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 58(2)."
(https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32010R0904)

Roma integration strategies
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the need for a strengthened post-2020 Strategic EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies and stepping up the fight against anti-Gypsyism (2019/2509(RSP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0075B8-0098/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 April 2011 entitled ‘An EU Framework for Roma integration strategies up to 2020’ (COM(2011)0173) and to the subsequent implementation and evaluation reports,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–  having regard to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights regarding the recognition of Roma as a group needing special protection against discrimination,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 2153 (2017) on ‘Promoting the inclusion of Roma and Travellers’,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(1),

–  having regard to the Council recommendation of 9 December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States(2), and to the Council conclusions of 8 December 2016 on accelerating the process of Roma integration and of 13 October 2016 on the European Court of Auditors Special Report No 14/2016,

–  having regard to the Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2017 on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 April 2015 on International Roma Day – anti-Gypsyism in Europe and EU recognition of the memorial day of the Roma genocide during World War II(5),

–  having regard to the Fundamental Rights Report 2016 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), and to the FRA’s EU-MIDIS I and II surveys and various other surveys and reports on Roma,

–  having regard to the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack’, registered on 3 April 2017,

–  having regard to the relevant reports and recommendations of Roma civil society, NGOs and research institutions,

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

A.  whereas anti-Gypsyism(6) is a specific form of racism, an ideology founded on racial superiority, a form of dehumanisation and institutional racism nurtured by historical discrimination, which is expressed, among others, by violence, hate speech, exploitation, stigmatisation and the most blatant kind of discrimination(7);

B.  whereas Roma(8) are still being deprived of their basic human rights in Europe;

C.  whereas the findings of the Commission Report on the evaluation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 (COM(2018)0785) underline that ‘the framework has been key for the development of EU and national instruments and structures aiming to promote Roma inclusion, but the ambition of putting an end to the exclusion of Roma has not been achieved’;

D.  whereas the evaluation carried out by the Commission shows that inclusion strategies must address the different goals simultaneously and in a comprehensive approach with a stronger focus on the fight against anti-Gypsyism; whereas a specific non-discrimination goal along with goals on inclusion of Roma should be added alongside the four Roma inclusion goals (education, housing, employment and health);

E.  whereas the progress achieved in the inclusion of Roma is limited overall; whereas improvements were observed in early school-leaving and early childhood education, but there was deterioration in school segregation; whereas there was an improvement in the self-perceived health status of Roma but they continue to have limited medical coverage; whereas in most Member States no improvement was observed in access to employment, and the share of young Roma not in employment, education or training even increased; whereas there are serious concerns relating to housing and only little progress has been made regarding poverty; whereas anti-Gypsyism and its manifestations, such as hate crime and hate speech – online and offline – continue to raise serious concerns; whereas EU action was considered to provide important added value to national Roma policies and their implementation through political, governance and financial areas;

F.  whereas the evaluation reports the shortcomings in the initial design of the framework and its limited effectiveness during implementation;

G.  whereas the evaluation sheds light on the fact that there is a need to ensure Roma empowerment and participation through dedicated measures; whereas that empowerment and capacity-building of Roma and NGOs are key;

H.  whereas the evaluation shows that the EU framework did not pay sufficient attention to targeting specific groups among Roma, that multiple and intersectional discrimination have to be addressed and that there is a need for a strong gender dimension and a child-centered approach in the strategies;

I.  whereas the current EU framework lacks clear objectives and measurable targets; whereas there are insufficient qualitative and quantitative monitoring procedures, while country-specific recommendations are not binding; whereas insufficient effort is being made to address the limited participation of Roma individuals and communities in the framework’s design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of measures, programmes and projects regarding Roma;

J.  whereas most mainstream programmes are not inclusive of Roma, and whereas targeted actions covered by the Structural Funds failed to make sustainable positive changes in the lives of the most disadvantaged Roma;

K.  whereas Member States have a clear responsibility to take corrective measures against practices that discriminate against Roma;

L.  whereas the issue of building trust between Roma and non-Roma is vital for improving the lives and life chances of Roma; whereas trust is essential for society as a whole;

1.  Reiterates its position, calls and recommendations put forward and adopted in its resolution of 25 October 2017 on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism; regrets that limited action has been taken on the recommendations put forward in this resolution;

2.  Calls on the Commission:

   i. to act on the calls made by Parliament, the Council and numerous NGOs and experts and propose a Strategic EU Framework on National Roma Inclusion Strategies for the post-2020 period with a wider set of priority areas, clear and binding targets, timelines and indicators for monitoring and addressing the specific challenges and reflecting the diversity of Roma communities, and allocating substantial public funds to this end;
   ii. to sufficiently involve Roma representatives, NGOs and the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) in the design of the Strategic EU Framework, including through a visible and accessible consultation procedure, and to enable their meaningful participation in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of it, thus strengthening their ownership;
   iii. to place the fight against anti-Gypsyism at the heart of the Strategic EU Framework, including by adding a specific anti-discrimination goal, along with other goals, such as inclusion of Roma in an environmentally sustainable, digital society, and their equitable representation in all spheres of life, and to encourage Member States to develop targeted strategies and concrete actions to fight anti-Gypsyism, in addition to one of its manifestations, social and economic exclusion;
   iv. to ensure that multiple and intersectional discrimination, gender mainstreaming and a child-sensitive approach are properly addressed in the Strategic EU Framework;
   v. to ensure that it allocates adequate human and financial resources in order to have the necessary capacities to monitor, support and provide guidance concerning the implementation of the National Roma Inclusion Strategies, including guidance to the National Roma Contact Points (NRCPs);
   vi. to strengthen the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in terms of its mandate, institutional capacity, human resources and budget in order to enable it to help the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the National Roma Inclusion Strategies;
   vii. to adopt a workforce diversity and inclusion strategy for Roma participation in the workforce of the EU institutions;
   viii. to pay attention to specific groups within the Roma population in the Strategic EU Framework, such as EU Roma exercising their right to freedom of movement, non-EU nationals and Roma in accession countries;
   ix. to include a truth, recognition and reconciliation process in the Strategic EU Framework for the sake of trust-building, and to highlight concrete cultural and structural measures and initiatives, supported by EU funds;
   x. to continue to check the inclusiveness of the mainstream public policies of the Member States under the European Semester within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, and to maintain a strong link between inclusive structural reforms, the delivery of Roma inclusion goals and the use of EU funding in the Member States;

3.  Calls on the Member States:

   i. to prepare their Strategic National Roma Inclusion Strategies for the post-2020 period with a wide set of priority areas, clear and binding targets, timelines and indicators for monitoring and addressing the specific challenges and reflecting the diversity of their Roma communities, and to allocate substantial public funds to this end;
   ii. to follow a bottom-up approach and involve Roma representatives, communities, NGOs and equality bodies in the design of their Strategic National Roma Inclusion Strategies (Strategies), and to enable their meaningful participation in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of these Strategies;
   iii. to place the fight against anti-Gypsyism at the heart of their Strategies, in addition to one of the manifestations of anti-Gypsyism, social and economic exclusion; to develop targeted strategies and concrete actions to fight anti-Gypsyism, such as investigating current and past racist attacks against Roma; and to encourage equitable representation of Roma in all spheres of life, including in media, public institutions and political bodies;
   iv. to ensure that multiple and intersectional discrimination, gender mainstreaming and a child-sensitive approach are properly addressed in their Strategies;
   v. to explicitly consider children as a priority when programming and implementing their Strategic National Roma integration strategies; reiterates the importance of protecting and promoting equal access to all rights for Roma children;
   vi. to strengthen the NRCPs in terms of their mandate, institutional capacity, human resources and budget and to ensure appropriate positioning of NRCPs within the structure of their public administrations in order to enable them to carry out their work through effective cross-sectoral coordination;
   vii. to pay attention to specific groups within the Roma population in their Strategies, such as EU Roma exercising their right to freedom of movement, and non-EU nationals, including Roma from accession countries;
   viii. to include a truth, recognition and reconciliation process in their Strategies for the sake of trust-building and to highlight concrete cultural and structural measures and initiatives supported by public funds;
   ix. to ensure and safeguard the effective inclusiveness of their mainstream public policies, to utilise the available EU Structural Funds to improve the living conditions and life chances of Roma in a transparent and accountable manner; to investigate the current and past misuse of relevant funds and take legal action against the perpetrators; to take the necessary steps to secure the absorption of all the funds targeting Roma communities, including by the end of the current MFF;

4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and candidate countries, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Committee of the Regions, for distribution to subnational parliaments and councils, the Council of Europe, and the United Nations.

(1) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(2) OJ C 378, 24.12.2013, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(4) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 171.
(5) OJ C 328, 6.9.2016, p. 4.
(6) Anti-Gypsyism is sometimes spelt differently, and in the various Member States it is sometimes referred to by a slightly different term, such as Antiziganismus.
(7) ECRI’s General Policy Recommendation No. 13 on Combating Anti-Gypsyism and Discrimination against Roma.
(8) The word ‘Roma’ is used as an umbrella term which includes different related groups throughout Europe, whether sedentary or not, such as Roma, Travellers, Sinti, Manouches, Kalés, Romanichels, Boyash, Ashkalis, Égyptiens, Yéniches, Doms and Loms, that may be diverse in culture and lifestyles.


Implementation of the Treaty provisions related to EU Citizenship
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of the Treaty provisions related to EU citizenship (2018/2111(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0076A8-0041/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 21, 23 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and to Articles 8, 9, 10, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 45, 46, 47, 48, 153, 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Articles 10 and 11 TEU, and to the statement in Article 10(3) that ‘every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union’,

–  having regard to Article 3(2) TEU enshrining the right of free movement of persons,

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

–  having regard to the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2020-2027,

–   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 Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 390/2014 of 14 April 2014 establishing the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme(3) for the period 2014-2020,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/589 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2016 on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers’ access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets, and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013(5),

–  having regard to Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications(6),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 amending Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System(7),

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council Directive establishing an EU Emergency Travel Document and repealing Decision 96/409/CFSP (COM(2018)0358),

–  having regard to Council Directive (EU) 2015/637 of 20 April 2015 on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries and repealing Decision 95/553/EC(8),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Rights and Values programme (COM(2018)0383),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2009 on guidance for better transposition and application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (COM(2009)0313),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 24 January 2017 entitled ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Rights in a Union of Democratic Change – EU Citizenship Report 2017’ (COM(2017)0030),

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation of 12 September 2018 on election cooperation networks, online transparency, protection against cybersecurity incidents and fighting disinformation campaigns in the context of elections to the European Parliament (C(2018)5949),

–  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(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 October 2015 on the European Citizens’ Initiative(10) and to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Citizens’ Initiative (COM(2017)0482),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2014 on EU citizenship for sale(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on ‘Learning EU at school’(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 March 2017 on the implementation of Council Regulation (EU) No 390/2014 of 14 April 2014 establishing the ʻEurope for Citizensʼ programme for the period 2014-2020(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2017 on obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the internal market(14),

–  having regard to the Opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 31 January 2013 on ‘Strengthening EU citizenship promotion of EU citizens’ electoral rights’,

–  having regard to the studies published in 2016 by Parliament’s Policy Department C, entitled ‘Obstacles to the right of free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families’,

–  having regard to the report of 2018 by the Fundamental Rights Agency entitled ‘Making EU citizens’ rights a reality: national courts enforcing freedom of movement and related rights’,

–  having regard to the results of Eurobarometer 89/2018,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2018 on the composition of the European Parliament(15),

–   having regard to its position of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision amending the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, annexed to Council Decision 76/787/ECSC, EEC, Euratom of 20 September 1976 (the ‘Electoral Act’)(16),

–  having regard to its decision of 7 February 2018 on the revision of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission(17),

–   having regard to its resolution of 30 May 2018 on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and own resources(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2018 on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 – Parliament's position with a view to an agreement(19),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2018 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Securing free and fair European elections’ (COM(2018)0637),

–  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 Constitutional Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and of the Committee on Petitions (A8-0041/2019),

A.  whereas EU citizenship and its related rights were initially introduced in 1992 by the Treaty of Maastricht and were further enhanced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in December 2009, but have been only partially implemented;

B.  whereas the rights, values and principles on which the Union is based, which are highlighted in Articles 2 and 6 TEU, put the citizen at the very centre of the European project; whereas the debate on the future of Europe therefore also implies a reflection on the strength of our common identity;

C.  whereas the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability of the EU institutions and of the decision-making processes, as derived from Articles 10 and 11 TEU and Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are substantive elements of the concept of citizenship and are essential for building and strengthening credibility and trust in the Union as a whole; whereas the recourse to ad hoc and intergovernmental arrangements and instruments in several EU policy areas, as well as to informal decision-making bodies, circumventing and de-institutionalising the ordinary legislative procedure, risks severely undermining such principles;

D.  whereas the EU has had difficulties in facing numerous crises with important socio-economic consequences which have led to the emergence of populist and nationalist ideologies based on exclusive identities and supremacist criteria which contradict European values;

E.  whereas the unsatisfactory management of the various crises has increased citizens’ disappointment in some of the results of the EU integration project; whereas it is crucial to ensure that EU citizenship is regarded as a cherished privilege among citizens, including by restoring confidence in the EU project, giving primacy to the promotion of all citizens’ rights, including civil, political and social rights among others, improving the quality of democracy within the Union, the practical enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms and the opportunity for every citizen to participate in the democratic life of the Union, while providing for a greater involvement of civil society in decision-making and implementation processes;

F.  whereas the current revision of the ECI aims to improve its effectiveness and enhance participative democracy and active citizenship;

G.  whereas access to EU citizenship is gained through possession of the nationality of a Member State, which is regulated by national laws; whereas at the same time, the rights and duties deriving from EU citizenship are laid down by EU law and do not depend on Member States, hence cannot be limited in an unjustified manner by them;

H.  whereas in the context of access to national citizenship, Member States should be subject to the principles of EU law, such as proportionality, the rule of law and non-discrimination, which have been thoroughly elaborated in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union;

I.  whereas the prospect of Brexit has highlighted the importance of EU citizenship rights, especially among young Europeans, and their role in the lives of millions of EU citizens, and has also raised awareness in the EU concerning the potential loss of such rights on both sides;

J.  whereas the average turnout in the elections to the European Parliament in 2014 was 42.6 %; whereas according to the most recent Eurobarometer poll published in May 2018, only19 % of Europeans interviewed knew the date of the next European elections;

K.  whereas EU citizens are almost completely unaware of the Europe Direct offices despite their main role being to provide information;

L.  whereas there are over 400 Europe Direct Information Centres across the EU which contribute to the Commission’s communication on European Union policies of direct interest to citizens with the objective of engaging with citizens at local and regional level;

M.  whereas the concept of citizenship defines the relationship of citizens with a political community, including their rights, duties, and responsibilities; whereas Article 20 TFEU give the citizens of the Union the right to vote and to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament and in municipal elections in their Member State of residence, under the same conditions as nationals of that state;

N.  whereas European citizens are directly represented in the European Parliament and every citizen must receive equal attention from the EU institutions; whereas Article 8 TFEU establishes the principle of gender mainstreaming by stating that ‘In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women’;

O.  whereas the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has established in a number of cases that the rights deriving from EU citizenship can also be invoked by nationals of a Member State vis-à-vis that same state(20);

P.  whereas several Member States offer so-called ‘golden visa programmes’ and investor schemes as means of obtaining their nationality;

Q.  whereas the freedom of movement provides EU citizens with opportunities to travel, study, work and live in other EU countries; whereas more than 16 million Europeans enjoy their right to reside in another EU country;

R.  whereas the right to freedom of movement is central to EU citizenship and complements the other freedoms of the EU internal market; whereas young Europeans are particularly attached to the freedom of movement, which is regarded as the EU’s most positive achievement after ensuring peace in Europe;

S.  whereas the implementation of Directive 2004/38/EC has encountered practical difficulties and Europeans may still find it difficult to move to or live in another Member State owing to discrimination arising from nationality, entry and residence requirements; whereas there is considerable Court of Justice jurisprudence intended to clarify key concepts for mobile EU citizens;

T.  whereas the right to consular protection is guaranteed under Articles 20 and 23 TFEU, and EU citizens are therefore, in the territory of a third country in which their Member State of nationality is not represented, entitled to protection by any other Member State on the same conditions as nationals of that state; whereas emergencies, natural disasters or events such as terrorist attacks may affect European citizens who are from a Member State with no representation in the third country concerned;

U.  whereas the Commission has demonstrated a commitment in the EU Citizenship Report 2017 to organise an EU-wide information and awareness‑raising campaign on EU citizenship in order to help citizens to better understand their rights; whereas this responsibility to better inform EU citizens of their rights and duties needs to be shared by Member States and civil society;

V.  whereas, according to the Commission’s 2017 EU Citizenship Report, since 2012 a growing number of people have reported experiencing some form of discrimination;

W.  whereas the creation of the Schengen area and the integration of the Schengen acquis into the EU framework have greatly enhanced the freedom of movement within the EU and are one of the greatest achievements of the European integration process;

X.  whereas the introduction of European citizenship is an achievement of the European project, which has yet to realise its full potential; underlines that this is a unique construction not seen anywhere else is the world;

1.  Considers that not all the provisions concerning EU citizenship have been implemented to reach their full potential, even though this would enable the consolidation of a European identity; highlights that the creation of Union citizenship has proven that a form of citizenship which is not determined by nationality can exist and that it forms the foundation of a political area from which rights and duties derive, which are determined by the law of the European Union and not the State; calls on the Union institutions to take the necessary measures to improve the implementation, scope and effectiveness of the Treaty provisions concerning citizenship as well as of the corresponding provisions enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; points out that European citizens are not fully aware of their rights deriving from citizenship of the Union;

2.  Recalls that EU citizenship is additional to citizenship of a Member State; underlines that EU citizenship enables the complementarity of multiple identities for the citizen, and that exclusive nationalism and populist ideologies undermine that capacity; is of the opinion that exercising active citizenship and encouraging civic participation is key to reinforcing the sense of belonging to a political project to foster the development of a shared sense of European identity, mutual understanding, intercultural dialogue and transnational cooperation and to building open, inclusive, cohesive and resilient societies;

3.  Considers that the full implementation, by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the active promotion of the rights and principles enshrined therein represent an essential lever for guaranteeing the effective involvement of citizens in the EU democratic process and to give concreteness to the provisions enshrined in Article 20 TFEU;

4.  Stresses that the body of rights and obligations arising from Union citizenship cannot be limited in an unjustified manner; in this regard, urges Member States to make use of their prerogative to grant citizenship in a spirit of fair cooperation, including in cases of children of EU citizens who face difficulties in satisfying the criteria for citizenship under national rules; underlines that the successful exercise of citizenship rights presupposes that all rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights are protected and promoted, including for people with disabilities who should be able to exercise their fundamental rights in the same way as any other citizens, and that gender mainstreaming is implemented in order to ensure the full enjoyment of the rights linked to EU citizenship by women;

5.  Recalls that Union citizenship also has extended implications and confers rights in the field of democratic participation as derived from Articles 10 and 11 TEU; stresses that for the exercise of the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, decisions should be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen, and that it is therefore fundamental to provide the relevant guarantees on transparency in decision-making and the fight against corruption;

6.  Regrets the existing opt-outs from parts of the Treaties by some Member States, which undermine and generate de facto differences in citizens’ rights that are intended to be equal under the Treaties;

7.  Notes that the Erasmus+ programme, the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme, and the Europe for Citizens programme bring, for EU citizens and in particular the young, great benefits by raising their awareness of their status as EU citizens and enhancing their knowledge of the rights deriving from that status and its underlying values; takes the view that European voluntary programmes such as European Voluntary Service and the European Solidarity Corps also play an integral part in building European citizenship; underlines the paramount importance of such programmes, especially among young people, and calls for them to be financially reinforced;

Political rights

8.  Is concerned at the trend to decline in voter turnout in both national and European Parliament elections, especially among young people; is convinced that the strengthening of the EU public sphere and the full implementation of European citizenship have the potential to help reverse that decline by increasing citizens’ sense of belonging to a European community and boosting representative democracy;

9.  Acknowledges the Commission’s efforts to promote programmes fostering European citizenship and citizens’ awareness of their political rights; observes, however, the scant progress made in implementing Article 165 TFEU as a legal basis to promote the European dimension in citizens’ education; deems it essential to promote the participation of citizens in the democratic life of the EU, and believes that the development of EU curricula in educational systems should be a priority for continuing to build on the potential of EU citizenship;

10.  Deplores once again the fact that some EU citizens are disenfranchised in their Member State of nationality and cannot participate in national parliamentary elections in their Member State of residence; underlines that the loss of electoral rights arising from residence in another Member State could discourage citizens from moving to another Member State and therefore could constitute a potential violation of Article 18 TFEU;

11.   Considers that, in a system of representative democracy, it is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the EU institutions in order to protect all political rights of EU citizens; stresses the importance of the accessibility of information on EU citizenship and the rights derived from its possession in all official languages of the European Union to reinforce the notion of EU citizenship; deplores the fact that since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Article 15(3) TFEU, which became the legal base for public access to documents and which extends the rules on access to all the Union institutions, bodies, agencies and offices, has not yet been fully implemented; considers that progress in the adoption of the new regulation has been consistently obstructed by the Member States;

Freedom of movement

12.  Welcomes the benefits that free movement brings to EU citizens and the Member States’ economies; points out that the rights derived from Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their families to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States are not always known and respected, which leads to obstacles to free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families as well as to discrimination against them; recalls the obligation of the Member States to protect freedom of movement rights, including family reunification, for same-sex spouses;

13.  Is concerned that the interpretation of certain provisions and terms of Directive 2004/38/EC by national courts differs not only across Member States, but sometimes also within the same jurisdiction; notes with concern that national authorities are not always fully aware of the rights and obligations established under Directive 2004/38/EC;

14.  Underlines the problem of the absence of information or the provision of incorrect or confusing information on visa requirements for family members or on residence rights; insists that Member States should ensure the removal of unnecessary barriers to the right of entry/residence, in particular for third‑country nationals who are family members of EU citizens;

15.  Is concerned about the difficulties encountered by citizens in getting their professional qualifications recognised across Europe; believes that the Professional Qualifications Directive and European Qualifications Framework have helped facilitate recognition among Member States; also believes that professional recognition is key to ensure a higher degree of mobility for both students and professionals; calls on the Commission to continue the trend of facilitating professional recognition as much as possible;

16.  Is deeply concerned about the findings of the research carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which has identified discrimination in finding employment, in accessing various services such as renting a car or an apartment or certain banking services, and in the fields of education and taxation; emphasises that discrimination on the grounds of nationality may create barriers to the free movement of Union citizens; calls for the EU and the Member States to pay particular attention to monitoring such cases of discrimination and to take decisive actions to prevent them;

17.  Underlines the role of mobility in the personal development of young people by enhancing learning and cultural exchanges and improving understanding of active citizenship and its practice; encourages the Member States to support EU programmes promoting mobility;

18.  Values the importance of culture, art and science as integral aspects of active EU citizenship; stresses their role in strengthening citizens’ shared sense of belonging to the Union, boosting mutual understanding and stimulating intercultural dialogue;

Consular protection

19.  Notes that almost seven million EU citizens currently live in countries outside the EU, and that this number is expected to increase to at least 10 million by 2020;

20.  Considers that the right to consular protection benefits all EU citizens, and recalls that Council Directive 2015/637 interprets consular protection in the widest possible sense, i.e. as any kind of consular assistance; stresses that awareness of those rights remains limited;

21.  Calls on the Commission to publish an assessment of the implementation of Council Directive (EU) 2015/637 and to launch infringement proceedings where applicable; calls on the Member States to develop emergency protocols, taking unrepresented citizens into account, in order to improve communications in emergency situations in coordination with other Member States’ representations and EU delegations; recalls its long-standing call for reinforcement of the role of the EU delegations in third countries and highlights the added value provided by the EU diplomatic network present on the ground;

Petition to the European Parliament and complaint to the European Ombudsman

22.  Stresses the importance of the right to petition, as established by Articles 227 TFEU and 44 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights respectively, and the right to refer to the Ombudsman enshrined in Articles 228 TFEU and 43 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; commends the work of the European Ombudsman in combating maladministration in the Union institutions, bodies and agencies, and in particular in the field of transparency; stresses the importance of transparency for proper democratic functioning and participation within the Union that generates trust among its citizens; endorses in this regard the recommendations by the Ombudsman in her recent Special Report on the transparency of the Council legislative process;

Recommendations

23.  Recommends that the Commission exercise its prerogatives under Article 258 TFEU to ask the CJEU to decide if disenfranchisement due to residence in another EU Member State should be considered to be a violation of freedom of movement and residence; calls again on Member States to implement the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters, including the abolition of disenfranchisement of expatriates in elections to national parliaments;

24.  Suggests that the Commission, through the procedure established in Article 25 TFEU, extend the rights listed in Article 20(2) TFEU in order to allow EU citizens to choose whether to vote in their Member State of nationality or of residence and that this be extended to include all elections, in line with the constitutional possibilities of each Member State;

25.  Calls on the Member States to introduce e-democracy tools at local and national level, and properly integrate them in the political process, facilitating democratic participation for both citizens and residents;

26.  Considers that the revision of the legal framework governing the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) presents an opportunity to enhance citizens’ participation in EU policy making by rendering the instrument less bureaucratic and more accessible;

27.  Calls on the Commission to develop more robust practices as regards the political and legal follow-up given to successful ECIs;

28.  Insists on more resources being invested in and on the creation of additional programmes and initiatives which aim to foster a European public space where the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, social welfare and the fulfilment of European values become the model for citizens’ identity; welcomes the Rights and Values Programme as a valuable example of the Union’s active support for its values and rights deriving from EU citizenship and enshrined in the Treaties, including by means of supporting civil society organisations which promote and protect these rights and values; stresses the importance of preserving the current budget for the Rights and Values Programme; firmly opposes its downsizing in the new multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027 as proposed by the Commission;

29.  Strongly encourages the European political parties and their party members to ensure a gender‑balanced representation of candidates by means of zipped lists or other equivalent methods;

30.  Proposes to increase significantly the visibility of Europe Direct offices; underlines that these offices should operate as intermediators cooperating with public administrations in the Member States and civil society (including trade unions, business associations and public and private bodies) to actively inform European citizens about their rights and obligations, and to foster the participation of citizens at local level in the democratic life of the European Union; encourages Member States and entities at regional and local level to actively cooperate with these offices; underlines that these offices should synergise with programmes such as Europe for Citizens; asks the Commission to ensure that these offices centralise the relevant information which enables EU citizens to exercise their rights, and to facilitate the exercise of EU citizenship rights; believes that the SOLVIT service should be further streamlined to act more effectively in the protection of EU citizens’ rights before the latter seek any judicial or administrative remedy;

31.  Along these lines, calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal enhancing both the role of Europe Direct offices, as well as the exercise of EU citizenship building on the rights conferred on workers in the application of the Directive 2014/54/EU, including the rights of EU citizens to protection from discrimination, the exercise of their voting rights under Article 22 TFEU, and their free movement rights under Article 21 TFEU and Directive 2004/38/EC, and the right to freedom of movement enjoyed by the members of their families;

32.  Calls on the Commission to act systematically on Member States’ breaches of Directive 2004/38/EC, and asks for revamped EU guidance for applying and interpreting legislation affecting EU citizens in order to include the recent developments from the CJEU, thus ensuring that EU law is fully effective;

33.  Calls for the consistent implementation of gender mainstreaming in all EU activities, in particular when adopting legislation or implementing policies linked to EU citizenship;

34.  Recalls that Parliament, since 2014 and on various occasions, has expressed its concern that any national scheme that involves the direct or indirect sale of EU citizenship undermines the very concept of European citizenship; asks the Commission to monitor such schemes and to produce a report on national schemes granting EU citizenship to investors, as foreseen in the 2017 Citizenship report;

35.  Regrets that the Commission’s 2017 Citizenship report makes no reference to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the right of petition, the right to refer to the European Ombudsman, the right to access documents or the right to support an ECI; calls on the Commission to pay full attention to the provisions of the Charter and address those shortcomings in the next evaluation;

36.  Underlines that a growing number of European citizens have suffered terrorist attacks in a country that is not their own, and therefore urgently calls for the establishment of protocols in the Member States to help non-national Europeans in the event of a terrorist attack, in line with Directive (EU) 2017/541 on combating terrorism;

37.  Proposes to the Member States that they establish a European public holiday on 9 May in order to reinforce a European feeling of belonging and create space for civic movements and activities;

38.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for the implementation of Parliament’s recommendations on an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights;

39.  Strongly believes that the principle of non-discrimination is a cornerstone of European citizenship and both a general principle and a fundamental value of EU law according to Article 2 TEU; urges the Council to conclude the adoption of the horizontal EU Anti-discrimination Directive, in order to further guarantee fundamental rights within the Union by means of the adoption of concrete EU legislation which would fully implement Articles 18 and 19 TFEU in a horizontal approach; regrets the fact that the Anti-discrimination Directive still remains blocked by the Council, a decade after the publication of the Commission proposal;

40.  Recalls the obligation laid down in the Treaties to accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR); calls on the Commission to take the necessary steps to finalise the Union’s accession to the ECHR, and for accession to the European Social Charter;

41.  Emphasises that quality civic education for all ages (formal and informal) is crucial for the confident exercise of citizens’ democratic rights and the proper functioning of a democratic society; notes that only continuous educational effort can ensure increased participation in elections at the European level and enhance intercultural understanding and solidarity in Europe, as well as overcoming discrimination, prejudice, and gender inequality; recommends the use of Articles 165, 166 and 167 TFUE as a legal basis for exploring the potential of education, vocational training and youth policies;

42.  Recalls the contribution of political parties at European level to ‘forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of the citizens of the Union’ (Article 10 (4) TEU); calls, therefore, for individual citizens of the EU to be given the opportunity to apply directly for membership in political parties at European level;

43.  Recalls the need to promote the European dimension of the European parliamentary elections with view to contributing to Parliament’s potential future work by exercising its right of legislative initiative under Article 225 TFUE; calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen their efforts to promote citizens’ rights among European citizens, including those related to voting rights; underlines that better and more focused information on European policies and on the impact of EU legislation on citizens’ daily lives would improve the turnout in the European elections; recalls the need to promote participation in the European elections by increasing the visibility of European political parties; reiterates that promoting participation in the European elections is a shared responsibility of citizens, Member States and the EU; emphasises the need to inform citizens about the recent reform of the electoral law and the Spitzenkandidat process; underlines the political importance and symbolism of this figure in terms of reinforcing EU citizenship;

44.  Recalls that the European Parliament is the parliament of the whole Union, and that it plays an essential role in ensuring the legitimacy of the EU political institutions through making them accountable by ensuring proper parliamentary scrutiny; insists therefore that Parliament’s legislative powers and control rights must be guaranteed, consolidated and strengthened;

45.  Recalls the Commission guidance on the application of Union data protection law in the electoral context and its communication of 12 September 2018 on securing free and fair elections in Europe (COM(2018)0637); calls for every effort to be made in order to ensure elections free from any abusive interference; underlines the need for a defined EU policy to tackle anti-European propaganda and targeted misinformation;

46.  Encourages the Commission to step up the promotion of democratic participation by intensifying its dialogue with citizens, enhancing citizens’ understanding of the role of EU legislation in their daily lives, and underlining their right to vote in and stand for election at local, national and European level;

47.  Invites the Commission to exploit, in this regard, social media and digital tools with a special emphasis on increasing the participation of young people and persons with disabilities; calls for the development and implementation of e-democracy tools, such as online platforms, to involve citizens more directly in EU democratic life, thus fostering their engagement;

48.  Supports the production and dissemination of press and multimedia materials in all official EU languages that focus on enhancing EU citizens’ awareness of their rights and strengthening their ability to enforce these rights effectively in each Member State;

49.  Considers that, given the increasing impact of social media on the lives of citizens, the European institutions should continue to develop new mechanisms and public policies that are designed to protect the fundamental rights of individuals in the digital environment; stresses the need for secure, fair and transparent sharing of citizens’ data; stresses that free media and access to a plurality of opinions are an indispensable part of a healthy democracy and that media literacy is crucial and should be developed at an early age;

50.  Encourages the use of Article 25 TFEU to take measures that could facilitate the exercise of European citizenship on a daily basis;

51.  Asks the Commission, under Article 25 TFEU, to take into account the development of the rights of EU citizenship in secondary legislation and jurisprudence in the next Citizenship report, and to propose a roadmap to bundle together all these advances to formally take account of the development of the Union in this area;

52.  Underlines that the final objective of this exercise, following the procedure of Article 25 TFEU, would be to take concrete initiatives towards the consolidation of citizen-specific rights and freedoms under an EU Statute of Citizenship, similar to the European Pillar of Social Rights, including the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, alongside the social rights set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights and the values established by Article 2 of the TEU as defining elements of the European ‘public space’, including among others the governance model relevant to that public space, dignity, freedom, the rule of law, democracy, pluralism, tolerance, justice and solidarity, equality and non-discrimination, which would be taken into account in a future or eventual reform of the Treaties;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.
(2) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(3) OJ L 115, 17.4.2014, p. 3.
(4) OJ L 141, 27.5.2011, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 107, 22.4.2016, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22.
(7) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 132.
(8) OJ L 106, 24.4.2015, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 215.
(10) OJ C 355, 20.10.2017, p. 17.
(11) OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 117.
(12) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 57.
(13) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 28.
(14) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 98.
(15) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 83.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0282.
(17) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 89.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0226.
(19) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0449.
(20) For instance, Judgment of the Court of Justice of 8 March 2011, Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (ONEM), C-34/09, ECLI:EU:C:2011:124, Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 March 2010, Janko Rottman v Freistaat Bayern, C-135/08, ECLI:EU:C:2010:104, Judgment of the Court of Justice of 5 May 2011, Shirley McCarthy v Secretary of State for the Home Department, C-434/09, ECLI:EU:C:2011:277 and Judgment of the Court of Justice of 15 November 2011, Murat Dereci and Others v Bundesministerium für Inneres, C-256/11, ECLI:EU:C:2011:734.


Implementation of the Treaty provisions concerning enhanced cooperation
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of the Treaty provisions concerning enhanced cooperation (2018/2112(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0077A8-0038/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty provisions related to enhanced cooperation and in particular Articles 20, 42(6), 44, 45 and 46 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and Articles 82, 83, 86, 87, 187, 188, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 333 and 334 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Treaty provisions on other existing forms of differentiated integration and in particular Articles 136, 137 and 138 TFEU relating to provisions specific to Member States whose currency is the euro,

–  having regard to the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (TSCG),

–  having regard to Protocol 10 on permanent structured cooperation established by Article 42 of the Treaty on European Union, Protocol 14 on the Euro Group and Protocol 19 on the Schengen acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union,

–  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 16 February 2017 on budgetary capacity for the euro area(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 March 2017 on constitutional, legal and institutional implications of a common security and defence policy: possibilities offered by the Lisbon Treaty(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2019 on differentiated integration(5),

–  having regard to the Commission white paper of 1 March 2017 (COM(2017)2025) and the five subsequent reflection papers (COM(2017)0206), COM(2017)0240, COM(2017)0291, COM(2017)0315, COM(2017)0358),

–  having regard to the Rome Declaration of 25 March 2017,

–  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 Constitutional Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0038/2019),

A.  whereas the Union has a particular interest in implementing enhanced cooperation in certain areas of non-exclusive EU competences in order to move forward the European project and to facilitate the life of citizens;

B.  whereas, pursuant to Article 20(2) TEU, enhanced cooperation is meant to be a measure of last resort, when the objectives of such cooperation cannot be attained within a reasonable period by the Union as a whole;

C.  whereas enhanced cooperation should not be seen as an instrument of exclusion or division of the Member States, but as a pragmatic solution to advance European integration;

D.  whereas the sensitive nature of certain policy areas makes it difficult to follow the ordinary legislative procedure, not only because of the unanimity requirement but also due to the established practice in the Council of always seeking consensus among the Member States, even when a qualified majority would be sufficient to take a decision;

E.  whereas with the exception of the Financial Transaction Tax, all enhanced cooperation initiatives could have been adopted in Council by qualified majority voting (QMV), had this rule been established instead of unanimity voting;

F.  whereas a number of cases exist of sub-groups of Member States carrying out bilateral or multilateral cooperation between themselves outside the Treaty framework, for example in fields such as defence; whereas the pressure exerted by the economic and monetary crisis to take swift decisions and to overcome the unanimity requirement in certain areas led to the adoption of intergovernmental instruments outside the EU legal framework, such as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (TSCG or the ‘Fiscal Compact’);

G.  whereas enhanced cooperation is a procedure whereby a minimum of nine Member States are permitted to establish advanced cooperation in an area within the structures of the EU, but without the involvement of the remaining Member States; whereas enhanced cooperation allows those participating Member States to achieve a common goal or initiative and to overcome paralysis in negotiations or a blockage by another Member State or Member States when unanimity is required; whereas pursuant to Article 20(4) TEU acts adopted in the framework of enhanced cooperation should bind only participating Member States; whereas enhanced cooperation is limited to areas in which the EU does not have exclusive competences;

H.  whereas pursuant to Article 328(1) TFEU, ‘the Commission and the Member States participating in enhanced cooperation shall ensure that they promote participation by as many Member States as possible’;

I.  whereas experience shows that enhanced cooperation has delivered satisfactory results in divorce law(6), and offers interesting prospects with regard to property regime rules(7), the European unitary patent and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office;

J.  whereas the initial experiences with enhanced cooperation have highlighted the difficulties associated with the application of this concept, due to the limited provisions available in the Treaties concerning its practical implementation and the lack of sufficient follow-up carried out by the Union institutions;

K.  whereas the analysis of different federal models used in EU Member States and federations outside the Union revealed that flexible cooperation mechanisms are often used by sub-federal entities in areas of common interest;

L.  whereas without the use of bridging clauses to move from unanimity to QMV in the Council, and in the absence of a thorough reform of the Treaties, it seems possible that in the future, the Member States would need to resort to the provisions on enhanced cooperation in order to address common problems and attain common goals;

M.  whereas it is of importance for the smooth application of enhanced cooperation to establish a list of questions that need to be addressed and to provide a roadmap for the effective functioning of enhanced cooperation in the letter and spirit of the Treaties;

Main observations

1.  Is concerned by the fact that even though enhanced cooperation offers a solution to a common problem, by taking advantage of the Union institutional structure and thereby reducing the administrative costs for the participating Member States, it has not completely eliminated the need to resort to forms of intergovernmental subgrouping solutions outside the Treaties, which have a negative impact on how consistently the EU legal framework is applied and therefore lead to a lack of appropriate democratic scrutiny;

2.  Believes that the EU’s single institutional framework should be preserved in order to achieve its common objectives and guarantee the principle of equality of all citizens; insists that the Community or Union method should be upheld;

3.  Underlines that contrary to intergovernmental Treaties, enhanced cooperation provides a tool for problem-solving that is not only legal but also convenient, as it is based on the Treaty provisions and operates within the Union institutional structure;

4.  Points out that even though enhanced cooperation, due to its nature as a last resort measure, has not been used extensively since its inception in the Treaty of Amsterdam, it seems to be gaining importance and delivers tangible results;

5.  Notes that, based on existing experience, enhanced cooperation most often arises in areas governed by a special legislative procedure requiring unanimity, and has predominantly been used in the area of justice and home affairs;

6.  Points out that so far the procedure for the engagement and implementation of enhanced cooperation has been quite lengthy, notably due to the unclear definition of a reasonable period to ascertain that the necessary voting threshold cannot be reached and the lack of strong political will to move forward faster;

7.  Notes that the lack of clear operational guidelines for creating and administering enhanced cooperation, for example the applicable law for common institutions or procedures to withdraw from already existing cooperation, might have rendered the conclusion of enhanced cooperation less likely;

8.  Recalls that even though enhanced cooperation benefits from the Union institutional and legal order, its automatic integration into the acquis is not foreseen;

9.  Believes that even though enhanced cooperation is considered as a second-best scenario, it is still a viable tool for problem-solving at the Union level and a tool to overcome some of the institutional deadlocks;

10.  Is of the opinion that the same set of questions needs to be answered in order to effectively implement and organise enhanced cooperation, irrespective of the policy area that it concerns or the form it takes;

Recommendations

11.  Proposes, therefore, that a number of questions need to be answered and a roadmap followed as set out below in order to ensure the smooth and effective implementation of enhanced cooperation;

Decision-making process

12.  Points out that the political impetus for enhanced cooperation should come from the Member States, but discussions on its contents should be based on a Commission proposal;

13.  Recalls that Article 225 TFEU gives Parliament the right of quasi-legislative initiative, which should be interpreted as the possibility for Parliament to initiate enhanced cooperation on the basis of a Commission proposal that did not manage to reach an agreement through the regular decision-making procedure within the mandate of two consecutive Council presidencies;

14.  Believes that it should be concluded that the objectives of an instance of cooperation cannot be attained by the Union as a whole, in line with the requirement in Article 20 TEU, if during a period covering two consecutive Council presidencies, no substantive progress has been made in the Council;

15.  Recommends that Member States’ requests to establish enhanced cooperation between themselves should, in principle, be based on objectives that are at least as ambitious as those presented by the Commission, before it is established that the objectives cannot be achieved by the Union as a whole within a reasonable timeframe;

16.  Strongly recommends that the special passerelle clause enshrined in Article 333 TFEU be activated to switch from unanimity to QMV, and from a special to the ordinary legislative procedure, immediately after an agreement on the start of enhanced cooperation is approved by the Council, in order to avoid new blockages if the number of participating Member States is significant;

17.  Finds it necessary that the decision authorising enhanced cooperation should specify the framework for relations with the non-participating Member States; considers that the Member States not participating in such enhanced cooperation should nevertheless be involved in the deliberations on the subject it addresses;

18.  Recalls that both the Commission and the Council secretariats have an important role to play in ensuring that Member States that do not participate in enhanced cooperation are not left behind in a way that makes their participation at a later stage difficult;

Administration

19.  Recommends that the Commission play an active role in all stages of enhanced cooperation from the proposal through the deliberations to the implementation of enhanced cooperation;

20.  Affirms that the unity of EU institutions should be maintained and that enhanced cooperation should not lead to the creation of parallel institutional arrangements, but could allow specific bodies to be established where appropriate within the EU legal framework and without prejudice to the competences and role of the Union institutions and bodies;

Parliamentary scrutiny

21.  Recalls that Parliament is in charge of the parliamentary control of enhanced cooperation; calls for stronger involvement from national parliaments, and in those Members States where it is relevant, from regional parliaments, alongside the European Parliament in the democratic scrutiny of enhanced cooperation if it concerns policy areas of shared competence; underlines the possibility of establishing an interparliamentary forum similar, for instance, to the Interparliamentary conference under Article 13 of the TSCG and the Interparliamentary conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), where necessary and without prejudice to the powers of Parliament;

22.  Stresses the need for the Member States participating in enhanced cooperation to include those regions that have legislative powers in matters that affect them, with a view to respecting the internal division of powers and reinforcing the social legitimacy of such enhanced cooperation;

23.  Recommends that Parliament play a stronger role in enhanced cooperation by suggesting to the Commission new forms of cooperation via Article 225 TFEU, and by monitoring proposals or existing cooperation; expresses the conviction that Parliament should be involved in every stage of the procedure, rather than just being expected to provide its consent, and that it should receive regular reports and be able to comment on the implementation of enhanced cooperation;

24.  Calls on the Council to engage with Parliament in a possible future enhanced cooperation procedure prior to the request for Parliament’s consent on the final text, so as to ensure maximum cooperation between the Union’s co-legislators;

25.  Regrets, however, that despite Parliament’s constructive and measured approach to the enhanced cooperation procedure, the Council has shown little interest in engaging formally with Parliament prior to the request for Parliament’s consent on the final negotiated text;

26.  Deems it necessary that Parliament improve its internal organisation in relation to enhanced cooperation; believes, to this end, that each case of enhanced cooperation should be followed by the relevant standing committee and recommends that Parliament’s rules of procedure should therefore authorise the setting up of ad-hoc sub-committees in which full membership is primarily given to those MEPs elected in the Member States that are participating in such enhanced cooperation;

Budget

27.  Takes the view that operating expenditure linked to enhanced cooperation should be borne by the participating Member States, and if this cost is borne by the EU budget, the non-participating Member States should be reimbursed, unless the Council, after consulting Parliament, decides in accordance with Article 332 TFEU that such cooperation is to be funded by the EU budget, thereby making such expenditure part of the latter and therefore subject to the annual budgetary procedure;

28.  Considers that if the activity regulated by enhanced cooperation generates revenue, this revenue should be assigned to cover the operating expenditure linked to the enhanced cooperation;

Jurisdiction

29.  Believes that enhanced cooperation should fall under the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), without prejudice to the possibility of establishing an arbitration procedure or a dispute settlement court of first instance that could be required for the functioning of a particular case of enhanced cooperation, unless the Treaty provides otherwise, which should be specified in the legal act establishing such enhanced cooperation;

30.  Points out that if a case of enhanced cooperation requires that a special arbitration mechanism or court be put in place, the final arbitration body should always be the CJEU;

Adjustments to the institutional structure of the Union

31.  Proposes the creation of a special enhanced cooperation unit in the Commission, under the leadership of the Commissioner responsible for inter-institutional relations, to coordinate and streamline the institutional setting up of enhanced cooperation initiatives;

32.  Considers it necessary to make the role of both the Commission and Council secretariats more proactive in the context of enhanced cooperation, and therefore proposes that they actively search, in conjunction with the Committee of the Regions and, in particular, with its European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) platform, for areas where enhanced cooperation could be useful for the advancement of the European project or for areas adjacent to existing forms of enhanced cooperation, in order to avoid overlaps or contradictions;

Withdrawal or expulsion of Member States

33.  Points out that there are no provisions in the Treaties regarding the possibilities for Member States to withdraw, or be expelled, from existing cases of enhanced cooperation, with the exception of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO);

34.  Believes that clear rules should be laid down in all cases of enhanced cooperation on the withdrawal of a Member State that no longer wishes to participate and on the expulsion of a Member State that no longer fulfils the conditions of the enhanced cooperation; advises that the terms and conditions of the possible withdrawal or expulsion of a Member State should be specified in the act establishing the enhanced cooperation;

Recommendations for the future evolution of enhanced cooperation

35.  Considers it necessary to devise a procedure for the fast-track authorisation of enhanced cooperation in fields of high political salience to be accomplished within a shorter timeframe than the duration of two consecutive Council presidencies;

36.  Urges Member States participating in enhanced cooperation to work towards integrating enhanced cooperation into the acquis communautaire;

37.  Calls on the Commission to propose a regulation, on the basis of Article 175, third sub-paragraph, or Article 352 TFEU, in order to simplify and unify the relevant legal framework for enhanced cooperation (for example, the guiding principles on the applicable law for common institutions or a Member’s withdrawal), thereby facilitating the conclusion of such cooperation;

38.  Suggests that the next revision of the Treaties should explore the possibility of regions or sub-national entities playing a role in enhanced cooperation where the latter relates to an area of exclusive competence of the level in question, with due respect for national constitutions;

o
o   o

39.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 215.
(2) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 201.
(3) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 235.
(4) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 125.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0044.
(6) Council Regulation (EU) No 1259/2010 of 20 December 2010 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the law applicable to divorce and legal separation (OJ L 343, 29.12.2010, p. 10).
(7) Council Regulation (EU) 2016/1103 of 24 June 2016 implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes (OJ L 183, 8.7.2016, p. 1).


Implementation of the Treaty provisions on Parliament’s power of political control over the Commission
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of the Treaty provisions on Parliament’s power of political control over the Commission (2018/2113(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0078A8-0033/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty provisions concerning the political oversight of the European Parliament over the European Commission and in particular Articles 14, 17 and 25 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Articles 121, 159, 161, 175, 190, 225, 226, 230, 233, 234, 249, 290, 291, 319 and 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Article 17 TEU, which entrusts the Commission with promoting the general interest of the Union and a monopoly on taking initiatives ‘to that end’,

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission,

–  having regard to the interinstitutional agreement (IIA) on better law-making of 2016 and the interinstitutional agreement on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management of 2013,

–  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 decision of 7 February 2018 on the revision of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, and especially paragraphs 2 and 8 thereof, which further reaffirm that the Spitzenkandidaten process consists of a successful constitutional and political practice reflecting the interinstitutional balance provided for in the Treaties(3),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 16 April 2014 on a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament’s right of inquiry and repealing Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission(4), and to the ongoing interinstitutional negotiations,

–  having regard to the report of the European Ombudsman on Meetings and Inspection of Documents – Joint Complaints 488/2018/KR and 514/2018/KR on the Commission’s Appointment of a new Secretary-General, and to its recommendation on those cases,

–  having regard to its Rules of Procedure, including Rule 52, 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 Constitutional Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0033/2019),

A.  whereas the institutional framework of the Union as enshrined in the Treaties confers on Parliament, as a legislative body of the Union, the responsibility of political oversight over the Commission;

B.  whereas Parliament has at its disposal a set of instruments to call the Commission to account, such as the motion of censure (Articles 17 TEU and 234 TFEU), the ability to ask the President of the Commission to withdraw his or her confidence in an individual member of the Commission (Rule 118(10) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure), the right of inquiry (Article 226 TFEU), the competence of scrutiny over delegated and implementing acts (Articles 290 and 291 TFEU), the right to ask oral and written questions (Article 230(2) TFEU), and the right to institute legal proceedings against the Commission on an issue of legality (Article 263 TFEU) or in case of failure to act by the Commission;

C.  whereas, in addition to these instruments, Parliament has an array of tools for steering oversight, thanks to which it can proactively shape the European political agenda;

D.  whereas the budget is the most important tool of the European Union for fulfilling its objectives and strategies, and therefore budgetary control is of utmost importance;

E.  whereas the Spitzenkandidaten process reflects the interinstitutional balance between Parliament and the Commission, and has thus substantially consolidated and strengthened the link between the two institutions, leading to a greater politicisation of the Commission, which should result in increased parliamentary scrutiny of its executive functions;

F.  whereas Article 17 TEU provides for the President of the Commission to be elected by Parliament on a proposal by the EU heads of state and government, taking into account the results of the European elections and consultations with Parliament; whereas Article 17 TEU also provides that the same procedure should be followed in the event that Parliament were to reject the proposed candidate, including the consultation of Parliament;

G.  whereas all commissioners-designate are subject to a hearing before the investiture of the College of Commissioners, and whereas over its mandate Parliament can review the commitments and priorities expressed by the commissioners-designate during their appointment hearings, including an evaluation of whether their personal backgrounds qualify them for fulfilling the requirements the office demands;

H.  whereas the Treaties give Parliament the right to vote on a motion of censure against the Commission as a whole but not to withdraw its confidence in an individual Commissioner;

I.  whereas despite the collective responsibility of the College of Commissioners, Parliament should ensure effective political oversight of the individual work of each Commissioner;

J.  whereas the recent appointment of the new Secretary-General of the Commission has raised serious concerns over the role and political influence exercised by senior Commission officials;

K.  whereas a new, rule-abiding procedure for filling the post of Secretary-General of the Commission should be conducted when the new President of the Commission and the new Commissioners are appointed in 2019;

L.  whereas the Commission has Treaty-based obligations to report regularly to Parliament: yearly on the general activities of the Union (Article 249 TFEU); every three years on the application of the provisions on non-discrimination and citizenship of the Union (Article 25 TFEU); on the results of multilateral surveillance in economic policy (Article 121(5) TFEU); every three years on the progress made on social policy (Articles 159 and 161 TFEU); every three years on the progress made towards achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion (Article 175 TFEU); yearly on research activities in the Union (Article 190 TFEU); yearly on the fight against fraud (Article 325 TFEU); and when conducting negotiations with third countries or international organisations (Article 207 TFEU);

M.  whereas, moreover, as far as secondary legislation is concerned, the Commission is instructed to review and evaluate various directives and regulations and report on its findings;

N.  whereas with the adoption of the Framework agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, Parliament has gained additional leverage in the shaping of the legislative agenda as proposed by the Commission every year in the Commission Work Programme (CWP);

O.  whereas since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty Parliament has become a true co-legislator in the budgetary field and has the responsibility to give discharge to the Commission for the implementation of the Union budget;

P.  whereas following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty Parliament has expanded its influence over the scrutiny of EU external policies, by obtaining the power of consent over the conclusion of international agreements and, therefore, the right to be immediately and fully informed by the Commission at all stages of the negotiation of such agreements (Article 218 TFEU, Article 50 TEU);

Q.  whereas the conditions under which negotiations took place with the United Kingdom on its withdrawal from the European Union were exemplary in terms of their transparency and the involvement of Parliament;

R.  whereas the extent of Parliament’s scrutiny rights varies greatly between delegated acts and implementing acts; whereas Parliament has the right to veto a delegated act and/or to revoke the delegation, but in the case of implementing acts its involvement is much less far-reaching;

S.  whereas the current institutional structure of the Union and the lack of precise definition of the executive in the Treaties make the concept of EU executive complex and scattered across the European, national and regional levels;

T.  whereas stronger cooperation between the European Parliament and national and regional parliaments, in line with their respective constitutional competences and in accordance with Article 10(2) TEU, is key to addressing the issue of parliamentary control of executive functions when it comes to the implementation of European legislation;

U.  whereas the transparency and strong involvement of Parliament in the negotiations with the United Kingdom has had a positive impact on their outcome, creating a climate of trust and unity, and should therefore serve as inspiration for future international negotiations practices;

Main conclusions

1.  Recalls that scrutiny over the EU bodies is one of the main roles of the European Parliament and that the accountability of the Commission to Parliament is an underpinning principle of the functioning of the EU and of internal democratic control;

2.  Believes that Parliament is not making full use of all its instruments of political control over the executive, owing to a variety of reasons, some being inherent to the institutional structure of the Union and others being, for example, the results of the changing interinstitutional dynamics, which have made some of the instruments difficult to apply or not sufficiently effective;

3.  Acknowledges the potential and successful implementation of the Spitzenkandidaten process, whereby all European citizens have a direct say in the choice of the president of the Commission by means of a vote for a list headed by their preferred candidate; therefore strongly supports continuing this practice for future European elections and encourages all political forces to participate in this process;

4.  Recalls that the stronger political link created between Parliament and the Commission as a result of the Spitzenkandidaten process should not make the Commission subject to less stringent parliamentary oversight;

5.  Recalls that the intention of the threshold enshrined in the Treaties for a motion of censure is to preserve the effective use of this instrument for serious cases; acknowledges that, as in most parliamentary democracies, the possibility of a motion of censure works mostly as a deterrent; proposes, nonetheless, in the context of future Treaty change, to study or examine possibilities to lower the threshold in a measured way, while maintaining the institutional balance envisaged by the Treaties;

6.  Points out that the politicisation of the Commission is a direct consequence of the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty; notes that these changes did not include the adoption of provisions that would allow holding individual commissioners to account;

7.  Deeply deplores the fact that in the words of the Ombudsman, the Commission ‘failed to comply with either the letter or the spirit of the relevant rules’ when appointing its Secretary-General;

8.  Points out that the Treaties do not provide a clear definition of the EU executive and that the institutions responsible differ across the various policy areas, depending on whether they are considered to belong to the shared or to the exclusive competences of the Union;

9.  Considers it necessary to establish a genuinely bicameral legislative system involving the Council and Parliament, with the Commission acting as the executive;

10.  Points out that Parliament’s role of oversight towards the executive is complemented by similar competences of the national parliaments over their own executives when dealing with European affairs; takes the view that such accountability is the keystone of the role of national parliamentary chambers in the European Union;

11.  Considers that the exercise of control by Parliament over the executive pursuant to Article 14 TEU has been made difficult, if not sometimes impossible, by the lack of a clear catalogue of Union competences and policies and by the multilayered attribution of competences between European, national and regional executives;

12.  Recalls that the Treaties do not confer any legislative functions or right of legislative initiative on the European Council; is concerned that in recent years the European Council has, against the spirit and the letter of the Treaties, taken a number of important political decisions outside of the Treaty framework, thereby de facto excluding those decisions from the oversight of Parliament and undermining the democratic accountability which is essential with regard to such European policies;

13.  Recalls that the Treaty provides Parliament with significant powers of political control through the annual budgetary and discharge procedures;

14.  Recalls that the discharge is an annual political procedure ensuring ex-post democratic control over the implementation of the European Union budget by the Commission under its own responsibility and in cooperation with the Member States;

15.  Points out that the discharge procedure has proved to be a powerful tool that has had an impact on the positive evolution of the EU’s budgetary system, financial management, the shaping of the agenda and the way EU policies are defined and implemented, while contributing to increasing Parliament’s political leverage;

16.  Stresses that Article 318 TFEU adds a new instrument to the toolbox of budgetary discharge: the evaluation of the finances of the Union based on the results achieved;

17.  Notes with concern that no real legal sanction is available if Parliament decides not to grant discharge to the Commission; considers, nevertheless, that not granting discharge sends out a strong political signal, as it implies that Parliament does not have sufficient confidence in the Commission’s accountability, and should thus not be left unanswered by the Commission but lead to definitive follow-up action designed to improve the situation;

18.  Regrets the fact that in the absence of sincere cooperation by the Council, it is not possible to scrutinise the Council’s budget through the institutional practice of budgetary discharge by Parliament, and that this situation constitutes a serious failure to comply with the Treaty obligations stipulating that Parliament shall scrutinise the whole of the Union’s budget;

19.  Suggests, with a view to extending Parliament’s power of budgetary control to the whole of the Union budget, that negotiations be launched between the Council, the Commission and Parliament so as to ensure Parliament has the right to access information on how the Council is implementing its budget, either directly or via the Commission, and that the Council answers written questions from Parliament and attends hearings and debates on the implementation of its budget; takes the view that, should these negotiations fail, Parliament should grant discharge to the Commission only and include in the overall discharge separate resolutions concerning the Union’s various institutions, bodies and agencies, thereby ensuring that no section of the EU budget is implemented without proper scrutiny;

20.  Recalls that the institutions have not yet delivered on their commitment to establish criteria for the delineation of the use of delegated and implementing acts, even though the IIA on better law-making has improved the transparency of the delegated acts procedure;

21.  Recalls that in accordance with Article 247 of the Financial Regulation, the Commission must communicate to Parliament by 31 July of the following financial year, an integrated set of financial and accountability reports including, in particular, the final consolidated accounts, the annual management and performance report and the evaluation on the Union’s finances based on the results achieved as referred to in Article 318 TFEU; insists that the annual management and performance report should include an assessment of all preventive and corrective measures taken against funding falling prey to corruption or conflicts of interest;

Recommendations

22.  Suggests that the instruments for calling the Commission to account and those for steering scrutiny should be combined in order to maximise the effectiveness of both;

23.  Insists that Parliament’s legislative powers and rights of oversight must be guaranteed, consolidated and strengthened, including through interinstitutional agreements and through the use of the corresponding legal basis by the Commission;

24.  Considers it necessary for Parliament to reform its working methods in order to strengthen the exercise of its functions of political control over the Commission;

25.  Calls on the Commission to take more serious account of the legislative initiatives launched by Parliament under Article 225 TFEU; calls on the next Commission President to commit to this objective and welcomes the respective statements of Spitzenkandidaten in this regard; wishes to see more initiatives result in legislative proposals; recalls that in accordance with Article 10 of the IIA on better law-making, the Commission is bound to give prompt and detailed consideration to requests for proposals for Union acts;

26.  Commends the Commission for its positive follow-up to Parliament’s recommendations expressed in its resolution of 16 February 2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty;

27.   Considers that even though Parliament does not have a formal right of legislative initiative under the current Treaties, the possibility to be given the right of legislative initiative in the context of a future Treaty change should be given serious consideration;

28.  Encourages the exchange of best practices in parliamentary scrutiny among national parliaments, such as the holding of regular debates between the respective ministers and the specialised committees in national parliaments before and after Council meetings, and with Commissioners in an appropriate setting and timeframe, as well as meetings between the European Parliament and national parliaments; encourages the establishment of regular exchanges of officials of institutions and political group staff between the administrations of the European Parliament and national parliaments, the European Committee of the Regions and the Member State regions having legislative competences;

29.  Believes that the establishment of an annual European week would allow MEPs and Commissioners, notably Vice-Presidents in charge of clusters, to stand before all national parliamentary assemblies to discuss and explain the European agenda alongside MPs and representatives from civil society; suggests that this initiative could reinforce the democratic accountability of the Commission required by the Treaty of Lisbon;

30.  Calls on Parliament to reinforce its capacity for scrutinising the preparation and implementation of delegated and implementing acts;

31.  Welcomes the efforts presently undertaken by the three institutions to establish clear criteria to delineate how delegated and implementing acts should be used; calls for these criteria to be applied as soon as possible;

32.  Encourages national parliaments, as well as regional parliaments where appropriate, to increase their capacity to scrutinise their executives when taking decisions or proposing regulations in order to implement or delegate European legislation;

33.  Considers it necessary in a future Treaty change to improve the instruments for holding individual commissioners accountable to Parliament throughout their term of office, building on the somewhat limited existing provisions in the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission;

34.  Calls on the Commission and the Council, in accordance with the principle of fair cooperation, to establish a political dialogue on Parliament’s proposal for a regulation on the right of inquiry, in order to entrust Parliament with effective powers allowing it to exercise this basic parliamentary instrument for controlling the executive, which is absolutely indispensable in parliamentary systems all over the world;

35.  Is convinced of the usefulness of parliamentary questions as an oversight tool; considers it necessary, therefore, to undertake an in-depth assessment of the quality of the answers provided by the Commission to Members’ questions, as well as on the quantity and quality of the questions asked by Members;

36.  Considers question time to be an important element of parliamentary scrutiny over the executive; requests the Conference of Presidents to put question time back on the plenary agenda, in line with Rule 129 of the Rules of Procedure;

37.  Calls once again on the Commission to review its administrative procedures for the appointment of its Secretary-General, Directors-General and Directors, with the objective of fully ensuring that the best candidates are selected within a framework of maximum transparency and equal opportunities;

o
o   o

38.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the national parliaments of the Member States and the European Committee of the Regions.

(1) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 215.
(2) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 201.
(3) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 89.
(4) OJ C 443, 22.12.2017, p. 39.


Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the EU institutional framework
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the EU institutional framework (2017/2089(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0079A8-0051/2019

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 21, 23 and 49 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Articles 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 67(1), 258, 263, 267 and 352 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR),

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union,

–  having regard to the Opinions and the Rule of Law Checklist of the Venice Commission,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), and to its resolution of 12 September 2017 on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion, by the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2007 on compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Commission’s legislative proposals: methodology for systematic and rigorous monitoring(2),

–  having regard to its annual resolutions on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2017 on a European Pillar of Social Rights(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2017 on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions(5),

–  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(6),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(7),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 27 April 2005 entitled ‘Compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights in Commission legislative proposals – Methodology for systematic and rigorous monitoring’ (COM(2005)0172),

–  having regard to the Commission Report of 29 April 2009 on the practical operation of the methodology for a systematic and rigorous monitoring of compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights (COM(2009)0205),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 October 2010 entitled ‘Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the European Union’ (COM(2010)0573),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Paper of 6 May 2011 entitled ‘Operational Guidance on taking account of Fundamental Rights in Commission Impact Assessments’ (SEC(2011)0567),

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 December 2011 entitled ‘Human rights and democracy at the heart of EU external action – Towards a more effective approach’ (COM(2011)0886),

–  having regard to the ‘EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy’ of 25 June 2012,

–  having regard to the Council Guidelines of 20 January 2015 on methodological steps to be taken to check fundamental rights compatibility at the Council preparatory bodies,

–  having regard to the Guidelines for Council preparatory bodies entitled ‘Fundamental rights compatibility’,

–  having regard to the Council Presidency seminar report of 13 May 2016 entitled ‘National policy application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights’,

–  having regard to the Commission Guidelines of 19 May 2015 on the analysis of human rights impacts in impact assessments for trade-related policy initiatives,

–  having regard to the Commission annual reports on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,

–  having regard to the Commission Annual Colloquia on Fundamental Rights,

–  having regard to the Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of 20 September 2016, in Joined Cases C‑8/15 P to C‑10/15 P, Ledra Advertising Ltd v European Commission and European Central Bank (ECB)(8),

–  having regard to the Judgment of the CJEU of 6 November 2018, in Joined Cases C-569/16 and C-570/16, Stadt Wuppertal v Maria Elisabeth Bauer and Volker Willmeroth v Martina Broßonn(9),

–  having regard to Opinion 2/13 of the CJEU of 18 December 2014 on the Accession of the European Union to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms(10),

–  having regard to Opinion 4/2018 of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) of 24 September 2018 entitled ‘Challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights’,

–  having regard to the annual fundamental rights reports of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights,

–  having regard to the Handbook of the FRA of October 2018 entitled ‘Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law and policymaking at national level – Guidance’,

–  having regard to the Better Regulation Toolbox, in particular Tool #28 ‘Fundamental rights & human rights’,

–  having regard to Rule 38 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the Opinion of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of 2 December 2016 on the European Union initiative to establish a European Pillar of Social Rights,

–  having regard to the Paper from the Dutch COSAC delegation on EU transparency of November 2017 entitled ‘Opening up closed doors: Making the EU more transparent for its citizens’, and to the letter of the COSAC Delegations to the EU Institutions of 20 December 2017 on the transparency of political decision-making within the EU,

–  having regard to the studies entitled ‘The implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU institutional framework’, ‘The interpretation of Article 51 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: the Dilemma of Stricter or Broader Application of the Charter to National Measures’ and ‘The European Social Charter in the context of implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights’ published by its Directorate-General for Internal Policies on 22 November 2016, 15 February 2016 and 12 January 2016 respectively(11),

–  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 Constitutional Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the position in the form of amendments of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Petitions (A8-0051/2019),

A.  whereas the Lisbon Treaty has conferred the status of primary law on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (hereinafter the Charter) within the EU legal framework, having the same legal value as the Treaties;

B.  whereas this report does not assess each individual right contained in the Charter, but, rather, analyses implementation of the Charter as an instrument of primary law;

C.  whereas social provisions are a crucial part of the Charter and the Union’s legal structure; whereas it is important to ensure respect for, and highlight the importance of, fundamental rights across the Union;

D.  whereas, according to the CJEU, the fundamental rights recognised by the Charter are at the heart of the EU legal structure, and respect for them is a necessary precondition for the legality of any EU act;

E.  whereas the Charter encompasses, in line with the requirements of international human rights law and of its Article 51, both negative (non-violation) and positive (active promotion) obligations which should be equally fulfilled in order to give full operational character to its provisions;

F.  whereas Article 51 of the Charter circumscribes the scope of the Charter with regard to observing the principle of subsidiarity, taking account of the powers of the Member States and of the Union, and respecting the limits of the powers conferred on the Union in the Treaties;

G.  whereas Article 51(2) of the Charter makes it clear that the Charter does not extend the scope of Union law beyond the powers of the Union or establish any new power or task for the Union, or modify powers and tasks as defined in the Treaties;

H.  whereas the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union are continuously bound by the Charter, even when they act outside the EU legal framework;

I.  whereas, by virtue of Article 51, the provisions of the Charter apply to the Member States only when they implement Union law; whereas, however, the uncertain boundaries of such a requirement make it hard to determine whether and how the Charter applies concretely;

J.  whereas the potential of the social and economic rights set out in the Charter has not been adequately exploited so far; whereas, recalling the opinion of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, respect for social rights is not only an ethical imperative and a legal obligation, but also an economic necessity;

K.  whereas Article 6 TEU also emphasises that fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the ECHR, must constitute general principles of the Union’s law;

L.  whereas Article 151 TFEU refers to fundamental social rights such as those set out in the European Social Charter;

M.  whereas its study of 22 November 2016 entitled ‘The Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU institutional framework’(12) considers, inter alia, the relevance of the Charter for the Commission’s activities under the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM Treaty) and in the context of the European Semester; whereas little attention is being paid to the social rights set out in the Charter in the economic governance of the Union; whereas these rights must be considered genuine fundamental rights;

N.  whereas the commitment in the European Pillar of Social Rights to delivering new and more effective rights for citizens in the areas of equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and social protection and inclusion further enhances the rights enshrined in the Charter;

O.  whereas the principle of gender equality is a core value of the EU and is enshrined in the EU Treaties and the Charter; whereas Article 8 TFEU establishes the principle of gender mainstreaming by stating that ‘In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women’;

P.  whereas the transparency of the EU legislative and decision-making processes is a corollary of the right to good administration, as set out in Article 41 of the Charter, and an essential precondition for citizens to be able to assess and properly monitor the implementation of the Charter by the EU institutions;

Q.  whereas the promotion, by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, of the broad spectrum of rights provided for in the Charter – ranging from civil and political to social, economic and third‑generation rights – would constitute a crucial impetus to develop a European public sphere and to give tangible expression to the concept of European citizenship and to the EU participatory dimension enshrined in the Treaties;

R.  whereas the FRA has formulated a number of recommendations for the effective implementation of the Charter in its opinions entitled ‘Improving access to remedy in the area of business and human rights at the EU level’(13) and ‘Challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights’(14);

S.  whereas Article 24 of the Charter sets out the rights of the child, obliging public authorities and private institutions to make children’s best interests a primary consideration;

T.  whereas Article 14 of the Charter emphasises the right of every child to a free education;

Strengthening the integration of the Charter in the legislative and decision-making processes

1.  Strongly believes that the Commission’s Strategy for the effective implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the European Union (COM(2010)0573) constituted an initial effort after the entry into force of the Charter, but urgently needs to be updated; welcomes the annual reports on the application of the Charter by the Commission, and calls for a review of this strategy, which was elaborated in 2010, in order to update it to take account of the new challenges and institutional reality, particularly after Brexit;

2.  Recognises the several important steps made by the EU institutions to integrate the Charter into the EU legislative and decision-making processes; notes that the principal role of the Charter is to ensure that the EU’s legislation is in full compliance with rights and principles enshrined in it, and acknowledges the difficulties involved in actively promoting them and ensuring their fulfilment;

3.  Stresses that it is important that all proposals for Union legislation must respect the fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter;

4.  Recalls that the procedures established by the EU institutions to assess the compatibility of legislative proposals with the Charter are mainly of an internal nature; calls for the opportunity to provide for enhanced forms of consultation, impact assessments, including specific gender impact assessments, and legal scrutiny with the involvement of independent experts in the field of fundamental rights; calls on the Commission to promote structured and regulated cooperation with human rights bodies, such as the FRA, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and the relevant bodies of the Council of Europe and of the United Nations, and civil society organisations working in the field, whenever a legislative file potentially promotes or negatively affects fundamental rights;

5.  Calls for the Commission, the Council and Parliament to revise Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 in order to allow the FRA to deliver non-binding opinions on draft EU legislation on its own initiative, and to promote systematic consultations with the Agency;

6.  Calls on the Commission, the other EU institutions and Member States’ national and regional governments to consult the FRA when fundamental rights are at stake;

7.  Recognises the vital role of the FRA in assessing compliance with the Charter and welcomes the work that the Agency has undertaken; encourages the FRA to continue advising and supporting EU institutions and Member States on improving the culture of fundamental rights across the Union; welcomes the recently adopted FRA Strategy for 2018-2022;

8.  Takes note of the CLARITY interactive online tool developed by the FRA in order to enable easy identification of the most appropriate non-judicial body with a human rights remit for a particular fundamental rights issue;

9.  Calls on the Commission to ensure comprehensive impact assessments through a balanced evaluation of economic, social and environmental consequences and a revision of its decision to divide its considerations on fundamental rights into the current three categories– economic, social and environmental effects – and to create two specific categories entitled ‘Effects on fundamental rights’ and ‘Gender impact assessment’, so as to guarantee that all aspects of fundamental rights are assessed;

10.  Calls on the Commission to take systematic action at Union level in order to uphold and fulfil the provisions of the Charter and to ensure that Union law is adapted to take account of the legal and jurisprudential developments of international human rights law; in this regard, reiterates furthermore its call on the Commission to submit a proposal giving effect to Parliament’s resolution of 25 October 2016 on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights(15), which would allow for the systematic screening of developments in the EU institutions and bodies and in the Member States that would call for action to protect and fulfil the rights, freedoms and principles of the Charter; suggests, in particular, that the conditions set out in the Copenhagen criteria relating to fundamental rights should not simply be used once as preconditions for accession, but that Member States be periodically assessed to gauge compliance with them;

11.  Notes that the Ombudsman also plays a relevant role in guaranteeing respect for fundamental rights in the context of the Charter, not only in relation to Article 41 on the right to good administration as such, but also by taking into account the fact that such good administration is a cornerstone in terms of securing other fundamental rights; recalls the exemplary work of the Ombudsman in the field of transparency and freedom of information among others, as well as the Special Report on Frontex(16) during this parliamentary term dealing in particular with the complaint rights of asylum seekers and migrants;

12.  Understands that jurisprudence will have an impact on the scope of the Charter and that this must be taken into consideration;

13.  Calls for the EU legislators to acknowledge the outcomes of the judgment of the General Court of 22 March 2018 (case T-540/15) on access to the documents of the trilogues(17) and act accordingly; insists on the necessity of enhancing transparency and access to documents between EU institutions, in order to develop more effective interinstitutional cooperation, including accountability on matters related to fundamental rights; urges the Council to swiftly address the concerns raised with regard to the transparency of its decision-making process and access to documents in line with the relevant recommendations of the European Ombudsman;

Mainstreaming the Charter into EU policies

14.  Recalls that EU policy-making relies upon the principles and objectives set out in Articles 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 TEU, while fully endorsing and implementing the requirements enshrined in the provisions having general application of Title II, Part I, of the TFEU;

15.  Calls for the EU institutions to strengthen the implementation of gender mainstreaming in all EU activities in order to combat gender discrimination and promote gender equality;

16.  Reaffirms that all legal acts adopted by the Union must fully comply with all of the Charter’s provisions, including its social provisions; stresses the importance of incorporating explicit references to the Charter within the legal framework regulating EU economic and monetary policy; stresses that recourse to intergovernmental arrangements does not relieve the EU institutions of their obligations to assess the compatibility of such instruments with EU law, including the Charter;

17.  Deems it crucial that the Union take resolute steps to strengthen its own engagements in guaranteeing the enjoyment of all of the rights of the Charter, including social rights;

18.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the European Semester process, including the country-specific recommendations and the annual growth survey recommendations, comply with the normative components of the social rights of the Charter;

19.  Supports the introduction of strong and consistent fundamental rights clauses into the operational texts of the draft regulations establishing EU funds;

20.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to make macroeconomic decisions having due regard to fundamental rights assessments, based on the full range of civil, political and social rights guaranteed by the European and international human rights law instruments;

21.  Calls on the Commission to look into what steps are needed for accession by the European Union to the European Social Charter, and to propose a timeframe for achieving that objective;

22.  Recalls that, on the basis of the powers laid down in the Treaties, it is primarily the responsibility of the Member States to put social policy into practice, hence also to impart effectiveness and tangible expression to the social provisions enshrined in the Charter; reiterates, however, its proposal, in the context of a possible revision of the Treaties, for a social protocol to be incorporated into them in order to strengthen fundamental social rights in relation to economic freedoms;

23.  Takes note of the de facto crucial, but informal, role of the Eurogroup in the economic governance of the euro area, and of the impact that its decisions might have in influencing policy-making, without being counterbalanced by appropriate mechanisms of democratic accountability and judicial control; reminds its members of their horizontal obligations deriving from Articles 2 and 6 TEU and from the Charter;

24.  Calls on the Commission and the European Central Bank to fully comply with the Charter in fulfilling their tasks under the European Stability Mechanism, including the lending practices of the latter, in view of the jurisprudence of the CJEU;

25.  Recalls that the Union’s action on the international scene must be guided by the principles enshrined in Article 21(1) TEU; is convinced that full respect for and promotion of the Charter’s provisions inside the EU represents a benchmark for assessing the legitimacy and credibility of the Union’s behaviour in its international relations, including within the framework of the enlargement process pursuant to Article 49 TEU;

26.  Notes the limited jurisdiction of the CJEU in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and warns against any potential limitation of the rights to an effective remedy as enshrined in the Charter;

27.  Reminds the EU institutions of their human rights obligations within the scope of the Charter, also in the field of trade policy; encourages the Commission to carry out specific human rights impact assessments prior to the conclusion of any trade negotiation by making reference to the UN Guiding Principles on human rights impact assessments of trade and investment agreements;

28.  Recalls that both the Treaties and the Charter make reference to the protection of national minorities and discrimination on grounds of language; calls for concrete administrative steps within the EU institutions to encourage national governments to find sustainable solutions and to promote the culture of linguistic diversity in their Member States, beyond the official EU languages;

29.  Recalls the obligation laid down in article 6 TEU to accede to the ECHR; asks the Commission to take the necessary steps to eliminate the legal barriers that prevent the conclusion of the accession process, and to present a new draft agreement for the accession of the Union to the ECHR providing positive solutions to the objections raised by the CJEU in Opinion 2/13 of 18 December 2014; considers that its completion would introduce further safeguards protecting the fundamental rights of Union citizens and residents and provide an additional mechanism for enforcing human rights, namely the possibility of lodging a complaint with the ECtHR in relation to a violation of human rights derived from an act by an EU institution or a Member State implementing EU law, falling within the remit of the ECHR; is of the opinion, furthermore, that ECtHR case law will thus provide extra input for current and future EU action on the respect for, and promotion of, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the areas of civil liberties, justice and home affairs, in addition to the case law of the CJEU in this field;

30.  Calls for the adoption of the horizontal Anti-Discrimination Directive(18) to be concluded without delay in order to further guarantee fundamental rights in the EU by means of concrete EU legislation;

The Charter and the EU Agencies

31.  Highlights the potential of certain EU agencies to offer support to Member States in fulfilling their obligations deriving from the Charter, by frequently acting as an operational link between the EU and national spheres; points out that this task can only be effectively performed by developing a fully-fledged fundamental rights practice within the agencies operating in the sphere of justice and home affairs and/or those whose activities could have an impact on the rights and principles derived from the Charter, taking into account both the internal and external dimensions of the protection and promotion of fundamental rights;

32.  Calls on the relevant EU agencies to step up work to implement the gender equality principles enshrined in the Charter, including by ensuring that all the EU institutions and agencies pursue a policy of zero tolerance towards all forms of sexual violence and physical or psychological harassment; calls for all the EU institutions and agencies to fully implement its resolution of 26 October 2017 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU(19);

33.  Takes note of the differentiated range of policies and instruments developed by the various agencies to give effect to their fundamental human rights’ obligations, resulting in varying degrees of implementation; stresses the need to promote EU intra-agency cooperation as well as structured dialogues with independent human rights experts, and to build on existing best practices, in order to advance a common and strengthened human rights framework;

34.  Calls on the EU agencies operating in the sphere of justice and home affairs and/or those whose activities could have an impact on the rights and principles deriving from the Charter to adopt internal fundamental rights strategies and to promote regular fundamental rights and Charter training sessions for their staff at all levels;

35.  Regrets the absence, in many EU agencies’ founding regulations, of an explicit reference to the Charter; calls on the co-legislators to fill this gap, where necessary, whenever regulations or decisions setting up agencies are drafted or revised, and to provide, taking account of the mandate and the specificities of each individual agency, for additional operational mechanisms ensuring compliance with the Charter;

Supporting Member States in implementing the Charter at national level

36.  Recalls that the EU and national dimensions of the Charter are inextricably linked and complement each other in ensuring that the Charter’s provisions are consistently applied within the overall EU legal framework;

37.  Highlights the persistent awareness-gap concerning the Charter, its scope and degree of application among both rights-holders who benefit from its protection and legal and human rights experts, and deplores the scarcity of national action devoted to remedying such a deficiency;

38.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen its awareness-raising activities concerning the Charter, with the full involvement of civil society organisations, and to promote and fund Charter-targeted training modules for national judges, legal practitioners as well as civil servants, aimed also at improving knowledge of Union policies and Union law, including inter alia substantive and procedural law, the use of EU judicial cooperation instruments, the relevant case law of the CJEU, legal language and comparative law; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to equip the Member States with practical guidelines supporting them in the implementation of the Charter at national level; asks the Commission, in this context, to give full visibility to the FRA’s recently published Handbook on Applying the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in law and policymaking at national level;

39.  Encourages the Member States to regularly exchange information and experience on the use, application and oversight of the Charter, and to mainstream the examples of best practice already developed at national level; encourages the Member States to review their procedural rules on legal scrutiny and impact assessments of bills from the perspective of the Charter; notes that such procedures should explicitly refer to the Charter, in the same way as they do to national human rights instruments, to minimise the risk of the Charter being overlooked;

40.  Points out that the loopholes in the transposition and proper implementation of EU law in Member States can have a genuine impact on the enjoyment of EU fundamental rights; recalls, in this context, the Commission’s role as guardian of the Treaties, rendering it ultimately – if not primarily – responsible for safeguarding fundamental rights, including through infringement procedures, where needed; calls in this regard for more determined leadership in ensuring adequate implementation of EU legislation;

Toward a more consistent interpretation of the Charter

41.  Is convinced that different interpretations concerning the application of the provisions of the Charter by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union and the Member States are detrimental to the added value brought by the Charter, namely that of representing a set of common minimum standards of protection to be applied horizontally to all institutional actors and policies and activities connected to the EU sphere;

42.  Stresses that the incorporation of the Charter into primary EU law, while not extending the Union’s competences, and while respecting the principle of subsidiarity as defined in its Article 51, creates new responsibilities for the decision-making and implementing institutions, as well as for Member States when implementing EU legislation at national level, and that the Charter’s provisions have thus become directly enforceable by European and national courts;

43.  Encourages the EU institutions and the Member States to allow for more straightforward application of the Charter as a whole;

44.  Regrets that to date, the Republic of Poland and the United Kingdom have not decided to withdraw from Protocol No 30 of the Treaties;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 167.
(2) OJ C 301E, 13.12.2007, p. 229.
(3) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 162.
(4) OJ C 242, 10.7.2018, p. 24.
(5) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 120.
(6) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.
(7) OJ L 53, 22.2.2007, p. 1.
(8) ECLI:EU:C:2016:701.
(9) ECLI:EU:C:2018:871.
(10) ECLI:EU:C:2014:2454.
(11) Study entitled ‘The implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU institutional framework’, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C, 22 November 2016; study entitled ‘The interpretation of Article 51 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: the Dilemma of Stricter or Broader Application of the Charter to National Measures’, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C, 15 February 2016 and study entitled ‘The European Social Charter in the context of implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights’ of 12 January 2016.
(12) ‘The Implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the EU institutional framework’, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C – Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, 22 November 2016.
(13) FRA Opinion 1/2017, 10 April 2017.
(14) FRA Opinion 4/2018, 24 September 2018.
(15) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 162.
(16) European Parliament resolution of 2 December 2015 on the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex, OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 2.
(17) Judgment of the General Court of 22 March 2018, Emilio de Capitani v European Parliament, T-540/15, ECLI:EU:T:2018:167.
(18) Commission proposal for a Council Directive of 2 July 2008 on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426).
(19) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 192.


Regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties (Statute of the European Ombudsman)
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on a draft regulation of the European Parliament laying down the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties (Statute of the European Ombudsman) and repealing Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom (2018/2080(INL)2019/0900(APP))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0080A8-0050/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 228(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 106a(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–  having regard to Articles 41 and 43 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rules 45 and 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Petitions (A8-0050/2019),

1.  Adopts the annexed draft Regulation;

2.  Instructs its President to forward the annexed draft Regulation to the Council and Commission under the procedure laid down in Article 228(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

3.  Instructs its President to arrange, once the Commission has delivered its opinion and the Council has given its approval to the annexed draft Regulation, for publication of the Regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union.

ANNEX TO THE RESOLUTION

Draft regulation of the European Parliament laying down the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties (Statute of the European Ombudsman) and repealing Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 228(4) thereof,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, and in particular Article 106a(1) thereof,

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

Having regard to the consent of the Council,

Having regard to the opinion of the Commission,

Acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure,

Whereas:

(1)  The regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties should be laid down in compliance with the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, particularly Article 20(2), point (d), and Article 228, the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

(2)  In particular, Article 41 of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union recognises the right to good administration as a fundamental right of European citizens. In its turn, Article 43 of the Charter recognises the right to refer to the European Ombudsman cases of maladministration in the activities of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union. In order for those rights to be effective and in order to enhance the capacity of the Ombudsman to conduct thorough and impartial inquiries, the Ombudsman should be provided with all the tools that are necessary to perform the duties referred to in the Treaties and in this Regulation successfully.

(3)  Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom of the European Parliament(1) was lastly amended in 2008. With the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009, a new legal framework was established for the Union. In particular, Article 228(4) TFEU enables the European Parliament, after seeking an opinion from the Commission and with the consent of the Council, to adopt regulations laying down the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties. It is therefore desirable to repeal Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom and replace it by a Regulation in accordance with the legal basis currently applicable.

(4)  The establishment of the conditions under which a complaint may be referred to the Ombudsman should comply with the principle of full, free and easy access, notwithstanding specific restrictions pertaining to the concurrence of new or pending legal and administrative proceedings.

(5)  The Ombudsman has the right to make recommendations where the Ombudsman finds that a Union institution, body, office or agency is not properly applying a court ruling.

(6)  It is necessary to lay down the procedures to be followed where the Ombudsman's inquiries reveal cases of maladministration. A provision should also be made for the submission of a comprehensive report by the Ombudsman to the European Parliament at the end of each annual session.

(7)  In order to strengthen the Ombudsman’s role, it is desirable to allow the Ombudsman, without prejudice to the primary duty of the Ombudsman, which is to handle complaints, to conduct own-initiative inquiries with a view to identifying repeated or particularly serious instances of maladministration and promoting best administrative practices within the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.

(8)  In order to increase the effectiveness of the action of the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman should be entitled, on the Ombudsman’s own initiative or following a complaint, to conduct inquiries following up previous inquiries so as to ascertain whether and to what extent the institution, body, office or agency concerned has complied with the recommendations put forward. The Ombudsman should also be entitled to include, in the Ombudsman’s annual report to the European Parliament, an assessment of the rate of compliance with recommendations made, and an assessment of the adequacy of the resources made available to the Ombudsman to perform the duties referred to in the Treaties and in this Regulation.

(9)  The Ombudsman should have access to all the elements required for the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties. To that end, Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies are to be obliged to supply the Ombudsman with any information that the Ombudsman requests of them, without prejudice to the Ombudsman's obligations under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament of the Council(2). Access to classified information or documents should be subject to compliance with the rules on the processing of confidential information by the Union institution, body, office or agency concerned. The institutions, bodies, offices or agencies supplying classified information or documents should inform the Ombudsman of such classification. For the implementation of the rules on the processing of confidential information by the Union institution, body, office or agency concerned, the Ombudsman should have agreed in advance with the institution, body, office or agency concerned the conditions for treatment of classified information or documents and of other information covered by the obligation of professional secrecy. If the Ombudsman finds that the assistance requested is not forthcoming, the Ombudsman should inform the European Parliament, which should make appropriate representations.

(10)  The Ombudsman and the Ombudsman’s staff are to be obliged to treat in confidence any information which they have acquired in the course of their duties. However, the Ombudsman should inform the competent authorities of facts that the Ombudsman considers might relate to criminal law and which have come to the Ombudsman’s attention in the course of an inquiry. The Ombudsman should also be able to inform the Union institution, body, office or agency concerned of the facts calling into question the conduct of a member of their staff.

(11)  Account should be taken of the recent changes concerning the protection of the Union’s financial interests against criminal offences, notably the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office by Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939(3), so as to allow the Ombudsman to notify it of any information falling within the latter’s remit. Likewise, in order to fully respect the presumption of innocence and the rights of the defence enshrined in Article 48 of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union, it is desirable that, where the Ombudsman notifies the European Public Prosecutor’s Office of information falling within the latter’s remit, the Ombudsman reports that notification to the person concerned and to the complainant.

(12)  A provision should be made for the possibility of cooperation between the Ombudsman and authorities of the same type in the Member States, in compliance with the national laws applicable. It is also desirable to take steps so as to enable the Ombudsman to cooperate with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, since such cooperation may render the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties more effective.

(13)  It is for the European Parliament to appoint the Ombudsman at the beginning of the parliamentary term and for the duration thereof, choosing the Ombudsman from among persons who are Union citizens and who offer every requisite guarantee of independence and competence. Conditions should also be laid down for the cessation of the Ombudsman's duties as well as for the replacement of the Ombudsman.

(14)  The Ombudsman’s duties should be performed with complete independence. The Ombudsman should give a solemn undertaking before the Court of Justice when taking office. The incompatibilities, the remuneration, the privileges and the immunities of the Ombudsman should be laid down.

(15)  Provisions should be adopted regarding the seat of the Ombudsman, which should be that of the European Parliament. Provisions should also be made regarding not only the officials and other servants of the secretariat of the Ombudsman which will assist the latter, but also the budget thereof.

(16)  It is for the Ombudsman to adopt the implementing provisions for this Regulation. In order to guarantee legal certainty and the highest standards in performing the Ombudsman’s duties, the minimum content of the implementing provisions to be adopted should be established in this Regulation,

HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

1.  This Regulation lays down the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties (Statute of the European Ombudsman).

2.  The Ombudsman shall act independently of the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, in accordance with the powers conferred on the Ombudsman by the Treaties, and with due regard to Article 20(2), point (d), and Article 228 TFEU and Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on the right to good administration.

3.  In the performance of the duties referred to in the Treaties and in this Regulation, the Ombudsman may not intervene in cases before courts nor may the Ombudsman question the soundness of a court's ruling or a court’s competence to issue a ruling.

Article 2

1.  The Ombudsman shall help to uncover maladministration in the activities of the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, with the exception of the Court of Justice of the European Union acting in its judicial role, and, where appropriate, shall make recommendations with a view to putting an end to it. No action by any other authority or person may be the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman.

2.  Any citizen of the Union or any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State may, directly or through a Member of the European Parliament, refer a complaint to the Ombudsman in respect of an instance of maladministration in the activities of Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies, with the exception of the Court of Justice of the European Union acting in its judicial role. The Ombudsman shall inform the institution, body, office or agency concerned as soon as a complaint is referred to the Ombudsman, whilst respecting the Union standards in the field of personal data protection.

3.  The complaint shall make clear reference to its object and to the identity of the complainant. The complainant may request that the complaint, or parts thereof, remain confidential.

4.  A complaint shall be made within three years of the date on which the facts on which it is based came to the attention of the complainant and shall be preceded by the appropriate administrative approaches to the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies concerned.

5.  The Ombudsman shall determine whether a complaint is within the mandate of the Ombudsman, and, if so, whether it is admissible. Where a complaint is outside the mandate or inadmissible, the Ombudsman, before closing the file, may advise the complainant to address it to another authority.

6.  Complaints submitted to the Ombudsman shall not affect time-limits for appeals in administrative or judicial proceedings.

7.  When the Ombudsman, because of legal proceedings in progress or concluded concerning the facts which have been put forward, has to declare a complaint inadmissible or terminate consideration of it, the outcome of any inquiries the Ombudsman has carried out up to that point shall be filed definitively.

8.  With the exception of complaints relating to sexual harassment cases, no complaint may be made to the Ombudsman that concerns work relationships between the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and their officials and other servants unless all the possibilities for the submission of internal administrative requests and complaints, in particular the procedures referred to in Article 90 of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the Union, laid down in Council Regulation (EEC, Euratom, ECSC) No 259/68(4) (“the Staff Regulations”), have been exhausted by the person concerned and the time-limits for replies by the institution, body, office or agency concerned have expired.

9.  The Ombudsman shall inform as soon as possible the complainant of the action taken on the complaint.

Article 3

1.  The Ombudsman shall, on the Ombudsman’s own initiative or following a complaint, conduct all the inquiries, including those following up previous ones, which the Ombudsman considers justified to clarify any suspected maladministration in the activities of Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. The Ombudsman shall act without requiring any prior authorisation and shall inform the institution, body, office or agency concerned in due time of such action. The institution, body, office or agency concerned may submit any useful comment or evidence to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman may also request the institution, body, office or agency concerned to submit such comments or evidence.

2.  Without prejudice to the primary duty of the Ombudsman, which is to handle complaints, the Ombudsman may conduct own-initiative inquiries of a more strategic nature in order to identify repeated or particularly serious instances of maladministration, to promote best administrative practices within the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and to proactively address structural issues of public interest falling within the Ombudsman’s remit.

3.  The Ombudsman may engage in structured and regular dialogue with the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and organise public consultations before providing recommendations or at any stage thereafter. The Ombudsman may as well systematically analyse and assess the progress of the institution, body, office or agency concerned, and issue further recommendations.

4.  The Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall supply the Ombudsman with any information the Ombudsman has requested from them and provide the Ombudsman with access to the files concerned. Access to classified information or documents shall be subject to compliance with the rules on the processing of confidential information by the Union institution, body, office or agency concerned.

The institutions, bodies, offices or agencies supplying classified information or documents in accordance with the first subparagraph shall inform the Ombudsman of such classification in advance.

For the implementation of the rules provided for in the first subparagraph, the Ombudsman shall have agreed in advance with the institution, body, office or agency concerned the conditions for treatment of classified information or documents.

The institutions, bodies, offices or agencies concerned shall give access to documents originating in a Member State and classified as secret by law only after the Ombudsman’s services have put in place appropriate measures and safeguards for handling the documents that ensure an equivalent level of confidentiality, in line with Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 and in compliance with the rules on security of the Union institution, body, office or agency concerned.

Officials and other servants of Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall, at the request of the Ombudsman, testify to facts which relate to an ongoing inquiry by the Ombudsman. They shall speak on behalf of their institution, body, office or agency. They shall continue to be bound by the obligations arising from the rules to which they are subject. When they are bound by a duty of professional secrecy, this shall not be interpreted as covering information relevant for complaints or inquiries on harassment or maladministration.

5.  The Ombudsman shall periodically examine the procedures linked to the administrative action of the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and shall assess whether they are able effectively to prevent conflicts of interest, to guarantee impartiality and to ensure full respect for the right to good administration. The Ombudsman may identify and assess possible instances of conflicts of interest at all levels which could constitute a source of maladministration, in which case the Ombudsman shall draw up specific conclusions and inform the European Parliament of the findings on the subject.

6.  In so far as their national law allows, the competent authorities of the Member States shall, at the request of the Ombudsman or on their own initiative, urgently transmit to the Ombudsman any information or document that may help to clarify instances of maladministration by Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies. Where such information or document is covered by national law on the processing of confidential information or by provisions preventing its being communicated, the Member State concerned may allow the Ombudsman to have access to this information or document provided that the Ombudsman undertakes to handle it in agreement with the originating competent authority. A description of the document shall be provided in any event.

7.  If the assistance requested by the Ombudsman is not forthcoming, the Ombudsman shall inform the European Parliament, which shall make appropriate representations.

8.  Where instances of maladministration have been found following an inquiry, the Ombudsman shall inform the institution, body, office or agency concerned, where appropriate making recommendations. The institution, body, office or agency so informed shall send the Ombudsman a detailed opinion within three months. The Ombudsman may, upon a reasoned request of the institution, body, office or agency concerned, grant an extension of that deadline, which shall not exceed two months. When no opinion is delivered by the institution, body, office or agency concerned within the three month deadline or within the extended deadline, the Ombudsman may close the inquiry without such an opinion.

9.  The Ombudsman shall then send a report to the institution, body, office or agency concerned and, notably where the nature or the scale of the instance of maladministration uncovered so requires, to the European Parliament. The Ombudsman may make recommendations in the report. The complainant shall be informed by the Ombudsman of the outcome of the inquiry, of the opinion expressed by the institution, body, office or agency concerned and of any recommendations made in the report by the Ombudsman.

10.  Where appropriate in relation to an inquiry into the activities of a Union institution, body, office or agency, the Ombudsman may appear before the European Parliament, on the Ombudsman's own initiative or at the request of the European Parliament, at the most appropriate level.

11.  As far as possible, the Ombudsman shall seek a solution with the institution, body, office or agency concerned to eliminate the instance of maladministration and satisfy the complaint. The Ombudsman shall inform the complainant of the solution proposed along with the comments, if any, of the institution, body, office or agency concerned. If the complainant so wishes, the complainant shall be entitled to submit comments, or additional information that was not known at the time of submission of the complaint, to the Ombudsman, at any stage.

12.  At the end of each annual session the Ombudsman shall submit to the European Parliament a report on the outcome of the inquiries that the Ombudsman carried out. The report shall include an assessment of the compliance with the Ombudsman’s recommendations and an assessment of the adequacy of the resources available to perform the Ombudsman’s duties. These assessments may also be the subject of separate reports.

Article 4

The Ombudsman and the Ombudsman’s staff shall deal with requests for public access to documents, other than those referred to in Article 6(1), in accordance with the conditions and limits provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001.

With regard to complaints concerning the right of public access to documents drawn up or received by a Union institution, body, office or agency, the Ombudsman shall, after due analysis and all necessary consideration, issue a recommendation concerning the access to those documents. The institution, body, office or agency concerned shall respond within the time frames provided by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001. If the institution, body, office or agency concerned does not follow a recommendation from the Ombudsman to give access to documents, it shall duly state the reasons for its refusal. In such a case, the Ombudsman shall inform the complainant about the legal remedies available, including the procedures available to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Article 5

The Ombudsman shall conduct regular assessments of the policies and reviews of the procedures in place in the relevant Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies in accordance with Article 22a of the Staff Regulations (‘whistleblowing’) and shall, where appropriate, make concrete recommendations for improvement with a view to ensuring full protection for officials or other servants reporting facts in accordance with Article 22a of the Staff Regulations. The Ombudsman may, upon request, provide in confidence information, impartial advice and expert guidance to officials or other servants on the proper conduct to take in the presence of the facts referred to Article 22a of the Staff Regulations, including on the scope of the relevant provisions of Union law.

The Ombudsman may also open inquiries based on the information provided by officials or other servants reporting facts in accordance with Article 22a of the Staff Regulations, who may report in confidence and anonymously, where the facts described could constitute maladministration in a Union institution, body, office or agency. In order to enable this purpose, applicable staff regulations regarding secrecy may be waived.

Article 6

1.  The Ombudsman and the Ombudsman’s staff, to whom Article 339 TFEU and Article 194 of the Euratom Treaty shall apply, shall be required not to divulge information or documents which they obtain in the course of their inquiries. Without prejudice to paragraph 2, they shall, in particular, be required not to divulge any classified information or document supplied to the Ombudsman or documents falling within the scope of Union law regarding the protection of personal data, as well as any information which could harm the complainant or any other person involved.

2.  If the Ombudsman considers that facts learnt in the course of an inquiry might relate to criminal law, the Ombudsman shall notify the competent national authorities and, in so far as the case falls within their powers, the European Anti-Fraud Office and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. If appropriate, the Ombudsman shall also notify the Union institution, body, office or agency with authority over the official or other servant concerned, which may apply the second paragraph of Article 17 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union.

The Ombudsman may also notify the Union institution, body, office or agency concerned of the facts calling into question the conduct of a member of their staff, as well as any persistent activity that has the effect of hampering the ongoing inquiry.

The Ombudsman shall report such notifications to the complainant and to the other persons concerned whose identity is known.

Article 7

1.  The Ombudsman may cooperate with authorities of the same type in the Member States provided that the Ombudsman complies with the national law applicable.

2.  Within the scope of the Ombudsman’s duties, the Ombudsman shall cooperate with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and with other institutions and bodies, while avoiding any duplication with their activities.

Article 8

1.  The Ombudsman shall be elected, and eligible for reappointment, in accordance with Article 228(2) of the TFEU.

2.  The Ombudsman shall be chosen from among persons who are Union citizens, have full civil and political rights, offer every guarantee of independence, have not been Members of national governments or Members of Union's institutions within the past three years, meet conditions of impartiality equivalent to those required for a judicial office in their country and have the acknowledged competence and experience to undertake the duties of the Ombudsman.

Article 9

1.  The Ombudsman shall cease to exercise the duties referred to in the Treaties and in this Regulation either at the end the term of office or upon resignation or dismissal.

2.  Save in the event of dismissal, the Ombudsman shall remain in office until a new Ombudsman has been elected.

3.  In the event of early cessation of duties, a new Ombudsman shall be appointed within three months of the office's falling vacant for the remainder of the term of office of the European Parliament. Until such time as a new Ombudsman has been elected, the principal officer referred to in Article 13(2) shall be responsible for urgent matters falling within the Ombudsman’s remit.

Article 10

Where the European Parliament intends to request the dismissal of the Ombudsman in accordance with Article 228(2) of the TFEU, it shall hear the Ombudsman before making such a request.

Article 11

1.  In the performance of the duties referred to in the Treaties and in this Regulation, the Ombudsman shall act in accordance with Article 228(3) TFEU. The Ombudsman shall refrain from any act incompatible with the nature of the said duties.

2.  When taking up office, the Ombudsman shall give a solemn undertaking before the Court of Justice sitting as a full Court that the duties referred to in the Treaties and in this Regulation will be performed with complete independence and impartiality and that the obligations arising during and after the term of office will be fully respected. The solemn undertaking shall in particular include the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance of certain appointments or benefits after the end of the term of office.

Article 12

1.  During the Ombudsman’s term of office, the Ombudsman may not engage in any other political or administrative duties, or any other occupation, whether gainful or not.

2.  The Ombudsman shall have the same rank in terms of remuneration, allowances and pension as a judge at the Court of Justice.

3.  Articles 11 to 14 and Article 17 of Protocol No 7 shall apply to the Ombudsman and to the officials and other servants of the Ombudsman’s secretariat.

Article 13

1.  The Ombudsman shall be awarded an adequate budget, sufficient to ensure the Ombudsman’s independence and to provide for the performance of the duties referred to in the Treaties and in this Regulation.

2.  The Ombudsman shall be assisted by a secretariat, the principal officer of which the Ombudsman shall appoint.

3.  The Ombudsman should aim to achieve gender parity within the composition of the Ombudsman’s secretariat.

4.  The officials and other servants of the Ombudsman's secretariat shall be subject to the rules and regulations applicable to officials and other servants of the Union. Their number shall be adopted each year as part of the budgetary procedure and be adequate for the proper performance of the Ombudsman's duties and workload.

5.  Officials and other servants of the Union and of the Member States appointed to the Ombudsman's secretariat shall be seconded in the interests of the service and guaranteed automatic reinstatement in their institution, body, office or agency of origin.

6.  In matters concerning the Ombudsman's staff, the Ombudsman shall have the same status as the institutions within the meaning of Article 1a of the Staff Regulations.

Article 14

The Ombudsman shall assess the procedures in place to prevent harassment of any kind and nature within the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, as well as the mechanisms to penalise those responsible of harassment. The Ombudsman shall draw up appropriate conclusions as to whether those procedures are consistent with the principles of proportionality, adequacy and energetic action, and whether they provide victims with effective protection and support.

The Ombudsman shall examine in a timely manner whether the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies adequately handle harassment cases of any kind and nature by correctly applying the procedures provided for in connection with complaints in that field. The Ombudsman shall draw up appropriate conclusions on the subject.

The Ombudsman shall within the secretariat appoint a person or designate a structure with expertise in the field of harassment able to assess in a timely manner whether harassment cases of any kind and nature, including sexual harassment, are handled adequately within the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and, where appropriate, to provide advice to their officials and other servants.

Article 15

The seat of the Ombudsman shall be that of the European Parliament.

Article 16

Any communication addressed to the national authorities of the Member States for the purposes of applying this Regulation shall be made through their Permanent Representations to the Union.

Article 17

The Ombudsman shall adopt the implementing provisions for this Regulation. These shall be in accordance with this Regulation and include at least provisions on:

(a)  procedural rights of the complainant and the institution, body, office or agency concerned ;

(b)  ensuring the protection of officials or other servants reporting cases of sexual harassment and of breaches of Union law within the institutions, bodies, offices or agencies of the Union, in accordance with Article 22a of the Staff Regulations (‘whistleblowing’);

(c)  receipt, processing and closure of a complaint;

(d)  own-initiative inquiries;

(e)  follow-up inquiries; and

(f)  information gathering actions.

Article 18

Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom is repealed.

Article 19

This Regulation shall enter into force on the first day of the month 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

The President

(1) Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom of the European Parliament of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties (OJ L 113, 4.5.1994, p. 15).
(2) 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 (OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43).
(3) Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of 12 October 2017 implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (OJ L 283, 31.10.2017, p. 1).
(4) OJ L 56, 4.3.1968, p. 1.


A comprehensive European industrial policy on artificial intelligence and robotics
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on a comprehensive European industrial policy on artificial intelligence and robotics (2018/2088(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0081A8-0019/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2017 on digitising European industry(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2018 on autonomous weapon systems(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2018 on language equality in the digital age(4),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 6 June 2018 establishing the Digital Europe programme for the period 2021-2027 (COM(2018)0434),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2018/1488 of 28 September 2018 establishing the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking(5),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0019/2019),

A.  whereas transparent, ethics-embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have the potential to enrich our lives and further our capabilities, for both individuals and the common good;

B.  whereas developments in AI are unfolding at a fast pace, and whereas AI has already played a part in our daily lives for a number of years; whereas AI and robotics are boosting innovation, leading to new business models and playing a key role in transforming our societies and digitalising our economies in many sectors, such as industry, healthcare, construction and transport;

C.  whereas the increasing integration of robotics in human systems requires strong policy guidance on how to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks for society and ensure a safe, equitable development of artificial intelligence;

D.  whereas artificial intelligence is one of the strategic technologies for the 21st century both globally and in Europe, bringing positive change for the European economy, enabling innovation, productivity, competitiveness and wellbeing;

E.  whereas around a quarter of all industrial robots and half of all professional service robots in the world are produced by European companies, and whereas the EU therefore already has important assets on which it should base its European industrial policy;

F.  whereas AI and robotics have the potential to reshape multiple industries and lead to greater efficiencies in production as well as making European industry and SMEs more competitive globally; whereas the availability of large-scale datasets and testing and experimentation facilities are of major importance for the development of artificial intelligence;

G.  whereas a common approach will facilitate the development of AI technologies for the benefit of society, while also addressing the challenges presented by these technologies in order to foster innovation, enhance the quality of AI-enabled products and services, improve consumer experience and trust in AI technologies and robotics, and avoid fragmentation of the internal market;

H.  whereas computing performance must be maintained at a leading level in the Union, which should provide opportunities for the EU supply industry and increase its effectiveness in turning technological developments into demand-oriented, application-driven products and services, leading to their uptake in large-scale and emerging applications underpinned by artificial intelligence;

I.  whereas a coordinated approach at European level is urgently needed for the EU to be able to compete with the massive investments made by third countries, especially the US and China;

J.  whereas on 25 April 2018(6) the Commission committed to proposing a European approach to artificial intelligence by developing draft AI guidelines in cooperation with stakeholders within the AI alliance, a group of artificial intelligence experts, in order to boost AI-powered applications and businesses in Europe;

K.  whereas existing rules and processes ought to be reviewed, and if necessary modified, to account for artificial intelligence and robotics;

L.  whereas the European framework for AI must be developed with full respect for the rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and in particular with respect to the principles of data protection, privacy and security;

M.  whereas developments in artificial intelligence can and should be designed in such a way that they preserve the dignity, autonomy and self-determination of the individual;

N.  whereas in its resolution of 16 February 2017 with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics, Parliament called on the Commission to propose a coherent legal framework regarding the development of robotics, including autonomous systems and smart autonomous robots;

O.  whereas the development of AI and robotics needs to include society as a whole; whereas, however, in 2017, rural areas remained largely excluded from the benefits of AI, as 8 % of homes were not covered by any fixed network, and 53 % were not covered by any ‘next-generation access’ technology (VDSL, Cable Docsis 3.0 or FTTP);

P.  whereas development of AI-enabled services and products requires connectivity, free flow of data and accessibility of data within the EU; whereas use of advanced data mining techniques in products and services may help to increase the quality of decision‐making, and hence consumer choice, and improve business performance;

Q.  whereas technological developments in smart products and services can benefit the knowledge economy, which is based on the quantity, quality and accessibility of information available, and can thus lead to better adaptation to consumer needs;

R.  whereas cybersecurity is vital for ensuring that data is not maliciously corrupted or misused to make AI function in a way that is detrimental to citizens or companies, which would undermine industry and consumer trust in AI; whereas developments in AI increase reliance on these systems for actions and decisions, which in turn necessitates high standards of cyber resilience in the EU to protect against cybersecurity breaches and failures;

S.  whereas the trend towards automation requires that those involved in the development and commercialisation of artificial intelligence applications build in security and ethics at the outset, thereby recognising that they must be prepared to accept legal liability for the quality of the technology they produce;

T.  whereas the building of a trusted ecosystem for the development of AI technology should be based on data policy architecture; whereas this implies the creation of smooth and simplified data collection and management programmes for educational research purposes to enable the development of AI in many domains: medical, financial, biological, energy, industrial, chemical or public sector; whereas a data-driven AI ecosystem could comprise pan-European initiatives launched on open standards and based on mutual recognition of certificates and transparent rules of interoperability;

U.  whereas the use of AI alone does not ensure truth or fairness, as bias can emerge in how the data is collected and how the algorithm is written and can stem from bias present in society; whereas data quality, together with algorithmic design and constant re-evaluation processes, should prevent bias;

V.  whereas AI and robotics should be developed and deployed in a human-centred approach with the aim of supporting humans at work and at home; whereas AI can also be used to avoid people having to do dangerous jobs;

W.  whereas further development and increased use of automated and algorithmic decision-making undoubtedly has an impact on the choices that an individual (such as a businessperson or an internet user) and an administrative, judicial or other public authority make in reaching a final decision of a consumer, business or authoritative nature; whereas safeguards and the possibility of human control and verification need to be built in to the process of automated and algorithmic decision-making;

X.  whereas machine learning also raises challenges in terms of ensuring non-discrimination, due process, transparency and understandability in decision-making processes;

Y.  whereas AI constitutes a significant tool for addressing global societal challenges, and whereas the Member States should, therefore, through their public policy, promote investment, make funds available for R&D and address barriers in the development and adoption of AI;

Z.  whereas commercial artificial intelligence platforms have moved from testing to real applications in health, the environment, energy and transport; whereas machine-learning techniques are at the heart of all main web platforms and big data applications;

AA.  whereas Europe’s researchers and companies are involved in a wide variety of blockchain topics, ranging from the supply chain, government services, finance, internet of things (IoT), healthcare, media, smart cities, energy and transport; whereas Europe is a strong player in important blockchain-related fields such as AI; whereas blockchain can play an important role in enhancing European innovation;

AB.  whereas cybersecurity technologies such as digital identities, cryptography or intrusion detection, and their application in areas such as finance, industry 4.0, energy, transportation, healthcare and e-government, are essential to safeguard security and trust in online activity and transactions by citizens, public administrations and companies alike;

AC.  whereas text and data mining serves as a foundation for AI and machine learning applications, and are vital for SMEs and start-ups because they allow them to access large quantities of data to train AI algorithms;

AD.  whereas AI could prove to be very energy intensive; whereas, in light of this, it is important that the use of AI advances in keeping with the EU’s existing energy efficiency and circular economy targets;

AE.  whereas AI should fully support all European languages to provide all Europeans with equal opportunities to benefit from modern AI developments within the multilingual European information society;

AF.  whereas, in industry and services associated with high technology, AI is key to turning Europe into a ‘start-up continent’ by exploiting the latest technologies to generate growth in Europe, in particular in the areas of health technology, healthcare services and programmes, drug discovery, robotic and robot-assisted surgery, treatment of chronic diseases, and medical imaging and records, as well as securing a sustainable environment and safe food production; whereas Europe is currently lagging behind North America and Asia in terms of research and patents in the field of artificial intelligence;

AG.  whereas the development of AI technologies may help to improve the lives of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities and address social challenges such as our ageing population by making health technology more precise and effective in providing healthcare;

AH.  whereas there is a broad catalogue of possible applications of AI and robotics in medical care, such as managing medical records and data, performing repetitive jobs (analysing tests, X-rays, CT scans, data entry), treatment design, digital consultation (such as medical consultation based on personal medical history and common medical knowledge), virtual nurses, medication management, drug creation, precision medicine (as genetics and genomics look for mutations and links to disease from the information in DNA), health monitoring and healthcare system analysis, among other applications;

AI.  whereas accessibility does not mean the same services and appliances for all; whereas the accessibility of AI and robotics is based on inclusive planning and design; whereas the user’s needs, wishes and experiences need to be the starting point of the design;

AJ.  whereas there are strong ethical, psychological and legal concerns about the autonomy of robots, their obvious lack of human empathy and their impact on the doctor-patient relationship, which have not yet been properly addressed at EU level, in particular as regards the protection of patients’ personal data, liability, and the new economic and employment relationships that will be brought about; whereas ‘autonomy’ as such can only by fully attributed to human beings; whereas there is a need for a robust legal and ethical framework for artificial intelligence;

AK.  whereas the introduction of artificial intelligence in the area of health in particular must always be based on the ‘man operates machine’ principle of responsibility;

1.A society supported by artificial intelligence and robotics

1.1.Labour in the era of artificial intelligence and robotics

1.  Stresses that automation combined with artificial intelligence will increase productivity and therefore increase output; notes that, as in previous technological revolutions, some jobs will be replaced but new jobs will also be created transforming lives and work practices; stresses that increased use of robotics and AI should also reduce human exposure to harmful and hazardous conditions and should also help to create more quality and decent jobs and improve productivity;

2.  Urges Member States to focus on retraining workers in the industries most affected by the automation of tasks; stresses that new education programmes should focus on developing the skills of workers so that they can seize job opportunities within the new jobs created by AI; encourages the development of digital literacy programmes in schools, the development of apprenticeships and vocational training priorities to help workers adapt to technological changes;

3.  Recommends that Member States, alongside private sector actors, identify the risks and develop strategies to ensure that relevant retraining and reskilling programmes are developed; underlines that companies themselves must invest in the training and reskilling of their existing workforce in order to meet their needs;

4.  Stresses that the development of robotics in the EU will have a strong impact on industrial relations; believes that this impact should be addressed in a balanced manner so as to promote reindustrialisation and allow workers to also enjoy the productivity gains;

5.  Notes that in the current industrial landscape there is a delicate balance between the owners and the workers; considers that advances in implementing AI in industry should be made with broad consultation of social partners, as the potential shift in the number of people working in the industry requires proactive policies to help workers adapt to the new demands and to ensure that the gains are broadly shared; notes that this requires re-thinking and re-designing labour market policies, social security schemes and taxation;

6.  Urges the Member States to address barriers to entry in the labour force such as excessive qualifications;

7.  Believes that digital literacy is one of the most important factors for future AI development and urges the Commission and the Member States to develop and pursue digital skills training and retraining strategies; notes that digital literacy can support wide and inclusive participation in data economy solutions and facilitate communication and cooperation with all stakeholders;

8.  Notes that, as citizens of all ages will be impacted, education curricula must be adapted, including through the establishment of new learning paths and the use of new delivery technologies; stresses that education aspects should be properly addressed; considers in particular the need for digital skills, including coding, to be included in teaching and training from the early school years to life-long learning;

1.2.Malicious use of artificial intelligence and fundamental rights

9.  Highlights the fact that malicious or negligent use of AI could threaten digital security and physical and public safety, as it could be used to conduct large-scale, finely targeted and highly efficient attacks on information society services and connected machinery, as well as disinformation campaigns, and generally diminish the right of individuals to self-determination; stresses that the malicious or negligent use of AI might also pose a risk to democracy and fundamental rights;

10.  Calls on the Commission to propose a framework that penalises perception manipulation practices when personalised content or news feeds lead to negative feelings and distortion of the perception of reality that might lead to negative consequences (for example, election outcomes, or distorted perceptions on social matters such as migration);

11.  Stresses the importance of recognising, identifying and monitoring disruptive developments in and around the development of AI; encourages research into AI to also focus on the detection of accidentally or maliciously corrupted AI and robotics;

12.  Urges the Commission to take note of the social challenges arising from practices resulting from the ranking of citizens; stresses that citizens should not be subjected to discrimination on the basis of their ranking and that they should be entitled to ‘another chance’;

13.  Expresses great concern about the employment of AI applications, including facial and voice recognition, in ‘emotional surveillance’ programmes, i.e. monitoring the mental conditions of workers and citizens in order to increase productivity and preserve social stability, sometimes coupled with ‘social credit’ systems, as already seen in China, for instance; stresses that such programmes are inherently at odds with European values and norms protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals;

2.The technological path towards artificial intelligence and robotics

2.1.Research and development

14.  Recalls the fact that Europe has a world-leading AI research community, which accounts for 32 % of AI research institutions worldwide;

15.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal on the digital Europe programme and the budget of EUR 2,5 billion pledged to artificial intelligence as well as increased funding under the Horizon 2020 programme; understands the importance of EU funding complementing Member State and industry research budgets for AI and the need for collaboration between public, private and EU research programmes;

16.  Supports the operational objectives of the Digital Europe Programme to build up and strengthen core artificial intelligence capacities in the Union, to make them accessible to all businesses and public administrations and to reinforce and network existing artificial intelligence testing and experimentation facilities in Member States;

17.  Encourages Member States to develop multi-stakeholder partnerships across industry and research institutes as well as joint AI centres of excellence;

18.  Stresses that AI research should invest not only in AI technology and innovation developments but also in AI-related social, ethical and liability areas; believes that any AI model deployed should have ethics by design;

19.  Stresses that, while encouraging progress for the benefit of society and the environment, AI research and other related activities should be conducted in accordance with the precautionary principle and fundamental rights; stresses that everyone involved in the development, implementation, dissemination and use of AI should consider and respect human dignity and the self-determination and wellbeing – both physical and psychological – of the individual and society at large, anticipate potential safety impacts and take due precautions proportionate to the level of protection, including the prompt disclosure of factors that might endanger the public or the environment;

20.  Stresses that a competitive research environment is also key to developing artificial intelligence; underlines the importance of supporting excellent research, including fundamental science and high-risk high-reward projects, and of fostering a European research area with attractive conditions for funding, mobility and access to infrastructure and technology across the Union, based on the principle of openness towards third countries and expertise from outside the Union, provided that it does not undermine EU cyber security;

21.  Underlines the fact that EU researchers continue to earn significantly less than their counterparts in the US and China, which is known to be the primary reason for them to leave Europe; calls on the Commission and the Member States to focus on attracting top talent to European companies, and on the Member States to create attractive conditions;

22.  Stresses that Europe must dedicate the new FET(7) flagship to artificial intelligence, with a particular emphasis on a human-centric approach and language technologies;

23.  Believes that artificial intelligence, machine learning and exponential leaps in data availability and cloud computing fuel research initiatives aimed at understanding biology at molecular and cellular level, guiding the development of medical treatments and analysing data streams to detect health threats, predicting disease outbreaks and counselling patients; notes that data mining and data-navigation techniques can be used to identify care gaps, risks, trends and patterns;

24.  Highlights that, where risks arise as an unavoidable and integral element of AI research, robust risk assessment and management protocols should be developed and complied with, taking into account that the risk of harm should be no greater than that encountered in ordinary life, (i.e. people should not be exposed to risks greater than or additional to those to which they are exposed in their normal lifestyles);

2.2.Investments

25.  Notes the importance of greater investment in this field in order to remain competitive; recognises that while most of the investment and innovation in this area comes from private sector ventures, Member States and the Commission should also be encouraged to continue investing in research in this sector and outline their development priorities; welcomes the InvestEU proposal and other public-private partnerships that will foster private funding; considers that the coordination of private- and public-sector investment should be encouraged to ensure that development is focused;

26.  Stresses that investments in AI, which can be characterised by significant uncertainty, should be complemented by EU funding for example from the European Investment Bank (EIB) or the European Investment Fund (EIF), or through InvestEU and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), schemes which can help with regard to risk sharing;

27.  Urges the Commission to not allow EU funding for weaponised AI; urges the Commission to exclude from EU funding companies that are researching and developing artificial consciousness;

28.  Recommends that the Commission ensure that the intellectual property of research conducted with EU funding remains in the EU and in European universities;

2.3.Innovation, societal acceptance and responsibility

29.  Notes that all major technological advancements required a transition period, one where the majority of society needed to gain a deeper understanding of the technology and integrate it into their daily life;

30.  Notes that the future of this technology is contingent on societal acceptance and that greater emphasis must be placed on adequately communicating its benefits to ensure greater understanding of the technology and its applications; also notes that if society is not informed about AI technology, there will be less drive for innovation in this sector;

31.  Considers that public acceptance relies on how the public is informed about the opportunities, challenges and developments of artificial intelligence; recommends that the Member States and the Commission facilitate access to credible information addressing the main concerns about AI and robotics such as privacy, safety and transparency in decision-making;

32.  Welcomes the use of regulatory sandboxes to introduce, in cooperation with regulators, innovative new ideas, allowing safeguards to be built into the technology from the start, thus facilitating and encouraging its market entry; highlights the need to introduce AI-specific regulatory sandboxes to test the safe and effective use of AI technologies in a real-world environment;

33.  Notes that for greater societal acceptance of artificial intelligence, there must be assurances that the systems being used are safe and secure;

34.  Notes that Artificial intelligence and language technology can provide important applications to foster Europe’s unity in its diversity: automated translation, conversational agents and personal assistants, spoken-language interfaces for robots and the internet of things, smart analytics, automated identification of online propaganda, fake news, hate speech;

2.4.Supporting conditions: connectivity, data accessibility and high-performance computing, and cloud infrastructure

35.  Stresses that the integration of robotics and AI technology within the economy and society require digital infrastructure that provides ubiquitous connectivity;

36.  Stresses that connectivity is a precondition for Europe to become part of the gigabit society and that AI is a clear example of the exponential growth of a demand for high-quality, fast, secure and pervasive connectivity; believes that the Union and the Member States should continue to foster measures to stimulate investment in and take-up of very high capacity networks in the EU;

37.  Underlines that a rapid, safe and secure development of 5G is essential to guarantee that the Union can reap the full benefits of AI and protect against cyber security threats, making it possible to renew and develop industries and services, which are the backbone of the European economy, and to support the emergence of new services, production and markets, which is essential in order to safeguard new jobs and a high level of employment;

38.  Recalls that the availability of high quality and meaningful data is essential for real competitiveness in the AI industry, and calls for public authorities to ensure ways of producing, sharing and governing data by making public data a common good while safeguarding privacy and sensitive data;

39.  Stresses the importance of the quality of data used in deep learning; notes that the use of low-quality, outdated, incomplete or incorrect data may lead to poor predictions and in turn discrimination and bias;

40.  Believes that the new set of rules governing the free flow of non-personal data in the Union allows for more and more data to become available for data-driven innovation, making it easier for SMEs and start-ups to develop innovative AI-enabled services and to enter new markets, while allowing citizens and businesses to benefit from better products and services;

41.  Notes that AI has the potential to increase efficiency, comfort and welfare in many sectors, if the established industrial stakeholders cooperate with AI developers; notes, furthermore, that a large volume of data that is not personal in nature is currently in the possession of stakeholders and through partnerships could be used to increase their efficiency; considers that, for that to become a reality, cooperation between the users and the developers of AI is a prerequisite;

42.  Stresses the importance of interoperability and data accuracy in order to ensure a high level of reliability and security standards in the new technologies;

43.  Believes that the success of AI applications, tailored to users across the EU, often requires extensive knowledge of local markets, as well as access to and use of adequate local data for the datasets training, system testing and validation, especially in sectors related to natural language processing; asks the Member States to encourage the availability of high-quality, interoperable and open public-sector and privately-held data;

44.  Stresses the need to ensure the utmost consistency with the EU’s big data policy;

45.  Welcomes measures to facilitate and support the exchange and sharing of data across borders;

46.  Notes that at present the sharing of data is well below its potential and that large quantities of data are underutilised;

47.  Recognises that there is a reluctance to share data and underlines the need for action to encourage it; notes that the lack of common standards also has a large role to play in the ability to share data;

48.  Welcomes regulations such as the Free Flow of Data Regulation and the importance it has in fields such as AI to allow for more effective and efficient processes;

49.  Recognises that greater market-based incentives need to be put in place to encourage access to and the sharing of data; notes the risk that data openness poses to investing in data in the first place;

50.  Calls for greater clarity on data ownership rules and the legal frameworks in place; notes that regulatory uncertainty has led to over-cautious responses from industry;

51.  Highlights the significance of European initiatives on cloud computing and high-performance computing, which will further enhance the development of deep-learning algorithms and the processing of big data; strongly believes that for these initiatives to be successful and relevant to the development of AI, the infrastructure needs to be open to both public and private entities based in the Union and elsewhere, and to be governed by least-restrictive access criteria;

52.  Welcomes the establishment of the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking; underlines that supercomputing and data infrastructure are essential to ensure competitive innovation ecosystem for the development of AI technologies and applications;

53.  Highlights that cloud computing has a key role to play in driving the uptake of AI; underlines that access to cloud services allows private companies, public institutions, research and academic institutions, and users to develop and use AI in an efficient and economically viable way;

3.Industrial policy

54.  Recalls that while AI and robotics already have long-established industrial applications, advancements in the field are expanding and providing wide and diverse applications in all human activities; believes that any regulatory framework must include flexibility that allows for innovation and free development of new technologies and uses for AI;

55.  Underlines that identifying the scope and applications for AI should be the result of a design process led by needs and guided by principles that take into account the intended result and the best path to achieve it, from an economic and social point of view; believes that the existence of clear policies at all stages of development will lead to fit-for-purpose implementation and address the risks and downsides;

56.  Recommends the use and promotion of public-private partnerships to explore solutions to key challenges such as building a data ecosystem and promoting the access, sharing and flow of data while safeguarding people’s rights to privacy;

57.  Stresses that a significant challenge to the future of AI systems is the inconsistent quality of software production technology, and underlines therefore the great need for standardisation in the construction and use of AI systems;

58.  Notes the work being conducted globally and recognises the need to work proactively with partners, especially at the OECD and G20, in shaping the direction this industry moves in to ensure that the EU remains competitive and safeguards equal access among nations, as well as sharing the benefits of AI development as widely as possible;

59.  Notes with concern that a number of non-European companies and entities from third countries are increasingly employing AI-based predictive models to provide services and extract the added value on EU markets, especially at local level, and to monitor and possibly influence political sentiment, thus posing potential threats to the technological sovereignty of EU citizens;

60.  Stresses that public support for AI should be focused on those strategic sectors in which EU industry has the greatest opportunities to play a leading role at a global level and which have added value in the general public interest;

3.1.Priority sectors

3.1.1.Public sector

61.  Highlights that there are a number of benefits to be gained from AI and robotics in the public sector, and welcomes greater investment in research and development to ensure that this thrives;

62.  Stresses that Member States should also invest in education and AI training programmes in order to assist public sector employees in adopting the use of AI and robotics; notes that there should also be information campaigns intended for the citizens who will use public sector services provided by AI systems and robotics in order to calm their fears over loss of control of their personal data and to establish trust;

63.  Stresses that public sector information represents an extraordinary source of data that can contribute to rapid progress and create a new strategy to embrace new digital technologies, especially artificial intelligence;

64.  Believes that public sector adoption of trustworthy artificial intelligence can strongly support the reform of public administration in decision-making and improve public services, as well as power the more widespread adoption of AI in other industries;

65.  Acknowledges the use of robotic process automation and the impact it has had in improving public sector processes; notes its interoperability with legacy systems;

66.  Asks the Member States to lead this digital transformation by positioning themselves as primary responsible users and buyers of AI technology; stresses in this context that Member States must adapt their data policies pertaining to public data collection, use, repositories or annotation, among other related subjects, to allow AI deployment in all public sectors;

67.  Emphasises the need to include the public in the AI development process; calls on the Commission, therefore, to publish any algorithms, tools or technology funded or co-funded by the public as open source;

68.  Believes that AI will be a great asset in terms of implementing the ‘once only’ principle, enabling databases and information from different sources to be combined, and thereby facilitating citizens’ interaction with public administrations;

69.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee the protection of citizens from any AI ranking decision systems in public administrations, similar to those planned to be used in China;

3.1.2.Health

70.  Stresses that human contact is a crucial aspect of human care;

71.  Notes that AI and robotics have potential benefits in the care-giving sector as life expectancy increases, for instance helping doctors and nurses to have more time for high value activities(e.g. patient interaction);

72.  Notes the impact that AI has already had on wellbeing, prevention, diagnosis and research and its great potential for designing personalised care; considers that this ultimately leads to a more sustainable, efficient and outcome-based healthcare ecosystem;

73.  Notes that when AI is combined with human diagnosis, the error rate tends to be significantly lower than for diagnosis by human doctors alone(8);

74.  Stresses that the use of data in the health sector must be monitored carefully and ethically and must not in any way obstruct access to social protection or insurance;

75.  Believes that when AI is being used in implanted medical devices, the bearer should have the right to inspect and modify the source code used in the device;

76.  Special attention should be paid to the use of big data in health with the aim of maximising the opportunities it can bring – such as improving the health of individual patients, as well as the performance of Member States’ public health systems – without lowering ethical standards and without threatening the privacy or safety of citizens;

77.  Stresses, however, that the existing system for the approval of medical devices may not be adequate for AI technologies; calls on the Commission to closely monitor progress on these technologies and to propose changes to the regulatory framework if necessary in order to establish the framework for determining the respective liability of the user (doctor/professional), the producer of the technological solution, and the healthcare facility offering the treatment; points out that legal liability for damage is a central issue in the health sector where the use of AI is concerned; stresses the need therefore to ensure that users will not be led invariably to back the diagnostic solution or treatment suggested by a technological instrument for fear of being sued for damages if, on the basis of their informed professional judgement, they were to reach conclusions that diverged even in part;

78.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to increase funding in health-related AI technologies in the public and private sectors; welcomes, in this context, the declaration of cooperation signed by 24 EU Member States and Norway with a view to boosting the impact of investments in AI at European level; calls on the Member States and the Commission to consider whether training programmes for medical and healthcare personnel should be updated and standardised on a Europe-wide basis so as to ensure high levels of expertise and a level playing field in the Member States as regards knowledge and use of the most advanced technological instruments in robotic surgery, biomedicine, and AI-based biomedical imaging;

79.  Calls on the Commission to work on strategies and policies that can position the EU as a world leader in the growing field of healthcare technology, while ensuring that patients have access to seamless and effective medical care;

80.  Recognises that better diagnostics could save millions of lives as, according to the World Health Organisation, 89 % of premature deaths across Europe are caused by non-communicable diseases;

81.  Highlights the contribution made by AI and robotics to innovative preventive, clinical and rehabilitation practices and techniques in the health sector, with particular reference to the benefits they have for patients with disabilities;

82.  Recognises that the increased use of sensors in the field of robotics has enhanced the scope of care-giving and enables patients to have more personalised treatment and services and receive care remotely from their own homes, while also generating more meaningful data;

83.  Recognises that, according to the Eurobarometer survey of May 2017(9), at present EU citizens still feel uncomfortable with the idea of robots being used in everyday healthcare; calls on the Commission and Member States to develop strategies and communication campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of day-to-day use of robots; notes in particular the ambition of Japan’s Robot Strategy;

3.1.3.Energy

84.  Notes that AI allows energy suppliers to move from preventive to predictive asset maintenance and to achieve more efficient energy production by improving reliability in particular, for renewables, and by identifying the most effective locations for new installations, thus ensuring better demand response management;

85.  Recognises that more accurate data produced by AI on the potential of renewable energy production will create higher investment certainty for businesses and individuals, thus accelerating the energy transition towards renewable energy sources and contributing to the Union’s long-term strategy for a climate neutral economy;

86.  Notes that solutions involving sensors are already being used to manage energy usage in houses and that this has resulted inconsiderable energy and monetary savings;

87.  Welcomes the potential of AI in modelling, identifying and mitigating the impact of human activity on climate; notes that, while increased digitalisation also brings new energy needs, it can also bring increased efficiency to energy-intensive sectors and provide for better understanding of processes, leading to their improvement;

88.  Stresses that with more a digitalised energy sector energy networks become larger and more exposed to cyber threats; calls on the Member States and the Commission to accompany the digital transformation in the energy sectors with measures, such as artificial intelligence, that improve cyber security;

3.1.4.Transport

89.  Welcomes the ability of AI and robotics to greatly improve our transport systems through the introduction of autonomous trains and motor vehicles; calls for greater research and investment in this area to ensure its safe and effective development; highlights the tremendous opportunities for both larger tech companies and SMEs;

90.  Notes that by reducing human error in the transport sector the system can potentially become more efficient, with fewer accidents, thanks to clearer evaluations and the predictive nature of the technology, fewer delays, with the ability to map traffic patterns and run services on schedule, and greater savings, with fewer driver-related faults and streamlined internal processes;

91.  Notes that the prevalence of autonomous vehicles in the future poses risks to data privacy and technical failures and will shift the liability from the driver to the manufacturer, requiring insurance companies to shift how they incorporate risk into their underwriting;

92.  Notes that voice communication is increasingly used in interaction with vehicles and transport systems but these features are only available for a handful of European languages, so it should be ensured that all Europeans can use these possibilities in their mother tongue;

3.1.5.Agriculture and the food chain

93.  Notes that AI has the potential to catalyse a disruptive transformation of the current food system towards a more diverse, resilient, regionally adapted and healthy model for the future;

94.  Notes the role that AI can play in efforts to help tackle food security issues, predict famine and foodborne-disease outbreaks, reduce food loss and waste and improve sustainable management of land, water and other environmental resources critical to ecosystem health;

95.  Highlights that AI can intervene at critical points along the food system value chain from production to consumption and enhance our capacity to fundamentally alter the way we produce, process and buy food by better informing land-use planning practices;

96.  Notes that AI can improve resource management and input efficiency, help reduce post-harvest waste and influence consumption choices;

97.  Notes that AI in the form of precision farming holds the potential for disruptive transformation of agricultural production, as well as broader land management, by improving land use planning, predicting land use change and monitoring crop health, while also having the potential to transform the prediction of extreme weather events;

98.  Notes that AI can radically alter the delivery of inputs, pest control and farm management, influence farming practices, alter the way insurance products are delivered and help predict and avoid future famine and severe acute malnutrition outbreaks;

99.  Notes that AI can lead to better decisions about how to manage farm systems and stimulate the development of decision-support and recommendation systems by improving farm efficiencies and farm health;

3.1.6.Cybersecurity

100.  Notes that cybersecurity is an important aspect of AI, especially given the challenges for transparency in high level AI; considers that the technological perspective, including auditing of the source code, and requirements for transparency and accountability should be complemented by an institutional approach dealing with the challenges of introducing AI developed in other countries into the EU single market;

101.  Calls for the swift implementation of the Cybersecurity Act; notes that the development of EU certification schemes should ensure a more resilient development and deployment of safe AI and robotic systems;

102.  Considers that AI can simultaneously be a cybersecurity threat and the tool for fighting cyber-attacks; believes that the EU Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) should prepare an action plan on cybersecurity in the area of AI, which should assess and address threats and weaknesses specific to AI;

103.  Underlines the importance of strengthening the industrial base as a strategic component of secure AI development; emphasises that in order to ensure an ambitious level of cybersecurity, data protection and trusted ICT services, Europe must invest in its technological independence; stresses the urgent need for the EU to develop its own infrastructure, data centres, cloud systems and components, such as graphics processors and chips;

104.  Notes that as AI evolves and hackers become more sophisticated, it will be imperative to have strong cybersecurity solutions;

105.  Recognises that implementation of AI solutions in cybersecurity will make the forecasting, prevention and mitigation of threats possible;

106.  Highlights that while AI will be able to provide greater coverage for the detection of threats, it is imperative to have human interpretation of these threats in order to detect whether they are genuine or not;

107.  Calls on the Commission to explore the use of blockchain-based cybersecurity applications that improve the resilience, trust and robustness of AI infrastructures through disintermediated models of data encryption; calls on the Commission to explore the possibility of rewarding citizens for their data by means of tokens;

108.  Calls on the Commission to reinforce the EU’s cybersecurity capacity by further combining and coordinating efforts across Europe;

3.1.7.SMEs

109.  Recognises the importance of SMEs for the success of AI; welcomes the Commission initiative to create an AI on-demand platform that will boost technology transfer and catalyse the growth of start-ups and SMEs; calls on the Commission to promote digital innovation hubs for AI that do not lead to the creation of additional administration layers but instead focus on accelerating investments in projects that have proved to be efficient;

110.  Notes that the costs of investing in AI leads to high barriers to entry for SMEs; recognises that widespread adoption of AI by consumers would de-risk this investment for SMEs;

111.  Highlights the need to promote both the adoption of AI by SMEs and the use of it by consumers;

112.  Stresses the importance of targeted measures to ensure that SMEs and start-ups are able to adopt and benefit from AI technologies; believes that impact assessments of the effects of new EU legislation on the technological development of AI should be mandatory, and that such impact assessments should also be considered at national level;

113.  Underlines that AI can be an enabler for SMEs but also increases the leverage of big early adopters and developers; points to the need, therefore, from a competition point of view, to ensure that new distortions are properly evaluated and addressed;

4.Legal framework for artificial intelligence and robotics

114.  Calls on the Commission, with a view to fostering a regulatory environment favourable to the development of AI and in line with the principle of better regulation, to regularly re-evaluate current legislation to ensure that it is fit for purpose with respect to AI while also respecting EU fundamental values, and to seek to amend or substitute new proposals where this is shown not to be the case;

115.  Welcomes the setup of AI-based participative platforms allowing citizens to be successfully heard and to interact with governments by making proposals, including through participatory budgets and other instruments of direct democracy; stresses that bottom-up projects can foster citizen participation and help people make informed decisions in a more effective and democratic way;

116.  Notes that AI is a notion encompassing a wide range of products and applications, from automation, algorithms and narrow artificial intelligence to general artificial intelligence; considers that a comprehensive law or regulation on AI should be approached with caution, as sectoral regulation may provide policies that are general enough but also refined up to the level where they are meaningful for the industrial sector;

117.  Stresses that the policy framework must be designed to encourage the development of all kinds of AI and not only deep learning systems, which require a huge amount of data;

4.1.An internal market for artificial intelligence

118.  Underlines the importance of the principle of mutual recognition in the cross-border use of smart goods, including robots and robotic systems; recalls that, when necessary, testing, certification and product safety should ensure that certain goods are safe by design and by default; notes in this context the importance of also working on the ethical aspects of AI;

119.  Underlines that EU legislation related to the implementation of the Digital Single Market strategy should remove barriers to the deployment of AI; calls on the Commission to evaluate where it is necessary to update policy and regulatory frameworks in order to build a single European market for AI;

120.  Recognises that robotics and AI technologies are increasingly used in autonomous vehicles, such as autonomous cars and civilian drones; notes that some Member States are already enacting or considering legislation in this area in particular, which could result in a patchwork of national legislation hampering the development of autonomous vehicles; calls, therefore, for a single set of Union rules that strikes the right balance between the interests of and potential risks for users, businesses and other concerned parties, while avoiding over-regulation in robotics and AI systems;

121.  Urges the Member States to modernise their professional training and education systems in order to take into account scientific progress and developments in the field of AI, in line with the Proportionality Test Directive(10) and the Professional Qualifications Directive(11), and to make EU professional services globally competitive in the coming decades;

122.  Stresses that AI applies to a variety of sectors where standardisation is of high relevance, such as smart manufacturing, robotics, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, healthcare and data analysis, and believes that EU-wide standardisation for AI will foster innovation and guarantee a high level of consumer protection; acknowledges that, while a significant number of standards on issues such as safety, reliability, interoperability and security exist, further promotion and development of common standards for robotics and AI is necessary and should be part of the Union’s priorities; calls on the Commission, in cooperation with EU standardisation bodies, to continue to engage proactively with international standardisation bodies on improving standards in this field;

123.  Recalls that many policy aspects relevant for AI-enabled services, including rules on consumer protection and policy on ethics and liability, are covered by the existing regulatory framework on services, namely the Services Directive(12), the Professional Qualifications Directive and the e-Commerce Directive(13); underlines, in this context, that humans must always be ultimately responsible for decision-making, especially for professional services such as the medical, legal and accounting professions; considers that reflection is needed on whether supervision by a qualified professional is necessary, with a view to protecting legitimate public interest objectives and providing high-quality services;

124.  Recognises the importance of improved digital services such as virtual assistants, chatbots and virtual agents, bringing unprecedented operational efficiencies, while duly acknowledging the need to develop a human-centric, market-driven AI to produce better and more reliable decisions in view of the limits to the autonomy of AI and robotics;

4.2.Personal data and privacy

125.  Stresses that a high level of safety, security and privacy must be ensured with respect to data used for communication between people and robots and artificial intelligence; calls on the Commission and the Member States therefore to integrate the security and privacy by design principles in their policies related to robotics and artificial intelligence;

126.  Reiterates that the right to the protection of private life and the right to the protection of personal data as enshrined in Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union apply to all areas of robotics and artificial intelligence and that the Union legal framework for data protection must be fully complied with; underlines the responsibility of designers of robotic systems and artificial intelligence to develop products in such a way that they are safe, secure and fit for purpose and follow procedures for data processing compliant with existing legislation, confidentiality, anonymity, fair treatment and due process;

127.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that any Union legislation on artificial intelligence includes measures and rules which take into account the rapid technological evolution in this field, so as to ensure that Union legislation does not lag behind the curve of technological development and deployment; stresses the need for such legislation to be compliant with rules on privacy and data protection; calls for the review of rules, principles and criteria regarding the use of cameras and sensors in robots and with regard to artificial intelligence in accordance with the Union legal framework for data protection;

128.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that any future EU regulatory framework on AI guarantees the privacy and confidentiality of communications, personal data protection, including the principles of lawfulness, fairness and transparency, data protection by design and default, purpose limitation, storage limitation, accuracy, and data minimisation in full compliance with Union data protection law, as well as security, personal safety and other fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and information;

129.  Stresses that the right to privacy must always be respected and individuals must not be personally identifiable; underlines that an AI developer should always have clear, unambiguous and informed consent and that AI designers have a responsibility to develop and follow procedures for valid consent, confidentiality, anonymity, fair treatment and due process; stresses that designers must comply with any requests that any related data be destroyed and removed from any datasets;

130.  Recalls that Regulation (EU) 2018/1807 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union(14) states that ‘if technological developments make it possible to turn anonymised data into personal data, such data are to be treated as personal data, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)(15) is to apply accordingly’;

4.3.Liability

131.  Welcomes the Commission’s initiative to create the Expert Group on Liability and New Technologies with the aim of providing the EU with expertise on the applicability of the Product Liability Directive(16) to traditional products, new technologies and new societal challenges (Product Liability Directive formation) and assisting the EU in developing principles that can serve as guidelines for possible adaptations of applicable laws at EU and national level relating to new technologies (New Technologies formation);

132.  Regrets, however, that no legislative proposal was put forward during this legislature, thereby delaying the update of the liability rules at EU level and threatening the legal certainty across the EU in this area for both traders and consumers;

133.  Notes that AI engineers or the companies employing them should remain accountable for the social, environmental and human health impacts that AI systems or robotics may have on present and future generations;

4.4.Consumer protection and empowerment

134.  Underlines that consumer trust is essential to the development of AI and that AI-based systems deal with more and more consumer data, which makes them prime targets for cyber-attacks; also highlights the fact that AI must function in a way that is not detrimental to citizens and consumers, and considers that the integrity of the data and algorithms it relies on must therefore be ensured;

135.  Considers that AI technologies developed for both manufacturing and individual use should be subject to product safety checks by market surveillance authorities and consumer protection rules ensuring, where appropriate, minimum safety standards and addressing the risk of accidents resulting from interaction with, or working in proximity to, humans; believes that ethical issues and issues of data protection, including third-party and personal data, civil liability and cybersecurity, should be considered in any policy on AI;

4.5.Intellectual property rights

136.  Recalls its above-mentioned resolution of 16 February 2017 in which it noted that there are no legal provisions that specifically apply to robotics, but that existing legal regimes and doctrines can be readily applied to robotics, although some aspects appear to call for specific consideration; renews the call made in that resolution on the Commission to support a horizontal and technologically neutral approach to intellectual property applicable to the various sectors in which robotics could be employed;

137.  Welcomes in this regard the communication from the Commission to the Institutions on Guidance on certain aspects of Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the enforcement of intellectual property rights(17) (COM(2017)0708) but underlines the need to monitor the relevance and efficiency of rules on intellectual property rights to govern the development of AI; underlines, in this context, the importance of fitness checks;

5.Ethical aspects

138.  Believes that artificial intelligence actions and applications should comply with ethical principles and relevant national, Union and international law;

139.  Calls for the creation of an ethical charter of best practice for AI and robotics that companies and experts should follow;

140.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote strong and transparent cooperation between the public and private sectors and academia that would reinforce knowledge sharing, and to promote education and training for designers on ethical implications, safety, and respect for fundamental rights, as well as for consumers on the use of robotics and artificial intelligence, with a particular focus on safety and data privacy;

141.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that applications based on AI should not use data collected from various sources without first receiving the consent of the data subject; calls on the Commission to create a framework that makes sure that consent given by the data subject will generate data only for the intended purposes;

142.  Calls on the Commission to respect the right of citizens to an offline life and to ensure that there is no discrimination against citizens on whom no data has been recorded;

5.1.Human-centric technology

143.  Stresses that ethical rules must be in place to ensure human-centric AI development, the accountability and transparency of algorithmic decision-making systems, clear liability rules and fairness;

144.  Welcomes the Commission’s initiative to set up the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, as well as the EU AI alliance network, with the aim of delivering ethical guidelines for AI; calls on the Commission to ensure the largest possible uptake of those ethical guidelines by the industry, academia and public authorities; recommends that Member States incorporate the guidelines into their national AI strategies and develop real accountability structures for industries and governments as they design and deploy AI;

145.  Considers that continuous follow-up on the implementation of the AI ethical guidelines and its impact on the development of human-centric AI is essential; calls on the Commission to analyse whether the voluntary ethical guidelines are sufficient to ensure that the inclusive, ethically embedded uptake of AI does not generate economic and social divides in EU societies, and suggest regulatory and policy measures if necessary;

146.  Notes the recent developments in monitoring and adapting to behavioural analytics; calls on the Commission to develop an ethical framework that limits its use; urges the Commission to create awareness and launch an information campaign on AI and its use as regards behavioural analytics;

5.2.Embedded values in technology – ethical-by-design

147.  Points out that the guiding ethical framework should be based on the principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice, on the principles and values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, such as human dignity, equality, justice and equity, non-discrimination, informed consent, private and family life and data protection, as well as on other underlying principles and values of Union law, such as non-stigmatisation, transparency, autonomy, individual responsibility and social responsibility, and on existing ethical practices and codes;

148.  Believes that Europe should take the lead on the global stage by deploying only ethically embedded AI; underlines that, to achieve this, the governance of ethics in AI must be ensured at different levels; recommends that the Member States establish AI ethics monitoring and oversight bodies and encourage companies developing AI to set up ethics boards and draw up ethical guidelines for their AI developers;

149.  Stresses that European standards for AI must be based on the principles of digital ethics, human dignity, respect for fundamental rights, data protection, and security, thus contributing to building trust among users; emphasises the importance of capitalising on the EU’s potential for creating a strong infrastructure for AI systems rooted in high standards of data and respect for humans; notes that transparency and explainability need to be embedded in the development of AI;

150.  Notes that automated weapons systems should continue to have a human-in-command approach to artificial intelligence;

5.3.Decision-making – limits to the autonomy of artificial intelligence and robotics

151.  Stresses the difficulty and complexity of predicting the future behaviours of many complex AI systems and the emerging behaviours of interacting AI systems; asks the Commission to evaluate whether there is a need for specific regulations related to AI-enabled decision-making;

152.  Notes that artificial intelligence will remain a useful tool for collaboration in human action to improve its performance and reduce errors;

153.  Calls for people to have a right to know, a right of appeal and a right to redress when AI is used for decisions affecting individuals which carry a significant risk to an individual’s rights or freedom or may cause them harm;

154.  Stresses that algorithms in decision-making systems should not be deployed without a prior algorithmic impact assessment (AIA), unless it is clear that they have no significant impact on the life of individuals;

155.  Believes that artificial intelligence, especially systems with built-in autonomy, including the capability to independently extract, collect and share sensitive information with various stakeholders, and the possibility of self-learning or even evolving to self-modify, should be subject to robust principles; stresses that AI systems must not keep or disclose personal confidential information without explicit approval from the source of that information;

5.4.Transparency, bias and explainability of algorithms

156.  Points out that while AI brings great benefits in automation and decision-making, it also carries an inherent risk when the algorithms are static and opaque; stresses, in this context, the need for greater transparency with regard to algorithms;

157.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the data protection authorities to identify and take all possible measures to prevent or minimise algorithmic discrimination and bias and to develop a strong common ethical framework for the transparent processing of personal data and automated decision-making to guide data usage and the enforcement of Union law;

158.  Underlines that any AI system must be developed with respect for the principles of transparency and algorithmic accountability allowing for human understanding of its actions; notes that in order to build trust in and enable the progress of AI, users must be aware of how their data, as well as other data and data inferred from their data, is used when they are communicating or interacting with an AI system or with humans supported by an AI system; believes that this will contribute to better understanding and confidence among users; stresses that the intelligibility of decisions must be an EU standard in accordance with Articles 13, 14 and 15 of the GDPR; recalls that the GDPR already provides for a right to be informed about the logic involved in data processing; stresses that, in accordance with Article 22 of the GDPR, individuals have the right to obtain human intervention when a decision based on automated processing significantly affects them;

159.  Highlights that the Commission, the European Data Protection Board, national data protection authorities and other independent supervisory authorities should henceforth play a crucial role in the promotion of transparency and due process, legal certainty in general and, more specifically, concrete standards protecting fundamental rights and guarantees associated with the use of data processing and analytics; calls for closer collaboration among authorities charged with overseeing or regulating conduct in the digital environment; calls for adequate funding and staffing of such authorities;

160.  Acknowledges that machine learning algorithms are trained to learn by themselves, benefiting automation and decision-making; calls for AI ethics guidelines to address issues related to algorithmic transparency, explainability, accountability and fairness;

161.  Highlights the importance of the explainability of AI systems’ outputs, processes and values, making them understandable to non-technical audiences and providing them with meaningful information, which is necessary to evaluate fairness and gain trust;

162.  Points out that the lack of transparency with respect to these technologies and their applications raises a number of ethical issues;

163.  Notes that AI systems should be explainable to humans and should provide meaningful information so that feedback can be given; recognises that the strength of AI models is dependent on feedback and reassessment and encourages this process;

164.  Notes that citizens are concerned about not knowing when AI is being used and what information will be processed; recommends clear disclosure when AI is being used by citizens; stresses that, in order to maintain consumer trust, it is important that data transmitted remains secure;

165.  Considers that algorithmic accountability should be regulated by policymakers through impact assessments based on established parameters;

166.  Notes that disclosing the computer code itself will not solve the AI transparency issue, because it would not reveal the inherent biases that exist and would fail to explain the machine-learning process; underlines that transparency means not only transparency of code, but also of data and automated decision-making;

167.  Acknowledges that the disclosure of source code could lead to misuse and the gaming of algorithms;

168.  Highlights the importance of tackling developer bias, and thus the need for a diverse workforce in all branches of the IT sector, as well as safeguard mechanisms, to avoid biases based on gender and age embedded into AI systems;

169.  Acknowledges that revealing the code or trade secrets would also discourage companies from R&D of new code since their intellectual property would be at risk; notes that development of AI should encourage instead the interpretability of models and their interaction with the input and training data;

170.  Acknowledges that although transparency and explainability may reveal deficiencies, they do not guarantee reliability, security and fairness; considers accountability, therefore, to be integral to achieving trustworthy artificial intelligence, which can be attained via different means, such as AIAs, auditing and certification;

171.  Stresses the need for the development of protocols for the ongoing monitoring and detection of algorithmic bias;

172.  Points out that designers of algorithms should ensure that essential requirements such as fairness and explainability are adhered to from the beginning of the design phase and throughout the development cycle;

173.  Νotes the need for guidelines describing good development practices;

174.  Stresses the importance of showing lineage in order to be able to trace the history of the AI model; considers that this will improve understanding of the models and help establish trust based on their history;

175.  Stresses that the use of AI systems must be clearly identified in interactions with users;

176.  Stresses that the dissemination of artificial intelligence and robotics should take place while fully respecting human rights and that on no account should stereotypes against women, or any other form of discrimination, be reproduced in machines and robots;

177.  Points out that even high-quality training data can lead to a perpetuation of existing discrimination and injustice when not used carefully and consciously; notes that the use of low-quality, outdated, incomplete or incorrect data at different stages of data processing may lead to poor predictions and assessments and in turn bias, which can eventually result in infringements of the fundamental rights of individuals or purely incorrect conclusions or false outcomes; believes, therefore, that it is important in the age of big data to ensure that algorithms are trained on representative samples of high-quality data in order to achieve statistical parity; emphasises that even if accurate high-quality data is used, predictive analysis based on AI can only offer a statistical probability; recalls that, under the GDPR, the further processing of personal data for statistical purposes, including AI training, may only result in aggregate data which cannot be re-applied to individuals;

178.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that anyone who produces deepfake material or synthetic videos, or any other realistically made synthetic videos, explicitly states that they are not original;

179.  Notes that AI inherently relies on gathering large amounts of data, and often on the creation of new databases that are used to make assumptions about people; believes that emphasis should be placed on identifying and building response mechanisms for potential threats to ensure mitigation of negative effects;

180.  Reiterates that AI systems should not create or reinforce bias; underlines that, when developing and using algorithms, considerations around bias and fairness must be included at all stages, from design to implementation; underlines that the dataset and algorithm must be assessed and regularly tested to ensure accurate decision-making;

6.Governance

6.1.Coordination at Union level

181.  Calls on the Commission to work towards developing strong EU leadership to prevent duplication and fragmentation of efforts and ensure coherent national-level policies and the exchange of best practices for wider usage of AI;

182.  Welcomes the different national strategies developed by the Member States; welcomes the Commission’s Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence, published on 7 December 2018; calls for better cooperation between the Member States and the Commission in this regard;

183.  Notes that a number of Member States already have their own national AI strategies and welcomes the fact that all Member States signed a Declaration on Cooperation on Artificial Intelligence in April 2018; welcomes also the upcoming coordinated plan on AI between the Commission and the Member States, but calls on all the parties involved to strive for the highest possible level of cooperation;

184.  Believes that enhanced cooperation between the Member States and the Commission is necessary in order to guarantee coherent cross-border rules in the Union which encourage collaboration between European industries and allow the deployment across the entire Union of AI which is consistent with the required levels of safety and security, as well as the ethical principles enshrined in Union law;

185.  Stresses that a harmonised, risk-based and progressive EU data policy framework would increase trust and support the path of AI in Europe, thereby ensuring the completion of the Digital Single Market and increasing the productivity of Europe-based businesses;

186.  Recommends that existing and future AI-related initiatives and pilot projects carried out by the Commission should be closely coordinated, possibly under the guidance of the proposed oversight mechanism, so as to realise synergy effects and ensure the creation of real added value while avoiding costly double structures;

187.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider the creation of a European regulatory agency for AI and algorithmic decision-making tasked with:

   Establishing a risk assessment matrix for classifying algorithm types and application –domains according to their potential for a significant negative impact on citizens;
   Investigating the use of algorithmic systems where a case of infringement of human rights is suspected (with evidence provided by a whistle-blower, for example);
   Advising other regulatory agencies about algorithmic systems falling within their remit;
   Enhancing the effectiveness of the tort liability mechanism as a means to regulate accountability of algorithmic systems by providing a contact point for citizens who are not familiar with legal procedures;
   Auditing the AIAs of high-level impact systems to approve or reject the proposed uses of algorithmic decision-making in highly sensitive and/or safety-critical application domains (private health-care, for instance); the AIA for private sector applications could follow a very similar process to the one proposed for the public sector, with the possible difference that the various stages of public disclosure could be handled as confidential communication to the regulatory agency (under a non-disclosure agreement) in order to safeguard vital trade secrets;
   Investigating suspected cases of rights violations by algorithmic decision-making systems, for both individual decision instances (singular aberrant outcomes, for example) and statistical decision patterns (discriminatory bias, for instance); investigations could be triggered following the lodging of complaints, or on the basis of evidence provided by whistle-blowers, investigative journalists or independent researchers (including NGOs and academics);

188.  Notes the ongoing work on AI by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and urges the Member States to coordinate their ISO members to ensure that European interests are represented accordingly in the development of standards in this area;

6.2.International governance

189.  Welcomes the creation of the OECD AI Policy Observatory and calls for greater ambition in developing a roadmap for further cooperation;

190.  Stresses the different models being developed in third countries, specifically in the US, China, Russia and Israel, and highlights the values-based approach used in Europe and the need to work with international partners in bilateral and multilateral settings, for the ethical advancement and adoption of AI; recognises that this technology does not have any borders and requires cooperation beyond that of the EU Member States alone;

191.  Calls on the Commission to work at an international level to ensure the greatest consistency between international players and to advocate EU ethical principles worldwide;

192.  Underlines that AI is a technology with a global impact, providing shared benefits and posing similar challenges; points to the need for a global approach, as in the case of the economic system, and especially in the case of a technology that has a significant impact on the markets; stresses the need for AI to be put on the agenda of existing institutions and organisations, and calls for an assessment of the need for additional fora, which should be created if necessary;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 239.
(2) OJ C 307, 30.8.2018, p. 163.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0341.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0332.
(5) OJ L 252, 8.10.2018, p. 1.
(6) COM(2018)0237.
(7) Future and Emerging Technologies.
(8) OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2017.
(9) Special Eurobarometer 460.
(10) Directive (EU) 2018/958 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 June 2018 on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions, OJ L 173, 9.7.2018, p. 25.
(11) Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 amending Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (‘the IMI Regulation’), OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 132.
(12) Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market, OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36.
(13) Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’), OJ L 178, 17.7.2000, p. 1.
(14) OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 59.
(15) 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, OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(16) Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products, OJ L 210, 7.8.1985, p. 29.
(17) OJ L 195, 2.6.2004, p. 16.


Sustainable use of pesticides
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides (2017/2284(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0082A8-0045/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directive 79/117/EEC(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC (Maximum Residue Level Regulation)(3),

–  having regard to Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC(5);

–  having regard to the European Implementation Assessment on the Regulation and to its relevant annexes, as published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) in April 2018,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 637/2008 and Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009(6),

–  having regard to Council Directive 98/24/EC of 7 April 1998 on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work(7) and to Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work(8),

–  having regard to Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive)(9) and to Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (the Wild Birds Directive)(10),

–  having regard to Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption(11),

–  having regard to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy(12),

–  having regard to Commission Directive 2009/90/EC of 31 July 2009 laying down, pursuant to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, technical specifications for chemical analysis and monitoring of water status(13),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/127/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 amending Directive 2006/42/EC with regard to machinery for pesticide application(14),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/39/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 amending Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as regards priority substances in the field of water policy(15),

–  having regard to the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by Member States under the common agricultural policy (CAP Strategic Plans) and financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (COM(2018)0392),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document entitled ‘Agriculture and Sustainable Water Management in the EU’ (SWD(2017)0153),

–  having regard to the communication of 12 July 2006 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘A thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides’ (COM(2006)0373 - SEC(2006)0894 - SEC(2006)0895 - SEC(2006)0914),(16)

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on enhancing innovation and economic development in future European farm management(17),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on technological solutions for sustainable agriculture in the EU(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 February 2017 on low-risk pesticides of biological origin(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 October 2017 on the draft Commission implementing regulation renewing the approval of the active substance glyphosate in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011(20),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 March 2018 on prospects and challenges for the EU apiculture sector(21),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on the implementation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009(22),

–  having regard to the ongoing European Implementation Assessment on Directive 2009/128/EC on establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides and to the report published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) on 15 October 2018,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 concerning statistics on pesticides(23),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 concerning statistics on pesticides (COM(2017)0109),

–  having regard to the Special Report of 2014 of the European Court of Auditors entitled ‘Integration of EU water policy objectives with the CAP: a partial success’,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 10 October 2017 on Member State National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides (COM(2017)0587),

–  having regard to the overview report of October 2017 by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) on the implementation of Member States’ measures to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides under Directive 2009/128/EC(24),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 November 2016 entitled ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future: European Action for Sustainability’ (COM(2016)0739),

–  having regard to the 7th Environment Action Programme(25),

–  having regard to the 2017 UN report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food drafted pursuant to UN Human Rights Council resolutions 6/2, 31/10 and 32/8(26),

–  having regard to the Implementation Plan on increasing low-risk plant protection product availability and accelerating integrated pest management implementation in Member States, developed by the Expert Group on Sustainable Plant Protection and endorsed by the Council on 28 June 2016(27),

–  having regard to the resolution of the French Senate of 19 May 2017 on limiting the use of pesticides in the European Union(28),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides(29)

–  having regard to the scientific study on flying insect biomass published on 18 October 2017(30),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0045/2019),

A.  whereas Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the sustainable use of pesticides (hereinafter ‘the Directive’) provides for a range of actions to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the EU, by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and promoting the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and alternative plant protection approaches or techniques, such as non-chemical alternatives and low-risk plant protection products (PPPs) as defined in Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, the aim being to reduce pesticide dependency and safeguard human and animal health and the environment;

B.  whereas the Directive is a valuable tool for ensuring that the environment, ecosystems, and human and animal health are well protected from hazardous substances in pesticides, while providing sustainable and ecological solutions for a larger and more varied toolbox to eliminate and prevent yield losses caused by pests, disease, weeds and invasive alien species and combating pathogen resistance build-up; whereas a full and comprehensive implementation of the Directive is a prerequisite for achieving a high degree of protection and accomplishing a transition towards sustainable agriculture, the production of safe and healthy food, and a non-toxic environment which ensures a high level of protection for human and animal health;

C.  whereas whilst IPM can help to prevent yield losses caused by pests, its main purposes is to enable users of pesticides to switch to practices and products with the lowest risk to human health and the environment, as outlined in Article 14 of the Directive; notes that, in any case, many studies have shown that pesticide use can be significantly reduced without any negative impacts on yield;

D.  whereas the Directive has to be read in conjunction with the other two main pieces of legislation covering the complete lifecycle of a pesticide, starting from its placing on the market (Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009) and ending with the setting of maximum residue levels (Regulation (EC) No 396/2005); whereas it is therefore impossible to achieve the Directive’s objective of protecting human health and the environment from the risks associated with the use of pesticides without fully implementing and properly enforcing the entire ‘pesticides package’;

E.  whereas, in order to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment, the Commission and the Member States should address the issue of counterfeit and illegal pesticides, as well as the worrying problem of imported agricultural products treated with chemicals that are either banned or restricted in the EU;

F.  whereas the current practices of the Commission and the Member States regarding the approval of active substances and authorisation of plant protection products are not compatible with the objectives and purpose of the directive; whereas these current practices impede attaining the highest possible level of protection and achieving the transition to a sustainable agricultural sector and a non-toxic environment;

G.  whereas the available evidence clearly shows that the implementation of the directive is not sufficiently aligned with related EU policies in the field of pesticides, agriculture and sustainable development, notably but not exclusively the common agricultural policy (CAP) and the Plant Protection Products Regulation; whereas the directive, alongside related actions at EU level, has great potential to further enhance and add value to national efforts and actions in the agricultural sector and strengthen protection for the environment and human health;

H.  whereas the current regulatory framework, including the data requirements, was designed for the assessment and management of chemical PPPs, and is thus ill-fitting for low-risk biological active substances and products; whereas this ill-fitting framework is significantly slowing down the market entry of low-risk biological PPPs, often deterring applicants; whereas this hinders innovation and hampers the competitiveness of EU agriculture; whereas this also leads to over 60 active substances identified by the European Commission as candidates for substitution not being replaced given the lack of safer alternatives, including low-risk biological active substances;

I.  whereas there is a lack of availability of low-risk PPPs, including biological ones; whereas only 13 substances are approved as low-risk active substances, 12 of these being biological, out of a total of almost 500 available on the EU market; whereas the insufficient implementation of the directive has de facto created an unlevelled playing field in Europe with diverging national practices impeding the optimal uptake of sustainable alternatives on the market; whereas this situation has made it difficult for alternative low-risk and non-chemical products to sufficiently penetrate the EU market, which reduces their attractiveness to farmers, who may instead opt for more cost-effective alternatives in the short term; whereas the lack of availability of low-risk PPPs, including biological ones, hinders the development and implementation of integrated pest management (IPM);

J.  whereas organic agriculture plays an important role as a low-pesticide input system and should be further encouraged;

K.  whereas there is increasing evidence of an ongoing massive decline in the insect population in Europe, which is being linked to current levels of pesticide use; whereas the observed sharp decline in insect numbers has negative impacts on the entire ecosystem and on biological diversity, but also on the agricultural sector and its future economic wellbeing and output;

L.  whereas Europe currently stands at a crossroads that will determine the future of the agriculture sector and the Union’s possibilities of achieving a sustainable use of pesticides, most notably through the reform of the CAP; whereas reforming the CAP brings with it a substantial potential to strengthen the streamlining and harmonisation of policies as well as the implementation of the directive, and to facilitate the transition towards more environmentally sustainable agricultural practices;

M.  whereas the use of conventional PPPs is increasingly subject to public debate, owing to the potential risks they pose to human and animal health and the environment;

N.  whereas it is important to promote the development of alternative procedures or techniques in order to reduce dependence on conventional pesticides and deal with the rising resistance to conventional PPPs;

O.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 obliges the Council to ensure that the statutory management requirement as laid down in Annex III to Council Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 of 29 September 2003 establishing common rules for direct support schemes under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers(31) incorporates the principles of IPM, including good plant protection practice and non-chemical methods of plant protection and pest and crop management;

P.  whereas IPM implementation is mandatory in the EU, in line with the directive; whereas Member States and local authorities should place more emphasis on the sustainable use of pesticides, including low-risk plant protection alternatives;

Q.  whereas the ‘sustainable use’ of pesticides cannot be realised without taking into account human exposure to combinations of active substances and co-formulants, as well as their cumulative and possible aggregate and synergistic effects on human health;

Main conclusions

1.  Recalls the specific objectives of the Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides as, inter alia, the minimisation of hazards and risks to health and the environment from the use of pesticides; improved controls on the use and distribution of pesticides; reduction in the levels of harmful active substances including through substituting the most dangerous with safer, including non-chemical alternatives; encouraging low-input or pesticide free cultivation; and the establishment of a transparent system for reporting and monitoring progress towards the fulfilment of the objectives of the strategy, including through the development of suitable indicators;

2.  Considers it essential to evaluate the implementation of the Directive in conjunction with the EU’s overarching pesticides policy, including the rules laid down by the Plant Protection Products Regulation, by Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 (the Biocides Regulation)(32), by the Maximum Residue Level Regulation, and by Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 (the General Food Law)(33);

3.  Regrets that, despite efforts made, the overall degree of progress in implementation by the Member States is insufficient to meet the Directive’s main objectives and to unlock its full potential to reduce the overall risks deriving from pesticide use while also reducing pesticide dependency, promote the transition towards ecologically sustainable and safe plant protection techniques, and achieve the urgently needed environmental and health improvements the Directive was specifically designed for; deplores the three-year delay in submission of the implementation report on the directive by the Commission;

4.  Emphasises that the implementation of the Directive must be comprehensive and cover all the required aspects, and that partial implementation, i.e. of certain elements but not others, is insufficient to realise the Directive’s overarching purpose of achieving a sustainable use of pesticides; underlines the fact that the implementation of IPM practices, such as non-chemical alternatives and low-risk PPPs, plays a particularly important role in efforts to achieve this objective;

5.  Notes that the Commission's 2017 progress report identifies significant gaps in the National Action Plans (NAPs) of Member States, suggesting a lower commitment to protecting the environment and health in some countries, possibly resulting in unfair market competition and an undermining of the single market; reserves the right to refer non-compliant Member States to the Commissioner for competition;

6.  Expresses concern at the fact that approximately 80 % of Member States’ NAPs contain no specific information on how to quantify the achievement of many of the objectives and targets, particularly as regards targets for IPM and aquatic protection measures; stresses that this greatly complicates the process of measuring the progress made by Member States in fulfilling the main objectives and purpose of the Directive;

7.  Is concerned by the fact that the NAPs are inconsistent as regards the establishment of quantitative objectives, targets, measures and timetables for the various action areas, making it impossible to assess the progress made; regrets that only five NAPs set high-level measurable targets, of which four relate to risk reduction and only one to use reduction; regrets the fact that only 11 Member States have produced a revised NAP to date, although the deadline for revision was the end of 2017;

8.  Regrets the fact that in many Member States there is not sufficient commitment to IPM practices based on its eight principles with the prioritisation of non-chemical alternatives to pesticides; regrets that one of the main challenges regarding the implementation of IPM, which is the cornerstone of the Directive, seems to be the current lack of appropriate control instruments and methods to assess compliance in the Member States, as well as of clear rules and guidance; underlines the fact that comprehensive implementation of IPM is one of the key measures for reducing dependency on pesticide use in sustainable agriculture, which is environmentally friendly, economically viable and socially responsible and contributes to Europe’s food security while strengthening biodiversity and human and animal health, boosting the rural economy and reducing costs for farmers by facilitating the market uptake of non-chemical alternatives and low-risk PPPs in the different European zones; stresses that additional financial incentives and educational measures are needed to strengthen the uptake of IPM practices by individual farms;

9.  Considers that IPM represents a valuable tool for farmers to combat pests and disease and to ensure production yields; notes that an increased uptake of IPM serves the dual purpose of strengthening the protection of the environment and biodiversity, as well as reducing costs for farmers to switch to more sustainable alternatives and reduce the use of conventional pesticides; believes that a greater effort is needed to encourage the uptake of IPM, via research and through Member States' advisory bodies; recalls that IPM can play an important role in reducing the quantities and varieties of pesticides used;

10.  Notes that within the IPM toolkit, biological control involves boosting or introducing beneficial species that predate upon and therefore regulate pest populations, keeping them in check; emphasises, therefore, the importance of preferring sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods to chemical pesticides if they provide satisfactory pest control; stresses also the importance of applying chemical pesticides in a selective and targeted manner, since otherwise those beneficial pest control agents risk being wiped out, leaving the crops more susceptible to future attacks;

11.  Is concerned that very little progress has been made in promoting and incentivising the innovation, development and uptake of low-risk and non-chemical alternatives to conventional pesticides; notes that a mere handful of NAPs contain incentives for the registration of such alternative products and methods; emphasises that minor uses are particularly vulnerable owing to the scarcity of the relevant active substances;

12.  Highlights that sustainable and responsible use of pesticides is a precondition for the authorisation of PPPs;

13.  Regrets the lack of availability of low-risk active substances and PPPs, mainly caused by the lengthy evaluation, authorisation and registration process due partly to the fact that the shorter authorisation time-frame of 120 days for such cases is rarely fulfilled at Member State level; emphasises that the current situation is not compliant with the principles of promoting and implementing IPM, and stresses the importance of the availability of low-risk pesticides, adequate research and the sharing of best practices within and among Member States in order to fully utilise the potential of IPM; considers that a faster approval process would stimulate industry research into the development of new low-risk active ingredients, including innovative low-risk substances, thus ensuring that farmers have sufficient plant protection tools at their disposal and enabling them to switch more rapidly to sustainable PPPs and increase IPM’s efficacy;

14.  Recalls that increased pesticide resistance creates increased use and dependency; notes that greater use of and dependency on pesticides come at a high cost to farmers, both through high input costs and owing to the loss in yields arising from the depletion of soil and reduced soil quality;

15.  Notes that increased availability of low-risk PPPs on the market would reduce the risk of resistance to active ingredients, as well as the effects on non-target species linked to commonly used PPPs;

16.  Notes in this respect that resistance to pesticide active substances is a biological inevitability in fast-reproducing pests and diseases and is a growing problem; stresses, therefore, that sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods must be preferred to chemical pesticides if they provide satisfactory pest control; recalls that chemical pesticides should be used selectively and in a targeted manner; stresses that otherwise these beneficial pest control agents risk being wiped out, leaving the crops more susceptible to future attacks;

17.  Notes further that the best pesticide volume reductions are likely to arise from systemic changes that reduce susceptibility to pest attack, favour structural and biological diversity over monocultures and continuous cropping, and reduce pest resistance to active ingredients; highlights, therefore, the need to focus on, fund and mainstream agro-ecological methods which make the whole farming system more resilient to pests;

18.  Stresses that the CAP in its current form does not sufficiently encourage and incentivise the reduction of farms’ dependency on pesticides and the uptake of organic production techniques; considers that specific policy instruments in the post-2020 CAP are required in order to help change farmers’ behaviour as regards pesticide use;

19.  Deplores the fact that the Commission proposal on the new post-2020 CAP does not incorporate the principle of IPM in the statutory management requirements referred to in Annex III of that proposal; stresses that lack of linkage between the directive and the new CAP model will effectively hamper the reduction of pesticide dependency;

20.  Notes that most Member States use national risk indicators to assess, either entirely or in part, the adverse impact of pesticide use; recalls that in spite of the explicit obligation laid down in Article 15 of the Directive, EU-wide harmonised risk indicators have still not been agreed on by the Member States, which makes it all but impossible to compare the progress made in different Member States and across the Union as a whole; welcomes the adoption, on 25 January 2019, of harmonised risk indicators by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee);

21.  Emphasises the fundamental importance of biodiversity and of robust ecosystems, most notably in the case of bees and other pollinating insects, which are essential in order to ensure a healthy and sustainable agricultural sector; underlines that the protection of biodiversity is not exclusively a matter of protecting the environment, but is also a means to ensure Europe’s sustained food security in the future;

22.  Is deeply concerned about the continuous and potentially irreversible loss of biodiversity in Europe and about the alarming decline of winged insects, including pollinators, as evidenced by the findings of the October 2017 scientific study on flying insect biomass,(34) according to which the flying insect population in 63 nature protection areas in Germany has plummeted by more than 75 % in 27 years; stresses, further, the important decline in common bird species across Europe, possibly arising from the reduced insect population; notes, moreover, the unintentional effects of pesticides on soil and soil organisms(35) and other non-target species; considers that pesticides are one of the main factors responsible for the decline of insects, farmland bird species and other non-target organisms, and further underlines the need for Europe to switch to more sustainable pesticide use and increase the number of non-chemical alternatives and low-risk PPPs for farmers;

23.  Maintains that neonicotinoid-based pesticides are playing a particular role in the worrying decline in bee populations across Europe, as can be seen from a range of international studies which have formed the basis for petitions from citizens bearing hundreds of thousands of signatures from all over the continent;

24.  Recognises the importance of NAPs and IPM in significantly reducing pesticide usage in order to avoid irreversible biodiversity loss while favouring agro-ecological measures and organic farming wherever possible;

25.  Further emphasises that the development of sustainable agricultural choices is necessary to reduce climate change impacts on food security;

26.  Expresses particular concern at the continued use of pesticides with active substances that are mutagenic, carcinogenic or toxic for reproduction, or have endocrine-disrupting characteristics and are damaging to humans or animals; emphasises that the use of such pesticides is incompatible with the objectives and purpose of the Directive;

27.  Emphasises that the aquatic environment is particularly sensitive to pesticides; welcomes the fact that some Member States have taken a range of measures to protect it from them; regrets, however, that most Member States have not established quantitative targets and timetables for measures to protect the aquatic environment from pesticides, and those that have done so have not specified how the achievement of targets or objectives would be measured; believes that the monitoring of currently used pesticides in the aquatic environment should be improved;

28.  Notes that agriculture is one of the main sources that cause water bodies to fail to achieve good chemical status, as it leads to pollution by pesticides; highlights that preventing pesticides entering freshwater systems is more cost-effective than removal technologies, and that Member States must provide appropriate incentives in this regard to farmers; in this regard, also recognises the importance of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive for improving water quality; welcomes the progress made by Member States in tackling priority substances, which has led to fewer water bodies failing to meet standards for substances such as cadmium, lead and nickel, as well as pesticides;

29.  Regrets the fact that the deterioration of water resources has increasingly led to additional treatment by drinking water operators in order to ensure that water intended for human consumption complies with the pesticides limits as enshrined in Council Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption, with the costs being borne by consumers, not polluters;

30.  Stresses that some pesticides are internationally recognised as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), owing to their potential for long-range transport, persistence in the environment and ability to bio-magnify throughout the food chain and bio-accumulate in ecosystems, as well as their significant negative effects on human health;

31.  Welcomes the fact that all Member States have established training and certification schemes regarding the use of PPPs, but regrets that in some Member States training obligations are not met for all required subjects listed in Annex I; underlines the importance of training of users in order to ensure the safe and sustainable use of PPPs; considers it fitting to distinguish between professional and amateur users, given that they are not subject to the same obligations; emphasises that both professional and non-professional users of PPPs should receive adequate training;

32.  Notes the potential of using intelligent technology and precision farming as means to better administer PPPs and to prevent the dispersion thereof in areas where they are not needed, for instance by means of drone or GPS precision technology; stresses, moreover, that the uptake of such solutions could be improved in Member States if better incorporated into training courses and certification schemes for pesticides users in the NAPs;

33.  Stresses that PPPs are used not only in agriculture but also for weed and pest control in areas used by the general public or vulnerable groups as defined in Article 12a of the Directive, including public parks and railways; whereas the use of PPPs in such areas is inappropriate; welcomes the fact that several Member States and numerous regional and local governments have taken action to restrict or prohibit pesticide use in areas used by the general public or vulnerable groups; notes, however, the absence of measurable targets in the majority of Member States;

34.  Expresses concern that many Member States have not interpreted the requirement of Article 12(a) correctly, reading it as referring only to non-agricultural use, while in fact vulnerable groups such as those defined in Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 include residents subject to high pesticide exposure over the long term; notes in addition that the Commission has confirmed that there is no legal reason why agricultural application should be excluded from the provisions of Article 12;

35.  Notes Member States’ continued support for organic agriculture as a low-pesticide input system; welcomes the fact that the number of organic farms has continued to increase in the Union, but notes that progress still varies considerably between Member States;

36.  Notes that organic farmers suffer economic losses when their soil and organic produce are contaminated by pesticide use on neighbouring farms via, for example, drift from pesticide spraying and movement of persistent active substances in the environment; points out that, consequently, due to actions beyond their control, organic farmers may be forced to sell their produce as conventional, losing out on their price premium, or may even be decertified;

37.  Notes that, while Member States generally have systems to gather information on acute pesticide poisoning, the accuracy of this data and its use is questioned; highlights the fact that systems for gathering such information on chronic poisoning have not been widely implemented;

38.  Highlights the fact that EFSA’s latest report on pesticide residues in food showed that 97,2 % of samples throughout Europe were within the legal limits under the EU legislation, which bears witness to an extremely rigorous and safe food production system;

Recommendations

39.  Calls on the Member States to complete the implementation of the Directive without further delay;

40.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are included in any stakeholder activities on pesticides, including the public, as provided for in Directive 2003/35/EC and the Aarhus Convention;

41.  Calls on the Member States to take a proactive role in the practical implementation of the Directive in order to identify gaps and specific areas which require particular attention with respect to the protection of human health and the environment, and not to confine themselves to the usual national transposition and control mechanisms;

42.  Calls on the Member States to acknowledge that the EU must act without delay to transition to a more sustainable use of pesticides, and that the main responsibility for implementing such practices lies with the Member States; emphasises that swift action is essential;

43.  Calls on the Member States to adhere to the established timelines for delivering revised NAPs; urges those Member States that have not yet done so to deliver without further delay, this time with clear quantitative targets and a measurable overall objective of an immediate and long-term effective reduction in the risks and impacts of pesticide use, including clearly defined annual reduction targets and with special attention to the possible effects on pollinators and the fostering and uptake of sustainable non-chemical alternatives and low-risk PPPs, in line with the IPM principles;

44.  Calls on the Commission to propose an ambitious EU-wide binding target for the reduction of pesticide use;

45.  Calls on the Commission to further develop guidance on all the IPM principles and their implementation; asks the Commission in this regard to establish guidelines on the establishment of criteria for measuring and assessing the implementation of IPM in the Member States;

46.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all requisite measures to promote low-risk pesticides, and to prioritise non-chemical options and methods which entail the least risk of harm to health and the natural environment, while ensuring effective and efficient crop protection; stresses that for this to be successful, the economic incentives for farmers to choose such options must be strengthened;

47.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to place greater emphasis on the promotion of the development, research, registration and marketing of low-risk and biological alternatives, including by increasing funding opportunities within Horizon Europe and the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027; recalls the importance of preferring sustainable biological, physical and other non-chemical methods to chemical pesticides if they provide satisfactory pest control; recalls the importance of the added value of ecologically sustainable and safe plant protection techniques;;

48.  Calls on the Commission, without further delay, to deliver on its commitment under the 7th Environment Action Programme to put forward a Union strategy for a non-toxic environment that is conducive to innovation and the development of sustainable substitutes, including non-chemical solutions; expects the Commission to take particular account in this strategy of the impacts of pesticides on the environment and human health;

49.  Encourages more focus on risk reduction, as extensive use of low-risk substances might be more harmful than limited use of high-risk substances;

50.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure better coherence of the Directive and its implementation with related EU legislation and policies, most notably the provisions of the CAP and Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, and in particular to integrate the IPM principles as legal requirements under the CAP, pursuant to Article 14 of the directive;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to strictly limit the number of essential use derogations under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 and update the relevant guidance documents so as to ensure that the risk assessment of pesticides reflects real-life exposure and conditions and takes into account all possible impacts on health and the environment;

52.  Recommends giving Member States the flexibility to apply IPM as part of the greening measures under the CAP;

53.  Welcomes the recent adoption of harmonised risk indicators by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee) and calls on the Member States to move forward with the adoption and implementation of harmonised risk indicators as recently proposed by the Commission, in order to properly monitor the reduction impacts of pesticides;

54.  Calls on the Commission to establish a fully operational and transparent system for the regular collection of statistical data on pesticide use, impacts of occupational and non-occupational exposure to pesticides on human and animal health, and presence of pesticide residues in the environment, especially in soil and water;

55.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote research programmes aimed at determining the impacts of pesticide use on human health, taking into account the full range of toxicological and long-term effects, including immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption and neurodevelopmental toxicity, and focusing on the effects of prenatal exposure to pesticides on children's health;

56.  Urges the Commission to take a risk-based approach to the management and use of commonly used PPPs that is justified by independent, peer-reviewed scientific evidence;

57.  Calls on the Commission to submit, before the end of its current mandate, a specific legislative proposal amending Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, outside of the general revision in connection with the REFIT initiative, with a view to adding a definition and a separate category for ‘naturally occurring substances’ and ‘nature-identical substances’, the criterion for which would be the existing presence and exposure of the substance in nature, as well as to establishing a rigorous fast-track evaluation, authorisation and registration procedure for low-risk biological pesticides, in line with Parliament’s resolutions of 15 February 2017 on low-risk pesticides of biological origin and 13 September 2018 on the implementation of the Plant Protection Products Regulation;

58.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the effective implementation of the Union’s obligations under the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution and the 2004 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and therefore to scale up their efforts to eliminate the manufacturing, placing on the market and use of POP pesticides, together with the establishment of provisions on the disposal of waste containing or contaminated by any of those substances;

59.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that professionally qualified and independent advisory services are available to provide advice and training to end-users on the sustainable use of pesticides, and on IPM in particular;

60.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to place greater emphasis on further investment and research into the development and uptake of precision and digital farming technologies in order to render PPPs more efficient and thus significantly reduce pesticide dependency, as per the aims of the directive, thereby reducing the exposure of both professional users and the general public; considers that the use of digitisation or precision farming should not lead to dependency on inputs or financial indebtedness for farmers;

61.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to no longer allow the use of PPPs in areas used by the general public or vulnerable groups as defined by Article 3(14) of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009;

62.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to pay particular attention to the protection of vulnerable groups, as defined by Article 3(14) of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, especially considering the existing lack of protection of rural residents living in the locality of crops; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to propose immediate bans on the use of pesticides within substantial distances of residents’ homes, schools, playgrounds, nurseries and hospitals;

63.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to invest in further research on the impact of pesticides on non-target species and to take immediate action to minimise it;

64.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote an agricultural model which relies on preventive and indirect plant protection strategies aimed at reducing the use of external inputs, and on multifunctional naturally occurring substances; acknowledges the need for more research in and development of preventive and indirect agro-ecological plant health care strategies;

65.  Calls on the Member States to increase their investment in adaptation practices that prevent agro-chemical substances from reaching surface and deep water, as well as in measures aimed at containment of possible leaching of these substances into watercourses, rivers and seas; recommends that their use be prohibited in soils potentially draining into groundwater;

66.  Stresses the essential need for regular assessment of proportionality between the quantity of pesticides sold and the agricultural area of application, based on user databases and sales records;

67.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure full and uniform application of the hazard-based cut-off criteria for active substances that are mutagenic, carcinogenic or toxic for reproduction, or that have endocrine-disrupting properties;

68.  Calls on the Member States to strictly follow the ban on imports of prohibited pesticides into the EU from third countries, and to increase controls on imported food;

69.  Calls on the Commission to carefully consider all measures available to ensure compliance, including launching infringement proceedings against Member States which fail to comply with the obligation to fully implement the Directive;

70.  Calls on the Commission to take vigorous action against Member States that are systematically abusing derogations concerning banned pesticides containing neonicotinoids;

71.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the ‘polluter pays’ principle is fully implemented and effectively enforced as regards the protection of water resources;

72.  Calls for Horizon Europe to provide sufficient funding to promote the development of plant health care strategies based on a systemic approach combining innovative agro-ecological techniques and preventive measures aimed at reducing the use of external inputs to a minimum;

73.  Calls on the Commission to set up a pan-European Platform on Sustainable Pesticides Use that would bring together sectorial stakeholders and representatives at local and regional level so as to facilitate information-sharing and exchange of best practices in reducing pesticides use;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 71.
(2) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 7.
(3) OJ L 70, 16.3.2005, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 136, 29.5.2007, p. 3.
(5) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 608.
(7) OJ L 131, 5.5.1998, p. 11.
(8) OJ L 229, 29.6.2004, p. 23.
(9) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(10) OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7.
(11) OJ L 330, 5.12.1998, p. 32.
(12) OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(13) OJ L 201, 1.8.2009, p. 36.
(14) OJ L 310, 25.11.2009, p. 29.
(15) OJ L 226, 24.8.2013, p. 1.
(16) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:52006DC0372
(17) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 62.
(18) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 51.
(19) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 184.
(20) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 117.
(21) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0057.
(22) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0356.
(23) OJ L 324, 10.12.2009, p. 1
(24) http://ec.europa.eu/food/audits-analysis/overview_reports/details.cfm?rep_id=114
(25) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 171.
(26) http://www.pan-uk.org/site/wp-content/uploads/United-Nations-Report-of-the-Special-Rapporteur-on-the-right-to-food.pdf
(27) http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10041-2016-ADD-1/en/pdf
(28) http://www.senat.fr/leg/ppr16-477.html
(29) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0023.
(30) Caspar A. Hallmann et al., ‘More than 75 % decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas’, PLOS, 18 October 2017 - https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809
(31) OJ L 270, 21.10.2003, p. 1.
(32) Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 concerning the making available on the market and use of biocidal products, OJ L 167, 27.6.2012, p. 1.
(33) Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety, OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(34) https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809
(35) https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/public_path/shared_folder/doc_pub/EUR27607.pdf


Implementation of the cross-border Healthcare Directive
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European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive (2018/2108(INI))
P8_TA-PROV(2019)0083A8-0046/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare(1),

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and in particular Articles 114 and 168 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems(2),

—  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)(3),

–  having regard to Council Conclusions of 6 June 2011 on moving towards modern, responsive and sustainable health systems(4),

–  having regard to the multi-annual health programmes for the periods 2003-2008(5), 2008-2013(6) and 2014-2020(7) respectively,

–  having regard to the Commission’s reports of 4 September 2015 and 21 September 2018 on the operation of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive (COM(2015)0421, COM(2018)0651),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 April 2018 on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market; empowering citizens and building a healthier society (COM(2018)0233),

–  having regard to the Commission’s report of 18 July 2018 on Member State Data on cross-border patient healthcare in the year 2016(8),

–  having regard to the Commission Implementing Decision No 2011/890/EU of 22 December 2011 providing the rules for the establishment, the management and the functioning of the network of national responsible authorities on eHealth(9),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 6 May 2015 on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (COM(2015)0192),

–  having regard to the 2012-2020 eHealth Action Plan, in particular the explicit cross-border dimension (COM(2012)0736),

–  having regard to the Commission’s mid-term evaluation of the 2012-2020 eHealth Action Plan (COM(2017)0586),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 November 2008 on rare diseases (COM(2008)0679) and the Council recommendation of 8 June 2009 on an action in the field of rare diseases(10),

–  having regard to the Commission’s implementation report of 5 September 2014 on its communication on rare diseases (COM(2014)0548),

–  having regard to the Recommendations on Rare Disease European Reference Networks of the EU Committee of Experts on Rare Diseases (EUCERD) of 31 January 2013 and the addendum thereto of 10 June 2015,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ background paper on cross-border healthcare in the EU of May 2018(11),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 September 2017 on boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions (COM(2017)0534),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Proclamation on the European Pillar of Social Rights(12),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinion of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0046/2019),

A.  whereas affordable-to-all health systems in the EU and its Member States are crucial for ensuring a high level of public health, social protection, social cohesion and social justice, by preserving and guaranteeing universal access, and whereas quality of life for patients is recognised as an important component of healthcare cost-efficiency assessment;

B.  whereas Directive 2011/24/EU (hereinafter ‘the directive’), in accordance with Article 168(7) TFEU, respects the freedom of each Member State to make the appropriate healthcare decisions and does not interfere with or undermine the fundamental ethical choices of the relevant authorities within the Member States; whereas there are differences in the respective services provided by the Member States as well as in the way they are funded; whereas the directive provides other healthcare options to European citizens in addition to those available in their own country;

C.  whereas health can be regarded as a fundamental right under Articles 2 (on the right to life) and 35 (on healthcare) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

D.  whereas healthcare systems in the EU are facing challenges due to an ageing population, budgetary constraints, the increasing incidence of chronic and rare diseases, difficulties in ensuring basic healthcare in rural areas and the high prices of medicines; whereas Member States are responsible for developing, keeping and exchanging across borders information on an updated catalogue of medicine shortages to ensure the availability of essential medicines;

E.  whereas the healthcare that citizens need may sometimes be best provided in another Member State, on account of proximity, ease of access, the specialised nature of care or a lack of capacity, such as a shortage of essential medicines, in their own Member State;

F.  whereas the results of the report on the operation of the directive show that in 2015, not all Member States implemented the directive completely or correctly;

G.  whereas the health sector is a vital part of the EU economy, amounting to 10 % of its GDP – a figure that, owing to socio-economic factors, could rise to 12,6 % by 2060;

H.  whereas, pursuant to Article 20 of the directive, the Commission has the obligation to present an implementation report on the directive’s operation every three years; whereas the Commission should constantly assess and regularly present information on patient flows, on the administrative, social and financial dimensions of patient mobility and on the functioning of the European Reference Networks (ERNs) and national contact points;

I.  whereas, according to the Commission report of 21 September 2018 on the operation of the directive, it remains difficult for citizens to find out how they can use their rights in terms of cross-border healthcare; whereas further clarity and transparency is needed on the conditions under which healthcare providers operate in order to secure safe patient mobility;

J.  whereas the Commission communication on e-health of 25 April 2018 notes that health and care systems require reforms and innovative solutions in order to become more resilient, accessible and effective; whereas therefore the use of new technologies and digital tools should be strengthened to improve the quality and sustainability of healthcare services;

K.  whereas the directive provides a clear legal basis for European cooperation and collaboration with regard to health technology assessment (HTA), eHealth, rare diseases and the safety and quality standards of healthcare services and products;

L.  whereas EU citizens have the right to access specialised care in their own Member State; whereas, however, the number of patients availing themselves of their right to cross-border care, as provided for under the directive, including preventive medical tests, scans and health checks, is only growing very slowly;

M.  whereas vaccination programmes are not covered by the directive, even though they count among the EU’s most effective policies, and bearing in mind the difficulties people in certain Member States encounter in accessing them;

N.  whereas not all Member States were able to supply data or information regarding patients travelling abroad, and whereas data collection is not always comparable from one Member State to another;

O.  whereas 83 % of people surveyed in a recent Commission consultation endorsed the disclosure of medical data for the purposes of conducting research and improving patients’ health conditions(13); whereas any future integration of health systems must, from a digital point of view, guarantee that the health systems and patients are the ultimate custodians and managers of the information concerned, so as to guarantee fairness, sustainability and safety for patients;

P.  whereas patient mobility in the EU covered by the scope of the directive remains relatively low, and has not had a significant budgetary impact on the sustainability of the national health systems;

Q.  whereas the Member States are responsible for providing access to the healthcare that people require and for ensuring that all the relevant costs are reimbursed; whereas the Member States’ national healthcare services are responsible for setting the criteria permitting citizens to receive healthcare in another Member State; whereas in a considerable number of Member States, the obstacles that patients encounter when dealing with health systems remain significant; whereas administrative burdens could create delays to reimbursements; whereas this only deepens the fragmentation of access to services, and should therefore be improved through coordination between Member States;

R.  whereas the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is regulated by the regulation on the coordination of social security systems, and its implementation varies widely across the Member States; whereas a uniform implementation of the EHIC and greater coordination between the Member States is essential for reducing the existing administrative burdens and for guaranteeing swift, discrimination-free reimbursement for patients, while guaranteeing freedom of movement for EU citizens;

S.  whereas patients still encounter practical and legal difficulties when using medical prescriptions across Member States;

T.  whereas the role of the national contact points (NCPs) is to ensure that patients receive the correct information to make an informed decision;

U.  whereas NCPs are not yet sufficiently well known to the public, which has an impact on their effectiveness; whereas the efficiency and outreach of the NCPs depend on the support that they receive from both the EU and the Member States, on communication channels, the exchange of good practices and information, including contact information, and guidelines for patient referral;

V.  whereas there are large variations between the various NCPs with regard to the functioning, accessibility, visibility and allocation of resources, in terms of both quality and quantity;

W.  whereas according to a Eurobarometer Survey from May 2015(14), patients are not sufficiently informed of their cross-border healthcare rights, with fewer than 20 % of citizens feeling well informed;

X.  whereas cross-border healthcare will only be effective if patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders are well informed about it and the rules governing it are readily available and generally accessible;

Y.  whereas patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals are still encountering a large information gap regarding patients’ rights in general, and especially those under the directive;

Z.  whereas healthcare professionals deal with some highly sensitive patient issues, which require clear and comprehensible communication; whereas language barriers could hinder the transfer of information between healthcare professionals and their patients;

AA.  whereas there is considerable room for improving and simplifying the reimbursement procedures in a number of Member States, particularly with regard to prescriptions, orphan drugs, pharmaceutically compounded medicinal products and follow-up therapy and procedures;

AB.  whereas six Member States and Norway currently have no prior authorisation systems in place at all, giving patients the freedom to choose and reducing administrative burdens;

AC.  whereas there are a number of bilateral agreements between neighbouring Member States and regions that could serve as a basis for excellent best practices to further develop EU-wide cross-border healthcare;

Implementation

1.  Welcomes the actions taken by the Commission to assess whether Member States have transposed the directive correctly;

2.  Notes the benefits of the directive in clarifying the rules on cross-border healthcare and in ensuring access to safe and high-quality cross-border healthcare in the Union, as well as for achieving patient mobility in accordance with the case-law of the Court of Justice; expresses disappointment that a significant number of Member States have not effectively implemented the requirements for guaranteeing patients’ rights; urges Member States therefore to ensure its proper implementation, guaranteeing a high level of public health protection that contributes to the improvement of citizens’ health, while respecting the principle of the free movement of persons within the internal market;

3.  Invites the Commission to proceed with its triennial evaluation reports on the operation of the directive and to submit them to Parliament and the Council accordingly; highlights the importance of collecting information, for statistical purposes, about patients travelling abroad for treatment and of analysing the reasons why patients move between countries; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to publish, where feasible and on an annual basis, breakdowns of the services provided and total amounts reimbursed by each Member State as cross-border healthcare provision;

4.  Invites the Commission to factor patient quality of life and care outcomes into its evaluation of the cost-efficiency of the implementation of the directive;

5.  Reminds the Member States of their commitment to provide the Commission with assistance and all the requisite information at their disposal, for the purposes of carrying out its assessment and preparing the aforesaid reports;

6.  Invites the Commission to establish guidelines for implementation, especially on those areas where the directive and the regulation on the coordination of social security systems interact, and to ensure better coordination, in that regard, amongst all the relevant stakeholders within the institutions;

7.  Stresses that the Member States should transpose the directive correctly in order to ensure high-quality and accessible cross-border healthcare for patients, in full compliance with the implementation deadlines laid down in the legislation; recognises that specific improvements can be made with regard to access to prescribed medicines and continuity of treatment; calls on the Commission to explore the possibility of expanding the scope of the directive to include vaccination programmes;

8.  Notes with satisfaction the positive impact of initiatives such as the EHIC, which is issued free of charge and allows anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security scheme to receive medical treatment in another Member State free or at a reduced cost; stresses the importance of successful cooperation between institutions in order to avoid misuse of the EHIC;

9.  Stresses the need to ensure clarity and transparency regarding the conditions under which healthcare providers operate; underlines the importance of healthcare providers and professionals having professional civil liability insurance, as provided for in the directive as well as in Directive 2005/36/EC, in order to improve the quality of health services and increase patient protection;

Funding

10.  Points out that the funding of cross-border healthcare is a matter for the Member States, which reimburse costs in accordance with the relevant regulations; points out, furthermore, that the Commission supports the cooperation referred to in Chapter IV of the directive via health programmes;

11.  Expresses serious concern, in this regard, about the proposed reduction in funding for the health programme; reiterates its call for the health programme to be restored as a robust stand-alone programme with increased funding in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) (2021-2027), in order to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on public health, health systems and environment-related problems, and ensure an ambitious health policy with a focus on cross-border challenges, including, in particular, a considerable increase in common EU efforts in the fight against cancer, the prevention, early detection and management of chronic and rare diseases, including genetic and pandemic diseases and rare cancers, in combating anti-microbial resistance and in ensuring easier access to cross-border healthcare;

12.  Stresses the importance of the European Social Fund, the European Structural and Investment Fund for health and the European Regional Development Fund, including the Interreg Programme, for improving health services and reducing health inequalities between regions and social groups across Member States; requests that structural and cohesion funds also be used to improve and facilitate cross-border healthcare in the next MFF;

Patient mobility

13.  Notes that the reasons for low patient mobility are fourfold: i) some Member States were quite late implementing the directive; ii) citizens’ awareness about their general rights to reimbursement is extremely low, iii) certain barriers limiting cross-border healthcare, such as administrative burdens, have been erected by some Member States, and iv) information on patients seeking healthcare in another Member State on the basis of the directive is missing or incomplete;

14.  Notes that certain prior authorisation systems appear to be unduly burdensome and/or restrictive with regard to the number of applications each year; asks the Commission to continue the structured dialogues with Member States, providing greater clarity regarding prior authorisation requirements and the associated conditions for reimbursement;

15.  Asks the Commission to develop guidelines for the Member States in order to enable people, should prior authorisation be established, to compare treatment abroad with that available in their own Member State, with cost effectivity for patients as the guiding principle;

16.  Reminds the Member States that any limitation on the application of the directive, such as prior authorisation requirements or limitations on reimbursement, should be necessary and proportionate and not give rise to arbitrary or social discrimination, must not put up unjustified obstacles to the free movement of patients and services, nor should it place an excessive burden on national public health systems; calls on Member States to take into consideration the difficulties faced by low-income patients who have to pay for cross-border treatment in advance; notes that prior authorisation systems are intended to allow for Member State planning and protect patients from treatments that raise serious and specific concerns about the quality or safety of care;

17.  Notes with concern that in some Member States insurance companies have discriminated arbitrarily or created unjustified obstacles to the free movement of patients and services, with adverse financial consequences for patients;

18.  Urges the Member States to notify the Commission of any decision to introduce limitations regarding reimbursement of costs under Article 7(9) of the directive, giving their reasons for doing so;

19.  Regrets the fact that some Member States on occasion grant lower levels of reimbursement for cross-border healthcare supplied by private or non-contracted healthcare providers on their own territories than for cross-border healthcare supplied by public or contracted healthcare providers; considers that reimbursement for private healthcare at the same level as public healthcare should be guaranteed, provided that the quality and safety of care can be ensured;

20.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to work together to assess, realign and simplify reimbursement procedures for patients receiving cross-border care, including by clarifying the reimbursement of follow-up care and procedures, and to set up coordinating one-stop-shop front offices at the relevant healthcare insurers;

21.  Regrets the fact that application of the directive with regard to telemedicine – health services provided remotely – has led to a certain lack of clarity concerning reimbursement schemes, as some Member States do reimburse or provide consultation with general or specialised practitioners at a distance, while others do not; calls on the Commission to support the uptake of the reimbursement rules, in accordance with Articles 7(1) and 4(1), so that they also apply to telemedicine, where appropriate; encourages the Member States to align their approaches to the reimbursement of telemedicine;

Border regions

22.  Encourages the Member States and border regions to deepen cross-border healthcare cooperation, in an efficient and financially sustainable manner, including by providing accessible, sufficient and understandable information, in order to secure the best possible care for patients; asks the Commission to support and stimulate a structural exchange of best practices among border regions; encourages the Member States to use these best practices to also improve healthcare in other regions;

23.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal to enhance the cohesion between border regions by addressing some of the legal and administrative barriers that they face through the creation of an EU cross-border mechanism;

Information for patients

24.  Recalls the essential role of NCPs in providing information to patients and helping them to make an informed decision about seeking healthcare abroad in the EU; calls on the Commission and the Member States to invest further in the development and promotion of accessible and clearly visible NCPs and eHealth platforms for patients, which should provide user-friendly, digitally accessible and barrier-free information for patients and health professionals in multiple languages;

25.  Recommends that the Commission, in conjunction with patient organisations, develop guidelines on the functioning of the NCPs in order to further facilitate and significantly improve the ways in which they systematically exchange information and practices, with the aim of producing harmonised, simplified and patient-friendly procedures, forms or manuals, and establishing a link between NCPs and the sources of information and expertise available in the Member States;

26.  Calls on the Member States to provide sufficient funding for their NCPs to be able to develop comprehensive information, and asks the Commission to intensify cooperation among the NCPs across the Union;

27.  Stresses the potential of eHealth to improve patients’ access to information on the possibilities of cross-border healthcare and on their rights under the directive;

28.  Calls on the Member States to urge healthcare providers and hospitals to supply patients, in advance, with an accurate and up-to-date estimate of the cost of treatment abroad, including medicine, honoraria, overnight stays and supplementary fees;

29.  Asks the Commission to clarify, for the benefit of national experts and by means of information campaigns, the complexity of the current legal situation deriving from the interaction between the directive and the regulation on social security coordination;

30.  Asks the Commission to organise, in conjunction with the competent national authorities, NCPs, ERNs, patient organisations and networks of healthcare professionals, comprehensive public information campaigns, including by tapping into new digital opportunities, which should be designed to foster structural awareness of patients’ rights and obligations under the directive;

31.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the Member States to make information easily accessible on the procedures through which patients can file complaints in cases where their rights under the directive have not been respected or have even been violated;

32.  Recommends that the Commission develop guidelines on the type of information the NCPs should be providing, especially the list of treatments which are or are not subject to prior authorisation, the criteria applied and the procedures in force;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to assess the need to identify the reasons for granting access to cross-border healthcare in a way that guarantees free movement, but without healthcare being an end in itself as long as the organisation of health systems is a national competence;

34.  Encourages the Commission to promote increased cooperation between Member States’ authorities in general, and not only through the NCPs, and to assess further the benefits of existing initiatives for cooperation, especially in cross-border regions, guaranteeing access to safe, high quality and efficient healthcare for citizens;

Rare diseases, rare cancers and European Reference Networks (ERNs)

35.  Stresses the importance of EU-wide cooperation in ensuring the efficient pooling of knowledge, information and resources to tackle rare and chronic diseases, including rare cancers, effectively across the EU; encourages the Commission, in that regard, to support the setting up of specialised centres for rare diseases in the EU, which should be fully integrated into the ERNs;

36.  Recommends building on the steps already taken to increase public awareness and understanding of rare diseases and rare cancers and to increase funding for R&D; asks the Commission to further guarantee access to information, medicine and medical treatment for patients with rare diseases throughout the EU, and to strive for improved access to early and accurate diagnosis; urges the Commission to address the low registration rate of rare diseases and to further develop and promote common standards for sharing and exchanging data in rare disease registries;

37.  Stresses the critical need to improve patient adherence models, which should be based on the most reliable findings from meta-analyses and large-scale empirical studies, and should reflect the realities of medical practice and offer recommendations for making patients more dedicated to their treatment, particularly when it comes to the management of chronic diseases – a key barometer for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare systems;

38.  Underlines the importance and added value of EU-wide mobility of healthcare professionals, during both their education and professional careers, and of their particular role in improving knowledge and expertise on rare diseases;

39.  Proposes that the Commission should open a fresh call for the development of new ERNs and continue to support the development and scaling up of the ERN model, in order to overcome geographical differences and gaps in expertise; stresses, however, that any extension of ERNs must not undermine the operation of existing ERNs during their initial phase;

40.  Regrets the uncertainty surrounding the operating principles of the ERNs and their interaction with national healthcare systems and other EU programmes; asks the Commission, therefore, to support the Member States and ERNs in establishing clear and transparent rules for patient referral and to reach an agreement on the form of support to be provided by the Member States to the ERNs;

41.  Urges the Commission to implement an action plan, through the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases, for the further sustainable development and financing of the ERNs and the patient networks supporting them; encourages the Member States to support the healthcare providers within the ERNs and to integrate ERNs into their healthcare systems, adapting their legal and regulatory frameworks and referring to the ERNs in their national plans on rare diseases and on cancer;

Mutual recognition of (e-)prescriptions

42.  Regrets the difficulties faced by patients, especially those in border areas, in securing access to and reimbursement for medicines in other Member States, owing to differing availabilities and administrative rules across the EU; calls on the Member States and their respective health authorities to address the legal and practical issues that are hindering the mutual recognition of medical prescriptions across the EU, and urges the Commission to take supportive action in this regard;

43.  Regrets the difficulties faced by patients in securing access to and reimbursement for medicines in other Member States, owing to differing availabilities and rules across the EU;

44.  Calls on the Commission to draw up an action plan to systematically address excessively high medicine prices and the great disparities in them between the various Member States;

45.  Calls on the Commission to take steps to ensure that prescriptions issued by ERN-linked centres of expertise are accepted for reimbursement in all Member States;

46.  Welcomes the support from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as part of efforts to successfully develop current pilot projects on the exchange of e-prescriptions and patient summaries and pave the way for other Member States to follow by 2020; insists that this support be continued in the next MFF;

EHealth

47.  Acknowledges that eHealth can help to ensure that health systems are sustainable, by reducing certain costs, and can be an important part of the EU’s response to the healthcare challenges of today; emphasises that the interoperability of eHealth should be made a priority, in order to improve global patient records and continuity of care, while guaranteeing patient privacy; considers that special attention should be devoted to granting all patients, not least elderly and disabled persons, easy access to care; suggests, in this regard, that the Member States take steps to invest in citizens’ digital literacy and to scale up new solutions for the ageing population, while using all means at their disposal to ensure that exclusion through digitalisation shall be prevented;

48.  Welcomes the creation of the EU-wide eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure (eHDSI), which will foster the cross-border exchange of health data, specifically e-prescriptions and patient summaries;

49.  Invites the Member States to take swift action to connect their health systems to the eHDSI through a dedicated NCP for eHealth, in line with their own risk assessments, and asks the Commission to facilitate this process;

50.  Calls on the Commission to address the digital health needs in the Member States as a matter of priority; welcomes the Commission’s support for putting sustained financial resources towards ensuring strong national digital health strategies and creating a suitable framework for common actions at EU level in order to prevent efforts from being duplicated and ensure the exchange of best practices for a more widespread use of digital technology in the Member States;

51.  Asks the Member States to further intensify cooperation across Europe between their health authorities, in order to connect eHealth data and personal records with ePrescription tools, so as to enable health care professionals to deliver personalised and well-informed care to their patients and foster cooperation among doctors, while fully respecting EU data protection legislation in this regard; calls on the Commission to take action to facilitate such endeavours;

52.  Calls on the Member States to swiftly implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in order to safeguard patient data used in eHealth applications and underlines the importance, with particular regard to health, of monitoring the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market(15); stresses the need to enable citizens to access and use their own health data, in accordance with the principles laid down in the GDPR;

Brexit

53.  Asks the Commission to negotiate a solid agreement with post-Brexit UK on health, devoting specific attention to cross-border rights for patients and the functioning of the ERNs;

54.  Welcomes the intention of the European Court of Auditors to conduct an audit on the effectiveness of the implementation of the directive, and to examine in particular the Commission’s monitoring and supervision of this implementation, the results achieved to date in delivering cross-border healthcare access, and the effectiveness of the EU funding framework as regards the action funded;

55.  Calls on the Member States to implement, properly and in full cooperation with the Commission, all provisions of the directive;

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

(1) OJ L 88, 4.4.2011, p. 45.
(2) OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 202, 8.7.2011, p. 10.
(5) Decision No 1786/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 adopting a programme of Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008), OJ L 271, 9.10.2002, p. 1.
(6) Decision No 1350/2207/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 establishing a second programme of Community action in the field of health (2008-2013), OJ L 301, 20.11.2007, p. 3.
(7) Regulation (EU) No 282/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 on the establishment of a third Programme for the Union’s action in the field of health (2014-2020) and repealing Decision No 1350/2007/EC, OJ L 86, 21.3.2014, p. 1.
(8) https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/cross_border_care/docs/2016_msdata_en.pdf
(9) OJ L 344, 28.12.2011, p. 48.
(10) OJ C 151, 3.7.2009, p. 7.
(11) https://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/BP_CBH/BP_Cross-border_healthcare_EN.pdf
(12) OJ C 428, 13.12.2017, p. 10.
(13) Commission synopsis report on its consultation entitled ‘Transformation Health and Care in the Digital Single Market’, 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/ehealth/docs/2018_consultation_dsm_en.pdf
(14) Special Eurobarometer 425: Patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare in the European Union.
(15) OJ L 257, 28.8.2014, p. 73.

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